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Posts Tagged ‘farmers market’

Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad

Once the fall really sets in, I already start missing my green veggies. I know we are blessed with squash and root vegetables aplenty throughout the winter, but I really start missing all the beautiful local green stuff from the peak of the summertime. I love that at this point that we are still able to get our hands on arugula, kale, spinach and other leafy greens, but I know soon those will be hard to come by. So, I try to get in as much as possible. I grabbed the fennel, arugula and red onion at the farmers market this past weekend along with some potatoes, bok choy, peppers, beets, carrots and as many other vegetables as I could get my hands on. Gotta get it all in now.

I absolutely love salads, any type really. I rarely meet a salad I don’t love. This cool-weather winter salad has so much vibrant flavor. The peppery crisp from the arugula, the subtle hint of anise from fennel and the tangy sweetness of the oranges all come together perfectly. If I had some in the pantry, I would have topped this salad with some toasted walnut pieces.

What is your favorite fall/winter salad?

Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad
serves 4

Vinaigrette
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon wholegrain or stoneground mustard, no salt added
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
juice from half an orange (or lemon) – approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad
5 cups baby arugula, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/2 oranges, peeled, white pith removed and cut into segments (use the remaining half for the vinaigrette)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

In a small bowl combine all dressing ingredients and whisk to thoroughly combine, set aside.

Place the arugula in the bottom of a large serving bowl, scatter the orange segments, fennel slices and onions over the arugula; drizzle the dressing over the salad to serve, toss gently. Serve.

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Butternut Squash, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza

After being on a cleanse for two weeks, removing meat, fish, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, the usual gluten and processed foods, etc – I was looking forward to slowly adding some things back in this week. I love that after two weeks of removing those things from my diet, I no longer crave them, I don’t feel weighed down, exhausted, sluggish, bloated, etc. I feel like the change of seasons is the best time to wipe your slate clean and start fresh and new. Personally, in my life I like to subscribe to the idea of ‘all things in moderation’. That’s not to say I eat junk food, corn syrup laced sodas, processed foods, factory farmed meats and all that other yucky junk in moderation or at all, but there are some things that, though I know in excess can be bad for you (specifically for me – caffeine, alcohol, dairy, meat, sugar), I think in moderation are OK and in some ways good for you.

I like cleansing because I can reset myself and my cravings and start over with the new season. I don’t see myself giving up dairy entirely anytime soon, or cocktails for that matter, so by doing a cleanse I can clean myself of all the junk in my body and any excessive cravings I may have for these things, especially after months of traveling and eating and drinking more than I would like to.

Once I am off a cleanse, I don’t go all in again the very next day and make a drink to have with my massive cheese and meat platter, all finished off with a huge plate of cake – but instead I slowly start adding small amounts back into my diet. This is partially so my system isn’t shocked after two weeks of eating mostly vegetables, whole grains and legumes, but also so I don’t just jump back into old habits and cravings. This week I wanted to enjoy and add back in small amounts of locally farmed dairy and meat and some sweets – but only those made from alternative sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, no straight cane sugar just yet.

This pizza was the first real treat after coming off the cleanse and I felt like it was a good way to go back in. I made the crust with flaxseed egg replacer (2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of warm water) and I got the goat cheese from First Light Farm & Creamery, a wonderful local farm with delicious goats milk products. In addition, the arugula, squash and onion were all from the farmers market and the rosemary was from my own garden. It doesn’t get much fresher and tastier than all that!

This pizza is loaded with delicious fall flavors, everything pairs together so well. The arugula retains a nice subtle and spicy crunch, the squash is tender and so perfect with the rosemary and onions and the goat cheese finishes everything off with a super flavorful, rich and creamy tang! As mentioned in the recipe below, please feel free to use your own favorite pizza dough recipe (with or without gluten, it doesn’t matter) or even a good store-bought dough or crust. Since it was a busy weeknight, I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza dough mix. Although I have made some delicious gluten-free pizza doughs completely from scratch, I really love how easy and delicious the Bob’s Red Mill dough is for when you don’t have all that time. It is a pre-mixed blend of flours (without any additives or other wacky ingredients) and it comes with a package of yeast. You just add olive oil, eggs (or a flaxseed egg replacer) and warm water, that’s it. I like their crust because it is light, it has the perfect balance between chewy and crispy and it isn’t too thin or too thick. When I don’t have the time to make my own dough it really is a great alternative.

