Get it Stuffed!
Cornell Farms’ Stuffed Roasts make it amazingly easy to prepare a delicious centrepiece for your dinner: an eye of round roast cooked to order and stuffed with delicious goodies that keep the meat moist and make proper cooking a snap. The most difficult part will be choosing between the two varieties of tasty bread stuffing available: Orange-Cranberry or Blue Cheese, Ground Pork & Cranberry. Once you’ve made that call, simply thaw the roast to room temperature and cook according to the handy instructions on the wrapping; rest, slice and serve. Medium, medium-rare is probably your best bet with an Eye of Round; this allows the proteins to break down in the meat with tender results. We cooked our first Stuffed Roast a little less, to rare, and found it delicious but a little chewy. A few more minutes in the oven and it would have been perfect – next time we’ll follow the farmer’s instructions!
Green and Clean
With Earth Day just a few weeks away we’re hoping you’re thinking about ways you can live healthier and greener. ORYSI’s new Lemon All Purpose Cleaner definitely fits the bill. Made with water, vinegar and fragrant, bacteria-killing essential oils of lemon, tea tree and lavender, this spray gently cleans surfaces without unpronounceable chemicals and leaves the room smelling delightful. Even better, ORYSI owner Irene includes extra lemon oil and instructions for making more. Be sure to check out our upcoming Newsletter for handy recipes and suggestions for replacing chemical cleaners with your own natural concoctions.
Jacked-Up Caramel Apples
Fairground food’s got nothing on the talents at Chocolate Cow. You may have seen their first Caramel Apples in the display cases last year - those gorgeous Granny Smiths enrobed in their homemade caramel brought back every happy CLE and State Fair memory from our childhoods – but as Doug and Jane Stanton know, you can’t have too much of a good thing. What’s better than adding delicious creamy caramel to a crispy apple? Covering that caramel in a coating of creamy Chocolate Cow milk chocolate. And what would be better than that? Studding that creamy milk chocolate with gummy candies and jelly beans and then drizzling pure white chocolate over that for the most outrageous candy apple you’ve ever seen. Looking for one heck of an Easter treat? Stop at Chocolate Cow and get yours this Saturday.
Local Greens Taste as Good by Any Other Name. Especially in March!
Justin and Caitlin, formerly known as Queen Street Market Garden, have begun attending Market with a small selection of early spring greens. We can’t express our excitement enough: this is the earliest in the history of the Market that fresh produce has been available! Having outgrown their original name Justin and Caitlin are now calling their operation “veg•e•tate market garden.” Last year the green-thumbed duo developed a strong following for their edible shoots and new varieties of greens mixes – we’re looking forward to see what they come up with this year!
Happily, we hear rumours that Caitlin and Justin won’t be alone in the produce category for long. DeBruin’s Greenhouses are hoping to have lettuces and fresh herbs ready by the time the Spring Home & Garden Show starts, and Belluz Farms plan to return to Market with fresh produce sometime in April as well.
The new uber-cozy Nursing Pillows on Unique Alternatives’ table are going to make great gifts for new moms this spring. They look a little like those neck pillows you see at the airport, but these actually make a difference. Just wrap the u-shaped pillow around your waist and arrange Baby on top; rather than supporting the full weight of your little bundle your arm can take a break while the pillow bears Baby’s weight as you nurse. Hand-stitched in a variety of colourful printed flannels, Unique Alternatives’ nursing pillows are stuffed with fluffy synthetic fibres for cloudlike comfort for mom and baby alike.
Seeing is Believing
The display table of soapstone sculptor Dennis Zeka-Jones has drawn a lot of interest at the Market – we’ve seen his Bean Boxes appearing on desks and in collections on several occasions now – but nothing near what happens when Dennis brings his work to Market with him. Kids and adults alike stop to watch as he carves faceless stone into animal shapes, plates, stylized people and more and then scrubs and washes them to give them the lustrous Dennis finish you’ll find on much of his work. Recently we joined a group watching Dennis do the finishing work on a gorgeous bull statue and snapped this pic – be sure to climb to the second floor and see an artisan of one of humanity’s oldest trades at work for yourself!
Dring, Dring, Sounds Like Spring!
Have you checked out the amazingly cool collection of bicycles on display at Petrie’s on the second floor? As spring approaches they’re drawing more and more interest. We watched a young fellow check out the Cruiser collection recently and listened him describe it as the most comfortable bike he’d ever sat on. Petrie’s staffer Sean explained that Cruisers are designed for comfort, including patented “Flat-foot technology” that improves your posture when you ride to prevent forward-leaning and cramping. Not only are these bikes comfortable, they come with cool paint jobs.
Got a bike already? “Dring” a little cheer along on the bike paths with a hand-painted bike bell – their clear and pleasant notes carry a long way, letting pedestrians know you’re coming by.
The Rummaging is Over
Leather is probably our favourite material for clothing. In addition to being comfortable, cozy and versatile, it’s a purposeful and often beautiful way to use up an inedible product of the beef industry. Waste not, want not, right? Joyce Seppala agrees – and then some. Working with fine-grained leather dyed and painted in colours ranging from sensible earth-tones to strutting peacock brights, Joyce has started creating a line of handbags and coats that will make your fingers twitch with the urge to TOUCH, TOUCH, TOUCH.
In typical Joyce style she mixes fashion with function, sensuous with sensible, versatility with va-va-voom. We won’t get into details on the coats (you have to see them to believe them) but we have to say... these bags are amazing to carry, not just to look at. After fruitless searching for a stylish bag that would help her organize all the items she (like most of us) carries out of the house, Joyce gave up and designed her own. When you peer inside one of Joyce’s new bags the first thing you’ll notice – after the gorgeous lining – is pockets and loops. Stash your wallet, attach your keys, slide your sundries into this, hook your iPod onto that... and with a well-organized fashion accessory like this on your arm you’ll actually be able to find your darn phone before it goes to voicemail. So long, Rummage Purse! Hello sexy organizer bag!
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Sausage
“Serve with fresh vegetables, fresh ginger and hot pepper,” the sign says below the steamer tray. Phooey on that. If you make it out the door without eating half your order you deserve a prize... maybe a double batch next Saturday, because Thai-Karen’s Thai Sausages are irresistible right out of the clamshell they come in. Stuffed with ground pork from a local butcher, rice, vermicelli noodles, ginger, garlic and a secret spice blend, these are probably not what you’d expect from a Thai sausage; it’s almost as if the recipe is a showcase for the pork. These little babies are sweet, not hot, and there’s no strong curry obscuring the wonderful caramelized pork flavour. They’re a little larger than sausage links and the casing seems different – snappy, a bit sticky, and flavourful all by itself. In the absence of breakfast sausage we’d recommend trying these with your favourite egg dishes... if you can get them home without succumbing to temptation.
Cornell Farms' Cranberry Summer Sausage
Things got difficult in our household as soon as Cornell Farms' Cranberry Summer Sausage came through our door for sampling. Nostrils flared, pupils dilated and pointed questions followed its delicate smoke flavour, mainly on the subject of "Do we get to eat this?" and "When do we get to eat this?" So strident were the demands to share that the sausage had to have its own hiding place until it could be properly sampled and documented, at which point it began to disappear very fast.
The Cornells send their grass-fed beef Cranberry Summer Sausage down south to a Mennonite collective to be cured, where it's done using traditional methods instead of chemicals and loads of salty chemicals. The resulting sausage is dry and only slightly salty, allowing the natural flavours of the beef and the cranberries to dominate. The overall flavour is a little reminiscent of good teriyaki beef jerky.
This cured product doesn't require refrigeration so it makes a great staple item for camping, fishing and hunting trips. We’ve also taken it to guy-get-togethers as part of a cheese-and-meat tray, where it disappeared faster than the beef jerky.
Warm Up Yer Insides
Baba’s Ukrainian Food is back at the Market (yes, they’re still serving the famous Perogy Poutine) and bringing in a rotating variety of soups. Opinion on Split Pea with Ham seems to be highly polarized: either it’s a comfort food from your childhood, or it’s something you were forced to eat in your childhood.
If you hated it as a kid you probably think you still do... but if anybody’s going to change your mind it will be Keri and Gerry Garland. Tasty, comfy and nutritious, Baba’s yellow Split Pea Soup is made with local ham, fresh veggies and perfectly-cooked golden peas. Its meaty, smoky flavour will warm your belly and remind you of those winters of your childhood when someone took care to make sure your scarf was tied and your mittens were tucked. Come in from the cold to a steaming bowl and tell us you don’t remember, we dare you.
Honey, You Made That from Scratch?
You’ve seen the handmade soaps on Kate’s table at Moss Cottage, but did you know the Urban Farmchick’s doing more than just flower farming to obtain her ingredients? Kate’s been busy making the most of those flower fields and serving the environment too by starting her own bee colony. Now her fields are being pollinated by her stripy friends and they themselves are enjoying a heck of a sweet diet and providing Kate with a growing supply of fragrant flower-scented honey. While she doesn’t have immediate plans to make the sweet golden results available for purchase, she’s collected enough of it in the past year to release a new line of Honey Soap and will be using the wax in products as well.
Honey’s been used as a cosmetic for thousands of years: Cleopatra bathed in it, Madame du Barry wore it as a facial mask and even Queen Anne used it in her hair. In Kate’s Honey Soap it helps produce a nice lather, leaves a warm, light scent on your skin and acts as a humectant – helping your skin retain moisture.
Nothing Sour About This
Jo-Mik Baking’s Vanilla Sour Cream Apple Pie is really, really good. Genius Joe combines his famously flaky thin crust with a crumble topping, sweet cinnamony apples and creamy vanilla-sour cream custard. The resulting dessert is the best combination you could imagine of apple crisp and apple pie with the “mode” already inside – except instead of melting ice cream you’ll find creamy goodness binding the filling together. The apples are a bit tangy, balanced by the sweet custard. The spicy cinnamon balances perfectly with the vanilla, and the delicate crumble topping makes fork-to-mouth operations dangerously straightforward. Got a pie-lover to please? This one will impress.
What's In Those Paper Bags?
With our fascination with Pocket Foods (check the Archives for stories on Caribbean Kitchen’s meat patties, London Variety’s stuffed pastries and other portable treats) it’s about time we did a sampling of appetizers from Shikha’s Kitchen. You’ll regularly see vendors munching a selection of their treats from a paper bag – they stay till 1pm and there’s no way they’re waiting till they get home to eat them – but customers are discovering that Hasan’s delicious sides also store really well in the freezer, which is a huge bonus for those of us who enjoy cooking East Indian sauce and rice dishes but don’t have the patience or skill to turn out the yummy things that go so well alongside.
Shown here are four equally delicious items, clockwise from rear left: the Onion Pakora, a medium-spicy fritter jammed with tender strips of white onion and curry spices; the Coconut Shrimp Roll, a highly-spiced seafood treat with tender veggies and shrimp; the Chicken Kebab, crunchy on the outside and stuffed with milder veggies and chicken; and the Veggie Samosa, the mildest of our four samples. Each item is spiced with Hasan’s homemade whole-spice blend and tasted delicious on its own until some mad impulse suggested, in place of our missing plum sauce...
H&P’s Carrot Cake Jam/Condiment/Spoon-Lickin’ Goodness
Our little jar of Carrot Cake Jam, another of Henry Wielobob’s eyebrow-raising inventions, was opened in desperation one day when we ran out of plum sauce. The spicing is close enough to some East Indian blends that it seemed like a reasonable idea in theory. In practice it exceeded our expectations, pairing so well with Shikha’s Kitchen appetizers that we almost don’t want to tell you how good it was in tarts later. Spiced much the same as carrot cake or mincemeat, this light, sweet jam really is made with diced carrot and it’s as pretty to look at as it is to eat.
We’re hoping Henry will make us a version of this jam with a larger dice on the carrot; while the smaller dice makes the jam a really versatile condiment, we think larger chunks might make it more like chutney and be even more delicious with East Indian food. Try it yet? Get yours at H&P Jams & Jellies and tell us what you think!
Truffles. ‘Nuff Said.
Valentine’s Day is coming up. If your love is a connoisseur of chocolate, don’t try fooling them with that waxy stuff with the big brand name. Go for the gusto and bring home a sampling from Chocolate Cow, our local chocolatier. You’ll have to wrestle yourself away when you find yourself pressed against the glass admiring the enormous double-dipped caramel-chocolate apples, but a step beyond them is the truffle collection: the Golden Boys of Valentine’s Day chocolates. Shelled in creamy milk or glossy dark chocolate made from some of the best cocoa in the world, these handmade ganache-filled delights come in a range of flavours that would give Bertie Bott pause and allow you the opportunity to select your own if the gorgeous sampler boxes don’t quite do it for you. And while you’re there, it’s okay to treat yourself: Doug and Jane’s latest treats include sweet dipped maraschino cherries, caramels and even chocolate-coated graham wafers.
The Next Best Thing to Local
Before we came to accept our food system as a globe-spanning engine, “imported” meant something magical: teas were imported, and spices. Silks and aromatic woods. They represented things we weren’t able to provide for ourselves. Today, with food so often being subbed out to the lowest bidder, we’ve gotten used to garlic coming from China and beef coming from somewhere out West because it’s more efficient to do it that way... and yet here we are at the Country Market, where an ever-growing group of people is clamouring for local solutions.
Poultry has been a major stumbling block for our local food system because of the Meat Act, a provincial regulation that prohibits farmed meats from being sold or even transported without being inspected in a licenced facility. With no local poultry abattoir we’re unable to provide chicken – one of the leanest and most cost-efficient meats you can raise – to our local market. Consequently you’ve still been shopping the Styrofoam trays under the big fluorescents... till now.
Last year Sandy Acres Farm connected with Fenwood Farm, a family farm in Ancaster where they raise organic chickens. More than satisfied with the Fennema family’s ethics and practices, Peter decided to bring in a few birds for trial at the Market. Unsurprisingly the response was really good, and you can now pick up whole 3-4 lb frozen organic chickens from Sandy Acres Farm’s freezer.
Interested in the chicken and egg regulations affecting our local market? Check out the info sheet from our Friends at the Food Security Research Network.
Around the Coffee Table
The jokes told at the Great Northwest Coffee Company won’t be the same without longtime barrista Eric Christiansen, who made the decision to semi-retire last month. Famous for his groaner “dad jokes,” his occasional appearances in denim hayseed coveralls and a fraying straw hat and his endless good nature, Eric is easing out of his position, but not the Market. Eric assures us he’ll never kick his Market habit and will be attending regularly; we expect to see him visiting regularly. Be sure to congratulate Eric when you see him.
Great Northwest Coffee Company owner and Roaster-in-Chief Jeff Paxton has been busy over the holidays and is making a little room in his store-room by offering the latest batch of Bolivian AA at special pricing: get your AA on in your choice of Full-city and French roasts. We like to buy both together – French for eye-opening pots on weekdays and Full-city for mellow weekend mornings.
The New Additions
Michael and Glenn from Little Doo’s have been planning the changes to their lambing operation since last year. Experimental free-grazing of their flock proved to work really well – “They really are lawnmowers,” Michael laughs – and in October the newest additions arrived, adding the final pieces for a spring launch of their free-ranging project. Littermates Franki and Gianni, Maremma Sheepdog pups, have been getting to know the flock in the comfy confines of the big barn since they arrived. These amazing dogs have been introduced at graining time when the sheep are happily preoccupied and encouraged to move through the flock while the sheep eat, creating positive associations on both sides and building a trust relationship between the sheep and their new protectors.
