Friday, April 26, 2013

friday again?!?!

yikes, it feels like i was just at the market. hard to believe i'm headed back there bright and early tomorrow. this week was another crazy one in the kitchen. 

next weekend is halifax crafters at the olympic centre. i will be there and will have friends manning (or wo-manning i should say) my table at the seaport. this means double the baking & double the salads. i've been planning accordingly & cooking like crazy so i don't have to make any new main courses & hopefully soups next week. i'll be busy enough.

this week was a vegan sort of week around here. i have customers who buy the vegan curry EVERY week. last week i ran out - shock, horror, dismay. so a fresh batch of that was my #1 priority. it also gave me my first opportunity to bust in to the spices brought direct from delhi by a loyal customer & friend.

what a difference fresh spices make! i'm really stoked on this batch. the veggies are potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, chick peas & tomatoes with lots of garlic, ginger, lime, coconut milk & cilantro. it comes with a side of basmati rice & quinoa mixed together. comme ca:

small $9 large $18

the second main course this week is a new concoction. it's based on the miso mushroom soup that i make from time to time. i started off by making a mushroom stock with dried shiitakes and the trim off a bunch of fresh mushrooms. then it got ramped up with garlic, ginger, soy, miso, lime, peanuts & chillies. i used udon noodles as the base and the veggies are bok choy, nappa cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, celery & shiitake mushrooms. it's finished off with fried tofu, red chillies and a healthy dose of cilantro.

small $9 large $18

this week i also made a gigantic batch of baked beans, so i'll be able to have a fish cakes & baked beans back on the menu. here's a complete listing of current meals:

beef shepherd's pie       small $10 large $20
braised beef & mushroom pie with red wine & puff pastry   large $22
moroccan beef meatballs with harissa quinoa     small $10 large $20
sweet & sour pork meatballs with pineapple, peppers & basmati     small $10 large $20
chicken pot pie with bacon, root veggies & puff pastry   large $20
chipotle chicken with black bean & corn succotash, rice & pepperjack   small $10 large $20
chicken parmigiana with roasted red peppers, spinach & fettucine  small $10 large $20
fish cakes & baked beans (enough to serve two)  $15
vegetarian lasagna with four cheeses & loads of veggies  small $10 large $20
vegan lasagna with tofu, kale, nutritional yeast & loads of veggies  large $20
and then the two new vegan dishes this week

i think it's getting a little out of hand! when i started this business i thought i would have MAX three options a week. oh how times have changed.

here's the current soup selection:
curried butternut squash
beet, parsnip & pear
white bean, lemon & kale
roasted red pepper, tomato, sweet potato & chipotle
indian-spiced cream of cauliflower
baked beans
vegan chili
chicken stew
beef stew
seafood chowder

i also had time to finish a batch of bbq sauce this week. so maple bourbon is back. i think heading in to bbq season i'll start making more flavours. i'm keen on a garrison beer & caramelized onion flavour... we'll see how prep goes next week.

then for sweets, i think i budgeted enough eggs so i'll have gluten-free cupcakes. spicy chocolate brownies are also back as well as mint oreo cheesecakes - it's been since forever for those ones! and these are just in addition to the usual smorgasbord.

also, i have a catering immediately after the market tomorrow night so i'll hopefully be leaving at 4pm sharp so please come a little earlier.

thanks a bunch & see you over the weekend.

ps: don't forget cupcake happy hour from 2-4pm on sunday :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

not enough days

so, i'm pretty certain that there needs to be 8 days in a week instead of 7. i'm not sure who i need to talk to about this, but it would certainly make things a lot less hectic around here.

this week has been one of the most insane since i started this business. on monday, there was an order of cupcakes for a friend's arbonne event at the hub. and then a delivery of gluten-free desserts to bramoso pizzeria - that's right my sweets are always on the menu there! then i was gearing up for the market with two new main courses. then i catered the public engagement session at the market last night - nothing too insane, dips, veggies, cupcakes and cookies for 100 people.

then i woke up really early this morning to make toasted coconut cupcakes filled with coconut custard & topped with chocolate buttercream. a neighbour picked them up at 6:45(!!!) to head in to the dal faculty club for an event this evening.

