Friday, June 29, 2012

canada day weekend

happy friday night of the long weekend. 

i'm a bit behind schedule. in addition to market prep, i've been gearing up for a canada day bbq of epic proportions. brisket & pulled pork to feed a pretty sizeable crowd. i'll still be at the market for regular sunday hours (8am-4pm).

so for my market prep this week, i made fresh batches of fishcakes & baked beans. the fishcakes are the usual with salt cod, potatoes, panko, green onions and a hint of lemon. the baked beans are also unchanged with lots of tomato, molasses, maple syrup & vinegar. $15 to serve 2 people.

here's a quick rundown of the other main courses in the freezers:
asian-inspired pulled pork with sesame, broccoli, beans sprouts, nappa cabbage & rice   lg $20
chicken parmigiana with spinach, parm, mozzarella, basil & fettucine             sm $10 lg $20
lobster mac & cheese with foxhill cheese curds and leek bechamel             lg $25
chicken, leek, broccoli & bacon pies with shani's farm chicken          sm $10 lg $20
shepherd's pie with cheddar, green onion mashed potatoes               lg $18
meatloaf & mashed potatoes with caramelized onions             lg $16
vegan lasagna with tofu, kale, olives, capers, cauliflower 'bechamel'       sm $9  lg $18
moroccan meatballs with sweet william's turkey & harissa quinoa          lg $20

the salads this week are pretty much the same as last week.
the quinoa has peanuts, a touch of curry, lots of fresh herbs, carrots, jicama, celery...
the sweet potato has red & green bell peppers, lime, cilantro, chipotle and cherry tomatoes.
the broccoli has dried cranberries, red onion, toasted almonds, sunflower seeds & bacon.

on to the sweet things - i've decided that perhaps 7 flavours if too many, people were slightly overwhelmed by all of the options. this week i
m back to 5 flavours:
red velvet-raspberry
chocolate-chocolate or mint

there's oatmeal cookies, macaroons, snickers brownies, maple-walnut squares, lemon tarts & sour cherry cheesecakes.  

ok that's a wrap, see you all over the weekend & fingers crossed for nice weather to see the fireworks! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

big breakfast

tomorrow... well actually later today... it's quarter past 12... cbc information morning is hosting its annual birthday breakfast at the market. it's estimated that upwards of 2000 people will descend on the market tomorrow morning (doors open at 6), so i figured i had better be there too.

i went in & set up my table this evening and the entire building was a flurry of activity. the centre court has been turned in to a stage for the broadcast & lots of other vendors were loading in and setting up their tables too. it's looking like it could actually be lots of fun, despite the super early wake up.

i have no idea what to expect, but i think i'm ready for pretty much any eventuality.
there are 7, yes 7, flavours of cupcakes:
red velvet-raspberry
banana choco chip-peanut butter
chocolate-chocolate or mint

also, there's snickers brownies, maple walnut shortbread squares, oatmeal cookies, chocolate macaroons, lemon meringue & passionfruit tarts, sour cherry-raspberry cheesecakes & gluten-free strawberry-rhubarb cheesecakes. i think there's either nuts, whole grains or fruit in every sweet offering, so in my mind they're all pretty much breakfast foods ;)

for a more substantial breakfast tomorrow morning, i'll also be serving hot fish cakes & baked beans with green tomato chutney. it's a collaborative effort from the fish shop, pat's preserves & myself. for $4 you can have a tasting plate of peter's fish cakes, my baked beans & pat's chutney.

moving into lunch domain, the salads this week are quinoa, sweet potato & broccoli. they're all very similar to last week's. the sweet potato now has pepitas & avocados as well. the quinoa has even more veggies, mint, basil & a bit more heat. the broccoli just has more crunchy stuff - bell peppers, sunflower seeds, toasted almonds.

this week i also made fresh batches of hearty chicken stew & roasted red pepper/tomato/sweet potato/chipotle soup.

the new mains are asian-inspired pulled pork & chicken parmigiana.
the pulled pork is the same as usual with lots of lime, ginger, sesame, broccoli, soy, rice, nappa & bean sprouts. this one has been a pretty hot commodity & i've been having trouble keeping it in stock.
large $20

it's been a long, long time since i made chicken parm & i don't know why, i love it! 

the chicken is buttermilk marinated and then breaded with an herby, panko-parmesan mixture. it sits atop a super hearty tomato sauce filled with spinach & den haan tomatoes. then there are thick fettuccine noodles and lots of cheese!
small $10 large $20

ok sleep time. see you in a few hours.

