Friday, August 24, 2012


so instead of blogging nonstop during lynne's visit, this year i didn't blog at all.

unfortunately she is on her way back to ontario (onterrible) and i have returned to blogging.

this week i'm not inundated with caterings so i've been able to restock the freezers. there are three new mains on the board: fish cakes, chicken parm and grilled vegetable tagine.

the fish cakes are the usual suspects. they're salt cod & potato based with lots of onion, celery, savory & lemon for freshness.  package of 4 = $10

then there's the chicken parm. after a few week hiatus it's back! i think it has been the most popular menu item to date. here's the rundown: i took chicken breasts, cut them down, marinated them in buttermilk & herbs, then crusted them with panko, parm, herbs & baked them off. then i made marinara with loads of tomatoes, onions, garlic, balsamic & spinach... oh & more parm. then i cooked off fettuccine & tossed it with butter & basil from my garden. then i packaged it all up & topped it with mozzarella... oh & more parm (of the foxhill variety) and called it a day.
large $20 small $10

so on to the new vegan main. this one is a bit of a hybrid. it's a combination of the grilled mediterranean vegetable ragout i made last summer & the tofu tagine that's been on the menu recently. there's tons of stuff going on in it: grilled onions, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, oven dried tomatoes, tofu, cauliflower, lemon, olives, sumac, chillies, swiss chard, cilantro... it'll be paired with harissa couscous that's studded with almonds and herbs. not quite done yet but thus far i'm pretty pleased.
large $20 small $10

the salads this week will be sweet potato, broccoli, & quinoa.
the sweet potato will be the chipotle, avocado, cilantro & lime version.
the broccoli has become a bit of a favourite with the market vendors so i'm making more this week. it has almonds, cranberries, sunflower seeds, red onion & red pepper in a creamy garlic dressing (there's always a couple sans bacon on the side - just ask).
the quinoa this week will feature green beans, artichokes & loads of herbs from my garden.
per usual, all salads are $5 each for a 500 ml container.

sweets this week will be snickers, oatmeal cookies, macaroons, cheesecakes, tarts, squares & cupcakes. pop by for a full selection of flavours.

ok time to bust a move in the kitchen! see you over the weekend :)

ps: i almost forgot. there's a new batch of vegan vegetable stew. it's a tomato based stew with lots of veggies: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celery, zucchini, nappa cabbage, cauliflower, corn, beans, swiss chard & fresh herbs. it's pretty much fat free & loaded with flavour!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

an unconventional affair

on july 28th i catered my first wedding. a surprise wedding at that.

the bride & groom are two of my best customers who come to the market every week, frequent lots of different vendors and truly support small local businesses. when they asked me to cater their wedding - even though i knew it was on a saturday after the market - i was stoked & when i found out it was a surprise, i was super stoked!

now this was no traditional wedding. there weren't hundreds of people; there wasn't a sit down stuffy dinner; it was very relaxed & casual with a focus of good food, good music & good friends. the food was done cocktail style with several stationary platters & a rotation of hot food throughout the night.

this was the beginning of the spread. on the left there's smoked arctic char with pickled red onions, arugula, lemon creme fraiche & crostinis. the char is from peter at the fish shop and it's raised using land based aquaculture, so as far as fish goes, it's in the green zone. i cured it for 24 hours and then slow smoked it with apple & alder wood - nothing too strong. it turned out subtle & delicate.

then there were caprese salad skewers. i marinated baby boccancini in roasted garlic olive oil & fresh oregano and marinated tomatoes in a balsamic reduction. we threaded them on bamboo skewers just before the wedding with tiny leaves of fresh basil from my garden.

then there was a selection of charcuterie and cheeses, grapes, mustards, berries, caramelized onions & marinated olives.

there was a little something to please most palates: a mild goat, saint-honore, old growler, baby brie & gorgonzola. 

there were also fresh thai salad rolls with basil, mint, coriander, vermicelli, carrots, cucumbers, daikon, peppers, greens from my garden & a spicy peanut dipping sauce, but alas they did not make it into any pictures.

then the hot food started to come out. this is grilled vegetable focaccia with parm, goat cheese, zucchini, eggplant, red onions, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, basil & oregano. not gonna lie, i ate my fair share of this one & am currently trying to figure out the logistics of offering it as a dish at the market...

then it was slider time. these were little pulled getaway farm pork sandwiches with a pineapple bbq sauce and crunchy-creamy coleslaw on little homemade sweet rolls. there were also beef sliders (using getaway farm meat as well) that had bacon, fresh herbs & homemade bbq sauce mixed right in. they were topped with sauteed mushrooms, 'big mac' sauce, smoked cheddar & baby greens. both of these were pretty popular with the young, male wedding guests & looked super cute all ready to go:

there were also little bbq chicken cups. we made crispy little tortilla cups and filled them with a black bean & corn succotash that has punches of lime & cilantro. the chicken was from shani's farm & it hung out in a spice rub overnight before being slow-smoked on the bbq with hickory & alder, then it was shredded and mixed up with a tangy, chipotle bbq sauce and then the whole thing was topped with jalapeno goat cheese & sliced green onions.

