Farmer’s Market Season

Finally, spring has arrived and Farmer’s Market Season has commenced.  We are so fortunate to have a growing number of markets to visit each weekend including:

Ottawa Farmer’s Market @ Brewer Park – Sundays
Main Street Farmer’s Market @ St. Paul’s University – Saturdays
Ottawa Organic Farmer’s Market behind Canadian Tire at Bank & Heron on Saturdays
Parkdale Farmer’s Market – Daily
….and so many more cropping up here and there.  For a more comprehensive list, click here.

The first local crop to hit the markets is asparagus.  We received our first delivery last week from Rideau Pines Farm – a pick your own fruit & vegetable farm near Manotick.

Fresh picked & delivered same day

Fresh picked & delivered same day

According to Matt at Rideau Pines, don’t shy away from the large asparagus.  If it’s picked fresh, locally grown, then it’s just as tender as small asparagus, and it has more crunch so can be enjoyed really lightly cooked or even raw as part of a cold salad or slaw.  Today’s recipe features this amazing vegetable.

Under the right conditions, asparagus can grow up to 1 cm per hour.  Asparagus can be green, white or purple.  To extend the life, refrigerate stalks, tips up in a cup of shallow water.  Asparagus can be broiled, steamed, grilled, roasted or sautéed.  Asparagus is high in fiber, folate and potassium, and contains bone-building vitamin K along with many antioxidants, including vitamins E, A and C.  Each spear of asparagus has just 4 calories and contains no fat or cholesterol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mLf-wUdkws

Pasta with Peas, Asparagus and Double Smoked Bacon

8 oz dry pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup whipping cream
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup shelled green peas (may substitute frozen, thawed)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or tarragon leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
¼ pound Double Smoked Bacon – cubed (Piggy Market’s is the best!)

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce as follows.

In a large saucepan cook the bacon on medium heat until golden.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Add the garlic and Asparagus. Cook for 1-2 minute.  Remove Asparagus and set aside. Add the stock, cream, lemon zest and turn heat up to high. When it begins to boil, add the peas and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Turn off heat.

Drain the pasta (do not rinse), and add back to the pot. Pour in the sauce and mix to coat the pasta. Add the lemon juice, basil, Parmesan, asparagus, salt and pepper. Toss again and serve immediately – garnish with double smoked bacon.  If your grill is on, consider grilling the asparagus lightly tossed in oil first.  The flavour is delicious!

Variations:  You can top this lovely pasta with grilled chicken or fish, or serve it beside a grilled steak.

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Let’s Bake a Pie!

April, 2014

With Easter on the horizon, you may be hosting a few guests for brunch or lunch.  Making a pie can often seem like a daunting task, involving many steps and ingredients.  But the reality is that it can be simple, and is a very versatile and elegant way to present almost any ingredients.

This month’s recipes feature free-form galettes, which are really easy to make.  We make them in a pie plate because it’s easier to move them around and transport them before and after baking, but you can make them on a baking sheet as well.

Our savoury version is a vegetarian galette.
butternut cheddar galette
When Jo-Ann and I travelled to London last fall, we were inspired by the many, many, many types of pies available in shops and markets.  We found this one inspiring, and came back to try to replicate it.  We served our first batch at our annual Lumberjack brunch and they were a HUGE hit.  We will be making them and selling them in the store this Easter.

Although the recipe calls for butternut, you could switch it up seasonally, and replace it with sweet potato, pumpkin, or any orange squash.  This recipe makes a great lunch/brunch dish, but is also a great accompaniment to grilled or roast meat.

The sweet version is a mixed berry, but almost any fruit will work including peaches, mangos, apples, etc.

strawberry galette

 

We make small versions of this sweet treat for sale each day in our retail store, and sometimes we add custard or cheese.  If you are using strawberries, remove the hulls and slice them first.  You can use any stone fruit.  Just  peal and slice them beforehand.  Apples work well, and you can mix your fruits too and come up with your own favourite combination.

You can use frozen fruit for this recipe, but make sure you assemble the pie quickly before the fruit thaws, and bake immediately.  If your fruit thaws before baking, it will release too much moisture and make your crust soggy.

