Sunday, July 30, 2017


As it is the season for berries, it is hard to resist buying more berries than you can consume. Furthermore, some of the berries that you may have bought are getting soft. A large clamshell of blueberries that we had bought were getting soft. The options were to either freeze the berries or use them in baking. Since it has been so warm outside, turning on the oven did not seem to be a good idea. I decided to bake the crisp on the barbecue. Having already baked a cherry crisp and pies on the barbecue this summer, I decided to bake a crisp using a round speckled blue roasting pan that normally is used to cook a small roast or chicken. I won't use glass or ceramic baking dishes on the barbecue. I prefer to use metal. Using a barbecue for cooking is very handy when you don't want to heat up your kitchen.

This recipe calls for four cups of berries. I had about 3 cups of fresh blueberries and added some frozen mixed berries to make the four cups. I used Splenda in this recipe. 

10 inch round speckled blue roasting pan.

The four cups of berries before and after adding the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and flour.

Before and after adding the oil to the topping mixture. 

Ready for baking.

Baking on the barbecue.


4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar or Splenda
zest and juice from one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp flour


3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar, options: 1/4 cup brown +1/4 cup white or Splenda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup almonds or pecans plus a few extra for the topping


In a medium size bowl mix the blueberries, sugar, zest and lemon juice, cinnamon and flour. Combine well.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, oatmeal, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil or butter and mix together using a pastry blender or mixing spoon depending on the softness of the oil. The coconut oil I used was soft because it is summer time and I used a mixing spoon. I just blended the oil throughout the dry mixture. If the butter or coconut oil is hard, use a pastry blender and blend until the topping looks like crumbles. Add the 1/2 cup of nuts. I used pecan halves and did not chop them. Mix the topping with nuts. I added the nuts to the dry mixture before I added the soft coconut oil as the oil was very soft due to the warm kitchen.

Oil a medium size pan and add the blueberry mixture. Pat it down into the pan. Add the topping evenly over the blueberries and top with a few almonds or pecans if you wish. 

If using a barbecue, preheat the barbecue to 400 degrees F and place the pan over an unheated burner/element. Bake for about 60 minutes.

If using an oven, place into a preheated oven of 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned. Let the crisp cool before serving. Serves 6 or more depending on appetites. 

Adapted from

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Orzo salads have been a summer time salad for me as opposed to making and eating it year round. There is no reason why you can't make it year round. I tried this salad recently at a pot luck and got the recipe. It was such a good salad and included some of my favourite ingredients: chick peas, artichokes, spinach, feta cheese, fresh basil and caraway seed. My friend who made this recipe got it from her friend. I made a few tweaks to the salad ingredients. 

There are a few changes you can make to the salad. You can cook half a cup of orzo instead of three quarters of a cup and add more spinach; you can add chopped fresh mint instead of basil; you can add chopped black olives; you don't have to add parsley; and, if you don't like caraway seeds you can leave it out of the salad. 

Orzo cooling.

I used these artichokes which I drained and chopped.

Ingredients being added to salad.

Chick peas and feta cheese added.

Salad mixed and dressing will be added before serving.

3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
5 to 6 artichoke hearts, canned or marinated, drained and chopped
1.5 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach 
1.5 tbsp capers
3 green onions, chopped 
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or very small pieces
10 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup or less fresh parsley, chopped
1.5 tbsp caraway seeds

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1.5 tbsp maple or agave syrup
lemon zest from 1/2 medium size lemon 
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the orzo according to directions on the package. Best to not overcook the pasta. Drain once it is cooked, rinse with cold water, drain and let cool in a colander. 

While the orzo is cooling assemble the rest of the salad ingredients and add everything to a large mixing bowl including the orzo. Combine well. Prepare the dressing separately and add the dressing to the salad before serving. Serves 4 to 6. 

Leftover salad can be placed in the fridge and it will last for 2 plus days. If there is too much dressing in the salad, the spinach gets soggy over time in the fridge. 

