Three fresh family recipes that are cool for the summer

Justin Counter photo

Fresh herbs and summer fruits feature in this summer supper that is fit for a party but simple enough for a weeknight.

With a little planning, most of the preparation can be done ahead of time to help you keep the kitchen cool; marinate the pork, mix the potato salad, bake the tarts, and prepare the salsa early in the day, leaving only the sautéing to do at mealtime.

Serve your favourite summer vegetables alongside, to add even more colour to the plate.

Spiced Lime Pork Chops with Watermelon Salsa Fresca

Your family will delight in the unexpected pairing of watermelon and pork, and basil is a summertime favourite. The lime adds a little zing. Don’t skip the salt in the salsa; it amplifies the flavor of the watermelon. If you have picky eaters, entice them to try by starting with the salsa on its own. Serves 4-6.


  • Boneless sirloin chops, 4-6
  • 1 tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil (for cooking)


  • ½ cup (125 mL) lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. (15 mL) smoked paprika
  • salt to taste

Watermelon Salsa Fresca

  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced watermelon
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tbsp. (30 mL) lime juice
  • 2 tsp. (10 mL) coarse salt
  1. At least an hour before cooking, and up to 24 hours before, marinate the pork. Mix lime juice, paprika, and salt in a shallow dish. Place the pork chops in the dish and refrigerate. Turn the pork about halfway through the marinating time.
  2. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
  3. When the pork is marinated, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add pork and sauté until thoroughly cooked, turning once to heat evenly. Remove from heat.
  4. Serve immediately, topped with watermelon salsa.  

Lemon Parsley Potato Salad

This is one dish where fresh-squeezed lemon juice really makes a difference; its tart flavor and the parsley complement one another perfectly. This makes a great picnic salad, too, and is a safe alternative to the mayonnaise in traditional potato salad. Serves 4-6 generously.


  • 6-8 red potatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh parsley, minced
  • salt to taste
  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Cool completely and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together lemon juice, oil, parsley, and salt. Add to potatoes and mix gently until combined. Serve cool.

Justin Counter photo

Blueberry Custard Tarts

These tarts are inspired by clafoutis, a baked French dessert traditionally made with cherries. They’re easy to eat on the go and packed with fresh blueberries, almost like a summer pudding in your palm. Makes 24 tarts.


  • 24 frozen tart shells, thawed
  • 2 cups (500 mL) heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) sugar
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla
  • ½ tsp. (2 mL) cinnamon
  • ½ cup (125 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 C). Arrange tart shells on a baking tray.
  2. Beat cream and eggs until smooth. Blend in sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.   
  3. Place 3-6 blueberries in each tart shell.  
  4. Using a pourable container, fill tart shells to just below the top.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes, until set. Serve warm or cool.