Beat The Heat with Salads and Desserts




It’s hot! And sticky. The heat and humidity so far this summer has been much here in the Maritimes. Grampie and I have been drinking plenty of water and venturing out to the air-conditioned mall a lot more frequently during the heat of the day. It can be hard to eat when the air is so thick, but a nice Mediterranean style salad never goes astray when the temperatures are soaring.

Greek Salad

Dressing (Mix and chill)
2/3 cup Greek olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Base (Mix in a large bowl)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 jar of Greek olives
1 large red or green bell pepper sliced thinly lengthways
1/2 yellow onion sliced thinly

Mix the above ingredients with the dressing and let it chill for 2 hours then add:

1 cucumber sliced
Some fresh, ripe, juicy tomato wedges
1 bag Mediterranean salad mix (You can substitute fresh cabbage shredded as if for coleslaw) Toss until coated. Serve and enjoy.

If you live in air conditioning, maybe you’re looking for ways to heat up your summer. This spicy salad might do the trick.

Taco Salad

1 pound lean ground beef or buffalo (you could also substitute with ground turkey, chicken or pork)
1/2 envelope onion soup mix, about 1/4 cup
3/4 cup water
A few dashes hot pepper sauce
1 medium head lettuce, shredded, about 4 cups
1 cup shredded sharp Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cups corn chips
Taco sauce

Brown ground meat in a heavy skillet; drain off excess fat. Sprinkle onion soup mix over beef and stir in water. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid cooks away, about 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in hot pepper sauce. In a large bowl, combine shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, tomato, olives, and green bell pepper; toss. For each serving, place lettuce mixture on salad plate or bowl, top with some of the meat mixture and garnish taco salad with corn chops. Serve with taco sauce. For homemade corn taco chips, cut corn tortillas into strips and fry briefly in hot oil.

No matter how high the temperature soars, it wouldn’t be summer without berries and delicious seasonal desserts.

Berry Shortcake

5 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk or sour milk (for sour milk add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar to a large measuring cup, then fill with milk to the 2 cup mark)
2 L strawberries or other fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries or blueberries)
Whipped cream (optional)
Mint for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Measure flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir with a fork until blended. Cut shortening into flour mixture until mealy. Make a well in centre and pour in buttermilk or sour milk. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. If using sour milk, heavily flour surface because dough will be sticky. Using lightly floured hands, form dough into a ball, then flatten top. Fold dough in half using a kneading motion. Turn dough and repeat 3 or 4 times. Roll until about 1-1/2 inches thick. Cut biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch wide star-shaped or round cookie cutter. For a sugar top, lightly brush each biscuit top with milk. Then sprinkle with a little coarse or granulated sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, about 23 to 25 minutes. Wash berries under cold running water and drain. Remove hulls and thickly slice. Split biscuits in half, horizontally, preferably while warm. Fill with berries and a large dab of whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint and more berries.

I can’t imagine turning the oven on this summer, so instead I send Grampie to the BBQ and he brings back wonderful desserts like this.

Caramel Apple Slices

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons light-coloured corn syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples (3 medium)
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Combine brown sugar, butter or margarine, corn syrup, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set the topping aside. Tear off a 36×18-inch piece of heavy foil. Fold in half to make an 18-inch square. Place apples in the centre. Drizzle with topping. Bring up opposite foil edges, and seal with a double fold. Fold in remaining edges to completely enclose the apples, leaving space for steam to build up. Grill for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve apples warm with ice cream.


Until next time remember I made it especially for you.

Grammie is waiting for you in her kitchen, rocking in her favourite chair by the stove, knitting needles clicking away the seconds. Drop by and join her for a spot of tea, a warm molasses cookie and some wise advice. She’ll answer all your letters as only she can. So, if you have a kitchen-type question or comment for Grammie, send an email to and put Grammie in the subject line.