In addition to having busy Saturdays over the counter at the Kitchener Market, we’ve been expanding our weekday catering to offices in the region. To that effect, we’ve introduced a couple of better-travelling sandwiches to the menu this time around.
First off, the Reuben is taking a break until fall of 2017 to make room for our new roast beef sandwich – Medium-rare roasted Ontario eye of round is sliced thinly and piled between toasted rye with a crunchy cabbage slaw and a tangy horseradish mayonnaise we make in-house. We’re really happy with the results and think you’ll notice a difference in quality from your typical roast beef sandwich.
Our barbecue chicken sandwich was inspired by southern ingredients, and our green tomato harvest for the year. We made a bright relish from the unripe tomatoes, apples, and bell peppers – of which we have run out. Time for a change of the chicken guard! Popular demand has brought back the Tom-Yum chicken salad sandwich – inspired by the Thai soup of the same name, we make a savoury chicken salad from roasted whole chickens with lemongrass, galangal, chili, bell pepper, and celery.
We’ve been making bacon non-stop since we opened as we really enjoy the process, love making a truly local pork product, and have had different iterations on a bacon sandwich for our entire life here at Breadbaron. We’ve had success with holiday bacon pre-orders around Christmas-time – we decided then, why not open up pre-orders for bacon for anytime? This way we can reduce or eliminate the times when customers show up and we don’t have enough bacon to spare for retail. Order form below, try it out!
As we move into another fall, a couple of things are on our plate in addition to our normal operations. We’re working hard on harvest pickling – it has been a fun couple of weeks so far of purchasing, processing and canning. We’re refining our recipes and getting a little more inventive this year with our pickles and preserves. We’re working on building a pantry shelf in our stand to help house all of the new jars. On the garden front, it’s a bit of an inverse time of year for that kind of thing, but we’re talking about garlic! This project should bear some wonderful fruit next year – we’re working on growing a large patch of garlic that we’re going to sell at market and use in our prep. Thanks a million to Bill Hatten for donating copious land, labour, and love!
We’re excited for the spring and all the fresh new produce we’ll be growing and getting this year. One of the more exciting but lesser known native Ontario crops comes right at the beginning of the growing season. Wild leeks, or ramps, are a North American native member of the allium (onion) family. They are more often than not the first budding plants in their region for the year, so the best time to spot a patch is by looking around soon after the spring thaw. Since these guys are so delectable, with a mildly onion-like but very distinct flavour, they are unfortunately over-harvested. This combined with their long gestation / maturation time – a wild leek plant takes a few years to settle in – means that you should only ever pick a few at a time, and the largest ones in the patch at that. If you should be so lucky, clean them up and separate the tops from the stems. The tops make a wonderful pesto, and the stems can be sliced and lightly cooked to add a wonderful springtime “onion/garlic yet not” flavour to almost any dish. Alternatively, pickle the stems for a snappy crunchy snack. We owe it to these plants to enjoy them in moderation, though, or we won’t be enjoying anything at all. Just remember the best things come in small doses!
Caponata is a Sicilian dish used all around the Mediterranean region. Traditionally it consists of fried chopped eggplant as the base of the dish. Added to this is a bit of celery and onion, capers, and vinegar. These are cooked together and cooled to make a stewy sweet and sour salad.
Our take on caponata in the Casablanca sandwich is from a Moroccan angle (the sandwich being named for the largest city in the country.) We use diced butternut squash as the base for our preparation. The squash is lightly sauteed in oil with diced onions until semi-soft. To this base we add chopped kalamata olives, tomato paste, cocoa powder, lemon zest, and sultana raisins soaked in vinegar. Then the raisin vinegar goes in. This mixture cooks together for five to ten minutes just to allow the flavours to marry. The whole thing is then cooled and stored, and re-warmed for sandwiches.
The result is a hearty mixture but with a simultaneously sharp and smooth flavour. The richness of the squash, tomato, and cocoa are nicely balanced with the sweetness from the raisins, the saltiness of the olive, and the acid of the vinegar and lemon. Warm it up a bit, slap it between two slices of bread, add some fresh goat’s cheese and grilled zucchini, and you have our latest sandwich!
Curing, smoking and preserving meats pre-dates refrigeration technology. We owe so many delicacies to this technique – salt cod, prosciutto, salami, bacon, and jerky. Beef jerky has its roots as a ration, dried out so that as little as possible moisture remains. Why? To minimize or eliminate the chance for bacterial growth. To make meat food-safe at room temperature.We make our own beef jerky and the process is fun and simple.
Ingredients - A high quality lean cut of beef is required here. You will notice the difference. Normally you look for some fat marbling in a quality piece of beef, however in this case fat is your enemy as it will render out and make the jerky greasy. We use the inside round cut of Ontario beef for our jerky. As a marinade we use a combination of soy sauce, worcestershire, chili powder and brown sugar.
Procedure - Steaks are cut against the grain as the resultant portion of meat is easier to cut and cooks tenderly. Jerky, on the other hand, must be sliced parallel to the fibrous grain that runs through it. When the jerky finishes drying, the cells holding the fibers together lose their volume. If it were cut like a steak, the resultant product can crumble and even fall apart. Once sliced, the beef is placed in the marinade for 6 hours. An alternative method at this step is a dry cure. Once cured, we dry with paper towel and place on a bare sheet tray into our gas oven overnight with only the pilot lit.
Product - The result is a delicious dry snack, with a much lower sodium content than other commercial jerkies, and no additives, preservatives, hormones or antibiotics. We then put out scale and vacuum sealer to work portioning 40g portions. The yield is approximately 20% of the fresh product by weight.
Try this at home! You don’t need a dehydrator, just your home oven set very low (~120F) and propped open to allow moisture to escape, slowly drying the meat without burning. Depending on when you’ll eat it and on your particular tastes, you can try drying it out less or more. Better yet come grab a bag of ours next time you’re in for a sandwich!