Thursday, July 26, 2012


well it's official, summer is absolutely flying by. but thank goodness it's been pretty magnificent thus far, about a gazillion times nicer than last year for sure. i'm actually making an effort to enjoy it & do fun things, and therefore i've been a wee bit m.i.a from the blog and my facebook page.

there's just been so much to do - tanning, swimming, shopping, eating. i'm actually becoming a bit of a regular at the bicycle thief, definitely my fave restaurant in the city and conveniently located right on the waterfront, which has been buzzing with activity of late. 

 taste of nova scotia put on a great show during tall ships - lots of tasty grub, cooking demos & ample opportunities to stalk celebrity chef chuck hughes...

this week is also pretty ridiculous. since i'm a maniac, i'm catering the largest function in the history of my little business on saturday night after doing a full day at the market... and then i'll be back at the market on sunday. i might be the tiredest, grouchiest cupcake girl of all time but i'll be there :)

so i won't have the time or the fridge space to whip up a new main course this week. fear not, i had planned for this and made sure there were lots of other options in the freezer and, of course, i'll still have the usual array of fresh salads & baked goods.

alrighty back to work, pulled pork, steak tarts, smoked chicken, planked arctic char...

Friday, July 20, 2012

it's all happening

let's see: tall ships, pride, al fresco film festival, sunshine, blue skies... halifax is a pretty happening joint right now. i have absolutely no idea how this will affect things this weekend, but i'm slightly frightened and i've baked extra cupcakes just in case... acckkkk!

as for savoury fare, this week i have a new grilled pork loin dish.

i started off by grilling radicchio, fennel, endive & apples.

then i brined some pork loin in garrison red beer overnight, seasoned it up & grilled it.

then i mixed the grilled veg in with crispy gnocchi, bacon, caramelized onions & swiss chard.

then topped it with the grilled pork & finished the whole thing off with a maple-mustard dressing.
pretty stoked.
smalls $10 larges $20

also whipped up a batch of seafood chowder this week. i actually got a little carried away...

not sure why i feel the need to fill pots to such critical levels - but i always do! this version has mussels, haddock & smoked haddock in a clam broth with dill, lemon, leeks, celery & potatoes.

500ml containers are $7 each.

this week the salads will be the same as last week: broccoli, potato (vegan), quinoa (vegan) & 4-bean (vegan). they're packed up in the same 500ml containers as the soups and go for $5 each.

on to the sweets. this week there are six flavours of cupcakes:
banana-peanut butter
red velvet-raspberry
chocolate-chocolate or mint

everything else remains the same & i think i'll make cheddar cornbread muffins instead of dinner rolls this week.

okee dokee, see ya's tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

what a week

yay summer!
the weather's hot, the farmer's market has a plethora of vegetables to choose from, the new bbq works a charm & i've been having lots of fun cooking this week.

this, to me, is summer in a bowl. it's the grilled vegetable medley that accompanies both the new grilled chicken main & the new vegan grilled tofu main. this is how i like to eat - citrus, herbs, grilled veg, garlic.

the base of the dish is a creamy white bean ragout with roasted garlic, lemon & basil (inspired by the white bean, lemon & kale soup i made last week), then topped with grilled zucchini, asparagus, corn, oven roasted cherry tomatoes, arugula, basil & a touch more lemon.

the meat version has grilled chicken breast that marinated overnight in buttermilk, garlic & herbs and is topped with parmesan cheese.
small $10 large $20

the vegan version has grilled tofu,

and grilled cremini mushrooms with balsamic.

small $9 large $18

here's what the finished product looks like:

this week there's also a 'southwestern themed' smoked chicken main course. i started with chicken thighs from shani's farm. then i added a spice rub of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and some other secret herbs & spices and let it marinate overnight. then i hickory smoked it, low & slow until it was super tender, pulled it apart like pulled pork, mixed in a tangy bbq sauce & called it a day.

it's accompanied by a black bean & corn succotash.