Friday, June 15, 2012

happy father's day

all of a sudden it's mid-june, jeepers that was quick. 
it also means it's father's day this weekend. just checked the forecast & it's looking like a fine weekend for bbq. yesterday i packed up a new batch of chipotle lime bbq sauce. this one is pretty spicy & is great for adding a little southwestern flair to your grilling. for the spice averse papa, the maple bourbon & honey mustard flavours always go over pretty well. 500ml jars are $7.5 & 250ml jars are $5 each.

to round out that bbq, i have 4 fresh salads on the menu this week:

the quinoa will be the same as last week, with peanuts, carrots, peas, jicama, cilantro & lime. i think i'll add some peppers & cucumbers this week and a touch more heat - we'll see.
the sweet potato salad has become the new favourite, so i'm leaving that one unchanged with lots of bell peppers, green onions, lime, cumin, chipotle & cilantro.
i'll also have the 4-bean salad with lots of celery, red onion, red bell pepper, dill & dijon - this one is super hearty & great bang for your buck.
and after a two-week hiatus, this week sees the return of broccoli salad. i have a few die-hards who have been none-too-pleased by its absence so this week i'm making amends :)

baked beans are another one of my fave bbq sides. i made a fresh batch this week.

ribs and beans and cheddar cornbread, delish. oh dear, i'm getting hungry.

as far as main courses go, i made two new mains this week. the first is the crowd pleasing chicken/leek/broccoli/bacon pie. it's made with fresh spring chicken from shani's farm, rich gravy with homemade chicken stock, loads of veggies & topped with a puff pastry lid. the shape has changed this week, so they are now rectangular 'pies' but i was able to cram more filling in each, so you get better value.
smalls $10 larges $20

the second main is a new vegan lasagna. 

this version has a robust tomato ragout. it's loaded up with onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, roasted eggplant, zucchini, olives, capers, balsamic & fresh herbs. it's layered with a crumbled tofu, kale, basil, garlic & nutritional yeast layer to replicate the spinach-ricotta layer. and then topped with a cauliflower 'bechamel' (super velvety pureed cauliflower), den haan tomatoes and a final sprinkling of nutritional yeast to create the parmesan cheese effect.
smalls $9 larges $18

today is baking day and i also have a couple special orders thrown in to the mix...eeek. i'm pretty happy with the spread i've been rocking the past couple of weeks so things on the dessert front will remain unchanged this weekend.

i also wanted to mention, next friday, june 22, cbc information morning with be holding its birthday party at the market from 6am to 8:45am. i've opted to attend & then stay for regular friday market hours as well. that means i'll be doing the friday, saturday market next week & skipping the sunday market since the health department dictates that i can only be there two days a week. so make sure you stop by on either friday or saturday to stock up.

thanks, see ya tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


over the past couple of weeks i have been shopping for a new bbq. last fall mine got 'weather-bombed'. if you are not familiar with a weather bomb, it is the overly ominous term invented by meteorologists used to describe an intense fast-moving storm & strike fear into weather network viewers. the last one to blow through, took my bbq with it. 

now, it's not like i had a flimsy little grill either. it was sort of a behemoth.

but alas, it was no match for the infamous weather bomb. it blew over - quite violently in fact. the fall broke the internal heating elements & all of the cast iron grills...sigh, tear, sniffle... so i had to buy a new one.

which brings me back to the topic of this post - atypical. i may not look like an avid griller or someone who knows anything at all about bbq's. in fact, i think i came as a bit of a shock to the employees at rona, home depot & kent.

i know about btu's, cast iron, rotisseries & the ridiculousness of side burners. i even made a chart with a side-by-side comparison of power, cooking surface area & auxiliary capabilities to evaluate each model's cost effectiveness.

but, i also walked into all of the big manly stores in sundresses, flip flops & pearls.

it was sort of hilarious. i would be perusing the bbq selection, when inevitably a young man would saunter over & say 'can i give you a hand there, miss?' 
i in turn would say, 'yes, i'm looking for the broil king regal 420. do you have it? & if not, can you order it in? & what sort of turn around time are we looking at here?'

the looks on their faces were priceless, followed by the stuttering & immediate search for their managers. my favourite exchange took place at rona. the salesboy told me he took care of the bbq section & that he knew the 'common sense' stuff about them. about 3 minutes later i had informed him that 'things just weren't going to work out for us' and was on my way out the door.

in the end, i found a nice & intelligent manager at kent. he never talked down to me & was sort of impressed by my research. i in turn, was impressed with his knowledge of each bbq, warranty coverage & assembly. what a novel concept - employees in big box stores who actually know what they're talking about. i bought a bbq from him, but it sure was fun to see the looks of surprise crossing the faces of the minions about town. let this be a lesson to you boys, don't judge a book by its cover & geez louise, take a bit more pride in your jobs.

