early-summer paella

perfect for tonight: early summer paella, grilled halloumi, new potatoes…

yogurt marinade

If you live anywhere in the northeast of part of this good NA continent and you cook, there are a few ingredients you absolutely jump on at this time of year while you can. Like fresh peas, asparagus, ramps, strawberries and other things that have a short prime-spring to early summer window. Sweet Ontario strawberries make this strawberry soda might be the most refreshing drink you or guests will have all summer (even more memorable if spiked with elderflower liquor). And if you want an impressive way to feature summer squash, baby artichokes, fresh peas and asparagus, you have to try this early summer paella (below). I could tell you that it’s guest-worthy too because it’s pretty but don’t wait for company–remember: the window.

And whether you’re in the northeast and dragged your BBQ out as soon as it was warn enough to warrant Torontonians sitting on patios having beers–so, 5C degree weather and 6+ hours of daylight–or you grill year-round, I hope you’ll try two of my favourite and maybe slightly less typical grilling suggestions. The mushrooms pictured above were marinated in spicy, harissa yogurt marinade before being skewered and grilled–a nice change from oil-marinated food. And I cannot tell you how satisfying this “salad” of charred raddichio, grilled halloumi and marrow (or a summer squash) are together. One of my favourite grilled dinners, hands down.

Also around right now are baby potatoes that you have to buy because they’re super-cute and can turn into butter blistered new potatoes with almost no effort. And again, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on summer squash blossom, well, invite me over already. (Please.)

early summer paella, plated