It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not thinking about the kids going back to school. We really aren’t ready for the kids to go back: we had such an amazing summer, I don’t want it to be over. Really, what has me singing is all the amazing produce in the markets, grocery stores and farm stands. The market is brimming with the bounty this crazy summer weather has brought us.
Recently, we visited the Elora Farmers’ Market on a weekend camping trip. The produce was beautiful and organic. When you see and work with as much produce as we do, impressing the chef can be a challenge. This produce was not only tasty but every carrot, for example, was perfect while not looking the same. As a society we get stuck on perfection, but that bright, shiny symmetrical apple comes at a cost. Chemicals make for picture-perfect produce but our bodies and environment are paying the price. Sadly, the quest for shelf life and crop quotas also make for less flavourful veggies. Shopping locally allows for great shelf life and flavour while supporting your area farmers. I’m not saying everything should be organic, but I will say bringing that produce to your home will give you an appreciation for what may have been forgotten.
Our camping trip was a hit with the kids and our simple barbecue turned into a gourmet affair with fresh organic berries, long-stemmed mushrooms, sunflower sprouts and patty pan squash. It was a much-needed change for mom and dad. We’re already looking forward to the next trip, building memories and healthy choices.
13 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups of sugar
1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1-1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 pint of blueberries
1 tbsp sugar
Half of a lemon, squeezed
5 mint leaves, chopped
2 cups chilled whipped cream
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven at 250F; line pans with parchment paper. Beat egg whites, which should be at room temperature, and add salt until it has reached soft peaks;
Beat in 2 cups of sugar until mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks;
Stir in remaining sugar and cornstarch, beat into meringue, then add the vinegar;
Mound egg white mix in 8 mounds, about 2” high, on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven on the top two racks for approximately 1-1/4 hours. The clouds should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside;
Turn off the oven and allow to cool. Transfer to a cooling rack;
Place sliced peaches, berries, lemon juice and sugar with chopped mint in bowl, then toss in bowl and allow to marinate;
Gently tap the top of the pavlova, fill with whipped cream and top with the berry mix. Enjoy.