Fall Farmers' Market Finds
Spice of Life
This week, we officially welcomed autumn and have been taking full advantage of the beautiful fall weather. We’ve found ourselves looking for fresh, fall veggies at local farmers’ markets and digging out our favourite fall recipes. This is the time of year we start treating ourselves to the very best comfort foods, so we’re sharing some of our favourites with you!
The Evergreen Brick Works Farmers' Market
One of Toronto's largest farmers' markets, the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market includes 65 to 85 vendors. This vast outdoor covered space in downtown Toronto is open every Saturday from 8:00am to 1:00pm, offering a wide range of products (local and organic produce, preserves, freshly cooked foods, natural skincare products, baked goods, coffee, tea, and more).
Evergreen started its Saturday Farmers’ Market in 2007 with 25 local farmers and producers, a great location, and a great response from the community. Since then, the Farmers’ Market has grown to become the largest farmers’ market in Toronto. Running year-round, they offer the widest variety of local and seasonal food in the city.
Their goal is simple: To work with the community and help everyone make healthier food choices. In doing so, they are working to create a food system that is ecologically and economically sustainable. For over 13 years, they have been providing access to local and seasonal food and educating visitors about the health benefits of seasonal eating, all while supporting the local food economy in Ontario, including farmers, producers, wineries, breweries, and chefs.
If you’re looking for the perfect way to spend your morning, why not head over to the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market today!
During the fall, you can find fresh Ontario grown pears at your local farmers’ markets and grocery stores, so, this weekend we encourage you to get your fresh pears and give this cocktail a try! Fresh pears are super-crisp and nectar-sweet, that’s why you need the fresh lemon juice in this cocktail. It adds a bright top note and balances the sweetness.
- 2 cups water
- 12 ozs ripe pear slices
- 2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 ozs gin, divided
- 1 1/2 cups chilled prosecco, divided
- Lemon peel strips
- Boil water, ripe pear slices, granulated sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan until pears soften, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a blender; add fresh lemon juice. Blend until smooth; pour into a large glass measuring cup. Chill 30 minutes.
- Add 1/2 oz. gin to each of 6 ice-filled glasses. Add 2/3 cup pear mixture to each glass; top each with 1/4 cup chilled prosecco. Garnish with lemon peel.
Caramelized Onion Dip
Getting ready to snuggle in for a movie night on the couch? Tired of eating the same old movie snacks week after week? We know that feeling. We love chips – probably too much, if we’re honest – but there have been days where even our beloved chips lose their appeal. On those days, we whip up this delicious caramelized onion dip which takes everything up to another level!
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 lb cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Potato chips, for serving
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 25 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring, until the water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Let the onions cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the onions to a cutting board and coarsely chop. In a large bowl, mix the sour cream with the cream cheese, parsley, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Stir in the onions and season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature with potato chips.
Note: The onion dip can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days! So, make it ahead of time so you’re ready to go when you want to start your movie.
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
This butternut squash risotto recipe tastes incredible! Roasted butternut squash and crispy fried sage really take it over the top. This risotto is also healthier and easier than most, since it calls for brown rice instead of white, and requires practically no stirring. You can just bake it all in the oven! If that doesn’t scream “perfect weekend recipe,” we don’t know what does.
This recipe yields 4 servings and takes 15 minutes of prep time and 60 minutes for cooking.
Butternut squash risotto:
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 4 cups (32 ozs) vegetable broth, divided
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups brown arborio/short-grain brown rice
- 1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled and sliced into 1/2” cubes
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese* (about 2 1/2 ozs)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, optional
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 16 to 20 fresh sage leaves, chopped (to yield about 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage)
- To prepare: Place your oven racks in the lower third and upper third positions (we’re going to bake the risotto on the middle rack and roast the squash on the upper rack at the same time), then preheat oven to 375F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for the butternut squash. Reserve 1 cup broth from your container and set it aside for when the risotto is out of the oven.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-to-large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 3 cups broth and 1 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake on the lower rack until rice is tender and cooked through, about 65 to 70 minutes. It will seem pretty dry when you take off the lid, but don’t worry!
- Immediately after placing the pot of risotto in the oven, toss the cubed butternut with 2 tablespoons olive oil on your lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and some freshly ground black pepper and arrange the butternut in a single layer on the pan. Roast on the upper rack until the butternut is fork tender and the edges are deeply caramelized, tossing halfway. This took 55 to 60 minutes for me, but start checking for doneness around 40 minutes.
- While the risotto and butternut are in the oven, fry the sage: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sage and toss to coat. Let the sage get darker green and crispy (but not brown) before transferring it to a plate covered with a paper towel. Sprinkle the fried sage lightly with salt and set it aside.
- Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid and pour in the remaining cup of broth, the Parmesan, wine and butter. Stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Stir in the salt, a generous amount of pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Stir in the roasted butternut. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, as needed. Divide the risotto into bowls and top each with a sprinkle of fried sage.
- Storage suggestions: This risotto keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for a few days.
- Make it dairy free/vegan: Starchy rice accounts for most of this risotto’s creaminess, so you can skip the dairy or replace it with the following. Replace the butter with vegan butter or a tablespoon or two of additional olive oil, to taste. Skip the Parmesan cheese. You might like to add some nutritional yeast for cheesy flavour.
- If you don’t have a Dutch oven: Use a large saucepan instead, then carefully pour the boiling broth and rice mixture into a casserole dish. If the casserole dish has an oven-safe lid, use that; if not, cover it tightly with foil. Bake as directed.