Friday, May 15, 2009

Quick no fuss food ideas for the long weekend

In Canada we canuks celebrate Victoria day. If you are French from the province of Quebec within Canada you celebrate something different. The French have never been really down with the British monarchy but no one turns down a long weekend. Personally I have never really been ecstatic about the whole lot myself and I am first generation Canadian, my mother heralding from you guessed it...England. Anyway it's May and it's a long weekend. Most people flock to the garden centers this weekend. Not us as we cannot plant until June 15 because of frost. This weekend is also a big BBQ weekend. As I write this BBQ's are being dusted off all over this great nation. Here are some quick recipe ideas, 2 for the BBQ and several others:

Flank or Bavette is a flavorful cut of beef perfect for the BBQ. 1 flank will feed 2-3 adults. Once cooked to desired doneness it must be cut thinly against the grain and served. Marinating flank overnight is you best option because it tends to be a little tough. Choose your favorite prepared (non-creamy) vinaigrette and just marinate the flank in it in a sealed plastic bag and making sure to get all the air out.

Grilled vegetables are easy and when heaped up on a platter look very festive. Just slice up eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, sweet peppers and asparagus. Throw on some portobello mushrooms whole as well. Before grilling the veg can be tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and seasoned to taste. Grab your tongs and a mojito and do the veg in batches.

If it rains or BBQing is not your thing:

Fresh tomato and summer squash pasta
450 g / 1lb spaghettini or angel hair
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic bulbs,
2 large summer (yellow) squash, large dice
splash of white wine

6 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp savory, chopped

2 tsp chives, chopped fine

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese,freshly grated

salt and freshly ground pepper

In a saute pan heat olive oil on medium high. Brown garlic slightly then add summer squash. Saute 2 minutes. De glaze with a splash of white wine. Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste. Sprinkle sauce with chives and toss with hot cooked pasta. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

We are going away this weekend and I am bringing some goodies with me. A blueberry pie which I literally threw together. I used store bought pie crust (gasp!) and tossed some frozen blueberries in a large bowl with 2 tbsp of cornstarch and 3 tbsp of icing sugar. Before placing the second disk of pie dough over the pie I added three knobs of butter.

I am also bringing a Martha recipe for Rum raisin shortbread cookies. I had half the recipe in the form of a frozen log in the freezer and I just defrosted it slightly, cut the cookies and baked. They are delicate and buttery and perfect with afternoon tea.

I do love to make things myself but with an upcoming work deadline looming, 2 small kids (one potty training) and the rest of life I haven't had the time lately. Here are some quick bites for those unexpected guests or for when you just want to sit back and enjoy the day.

  • Buffalo mozzarella cut in cubes or other non salty fresh cheese tossed in a quality store bought pesto. Perhaps half in the traditional basil pesto and half in sun dried tomato pesto.
  • Garlic stuffed olives.
  • Crostini (toasted bread slices) made by your local baker served with soft cheeses.
  • Quality sheet pizza cut in bite sized slices and served cold.
  • Good quality real cheese flavored popcorn.
  • Store bought Italian marinated vegetables and slices of chorizo for an anti pasta plate.

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