#EggWeek recipe: quiche

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Quiche is a very versatile dish, and one that is really quite simple to make. All you need is a basic crust, good quality eggs, some milk or cream, and your favourite fillings. There are so many variations using meat, cheese, seafood, or vegetables. We like to change up the recipe seasonally, based on what we have on hand or discover at the grocery store. In fact, quiche can be a great way to clean out the fridge and use up bits of cheese and veg.

Basic Quiche
For a quick option, start with store-bought pie crust to help save time.

1 store-bought pre-baked 9″ deep dish pie shell
Your favourite filling ingredients (see notes below)
4 Yorkshire Valley Farms organic eggs
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) cream you can use light cream or (5%) or half-and-half (10%)

Filling
How much you need depends on your specific ingredient choices, but here are some suggestions…

Cheese and herb quiche: If you have nothing but some cheese and fresh herbs, you can still make a great quiche. Take 1 cup shredded melty cheese like Swiss or Gruyère and add a few teaspoons each of fresh herbs like basil, chives, thyme, maybe some savory. A pinch of nutmeg helps to elevate the flavours. Season with salt and pepper.

Mushroom quiche: 1 1/2 cups mixed sliced mushrooms, 1 cup shredded cheese such as Gruyère, 2 tsp each fresh herbs like chives and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Bacon and onion quiche: 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled into pieces, 1/2 cup caramelized onions, 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, 3 tsp fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Check the preparation instructions on the pie crust and follow directions to pre-bake.

Spread your filling ingredients around the bottom of the pre-baked pie shell, distributing evenly. In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream and eggs until combined. Season egg mixture with salt and pepper, then pour egg over filling to fill pie shell and cover your ingredients.

Place quiche in oven and bake until a knife inserted near centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10+ minutes before serving. You can make quiche ahead and serve warm or at room temperature. Cooked quiche can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

If you’d like to try making your own crust, the folks at Epicurious offer a basic crust recipe as part of their mushroom shallot quiche.

 

Turkey Time With Tim deWit, Our Organic Turkey Farmer

The time of year has come when our organic turkeys are available to be cooked up, roasted and devoured amongst family and friends. We figured what better way to kick off the turkey season than to bring you our organic turkey farmers, Tim and Katrina deWit.

The deWits and their three young children operate an organic turkey, sheep and cash crop farm in Oxford County, just west of the town of Ingersoll. Tim and Katrina have been in the turkey growing business for 12 years and for the last 3, they’ve been growing organic turkeys for Yorkshire Valley Farms.

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The deWit Family

Tim and his family got involved in organic turkey farming because they enjoy the challenge of trying out new ways of raising turkeys or growing crops. Not to mention, it’s a sustainable model when they can grow both livestock and crops organically. The deWits believe that organic farming fits well with their farming practices and they’re always looking at new opportunities to supply healthy food to growing markets. A perfect fit for Yorkshire Valley Farms!

deWit Farm

The deWit Farm

Why is it important to buy organic turkey for your holiday meals? Take it from the organic turkey farmer himself, it comes down to how the turkey has been raised.

“When you are buying an organic turkey you are getting a bird that has been able to live out its life as nature intended it to.  Organic turkeys have access to pasture, they’ve been fed certified organic feed, free from GMO grains, pesticide contamination, and antibiotics.  Consumers should also know that when they are buying a Yorkshire Valley Farm organic turkey, they are supporting a local family farm in Ontario.  95% of the labour involved in growing our organic turkeys are done by our family.”

Knowing how stressful it can be to prepare a turkey, and how to cook the turkey without drying it out, Tim gave us the inside scoop on the deWit way of holding those juices in.

“Our family’s favourite way to prepare a whole bird is to deep fry it in a turkey deep fryer.  It may sound unhealthy but deep frying actually seals the turkeys natural flavor and juices in making for a great tasting bird in about and hour.  A lot of turkey tips including how to deep fry at www.turkeyrecipes.ca.”

There’s never a dull moment when working on a turkey farm, especially for Tim and Katrina. Every so often, their kids love to help out mom and pop in the barn. Tim shares a moment when his daughter, Charlotte, spent a day at work with him.

“My youngest daughter (who was 4yrs old at the time) was in the barn with me shortly after receiving our day old baby poults from the hatchery.  She loves to help me in the barn with the baby turkeys and will spend hours playing with them.  I didn’t realize this but she actually hid a baby turkey under her sweater when she left the barn.  My wife Katrina called me a few hours later after she discovered her playing with this turkey up in her room.”

Charlotte deWit

Charlotte deWit

#LegsAndTie at Beast Restaurant

Beast Restaurant

To have access to and to be able to eat in good restaurants is one thing, to know the chef is another, and to actually consider them friends and colleagues is perhaps one of my greatest joys in life. Especially if they are as talented as visionary Scott Vivian of Beast Restaurant. I have known Scott for over 3 years, and the man continues to innovate and amaze.

