Friday, December 28, 2012

weekend update

it looks as though my weekend at the market may be cut short this week. just checked the forecast and i will not be heading in on sunday if we get the forecast 20 cm of snow.

i will be there tomorrow for sure, so if you need treats for new year's parties... or for the morning after, make sure to pop by.

this week i finally had time to make that batch of lobster mac & cheese.

the lobsters were caught by my neighbour and i watched them come in on wednesday - pretty local indeed. this batch is positively loaded with goodies. there's tons of lobster, tons of foxhill curds, parmesan, mozzarella, oven-dried tomatoes, leek bechamel & roasted garlic.
small $12  large $24

last week i sold out of the chicken & leek pies but everything else on the menu remains unchanged. i have a 20 pound shani's farm turkey in the freezer so next week i'll work on lots more poultry options for the menu.

i have a feeling the market won't be crazy busy this week so i'm cutting back on salad production a little. this week there will be broccoli, sweet potato & quinoa. this will be the last week for a while with this festive version of the quinoa - fennel, grapefruit, olive, pomegranate & parsley so get your fix while you can.

ok, on to baked goods. the cookies are still a bit more 'breakfasty' with cinnamon, flax & pumpkin seeds. there will also be snickers brownies, maple walnut shortbreads, candy cane cheesecakes, eggnog cheesecakes, passionfruit tarts, pumpkin tarts & cheddar cornbread muffins.

cupcakes will be lemon, red velvet, chocolate, carrot, banana & gingerbread. i'm getting a little tired of this lineup so if anyone has cupcake suggestions or requests please send them along.

alrighty time to bake. hope to see everyone tomorrow & maybe sunday, but if not drive safe & happy new year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

happy holidays

happy holidays folks.

hard to believe christmas is here & gone already.

i never got entirely in the spirit this year. but it certainly helps when people bring me treats to the market...

december was a bit of a whirlwind with orders right up until the 23rd. not gonna lie, i was pretty worn out. i did partake in a few christmas traditions and took almost two days off so that was nice ;)

last weekend i made two ginormous cakes, a carrot cake with toasted walnuts & pecans and a black forest cake with fresh cherries, whipped cream & kirsch. adding these to my market prep the weekend before christmas was a little ridiculous but i was pretty pleased with the results.

i guess the customers liked them too... they sent me photos of them eating the leftovers for breakfast the next day :)

last saturday night i was back in the kitchen making a special order key lime pie as a birthday surprise. i neglected to take photos but was assured that key west now has some pretty stiff competition.

monday was christmas eve day and though it was the first day of my 'vacation,' i made my way over to my neighbour's house to give him a hand making rappi pie. rappi pie is perhaps my most favourite thing to eat in the whole world (aside from chips & dip and chocolate frosting of course). it's also my most favourite christmas tradition. some folks think it's pretty gross, but they must not have tried mike leblanc's rappi pie.

when i arrived, things were already going full steam ahead.

 i didn't have to do too much work. he'd already picked the chickens, simmered the stock, cooked the onions, cubed the salt pork & stoked the fire. i was there to help with the grating & dehydrating of potatoes. the trick is to have a food processor equipped with an extra fine grater. mine is a little too coarse so the texture ends up being a bit more like a roesti than i would like. but guess what? santa left me a top-of-line one under the tree so now i can take my rappi pie to the next level!

we made two giant roasters full of it - 40lbs of potatoes, 3 large chickens, a pot of onions & about 15 litres of chicken stock. then to make it truly authentic is was baked in the wood stove.

here it is just as it went in:

and here it is 3 hours later, in all its glory:

to most, it's not much to look at. but to those who are privy to the delights within, this is a thing of pure beauty. geez louise i love rappi pie... sigh.

then it was christmas day. lucky for me, i don't lift a finger for christmas morning breakfast or christmas dinner. however, this year i was enlisted to make a couple of pies for a boxing day pig roast, which meant some work on christmas day. it wasn't too bad. i had a sous chef to boss around - my brother - and the results weren't too shabby.

so although i did do more work than i was planning, it was all worth it & i did manage to slack off more than usual. heck i didn't even turn my car on for three days and was able to enjoy a few epic backyard sunsets.

but now it's back to the grind.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ladies' night part deux

as promised, here are the remainder of the holiday entertaining recipes from ladies' shopping night at the market.

cheese balls
1/2 c butter, room temp
2 8oz pkgs cream cheese, room temp
salt & pepper
1 tsp worchestershire
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
1 lemon, zest & juice

cranberry: sharp cheddar cheese, dash cinnamon, toasted walnuts & dried cranberries
fresh herb: goat cheese, garlic, green onions, chopped fresh herbs

