A Slice of Summer Life: Local, Seasonal Pies

Krista offers up part two of what to do with all of those wonderful, seasonal berries:

A Slice of Summer Life: Local, Seasonal Pies

A bonus berry blog…

At this time of year, few things taste better than a nice homemade pie with some Kawartha Dairy vanilla ice cream. Pies are not tough to make – and even if they don’t turn out looking so pretty, they will still taste good!

Strawberry-Rhubarb is one of my all-time favourite combinations (for pie, jam, fruit leather, you name it). There are always lots of strawberries and rhubarb at the markets and their seasons overlap…its perfect!

I have included a simple recipe for pie crust, but you can always cheat and buy a crust if you really don’t want to try your hand at the pastry (it isn’t that bad…really!). If you are making your own pastry and it isn’t something you do often, using a tart pan (the kind with the removable bottom) rather than a traditional pie plate can make your life a bit easier. I do recommend baking your pie on a cookie sheet no matter what kind of crust or container you use…it will drip.

For the full article and recipes, please click here for the MyKawartha Farm to Table Blog.

Secrets to Foolproof Local, Seasonal Jams

Krista, is a major part of the food production at Farm to Table. Not only is she our expert gardener, but she is also our chief food preserver, baker, and soup master.

While I hog the spotlight, writing columns, blogs, and taking the lead in our marketing and communications, she is a major part of the wonderful food that comes out of our kitchen. After tending to our crop of berries and rhubarb, Krista brings the bounty to the kitchen and turns it into sweet, sweet gold.

And with berry season well upon us, I am excited to turn the blogging duties over to Krista for a change. She’s the jam and jelly whiz in our operation. She also makes sure the Farm to Table pastry comes out just right.

So, without further ado, I leave it to Krista to guide you through the world of summer jam making:

Secrets to Foolproof Local, Seasonal Jams

Its jam-making season! With the strawberries & raspberries bountiful at markets and pick-your-own farms, the Campbell Fraser house is thinking about Christmas. In addition to being able to pretend that its not 30°+ outside, the homemade jams and preserves we make at this time of year are a major component of gifts for family and friends.

Jams are fairly quick and easy to make, and of course, taste great. You can make either freezer jams or cooked jams, depending on your mood (and freezer space). The benefit to freezer jams is that they are a bit simpler to make and you can use a wider variety of containers, as they don’t have to seal. The downside is that these jams must be stored in the freezer (hence the name). Freezer space is at a premium at our house, so I generally make cooked jams. I’ve included a couple of recipes that I used this year (strawberry-rhubarb and raspberry) below. When you buy pectin (either powdered or liquid, more on that in the notes below), it always comes with a few recipes and instructions. These recipes are as good a starting point as any, experiment with any fresh fruit you have.

Read more at the MyKawartha Farm to Table Blog (with recipes!) — Click here.

Tamworth Pork: Heirloom Breed Marries Heritage Preservation and Incredible Flavour

Well, I’m back from vacation and have a lot of great blog entries to share.

In the next week or so, come back here for a couple of strawberry/rhubarb recipes, a primer on heritage vegetables, and more!  Also, look for my column in Peterborough This Week, where we learn to grill the perfect steak with Brad Watt from Rare.

And now…  On to the pork!

Tracker’s Drift Serves Up Local Heritage Pork

Excerpt 1:

Many of you will have heard of heritage or heirloom vegetables.  They’re the traditional – and tasty – varieties that were common before the industrialization of agriculture.

Long before we started producing the common hybrids found in supermarkets today – the bland, pulpy tomatoes and starchy white potatoes found from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island – there were hundreds, if not thousands of varieties of veggies.

Many of these varieties were well on their way to extinction before farmers started realizing the worth of maintaining stocks of these heritage seeds.

I’ll be offering up a primer on heirloom varieties in the coming days, but in the meantime, I’d like to introduce a different concept to you: heritage livestock.

Yup.  Meat eaters, you too can find the rich tastes and flavours of old heirloom breeds.  You too can help prevent many species, already classified as endangered, from becoming extinct.

For the rest of the article AND recipe, please see my www.mykawartha.com Farm to Table Blog (link below):

Tamworth Pork Loin Chops Over Market Greens w/Garlic Scape Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Excerpt 2:

Katie Jackson of Trackers Drift Farm (near Lakefield), has recently helped to re-introduce Tamworth Pigs to the area.  I’ll be writing a column about Katie and her farm this fall – she has some wonderful school visit options on her property – but in the meantime, here are a few things you need to know:

Tracker’s Drift grows a huge variety of vegetables and fruits – all from organic seed.  They are currently offering their 3rd year of CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture), meaning that people pay a set amount at the beginning of the season for “shares” in the produce that gets grown.  It’s a great way to get fresh Tracker’s Drift produce all season long.

This is their second year at the Lakefield Farmer’s Market.

