Pan Seared Halibut with Mango Pineapple Salsa

Blu halibutJust last week, Brian from Blu Seafood came rushing over to announce that Halibut was back in season, and that I should head over to his booth to get a good picture. I didn’t realize how large halibut could be, and I certainly wasn’t expecting him to hold up a fish as large as the one this picture – wow! Halibut is in season from late March to September, and comes from the North Pacific. These large flatfish are a highly sought after food fish. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to take some home and cook it up for the market blog.

I asked Brian for recipe suggestions, and he directed me to his cookbook, “Keep it Simple Seafood” (which you can pick up at his booth here at the market). The title speaks the truth. Not having much experience with cooking halibut (or seafood in general), I can confidently say that this is a great fish to cook for any beginners out there. He suggested adapting the Pan Seared Mahi Mahi (p. 82) recipe for halibut which worked out wonderfully.

halibut filletMarket Sourced Ingredients:

2 fillet of halibut from Blu Seafood

Juice of ½ a lime from The Cherry Pit

Package of Mango Salsa from The Cherry Pit

Package of pre-cut Pineapple from The Cherry Pit

2 tbsp oil (I used Persian Lime Olive Oil from Soffrito)

Balsamic vinegar (I used Grapefruit White Balsamic Vinegar from Soffrito)

Other Ingredients:

Couscous (or any other grain that you would prefer like rice, quinoa etc.)

Salt and pepperhalibut 1

halibut fillet cookingMethod (from Brian Plunkett’s book, “Keep it Simple Seafood”)

  • Pat dry the fish fillets
  • Season with sea salt, ground black pepper and the juice from ½ a lime
  • Heat frying pan, add the oil
  • Place the seasoned fillets of halibut in the hot pan and sear on both sides until golden brown and firm to touch – approximately 5 minutes
  • Serve over Mango Pineapple Salsa
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar

halibut finished 2I also cooked up some Israeli couscous (directions on how to cook it can be found here), but you could easily substitute this for whatever grain you prefer or have on hand. The original recipe was drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction, but I just substituted the grapefruit white balsamic vinegar from Soffrito straight up, and drizzled it over the whole plate before diving in. The wonderful thing about picking up oil and vinegar from Soffrito is that you can just tell them what you’re cooking, and they will make a variety of suggestions, allow you to sample the pairings, and then you can choose your favourite. I loved the bright citrus flavour of the Persian lime and grapefruit together and thought it would complement the mango pineapple salsa well.

I should also note that while Brian has a great recipe for salsa in his book, I cheated. The Cherry Pit makes an amazing mango salsa, but I didn’t want to leave out the pineapple! Fortunately they also have pineapple peeled, sliced and ready to go, so I just diced it up and added it to the salsa. All in all, this meal only took about 15 minutes to prepare, and couldn’t have been any more delicious, fresh or healthy – fast food at its best!

So next time you’re craving fish, be sure to head over to Blu Seafood. You can pick up all your ingredients, Thursday – Sunday, 9pm – 5pm at the Calgary Farmers’ Market!


halibut recipe

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.

Chili collage 3

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!

Simple Asparagus Soup

It’s that wonderful time of year when fresh, local produce really starts rolling in at the market! One of the most anticipated seasonal ingredients making an appearance right now is Edgar Farms‘ asparagus (available at Innisfail Growers).

Unlike many Alberta grown veggies, asparagus is a perennial plant (meaning that it lives for many years, so does not need to be replanted in the spring). Asparagus can be harvested for only a few short weeks each spring, and picking is always completed by the end of June. This allows the plant to store up nutrients to make it through the winter.  Edgar Farms has created an innovative way to harvest asparagus efficiently. See them in action in this video.

Asparagus can be enjoyed in many ways and while often viewed as a great side or compliment to a meal, asparagus is the star of the show in this simple soup recipe.

Asparagus x2

Market Sourced Ingredients

Serves 6

Simple Asparagus Soup

2 bundles of asparagus from Innisfail Growers

1 medium onion from The Cherry Pit

3 cloves of garlic from The Cherry Pit

6 cups of chicken (or veggie) stock from The Stock and Sauce Co.

Butter or olive oil

Salt and pepper

Optional garnishes:

Parmesan cheese from Fresh DELIcious

OR

Fresh mint from Terra Farms

OR

Fresh lemon & dill

Ingredients

Roughly chop your onions, garlic and asparagus. No need to get fancy since it will all be going into the blender eventually.

Heat up the butter or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the asparagus and chicken (or veggie) stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked. When all ingredients are soft, remove from the stove and puree in a blender (making sure to allow steam to escape through the lid).  When the desired texture has been achieved, pour back into a clean pot and heat through. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Simple as that!

You can enjoy the soup right away or add a simple garnish for some extra flavour. Choose a garnish that you enjoy like mint, lemon and dill, or Parmesan cheese.

Soup x3

My personal favourite was the lemon and dill variation. Just add a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a sprig of dill for an energizing twist. Try the mint if you’re looking for something a little different and refreshing, and you can never go wrong with Parmesan cheese! This soup is super versatile and with slight variations can meet the needs and tastes of everyone in your family.