- in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until fluffy & pale
- blend in the cream cheese a little at a time and mix until smooth
- divide the mixture evenly in to two bowls
- in one bowl stir in 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, a dash of cinnamon and 1/4 c chopped, toasted walnuts. roll in to 1 inch diameter balls and coat in finely chopped dried cranberries
- in the other bowl, stir in 1/2 cup softened goat cheese, 1 clove minced garlic and 2 chopped green oniosn. roll in to 1 inch diameter balls and coat in finely chopped fresh herbs
- arrange the red & green cheese balls in alternating layers on a nice platter

olive caponata
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 c roasted red peppers
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped

- combine all ingredients in a food processor & blend until smooth
- adjust seasoning with salt & pepper
- done

this can be kept for ages & ages in the refrigerator & makes a great dip, spread, condiment, pasta topping, pizza sauce and addition to a plain marinara.

white bean dip
1 can white navy beans, drained & rinsed
3 tbsp roasted garlic in olive oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, zest & juice
1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped

- combine all ingredients
- mash with a fork, blitz in the food processor or crush in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment
- adjust seasoning with salt & pepper

keeps for about a week in the refrigerator. if you make a thicker version of this it can be used in place of mashed potatoes if you're looking for a new starch to add to your repetoire.

i had also planned on making some mushroom filo bundles & spanokopita but ran short of time. i actually wrote a blog post ages & ages ago showing how to make them. take a gander for step-by-step instructions. for a simple spanokopita filling, thaw & squeeze dry one package of frozen spinach. stir together with 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 cloves crushed garlic, salt & pepper.

okee dokee hope this helps & isn't too late for your holiday entertaining.

Friday, December 21, 2012

four more sleeps

the countdown is on. it's christmas crunch time & i'm feeling the pinch. exhaustion has set in & i just can't wait for sunday at 4pm!

just a quick reminder to those folks with some last minute shopping to take care of - don't forget about my gift certificates & i'm set up to accept visa & mastercard.

this week has been chock full of cupcake & cake orders, christmas shopping & getting ready for 'man night' at the market. i had planned on whipping up a couple lobster dishes but had to postpone them until next week. they'll still be ready in time for new year's festivities though.

here's a complete list of what i do have this weekend:
beef bourguignon - getaway farm beef, red wine, mushrooms, bacon, pearl onions, swiss chard,   roasted carrots & turnips, creamy mashed potatoes    
small $10  large $20
red wine braised brisket - overnight braised getaway farm beef, sundried tomatoes, pears, onions & garlic, blue cheese mashed potatoes and kale    
large $20
shepherd's pie - getaway farm beef again! peas, carrots, corn, tangy gravy, cheddar-green onion mashed potatoes    
small $10  large $20
asian-inspired pulled pork - ginger, garlic, soy, cilantro, lime, chinese 5-spice, bean sprouts, green onions, sesame roasted broccoli, served over rice    
large $20
chicken, leek, broccoli & bacon pies - shani's farm chicken, double smoked bacon, melted leeks, broccoli in a rich gravy made with homemade chicken stock, fresh herbs & a puff pastry lid
large  $20
chicken parmesan - buttermilk marinated & panko-parmesan breaded chicken breasts, served over fettuccine with basil, spinach, tomatoes & homemade marinara
small $10  large $20
fish cakes & baked beans - salt cod, mashed potatoes, onions, celery, summer savoury, lemon & green onions with a breadcrumb crust
4 fish cakes & 500ml beans for $15
vegan shepherd's pie - the base is made from lentils, mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, peas, corn, kale, tomatoes, fresh herbs & balsamic and it's topped with potato, parsnip, turnip, cauliflower & sweet potato mash. this one is a great vegan option for christmas dinner.
small $9  large $18
pumpkin tagine - roasted pumpkin, tofu, tomatoes, cauliflower with all sorts of moroccan flavours: sumac, lemon, dates, olives, ginger, cumin & coriander. it's served with harissa quinoa
small $9  large $18
vegan curry - potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, cauliflower, green beans, spinach, cilantro, lime, coconut & chillies served with basmati rice
small $9  large $18

last weekend my soup stock took quite a beating. this week i was able to replace the seafood chowder & the beet, parsnip & pear.

it's both vegan & gluten-free. all the veggies are simmered with aromatics for hours, then pureed, passed through a fine mesh strainer and then brightened up with some fresh dill.

the salad selection remains unchanged this week but make sure to come early to guarantee you get the flavour you're after.

cupcake flavours this week are:
orange - vanilla
red velvet - raspberry
gingerbread - eggnog
banana - peanut butter
pumpkin - maple
chocolate - chocolate
chocolate - mint

there are also breakfast cookies, passionfruit tarts, apple-streusel tarts, snickers brownies, maple walnut squares, hello dolly's, cornbread muffins, dinner rolls and two flavours of cheesecake. the cheesecakes are pretty festive, there's candycane oreo & chai eggnog!

alrighty back to the kitchen. i still have two giant (11x15x8) cakes to make. one is black forest and the other is a carrot cake like this:

hope to see everyone over the weekend!

ps: i haven't forgotten the rest of my recipes for ladies' night & man night. early next week i'll have time to sit down & type them up.

