I love going to farmer's markets, and especially at this time of year. With the last of the summer specialties still around as well as the beginnings of an amazing Autumn harvest, it truly is a wonderful time of year.
There was so much beautiful product to choose from! While my wife Kris checked out the local artisans and one of my boys went off in search of a freshly grilled sausage(had one last week...SPECTACULAR!!), I went to visit the stalls from the many local farms. As always, everyone was enthusiastic about their products, and ready with suggestions and recipes. Picked up a great vegetarian filo pie recipe from the guys at Back to Basics Farm that I plan on trying soon.
In the end I settled on strawberries and heirloom tomatoes from Willowtree Farm; European leeks and spaghetti squash from Back to Basics Farms; mushrooms and heirloom carrots from Forsythe Farms; and of course a couple of loaves of Marjo Niemi's wonderful breads. This week we grabbed a Garlic Basil Round and a Cheese Bread Loaf. I almost forgot one of my favourite finds. As always, I stopped in to see the ladies from Coopers Farm C.S.A. and Maze. They had some delicious late-season raspberries as well as some amazing potatoes called Adirondack Reds. They have both red skin and red flesh, and it keeps its colour when cooked.( WIKIPEDIA - Adirondack Red Potato ) Can't wait to try these in a mashed potato or a soup!
So, with a couple of hours to myself in the kitchen it was time to get going on supper. A quick chop and wash on the leeks before getting them sweating down with butter and fresh thyme from the garden. More sprigs of thyme went into the hollowed-out spaghetti squash that I had rubbed down with olive oil, before tossing them into a hot oven to roast until tender. And since I had the oven on
I steamed a few of the red potatoes and marvelled at how well they kept their colour. Delicious flavour as well. With them cubed up and set aside, the last prep item was to just quarter the heirloom tomatoes. With mixed shades of red, yellow and orange, as well as my personal fave, green zebra, they looked amazing and tasted even better. As soon as the mushrooms were done in the oven, I tossed them with the tomatoes along with some olive oil and seasoning. The warmth of the mushrooms brought those beautiful tomatoes even more to life. A quick shred on the spagheti squash and it was almost time to eat.
I tossed the squash with more olive oil, fresh basil and seasonings. As a child, my mom tried convince me that it wasn't a vegetable and was just a simple pasta. I may not have fallen for it then, but I've fallen pretty hard for those lovely tendrils of squash today. Topped with the mushroom and tomato mixture...what a starter!
I fried up the cubes of potatoes with some minced onion and a generous amount of double smoked bacon from my local butcher. As much as I enjoy vegetarian food, this dish was just begging for a bit of pork. This went onto the plate and was topped off with the now meltingly tender leeks. Rich and buttery, with their subtle onion flavour; truly delicious. As a finishing touch, a pair of poached eggs. A few of the vibrant and sweet carrots on the side and the dish was complete. Except of course for a slice of Niemi's Cheddar Bread. So dense and flavourful!
A spoonfull of sweet whipped cream atop the last of the season's berries was the perfect finale to a wonderful harvest meal
What more could I possibly ask for? The best produce, and fresher than you'll find in any grocery.
P.S. The following morning, the left-over leeks were mixed up with roast potatoes and eggs to make a wonderful frittata, beneath a snowy pillow of Ontario goat cheese.
Note: Every chef needs a sous chef. Someone who is there beside him providing unwavering support. I would be remiss if I didn't introduce mine. He is with me every step of the way, never leaving my side. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you...Boots.