Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Summer Harvest, Part 2

I am officially overwhelmed.  Just when I think I've got a handle on my farmers' market addiction ... just when I think I've finally got enough room in my fridge for ONE LAST head of kale, punnet of blackberries or have found an inch of space in the potato bin for one more glorious fingerling ... I get an email from my BFF from Uni ... "BaconFest this weekend - are you in?"  Am I in?  Of course I'm in.  Bacon AND a yet uncharted farmers' market ... my hands tremble as I type this.  Leaving the burbs for the big-city I could almost smell the smoke in the air ... the crackle of the bacon as it sizzled, guiding me thru the streets (well, actually it was my GPS).  Having lived on bacon-inspired dishes for about a 2 week period during Uni, this festival of bacon was about so much more than just salty-meat.  It was about lost loves and term papers.  Bacon, zucchini and brie crepes at 2am after the bars had closed.  Trying to scrape together enough money to buy salmon fillets and baby octopus to grill over a BBQ that launched fireballs into the night sky when we lit it.  Yes, this festival was about who we were ... just now we had more than $10 between us - and oh, how we spent it this past weekend! The Leslieville Farmers' Market is wicked-good.  Farmers from all over, bring with them some of the most gorgeous produce my eyes have ever seen.  Rows upon rows of ruby-red radishes.  Emerald green kale.  Heirloom tomatoes.  Goat cheeses.  Grass raised beef (oh ya' I placed an order for my freezer!!!) Rainbow carrots and fuzzy peaches.  And of course bacon. In particular wild boar bacon, which according to our OFFICIAL bacon tester (and pie connoisseur) is also wicked-good.  (I'm not kidding, this guy knows bacon ... also pie, but that's for another post ...)  Our fav. bacon dish?  It would have to be from the folks at Le Papillon on the Park - buckwheat crepe filled with sauteed apples, white cheddar and bacon, topped with a smattering of maple sugar and fresh berries ... on my list of restaurants to now visit?  Oh he** ya'.  I mean, they have Cretons on the menu <angels sing in the distance> ... I digress ... wanna see more from part 2 of 'the summer harvest'?  

The tent where le Papillon on the Park were making their crepes.
The aforementioned heirloom tomatoes ... little bursts of sunshine and happiness.
Gorgeous eggplant ... ridiculously easy and crazy-tasty recipe to follow ...
I also bought their fiery salad greens ... I can hand-on-heart say that I have
never tasted baby greens like these before - I was blown away.
I may have to sell my house and move closer to their farm.
I'm not kidding ... this stuff is better than anything I've ever tasted.

I like to think I know a thing or two about goat cheese.
This goat cheese in particular makes my heart flutter.
This is not the feta that's available at big box stores everywhere (ewwww).
This is creamy and absolutely gorgeous ... I need more adjectives to describe its goodness!
If you have a chance to buy cheese from Crosswind Farms do it!
When I got home from the market on Sunday afternoon, DH was not far behind.  He'd been at a cottage with some friends, and my sense was that there were few vegetables on their weekend menu ... what's a ShortStack to do?  Make a vegetarian dinner of course!  If you're vegan you can ABSOLUTELY omit the goat cheese 'sprinkle'.  DH is not normally one to oooohhhh and ahhhhh over "veggie" dinners, but this one not only got the aforementioned ooohs AND ahhhs we went back for seconds.  He tried for thirds ... I distracted him with pie ... I can be so clever at times.
  1. Set oven temp to 350 degrees.  Pour yourself a glass of pinot grigio.
  2. Cube eggplant 1.5" inch chunks - place on parchment paper lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Large dice a spring onion (if you're not lucky enough to find one of these at your farmers' market, either go to a new farmers' market or find yourself a large Spanish onion from the grocery store!) -  place on separate parchment paper lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Place heirloom cherry tomatoes (1-2cups) in a baking dish - drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Let these all roast away in their own pans/dishes/baking sheets for about 1-2 hours.  You want the onions to be really caramalized and golden, the eggplant to be soft and the tomatoes to be just about ready to burst.  I took my eggplant out after 1hr15mins and let it sit at room temp.  I then let the onions and tomatoes go another 1/2 hour or so.
  6. Once all your veggies are roasted to your liking, mash up some feta or chevre.  Set aside.
  7. Take your micro greens and toss lightly with olive oil, salt n pepper and a tiny splash of balsamic vinegar.
  8. To plate - a scoop of eggplant on the bottom, top with onions, sprinkle with tomatoes, add some feta or chevre, top with micro-greens and add a final 'circle round the plate" of olive oil.
This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, cinq.... well ... it can make as much or as little as you like.  Happy hunting at your local farmers' market.  Maybe I'll see you there! 

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