What I love most about summer is how everything seems to linger … the sunshine, the days, the meals and … the joy. If you read Tuesday’s post, you’ll know that a big part of my summer joy is entertaining (if you missed the post you can catch up here). There is nothing I love more than causal dinners with friends that last late into a summers night. And since summer brings with it an inherent ease and desire for effortlessness, I have two recipes that are just that and delicious: a Lychee Sangria and Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini. Both can be made ahead to foster and encourage you to linger, savour and soak up summer.
Truth be told as a child I hated lychees. I thought they were slimy and looked like eyeballs. But as I’ve ‘matured,’ I’ve grown to enjoy their fleshy earthiness – mostly in cocktails – but enjoy them nonetheless 🙂 While you can find canned lychees all year long, fresh lychees are only available in the summer. They pair perfectly with floral Elderflower Liquer and herbaceously dry Sauvignon Blanc, making this the perfect pitcher cocktail to sip all night long.
2 750 mL bottles Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
20 oz canned lychee in heavy syrup, drain but reserve syrup
2/3 cup reserved lychee syrup
Juice of one lime
2 limes, sliced thin
fresh and canned lychee, to garnish
In a large pitcher combine Sauvignon Blanc, St. Germain, drained lychees, lychee syrup, lime juice and thinly sliced limes. Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to infuse.
(Allowing sangria to chill overnight is best.)
Stir before serving. Serve chilled, with ice if desired. Garnish with fresh lychees.
Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini
These costinis take simple wholesome ingredients and elevate them in a no fuss way – my favourite way to feed friends and family.
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
3 large bosc pears–halved lengthwise, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges
1 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 12-inch baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick and toasted
6 ounces soft goat cheese
1 cup baby arugula
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, toss the walnuts with 1 teaspoon honey. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until slightly candied, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Arrange the pears in a single layer on the baking sheet. Top with the butter and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon honey. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden, about 25 minutes.
Spread one side of the toasts with the goat cheese and top with the arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the pear slices. Sprinkle with the candied nuts and sea salt.
Photography: Michelle Johnson