Blarney Bites

Slow Cooker Dublin Coddle

The hard-working Irish that invented this dish weren’t a delicate folk, and neither is this stew. Although it’s a slow-cooked dish the prep time is only about 15 minutes!  It’s the sort of thing that can slow-cook-away all day then be ready and taste scrumptious when you’re ready to eat!
Our market vendors are no strangers to the love of comfort food, they have everything you’ll want for this dish.


You will need:

1 package of bacon from Spragg’s Meatshop
1 bunch of fresh parsley from Gull Valley Growers
2 pounds of baby yellow potatoes from Innisfail Growers, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large onions from Innisfail Growers, sliced
1 package of Garfunkel sausages from Missing Link Sausages
1 tallboy of Bench Creek- Black Spruce Porter from J. Webb Wine Merchants
2 cups of Chicken broth from Stock and Sauce Co.
4 cloves of Garlic from Cherry Pit, minced
2-3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Fresh-cracked pepper to taste


1. Start heating your slow cooker on the high setting.

2. In a Skillet on medium-low heat, cook 8 slices of the bacon and cook until crisp, about five minutes. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels. Leave the grease in the pan.


3. Add the package of sausages to the pan and cook until they are about half cooked. Remove  to let cool then slice into 1” pieces.


4. Use the remaining grease in the pot to whisk-in the flour, reduce the heat to low and whisk in your beer to the gravy you have just created (if you choose to omit the beer from your Coddle, substitute an additional 1 ½ cups of chicken stock). Continue to whisk and reduce your mixture of beer and gravy until it reaches a gravy thickness.

5. You can now begin to layer things in your slow cooker. Starting with a layer of potatoes, use about half, then a layer of half your onions, half your garlic, half your bacon, half your sausages, half your parsley, half the bay leaves, and the black pepper. Repeat with a second layer of the remaining ingredients, pouring in the gravy between layers.

6. Once you have finished layering, pour your broth over the whole thing and cover your slow cooker. Cook on high for a minimum of 4 hours, if you would like to cook longer, switch the heat setting to low and check every additional hour.  


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


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.


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!

Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs

It’s definitely the time of year for comfort food – stews, soups and anything else that’s warm and hearty. Slow cookers and big soup pots are in full rotation around my house right now, but I thought I’d try something new (for me) and cook up some beef short ribs.

blog ingredientsThese ribs were a showstopper right out of the gate, and I couldn’t wait to cook them up! Silver Sage Beef provided some beautiful short ribs for this recipe. When slow cooked, this particular cut of beef becomes a tender, falling-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth delight!

Market Sourced Ingredients

Other Ingredients

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Red wine (1 – 2 cups)

Alright, the first thing to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

This dish starts on the stovetop and ends in the oven, so choose a pan or Dutch oven that can get the job done. Heat the pan on the stove top on medium-high, and add the olive oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and fry for about 10 – 15 minutes. You’ll want them to get nice and brown on all sides.

Set the halved garlic head; cut side down, in the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and let it heat up for a minute or two before deglazing the pan with the red wine (use as much as you need, about 1 – 2 cups). Bring this concoction to a boil and let cook for 10 – 15 minutes until it is reduced by half. At this point, add the beef stock until it’s almost covering the ribs (the actual amount will depend on the dimensions of your pan). Bring to a boil again.


Put the lid on your pan, or cover with foil and move it into the preheated oven. Cook for 3 – 4 hours, basting the ribs as you go. You’ll know they’re done when the meat is super tender and starting to fall off the bone.

When the ribs look about ready to come out, fry the pancetta in a pan on the stove top until nice and crisp. Add in the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat.

beef blog (15)

Remove the done short ribs from the oven and set aside (in a serving dish if you’re getting fancy). Scoop out the garlic and squeeze the cloves out of their skins and pass through a sieve, or mash with a fork. Strain the rest of the liquid from the pan as well and mix it with the roasted garlic. Reduce to your desired consistency by cooking it a little longer on the stove top.

Now it’s just a matter of assembly! Serve the ribs with the pancetta and mushroom mixture on top. Spoon some of that sauce over the whole thing, and voila!

Any seasonal veggies (which are still plentiful at the market right now) would make a great accompaniment for this dish. I ended up roasting whatever vegetables I had in the fridge to go along with this meal (carrots, squash, parsnips, broccoli). You could also serve them with a side salad or anything your heart desires.

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Pick up the ingredients for this recipe and others at the Market this weekend! We’ve got what you need!

Fresh and Natural Home-Made Sports Drink

This is a guest post by our partners at Poppy Innovations

home made energy drinkHydration is an essential part of exercising. And when you really exert yourself, a sports drink is in order right?  Right!

Replacing electrolytes is important and that’s what a sports drink provides. But would it surprise you to learn that many sports drinks contain half the amount of sugar you should have per day?  Read the label and it’s likely to include high fructose corn syrup, brominated vegetable oil and artificial colours. With obesity on the rise, especially in children, it’s important to make healthier beverage choices.

That doesn’t mean you should only drink plain water for the rest of your life. In fact, you can make your own natural sports drink at home using healthy – and easy to pronounce – ingredients! Here is a simple and delicious recipe for a home-made sports drink that will provide all the positive benefits of a store bought one, without the unhealthy ingredients.

