Grilled Jerk Pork Chops

Jerk Pork Chops Grilled Jerk Pork Chops

How are y’all doing this week? Friday at last?

We’ve had a bit of a long week… little peanut has a bug and we’ve been cuddling away a fever on the sofa for the past 5 days. I’m so thankful for the amazing healthcare we have – we’ve seen a family doc within one hour of phoning for an appointment, a paediatrician with thirty minutes of phoning for an appointment, were taken at the ER (just because our doctor wanted test results right away, not for an actual emergency) without a wait at all, and have had follow up calls to check in every day. At times like this, I’m so very grateful to live in Canada.

So little man is splayed across my chest snoring deeply, and I’m distracting myself from staring at him worriedly with pictures of pork chops.

Also, something blog-related has been on my mind – I’ve been so fortunate to have many wonderful brands and companies ask to work with Foodess lately. I just want you to know that I only work with companies I really like (for every ten requests, I maybe say yes to one), am true to my own opinions, and make it my priority to create content that is genuine, even when featuring a specific brand. Even so, I just want to thank you, my loyal readers, for supporting me and my partnerships, which allow me to pursue blogging on a more full-time basis. BIG SQUEEZEY HUGS TO YOU!

I hope that fun giveaways like this one help sweeten the pot a little? :)

Jerk Pork Chops2 Grilled Jerk Pork Chops

Juicy grilled pork chops are such a summertime pleasure for me, but they can be tricky not to overcook.

Cherry-Merlot Winesicles + Orchard Sangria

Winesicle 6 Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard Sangria

Mid-to-late August is hands-down my favourite time of year for cooking – the Farmers’ Market puts me into a practical frenzy – zucchinis are flying; tomatoes are being hoarded like it’s nobody’s business; yep, that’s me happily chattering to myself while squeezing plump cherries; and don’t get in my way, because I’m bringing home ALL.THE.PEACHES.

When I return with my bounty, I am (1.) tired from the vast excitement of the Farmers’ Market experience and (2.) anxious to get back outdoors to enjoy the sunshine, so I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

Happily, throwing together fresh, simple-but-elegant meals is easy after selecting the best produce – because beautiful, farm-fresh ingredients just speak for themselves. I go for minimal preparation, but finish with polish – such as a showering of lush herbs and a drizzle of your best olive oil. It’s the culinary equivalent wearing luxe red lipstick with an easy, worn-in cotton sundress.

Today, I used my fresh-from-the-orchard finds to bring you two more beautiful winetails to celebrate summer. They’re easy, and casually chic. The first one might blow your mind. It’s a winesicle! I’m so hooked.

Winesicle 4 Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard Sangria

I blended Ecco Domani Merlot – a soft, smooth red – with fresh, pitted cherries and poured it into popsicle molds for a frozen wine cocktail. They’ve got serious style, and I’m sure they’d be a hit at parties – not to mention a great conversation starter. And so easy!

The fresh cherries really play up the wine’s own ripe cherry flavour.

Winesicle 3text Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard SangriaWinesicle 2 Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard Sangria

Because of the alcohol content, these popsicles won’t freeze as hard and will melt faster than other ice pops. Run them under hot water until they release easily, or they might break.

Serve them with cloth napkins to catch drips – don’t bother ironing them, I love the rumpled casual-but-still-classy look of natural cotton or linen.

Winesicle 1text Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard Sangria

The second winetail is a stylish-but-approachable sangria. Ecco Domani Merlot is stirred with ripe plums and peaches, a splash of brandy, and topped up with ginger beer.

The smooth, fruit-forward wine is a perfect canvas for a juicy, stone-fruit cocktail.

Orchard Sangria1 text Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard SangriaOrchard Sangria7 Cherry Merlot Winesicles + Orchard Sangria

The recipe is for two servings, but to make a pitcher, just triple the recipe (one bottle of wine is 3 cups).

Mexic-Indian Corn

Mexican Corn1 Mexic Indian Corn

Fresh, juicy corn on the cob is one of my favourite summertime treasures. For the entire month of August, we feast on those golden ears at least three times a week.

