Monday, February 28, 2011

she blows again

i feel bad for all those braving the afternoon commute home. this morning was gorgeous but since then the weather has blown in and the wind has picked up again. i watch the weather network religiously and plan my days around it - even though they get it wrong most of the time...everyone always thinks it's so lame to talk about the weather - i however think it's pretty cool. it changes so frequently and it's nice to be back on the east coast and watch how the wind affects the waves and how conditions change so quickly.
i went up to fantome rock for my hike today - here's a pic of when the weather doesn't suck:

i just went for a quick walk/hike/jog/run. half because sometimes my legs just feel like running and half because the wind was blowing like a banshee on the way home so i was rushing. and i know the math doesn't compute... but half because i wanted to be home in time to watch top chef all-stars.

i am a true food dork. there are so many crap shows on the food network with super pedestrian food that  relies on processed, quick fixes from the grocery store (ick), or super arrogant chef's who think their coats and hats make them good 'cooks', but top chef is different. the people actually know how to cook and i can pick up some ideas from watching their flavour combinations and cooking techniques. it's just another reason to love mondays! and it's probably an excuse to claim my eastlink bill on my taxes - research...

so this week i'm toning it down a little. saturday was just stupid. a bajillion fishcakes, lobster macs, baked beans and desserts do not make for a zen jenna. i can barely close the fridge and freezer doors so i've decided to just do one fresh main dish for the week. it's going to be grand though - braised italian style beef (getaway farm) ragu with red wine, roasted red peppers, garlic, tomatoes, fresh herbs and foxhill 'parmesran' polenta. there are only three weeks left of winter (officially) so i better get all of the braising out of my system while it is the season.

but spring is in there air! i was talking to the nice man from noggins farm this week. although the seasons are a little behind ottawa - where i'm used to cooking - we were talking of spring asparagus and fresh lettuces and the delicious flavours of summer. i have been buying lots of veg from noggins at the market and featuring them in my soups and sides. this week i'm concocting a new root vegetable veloute (creamy, delectable soup) featuring turnips, parsnips, roasted garlic and pears. root veggies require some love but they definitely return the favour with delicious flavours - so don't be afraid when you're cooking at home.

this week i will also be rocking out a new batch of roasted red pepper and tomato soup (it's all for you mr. kind cookie!), beef & barley soup - with wild wind farm beef, caramelized french onion soup with propellor beer and both my chipotle lime and honey mustard sauces which i've sold out of...

i'm going to the food & wine show on wednesday night to see what exactly is out there around the province. i definitely need to make some road trips to see oultons's and hutten's farms and lots of other peeps around the valley. i'm excited to make some new connections and explore my different options when sourcing local food.

i also need to figure out how to drag myself out of bed early on a saturday morning (after friday market it's a little difficult) - i've heard there is a fabulous heritage seed purveyor at the seaport market on saturday mornings (i need to check out the old market as well as that could be another retail outlet for me...). preferably i'd like to grow most of my own food throughout the summer but we'll see exactly what is possible for an amateur gardener and full time cook on this windblown peninsula...

here's what it looks like from my living room when it's calm - and i guess that's what makes it all worthwhile!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

i'm an east coast kid

so already this morning i've made 115 salt cod fish cakes, put on a massive batch of molasses baked beans, made the bechamel for my lobster mac and waved at the power guys as they reattached the phone lines that blew down last night - and whipped my car on the way home from the market!
the north atlantic looks angry today and the house was shaking last night (the water was even sloshing around in the toilet!) - but this 200 year old house has withstood another storm and we didn't even lose power.
just remember hot baked beans, butter rolls and molasses at the market tomorrow - in addition to all my other goodies and those little pumpkin cheesecake/cupcake hybrids will be making their triumphant return.
time to go pick up some lobbies!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


here's the menu for the week.