There may be more dressing made than what you want to add to the salad. The unused salad dressing can be placed in the fridge and used for other green and vegetable salads. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017


With the weather so hot it is hard to want to turn on the oven to make pies. I have been picking cherries off of the trees and rhubarb from the garden. I had already picked, pitted and froze eight cups of cherries earlier this week. Either I had to freeze these cherries and rhubarb for future baking or think of other options in order to do some baking. I thought of using the barbecue. I had never baked before on the barbecue and did some research by asking some friends and going online. No one I had talked to had baked pies on the barbecue. Some had make pizza. What I read included baking over an element that is not turned on or baking over an inverted pie plate that created a bridge between the actual burner and the pie plate. I also read to use aluminum pie plates and to not use glass or enamelled pie plates like an Emile Henry. Since our barbecue has a second rack above the main rack, I decided to bake the pies on the second rack. It would be off direct heat and in many ways it was like an oven.

I kept the barbecue temperature at about 400 degrees F and the pies took just over an hour to cook. The gas barbecue is large and has five burners. I turned on only three of them. I could have turned on four of them. After about 40 minutes I moved some of the pies around on the second rack as I noticed some were cooking faster than others.

I would definitely do this again and bake not only pies but other food. In making these pies, I decided to not have a full crust on the top as I wanted to watch the fruit and see if it was cooking and also get an idea of how the crust would bake.

Here is the link for a previous posted recipe for cherry pie. This recipe includes the pie crust and filling. I used the pie crust recipe from Tenderflake as it makes three double pie crusts (tenderflake pie crust recipe.). This is a fail safe recipe for me. I use Crisco instead of Tenderflake and I mix the dough in a mixmaster.

Provided below is my standard rhubarb pie filling. You can add strawberries or cherries to the chopped rhubarb. I had some extra cherries that couldn't make it into the pie and I added them to the rhubarb filling.

Rhubarb Pie Filling

4 cups rhubarb, chopped
2/3 cups sugar or Splenda
3 tbsp flour or minute tapioca
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cherry filling added to the pie crust.

Not a pretty way to layer the dough on top.

Rhubarb filling added to the pie crust.

My version of a galette, not very pretty.

Baking on the top rack of the barbecue. The lid was closed while they baked.

Cherry pie cooling on top of the stove.

Monday, July 3, 2017


I forgot how good garlic herb butter tastes. I got reminded about making compound butter which is really butter with added stuff, when I asked a friend what she was making with her garlic scapes from the garden. This year the garlic that was planted in the fall came up and we had planted hard neck garlic cloves. I have much to learn about different kinds of garlic and the various varieties. I have seen garlic scapes being sold in the farmer's market. Last week I saw garlic scapes being sold for $1 a scape at the market. The scapes were larger than the ones I harvested from my own garden garlic but a $1 a scape is still expensive.

All garlic produces a stalk but the hard neck garlic produces a stalk that curls and that is why they are called scapes. They start to curl as they get longer while growing. Some growers like to snap them off the stem once they curl and before they get too long and fibrous. Other growers like to cut them off. There is a bulb at the end of the stalk and you don't use these in your cooking I am told. If you were growing your own garlic as seed, you would leave them on as this bulb can be planted as seed. I have read that it takes a few years of planting to get a big enough bulb to plant to produce a large garlic bulb for eating. There is a short time period to remove the scapes for eating. You don't want the scapes to get too long as you want the scapes to be tender for use in cooking.

With company coming over for supper and knowing they love garlic bread, I decided to make my own garlic herb butter using fresh garlic scapes and herbs from the garden. If you don't have garlic scapes, you can use fresh minced garlic. For bread, I wanted a baguette but the store I went to only made baguette rolls that day. I bought them and they were crusty and chewy which works well for toasting in the oven. The toasted garlic herb bread was inhaled and immensely enjoyed by all.

Garlic scape used to make garlic herb butter.

Sliced rolls ready for toasting.

Toasted and ready to be eaten with a salad.


1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
2 garlic scapes, chopped or one large garlic glove minced
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 small sprig of fresh thyme. chopped
2 shoots of fresh dill, chopped

Baguettes, sliced


Soften the butter in a medium size bowl. Add the chopped fresh herbs to the butter and using a fork, thoroughly mix the herbs with the butter. Depending on how strong you want the butter, you may need to add more garlic or herbs.

Spread the butter on the cut baguettes and toast in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  You can also toast thinly sliced pieces of baguettes in a toaster and then butter them after toasting.