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Cooking Up Summer

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Whether it takes place in your backyard, on the beach, or in a park, these six recipes are here to help you make any outdoor cookout a delicious success that the whole family will enjoy.

Eating outdoors can be one of the true pleasures of life. We can kick off our shoes and feel the cool grass beneath our bare feet, while we feel the warmth of the sun on our skin. As we hear the tantalizing sizzle of the grill, we can smell the earthy fragrance of the coals that instantly recalls backyard memories. Formal table manners go out the window and casual soccer games and vegetable garden explorations segue seamlessly into dinner.

Maybe it’s because eating al fresco appeals to all of our senses. Maybe it’s because we’re more relaxed, or maybe it’s because we relish the opportunity to just be and to spend time with our family and friends. But, somehow, everything seems to taste so much better in the fresh outdoor air.

When cooking outside, simplicity reigns. It supports the spontaneity often associated with an impromptu backyard cookout. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative with flavours and format.

Whether it’s seasonal fruit and veg, flavourful skewers, or even a pizza, everything from dinner to dessert can be thrown down on the grill. And when prepared simply, taking advantage of unique and seasonal flavours and cupboard ingredients, you really can’t go wrong.

Whether in your backyard, on the beach, or in a park, make any outdoor cookout a delicious success that the whole family will enjoy with these six creative al fresco recipes. Read on—and let’s get grilling!

01

Grilled Figs and Butter Lettuce with Honey Yogurt Dressing

The thyme-scented dough for this flatbread takes only a few minutes to put together, but it develops flavour as it rises slowly in the fridge over several hours. Plan to make the dough in the morning for an evening cookout, or the night before for a lunchtime get-together. Cooked quickly on the grill, slightly charred plums, red onions, spinach, and a hint of goat cheese provide a fantastic flavour punch.

Fragrant flavours of cinnamon, coriander, and cumin lend a warm spiciness to these meatball skewers made from ground turkey. Serve them on their own as part of a larger meal, or take them a step further by adding some grilled veggies and wrapping them in a pita for a portable handheld meal.

Something happens when you grill lettuce: it gets deliciously smoky and earthy. Little gems are a miniature variety of romaine, and because of their small size, they’re perfect for this dish. If you can’t find them, don’t hesitate to use romaine hearts. The Spanish-inspired dressing flavours of sherry vinegar and sweet paprika enhance the smokiness provided by the grilled lettuce. Finish it off with a bright splash of orange zest and crunchy walnuts.

If you’ve ever seen a spiky green fruit with a starchy, fibrous interior, you may have been looking at a jackfruit. Although it is a fruit and doesn’t contain significant levels of protein, its texture makes it a tasty plant-based substitute for pulled pork. In this dish, opt for the canned variety, which will save you the time and considerable effort it takes to clean fresh jackfruit. When paired with jackfruit’s meaty texture and barbecue-grilled corn, these smoky stuffed poblano peppers make for a deliciously satisfying meal.

Have a napkin handy when you serve these luscious grilled pineapple skewers. They’re as fun to eat as they are juicy, so we can’t guarantee that everyone stays perfectly clean. Grilled pineapple is a classic, but this version spices things up a bit, with just a pinch of heat that even kids will enjoy. Seared only until they begin to release their delicious juices but are still firm, these pineapple pops are topped off with a dollop of lime-zested coconut cream that’s perfect for dipping.

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An Elegant Afternoon Tea

Whether you call her Mom, Mother, Momma, or Mum, an afternoon tea is the perfect way to celebrate that special person in your life. It can not only be a fun and elegant occasion but also offer a wonderfully relaxed celebration. Afternoon tea has come to be a sort of ritual that allows you to slow down and take your time. The pace is gentle and calm, allowing time for everyone to unwind. Because it’s also something we don’t all do every day, it can help spark conversation and provide a special sense of occasion. The host can prepare food in advance, and with plenty of options both savoury and sweet, it can easily provide something that all will enjoy. And because offerings are all beautifully laid out and displayed, there’s no getting up and down from the table, which leaves everyone free for the most important reason for gathering—spending time with Mom. With afternoon tea, there’s plenty of opportunity to visit and spend time together and enjoy delicious food; these six recipes will help you prepare an afternoon tea to nourish body and soul and to celebrate Mom in style.