Easy Summer Entertaining: Spieducci from Aurora Meat & Cheese

Looking for easy but fabulous finger food nibbles to serve at your next summer party? Spoil your guests with a real Italian treat: grilled skewers of fresh Ontario Lamb Spieducci from Aurora Meat and Cheese. So succulent, so flavourful; these are the best spieducci I’ve ever eaten.

Aurora_Lamb_Spieduci

Season both sides of the lamb skewers with freshly ground black pepper and grill them over low heat for just a minute or two on both sides (they are thin); then sprinkle with crunchy sea salt and serve hot on a platter garnished with baby arugula.

Aurora sells special spieducci grills that prevent the wooden skewers from burning on the ends. We don’t own a spieducci grill but get excellent results grilling our spieducci straight on the barbeque. The ends of our skewers get a little charred but the meat is mouth-watering.

Aurora Meat and Cheese was founded in Mississauga in 1977 by Domenico Vincenzo Cristiano, a fourth generation butcher from Italy.  The family continues to operate the business under the vision, values, and traditions set forth by Domenico in a modern, expanded store. Aurora offers a wide variety of fresh meat, sausage, cheese, deli products, and gourmet specialty food products. Italian hot table and catering available. Modern setting, years of experience, friendly service, and fresh, quality products.

Want to round out the menu, Italian style? My Tomato Bocconcini Basil Skewers are the perfect finger food to serve alongside the spieducci.

Tomato_Bocconcini_Skewers

Aurora Meat and Cheese
3661 Dixie Road
Mississauga, Ontario
L4Y 2B3
 
Telephone: 905-624-1101 and 905-624-8383
Website: http://www.aurorameat.ca/index.html
 
 

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Postcards from Muskoka: Wish you were here!

Fabulous gourmet tacos from Orillia’s Fox Foods, at Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market. Be sure to arrive at the market before the lunch rush because these popular tacos, stuffed with a medley of mouthwatering flavours and wrapped in freshly made tortillas, sell out fast.

 

Vintage finds from Currie’s Music & Antiques in Gravenhurst. Don’t miss the back room which is an ultra cool, 1970′s vibe, recording studio filled with vintage finds.

 

Gourmet goodies from The Farmer’s Daughter in Huntsville, Ontario. Fresh produce, baked goods, fresh salads, gourmet pantry products, frozen goodies, ready-to-eat meals.

 

When in Huntsville, you must visit Belly Ice Cream’s little hut at the corner of Brunel and Main Street. Delicious, handcrafted, gourmet ice cream in creative and traditional flavours. The Blueberry Lavender ice cream is absolutely exquisite.

 

Hot breakfast and lunch, vintage treasures, and a few gourmet goodies (including some Farmer’s Daughter products) from Miss Nelle’s Antiques & Café in Baysville, Ontario.

 

Love, Olive xoxo

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Seafood Feast: Port Credit’s Picturesque Snug Harbour

Have you been to Snug Harbour lately? Recently renovated, modern lux decor; spacious, open dining room and sweeping, waterside covered patio. Great new menu. Seafood and sailboats on a sparkling summer’s eve: the perfect spot for a celebration meal.

Deep-fried Calamari: golden and crunchy. Served with a gorgeous cayenne, lemon, and garlic-spiked mayonnaise.  Somebody’s fingers just couldn’t wait ‘til after the photo.

Snug_Harbour

Raw Malpeque Oysters on the half shell in their own liquor: fresh, clean, pure. My first time slurping raw oysters – what took me so long? Served with traditional seafood sauce and horseradish.

Snug_Harbour

Tuna Martini: stunningly presented, seared Ahi tuna, crusted in sesame pepper. Delicious dipped in soy-based sauce, hot sauce, and herb oil. Served on a bed of greens with hoisin, wasabi, pickled ginger, and seaweed salad.

Snug_Harbour

Roasted Beet Salad: fresh baby arugula, tender roasted beets, crumbles of soft, creamy chèvre. Spot-on balanced, sweet honey vinaigrette. Enough to share as a starter; or add Blackened Shrimp and call it a meal. Consistently good – my favourite local beet salad!

Snug_Harbour

Brown Butter Lobster Sandwich: East Coast lobster mixed with mayonnaise, red peppers, and celery. Stuffed into two toasted buns. Served with Caesar salad (or market salad or fries). Good and gobbled before I could plead for a bite.

Snug_Harbour

Seafood Bouillabaisse: a steaming pot of fresh fish, shrimp, mussels, and clams poached in a flavourful and spicy roasted tomato fennel broth. Served with bread for mopping up every last drop. My husband had already dug in before I could take the photo. And who could blame him?

Snug_Harbour

Sea Scallops: four East Coast sea scallops, bronzed and lightly crusted on the outside; perfectly cooked, tender sweetness on the inside. Sitting in a pool of sublime Meyer lemon lobster butter sauce: nutty richness balanced by the sweet tanginess of Meyer lemon. Served with nicely seasoned rice and flavourful julienned vegetables.

Snug_Harbour

Snug Harbour doesn’t take reservations on the weekends. We arrived early (at about 5:30 p.m.) on a sunny Friday, asked for a table inside, and got one right away (outside was a different story). Though the place was bustling, the service was fast, friendly, and efficient.

