Easy Cottage Recipes

Heading to the cottage this weekend? Or if you’re celebrating Pride here in Toronto maybe you’re cottaging in the city? No matter where you end up try these easy and tasty summer recipes, all photos by Gabe Toth.

-Watermelon + Cuke + Basil-

Watermelon juice by itself can be a little too sweet and one dimensional, adding cucumber and basil lends this juice a refreshing herbal note.

-Flesh of 1 small watermelon (about 10 cups)
-1 english cucumber, roughly cubed
-juice of 1 lemon
-generous handful fresh basil
-vodka (optional)

In a blender combine the watermelon and cucumber. Work in batches unless you have a massive blender. Process and strain through a fine sieve pressing a bit as needed. Add lemon juice to taste.
Muddle a few basil leaves in the bottom of a highball glass or mason jar. Add ice and vodka if using. Fill with watermelon juice.

-Spaghetti with Sausage Meatballs-

Quick and tasty, using sausage meat makes everything easier.

-1 1/2 lbs good quality spicy Italian sausages (or your favourite sausage), casing removed
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1/2 cup milk
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-1 1/2 cans whole tomatoes and their juice
-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
-S & P to taste
-1 lb spaghetti, cooked to package direction
-Parmesan to serve
-Basil to garnish (optional)

Mix the sausage meat, breadcrumbs, and milk. Form into walnut sized meatballs wetting your hands a bit as you go to make things less sticky.

In a frying pan heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Working in batches fry the meatballs on med-hi, turning often, until browned but not cooked through. Around 2 min. Drain excess fat from the pan.

In the same pan heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium. Fry the onion for 4 min until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning. Crush the tomatoes up up a bit with your hands and add them along with their juices. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs back to the pan, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 min until meatballs are cooked through.

When the sauce is almost ready cook your pasta. Drain and mix in some of the sauce. Serve, adding extra meatballs and sauce on top of each portion, garnish with grated parmesan. If you have froufrou basil garnishes use those too.

Notes: You can make this using just 1 can of tomatoes but it will be a little bit dry, or you can throw in 2 cans and you’ll have a lot more sauce. I find 1 1/2 cans perfect but the choice is yours!

-Blueberry Cobbler-

Making cobbler in a frying pan? Why not!

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1 1/4 cup brown sugar (or white if that’s all you have)
-1 lemon, juice and zest
-3 tsp baking powder
-3/4 tsp salt
-3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
-1 scant cup buttermilk, or kefir
-1 1/2 lbs frozen blueberries (see note for fresh)
-ice cream or whipped cream to serve

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers until only a few small lumps butter remain. Add the buttermilk and mix until almost all the flour is incorporated. Set aside.

Put the berries, 3/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a 12” cast iron skillet and set to boil on medium heat. When it boils remove from the heat. Place dollops of the topping (about the size of a small egg) all over the berries and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes: For fresh berries add 1/2 cup of orange juice before bringing to a boil. For all berries, once boiled taste and see if it’s sweet enough for you, add more sugar if you wish.
If you don’t have a frying pan, boil the berries in a saucepan and pour into a deep 8x8” baking dish or anything ovenproof that’s about the same size, then proceed with the recipe.

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