I made this pizza earlier in the week and since then I have had a small amount more of organic dairy and some pasture-raised local meat from our farm.  I am still feeling really, really great! I am really looking forward to having a glass or two of wine this weekend in celebration of my birthday and I am also looking forward to experimenting this weekend with making some healthy sweets made from sugar alternatives. Look for a recipe tomorrow for my gluten-free pumpkin oatmeal raisin cookies made with honey instead of sugar and grapeseed oil instead of butter. Sunday morning we are going apple picking so keep an eye out for an updated version of my gluten-free apple crisp, I am going to try to make a version without butter or sugar! I can’t wait to play.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Butternut Squash, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza

Butternut Squash, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza
makes 8 pieces

1  – 1lb ball of  your favorite gluten-free (or not) pizza dough or a ready-made crust. You are looking for a 14-16″ round crust (I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pizza dough mix and made one large pizza with it instead of two)
2 1/2 cups cubed local butternut squash (about 1/2-inch square pieces)
2 tablespoons olive oil (half for the squash and reserving the other half for the crust)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (you can use dried rosemary here, just use less)
3 cups organic arugula, roughly chopped
6 ounces crumbled local goat cheese

Preheat oven to 425º. If you are making your own pizza dough, have it already mixed and rising. While your dough is rising, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, half of your salt, half of your freshly ground black pepper and half of your fresh rosemary. Cook the squash until slightly browned and tender, about 25 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure even cooking. Set aside.

While the squash is cooking, caramelize the onions in the other tablespoon of olive oil with a dash of salt in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Stir often and cook 10-12 minutes until perfectly browned and caramelized. Set aside.

Once all of your toppings are ready, pre-bake your dough without the toppings (mine took approximately 10 minutes), then remove from the oven and top with squash, onion, arugula, crumbled goat cheese and the remaining rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake until the crust is crispy, lightly browned and the cheese is melted, about 15-18 minutes.

Obviously whatever pizza dough recipe or ready-made crust you choose to make this with will be fine, just adjust your cooking temperature and times accordingly (if necessary).

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Fruit Infused Liquor

I came across this super easy how-to on the Bon Appétit blog this Spring and I couldn’t wait to start playing around with different flavor combinations. My very first batch was strawberry vodka that I made at the end of June when the strawberries were at their peak ripeness and I couldn’t get over how incredible the flavor was. Since then I have made blueberry, rhubarb, cherry and apricot. In the next week or two I plan to make some cucumber, pepper and basil infused vodkas (separately of course) with the lovely goodies growing my garden. I also want to play around with other liquors like rum and tequila. The sky is really the limit on what you can do.

I have yet to play with other liquors, since vodka tends to be my first pick. Since the vodka itself is fairly tasteless, it can really let the flavor of the ingredient that you are infusing with, shine. Also, FYI, no reason to buy Grey Goose or Ketel one, but don’t buy that cheap crap on the bottom shelf either. I have been buying a nice middle of the road vodka like Svedka or Smirnoff.

I tend to like the fruit infused vodkas with a bit of soda water, a wee bit of simple syrup and a sprig of fresh mint or basil. I keep a jar of homemade raw sugar simple syrup in my fridge at all times which can be made very easily with 1 part sugar to 1 part water, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

The strawberry vodka was great with some fresh squeezed lemon juice. Tonight I plan to experiment with an apricot martini of sorts. I cannot wait to make the pepper vodka with the super spicy heirloom Korean peppers growing in our garden, it will be perfect to make delicious homemade bloody marys with.  The beet infused vodka that BA suggests is also super intriguing, I think I will have to add that to the list, too.

Cocktail Made from Cherry Infused Vodka

This is a simple cocktail made with my cherry vodka, just a tad bit of my homemade simple syrup, soda water and a fresh sprig of mint. So refreshing!

Step 1: Choose your liquor
Vodka is an obvious choice, but why not use white rum or tequila, brandy or grappa? Don’t go for the really cheap stuff, but don’t splurge either. A middle-of-the-road, neutrally flavored liquor will produce the best infused spirits.