Come spring the flock, a Cattan/wooly blend, will be loosed onto the property and Franki and Gianni will become full-time superintendents; following the flock, guiding them away from hazards and preventing predators from having their way with their charges. Little Doo’s flock will have lots of room to run and bounce in the sunshine – a wonderful way to raise animals for food. Michael assures us that this will only improve the final product. Lambs being raised for meat will continue to be served grain as well as pasture-fed, resulting in a sweet meat with rich marbling throughout.
It’s been a great lambing season so far and Michael anticipates an excellent supply this spring, starting as early as January 26.
A Monster Pair of Slippers
Vanessa Wojtalik, the creater of the Wojo Originals slipper, works with eye-popping colour cominations in a variety wool blends and leather to build the coziest-looking slipper we’ve seen yet. Designed to keep your feet warm and dry all season long, they wrap your feet in springy cloudlike warmth, and the hand-stitched leather bottoms are great for gripping slippery floors. Each pair of slippers has a different colour combination and style, and the line comes in three different heights (low-rise, shown here; mid- and high-rises) and kids’ sizes too. Find Wojo Originals slippers and more amazing local work at the Craft Collective on the second floor of the Market.
From December 2012
Flu Season Necessities
All this warm-cold-warm-cold weather plays slippery havoc with sidewalks and driveways; it also breeds cold and flu viruses like there’s no tomorrow. Are you ready for them? Recent and unfortunate personal experience with the flu taught us the value of having a collection of tasty and healthy herbal teas on hand and if we were going to recommend any one it would be Boreal Forest Teas’ Canadian Shield, local tea-maker Lee-Ann Chevrette’s most-recommended soother for flu sufferers, kids and adults alike. Described right on the bag as “a cold, cough and flu brew,” Canadian Shield is a blend of peppermint, rosehips and yarrow which help decongest, detoxify, soothe tummies and strengthen your immune system. It’s also a tasty brew that’s less likely to be rejected by little ones than, say, that chemical-laden hot orange stuff; we recommend a spoonful of natural local honey if you’re looking to sweeten the deal.
Cultural Intersection Ahead
Dennis Zeka-Jones’ soapstone carvings have become a fixture on the second floor of the Market over the past year, with admirers stopping to admire his cute “bean boxes” – highly-polished bean-shaped collectible boxes great for storing hairpins, jewellery and other sundries - and the selection of plates he rotates in and out of his table display. Now, just in time for the holidays, Dennis has amped up his display to feature a larger variety of his stunning work, including pieces like a life-sized carved loon that draws on the soapstone’s natural coloring as part of its appeal; graceful “family” statuary and his eye-catching tinted pieces like this African-inspired platter.
“Tastes Like Christmas??!”
Okay, we weren’t sure what to expect when Mike handed us a bag of his new Chicago Mix, a blend of cheesy Cheddar and crunchy Caramel kernels. Cheese and caramel? Mike grinned at the look we gave it. “I can’t keep up,” he said, “people love it.”
Don’t do what we did, which was the coward’s route: first we sampled a cheddar kernel, which was good; cheddary-tasting, not too salty. Then we sampled a caramel kernel, which was really good (we love caramel here.) Then, when we didn’t change colour or size we tried a handful all together. BLAM! The first thing we thought was “Hey, this tastes like Christmas!” It’s hard to describe how well these two unexpected flavours combine so well, but they do. That first crunchy mouthful evoked lots of the sweet-savoury treats we love during the holidays, like sugar-glazed hams and caramelized maple bacon. Mike’s new mix keeps to the Kettlecorn philosophy “a little bit salty, a little bit sweet” and really does make you think of Christmas somehow; if you arrive in time to grab a bag you won’t regret it one crunchy bit.
A Snowball’s Chance on the Counter
If you brought a snowball (a real one) inside and left it on your kitchen counter it would last almost as long as these treats will if you leave them out unattended. Joe Myslicki of Jo-Mik Baking lovingly mixes favourite holiday ingredients (butter, chocolate, oats and coconut among them) into delicious bite-sized balls before rolling them in more coconut for flavour, texture and presentation. Unlike the outdoor kind of snowball, Joe’s Snowballs won’t melt, so they’re a great treat to set out when you’re expecting guests to nibble at your goodie plate over the course of a day. And although they won’t melt, they will be eaten (if you can eat just one we’re impressed at your fortitude) but fortunately Joe sells them by generously stuffed trays, so you’ll probably be able to enjoy one or two for yourself.
Fruit cake, or Christmas cake, was actually outlawed for a time in some parts of Europe in the early 18th Century because of its associations with decadence and over-indulgence . Packed with the rich, candied harvest of the Colonies, British fruit cake was the first variety to be “fed” brandy for months before serving to add moisture and zing to this holiday treat. Today, despite the derision of pundits like Johnny Carson, many Canadians hold steadfast to their fondness for this glittering holiday treat. For those of us who love the stuff, Dee from Unique Alternatives offers a Christmas Cake fit for British royalty. Jammed with glace cherries, currants, raisins, citrus peel and hordes of other sweet treats held together with just enough cake to maintain a nice loaf shape, Dee’s cakes have been fed liberally with brandy and will warm your tummy delightfully. Our first delicious bite took us straight back to our childhood and Christmas at our British grandmother’s home, where dark and light fruitcake were served every year. Thanks Dee for keeping the tradition alive!
Gift Wrap Your Feet
Just in time for stocking stuffers, The Sock Lady is back. The dynamic duo (The Sock Lady is actually a good-natured retired couple) of Reg and Wymnemia Sobkowich will be at the Market as long as their supplies last with their outrageously-coloured, -sized and -patterned selection of knitted wool socks. Recently they revealed the secret of their gorgeous colours: food colouring. Reg dyes every batch by hand at home. “It’s amazing,” Wymnemia says, “when you take the dyed wool out it’s absorbed all the dye and the water’s almost as clear as the stuff in the tap.” To keep up with demand, the Sobkowiches use a machine to knit the bodies of their socks, finishing the toes by hand. Want to see how it’s done? Check out the Shaw TV short on YouTube and then head up to the second floor this Saturday for a chat and to buy some warm local footwear!
Artist Kevin Belmore has become a well-known sight around the Market, and his art is becoming well-known across Canada; most recently Kevin’s applied to have an original sent up into space! Here on the home front, however, Kevin is offering originals, limited-edition prints and commissioned pieces for sale at amazingly reasonable prices.
Kevin paints Woodlands style, a form which originated with artist Norval Morisseau and was further developed by the late Roy Thomas. He works in bright acrylics and clean, sharp lines depicting images of woodland creatures and people, with a strong emphasis in many of his pieces on relationships and family. Looking for a family heirloom that won’t date the way a portrait will? Talk to Kevin about commissioning a special piece that symbolizes your family relationships.
(Photo drawn from Lake Superior Magazine.) Click here to read the Superior Magazine feature article on Kevin from Summer 2012!
From November 2012
Win this Pen!
Larry Treanor’s got a liking for wood. You’ll get this within 30 seconds of chatting with him as he shows you samples of his work at Treanor Pens.
It’s in the way he handles the gleaming duck calls, bottle stoppers, shaving kits and other small-but-useful items that you don’t often see decorated this way; rubbing his fingers over the joins to enjoy the smooth surfaces and the miniscule grains in the wood. He’s proud of his work, and deservedly so: we can’t imagine the painstaking hours invested in items like the barrel of this golf-inspired ballpoint pen, made from 23 tiny pieces of stained, cut, smoothed wood fit together to beautifully evoke the flag, the green and the horizon beyond.
This pen is special because Larry will give it away to one lucky winner who’s stopped to fill out a ballot and chat over his spread of shining gift items. Know a golfer? Or looking for a special, personal gift for someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship? Visit Larry on the second floor near the coffee shop and admire his work for your chance to win.
90° to Larry Treanor’s spread of gleaming earth-toned woods is his better half Wanda’s table: A Perfect Gift, where soft pastels, cartoon animals and fuzzy fabrics will tempt your fingers. Wanda offers practical, beautiful hand-made and hand-appliquéd items for babies; from full-body and waterproof bibs to minky blankets, satin-trimmed cuddle blankies and soft toys like the Texture and Colour Blocks. We really liked these last items because, while they’ll stimulate Baby with colours, patterns, fabric textures and a delightful tangle of grabbable ribbon loops, they’re quiet – not a single bell, whistle, bleep-bloop or rattle detracts from their soft washability. Wanda uses cheery monkey and owl motifs in many of her fabric choices and appliqués, promising to add funny elephants next. Planning a baby gift? Make sure you stop at A Perfect Gift as part of your shopping.
Skip the Dishes
You’ve probably seen people walking around the Market with one of Caribbean Kitchen’s Roti wraps warming their hands and providing a guiltless comfort-food breakfast on the run. You may be one of those people yourself sometimes. But have you heard the back story?
Roti is a common dish in the Caribbean but its origins are East Indian, where the word roti generally refers to a flat unleavened bread often used interchangeably with chapatti bread, a staple item in East Indian diets. Stuffed Roti wraps (also called, confusingly, roti) evolved in Jamaica through a fusing of East Indian and Caribbean culture, and are usually that East Indian roti flatbread folded around a thick curry stew - a popular item for its portability and deliciousness.
Rutland tells us he learned to make roti the traditional way from a beautiful East Indian girl who came into his life for a season and taught him family secrets like the mixing of the perfect curry blend. When they parted ways Rutland reinvented the roti wrap with his new knowledge, adding thick chunks of meat and potatoes, onions and carrots to the delicious stew. Today Rutland uses giant flour tortillas in lieu of chapatti bread but the wonderful East Indian-Caribbean fusion flavour remains, and if you ask him he can probably still describe the first time he saw the beautiful girl who inspired his recipe. Try beef, chicken and goat Roti with Rutland on the second floor.
Duncan Weller’s books have gotten a lot of attention from customers lately, particularly the kids’ stories, which are illustrated with a gleeful sense of play. It’s a good thing these books are hardcover and printed on quality paper, because they attract a lot of fingerprints from young readers poring over images of a boy whose head glows like the sun, (the Boy From the Sun) an asteroid-eating mechanical snake (Space Snake) and – our favourite – a collection of outrageous forest monsters that scares a young girl into having a Night Wall built around their isolated cabin.
Illustrating kids’ books must be a difficult job, especially when the subject matter could easily become scary for young bedtime readers. Duncan uses colour and humour in a way that makes the scary things approachable. We reviewed Night Wall and spent a lot of time (and fingerprints) examining the monsters and deciding silly Julie shouldn’t have been scared in the first place.
Stop by Duncan’s table on the second floor and check out his book collection for a reader on your list this holiday season.
We were a bit skeptical when Henry of H&P Jams & Jellies handed us a jar of his latest creation: Orange-Rhubarb Jam. One taste, however, led to another. And another. And another after that. Unlike marmalade, this smooth spreadable product lacks the orange-peel bitterness that turns off so many palates, offering instead the lovely sourness of rhubarb to complement the sweetness of orange pulp. It’s been great on morning toast, but as the holidays approach our thoughts are lingering on its potential as a glaze for baked ham. Be sure to watch our Facebook page – we’ll be trying that out at some point and will post a photo and review! And if you’re cruising the table at H & P Jams & Jellies, check out their other holiday-appropriate new spread, “Carrot Cake Jam” made with carrot, pear, pineapple and all the lovely spices you’d expect to find in that well-loved dessert.
New Takes on Old Originals
Baba’s Kitchen on the second floor is developing a reputation; it’s evident in the people sitting around patting their bellies after enjoying a Saturday breakfast cooked on the spot by Kerri or Gerry Garland, the (mad) geniuses behind the selection of traditional and traditional-with-a-twist Ukrainian foods on their table. We’ve talked before about the ruby glow of Kerri’s secret-recipe borscht and their several varieties of tender perogies; with Christmas approaching it’s time to look at cabbage rolls, which are available by the tray and by advance order (which is probably a good idea the closer we get to the holiday.) Baba’s carries both a traditional variety stuffed with rice and beef and a gluten-free vegetarian version. And honestly? Speaking as diehard carnivores we had to admit that the veggie versions were pretty darn good – just as good as the meaty ones, only different. The cabbage is cooked just to tenderness, so it retains its colour and flavour, and the rice is grainy, not mushy. If you’ve been missing out because you’re not a carnivore... miss out no more.
By the way, while we were up there chatting about cabbage rolls we watched Gerry loading a bowl with their Original Perogy Poutine: Kerri’s homemade perogies dotted with Thunder Oaks Smoked Gouda and slathered with Gerry’s all-day pork belly gravy. It looked and smelled divine. We’ll be trying this sinful treat out very soon, but if you’ve beaten us to it and want to share a review email us at weaver@thunderbaycountrymarket to have your opinion included!
Starting to think about holiday wardrobe? Add a little bling to your party wear at Jangle Sisters, where Inez Lazzari will help you build a bracelet that will make your eyes sparkle to match. Built on locking snake chains, Inez’ creations are made to be versatile: start with something specific for one outfit and then trade out, tone down, jazz up and sentimentalize later on from among Inez’ endless collection of European Glass beads and silver, rhinestone, enamel spacer and dangle charms sourced from all over the world. Inez’ bracelets are also typically compatible with older charm bracelets, so if you’re looking to modernize a family heirloom don’t be shy about sitting down with her for some advice, especially if you’re looking for ways to turn a much-loved old piece into a treasured gift for the next generation.
Shopping for your feline friend isn’t a priority for everyone, but for those of us addicted to Cat Love Wilma Mol’s come up with a sweet winter treat to replace the good green stuff our kitties have enjoyed outdoors all summer by packaging up the seed oats they grow themselves as part of their dairy cows’ feed program. Available by the seed packet or in a cute package with potting soil and a painted clay pot, Slate River Dairy’s Cat Grass is designed to be planted and ready to enjoy in time for Christmas. Think of it as a live salad bar.
If you’re interested in going bigger, we recently found an idea for a “cat lawn” online (check out the experiment at http://www.weirdstuffwemake.com/sweetwatergems/cats/catgrass.html) that makes use of a container big enough that your cat has space to lounge on the cushy green stuff. If this idea appeals to you, stop by Slate River Dairy’s booth for the salad bowl size or ask Wilma about larger packages and spoil your fuzzy friends rotten.
From October 2012
Fiorine Lucas, Head Maker at Free’s Country Cupboard, is back at Market and says she plans to be with us right through Christmas. Happy news for those of us who’ve been scraping the bottoms of our last jars. If you haven’t tried Fiorine’s Champagne Mustard yet, this is it – you’ve put it off long enough. Whether your mustard habits include slathering sandwiches, dipping delicately with bite-sized pieces of ham or sneaking it into salad dressing, this stuff needs to be tasted to be understood. While she doesn’t reveal the delicious details of her fabulous recipe, Fiorine hints that the secret can be guessed by the delightfully caramel-sweet and zesty-hot flavour of her mustard. Some folks around here think it’s even better than candy.
Looking for Hallowe’en treats without the unpronounceable ingredients? Stop by the counter at Chocolate Cow and check out their selection of seasonal specialties: from scaaaary lollies to screeeamy truffles, Doug and Jane have pulled out all the stops to create a collection of boo-tiful goodies made without the nine-syllable chemicals and not-chocolate filler so common in the other stuff. Looking for something nut-free for your special little ghoul? Chocolate Cow products are made without nuts (or with awesome nut alternatives, like crunchy garbanzo beans) in a nut-free kitchen, limiting your Hallowe’en scares to just the fun ones.
