One more week to go before the Coquitlam Farmers Market moves down the hill and morphs into the Port Moody Farmers Market. Until then, there is still much available to make your fall cooking and eating as local as possible.
This time of year, we tend to want comforting foods, rich with flavour and weight. No more light and crisp salads or barbecue — give me gravy and potatoes and roasted veggies.
Thankfully, when you eat seasonally and locally, those types of meals are easy to prepare. If you have a slow cooker, it’s even easier. One of my favourite slow cooker recipes is nothing more than peeling and cubing fall veggies such as squash, golden beets, parsnips and potatoes, placing them in the slow cooker with some tomatoes for the liquid, a bit of vegetable broth and some garam masala from Amazing foods (you could also add a can of chickpeas, if you like). Turn the slow cooker on low and let it go — six hours later, you have a delicious veggie stew. Serve it with some crusty bread and cheese, and you are good to go.
And speaking of bread, do you know how many wonderful bakers we have at the Coquitlam market?
Gesundheit’s familiar yellow trailer carries a wide variety of goods, from pretzel cheese sticks (my favourite) through naturally leavened breads and lovely sweets. Apple strudel, anyone?
Bread Affair is the organic choice for the market. All its breads are made using only organic flour — Bread Affair actually grows some of the wheat itself. The Marquis bread is made from wheat it grows in Abbotsford and its Love at First Bite is made using B.C. blueberries and Hazelnuts. Love at First Bite was the bread that hooked me on the bakery from the start.
Sweet Thea has stepped into the bread business, too. Aside from bringing all its lovely cookies to market, Thea has been experimenting with wonderful peasant-style breads — they are fabulous and it’s possible to eat an entire loaf.
Cascadia Bakehouse is a fairly recent addition to the market scene. The creative duo behind this bakery bring some unique baking to market. Inspired by the abundance of the Cascades, they combine flavours that reflect the diversity and seasonality of our area. They source many of their ingredients directly from other market farmers. Katie and Marco shared the history of one of their items, the Financier, one of my favourites. A small, almond-based cake, their Financier is flavoured with brown butter that originated from the Visitandine order of nuns. Typically, the cake is made to resemble a small bar of gold, hence the name. The cake later became popular in the financial district of Paris as business people could easily eat them without making a mess on their suits or if need be, stored away for later without being damaged. Who knew?
Kizzy’s Macarons have become a much-loved staple at market. Her stall is a visual rainbow of colour on our dreary, rainy days and her macarons taste darn good.
Samaya Delights are another regular that have gained quite a following. All of Tamara’s treats are vegetarian and many are vegan. Try her turmeric muffin — I believe this is the best muffin I have ever eaten and, with its healthy dose of turmeric, it is good for you, too.
Little Hands Cakes and Cookies makes really flavourful cupcakes and other treats, and you can often find themed delights there, too. Oh Sweet Day! creates the best little cheesecakes, perfectly sized for sharing, Or not. Do have a look at Fanny’s brand new cookbook. We are so proud of her.
Three new bakers are joining us this winter season. If you are a fan of croissants, make sure you visit Sebastian at Ca Croustille. They sell out regularly and it’s no wonder. Try the double baked chocolate almond croissant.
Balkan Bites make eastern European-style cookies, bars and various other treats, from favourite family recipes. I’m sure looking forward to trying them.
Lastly, Gooba Bakes will be with us this winter with its traditional Taiwanese pineapple cakes. It has a sweet and tart pineapple filling enveloped in a buttery shortbread crust. Gooba Bake’s pineapple cakes are made from scratch with fresh pineapple just like the cakes their grandmother made. I love pineapple and can’t wait to taste these.
GOT SOME ZUCCHINIi?
Now that you are inspired by all the amazing bakers at market, here is a recipe for zucchini muffins that my mom used to make. They are one of my favourites and a great way to use market-fresh zucchini.
½ c melted butter
½ c cooking oil
1 ½ c brown sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 ½ c zucchini, grated, squeezed and tightly packed
1 ½ c white flour
½ c whole wheat flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c raisins
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 ½ c bran buds
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line one 12-muffin tin plus one 6-muffin tin. Mix butter, oil and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs, water, vanilla and nutmeg. Stir in flours, salt and baking soda. Combine well, then add raisins, coconut and bran buds. Fill prepared muffins tins and bake 30 min. at 350 F.