Grey Cup Grub

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, even though our local Stampeders weren’t able to pull out a win last weekend, that we’re all pretty excited for the Grey Cup around here.  Call us football fans or food fans or… both!

Whether you’re hosting your friends or heading to a party, you wouldn’t want to fumble on the opening kickoff and show up without food, right?  And with everyone else rushing to the frozen snack aisle like a possessed linebacker… *ahem* we mean flocking to the grocery stores last minute to stand in long lines, we’d like to share some of the incredible (and tasty) things you can find right here in one stop.  Ready?  Huddle up, we’ll be your Grey Cup party quarterback.

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Whether your guests have the appetite of an offensive lineman or punter, who doesn’t like a meatball sub?  With Spragg’s Meat Shop carrying some of the best ready-to-go meatballs around, this is an easy throw-’em-in-the-crockpot and slap-’em-in-a-bun (from Yum Bakery of course) meal for the game.

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Looking for something a little on the lighter side for a delicate wide receiver?  Prawns with cocktail sauce is a huge crowd pleaser and Blu Seafood has some incredible treats from the sea.  In addition to the best tasting prawns we’ve had (in our land-locked region), they also have some excellent crab cakes, salmon burgers, and seafood brochettes that are party-ready with very little prep.

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More of a meat-lover, kill-the-running-back, kind of defensive lineman?  Silver Sage Beef prepares a killer burger (slider and full-sized), they do up a damn good chili, and if you prefer beef in your subs, they also have prepped meatballs.  Not a bad selection.

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And what’s a Canadian party without a Caeser? Edgar Farms (part of Innisfail Growers Co-operative) is famous for their asparagus; we wait, not-so-patiently, for it to arrive on the shelves every June and Elna Edgar makes some mean pickles.  What’s better than a spear of pickled asparagus poking out of the signature drink Canadians love so much?  Nothin’.

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We know not everyone who has ever dawned shoulder pads and a helmet is a big ol’ meat lover, so why not offer them a lighter, equally delicious option?  Kin Sushi has a great selection of ready-made combos and they take larger orders for platter.  They also make a killer miso soup to warm everyone up.

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While we’re talking about healthy alternatives to your Grey Cup party, Cherry Pit has an impressive, and tasty, selection of ready-made salads, roasting vegetables, and made-to-order platters that will suit just about anyone’s dietary preferences or restrictions.

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You may be hosting friends and family in your home for the big game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some great bar-style snacks at their fingertips.  Going Nuts has a massive selection of nuts of all kinds and flavors that will keep them coming back for more.

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We’re not sure we’ve ever been to a party of any kind that doesn’t have at least one dip as part of the snack/appetizer buffet.  The Stock & Sauce Co. has a vast and varied selection of dips from pâté  to pesto, tapenade to tasty dips, even a chocolate mousse that’s incredible on strawberries, these certainly won’t disappoint your guests.

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If you want a more traditional party spread, nachos or as mainstay as you can get when it comes to sporting events.  Los Chilitos Taqueria makes salsa and chips fresh daily and are quite addictive if we do say so ourselves.

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We’re on a dip roll, we’re not stopping now!  2 Greek Gals has you covered for bruschetta, antipasto, traditional Greek fare like melitzanosalata and tzatziki and some pretty martini-perfect olives for the women that are watching the game with the men.

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Martinis for the women, wings for the men?  Not a bad trade.  Wild Fire Wings has an extensive menu of hot-to-take-home or take-and-bake wings from the common buffalo to the not-so-common dill pickle or garlic & parm.  They use organic Sunworks Farms chicken and they have a buy 3lbs, get 1lb free deal.  Say wha?!  Touchdown!

Meat & Cheese Collage

If you’re hosting a slightly more sophisticated crowd that prefers wine and cheese with their long bombs and 50 yards running plays, Fresh DELIcious offers a selection of import and local cheese and meat that could give any large deli a run for its money.  And they often have Thursday deals, so don’t count them out of your Grey Cup shopping.

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And while we’re challenging you not to leave any market stone unturned… we think you should try to slip in these vegan spare ribs from Hearts Choices.  Lighter than a full meat platter, and just as tasty, we think most people would be hard pressed to point out the vegan option in your party spread.

So there you have it!  A dozen quick and easy, one-stop shopping pick ups right here at the market and a drink garnish too!  So whaddya say?  Skip the long grocery lines and visit our vendors for a Grey Cup party that’s unlike all the rest.

Not-So-Sloppy Joes

Kids Cooking

Last week, as we were restocking our Take-One-Leave-One  Cookbook Library (located at the North East entrance), we stumbled on a book that was a mainstay in many households.  From the mid-80’s, it was the go-to book for many a mom looking for quick and nutritious meals that their kids would not only eat, but could also help cook.  We’re big fans of getting kids in the kitchen around here; teach them how to love food when they’re young and they’ll have a lifetime of rich memories and full tummies.  And maybe we were just being nostalgic, but we thought we’d rock a family-friendly, get-’em-in-the-kitchen (read: SUPER easy) meal this week.