The Hood is Good
Sometimes whimsical, practical and adorable can be rolled into one clever package. That’s what we realized after trying on the PIxiebell hood, a creation of Nancy’s Knits, one of the artisans represented by Kyley Blomquist at Ada Studios on the second floor of the Market. This cute little number has been hand-knitted of a soft lambswool blend (no itch!) and comes in a variety of colours so you can find one that goes well with your favourite winter coat. Not only is it a cute addition to any winter outfit, it’s really warm – it comes down nice and deep in the back to cover the back of your neck, and can be tied under your chin or lapped around your neck like a scarf, bringing the sides of the hood against your face for extra warmth.
Speaking of Candy
Shannon the Squash Queen began bringing Georgia Candy Roasters to Market for the first time this fall and we dearly hope she will bring them again next year. These uncommon squash are uncommonly good, and while Shannon’s seem to come in at a manageable 10 to 15 lbs, they’ve been known to grow to 60 lbs in size. Much longer than they are big around, the Roaster is a pretty salmon colour on the outside with star-shaped green coloring around the stem and gorgeous peach-coloured firm flesh inside. Not only does it roast deliciously, as its name suggests, it’s highly versatile: roast chunks as a side-dish for dinner, make soup with a little of it, and turn some into a delicious pie nobody will believe isn’t the best pumpkin they’ve ever enjoyed.
Hot for Peppers
Pepperhead Chris Paulusma of Paulusma’s Greenhouses is full of what he calls “useless trivia” and we call “pretty interesting stuff.” For example, did you know that the difference between a green bell pepper and a red one is maturity? In our neck of the woods, we see a lot more green peppers than red because the cooler your climate the longer it takes and the more difficult it is to vine-ripen peppers to the stoplight colours that look so great against salads and sauces. Stop at Chris’ stand for an appetizing eyeful of colour: green bell peppers, red bell peppers, “rainbow” peppers (bell peppers transitioning from green to red: gorgeous!) and a mouth-watering variety of spicy peppers from all over. Among the baskets on Chris’ table we’ve spotted habaneros, jalapenos, peperoncini, anaheims, these gorgeous poblanos (right) which beg to be stuffed, and teeny “hot as hell” potted pepper plants you can put in your window and carefully harvest in tiny increments. Light conditions permitting, Chris plans to be with us through November.
With Thanksgiving on its way and Christmas not so far behind it, this is the time to get a jar of Michael’s Orange Brandy Cranberry Sauce from Little Doo’s Farm & Kitchen. Sure it’s easy to get the commercially canned stuff, but why settle for “the usual” when you can have “the bomb?” Michael uses five ingredients: real cranberries, orange juice, sugar, water and enough brandy that you get a little zip, but not so much that your turkey will be overwhelmed by the fumes. Want to make your own? Check out Michael’s cookbook “The Best of Little Doo’s” for the recipe – and get your copy soon, it’s a popular Christmas gift item.
From September 2012
the Kale Mystery: Solving Supper One Step at a Time
What is kale, exactly? Scientifically speaking, Kale is a member of the brassica family; related to cabbage, broccoli and collard greens. You’ll see it on a number of vendors’ tables right now, we’ve spotted the edible varieties at Boreal Edge, Sleepy G, Boer Gardens and Tarrymore Farms so far and the decorative plants with the gorgeous powder-purple centres at Paulusma’s Greenhouses. But don’t try eating them – the culinary stuff can be scary enough for the kids.
Kale is rich in beta carotene, vitamins K and C, lutein and calcium and has been described as a cancer-fighter for its sulforaphane content. It’s one of the first things you’ll see on producers’ tables in the spring, and one of the last things remaining in the fall – it’s a hardy veggie, and not enough is said about it and how delicious it can be.
Kale is usually served cooked (in stir fries, steamed, sautéed with garlic and onions and even shredded into pasta sauce) but we were really excited at a recent “Market Taste” cooking class at Giorg Ristorante when chef Terry Crompton shared and demonstrated a recipe for eating it raw as the green in a salad. Kale is usually pooh-poohed as too tough to eat uncooked, but Terry demonstrated how kale can be treated with a salt massage to bring out its hidden sweetness and tenderness. Check out the recipe below and find out how delicious raw kale can be!
(thanks to our friends at Giorg Ristorante for sharing this recipe with us)
Kale, large stems discarded, leaves finely chopped
approx. 1 tsp coarse salt
apple cider vinegar
diced apple (try a crispin or pink lady, or a crispy local variety of your choice)
toasted pine nuts
Massage kale with salt in a large mixing bowl for at least 2 minutes. Pour vinegar over the kale and toss to coat. Fold apple, feta cheese and pine nuts into the kale.
Cupcakes in :20
Ever had a sweet craving and absolutely nothing in the cupboard or freezer to satisfy it? We have! So we were really excited to learn that Brule Creek Farms has a new solution you’re going to love – and it will let you sample local flour the easy way, too. Andrea’s new Chocolate Cupcake Mix has all the dry ingredients already measured and mixed; just add egg, oil, milk and boiling water, mix for two minutes and bake for 15. We tested it at home and it really is that easy. Keeping a package handy in the pantry means you can satisfy that sweet craving in under :20, and the results? Perfect, moist, fluffy cupcakes every time – and an easy introduction to baking with local flour.
"Even the water in the pot smells right!"
Over the past few years a couple of other vendors have developed versions of the ubiquitous hot dog weenie; most notably Shannon the Squash Queen began bringing a delicious product to Market last year that brought smiles to the faces of children of Eat Local supporters across the city. While Shannon's sausages are undeniably delicious, they're different from the store-bought kind in their consistency, which is similar to a smokie dog, but finer and skinnier. Scott Poluyko of Sandy Acres Farm wanted one that was virtually indistinguishable from the commercial kind, and after almost a year of careful trialing with their friends at European Meats SAF has come up with a weiner Scott says makes him a happy guy. Sandy Acres' new hot dog weenies are fully emulsified, like commercial weiners, and taste almost exactly the way you'd expect a big name brand to taste. The difference? "The skins have more snap," Scott says. When you bite into one you know it. And there's one more big difference: these dogs are made with pure pork meat, not the by-products commercial producers are trying to smuggle out of the plants and into your fridge, or as Scott says, "No L and A in these dogs whatsoever!"
New Vendor Welcome: Sandpiper Gourmet
Jennifer Miller loves beautiful food. You'll figure that out as soon as you look down at the cakes on her table, and then you'll have a terrible time deciding which of those beautiful cakes will be sampled today. Fortunately, if you can't make up your mind, you have options: Jennifer sells her cakes by the slice, so you can take a couple and share them around. Every week you'll find a few of her favourites at Market, like the decadent German Chocolate cake, a rich cheesecake or the dark chocolatey flourless Black Beast, but the rest of the table will be filled with cakes made based on customer requests, delightful new recipe finds or Jennifer's mood. Recently she's brought treats like the Opera, soaked in coffee liqueur, and the Raspberry Almond, a white cake with raspberry filling and almond butter icing. For sweet-loving Market friends we recommend a stop to peruse the selection every week, just so you don't miss anything new, and if you're interested in a whole cake Jennifer brings 6" rounds in limited quantities or makes full-sized cakes to order. Please stop by Sandpiper Gourmet and join us in welcoming Jennifer to Market!
While paper gift bags have become much more popular than gift wrap in the past decade, we'd like to suggest an even more green and value-laden idea: instead of disposable paper, why not place your gift in a hand-made tote bag? Your loved one can keep the tote to pass on with another gift, turn it into a book bag, pet tote or grocery bag or, as in the case of this beautiful tote from Head in the Clouds, use it as a handbag. Look for handcrafted totes and purses from vendors like Head in the Clouds and Moss Cottage on the first floor, or check out Designs by Dawn on the second floor for smaller versions for little hands.
From August 2012
The Sweeter Side of Climate Change
We almost didn't believe Teresa when she handed us a bedding-out plant she said was a watermelon. As if you could grow watermelons in Thunder Bay. Well... we won't eat crow or our hat but we were very happy to eat the single round gem that grew on that little vine, and we're very happy to tell you that the whole crop at Teresa's All-Natural has done very well and she's bringing small round watermelons to Market right now, as is Susan from Tarrymore Farms. Thunder Bay watermelons may be small but they're juicy, crispy and - we think - tastier than the overbred variety you find at the grocery store. Best of all, they've got seeds! Saving a few could mean fresh watermelon in your own garden next summer.
Visit Teresa's All Natural and Tarrymore Farms' veggie stand outside to get yours while supplies last!
Which Way? Your Way!
Budding designer Tuija Hansen shares space at the Market as part of the Craft Collective, adding her own fashion flair to the group's heady brew. Tuija's specialty is gorgeous handmade clothing created from recycled fabrics, organics and other found fabrics that attract her clever eyes. Recently we discovered her Multi-Way Dress, something cost-conscious fashionistas should love even better than a store bargain for being at least ten dresses in one clever package. Made of jersey and printed cotton panels, the Multi-Way comes in two lengths and features an attached sash that lets your imagination rule your outfit. Wear it as a halter, a one-strap, cap sleeves, with a big bow in the back and more. Visit Tuija and the Craft Collective on the second floor to see it for yourself!
Crispy, Juicy Goodness to Go
Market vendors are usually the first to try each other's new products and, like most families, are brutally honest with one another. So when Karen from Bare Organics shoved P'Sizzle Garden's new Mango Apple Salad under our noses recently and commanded us to TRY THIS, IT'S FANTASTIC, we did. No surprise - it was indeed fantastic. While it may not contain local ingredients (global warming's going to have to step it up if we want local mangoes) it is delicious, fresh, home-made and good for you, earning it a good 4 stars out of 5 on the Market scale. Chunks of mango and apple combine with carrot slivers, green onion, herbs and - of all things! - fish sauce to create a sweet and savoury crispy salad that you'll want to try with Eastern cuisine or even as a take-to-work lunch.
From July 2012
What the Fudge?
Ever since they got their new equipment Jane and Doug at Chocolate Cow have been an unstoppable force for chocolate goodness. First they came out with their melty scrumptious Maple Fudge, then the sinful Rocky Road, then the aromatic Orchard Fudge with bananas and berries, and now… Turtle Fudge. Chocolate Cow's Maple and Chocolate fudge team up with their crunchy Garbanzo Beans (a great alternative to nuts and a big favourite in their peanut and tree-nut-free kitchen), chocolate drizzle and gooey caramel to make a bar that has to be sampled to be believed. Fortunately Doug and Jane offer samples every Market day, converting believers by the hundreds. Get yours pronto: they won't run out or anything, but life is short - why spend another minute without having had a taste of something this fantastic?
The Loin Ranger
Sandy Acres Farms' Limousin beef is grass-fed and grain-finished for a meat that's beautifully marbled without a lot of excess fat. We've sampled most of their steaks and are big fans of their strip loins and "petites," but haven't had a lot of experience with their roasts. Recently we found a whole sirloin roast in their freezer and snapped it up right away: look at it, doesn't it scream BARBECUE ME? For those of you who might be a little nervous about cooking a whole roast on the barbecue, we're going to include the how-to and some photos of the final product in our next Newsletter, coming out on Wednesday, July 4th. If you haven't yet, sign up for the Newsletter now and you'll receive insider Market info, gossip, product spotlights, recipes and household tips every month.
Mad Over Hats
Smiling Laura of Elli's Hats & Headbands has a dynamite collection of hats for the summer, usually at prices much lower than you'll find in stores. Look for the lady with the pretty flower in her hair on the second floor and spend a few minutes finding the right one to keep the sun from your shoulders! We fell in love with this broad-brimmed white straw number embellished with white polka-dotted brown ribbon, it made us feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. In addition to ladies' brimmed and beribboned hats in many styles Laura also crochets baby bonnets and caps, including summer-weight versions great for baby showers and christening gifts.
From June, 2012
Stop or I'll Eat Shoots!
Pretty much anyone who's eaten at a higher-end restaurant in the GTA in the past year or two will have had an experience with micro-greens. Lots of us up here haven't had the opportunity, though, so if you find yourself staring suspiciously down at a bag of tiny baby snap pea shoots mixed with the first tender leaves on a new sunflower plant don't feel bad. Just take it home and eat it - eat it all. Micro-greens come in lots of shapes and sizes, from tiny beet leaves to delicate shade-grown corn seedlings, and usually offer a tiny taste of the vegetable they're supposed to become. In haute cuisine they become gorgeous garnishes, stunning salads and lip-smacking additions to stir-fries; dans ma cuisine Queen Street Market Garden's shoots mixes become nutritious, delicious additions to Justin and Caitlyn's already-formidable greens mix. Bring a little Big City into your kitchen: the sugar snap pea and sunflower shoots they currently bring to Market offer add wonderful flavours and a gorgeous texture to salad and we recommend a fruity dressing, nuts and small bits of your favourite ripe stinky cheese to round things out.
Not Shish Kebab, FISH Kabab
The steam trays in front of Shikha and Hasan at Shikha's Kitchen emit tantalizing odors every time their lids are lifted, and they're lifted often. Many Marketgoers have made a taste of India a recurring item on their Saturday and you'll often see vendors nibbling furtively behind their tables; their pocket food's becoming terribly popular among a group of people that often eats on its feet. In addition to their samosas (wow) and onion pakoras (yum) they also offer lunch combos featuring their creamy Butter Chicken or Chana Masala with rice and salad, and these (see right) Fish Kababs. Love crab cakes? These will fill an empty space in your heart - and belly - that you didn't know existed. Made with tuna, salmon, Hasan's magical blend of whole spices and potato (yes they're gluten-free!), these are available in a combo or straight up, joining the aforementioned samosas and pakoras as one of the new snack-on-the-go favourites at the Market.
If you've passed by this gorgeous leafy vegetable until now, it's time to take some home and try it out. Known for its high nutritional content, Swiss Chard delivers high doses of Vitamins A, K and C, lots of iron and many of the much-valued phytonutrients found in other members of the beet family. Unlike beets, Chard has been bred to contain its flavour and goodness in its leaves and upper stalks, so you'll see them at Market bound together in leafy bunches with no roots. There are several varieties of Chard that grow with yellow, white or red stalks; here in Thunder Bay most of our growers bring a rainbow mix to Market. Chard is often compared to spinach in terms of flavour. Like spinach it can be added to other dishes (it's great on pizza, in pasta dishes and in soups) and in its "baby" form makes a delicious and pretty addition to salads but our favourite way to eat it is sauteed in mass quantities, usually as soon as it becomes available in the spring time. Mature Chard can be somewhat bitter, but cooking mellows it and brings out the subtle flavours. Ask Teresa Daniele from Teresa's All Natural for her best bunch!
Recipe: Garlic Sauteed Swiss Chard
|1 bunch Swiss Chard 3 tablespoons butter|
2 cloves fresh garlic
pine nuts or sunflower seeds
| ||In a lidded frying pan melt butter over medium-low heat. Smash garlic cloves with the flat of a large knife and chop roughly; add to melting butter. Maintain low heat to prevent browning. Meantime wash, dry and roughly chop Chard; add to butter, increase heat to medium and cover pan. Stir frequently and once Chard has wilted scatter a handful of pine nuts or sunflower seeds into it, toss and serve. Makes a great side-dish for grilled meats!|
Almost Too Pretty to Eat
In the lettuce greenhouse at DeBruin's Greenhouses racks and racks of white troughs hold hundreds of heads of butter lettuce in varying stages of development, their snarls of delicate white roots holding them steady in gentle rivulets of nutrient-enriched water. This week's Market batch is at the front of the rows and as you gaze down into the closest head you'll realize its soft, smooth unfurling leaves look remarkably like flower petals and that the whole head most resembles a giant green rose.