Step 2: Choose your produce
Use what’s in season. Go to your local farmers’ market or, better yet, pick berries from your own berry patch, and bring home the most beautiful produce you can find. The super-ripe peach that dribbles juice down your chin is a perfect candidate. Also try raspberries, strawberries, pears, figs, lemons, cherries, blueberries, even beets and chiles, as long as they are ripe, ripe, ripe.

Some of Bon Appétit’s favorite fruit-and-spirit combos are:
Apricots + Eau de Vie
Figs + Bourbon
Jalapenos + Tequila
Pineapple + Rum
Beets + Vodka

Step 3: Prep your fruit
Wash it well and cut it into pieces. Remove peels and skins plus any part of the fruit that you wouldn’t want to eat: Stems, pits, cores, and seeds should all be tossed into the compost pile. As the liquor infuses, bitter flavors from citrus pith and seeds can leech into the liquor, so you want to avoid that.

Step 4: Bottle & Wait
Fill a clean resealable glass jar or bottle with fresh, cleaned fruit. Top off with liquor and screw on the lid. Place in a cool, dark place (like a fridge) until the flavors infuse (anywhere from a week to a month, depending on your taste and the strength of the fruit). Shake the jar every few days. When you’re happy with the flavor of the hooch, strain out fruit* and pour infused spirits into a clean resealable glass jar or bottle; store in the fridge.

Step 5: Drink Up
Use your freshly infused spirits in place of plain spirits in your favorite cocktail or serve up on its own as a Martini.

One caveat: This process requires a little patience. I generally start one mason jar of infused spirits per week throughout the summer. Depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit, infusions can take 2 to 3 weeks, so plan accordingly if you’re making it for a party (or use a fresh batch as an excuse to party). A pretty jar of rosy strawberry vodka is the perfect hostess gift, and it’s a lot more appealing than neon-green Margarita mix.

* though eating the fruit may be tempting, don’t bother. After the infusing process, the fruit is merely a ghost of its former self. All of the flavor has been sucked out and infused into the liquor so the fruit is left bland, soggy and tasteless.

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Potato Leek Soup

 

This past weekend, I had to make sure to make a trip to the Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market, since it was the second to last weekend that it is going to be there. I stocked up on pumpkins and squashes, brussel sprouts, arugula, sage, leeks, potatoes and so much more. I couldn’t wait to get home and make a huge pot of this creamy potato leek soup. I was happy to find I had everything I needed for this soup already in the pantry, so I could just throw it together quick and enjoy my Saturday evening at home, cuddling with hubby and puppy. I decided to skip any type of cream or milk and go with vegetable broth to keep this soup vegan. I am telling you, on first taste, you could swear there was some type of dairy in there, Mark couldn’t believe it. It is so creamy. If you’d like to go with a chicken stock instead, feel free and if you want the ultimate in creaminess, add a splash or two of heavy cream or milk. I honestly suggest making this soup without the dairy first, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how creamy it is without it and no reason to add the extra calories and fat. If you really want to be indulgent, top your soup with some crumbled bacon (only if it’s farm fresh pastured-raised, humanely treated bacon, of course).

Potato Leek Soup
serves 6

3 leeks, rinsed very well, slice thinly white and light green parts only*
2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
6 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth (you can also use chicken broth, water or any combination of the three)
2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon of marjoram (I didn’t have fresh, so I used dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme plus a dash more for serving (use can use dried here, just use less)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the leek slices and season with salt and pepper. Cook leeks over a medium-low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Stir often, making sure they don’t brown. Cook until they are soft and wilted. Add your thyme marjoram and cayenne pepper, stir to combine.

Pour in your broth and add your potatoes. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing a potato with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily, they are done.

Scoop the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. (be sure not to blend too much soup at once and put a towel over the lid when you are blending so the hot soup doesn’t explode out) Add the pureed soup to a large bowl. Continue blending the whole pot of soup in batches, until it has all been blended. Add the soup back to your pot, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top each bowl with a few sprinkles of freshly chopped thyme.

* a quick note on cleaning leeks: leeks tend to have a lot of dirt and grit in them. If you aren’t careful when cleaning them, you may think they are totally clean, start cooking with them and find your entire dish has a nasty grittiness to it. This can ruin a dish 😦 After trimming off the ends (called the beards) and the dark green tops (save these for stocks). You can run them under cold water at this point, or even better, you can submerge the leeks in a large pot of cold water. Swirl them around to really remove all the grit and dirt. Drain well and then cut.

