Battle of Ingredients #3: Farmers’ Market Edition

Battle of Ingredients

The next Battle of Ingredients happened this past weekend.

Here in Canada, we had our Victoria Day long weekend. Montreal was also full of festivities as the city celebrated its 375th birthday. A lot more festivities are on the way as Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday as well. If you do want to ask about the 375th birthday in a 150 year country, Montreal was a French colony and established before Canada was was formed under confederation. That is the short form of the explanation. Since I do get asked that question once in a while, so just in case you are curious ūüôā

This edition is all about Farmer’s Market. A fantastic idea from my collaborator for this series, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road¬†who also happened to have written a great post on the Montreal celebrations. Montreal has a few markets strewn both on the island and in the suburban areas. As some of you may have gathered, we do venture frequently in the suburban surrounding cities of Montreal and this edition’s highlight will be some of the items we bought and the local businesses from Le Marche des Jardiniers located in La Prairie, Quebec. It also happens to be Lobster season so we made a pretty last minute decision to pick up two lobsters at the supermarket and try our hand at it.

Let’s check out our menu for the evening!

Our Wine of the Evening

Appetizer
Bread from L’Amour du Pain

L'Amour du Pain

Main Meal

Phoebe: Oven-Baked Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages are from Charcuterie Frick

Sausages here are 4 flavors:
– Herbes de Provences
– Blueberry Maple Syrup
– Smoked Meat
– Shallots & White Wine

Being a mother of a toddler, Phoebe’s learnt the concept of efficient cooking. Fast and easy to put together. She had done this dish before a few months ago. The concept is to use the oil/fat in the sausages to also give flavor to the mushrooms at the bottom.

My tie for sausages are the blueberry and maple and shallots and white wine. They all tasted great just a preference to those two flavors. Mushrooms turned out perfect as well.

Kim & Phoebe: Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

Endives were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

 Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Honey-Roasted-Belgian-Endives-and-Parsnips

I have only made endives once before (same applies to fiddleheads below). My memory was blurry on how I made it in general. Pinterest gave a simple recipe on putting this together: salt, pepper, honey, fresh thyme and oil/butter for marinade which had to be warmed first then drizzled on the endives before popping it in the oven.

For this dish, I have to do some reading on how to cut endives and prepare them. There was still some bitterness left in it and it has to do with what to remove to prevent it. However, the sauce was pretty good. I did have to modify it to a lower portion because we had less than what the recipe asked for.

Kim: Roasted Fiddlehead

Fiddleheads were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Fiddlehead

Recipe via Pinterest: http://homemadeandyummy.com/roasted-fiddlehead-ferns/

Fiddlehead ferns are in season right now. They also happen to be a pain to prepare because of all the washing and cleaning that it takes. With the said, this called for a simple recipe to compensate.

When things get crazy, my mind runs off. This is what happened to the roasted fiddleheads. They ended up being forgotten in the oven a few minutes more and got crispy. It was like fiddlehead crisps which because of the simple salt and pepper worked for myself however, might not be for everyone.

Kim & Phoebe: Boiled Lobster

Boiled Lobster

Lobsters probably aren’t supposed to be the star of the night but it was because it took almost everyone and a few recruits to help us with chopping and cleaning and cooking and plating. Phoebe ate these with garlic butter however, I ate them just like that and it was delicious. Most of the credit goes to her in completing this lobster cooking task.

Dessert

Kim: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/strawberry_rhubarb_pie/

Finally, my forte! Fresh rhubarb from the garden and frozen strawberries yielded this pie. I did use store bought pie shells and this somehow felt a little defective as it had a fold in the shell before going into the freezer so there was a gigantic side opening and that is where the juices and excess water leaked out. While this seemed pretty watery, this recipe is solid. I was worried that the rhubarb wouldn’t be ripe enough and be too tart but turns out it worked out pretty great.

That is a wrap for Battle of Ingredients!
A huge meal and great teamwork got this done and ready for everyone. Plus, it highlighted some of our local vendors which is always important.

Gardening 2017 #1: Beginning of a New Season!