Friday, December 14, 2012

7 hours

well, the market officially opens in 7 hours. i just kept baking & baking and then all of a sudden it was really late - oops. this is going to be ultra quick so i can get a few hours of sleep.

so the new main course this week is lentil shepherd's pie. this is probably the most popular dish i've ever made and it's vegan & gluten-free to boot. it starts with a base of mirepoix, then it's in with the lentils, mushrooms, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, peas, corn, herbs & balsamic.

the mashed potato topping gets some added flavour from turnips, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, nutritional yeast & fresh herbs.
small $9  large $18

the salads this week are virtually identical to last week. i sold out & had lots of positive feedback, so i figured 'why mess with a good thing?'
quinoa: fennel, grapefruit, olive, pomegranate, parsley
broccoli: almond, cranberry, bacon, sunflower seed, pepper, onion
beet: wheatberries, balsamic, arugula, goat cheese, candied nuts
sweet potato: lime, cilantro, avocado, pepper, tomato, chipotle

this week i also went a little overboard with the baking. the oatmeal cookies got a bit of a makeover with flax, pumpkin seeds & cinnamon added to the usual base. they're a bit heartier & crunchier.

i also made a batch of my great-aunt lillian's ginger cookies - a christmas staple around these parts. they're crisp on the outside with a chewy interior and mild gingerbread spices. 50 cents each

the passionfruit tarts survived this week, so i'll have those along with the cheddar-streusel topped apple tarts.

cupcake flavours this week are: red velvet, chocolate, gingerbread, banana, carrot & citrus with raspberry, chocolate, mint, vanilla, peanut butter, maple, blueberry & eggnog frostings.

i also embraced candy canes this week. they made their way in to the hello dolly's and the cheesecakes are candy cane-oreo.

i skipped the fruity muffins this week but i did make savoury, cheddar cornbread muffins. they look pretty festive too with red & green bell peppers.

that's all for now. ladies night part deux is on its way. also i'm doing demos for man night at the market next week - in desperate need of suggestions. what do men want to learn how to cook?

goodnight all, see you over the weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ladies' night

last night was the first ladies' shopping night at the market. hours were extended until 8pm and lots of vendors were on hand so there was great selection for christmas shopping. there were passed hors d'oeuvres, carol singers, wine seminars & some food demonstrations put on by yours truly (click here for an action shot).

the event was coordinated by the halifax port authority and they asked me to come up with simple holiday appetizers that were approachable & relatively quick to put together. i chose to demonstrate a few bar snacks, a couple of dips, some skewers, cheese balls and filo bundles.

i brought in my kitchenaid stand mixer & food processor, a little hot plate, bowls, utensils and transformed my usual nook at the market into a little cooking studio.

this was the setup for the 'skewers' segment. i just showed the ladies how to take some classic flavour combinations and plate them up a wee bit different so they're festive & easy to eat at cocktail parties.

the first was classic prosciutto & melon. i chose to use cantaloupe & honeydew. first i diced the melons up uniformly and then wrapped each cube in a slice of speck (alternatively you could use prosciutto or roselane's westphalean ham) and secured them with bamboo skewers. i prefer the snazzy skewers with a knot or twist in the end. they're available at big eric's on lady hammond but are cheaper at the smaller asian groceries - i usually go to the one on chebucto across from what used to be the bay, or tian phat on the bedford highway.

the second was a take on a caprese salad. with the red, white & green colour combo, these are perfect for the holidays. i find that cherry tomatoes & baby bocconcini can be a little bland so a marinade really gives them a boost. i toss the cheese with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and chopped oregano. the cherry tomatoes get a dose of balsamic reduction, salt & pepper.

the trick, to really infuse the tomatoes with flavour, is to prick them all over with a skewer. they look unblemished and it doesn't mar presentation but it allows the vinegar & salt to really penetrate the fruit.

next up were prosciutto wrapped asparagus skewers. the kicker is a little nugget of boursin cheese hiding under the prosciutto - any flavour you like. then with just a quick coating of vegetable oil, s&p and a couple minutes under the broiler, you're good to go.

next it was on to bar snacks. for these i chose to do marinated olives, stuffed dates & candied nuts. 

at this time of year, i really dig the flavours of citrus & rosemary. for the olives, i pitted 2 cups of kalamata olives, then tossed them with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, the zest of one orange and 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped. then i added my secret ingredient - 1 tsp zaatar spice, from the spice man at the old market.

