It’s finally time to break out the barbecue — one of the season’s great family pleasures. Enjoy fresh meals while taking in the beautiful weather with your loved ones. Here are a few ideas for a delicious barbecue meal — plus yummy dessert — that you’ll definitely want to try.
DISH: Grilled Marinated Lamb, Feta, Red Onion and Spinach Salad
Here’s an easy lamb salad that combines all the best ingredients of Greek cooking. It’s quick to prepare, the lamb takes just 10 minutes. The salad is then tossed with a tangy honey mustard dressing.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Marinating: 30 Minutes,
Barbecuing Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
4 Boneless lamb short loins, about 1 1/2 lb (750 g)
1/3 cup (75 mL) red wine vinegar
2 cloves Ontario Garlic, minced
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh oregano (or 1 1/2 tsp/7 mL dried)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
2/3 cup (150 mL) olive oil
1 large bunch Ontario Spinach
Half small Ontario Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup (50 mL) black olives, pitted
2 tsp (10 mL) honey mustard
Place lamb in single layer in small dish or in sturdy plastic bag. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in oil. Pour half over lamb, turning to coat evenly. Marinate 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 4 hours refrigerated, turning once during marinating. Bring to room temperature before grilling.
Meanwhile, clean spinach and tear leaves into bite-size pieces to make about 10 cups (2.5 L). Place in large salad bowl; toss with onion, feta and olives.
Reserving marinade, place lamb on greased grill over medium-high heat. Barbecue 3 to 5 minutes a side or until tender yet still pink inside, brushing with any reserved marinade and turning once during cooking. Remove from barbecue; let stand about 5 minutes before diagonally cutting into thin slices. Toss with spinach mixture. Whisk mustard into remaining dressing; toss with salad. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you wish.
APPETIZER: Grilled Ontario Greenhouse Sweet Pepper Crostini
This is a great appetizer to serve when time is at a premium, because the bread and peppers can be barbecued up to 3 days in advance. Simply refrigerate the peppers and store the bread in an airtight container. Then assemble (and your kids can help too) just before serving.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Grilling Time: 10 minutes
Standing Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 (about 12 appetizers)
2 Ontario Greenhouse Sweet Peppers, preferably different colours
2 tbsp (25 mL) shredded fresh basil
2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
1 clove Ontario Garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 thin crusty roll or part of baguette, about 6-inches (15 cm) long, cut into 1/2-inch (2 cm) thick slices
1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
Creamy Ontario Goat Cheese, at room temperature
Place peppers over high heat on barbecue; cook, turning occasionally, until charred and blackened on all sides. Remove from barbecue. Cover with tea towel or bowl; let stand until no longer hot and skin begins to shrivel, about 10 minutes. Peel peppers, discarding skin. Cut in half and discard seeds. Slice thinly into strips that will fit on bread. Place in bowl and toss with basil, 2 tsp (10 mL) oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Lightly brush bread with oil. Place on grill and barbecue until golden brown on both sides. Lightly spread each slice with goat cheese. Top with pepper mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
DRINK: Strawberry Smoothie
Here’s one the kids can help with. This fruity, frothy and good-for-you smoothie can be prepared (without the ice cubes) in the blender and refrigerated overnight ready to blend in the morning.
Makes 4 servings.
Takes 5 minutes.
Kids will need an adult’s help.
2 cups (500 mL) Ontario Strawberries, hulled
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) low-fat strawberry-flavoured yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) Ontario Liquid Honey
4 ice cubes
4 Ontario Strawberries
What to do:
In blender, combine hulled strawberries, milk, yogurt, honey and ice cubes; process until smooth.
Pour into chilled glasses.
Garnish with fresh strawberry.
Tips: Buy local strawberries when in season; wash and remove hulls. Freeze in single layer on baking sheet; transfer to freezer bags and store in the freezer until ready to use. Omit the ice cubes in this smoothie and use frozen strawberries.
DESERT: Ontario Mixed Berry Almond Crisp
This is so delicious and so easy! Cook it on the barbecue if you don’t want to put the oven on. Great for dessert, breakfast or brunch. Serve over ice cream or frozen yogurt if desired.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 minutes
2 cups (500 mL) each Ontario Blueberries and Ontario Raspberries
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) grated orange rind
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) coarsely crumbled Amaretti cookies or almond crunch cookies (about 4 oz/125 g)
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced almonds
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter, melted
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
In 9-inch (22 cm) square cake pan or 8-cup (2 L) shallow casserole dish, combine blueberries and raspberries. Mix sugar with orange rind; toss with berries.
In small bowl,
mix cookie crumbs, almonds, butter and cinnamon; sprinkle over berries. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 8 minutes or until fruit is just warmed through and topping starts to brown. Serve warm.
Variation: Substitute granola for cookie crumbs. Add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) almond extract to butter mixture.
Tips: To coarsely crush cookies, place in a paper or plastic bag and crush with rolling pin.
Recipe can be easily halved, but cook for the same time.
To cook on the barbecue, use a foil pan or line outside of metal pan with foil; bake, covered, on high just until fruit is warmed throughout, 8 to 10 minutes.
Ever-bearing strawberries can be substituted for raspberries.