The Main Menu: Get ready for Canada Day with these summer recipes

Canada Day is on Wednesday, July 1, and our food writer Jan Main has some recipes to help you get ready for the celebration.


Canada Day on July 1 is just around the corner. It marks Canada’s birthday, the beginning of holidays, the beginning of an array of festivities including a parade of just picked crops-strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, peas, beans, melons, plums, peaches – abundance of all sorts.

Canada Day deserves a special menu to celebrate out-of-doors in the summer sunshine.

Here for your enjoyment are recipes that travel to cottages, to parks, or simply to the backyard barbecue. Happy Canada Day! Happy Summer!

Orange Aioli Dipping Sauce for Asparagus

If strawberries are the special fruit for a summer celebration, then freshly picked Ontario asparagus is the ideal vegetable.

These tender stalks are delectable as an appetizer with a dipping sauce, chilled in a salad or served hot with a main course. Asparagus is a must! Asparagus has a special affinity to orange as you will taste with this dipping sauce.

1 cup (250 mL) commercial mayonnaise, either light or regular
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh orange juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (25 mL) grated orange rind
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb (500 g ) asparagus

In a mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, orange juice, orange zest, oil and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sauce will keep covered and refrigerated for 2 days.

Prepare asparagus: Break off the tough ends from asparagus and discard. Add water to a skillet or saucepan large enough to hold asparagus with enough water to cover; bring to boil. Add asparagus; cook 1 – 2 minutes until crisp tender. Immediately drain and rinse under cold running water. Gently lay asparagus on a tea-towel and pat dry.

For serving: Arrange asparagus on a serving tray large enough to hold asparagus and a bowl of orange aioli.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. May be prepared about 8 hours ahead.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.

Citrus Glazed Carrot Cake with Strawberries

What would a birthday be without a cake? Carrot cake is an all- time favourite, even better, this version works equally well with all- purpose flour or gluten free flour – a real plus for the gluten intolerant.

The cake can be made into a variety of shapes: a bundt pan, fill the centre of the bundt cake with fresh strawberries and surround with whole berries, a 13 x 9 inch pan (3L) rectangle, a layer cake or as cupcakes garnished with a swirl of citrus buttercream and topped by a strawberry.

4 eggs
1 cup ( 250 mL) each, granulated sugar and brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour or quinoa flour (gluten free)
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, baking soda and salt
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) nutmeg
3 cups (750 mL) grated carrots
1/2 cup (125 mL) each, raisins and chopped walnuts or pecans
Lemon Glaze (Lemon buttercream use ingredients below but add 1/2 cup butter.)
2 cups (500 mL) sifted icing sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Spray pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In large bowl, using an electric mixer beat eggs until fluffy, gradually beat in granulated and brown sugars. Beat in oil. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually beat into egg mixture and stir in carrots, raisins and walnuts.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour for bundt pan, 45 -50 minutes for 13 x 9 inch pan, 35-40 minutes for two 9-inch pans and about 20 minutes for cupcakes. Let cool about 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely before drizzling with lemon glaze or lemon buttercream.

Lemon Glaze: In a mixing bowl, gradually whisk lemon juice into icing sugar until smooth. Whisk in lemon zest.

Lemon Buttercream: Beat butter until creamy; gradually beat in sifted icing sugar, lemon juice and zest until smooth and creamy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes or frost layer cake. Makes 8 – 12 servings.

Quick Asian Sauce with Salmon

Keep a jar of this all – purpose sauce handy in the refrigerator. It is a tasty marinade or basting sauce for fish (trout and salmon), chicken or pork.

1/2 cup (125 mL) soy sauce
2 tbsp (25 mL) liquid honey
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated peeled, fresh ginger root
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp (25mL) vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 lb (500 g) salmon

In a jar, combine soy sauce, honey, ginger root, lemon juice, oil and garlic. Shake well. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks ready to use at a moment’s notice.

To cook salmon, pre-heat oven to 425F (220C). Arrange fish on parchment paper large enough to encase it. Drizzle sauce to coat fish. Fold paper over fish securely. Bake in pre-heated oven about 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes.

Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

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