What’s Fresh with Karen Curtis of KICS Lemonade!

We are well into the growing season now and it looks as though it is going to be a good one. Have you tasted those strawberries? They are fabulous this year. I have become a 2 container purchaser. One to eat at market and one to take home! I might even try my hand at some jam this year. I haven’t made it in years. My mum always made freezer jam and it is so easy. This is the recipe we always used. As much as I would like to cut back on the sugar, messing with the measurements may cause the jam not to set properly. Although….strawberry sauce isn’t the worst thing to have in the fridge!

  •  Measure 1 3/4 cups crushed strawberries into a bowl. Add 4 cups sugar and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 pouch Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, stirring for 3 minutes. … Pour into clean jars or plastic containers. Cover with tight lids and let stand at room temperature until set (may take 24 hrs).
  • Store in freezer. If used within 3 weeks jam may be stored in refrigerator. (Kraft Canada)

I’d also like to try a chia jam this year.  I found this recipe in my Facebook feed and it sounds pretty easy.

  • 1 1/3 c strawberries
  • 2/3 c chopped rhubarb
  • 2 t honey
  • 2 t chia seeds
  • Process all the ingredients in a blender and refrigerate overnight. (Dr. Josh Axe)

4D Farms is my go to for strawberries. Manjit and her family  grow lovely sweet red berries, perfect for trying in all sorts of recipes. How about  grilled chicken (Central Park has the chicken) served with an easy strawberry salsa. Simply grill the chicken and top with a mixture of chopped strawberries, basil and AJI chunky chili sauce.Some boiled new potatoes and a spring green salad on the side will get you a delightful meal. Close to Home or Nature Village  will have the potatoes and Shen’s can supply the greens.

Speaking of new potatoes, have you had yours yet?  Much to my children’s dismay, I try and serve new potatoes with almost every meal! I like to cook extra and have them fried in butter the next day. A new potato salad is a treat too. Try a vinaigrette instead of a mayonnaise dressing and add crisp bacon to it for a change.

While strawberries and new potatoes are what I most look forward to in the spring, I see the carrots have arrived too. There are very few vegetables I will eat raw, but carrots are my favorite. Actually, I like carrots in any form. Raw, cooked, roasted or baked in a cake! Now is the time to enjoy them simply prepared. I like to sauté them in butter and finish them with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt.

Speaking of sautéing, don’t forget garlic scapes. They are awesome in a stir fry or blended into a pesto.

Whatever you are excited to finally get at market, make sure you stop at  one of the markets to get your fill. Kwantlen on Wednesday afternoon or downtown on Saturday mornings, the choice is yours.

Try this recipe for a teasing taste of summer. I have made this before and it is good.  Almost all the ingredients are available at market.

SUMMER VEGETABLE TIAN  (adapted from budgetbytes.com)

Fresh summer vegetables and savory herbs are layered together then topped with cheese before baking to perfection in this summer vegetable tian.

  •  Prep Time 15 minutes
  •  Cook Time 45 minutes
  •  Total Time 1 hour
  •  Servings 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice from either Golden Ears or Farmhouse Natural Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about 5 minutes).

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, slice the zucchini,  tomato, and potato thinly (1/4-inch slices). Make sure the potatoes are very thin so that they soften quickly while in the oven.

Coat the inside of an 8×8″ casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread the sautéed onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Arrange the other sliced vegetables, stacked vertically like dominos, in an alternating pattern. Season the top of the vegetables generously with salt, pepper, and dried thyme.

Cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top with the shredded cheese, and bake without the foil for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Top with chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired.

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