Chef Scott Vivian

I am happiest hanging out in the kitchens of Toronto, so when I was approached by Yorkshire Valley Farms to pair with a chef and create a dish with their organic chicken, I was ecstatic at the opportunity. Instantly a few names came to my mind for my wish list of who to work with, and I am glad that it worked out as it did. Any chance to eat at Scott and his wife Rachelle’s restaurant, Beast, makes me (and my lucky friends) very happy.

Guests

The program was called #LegsandTie and was created to show people the things that they can do with chicken legs, which happens to be my favourite. I was asked to invite 9 friends to Beast to sample our dish, of course along with some of Scott’s other food, and it just happened to be half price wine night (every Wednesday), so my friends were all totally stoked!

Have you tried YVF Organic before? Here is what they say about themselves:

At Yorkshire Valley Farms we raise your food the way nature intended.  Our organic, free range chickens are fed only the finest certified organic grains, with no antibiotics, hormones or animal bi-products added. We raise our chickens on certified organic farms in Ontario in the most natural and healthy environment possible, open to sunlight and fresh air.  Processing is done to exacting standards in an organically certified facility. By taking the best of what nature gives us, we provide you with a wholesome, delicious chicken that we can all feel good about, for our families and the world we live in.

Sounds good to me, what about you? That is a product I don’t mind serving at my table to my friends and family.

Oh, I should probably tell you about the food, shouldn’t I? Well, the dish that Scott and I came up with was a big hit, along with the 9 (yes 9) other courses we had that night. I highly suggest you book a table at Beast, and let Scott cook for you. 9 courses for $45 can’t be beat!

A nice simple smoked trout is a great start to any meal, followed by one of my favourite dishes of the evening, a simple buratta. The next course couldn’t be beat, for good old meat butter, aka bone marrow, took over the table. Then came the chicken dish; a smoked braised chicken, dirty ranch with fish lump roe, favas and foie, pickled celery, perslaine salad and crispy chicken skin.

Chicken Dish

As for the chicken, it is nice to have an option in regular grocery stores to purchase clean and affordable meat. I like the YVF product, and it was nice to have an opportunity to work with these guys. They are very connected to events in Toronto, so get out and support the 8 farmers that make up this collective. Cheers!

Joel Solish

Guest post by Joel Solish, @Foodie411.

Share the Health with Good Food

Yorkshire Valley Farms is proud to announce that we are one of three national lead Share The Health sponsors alongside Neal Brothers and Bernardin, a lively new event series run by CFCC that will raise funds to bring local healthy, and sustainable food into low-income communities via partnerships between farms and Community Food Centres.

CFCC

Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) provides ideas, resources and a proven approach to partner organizations across Canada so they can establish responsive, financially stable Community Food Centres. These centres work to bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food. With their partners and communities, they are working toward a healthy and fair food system.

It’s a win for local farmers,
A win for the environment,
And a win for low-income communities.
Because good food matters to us all.

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In 2013, proceeds from five lively community events will be used to buy produce from environmentally sustainable, small local farms for use in meals, hampers and kitchens at three Community Food Centres across Ontario: The Stop CFC in Toronto,The Table CFC in Perth and The Local CFC in Stratford.

With the first community event being a huge success, having sold out tickets to the concert, we are excited to see the events in the coming weeks. The next event is on August 24th 2013 in Perth, Ontario, where Share the Health will be showcasing Lanark County’s farmers and chefs. So come by and have a night with good food for good food, because good food matters to us all!

For more information on upcoming Share The Health events visit Community Food Centres Canada.

Finger Lickin’ Fried Chicken

Fried chicken has been a popular family indulgence around the globe for centuries, with some of its early roots stereotypically tied to the black communities of the Southern States.  But if Toronto’s insatiable appetite for the crispy golden skin of a chicken leg is any indication, you don’t have to speak with a southern drawl or live in Tornado alley to enjoy a bucket of the stuff.

But, let’s be honest with ourselves. No ones tucking into a platter full of deep-fried goodness, with a side of sausage gravy, biscuits and candied sweet potatoes thinking they’re going to honestly count their weight watchers points.  Having said that, there is always room for a treat, and there is always ways to make that treat a little more justifiable. How? Next time you’re whipping up the southern goods at home, do your family a favour by choosing a free range organic bird from Yorkshire Valley Farms.  The result will be a more healthful, flavourful chicken that will be worth every mouthwatering and juicy calorie. Here’s one of our favourite recipes to get you started …Grilled Roasted Chicken from Barton Seaver.

