Our good friend and client Tanya and I were sitting on her patio one evening and we came up with the idea for ‘Red Apron Hacks’. Since we both enjoy the Red Apron dinners every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, we end up with some leftovers at the end of the week. While comparing notes, we found that we both get an immense amount of pleasure from taking Red Apron leftovers and transforming it into something amazing.
At my house, breakfast often consists of almost any Red Apron dinner leftover warmed up in a fry pan with a poached or fried egg folded in or served on top. I often take the leftover vegetables and toss them with some cooked pasta, olive oil, and grated cheese for a simple Friday night dinner. Mediterranean style vegetables work the best for this dish.
Below: I used some Farmer’s Market vegetables and left-over fish from the Thursday dinner, topped with a little Canreg Station Pecorino cheese.
If I end up with extra salmon or chicken breast, I will often dice it up and use leftover dressing or aioli to create a quick chicken or salmon salad to serve on crackers or bread. This is a super easy school lunch solution.
We are reaching out to our client base to share their Red Apron Hacks with us too! Show us what you have made using your Red Apron leftovers. You can email photos to email@example.com, or tweet them to @redapronyummm using #redapronhacks and we will share them on our blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook page.
Below: I used leftover corn & tomato salad served on an avocado, with some leftover shrimp on top. The vegetables were a stir fry of leftover slaw and I refried leftover potatoes.
If this summer has you entertaining a large crowd, there are so many fun & interesting ways to do it.
The simplest is to have an event catered. Think outside the box! Many of our Ottawa food truck operators will bring their truck to your event. The Street Food application allows you to not only find a food truck, but request a catering quote. Other options include specialty caterers like The Grateful Griller who will come to your event with all the food you need to make your event a success, and will cook it right in front of you.
If you are more of a DIY type, there are some amazing themed dinners that you can plan, including a Clambake or Lobster Boil. All you really need is an outdoor propane burner and the largest pot you can get your hands on. A number of websites offer recipes and tips, but essentially you layer it all in a pot with white wine and broth, starting with the item that takes the most time to cook (new potatoes, sausage, corn on the cob, lobster, clams, mussels, herbs and aromatics).
Feeling a little more adventurous? Try a Méchoui. Spit roast a whole pig, wild boar or lamb, and serve it up with some simple side salads and crusty bread. Ottawa Party Rentals (and a few other places) rent out spits for just this purpose, and you can arrange with one of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market vendors to purchase the meat. Discuss with them in detail the correct size for your crowd. This can really turn dinner into an all day event!
If you are looking for something a little in-between, invite your guests to bring their own items for the grill, and you provide the side salads, bread & dessert. In this day of gluten avoiders, vegans & pescetarians, planning a dinner party can be a real challenge. By inviting your guests to bring their own grill-ready protein, you take away all the guesswork.
You can always stop by the Red Apron and assemble the ingredients for a fantastic dinner. We have grill ready meats, side salads, dips, spreads, cheeses & breads. This month’s menus are for two of our most popular side salads, which will be available in our deli case all summer long.
Regardless of how you choose to entertain this summer, I hope you enjoy your time with as many friends and family members as you can, and relaaaaaaaax.
Have a safe & happy summer!
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of corn kernels
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and small diced (less than ½ inch square)
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
4 green onions
2 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo sauce)
1 small bunch of cilantro, stems removed, chopped
¼ cup of lime juice
¾ cup of olive oil plus more for cooking
sugar and salt to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes in a few tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove and let cool.
In a sauté pan on medium high heat, heat a few tablespoons of oil and sauté the red peppers for 2-3 minutes. Add the corn kernels and sauté for another 2 minutes.
In a blender, place lime juice, chipotle peppers, a good pinch of sugar and ½ the cilantro. On medium speed add the olive oil in a slow stream to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Serve at room temperature. This dish keeps well for 3-4 days.