classic roast pork dinner, getaway farm heritage pork, noggins carrots, gravy, mashed potatoes and a dinner roll      $15 (for friday)

lobster mac & cheese, oven dried tomatoes, leek bechamel, foxhill cheese curds, panko crust   sm $10 lg $20 (for sunday)

curried chicken dinner, chickpeas, tomatoes, spice, basmati   $15 (serves 2)

general tao's chicken dinner, peppers, pineapple, sesame, green onions  $15 (serves 2)

southwest chicken dinner, sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, peppers, chipotle  $15

shepherd's pie, getaway farm beef, peas, corn, cheddar mash  $7.5

shani's farm sausage and roasted pepper penne, caramelized onions, foxhill curds  sm $7.5  lg $15

fish cakes and beans, salt cod, savoury, molasses, panko  $12 (serves 2)

spaghetti & meatballs, getaway farm beef, foxhill 'parmesran', marinara, basil  $10 (serves 2)

soups, etc...(all 500 ml portions)
carrot, apple, ginger $5
beet, parsnip, pear $5
shani's farm thai chicken & rice $5
curried butternut squash $5 (this batch is a teensy bit spicier than usual - but i love it!)
french onion with propellor beer $5 (i only have one left)
wild wind farm beef & barley $5
seafood chowder $6 (digby scallops, halibut, mussels, clams, corn, potatoes)
getaway farm beef chili $7

snickers brownies $3
lemon meringue tartlets $3
wild ns blueberry & cream tartlets $3
chocolate coconut macaroons $2 (there's oats in them too so they're practically health food...)
white chocolate, cranberry & oatmeal cookies $2
mexican dark chocolate truffles $1
cupcakes - haven't decided the flavour(s) yet $2
perhaps some sponge toffee and chocolate pecan skor depending on my time management...

when i couldn't sleep during the wee hours i also decided to introduce my hot option on sunday. i'll be serving up baked beans, and rolls with molasses out of the slow cooker so come see me please!

alrighty, the kitchen beckons - d'oh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

mondays are the new black

i have a bizarro week. wednesday & thursday cook like a maniac; friday at the market; saturday cook like a maniac and sunday at the market. monday is my new saturday and i love it! yesterday i went for a hike, cleaned the house, cooked a nice dinner and mostly just relaxed.

this is what it looks like where i go for hikes. my house is to the left but the ocean is the view from my living room and also above the kitchen sink. you'd think the view would inspire me to do the dishes more often, but alas, no...

this is me on top of a rock.

more of my view.

a little exercise to try to burn off those brownies and cupcakes...

i've spent the last 6 years living in ottawa. i went there to go to le cordon bleu after doing my undergrad at mcgill. i arrived with two suitcases with the intent to only stay 9 months. well six years later i had a two storey apartment full of stuff and figured it was time to stop just cooking on the line and put my business degree to use. don't get me wrong i did lots of cool stuff in ottawa - worked at some of the best fine dining restaurants, taught cooking classes at the urban element, and was on a bbq show called 'road grill' that was on the food network - hence the line of bbq sauces i make. ottawa has lots of green space, diverse shopping, restaurants & music and is an overall great city (minus the politicians) but there is no ocean and you can't just walk out the front door and climb rocks, so i moved home.

i'm still building up my list of suppliers and am trying to make connections within the food industry here, but it's fun and i've been able to source some awesome product so far. still need to do a little more exploration in the international stores, although i was very excited to find tandoori masala, cardamom pods and brown mustard seeds the other day. mushrooms though, i need some good mushrooms! suggestions please for maitakes, eryngiis, and honeys...

mondays also give me a little time to take care of some business stuff too. this is the finalized sticker that i'm going to put on all of my products with my business info:

it's time to graduate from the ghetto mailing labels on everything! can you tell i like colour? although if you've seen me at the market you could probably guess that anyway!

so last night i made some pepper crusted steaks, roasted potatoes and veggies for dinner. just wanted to mention a few things about properly searing meat. it drives me bonkers when people mess up meat. a properly seared, crusty steak is so satisfying. i find that loads of people get so freaked out about cooking meat that they fiddle with it and essentially end up steaming the meat instead of searing in all of the flavour and juices. here are some of my rules:

1. don't overcrowd the pan
2. don't touch the meat until you see dark brown caramelization licking up the sides
3. don't slice into the meat immediately - be patient and let it rest
4. preheat your pan - you better hear a nice sear when the meat goes in
5. properly season the meat before cooking

last night i took out my le creuset enamelled, cast-iron skillet (i love you julia child!). if you have cast-iron use it - don't be scared. it has such even heat distribution and holds the heat so well. i heated it up with some veg oil (don't use olive, the smoke point is too low), seasoned the meat liberally with lots of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and seared that puppy to delectable caramelized medium rare. i let it rest while i cooked the veggies and it was fast and easy and delicious and i only dirtied one pan (and a baking sheet for the potatoes...) pretty good. i'm no diva though - i did enjoy that steak with a healthy side of ketchup!

after the chicken extravaganza of last week i thought i'd mix it up a little for this week. i have ordered a whole loin of pork from getaway farm that i am picking up at the market tomorrow. their pork is a berkshire/tamworth cross, two radical heritage breeds. i'll probably brine it and slow roast it with veggies from noggins farm. just a classic roast pork dinner with gravy, mashed potatoes, veggies and rolls. i think i'll make another batch of wild nova scotia blueberry tartlets as well. they didn't sell well at all this week which i though was weird but i ate some last night and dang! i was pretty pleased with myself (and some help from my bro) if i do say so myself.

i also picked up a slow-cooker today (thanks gram) so i'll be serving up some hot soups and stews at the market very soon. trying to decide which flavour to try out first. probably curried butternut squash. the aromas of ginger, curry and cilantro should permeate the market quite nicely and hopefully attract loads of customers...

anyway, i'll post a complete menu with prices and stuff tomorrow night probably but for now just cook your meat well, please.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

this week's menu

the chicken extravaganza is in full swing. i have chicken bones in the oven roasting for stock to make the thai chicken and rice soup - i've already roasted and shredded the thighs for when the broth is finished. i also just portioned all of the breasts - half are in an asian soy marinade, and the other half in a southwest style dry rub. i'm about to put on a chicken curry with chickpeas and tomatoes - like butter chicken only healthier!
for tomorrow i will have both the curry and the asian chicken dishes. the szechwan dish is loosely based on a sweet and sour dish i used to make when i was little. i was obsessed with wok with yan - and chef pasquale too! this is sort of like his sweet and sour meatballs but with a little less sweet and a little more spice. i marinate chicken breasts in sesame and soy, dust them with cornstarch and crisp them up before adding to a tangy garlic ginger sauce with lots of veggies - onions, peppers and pineapple. i'm excited for leftovers. don't worry i won't go overboard on the spice level in both the szechwan and curry but i'll probably put little sides of siracha (my fav hot sauce) in each container.
so here is the menu for the week:

szechwan chicken in a garlic, ginger sauce, with veggies and rice (friday)             $15

'butter' chicken, with tomatoes, chickpeas and basmati (friday)                              $15

southwest grilled chicken, corn, black beans, sweet potatoes & cornbread (sun)    $15

spaghetti and meatballs (foxhill cheese, getaway farm beef)                             $10

sausage & pepper penne (roasted peppers, shani's sausages, foxhill)      sm $7.5 lg $15

shepherd's pie (cheddar mash, peas, corn, getaway farm beef)               sm $7.5 lg $15

lobster mac & cheese (tomatoes, foxhill curds, leek bechamel)               sm $10 lg $20

soups $5
beet, parsnip & pear
carrot, apple, ginger
potato, leek, bacon
curried butternut squash
french onion
thai chicken and rice
beef & barley
baked beans
seafood chowder (scallops, mussels, clams, halibut) $6
beef chili (chickpeas, black beans, corn, getaway farm) $7

lemon meringue tartlets  $3
snickers brownies  $3
mexican spiced truffles  $1
oatmeal raisin cookies $2.5
chocolate, coconut macaroons  $2
wild ns blueberry muffins $2
and maybe some surprises depending on my time management skills!

hope to see you at the market!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

and then i bought 71 lbs of chicken...

so i bought some chickens from shani's farm ( it's awesome though because i noticed a lot of people are requesting my chicken dishes... particularly the grilled chicken with sweet potatoes and succotash, which will be making its triumphant return on sunday.
there is definitely a marked difference in taste from grocery store chicken to free range happy chickens. it may be a little more expensive but it is so worth it! i also buy my sausages for the sausage and roasted pepper penne from cheryl at shani's farm - and all of my pork products for that matter.
so this week i've been thinking of lots of international uses for my copious quantities of chicken. i'm definitely going southwest for sunday, but i have lots of other ideas as well:
- szechwan chicken with chillies, peppers, pineapple and rice
- butter chicken with veggies, basmati, grilled naan & raita
- of course the thai chicken and rice soup (i'm eating the last one for lunch!)
- greek inspired chicken breast with olives, capers, roasted peppers, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese & feta
- moroccan chicken tagine with couscous, almonds and raisins...
should be fun, i'm definitely excited to eat everything!
this sunday was super busy at the market and i sold out of a lot of my soups. this week i'll be making a new batch of curried butternut squash soup, thai chicken & rice, roasted red pepper and tomato, and i'm thinking spicy miso mushroom, and french onion with propellor beer. we'll see just how much i can accomplish though...
thought it would be a good idea, as well, to showcase some more of the food before it's covered - just so you know what you're getting into...

