Soft Pretzel Twists & Garlic Scape Mustard Dipping Sauce

Superbowl Sunday is fast approaching, and that calls for just one thing - snacks! I’ve always enjoyed the Superbowl, but not really for the football. Instead, my priority has always been the food, and this year will be no different. I’ll be whipping up a batch of these delicious soft pretzels for guests to dunk into our delicious Garlic Scape Mustards. Check out the recipe below and try it for yourself! Serve alongside some fresh veggie sticks to balance it out. Have a great weekend!

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 8 minutes

Makes: 8 soft pretzels

Ingredients:

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 standard packet)

1 cup warm water

1 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3 cups all-purpose flour + up to 3/4 cup more if needed

2 cups water

4 tbs baking soda

1 tbs coarse salt, for sprinkling on top

3 tbs salted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475⁰D and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.

  2. Combine yeast, warm water, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Let sit for approximately 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes "frothy". Stir in the salt and 1 tbs of melted butter.

  3. Next, add flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms and is no longer sticky. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead. Knead dough for 5 more minutes until smooth and pliable. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl to rest for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare baking soda bath.

  4. In a small pot, combine 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of baking soda and bring to a boil. Once the baking soda is mostly dissolved, take mixture off heat and allow it to come down to a lukewarm temperature. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish once cooled down.

  5. By now, the 15 minutes of dough resting time should be up. Take dough out of the bowl and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long rope, about 19-20 inches long.

  6. Shape dough as desired; into a traditional pretzel shape, twists, pretzel sticks, or pretzel bites. Place prepared pretzel shapes in the baking soda bath for 2 minutes. If the whole pretzel isn't covered by the water, spoon it on top of the areas is doesn't reach. Once the 2 minutes is up, carefully pick pretzel up either by your hand or with the help of a fork and place on prepared baking sheet. You may have to re-shape slightly. Sprinkle the pretzel with coarse salt while still wet (optional). Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheet(s).

  7. Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the remaining melted butter.

  8. These homemade soft pretzels are best served hot and fresh out of the oven but will keep for about 2 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave and they're good as new!

Recipe adapted from sprinklesomesugar.com by Alex Chesney, RD

Oatmeal-Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Chilly winter days were made for baking, don’t you think? There’s nothing I love more than hunkering down in my kitchen with some music playing in the background while I mix up some dough and roll it out. It’s soothing and comforting, and the end result is so delicious. This week I wanted to bake something that featured one of our jams, and thumbprint cookies immediately came to mind. They’re quick and easy, and super cute. Although these fall firmly into the treat category, this recipe features oats and whole wheat flour for a bump of fibre. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 10 minutes:

Makes: 3 dozen bite-sized cookies

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups old-fashioned oats, divided

¾ cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

¼ cup Thames River Melons raspberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Prepare a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones) by lining with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

  2. Grind ½ of the oats into a finely ground flour using a food processor, high-speed blender, or spice grinder. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl.

  3. Add the flour, remaining oats, ground ginger, and salt to the oat flour and whisk to combine.

  4. Next, beat together the butter and sugars using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer. Use medium speed, and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 1 minute).

  5. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Then, beat in the vanilla.

  6. Next, slowly add the flour mixture on low speed and beat until just incorporated.

  7. Finally, gently fold in the walnuts (if using).

  8. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, measure about 1 tablespoon of dough from the bowl. Roll the dough between the palms of your hand to form a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet(s).

  9. Continue to scoop and roll, placing the balls of dough approximately 2 inches apart.

  10. Use your thumb to press down on the middle of the dough ball. Fill each with a dab of raspberry jam.

  11. Place the prepared cookie sheets into the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then, rotate the baking sheet from front to back (and between racks if using two pans!) and continue baking for another 3 to 4 minutes, until cookies are set but still soft.

  12. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to fully cool.

  13. Store in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days. Enjoy!

Recipe modified from The Kitchn 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.

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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