Friday, June 28, 2013

almost vacation!

i can't even believe it, but i leave for vacation tomorrow night right after the market!

i will be away for 10 whole days visiting lots of my favourite people all over ontario.
as soon as i get back i will be in full-blown wedding season with loads of cupcake orders & catered events so it'll be nice to decompress for a little bit... and maybe do a little shopping along the way ;)

to partially make up for my absence, i'm heading in to the market today. there are more and more vendors heading in on fridays and i'm excited to see what it's like now. over the summer, with people off work & heading to their cottages for the weekend, i might like to permanently switch to fridays so i could spend sundays with my friends who work 9-5 jobs & i never get to see. let me know what you think.

it seems like the days have been packed lately. i didn't even get around to writing a blog last week! i was busy making homemade mozzarella cheese (not for the business, just for fun):

attending a tibs family dinner (full report to come):

making moroccan meatballs:

baking pie:

catering a bachelorette party (on saturday night right after the market!):

and catering my bestie's housewarming party on sunday, right after the bachelorette. i don't have any pics but there were ribs, flank steak, grilled chicken, potato salad, corn salad & strawberry shortcake on homemade biscuits. out of everything the corn salad probably got the most comments so it may be coming soon to a market near you.

this week for the market i replenished my stocks of beef shepherd's pie - an oldie but a goodie. this batch has quite a bit of tang and a bit more spice than usual. to balance things out, i made super cheesy, skin-on mashed new potatoes to go on top.

small $10 large $20

today for salads i have three options:
broccoli - red onion, red pepper, sunflower seeds, almonds, dried cranberries
sweet potato - avocado, bell peppers, green onions, tomatoes, lime, cilantro, chipotle
quinoa - bocconcini, tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, fresh herbs, red wine vinegar

tomorrow beet salad will be back in the mix - after i pick up some local strawberries from the market today. it'll be the same as last week with fennel, basil, strawberries, arugula & goat cheese.

i also did a fair bit of baking this week & am happy to say that banana-peanut butter cupcakes & spicy chocolate-chai brownies are both making their triumphant returns to my sweets table. along with all the other familiar faces - breakfast cookies, snickers brownies, rhubarb-raspberry cheesecakes, hello dolly's, maple walnut bars & the usual plethora of cupcakes.

okee dokee i suppose i should get up & pack the car... in the rain... sigh. 
market hours today are 10-5 & tomorrow 7-4 at which point i will be making a mad dash to the airport so please come by sooner rather than later.

see you soon.

Friday, June 14, 2013

been pretty productive around here

today i've been thinking back on this week & am seriously dumbfounded by just how much food i made... not to mention how many dishes i dirtied. for some strange reason i decided to make three main courses & a new batch of soup along with two extra catering gigs on my plate.

it's been awhile since i've had any pulled pork on the menu so this week i replenished. the first is a regular menu item: asian-inspired pulled pork. the pork shoulder is from getaway farm & slowly braised in ginger, garlic, soy, sesame & secret herbs & spices. it's served with rice, bean sprouts, roasted broccoli, pak choy, chillies, lime & green onions. 

this recipe started out as a take on my grandmother's sparerib recipe that i grew up on, but now it's a whole new beast with chinese 5-spice & a touch of red curry paste. it's a little sweet, a little sour & not crazy spicy. definitely one of the most popular dishes i make.
small $10  large $20

the next main is a brand new concoction. i love mexican food. i love tomatillos. i love cilantro. i love hominy. soooo i made a new dish that incorporates them all. it's a chili verde pork shepherd's pie. so i braised the pork (from getaway farm of course) in tomatillos, cumin, green chillies & other aromatics. then i shredded it & added red bell pepper, cilantro, green onions & hominy.

ps: pulled pork is not exactly photogenic but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in flavour.
this mixture is layered on the bottom & topped with super cheesy pepperjack potatoes to turn it in to a 'shepherd's pie.' i've been dreaming about this one for a long time so i hope you enjoy my new invention :)
small $10  large $20

the third main is a fresh batch of salt cod fish cakes. i'm from a fishing village so these have been a staple in my diet for many years. i like to make mine a bit more modern with a touch of lemon, dill & a panko crust.
$10 for 4 or $15 when combined with baked beans

there's also a new batch of chicken stew in the freezers. i made this one a little thinner & lighter since it is supposed to be summer... but it's still loaded with lots of root veggies & homemade stock.

i have officially filled all four of my freezers to capacity. i really hope it's a busy weekend so i can clear some room!

