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From Our Home to Yours: Seasonal Recipes from Empire

We’ve heard time and time again from homeowners that the kitchen quickly becomes the hub of the household, and the meals prepared and shared become the stories told over and over again. To celebrate the most-used room in the home, we’ve reached out to our Empire family to find out what recipes they associate with family time, seasonal gatherings and holiday celebrations and are sharing them with you in our new monthly series, From our Home to Yours.

Our first installment of recipes is courtesy of our Marketing Intern Ariana and are inspired by June’s seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Appetizer – Caprese Salad with Roasted Beets

“Growing up in an Italian-Canadian household, traditional caprese salads with tomato and mozzarella were a staple. The only problem was I hated tomatoes, so my mother would always make me a separate salad with roasted beets instead. It is still one of my favourite appetizers today.”

5 red or golden Ontario beets
1/2 pound sliced fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup arugula
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Hazelnuts to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place in oven in a roasting pan. Roast beets for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool. Rub off skins and slice. Layer the sliced beets and mozzarella on top of a bed of arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt evenly.
Serves 6 people

Main – Asaparagus and Pea Gnocchi


“This is one of my favourite recipes, courtesy of  Foodland Ontario that incorporates Asparagus and Peas, both of which are in season in Ontario during the month of June”  

3 strips Ontario Bacon
1 lb. (500 g) Ontario Asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped Ontario Shallots
3 cloves Ontario Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
1 lb. (500 g) potato gnocchi (fresh, frozen or shelf-stable)
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh Ontario Peas
3 tbsp. (45 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium-high heat, turning once, until crisp. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Reserve 1 tbsp. (15 mL) of the fat from skillet. Add reserved fat, asparagus, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper to clean skillet; cook, stirring often, until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling lightly salted water, cook gnocchi according to package directions, adding peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cooking water. Crumble bacon and add half to skillet along with reserved cooking water, gnocchi mixture and 2 tbsp. (25 mL) of the Parmesan cheese; toss to coat. Spoon into serving dish. Sprinkle with remaining bacon and cheese.


Dessert – Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

“On a warm June day, there is nothing i crave more than a cold treat. This recipe from The Food Network takes a bit of equipment, but is easy to follow and completely worth it. Homemade strawberry frozen yogurt is my all-time favourite.”

4 cups chopped Ontario Strawberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rum
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/4 cup (50 mL) corn syrup
1 cup (250 mL) plain unsweetened yogurt

Ice cream maker


A full 24 hours before you make your frozen yogurt, place your ice cream maker insert into the freezer. Add strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and rum to a bowl and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and let the strawberries macerate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Add the strawberries with their juices to a food processor. Pulse the berries, and then add the vanilla beans seeds and yogurt. Continue to blend until smooth. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

Turn your ice cream machine on and pour in the chilled yogurt mixture. Churn until the mixture looks slushy like soft serve, about 12 to 15 minutes. Place in the freezer for several hours until hard enough to scoop.
Serves: 8 people

Print recipes here