This summer, we had the ability to grow many herbs, spices, and vegetables in our little garden! We really didn’t think anything would happen, but all of a sudden, it was an out-
of-control, over-producing beautiful disaster!
We crammed essentially everything possible into this little bed of soil: basil, parsley, dill, oregano, mint, peas, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, Ottawa tomatoes, green peppers, and yellow peppers, and lettuce!
Using our resources, and enjoying our patio set, the weather, and refreshing drinks to kick the heat, I came up with a few recipes and drink pairings to commemorate a truly wonderful summer.
First things first, sangria! Using ‘Jelly Bean Row’ strawberry wine from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Jacob’s Creek Moscato from southern Australia alongside oranges, strawberries and limes, this was a necessary patio drink. Another favourite from out east is ‘No Boats on Sunday’ cider- which I paired with my absolute favourite meal of the summer- Baja shrimp tacos: lemon and cajun spiced shrimp, plain yogurt, avocado, topped with green apple, red onion and cilantro ‘slaw’ with a side of cauliflower mash and brown rice. Simply fresh and fantastic. Finishing our out east vibes, we enjoyed Beach chair lager from P.E.I. on International Beer Day with garlic crusted tilapia with a fresh dill salsa (tomatoes and dill both from our garden) with parmesan rice and baked oil and pepper green beans. Our summer of freshness carries on with a feta and red onion salad with local corn on the cob and honey garlic chicken paired with Santa Carolina chardonnay from Chile. Next was pad Thai with peanut sauce: peas (from our garden), shredded carrots, cremini mushrooms, green peppers (from our garden), chicken, and pan-seared garlic tofu on a bed of spinach and rice vermicelli noodles with fresh squeezed lime juice. After an explosion of tomatoes in the garden, I went for a dish that boasted an overload of tomatoes- caprese gnocchi! Using the cherry, Ottawa and Roma tomatoes from the garden and many of the fresh herbs (parsley, oregano and basil) in the sauce and to present the dish, then topping it off with Kingston Olive Oil Co red apple balsamic vinegar and fresh grated parmesan cheese, I created something pretty tasty for a backyard evening. Another fish dish (excuse the rhyming) that turned out beautifully was a chili lime rainbow trout with fresh squeezed lime with rice and green beans paired with a sizeable glass of chardonnay to refresh the heat of the meal and the outdoors. Finally, a go-to and light summer delight (again, excuse the rhyming)- a Cobb salad! Iceberg lettuce wedge, hardboiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, turkey bacon, and ranch dressing makes for a light, yet filling dinner.
I don’t want to think that summer is coming to a close, so I will keep cooking from the garden, keep sitting outside and keep drinking tall he chardonnay/ciders/lagers until the cold forces me to my stash of full-bodied reds and heavy pastas!