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Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes. My mom has always, hands down, made the best mashed potatoes in the world. One of her secrets? She always boils the whole garlic cloves with the potatoes and then leaves them in to get mashed up with the potatoes. And in our family, we don’t scrimp on the garlic, none of this one clove crap, you need at least two and they need to be huge.

I almost didn’t type this recipe up and include it, since to me, everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes and has a recipe. Then I got to thinking about all the mashed potatoes I have tried that weren’t very good. For such a simple dish, it requires a bit of a finesse, so as not to over mash, add too much milk, or undercook the potatoes, etc. I have definitely eaten mashed potatoes whose consistency mirrors that of joint compound that you use on dry wall. (I am not naming any names.)

The potatoes at the farmers market have been abundant, so I decided rather than another potato salad, mashed potatoes would be the perfect way to enjoy them. Since I had the goat cheese on hand, I decided to go with a twist on the classic. The goat cheese gives these chunky garlic smashed potatoes a delicious tangy flavor and the crisp, tasty chives on top is the perfect finish.


Goat Cheese Garlic Smashed Potatoes

serves 4

1 pound baby red potatoes, washed, skins left on
2 large cloves of garlic, whole, peeled
2 ounces goat cheese
1 cup organic milk (whole or skim, whichever you prefer)
1 tablespoon organic butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
small bunch of fresh chives

Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan, cover with salted cold water by 1 inch. Simmer, covered, until tender – 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, return potatoes and garlic back to the saucepan.

Add the butter to the potatoes and garlic and slowly pour the milk in, a little bit at a time. Don’t add it all at once, in the event you don’t need it, otherwise you will have runny potatoes. As you add each bit of milk, mash the potatoes either with a fork, potato masher or electric hand-mixer. Continue adding milk as needed to get your desired consistency. I like my potatoes a bit on the chunky side, though there has to be the perfect balance of chunky and creamy. Crumble the goat cheese into the potatoes and add half of the chopped fresh chives; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and top with the remaining fresh chopped chives.

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Yesterday, my husband, Mark, and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and the 7 year anniversary of our first date. Normally we are on the beach, alone, on South Padre Island. This year it wasn’t possible, so instead we decided to celebrate the day by spending it in Toronto. We skipped work, closed up the Boutique and took off in the car for the short drive over the border.

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We drove up in the early afternoon and headed first to the St. Lawrence Market. I have wanted to go for a long time and we decided this would be the perfect day to check it out. It is located in the center of the historic Old Town Toronto, very close to the current downtown area. It has been named one of the 25 best markets in the world, by Food & Wine magazine. It was spectacular, there are three buildings in the complex that make it up, but the South Market, which we visited, is open Tuesday-Saturday. It had over 50 vendors, selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, baked goods, dairy and so much more. I would love to go up on a Saturday for the Farmers’ Market that is held in the North Market, weekly. On Sundays, over 80 antique dealers fill the North Market displaying their wares from dawn until 5pm.

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We didn’t buy a whole lot, as I didn’t know what the laws were concerning bringing food over the border, I need to look into that for next time.  We did decide to grab lunch while we were at the market, and I am glad we did. It was phenomenal. I found a small takeout cafe called Cruda Cafe, (“cruda” is Spanish for “raw), which specialized in raw and vegan delights. I was so excited to see mentions of gluten-free, and to speak with the owner, Claudia, who assured me there was no gluten in any of their dishes. I ordered the Wild Mushroom Burger. It was a dense and beautiful smoky, wild mushroom and pecan patty served between two thick slices of tomato and topped with shredded carrots, beets and a fresh guacamole (made right in front of me), all on top of a few leafs of the most green Boston Lettuce I have ever seen. This isn’t your typical burger, you cannot pick it up, it is a fork and knife kind of dish. It was fantastic. I couldn’t get over all of the flavors and how wonderfully they went together with each bite. I also ordered a “Clean” juice. It was made completely fresh, while I waited, with apple, carrot, lemon & ginger.

