Late Summer Chowder

Cooler weather is approaching, the official start of autumn is around the corner, and soup season has arrived! I’m looking forward to being able to comfortably use the stove and oven again and put them to work cooking up the tasty fall recipes I have in mind. To start us off we’ve got a hearty, delicious, and easy chowder. Flavour is built by cooking the vegetables in stages, and coating them with a lovely combination of spices. A low-sodium vegetable broth and just a dash of salt at the end will ensure a hearty-healthy final bowl, and all the wonderful vegetables featured make for a soup that is satisfying and filling. Take advantage of these still-in-season vegetables combined with comfortable cooking temperatures and try this recipe today. Let me know what you think!

Soup to Share.jpg

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small jalapeno, diced (more or less, depending on spice tolerance!)

2 bell peppers, diced

2 cobs sweetcorn, cooked & removed from the cob

1 zucchini, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed

1 teaspoon paprika, oregano, and parsley (each)

½ teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup milk

Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat until hot. A handy trick to test the readiness of the pan is to toss in a small piece of diced onion along with the oil. When it starts to sizzle you know you’ve reached the right temperature!

  2. Once hot, add all the onion to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent and softened.

  3. Add the garlic and peppers and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  4. Add the corn, zucchini, spices, and flour. Mix until vegetables are evenly coated with the spices & flour.

  5. Next, slowly add the vegetable broth, stirring constantly.

  6. Once all the broth has been mixed in, add the potatoes. Lower the heat slightly and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are softened.

  7. Add the milk and stir until hot.

  8. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  9. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

 

Gussied Up Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a classic – it’s quick, easy, reliable, and delicious. Now, the standard grilled cheese consists of bread, butter, and cheese. But this is just the beginning! There are tons of possible variations, and today I’ve got one for you featuring one of our favourite summer berries. This grilled cheese still relies on the good ole bread and butter but adds a twist with its combination of balsamic blueberry compote and sharp, tangy goat’s cheese. Sweet and savoury have long been a popular combination, and this recipe proves it to be true once again.

This tasty sandwich is packed full of fiber, thanks to the whole wheat bread and blueberries. Blueberries are also a great source folate (which contributes to production of red blood cells, a healthy heart, and prevention of some birth defects) and potassium (important for our bone, kidney, nerve, and muscle health). Further, blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, which plays an important role in the absorption of plant sources of iron, and bone and muscle health. Additionally, Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants found in blueberries. Antioxidants have been linked to heart health and improved cognitive function as well as reduction in cancer and diabetes.

One last fun fact about blueberries – there’s no waste involved, and they are ultra-fast to prepare! Unlike strawberries which must be hulled, blueberries simply need a quick rinse before they’re good to go.

Overall, you really can’t go wrong with blueberries! And this recipe is a real show stopper. Impress your guests this weekend with our gussied up grilled cheese.

Blueberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese.jpg

*Serves 4

Balsamic Blueberry Compote Ingredients

2 cups blueberries, washed

½ cup water

2 teaspoons honey

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon ground dried rosemary

Sandwich Ingredients

8 slices bread of choice

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 log goat’s cheese

Directions

  1. To begin, make the blueberry balsamic compote. Combine the blueberries and water in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop over medium/low heat.
  2. Cook the berries with the lid off for approximately 20 minutes. Leaving the lid off while cooking allows for evaporation of some of the liquid, which helps the compote thicken. Halfway through cooking, stop to gently mash the berries. Don’t mash too much, as you want the berries to maintain some texture! ,
  3. While the compote is cooking, begin to prep the bread for assembling the sandwiches. Spread an even layer of butter on each slice of bread. Place 4 slices butter-side-down into a frying pan. Set the other 4 aside for later use.
  4. Next, spread ¼ of the goat’s cheese log onto each of the 4 slices of bread.
  5. Once the compote is thick and bubbly, add the honey, balsamic vinegar, and ground rosemary. Cook for a couple more minutes, and then remove from heat.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of compote to each slice of bread in the frying pan. Spread the compote to the edges, then top the sandwich with a second slice of bread, butter side up.
  7. Cook the sandwiches over medium-low heat for approximately 7 minutes per side. The key to a perfectly golden & melty grilled cheese is low and slow. You have to be patient!
  8. Once the goat’s cheese has softened and melted into the blueberry compote and the bread is golden brown, remove the sandwiches from heat and slice in half. Serve alongside a side salad for a perfect summery lunch!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Oven-Baked Asparagus Three Ways

Asparagus is one of my favourite veggies for so many reasons. Not only is it packed full of many essential vitamins and minerals and a great source of filling fiber, it also has an uncanny ability to pair well with a seemingly endless number of flavour combinations. These quick and easy recipes below are a perfect example of this versatility. No matter what food mood you’re in, asparagus can work for you!

