Friday, September 30, 2011

october 1

holy toledo - tomorrow's october. i'm not sure exactly how this happened but it's fall now. with the change in season, my thoughts have shifted from bbq to comfort foods. 

i think i may also need to take a break from soup production to clear a little room in the freezers - it's slightly out of control. this week i made a fresh batch of seafood chowder with mussels, haddock, sea trout & smoked haddock (all from the fish shop) and beef stew with a cross rib roast from getaway farm.

here's a list of all the flavours i'll have for the weekend:
vegan vegetable stew (vegan)
vegetarian chili (vegan)
bean, lentil & veggie (vegan)
curried butternut squash (vegan)
beet, parsnip & pear (vegan)
roasted red pepper, tomato & sweet potato (vegetarian)
corn chowder (vegetarian)
cream of broccoli (vegetarian)
baked beans (vegetarian)
thai chicken & rice
hearty beef stew
seafood chowder


the main course for this week is broccoli mac & cheese. i've had lots of requests for mac & cheese without lobster, so this is it. i snuck in a little cauliflower too and both the broccoli & cauliflower came from elmridge farm. there's cheese curds & parmesan from foxhill & even some super finely grated old growler in there from that dutchman. i have smalls ($8) and larges ($16).

this week i also went a little salad crazy. i have three salads for the weekend but am secretly hoping for some leftovers so i don't have to cook for myself next week.

the first is a wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, sage & a maple vinaigrette (vegan). the next is a roasted sweet potato salad with fresh corn, bell peppers, green onions, tomatoes, cilantro & a cumin-lime vinaigrette (vegan). and last but not least i have a traditional broccoli salad with bacon, almonds, red onion, sunflower seeds, raisins & a creamy dressing (totally not vegan).

aside from all that, i have tons of fish cakes & beans, curries (although i think i'm out of the vegan one), pennes, shepherd's pies, southwest chicken dinners & british fish pies...

i made fresh chipotle lime & honey mustard bbq sauces yesterday & today i'll jar them - however i just noticed how dangerously low on sauce jars i am so i might only be able to get one flavour bottled up for the weekend...

ok time to start baking & guzzling caffeine ;) see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

steppin' out

sometimes it's really nice to get out of the kitchen, walk away from the dishes, ignore the lists & not lift a finger. that's exactly what i did today.

it was gorgeous outside & i decided to go for a hike. i grew up in prospect village & have spent many hours 'up the shore' over the years, but today i went further than i've ever gone before & was rewarded with some pretty epic views.

i know it's technically fall, but today it felt like summer had finally arrived. 

along the way, there are constant reminders of the power of the sea. driftwood is scattered far from the shoreline & even whole trees are washed up on beaches.

& it's a veritable, lobster pot graveyard. it makes you realize just how dangerous the work is that the lobster fishermen do & appreciate the fruits of their labour so much more.

not to mention the erosion. this poor tree has roots growing to nowhere.

and the dangerous sheer rock faces that drop into shallow waters below.

this view made me a little nervous, not gonna lie.

and oddly enough, i found myself internally quoting 'heritage moments' on the hike home.

and perhaps this will be the year i invest in some sturdier hiking shoes.

don't worry i promise to get back in the kitchen tomorrow. seafood chowder, beef stew & lots of broccoli on the prep list for the week, but for now i have blisters to tend to :)

Friday, September 23, 2011


this week has been absolutely insane.
every friday i find myself saying 'i can't believe it's the weekend again', and this week is no exception.

monday was cleaning, chilli & chicken stock.
tuesday was finishing up shepherd's pies, cream of broccoli, thai chicken & rice, baked beans, and maple bourbon bbq sauce.
wednesday was shopping, chicken, leek, broccoli & bacon pies, and catering prep.
thursday was catering a 5-course plated dinner & weekend catering prep.
which brings me back to friday which will see tons of baking, finishing up a couple of salads & making hors d'oeuvres for pick up tomorrow at the market...

needless to say, the freezers are jam packed... seriously it's a bit ridiculous! i may not even do a new fresh option next week simply because i have no where to put it... but if this weekend is super busy i'm sure i'll whip up something.

so here goes with the menu:

chicken, leek, broccoli & bacon pies - braised chicken in a rich gravy with a puff pastry lid   
small $10 large $20

shepherd's pie - getaway farm beef, peas & corn, creamy, cheddar mashed potatoes
small $9 large $18

sausage & cheese curd penne - shani's farm sausages, kale, marinara, parmesan & foxhill curds
small $7.5 large $15

salt cod fishcakes & molasses baked beans - serves 2  $15

curried chicken & chickpeas with basmati rice
small $10 large $20

vegan curry with chickpeas, butternut squash, cauliflower, spinach & brown rice
small $7.5 large $15

southwest chicken dinner - sweet potato mash, black beans & corn, chipotle, lime & cilantro - serves 2 $24

quinoa 'jambalaya' - chorizo, shrimp, grilled chicken, peppers, tomatoes, lemon & herbs - serves 2  $18

creamy british fish pie - mussels, salmon, smoked haddock & sea trout with lemon-dill mashed potatoes
serves 3-4 $22

i will also have some type of fingerling potato salad & a quinoa salad - i know they'll both be vegan but beyond that, i haven't quite decided yet.

