Farmers Feast #3 [Warm Caramelized Corn, Shiro Plum & Patty Pan Salad]

Another month, another Farmers Feast. 

This time, it was all about the corn. The beautiful, golden yellow and satisfyingly sweet corn. With the recent drought still causing uncertainty and stress for our farmers, I worried that I might not get the opportunity to go about my usual late-summer addiction to the succulent golden beauties. 

Imagine my sheer elation when I spied 4 perfect cobs of corn tucked away inside my surprise basket from the Ottawa Farmers Market. I showed up earlier than usual this time, and found Tara zipping around thoughtfully filling my take-away basket full of shiro plums, peppy yellow patty pan squashes, cobs of corn, fragrant tomatoes, pungent purslane & red Russian garlic, Red Deer pepperettes and spiky artichokes. This was going to be a fun one. 

I ultimately decided on a warm, caramelized corn salad packed with all things sweet, savoury, creamy and crunchy. I wanted to do something that was simple and speedy to make in the extreme heat we’ve been having lately. It was nearly impossible to add everything from the basket into the salad, but I tried to use as much as was possible without overdoing it. Rest assured, everything else found a happy home in my tummy. 

The vendors who graciously provided this month’s Farmers Feast:
Warner Farms – plums
Kiwan Farms - purslane
Acorn Creek Garden Farm – artichoke
Needham’s Garden Market– sweet corn
Trillium Meadows Red Deer & Wild Boar Farm – pepperettes
Hoople Creek Farm– red Russian garlic
Jaquemet Garden – tomatoes
Bergeron Gardens - Paddy pans

Oh, and while we’re yakking about the market, I want to make sure you all know about Savour Ottawa’s Harvest Table event. This year it’s being held on August 19th at the Ottawa Farmers Market (Brewer Park) and it’s going to be a delicious day. Tickets are $60 ($75 for cream of the crop tickets, which include a tour of the market and some tasty sampling) and include a 5 course menu prepared by some of Ottawa’s most celebrated chefs and local beer and wine. The market will be in full swing as usual, bringing diners and shoppers together for one giant celebration of local food and drink. For more details on restaurants and beer/wine companies involved, have a look at the link above. I really hope I’ll see you there, it’s going to be a fantastic day! 

 Warm Caramelized Corn, Shiro Plum & Patty Pan Salad
serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main course

If you’re unable to find patty pan squashes, zucchini will do in a pinch. The same goes for plums - use red plums or even peaches in place of shiro plums if you’re unable to find them. 

3-4 cobs of corn, kernels sliced off the cob (about 1 1/2-2 cups)
2 tbsp olive oil (or 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp butter for extra indulgence)
4-5 patty pan squashes, cut into bite-sized piece
4 shiro plums, pitted and sliced in quarters
3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2” rounds
1/4 large red onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
1 tbsp fresh lime juice + slices for serving
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
Good, aged Lankaaster or Parmesan cheese, crumbled
sea salt and pepper

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil (and butter, if using) into the pan until melted. Add the corn to the pan and spread evenly. Let it sit to brown for 2 minutes. Stir, spread evenly and repeat for another 2 minutes. Add the squash and cook with the corn, stirring occasionally until it’s tender but still has a nice bite to it, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the red onion, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Toss to coat. Taste for seasoning, add salt if needed. 

Place 2-3 tomatoes slices on your plate (or in a serving dish). Spoon corn salad over the tomatoes and top with crumbled cheese, a few grinds of pepper and another squeeze of lime. 


Disclaimer: Farmers Feast is a partnership with the Ottawa Farmers Market. I am not compensated beyond the ingredients given from the market. Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. 


Penciling-In Inspiration [Smokey Summer Squash with Baked Eggs]

I’ve been struggling to find inspiration lately. I’m not sure if I can blame being busy and not having as many opportunities to find myself grazing through the aisles of the market or hanging lazily over the pages of Food & Wine or if I’m just trying to find excuses to be lazy and sluggish. 

In any case, I’m over it. If I need to pencil time in to plunk myself right in the middle of the market or buried in a book or food magazine in order to feel inspired, I’m ready to do that. And do that, I did. I spent my lunch hour reading over my favourite blogs that I had very obviously avoided judging by the pages and pages of unread material I came across. And just as I’d suspected, inspiration leaped off the page in the form of a pot of summer squash and baked eggs from The Kitchn, which is always a main source of inspiration for me. 

Of course, baked eggs are not new to the pages of The Gouda Life, but I always find it so fascinating that eggs can be eaten so many ways, using so many methods and with such adaptable flavour.  Baking them has easily become one of my favourite ways to enjoy the protein-packed little gems. 

It’s getting to be that time of year when squash is readily available on every table at the farmers market and supermarket. Every possible variety you could ever imagine, as well. So when I arrived to the grocery store to find their varieties a little lacking, I was disappointed. So I settled for the Buttercup and Butternut varieties. A bit typical but no less delicious, I suppose. 

