Saskatoon and Cottage Cheese Perogies

Here at the CFM it’s no secret who the best perogy-maker in the market is. Margarita Kordoner has been in the business longer than some of her customers have been alive. She makes everything from scratch every week including her cottage cheese which she has been perfecting for 38 years! We asked her to give us her best tips and show us her process for these palatable perogies.
On top of learning from the best we had fresh local Saskatoon berries from The Jungle Farm to work with! How can we lose?!

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What you will need to make 3 dozen of Margarita’s perogies:

5 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
2 cups of Saskatoon berries (or enough for 3-4 berries per perogy)
About 4 cups of cottage cheese (Margarita sells her homemade cheese at her booth every week!)

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1. Mix the flour, salt, egg, and water together for your dough. If you find one aspect of the dough is off, adjust your dough accordingly.

2. Roll out the dough to roughly a 1/4 inch thickness.

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3. Use a cookie-cutter to cut out round shapes in your dough.

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4. Pile small amounts of cottage cheese and 3-4 berries in the middle of each round.

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5. Fold the round in half making sure to contain and stuff your filling inside, then pinch the sides shut with your fingers.

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6. Once you have pinched all of your perogies shut, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze them for 2-3 hours or until you are ready to make them.

7. To prepare perogies you boil them like pasta. For 1 dozen perogies bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil then dunk them in. They don’t need long, maybe 5 minutes.

8. Serve directly on to a plate and eat either alone or with your favorite sauce! We promise you won’t be sorry!

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Around the Table…with Yum Bakery

One of the staples of the Calgary Farmers’ Market has always been Yum Bakery. In light of them making some refreshments (see what I did there?) to their business I caught up with one of Yum’s owners Debbie Catling and she updated us on what exactly is happening in their world.

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How did this all start for Yum Bakery?
“Well, we started out when the market was at the Currie Barracks. We had bought Wanda’s Fine Baking as she was ready to retire. At the time we were selling Stock and Sauce to our partners and we saw a niche with San Francisco-style bakeries. We wanted to bring that homey bakery style with great breads and Macarons to Calgary and the Calgary Farmers’ Market.”

What is your favorite thing about being part of the CFM family?
“Just exactly that, the family. Getting to know the other vendors and seeing other people that are happy doing what they are doing. You get to go to work with people who are passionate  about their own things they are doing here.”

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What’s your favorite item that you offer?
“There are a lot of things I can resist now that we’ve been doing this for a while, but there are three things I can’t when they are fresh out of the oven: Our Roasted Garlic Cheese Buns, our Savory Scones, and our Ham and Cheese Croissants.”

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Do you have a to-go way you like to eat any of these or a recipe you use them in?
“I like to toast up the Savory Scones and make an Eggs Benedict with them. It’s amazing!”

What are three quick tips you would like to share with market guests?
“1. I think a little-known fact about us is that we don’t add preservatives or additives to anything, particularly our bread. So, keeping it on the counter for more than three days can cause it to mold. Freezing it is a good way to avoid this, not putting it in the fridge though. Putting bread in the fridge makes bread go stale.
2. Our cakes keep really well despite not using preservatives so don’t be afraid to come in and pick something up on a Thursday instead of taking your chance on a Saturday.
3. Order ahead! We make every effort to estimate what will be sold every day. Nobody likes to come in and be disappointed that the thing they are there for is out though, so we recommend calling or emailing ahead of time with orders. We will have your order waiting for you so there is no guess work involved. All that info is on our website.”

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Do you have any bakery Words of Wisdom you live by? 
“One of the first things we say to our staff is that we don’t want anything to go to a customer that you wouldn’t 100% want to buy and eat for yourself. If it doesn’t look and taste fantastic, we don’t want to sell it.”

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What’s your favorite thing to eat in the market that is NOT from your place?
“Big T’s smoked ribs are one of my favorite things ever, and Taste of Quebec has this fudge…you know, you think since I own a bakery I wouldn’t need anything else sweet, but this fudge is magical.”

Can you tell us about any new projects your working on?
“Yes! We are doing a couple of things actually. One of them is a re-brand, which we hope to have completed by about mid-June. That will consist of new packaging and new products. Our other project is opening up a little place called Jarred. The concept behind Jarred is just that: cheesecake in jars, cookie dough and trifle in jars. There will also be preserves using things that are in season. A lot of our customers at Yum request to buy our sauces like our lemon curd and caramel so those will be sold by the jars as well.
Our launch will be June 8th!”

One last question: If you could be a pastry, what would you be?
“If I could be a pastry I would be a baguette! Long, and thin, and hot!”

..I think we would all like that, Debbie.

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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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!

Hearty Veggie Chili

Chili collageThis recipe was most definitely inspired by Dinner with Julie’s Really Good Veggie Chili. One look at that recipe, and I knew what I was having for dinner. Given the recent cold snap reminding us Calgarians that it is in fact still winter here, I thought it would be a great time to share this delicious meal with you! This recipe is also a good reminder that you don’t necessarily need to include meat to create something hearty and filling for your family.

