Celebrate Ontario Local Food Week with some tasty recipes!

 Starting June 7th we are celebrating Ontario Local Food Week. It is a whole week dedicated to enjoying what we grow and produce in Ontario. My feelings is we should do this all year long to support the farming families that help us feed our own families. They grow and feed their families and we can do the same and support them by purchasing their products at their farm stands, farmer's markets and grocery stores. Look for the local Ontario products by finding their logos on products and checking out labels. If you don't see local products in your local stores, be sure to ask to get them in and support local. 

Here are a few recipes I will be sharing on local television stations this week as well as social media. They use a variety of local Ontario produce and proteins. Some ideas may be new to you and others may be standards with a twist. Thanks to Ontario Beans and Ontario Eggs for sharing the recipes which I've adapted slightly. You will be able to see the array of wonderful Ontario products like Ontario Veal, Ontario Greenhouse, Ontario Mushrooms, Ontario Turkey, Ontario Dairy and backyard garden herbs! If you know a farmer, send them a thank you and if you live with one, hug them hard and be sure to enjoy the wonderful bounty our province and country have to offer. I love farmers and farming families that help put food on the table for my own family. Stay safe everyone and enjoy some of these tasty recipes when you can! Happy Ontario Local Food Week! 

Egg-in-a-hole Burgers

Enjoy this double protein packed burger for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Ontario Turkey and Ontario Eggs shine in this recipe and are backed up by Ontario cheese and greenhouse veggies. Recipe adapted from Egg Famers of Ontario.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

1 lb (454 g) ground turkey

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried thyme 

1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano

1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) canola or vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded old cheddar cheese

4 hamburger buns, toasted

2 tbsp (30 mL) each mayonnaise and ketchup

4 green leaf lettuce leaves

4 tomato slices

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together turkey, garlic, Worcestershire, parsley, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 4 balls.  Space out balls onto prepared pan. 

Wet your hands with water and pat down the balls to create a 5 inch (12.5 cm) patty. Using your finger, make a 2 inch (5 cm) hole in the centre and pat down edges to even out (so it looks like a donut). Freeze for at least 15 minutes or until solid. (Make-ahead: freeze for up to 1 day).

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat on a grill or stovetop. Add oil and add 2 of the patties. Cook for about 6 minutes or until golden on edges. Flip burgers and crack 1 egg into each hole. Cook for about 4 minutes. Close lid and cook for about 5 minutes or until desired doneness of egg. Sprinkle with cheese and remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining 1 burgers.

Spread bottom of each bun with mayonnaise and ketchup. Top with lettuce and tomato. Place burger on bottom bun and top with remaining bun halves. 

Grilled Veal and Veggie Skewers

Cubes of Ontario Veal are marinated to get a wonderful flavour that is perfectly balanced with the greenhouse sweet peppers and Ontario mushrooms. A quick grill offers up crisp exterior that adds texture to a plate of rice to serve the skewers over top of.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Marinating time: 4 hours

Cook time: 6 minutes

Serves: 4 to 6

1/3 cup (75 mL) soy sauce 

3 tbsp (45 mL) lime or lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar

2 tbsp (30 mL) canola or vegetable oil

1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced 

1 1/2 lb (750 g) boneless Ontario veal, cut into 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) cubes

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) pieces

1 onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) pieces

8 button mushrooms

Flat metal or soaked bamboo skewers

In a large bowl or resealable bag, combine soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Stir in veal, coating well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. 

Preheat barbecue grill to high. Thread alternating pieces of veal and vegetables onto skewers; discard marinade. Grill skewers, turning once, for 6 minutes for medium-rare or to desired doneness.

Tip: Use metal skewers or soaked bamboo skewers for this recipe. Soaking the bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes before using will help reduce flare ups. If using skewers 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) long you will need 6. 

Falafel Bowl

Ontario kidney beans change up this falafel and is enjoyed with crisp Ontario greenhouse cucumber and tomatoes. A vegetarian delight for lunch or dinner. Recipe adapted from Ontario Bean Growers.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

1 pkg (5 oz/142 g) baby arugula or baby spinach

2 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese 

Half English cucumber, thinly sliced

Half a small onion, thinly sliced (optional)


2 cans (19 oz/540 mL each) white or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed fresh cilantro

1/3 cup (75 mL) all purpose flour

3 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice 

1 tbsp (15 mL) ground coriander

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Tahini Dressing:
1/4 cup (60 mL) each tahini and warm water

3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Falafels: In a food processor, pulse together beans, cilantro, flour, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, coriander, cumin and salt until coarse mixture forms (try and not puree it smooth, it should be slightly chunky).  Using an ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup (75 mL) measuring cup, shape into 12 to 14 patties. Place on prepared sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. 

Tahini Dressing: Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together tahini, water, lemon juice and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk in more water to thin out if necessary. 

In a deep skillet or wok, heat about 2 inches (5 cm) of the oil. Add 2 to 3 chilled falafels into oil and deep fry for about 5 minutes or until golden. Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate or platter. (Make-ahead: cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and warm in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven).

Divide arugula among 4 large bowls. Add tomatoes, feta, cucumber and onion, if using. Top with 3 falafels each and drizzle with tahini dressing to serve. 


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