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Discover the best summer foods, vacation destinations, apps, trends and more, in this ultimate guide to summer in Canada

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Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Saturday, June 21, 2014, 2:47 PM -

Days are getting longer. Birds are singing. Joy is rising. This could only mean that summer is finally here! Summer solstice officially arrives on June 21, and after the winter Canadians just endured, it’s important not to let a minute of it go to waste. To help you get prepared, we have compiled suggestions around food, drinks, travel, apps, fashion and more, to ensure you have the best summer ever! (You might want to bookmark this one!) 

FOOD

Appetizer

Restaurants are great and all, but there’s nothing quite like a backyard dinner party with close family and friends. One way to ensure your bash is a success is by providing a memorable appetizer. A great appetizer will put your guests in the mood and get them excited for what else is in store. Shrimp summer rolls are the perfect marriage of sweet and savoury. They’re also aesthetically pleasing (when done correctly) and only take about an hour to prepare.


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Shrimp Summer Roll (Image: foodnetwork.com)

Shrimp Summer Roll (Image: foodnetwork.com)

Directions: 

Start with the sauce: Grind 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts in a food processor. Heat 1½ teaspoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of red curry paste and cook for one minute. Add 2 teaspoons of fish sauce and cook for another minute. Add the ground peanuts to the mix and stir for about four minutes. Stir in ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, ½ low-sodium chicken broth and 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until it thickens. Then, let it cool. 

Rolls: Fill a sauce pan with water and season with kosher salt. Add 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar and 6 black peppercorns and bring to a boil over high heat. Ad 12 medium shrimp (unpeeled) and simmer until pink (2 minutes). Drain and run under colder water. Peel the shrimp, then halve lengthwise and devein. Cover and chill.


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Putting them together: Cook 1 once rice vermicelli as the label directs and then drain. Cut 1 cucumber and 3 scallions into matchsticks and toss with 1 teaspoon salt in bowl. One at a time, soak rice paper wrapper (8 8-inch round rice paper wrappers) in warm water for 30 seconds, then lay on cutting board and pat dry. Arrange 3 shrimp halves across the middle of the wrapper; top with some noodles, herbs, cucumber, scallions and lettuce. Fold the bottom wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll into tight bundle. Cut in half and sever with peanut sauce. Serves six. 

See Diane Dimeo's video tutorial for tasty homemade summer rolls below.

For more information on this recipe, go to www.foodnetwork.com.

Entrée 

A peanut-flavoured app could only be followed by a pistachio dinner, of course! Rib-eye steaks with pistachio butter and asparagus will ensure you’re the talk of the neighbourhood all summer long. 

For this you will need: 

  • 1/4 cup shelled, roasted unsalted pistachios 
  • 1 cup arugula 
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened 
  • 2 boneless rib-eye steaks (each about 12 oz.) 
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

Rib-eye steaks with pistachio butter and asparagus (Image: myrecipes.com)

Rib-eye steaks with pistachio butter and asparagus (Image: myrecipes.com)


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Directions: 

1. Whirl pistachios and arugula in a food processor until minced. Add butter and whirl until smooth, scraping down inside of bowl as needed. Transfer to a small container and chill. 

2. Heat a charcoal or wood-fired grill to high (450° to 550°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds). Coat steaks and asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill steaks, turning once, until done the way you like, 6 to 15 minutes for medium-rare. Grill asparagus in last few minutes, turning once, until tender-crisp. 

3. Transfer everything to a cutting board, dollop steaks with butter, and tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice steaks and serve with asparagus. If you can’t find unsalted pistachios, use unsalted butter to balance the salty nuts. 

Make ahead: Pistachio butter, up to 1 week, chilled. 

For more information on this recipe, visit to www.myrecipes.com.

Dessert 

What better way to cleanse your pallet after a hearty meal than with a simple raspberry ice dessert.

Raspberry Ice (Image: Christopher Baker, realsimple.com)

Raspberry Ice (Image: Christopher Baker, realsimple.com)

Directions: 

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and ½ cup sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring; let cool. 

2. In a blender, puree 3 cups raspberries (12 ounces) with the sugar syrup. Strain into a loaf pan or shallow dish and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. 

3. Whip ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Using a fork, scrape the surface of the raspberry ice to create icy flakes; divide among bowls. Serve with the whipped cream and additional raspberries, if desired.

For more information on this recipe, visit www.realsimple.com.


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SUMMER COCKTAILS 

Entertain effortlessly this summer with these three delicious cocktails!

Lemon drop (Image: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr Creative Commons)

Lemon drop (Image: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr Creative Commons)

White Freezie Martini 

Consider it a frozen treat with an adult twist. For this you'll need 1/2 oz Raspberry Sour Puss, 1/2 oz banana liqueur topped with Sprite or 7 Up soda. Shook or stirred, this will be sure to kick-up any Sunday patio party.

Hurricane 

You may think we are biased for adding this one in, however, it is our job to show you that summers can include more than just one type of a hurricane. This savory concoction is for those with a bit of a sweet-tooth. This Daiquiri relative is made up of 1 oz vodka, 1/4 oz grenadine syrup, 1 oz gin, 1 oz light rum, 1/2 oz Bacardi® 151 rum, 1 oz amaretto almond liqueur, 1 oz triple sec, grapefruit juice and pineapple juice. Pour all but the juices, in order listed, into a tall glass three-quarters filled with ice. Next, fill the cup with equal parts of grapefruit and pineapple juice, and serve.

Lemon Drops on the Rocks 

When life hands you lemons, make spiked lemonade! This certainly isn't your neigbourhood 10-cent a glass lemonade. To make this cooling refreshment all you'll need is a few ounces of your favourite vodka, about equal parts fresh lemon juice, and some sugar. Add ice and a thinly sliced lemon for a garnish and you'll be sure to impress even the toughest of cocktail critics!

For more summer cocktail ideas, click here

Heading to Edmonton this summer? Be sure to check out these three summer hot spots!

NEXT PAGE: Canadian vacation hot spots, sizzling date night ideas and bangin' beaches! 


Discover the best summer foods, vacation destinations, apps, trends and more, in this ultimate guide to summer in Canada
2014 Summer Outlook: Alberta
2014 Summer Outlook: Atlantic Canada
2014 Summer Outlook: Ontario

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