These recipes also offer a great way to squeeze veggies into our busy schedules. Finding time for a well-rounded meal that the whole family will enjoy can be tough to do when you’re juggling work, school, extra-curricular activities, and more. Offering a variety of flavours means you can easily cater to personal preferences while still using just one baking dish. And what’s easier than a wash and toss recipe like this?! Wash and snap the asparagus, toss in the wet ingredients, and follow up with the dry. Give another toss, spread on the baking dish, then pop in the oven. Serve alongside a whole grain and a lean protein and voilà! Dinner is ready.

Give these combos a try and let us know what your favourite is.

 From left to right: Lemony Goodness, Garlic & Ginger, Chili Lime

From left to right: Lemony Goodness, Garlic & Ginger, Chili Lime

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5-8 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Flavour Combination Options

Lemony Goodness

1/3 bunch asparagus

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Chili Lime

1/3 bunch asparagus

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it real spicy!)

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon chili powder

Garlic & Ginger

1/3 bunch asparagus

1 teaspoon sesame oil

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried ginger

Pinch of sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400⁰F.
  2. Prep the asparagus: wash & snap off the ends.
  3. Choose your favourite flavours.
  4. Toss the asparagus with the liquid ingredients, followed by the dry.
  5. Spread prepared asparagus stalks evenly on a baking sheet (you can like the sheet with parchment paper for quicker cleanup).
  6. If using fresh lemon & limes, cut a few slices off and lay them on top of the asparagus for an extra punch of flavour and stunning presentation.
  7. Pop in the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes, watching closely.
  8. Serve alongside a whole grain and lean protein for the perfect weeknight meal.
  9. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

Asparagus & Italian-Spiced Grape Tomato Pasta Salad

Warm weather and pasta salad go hand in hand! It's a great option for a BBQ potluck, or the perfect make-ahead lunch. This recipe is overflowing with filling fiber thanks to the whole wheat pasta, asparagus, and beans. The beans also offer up a lean source of protein that will help keep you full and satisfied all afternoon long. The low-fat oil and vinegar dressing packs a serious flavour punch thanks to the addition of many herbs and spices. Feel free to play around with these and customize to your liking! Finally, this salad features an extra special ingredient: one of our newer preserves, Italian-Spiced Grape Tomatoes. I always find myself craving tomatoes this time of year, when there are still months between me and our freshly picked field-grown varieties. Fortunately, a jar of these little preserves is a wonderful placeholder. They are the perfect addition to this recipe, as they are pre-seasoned with even more herbs and spices. They are also nice and soft, and blend seamlessly into the salad.

Visit us on-farm or at a farmers’ market this week to stalk (get it?!) up on freshly-picked asparagus and other fresh produce and preserves. Mention this recipe to any of our staff, and get a special Mix & Match deal: 1 lb of asparagus and 1 jar of Italian-Spiced Grape Tomatoes for just $10!

Offer applies from today until end of asparagus season.

Updated pasta salad (6) edited.jpg

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

Pasta Salad

2 cups whole wheat pasta noodles of your choice (macaroni works well!), dried

1 lb. asparagus, washed with ends trimmed

1 jar Thames River Melons Italian-Spiced Grape Tomatoes

¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 can beans (black beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans) drained and rinsed

Dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ tablespoon mayonnaise

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon dehydrated onions

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Dash of salt

Dash of black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the asparagus thoroughly, then trim the ends, as they are tough and not tasty to eat! Once washed, cook the asparagus using your favourite method. You could roast it (8 minutes in a 400⁰F oven), BBQ it (8 minutes on a hot grill), or steam it (5 minutes in a steamer). Any method will do!
  2. Next, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Don't rinse the pasta, as this decreases its ability to soak up the dressing!
  3. Once the asparagus has cooked, cut the stalks into bite-sized chunks and add them to the bowl along with the cooked pasta.
  4. Next, open the jar of Italian-spiced grape tomatoes and drain most of the liquid. Toss the tomatoes and a small amount of the remaining liquid into the salad mixture of pasta & asparagus.
  5. Open the can of beans of your choice, drain and rinse them, then add to the growing salad mixture.
  6. Crumble the feta cheese and add this to the salad as well.
  7. Finally, prepare the dressing by vigorously whisking together the oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise (which acts as an emulsifier). Once mixed well, add the spices and whisk again. 
  8. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad ingredients and toss the salad together.
  9. Serve right away or chill in the fridge overnight and serve the next day.
  10. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD