Everything about summer is great. Sunshine, the lack of school, the revitalization of your bank account through a summer job, patios, lake breezes, boating, and of course, delectable fresh summer food. I have been blessed to live in a community where my food comes straight from the backyard of my neighbours, with an asparagus farm down the road and strawberry picking just a couple kilometres away. Admittedly, I actually enjoy the exciting prospect of a warm, comforting meal that follows a bitterly cold and dark walk home from school in the wintertime. As the snow disappears and farmers’ markets fill with an array of colourful plants for my summer binge, I realize it’s time to say goodbye to all of that warm goodness that so kindly insulated me through the winter. So one last time, I’ll make my favourite recipes from my winter repertoire for a final winter meal.
Thick Tomato Soup
3 whole tomatoes
5 sticks of celery
1.5 medium sized onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper
400 mL can of tomatoes
2 cubes of beef, chicken or vegetable stock
A few basil leaves
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Chop the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, and red pepper. Throw into a large pan on medium heat with the olive oil. Wait until the onions are slightly browned and the carrots become soft (roughly 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, boil 1.5 litres of water. Mix the stock with boiling water. When the veggies from the pan are soft, add them to the pot of stock. Drop the three whole tomatoes into the pot, increase the temperature, and bring to a boil for a few minutes.
Reduce the temperature and put the can of tomatoes and basil leaves into the pot. Let simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
Mix the soup and voila, you’re ready to eat.
The Main: Homestyle Mac and Cheese
2 cups macaroni
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1.5 cups of milk
2 cups cheese (such as old cheddar)
10 saltine crackers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Crush the crackers in a bowl and put aside. Grate cheese, and add macaroni to the boiling water and cook until softened-but not quite as soft as usual (about 10 minutes).
While the macaroni is cooking, add butter and flour to a medium-sized pot on a medium heat burner to create a paste. Add milk and continually whisk until sauce is thick. Add cheese, stirring until melted.
In a casserole dish, add macaroni in sections, pouring the thick sauce over the macaroni until the dish is full. Top the dish with crushed crackers, and some extra grated cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.
For Dessert: The Lazy Man’s Baked Turtle
20 mini pretzels
20 carmel cubes
1 bar of dark or milk chocolate (such as Jersey milk)
20 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celcius). Lay the pretzels on a parchment lined baking tray, with about one inch of space around each, to allow for the carmel and chocolate to melt. Place one square of chocolate on each pretzel, and one carmel cube on top of each square of chocolate. Bake for 4 minutes. While the carmel is still warm and soft, press a pecan half into each turtle. Cool completely before eating, or dig right in if you want a hot winter treat.