February 9, 2012
This is a story that started last fall, when one of our favourite Organic Farmers – Aartje from the Pickle Patch – decided to try raising some Turkeys for Christmas. As with all of her animals, these turkeys were pasture raised, and fed only organic grains and locally brewed Beau’s Beer by-products (hops and organic beer by-products). By Christmas they were ready and I was fortunate enough to be able to get my hands on one.
It was the meatiest, tastiest turkey I have ever enjoyed, and we contacted Aartje in the New Year to find out if we could get more of these big beautiful beasts. Our vision? Pies!
This week is also important because our talented pastry chef – Megan – has made her 5000th pie since joining the Red Apron last May. Since each pie is made completely from scratch, that’s a lot of pie dough!
October & November offer us our last opportunity to enjoy the local harvest. Late season wintergreens, squashes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, apples and root vegetables are all in abundance. October and November are great months to make stews, soups, and casseroles, and we wanted to share some of our favourite recipes – some of them specifically for the slow cooker.
Our retail store is overflowing with produce delivered daily by our farmers. Today’s haul includes Kobacha Squash from Songberry Farm (pictured above) and mountains of Kale from Juniper Farm.
Squash & Fennel Soup
Note: The basic recipe is very versatile, and you can easily adapt this recipe to accommodate different vegetables. Some examples are Potato & Leek, Carrot & Ginger, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Jerusalem Artichoke etc.. If you want to add some depth of flavour, the root vegetables can be roasted beforehand.
Olive oil or canola oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds of winter squash (preferably organic)
3 heads of fennel
1 cup white wine
4 cups or vegetable chicken stock
1 pinch thyme
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper
1: Peel and chop squash into 1 inch pieces.
2: Wash and slice fennel. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add fennel and sauté until tender. Deglaze with white wine and cook until wine is almost evaporated. Add squash and stock. Simmer on low for 10 minutes, until squash is tender. Taste for seasoning.
3: Add cream and remove from heat and cool. Blend in batches in a blender until smooth. Add more water/stock if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Re-heat until warmed through and serve.
Serving Tip – for an elegant starter to any special meal, soup can be served in shooter glasses, and garnished with things like bacon bits, ground nuts, fresh herbs, etc. This is how we served them recently at the Red Apron 5th anniversary celebration at the Urban Element in September.
Beef & Barley Soup – Slow Cooker Recipe
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound stewing beef, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
6 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion to hot oil; cook and stir until onion is tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, salt & pepper. Transfer to Slow Cooker. Brown beef in skillet and transfer to Slow Cooker. Add remaining ingredients to Slow Cooker and cook on LOW in Slow Cooker for 6 to 8 hours.
Curried Lentil Stew – Slow Cooker Recipe
1 cup of dried French lentils, soaked for 2 hours or overnight, and drained
1 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
1 cups water, OR stock
2 large carrots, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled & cubed
½ cup raisins
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger)
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
Sauté onions & garlic. Place all ingredients (except spinach), in the Slow Cooker and cook on the LOW setting for 7-8 hours, or until the lentils & sweet potatoes are tender. Fold in chopped spinach. You can garnish this dish with chopped fresh basil, cilantro or parsley, plain yogurt, diced avocados, chopped green onions or goat cheese.
Moroccan Chicken Stew
½ cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 large onions, diced
8 pieces chicken thigh, bone in, skin on
½ cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricot, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp flour
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tbs fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onions & garlic in skillet on medium heat. Toss chicken pieces in flour, salt & pepper and add to skillet to brown on both sides. Place all ingredients in the Slow Cooker and cook on the LOW setting for 7-8 hours, or until the chickpeas are tender.
Serve in bowls with couscous and garnish with chopped nuts, cilantro and/or yogurt.
For the past 5 years my family has rented a perfect little plot of land on the shores of Golden Lake. We live in what we lovingly refer to as our “Cottage on Wheels”. This is actually quite a modern RV with all the basic amenities…electricity, beds, microwave, table, etc…however there is one basic amenity missing…NO WATER HOOKUP!! The most convenient toilet facility is the nearby outhouse! Some might refer to our accommodations as “Rustic” but this suits us just fine!
It’s a mere 30 paces from our deck to the beachfront, which is really what these weekends are really all about. Long lazy days are spent swimming, fishing and kayaking. Evenings are spent around a roaring fire, laughing, discussing and generally enjoying being together as a family .
What is most enjoyable to me about these weekends is that we choose to cook over an open firepit. Most Saturday mornings, after drinking a pot of campfire coffee, we drive to the Combermere Farmers Market and source out the ingredients for that nights dinner.
The market is not yet in full swing and the variety of vegetables is lean (growing season is slightly behind Ottawa’s). Nonetheless, we have been able to piece together some memorable meals.
Recently, our Saturday night ‘Farmer’s Market’ feast consisted of delicious ‘Schulist Family Farm’ grassfed beef T-Bone steaks. We also purchased a pound of organic shiitake mushrooms from Henry at the ‘Aldergrove Mushroom Farm’ booth. After adding local organic asparagus to our basket and some of the world’s best butter-tarts, we were ready to head back. A quick detour into Killaloe for a bottle of Bonneterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon and we were set.
Escaping for the weekend always rejuvenates and prepares me for the busy work week that follows. This is truly our little piece of paradise!
This past weekend, Jacqueline treated the patrons of the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market to a demonstration on how to make the most of this summer’s bounty. All of these ingredients were sourced on site on Sunday morning.
It’s so easy and oh so delicious! Make sure to carefully wash and dry the herbs!
1 3/4 c. organic basil (from Roots and Shoots)
1/4 c. parsley
1/3 c. hemp seeds (Stone Farm)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (from Jambican)
3/4 c. Sheep’s Milk Nettle Pecorino cheese (Canreg Station)
1/2 tsp. Salty Don’s smoked maple salt
1/2 c. hemp seed oil (Stone Farm)
Pulse everything EXCEPT THE OIL together in your food processor until they are finely minced but not a paste.
Put in a bowl and mix in the oil.
You can freeze it in ice cube trays if you have leftovers, serve it with a pasta salad, grill it on chicken or fish, make potato salad, eat it from the spoon or use your imagination.
We are Mothers, residents of our community, entrepreneurs as well as active participants in our local economy. We individually have a history of owning and operating successful local businesses.
Our commitment to getting people “back to the table” starts at home and extends to our community through a number of philanthropic endeavours.