Butter lettuce is difficult to grow outdoors with any success, which explains the demand for DeBruin's greenhouse-grown crops: under the poly dome the lettuces are protected from sunburn, insect predation and wind that can detract from their smooth perfect greenness, highly prized for sandwiches and salads. Its flavour matches its texture for delicacy: slightly sweet and literally buttery-tasting, this lettuce is best matched with light citrusy dressings and fresh herbs; we think the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes also available from DeBruin's are all you need to turn this lettuce into a full bowl of salad goodness.
It's Bug Season Again
On the cooler days they stay undercover, but we've picked up a few bites on the odd afternoon when the sun comes out: our least-favourite part of summer seems to have outpaced the warm weather this year and those flying devils are getting aggressive.
If chemical-powered bug repellent is totally repellent to you, you've probably already discovered the lemony-herby all-natural Revenge Outdoor Spray produced by local aromatherapist Irene McFarlane at ORYSI. But did you know about Baby Bug? Little ones need protection from bites too, and lower-concentration Baby Bug gives it without upsetting sensitive skin. If you, like we do, maintain a "going out" pack with bug dope, sun block, band-aids and a spare hat, Baby Bug and Revenge belong in there!
From May, 2012
Size Wow: Full-Figured Gorgeous
She designs most of her rack pieces for sizes that sell the fastest, a necessary evil when your passion is your livelihood, but Joyce Seppala's most excited when a fuller-figured woman asks for something just for her. "Clothes can give us so much pleasure," she says, "both the wearer and the viewer benefit when we wear beautiful things."
Full-figured women often choose dark clothing to hide themselves - but why? Clothes cut just right will do more for you than hiding behind something dark and drab, Joyce says, and then delivers: among her clients are a number of full-figured ladies who have discovered that Joyce's pieces showcase their assets and give their wardrobes juicy pops of colour and texture that draw compliments from all over.
Looking to add a feel-good piece to your wardrobe? Get started by browsing Joyce's racks and then talk with her about what you like best about her clothing and your body; she'll help you find your inner diva.
New Vendor Hide5
New vendor Don Bayes of Hide5 has been doing leather work for over 40 years. These days he focuses mostly on one of a kind and custom pieces. He also runs leatherworking seminars and carries raw materials available for other crafters and artisans. Don believes in craftsmanship and stands by every product he produces.
His display demonstrates his well-rounded approach to his craft: on his table you'll see everything from buttery buckskins to teeny bikinis, saddle and tack work, porcupine quill work, leather carving, leather braiding and so on. Whether your interest is in belts, handbags, clothing or jewellery, you'll find it in leather on Don's table. Our eye was instantly caught by his Mad Hatter top hat: a little bit Dali, a little bit Carroll, a whole lot fantastic. Stop by and admire this and other great pieces every Saturday on the second floor!
With the weather as unpredictable as it is at this time of year you don't want to be committing to shivering over your grill for long periods of time, but you've been waiting all winter to get out there in a teeshirt... what's the solution? Check out two great products available at the Market that will satisfy that craving to cook meat over flame in double time, reducing goosebumps to a minimum and giving you that BBQ goodness you've been waiting for...
The Wild Rice Patty
Made from Cornell Farms' flavourful beef, Rainy River District wild rice and a secret blend of seasonings, we found the Wild Rice Patty a very satisfying "quick and dirty" bbq solution. Keeping a 4-pack of these on hand in the freezer is a great idea for late-in-the-day meal solutions as they thaw quickly. Cooking them is a delight; there's enough fat in them to prevent sticking and give you nice caramelized grill marks, but flare-ups are minimal. The wild rice adds a wonderful light nutty flavour and keeps the patties from shrinking up or in, so although the patties aren't overly thick they're a nice size. We ate ours on smaller buns and the patties hung over the edges in a very satisfying way. Hint: try them with a few slices of Thunder Oak Smoked Gouda melted on top for extra yum.
The Elk Smokie
"Meaty" and "lean" are the first two words to come to mind to describe these cured sausages, which cooked up without any fuss whatsoever - no hissing, spitting or even much sizzling, which in the world of health concerns usually means one thing: minimal fat content. This is not a smokie for eaters who enjoy greasy chins and fingers, but if you've been missing the taste of sausage because of your diet they should please you - and your health advisor - a great deal. Cut open, Rainy River Elk's Elk Smokies reveal that yummy red "cured" look throughout and maintain it through cooking, so your sausage looks as appetizing as it tastes. Another attractive aspect is the natural density of elk meat: if you usually eat two smokies you'll probably settle for one of these, despite their appealing flavour - we found them very filling.
Sweet! Here, After
No barbecue is complete without a finger food dessert, and it's hard to beat a butter tart. It's even harder when you've got five different varieties to consider, and at Little Doo's Farm & Kitchen that's exactly what you'll find: traditional Raisin, No Raisins, Pecan, Turtle Tarts and the Pecan and Raisin variety, which is definitely in the running for our favourite. Michael's pastry, like most of our Market bakers' pastries, has been practiced to perfection - it flakes, it crumbles, it melts in your mouth and tastes so good you'll find yourself hunting for the crumbs left on your shirt-front. Try it at your own risk, though, because once you've had home-made pastry this good you'll never look at the store-bought stuff the same way.
Trade Necessity: the BBQ Apron
Local artist Bobbi Braun of Crazy Horse Studio hand-paints a selection of aprons, tote bags and other items with sturdy washable fabric paint to make sure they're not just fun to look at - they're functional, too. Her BBQ aprons are made of sturdy cotton designed to take the beatings of endless BBQ summers while protecting your civilian clothes from grease spatters and sauce stains. If the selection on her wall - which regularly includes pigs, bulls, wild boar and even the infamous "mankini" design - doesn't have what you're looking for, talk with Bobbi for a custom design just right for you or your favourite BBQ fiend.
More Fresh Goodness
We're always excited to report on the produce season, and never more than in the spring when goodies are first starting to arrive at the Market.
Teresa Daniele of Teresa's All Natural recently advised us she'll be attending the Market starting May 12th, joining Boreal Edge Farm, Belluz Farms, Queen Street Market Garden and DeBruin's Greenhouses who have been with us for a few weeks now. Teresa promises fresh spinach, zesty arugula, many types of lettuce and salad greens, radishes, onions, Swiss chard and kale.
Excited to fill your Market bag? We are - we've been waiting all winter for this. Get cooking!
From April, 2012
You'd expect that if a business like Nor West Sled Dog Adventures started offering homemade dog treats at the Market they would be fantastic, and they are. Talented dog-lover Jennifer Evans has recently come out with two varieties: "Jerky Bites," which are lean strips of dried beef with no additives whatsoever, and "Chow Downs" shown at the right. Chow Downs are made with whole wheat and all-purpose flour, skim milk powder, bacon fat for delicious flavour and egg for healthy coats, and as we've discovered ourselves, dogs love'em. Hand mixed and cookie-cut into a variety of shapes and sizes, we're giving Nor West's new Chow Down treats two paws up for making Rover roll over!
Practical Necessities for Sweater Types
If you're a believer in sweater maintenance you may have felt frustrated over the lack of appropriate tools. Sweater shavers make terrible noises and run through batteries like you own shares in Energizer; they're hard to find and their lifespan isn't usually much more than a sweater's. Frustrated? Wishing you could take those nasty pills off before you pack your warm wear away for the season? Stop by the Knit'N'Needle Shack and ask Doreen about her soft pumice Sweater Stones; they're a natural, gentle way to rub off pilling without undue damage to your fabrics. As you rub, the rough Stone cuts the tiny threads holding pills to knits. The sweater itself has more tensile strength than the Stone, so small pieces of pumice flake off as you use it instead of it rubbing your sweater raw. It makes an elegant and natural solution and one we recommend with Earth Day coming up this month.
If you've been missing Liisa's lovely smile and warm welcome every Saturday morning you'll be pleased to know the Fish Shop has returned to the Market for the year and is installed once again in their location on the west side of the Market vestibule. The Fish Shop, out near Amethyst on the Trans Canada Highway, has been a Thunder Bay icon for decades. First operated by Liisa's mom on a smoked-fish basis only, it's become under Liisa's brilliant imagination a community stop where folks can find fresh local eggs, baking, seasonal produce, homemade meals to go and a collection of locally-made gifts that will knock your socks off. Meet Liisa at Market for their famous Superior trout - both alder-smoked and fresh - as well as whitefish, pickerel and other locally-available fish. She's also got a mouth-watering selection of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fish meals and sides. Please join us in welcoming Liisa and the Fish Shop back to Market.
Vanderwees Farms' jumbo-sized eggs are a rare commodity in Thunder Bay - unless you've got the inside scoop. Just in time for Easter, Tyler Breukelman has begun coming to Market with his uncle's potatoes as well as the hard-to-find Jumbo Whites from Vanderwees. Meet Tyler and pick up yours every Saturday!
From March, 2012 Mushroom Quiche
Bernice and Dennis Woods are still expanding their repertoire of baked goods at the Market. Our latest Berni's Baking finding, the Mushroom Quiche, is available in both family and personal sizes. Starting with their rich and flaky butter pastry, the talented twosome whip up a light and fluffy filling of eggs, cream, cheddar and Swiss cheeses jammed with ham, onions and mushrooms and dotted with chives. We suggest serving it with a nice green salad (Belluz Farms offers local greens right now!) to complement the hearty serving of meat and dairy embodied in this rich and delicious quiche.
Handwashing Fixation's Delight
Whether you're a gardener or just someone who really enjoys the feeling and soapy smell of clean hands, you've probably discovered the nosegay of textures and scents on the table at Moss Cottage. Made by hand from natural oils and plants, Moss Cottage's Urban Farmchick scrubbing soaps just keep getting better. Awhile back we discovered the Oatmeal Scrub - great for whole-body exfoliation - and were really excited to find these two new varieties of hand soaps to take home: Rosemary Lemon Mint, blended with crushed vanilla bean for scrubbing, and Orange Coffee Scrub, both olive oil-based and super-saturated for richness.
Based on the recent trend of brand-name pump soaps appearing in guest bathrooms, we predict a corresponding rise in popularity of soaps like Kate's among supporters of the Shop Local movement. Looking to make a nice gift to a friend? Skip the mall and check out soap makers like Kate at the Market. Paired with a pretty soapdish from Early Snows Pottery you'll make a gift that's practical, useful and attractive - and support two talented local artisans making great natural products.
If you're a fan of kielbasa, a lover of garlic sausage, a sucker for smoked goodness, head over to Bogdala's Smoked Meats and check out the wide-format Garlic Coil, a huskier version of the traditional favourite. This bigger brother to our favourite inducer of Garlic Coma (oh, those heaven-scented naps) allows for larger chunks of meat to be squeezed into the casing, making for a nice firm sausage that can be sliced thinly for sandwiches. For us, the only way to keep ourselves from eating it all off the cutting board was to promise to cook it first. Accordingly, we can now advise you that the fat Garlic Coil can be cut into 1/4 inch rounds, skinned and fried quickly for use in egg-and-English-muffin sandwiches (it's the perfect diameter), fried in small wedges to season a Caesar salad and, still our seasonal favourite, cut into generous chunks for toasting on sticks over a fire: must be included on the shopping list for any ice-fishing trip or poker run!
Eye Candy. Tummy Warmer.
Kerri, the magic spoonsmith behind the table at Baba's Ukrainian Food, smiles knowingly when people gasp at the colour of the homemade Borscht stacked in tubs before them. The big windows on the second floor tempt customers to lift the tubs up to the light to admire the way the sun gleams through the candy-red contents while she grins and says to us, "it's all in when you add the vinegar."
When you eat something that looks so candy-like in colour, you almost expect it to be sweet. Baba's Borscht, we learned when we took our own jewel-toned tub home to sample, is certainly not. Rich and brothy, vinegary and salty and just-right beety, there's nothing candy-like about this robustly-flavoured savoury soup. Packed with a variety of bite-sized vegetables and bits of pork, this soup proved both delicious and hearty; this colour commentary gives Baba's Outrageously Red Borscht two spoons up for both flavour and style.
Thunder Oak Cheese Farm's Smoked Gouda
Much to the pride of the Schep family and everyone who supports their award-winning cheese-making, Thunder Oak Cheese Farm's Smoked Gouda was recently featured in the Canadian Dairy Farmers' publication "All You Need is Cheese." Cheese expert Anne-Marie Shubin described Thunder Oak Smoked Gouda as "elegant and sweet," with a "rich, milky quality" that doesn't overwhelm the "smoky aroma and clean finish." She recommends it on short rib sandwiches or boiled new potatoes, snacked on with dill pickles and invited to barbecue nights. She also recommends it in "a main course salad tossed with grapes, leftover rice or pasta, nuts, and bitter or baby greens." Agreed!
From February 2012
Spring's Coming - Get Your Share!
Boreal Edge Farm will be at the Market selling CSA shares into March. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is a way of teaming up with your favourite farmer for mutual benefit: while you pay in advance, you're guaranteed a fair share of fresh and delicious local produce, made available every week for pickup in town or at their farm. In addition to standards like carrots, greens, peas and beans, you'll receive veggies you may not have tried before, adding an element of adventure and discovery. Baskets are designed to provide your family with enough veggies for the whole week. Got a small family unit? Consider partnering with friends to split a share.
The official state treat of Maine, the Whoopie Pie was invented by East Coast ladies looking to use up leftover cake batter. They'd sandwich a creamy filling between two cakelets and include them in their husbands' lunch pails as a treat. Known as "whoopie!" pies for the responses those happy husbands made upon their discovery, the Whoopie Pie has become a more common phenomenon all over North America. Bernice Woods of Berni's Pies makes her generous-sized versions with delicious red velvet cakelets instead of standard chocolate, and fills them with a sinful/heavenly mixture of marshmallow fluff, cream cheese and butter. They're tender, a bit crumbly, and infinitely more satisfying than the chemical-laden commercially-produced varieties: two thumbs up and some finger-licking for Bernice!
Boreal Forest Teas' 40 Below
Looking for a way to warm up after an outing? Boreal Forest Teas' collection of sustainable, organic and wild-harvested teas offers a variety of yummy, caffeine-free blends. We love their 40 Below: in addition to brewing up a delicious pot of Chai-like tea, it can be steeped in hot apple juice to make a sweet, hot cure-the-winter-blues beverage for kids of all ages. Great for taking the chill out of a cold day, soothing cranky tummies and improving immune function, each package is loaded with star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Not only will your mouth and tummy thank you, your home will smell wonderful!
H&P's Pineapple Rhubarb Jam
Pat's Perfect Pineapple lineup has a new star member. Productive Pat of H&P Jams and Jellies, always looking for a new way to stock her pantry, started mixing tart rhubarb with zingy pineapple and came up with this sweet result: a smooth yellow jam that spreads on toast like morning sunshine. It's got rhubarb zip and pineapple zing in spades, balanced with enough sugar to make this treat suitable for breakfast and an ideal filling for tarts, Danish and the odd ends of pastry left over from a pie-baking session.
Release Your Inner Child
If you're like us, you sometimes feel a little envious of the unbelievably cute hats you see kids wearing around these days. You may already have checked out the Owl Eyes, the Horse Tails and the Double Poms on the table at Elli's Hats and Headbands on the second floor of the Market and coveted some of those tiny-sized items for yourself. Covet no more - with a word to nimble-fingered Laura you can order any hat made in any size, in the colours you like!
Not quite brave enough to start with one of the helm-style Owl Eye toques, we asked instead for a Double Pom, knitted from cloudy-soft marled wool. It's one of the comfiest hats we've ever put on and we can now understand why the kids are so happy to wear them: no itching, they're wonderfully warm and they mold to your head perfectly. Why let the little ones have all the fun?
Bee23 My Valentine?
