Useful Tips
June’s star ingredients

June’s star ingredients

Each month, we offer you recipes that feature the season’s best ingredients. For your June BBQs, opt for lamb, and for your decadent summer desserts think cherries! Then wash it all down with a strawberry cocktail!

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 environmental. 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.

 In the month of June, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, lobster and lamb are in season. For a more thorough list of products, search the web; the Équiterre.org website is a great start.

Lamb

Did you know that Quebec is the 2nd largest lamb producer in Canada? Quebec lamb is quality meat, at once fine, tender and juicy. Easy to prepare as kebobs or chops, lamb is delicious when grilled, making it the perfect protein for all your summer get-togethers! For your next backyard BBQ, try our gourmet, one-of-a-kind lamb burger. With it’s Middle Eastern spices and refreshing topping of tomatoes, cucumbers and yogurt, your guests will be clamouring for seconds!

Lamb burgers topped with hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers and yogurt

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 8 to 10 minutes
4 servings

Topping
125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt, plain
125 ml (1/2 cup) tomatoes, cut into 1 cm (3/8 in.) dice
125 ml (1/2 cup) cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 cm (3/8 in.) dice
15 ml (1 tbsp.) fresh dill, chopped
15 ml (1 tbsp.) chives, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Burgers
600 g (1 1/4 lb.) ground lamb
5 or 6 leaves of fresh mint, chopped
5 ml (1 tsp.) garlic powder
5 ml (1 tsp.) onion powder
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) ground coriander
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) Espelette pepper or 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 onion buns or poppy seed kaiser rolls
250 ml (1 cup) roasted red pepper hummus

1. Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl.  Toss gently and refrigerate. 3. Preheat the barbecue to maximum heat or at least to 260°C (500°F). 4. In another bowl, combine the lamb with the mint and seasonings. Mix well. 5. Shape into 4 patties. 6. Grill the patties for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until the meat is cooked through. 7. Toast the buns lightly. 8. Assemble the burgers, spreading some hummus onto each half of the buns. 9. Add some topping and close the burgers. 10. Serve with a couscous salad.

Perfect pairing

Wines with the “Fruity and Medium-bodied” taste tag will pair perfectly with this Middle Eastern-inspired burger. Opt for a red with notes of spice and refreshing acidity; it’s sure to highlight the spiciness of the lamb, as well as the tomato and cucumber topping.

 

Cherries

We’re all familiar with Bing cherries, a delicious variety that grows in British Columbia and Ontario. But did you know that there are some tasty varieties that grow right here in Quebec? This summer, enjoy homegrown cherries in this easy-to-make and oh-so-delicious dessert!

Port cherries on vanilla ice cream

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
4 servings

1 398 ml (14 oz.) can Bing cherries
80 ml (1/3 cup) port
30 ml (2 tbsp.) maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
750 ml (3 cups) ice cream

1. In a saucepan, combine the juice from the can of cherries with the port and maple syrup. Add the cinnamon stick and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until consistency is syrupy. 3. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the cherries. 4. Simmer for another three minutes. 5. Leave to cool for a few minutes. 6. Divide the ice cream among four bowls. 7. Pour the cherry mixture over the ice cream. 8. Serve immediately, accompanied by fine biscuits.

Suggestion
To make a flambéed version, flambé the cherries before adding them to the syrup:
– put them in a skillet
– sprinkle with 45 mL (3 tbsp) of your favourite spirit (cognac, kirsch, fruit brandy, fruit liqueur)
– heat slightly and flambé for 30 seconds.
– add the cherries to the syrup and continue with the recipe.

Perfect pairing

When it comes to pairing this dessert, you have a wide variety of bottles to choose from. Try serving it with a sweet wine or cider bearing the “Fruity and Extra Sweet” taste tag, or opt for a glass of Port; all are excellent choices when it comes to balancing out the sweet maple syrup and creamy vanilla ice cream.

 

Strawberries

During the month of June, Quebec strawberries make their long-awaited appearance in grocery stores everywhere! For those who just can’t get enough of these little gems, know that there are numerous U-Pick strawberry farms across the province. Take advantage of this month’s bounty to make strawberry pies, turnovers and cakes! Or whip up a refreshing side dish by adding a handful of strawberries to your spinach salad!

Do you have a quart of Quebec strawberries just waiting to be devoured? Put one or two aside to serve as garnish for this mind-blowing cocktail. Made with vodka, strawberry liqueur and passion fruit juice, this drink is sure to be the life of the party!

Golden Caesar

1 drink

45 ml (1 1/2 oz.) vodka
15 ml (1/2 oz.) strawberry liqueur
150 ml (5 oz.) passion-fruit juice
5 drops Tabasco sauce
1/2 celery stick, coarsely chopped
1 pinch salt
3 ice cubes
1 celery stick, for garnish

1. Squeeze the juice from the celery pieces using a citrus juicer or garlic press. Pour the celery juice into a highball glass containing the ice cubes. 3. Add the vodka, passion-fruit juice, Tabasco sauce and salt. 4. Stir using a mixing spoon. 5. Slowly pour in the strawberry liqueur to create a layered cocktail. 6. Garnish with the celery stick.

 

Photos: Marie des neiges Magnan

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