Salad Turnip + Asparagus with Honey Ricotta
“I am NOT turning on the stove.” Something said about 4 times this week in our house. A refreshing, raw veggie salad is the perfect answer.
Now the end result is sans red radishes from our friends at Small Holding Farms (expect a reorder guys), as this very bowl below did not make it to the end process, may she rest in peace. Luckily we had enough salad turnip from Streamside Farms and asparagus left over, so the show must go on and it did. Refreshingly well! If you don’t have any herbs somewhere hiding in your garden, your local producers have tons! Herbs are great to have around; throw a little here, throw a little there.
Asparagus season is the best, and only time in our opinion, to eat asparagus raw. It’s crunchy, refreshing and adapts well to so many flavours. Who knows how long we have until they’re gone for the year, so we scooped some up at our local Stirling’s Fruit Farms.
Our ‘Mary’ blend was our spice of choice; all that herbaceous-ness mixed with some honey from our honey guru’s at Sunny Cove Honey. But I would easily sub her out for either Egyptian Summer or even Taco Enhancer! Our blends can be so interchangeable, a lovely quality to have.
The technique used here to treat the green onions is something we’ve learned from ‘Six Seasons’ by Joshua McFadden and have adapted into our salads ever since! It takes some of that bite away, leaving you with a crisp and refreshing addition to any salad.
- 1 lb mix of radishes and salad turnip, halved or cut into 1″ cubes
- 8 Asparagus spears (about 1 cup cut up), trimmed 1-2 inches from the bottom and sliced 1″ length on a diagonal
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Big Cove Foods’ ‘Mary Had a Lot of Lamb’ spice blend
- salt and pepper to taste
- handful of mixed herbs (we used mint, parsley and thyme)
- optional: ¼ cup sunflower seeds
In a small bowl, soak the sliced green onions in cold water with an ice cube or two, 20 minutes then drain.
To make the whipped ricotta, you need a food processor. Or a whisk and a strong arm.
Put the 1 cup of the ricotta cheese in the food processor and whip for about a minute. Slowly add the olive oil and whip in the food processor until nice and light. Add the honey, Mary had a Lot of Lamb spice blend and lemon juice; whip until well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large salad bowl, toss together the cut radish and turnip, asparagus pieces and green onion. Starting with half of the whipped ricotta recipe, add it to the vegetables and toss. Adding a little more as you would like or saving the rest for another time.
Roughly rip up and de-stem the herbs and toss them in your salad along with the sunflower seeds if using. Again add salt and pepper to taste.
Pork Noodle with Kimchi and Bok Choy
Rice noodles are like the summer-time comfort noodle of choice; a bit lighter, pairs great with summer time veggies, can be eaten hot or cold.
We’ve been trying out some recipes lately that use kimchi which inspired us to make our own. Paired with our ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ spice blend, the flavour profile is super complimentary.
Love this technique of really browning the pork first, to the point of almost burning. A technique learned from the ‘Mission Chinese’ cook book when making their Mapo Tofu (which is epic, a must try) It adds a texture and flavour that way exceeds a “cook until no longer pink”.
The best thing about bok choy is the two-part ingredient. The stems are separated to add a crunchy element as the greens are cooked until soft and wilted. Best of both worlds.
If our toddler wasn’t allergic to nuts, we would have topped this all off with some broken up roasted peanuts. Let us live vicariously through you, add some nuts.
- 10 oz rice noodle, broader style
- 1 lb pork ground
- 2 tbsp neutral oil, divided
- ½ cup kimchi, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp kimchi juice
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 bunch Bok choy, greens torn and stems sliced, keep separate
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sake
- 1½ tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ Spice Blend
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
In a large bow, add the rice noodles and soak in warm water until pliable, at least 30 minutes.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the pork until starting to brown and crispy up. Add the kimchi and kimchi juice and take off the heat. Move the pork mixture to a separate bowl.
Don’t bother even wiping out the pan, put it back on over a medium heat and add the 1 tbsp oil. Toss in the shallot, bok choy stems and carrots. Stirring often, cook until beginning to soften but not brown.
While that is cooking, in a small bowl make your sauce. Combine the light soy sauce, rice vinegar, sake, Ancient Chinese Secret spice blend, sesame oil and hoisin sauce. Stir it up.
Once your vegetable mix has softened, add the sauce and 1/4 cup water. Stir it up and add the drained noodles and toss up evenly. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on and cook until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes.
Once softened, add the pork kimchi and bok choy leaves and cook until heated through and greens are wilted.