Butternut, Caramelized Onion & Cheddar Galette

Pie Dough

1 ¼ cups all purpose organic flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, chilled & diced
¼ cup water

In a large bowl, combine flour & salt.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Filling

2 cups butternut, diced and sautéed (Note 1)
1 clove of garlic crushed
3 onions, sliced & caramelized (Note 2)
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
butter & oil for frying

image

Assemble

Roll out pie dough, and place gently into a 9 ½ inch pie plate.  Do not trim the pie dough.  Distribute ½ of the shredded cheddar on the bottom of the pie dough.  Layer all the caramelized onions on top of the cheese.  Add the diced butternut and distribute evenly and top with remaining shredded cheddar. Fold over the edges of the piecrust to form a rustic finish.

Bake in pre-heated 325-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden.

Note 1:  Sauté butternut in oil & butter until slightly golden & tender.  Season with salt and add garlic just before finishing so it doesn’t burn.  Let cool

Note 2:  Sauté onions in oil & butter until soft & golden.  Season with salt.  Let cool.

Very Berry Galette

Follow the same directions above for making and rolling out the pie dough.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups berries or fruit *
1 tsp coarse sugar
icing sugar (optional for dusting)

Combine brown sugar and cornstarch and 1/8 tsp salt in a large bowl. Stir in berries until coated. Tumble fruit mix onto centre of pastry inside a pie shell.  Fold pastry over, just to cover edge of fruit. Centre of pie should not be covered with pastry, and edge will be uneven. Lightly brush pastry with water, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake until pastry is golden and mixture is bubbly, 35 to 40 min. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or cool and dust with icing sugar.

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One Chicken – Four Dinners

From a workshop we delivered at Richard Pfaff Secondary school this week.  Take the challenge!  Visit our Facebook page for photos.

Shopping list

6-8 pound organic chicken
3 medium onions
3-4 red peppers
Small bag of baby spinach
2 medium sweet potatoes
3 medium potatoes (Yukon gold or russet)
1 large carrot
1 bunch of kale
1 whole leek
2 cups sweet peas
1 large Spanish onion
1 bunch green onions
2 ripe avocados
2 lemons
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 heads garlic
1 knob fresh ginger
3 cups organic brown basmati
1 small package organic whole-wheat penne or ziti
250 ml whole cream
½ cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated white cheddar
8 soft corn tortillas
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can organic white beans
1 can organic black beans
1 can of organic chickpeas
cumin
chili powder
Indian red curry paste – mild
fresh thyme
fresh oregano
bay leaf
salt
pepper

Do One Day Ahead

1.  Cook Chicken/Make Stock

Whole Local Chicken (7-8 lb) – Organic or Hormone & Antibiotic Free
1 Onion, peeled & quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled
1 medium carrot, peeled, large dice
1 celery stalk
1 thyme branch
2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Cover the chicken cold water in a large stainless steel stockpot and bring to a boil. When the stock comes to a full boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and skim off the gray foam that rises to the surface. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay, and salt.

Cook gently for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked.  Remove, and when cool enough to handle remove breast meet, thighs & wings.  Put the carcass and the wings back in the pot and continue to simmer for another 2 hours until the broth tastes rich and is a light golden color. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Save any pieces of chicken and set aside.  Return the stock to pot and simmer to reduce to 2 litres.

Allow the stock to cool completely; skim the fat and promptly refrigerate.

2.  Cook 3-cups organic brown rice

Organic Brown Basmati is my preference

Curried Sweet Potato & Chicken Stew

oil (canola or olive)
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled & grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
½ can of diced tomatoes diced (reserve juice and remaining tomatoes for another recipe)
1 small can of coconut milk
1 cup of organic canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of red curry paste
1 large or two medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed (1 inch cubes) and cooked until just tender
cooked meat from one chicken breast, cubed
½ bag of baby spinach leaves.
Salt, to taste
serve on rice

Prep all of the above ingredients

Sauté onions in a large saucepan on medium high heat until soft.  Add Red Peppers, and cook until peppers wilt.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and coconut milk and simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add chickpeas, 1 cup of chicken stock, chicken and sweet potatoes.  Simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes.  Add curry paste and season with salt to taste.  If the stew is too thick, thin with remaining chicken stock.  Before serving, toss in spinach leaves.  Serve on steamed rice.

You could garnish this dish with chopped green onions, cilantro & avocado.

White Bean, Kale & Potato Soup

Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
1 can organic white beans (rinsed & drained)
1 bunch of kale (rough chopped)
3 medium potatoes (peeled, cubed & cooked until tender)
Remaining meat from the chicken stock,
1 litre of chicken stock
Juice from can of tomatoes
Fresh time & oregano (1 tablespoon each, chopped)

Prep all the above ingredients.

