It seems like yesterday we were all complaining about the never ending winter – now it’s getting too hot to move. We’ve waited all year for summer – cottages, patios, cold beer, outdoor festivals and beaches – but it all seems to whiz by in the time it takes to drink a six pack.

Living in a country with four seasons we try desperately to pack a year’s worth of summer fun into three short months – and I’m speaking from the Golden Horseshoe here – I know you folks in Newfoundland, the Territories and lots of other places across this land have an even shorter window. There is so much to squeeze in before it all slips away and the pressure sometimes gets the best of me. I feel guilty if I’m not out there swimming or biking or sitting fire-side making the most of this time.

This all results in a lot less time spent in the kitchen. We look for quick grilling meats, slow cooker meals and anything else that comes together easily and with little mess… not like I ever love doing dishes, but it’s especially unpleasant in the heat and humidity of July.

I love the summer, but I am always happy to see the return of autumn and a return to routine. Don’t get me wrong I’ll be sad to see this gorgeous season go no matter how short it seems… but we’ll do it all again next year.

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If you visit Niagara this summer pick up these summer favourites of mine:

Hernder Estate’s‘ Pink Audrey’s Blend or Rhubard fruit wine, Kacaba’s Rebecca’s Rose, Caroline Cellar’s Marechal Foch (slightly chilled), 13th Street‘s White Palette, Calamus Estate’s Cosmic White and our standby white for the summer – Colaneri’s Gewurztraminer.

 

TRI-COLOURED SUMMER SLAW WITH NECTARINE

serves 4 as a side

It’s all about the fabulous colours with this salad – vibrant purples, greens, and oranges – and eating the rainbow is good for you too! This salad needs to sit to let the veg soften and the flavours mingle, but I like it to stay somewhat crunchy.

This pairs beautifully with chicken or pork on the barbecue. Add a side of grilled corn, some roasted potatoes tossed with fresh dill and a nice dry Niagara rose and you have a delightfully lush al fresco dinner.

 

Slaw:

2 packed cups each of purple and green cabbage*, very thinly sliced

1 packed cup carrot, grated (approx. 1 large)

2 small or 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise

1 large nectarine (or peach), peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

Dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp plain yogurt

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp fresh dill, finely diced

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp agave syrup (honey or white sugar work too), or more to taste

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake very vigorously for 1 minute. Toss your dressing with all the slaw ingredients in a large bowl making sure everything is equally incorporated. Use your hands and really squeeze everything together well… this ain’t no delicate procedure.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Taste again for seasoning before serving and add more salt or lime juice if needed.

*For a twist: replace the green cabbage with very thinly sliced fennel and save the fluffy fronds for garnish.

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