Take me away for a summer meal

Summertime is the season for vacations: trips to cottages, picnics, camping, visits to friends and relatives, road trips of all sorts – after all, it’s holiday time.

Outings mean transportable food. Here are just a few ideas to tote in a car, bike or backpack. They are yummy enough to be special holiday fare but easy enough to prepare in a flash. They taste especially good under blue sky with a dash of sunshine, and call for that special ingredient – freedom!

Betsy Jones’ mouth-watering orange raisin muffins

Betsy makes these muffins on a regular basis to take away to the cottage or bring to breakfast after early morning communion. Everyone around the table was requesting the recipe for these delectable morsels: they are moist, flavourful and very moreish (you eat one, you want more!). Betsy explained she learned to make them years ago at a food processor cooking course and although she uses a food processor, this recipe is adapted for people without a processor.

1 seedless navel orange, well washed and quartered
1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (175 ml) granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) raisins
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) each, baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

Pre-heat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 12 muffin tins with muffin papers; set aside.

In food processor or blender combine orange sections and orange juice. Process until orange is finely chopped. Or, by hand, grate the orange and squeeze juice from it, adding the additional orange juice.

In separate bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy, beat in egg until creamy. Stir in raisins.

In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat the dry ingredients alternately with the orange mixture into the creamed mixture until blended.

Spoon even amounts of batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until they are firm to the touch when tested. Cool on cooling rack. Muffins keep well for two days in plastic container; for longer storage freeze for up to three months in freezer container. Makes 12 large muffins.

Tropical lime salad dressing, marinade or dip

Limes are plentiful and relatively cheap in the summer. Their crisp, intense citrus flavour is a great complement to a sizzling hot day. This seasonal quality combined with the following ingredients make a versatile dressing for salads, marinade for chicken, fish or shellfish, or a sauce to drizzle over barbecued chicken, pork or fish. Finally, when a splash of this lime magic is combined with yogurt or sour cream it becomes a wonderful appetizer as a dipping sauce for veggies. Keep a jar ready for any summer adventure.

Usually limes are juicier in the summer than at any other time of the year. However, you will probably only get two tablespoons of lime juice per lime. To grate the lime rind easily, use a rasp. It is a special grater designed for grating citrus rind available at Lee Valley and good kitchen stores.

1 large clove garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh black pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lime juice (about four limes – you can substitute lemon juice)
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lime rind
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) vegetable oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) liquid honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

In a food processor, blender or jar, combine garlic, salt and pepper. Add lime juice, lime rind, vegetable oil, honey and mustard. Process or shake until mixture is well blended and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Makes two cups (500 mL).

Perfect summer salad

Vary this salad with only the freshest vegetables and fruits in season. You can add hard cooked eggs, chick peas or tuna to make a main course salad. Yum!

6 cups (1.5 L) freshest salad greens such as baby spinach, kale and/or arugula
2 peaches, nectarines, apricots or mangoes, peeled and sliced
1 freshly picked tomato, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries – the fresher the better
1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 mL to 125 mL) toasted almonds, walnuts or pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl or plastic bag combine salad greens, peaches, tomato, berries, red pepper and almonds. Just before serving, toss with enough dressing to coat leaves. Serve immediately; discard plastic bag. Serves four to six.


Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer  ~  janmainskitchen@yahoo.ca

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