Sauté onions & garlic in soup pot in 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add kale and cook until wilted.  Remove from pan.  Put white beans, potatoes, chicken stock & reserved meat, tomatoes and juice in the soup pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add herbs and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add back kale & onion mixture and test for seasoning.  Add salt to taste and serve.

This meal would be best served with crusty bread.  The soup can be garnished with fresh chopped parsley and grated cheese on top.

Pasta, Chicken, Pea & Leek Casserole

2 tablespoons butter
1 whole leek, cleaned and sliced thinly (white and light green parts only)
1 small package organic whole wheat penne or ziti, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained
250 ml whole cream (35%)
1 cup green sweet peas (frozen),
½ bag of baby spinach leaves
meat from one chicken breast (cubed),
½  cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated cheddar
salt & pepper to taste

Prep all above ingredients.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Sauté the leeks until soft.  Add cream and bring to a simmer.  Add peas, season with salt & pepper.  In a large bowl mix together cooked pasta, cream/leek mixture, peas, chicken, cheddar cheese & spinach.  Transfer to ovenproof casserole and top with parmesan.  Cook at 375 until warmed through and top is golden brown.

Chicken Tacos

Olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, peeled & sliced
1 large red pepper, seeded & sliced
½ can of diced tomatoes, rough chopped (reserve juice for another recipe)
meat from chicken leg and thigh (shredded)
2 green onions, diced
2 avocados
juice of 2 lemons
1 package of small corn tacos (fresh),
1 cup frozen corn kernels,
1 cup organic black beans drained & rinsed
cumin,
chili powder
4 cups cooked brown rice

Prep all above ingredients.

Heat oil in a sauté pan and sauté onions and peppers until caramelized.  Add shredded chicken meat and season with cumin, salt & pepper.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat more oil in pan and sauté green onions, tomatoes, corn kernels and black beans.  Season with chili powder and lemon juice.  Set aside half of mixture and add rice to the remaining mixture.

Slice avocados and drizzle with lemon juice & oil.  Season with salt.

Heat tacos in dry fry pan.  Stuff tacos with chicken mixture.  Garnish with sour cream, salsa, chopped cilantro.  Serve with rice and garnish with more black bean mixture.

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Mad for Maple!

February 26, 2014

March is  Maple Syrup Month!  Throughout the month of March our menus will feature maple in all components of our fresh meal menu and retail store offerings.

You can find a comprehensive list of sugar bushes in and around town at the www.justfood.ca, but here are just a few to start with:

Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm 
2452 Yorks Corners Road, Edwards 
1-613-821-2751 
www.stanleysfarm.com
Cheslock Sugar Bush 
224 chemin de la Savane 
Val-des-Monts, Quebec 
819-457-2552 www.cabaneasucrecheslock.ca
Bean Town Ranch 
2891 N Plantagenet, Concession 3 Rd Alfred and Plantagenet 
613-673-5894
Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugar Bush 
291 6th Concession Road, Pakenham 
613-256-3867 
www.fultons.ca
Temple’s Sugar Bush Restaurant & Venue 1700 Ferguson’s Falls Road
(County Road #15)
Lanark ON, 613-253-7000 www.templessugarbush.ca
Vanier Sugar Shack 
300 des Pères-Blancs Ave. 
613-580-2424 ext 32001 or 613-859-6382 
Their Maple Sugar Festival takes place from March 25 to April 1, 2012 
www.museoparc.ca/en

So get outside this month and shake off those winter blues.  Enjoy fresh air and eat maple syrup!

And what do you do with all that maple?  Here are some recipe ideas!

Maple Mustard Glazed Breast of Chicken

4 chicken breasts
Pinch of dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coarse grain Dijon mustard
Fresh sage for garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Season the breast of chicken with sage, salt, and pepper.  Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Transfer to an oven proof baking dish and cook until internal temperature reaches 165F, approximately 15 minutes.  Leave drippings in skillet.

2. Add broth and maple syrup to skillet. Boil until syrupy and thick, about 3 minutes, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to low.

3. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet and cook until just heated through, about 1 minute. Serve chicken with sauce. Garnish with fresh sage. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes

Sautéed Mushrooms in warm Maple Balsamic on Organic Greens

300 grams of Mushrooms diced *
1 small onion diced
1 clove of garlic diced
½ cup of good quality olive oil
1 tbs of butter
¼ cup of good quality balsamic vinegar
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary and thyme
4 handfuls of mixed organic greens
Salt and Pepper to taste

*White Button Mushrooms will work well for this recipe but you can also use oyster mushrooms or a mixture of organic mushrooms.

1.  Sauté onion and garlic in butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil until onions are clear.  Add herbs and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are golden brown. Season with Salt and Pepper and remove from pan.

Note:  Mushrooms like a hot pan and they don’t like to be crowded, otherwise they will release a lot of moisture and not brown.

2.  In a medium sized bowl whisk balsamic, maple, a pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper and remaining olive oil.  Add to mushroom pan and heat through until the vinaigrette is warm.

4.  Toss warm Balsamic & Mushroom mixture gently with Organic Greens and serve immediately.

 

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Superfood Cooking Workshop

January 2014

On Saturday January 18th the Red Apron hosted an in-house cooking workshop featuring Superfoods, as part of our month long tribute to Spa Inspired menus.  This workshop was led by our Sous-Chef Robin Lavigne.


Here are the recipes!

Power Bars

4 cups Gluten-free Rolled Oats
1 cup Nuts & seeds
1 cup Dried fruit
1 cup Dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs
2 cups Maple syrup
1 ½ cups Natural Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
1 tsp Sea salt

Line a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, melt together the nut butter and maple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and salt. Pour the cooled peanut butter mixture over the oats and mix thoroughly until combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish, pressing down and smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the power bars for 1 hour or until firm. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares.

Walnut Crusted Wild Salmon Filet

2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Honey
3 tablespoons Chopped herbs (basil, tarragon, oregano)
1 cup Walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
Zest and juice from 1 orange
Salt & Pepper
4 Salmon filets, each weighing 150-175 grams

Preheat oven to 375F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together walnuts, herbs and orange zest; set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together the Dijon, honey, and orange juice.

Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper, then brush on the Dijon mixture. Dip the top of the salmon filet into the walnut mixture; this will make a crust on top of the salmon filet. Transfer the salmon onto the baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 8-12 minutes.

Spinach Salad with Orange, Roasted Squash & Citrus-Tahini Dressing

Baby spinach leaves
3-4 Oranges
1 Squash (butternut, pumpkin, acorn)
½ cup Crumbled Goat Cheese Feta
Pumpkin seeds
¼ cup Fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Tahini
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Sea salt
½ cup Sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 375F. Put the whole squash on a baking sheet, and roast it for 20-40 minutes. The squash should still be slightly hard, you can pierce it with a knife, but there is still a little resistance. Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool completely. Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Dice the squash into bite-size pieces. Toss the diced squash with a little olive oil and some salt. Spread it out onto a baking sheet and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes, until completely cooked. Set aside to cool while you make the dressing.

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, tahini, honey and salt. Very slowly, and while whisking vigorously, drizzle in the olive oil. The dressing should end up emulsified into a creamy dressing. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or honey if you’d like.

Combine the ingredient in a salad bowl; add your dressing right before you are ready to serve. Toss to coat evenly.

Roasted Turkey Breast with Mole Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1  clove of garlic, minced
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup red wine
¼ cup tomato paste
19oz jar or can of roasted red peppers, drained
¼ cup pitted dates
28oz can plum tomatoes
½ cup roasted almonds, finely ground
Salt & pepper

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, cook over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, spices, cocoa and chipotles, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Deglaze with red wine, and then add the dates and red peppers. Take the pot off the heat, and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a blender or use a hand emulsion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pot and add in the remaining ingredients. Let the sauce simmer over low heat for a few hours, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

You can also add in finely ground corn tortilla chips for a thicker sauce.

Quinoa with Black Beans, Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato

1 cup organic quinoa
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup organic black beans
½ cup sautéed corn
1 cup diced, roasted sweet potato
¼ cup cilantro, washed and finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Salt & pepper

In a saucepan, toast the dry quinoa over high heat for 1 minute, until it smells nutty and begins to turn golden. Remove from heat and add in the water and salt. Return to the stove, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork and leave to cool.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Toss until thoroughly combined and season with salt and pepper.

 

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About the Red Apron
the red apron is a meal delivery service for busy families and savvy singles. We create locally sourced, sophisticated comfort food, letting you rediscover the taste of great food without the stress of shopping and meal preparation.
 
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