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.

Friday, September 21, 2012

something in the air

alas today is the last day of summer. there's definitely something in the air... i think it's the onset of fall. while this is the most depressing time of year for me - au revoir sun tans & sundresses - it's a great time of year at the market. it's harvest time!

it's also been great for my productivity, i accomplished a ton of stuff this week.

on the left it's a new batch of maple bourbon bbq sauce & on the right it's more carrot/apple/ginger soup. both are already packed up & ready to head in to the market tomorrow.

the carrot soup is both vegan & gluten-free and spiced with lemongrass, cardamom & star anise.

now that the weather is starting to turn, soup production will be ramping up in a big way. they sell for $7 for a 500ml container no matter what the flavour. there's a full list on my freezer door at the market and there's a rundown in last week's post (minus the chili which i sold out of). 

last week was actually pretty crazy busy at the market. three cruise ships combined with usual saturday traffic made it a pretty hectic day. the vegan shepherd's pie proved pretty popular. i have never before had a dish so buzzed about and it sold like mad. i decided to make another batch this week... a much bigger batch...

this is the pot of just the filling... geez louise, i may have gone a little overboard!
small $9 large $18

there is also a brand new concoction on the menu this week. it's crispy ginger, orange beef with bell peppers, green onions, nappa cabbage, bean sprouts & cilantro over a combo of red & white rice. there's sesame, red chillies, chinese 5-spice and ponzu as well so it's a pretty complex number but not too spicy - i restrained myself!

small $10 large $20

the salads will be identical to last week.
quinoa: fennel, orange, olive
broccoli: bacon, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds
sweet potato: bell peppers, avocados, tomatoes, lime
per usual they are $5 for a 500ml container

the selection of sweets is also growing. last week i brought back the hello dollies (which sold out!) and this week i'm bringing back the mint oreo cheesecakes in addition to everything else.

at this rate i'll need to get a bigger table. 
starting this weekend i'm also introducing a new pricing scheme for the mini cupcakes. each weekend, it is with great trepidation that i package 1 or 2 mini cupcakes in my plastic containers and send them out in to the world. i know that those beautiful little cupcakes will most likely not be quite so beautiful when they arrive home. however, when 7 mini cupcakes are wedged in to those plastic containers, they prop each other up perfectly. in an effort to encourage people to select the magic # of 7, i am now offering the 'baker's half-dozen' - 7 minis for $6.
something to keep in mind...

ok back to baking.
see you in the morning!

Friday, September 14, 2012

better late than never

as i begin writing this post, the market is 8 hours away.


i have been the worst blogger ever of late. the summer has been chock full of events and special requests so some things have fallen by the wayside. this week was pretty normal... mind you i do have to do plated desserts for a wedding immediately after the market tomorrow... i might have to duck out a few minutes early so make sure to get there before 4.

ok menu time. i made a few brand new concoctions this week that i'm pretty happy with.

the first is a vegan, lentil shepherd's pie. not gonna lie, not a huge fan of lentils but i ate a whole bowl of the filling - hope it's not just me who likes it! there's caramelized onions, balsamic mushrooms, carrots, celery, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, peas, corn & loads of herbs from my garden, oh and lentils. for the topping it's a myriad of veggies - potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower & roasted garlic. there's also a smidge of nutritional yeast and some more herbs & green onions.
i know it sounds complicated but it's more like rustic comfort food.

small $9 large $18

there's also a fresh batch of chicken, leek, broccoli, bacon pies. that one is pretty much a staple on the menu. lots of slab bacon, melted leeks, gravy made with homemade chicken stock, braised chicken & broccoli all covered up with a puff pastry lid.
small $10 large $20

beef stew & seafood chowder are also making their triumphant return to the soup list.
there's also:
curried butternut squash (vegan)
vegetable stew (vegan)
black bean & corn chili (vegan)
white bean, lemon & kale (vegan)
baked beans (vegetarian)
roasted red pepper, tomato & sweet potato (vegetarian)
mexican pork posole
chicken stew

now for the salads.
the quinoa salad got a complete makeover this week. i'd been trying to think of a new version for ages & this is what i came up with:

fennel, orange & olive - the fennel is shaved super thin on the mandolin; the oranges are cara cara so they look like grapefuit; then there's kalamata olives, a little red onion, arugula, basil, olive oil & white wine vinegar.
the sweet potato has lots of tomatoes, avocados, peppers, cilantro, lime & cumin.
the broccoli has cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, red onion, bell pepper & bacon (there's is 1 lone vegetarian version).

now on to the sweets: oatmeal cookies, coconut macaroons, snickers brownies, lemon tarts, sweet rolls, maple walnut squares, raspberry-sour cherry cheesecakes, and... drum roll please... the return of hello dollies!

and of course cupcakes:
red velvet-raspberry
banana chocolate chip-peanut butter

alrighty time to catch some zzzz's. hope to see you in the morning.