Spring is finally here! And those showers are definitely soaking up Montreal and the sun is hiding away under those thick clouds and its mostly overcast when its not raining. Either way, when we finally caught a break from the rain over the weekend, I headed out for a few hours to tend to the garden. One mission was to see what was coming back and what didn’t. We had a particularly harsh winter, well, mostly because of that crazy storm in early March or end of February or something. Regardless, the garden looks decent. Still, pretty dead but things are mostly coming back.

Flower Patch in the front garden

Rose bush

Crimson Star

The front patch here is doing quite well. As usual, we have some perennials that struggling to come back. I’ll have to look into figuring out whether its zonage or whether its just the ground isn’t fertilized or just weather issues. Whatever it is, a good bit of this patch is back. Chrysanthemums, Crimson Star, Lilies and some flowers my mom gave me that I don’t remember the name of. The rose bush is back. Tulips are here. Its all looking really nice. We’re still waiting to see if the violets are going to come back. My guess right now is that it won’t, no signs yet. Still keeping our fingers crossed though.

Raspberry & Strawberry patch all cleaned up and pruned!

I finally got around to cleaning up and especially pruning my overgrown raspberry plant.It might not look it right now but I’ve actually trimmed it quite a bit and got rid of some of the spread that it has in anticipation for the lilies to be moved after the blooming season to somewhere it can thrive better. The strawberries are doing great as well and we already have bunnies sitting in our yard waiting to eat them before it even flowers. Those fearless bunnies are my biggest garden issues and why we have gone into planning vegetable garden fence mode. Unlike last year, where we realized too late and had to just wing a fence that actually worked remarkably well. Except this year, we want to add a little space and a decent trellis.

I guess its time for the vegetable garden update. Note that I didn’t have time to clean up this patch yet.

Rhubarb

Shallots

Vegetable Garden covered in broccoli buds….Yikes!

I’m missing at on of pictures because I got shocked by ALL the broccoli growing out of my vegetable garden. Apparently, when I didn’t have time to close the garden and left the plant there, all the seeds just grew out and now I’m stuck with this situation. However, my mom and Phoebe (aka Starry Traveler’s Road) has agreed to take some and we might put some in containers but they need much more space than that to grow so I’m guessing some of them will just naturally die off and not survive the pretty odd weather we’re having. Moving on from broccoli though, the rhubarb is doing fantastic like every year and last year, my mom gave me some shallots and they are growing fine also and pretty much ready for harvest.

As for things without pictures, my thyme seems to show signs of growing back. I was worried since I moved it pretty late in the season and it was getting pretty chilly. The asparagus is also back. On the side note, the echinacea which we planted last year is also back. It lines the fence mostly because it is a herb, looks pretty and apparently bunnies are fans of them so it was also to fend off neighbor cute pests. Its nice to see them back also.

Plans for this year

  • Raised flower bed (for butterflies and bees)
  • Another garden for Blueberries (and other edible food)
  • Some more restructure and sturdier fencing for vegetable garden

Do you garden? What flowers or veggies do you like to plant?

Rhubarb Compote!

TGIF! We’re finally at the next weekend?

Last weekend I ran out of time so there was no time to bake AT ALL! However, my mom made it clear on Wednesday night that we had to get rid of ALL the rhubarb.  I went straight to search up something.  She seemed like she really wanted to make jam out of it.  I just worry about how sour it would turn out.

After some research and debate, I ended up with choosing to make Rhubarb Compote!

My first time doing compote and here’s how it turned out:

Rhubarb Compote cooled off and stored in a jar :)

Rhubarb Compote cooled off and stored in a jar ūüôā

Here is the link for the recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/336492/rhubarb-compote?search_key=rhubarb

I followed most of that recipe. ¬†I did add a few little strawberries to the mixture. ¬†For one, I was hoping that it would make it a little sweeter. ¬†Second, I had some in the fridge and wanted to use them up ūüôā

This is an extremely quick recipe.  The preparation work, especially cutting the rhubarb is the most time consuming.  Other than that, you pop in a large saucer and you stir while it simmers on reduced heat.  Extremely fast and easy! What more could I ask for, right?

My mom was the first to taste it and she put it on her toast as jam.  She said that it tasted good just a little sour.

