Colcannon Soup with Pan Fried Oysters

There are lots of ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that doesn’t involve artificially-dyed green beer, pasta, pancakes, jello, truffles… the list goes on and on.  A plethora of traditional Irish recipes await you like Irish Soda Bread (available at Yum Bakery this year!), Beer Battered Cod, Champ, Dublin Coddle, Irish Beef Stew with Guinness…. delicious, traditional, and easy to whip up to share with your family.  We are very lucky here at the market to have Brian Plunkett, owner of Blu Seafood; a born-and-bread Irishman and a chef to boot.  He jumped at the chance to share an Irish recipe with us in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day; a little traditional with a bit of a modern twist.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish mainly consisting of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.  Brian decided, rather than stir up a typical chowder with clams (boring!), he would take some inspiration from the traditional Colcannon dish and adapt it into a soup.  Perfect for this darn cold weather we’ve been tolerating!  And he took it one step further by frying the freshly-shucked oysters and crisping up some double-smoked bacon as a garnish… why? Well, it adds a texture element that is lost in the mish-mash soup so often becomes, and highlights the seafood ingredient too by making it the star, rather than letting it slip away into the soupy abyss.

Colcannon Collage

Market-Sourced Ingredients

Serves 6

Colcannon Soup

4 oz. Double Smoked Bacon from Spragg’s Meat Shop

4 cups baby kale (chopped) from Blush Lane Organics

2 cups leeks (chopped) from Blush Lane Organics

½ cup onion (diced) from Blush Lane Organics

4 cups potato (diced) from Lund’s Organic Farm

8 cups chicken stock from The Stock & Sauce Co.

1 cup heavy cream from Blush Lane Organics

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt, Pepper,  and Thyme to taste

Start by heating up the olive in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the double smoked bacon and cook until almost crisp.  In the same pan (with all of that excellent bacon fat), add all of the chopped vegetables and season with salt pepper, thyme. Sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Drop in the cut potatoes and return to a boil; simmer for 45 minutes.  Once all elements are soft, remove from the stove and puree with a hand blender.  When velvety in texture, return to a boil on the stove and slowly whisk in the cream.  Taste, correct the seasoning, and simmer 15 minutes more.

Pan Fried Oysters

24 shucked oysters from Blu Seafood

8 drops Worcestershire Sauce

6 drops Tabasco

Drain excess juice from the oysters Marinate the oysters in Worcestershire and Tabasco and leave to 2 minutes.  Dip the oysters in flour and pan fry in olive oil until golden brown. Remove from the pan to a paper towel to sop up any excess oil and season with salt and pepper.  Serve 4 oysters on top off each bowl of soup with a couple of strips of crispy bacon.

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Of course, we recommend you surround yourself with friends and family, fill up ‘yer bowls and enjoy your feast with the ones you love.  And from everyone here at the Market, we wish you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Looking for something to do with the little ones on St. Patrick’s Day?  Bring them to the market to hunt for leprechauns, snag a pot of gold treat, and watch some traditional Irish dancing.  Check out our Events Page.

Eat Your Way to Love

Valentine’s Day is a bit of a fluffy holiday, what with its Cupid-drawn arrows flying around swirling pink hearts, lush flowers and rich chocolates being flung at a loved one, and sappy cards that don’t really embody the true beauty of love.  It can all be a little overwhelming to even the most savvy of gentlemen (and lady).  But we here at the market, l-o-v-e the food aspect of Valentine’s Day; it’s a clear opportunity to try your hand at a new recipe to impress, vamp up a tried-and-true favorite, or really spoil your guy or gal with decadent and delicious fare.  Aphrodisiacs are at the top of the food list come lovers day and we’d be remiss if we didn’t share some of the sexy and enticing foods you can find in one stop at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

Aphrodisiacs go way back and it’s not just about flavor, it involves the shape and texture of certain foods to arouse the mind, making them not just about taste, but also a cerebral experience.  Whether or not these foods actually turn you on is still to be proven, but if it’s tasty, why not give it a try?  Here are our top six.

First up: Oysters

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Oysters are perhaps the most famous of aphrodisiacs; while they are visually suggestive, oysters are also high in zinc and have a reputation for being great for love and fertility.  Our friends over at Blu Seafood have fresh oysters on hand for you if you want to stick with the notorious aphrodisiac.  Owner, Brian Plunkett, is also a trained chef so if you aren’t a fan of slurping them down raw, he can suggest just the right way to prepare them to suit the mood.

2. Chili Peppers

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An exotic reputation and a bright red color, chili peppers kind of just look like love. But scientifically, they stimulate endorphins, speed up heart rate and make you sweat, which all mimic how you feel when you’re say…. hot and bothered.  Gull Valley Greenhouses and The Cucumber Man are prime spots at the market to pick up some peppers to heat things up.

3. Avocados

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We’re not sure exactly how lustful an avocado is; it could be the sensuous shape or the rich, creamy flavor of the fruit that warranted it being dubbed as an aphrodisiac.  But when its reputation goes as far back as the Aztecs, you can’t argue with history, right?  We won’t.  And neither will Cherry Pit or Blush Lane Organics, both brimming with ripe, ready-to-indulge avocados.

4. Chocolate

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What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate?  Do you have to give your love bug a heart-shaped box of mass-produced chocolates?  No!  In fact, we invite you to stop by Papa Chocolat to spoil your taste buds with silky smooth, unique and sensual flavors like dark cayenne or lavender cream, hand-crafted  by Bernard Callebaut himself.

5. Honey

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Birds and bees ring a bell?   Sweet and sticky, honey is chalked full of healthy vitamins that are said to increase desire.  In fact, the word ‘honeymoon’ got its name from mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey given to the happy new bride and groom.  We have plenty of honey to be found around the market from the delicious Alpine Wildflower Honey at Beeland, Nixon Honey at Innisfail Growers Co-op, Chinook Honey at LA CUCINA, and Saskatoon Berry Honey from the Saskatoon Berry Farm.

6.  Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Nutmeg

Spice Collage

Nothing like spicing up your love life, literally.  Cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg all have ancient aphrodisiac roots spanning from Arabia to China; their warming properties really seem to heat things up if you know what we mean.  Swing by The Silk Road Spice Merchant for some exotic ways to enhance a meal or that cup of tea you’re enjoying all snuggled up by the fire.

Whatever way you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, we hope it’s a lovely occasion for you and your sweetheart.  And if you need a little more inspiration, check out our Valentine’s Day event and Enter to Win a Romantic Getaway to CRMR‘s Emerald Lake Lodge!