The Main Menu: Some summer recipes to minimize kitchen time

Ice cream is a true summer treasurer, writes Beach Metro News food columnist Jan Main.


Summer! That treasured season flashes by so quickly, you want to maximize your time enjoying the out of doors and minimize your time in the kitchen preparing meals.

Here are a selection of sauces with sizzle, each with a myriad of uses. Keep a jar in the refrigerator to transform the simplest food.

No one need know you were scarcely in the kitchen!

Tarragon Lemon Aioli

Aioli traditionally is a garlic mayonnaise from the Provence region of France.

This version can serve as a dip for vegetables, a yummy accompaniment to fish or chicken, a flavoursome spread on chicken burgers or sandwiches or a pasta toss. You can substitute other fresh herbs for the tarragon: basil, coriander or mint.

1 cup (250 mL) commercial mayonnaise
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon rind
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves (substitute other fresh herbs as above) or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried

In a mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon rind, juice, oil and tarragon leaves until well combined.
Spoon into jar; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

May be kept refrigerated for up to three days.

Crème Anglaise

Another French classic, crème Anglaise is a custard sauce, ideal served over a bowl of summer berries, a freshly made fruit pie or slice of cake. It may be served hot or cold.

Crème Anglaise also acts as the base for homemade ice cream.

Ah, ice cream – a true summer treasure!

Keep a jar of this in your refrigerator and you are ready for wow appeal!


2 cups (500 mL) 10 per cent cream or whole milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla
6 egg yolks (freeze the egg whites to make meringues)
2/3 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat cream with split vanilla bean. Cook gently for 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk together egg yolks and sugar until a pale yellow colour. Gradually whisk the warm vanilla cream into egg yolk mixture Return to heat and cook over medium – low heat whisking frequently until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon about five minutes.

It should look like thick cream. Remove custard sauce from heat. Stir in vanilla if not using vanilla bean.

Serve custard immediately warm over berries or with other dessert or cover and serve at room temperature.

For longer storage, or to make ice-cream cover and refrigerate for up to two days.

To make ice cream without
an ice cream maker
Chilled custard (from above)

1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream

In a deep bowl using an electric mixer beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Gradually fold into cooled custard. Pour into shallow container and freeze until firm, about four hours.

Scoop and serve.

Herbal Vinaigrette

A wonderful basic vinaigrette for salads of all sorts, pasta and rice tosses and a flavourful marinade or sauce for barbecued fish, chicken and pork.

You will use this vinaigrette every day.

1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) liquid honey (preferably wild flower)
2 tbsp (25 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh herbs: tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme, coriander or parsley (optional)

In a food processor, combine garlic, salt and pepper together until garlic is finely minced.

With motor running, gradually pour in oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and herbs.

Combine until the ingredients are well blended.

Pour into jar; cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Makes 2 cups

Without a food processor: use a whisk and beat the garlic, salt and pepper into the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and herbs until well blended.

Pour into jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Makes 2 cups.

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