there's also red & green bell peppers, cubanelles, jalapenos, oven roasted tomatoes, green onions, lime & cilantro in this one. it's served over a chipotle rice and the entire dish is topped with jalapeno havarti cheese, comme ca:

this one would be great heated up and served in a grilled tortilla - that would make one heck of a burrito!... i'm hungry.
small $10 large $20

last week i sold out of all of the smoked mac & cheese but there's still some smoked brisket in the freezer. there's also a couple chicken parms, chicken leek pies, vegan lasagnas, asian-inspired pulled pork dishes, shepherd's pies, and fish cakes & beans. this week large lobster mac & cheese is still on special, priced at $20 instead of $25.

i'll have four salads again this week. 
the quinoa remains the same with carrots, snow peas, jicama, green onions, celery, cilantro, lime, peanuts and a spicy curry dressing.
the broccoli is also unchanged with dried cranberries, toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, bacon (i'll make some vegetarian too), red onion, red bell pepper & a creamy dressing.
the 4-bean will have celery, red onion, red bell pepper, dill, parsley & a garlic-dijon dressing.
i'm skipping the sweet potato salad this week and making a more traditional potato salad with celery, pickled garlic scapes, grainy mustard, dill & tarragon.

today is supposed to be a scorcher, today is also baking day. i'm up earlier than usual to get a jump on things before it gets too hot & hopefully i can have the oven turned off by lunchtime... my NEW oven that is. this one is bigger and it's pretty much a miracle, i can use the bottom rack without incinerating everything. there should be a marked reduction in my time spent at the oven on fridays - yahooooo! 

there will be carrot, banana, red velvet, vanilla & chocolate cupcakes this week, along with maple walnut shortbreads, passionfruit meringue tarts, rhubarb-strawberry cheesecakes, sour cherry-raspberry cheesecakes, oatmeal cookies & chocolate-coconut macaroons.

see ya tomorrow :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

bbq'ing like a bauss

i love bbq.
i love to bbq.
i love cooking outside.
i love the marked reduction in dirty dishes.

yesterday was pretty busy - i cranked out a lot of food. sometimes being this busy would make me a little grouchy but yesterday was fun. the fact that it was raining was perfect for smoking on the grill & everything turned out just as i had planned.

in addition to the market tomorrow i'm also catering a rather large bbq function, hence the ridiculous amount of food. i managed to double up on things though to have items for the freezers as well, which has made my life a million times less stressful this week.

so the first thing i made was smoked mac & cheese.

it started off with an applewood smoked cheddar cheese sauce, to which i added poblano peppers (in between a bell pepper & a jalapeno), cumin & chipotle powder.

then i added corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions & loads of ooey, gooey mozzarella cheese. once the pans were all filled up, i smoked it on the grill for about an hour - nothing too overpowering. i've done this one for cooking classes before & it's always been a big hit. i was only able to make a few so come early or send me a tweet if you'd like to reserve one.
small $8 large $16

next up was the beef brisket. i made a wet rub of whole grain mustard, horseradish, coriander, crushed chillies & black pepper to create a nice crust.

then i braised it overnight on a bed of onions & garlic until it was quiveringly tender, and then i smoked it on the grill with a little bit of mesquite & hickory.

then i pulled it apart, added back in all of the caramelized onions, made a homemade bbq sauce with all of the cooking liquid and mixed it all up. it's getting served up with some creamy horseradish mashed potatoes and wilted kale.
small $10  large $20

this week also saw my stock of bbq sauces get replenished. the maple bourbon & chipotle lime flavours have been selling like hotcakes so i made double batches this week.

small jars (250ml) $5  large jars (500ml) $7.50

my kale is also growing like crazy so i made a fresh batch of white bean, lemon & kale soup to make use of it all. 

the soup is vegan & gluten-free, but i cook the beans for ages so they take on a nice creamy consistency, then i add a bunch of roasted garlic, oregano, kale & basil and lemon to brighten it all up.

then for salads everything is time permitting today, but if all goes according to plan, i'll have the sweet potato, quinoa, broccoli & 4-bean varieties on the menu tomorrow. 

i just have to get all of my baking done first. 
cupcake flavours are:
banana-peanut butter
red velvet-raspberry
chocolate-chocolate or mint
i'm also experimenting with cherry vanilla today... we'll see how it turns out.

i'll have the rhubarb-strawberry & cherry-raspberry cheesecakes this week, snickers, cookies, macaroons & i think i'll make passionfruit tarts this week. i may also experiment a little with the shortbread bars...

ok time to spring into action. see you tomorrow & sunday.