Michelle Hamer joined the Market before the holidays and has become a regular fixture on the second floor. Her warm smile and enthusiasm has earned her many new friends among Market customers and you'll often see browsers sniffing and rubbing their wrists in front of her table, where she sells her wax-based line of natural beauty products.
Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and if you're looking for a luscious gift of local goodness a visit to check out her products is an absolute must. Beeswax, a natural antiseptic and emollient, makes the perfect frame for the essential oils Michelle uses in her formulations, which are all chemical-free and long-lasting balms you'll want to smooth on year-round.
Michelle's gift boxes are meant to hold a few different products. A typical gift for someone else, she says, will include a scent and a Hotty Body Balm (she offers three heavenly flavours of each product).
Bee23 offers a special deal on her gift box: stuff it with three products and receive a 10% discount on the whole thing; make it four items (because gee, this one would smell really good on you!) and you'll get 15% off your purchase.
From January 2012
Chino's Vegetarian Coney Sauce
Meat-eaters-turned-vegetarian often tell us they still suffer guilty meat cravings. The most common "dirty secret?" Hot dogs, we hear, are number one. Veggie dogs can be pretty tasty, but they often lack the oomph a real dog brings to the table, and true die-hards miss (gasp!) the Coney Dog option.
You may remember us dissecting Don Sacino's Coney Sauce last summer. Since then Don's been working on improving its shelf-life, and has come up with this vegetarian version that includes all the delicious and aromatic spices of the meaty version, but will also store longer. Vegetarians can open a jar of Vegetarian Coney Sauce and simmer for half an hour to achieve vegetarian perfection, while meat-eaters can toss in a handful of ground beef, simmer and enjoy the carnivore's version. Either one tops a dog deliciously, and makes an easy addition to any hot dog lunch.
Bare Organics' Baby Balm
We talk about Baby Balm almost every year at this time, because it's practically a necessity for anyone suffering the ravages of winter. Recognized by many appreciative parents as a wonderful alternative to zinc-based diaper creams, Baby Balm acts to both moisturize and protect skin. Made with a blend of organic emollients like shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil, it was originally intended to prevent and clear up diaper rash for owner Karen's sensitive-skinned children. Since then Karen and many Bare Organics customers have discovered that it works great on winter-dry feet and hands, soothes and protects windburned cheeks and softens rough elbows and knees.
You Can Use Plastic
Sandy Acres Farm has taken the plunge and now offers a card terminal for purchases at their table. This makes it easy for folks to put deposits down on sides and quarters and shop their on-site freezer for dinner purchases, and throughout the week they're able to accept Interac, Mastercard and VISA on meat deliveries. "It's much more convenient for our customers," part-owner Scott Poluyko tells us, "and the response has been great." While visiting their table recently we watched a customer notice their new sign and put their cash back into their pocket, choosing instead to pay with plastic.
"I only came with $40 in my pocket," the customer said. "Now I've got a little more cash to get some of the things I'd forgotten I needed while I'm here."
Thanks for taking the plunge, guys! We're sure your customers - and maybe the other vendors - appreciate the move.
The Boneless Cross-Rib Roast
It can be tricky, buying meat wrapped in brown paper. Especially when you don't recognize the label. We're still not sure what a blade or a hip roast is, but this week thanks to Tarrymore Farms we got to examine, cook and devour a Boneless Cross-Rib Roast, one of several cuts that commonly come out of our local abattoir. The Cross-Rib is a rolled roast cut from the shoulder, or chuck, of a steer, and is often labelled as a pot roast. For us, it was an opportunity to pull out the slow-cooker and prep dinner before we left the house, so we could come home to a dinner-scented kitchen and minimal dish duty.
A slow-cooker is a real asset, especially when you're busy and the weather's cold. Just add meat, cut veggies and liquid, turn it on and walk away. Come back at the day's end to minimal preps.
For this roast we sliced two cloves of garlic and, using a small knife, inserted the slices into slits in the roast's surface. Then we peppered it all over and browned it quickly in a skillet before covering it in the slow cooker with carrots, parsnips, onions, celery and potatoes. A big splash of leftover red wine provided the liquid, a couple of bay leaves a nice herby flavour and voila! Dinner-to-be. We cooked Tarrymore's cross-rib roast for 6 hours on High and removed the lid to find it still juicy and the proteins nicely broken down, so not only could you cut it with a fork but it sliced nicely when cold - great for sandwiches. At dinner time we poured the liquid into a small pot, thickened it with a little flour/water slurry and used the resulting gravy to juice up the whole plate, sopping up the remains with crusty bread.
From December 2011
Variety and Then Some
With a big grin, London Variety's Roman Okonski hands us a clamshell with a big slice of goodness in it that looks a lot like tiramisu. We squint at it, noting the layers of creamy filling, cherry preserves and fluffy cake, and cock an eyebrow up at Roman, who tells us in his rolling Polish accent that it is a slice of his wife Alexandra's Cappuccino Cherry Cream Cake. Luckily for us the holidays have just past and the craving for sweets has been beaten into submission for now so this little piece of heaven lasted long enough to pose for a portrait. After that it disappeared faster than you can say its name - but what else would you expect , presented with a treat that looks - and tastes -
- this good?
Baba's Ukrainian Food
Keri and Gerry Garland of Baba's Ukrainian Food joined the Market late last fall and have quickly established themselves as a major player on the second floor, drawing repeat customers week after week who come seeking any number of their specialty items. From the reddest Borscht we've ever seen to bulging cabbage rolls to several varieties of pierogi, Keri and Gerry have dedicated themselves to producing Ukrainian food for the new millennium. In addition to traditional ingredients and favourites they offer delicious updates like the Butternut Squash pierogies we enjoyed this week: tender dumplings stuffed with mashed squash seasoned with garlic, feta and rosemary. Samples are available - be sure to introduce yourself this Saturday and choose your favourite!
Rich and Flaky
One of the best things about Kim and Pat Cornell of Cornell Farms is their ability to bring together and present - all in one amazing traveling package - the culinary and agricultural talents of the Northwest. Most recently, and just in time for holiday feasting, we discovered their Savoury Beef Pie - a delicious dish invented, tested and perfected by Althea George in Sioux Lookout. Stuffed full of ground beef, minced onions and a little potato for texture, Althea's perfectly-spiced pies will make a great addition to holiday dinners - and we're betting they'll be extra-delicious with a little turkey gravy.
Local artisan Petra Muir of New Found Yarn spins, dyes, knits and felts her own wool and, while she's not yet appearing at the Market herself, her products are: you'll find them in gorgeous baskets on the counter in front of Shannon the Squash Queen. Rooting through the brightly-coloured pile you'll find amazingly soft toques and socks for your little ones, beautiful skeins of yarn for the knitters and a pile of the whimsical-but-practical felt-wrapped soaps shown here. Check out the workmanship on these gorgeous treats - we're not sure how she creates these tiny wonders without visible seams or stitching. Available in a variety of colours and soap formulas, they make great shower scrubbies and last much longer than regular soap bars. Consider them for stocking stuffers; their bright colours are already festive, so no wrapping required.
Snuggle In to the Crafty Cocoon
Kyley Blomquist and her Crafty Cocoon have recently joined our growing collection of talented artisans under the big bright windows on the second floor. Bring your specs and your stroking fingers when you stop to look so you can better appreciate the rich textures and gorgeous patterns on display in her nook. Kyley's handmade goods, the product of a brilliant and sometimes quirky imagination, will grace your wardrobe, your walls, your shelves and more.
Mixed in among the clothing racks you'll find large, intricately woven willow baskets and hand-sewn fabric wall-hangings in abstract patterns and rich colours. The clothes themselves are an eclectic and gorgeous collection of dresses, tunic tops, dirndl-inspired skirts, winter wraps and scarves and - our favourite - the Crafty Cocoon signature item, the Cowl. The Cowl is typically crafted from a couple of different fabrics - a heavier, coat-weight material for the outer layer, and a fuzzy, fun-patterned fabric for the inside - and has on occasion been mistaken by shoppers for a tiny-sized dress because of its shape when hung for display.
Cowls are designed to fit over the shoulders of a sweater, coat or jacket and can be worn in several ways: try it scrunched down as a muff for your neck, pulled up as a low hood or pulled forward as a deep and cozy hood. Kyley also makes Kids' Cowls - just the right size for little ones.
As you stroll among the tables of our upstairs vendors you'll find an amazing variety of handmade crafts, clothing, accessories and more. Be sure to stop and look closely, and don't be shy about laying your hands on the goods to examine the textures: you'll find unusual fabrics, metals and gemstones; feathers, glass, natural stone and more. Among our upstairs crafters you'll meet fashionistas from Joyce Seppala Design and the Crafty Cocoon, accessories at Zingara Fine Feather Jewellery, the Craft Collective, Dragonseed and True Silvers Elemental Jewellery. Looking for one-of-a-kind gifts? Just step upstairs and look closely...
A Sweet Start
Sometimes coffee's not enough to get your morning off to the Halleluja-I'm-Awake start you've been hoping for. If that morning is a Saturday morning, you're in luck. In fact, you're not just in luck: sidle up to Kerr downstairs or introduce yourself to new staff member Anita at the coffee bar upstairs, whisper the code word "Caramello" and shortly you'll be in heaven. The Great Northwest Coffee Company's latest sweet creation is a hefty concoction of espresso, steamed milk, caramel sauce and vanilla syrup, all lying in wait at the perfect guzzling temperature beneath a cloud of whip and caramel drizzle. Open wide and say mmmmmmmmm.....
In addition to his famous pocket foods, Rutland Williams at the Caribbean Kitchen sometimes brings specialty dishes to the Market. Among them we've found his fabulous flavourful-but-not-too-spicy jerk chicken and pork, his yummy rice and beans and, most recently, his gorgeous breaded redfish fillets. Served with one of his Tropical Rolls, some fresh veggies and his sweet and zesty dipping sauce, each fillet is tender and flavourful; the golden breading keeps it moist as you reheat it - in the microwave or oven, as you prefer.
Per Due, Fer Favore!
Those of us with smaller households to feed have been excited to learn that Chino's home chef Don Sacino's famous sauce is now available in 500mL bottles, a perfect size for a single mean for smaller families. Don's sauce is vegetarian - and delicious all by itself - but for the carnivores in our family we baked meatball-sized chunks of Italian sausage and dropped them into the pot as it heated. We tossed al dente rotini in a little of it and then piled more sauce and sausage on top; "low sodium" it may be, but low-flavour it is not. Don's table carries a groaning burden of bottled low-sodium, from-scratch sauces in so many varieties - choose your preferred heat level, rustico chunkiness and extras - that you'll be glad to have the man himself standing in front of you to answer your questions.
"I love your simple ingredients that I can actually pronounce, and it tastes fresh and delicious. Also, I am very proud that it is a Canadian product, and even more proud that it comes from Thunder Bay. I was born in Thunder Bay, and now living in Toronto, our little city doesn't get much attention. But this sauce tops sauces I have tasted in some of the finest restaurants."
Bay City Art
New Market vendor Dennis Zeka-Jones was born in Kenya and received his BA in Art History from the University of Amsterdam. He came to Thunder Bay in 1997 and has been involved in Arts in Education programs throughout the region since he arrived. Corporate pilot by day, artisan by night, Dennis tell us his carving talents are self-taught. But there's more. Dennis, who shapes the stone entirely by hand, offers much of the credit for his gorgeous soapstone and serpentine sculpture to the stone itself. "The truth is," Dennis says, "the sculpture is already there, in the stone. I just chip away the unwanted pieces of stone and bring it to life."
On Dennis' table you'll see a selection of decorative bowls, sculpted, stained and etched by hand; gorgeous and whimsical bean-shaped pin-boxes smoothed to a brilliant liquid surface; small statues, and more, all inspired by African historical, cultural and traditional symbols.
Meet Dennis and run your fingers over his beautiful works of art every Saturday on the second floor of the Dove Building.
Sneaky "Eat Your Veggies" Solution
Broccoli and spinach are two of the most nutrient-rich and easily available vegetables out there, and it's probably the despair of most mothers that they're also among the least-loved at the dinner table. Unique Alternatives proposes a happy solution: veggie lasagna. While the kids will still recognize the greens in their camouflage of rich red sauce and melty cheese, you'll have an easier time getting them to taste-test and discover that the scary green stuff now tastes like yummy tomato sauce.
Being die-hard carnivores ourselves, we paired it with small steaks and a salad for extra veggie points. It was pretty filling and probably would have made a delicious meal all on its own, but went beautifully with the red meat.
Unique Alternatives' Veggie Lasagna freezes well in case you're looking to have some quick and easy dinners available throughout the week.
Serious Caramel Action
Doug and Jane at Chocolate Cow are excited to talk about their new Fire Mixer, a cooker kettle from Savage Brothers of Chicago, which is instrumental in the production of their perfect caramel products, among other things. The new machine mixes and heats and even regulates the addition of ingredients - like the smooth stream of milk essential to a perfect caramel - before water-cooling the mixture to the perfect temperature. What's that mean for you? Treats like Garbanzo Turtles: crunchy garbanzo bean clusters attached to dollops of silky-smooth caramel enrobed in their signature chocolate. Luxuriously creamy chocolate caramels. Traditional caramel apples. Jane's eyes glow as she talks about future plans including new treats like homemade nougat - using their own fresh honey - and a new line of melt-in-your-mouth fudge. Congratulations to the Stantons on their new addition.
If you're a fan of layering your fashions, stop by Jolene's glittering display of hand-beaded jewellery at the Beads Go On and check out the new pieces she's displaying. Strung on shorter links than usual, these curly, texture-laden pieces are designed to be stacked as high as you like. You'll find lots of colours to choose from in glass beads as well as some interestingly-textured and -hued porcelains and ceramics. Great with pant suits, boat-neck tops and collared shirts, these new pieces will make great additions to your wardrobe - or great gifts for fashionable friends.
From October, 2011
Sleepy G Farmers Brendan and Marcelle raise their lamb on pasture in Pass Lake and have teamed up with European Meats & Deli to bring you two delicious varieties of lamb sausage. We had the opportunity to take home and try a package of their Moroccan Merguez sausage - and are looking forward to trying their Chorizo - Cilantro version next. Their sausages come frozen, so we defrosted them in the fridge for a day; cooked on the barbecue they sizzled and spat pleasingly, telling us the recipe included just the right amount of fat in the mix. The skins were just starting to wrinkle when we plated them. Inside their skins they were finely-ground and speckled with little flecks of fresh green parsley, lightly seasoned with sweet spices like clove and cinnamon, and just enough garlic to make its presence known without overpowering the after-dinner conversation. They were just as juicy as their hissing and spitting had promised. We enjoyed them with rice and vegetables and a little tzatziki sauce made from new vendor Riverbend Farms' yogurt - these might make a great local version of the Gyro if we could convince someone to start making pita bread with Brule Creek Flour.
Jeff's roasted up some killer coffees for the Market recently but he warns that they come in limited quantities. Be sure to stop by the Great Northwest Coffee Co. located near the downstairs seating by the Cafe or upstairs in their new nook and ask them about them - often they'll have one of their new treats brewed and you can enjoy a cup while you visit other vendors. Consider which of your friends will most appreciate a holiday gift like this, and which is most likely to invite you over to share a cup. Then come back to the GNW counter and choose your indulgence, in your choice of ground or whole-bean:
- Bolivian Extra: intense milk chocolate aroma and taste, clean finish, smooth body. Very limited availability!
- Dominican Republic Ocoa "AA": Island coffee earthiness but one sweet sip and you'll be saying "Sugar, Baby!!" This is one sweet-tasting coffee with a heavenly sugary aroma.
