Call for Recipes: Mary’s Summer River Recipes

By: Mary Politis

Volume 19, Issue 5, May 2024

This past December TILife’s copy editor, Elspeth Naismith, presented "Call for Recipes!" The article showed a tea towel that hangs proudly in her kitchen, which provides the ingredients for a "Traditional 1000 Islands Shore Dinner," written by the late Les Cook, renowned Canadian fishing guide.  Elspeth suggested that our River communities have many farmers, restaurants, store keepers, and yes, both year round and summer residents, who have favourite recipes that all have special River meanings.

This month we have a submission from Mary Politis, former A-Bay resident.

Mary Politis provides her favorite summer recipes [Illustration by Marie-Anne Erki, ©2024, Kingston, ON]

Tomato Caprese Salad:

I use tomatoes cut in slices and alternate with fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil cut chiffonade, which means slicing the leaves into thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking the leaves, rolling them up tightly lengthwise into a cigar shape, and slicing them perpendicular to the roll. Distribute the basil over the tomatoes and cheese, then drizzle with a good quality olive oil, sprinkle with pressed fresh garlic, and salt and pepper.  (I got some cooking tips from the late Chef Jean Pierre -  he used Fleur de Sel. He said, "it wakes up the flavor”, and I find it really makes the difference.) I also recommend using a garlic press, rather than mincing the garlic or using minced garlic from a jar – I think the flavor is fresher.

Shrimp Appetizer:

If you can still afford shrimp, use whole cooked shrimp with the tail on, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and serve with either store bought cocktail sauce or make a sauce of equal parts ketchup and horseradish (or to your taste), with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Yes, it tastes so good!

French bread:

I cut the bread up into thin slices and then lightly butter and sprinkle the slices with paprika. Our guests could not believe how good it tastes – of course, the paprika brings a special taste. Heat the slices up in the oven, but not too much – you don’t want toast! A few minutes at 375°F should do it, but keep an eye on them!

Blue Cheese Dressing:

Our favorite salad dressing is blue cheese. I don’t buy the crumbled blue cheese*, but rather, I buy a wedge and crumble it myself. Just regular store brand blue cheese is fine. In a bowl or jar, add the mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice (not from a bottle – squeeze some fresh lemon juice!), and a bit of Worcestershire Sauce, a touch of ground (powdered) mustard, and a spoonful of sugar. Mix it all together. The amount of mayo depends on how thick or thin you like your dressing – start with a few tablespoons and go from there. You can add some finely chopped onion, too. For the salad, use chopped Romaine lettuce, some chickpeas, and tomatoes – but no cucumbers!

Summer Pizzas:

Another of my favorites summer recipes – I use Kontos brand pizza shells and Classico tomato sauce in a jar – then add mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, green pepper slices, canned or fresh mushrooms, and sliced canned black olives. Then, I add hot pepper or use a dash of cayenne pepper. I saw a Greek pizza maker use pepper once, so I tried it! You don’t know what it is, but it makes the pizza taste good! Finally, I add some Italian sausage. We like it hot, but you may choose a sweet sausage instead. Bake at 375°F, just until the cheese melts and bubbles, for about 5 minutes. If you can put it on the grill, it’s even better!

Of course, being on the River with family and friends is a recipe on its own. Enjoy and have a great summer 2024!

By Mary Politis

Mary Politis, her husband, and son have a home in Syracuse, NY, and spent many summers in Carnegie Bay, near Alexandria Bay, NY. Mary has been a  TI Life reader for several years and is always on the lookout for unique topics and individuals to interview. Her discovery of the sinking of the Greek cargo ship, 7Th Fleet Rescue of the USS Yanix Discovered; and The Edgar Cayce’s 1000 Islands Link are two of her articles. In September 2018, she wrote Angels Among us in the Thousand Islands.

Marie-Anne Erki

Marie-Anne Erki, is TI Life's  illustrator and accomplished artist. She is also Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at Canada's Royal Military College where she taught for twenty years. She has already produced individual illustrations for numerous TI Life stories and never ceases to provide her imagination to each one.

* Editor’s Note: Crumbling your own cheese allows you to make the chunks as big or as small as you want. You can also mash the cheese into more of a paste to make a smoother dressing. It’s your preference, so feel free to play with it! As Mary says – Enjoy!!

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 5, May 2024, Recipes, Current

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