Useful Tips
August’s star ingredients

August’s star ingredients

Each month, we offer you recipes that feature the season’s best ingredients. Feel like cooking up something light at your next BBQ? You’ll love our eggplant-cheese stacks. And for dessert? You have to try our carrot cake recipe! Plus, we have lovely pairing suggestions for a well-rounded summer meal. And to help kick off the festivities, try our SAQ Celebration cocktail . . . it’s definitely cheersworthy!

An increasing number of Quebecois are consciously adopting environmentally friendly eating habits. A clear example of this is eating “in season,” where seasonal foods grace your plate. This eating style enables farmers to respect natural growing cycles, without needing to accelerate Mother Nature’s good timing for production reasons.

A seemingly small gesture, it’s actually highly economical in addition to being environmentally friendly. Want to try it out? We’re eager to help! Each month, we’ll offer you delectable recipes cooked with seasonal products, so you know what to put in your grocery cart. Plus, we’ll suggest the perfect drinks to pair with your meals.

In the month of August, eggplants, carrots and edible flowers are in season. For a more thorough list of products, search the web; the Équiterre.org website is a great start.  

 

Eggplant

This smooth, round, and vibrantly purple vegetable leaves many people a little perplexed. How to cook it? How to serve it? Despite its versatile nature, many people are intimidated when it comes to choosing and cooking eggplant. When choosing an eggplant, look for one with smooth, taut skin and a bright green stem. To see if it’s ripe, press your fingers against the skin – if it has a little give to it, you’re good to go! However, handle eggplants with care, since they’re fragile and can bruise easily. Moussaka is a very popular eggplant dish, but during the summer, we prefer something a little lighter. Try our barbecued eggplant-cheese stackers – perfect for those hot summer nights.

Barbecued eggplant-cheese stacks

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 7 minutes
Serves 4

1 eggplant, cut into slices about 1.5 cm (3/4 in.) thick
1 red pepper, quartered
1 yellow pepper, quartered
4 slices halloumi cheese, about 50 g (2 oz.) each

Marinade

60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
45 ml (3 tbsp.) balsamic vinegar
15 ml (1 tbsp.) Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Vinaigrette

30 ml (2 tbsp.) lemon marmalade
60 ml (1/4 cup) basil pesto
30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil

1. Place the eggplant slices and pepper quarters in a large bowl. 2. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. 3. Pour the marinade over the vegetables, coating well. 4. Leave to rest 30 minutes at room temperature. 5. Preheat the BBQ to high. 6. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the marmalade for 15 seconds. 7. Add the pesto and oil. Mix well and set aside. 8. Place the vegetables on the hot grill and reduce heat to medium-low. 9. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side. 10. When the vegetables are nearly done, put the cheese slices on the grill and cook for 1 minute each side. 11. On 4 plates, assemble the stacks by layering one eggplant slice, one red pepper quarter, one yellow pepper quarter, another eggplant slice, and finally a cheese slice. 12. Drizzle the stacks with the pesto vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Perfect pairing

For a refreshing pairing, opt for easy-drinking rosés or reds with the Fruity and Light taste tag. Their subtle fruity and floral aromas will really highlight the eggplant’s delicate flavours. If you prefer something a little livelier, try a wine from the Fruity and Vibrant category; their invigorating acidity will pair nicely with the saltiness of the halloumi cheese.

 

Carrots

Carrots are a staple in Québec cuisine. Roasted, tossed into a soup or salad, or as a star ingredient in your favourite dessert, carrots are one of the most versatile vegetables out there! Try cooking them en papillote at your next BBQ – they make a great snack during happy hour! Feel like something sweet? Make our delectable version of the classic carrot cake . . . we’re pretty sure your guests will enjoy every last bite!

Carrot cake

Preparation: 35 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Serves 8

Cake

Butter
330 ml (1 1/3 cups) multi-purpose flour, sifted
250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar, firmly packed
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp.) baking soda
5 ml (1 tsp.) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp.) cinnamon
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) ground cloves
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) nutmeg
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) dried ginger
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) salt
80 ml (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted
80 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
3 eggs
Zest and juice of 1 orange
125 ml (1/2 cup) pineapple purée, slightly drained
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) carrots, shredded
250 ml (1 cup) walnuts
250 ml (1cup) golden raisins

Cream cheese icing

250 ml (1 cup) walnuts
250 g (1/2 lb.) cream cheese, softened
60 ml (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
500 ml (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted

The icing covers the middle and sides of two 20 cm (8 in.) cakes.

1. Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature before starting. 2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). 3. Butter and flour two 20 cm (8 in.) cake pans. 4. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Set aside. 5. In another bowl, mix together the melted butter, vegetable oil, eggs, orange zest and juice, and pineapple purée. Set aside. 6. In a third bowl, mix together the shredded carrots, walnuts and raisins. Set aside. 7. With a scraper or spatula, add the butter and oil mixture to the dry ingredients 8. With the same utensil, add the walnut and raisin mixture to the other mixture. 9. Divide batter into two buttered and floured cake pans. 10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. 11. Remove cakes from the oven and leave them to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding them from their pans. Finish cooling on a cake rack. 12. Apply the icing. 13. Serve.

Cream cheese icing

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). 2. Toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Set aside. 3. Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. 4. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients until there are no powdered sugar clumps remaining.  5. Place one of the two cakes in the centre of a plate. 6. With a scraper or spatula, place a good amount of icing on the centre of the cake and spread outwards, leaving 2 cm (1 in.) free of icing around the edge. 7. Stack the other cake on top of the first one. 8. Place more icing onto the centre of the cake and spread outwards. 9. End by icing the sides of the cake. 10. If needed, add more icing between the two cakes, and cover any unevenness on the surface. 11. Sprinkle with walnuts.

 

Tip

To avoid the cake sliding while you ice it, place a small dab of icing in the centre of the plate and stack the cake on top of it; the dab of icing acts as glue. Also, see the list of all our suggested products to pair with this recipe.

 

Perfect pairing

The unctuous texture of a Pineau des Charentes pairs nicely with the fruity aromas of this dessert. You could also opt for a white port with notes of dried fruit and delicate spices.

 

Edible flowers

Sure, flowers are nice to look at, but did you know there are several varieties that are also good to eat? Edible flowers are great for flavouring your butter, brightening your herbal teas, and adding a dash of colour and freshness to your dishes. This month, we suggest adding edible flowers to your cocktails to give them a fresh, summer vibe! Simply remove the petals, press them into your ice cube tray, fill the tray with water and freeze. You can also set aside a few flowers to garnish your glass. The result will be spectacular!

 

SAQ Celebration

15 ml (1/2 oz.) dry gin
15 ml (1/2 oz.) citrus liqueur
15 ml (1/2 oz.) bitter liqueur (like Aperol)
60 ml (2 oz.) orange juice
(1 oz.) club soda
Ice cubes
Frozen blueberries and/or edible flowers

1. Combine all ingredients, except for the blueberries, in a highball glass containing a few ice cubes. 2. Stir using a mixing spoon. 3. Garnish with frozen blueberries or edible flowers.

 

 

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