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Market Sourced Ingredients

1lb of extra lean ground beef from Silver Sage Beef

1 shallot from Cherry Pit

4-6 hamburger buns from Yum Bakery

2 Beck Farms carrots from Innisfail Growers

1 stalk of celery from Cherry Pit

ketchup and mustard (what family doesn’t have these in the fridge?!)

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As our “Very Slightly Messy Manual” instructs our little chef, have your assistant (read: mom, dad, aunt… any responsible adult that can wield a sharp knife safely) finely chop the carrots, celery, and shallots.  Add to a hot pan with a little olive oil and saute for a few minutes.

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Add ground beef to the pan with the vegetables and break apart, cooking until brown.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add a good squirt of ketchup (or 1/4 cup if you’re teaching measuring skills) and one tablespoon of hot mustard.

At this point, if you’re hoping to extend the recipe to feed a larger family (or just want some leftovers for an easy lunch the day after), you can add a can of brown beans to this recipe.  Is it vital to making these Sloppy Joes yummy?  Nope.  But it is an easy and affordable way to stretch this dinner if we’re trying to tighten our purse strings.

Spoon beef onto your hamburger buns and “serve with milk”.  Another good recommendation from the manual.  It isn’t every day that you find a solid (and highly entertaining) cookbook for kids; let your tots have a shot at this simple, yummy, and budget-friendly recipe.

2013-11-14 08.18.23And if you want to serve these Not-So-Sloppy Joes with the Oven French Fries from the Kids Cooking book (as pictured), all you need is a couple of potatoes and a little olive oil.  Start by asking your assistant to help with cutting the potatoes.  We used a mandolin (which is WAY to sharp for little fingers) to cut these shoestring thin, but cutting them into wedges is awfully yummy too.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees while mom is slicing the potatoes.  Toss the potato wedges in a bowl with a little olive oil and a dash of salt.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes if thin-cut, or about 45 for thick wedges.  Move them around halfway through to prevent them from burning on one side.  And voila!  French Fries with your Joes.

Chicken, Kale & Mushroom White Lasagna

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Fall is a beautiful time of year.  It’s a particularly short season here in Calgary as we experience a swift transition between our gorgeous last days of summer, with sunny days and balmy nights to crisp mornings and see-your-breath (ALREADY??) nights.  Check.  And, of course, there’s always at least one good snowfall before it’s even Halloween.  Check.  And while the first day of winter is officially December 21st, we all know that’s a load of cr___ *ahem* cold, 4 foot snowdrifts and slippery commutes.

But that makes it sound like we don’t like Winter around here, and that’s just not true.  Winter is, when it’s not 40 below, a beautiful time of year filled with festivities, a plethora of fun Winter sports with cups of fireside hot chocolate, and delicious cling-to-your-ribs meals, like this Chicken, Kale & Mushroom White Lasagna.  It’s perfect for a comforting dinner with family and friends and you can get everything you need in one warm stop at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

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Market-Sourced Ingredients

2lbs sausage, removed from casings and crumbled from Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage

1 to 2 bunches kale (1 1/2 pounds), thick stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces and rinsed from Innisfail Growers

1lb of assorted mushrooms from Souto Farms (we used portabello, chantrelles, and brown mushrooms)

2 containers of Alfredo Sauce from The Stock and Sauce Co.

1 large onion, diced and 4 garlic cloves, minced from Cherry Pit

4 large fresh lasagna sheets from Soffritto

1 tub of fresh buffalo mozzarella and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano from Fresh DELIcious

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Add kale leaves with a splash of water and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

We like the addition of caramelized onions to the mushroom medley, so we added garlic and the entire onion, sliced, to a pan with olive oil and a pat of butter (using oil with the butter will prevent it from burning).  Cook on low until the onions have softened, taken on a caramel color, and are sweet yet still slightly crisp.  There’s no need to add sugar to your onions, just let the caramelization process happen naturally… low and slow.

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And then, in a third skillet with a little olive oil, cook the mushrooms off until soft.  We learned a neat trick from Chef Nicole Gomes when she was at the market for an in-house mushroom risotto demo: don’t add salt to the mushrooms while they’re cooking.  This will draw even more water out of the mushrooms and produce a spongy texture.  Neat eh?  So, just cook off the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper after removing them from the heat.

Lasagna Collage

Spread a ladle-full of Alfredo sauce along the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. The lasagna noodles from Soffritto actually come in one long sheet, so you can conveniently cut them to the size of your casserole dish. Place one sheet of fresh lasagna noodles over sauce in a single layer. Top with 1/2 cup Alfredo, spooning the sausage and kale mixture over in a thin layer. This is typically where you’d add a layer of ricotta cheese, but we omitted this to lighten up the dish a bit. Repeat with a second second sheet of noodles, Alfredo, and mushroom medley layer. Top with remaining lasagna sheet, 1/2 cup Alfredo, sliced mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and freshly ground pepper and salt. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is golden in places and lasagna is bubbling along the edges, about 15 minutes.  Remove lasagna from oven and let stand 20 minutes before slicing and serving. *Note: we did not trim the noodles to an exact fit and therefore the overhanging noodles will become crisp.  If you wish to remove these extra bits, just use a sharp knife to carve the excess noodles.

There’s more snow ahead for us this Sunday.  Now you have a twist on the classic lasagna to curl up with on a cold night.  Check!