Market Sourced Ingredients

Other Ingredients

  • oil, for cooking
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 2 cans of beans, your choice – chickpeas, black, kidney etc. (*I ended up using dried beans from my garden, topped up with some chickpeas and black beans that I had on hand)
  • 2 cans diced or whole tomatoes (*I used one liter of my own canned whole yellow tomatoes – get the recipe here)

If using dried beans, make sure to soak them and cook them before making this recipe. (If using canned beans, this step will go a lot faster – simply drain and rinse before adding to the pot).

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First, preheat the oven to 425 F. Peel and chop the sweet potato, toss in cooking oil, salt and pepper, then spread the pieces out on a baking sheet and put in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once they are golden and delicious looking, they are ready. Remove from oven and set aside.

Chop the onions, peppers and mince the garlic. On the stove top, heat a fair sized pot and sauté the onion, peppers, and garlic for a few minutes until soft. Chop up the cilantro stems, and half the leaves and add them to the mixture. Add in the spices (cumin, chili powder, cinnamon). Cook a few minutes longer.

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Next, chop up the tomatoes if needed, and add them along with the beans into the pot, throw in the roasted sweet potatoes, and bring the whole thing to a simmer for about 45 minutes. And that’s it!

To serve, sprinkle some crumbled feta on top with some fresh cilantro leaves. This recipe can serve a crowd, or in my case, it can feed 2 people for a few days. It was definitely a time saver during a busy (and cold!) week.

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You can find the ingredients for this recipe and more on your next trip to the Calgary Farmers’ Market!

Apples, Apples, Apples & a recipe for Apple Cheddar Muffins

There’s no doubt about it – apples are in season at the Calgary Farmers’ Market right now! We all have our favourites, that’s for sure, but if you’re looking to do more than just bite into a refreshing snack – do you know which apple is best for the job?

I took a moment to chat with Chris Souto of Souto Farms to learn a bit more about the plethora of apple varieties they carry at the market. They currently have 10 varieties of apples to choose from; read on to learn a little bit about each one!

Honey Crisp – This delicious eating apple is a top seller at Souto Farms; it is the crispest, biggest and hardest to grow. The results are worth it though for this sweet, tart, juicy favourite. (Season: early September – late January).

Ambrosia – This medium sized apple is a crisp, sweet eating apple. It also happens to be Chris Souto’s favourite! (Season: mid September – late May).

Pink Lady – Another medium sized eating apple, the Pink Lady is tart, but full of flavour and super crisp. This later season apple isn’t harvested until November. (Season: early November – late May).

Gala – The Gala is an older generation eating apple. It’s sweet, with a medium crispness. The Ambrosia is slowing taking over the place the Gala used to hold at Souto Farms. (Season: early September – late May).

Mac – Most people are familiar with the classic Mac; it is one of the older generation apples that Souto Farms carries. Its softer texture and tart taste make it best for cooking, though in season it’s still an enjoyable eating apple. (Season: late August – late May).

Granny Smith – This apple is super crunchy and very tart! It is another older generation apple that is very popular in cooking. (Season: mid October – late May).

Aurora – This small apple is slightly crisp, and the sweetest that Souto Farms carries. It is a great eating apple, but also makes a wonderful apple sauce. (Season: October – mid January).

Golden Delicious – The Golden Delicious is a classic. It is a very, very old generation apple that is sweet, crisp and perfect for eating. (Season: late September – late May).

Spartan – Another old generation apple, a bit sweeter than a Mac, but still tart, the Spartan is good for eating. It may be small, but it’s still slightly crisp and makes a great snack. (Season: late September – late May).

Empire – With a slightly  crisp texture, small size and sweet taste, this old generation apple is a nice eating apple. Maybe less popular that the other varieties, but still delicious! (Season: mid October – late December).

All this apple research had me seriously craving some elaborate apple creations – but sometimes simple is best, so I decided on this simple Apple Cheddar Muffin recipe. Who doesn’t love apples and cheese, anyway? Right?

Ingredients in a rowApple Cheddar Muffins

Market sourced ingredients:

*Sylvan Star Cheese has more than just cheese! They’ve also got a selection of eggs, yogurt, organic milk and goat’s milk – basically a one stop shop for dairy!

**While Beeland has a huge variety of honeys, especially this time of year, I chose their basic all-purpose clover honey for this recipe. It’s the best value in cases where honey isn’t necessarily the star of the show!

Other ingredients:Muffin Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 3 Tbsp oil (olive or vegetable)

*While I used baking supplies on hand in my home, you can source many flours and other baking ingredients from Blush Lane Organics at the market!

First, preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease your muffin pan, or line with muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 muffins.

Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl (flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices). Toss in the cheese and mix until it is evenly distributed.

Whisk wet ingredients together in a separated bowl (eggs, honey, molasses, oil, and yogurt). Stir in the grated apple and mix until is it evenly distributed.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined.

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Might not look like much, but the smell of the apples at this point made my mouth water!

Pour the batter into the muffin pan, and bake about 30 – 35 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. I like these best served with a pat of butter, but you could also go big and melt a fresh slice of cheddar on yours. Try your best not to eat them all at once!

Muffins done