Pork Chops with Apple + Rhubarb Pan Sauce
Rhubarb is in the air! and everywhere!
Our go-to’s are always something along the lines of muffins and stewed rhubarb with yogurt and toast. So let’s use it as a savoury!
A couple weeks ago we got a lovely apple sample from Suprima Farms in our farmers market order Small, non sprayed apples, great for our toddler who loves to take a bite and leave it somewhere to be found on another date. We used these apples as the inspiration of our dish, paired with the copious amounts of rhubarb we’re seeing right now.
Since our Espresso Nice spice blend has a bit of sweetness with a hint of coffee flavour, this recipe hits on the sour, the sweet and the savoury. What better cut to use than pork chops from Little Dorset Farms. Pork takes on these flavours like a champ! You won’t be disappointed.
- 2 pork chops
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup pancetta
- 2 tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Espresso Nice’ Spice Blend
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 apple, peeled, quartered and sliced thin
- 1 medium rhubarb stalk, sliced on a diagonal ½” thick
- green onion, sliced thin on
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 3 tbsp butter
- sprig thyme
Season the pork chops well with salt and pepper on both sides.
Set a large cast iron pan over medium heat, cook pancetta until beginning to crisp up and move to paper towel lined plate.
There should be enough fat left in the pan from the pancetta, but if the pan looks a little dry, add a small coating of oil. Turn the heat to medium high and add the pork chops, sear each side 2-3 minutes or until browned. Move to plate and set aside.
Lower heat to medium again, you may need to let the pan cool down, and add the neutral oil. Add the green onion and cook until aromatic. Add rhubarb, apples and Espresso Nice spice blend and stir to combine. Add in the white wine and bring to a simmer. Add the pork chops back to the pan, toss in the sauce, add the thyme and cover, lowering to low heat. Allow the pork chops to cook, about 7-10 minutes.
Take the pan off heat and move the pork chops to a serving plate. Add the butter and pancetta to the sauce and stir until combined. Divide the sauce amongst the pork chops.
Arctic char with Egyptian Summer Lemon + Honey Sauce
Love these one-pan meals! Easy cookin, easy clean up.
Being due for a nice light dinner, the arctic char from Afishionado stashed in the freezer was calling our name.
This sweet, lemony herb sauce was the perfect drizzle on top prior to cooking, but also saving some for the table is key. A little sweetness from Sunny Cove’s honey and a spicy note from our Egyptian Summer blend created a nice sauce for both the fish and vegetables.
- 1 lb Arctic char
- ¼ cup Lemon juice
- ¼ cup curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ tbsp Big Cove Foods Egyptian Summer spice blend (Add a full tablespoon or more for a bit more spicy heat)
- 2 green onions, sliced on a diagonal about 2″ long
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced ¼” thick
- 4 oz mushroom, sliced ¼” thick
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss the green onion, radish and mushroom with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper generously. Set aside.
Lets make the sauce! In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened and aromatic. Add the parsley and Egyptian Summer spice blend and cook until you get a nice simmer going on. Off heat, stir in the lemon juice and honey.
Season your fish well with salt and pepper on both sides and lay it skin side down on the prepared baking sheet. Give you radish mix an extra toss and pile it around the fish. Pour half of the sauce directly on the fish and save the other half for serving.
Cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or cooked enough to your liking.
Roasted Radish + Arugula with Bacon Vinaigrette
You can feel brighter days ahead when radishes start popping up at your local farmers markets! Like the ones we found from Small Holdings Farm. It’s usually one of the first veggies that we see of the year right after all the salad mixes.
Arugula takes on warm toppings extremely well, in our opinion. So we scored some Arugula from Streamside Farms and lightly roasted the sliced radishes with a garlic panko mixture, just enough to warm through and brown up the crunchy panko.
We had a few pieces of bacon left in the freezer from Little Dorset Farms, not enough to share for breakfast as our toddler has just discovered his love for bacon – it wouldn’t stand a chance.
So we stumbled upon this recipe that was inspired by a ‘Pancetta Vinaigrette’ from the cook book ‘Six Seasons’ by Joshua McFadden. We are so grateful they introduced this into our lives…
We incorporated our ‘Maple Mustard Hamonizer’ into the dressing and used local bacon instead of pancetta.
This may just be our new fav dressing – we even put it on our scallops from Afishionado!
