The first rounds of golf have been played, the boats are in the water, lawns have been cut and everything else is starting to bloom and fill up with foliage. Even as the warmer weather brings the temperature up in the kitchen I still really do enjoy Northwestern Ontario summers.
The trees and plants that produce the great fresh fruit we enjoy all summer are very rapidly beginning to approach the season of Tastitude. Very soon you will be able to get all this deliciousness at your local grocers, a farmers' market, fresh fruit stands or even on a pit stop at a pick-your-own farm. But no matter how you get it, you have to agree that things definitely taste better ripe, fresh and in season.
For me watermelon is one of the first fruits that come to mind when I think about summer fruits and I remember as a kid eating watermelon so cold that it would hurt your teeth and things haven't changed much since. But there are also strawberries, apricots, peaches, cherries and too many more to list here. It will soon be a veritable cornucopia and each possibility and combination is an excellent way to eat fresh while getting a healthy little low guilt sugar buzz in the hot summer months.
Of course, eating fresh and ripe whole fruit is a smashmouth snack but turning fruit into baked goods is also an ideal way to enjoy some of your favourites. These sinful summer baked goods just ooze Tastitude.
Rhubarb is one of the best early season flavours to work with while we patiently await some of mid summers other spoils. The bright and tart flavours really shine through even in something as simple as a homemade rhubarb pie and it really benefits from the freshest flavours the season has to offer.
So with our short summer quickly approaching perhaps it's time to take stock and get ready to start loading up on some great Ontario fruit that can even include some right out of your back yard. Whether you are just picking them up for snacks or for the kitchen there are so many great ways to add to your summer eating.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) is the executive chef at the DaVinci Centre and can be reached at email@example.com or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.
House's Backyard Rhubarb Pie
- Pie pastry for pie (with top if desired)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp lime zest
- 4 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
- 2 tbsp butter
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375F
In a large bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, orange and lime zest along with the salt. Add the rhubarb and combine thoroughly.
Place the rolled out base pastry in a greased and floured pie pan. Fill with the rhubarb mixture and dot with butter. Lay the top crust onto the pie and flute the edges to make high-standing rim. Cut the vents into the crust if desired.
Bake the pie in the oven for approximately 60 minutes or until the juice has stopped running freely and crust is golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool completely.