Picnic Potato Salad
2 pounds of new potatoes (fingerlings or tri-coloured potatoes work well too)
4 eggs, hard boiled
6-8 radishes, washed and shredded a cheese grater
¼ cup diced sweet pickles
½ cup diced dill pickles
small bunch each of basil, dill & parsley, stems removed & chopped
1 cup of good quality mayonnaise or aioli
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (grainy mustard is a nice alternative)
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
Halve the potatoes and put them in a medium pot. Cover with salted water. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are well cooked. Drain but do not rinse the potatoes. Set aside.
Peal the eggs and shred 3 of them using a cheese grater. Reserve the 4th for garnish.
Mix the mayonnaise with the mustard and garlic.
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning and mayonnaise if necessary. Transfer to a decorative serving bowl and garnish with sliced egg. You can also sprinkle on a bit of paprika for colour.
For two weeks in June, the Red Apron will be celebrating the Women’s World Cup by featuring menus inspired by the cuisine of the visiting teams. Visit our website for the full menus.
Sign up for all three days of either week before the 12th of June & your name will be entered into a draw to win two tickets to the games on Wednesday June 17. Mexico will play France at 4pm. Korea will play Spain at 7pm. Tickets get you into both games. Draw will held on Saturday June 13th.
We thought we would share with you some recipes from the menu for Wednesday, June 17 – Tapas Night in honour of the visiting team from Spain.
Red Apron Gazpacho – Available weekly in our retail store!
1 English cucumber, halved but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes, cored
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups of tomato juice
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 small bunch each of basil and mint (stems removed)
In a blender, blend the vegetables to desired consistency. We enjoy it with some texture remaining so do not over process. Season with salt and pepper, and serve cold.
Spanish Potato Tortilla – Available by pre-order on June 17
3 to 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 cup olive oil
7 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bottom of a large bowl, lightly beat eggs with pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat oil half the oil in an 8- to 10-inch oven proof skillet. Add the onions on medium heat and sauté until caramelized and soft. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium-high until hot, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and add potatoes and onions in even layers, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper in between the layers. Pour over the egg and flatten everything with a spatula, packing the potatoes tightly. Place in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. Potatoes are done when they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
Let cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the tortilla with a spatula then flip it onto a large dinner plate.
To serve, slice in wedges, and enjoy hot, cold or at room temperature, plain, or with a dusting of smoked paprika and/or dollop of aioli or mayo.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
540g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup (125ml) dry white wine
1 large can (750ml) diced tomato
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bag of baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat oil in a casserole or large, ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat. Cook chorizo, turning, for 2-3 minutes until starting to crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.
Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Return chorizo to the pan with the garlic, oregano & paprika. Add canned chickpeas, wine and tomatoes. Season, bring to the simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Just before serving add the spinach to wilt and garnish with parsley. Serve with crusty bread.
Earlier this week Jo-Ann and I went foraging for ramps in the forest belonging to my mother, just outside of the town of Osgoode. The property has been in my family for over 40 years and the 60 acres of mixed hardwood forest was lovingly cared for by my father up until he passed away 4 years ago.
Ramps are a bulb-forming perennial with light green leaves. Ramps (also known as wild garlic, or wild leeks) grow the forest in strongly rooted groups, just beneath the surface of the soil. They are a rare seasonal delicacy and are a protected species in many places, including Quebec. I am fortunate in that our ramps grow in abundance on private property where we are able to strictly manage the amount and frequency of harvesting.
Throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Eastern United States, ramps are celebrated with festivals.
We returned to the shop at the end of a muddy, wet day, and proceeded to prepare the ramps to be pickled for for sale in our retail store. We will use the bulb and stem in the pickles, and we will sauté the greens for inclusion in our Thursday fresh meal.
Sautéed in butter, ramps are sweet, mild and extremely delicious. If you are lucky, you may be able to get fresh ramps at the local Farmer’s Markets for the next 3 or 4 weeks.
I brought home a handful to enjoy for dinner in a twist on:
Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Wild Ramps
Serves 4 to 6, unless you have a 16 year old boy in which case it serves 2 – 3.