the salads will be broccoli, beet & sweet potato. they are the best sellers by far. i might make a quinoa too but i'm pretty exhausted.

i catered a big breakfast function this morning & per usual i went overboard. the menu was:
asparagus & gruyere quiches
lemon scones with homemade rhubarb-raspberry jam
bacon cheddar breakfast brioches
blueberry & flax muffins
berry and yogurt parfaits with homemade granola
fresh fruit trays

it was a really pretty set up this morning too. unfortunately i'm always rushing when i cater & don't take time for photos.

on wednesday i also did up a bunch of sweet trays for the final public engagement session at the market. there were cupcakes & cookies. i made old-school chocolate chip cookies. i NEVER make them & it was sort of nostalgic & nice. not gonna lie, i ate my fair share of dough.

ok i had better get back to work. i'm in the final stretch now - just salads, frostings & labelling left & hopefully a couple extra hours of sleep.

hope to see you all this weekend :)

oh yeah, rhubarb cheesecakes will be a new addition to my table this week. 
and don't forget, the dates i will be away are june 23, june 30, july 6 & july 7.

Friday, June 7, 2013

back in the swing of things

last week i eased off the prep a little & focused on work outside the kitchen, this week i was back in the kitchen... in a big way. there are two new main courses, four salads, all the usual baking & i catered on wednesday at the market for a vendor information session.

the market caterings are great exposure, it's still sort of funny how many people (even vendors who i've seen every weekend for the past two years) think i only make cupcakes and are surprised to be eating savoury things from my kitchen. i also always make extra dips for myself so it forces me to add more veggies to my diet ;)

this week my bbq also came out of hibernation! due to the 'weather bomb' destruction of my bbq in 2011, the new one spends the winter tied down behind the wood pile. thursday was a fantastic day & i couldn't have timed my prep better.

i grilled up all of these veggies to go with my new grilled chicken main course. it's boneless, skinless chicken breast from shani's farm that i tossed in a quick marinade of lemon, garlic & fresh herbs. and it's served on top of a creamy white bean ragout that's loaded with roasted garlic, parmesan & basil. the finished product looks like this:

this is basically all of my favourite things in one dish.
small $10 large $20

the second main, is a new batch of vegan curry. it seems like i just made this, but it has become the #1 best seller (even surpassing beef shepherd's pie), which is just fine by me since making curry is one of the most therapeutic things for me to do in the kitchen. there's just something so rewarding about mixing all of the spices, letting it simmer all day and really come together. then i always let it sit overnight for the flavours to fully develop before hitting it with the last few finishing touches. this batch has lots of garlic & ginger, cauliflower, potatoes & sweet potatoes, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, cilantro, coconut & lime. it's served with a combo of basmati rice & quinoa.
vegan & gluten-free
small $9 large $18

for the salads, the beet, broccoli & sweet potato are unchanged. i worry about becoming too boring but people are creatures of habit & buy the same ones each week so i don't want to mess that up. i did play around with the quinoa a bit this week. it's seasoned with a little bit of homemade sundried tomato tapenade and then loaded with veggies - asparagus, fiddleheads, red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, celery, green onions & radishes. it's super bright, fresh & crunchy.

from the freezer there are still lots of meals too. with andrea bearing down on us, it might be nice to snuggle up with some comfort food tomorrow night.

beef shepherd's pie   sm $10  lg $20
braised beef brisket & blue cheese gnocchi   sm $10  lg $20
sweet & sour pork meatballs   sm $10   lg $20
chicken parmesan   sm $10  lg $20
chicken, leek & bacon pies   sm $10  lg $20
lobster mac & cheese   sm $12  lg $24
plain mac & cheese   sm $9  lg $18
4-cheese lasagna   sm $9
miso, mushroom, udon & choy   lg $18

i'm out of fish cakes at the moment but i still have baked beans. the other soups & stews on the menu right now are:

curried butternut squash
carrot, apple, ginger
beet, parsnip & pear
white bean lemon & kale
black bean & corn chili
vegan vegetable stew
roasted red pepper
chicken stew
beef stew
seafood chowder

ok i think that's it for now...

... oh yeah, i almost forgot, i have BIG news. i booked a vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (can you tell i'm pretty pumped?) so i will be away from june 30th to july 8th give or take... i haven't booked a return flight yet... so just plan accordingly & i really hope that no one goes in to salad & cupcake withdrawal during my absence. 

that definitely it for now, hope to see you over the weekend :)