these olives are something that can be done a couple of weeks in advance, they get better with age, and are a great pantry staple.

the stuffed dates are one of my personal favourites; the salty-sweet combo is right up my alley. the only important thing to remember is: don't cheap out on the dates. medjool dates are imperative. the honey dates at the grocery store are a fraction of the price but shouldn't be used in this application. so take a date, remove the pit, fill the cavity with blue cheese & a toasted almond and close the date back up. if blue cheese isn't your thang, sub in goat cheese or whatever else floats your boat. again these can be done in advance & help to alleviate some of the stress of holiday entertaining.

the final thing i'm going to tackle tonight is the recipe for spiced nuts. i think these were the ultimate favourite of the evening. these are something i've been making for years, they're always a hit & i've even made giant batches as christmas gifts before.

spiced nuts
5 cups mixed nuts (i used walnuts, pecans & almonds in this batch)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

-melt the honey & brown sugar together over a double boiler. i guess this could be done in the microwave too, i just never use those, but be careful - honey boils over in a heartbeat!
-add all of the spices to the honey mixture and mix well
-add the nuts and toss to coat, it should be a nice light coating, not pooling in the bottom of the bowl

-spread them in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet 
-spray a cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray. spread the nuts on this & place it over a parchment-lined baking sheet. as they roast, any excess honey will drip off and leave perfectly coated individual nuts
-bake at 300F 15-20 minutes until the honey has caramelized and isn't quite so sticky
-cool slightly, toss in the pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and separate the nuts with a fork
-cool completely & store in an air-tight container. these will keep for weeks.

the pumpkin seeds & dried cranberries have to go in at the end for presentation's sake. if the pumpkin seeds roast alongside the nuts, they turn the same shade of brown and aren't nearly as pretty. the cranberries turn almost black & become quite acrid. by adding them at the end they look nice & festive.

well this is turning in to a bit of a novel, so i'll reserve the rest for another day. hope it's been helpful thus far.

to be continued...

Friday, December 7, 2012

last minute

well it's technically saturday already, but here's a last minute blog post for the week.

the new main course is another batch of beef bourguignon. it seems as though this is the new bestseller and i already have some on reserve heading in to the weekend. the beef is from getaway farm and it's cooked up with lots of red wine, bacon, mushrooms & pearl onions. it's paired with potato-parsnip puree, swiss chard, and roasted sprouts, turnips & carrots.

small $11  large $22

last weekend was salad insanity! being at three different markets made it hard to keep up with demand, but i'm fully stocked up this week. there are four options to choose from:
quinoa - fennel, olive, grapefruit, pomegranate, parsley
sweet potato - avocado, capsicum, lime, cilantro, chipotle
broccoli - almond, red onion, sunflower seeds, bacon
wheatberry - beet, arugula, pear, candied walnut, goat cheese
$5 each
this is the beet:

i also baked two types of muffin for tomorrow. on the sweet side, there's a cranberry/orange/cinnamon/almond concoction and on the savoury side, there's cornbread with cheddar, pepper, cumin & spice.
they're both $1.50 each

there's lots of the usual sweets including eggnog cheesecakes, apple tarts & gingerbread cupcakes. unfortunately there are no passionfruit tarts... i totally burnt them :( maybe i'll make some for sunday.

also christmas is fast-approaching so don't forget that i have gift certificates available and i'm all set up to take visa & mastercard... it's pretty nifty actually, you sign right on the screen of my phone.

okee dokee off to sleep. see you soon.

Friday, November 23, 2012

small business saturday

today was all about hoopla. black friday is essentially the sabbath day for retail giants. tomorrow is 'small business saturday,' albeit much lesser known, but hopefully it brings lots of folks out to the market & downtown halifax in general... there's a sale at biscuit that i'll probably have to check out post-market...

ok back to business! it is a reasonable hour on a friday night & i'm finished all of my prep! the first christmas miracle of the season.

so first up - i made a ginormous batch of chicken parmigiana this week. this one is always a big hit and one of my faves to make. there's something very zen about making an epic marinara sauce and letting it simmer and come together all afternoon. there's buttermilk marinated chicken in a panko crust, parmesan marinara with spinach, fettuccine, basil & loads of cheese.

small $10 large $20

i also made a new vegan tagine this week. per usual it incorporates lots of moroccan flavours - sumac, ginger, fennel, coriander, lemon, olives, dates & harissa. this batch is loaded up with spice-roasted pumpkin...