Don’t forget; local asparagus is only available until the end of June! Enjoy this easy meal before the asparagus is gone. Come down to the Calgary Farmers’ Market to pick up your ingredients today!

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.

Vegan_Citrus_Spare_RIbs[1]

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.

Cobb Salad with Roasted Sweet Onion Dressing

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Have you ever met someone who just doesn’t like a cobb salad?  Sure, there are vegetarians or vegans and ingredient-restricted individuals who steer clear of this delicious, often-reinterpreted salad, but there’s something for everyone in the well-rounded salad that eats like a meal.  This version, with a southern sweet onion twist, is sure to please even the pickiest of palates.  While it has many individual elements, it all comes together quickly and taking the time to make your own dressing is entirely worth it.  So let’s get started.

Ingredients

Market-Sourced Ingredients

Dressing:

6 unpeeled garlic cloves from Souto Farms

1-2 large sweet onions, peeled and quartered through the core from Souto Farms

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing from La Cucina

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

juice and zest of 1 lemon from Cherry Pit

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Salad:

1 clamshell of fresh Alberta romaine lettuce from Cherry Pit

1 clamshell of fresh spicy microgreens from Cherry Pit

1 avocado from Cherry Pit

1 bag of sweet tomatoes (your preference) from Gull Valley Greenhouses

2 cups shredded cooked Bowden Farms chicken from Spragg’s Meat Shop

1 package of bacon from Spragg’s Meat Shop

4 ounces crumbly Gorgonzola cheese, (1/2 cup) from Fresh DELIcious

1/2 cup toasted pecans, choppped from Going Nuts

2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced lengthwise from Sylvan Star Cheese (or Blush Lane Organics)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Cobb Salad Collage

MAKE THE DRESSING: As we are likely enjoying the last week of warm sun and beautiful blue skies, we opted to grill the chicken and onions.  We even wrapped the garlic in foil and threw it on the grill too.  If you choose to do this step of the process in the oven, roast at 425°. Wrap the bulb of garlic (or individual cloves) in foil and set on a baking sheet. Brush the onions with oil and arrange on the baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until the onions and garlic are lightly charred and soft. Let cool.

Peel the garlic and transfer the cloves to a processor. Add the onions, cider vinegar and lemon juice and puree until smooth. With the blender on, gradually add the 1/2 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.  At this point, we’d like to be perfectly transparent and admit that while our recipe calls for absolute measurements, we prefer to free-pour the vinegar and oil and trust our instincts.  Food is all about what tastes good right?  So if you want to add a little more vinegar, knock yourself out!  This dressing should have a good kick to it as it will cut through the rich chicken, bacon, and avocado and balance the salad.  Remember: Taste. Taste. Taste.  Taste as you go.

Set Up

MAKE THE SALAD: In an effort to not overdress the salad (who wants wilty, wet salad?), we placed the romaine and micorgreens in the bowl and arranged the remaining ingredients on top.  Just before serving, add your fresh-made sweet onion dressing and allow your guests to toss it all together to really see the magic happen.

This salad is a full meal that is sure to leave your family satisfied, hitting every mark: crisp lettuce leaves, succulent chicken, salty bacon, creamy avocado, bright tomatoes, nut-crunch…. and that’s just a few!  If you don’t like blue cheese, a milder cheese will absolutely work in this salad.  Choose what you like…. because let’s face it, food is meant to be enjoyed so use what you love and leave with a full and happy tummy.

*The onion dressing can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Honey Thyme Glazed Trout

If you’re a fish-lover, there are few things more beautiful than fresh, wild Steelhead trout or a deep red Ahi steak or a glistening halibut filet….. *ahem*  we may be fans of the beauties showcased at Blu Seafood.  There’s nothing quite like perfectly crisped-skin trout fillets; with a flavor so delicate that they really don’t need much to make a delicious (and healthy) dinner.  This recipe is dead simple with only four main ingredients:  a squeeze of orange, and a dollop of honey, and fresh sprigs of thyme, it lets the trout shine and takes all of 12 minutes.  And, with the outstanding selection of ready-made salads and grilling vegetables from Cherry Pit, a complete meal can be whipped together in less time than calling for take-out.

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Market-Sourced Ingredients

1 Steelhead Trout Fillet from Blu Seafood

2 tbsp Honey from Buzz Honey

Fresh Thyme from Terra Farms

Juice of half an Orange from Cherry Pit

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Your Choice of Prepared Salad or Vegetable Sauté from Cherry Pit

Cherry Pit Salads

Quickly whisk together a mixture of orange juice, honey, fresh thyme, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.

Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in hot pan, skin side down, approximately 6-8 minutes.

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Gently flip and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.  Flip back onto skin side and brush the tops of the fillets with a few remaining minutes of cook time.  *Do not brush skin side of fish with the honey-thyme glaze as this will cause it to burn terribly.  Take care not to overcook the fish.

Serve skin side up over whatever incredibly easy (and yummy) Cherry Pit side you chose to enjoy; serve the remaining glaze on the side.

Trout Collage

Alternatively, if you’re more of a grillin’ kinda gal or guy, this trout can be done on the grill (just be sure to oil the skin well to prevent it sticking to the grates).

Trout