Eat Your Greens ~

by Tracy MacMaster, photos by Paul Christensen

Thanksgiving is done for another year, and the leaves are in full colour.  Now that the turkey leftovers are finally gone, weeknight suppers are on my mind.  Giant bunches of kale and beet greens populate the market, along with colourful peppers and piles of onions, promising delicious dinners.  Do yourself and favour and eat your greens.


Kale, Pear & Walnut Salad

I bunch kale – dinosaur kale is great, but any variety will do

2 pears, sliced

1 small red onion, sliced, or a handful of fresh chives

1 yellow or red pepper, sliced

½ cup of whole walnuts

Healthy slug of olive oil, or walnut oil if you have it

Sherry vinegar to taste

Salt, pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme

Method: Wash kale and chop into bite sized pieces.  Steam in a veggie steamer, or microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, until tender.  In a dry pan, toast walnuts just until lightly browned.  Add drained kale, pears, onions or chives and sliced peppers to the bowl, and dress with olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and thyme.  Toss to mix.  Serves 4.

Beet Green, Pepper and Parsley Frittata

2 tablespoons butter

1 small cooking onion, sliced

1 sweet pepper, chopped

1 bunch of beet greens, washed and chopped

2 handfuls of parsley, washed and chopped

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Salt, pepper to taste

Method: In a cast iron pan, melt butter over low-medium heat.  Saute onions until soft,3-4 minutes, stirring in the sweet peppers for last minute.  Spread beet greens evenly over the onions and peppers to cover the pan and add the parsley on top, pressing down with a spatula.  Add salt and pepper to beaten eggs and pour evenly over the vegetables.  Cover with a lid, and cook until the eggs are set, approximately 5 -7 minutes.  Remove from heat, cut in quarters and serve vegetable-side up. 


Happy Thanksgiving ~ It’s time for squash!

by Tracy MacMaster, photos by Lisa Ballantyne

This week the air is crisp, and people are busting out their sweaters.  The harvest is going full tilt as we creep toward frost.  Thanksgiving is the culmination of the season, and my favourite holiday – a day full of great food, good friends and with luck, fine weather.  Right now the market is bursting with winter squash in every variety and size – knobbly mini-hubbards, striped sweet potato squash, deep orange-fleshed kabochas.  Scoop up a variety of squash, along with late summer honey and a string of local garlic, and you too can enjoy some time outside while the bird roasts in the oven. 

Paul’s Famous Thanksgiving BBQ Squash

4 or 5 small-to-medium squash, split in half with seeds and string removed

1 head of local garlic, separated into cloves and chopped

¼ cup of local honey

3 tablespoons of butter

A dash of Louisiana hot sauce

Fresh ground pepper & salt to taste

Method:  In a small pan, melt butter over low heat and stir in garlic, honey and hot sauce, heating until garlic is softened.  Remove from burner. 

Heat the bbq to medium, and place the squash cut side up directly onto the bbq grill.  Generously pour the sauce into the squash.  Cover the bbq and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until squash is tender.  Discard the sauce from the squash, flip cut side down onto the burners and grill until darkened/caramelized, 5 minutes.  Serves 8-10.

Leftovers make fantastic squash soup – just scoop into freezer bags and store frozen for a quick weeknight meal.


Happy Autumn Equinox ~ Let’s Eat Cake!

by Tracy MacMaster, photo by Paul Christensen

The sun is blazing, and the leaves are beginning to show their colours.  The market is packed with tree fruits – peaches and nectarines are making way for apples and pears.  Despite the passing of summer, fall is worth celebrating.  Nothing says celebration like cake, so try this simple Pear Upside-Down Cottage Cake for dessert tonight.    


For the pan:

2 tablespoons of butter

½ cup of brown sugar, packed

1 pear, thinly sliced

 For the cake:

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, or cinnamon or ground coriander

Optional: freshly grated lemon or orange zest or 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 C.  Place the 2 tablespoons of butter in an 8” square or round the pan and melt in the oven briefly – 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and evenly sprinkle the bottom of the pan with ½ cup brown sugar.  Arrange pear slices in a pleasing pattern over the sugar.

In a bowl, beat together oil, sugar, milk and eggs and vanilla if using.  Beat in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, stiring just until smooth.  Pour evenly over pear mixture, bake until sides of cake pull slightly away from the pan and top has started to brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Let cool briefly in the pan.  To serve, loosen the sides with a knife, and invert onto a plate, pear side up.  Serve warm, with Greek yogurt or whipped cream if you have some. 

(via Fresh From The Market - Saturday, September 20th, 2014)

Late summer soup is on! Spicy Black Bean, Squash and Greens Soup

By Tracy MacMaster

Photo by Paul Christensen

September always feels like the real New Year.  Vacations are over and schedules are packed with new projects and activities.  September is also the time when the evenings cool, and we start to tire of salads and other summer staples.  Soup is the answer to busy lives – one pot wonders full of delicious market produce that can be made ahead, ready when you get home.  Try this soup to liven up your September nights.


Spicy Black Bean, Squash and Greens Soup

1 medium cooking onion, sliced thin

3 cloves of local garlic, minced

1 jalapeno or other chilli of your choice, minced fine

2 tablespoons of butter or oil

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 dry cup soaked and cooked black beans

1 small winter squash, peeled and cubed – butternut is easiest to peel , but kabocha is delicious

1 bunch of sturdy winter greens, in bite size pieces – collards are excellent, or try swiss chard, kale or even turnip greens

4 cups of stock, beer or water, or any combination of the three

 2-3 branches of fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Handful of fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving


In a large dutch oven heat butter or oil over low-medium heat.  Sweat the onions until translucent, 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and minced chilli for 1-2 minutes, stirring until soft.

 Add the squash, black beans, thyme and liquid to the pot.  If you are using collards or kale, put them in now, but for more delicate greens like swiss chard, leave the soup to simmer 10-15 minutes before adding greens.  Bring the contents to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer.  Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes until the squash is soft.  Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Serve with a handful of cilantro, the lime wedges and good bread – cornbread is terrific with this dish. Serves 4.