1 package dry spaghetti
(I used gluten free pasta)
4 large eggs,
1 large bunch of ramps
250 grams bacon (I used Seed to Sausage’s garlic & Juniper) sliced thinly
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino (Canreg Station makes a nice one)
Freshly cracked black pepper, sea salt
Clean and trim the ramps. Separate the white bulbs from the green leaves. Slice the bulbs thinly and slice the greens into 1 inch pieces.
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook per instructions on the box, or until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the meat is crispy and golden and has rendered its fat. Remove the bacon and add the white parts of the ramps and some butter or olive oil if necessary. When softened and brown, turn off the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and half the cheese until well-combined.
Return the pan to medium heat and add the ramp greens and the bacon. Add ½ cup of the hot pasta water and toss in the drained spaghetti while it is still hot. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture, stirring quickly until the eggs thicken. The residual heat will cook the eggs but work quickly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a little bit more of the pasta water.
Season liberally with freshly cracked black pepper and remaining cheese. Taste for seasoning; depending on the kind of pork used, it may not need any salt. Serve immediately.
We kick off the month with the annual Hike for Hospice at Maycourt at 114 Cameron Avenue in Old Ottawa South. This year the Red Apron will be serving up a Brown Bag Brunch to all registered hikers. If you are reading this article before Sunday May 3, it’s not too late to register. Visit our website for details.
May is also the time when our thoughts turn to gardening. Many people in our community are renewing their interest in growing their own vegetables. To facilitate this, one of our favourite organic farmers has come up with a truly brilliant offering to make growing vegetables for ‘newbies’ accessible. For the first time this year, Juniper Farm is offering Organic Garden Packages. The plan provides a combination of seeds, seedlings, plans and instructions to allow you to provide fresh organic vegetables for your family even if you have only a small amount of space.
Operating out of a pick-up location at the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market on Sundays, you will have access to their seedlings and know-how. For more information on this innovative offering, visit juniperfarm.ca
Here are this month’s recipes, utilizing ingredients that should be available at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market this month!
Organic Greens with Goat Cheese, Grilled Asparagus & Spring Ramp Dressing– Serves 4
This salad makes four lunch portions, or can be served with a seared breast of chicken or salmon as a dinner.
6 cups organic local greens ***
1 bunch young asparagus
½ cup olive oil or good quality canola oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2-3 ramps (wild garlic)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Chèvre or Feta ***
*** A number of vendors at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market sell both organic greenhouse greens and lovely goat and sheep milk cheeses, including Canreg Station, Glengarry Cheesemakers & Folies Bergères
Toss the asparagus in a small amount of oil and season with salt & pepper. Grill on the BBQ (or sear in a sauté pan). Slice the ramps thinly using the whites and light green parts only. Whisk oil and vinegar together, season with salt and pepper, and whisk in the ramps. Toss greens with vinaigrette and separate onto four plates. Top each plate with ¼ of the asparagus. Serve immediately.
Maple Rhubarb Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated maple sugar
1 ½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups chopped rhubarb
½ cup regular large flake rolled oats ***
¼ cup brown sugar or maple sugar
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter
***Hopefully you will be able to find local rhubarb at the market. Castor River Farm sells rolled oats. There should be a number of maple syrup producers on hand as well.
Topping: in a bowl, combine oats, sugar, walnuts, flour, maple syrup & cinnamon. Cut in cold butter until crumbly. Evenly press onto the bottom of a well greased 9-inch bundt pan.
Cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar, add eggs and mix well. Add sour cream and vanilla, mix to combine. Fold in chopped rhubarb.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir this into the creamed mixture until blended.
Spoon the batter evenly over the topping.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool, and run a knife around the outside edge of the cake to invert onto cake platter.
We are Mothers, residents of our community, entrepreneurs as well as active participants in our local economy. We individually have a history of owning and operating successful local businesses.
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Our commitment to getting people “back to the table” starts at home and extends to our community through a number of philanthropic endeavours.