this is the base of the shepherd's pie - getaway farms beef, peas, corn and a gravy based on my chipotle bbq sauce.

these are the shepherd's pies when they are finished. instead of straight mashed potatoes i like to add some cheddar, parsnips and celery root (highly underrated vegetables), herbs and green onions. it's that certain 'je ne sais quoi' that makes it a little different than usual.

at this time of year, tomatoes aren't that radical. i like to toss them lightly with olive oil, herbs (mostly oregano) and some s&p. then roast them at a low temperature to concentrate the flavour. they can become great but it just takes a little more effort than when they are at their peak. this summer it is also my mission to figure out how to grow tomatoes in prospect village - however the wind and fog do not make for ideal growing conditions, so we'll see how it works out...

 this is what the tomatoes look like when they are turned into 'caponata'. i personally hate olives but when prepared in this way i actually like them. this is a combo of onions, garlic, capers, olives, roasted peppers, red wine vinegar, sugar, herbs & those oven dried tomatoes. it makes a great pasta sauce (sort of like a puttanesca minus the anchovies) - or on pizza, and it works particularly well with fish & chicken. if you ask trish (the chef at the black cat in ottawa) you can put it on everything - i made her some for her birthday one year because she was so obsessed! also notice the le creuset dutch oven it's being cooked in 

- i love you julia child!
ok time to start cooking - hope to see you at the market this week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

valentine's week menu

here's the menu for the week - lots and lots of selection!

pepper-crusted getaway farm beef sirloin with a port reduction, creamy blue cheese smashed potatoes, balsamic roasted beets and shallots (fresh for friday)            $16

classic spaghetti and meatballs - a la lady & the tramp - with foxhill cheese parmesan, marinara, getaway farm beef and fresh torn basil (fresh for sunday)                  $12

lobster mac & cheese with foxhill cheese curds, oven dried tomatoes, leek bechamel and panko/parmesan crust                                                            small $10    large $20

panko crusted salt cod fish cakes & baked beans (serves 2)  $12

braised getaway farm beef brisket with gnocchi alfredo, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, red wine jus and wilted spinach          (only 3 left)                                    $12

getaway farm beef shepherd's pie, cheddar & white root vegetable mash, peas, corn and gravy
                                                                                              small $7.50   large $15

sausage and pepper baked penne, shani's farm italian sausages, swiss chard, marinara, foxhill cheese curds, roasted red peppers and caramelized onions            small $7.50   large $15

soups, stews and chowders
beet, parsnip and pear  $5
roasted red pepper & tomato  $5 (only 2 left)
potato, leek and bacon  $5
curried butternut squash  $5
carrot, apple & ginger  $5
beef stew  $5  (only 2 left)
baked beans $5
thai chicken & rice $5
beef & barley  $5
chili con carne $7 (wild wind farm beef, black beans, corn)
chunky seafood chowder $7 (clams, halibut, mussels and some surprises)

valentine's heart-shaped shortbreads   $2
dark chocolate & champagne truffles  $1
coconut cream tartlets  $3
snickers brownies  $3
chocolate or vanilla cupcakes with pink & red buttercream  $2
sponge toffee  $1
chocolate pecan skor $1
chocolate and coconut macaroons $2

i'll also have roasted garlic, herb & olive oil focaccia each day.