– 2 ½ oz Arugula
– 1 bunch radishes, sliced ¼” thick (mandoline)
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1 tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Maple Mustard Hamonizer’
– 1 cup panko bread crumb
– ¼ olive oil + 1 tbsp
– 1 tsp salt
Maple Bacon Vinaigrette
– 1 tsp Big Cove Foods ‘Maple Mustard Hamonizer’
– Extra virgin olive oil
– 3 oz bacon, diced
– 1 shallot, minced
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– ¼ red wine vinegar
– ¼ tsp salt
Make the Bacon Vinaigrette.
In a small pan, heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat and add the bacon. Stirring regularly, cook until the bacon is just beginning to crisp up. Take off the heat and wait until the mixture stops hissing. Add the garlic and shallots and stir for a few minutes, softening these added ingredients. Add the red wine vinegar, salt and Maple Mustard Hamonizer and stir. Set aside in a glass dish while you prepare your salad. It the vinaigrette starts to solidify, you can reheat it on the stove or pop in the microwave for a few seconds. Best enjoyed warm!
Preheat oven to 475 f
Slice the radishes into a small bowl and toss with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of ‘Maple Mustard Hamonizer’. Set aside.
Place a large oven safe pan over low heat, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes, careful not to burn or allow your garlic to brown. You just want it to soften and create a lovely, garlicy aroma.
Remove from heat, stir in the bread crumbs and salt until evenly incorporated. Add your marinaded radishes and toss to coat. Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook 5 minutes, toss, and cook for another couple minutes. Keep a close eye as you want a nice brown but don’t want to burn the panko. Remove from the oven and salt to taste.
In a large bowl, lay down the arugula. Top with the still hot radish mixure and drizzle with the warm bacon vinaigrette. You may not need all the vinaigrette, so store in the fridge for about a week. I promise you’ll find more to do with it!
We had scallops with this salad and the left over bacon vinaigrette on top of those was a-mazing.
Toss all together! Enjoy!
Red Rub Smoked Brisket
It’s that time of year again where we dig into the barn for all those wood chips accumulated from last year…
Smoking just adds that extra extraness that we all want when we plan to have a great BBQ dinner. You get the aroma outside, the aroma inside and the aroma imprinted into our clothes – and it’s beautiful. Since we’re basically all stuck at home, this is the perfect time to try out recipes like these that take all day to cook.
Red Rub is such a classic smoking spice, it loves the bbq and the bbq loves it. Try out this recipe that you can throw together with such little effort, just a matter of keeping an eye on it during the day. And each time you check will build upon the excitement that IS dinner time.
- 1 Brisket (4-6 lbs)
- ¼ cup Big Cove Foods Red Rub
- ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
- Beer or water
- A couple handfuls of soaked wood chips. (We used a mix of mesquite, apple and cherry wood, soak minimum 30 minutes)
- Completely smother the brisket with the Dijon mustard and then generously coat with the Red Rub. Place brisket, fat side up, on a roasting pan with a raised rack. Pour the beer/water on the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat your BBQ/hot smoker to 250 F and add the wood chips at the appropriate time.
- Put the roasting pan on the BBQ. Cook it low and slow until it reaches an internal temperature of 175 F (6-10 hours – make sure you periodically check on charcoal/wood/beer levels.)
- Take off the brisket pan and wrap with foil. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 200 F and the meat is tender enough to poke through easily with a finger or something about that size.
- Unwrap and let rest for 45 minutes. Slice it up and serve over something tasty like mashed potatoes or rice.
Mexican Mac and Cheese
Comfort food is always appropriate during a pandemic!
Mac and cheese has been a staple here for the past month, so sprucing it up was a refreshing, and necessary, change.
We scored some awesome Chorizo sausages at Red Mountain Farm that when paired with our Taco Enhancer spice blend made for a fabulous Mexican themed pasta dish. To ease some of the guilt of eating so many cheesy noodle dishes, spinach from Streamside Farms was the perfect ingredient to justify our guilty pleasure.
Knoydart Farm’s ‘medium cheddar cheese’ added the perfect creaminess that every mac n’ cheese dish strives to achieve. We missed out on grabbing it from the New Glasgow Farmers Markets online shop, but luckily you can still support local as they carry Knoydart products in Sobeys as well!
- 13 oz (about 2½ cups) elbow noodles
- 12 oz chorizo sausage, casings removed
- grapeseed oil
- ½ tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Taco Enhancer’ spice blend
- 8 oz fresh Spinach
- 1 Red Pepper, diced
- 8 oz Medium Cheddar (about 2½ cups), grated
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1½ cups Milk
- ½ cup panko
- 2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven broiler.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions.