... red peppers, tofu, tomatoes & swiss chard. it's served with harissa quinoa that's studded with almonds and citrus. not the most photogenic dish of all time, but i'm pretty satisfied with the flavours :)

small $9 large $18

there are three salads on the menu this week.
i'm still going strong with the tried & true broccoli salad.
this version of the quinoa salad has green beans, artichokes, lemon & pinenuts. it's seasoned up with a plethora of herbs - basil, dill, parsley, tarragon & arugula - and is super bright & fresh.
i also brought back the sweet potato salad, complete with bell peppers, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, green onions, cumin, lime & the most perfect avocados ever.

oh yeah, it went against every fibre of my being, but i skipped the cilantro in the sweet potato salad. it seems that the cilantro-averse population in halifax is growing exponentially. it won't happen often, but this week i caved to your demands.

i also made a double batch of maple bourbon bbq sauce this week. i'll have lots of larges (500ml $7.50) & smalls (250ml $5) at the market this weekend. i'll probably make a few different flavours heading in to the holidays - last year they were pretty popular for stocking stuffers.

all of the sweets are the same. i may be stuck in a bit of a rut. i'll mix it up soon, promise. i see eggnog cheesecakes in my very near future...

hope to see you at the market over the weekend.

ps: i'm now set up to accept visa & mastercard... but my card swiper thingy hasn't arrived yet so i'll have to key everything in... please bear with me :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


well it appears that december is just around the corner... sigh, tear, sniffle, wimper... and with it the holiday season. this year the #shift10 conversation on twitter is already trending as people make the concerted effort to shift at least 10% of their holiday spending to local businesses.

last night i already fulfilled my 10% at the vintage pink treasures jewelry sale.

but i still have plenty of local shopping to do.

the coast is also promoting a 'buy local pledge.' you take the pledge online to spend at least $100 locally this holiday season and you're entered into a draw for 1 of 6 $500 gift certificates to shop at supporting local businesses - i've donated little red kitsch'n gift certificates and if you look real close at the posters around town you can see my little logo!!!

Baby buy buy buy

holiday craft shows are another great way to keep your bucks local. a lot of the big shows just aren't my scene, but i have chosen to participate in a couple smaller ones that you may not have heard of.

i went to the halifax crafters show last christmas as a shopper and fell in love with everything. this year i'll be there as a vendor but fear i will immediately spend every cent of my earnings on all of the treasures there.

i will also be at the east coast momma collective show.

i figure the frozen foods and ready-to-go salads are great for busy new moms.
you'll also notice that both these shows are happening at the same time... and also at the same time as the seaport market. as i have not yet been able to clone myself, i have enlisted the help of a team of ladies to help me be in three places at once. i personally will be at the halifax crafters show, but will have friends working the other two tables. i'll still be making all the food myself & will have a wide array of my products at each location so don't be alarmed when you don't see me at the market.

it will be a logistical nightmare - 3 sets of signage, 3 table displays, 3 times the baking, 3 bins of packaging & incidentals... - but i've been prepping like a crazy person so that next week i just have to bake, make salads (& sandwiches), and organize instead of cooking.

i'll post a full menu tomorrow but *spoiler alert* chicken parm is back on the menu this week.

a demain.

Friday, November 16, 2012

le sigh

what a week! i have a feeling i'm going to be saying that every friday for about the next six weeks. this year i vowed to be ready for the holiday rush and that's what has been keeping me busy.

my inventory is at crazy levels right now; i'm trying to figure out how to be in three places at once; and i got new signage & gift certificates done up.

the gift certificates will be available as of tomorrow, they have no expiry date, they can be made out for any denomination, and they make an excellent gift ;) next on my to do list, get my visa & mastercard setup straightened out...

ok back to food. this week i focused on replenishing the classics.
there's a new batch of beef shepherd's pie with getaway farm beef, peas, carrots, corn & cheddar mashed potatoes.
small $10 large $20

there's also a new batch of the asian-inspired pulled pork with soy, ginger, garlic, sesame, chillies, roasted broccoli, bean sprouts & rice.
small $10 large $20

i also made a new batch of the hearty chicken stew with shani's farm chicken, rutabaga (that i grew myself mind you)...

 ...carrots, parsnips, sprouts, herbs & this batch has noodles instead of potatoes per request from a chicken stew aficionado. 
$7 for 500ml

the salads are broccoli, 4-bean & quinoa. the broccoli and 4-bean are the usual but the quinoa has gone back to mediterranean this week with olives, artichokes, fennel, tomatoes, basil, arugula & oregano.

there's the usual assortment of cupcakes, squares, cookies, rolls, brownies and cheesecakes with the addition of the streusel-topped apple tarts i made for thanksgiving. they'll be topped with a dollop of maple whipped cream.

oh yeah, on top of all this, i'm catering for 60 on monday (acccckkkk!!!!) so i may have to duck out a little early on sunday from the market to prep. make sure to come early.
ok time for sleep!