Later on after dinner, I wanted to try it with a banana, cut into pieces ūüôā

Banana topped with Rhubarb Compote

Banana topped with Rhubarb Compote

Then my mom came up with adding in some mango to it! I love mango so it was a keeper!

Rhubarb Compote with Mango and Banana

Add in some Mango! Yummy!

Healthy and delicious! It tasted fantastic! The mangoes were very sweet, banana was perfect (not too ripe and not too raw) then mix in the tart and a little sourish taste of the rhubarb compote and we’re in business! ūüôā

I would eat with ice cream but I ran out. ¬†It is also a good combination if that’s more your style!

My rhubarb is almost all used up! I believe the last batch will be done this weekend..then I continue with requests ūüôā

Feel free to drop me some requests if you’d like and I’ll line them up to try one by one!!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

This week’s star is rhubarb! I love rhubarb to bits! Right now, my garden has one plant of it and its growing like mad. Its probably from all the rainfall that has fallen in the past 2 weeks…NOW, I’m in emergency baking mode. ¬†My mom has put down orders to get rid of ’em all this coming week!

First up had to be my first trial for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! Who else loves it? Because I am obsessed with the store-bought ones…of course, its always more natural to make it at home. ¬†PLUS, I had a pie shell that needed to be used for baking. ¬†Usually, I’d make my own but hey, lets take it easy for once…especially since I’m owing another blogger a recipe to go up that has to be postponed just a little bit while I get rid of the rhubarb. ¬†Next week, it’ll be all about chocolate..but today, it’ll have to be about rhubarb!

I usually venture onto Martha Stewart‘s site to find some recipes but her site (at least on my tablet, haven’t checked on my laptop) is ridiculous to understand how to make the damn recipe so I gave up and googled it which led to a recipe on the Food Network! C’mon, that’s gotta be sure fire, right?

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

For the recipe, you can find it right here: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Dessert/Berries/recipe.html?dishid=4042

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie topped with Ice Cream

Topped with Ice Cream!

We all had rather different opinions on this pie actually. ¬†My boyfriend started it off and ate it without the crumble topping and thought it was SUPER SOUR! With the crumble and after a few bites, he slowly adapted to it. ¬†Because he said that, I went off to the freezer and topped mine off with a scope of Maple flavored Soy based Ice Cream. ¬†I found it still a little sour but when you eat it as a whole experience, it tasted pretty good. ¬†Rhubarb is supposed to be a bit more sour in taste so, it makes sense. ¬†My mom was the only one who said that it wasn’t sour and she said that she liked the fact that it was just the crumble topping that felt like it was sugary to balance the taste.

Other than that, the texture turned out great plus, it looks and smells awesome! I might still search up another recipe or modify this one a little bit the next time I make it. In the meantime, I’m going to search up what to make with the rest of the rhubarb.

Last year, I made it some Baked Rhubarb (HERE), Rhubarb Crisp (HERE) and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars (HERE) which were all quite delish! Check it out if you’re interested! ūüôā

Any suggestions for what else I could make?

Rhubarb Crisp

Right when you thought my rhubarbs adventures were over, they weren’t, eh?

This is what happened. I was mowing the lawn and then I turned around and looked at my garden which my mom has been going absolutely crazy this year with. ¬†She’s at it non-stop. ¬†So I wanted to know what we were actually going to end up harvesting this year. ¬†So I start looking at the tomatoes and next to it 3 tomato plants, I see this little one with big leaves and red stalks.

And I start sticking my head closer to the plant and then I’m thinking to myself that it can’t actually be rhubarb because I had killed the last one. ¬†Or at least when I last saw it, it definitely was taking its last few breaths. ¬†So I go inside, and ask my mom and she tells me that that was my rhubarb plant that I bought last year. ¬†My jaw drops open and I’m thinking my mom is a miracle worker as I walk back outside and stare at the plant.

C’mon! Look at this!

Super beautiful stalks. Its just the first year so it still doesn’t have the big thick stalks.

Man, did we get a whole lot of rhubarb this year!

I had wanted to try and make Rhubarb Upside Down Cake but turns out we were low on butter and stores were already closed.  So Rhubarb Crisp it was.