Natural Sports Drink Ingredients

2 cups coconut water from Blush Lane Organic Market

1/4 cup fresh orange or other citrus juice from Blush Lane Organic Market

pinch of salt

1 tbsp honey from Beeland

Add all ingredients to your water bottle, shake, and let chill in the refrigerator. Shake before drinking.

Experiment with other flavourings of juice and herbs.


Article submitted by Poppy Innovations – offering cooking classes for all ages at the Calgary farmers Market!

Small Batch Sauerkraut

I love sauerkraut, but I was always intimidated of making my own because I was under the impression that some sort of giant, magical crock was required. Making small batches of sauerkraut never occurred to me until someone told me you could simply make it in a mason jar (which I have a ton of). Perfect! And it really is SO easy. It takes a little bit of time to slice the cabbage and get it into the jar, but the process is dead simple.

Sauerkraut is made through the process of fermentation*. Common sense is the most important ingredient when fermenting, but three basic rules to follow (from “The Pickled Pantry” by Andrea Chesman) are: be careful about cleanliness (be sure to start with clean utensils, jars and veggies!), keep veggies submerged in brine and taste frequently to decide when your ferment it done and ready for the fridge.

Because fermenting can sometimes go wrong, it is best to stick to small batches to start. This way you can gain experience, experiment and learn from your mistakes without a ton of waste.

Market Ingredients:

1 large cabbage, about 5 pounds (green or red – I used green) from Innisfail Growers

Other Ingredients:

3 Tbsp sea salt

1 to 3 Tbsp dill seeds
(or caraway seeds, or chopped garlic, or juniper berries – your preference!)

ingredient collage

First thing’s first – thinly slice the whole cabbage (minus the core) using a mandolin or sharp knife. Find your biggest bowl, and mix the cabbage with the salt. (If you don’t quite have 5 pounds of cabbage, just reduce the salt a bit to keep the same ratio).

Let the cabbage and salt sit for a while, 30 minutes to 2 hours. This will allow the cabbage to start getting soft and releasing liquid. Once you can’t wait any longer, get out your potato masher, or other pounding tool and start pounding the cabbage until it releases enough liquid to cover itself when pressed.

Now, put the cabbage into one 2L mason jar, or two 1L mason jars, squishing it down with a wooden spoon as you go. There should be enough liquid to submerge the cabbage in its own brine.

method collage

Put a lid or other covering on the jar and set aside. The jar will overflow once the fermenting magic starts, so be sure to set it on something, like a plate, to catch the liquid. Keep it at room temperature – I find that my kitchen counter is the ideal place, so that I don’t forget about it.

The sauerkraut should start bubbling in about 24 hours. Check on it every day or couple days and remove any scum that forms on the surface, pressing down any floating cabbage with a wooden spoon. It will take about 2 weeks to finish fermenting, though it could take longer depending on your conditions. When it takes delicious and pickled – it’s ready!

Keep the finished sauerkraut in the fridge for several months and enjoy with… well, anything!

finished collage
Sauerkraut ready to ferment (left), Sauerkraut bubbling – indicating fermentation is taking place (right)

Cabbage is in season right now, so stop by the Calgary Farmers’ Market and get yours today!

*If you’d like to read more about fermentation, and the health benefits that go along with eating fermented foods, check out this article.

Delicious Radish Relish

It finally feels like summer in Calgary, and the abundance of fresh local produce pouring in at the market is proof!

Radishes are one of the first local veggies to spring up at the market in the early summer. Their refreshing, spicy flavour is a welcome addition to any salad! If you want to try something new with radishes or simply take advantage of the bounty at the market right now, this recipe is for you!

Radish Collage

Market Sourced Ingredients

4-5 bunches radishes (about 2 pounds), finely chopped – from Okanagan Farms or Twin Creek Colony (I actually used up a surplus from my own garden for this batch)

1 large onion, finely chopped – from Blush Lane Organic Market

2 cloves peeled garlic, finely chopped – from Lund’s Organics

2 cups vinegar

1.5  cups sugar

1 tbsp salt (use pickling salt if you intend on processing)

1 tbsp whole coriander – from Silk Road Spice Merchant

1 tbsp cumin seed – from Silk Road Spice Merchant

1 tbsp mustard seed – from Silk Road Spice Merchant

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 inch length of fresh ginger, peeled and grated – from Blush Lane Organic Market

radish relish ingredients

Finely chop your radishes, onion and garlic (you can also use a food processor for this step to speed it up – though chopping 2 pounds of radishes can be quite therapeutic!). Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, cumin, mustard seed, black pepper and ginger in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the chopped radish, onions and garlic and bring back to a boil. Cook for 10 more minutes. Let the relish cool and place in a container or jar in the fridge. If you’re a home canner, you also have the option now to put up the relish in jars and process it in a hot water bath canner.

Use this delicious radish relish on hot dogs, hamburgers and anywhere else you please! For all your summer recipe needs, come to the Calgary Farmers’ Market to get the freshest produce around.

Radish in jars
Radish relish is all jarred up and ready to go into the canner!