Hot Sauce Contest

Announced on Twitter, my personal Facebook page, and here on

Any new Peterborough Farm to Table Culinary Tours Facebook “likes” between now and Friday at 5pm will be put into a draw to win one of 3 Farm to Table hot sauces: Habanero Death, Chipotle Hurt, or Cayenne Maim. 3 prizes in all.

These aren’t fancypants bottles of sauce, but rather home canned and made from peppers and other ingredients grown in the Farm to Table gardens.

Trust me when I say that they are much sought after culinary fireballs. Hand-crafted, they range from pretty darned hot to “wow, where did my eyebrows go.”

Sorry existing “likes,” but look for a contest for you early in the new year (including a chance to win tickets for the weekly summer culinary tours).

Want a tease? Here is the Chipotle Hurt, featured on Punk Domestics.

Birkenstock Breakfast: Yoghurt and Apple Maple Granola

Awhile back, I gave step-by-step instructions for making yoghurt (click here). Yesterday I promised a maple syrup recipe.

So today, I’m going to offer up a great, home-crafted nutritional breakfast — one that may or may not go with Birkenstock sandals.

Maple syrup isn’t just for your pancakes. Don’t get me wrong, we had pancakes and maple syrup yesterday, but I’m also using our new maple syrup to flavour some yummy apple-maple granola.

Note: You can still find some good storage apples at market if you are up for drying your own (about 10 hours at 135 degrees if you have a food dehydrator).

This granola is a staple for me with my morning yoghurt. Feel free to modify to your tastes!

Apple Maple Granola

2 cups whole oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp sunflower oil (or similar)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup dried apple slices, coarsely chopped (these are not added until after the granola comes out of the oven)

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine wet ingredients and spices in a small saucepan. Heat mixture, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

Remove from heat and add hot syrup to dry mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are well coated. Spread an even layer of the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn after 15 minutes.

Mix in the dried apples, then spread to cool.



Pumpkins: Not Just for Jack o’ Lanters

For the entire article and full recipes, visit my Farm to Table blog at

Win some free Farm to Table Hot Sauce.  Look for the contest at the end of the blog.

The joy of pumpkin is that it versatile.  Versatile and gooey.  Nothing says fun like scraping our stringy pumpkin guts and squishing them through your fingers.  If you have kids, be prepared for some screams of fun disgust.  Don’t forget to keep the pumpkin seeds.  Toasted, they make a great treat.  Simply rinse the seeds and spread them over a paper towel to dry overnight.  The next day, toss them in a bit of oil and salt and then bake.  I cook mine at 300 degrees for roughly a half-hour – tossing every 10 minutes or so – until they are nice and golden.

Most pumpkin recipes call for pumpkin puree.  Here’s a quick, no fail way to make your own:

In order to make the puree, you will need to scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean – have fun, kids!  You then cut the pumpkin in half, laying the halves in a large roasting pan, with a cup or so of water.  Bake the pumpkin at 350 for roughly 90 minutes, or until very tender.  Let cool and then scrape the flesh from the rind.  Use your food processor to puree until smooth.  Be sure that you are using a smaller pie pumpkin rather than a larger decorative one.  Jack o’ Lantern pumpkins are often too tough to eat.

Want to make use of some of that pumpkin puree?  Here’s an easy recipe to help you do so.  These are kind of “cakey” cookies that are popular with both kids and adults.

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¾ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons (or slightly more) milk
1 tablespoon butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together all dry ingredients (except white sugar).  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and white sugar.  Stir in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Measure tablespoon sized balls of dough, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool and drizzle on glaze.

Glaze: Mix together ingredients.  If not thin enough to drizzle add slightly more milk.

Want to win some Farm to Table hot sauces.  We’re looking for your favourite pumpkin soup recipe.  Send yours in for a chance to win either jar of either “Jalapeno Hurt” or “Habanero Death” hot sauce.  Winner will be chosen in a draw.  Leave your recipe in the comment section or email “donald @ farmtablecatering . ca”

The Perfect Picnic: Tandoori Chicken with Apple/Cucumber Relish

Tandoori Chicken Sandwich with Apple/Cucumber Relish -- and some picnic wine, of course.

It was Krista’s birthday yesterday, and I wanted to do something special.

For those of you who aren’t regular readers of the column and blog, Krista is the Farm to Table gardener, baker, and bookkeeper. She’s also my main squeeze. My partner in crime. My wife.

Krista turned 29 this year. Which is astounding as she turned 31 last year. Women’s math, I think, differs from men’s.

But age means little on a birthday in the Farm to Table household. No, for us it is all about food. Birthdays are wonderful excuses to try restaurants we’ve never tried before, or to cook elaborate birthday dishes to have by candlelight.

This year, however, we did things a bit differently.

This year, Krista wanted a picnic.

And so a picnic I did make.

Wrapping my head around picnic food, I knew that I would need something somewhat portable. Something that could be eaten cold. But something fun, fresh, and exciting.

Of course, I also wanted it to be local and seasonal (or as much as possible anyway).

And with Krista out for the day yesterday, I set to work making a lovely dinner. By the time she got home, it was packed and ready to go.

Now, as any food lover will tell you, setting greatly enhances any dish. So, for the picnic, we decided a paddle up the canal to a nice secluded area would do the trick. We have a lovely private area that we pull into whenever we canoe up the canal. I’m not going to tell you where, but it is a little bit before you get to the bridge at Nassau Mills Road.

We made the short paddle up, set out our blanket, let Cedar the Wonderdog loose to go play in the meadow, and tore into the feast.

I was a bit nervous that Krista wouldn’t like my main course, but was relieved when she bit into it with gusto. At the end of the meal, when there were only crumbs left, I knew I had nailed a perfect picnic.

Click through to my MyKawartha Farm to Table Blog for the Recipe

My picnic dates: Krista and Cedar.