Here’s where I found my recipe:¬†http://www.marthastewart.com/341350/rhubarb-crisp

On the side note, Martha Stewart‘s recipes do not disappoint, even the crafts. ¬†I’m becoming a big fan of it.

Anyways, on with the recipe, making any type of crisps are easy.  Its pretty much preheat the oven, cut your fruits into pieces, mix it in sugar (and flour, in this case) and let it sit while you mix the ingredients for the crumb topping together.  Lay it on top of the fruits and then stick it in the oven.  Voila!  Easy, right? Mine turned out tasting amazing! The only issue was that I started looking really thin because I somehow had misplaced my baking dish so this one was a bit bigger than I had wanted.

This is how it turned out  this morning after a night of cooling off (since I finished it at around midnight):

Excuse the missing part on the side, my mom had found her way to trying it out already before I had time to snap a picture of it.

I wasn’t able to get a really nice picture of it but I’m seriously, it tastes a whole lot better than what it looks like. ¬†I’m a big fan of apple crisp so doing rhubarb crisp and expecting it to be insanely sour, it was not in the end. ¬†Very enjoyable experience! ¬†Give it a shot and tell me how yours turned out!

Baked Rhubarb

From 2 weeks ago, I had rhubarb mentioned in a previous blog(s) where I had made the first batch into Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Bars.  There was a few stalks of rhubarb remaining from that batch.  After a few nights of debating between which recipe to make, either Rhubarb Compote or this recipe.

Clearly, you see who won…BAKED RHUBARB!

Here’s the recipe that I used:¬†http://www.marthastewart.com/328106/baked-rhubarb?center=276955&gallery=275393&slide=259785

This was a wildly simple recipe, which is also why it won. ¬†Just had to toss sugar and rhubarb and let it sit, then tuck it into the oven. ¬†I didn’t have the vanilla bean though so, I think that affected it a bit. ¬†Not as sweet or aroma was different, I’m not quite sure what effect the vanilla bean would’ve had.

Here’s how mine turned out fresh from the oven:

I had to cool it before I could taste it. ¬†I’m lactose intolerant so I used marshmallows to replace heavy cream on the baked rhubarbs. ¬†This is what mine looked like with its little marshmallow complement.

My suggestion though, when choosing rhubarb, red is probably sweeter (yes, I am the newbie at rhubarb, but I got mine for free so I won’t complain) and if you have that heavy cream and you can eat that, please do it. ¬†Rhubarb (especially unripe ones) is extremely sour. ¬†When I chewed that marshmallow with it, it felt like heaven after I had taken a bite of just rhubarb and sweetness exploded in my mouth to cover the sourness from before. ¬†I do say that the texture is really good. ¬†For a cooked fruit, this is one of the better tasting ones.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

I’m finally back into doing some more baking!

This time was from last weekend’s trip to Rawdon which allowed me to get a big basket of fresh strawberries and a few stalks of rhubarb. ¬†Just a side note, I have a huge obsession with rhubarb. ¬†I even tried to plant it last year but it was a failed attempt. ¬†I will eventually attempt it again though. ¬†Since I manage to get some free rhubarb from my friend’s family chalet, I was able to start trying out recipes.

This was the recipe that won the debate: http://www.marthastewart.com/312987/rhubarb-crumb-bars?center=276955&gallery=275393&slide=257026

For this recipe, I halved the rhubarb portion and replaced with strawberries.  Everything else remained the same.  The only issue I had (or it appeared) was the texture of the  streusel.  It appeared to not be good but after coming out of the fridge (as the recipe says) and the baking, it was perfect.

So fresh out of the oven it came, looking like this:

And a closer view of the streusel texture:

So after a night of cooling (because preparation and baking took longer than I had expected), I cut it into little squares last night.

Just look at how nice it looks.

The aroma and the taste are both very wonderful. ¬† I probably would choose a more shallow and wider baking pan next time though. ¬†This time, the cake was very thick because the pan wasn’t big enough. ¬†Also I would use the parchment paper to line the pan as well so that the cutting process and removing it from the pan would be easier. ¬† This was a great recipe, I’ll definitely be looking into making more crumb bars in the future.

 I still have a few stalks of rhubarb left so this weekend, I will be looking into baking something else.  Another post will be coming really soon! If you have any suggestions, please do tell me.