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Mark grabbed a Chicken Parmesan sandwich from Mustachio, he was in heaven eating that. Afterwards, he grabbed an Americano from Everyday Gourmet, a cute little cafe and retail store on the lower level, where they roast and sell their fresh coffee beans, daily. And of course, no meal for Mark would be complete without a sweet, so he grabbed a cupcake from Future Bakery on the upper level. I bought a small tasting of chocolate from Aren’t We Sweet, a chocolate and candy shop. The chocolate was a dark chocolate featuring local hemp and topped with sea salt. Unlike anything I have ever tried, earthy and almost a bit spicy. So good.


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After our lunch we walked around the market a bit more and then headed over to the Queen St. West neighborhood to window shop. I did buy a couple inexpensive items at H&M to try to outfit my new shape, since all of my clothes are too big now, a great problem to have, but a problem none the less. Ah retail therapy, it always fixes what is ailing.

We had 8:30pm reservations at Splendido on Harbord Street for dinner, so we headed there from Queen St. I read a lot of reviews when I was looking for the perfect restaurant for us to dine at and Splendido continually ranked as one of Toronto’s top fine dining restaurants. The cuisine can be classified as Modern or Eclectic European and they are known for their commitment to fresh, seasonal dishes made with locally sourced foods from family farms. I loved seeing a menu where all of the main dishes had the farm listed where the meat or fish was supplied from. The ambiance in the restaurant was perfect and it was one of the biggest restaurants I have ever been to, in Toronto. The service was great from the minute we walked in.

I started off with a cocktail and since I haven’t been drinking much at all these days I wanted something special. I went with the Anjou Sky, which was Absolut Pear Vodka, Navan Vanilla Cognac, Pear Nectar and Fresh Thyme. Wow, it was completely refreshing and hit the spot. It had a wonderful spring-time aroma and it went down easy. We decided since we hadn’t been out for a nice dinner in a very long time that we would really enjoy ourselves. We started with the Oysters 3 Bays 3 Ways. There were six oysters, two were served with horseradish, two with truffle chili mignonette and the last two with cucumber wasabi. The truffle chili mignonette was far and away our favorite, it had a subtle spice to it and it complimented the oyster perfectly. We also had the Spring Vegetable Salad, which was a mix of Spring greens and vegetables with a spinach puree underneath, a walnut emulsion and a light and tart cider vinaigrette. One of the best salads I have ever had. The perfect size too. Just a few bites.

For our main courses, Mark ordered the Beef Striploin that came with a smoked brisket raviolo and a sweet onion puree. The beef came from George’s Farm in Ontario. That was one of the tastiest and most perfectly cooked cuts of meat I have ever tried. Perfectly tender with a light crust on the outside. I didn’t get to taste the raviolo as that isn’t gluten-free, but the dollop of sweet onion puree was delicious. Mark said the “baby food” was his least favorite part (he is a textural eater), I thought it was great. After a brief description from our server, I went with the Suckling Pig, which came from Nathan’s Farm, in Ontario. It was very slow roasted pork that was so tender and tasty, it had a melt in your mouth, slow cooked taste like no pork I have every eaten. It is served pulled from the bones atop a spiced sweet potato puree, with a roasted shallot and a single spear of white asparagus. The only part I wasn’t crazy about was the two small bites of cracklings on top, that has never been a flavor I enjoy, though Mark loved it. I had a glass of the Pascal Marchand 2006 Bourgogne Rouge ‘Avalon’ Pinot Noir with my meal and it was an impressive, lighter, muted red that had hints of cherry and earth. Perfect with the roast pork. The portions on the entrees were perfectly sized for foods with such rich flavors, we finished them feeling perfectly content and not engorged.

Speaking of not feeling engorged, we opted for dessert, which I almost never do. Mark went with the ice cream sandwich which was Brioche ice cream sandwiched between two Lindt chocolate biscuits. It was a small 3 or 4 bite delight, he loved it. I went with the Rice Pudding which had a white chocolate passion fruit sauce and a tropical fruit salad on top. There were also a couple of bits of caramelized rice cereal on top. Growing up with traditional Greek style rice pudding, this was completely different, but out of this world delicious. A light and fresh finish to the meal. After we finished eating, they brought out an adorable piece of pastry that said “Happy Anniversary” and a card from the chef, Victor Barry, the manager, Carlo Catallo and our server, Steve. A very thoughtful touch and a nice way to finish a fabulous meal.

