Valentine’s Victuals from our Vendors (Part one)

 

Start your romantic night in the right way with these light fares! Pull them together quickly and enjoy the extra time spent with your special someone this Valentine’s Day. 

Tidbits for two

You will need:
1-2 Cucumbers from Gull Valley Greenhouses
150 g Prosciutto Di Parma from Luc’s European Meats
250g of Three Brothers Cheese from Janice Beaton Fine Cheeses
1 jar of Apple Chutney from Innisfail Growers

       1. Slice these cute cukes into 16-20 slices and arrange them on a plate or serving tray.                We cut ours into heart shapes to make them festive.

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         2. Add the Prosciutto from Luc’s and Cheese from Janice Beaton Fine Cheeses (One                     slice of meat and cheese per cucumber slice).

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  1. The raisins, onions and apples in the Apple Chutney from Innisfail Growers add a bit of brightness and bring the whole thing together.

           For the final touch, dollop each masterpiece with a ½  teaspoon of apple chutney.

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Wine Pairings
And because a romantic meal isn’t complete without some libations, we checked in with J. Webb Market Wines for a perfect pairing. They recommended their Bistrologie Blanc blend. It mixes Sauvignon, Chenin and Colombard grapes for a sharp, but fruity addition that pairs well with these appetizers.

Spinach Strawberry Salad

It’s been a warm Spring, some days being downright hot which means we’re seeing our seasonal produce a bit earlier than normal. Edgar Farms asparagus was almost a whole month ahead of schedule! And B.C. strawberries hit our shelves this weekend, truly incredible. That means your prep-for-summer-salad-bonanza just got a whole lot more interesting. And this salad, while simple with only a few ingredients and easy to throw together, is packed full of flavor. We wanted to take it one step further for you and show how easy it is to enjoy a healthy lunch on the go and never eat another soggy salad again!

Market-Sourced Ingredients

1 bag of The Jungle Farm‘s Spinach from Innisfail Growers

Strawberries from Cherry Pit

Ginger Spice Pecans from Going Nuts

Goat Cheese from Fresh Delicious

1 bottle of The Jungle Farm‘s Saskatoon Vinaigrette from Innisfail Growers

1 pkg of Sunflower Microgreens from MicroYYC found at Gull Valley Greenhouses

Tip: make sure the Saskatoon Vinaigrette goes on the bottom, veggies and other salad fixings are layered, and the greens get piled on top. Everything will stay separate and dressing-free (unless your jar gets tipped over) until you toss the salad together in a bowl or let it all fall out onto a big plate.

Eggplant Tapenade

Eggplant is that vegetable.  The one you dreaded as a child, the one that hits the table for a special occasion but is loved by few, the one that’s pigeon-holed for being difficult to perfect.  But, eggplant is also beautiful and silky and healthy.  And this recipe is wildly easy and delicious too!

Roasting is a foolproof method for cooking eggplants, but with the early arrival of Spring we suggest throwing these on the grill (or in a pan if you’re not quite ready to pull out the BBQ). There is no wrong way of getting these aubergines ready. We like tucking into this eggplant tapenade with the baguette crisps from 2 Greek Gals or luxuriously folded into fresh pasta from Soffritto. Heck, it even makes a great dip for vegetables.

Market-Sourced Ingredients

Serves 6-8

2 small eggplants from Gull Valley Greenhouses

2 garlic cloves, cut into slivers, 1 Lemon, and a mittful of flat leaf parsley from Cherry Pit

a healthy scoop of pitted Nicoise olives and pitted lemon preserved green olives from Soffritto *you can go all in on the Nicoise, but we liked mixing it up.

Olive Oil from Soffritto

Sea Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Tip: younger, smaller eggplants which are sweeter are preferable.  Regardless of the size, pick eggplants that feel heavy, have a smooth and shiny skin, and a stem-end “hat” that looks green and fresh.

*We first made this recipe July 12th, 2013 and it was so good we had to share it again.

Easy Bison Bourguignon

9-5… hockey practice… dance class… piano lessons… homework club… training session… the grind keeps us all busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well too. We wanted to share an easy take on the Julia Child’s classic boeuf bourguignon. We used bison instead because it’s a leaner alternative to beef (or even chicken for that matter) and is chocked full of vitamins and minerals. And it’s delicious. And we threw it all in a crock pot because there’s nothing easier than low and slow or more welcoming than coming home to a house that smells like heaven and a bubbling pot of “oh-my-word-this-is-so-good!” dinner.

