Friday, August 30, 2013

catering, special orders, deliveries...

this week is one of my busiest yet. i have 120 wedding cupcakes & two birthday cakes on order for tomorrow. then i'm doing all the food for a wedding of 75 on sunday. plus i got a call on monday to cater for 30 on tuesday(!!!) & i did it.

this week my focus has really been catering. thankfully i have lots of meals in the freezer as i've had neither the time or the fridge space to make anything new for the market. there will still be lots of fresh salads & baked goods, just no new main courses. 

here's what's on the menu:
beef shepherd's pie    small & large
brisket & blue   just large
moroccan meatballs    just large
chipotle pulled pork   small & large
sweet & sour meatballs    just large
jerk chicken    small & large
chipotle chicken    small & large
chicken pot pie    just small
lobster mac & cheese    just large
smokey mac & cheese    small & large
vegan curry    small & large   
lentil shepherd's pie    small & large

also, due to my catering obligations on sunday, i WON'T be at the market that day so please make sure to come by on saturday to stock up.

next week is also looking pretty crazy too. next saturday i'll be at a halifax crafters pop-up show at two if by sea over in dartmouth.

i've done a couple of shows with the crafters already at the olympic centre. it's a really great crowd with a ton of fun stuff. i'm quite excited for this adventure. we have very limited space so i won't be bringing any frozen goodies but will have lots of lunch options, gift certificates, bbq sauces & the usual assortment of sweets. i'll be missing the saturday market at the seaport but will have some lovely ladies holding down the fort. i'll be back to my usual schedule soon, i promise.

ok back to the grind, dinner rolls, focaccia, cake decorating, a mountain of potato salad, cedar-planked salmon...
see you tomorrow :)


Friday, August 23, 2013

another busy week

last friday, when i was finished all my market prep, i decorated 150 wedding cupcakes. the only stipulation was that they be in shades of purple. i made lots of different flavours & tinted them all purple. then i thought it wasn't quite cohesive enough, so i went back & piped a tiny 3 coloured flower on top of each - even the minis! i was pretty much cross-eyed by the end but i was pretty pleased with the end result.

then after saturday at the market, i was back in the kitchen baking pies for my village's annual lobster supper. i went with streusel topped apple-berry pies to send over to the church hall. i don't bake a lot of pies so it's always pretty stressful!

then on sunday at the market, i was a judge in the halifax connections food bloggers cooking competition as part of sausage fest. it was nice sitting in the sun, meeting some new people & sampling some tasty grub. sorry if you were waiting for a cupcake while i was outside, but i took my responsibilities quite seriously;)

the winning dish was skillet baked eggs in a tasty ratinaud chorizo sauce with cilantro, green onion & goat feta made by kathy jollimore, the writer of eathalifax. 

then it was back to the grind. my menu was definitely lacking in the poultry department so i made two new chicken main courses this week with shain's farm chicken. they both ended up being gluten-free as well.

the first was chipotle-lime smoked chicken.

it's served up with a side of black bean & corn succotash, tomatoes, lime, cilantro & cheezy mashed sweet potatoes. there's a bit of kick to the chicken but the potatoes should provide nice balance.
small $10  large $20

the next main was something completely brand new - jamaican jerk chicken! it's something i've been thinking about for a long time & i'm pretty pleased with the results. i marinated the chicken overnight in a homemade jerk marinade with lots of warm spices & chillies. i was really worried that it would turn out blazing hot but it's actually less spicy than the chipotle chicken.

the meat is tossed with a grilled pineapple salsa - grilled red onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes & cilantro. it's served up alongside black beans & rice with green onions & a touch of the jerk marinade.

small $10  large $20

then i was busy with all the baking. the full lineup will be back this weekend:
snickers brownies
spicy chocolate brownies
hello dolly's
maple walnut shortbreads
lemon shortbreads
breakfast cookies
goat's milk fudge

i can smell the maple walnuts right now, they must be ready to come out of the oven. i still have a special order lemon-blueberry birthday cake to assemble & decorate too.

and then it's on to salads. this week i'm skipping the quinoa. i've had a few requests for regular potato salad so i'll be making a vegan version of that with lots of mustard, dill and radishes & green beans from my garden.

ok dokee back to work. hope to see you all over the weekend :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

a much better week

i'm feeling about a million times better than last week! thank goodness, to miss a saturday market is sort of a big deal for my business. many thanks to all my faithful regulars who stopped by the sunday market last week to pick up their weekly goodies, it softened the blow. 

so, last week before things got dicey, i made a batch of smokey mac & cheese that's loaded with double smoked bacon, green onions, roasted cherry tomatoes & beautiful local corn from elmridge. there's a cheese trio of parmesan, mozzarella & foxhill curds in a garlicky bechamel sauce. this one would make a great side for any bbq meal... or supper on its own really, maybe with a salad ;)
small $9 large $18

the other mains on the board this week are:
beef shepherd's pie
moroccan beef meatballs
brisket & blue
chipotle pulled pork
sweet & sour pork meatballs (only 1 left)
chicken pot pie (only smalls)
lobster mac & cheese
fishcakes & beans
vegan curry
lentil shepherd's pie

the poultry selections are getting a little thin, but fear not, i have loads of chicken on order from shani's farm for pickup tomorrow :)

since i didn't make it to the saturday market, my freezer stocks weren't depleted as much as usual so i skipped a new main course this week. i did however start replenishing my soup selection. over the summer months there's a marked decrease in soup sales so i've been letting inventory turn over. but this week i went bean crazy!

there's a new batch of baked beans - sold on their own for $7 or with 4 salt cod fish cakes for $15. i call them 'not your mother's baked beans.' they are super tangy thanks to a combo of tomato paste, vinegar, worchester, maple, molasses, onions and a few secret herbs & spices. they're more like a bbq baked bean and work really well as a side to ribs or pulled pork.