Friday, November 9, 2012

comfy food

since the weather is getting colder, i've really been enjoying cooking up lots of stick to your ribs comfort food. there's something really nice about having a pot simmering away on the stove all day, perfuming the kitchen and developing loads of flavour.

this week i made two of my favourite things - beef brisket & a curry.

the brisket is loosely based on a dish that was on the menu at a restaurant where i worked years ago. it was called 'snails & tails' and combined braised oxtails, escargots, pears, sundried tomatoes & fresh pasta in a blue cheese sauce. it sounds revolting but it worked, was incredibly popular & we even served it at the national gold medal plates competition. however, my version does not include snails. it's red wine braised beef brisket from getaway farm with lots of caramelized onions & garlic, pears, cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, kale & celery leaves.

then it's topped with blue cheese mashed potatoes. i added a little flare with parsnips & celery root. there's beautiful fresh celery root at selwood green right now.

it's a pretty ugly vegetable, but geez louise it has great flavour.
small $10 large $20

next up is a vegan curry. i think curry may be my favourite thing of all time to make. this batch is chock full of goodness. i started off with a ton of garlic, ginger & onions, then cooked off all of my spices, and added potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, spinach, kale, coconut milk, citrus & cilantro. it's paired with a blend of basmati rice & quinoa. it's vegan & gluten-free.

small $9 large $18

there's also a giant batch of carrot/apple/ginger soup in the works. it cooked all day yesterday but i still have to puree & package it up today. it's the same as usual with lots of cardamom, citrus, lemongrass. all soups are $7 for a 500ml container.
here's a list of current flavours:
curried butternut squash
white bean, lemon & kale
vegan vegetable stew
roasted pepper, tomato, sweet potato & chipotle
beet, parsnip & pear
black bean & corn chili
baked beans
seafood chowder
hearty chicken stew
beef stew

this week i'm scaling back salad production a bit - they didn't sell so well last weekend... i'm still eating leftovers :( there will still be 3 flavours but i just won't make as much.
the quinoa will be the same as last week (i'm obsessed) - cucumbers, peppers, grated carrots, curry, lime, cilantro, peanuts, sriracha.

the broccoli will be the same as usual with almonds, sunflower seeds, bell pepper, red onion, dried cranberries, double smoked bacon & a creamy dressing. every week i always make a few without bacon for vegetarians too.
then there will be a 4-bean salad with fresh green beans, cucumber, celery, bell pepper, dill, parsley and a garlic-dijon dressing.

today is baking day. the current spread i've been rocking has been pretty popular of late so i'm sticking with it. oatmeal cookies, dinner rolls, mint-oreo cheesecakes, snickers brownies, maple walnut shortbreads, hello dolly's, lemon meringue tarts & cupcakes. the bakers half-dozen is still in effect: 7 minis for $6.

alrighty off to the kitchen. see you over the weekend.
saturday 7am-4pm
sunday 8am-4pm... but i usually show up late ;)

Friday, November 2, 2012

well looky here...

a real live blog post - hooray!
it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, apologies, time has just been getting away from me. This week definitely necessitates a blog post though - i have been cooking up a storm.

this is one of the THREE freezers i filled this week.

there are fresh batches of salt cod fish cakes, 'thanksgiving pies' (which i described in my turkey day blog post) and chicken/leek/broccoli/bacon pies.

they're pretty much a staple on the menu, but here's a refresher nonetheless: double-smoked bacon starts things off, then i add sliced leeks and cook them down with celery and herbs until they're super tender, then stir in some flour to thicken things up and whisk in lots of homemade chicken stock (made from roasting the bones i pick up from shani's farm). let the mixture come to a simmer, then add in the chicken meat. i use chicken thighs which i first roast and then shred removing any fat/gristle/bones - also from shani's farm. remove from the heat, add in the broccoli, divide into serving dishes, cool & then top with puff pastry. it's good, homey comfort food, perfect as the weather is starting to change.
small $10 large $20

in addition to a few old favourites, there are two new main courses on the menu this week - variations on the same theme. the base is rice cooked up with cumin, coriander & chipotle. then it's topped with my back bean & corn chili. the first version then gets a layer of pulled pork seasoned with a chipotle (not too spicy) sauce and is finally topped with cheese & green onions.

small $10 large $20

then i made a vegan version. the first two layers are the same, instead of pulled pork there is roasted butternut squash & cherry tomatoes, then it gets topped with dairy-free daiya 'cheese' and green onions.