Snug Harbour Seafood Bar & Grill
14 Stavebank Road South
Port Credit (Mississauga), ON L5G 2T1
 
Telephone: 905-274-5000
Website: http://www.snugharbourrestaurant.com/
 
 

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A Visual Feast: Edible Flowers

I thought I’d share a little inspiration with you – some photos of edible flower ideas that I have collected and pinned to my Olive Edible Flowers board on Pinterest. I haven’t tried the recipes yet but the photos give me an idea of how I can use edible flowers in my own cooking.

Edible_Flowers

They inspired me to add flowers from my garden to a simple tomato mozzarella salad I saw on a Barefoot Contessa episode, prepared by a California chef. I think the yellow pansies look so pretty against the orange and red wedges of heirloom tomatoes. I love the casualness of the torn pieces of fresh mozzarella tucked in between the tomatoes. I didn’t have time to make the basil-infused olive oil they used on the show, so I drizzled the salad with my best extra-virgin olive oil and added whole basil leaves for drama and ease. I thought a jolt of black and a touch of saltiness would be nice, so I scattered on a few sundried black olives (you can find them at Adonis or Longo’s – check my grocery store directory for locations). Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.

Here is a taste of some of the many pins I have collected on my board. Click on the photo/link and you will be directed to the original site for recipes or instructions. If you try any of them please let me know how they worked out for you.

Spring_Bouquet_Popsiles

Spring Bouquet Popsicles by Marla Meridith www.familyfreshcooking.com

I am definitely going to try the recipe for these darling Spring Bouquet Popsicles filled with pretty blossoms and flavoured with orange blossom water (I have the fondest memories of orange blossom water en Provence). What a sweet idea for a birthday party. I just love the messages that are handwritten on the popsicle sticks (click the link to see the full post and recipe). The recipe would make lovely ice cubes too. Thanks to Marla Meridith for permission to share her gorgeous photo and recipe from www.familyfreshcooking.com.

Zucchini_Blossom_Mini_Quiches

Zucchini Blossom Mini Quiches from www.emmadime.com

How about these adorable Zucchini Blossom Mini Quiches from www.emmadime.com?  Wouldn’t these be perfect for a baby shower? Thanks to Emma Dime for permission to share her stunning photo and recipe.

Hutchinson_Farm_Zucchini_Flowers

Zucchini Flowers from Hutchinson Farm

Look at these beautiful zucchini blossoms from Hutchinson Farm in Burlington (thanks for permission to share your photo, David). Find out why they are picked to order at dawn (call a day ahead), plus helpful tips here. Hutchinson Farm suggests using them in cheese quesadillas. I saw a great recipe for Squash Blossom Quesadillas on one of my favourite cooking shows, Pati’s Mexican Table, and have pinned the recipe to my Olive Edible Flowers Pinterest board, along with stuffed zucchini blossom recipes. Zucchini and pumpkin blossoms will be ready at Hutchinson Farm in Burlington near the end of July. In May, Hutchinson Farm also sells nasturtiums which David says are “an awesome edible flower”.  Contact Hutchinson Farm for more information.

Last summer, I found zucchini blossoms at Mississauga Central Farmers` Market. And Longo`s carries zucchini blossoms when in season (soon) and can get edible flowers in pretty much all year round. If you don’t see them in the produce section, speak to the Produce Manager; he may be able to order them in for you.

Your own garden can be a great source for edible flowers; just be sure they are organic and verify they are edible by checking with a reliable source before serving them.

To visit my other Pinterest boards and see all the inspirational photos and recipes I have collected, click here.

Hutchinson Farm
6202 Walkers Line,
Burlington, ON L7M 0R3
 
Telephone: 905-335-2515
 
Family-owned and operated farm. All grown in their fields or greenhouses, using best tasting varieties. Ready-picked at peak ripeness or pick your own. Wide range of field crops, herbs, and annual flowers.
 
Website: http://www.hutchinsonfarm.ca/
 

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Easy Summer Dinner: Michael-Angelo’s Sumptuous Crab Cakes

The cats are away so this mouse spent a busy afternoon testing recipes. After, I slipped out on to the patio (leaving my kitchen disaster behind me) and treated myself to a simple but sumptuous dinner: a Snow Crab Cake from Michael-Angelo’s grocery store. I like it cold on a bed of mixed greens with herbs, topped with chopped avocado, and squirted with lemon.

Michael_Angelos_Crab_Cake

A dollop of cocktail sauce adds a classic, tangy bite. Amp up the wow factor even more with a hit of zingy cilantro pesto (Jamie Oliver’s Coriander and Cashew Pesto is brilliant) mixed with crème fraiche (both sold at Michael-Angelo’s) or mixed with creamy labneh (Middle Eastern strained yogurt that you can make yourself or purchase from Adonis).

Michael-Angelo’s Snow Crab Cakes are made in-store. A thin layer of light, crunchy breading embraces a generous mound of delicate, sweet crab flecked with minute pieces of sweet peppers and parsley.

Crab_Cake_Jamie_Oliver_Coriander_Cashew_Pesto Labneh

Snow Crab Cakes are available year round in Michael-Angelo’s prepared food counter. The quality has been consistently great. The ladies behind the counter tell me that their Portuguese Cod Cakes are also delicious. Well done ladies!

Michael-Angelo’s
Mississauga location:
4099 Erin Mills Parkway
Mississauga, ON L5L 3P9
 
Telephone: (905) 820-3300
Website: http://michaelangelos.ca/about-us/in-store-departments
 
 

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