Friday, June 8, 2012


this week i watched the kale grow.
it's official, i took a few days off. i mentioned in the blog last week that i was thinking of doing it & i actually did. it's been pretty sweet, a little too sweet actually, i could really get used to this whole 'not working' business... fear not though. i've already ordered a bunch of fresh spring chicken from shani's farm to fuel my concoctions next week.

but this week has been dedicated to sitting/lying down, gardening, hiking, dancing, catan, single-handedly fuelling the downtown economy with my shopping addiction, watching terrible movies & eating copious quantities of pad thai. the weather has been a bit of a bummer but it definitely made it easier to fully embrace my commitment to sloth. it also gave me plenty of time to think up new menu ideas.

the experimentation begins this week with the salads. i've been having a bit of a quinoa quandary of late. i'm a little bored of making it every week, but it is the most popular salad i make. i just wanted a fun, new flavour profile & i think i've got it. my buddy shelagh at the market is pretty into food & we spend slow sundays discussing flavours & ideas. she's told me a few times about this african peanut soup that i absolutely must try & i thought i'd like to try out similar flavours in the quinoa salad this week.

this week's quinoa salad will have toasted peanuts, grated carrots, jicama & celeriac, snap peas, cilantro, lime, garlic, ginger and a mild curry dressing. it remains vegan, gluten-free, there's tons of texture & bright summery flavours - thanks shelagh.

the potato salad is also getting a makeover this week. it's taking on more of a nicoise theme. so there's olives, fennel, capers, cherry tomatoes, green beans, basil, arugula & a sundried tomato dressing. i'm still on the fence about adding hard-boiled eggs but in the end i'll probably wind up keeping it vegan & eating the eggs myself.

the bean salad & the sweet potato salad will be identical to last week. the sweet potato salad was quite a hot commodity last weekend. i think at least 7 market vendors had one for lunch on saturday & i sold out pretty quick. this week i'm making a larger batch, but make sure to pop by early if you've got your heart set on a particular flavour - or you can always tweet in an order...

today is baking day. of course the day that the sun comes out, i have to work my tail off. i'm running with the same selection i've had the past couple of weeks & i've replaced the dinner rolls with cheddar cornbread muffins one a full time basis if you need to start your day with something a little more on the savoury side.

ok time to power through this baking. maybe just maybe i can make it to the zumba-thon or the one life surf party tonight. finger crossed...

ps: the freezers are still stocked with all of the main courses i had last week. the selection of smalls is dwindling quite rapidly but there's plenty of larges. a full menu is in last week's blog post.

Friday, June 1, 2012

ahead of the game

miracle of all miracles, i already have all of my meals, soups & bbq sauces completed and packaged up. i now have my full arsenal of bbq sauces back, a pretty wide selection of soups & all of the most popular meals are on the menu... i don't want to jump the gun but i'm contemplating take a break for a few days next week... fingers crossed.

this week the asian-inspired pulled pork dish is back on the menu. it's done with pork shoulder from getaway farm and it's braised with lots of garlic, ginger, sesame, soy & chillies. it's served with jasmine rice, roasted broccoli, napa cabbage, bean sprouts, green onions & cilantro.

pulled pork isn't exactly the most aesthetically pleasing food, but gosh darn it, i'm pretty pleased with how it tastes.
smalls $10 larges $20

here's a list of the other main courses i have in the freezer:
beef bourguignon with either mashed potatoes or polenta            sm $11 lg $22
meatloaf & mashed potatoes with caramelized onions                 sm $8 lg $16
shepherd's pie with cheddar-green onion mash                             sm $9 lg $18
moroccan meatballs (either turkey or beef) with harissa quinoa  sm $10 lg $20
chicken, leek, broccoli, bacon pies                                                        sm $10 lg $20
chicken & chickpea curry with basmati rice                            sm $10 
lobster mac & cheese with foxhill cheese curds & leek bechamel     sm $12.5 lg $25
salt cod fish cakes & baked beans                                      $15
broccoli strata                                                                          $15
plain or vegetarian mac & cheese                                                              sm $8 large $16
tofu tagine with cauliflower, tomatoes, coriander & quinoa        sm $9 lg $18
vegan curry with chickpeas, sweet potato & basmati rice sm $8

ummmmm i don't think this is going to all fit on my blackboard at the market. definitely time for a break.

this week i also restocked a couple vegan soups. the curried butternut squash & the carrot, apple, ginger are both making their triumphant returns. 

then i decided to make 4 salads this week.
i've become slightly addicted to the sweet potato salad so i'll be making that one again - unchanged.
it's also been a long time since i made the 4-bean salad, so that one's back this week. there's sprouted lentils, adzuki & mung beans, fresh green beans, garlic, dill, dijon & a little red bell pepper.
the quinoa salad this week will have asparagus, artichokes, kalamata olives, lemon, garlic & lots of fresh herbs.
and last but not least, there's a potato salad with fennel, tarragon, radishes, celery, pickled garlic scapes & lots of grainy mustard.
this week all of the salads are vegan, gluten-free and $5 each.

all of the sweets this week will be exactly the same as last week - cookies, macaroons, snickers, lemon tarts, maple walnut squares, rhubarb cheesecakes, sour cherry-raspberry cheesecakes & lots of cupcakes.

last week was a crazy weekend for cupcakes. to help put things in perspective, here's how much frosting i made on friday for the market:

i thought it would be more than enough to get me through the weekend, but then last saturday night i found myself back in the kitchen making more. that's bananas!

okee dokee those cupcakes aren't gonna bake themselves (if only) so i'd best boogey.
see ya bright & early.