Place a large pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with the oil. Add the chorizo to the pan, using a wood spoon break up the meat well. After a couple minutes, add the red pepper and cook until softened and meat is starting to brown. Move the chorizo mix to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, lower the heat to medium and melt the butter. Stir or whisk in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, a little bit at a time while whisking constantly. Once smooth, stir in the Taco Enhancer spice blend and salt to taste. Turn heat to low/warm and add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the chorizo and red pepper mixture and keep warm.
Once the pasta is done, drain and add it to your cheese mix along with the spinach. Pour it into an oven safe dish, fits a 9″ x 13″ well.
In a small bowl, combine the panko crumbs with the butter and salt and pepper to taste. Add to the top of the mac and cheese and allow to crisp up under the broiler for a couple minutes. Keep a close eye not to burn the top.
Sautéed Spinach + Tomatoes
Spinach is popping out from our local farmers! And cherry tomatoes has been spotted if you’re lucky enough to get to the right place at the right time.
This sautéed side is bursting with asian flavour as we highlight our ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ spice blend, dabbled with a bit of sweetness from our favourite honey, Sunny Cove Honey.
This bright and cheery side dish will be a great companion to your many weekend BBQ’s, or weekday, does anybody REALLY keep track of the difference these days?
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes,
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 12 oz spinach
- 1 tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ spice blend
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp honey
Lets make the sauce! In a small bowl, mix together the ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ spice blend, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and honey. Set aside.
In a large pan, cast iron works great for this, turn the heat to medium-high. Once hot, add the tomatoes to the dry pan. Once you see them get a bit of a sear, turn the heat down to medium. Add the olive oil and butter and continue to cook until the tomatoes soften and can easily burst.
Add your sauce now to the pan and combine. Add the spinach and toss evenly, cook until just wilted.
Seared Scallops in Spicy Cream Sauce
There are so many ways to cook up scallops! And I’m pretty sure we’ve tried about half of them. To turn our scallops into a meal, we love cooking them in a creamy white wine sauce and using rice or potatoes to catch every last bit of sauce.
The beauty with this recipe (and with using Big Cove Foods’ spices) is that you can switch out for your favourite spice blend! The recipe would also be amazing with ‘Mary Had a Lot of Lamb’, ‘Porcini BBQ Genie’ or even ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’. So choose your meal weapon and as much local as you can find!
- 1 lb scallops (used here: Afishionado, NS)
- 6 strips bacon (used here: Little Dorset Farms, NS)
- salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Red Rub’ spice blend
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- micro greens, 1-2 handfuls (used here: ‘The Farmhouse Mix’ by Bramble Hill Farms, NS)
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook your bacon until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Pour the bacon fat through a strainer into a small bowl and reserve the fat, discard the stainer remnants. Wipe out your pan. *phewf, hard work done.
Lay your scallop on a double layer of paper towels and dab to get as much excess water out as your can. The dryer the scallops, the better the sear you’re going to achieve. (Alternatively, we’ve read that you can salt them and allow to sit for 15 minutes, which will draw out extra moisture) Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
Put your pan back on the heat and crank it a little higher than medium high. With your reserved bacon fat, add just enough to coat the pan. Get it nice and hot before laying down your scallops. Lay them down one at a time, mindful not to over crowd your pan – work in two batches if necessary and add more of the reserved bacon fat if needed.
Cook the scallops until you see a nice brown crust, should only take a minute or two. Flip and cook for an additional minute to achieve the same results on the other side. Remove from heat and transfer to a paper towel lines plate.
Remove the pan from heat to allow the oil to chill out a bit, turn your heat to medium and return pan to heat. Add the garlic and Red Rub spice blend and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and cook for 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by approximately one third. Add in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
Turn the heat off and stir in the butter until melted. Stir in the lemon juice and gently add your scallops back to the pan to warm through before dropping in your micro greens.
Enjoy over mashed potatoes, rice, couscous …. anything that can absorb this lovely sauce.
Maple Mustard Salad Dressing
Spring is in the air! The fresh, local veggies are coming and they taste so good! These greens from Streamside Farms brought us into the spirit we all need to be in right now.
Have some salad! And try this dressing on it for a unique kick!
- 1 tbsp Big Cove Foods ‘Maple Mustard Hamonizer’ spice blend
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
In a small bowl, with a fork or small whisk, blend together the ‘Maple Mustard Hamonizer’ spice blend and dijon mustard until it forms a paste. Add in the lime juice, honey and salt and whisk until well blended. Whip in the olive oil until uniform consistency.
Add to your favourite salad combination!