Overall, this has to be the nicest meal I have ever had at a restaurant, the service was impeccable, the ambiance was welcoming, romantic and perfect for celebrating our special occasion and of course (if you cannot gather) the food was superb. Another thing worth mentioning about Splendido, is that our server Steve, knew the dishes and ingredients well enough to know what had gluten and what did not, they were able to alter my entree and dessert to make sure that it was gluten-free, I love that assurance. I would have liked to take photos of each course, but I left my camera in the car and decided it was far more important to just enjoy the meal. Instead I shot a photo on my iPhone at the start of my meal and at the end. You’ll just have to go to Splendido to experience the rest yourself.

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Yesterday was the first day of our big Farmers Market at Elmwood and Bidwell and I knew all week that the weather was doomed for it’s opening day. We decided to meet my parents there right at 9 am to possibly beat the rain and wind. It actually wasn’t too bad, though it felt more like a very cool Autumn Day, not Spring. We walked around, looked at everything, ran into friends and began to make a plan for what we wanted to buy. The sun even peaked out a time or two. Eventually dark clouds made their way overhead, the wind picked up and we knew we should probably make our purchases soon.

We got so much great stuff, apples, leeks, spinach, asparagus, baby potatoes, veggie burgers, yogurt leek sauce, homemade strawberry jam, fresh from the farm eggs, sausage, bacon, and a beautiful, whole, fresh Heritage chicken. I decided this would be dinner. A roast chicken. It was the perfect day for it, it was cold, rainy and windy and I just wanted to stay in. So, I took a look at everything else we bought and made a plan.

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Roast Chicken, Apples, Leeks and Baby Potatoes

Serves 2 with leftover veggies

2 medium apples (I used Crispin) chopped
1 leek (white and light green parts), chopped
1 pound of baby potatoes, halved
4 small sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3 pound whole chicken – we had a farm raised, all natural, heritage chicken from Painted Meadows Farms in Franklinville, NY

Preheat your oven to 350° F

Rinse the bird, inside and out and pat dry. Place the potatoes, leeks and apples in the roasting tray of a large roasting pan, place the chicken in the center (breast side up). Drizzle olive oil over everything, making sure to get a good light coating over the whole bird to give you a crispy, perfectly browned skin. Sprinkle everything with rosemary, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. You can also sprinkle the inside of the bird with your spices as well, I did that plus I stuffed a couple of chopped leeks in there, as well as a whole sprig of rosemary. Toss the vegetables gently to make sure they are coated.

Roast the chicken until it is cooked through and the apples, potatoes and leeks are tender. I took the chicken out around 2 hours and the veggies could still use more time, so I took the chicken out to rest, took the vegetables out of the roasting tray so they could cook in the juices from the chicken and turned the oven up to 400° F. I wanted to get them really brown and crispy, the way we like them. Taste the veggies as they are done and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Allow the chicken to rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into it, this will allow the juices to redistribute. Serve with a nice helping of the apples, leeks and potatoes.

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We found that the Heritage Chicken was much different from any other chicken we had ever roasted before, it had an incredible scent when it came out of the oven and it tasted so amazing, a much more rich chicken flavor than from the grocery store chickens. We found the dark meat to be very dark and slightly tougher (almost gamier), a bit more like a cornish hen. However, the breast meat was impeccable, what chicken should taste like, the best I have ever had. The skin, though I don’t typically eat it any way, was thicker than usual and tough to eat. Mark usually eats as much as he can before I start nagging him about the fat, but this time he couldn’t eat much. I’ll have to ask the women we bought the chicken from next week if there is a trick for cooking the Heritage birds, from what I had read it is best to cook these birds low and slow so as not to dry them out and toughen the meat. The legs on this bird seemed longer than I have ever seen and they were sticking straight up (!), but I didn’t have any kitchen twine to truss them, so I went without. I am curious if that could have been why the leg meat seemed tougher, maybe it was overcooked.

We ate dinner a bit later than normal last night, so by the time it was ready it was fairly dark and the pictures of the finished bird are not that great. Still working on a way around the night-time photos.

All in all, this was the perfect start to the farmers market season, I cannot wait to make more meals this week with the goodies we bought and of course to go back next week.

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