Smokey Summer Squash with Baked Eggs 
recipe adapted from The Kitchn

2 pounds summer squash (including zucchini!), peeled and cleaned if needed
1 tbsp Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
olive oil
2 shallots, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
4 oz soft goat cheese
1/4 cup loose packed basil (and more for garnish), sliced into ribbons (chiffonade) 
4 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375. 

Using a box grater or your grater attachment for food processor,  grate the squash into a large bowl. Transfer squash to a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit in the sink or over a larger bowl for 30 minutes to let go of some of it’s liquid. 

In a large skillet (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium-high heat, drizzle a good coating of  olive oil and heat until shiny. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant.

Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the squash and add to the skillet along with the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture stops giving off liquid and everything is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add in goat cheese and basil. Stir until combined.

Using the back of a spoon, make 4 small, evenly spaced wells in the mixture. Break one egg at a time into a small bowl and pour very carefully into the well. Repeat for 3 other eggs. Sprinkle eggs with salt, pepper and paprika. 

Bake dish, uncovered, until egg whites have turned opaque and yolks are still runny, about  20 minutes. Garnish with extra basil and serve with crusty bread, a salad and you’ve got a lovely late summer meal. 



Stuffing. Over and Over.

I’m a little late to the draw on this one, but better late than stuffing-less. Or something like that.

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking making stuffing after a full, gut-bustingly filling, buttery, amazing Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend… but, here we are. Talking about stuffing. Eating stuffing. Stuffing things with more stuffing.

Oh my, where was I?
Stuffing. Right. Vegetarian stuffing to be more precise. One that fills and feels like a good ol fashioned family recipe passed down through generations. It even makes you sleepy like regular meaty stuffing. And that’s a good thing, right? Goat cheese, wild rice, crusty bread… oh boy is it ever good.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it… but I love goat cheese. A LOT. Sometimes, when no one is home and the animals aren’t looking, I’ll spread an inch thick layer on bread (or really, anything that can hold it) and eat one, two, maybe three of them in a row. It’s shameful behaviour but I can’t help myself. I won’t.

Wild Rice & Goat Cheese Stuffing
adapted from Bobby Flay’s Recipe (which contains Chorizo, for those interested!)
Serves 6-8 so cut in half if you don’t want that much.  

2 cups wild rice
6 cups water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 loaf of day-old crusty/french bread, cubed
2 to 4 cups veggie stock (a good one that you would actually drink on it’s own, otherwise just use water)
12 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Coarse Salt

Combine the rice, water and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the grains open all the way, about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes. The rice should be very cooked (not chewy). Strain, place in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until soft. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion mixture, bread, goat cheese, parsley and 2 cups of the veggie stock to the rice. Mix to combine. The mixture should be quite wet; add more stock, if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a large buttered baking dish and bake, uncovered, until heated through and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.


If you want to serve with roasted squash: slice squash in half and clean out the gunk/seeds. Rub both exposed sides with butter and poke all over with a fork. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and coarse salt. Bake on 400 until fork tender. (45 minutes +/-). 


Deliciousness in Exchange for Forgiveness?

I WAS ON VACATION, OK?! And then my camera wasn’t working. And then and then and then…. excuses excuses. Once again, it’s been a while since we last talked. I guess we’re out of the honeymoon stage….it’s to be expected I suppose. I do still love you - I’ve just been working so hard on my itty bitty baking business [Shameless plug: NOSHfood] that I can no longer devote all of my blood, sweat and tears into our relationship. I will try to be a better life companion. I promise.

So here I am, pleading for your forgiveness in exchange for a delicious dish. It’s worth it, I guarantee.
I was going to do a butternut squash and sage risotto for dinner tonight… but I’ve already done that and I really wanted to update with a banger.  Something new to sink your teeth into.

This is easy and fairly healthy but most of all it’s so delicious.

Butternut Squash|Caramelized Onions|Fried Sage|Gorgonzola

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
2 medium yellow onions
10 fresh sage leaves, stems removed
1/3C crumbled gorgonzola
Salt & Pepper
1T olive oil
3T butter

Do it!

1. Lay chopped squash pieces on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 1T olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and rub the oil and s’n’p into the squash evenly. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven turning once [so as to let another side of the squash get beautifully caramelized] for about 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

2. Add thinly sliced onions to a pot with 1T butter and 1T olive oil. Cook over medium/high heat, stiring often, until caramelized.

3. While onions are caramelizing and squash is roasting - you can fry up some sage!
Add 2T butterto frying pan and let it brown ever so slightly. Add fresh sage and let it sit until crispy. About 4-5 minutes.

4. Add the caramelized onions and squash to brown butter/sage pan and toss it all together.

5. Sprinkle with gorgonzola and stuff it in your face as fast as you can.