So here’s what you’ll need (all of which can be found at the market):

Market Sourced Ingredients

2 lb Scotch Tender Bison from Bauer Meats, cut in large chunks

1/2 pkg of bacon from Spragg’s Meat Shop

6 Beck Farms carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces from Innisfail Growers

1 lb Uppergreen Farms white skinned potatoes, left whole if small from Innisfail Growers

2 cups beef stock or broth from The Stock & Sauce Co.

1 cup red wine from J. Webb Wine Merchant (Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir)

4 cloves garlic, crushed from Cherry Pit

1 yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced from Cherry Pit

8 oz mushrooms, dusted off and halved from Cherry Pit (we preferred crimini mushrooms)

1 bunch fresh thyme (reserve some leaves for garnish) from Cherry Pit

2 Tbsp olive oil and a good glug of Juniper Berry Balsamic from Soffritto

1 heaping tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp flour (leave out for gluten free)

freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt

We start with bacon because bacon is awesome, but more practically because bison is a very lean mean and the bacon rounds out the dish while adding a little fat and lots of flavor.

Browning the meat is an optional step, but it will elevate the flavors of your bourguignon (if you have the time). *Skip this step if you’re looking to save time and chuck everything in the crock pot and go.

We tossed the carrots in the flour, but you can add the flour after you’ve browned the meat, or to the onion and garlic mixture too. Remember, this is easy bourguignon.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

At the end of cooking, taste to check the seasonings and add a good glug of the Juniper Berry Balsamic Vinegar. Juniper is a classic pairing with game meat, particularly bison; we highly encourage this pairing.

Serve the stew with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves and a big hunk of delicious bread.

 

Easy Apple Turnovers

IMG_9353Fall is upon us. You can tell by the cool winds blowing at night, the crisp morning walk to school, and the bounty that is gracing our shelves here at the market. It’s harvest time! Time to preserve the last days of summer to be cracked into in the dead of winter and transport you back to this beautiful time of year. Maybe it’s the back-to-school vibe that gets the apple rolling, but new crops of apples are bobbing up at market these days. And these apple turnovers are exponentially simpler than making pie crust (because we use puff pastry). We used 6 ingredients and whipped them up in 40 minutes, start to finish.

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Market Sourced Ingredients

1 sheet of Pascal’s Patisserie Puff Pastry from Blush Lane Organics

2 apples from Souto Farms (we used 1 Honeycrisp and 1 new crop Gala)

juice from 1/2 of an orange from Cherry Pit

1-2 teaspoon Apple Pie spice from Silk Road Spice Merchant

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay the thawed pastry on the floured counter and roll out to become slightly thinner; cut into 5″x5″ squares. Set aside. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add apples, sugar, orange juice, apple pie spice. Sauté approx 5 minutes, until apples are crisp-tender (NOT soft- they will continue to cook in oven) and juice has slightly thickened into a caramel-like sauce. Divide apples up evenly between the puff pastry squares (we used an apple mold… because how cute?!). Spread apples across the center of each pastry square followed by a little of the sauce drizzled over the top of apples. Paint edges with the egg wash to ensure pastry sticks together. Fold the top edge over the bottom and press to seal the edges. Brush the tops lightly egg wash and sprinkle with sugar; we used the Vanilla Sugar from Silk Road Spice Merchant, but cinnamon sugar works really great too! Repeat with the other squares. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and puffed. Can be served hot or cold, but should definitely be shared with family and friends.

Seared Scallops with Corn, Spinach & Bacon

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Is there anything that says late summer better than a hot, sweet, and stuck-in-your-teeth-butter-dripping-down-your-arm cob of Taber corn? Add in bacon and, well, very few things are made worse by the addition of smoky, salty bacon and fresh, local greens.

Inspired by the new and incredibly useful cookbook “The Broad Fork” by Hugh Acheson, this recipe is dead simple, can be whipped together in less than 20 minutes, and is super tasty too.  Sounds kind of perfect, right?