i also made a batch of white bean, lemon & kale soup. this one is vegan & gluten-free, but you wouldn't know to taste it. the beans are cooked low & slow with caramelized onions and roasted garlic until they become really rich & creamy - without the help of any dairy. then to freshen things up, i hit it with lots of lemon & kale at the end. the kale is this batch is exclusively from my garden!!!

the other flavours in the freezer right now are:

curried butternut squash (vegan, gluten-free)
tomato, vegetable stew (vegan, gluten-free)
roasted red pepper, tomato, sweet potato & chipotle (vegetarian)
black bean & corn chili (vegan, gluten-free)
chicken stew
beef stew (there's only 1 left)
seafood chowder

they're all $7 each for a 500ml portion not matter the flavour

the salad selection will be back to normal tomorrow too. i'm finished the broccoli, beet & sweet potato already. i just have the quinoa to finish up. it'll be the curry version with lots of spice, crunchy veggies & i think i'll throw some spicy, stewed chickpeas in this week's version.

special orders also kept me on my toes this week. every monday i'm now making meal deliveries to bedford, if you'd like to hop on that train just let me know. i'm in the hammond's plains area every monday afternoon-ish. then there was a very special birthday cake yesterday.

and i just got home from dropping off a selection of appetizers & cupcakes which are now en route to a cottage party tomorrow. their menu included:
caprese salad skewers with garlicky bocconcini & balsamic tomatoes
olive tapenade, creamy blue cheese & truffled white bean dips
a selection of vegetables & crackers
mini waldorf chicken salad sandwiches on homemade flax seed buns
smoked salmon mousse in savoury profiteroles

i forgot how much i love making profiteroles...pressing my nose against the glass & watching them rise... the anxiety & then the relief when it all works out!



ok back to the kitchen, quinoa time. oh & decorating 150 cupcakes for a wedding tomorrow! hope to see you all over the weekend & that you're enjoying this gorgeous friday evening.

Friday, August 2, 2013

a mellow kind of week

this week has been so awesome & relaxing. last week was psychotic so i chilled out & recuperated this week. i spent a lot of time in the garden, at the beach, and at the spa. the garden is looking about a million times better than last year (krista is a monumental help), my tan is really coming in & i have a fresh pedicure.
all in all, a pretty successful week.

this is also the long weekend (hard to believe it's august already!!!) and there is a special natal day seafood festival at the market this monday. i've decided to set up shop for the occasion. on monday there will be food & wine tents set up, live music, kids activities & of course me so there are plenty of reasons to come down.

i've baked extra cupcakes & made loads of extra salads to get ready for it.
the salads this week are:
sweet potato - avocado, peppers, chipotle, lime cilantro, tomatoes
broccoli - red pepper, red onion, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries & bacon. there are no almonds in it this week because i burnt them all :(
beet - strawberries, radicchio, red onion, kale from my garden, balsamic dressing & goat cheese
quinoa - it's my favourite version! the quinoa has a curry dressing with lots of ginger, sesame, lime, mint, basil & cilantro. then it's loaded with veggies - nappa, cucumbers, carrots, celery, snow peas, red pepper & finished off with a healthy dose of sriracha & peanuts.

there's still plenty of selection as far as meals go too. before i left for vacation i cooked like mad to really stock up. there will be at least one new main course for next week, but i didn't make anything new for this week.

here's an updated version of what's in stock:
vegan curry - small $9  large $18
potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, tomatoes, ginger, lime, coconut & cilantro served with basmati rice/quinoa combo. gluten-free

lentil shepherd's pie - small $9  large $18
stewed lentils with tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, peas, corn & loads of herbs. topped with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower & nutritional yeast. vegan & gluten-free

fish cakes & baked beans - $15 (4 fish cakes & 500ml beans)
panko-crusted salt cod fishcakes with onions, celery, summer savoury & citrus. tangy baked beans with tomato paste, maple syrup, molasses, vinegar & onions.

lobster mac & cheese - small $12  large $24
big chunks of lobster straight from my neighbour joe's wharf, foxhill cheese curds, mozzarella, leek bechamel, slow-roasted tomatoes and a parmesan/panko crust.

beef shepherd's pie - small $10  large $20
ground beef from getaway farm, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, peas & corn in a tangy sauce with a touch of my homemade bbq sauce. topped with cheddar & green onion mashed potatoes. gluten free except for a touch of worchestershire

moroccan meatballs - small $10  large $20
ground beef from getaway farm seasoned with sumac, ginger, coriander & chillies. served in a piquant tomato sauce with roasted red peppers, dates, fennel seed, olives & kale. the side dish is harissa quinoa complete with toasted almonds, green onions & lemon. gluten-free

brisket & blue - large $20
red wine braised getaway farm beef brisket served with wilted spinach & creamy blue cheese gnocchi with sauteed mushrooms.

chipotle pulled pork - small $10  large $20
braised getaway farm pork shoulder shredded with lots of homemade chipotle lime bbq sauce. topped with black beans, corn, peppers, pickled chillies & lime. then the whole thing is topped with cilantro-spiked mashed sweet potatoes. gluten-free

chicken, leek & bacon pie - small $10  large $20
braised shani's farm chicken in rich gravy with melted leeks, root vegetables & double smoked bacon. topped with a crispy puff pastry lid.

this week i made the full gamut of cupcakes:
pink grapefruit
banana-peanut butter
red velvet-raspberry
paleo chocolate coconut

ok back to the kitchen for me, i still have a few kilos of frosting to whip up.
hope to see you all over the weekend, especially since i missed last saturday. thanks again to lauren & leslie for holding down the fort! 
ps: my saturday night catering was a huge success :)