Friday, March 29, 2013

joel plaskett

so i'm not quite 100% ready for the market & i blame joel plaskett for that. this sounds a little bizarre but let me explain. last weekend i decided to head to the market today (good friday) and skip easter sunday. however i bought my joel plaskett tickets weeks ago & wasn't going to miss his concert last night. i'm so glad i didn't, he put on a great show at the olympic centre - aka the place you can find me may 4-5 for the halifax crafter's spring sale.

by adding my night off to an already reduced week, it feels like i lost a day & a half of prep time. i'm sort of surprised at what i was able to accomplish. i'm just missing broccoli salad & large grapefruit cupcakes. not gonna lie, i was making frosting until 1 in the morning after the show. lucky for me, friday market hours are from 10-5 so i've got a few extra hours this morning. i'll be there at the usual time tomorrow from 7-4 & i'll make broccoli salad when i get home tonight :)

ok, so new on the menu this week is a giant batch of chicken pies. they're a slight variation on the usual chicken pies i make. i took the broccoli out & replaced it with root vegetables so it's more like a traditional chicken pot pie. so there's chicken (from shani's farm), bacon, leeks, turnips, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, b. sprouts & peas. it's in a rich chicken sauce with lots of herbs & a touch of lemon. then, just like usual, it gets topped with a puff pastry lid.
small $10 large $20

apologies, but in my haste this week i didn't take a single picture :(

i also made a fresh batch of beef stew using getaway farm beef. this one has all the usual fixin's and this batch i actually fortified with some guinness. i'm not a beer fan so it's definitely not an overpowering taste, but it does add great richness & colour.
just like all the soups, it's $7/500ml

there are three salads on the menu at the moment - potato, sweet potato, beet - and i'll have broccoli salad in time for the market tomorrow. they are all pretty much identical to last week. i completely sold out so i figured i'd try that mix again.

then for sweets, there are loads of cupcakes this weekend & they'll all be decorated with colourful easter treats...i may have gone a little overboard at the bulk barn last night. there'll also be cookies, cheesecakes, squares, brownies & goat's milk fudge. the fudge has been a huge hit & the cross-promotion with obladee has been fantastic for business!

ok time to finish up some odds & ends, pack the car & head in for the day.
hope to see you all either today or tomorrow.
happy easter!

Friday, March 22, 2013

spring has sprung

we may have woken to snow, but the rest of the day certainly felt like spring. 
it was pushing 30 degrees in my kitchen all day with the sun streaming in & look, the rhubarb's starting to pop up.

i'm not a rhubarb fan, but i love watching it grow. it looks like alien babies hatching! i think most of this year's crop will be donated to jitterbug sodas, i think they'll be able to put it to much better use than me.

the sunshine also put me in a salad kind of mood. i know i make salads every friday, but most weeks i hate doing it. this week was different, they were reminding me of bbq season, picnics & beach bods ;) i made sweet potato, regular potato, broccoli & beet.
the sweet potato is the usual concoction, but i added black beans & corn to give it even more of a southwest vibe.

it's vegan & gluten-free, same as the regular potato salad which has beans, fennel, radishes, celery & fresh herbs. the broccoli & beet salads are my standards. the beet has become the #1 bestseller & there was a bit of uproar last weekend when i skipped the broccoli!
$5/375ml container

this week i also restocked a couple staples. first up was a pretty monumental batch of beef shepherd's pies. it's made with getaway farm's grass-fed beef. the meat is cooked up with lots of veggies - onions, carrots, peas, corn, mushrooms - and a tangy 'bbq-esque' type sauce. then it gets topped with cheddar & green onion mashed potatoes. this one is really popular with young families because the kids dig it.
small $10 large $20

i also cooked a pretty massive batch of seafood chowder.

i don't know why i have an obsession with filling pots to critical levels, but i do. if only you could see how hilarious i look trying to get it from the prep table to the fridge without spilling or throwing out my back... good times. per usual, it's a clam broth base with mussels, haddock, smoked haddock & tilapia. i certainly miss the fish shop at the market, but there's goldwater seafood in the centre court now for all your fish needs.
$7/500ml container

there are loads of other soups & stews in the freezer right now too:
curried butternut squash
beet, parsnip & pear
white bean, lemon & kale
miso mushroom
indian spiced cauliflower
roasted red pepper, tomato & sweet potato
baked beans
beef stew
turkey stew
chicken stew
i think i dozen flavours might be enough, but if you ever have a particular craving or earth-shattering idea, please let me know, i'm always looking for inspiration.

as far as sweets go, there's lots of everything - as usual. i think one day i might show up to the market without any sweets at all. it might be bad for business in the short term, but so many people don't even realize all of the savoury stuff i make because they're totally distracted by the table full of goodies! 

the goat's milk fudge has been a hit at obladee & there's been lots of twitter buzz. i make it in bread pans now so i literally sell it by the brick! i'll have some on hand at the market but it gets pretty soft at room temperature so make sure to ask.

this week i also whipped up a special order lemon-blueberry cake.

and it has lots of fresh blueberries hiding inside.

early in the week, i took the first baby steps in designing a REAL website where i'll be able to have ordering information, pricing, flavours & all that useful stuff in a convenient location instead of making things up off the top of my head!
it'll be
& for now if you have any inquiries, e-mail me at

ok that's all for now, see you over the weekend at the market & don't forget cupcake happy hour from 2-4pm on sunday.
happy spring!