- Cuban Serrano Superior: Oaky earthiness, heavier in body, dark roast taste with a nice smoky finish.
Don't forget there's now extra room to relax with a cuppa upstairs beneath the big windows!
The Glass Lady: Doer AND Teacher
Joining our growing contingent of specialty artisans and crafters upstairs in the Dove Building is Ann Copetti, better-known in some circles as the Glass Lady. Ann will be attending the Market through Christmas and possibly beyond with her gorgeous display of stained-glass pieces including wall-hangings, lamp shades, night-lights and more. She's offering select items at special pricing just for Market patrons - be sure to stop by and admire.
We've all heard the adage "those who can, do... those who can't, teach." Ann is living proof that it's patently untrue - anyone who's looked closely at her finished pieces and attended a class knows she's skilled in both areas. If you're interested in stained-glass supplies or classes, Ann offers these as well. Welcome to the Market, Ann! We're excited to have you.
She's been working on this product for a long time so it's with a great deal of pride and excitement that we share Bare Organics' latest product offering with you: Canadian Shield Deodorant . Available in three scents ("Sweet," "Woodsy" and "Fresh") and plain unscented, it provides a wonderful alternative to chemical-based conventional products and, Mama Bare Karen tells us, is so natural it's edible. Not that you'd want to, as the "active" ingredient is baking soda, that wonderful odor-absorbing household staple. You'll want to apply this product sparingly; the base is coconut oil and shea butter, which melts in contact with your warm skin and makes it easy to use just a little. Congratulations Karen!
We've got WINNERS
Prodigious and Proud of It
A Little of This won A Lot of That - Blue Ribbon Style! - for a number of her sparkling jars of summer goodness. Hymers Fall Fair, one of the toughest and most competitive events for food artisans, awarded her Firsts for her Zucchini Relish, Salsa, Million Dollar Relish, Mango Chutney, Raspberry Jam and Pickled Jalapenos. She also took home the Best Gift Basket (better watch for these glittering edible delights come holiday season!) and Certo Best Jelly for her Red Onion concoction. Earlier on at the CLE she wowed judges with her Basil Banana Pepper Jelly (sometimes known as Party in a Jar) winning Best in Show, Best Jam or Jelly and First Place "Other Jelly."
Unique Alternatives, while known for her sugar-free baking, is also a wiz at sewing and knitting the old-fashioned way for her family - along with traditional baking too. You've seen her cute and non-scratching dish scrubbies, her colourful flowing scarves and the wealth of baking on her table; the judges at Hymers recently got to sample a number of her goodies and give her some of the ribbons we already knew she deserved. When you stop at Unique Alternatives, be sure to ask her about her Red Ribbon-winning Cheese & Onion Bread, Bumbleberry Pie and Apple Pie. She's also got a gorgeous hand-stitched quilt on display which won the Blue Ribbon and a lot of ooooohs at the Fair.
Rack'em Up, Joe!
Joseph at Jo-Mik Baking is modest about the ribbons he's got stashed in a box under his table, but blushingly proud to be asked about them. All together Joseph submitted seven items to the Hymers Fall Fair judges, and he took home seven ribbons. His crusty, spongy White Bread, sweet and creamy Pecan Pie and Pecan Tarts all gained First Place ribbons in their categories. You've heard us rhapsodize before about Joseph's pie crusts, so thin and light they're almost invisible, and so tasty you actually might wish they weren't so delicate, so we'll just leave it right there . We've said it, the judges have said it, now it's time to try for yourself!
From September 2011
"Revenge" Incense Sticks from ORYSI
Remember the days when we were put to sleep in the tent or the trailer with a burning green spiral of mosquito repellent considerately left nearby to protect us as we slept? We shudder now to think of the chemicals we might have inhaled those nights, but our parents were doing the best they could with what they knew. While it's never a good idea to leave something burning in the room with a sleeping child, Revenge Incense from ORYSI is at least made from natural oils and provides a pleasant-scented alternative to the commercially produce coils and makes the campsite, deck or patio smell great.
The real tragedy about this natural product from ORYSI is that we didn't discover it until late in the season when mosquitoes aren't really a problem anymore. We did test them out this past weekend and found their aroma pleasant and non-intrusive; it's a nice mix of mosquito-banning Citronella, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus and Cedarwood. Our favourite part about these is that they come with their own stand already built in - just stick the wooden end into the ground, a planter or a traditional incense burner and enjoy the fragrance while the mosquitoes avoid it.
He's Back, That Smokey Guy
We heard quite a bit from people missing SMOKE products and SMOKE vendor himself Cassidy Weisborg this summer. Our friend Cassidy found interesting work on the East Coast that kept him busy but with the summer's end he's returned and plans to be with us right through Christmas. Not only is he back, he's back with some new products that have had both vendors and shoppers clustered around his table for repeated and judicious samplings: dip mixes.
Cassidy's got three varieties of smoked-spice dip mixes on his table: Smoked Parmesan Inferno, Smoked Niseko Sesame and Smoked Garlic Backdraft. We're divided as to which one we like best - it's an awfully close race - so we'll have to spend a little time eating every one to decide. First stop: crispy breaded zucchini with a triple sampler!
Almost Too Pretty to Eat
New vendors Grindel Antti (left) and Nadia Myhal (right) at Once Upon a Cupcake are mini perfectionists. Knowing a whole cake is too much for some customers, they've specialized in tiny, beautiful edibles that you'll want to stop and investigate on every Market visit - even if it's just to ahhhh over the newest treats. They're planning to present a new feature cupcake each week as they expand their selection, each one prettier - and more delicious - than the last.
In addition to traditionally-iced cupcakes, Nadia and Grindel have become marshmallow specialists. Instead of a swirl of icing, you'll have the option to take home a cake iced with tiny, perfect marshmallow "leaves" which can be pulled apart and eaten with fingers either with or without the moist cake beneath. Old-fashioned marshmallow treats lie in wait in a jar nearby - we're eyeing up the coconut-crusted ones, ourselves, for our next indulgence.
Got a special occasion coming up for friend or co-worker? Sometimes small treats are sweeter!
From August 2011
Crunchy Treats for Your Friend
Ulla at A Little of This loves her little four-footed friend Gabrielle, and like any good dog mom she's especially concerned about Gabby's diet. Her baked dog treats are made with wholesome ingredients and baked crisp for the crunch dogs love. Gabby's treats come to Market only as surplus, so be prepared: once you've got your own furry friend hookedo n them you'll have to come to Market early to secure your share of a limited-edition treat!
Doug and Jane at Chocolate Cow continue to experiment and expand, most recently by perfecting a variety of peanut brittle based on roasted garbanzo beans - those round ones sometimes known as chick peas. We had the pleasure of sampling this crunchy sweet treat and found the beans to be more crunchy than the peanuts we're used to; they actually add extra brittle to the brittle! The crunchy caramel is creamy-flavoured and delicious; sold in small pieces in nicely-wrapped packages it will make nice treats for anyone who loves peanut brittle, and much-appreciated ones for folks with allergies.
Wow, Those Nettles are Gouda!
Stinging nettles have been the subject of much discussion in this area. Local author Bill MacDonald's book Stinging Nettles talks about some of their lesser-known and apparently mood-altering properties and, lately, hikers have been commenting on their heat-and-humidity-inspired profusion. They can be nasty in the wild; the hollow hairs on their stems act as tiny hypodermic needles that, brushed against, break off and inject you with tiny doses of histamines and other painful chemicals, raising welts that will have you running for the nearest creek to drown your "ows."
The other, friendlier side of stinging nettles is their health benefits: eaten, they're known to reduce blood pressure and act as a diuretic. It's also been used to treat arthritis, anaemia, hay fever and even some kidney problems - not a bad thing to add to your diet!
Thunder Oak has been offering a nettle-flavoured variety of Gouda for years - sting-free - and we've recently become aware of the health benefits of this surprisingly delicious addition, so we tried a wedge. Walter Schep tells us they use a dried European variety and round it out with a little onion and garlic, which complements the slightly sweetish flavour of the nettle. We enjoyed ours right from the cutting board; Walter is absolutely right about the combination of sweet and savoury and we look forward to trying it on a basil-tomato pizza next.
H&P now offers a mint jelly that's good for more than just lamb. In addition to the delicious aroma of mint, when you take the lid from this jar you'll also detect the fresh scent of fresh lime - lime juice is one of the primary ingredients in this lovely light-tasting confection.
Sandy Acres Farms' co-owner and chef Scott Poluyko recently experimented with it, describing it as "very mild tasting making it very versatile." Scott recommends mixing it half and half with applesauce and serving it with pork; he also enjoyed it on toast with cinnamon and sugar. And last but not least he made a delicious ice cream topping with it:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream 35%
2 tbsp mint jelly
1 cup berries(any kind)
Melt butter and sugar in heavy frying pan.
Remove from heat and slowly add cream while stirring. Add mint jelly and mix until dissolved.
Add any berries you like.
Spoon warm over ice cream!
"You shouldn't be penalized for being socially conscious or for having dietary restrictions," Kerr says as he pours another steaming cup for an eager Market customer.
Fortunately for those of us fitting that description Great Northwest Coffee Co. owner Jeff Paxton agrees whole-heartedly with Kerr, and you'll now be able to enjoy soy milk in your Saturday or Thursday GNW Coffee fix at no extra charge - whether you're ordering up a cup of medium roast, a big latte or a dry cap. the Great Northwest Coffee Co. is a constant vendor at the Market, serving up locally-roasted hot coffee beverages, whole bean and fresh-ground coffee to the majority of Market visitors each opening. They've also brought back their iced versions and a surprising number of frosty treats are being served bright and early Saturday mornings, before the heat's even made its appearance.
Where 5 Nations Meet
New York is a city famous for a multitude of cultural influences, and true to the spirit of one of its most famous attractions, chef Don Sacino of Chino's is producing Coney Sauce that echoes that diversity. Thick and tomatoey and jammed with meat, Don's Coney Sauce has been influenced by five cultures known for flavour and style. Good old North American beef meets Italian traditional sauce-making and secret spices derived from kitchens in Mexico, Greece and India to produce a sauce thick enough to be consumed one-handed on a dog while driving (shh!) and tasty enough to satisfy the toughest hot dog critic we could find. While Don smilingly dodged our questions about his secret spice blend, we're able to tell you we identified curry spices in there and a little zip from some hot peppers. Loaded onto a dog and bun and topped with a little grated Cheddar, Don's Coney Sauce made a big impact on our in-house hot dog critics - it vanished with nary a crumb or a peep except for a "mwowf!" we're pretty sure meant "Wow, that's good!"
The Pulled Pork Sandwich
First he raids Sandy Acres Farms' freezer for the best deal he can find on a pork roast. Then he brines it overnight and dry-rubs it in the morning with his favourite spice blend. Then he slow-roasts that bad boy all day covered in apple sauce until it falls apart at the touch of a finger. At the Market all you see is the delicious end-product of Westfort's Best cook Mike Fiorito's hours of work: a crusty kaiser filled with tender pulled pork, crunchy cole slaw and Mike's own barbecue sauce. Scott Poluyko is a papered chef and a partner at Sandy Acres Farm - we watched him eat his first sandwich and asked him for a review - what's the farmer got to say about the final presentation of his product? "Juicy and barbecuey," he said, licking his fingers, "and I highly recommend letting Mike put the slaw right into the sandwich, it's delicious and adds the perfect crunch."
Judging by the number of vendors we saw licking fingers and flicking crumbs last week, the Pulled Pork Sandwich is pretty popular among the insiders - don't let them keep it all to themselves! Mike's offering this delicious snack/breakfast/dinner item every Saturday morning and Thursday afternoon while his supplies last.
From July 2011
Meaty Mozza Lasagna
That lady at Unique Alternatives sure does love to cook. At her devoted taste-testing family's urging she's begun bringing ready-to-heat versions of her loaded lasagna to Market so those of us pressed for time can enjoy a rich pasta dinner in a flash. Made with Westfort's Best tomato sauce and inordinate amounts of mozzarella cheese and ground beef, these meal-sized servings will feed a family of four easily, with leftovers if two of the diners are little ones.
While the trays should be baked in the oven to crisp up the cheese on top, we cheated and heated ours in the microwave. It was delicious anyhow!
Liisa's Salmon Salad
Her pretty face and warm welcome form a gracious first impression of the Market for many newcomers and sets the tone for our weekend regulars, but The Fish Shop's Liisa Karkkainen is much more than just a pretty face, however - and you can tell by the quality and the variety of fish-focused goodies on her counter in the Market lobby that she's put her other talents to very good use. Most recently Liisa's begun coming to Market with a smoked salmon salad we think you should know about.
With 3/4 lb of her own green-alder-smoked salmon forming the centerpiece of this ready-to-eat salad, it hardly constitutes a "light" lunch, but we think you'll be impressed by the nutrition and delicious flavour packed in to this pretty clamshell. Flaked smoked salmon nests within a pile of fresh local greens topped with green onion and fresh peppers, served with a tub of homemade balsamic-dijon dressing that brings out the zip in the greens and complements the delicate-flavoured salmon beautifully.
Pat's Perfect Pineapple Products...
A few months ago we sampled her first pineapple-based jam - the Pineapple Banana combo - and told you, between lip-smackings and finger-lickings, that it was really, really good. Now Pat from H&P Jams & Jellies has perfected her pineapple-only version and we're going to tell you again. Unlike the banana variety, the unadulterated version isn't mellow. It's sweet, absolutely, but has that real pineapple tang that makes the back of your mouth pucker just a little. Absolutely delicious, and we're already envisioning stuffing it inside sweet pastries and between layers of yellow cake for our next family get-together, if there's any left once the kids have had at it over the breakfast table. Our only question for Pat is - what's next?
A Warm Welcome Back
If you've been missing his smile and his laugh as much as we have you'll be very glad to see Rutland Williams back behind a spread of Jamaican pocket foods on Caribbean Kitchen's table. Rutland's been absent from the Market for a couple of months due to health issues, but he assures us he's back and as spicy as ever.
A number of ethnic-food restaurants have been popping up in Thunder Bay in the past couple of years, brought on possibly by our diversifying population or by an overall surge in interest, but Rutland has been around the longest and, in our humble opinion, offers the best Jamaican food in the North. In addition to his tender meat patties, rich rotis and Caribbean rolls laid out at the Market Rutland offers a variety of foods made to order, including the best jerk chicken we've tasted anywhere. Be sure to think of Rutland the next time you're thinking ahead to a catered dinner or even take-out; he can work some amazing little miracles on a few hours' notice.
Discerning Diets' Delight
The words "high cholesterol" have dropped into some of our lives like rain on a picnic, dampening our joy in food and cutting down our lists of things we enjoy eating. For many of us, sausage is one of the first things to go when we start watching our fat intake. And we miss it - we miss it terribly. So it's with a great deal of pleasure that we'd like to thank the fine folks at Northern Unique for coming out with their new Bison Boar Bratwurst - a tasty take on more common beef-pork brats but without the grease.
Both bison and boar are low-fat, high-protein meats. The resulting sausage is much drier than typical beef-pork sausage, and much darker in colour. We cooked ours over low heat and relatively quickly to keep the moisture in and found them to be delicious. There's less fat in the meat but enough moisture that the sausage wasn't crumbly. Bison and boar do taste remarkably like beef and pork; there is a slightly gamey flavour but nothing we thought would put off people who avoid venison and moose. Wrapped in a bun with mustard it wasn't even noticeable. If your healthy summer barbecue has been sadly lacking in the sausage department we recommend giving these treats a try.
