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In-between season recipes

In-between season recipes

By RITA DeMONTIS, QMI Agency
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April 10, 2010

We're at that awkward, in-between season stage of the year -- one day it's hot, the next it's windy and rainy. You can leave the house in sandals and shorts in the morning, and shiver on a heavy sweater, socks and boots in the afternoon.

In the food world, it's all about gently putting away those rough-hewn winter recipes and slowly bringing out seasonal favourites.

As in-between menus go, I've a perfect solution to help you bridge the gap from cold to warm to hot and back again.

BLUEBERRY MINT JULEP

A refreshing, old world drink brings to mind warm spring afternoons and hot summer days. Recipe courtesy Go South! (gosouthfresh.com)

1 cup (250ml) granulated sugar
1 cup (250ml) water
1 cup (250ml) blueberries
6 oz. (125ml) bourbon
Crushed ice
Mint sprigs and fresh blueberries for garnish

Make blueberry syrup: In small saucepan whisk together sugar and water over medium heat just until sugar is dissolved. Add blueberries and cook one minute. Remove from heat until completely cooled, about one hour.

Assemble drinks: For each drink, fill glass with crushed ice. Add 1-1/2 oz (40g) bourbon and 2 oz (50g) of blueberry syrup. Garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

PULLED PORK

A slow-cooker classic, this recipe is messy and absolutely delicious -- and perfect for indoor or outdoor eating. Recipe courtesy of Home-Grown Ontario (hgontario.ca)

3 1/2 lb. (1.75kg.) pork shoulder blade roast

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) EACH salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) canola oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) chili power
2 tsp. (10 ml) ground coriander
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup (50 ml) tomato paste
1 14 oz. (398 ml) can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
l2 Tbsp. (30 ml) cider vinegar
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown pork all over. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add onions, garlic, chili powder, coriander and bay leaves to skillet. Fry ingredients while stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and cider vinegar; bring to a boil. Pour sauce into slow cooker, cover and cook on low until pork is tender, 8 to 10 hours.

Transfer pork to cutting board and tent with foil; let stand for 10 minutes. With two forks, shred or "pull" pork.

Pour liquid from slow cooker into large saucepan and skim off fat. Bring to a boil over high heat and let boil vigorously until reduced to 3 cups (750 mL), about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Add pork to reduced sauce mixture and lower heat to simmer until hot, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions. Serve on crust rolls with a green salad. For an appetizer, place pulled pork on a crostini and top with caramelized onions.

Serves 8.

BUTTER PECAN SWEET POTATOES

With just the right amount of sweet and heat, these caramelized, nutty sweet potatoes are a side-dish showstopper and the perfect complement to pork. Recipe courtesy Go South! (gosouthfresh.com)

2 lb. (1kg) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
1 tsp. (5ml) EACH salt and pepper
1/3 cup (75ml) butter, finely cubed
1/4 cup (50ml) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) pecans, chopped
1/4 tsp. (1ml) cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Toss together sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with butter, sugar, pecans and cayenne pepper. Roast until sweet potatoes are caramelized and crisp on the outside and tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Makes 4 servings.

FRENCH LEMON TART

A lush and refreshing ending to the meal. Recipe courtesy Dairy Farmers of Canada.

2 eggs
1 egg white
3/4 cup (175ml) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) fresh lemon juice
Grated rind of 2 lemons
1/2 cup (125ml) real whipping cream
1 frozen 9-inch (23-cm) deep-dish pie shell, baked or pastry recipe as follows
1 cup (250ml) fresh fruit to garnish
Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). In a medium bowl, beat eggs and egg white with sugar for 1 minute on low speed or until thick and creamy. Slowly beat in lemon juice and rind. Stir in real whipping cream until well blended; pour into baked pie shell.

Bake on baking sheet for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. (Filling may still wobble slightly in centre.) Let cool completely.

To serve, top each slice with spoonful of fruit and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Serves 6 to 8.

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