Any get together would be the perfect time to bust out this tasty homemade version! But then there are always going to be those less-festive occasions when the craving hits, and you need your fried chicken fix on the fly.  Well, thankfully, recent industry research has suggested such a steep increase in the demand for comfort food classics, making fried chicken a popular offering on top restaurant menus across Toronto.  So next time you’re in a pinch, check out one of the hot spots on the top of our list:

The Stockyards Buttermilk Fried Chicken

The Stockyards’ Buttermilk Fried Chicken

The Harlem Underground

Chef Grant van Gameren from Bar Isabel

The Drake Cafe's Southern Fried Chicken

The Drake Cafe’s Southern Fried Chicken

Chef David Chang at Momofuku (Toronto)

Chef David Chang at Momofuku (Toronto)

Electric Mud BBQ

Electric Mud BBQ  photo credit Craig Moy

Each of these restaurants has their own unique spice blends, batters, and techniques, proving that fried chicken is a totally personal thing. So take a little inspiration from the pros and get creative! Next time you’re at the store, pick up an organic chicken from Yorkshire Valley farms, throw in your favourite seasonings and flavours, or just use the guide above. Don’t let this summer fly by without indulging in this organic version of a classic Southern treat!

The Night Market Shines Bright

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On June 18th and 19th, the Stop Community Food Centre transformed the back alley of the old Honest Eds into the Night Market pop-up mecca for foodies.

Last year’s single-evening event completely sold out and raised a whopping $57,000 for The Stop, a local Not-For-Profit that provides food bank services, community cooking, food advocacy, and education among other food and nutrition services.

Thankfully, their success meant adding a 2nd night to the 2013 event, and watch as the 2000 tickets flew off the online ticket site in under two hours time.

This was obviously not a typical food event. Over the course of the two nights, Night Market saw about 90 local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and refreshment companies serving up an all-you-can-eat-and-drink feast to hungry (and lucky) ticket holders. In between sips and nibbles, event goers also got a wiggle their hips alongside the remarkably animated dancing band or just admire the stunning vendor booths created by professional and student design teams from schools like OCAD and Ryerson.

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This year, Yorkshire Valley Farms was a proud sponsor of the event, donating over 160 kg of chicken breasts to the chefs looking to use chicken at the event.

The result? When you’re cooking with a premium product from Yorkshire Valley Farm, it’s pretty hard to end up with anything less than tasty, but still, each of the chefs well exceeded all of our lofty expectations! There were tacos, dumplings, wings and more – each dish showcasing the beautiful flavour of YVF, but with such diverse preparations, inspirations and ingredients that the product’s versatility also shown through. Our restaurant partners this year include Babi & Co, Fonda Lola, FeasTO, Hawthorne, 416 Snack Bar and Universal Grill.

And while all of the YVF chicken dishes at Night Market would have tasted incredible in any place, at any time, knowing that it was contributing to a worthy cause made every bite a bit better. This was certainly the case for James Sculthorpe, President of the company, who believes solely in the Stop’s mandate that everyone, regardless of financial or social situation, should have access to good food.

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James Sculthorpe, Yorkshire Valley Farms President (left) with Nick Saul,  CFCC President and CEO of Community Food Centres

James got into the organic chicken farming business with the dream of making a whole organic chicken less expensive than a large pizza.  So supporting an initiative that also helps enable families to eat well regardless of budgetary restraints, and that provides healthful, satisfying and culturally acceptable food through their food bank, was a perfect fit for the Farm.

But don’t fret if missed out on some of the Night Market’s delicious chicken dishes. You can pick up a package of Yorkshire Valley Farms chicken breasts, take a little inspiration from the pros and whip up your own healthy version at home!  And while you perfect your own chicken dinners, check out the Stop website for more information about their important initiative and programs, and be on the look out next Spring for information on the 2014 event.

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“Breaking Down The Bird”

Whenever you’ve got a few extra minutes on your hands in the kitchen, buying a whole chicken and prepping it yourself can mean some serious savings at the store. And when that little bit of work translates into a new pair of peep-toe pumps for Spring, it may just seem like a worthy endeavor. Well, choosing a whole chicken not only buys you more chicken for your precious food dollar (and maybe even new shoes), but it also buys you freedom. Chicken is already such a phenomenal canvas for culinary creations, but with the entire bird on hand- bones, skin, neck, and all, the possibilities become endless.  And since that chicken is going to be giving you a lot of culinary mileage, you’re going to want the best, and that of course means bringing home the goods from Yorkshire Valley Farms (YVF).

The first question to ponder after purchasing a whole YVF bird is, of course, what to do with it. If you have a crowd to feed, the most obvious preparation is to cook the chicken whole, an option that has multiple variations in itself! You can roast it like you would your holiday turkey, braise it in a flavourful broth, let it cook over a rotisserie spit, or grill it over indirect heat on the BBQ.