there will be an array of cupcakes, cookies, tarts, brownies & mini cheesecakes - definitely the mint-oreo ones & perhaps a new flavour depending on my time management skills today...

oh dear, i had better get in the kitchen. see ya tomorrow... hopefully i'm on time ;)

Friday, September 16, 2011

something old is new again.

i'm in the midst of baking....
i'll have 5 types of cupcakes tomorrow.
red velvet

as well as: snickers brownies, lemon meringues, oreo cheesecakes... oh, & oatmeal, cranberry, white chocolate cookies ;)

shepherd's pies, sausage pennes, vegan stew, chilli  & carrot soup in the works too :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

pretty, little things

i have always loved minis. growing up i had collections of tiny, woodland creature figurines & miniature cacti. and when i started my first job in a professional kitchen, the amuse bouches & mignardises were two of my favourite things to create everyday. now, i think i'm becoming most well-known for my miniature cupcakes - 'they're soooo cute!', 'are they real?', 'how do you make them so small?' & i take it as a compliment every time someone asks to take a photo.

this weekend, in addition to the market, i made a lot of pretty, little things for a special tea party on sunday. the theme was vintage, shabby chic & quite fun to play around with.

the menu consisted of:
devilled eggs with dijon & tarragon
vegetable bundles with tangy poppyseed dressing
mini spinach & cheese filo parcels
cucumber & dill tea sandwiches
waldorf chicken salad tea sandwiches
mini cupcakes

and drum roll please......

pies on sticks!

they are essentially pie lollipops. the filling is apple/cinnamon/cranberry & they wound up being super cute. given the amount of labour that goes into each, i'm not entirely sure if they will be making an appearance at a market near you, anytime soon - but, we'll see...

i also can't take credit for their invention. the hostess of the tea party just threw the idea out there & i decided to try to make it happen. after a little internet research i felt confident that i could pull them off. my main concern was that the lollipop sticks would go up in smoke, but i baked a stick for almost an hour & it didn't even change colour... phewf!

the next step is to precook the filling to make sure it isn't too loose & holds up well when baking and, more importantly, while eating. normally for an apple pie, you would toss the raw apples with cinnamon & sugar and pile them into the pie crust. for these, i cooked it down until all of the juices reduced, chilled it & then assembled the pies. it's very important to chill the filling as well, or else the crusts will melt & be dense instead of flaky.

then it wound up being exactly like making homemade raviolis... just with a stick stuck in each one! cut out the bottom round of dough, egg wash the edge, insert the lollipop stick, mound the filling, stretch the top crust over the filling & seal the edges. egg wash the top as well & sprinkle with crunchy sugar. then just bake as usual & you're done. 

tied with ribbon around the sticks & displayed in a glass vase, they would make a very stylish addition to any dessert table... like i said 'we'll see'... :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

i don't know what's come over me

i haven't eaten a gargantuan steak in weeks, i've started cooking actual meals for myself, and i stocked the fridge with fruits & veggies for snacks... this is odd.

i've noticed more and more people looking for vegetarian & vegan options - i figured they might be on to something. i haven't gone that far but i did lighten up my cooking this week & even threw in a vegan main course for the weekend.

the market is teeming with fresh veggies & just looking at the displays made me want to make ratatouille this week.

fresh main courses
braised chicken in ratatouille with basil over soft, parmesan polenta 
serves 2 $20

vegan chickpea curry, with squash, cauliflower, spinach & brown rice 
small $7.5 large $15

fresh salads
marinated vegetable, garlic, oregano
potato, egg, celery, bean, radish, tarragon
quinoa, tomato, cucumber, roasted pepper, herb

frozen mains
roast pork loin, gnocchi with corn & chanterelles
serves two $20

grilled southwest chicken, sweet potato mash, black bean & corn succotash
serves 2 $24

creamy british fish pie, lemon-dill mashed potatoes
serves 2 $22

curried chicken & chickpeas with basmati
small $10 large $20

quinoa 'jambalaya', grilled chicken, shrimp & chorizo, lemon, tomatoes, peppers
serves 2 $18

moroccan meatballs, getaway beef, harissa quinoa
serves 2 $18

shepherd's pie, getaway beef, cheddar mash, peas & corn 
small $7.5 large $18

fish cakes & baked beans
serves two $15

lobster mac & cheese
small $10

sausage & cheese curd penne
small $7.5

frozen soups & chowders
curried butternut squash
thai chicken & rice
ginger beef
seafood chowder
corn chowder
roast red pepper & tomato
vegan stew
potato, pear, celery, gorgonzola
root veggie puree

this week will see the return of oreo cheesecake cupcakes & i'm testing out a double strawberry cupcake as well...
see you over the weekend :)