Asian Inspired Grilled Asparagus

Spice up your spears with this zippy marinade

by: Paula Roy

Asian Inspired Grilled Asparagus

Asian-inspired Grilled Asparagus

I find a mix of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty – common in many Asian cuisines – is a perfect companion to most vegetables. Sending asparagus on quick trip through this zippy marinade followed by a few minutes on a hot barbeque is all you need to prepare a flavourful side dish that just might have your family reaching for seconds. Choose asparagus spears that are uniform in thickness so they will cook evenly. You might be pleasantly surprised to find your kids develop a fondness for asparagus prepared this way - the sweet-salty combo is usually a crowd pleaser.


1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chili paste
1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-fre version)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp freshly minced garlic
20 spears fresh asparagus
Lime wedges, for garnish



Combine the brown sugar, lime juice, pepper, chili paste, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, water and garlic.

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus (here’s a video in case you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Place the asparagus in a single layer in a non-reactive dish (or a ziploc bag).

Drizzle the marinade over the spears and jostle them gently so they are evenly coated.

Let asparagus sit for 15 – 30 minutes.

 BBQ over hot coals or on gas grill set to medium hot for 5 minutes or until done. Some spears may cook faster than others so check often. 

Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4

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Picnic Perfect Potato Salad

Lemon and herbs make spuds pleasing and packable

by: Paula Roy

Picnic Perfect Potato Salad

The perfect potato salad for people who don't like mayo.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big mayonnaise fan. Whether it’s a sandwich or a salad, I prefer lighter, more flavourful options. This is particularly true in summertime, as we all know that mayonnaise plus heat is a big no-no. This potato salad is quick to prepare and packed with the bright, fresh flavours that can help make an outdoor meal even more enjoyable. You can mix it up with whatever herbs your family likes or what you have in your garden. If you want to get all fancy, you can even add garden-fresh raw peas or lightly steamed cut green beans to this dish. Enjoy it warm, at room temperature or chilled.


2 pounds small potatoes (white, yellow or red)
2 tsp salt, divided
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp assorted chopped herbs (parsley, chives, dill and basil are all great).



Scrub the potatoes and cut them into approx. 1.5 inch (3.75 cm) pieces. For small potatoes, this usually means halves or thirds.

Place in a large pot and add 1 ½ tsp salt plus just enough cold water to cover by about a half-inch (1.25 cm).

Cover the pot and place over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium.

While potatoes are cooking, combine lemon juice, Dijon, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper in a small jar with a tight lid. Shake until well blended. Add olive oil and shake again.

Cook until just tender when pierced with the tip of a fork (about 10 minutes).

Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl.

Immediately drizzle the vinaigrette over the hot potatoes and toss gently to combine.

Let cool for about 10 minutes then add fresh herbs and toss again.

Serve within two hours or refrigerate if making in advance.

Makes 4 - 6 servings

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Very Berry Lemonade

A Refreshing Summer Picnic Treat

by: Paula Roy

Very Berry Lemonade


I love icy cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day. It’s so refreshing and can perk up any picnic menu. The only thing better than fresh lemonade (which, by the way is SO much better than the canned frozen stuff or even the jugs/cartons found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores) is fresh lemonade with berries! Muddling (gently squashing) the berries releases some of their flavour into the lemonade without overpowering it.

I always serve this with a spoon so people can scoop out the fruit at the bottom of the glass and enjoy it. It’s a great idea to keep a jar of simple syrup on hand in the fridge (you can store it for a couple of months) so you can mix up a glass or a pitcher of lemonade whenever the mood strikes. If you’re planning to take the lemonade on a picnic, you can skip trying to stuff a bulky container in your cooler by freezing the freshly squeezed lemon juice in cubes the night before. Combine the appropriate amount of lemon juice cubes with the simple syrup, water, and berry blend in a vessel with a tight lid and let the lemon cubes thaw en route. Be sure to give the mixture a good stir before serving.

Ingredients – simple syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
Ingredients for one 8 ounce / 250 mL glass lemonade
3 tbsp simple syrup
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh berries (blueberries or raspberries are my favourites)
1/2 cup cold water (regular or sparkling)
2 lemon slices, halved
Ice cubes



  Make the syrup by combining the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.

  Transfer syrup to a heatproof jar; cover and refrigerate until chilled.

  To prepare one glass of lemonade, combine 3 tbsp of the syrup and the lemon juice in a glass. Add the berries and muddle or crush them slightly with a wooden spoon.

  Add the water and lemon slices and stir gently.

  Add ice to fill the glass and serve immediately.

  If making a pitcher, follow the same process but use greater quantities of the ingredients, in the same proportions.


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