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Market Sourced Ingredients

Scallops from Market Seafood (3-4 per person, or more if you really love scallops)

3 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob from Cherry Pit

1/2 package of Spragg’s bacon, diced

1 bag of Jungle Farms spinach from Innisfail Growers

2 small shallots, 2 cloves garlic, and 1 lemon from Cherry Pit

1 tbsp Butter

Salt & Pepper

*Basil (to taste) from Terra Farms

*Hugh doesn’t call for basil in his recipe but the addition of any herb of your choice is a beautiful way of adding delicate flavor to any dish. We chose basil because we love it and Terra Farms has some pretty amazing basil these days.

Place the bacon in a medium sauté pan over medium heat, and cook until the fat starts to foam and the bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain off most of the bacon fat and add the shallots to the pan. Cook the shallots for 2 minutes, and then add the garlic and corn kernels. Continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the kernels are tender but still have some pop. Season with sea salt to taste, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the spinach and cook just to wilt it, about 1 minute. Then finish with the lemon juice and more sea salt to taste. Remove from the heat and keep warm on the stovetop, but not directly over the heat.

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  Drizzle with olive oil and season them all over with sea salt. Add the scallops to a hot sauté pan and sear for 3 minutes on one side. They should caramelize and develop a good golden-brown color. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the scallops and allow it to melt. Flip the scallops over and quickly spoon the butter over them, cooking for 1 minute more. Remove the scallops from the sauté pan and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Spoon the spinach/bacon/corn mixture onto individual plates, and arrange the scallops on top. Enjoy!

 

Learn more about our beloved Brian of Market Seafood.

Eggplant Parmesan

This time of year, while we wait for the abundance of field crops to start lining the shelves of our vendors’ stalls, greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers really take the ‘local’ spotlight. For this recipe, a lesser known, but equally exciting locally grown vegetable – the eggplant – is finally getting a turn to be the star of the show! (These beauties can be picked up at Gull Valley Greenhouses.)

Many people view the eggplant as some sort of exotic ingredient, but it’s actually quite easy to prepare and cook in a number of ways! Eggplant parmesan is a wonderful way to start cooking with eggplant, and a great way to sneak in another vegetarian option to your menu at home.

Market Sourced Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants, sliced ½ inch thick from Gull Valley Greenhouses

1 ½ cups panko crumbs from Blu Seafood

½ cup milk from Blush Lane

2 eggs from Blush Lane

3 cups tomato sauce from Gull Valley Greenhouses

2 cups mozzarella, shredded from Sylvan Star Cheese

1 cup parmesan, grated from Sylvan Star Cheese

Fresh basil, chopped for garnish from Gull Valley Greenhouses

eggplant ingredientsOther Ingredients:

2 tbsp kosher salt

Vegetable oil for frying

Method:

Before you do anything else, you need to slice your eggplants up; salt both sides of the slices and let them sit in a colander in the sink for at least 30 minutes. This will draw out extra moisture and bitterness.

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When you’re ready to get cooking, pat the slices dry on a piece of paper towel to remove excess salt.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish; whisk the milk and eggs together in another dish.

Taking the slices one at a time, dip the eggplant into the milk and egg mixture, coating both sides, and then dip it into the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess. Set aside on a tray and repeat for all the slices.

process collage

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a pan over medium high heat and add a generous dollop of oil. When it’s nice and hot, add one layer of eggplant slices to the pan, flipping part way to cook both sides. Remove the slices when they are golden brown and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this step until all the eggplant has been cooked.

Now it’s time to put everything together in a good sized casserole dish. Coat the bottom of the casserole dish with about 1 cup of tomato sauce. Add a layer of eggplant slices. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and parmesan on top. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients (about 3 layers). Make sure the top layer of cheese is generous!

Cook for about 25 minutes in the oven. When it’s almost done, you may want to (carefully) switch to the broiler to brown the cheese. When the cheese is brown and bubbling to your approval, remove from the oven. Sprinkle the basil over top, and dig in!

Eggplant (6)

While frying the eggplant before adding it to the dish can take a bit of time – it is totally worth it! This dish is delicious right out of the oven and a great one to keep in the fridge for easy leftover meals. The moral of the story is -next time you’re at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, don’t be afraid to try something new!