small $9 large $18

here's a full list of main courses in the freezer at the moment:
fish cakes & baked beans   serves 2   $15
spinach & artichoke strata   serves 4   $15
thanksgiving pies   small $10   large $20
chicken, leek, broccoli, bacon pies   small $10   large $20
curried chicken & chickpeas   small $10   large $20
lobster mac & cheese   small $10   large $20
beef bourguignon   small $10   large $20
beef shepherd's pie   small $10   large $20
chipotle pulled pork   small $10   large $20
vegan southwest rice & beans   small $9   large $18
vegan shepherd's pie  small $9   large $18

ummmmmmm i have NO idea how this is all going to fit on my blackboard... i may have gotten a little carried away...

i also packaged up the black bean & corn chili on its own ($7) and ideally i'd like to make a fresh batch of seafood chowder today... if i can find somewhere to put it.

the salads this week will be broccoli, quinoa & root vegetable.
the broccoli is the usual with bacon, almonds, red onion, red pepper, sunflower seeds, cranberries & a creamy dressing.
the quinoa will be a version i used to make with carrots, cucumbers, celery, peanuts, ginger & cilantro in a curry dressing.
the root vegetable will be a grated slaw with lots of cabbage, carrots, parsnips, fennel & sprouts in a whole-grain mustard vinaigrette.
per usual they are $5 for a 500ml container.

hopefully everyone isn't too 'sugared-out' post halloween & still has lots of room for cupcakes. this week there will be vanilla-blueberry, red velvet-raspberry, carrot-maple, banana chocolate chip-peanut butter, chocolate-chocolate or mint and pumpkin spice-vanilla to choose from.

ps: last weekend my pumpkin cupcakes actually won the pumpkin pie contest at the market squeeeee! so i'll be keeping them around for a few weeks. make sure to pop by & give one a try.

okee dokee time to get baking... and salad making... and chowder making... sigh.
see you in the morning!

Friday, October 12, 2012

another week bites the dust

so seriously, can barely believe it's friday again - late friday night at that.

just arrived home from catering a wedding rehearsal dinner and am now putting the finishing touches on my prep to get ready for another weekend at the seaport market.

this week there are two new main courses.
the first is a new batch of smokey mac & cheese. there's smoked gouda, double smoked bacon, chipotle, oven-dried tomatoes, poblano peppers & corn with a panko crust.

small $9 large $18

then there's spinach & artichoke strata. a strata is a savoury breading pudding and this version is made with homemade bread, garlic, sundried tomatoes, basil, oregano, eggs, cream, artichokes, spinach & asiago cheese. i only made larges & they're packaged in 9-inch pie rounds and are large enough to serve 4-6 people.
large $15

there's also a fresh batch of beet, parsnip & pear soup. it's vegan & gluten-free with fresh herbs and a splash of cider vinegar. like all of the soups it's $7 for a 500ml container. the soup selection is quite extensive now that we're coming in to fall so be sure to check out the list on my freezer door at the market.

chipotle lime bbq sauce will also be back on my table this week. i've downsized to just the maple bourbon & chipotle lime flavours and will be sticking will those for the time being. small jars (250ml) are $5 and large jars (500ml) are $7.50.

there are three salads this week.
the broccoli remains unchanged with bacon, peppers, red onion, sunflower seeds & almonds.
the root veg salad is the same as last week:

there's red & green cabbage, carrots, parsnips, celery root, fennel, red onion, dill, parsley & a whole grain mustard dressing. it's vegan, gluten-free & my favourite thing on the menu at the moment (aside from chocolate frosting of course!).
then there's a new take on the quinoa salad this week. it has baked sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, green onions, lemon, cilantro, pumpkin seeds & a bit of spice.
all salads are $5 for a 500ml serving.

the sweets are pretty much the usual. banana cupcakes & lemon tarts are back this week.
i just need to go make two more batches of frosting & i'm done!!!

in addition to what i mentioned tonight, there is a ton of selection in the freezers right now... even more than fits on my blackboard at the market. fingers crossed that tomorrow is the start of another busy weekend. see you in the morning :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

turkey day

thank goodness i don't have to cook or bake for family thanksgiving dinner. i am already 'thanksgiving-ed' out.

this week has been a bit bananas. i've got my fingers crossed that it will be busy, busy, busy at the market tomorrow. 

typically i don't make full size pies or cakes - logistical nightmare - but for thanksgiving i made an exception. i have chai spiced pumpkin pies and streusel-topped apple pies.
come early, i seem to recall selling out within an hour last thanksgiving.

i'll also be serving up individual sized portions of each with fresh whipped cream, in lieu of lemon meringue tarts which will return next weekend.

i've got some other pumpkin treats up my sleeve too. there are gluten-free pumpkin cheesecakes with a gingerbread crust & little pumpkin cheesecake/cupcake hybrids that i haven't made in ages & ages... i forgot how much i like them & they'll be a fixture on my table for the next couple of weeks.