and last but not least there were steak & stilton tarts. i marinated beef tenderloin (from getaway farm again) in balsamic, garlic & herbs overnight before grilling it super rare. on site it was warmed up and sliced super thin to top the little tarts. the shells were my regular pastry and they were filled with blue cheese custard, then came the beef, then crumbled pecans, a dot of stilton, riverview herbs arugula & a drizzle of port wine reduction.

and then it was time for the grand finale - wedding cake! chocolate cake filled with raspberry-sour cherry puree, fresh cherries & dark chocolate mousse, covered in rich chocolate buttercream, adorned with fresh berries and served with a dollop of sweetened whip cream.

the bride & groom have always bought saturday morning oatmeal cookies from me, but after eating this cake (& the leftovers all week), they've switched to saturday morning cupcakes :)

all in all i was pretty pleased with how everything turned out, have already gotten lots of new customers out of it, and it was fun to be able to really pretty things up and focus on presentation - so the 21 hour workday wasn't all that bad. now sunday market the following day, that's a whole nother story... 

and i also could not have done it alone. my buddy tim helped with all the cooking, assembling, plating, organizing & cleaning up afterwards. and his lovely girlfriend heather was on site to help with logistics, clearing & tidying up, oh and taste-testing of course!

it was also great to showcase lots of products from the market. getaway farm, shani's farm, the fish shop, roselane, sweet william's, the dutchman, foxhill, riverview herbs, noggins & selwood were all represented. oh & i guess little red kitsch'n was in the mix too.

congrats jen & chris!

Friday, August 3, 2012

back to the market...

hard to believe it's friday again. but i'm sure it is because my prep list tells me i have a monumental amount of baking to do today.

last weekend was an absolute blur of activity, the market was a bit slower than usual but it was ok since i was preoccupied with making sure that everything was in order for the event i catered on saturday night. it was a surprise wedding for some of my best customers. everything turned out really well & i got a lot of positive feedback from the bride, groom, their friends & their family. after my 21 hour work day, followed by the sunday market, i needed to take a couple days off so i haven't gotten around to the full blog post about it yet. here's a teaser for now:

soooo, back to the market tomorrow. it's supposed to be blazing hot, there's a cruise ship of 3000 people in & it's the natal day long weekend so who knows what it will bring, but i'm feeling pretty prepared nonetheless.

i've already prepared and packaged up two main courses this week, have a good jump on the salads, finished most of my prep for the dinner party i'm catering tomorrow night after the market & have already put a decent-sized dent in my baking.

the first main is an oldie but a goodie - a brand new batch of shepherd's pies. it's getaway farm beef cooked up with a lot of the flavours reminiscent of my bbq sauces with lots of onions, garlic scapes, peas and fresh corn. it's topped off with cheddar-green onion mashed potatoes and this week i was a little heavy on the cheese... extra decadent mwahahaha.
smalls $10 larges $20

the next main was an all day undertaking - jambalaya! it was really rewarding in the end but jeez louise it was a lot of work. i cooked lobsters, broke them down and made stock with the bodies. braised shani's farm chicken, shredded it & added the bones to the stock. blanched shrimp, peeled them & added the shells to the stock. grilled chorizo from sweet william's. cooked off a ton of vegetables in my secret spice blend, added rice and cooked it all up with my master stock. added a bunch of lemon, roasted red peppers, den haan tomatoes, pickled chillies and kale from my garden. and finished it all off with sliced green onions.

smalls $11 larges $22

also in the freezer there's:
fish cakes & baked beans       salt cod, savoury, molasses, serves 2         $15
lobster mac & cheese         foxhill cheese curds, leek bechamel, panko crust      $20
grilled chicken & parm    white bean & roasted garlic ragout, grilled veggies  sm $10 large $20
bbq pulled chicken          chipotle rice, black bean & corn succotash, cheese    sm $10 large $20
chicken, leek pies            puff pastry lid, broccoli, bacon, rich gravy   sm $10
brined pork loin  maple mustard sauce, raddichio, fennel, chard, bacon & gnocchi s $10 l 20
vegan lasagna       olives, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, kale, tofu, citrus, pasta sm $9 lg $18
grilled tofu        zucchini, arugula, white bean ragout, creminis, tomatoes, corn sm $9 lg $18

this week for salads i will have sweet potato, broccoli & quinoa.
the sweet potato & broccoli will remain the same but the quinoa is getting a bit of a makeover to reflect the season.there will be lots of cucumber, tomatoes, arugula, oregano, garlic scapes, peppers and a myriad of herbs from my garden.

as far as baking goes, i'm sticking with the usual spread, although i will probably have banana cupcakes instead of carrot ones this week. and it will definitely be getting a shake up starting next week, because...... drum roll please...... lynne will be back! my avid baking, blogging, dancing friend arrives on sunday night for another fun-filled august chez moi. blog post frequency will definitely increase over the coming weeks due to her influence, so stay tuned.

time to bake see, see you over the weekend.
ps: don't forget i'm there sundays - sometimes it's a little boring and visitors are always appreciated!