Rustic, My Foot
Why DO they call it The Rustic Kitchen? We've yet to see anything come out of there that's less than sophisticated, whether it's the homemade fresh pasta, the cheesecake in a tub or one of their amazing healthy salads. Maybe it's their dedication to natural ingredients or traditional methods, but we think the Rustic Kitchen is anything but rustic.
Most recently we tried their Mediterranean Quinoa salad. Quinoa is one of the pseudo-cereal superfoods which have been getting more and more popular lately. Grown for its tiny, tasty grains - a little larger than couscous, smaller than tapioca - quinoa is high in amino acids and has a lovely creamy, crunchy texture that makes it a great addition to - or, as in this instance, a base for - salads. In this case Tamara's used greek seasonings, a light oil and vinegar dressing and large chunks of tomato, cucumber, feta cheese and black olive to make a delicious and healthy salad. Sold in 500mL tubs, it makes a great single serving for a lunch on the go or a nice side dish for two.
Fritti, Fritti, Fritti
Oh, stop. "Deep fried," like anything else, is something you can indulge in now and then, and when you do it had better be worthwhile. We think the Ricotta Fritters at Westfort's Best are plenty worthwhile. Mike makes the tiny golden donut puffs with fresh goat's milk ricotta cheese, deep fries them unashamedly in canola oil and rolls them in powdered sugar to finish them. At the Market and right from his table they're crispy on the outside and incredibly tender and moist on the inside - almost more like a cruller than a regular cake donut - and a day later they're a little less moist and a little less crispy but still amazingly delicious.
Known in some venues as "rocket," "roquette" "rugula" and "rucola" this spicy European native has successfully made its way into kitchens and gardens all across North America. Arugula has been made famous in Italian cooking but fans have discovered it's good just about anywhere and anyhow - whether it's as a lightly-dressed salad, a gorgeous garnish, on pizza, in wraps and in sandwiches. We recently discovered its peppery flavour goes amazingly well with dijon mustard in smoked meat sandwiches and also enjoyed it as a bed for beef carpaccio, parmesan shavings and a light balsmic-and-oil dressing. Boreal Edge Farms triple-washes their pesticide-free baby arugula to ensure it's ready to be eaten the moment you open one of the largish bags; keeping one on deck in your fridge means you'll find yourself adding the tasty greens to just about everything you can think of.
Price is one of the things that concerns people in today's economy - we hear about it a lot. When we talked about the going rate for one of Boreal Edge's deep bags of greens some people looked a little surprised. At first gasp $6 does seem a lot for what amounts to a bag of lettuce. But stop and think about this for a sec - you would pay $3.99 or $4.99 for a sealed bag of mixed greens at the grocery store, get less than half as much and be able to keep it for half the lifespan since it's already traveled from California. That $6 bag has already lasted us through three meals, with more leftover for tonight's bbq feast.
New Operators at the Cafe
The new Cafe breakfast menu, as you might expect of the Northern Unique crew, includes as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, from the eggs in the breakfast combos and omelettes to the boar sausage, home fries and salads served with them. Even more exciting for those of us with a serious sweet tooth, they're including new and adventuresome items like stuffed French toast on the menu. On their first Saturday they offered stuffing options of maple and banana or ricotta and fresh berries, stacked high and decorated with a liberal swirl of Chantilly cream. Easy, easy, there's enough to go around.
You may not know this, but Northern Unique owner Rob Walsh got his start cheffing at a local restaurant cooking fine food to order. It's been awhile since he's experienced short-order pressure but he and his family are bearing up well, and while the next few weeks will probably bring a sharp learning curve for the Walshes we think you'll find it worthwhile to stand in line and wait for your breakfast order. Just hang around for awhile and to see the amazing plates coming out of that little kitchen and you'll probably agree. Please be patient as they iron out the bugs in this new aspect of their operation, and feel free to offer encouragement!
Northern Unique continues to offer the homemade local-flour breads, baking, boar, bison and frozen prepared foods you've come to expect; look for their bakery counter to the east of the Cafe across from Bare Organics.
From June 2011
Eat More Chocolate!
Better-known in European countries than in North America, the chocolate-stuffed croissant has been making its appearance in finer bakeries and on the continental breakfast tables of nice American hotels for a little while now, but you don't find them very often in the grocery store bakeries of Thunder Bay. Roman Okonski of London Variety has been bringing savoury stuffed croissants to Market for months now - you may be familiar with the spinach-feta and broccoli-cheddar variants already - but has only recently started bringing the chocolate-stuffed versions. There's not a whole lot of chocolate inside - this isn't a dessert - but there's just enough to complement the buttery flakiness of the pastry and save you from having to slice your croissant and butter it. Instead you can heat your chocolate-stuffed delight in the oven or the microwave so the chocolate stuffing warms and softens, and then eat it whole for breakfast, preferably on your deck where you won't get in trouble for the flakes you'll drop.
Outoor Produce Vendors Return!
You know it`s true dedication when your growers are willing to show up at 7am when the rain falling from the sky`s not much warmer than snow would be. And yet here they are. Right now at the Market producers including the Squash Queen, Monkey Flower, Andrew`s Garden Gold and DeBruin`s Greenhouses are shivering their Saturday mornings away as they serve up sweet dreams of summer sun - beautiful bedding-out plants ready to handle the chilly weather and other useful garden items too. Meanwhile some producers, like our favourite movie star Teresa Daniele of Teresa`s All Natural, are bringing... produce! Check out Mile Hill Farms, DeBruin's, Belluz and others for fresh greens, cucumbers and tomatoes and quench that thirst for locally-grown veggies, but come early - quantities are still limited and are generally sold out by noon.
JO-MIK's Lemon Chess Pie
Our memories of Nana's Chess Pie are nothing like this. We remember tiny bits of bitter fruit and unexpected nut-meats, not this creamy lemony treat that had us wondering if a second large slice might look too greedy. Joseph of JO-MIK Baking blends eggs, milk, sugar and a bit of flour with lemon juice and zest to make the custard for his Lemon Chess pies, and bakes it right into his beautiful flaky pie shells. The custard's flavour is reminiscent of lemon pound cake and the consistency is almost like that of cheese cake. Interestingly, the most probable explanation for the name "chess pie" is that the English lemon curd pie filling is very close to lemon chess pie, and since the English commonly believe the word “chess” is an Americanization of the English word “cheese,” the name "chess pie" came to refer to curd pie. You could say the Chess Pie is a cheese-less cheesecake. We say it tastes like more - only next time we'll try the Orange version. Bravo, Joe!
"Eat Local" Pizza Joins the Market
Jim Stadey has a background in the culinary arts and a fascination with locally-grown food. You may have already noticed his storefront on May Street at Dease; now you can enjoy a slice while you shop on Saturday mornings.
Jim's very excited about being a part of the Market. He arrives bright and early with the rest of the vendors and shops their wares just as the Market opens, then runs the fresh ingredients down the street to the bakery where he and his staff whomp up a batch of pizzas and bake them throughout the day so shoppers enjoy local pizza as fresh as fresh can be.
We tried a slice recently and found it delicious. Brule Creek flour and Belluz' maple syrup make for a flavourful thin crust which he tops with his own delicate rose sauce and a mix of ingredients, among them Boreal Edge Farms' spinach, DeBruins' basil and grated Gouda and Gouda curds from Thunder Oak. He also uses Rainy River Elk and chorizo from Sandy Acres Farm, and will be dreaming up more great combos as the season progresses. Welcome, Jim!
Kristie Rae's new Flatbreads
If there's any doubt in your mind about going home with a few of these to serve with dinner, eat a free sample. And then behave yourself - limiting your sampling to one is just good manners, and you can take a WHOLE one home to enjoy later. Phyllis' new flatbreads are slightly yeast-leavened low rounds with a firm crumb, available in a variety of flavours rich in savoury goodness. We took home the Roasted Garlic with Sundried Tomato and the Greek Feta and Olive version (also garlicky), warmed them a little in tinfoil and then sliced them into tiny triangles for dipping with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
True to form with Phyllis, these treats are minimalist, made without eggs, milk or oil for the diet and health-conscious. Plan to share, the roasted garlic is mellow but there's lots of it. We'll race you to Kristie Rae to try the third variety - Potato and Onion - on the weekend.
That Ol' Black Salve
When it first came out in 1888 Watkins' Petro-Carbo Salve had a distinctive black colour on account of the colour of the petrolatum being produced and used as its base. Now that petrolatum's better-refined the salve's a nice creamy colour instead. We'd probably use it if it turned our hands green - at this time of year our hands suffer worse than anything, and this stuff really helps. Made with carbolic acid, which disinfects, cleans and relieves pain, Petro Carbo relieves the pain and itching of little cuts, cracked skin, nettle stings and fibreglass insulation itch. It also draws slivers out and helps with boils and other unpleasant skin conditions. No, its medicinal odour will never go right with couture but when you're building fences, digging gardens and changing the oil on the tractor being able to slather on a healing layer of this stuff before bed-time makes it all worthwhile. Ask Bernice at Watkins Fine Products for yours and keep your hands in shape for the summer.
We've talked about Bogdala's Ham Roll before, but haven't paid enough attention to its cheekier cousin the Kielbasa, which is a dry coarse sausage almost as well-known in Thunder Bay as the perogy or the Persian. Sometimes called Kolbasa or Kubasa, this slavic sausage is available from Bogdala's in a couple of formats - a narrow coil, a wide coil and a wide stick - and is jammed with more garlic and more delicious natural smoke than the Ham Roll, but still contains the large chunks of solid meat we know and love. We like it sliced and fried quickly for a breakfast meat, or at a campfire toasted on a stick. Paul and Anna Bogdala grind, stuff and smoke all their own sausage using real wood smoke and not the liquid stuff, and guarantee their products gluten- and MSG-free.
More Signs of Spring: the Garlic Scapes are up!
If, like so many of us, you crave fresh local garlic when you run out in the middle of the winter, you can now start enjoying the spring version. Garlic scapes are the tops that spring off of garlic bulbs at the beginning of the season, much like a chive or a green onion, and are vastly underappreciated and underutilized. They're much milder than bulb garlic, which means lovers can eat even more, and non-lovers may find them to be a nice gateway to the stronger stuff.
Renata at Mile Hill Farms is currently bringing them to Market and recommends grilling them on the barbecue and chopping them like chives or green onions for similar uses: in salads, omelettes, dips and sauces, soups and more. They also make gorgeous garnishes, but the most popular use seems to be in pesto, like this:
|Garlic Scape Pesto|
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 lb. scapes
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste.
|Puree scapes and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Stir in Parmesan and lime or lemon juice and season to taste. Serve on bread, crackers or pasta. |
From May 2011
If you're sighing and looking longingly out the window at your garden while you stay warm inside, skip the chill-blains and visit Belluz Farms' table instead. You'll find plenty of sunshine in Claire's smile, and to tide you over till it warms up she's got a selection of "living bouquets," spring planter arrangements you can keep inside for colour and a little garden fragrance until it's safe to plant them outside. They make great little gifts for Mom, but if you treat yourself while you're at it you'll be glad you did: at this time of year, any sweet sign of spring you can enjoy will keep your spirits up while it takes its sweet time arriving.
Micro-Crunch, Mega Flavour
Michael at Little Doo's Farm & Kitchen has been offering free samples of his Potato Chip Cookies for a few weeks now, and we finally have the opportunity to tell you about them. If you haven't sampled these sweet 'n salty little cookies yet, you should: sweet cookie dough is jammed with white chocolate chips and pecan chunks, and liberally seasoned and textured with - yes - crumbled potato chips, which give them an excitingly "tiny crunch" texture around the white chocolate and nuts and a sinfully salty flavour. Michael says he likes to use the big bag of ridged plain chips - that makes two cups of chip crumbs for the recipe, with enough left over uncrumbled for a snack for the cook.
Wait. What? Wheat... Berries???
Jeff at Brule Creek Farms explains that wheat berries aren't berries at all, but rather whole hull-less kernels of their natural hard wheat and include the bran, hull and endosperm - it's very good for you and is a great source of fibre. Sold in small 750g bags, Brule Creek's Hard Red Spring wheatberries can be cooked much like wild rice and used in the same ways, like soups, salads and poultry stuffings. Wheatberry can be soaked and then sauteed with vegetables as an alternative to fried rice, or made into a sweet porridge as they do in the Ukraine; it's also great texture when added to bread. You can even plant it and grow your own wheatgrass for wheatgrass shooters.
Looking for a great recipe for wheatberry salad? Check out the May Newsletter!
It Lox Local to Me!
As the weather warms up (it is, we know it, it is!) we find ourselves moving meals, snacks and relaxation time outdoors. We look for simple solutions for portability and speed so there's more time for the outdoor eating, less for cooking indoors and carting our food out to the garden. That means lots of "nosh" meals where the emphasis is on finger foods like chunks of bread, meat and cheese and plates of veggies and dip, or easy-carry sandwiches and wraps. Be sure as you plan your outdoor meals to stop at the Fish Shop; Liisa's got some great treats for noshing, like her Smoked Salmon Spread.
Love bagels and lox with cream cheese? Try this out - her spread is made with her own alder-smoked salmon with the cream cheese mixed right in, along with mayo, sour cream, fresh lemon zest and pepper for flavour. Liisa chops in onions and celery for texture - making this spread great for bagels, toast or crackers or a deadly dip for vegetables.
Rustic Kitchen Returns for 2011
Those talented ladies famous for making meals easier are back - and your favourites are too. Be sure to stop by the Rustic Kitchen to check out their selection of handmade pastas, desserts and delicious pizza crusts. Made entirely by hand, their crusts are pre-baked so all you need to do is add your favourite toppings and bake till the cheese is melted. Visit Chino's for some of their low-sodium red sauces - which go as well on pizza as they do on pasta - and check out sausage options at Bogdala's Smoked Meats. Gouda cheese makes a great local alternative to mozzarella, and with produce season just around the corner making a local pizza will be a snap.
Yes: Chocolate Cow offers Easter-themed chocolates too, but we wanted to tell you about another product that's a bit more specialized: their Chocolate-Dipped Caramels. With their creamy, buttery, sticky filling, Chocolate Cow's new creations should prove to be a big hit. And we mean big. These aren't those little plastic-wrapped jobbies you remember from Hallowe'en - they're about four times that size and much easier to chew. Available dipped in rich dark, creamy milk and light white chocolate, we recommend sharing these with a friend so you can try one of each.
From April, 2011
Just in time for barbecue season, H&P Jams & Jellies has come out with a tasty new preserve that will make a great addition to your favourite grilled sausages. These tender beans are made to fit hot dog buns just right, adding a little zip and texture to grilled snacks. Real mustard and celery seed combine with brown sugar and vinegar in the tasty sauce; we enjoyed our Mustard Beans on smokies and hot dogs.
"Bigos" a Big Hit at the Market
"Bigos" is one of Poland's best-known national dishes. Known in some parts as "hunter stew," bigos was once a favourite dish of the Polish aristocracy and was made with a variety of wild game. Wild boar, pheasant and venison regularly appeared in the dish, but Roman Okonski of London Variety comes to Market bearing his own special take on the theme - a heady brew of sauerkraut, bacon, ham and sausage. Tasty served cold in lieu of sauerkraut or cole slaw, London Variety's dish was even better heated in a pan to carmelize the generous chunks of meat. Caution, hunters: despite its name this stew is probably best eaten upon your return home to avoid marking yourself as a die-hard carnivore.