Friday, March 15, 2013

last minute update

it's a little later than anticipated. for a change i went out for dinner on a friday night & needless to say, it's now looking like i've got a long night ahead of me.

on a more positive note, i went to boondocks out in eastern passage where peter boudreau, previously of the fish shop, is now at the helm. had myself some wings, saganaki & a getaway farm grass-fed beef burger. it's perfect for a nice mellow night with friends and it's going to be a great hangout in the summer when the patio opens up!

unfortunately now that i have food coma, i have to get back to work. there are still a couple salads & all the frostings to make. all the frozen grub is ready to go though.

this week's new main course is perhaps my favourite yet. i've been thinking about it for awhile and this week it all came together. i started off with 15 pounds of getaway farm beef brisket. then i braised it overnight in red wine. the next day i shredded it, like you would a pulled pork, and removed most of the fat. i sauteed off loads of mushrooms with a splash of balsamic vinegar. i cooked cubed turnips, parsnips, celery & sundried tomatoes in the beef jus. then i stirred in dollops of gorgonzola & kale. the end result looks like this:

then i topped it with a puff pastry lid & finished the whole thing off with a light eggwash. this is some serious stick-to-your-ribs good food.
large $22 small $11

also from the freezer i have:

pork & sweet potato pies
asian-inspired pulled pork
chicken, leek, broccoli & baco pies
turkey curry
turkey & dressing pies
chipotle turkey
beef shepherd's pies
fishcakes & baked beans
braised italian beef with polenta
swiss chard & artichoke pasta
vegan lasagna
vegan curry
lentil shepherd's pies

some items i just have left in the small size & some are almost out, so make sure to come early & get your orders in.

i also whipped up a new batch of the beet, parsnip & pear soup. this one is vegan, gluten-free & by far the most psychedelic item on my menu.

it's funny too because this one is a pretty unusual flavour, but it's become my best seller behind seafood chowder - who knew?
$7/500mL container

for salads this week, i brought back a couple of old favourites. the quinoa & sweet potato salads are making their triumphant returns.
the quinoa is the version with shaved fennel, kalamata olives, arugula, pink grapefruit & red onion. the sweet potato has the usual avocado, bell pepper, tomato, chipotle, lime & cilantro combination.  i'll also have the beet salad & i'm still on the face about the broccoli salad, maybe it needs a week off.  also, there's a little bit of a change with the salads to container has gotten a little smaller but the price is staying the same at $5. don't hate me, but they're A LOT of work!

and i guess i couldn't forget st. patrick's day. i'll have bailey's irish cream & guinness cupcakes this weekend & lots of green shamrock sprinkles. the other cupcake flavours are vanilla, pink grapefruit, red velvet, carrot, chocolate & paleo choco-coconut. i skipped the lemon & banana ones this week but they'll be back soon.

and don't forget, my goat's milk fudge is now on the menu at obladee. randy from rancher acres is actually going on vacation & won't be at the market tomorrow, but he is so thoughtful he's sending along the goat's milk i'll need with a neighbouring farmer and called me today to let me know - you don't get service like that at the grocery store!

ok back to work...probably going to need some super loud music to power through this one!

ps: i was really debating whether or not to come in on sunday. i have decided to brave it & go in. please, please, please make it worth my while & don't just spend the WHOLE day at the bar ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013


this week was flat out again.

i'm not sure exactly when but i think a vacation is in my very near future...

although, it's a reasonable hour on a friday night & i'm sitting down so that's always a good sign too.

this week absolutely flew by, there was a delivery of gluten-free desserts to bramoso pizzeria on quinpool. there was a paleo cupcake special order. there was a birthday dinner party with lots of fun appetizers - which, regrettably, i forgot to take pictures of. there was the usual market prep. and there was recipe testing of goat's milk fudge to supply obladee wine bar on barrington.

it features the goat's milk of ran-cher acres at the market and has unfortunately replaced chocolate frosting as my new favourite food - this could be problematic for my waistline! obladee has one batch on hand right now to test it out & i'll have a batch with me at the market tomorrow for those in the know. not sure when it will officially roll out, but i'll keep you posted.