As much as I love the old butter-salt-pepper standby, years ago my hubby introduced me to Indian street corn – fire-roasted corn seasoned with lime, chili and salt – and I’ve never looked back. There’s something incredible about fire-kissed sweet kernels set ablaze with spicy cayenne and bracing lime. It’s completely addictive.

But I’ve been recently enamoured with Mexican style grilled corn as well – which has the charred cobs slathered in mayo, then rolled in cheese (cotija and/or fresh parmesan) and served with lime wedges.

Mexican Corn3 Mexic Indian Corn

After several nights of experimenting with various takes on the two, Adarsh and I have come up with our favourite version, which combines the best elements of both Mexican and Indian corn – so we present to you our Mexic-Indian corn.

The grilled corn is first smothered in a chili-salt-pepper rub, applied liberally with a lime wedge. You see, the seasoning sticks to the lime, and rubbing it on the hot corn helps both to release the lime juice and allows the spicy flavour to bloom.

Grapefruit Sunset + Cucumber-Melon Cooler AND Hang on to Summer Giveaway!

Grapefruit Sunset7 Grapefruit Sunset + Cucumber Melon Cooler AND Hang on to Summer Giveaway!

Without fail, summer peaks and starts to wind down before I know what happened. So to squeeze as much joy as possible out of my favourite months, I try to make every day memorable or celebratory in some way. That means stopping to smell the roses – pausing to take in the incredible turquoise colour of the pacific ocean on a bright, sunny day – and creating beauty in daily rituals – say, using my favourite blue plates and cloth napkins to serve BLTs al fresco.

I particularly cherish the sweet, balmy nights of August. On such an evening, nothing is better than sharing an impromptu meal with friends, putting fresh flowers on the table and sipping on a summery cocktail (preferably on the patio) in a pretty glass.

Grapefruit Sunset 6 Grapefruit Sunset + Cucumber Melon Cooler AND Hang on to Summer Giveaway!

I’ve got two perfect August-evening cocktails (well, WINE-tails, actually) for you today, both featuring Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio.

I am excited to work with this brand because, not only do I find their wines delicious and approachable (well-balanced – not too sweet, not too dry – just really drinkable and easy to enjoy), but I really love their credo – upgrading the everyday. Making the day-to-day special. Doing the little things that turn an ordinary moment into an occasion. It really resonates with me! As part of our collaboration, we’re bringing you a “Hang On to Summer” giveaway that I am totally aflutter about. Details below.

Grapefruit Sunset 1text1 Grapefruit Sunset + Cucumber Melon Cooler AND Hang on to Summer Giveaway!

The first winetail is a Pinot Grigio-Grapefruit Sunset – freshly squeezed grapefruit juice stirred with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, topped with crème de cassis for the graduated “sunset” appearance. The grapefruit brings forward the wine’s light citrus notes in this perfectly not-to-sweet cocktail.

The second is a cucumber-melon cooler – cucumber and ripe honeydew melon blended with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio and strained into an ice-filled glass, garnished with cucumber rounds, a little wedge and a mint sprig. It’s crisp and refreshing, like the wine itself.

Grapefruit Sunset 8text Grapefruit Sunset + Cucumber Melon Cooler AND Hang on to Summer Giveaway!

Let me just say that these winetails are perfect summer sippers – not-too-sweet, cold and fresh after a full day in the sun.

Photo Fridays: 5 tips for Beautiful Food Photography Composition

Composition1 Photo Fridays: 5 tips for Beautiful Food Photography Composition
I know there has been quite a time gap since my first Photo Friday post, but I was overwhelmed by the positive response to the last one (thank you for your comments and emails!) and I’ve got a notebook full of ideas I want to share with you. I keep putting it off, however, actually because of the big interest I saw in the last one – a couple of things happened: 1) I feel like I inadvertently put myself in a position of authority on the subject, and I’m very much still learning and 2) now I feel like my photos have to be perfect for a photography tips post (which means it was never going to happen).

So today, I am sharing some thoughts on composition, with examples from some favourite bloggers I follow. Smooth cop out, eh?

But there’s more! These particular bloggers fill my feed.ly reader with stunning visuals of vibrant, healthy, fruit-and-vegetable-dense dishes specifically. I have an ulterior motive for that…