Katie is currently on her 3rd litter of Tamworth pigs.  She keeps some herself for selling as cuts of pork, sells some to local restaurants (the Riverhouse Company in Lakefield smokes bellies into bacon), and sells others for breeding.  They are happy, pasture fed pigs that also receive organic feed.

So, what is the deal with Tamworth?

For the rest of the article AND recipe, please see my www.mykawartha.com Farm to Table Blog (link below):

Tamworth Pork Loin Chops Over Market Greens w/Garlic Scape Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Harmony Fest Promotes Community

A media release from my friend, Greg Roy, of Dub Trinity:

2nd Annual Harmony Festival takes place this Saturday, July 23rd.

The Pavillion at Nichols Oval Park is again the site of the 2011 Harmony festival that takes place this Saturday, July 23rd at 2 pm. The festival is free and is intended to promote community. Families are encouraged to come out, bring a picnic and blanket, lots of water and a frisbee or soccer ball. There will be free music all day with the like of Bobcajun Cajun songs and music, Nhapitapi Zimbabwe Mbira band, The Chris Collins Trio and Dub Trinity Reggae band. Also there will be some drumming in between sets and expect some surprises as well. Music starts at 2pm and goes until sunset. The Night Kitchen Pizza on Hunter Street West have kindly helped out with expenses. Hope to see everyone there to share in the fun and dance.

BBQ Grilled Pizza with Garlic Scape Pesto, Lemon/Herbed Chicken, Double Smoked Bacon, Manchego, and Buffalo Mozza

When most people think of Canada Day cooking, they think barbeque. Burgers, dogs, steaks and the like are definite holiday go-to’s. And I agree, firing up the BBQ is about as Canadian as Canadian can be — particularly if it is a hibachi on a picnic table (with a cooler full of cold “pops”).

With this in mind, I’ve decided to offer up a BBQ recipe to help you celebrate our Nation’s Birthday. It is, however, a BBQ recipe with a twist — after all, I’ve already taught you the secrets of the perfect burger (MyKawartha.com Farm to Table Blog here), and will be showcasing Brad Watt of Rare as he grills the ultimate steak (in my Peterborough This Week Column in two weeks time — look back here for a recap).

This grilled pizza has it all: light, fresh tasting seasonal garlic scape pesto (see here for pesto recipes that I posted last week), grilled meats (in this case chicken and grilled double smoked bacon), and good, quality cheeses (alas, the only non-local ingredients on this otherwise Peterborough ‘Za).

Some notes on suppliers: The garlic scapes came from the Gaelic Garlic, the chicken from Rhea-lly Emu-zing Ranch, the bacon came from my freezer (and I’ll be honest and say that I can’t remember what producer I got it from). I used some Merrylynd Flour in my dough. The cheeses came from Chasing the Cheese, a great little cheese shop on Water Street in Downtown Peterborough. You could definitely use local cheeses (Quinte Crest from 5th Town Cheese in Prince Edward County in place of Manchego and Empire Cheese Mozzarella from Campbelford), though you might not have the same saltiness/richness.

Pizza Dough for four 7-inch pizzas*
500 ml (or less) Garlic Scape Pesto
2 Grilled Lemon/Herbed Chicken Breasts prepared as kebabs (recipe to follow in the next day or so) and roughly chopped into half-inch morsels
12 slices of Double smoked bacon (cooked on the BBQ and roughly chopped)
250 grams aged Manchego Cheese (a hard, salty sheep cheese from Spain)
20 or so small Buffalo Mozzarella balls.

*use any standard pizza dough recipe (though replace half of the All Purpose Flour with Merrylynd Farm Wheat Flour). Krista will post her pizza dough tips here soon.

1. Preheat BBQ to around 350 degrees Celsius.
2. Flatten pizza dough out to roughly 1/8 inch thick and 7 inches wide.
3. Grill dough for roughly 4-5 minutes on oiled lower rack of the BBQ (lid closed) — the dough should be just slightly charred, but firm enough to lift.
4. Remove dough from BBQ (close lid) and add toppings — pesto first, then manchego, then meats, then mozza.
5. Return pizzas to BBQ and continue to grill until the cheese melts.
6. Serve hot.

While the dough starts out fairly thin, it rises quite quickly on the grill. Don't be tempted to put too thick a dough on your BBQ. After less than a minute, this dough has already doubled in thickness.
The dough, grilled on one side, is ready for the toppings: pesto, buffalo mozzarella, manchego, double smoked bacon, lemon/herbed chicken. I add the mozza last in order to have a gooeyness on top.
Loaded up and ready to go. The salty manchego is nestled with the pesto underneath the other toppings.
The finished pizza. You can see how the mozza has picked up the smokiness of the BBQ. You're not going to get that taste in a conventional oven.
Pizza number two. I was tempted to put mushrooms and vegetables on Krista's -- she's more of a veggie pizza kind of gal -- but resisted. I'm glad I did. As is, the pizzas presented a perfect match of flavours.