Summer is ripe with sunshine, trips to the beach and fresh fruit. While peaches are now available year-round, they just don’t taste as good as those picked ripe from the Okanagan. California strawberries aren’t as delicious as those grown in Saanich. And frozen blackberries aren’t nearly as sweet as those you picked yourself.
Here are three simple and delicious recipes to celebrate the fresh fruits of summer: ripe and flavourful berries, peaches and nectarines.
Berry Almond Salad
(Total time: 15 minutes)
This fresh and savoury salad is a quick and delicious side dish or serve it with a slice of bread for a light meal. Feel free to use a mix of whatever berries you happen to have. It’s delicious with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries.
Unlike many restaurant or store-bought berry salads, this salad doesn’t contain any added sugar. Ripe berries provide plenty of sweetness, however, feel free to add 1 tsp of sugar to the dressing if you want sweeter salad.
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup of fresh berries
3 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
A pinch of salt, to taste
1⁄3 cup of slivered almonds
1 red pepper
1 large carrot
1⁄2 cup of fresh berries
1 head of lettuce
1⁄2 cup of feta cheese
Place all of the salad dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and emulsified, then pour the dressing into the bottom of your salad bowl.
Lightly toast the slivered almonds in a dry frying pan. Remove from the heat as soon as they are starting to brown.
Finely dice the red pepper and grate the carrot. Add the pepper, carrot and berries to the salad dressing. Toss to combine.
Wash and dry the lettuce. Rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
When you’re ready to serve the salad, toss the lettuce into the dressing, then top the salad with the slivered almonds and crumbled feta.
Barbecued Nectarine Pizza
(Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 10 minutes)
Want to try barbecuing something other than the usual hot dogs and hamburgers? This unique barbecued pizza is absolutely delicious. Nectarines are firm enough to stand up to the heat without getting soggy, and they’re sweet enough to caramelize. I love the added flavour and sweetness of red onions, but if your kids aren’t as keen, feel free to skip them.
Toppings for a Single 10-Inch Pizza
1⁄2 small red onion
1⁄2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
1 ball of pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
1⁄4 cup olive oil
Prepare the pizza toppings while your barbecue heats up. Thinly slice the nectarine and the red onion.
Divide the pizza dough, so that you have enough dough for a few 10-inch pizzas. Larger pizzas are harder to work with on the barbecue.
Roll out the dough. Brush one side with olive oil, the place the pizza dough on the gill with the olive oil side down. This is easier if you have a grilling tray but as long as your dough is firm, you should be able to place it directly on the barbecue grill.
Close the lid and let the dough cook for 2 minutes.
Check the crust, it should have some grill marks on it, but you don’t want it to be crisp.
Brush the top of the crust with olive oil, then flip it over (so the freshly oiled side is down).
Quickly brush the cooked side of the pizza crust with more olive oil. Sprinkle on the mozzarella then add the nectarine and onion slices. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
Close the lid again and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Check a few times to make sure that the pizza isn’t burning.
Remove from the barbecue and sprinkle with the fresh basil. Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Peach & Banana Creamsicles
(Total Time: 15 minutes)
I love ripe peaches. I also love naturally fruit sweetened treats! These banana and peach creamsicles are a healthy and delicious alternative to freezes and store-bought popsicles. Feel free to replace the peach with 1⁄2 cup of berries for a berry creamsicle instead.
1 ripe banana
1⁄2 cup of whipping cream
1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
Slice the peach in half and remove the pit. Place the peach in the blender with the banana. Pulse a few times to chop up the fruit.
Add the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Blend until smoothly pureed. Continue to pulse until the cream has started to whip and thicken. The extra air in the whipped cream will make the popsicle easier to eat. However, avoid whipping it too much or it will be hard to pour into the popsicle maker.
Fill your popsicle maker and freeze until set, about 4 hours.