i'm experiencing a few technical difficulties but i'll post some tips and tricks for the week as soon as i figure things out...
also if you'd like to reorder anything send me a message through the blog or on the little red kitsch'n facebook page, thanks!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

and then i cooked all day

the last of the cornbread just came out of the oven and i just had to have one for dinner - they smell ridiculous! for tomorrow i have tons of goodies -

my superbowl extravaganza includes panko crusted shani's farm chicken wings - i'll be sampling the dipping sauces as well (i made a ton!), chili con carne with lots of beans and corn, and then 7 layer dip which includes:
1. ranch inspired sour cream
2. wild wind farm beef with chipotle lime bbq sauce
3. refried beans and green chillies
4. cilantro, lime guacamole (i have 2 cilantro free for those who despise the stuff)
5. salsa with cherry tomatoes and red onions
6. diced green and red bell peppers
7. cheddar cheese
it's pretty much an explosion of tex-mex flavours and always my go-to when heading to a potluck!
my cornbread muffins have lots of peppers, green onions, cheddar and of course corn kernels
then for dessert i have some festive cupcakes: dark chocolate with yellow buttercream for pittsburgh and vanilla cupcakes with green buttercream for green bay - i love themes...

i also have lots of non-tailgate party food as well - wild nova scotia blueberry muffins with a hint of seafoam lavender, pumpkin and maple cupcakes, coconut cream tartlets, ribs, brisket, chicken, fish cakes, lobster mac & cheese...i only how 1 shepherd's pie left though so come see me early in case i run out of a few things!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


i've sold out of rappi pies for the week already due to preorders. if you're extremely disappointed let me know at the market and i'll rock another batch for next week thanks!

i've decided

the "surprise" cup cakes for tomorrow are in the oven and they are crumble topped, apple/cinnamon cupcakes with browned butter/brown sugar icing - hooray!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

menu for feb 4 & 6

the ribs are in the oven for a nice slow braise and i'm very excited! i took a little creative license with my grandmother's recipe and i think they will be stellar. the mac & cheese is almost ready - i just need to find a big enough vessel to mix it all up in - could be challenging... so here's the menu for the week - one of my favourite recipes of all time for friday and some classic, tailgate fare to celebrate super bowl sunday


honey/garlic/ginger braised spareribs from shani's farm, with sesame roasted broccoli and basmati rice
   - fresh for friday              $15

lobster mac & cheese with foxhill cheese curds, oven dried tomatoes, garlic/leek bechamel, panko crust
   - fresh for friday              small $10   large $20

black bean and corn chilli con carne, wild wind farm beef, chipotles, chickpeas
   - fresh for sunday            $8

crispy baked shani's farm chicken wings with a trio of sauces - spicy bbq, blue cheese, honey mustard
   - fresh for sunday            $5

seven layer dip - beans, cheese, veggies, salsa, deliciousness
   - fresh for sunday            $5

home-smoked pulled berkshire pork (shani's farm again!) with maple bourbon bbq sauce
   - fresh for sunday            $8


braised getaway farm beef brisket with gnocchi alfredo, red wine gravy and wilted spinach    $12

bbq chicken dinner, chipotle lime sauce, cornbread, succotash, sweet potato mash                  $10

rappi pie, braised chicken, caramelized onions, salt pork and potatoes                                      $5

salt cod fish cakes and baked beans (serves 2) - i had to put the price up because i ran out of potatoes from my garden and had to buy them...sorry                                                                            $12

shepherd's pie, wild wind farm beef, peas, corn & cheddar, white root veggie mash               $7.50

soups/stews/chowders       $5 each

beet, parsnip & dill (i only have 1 left)
potato, leek and bacon
curried butternut squash
beef stew
thai chicken & rice
roasted red pepper & tomato
clam chowder
beef & barley


sweet rolls friday, cornbread sunday            $1
lemon meringue & coconut cream tartlets    $3
snickers brownies                                         $3
surprise cupcakes (still deciding....)              $2
pumpkin spice and maple mini cupcakes     $1
chocolate pecan skor                                    $1
sponge toffee                                                $1
hand-rolled dark chocolate truffles               $.50
oatmeal, w. chocolate & cranberry cookies  $2.50

i guess it's good i'll probably be snowed in tomorrow because i have a lot of baking & prep work to do - i tend to get carried away for festivities (aka super bowl). i'm already planning homemade corned beef to celebrate st. patty's day, it's a two week process! and lots of fun things for valentine's day too.
if you want to pre-order anything, give me a shout and i'll set it aside so i don't have any sad faces when the mac & cheese is gone!