It’s funny how cooking becomes almost ritualistic at the cottage. Maybe it’s because it feels like time moves slower when you’re free of the usual work/technology/city buzz. Maybe it’s because you’re cooking with fresh, local, incredibly flavourful produce you picked up at kitschy roadside stands on the drive up. Or, maybe, it’s because mealtimes serve as daily gatherings at the cottage: a chance to catch up with your clan before (or after) a day of hiking, cliff jumping, tubing, or just reading as few more chapters. But, all that lovely imagery aside, you might also be dealing with a less-equipped kitchen than you’re used to — or busy wrangling the aforementioned clan — so simplicity and flexibility are key in a perfect cottage recipe. Here are some cottage-friendly recipes that showcase Ontario’s amazing array of seasonal summer produce.
Show off at breakfast with fancy pancakes! Even though they only require two bowls and a whisk, these Blueberry Ricotta pancakes from Jo Cooks are gourmet enough to remind everyone they’re on vacation. Rich, velvety and studded with jewel-like blueberries, the lemon adds a perfect kick of citrus and the addition of ricotta makes these pancakes show-stoppingly fluffy. Serve with local maple syrup and fresh Ontario blueberries on the side — because there’s no such thing as too many blueberries.
Homemade granola bars are a ridiculously simple and sustaining snack that fit perfectly in a backpack, beach bag, or on the arm of your favourite Muskoka chair. Use Everyday Eats’ recipe as a blank canvas; you can add any combination of flavours to the oat, date and honey mixture. Get decadent with dark chocolate and dried cherries, or brighten things up with toasted coconut, chia seeds and dried mango. You really can’t go wrong! Professional tip: if you don’t have a food processor at the cottage, swap the dates for one cup of your favourite nut butter and throw these babies in the fridge for an hour before serving.
Look, we all know you’re going to fire up the grill at least once (okay, three times) during your cottage weekend. This Charred Corn Salad from Epicurious is BBQ-friendly, packed with colourful corn, ruby-red tomatoes and bright green basil, and takes a mere 25 minutes to make. Serve with whiskey brushed BBQ ribs or turkey burgers with swiss and avocado to make a meal, or enjoy a bowl dockside as a perfect summer lunch.
Summer is peach season. It’s also raspberry season. Get the best of both worlds with the Barefoot Contessa’s Peach-Raspberry Crisp! This one is slightly more labour intensive — although the peach peeling can easily be tasked to a helper — but worth it for the combination of perfectly ripe peaches, tangy raspberries, and the crisp crackle of caramelized brown sugar. Don’t fret if you can’t track down peaches and raspberries: this recipe from the flawless Ina Garten works just as well with apples and blackberries or strawberries and rhubarb. Serve with vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert (or eat a scoop for breakfast because you’re on vacation.)
We can’t leave you without a perfect cottage cocktail! Whether you want a relaxing sunset sip on the porch or something to ease the stress of 12 family members staying in the bunkie (three of which are toddlers), Delish’s Spiked Strawberry Lemonade should do the trick. Serve with lemons or limes for a colourful twist! Make a kid-friendly version by swapping the sparkling rosé for sparkling elderflower or lemonade, and ditch the vodka.