there's also the usual array of cupcakes, cookies, macaroons, snickers, walnut shortbreads, hello dolly's & oreo cheesecakes.

i also made a double batch of buttery dinner rolls to complement a thanksgiving spread.

the new main course this week is 'thanksgiving pie'. it's essentially a turkey dinner wrapped in to one bite. it's like a shepherd's pie but instead of beef there's turkey, gravy, carrots, peas, brussels sprouts & herbs. and instead of mashed potatoes, there's potato & bread dressing with cranberries & sage. the turkey is from shani's farm and it's pretty tasty!
here's the finished product:

small $10 large $20

i also backed up my soup inventory this week. there are fresh batches of baked beans, red pepper/tomato/sweet potato/chipotle and miso/mushroom/udon/choy.

oh & i almost forgot about salads! i decided to continue with the broccoli for one more week so that remains unchanged. then the other three salads will be vegan, festive & potentially served warm to complete a vegan thanksgiving feast.
the first is the red rice salad i did last winter - roasted butternut squash, walnuts, cranberries, maple.
the second is barley, wheatberry, radicchio, savoy, beet, pinenut & balsamic.
and the third is a winter vegetable slaw with cabbage, carrot, fennel, apple, dijon & herbs.

as of yet, none of the salads are complete, there are still pies to bake & frostings to be made. i'm working away but i may not get everything done. i'll try my best... how many days til christmas?

see you bright & early!

Friday, September 28, 2012

if you build it, they will come... hopefully

this week i built it.
last weekend was a little crazy in the frozen meals & soups department. by the time saturday afternoon rolled around, i was more than a little shell-shocked. and by the time sunday afternoon rolled around, my menu was pretty barren.

this week i cooked like a crazy person to make sure i have a nice, well-rounded menu heading in to the weekend. there are three new main courses - beef, pork & chicken - along with two new soups, three salads and the usual array of sweets.

the first new main course is a braised pork & sweet potato pie.

i know it looks a little wacky, but i always make pies like this by piping the topping on, just like frosting on a cupcake. this dish combines most of my favourite holiday flavours. the pork is seasoned to replicate my grandma's recipe for baked ham with clove, onions, mustard & pineapple. then the topping is based on my aunt's sweet potato casserole with nuts, cinnamon & brown sugar. the pork is from getaway farm & i braised it overnight so it's meltingly tender and i added some peppers and kale from elmridge to up the nutritional value.
small $11 large $22

i recently put out a call on my facebook page for requests/suggestions for what i should make. a request was made for the return of curried chicken & chickpeas; this week it's back.

there's a lot going on with this curry - chicken (shani's farm), chick peas, cauliflower (noggins), green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (my mum's garden), lime, cilantro, ginger & spice. it's served over basmati rice that i cooked up with some cumin, cardamom & star anise. not gonna lie, i ate a fair bit of this while i was making it.
small $10  large $20

and the third main course this week is a new batch of beef shepherd's pies. the beef is from getaway farm and it's cooked up with lots of onions, celery, carrots, peas, corn, herbs and a healthy dose of my homemade bbq sauce to give it a little tang. it's then topped with cheddar-green onion mashed potatoes with a smidge of parsnip & celeriac.
small $10  large $20

also in the freezer:
lobster mac & cheese     small $12.50 large $25
fish cakes & baked beans    $15
chicken, leek, broccoli & bacon pies     small $10 large $20
ginger, orange beef      small $10 large $20
vegan shepherd's pie     small $9 large $18
vegan tofu tagine   small $10
grilled vegetable focaccia with feta & olives    small $7.50

this soup selection also took a pretty serious hit last weekend. i was able to replenish the hearty chicken stew & curried butternut squash (vegan) this week. chili, roasted red pepper & miso mushroom will have to wait until next week... the freezers are full!!!

i'm also starting to transition the salads in to fall.
there's a new concoction this week with wild rice, pearl barley, radicchio, savoy cabbage, cranberries, balsamic & pinenuts. it's loosely based on my favourite salad at the bicycle thief... minus the pancetta and parmesan, i kept mine vegan.
the quinoa and broccoli both remain the same as last week. the quinoa will get a shake up next weekend and the broccoli will probably be phased out until next summer.

time for sweets.

the baker's 1/2 dozen went over pretty well - i even received an e-mail with a photo attachment to show me the magic number of 7 survived a busy day of errands and made it home safe & sound!
the cupcakes will be the usual - chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, carrot, banana & lemon. 
there will also be lemon tarts, maple walnut bars, hello dolly's, cookies, snickers brownies, macaroons and blueberry or raspberry cheesecakes.

best get back in the kitchen. still a bit to build yet. hopefully you all come by my little nook at the market over the weekend.
a demain.