and there's still 2 more special orders, 2 more deliveries to make & 2 more days at the market before i can chill out. dear monday, i can't wait until we're reunited.

okee dokee, enough griping & back to what's important - the food!
this week was a pasta sort of week. i've had a lot of requests lately to make vegetarian lasagna. i have a vegan one on the menu but the vegetarians are craving the ooey, gooey gratification of melted cheese. this one is loaded up with parmesan, asiago, ricotta & mozzarella. the tomato sauce is packed with lots of hearty vegetables & parmesan. then it's layered with ricotta, swiss chard, kale, herbs & garlic.

then it's topped with more sauce, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella & asiago.

these ones were an epic undertaking.
small $10 large $20

the second main course is still in production. it's something i've made in the past & is back by popular demand - chicken parmigiana. i used boneless, skinless chicken breasts from shani's farm; marinated them in buttermilk, herbs & garlic; breaded them with a panko-parmesan mixture & roasted them in the oven. they're smothered in a non-traditional marinara sauce complete with roasted red peppers, spinach, herbs & a splash of balsamic. then topped with mozzarella, parmesan & asiago cheese & served with fettuccine. since i'm not finished yet, i don't have any current photos but here's what they looked like last time.

small $10 large $20

the salads will be beet, broccoli, quinoa & sweet potato this week. the quinoa will be the version with radishes & asparagus. the rest will be the usual. if you ever have any ideas or suggestions please let me know - i'm getting so bored making these every week!

i've also been promising new flavours of bbq sauce for weeks, alas i have still not gotten around to making any. once the 8-day week comes in to effect maybe i'll have time ;)

the sweets are also the usual suspects. i just ran out of eggs though, so i don't think i'll have any gluten-free cupcakes tomorrow, but everything else will be there. i also made a little tweak to the goat's milk fudge. it had cow butter in it before, but i've noticed that a lot of the people interested in it have cow dairy allergies. so...

i got me some goat butter from planet organic - unfortunately rancher acres doesn't make it. it doesn't taste much 'goatier' but i did notice it has an even creamier texture now. i am so addicted to the stuff it's ridiculous!

ok back to the grind. see you all over the weekend.

ps: they ripped out the main staircase at the market & moved the information desk to right beside me - maybe now everyone will stop asking me where the bathroom is.

Friday, April 12, 2013


this week i picked up 20 pounds of meat from getaway farm & got to work making mountains of meatballs. there's either pork or beef & both new main course options are gluten & dairy free... and low-sodium in case you missed yesterday's blog post!

i started off with moroccan beef meatballs. they're filled with garlic, fresh herbs, sumac & cumin. they're bathed in a piquant tomato sauce with olives, dates, fennel seed, ginger, roasted red peppers, zucchini & kale. the side dish is harissa quinoa with toasted almonds, green onions & lemon. there's a lot going on with this one.

small $10 large $20

then i got to work on sweet & sour pork meatballs. i've made these once before & they sold like crazy! hopefully lightening strikes twice. so the balls themselves are based on a vietnamese banh mi - so lots of garlic, ginger, coriander, lime, chillies & a touch of chinese 5-spice.

the sauce is tomato based sweet & sour with a touch of tamari and thickened with cornstarch to keep it gluten-free. it's bright & colourful with bell peppers, carrots, celery & pineapple. then it's paired with basmati rice and a few green onions.

small $10 large $20

this week i also made a batch of hearty chicken stew with shani's farm chicken. it's packed with veggies too - potatoes, parsnips, turnips, celery root, carrots, celery, peas & herbs. the base is homemade, overnight chicken stock so it's loaded with flavour.
$7 for 500ml

the salad varieties this week will be beet, broccoli, sweet potato & regular potato. there won't be any ground-breaking changes, but there will be plenty of vegan & gluten-free options.

the sweets will also be the same this week. oh & a quick note on goat's milk fudge - it's made with goat milk but there is also cow butter in it, just so anyone with allergies is aware. hopefully this week i can get my hands on some goat butter and do a test run with that for next week.