Another Great Pair: Chocolate Cow's Honey Butter and Northern Unique's Gouda Scones
We love it when our producers take a good old tradition and make it their own. Honey butter, an old-fashioned treat spread which we've enjoyed variously on bread, toast, as a glaze for carrots and even as the secret ingredient in cake icing, is always looking for a new partner and thanks to the crew at Northern Unique you can now sample it for yourself on their tender, flaky Gouda Scones made with Thunder Oaks cheese. Early reports are favourable, but be sure to stop by Northern Unique and try for yourself; their flaky, buttery scones make a really good match for Chocolate Cow's improved and extra-creamy spread made with their own honey and real butter.
It's A Rainbow...
We've been diehard fans of the Poppin' Hut's Kettlecorn since we first discovered it and for some odd reason of loyalty have been reluctant to try any of Mike's new varieties, but last week we gave in. Attracted like a bee to a field brightly-coloured flowers, we took home a bag of their Rainbow Corn.
We weren't expecting much; our experiences of candied popcorn have been limited to the junk with the toy inside and the crunchy caramel-peanut mass-produced stuff, so it was with much pleasure - and a little guilt - that we found we'd consumed the better part of a bag without paying attention.
Like the original Kettlecorn, Rainbow Corn is "a little bit sweet, a little bit salty," but the sweet part is lightly fruit-flavoured. Mike starts by making batches of strawberry, cherry, and blue raspberry and then - depending on his mood - whips up other flavours to complement. Our bag also contained a mix of yellow (pineapple?), green apple, purple wildberry and what could have been peach-flavoured fluffy kernels. We're happy to say this is still pretty much a guilt-free treat and will be interested to try his next new developments: Caramel Corn, Chocolate Drizzle Corn and S'Mores Corn. Stay tuned!
Add a Little SMOKE
With barbecue season just a few degrees away - or already in full swing, for some of us - we thought you should hear about the trios on offer at SMOKE. These little cans are great - much easier for sprinkling than bags with nice wide bases to reduce potential spills. They're also reusable! There are a couple of different variety packages; we went home with our barbecue essentials: Smoked Cracked Malabar Peppercorns, Smoked Grilling Spices and Smoked Sea Salt.
How do you use them?
We fell for these three products a year ago; they're versatile and add a hint of smokiness appropriate in almost any dish. The pepper can be rubbed onto meats (we like it with steak, naturally, and pork chops) or put into a grinder and served at the table if you like. The grilling spices have made it onto the grill a number of ways - on chicken, beef and even trout fillets. The sea salt has been sprinkled on at the table, flavoured salad dressings and vegetables and even rimmed Caesar glasses.
Kristie Rae's Vegetarian Heat & Eat Dishes
Throughout her varied and wide-ranging career as a chef Phylliss has made a point of listening carefully to what people tell her and then researching, trialing and perfecting dishes until they meet the requirements of the most stringent tastebuds and nutrition requirements. This served her well in one incarnation - feeding Olympic athletes during their training. Today Phylliss serves a coterie of dedicated customers at the Market and has obliged several by developing a line of heat and eat vegetarian dishes which some folks buy in quantities sufficient for a week's worth of lunches.
We recently took home her curried vegetable meal. She sent us off with a single serving portion of delicate curry sauce made with veggies like peppers, zucchini, onions and carrots laid over brown rice and topped with a little couscous for flavour and texture. It was, in a word, delicious; in another, awfully good for us. The good news is that there's probably enough variety on her table that you could eat something different every weekday; the better news is that she's not finished inventing yet. Vegetarians and those looking for easy, nutritious meals can stop by Kristie Rae for a visit and the full run-down on her offerings.
From March 2011
Chino's Originale Rustic Red Sauce
Like all the best Italian cooks, Don Sacino maintains a second kitchen in his home just for preparing huge batches of his trademark Originale sauces. Rustic, a new Chino's product, is a wonderfully chunky low-sodium sauce made with quality ingredients including extra virgin olive oil, garlic, a little sea salt and habanero powder for a tiny kick, along with Don's secret seasoning blend. We found Chino's Rustic to be a nice full-bodied sauce with a light flavour and enjoyed its texture on penne al dente. All of Chino's Originale sauces are meatless and gluten free; as we're a bunch of dedicated meat-eaters here we paired it with Sandy Acres Farm's chorizo sausage (see below) for a delicious local duet.
Solid Scents from Moss Cottage and the Urban Farmchick
Essential oils and organic waxes get together at the Urban Farmchick's table to make a scent-sational new product that will have you rubbing your wrists together in no time. Kate combines organic sunflower oil and shea butter with local Paradis Apiaries beeswax to create a natural vehicle for delicious fragrance combinations with names like Sweet 'n Soulful (notes of vanilla, bergamot and sandalwood) and Spice Blossom (neroli, lavender, vanilla and sandalwood) and a scent experience that you can carry in a pocket and apply without offending your neighbours.
Solid scents are meant to be applied to your pulse-points - behind your ears, the hollow of your throat, your wrists - and as they warm with your body heat they begin to sublimate the tiny notes of scent, mixed with your own natural chemistry into a fragrance that's all your own.
Our current favourite is Sweet Surrender, made with lavender, orange, elemi, patchouli and cassie flower. Stop by Kate's table to check out the collection and sniff for yourself!
A Well-Bread Family
The Walshes, sensitive to customer preference, have been offering breads made with wheat alternatives for awhile now, but are stepping up production to accommodate the growing demand. Yes - Northern Unique still offers your favourites made with Brule Creek wheat flour, but have begun bringing some new wheatless varieties as well. Check out their spelt bread, which are round, low loaves made with spelt and flax seed. Very dense, these provide an excellent alternative for people sensitive to wheat gluten.
Our latest sampling was a multigrain loaf, right. Like the spelt loaves these are heavy, dense breads; for wheat-lovers like us, they're made with local whole wheat and partially-sifted flours, rye and barley flakes and oats. Rob's recipe calls for milk and honey as well, making each slice a small and nutritious meal in itself.
Sandy Acres Farms' Pork Products
Having recently processed a few hogs, Sandy Acres Farm is well-stocked with pork products. In addition to selling pork by the side and in chops, roasts, hams and bacon, Scott and Peter work with local sausage artisan Larry Burns to smoke various kinds of delicious sausage as well. We sampled their first batch of chorizo last year and found it very good (SAF's Dynamite, June 2010) but not nearly as good as the recent package we had the pleasure of taking home with us. They've fine-tuned this sausage to be juicier and not quite as spicy, and have added red wine to the mix. If you're a fan of good sausage we recommend trying this product; you could smell the wine and spices in them as they cooked - a mouthwatering good scent that made a great appetizer and went well with a bottle of Chianti. We enjoyed SAF's Chorizo Sausage on penne under some of Chino's Originale Rustic red sauce.
Soup to Go
Not only do Renate and Rudi Nitsche of Nature's Choice cook everything they sell from scratch, they also grow a lot of their own ingredients. Renate tells us they spend a lot of time in the summer preserving their crops so they can continue to offer trusted quality year-round. For those items they can't grow themselves, they look to other local vendors, and so the beef in their beef-based soups is from Sandy Acres Farm. They use Brule Creek flour in their baking, including the delicious breads toasted for Cafe breakfasts, and ingredients from other vendors like DeBruin's and the Squash Queen when needed.
A rotating variety of local-ingredient soups guaranteed to make your tummy feel warm and appreciated tells the tale of Renate and Rudi's enterprises: any given weekend you'll find a handful of delicious tonics on their counter. Lentil-Barley-Vegetable, Carrot-Chickpea, Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil, Kale and Spicy Kale tempted us this past weekend, until we peered into a tub of Beef Vegetable Barley and made a friend for life: rich beef broth, bite-sized garden vegetables and julienned cabbage took us on a taste time-travel right into Grandma's kitchen and helped us beat a sinus cold into soup submission.
"The P is for Pineapple"
There she goes again: prolific inventor of sweet goey spreads Pat Wielobob of H & P Jams & Jellies has come out with a new tropical treat: Pineapple Banana Jam, which she says is the first in a line of pineapple-based treats she'll be bringing to Market in the next few weeks.
We enjoyed Pat's Pineapple-Banana jam on toast - our favourite way to sample a new jam product - and found it to be really well-balanced. The banana gives it a nice body. You can taste the pineapple without it being overpoweringly sweet, and there's no acidic tang whatsoever to the jam, even though lemon is the third ingredient. We started thinking right away about other ways to use this new flavour; it would probably go very well in turnovers or tarts too!
It's OK to be Jerk
Rutland Williams has been sending you away from his table with his tender Rotis, egg-yolk yellow Meat Patties, Wayside Specials and Samosas for years, but Caribbean Kitchen is about more than just yummy Jamaican pocket food. Most recently Rutland sent us home with a batch of his Jerk Chicken to sample, and we have to tell you: it was really, really good. No - it wasn't overly spicy. Nobody at the table found themselves lighting tiki torches with their compliments to the chef (and there were a number of those), no eyes ran, no plate remained uncleaned. The unanimous response to this new dish was "Ya mon!"
Yes - it was kid-friendly, being made with boneless thighs well-marinated in his flavourful Secret Sauce and seasoned with just the right amount of salt, and YES - we'll be back for more! Rutland brings a number of orders of Jerk Chicken to Market every Saturday - be sure to ask if he's got any stashed in the cooler for you, or order in advance to make sure you get yours.
From February 2011
Full Complement of Winter Vendors: Thunder Oak Cheese Farm Returns for 2011
We could come up with any number of cheesy phrases to express our pleasure at seeing the Scheps back at the Market for the year, but instead let's just stick with the facts: every Saturday at the Thunder Oak Cheese Farm table you can buy Swiss (yes, creamy local Swiss!) and any number of varieties of local Gouda - whether your passion is for soft curds or Mild or crumbly Old Gouda, Jalapeno or Cumin or tangy Smoked Gouda - and with their return to the Market we've got most of your household staples covered again.
This past weekend we selected their Dill Gouda to celebrate their return. Medium-aged to allow the flavours of dill weed, garlic and onion to permeate the creamy cheese, we found this cheese to be a great stand-alone cheese; we enjoyed it sliced thin with crusty local bread, in omelettes and - if the kids are feeling adventurous, you should try this - in a golden grilled cheese on rye. Welcome back, Thunder Oak!
Protect Your Head
Doreen at the Knit'n'Needle has started producing a new item for hat fanciers: the Maltese Hat. Reminiscent of a steel helm designed to protect the wearer from arrows and sword-strokes, this 100% wool, fleece-lined, hand-knit item is actually a cute take on winter headgear: let Old Man Winter take his best shot, you're covered! Knit with a long back which buttons at your throat, the Maltese Hat provides amazing protection and can be wrapped under a scarf to keep your neck and throat extra warm. Doreen has a few on hand in neutral colours and is taking orders for custom makes, including colour and size selection. The Maltese Hat comes in men's, women's and children's sizes.
Cabbage Rolls at Unique Alternatives
While she's developed a name for herself by bringing a selection of sugar-free baking, Dee of Unique Alternatives' cabbage rolls are about as traditional as they come. Dee stuffs tender leaves with a hearty helping of ground beef, onions and rice and cooks them to fall-apart perfection in tomato sauce. As always, though, she adds her own little twist, and this one's something that appeals deeply to us: a little bacon fried in with the ground beef adds just the right amount of delicious sin to this otherwise healthy, tasty dish.
Why DO They Call it "Sour" Cream?
Whatever you want to call it, when you add that one ingredient to Jo-Mik Bakery's already-scrumptious apple pie concept, you get something so delicious you may find yourself calling them the very next day to ask for another one, as one happy customer recently did. Joe and Michael's pie crust is based on a minimalist philosophy: thin, light and delicate, it provides an excellent setting for their delicious fillings.
The new Sour Cream Apple Pie is a topless little number with just a sprinkling of brown sugar to garnish the filling; a sweet combination of apples, cinnamon and - yes - creamy morsels of sour cream, which in this incarnation is far from sour. Check out Jo-Mik's table for the week's selection of full-size and small pies.
If Only Love Was This Easy
Continuing to expand their lineup of user-friendly mixes based on their own local wheat flour, Brule Creek Farms has come out with Sugar Cookie Mix. If you've wanted to try baking with Brule Creek flour but have been nervous about the results, this is a great way to try it out. It's also a wonderful cheater method if you're not much of a baker but want to present someone with a homemade treat. Dry ingredients including ground vanilla bean for flavour are all in the bag. Just add butter and egg; mix, roll and cut, then bake up three dozen delicious, delicate little cookies. We cut ours into simple diamond shapes for the occasion - Valentine's Day is coming up and diamond-shaped cookies are a girl's best friend.
Bag Ladies' Delight:
Kate from Moss Cottage is known for finding ways to turn cool old things into even cooler new ones. Some of you may be familiar with her line of Urban Farmchick handbags; whether you've stumbled over her collection already or not you should stop and have a look. Hand-sewn from a variety of fabrics including recycled and repurposed materials, organic fibres, fabrics hand-dyed-by-Kate and more, the Urban Farmchick bags feature thoughtful ingredients like cute gingham linings, funky fasteners, fun stencilled locavore-friendly verbiage and more. She's got a great assortment right now - stop for a look!
Things You Can Make With...
Have a passion for repurposing? Love your planet? Or just looking for a few household items that don't look like everybody else's? Check out the collection at Fibre and Twigs, where Nicole is busily dreaming up new ways to bring colour to your home and make use of the lids from those water bottles you hear so much about. Recycled plastic bottle caps make great felting material in gorgeous hues; on the Fibre and Twigs table you'll find wall-hangings, place mats, table runners and more - like these cute heart-themed trivets just right for Valentine's Day.
From January 2011
It's a Party. Let it Out of There! That cheeky little lady at A Little of This has done it again, merging imagination with delectation to find a new way to dress up crackers and cheese. The latest goodie, Basil and Sweet Banana Pepper Jelly, she nicknames "Party in a Jar" for simple looks: the tiny shreds of basil and red onion look like confetti, the little strips of pepper look like streamers, and the overall effect is something like a pastel explosion at a kid's birthday party. Gorgeous! But wait, there's more! It also tastes really, really good. After we finished staring, oohing and aahing at the jar under a bright light we busted out the Triscuits and chevre for a sampling. A bit of sweetness, a bit of tang, a faint wisp of basil and onion made that goat cheese sing. Try it for your guests: a chunk of chevre on a platter with a few spoonfuls of the Jelly overtop, surrounded by crackers of your choice will definitely win you compliments.
When Roman Okonski of London Variety talks about his wife Alexandra, his face lights up. She doesn’t come to Market herself, remaining at the shop to mind the counter and her latest batch of deliciousness in the kitchen, but anyone who’s tried her baking will understand the pride Roman takes in offering the products of her ovens. Our latest find he labels simply as “gingerbread” but the simplicity is deceptive. Inside Alexandra’s moist spongy gingerbread base lie hidden deposits of California plums, a sticky sweet treat found in many Polish recipes, and atop it is a rolling layer of sweet bakery cheese which we thought bore hints of orange but which Roman says is just cheese – thick and creamy – and which may get its imaginary flavours from association with the spicy gingerbread beneath. Our mouths are too happily occupied to argue this one.
Hats Off to Hats OnLooking for more Market Features? Click here for product highlights from 2010.
You may have seen the revolving rack on Jennifer's table at Norwest Sled Dog Adventures, but have you stopped to check it out closely? Jen, well-known around the Market for the closely-woven Icelandic wool toques gracing the heads of numerous outdoor vendors once the weather cools off, has a big selection to shop. Her J. Booth Toque collection consists of a full range of sizes from small child to large-headed adult and incorporates many colours and woven designs. Each one is lined with repurposed fur ear-flaps for extra warmth and no-itch comfort and can be worn "flaps up" for ventilation and improved audio. As her daughter and her friends prove regularly, these toques are both warm and stylish, remaining popular with winter fashionistas of all ages.