this week there was also a lot of voting going on. turns out i'm one of four market vendors in the running to win best market stall in the faces magazine poll. it's pretty flattering & i had no idea until a few other market vendors starting tweeting about it. if you have a second to send a vote my way, i'd really appreciate it.

the coast's best of food 2013 survey also came out this week. this one's a little different than last year, not as many categories & nominees for some. i'm in the best local food blog category, but you could also vote me for best stall at the market, best place to satisfy a sweet tooth, or any other category you see fit, depending on how much you like my food :) i noticed a marked increase in sales last year when i placed in two categories, so i'm really hoping for a repeat performance - fingers crossed!

i also got the nod for the halifax crafters spring fair. i participated in the holiday one & it was a really nice change from the seaport market for a weekend. great exposure, great vibe & lots of great items to purchase. it's taking place may 4th & 5th at the olympic centre on cunard. i'll have other ladies manning my table at the seaport & i'll hold down the fort there.

ok on to food. this week i cooked 20 pounds of pork shoulder from getaway farm. the first application i've done before: asian-inspired pulled pork.

there's ginger, garlic, soy, 5-spice, sesame, chillies, peppers, choy, bean sprouts, broccoli, lime, cilantro & rice.
small $10 large $20

i also had lots of extra rice. 

it's mixed up with the braising liquid from the pork & all the veggies. it tastes great on its own or with fried eggs or tofu or beef or whatever. i packed it up in my 500ml soup containers & it'll be $7.

the second application has much more of a southwestern vibe. it chipotle lime pulled pork on the bottom, then it's layered with black bean, corn & tomatillo succotash & topped off with jalapeno-spiked mashed sweet potatoes. sounds complicated but it looks like this:

there are all of my favourite flavours going on - cumin, coriander, lime, chipotle, but fear not, it's not very spicy.
small $10 large $20

the salads are all the same as last week with just a few minor adjustments. the green beans in the potato salad were swapped out with pickled garlic scapes from moon fire farm and i added peanuts & orange segments to the vietnamese black rice salad.

ok this has turned in to a novel so just come by to check out all the sweets - there are more cupcake flavours than usual & don't forget to ask about the goat fudge!

see you all this weekend
thanks for reading!

Friday, March 1, 2013

a more manageable pace

it seems like i've been going flat out since the beginning of december. don't get me wrong, it's freaking awesome! normally this time of year is pretty bleak in the food industry so i'm happy to be busy, but this week i scaled back production a little bit.

don't fret, the freezers are still brimming with product. i'm out of the italian beef, pork meatballs and seafood paella but otherwise last week's menu is still up to date. hopefully i'll have a busy weekend and can clear some room in the freezers, i'm in the mood to make some new pulled pork dishes so stay tuned...

i still did lots of prep for the weekend, just not in the frozen section. i went salad crazy! it feels like winter again today, but for a few days there spring was in the air. my thoughts are already turning to bbqs, picnics & potato salad.

this is my first potato salad of the year. it has fennel, radishes, celery, green beans, red onion, dill, parsley, lemon & dijon. it's both vegan & gluten-free.
i also made a new batch of the vietnamese black rice salad from last week. it has the same mix of veggies but is packed with more of them. i also added orange & lime this time to give it a bit more pizzazz. 
the beet & broccoli salads are the same as usual. 

this week also sees the return of lemon-blueberry cupcakes. i've had lots of requests for them over the past couple weeks & figured it was time to switch it up a little. i dropped the banana-peanut butter ones this week but they'll be back soon. i've got:
double vanilla
red velvet-raspberry
pink grapefruit
chocolate mint
double chocolate
paleo chocolate coconut
cupcake happy hour will be on again this week - half price cupcakes from 2-4pm on sunday afternoon.

i was also just experimenting a little. i made a new batch of the chocolate bars from valentine's day, but i spiced them up a bit. i really like mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon & cayenne. i added cinnamon to the brownie base & cayenne to the ganache layer so it's chocolate with a kick. however, i fear there may be a little too much kick for most palettes... sometimes i get a little carried away ;) but if you feel like spicing things up, give em a go - $2.50/bar.

i think that's it for my menu & i hope to see everyone over the weekend!

also, just so no ones thinks i was slacking off all week, yesterday we had a big vendor meeting at the market & i provided the snacks. there were about 100 people there so it ended up being quite a few snacks & it kept me busy. the meeting was also really positive. the port authority and the new market manager are doing a great job of keeping us abreast of the changes taking place & what we can expect to see coming down the pipeline. the seaport market has had a short but very tumultuous life & it looks like it's finally getting its footing. i'm excited to see what's to come & am so happy that the creatives from breakhouse will be helping shape the future of my workplace.