ok time to boogie, i have two special order cakes added to my prep list today acckkkkkkk!
see you over the weekend... hopefully this storm is just weather network propaganda but i am happy my snow tires are still on.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

a little healthier

as a chef, getting the seasoning right is kind of a big deal. i have only ever worked in restaurants where there were no salt & pepper shakers on the table and it was an affront to the kitchen to ask for them. i'm accustomed to tasting things over & over as i cook, adjusting along the way until it's just right.

that's changing.

don't worry, i'll still be tasting everything, but reaching for more citrus or spices or herbs instead of the salt to get things right. it's official, little red kitsch'n is going low-sodium.

i started doing biweekly deliveries of meals to a gentleman on a reduced sodium diet. enough food for lunch & dinner everyday, so i'm taking it pretty seriously. i like to think that my food was never 'salty' but i certainly never shied away from it either. diamond crystal kosher salt & i go way back but we're having a bit of a breakup.

the way i figure it, i'm not cooking in a restaurant anymore. people are enjoying my food in the comfort of their own homes & can add salt at their own discretion. everyone's palate is a little bit different... and these days it seems everyone's dietary restrictions are a little bit different. i guess this change makes my food more accessible to some without alienating any.

i would never in a million years use a knorr product or store-bought stock with are salt havens. the fact that everything i make is from scratch has always helped reduce the sodium in my meals, but now i'm making the conscious effort to not reach for the salt. it's a challenge & it's forcing me to be more creative. like when i cook vegan, i have to be more inventive & thoughtful because i can't just rely on cream or butter to make it taste delicious. i'm finding the same goes for salt.

so if you notice a bit of a difference in the taste of my food, that's why. we also build up a tolerance to salt in food. hopefully, we'll all ween ourselves off of it & not even miss it. but for now, i won't be offended if you add a little salt.

Friday, April 5, 2013

menu time

it has been another jam-packed week around here. i've added biweekly deliveries. last night i catered a cocktail party until the wee hours. and i still had all of my regular market prep to do. thankfully, i was pretty organized and only have frostings left to make - yay sleep!

you wouldn't know it to look outside right now, but summer is on its way. this week i incorporated a lot of my favourite bbq flavours into my cooking - cumin, lime, cilantro & chipotle. 

my bbq sauce selection has been nonexistent for the past two weeks so i restocked the chipotle lime. it's not crazy spicy but does have a bit of a kick & works really well with just about anything from burgers to chicken to salmon to... there are small & large jars available. 
small=250ml for $5 large=500ml for $7.50

my timing was spot on as well since this week's new main course is chipotle chicken. i super slow-roasted chicken with lots of herbs & spices. then i shredded the meat, removed any fat & mixed in lots of bbq sauce. it's served over rice with black bean & corn succotash and then everything gets topped with pepperjack cheese.
comme ca:

small $10 large $20

after a very long absence vegan chili has also made its way back on to the menu. it's chock full of flavour & you won't miss the meat. there are bell peppers, onions, garlic, chick peas, kidney beans, black beans, corn, chipotle, pickled chillies, lime & cilantro. it's packaged like a soup & you get great bang for your buck with this one.

all the salads are packed up & ready to go. i made beet, broccoli & sweet potato which are all pretty much the same as usual. this week i threw a quinoa salad in to the mix as well. it has a lot of springtime flavours with radishes, asparagus, fresh herbs & lemon (vegan & gluten-free as well).

last weekend was my zaniest yet when it comes to cupcakes. 

easter was bananas! trouble is my brain is still stuck on easter & i think i baked too many cupcakes for a regular weekend - oops.
flavours are:
red velvet-raspberry
pink grapefruit
banana-peanut butter
double chocolate
paleo chocolate-coconut

the rest of the assortment remains the same & don't forget the goat's milk fudge.

i just made 2 kilos of it!!! one brick is destined for obladee & i'll have the other with me at the market. i've been slicing it to order so it doesn't dry out. a slice is comparable to a mini cupcake & priced the same @ $1 each.

okee dokes, a few finishing touches & then sleep time. see you over the weekend!