[Recipe for “Glazed Chicken Skewers with Soy Sauce & Ginger” from F.L. Fowler’s Fifty Shades of Chicken]

But what about those of us with smaller families or appetites? Well, one of the great things about buying a whole chicken is that you get to decide how many portions you want it to yield, and how many meals you want it to make. So why not divvy the chicken up into freezer bags, and assign each bag a simple recipe so when a crazy lets-just-call-for-pizza night rolls along, you can just pull out the portion you need and know exactly what you’re doing with it. This sense of control is particularly helpful if you’re trying to keep an eye on portion sizes, because sometimes store-prepared chicken breasts are two or three times what you need! But by bringing home a whole chicken, you get to call all the shots for what goes on your plate, and what goes in the freezer for tomorrow.  If you’re not already a pro, check out this step-by-step guide on breaking down a chicken by the folks at Bon Appetit

VIEW SLIDESHOW 

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But let’s say you’re not so graceful with the boning knife, or perhaps your whole week was too tight to plan ahead. Thankfully, you can offload your protein-prep work onto the experts at YVF.  Helping you get dinner on the table in a hurry, you can buy your chicken any way you want it- bones in or out, skin on or off, breasts, thighs, drumsticks or wings. And regardless of who preps chicken pieces, there are endless options for getting them on the dinner table.  Check out this inspirational guide for planning your chicken menu!

YVF’s Boneless Skinless, Supreme, or Split Breasts

Breasts are not only the lowest fat cut of the chicken, but they’re also probably the most versatile to work with. Because of their inherent leanness, they are best grilled, fried, or roasted at a high temperature, brined or marinated for added moisture, or braised in a flavourful liquid. For a healthy quick lunch, try throwing them on the BBQ for a smoky aroma, and then adding them to your sandwiches and salads.

YVF’s Skin-On Thighs, Boneless Skinless Thighs, Skin-On Drumsticks or Back Attached Leg

In contrast, the legs often get a bad reputation for bulking up your legs, but that may be a somewhat overstated concern. Yes, there are about 30- 50 additional calories and around 3-5 additional grams of fat in a 3 oz serving of skinless chicken leg meat compared to the breast. But in the grand scheme of dinner, that’s probably not a big deal, especially since the caloric trade off is a more intense chicken flavour. Well, like its white meat cousin, legs are extremely adaptable and versatile, but because of their higher fat and collagen content, they can withstand longer cooking methods before drying out.  A great go-to preparation for legs is to pan-fry until the skin gets crispy, and then simmer in white wine and chicken broth until the meat is tender.

YVF’s Skin-On Wings

While it may be the least lean part of the chicken, the wings are a bit like portion-controlled treats. You only get four pieces per bird (two “flats” and two “drums”) so even if you were to eat them all yourself, there’s hardly a reason for guilt. Unlike the versatility of the other bits, there are only a few choices you have to make when it comes to cooking wings. Baked, fried or grilled? Battered, naked or sauced? And of course, how much heat can you handle?

Wing Tips, Bones, Neck & Skin

Here’s where the value of buying that whole chicken really kicks in, because once you’ve starting making homemade stock, you’ll never spend money on the boxed variety again.  Start by throwing all the bits of the bird you don’t plan to eat into a pot, and adding celery, onions, carrots and about 1 ½ tsp of salt. Cover the works with about 6 cups of cold water, bring it to a boil, and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 4 hours. Strain the stock, discard all the bits, skim off the fat from the surface, and voila! Flu, stress, heart ache- no matter what is ailing you, a bowl of this will fix it!

So whenever you’re in the grocery store, starring into the poultry fridge and wondering, “what’s for dinner?” just remember all of the delicious and healthy possibilities of choosing organic chicken.  Braised thighs and drumsticks tonight, chicken breast salad for lunch, wings for a bedtime snack, and soup stock for weeks! And whether you divvy up the parts yourself, or leave it to the pros, when Yorkshire Valley Farms is on the menu, you know the meal will be great.

Glazed Chicken Skewers with Soy Sauce & Ginger

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SERVES 2 TO 4

1 pound boneless chicken thigh meat

3/4 cup dark soy sauce or tamari

1⁄3 cup mirin or sweet (cream) sherry

2 1/2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh gingerroot

Scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

[1]  Cut the thighs into 1-inch pieces and place in a shallow dish. Make it beg for the sauce.

[2]  In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake or sherry, sugar, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 7 minutes, until thickened and syrupy. Save 1/4 cup of the sauce for dipping and drizzling. When you think they deserve it, pour the remaining sauce over the thighs, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

[3]  If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour. Preheat a grill or broiler. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and grill or broil, turning halfway, for about 6 minutes. Serve drizzled with the reserved sauce and showered with scallions.

Excerpted from Fifty Shades of Chicken.  Copyright © 2012 F.L. Fowler.  Published by Clarkson Potter. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.