During this time of year, farmers’ markets are overflowing with beautiful local produce and I find it to be a struggle of limiting myself to what my two arms can carry home. While eating local is most definitely about supporting your farmers, it’s also about knowing where your food is coming from and who grew it. Also, eating locally farmed produce means eating more nutrients. The longer your food has to travel to get to your table, the older it is and the more opportunity it has to lose its nutritional value. Local farmers pick their crops at the peak of ripeness and bring it right to your markets so you are getting the most nutrients (and flavour) out of your food. It is also pretty easy to make an incredible meal that even a carnivore will drool for. Just pick up what looks brightest, smells the freshest and tastes the sweetest and complement it with a big bunch of herbs. Just don’t be afraid to play around and mix and match. With the abundance of delicious produce available, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong!
Annie’s 3 Tips for Late Summer Entertaining
1. Adding nuts and seeds to your meals is an easy way to get more protein and vitamins into your diet.
2. Don’t forget the herbs! They can brighten and add character to any meal and the combinations are endless!
3. Citrus can really brighten your dish. If you are in need some vibrancy; try using the juice or zest.
Charred Romaine Salad
Serve with: Benjamin Bridge Vero
Prep time: Less than 30 minutes
Total time: Less than 30 minutes
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, sliced into 4 wedges each
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Half lemon, juiced
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 bunch red grapes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 large fresh mozzarella ball
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- Fennel fronds from the top of the fennel bulb
- 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
Directions: Drizzle or brush the Romaine lettuce with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the lettuce on high heat until the outside leaves have a slight char but the lettuce is not cooked through. Remove and let cool. Prepare a bowl of ice water with lemon juice. Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave long slices of fennel into acidulated ice water. This will keep them crunchy and stop them from oxidizing. Drain. In a large bowl combine fennel, grapes, red wine vinegar, honey, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Place one piece of lettuce on each plate. Tear the mozzarella into pieces. Top each piece of lettuce with equal amounts of the torn mozzarella, fennel salad mix, toasted pumpkin seeds, chives and fennel fronds.
5 Great Vegetarian Sources of Protein
1. Lentils – They are full of protein and fiber. They make great additions to soups but can also act as a substantive side dish.
2. Peas – Green peas are rich in protein and also aid in digestion. They are also a great way to freshen up a late summer meal. Add them to rice base dishes such as risotto or blend them with olive oil and a fragrant herb such as mint for a great seasonal sauce.
3. Artichokes – They offer both protein and fibre. Serve them steamed or for a late summer treat, try grilling them.
4. Spinach – You’ll get about 5 grams of protein per cup of spinach. Make a delicious late summer or fall salad by combining spinach with seasonal fruits, crumbled cheese and a light vinaigrette. Get even more protein by topping the salad with toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds.
5. Chickpeas – You can do more with these protein-packed beans than pureeing them for hummus. They are wonderful in vegetarian based stews and curries or use them as a base for a rich bean salad.
As the old adage goes, food and wine that grow together go together. With Nova Scotia’s beer industry ever expanding and diversifying to include a broader range of styles, it’s increasingly easy to apply the adage to our breweries. Try these beers with your next market day inspired dining event.
- Breton Brewing Red Coat Irish Red Ale, 473 ml, $3.90
- Rare Bird Pale Ale, 4 x 500 ml, $14.98
- Hell Bay Dark Cream Ale, 6 x 355 ml, $14.50
Serve with: Domaine de Grand Pré Rosé or Jost Coastal Marechal Foch Marquette
Prep time: Less than 30 minutes
Total time: Less than 1 hour
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 bunch dill
- 1 bunch basil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/ 3 cup olive oil (or until desired consistency)
- 1 lb fresh gnocchi (Italian potato pasta)
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 3 cups of cherry or heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- Ricotta salata
- Extra herbs, for garnish
- Toasted hazelnuts, for garnish
Directions: Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Wash, dry and roughly chop the herbs. Add the herbs, garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes to a food processor and pulse until everything is chopped and forms a rough paste. With the motor still running, carefully and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it forms a sauce. If your food processor is smaller, split the ingredients in two and work in batches. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the gnocchi until just tender and drain. In a large bowl, toss the gnocchi, herb sauce and tomatoes together. Use your vegetable peeler to shave ricotta salata on the gnocchi. Garnish with extra herbs and toasted hazelnuts.
Grilled Honey Eggplant
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried cumin
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 large eggplant or 4 to 8 small eggplant
- Olive oil for grilling
- Handful of picked mint leaves
- 3 tbsp of chopped chives
Directions: Start by making a honey dressing. Combine honey, red wine vinegar and water in a bowl, mix. In a saucepan, cook the garlic in olive oil, over medium-low heat, until fragrant and then add the cumin and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional one minute. Add the honey mixture to the pan and bring up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently until slightly thick. Season with salt and pepper. Next, prepare the eggplant. Slice large eggplants into disks or small eggplants in half lengthwise. Sprinkle cut sides with salt and let rest on paper towel for 15-20 minutes to release water and then pat dry with paper towel. Preheat your barbeque and brush the eggplant with olive oil. Grill the eggplant until charred and tender. While the eggplant is still hot, toss in a bowl with the honey dressing, mint and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grilled Corn and Late Summer Squash
- 6 cobs corn, grilled
- 2 zucchinis
- Red chili, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, picked and washed
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Handful zucchini blossoms
Directions: Grill cobs of corn until starting to char. Remove the grilled kernels from the cob with a sharp knife and put in a large bowl. Use a mandolin or vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini into long thin strips and add to the corn. Toss with the red chili, shallots, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the zucchini blossoms right before serving.
- Domaine de Grand Pré Rosé,
- Nova Scotia, $15.99
- Jost Coastal Marechal Foch Marquette,
- Nova Scotia, $14.99
- Benjamin Bridge Vero, Nova Scotia, $21.99
- Devonian Coast Premium Tawny, Nova Scotia, $22.99
Peach & Plum Pistachio Pie
Serve with: Devonian Coast Tawny
Prep time: More than 1 hour
Total time: Less than 3 hours
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 5 large plums, pitted and sliced
- 4 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 tbsp of tapioca
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Directions (crust): Start by making the dough. Put everything but the water into a food processor and pulse until it forms small crumbles that are the size of peas. Pour in a quarter cup of ice cold water and pulse until it begins to clump together. Remove from the food processor and knead together until it just becomes a ball. Split the dough into two equal pieces, flatten them slightly (for easier rolling), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat an oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out both pieces of dough so they just overlap the border of a pie plate. Set one piece of rolled out dough into the pie plate and trim the edges, set in the fridge to chill while you cut the second piece of dough into whatever design you choose, lattice, decorative leaves, full crust…it’s up to you!
Directions (filling & baking): Make the filling by stirring the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, salt and tapioca together in a large bowl and toss in the fruit until they are all evenly covered. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Fill the chilled pie crust and add your second pie crust on top. Brush the pie crust with the beaten egg. Cook the pie in the oven for about an hour or until golden brown and the fruit is tender. Let cool completely and garnish with chopped pistachios.