Tag Archives: farmers market

Smoked Pumpkin Pie

Our garden was a disaster this year. A late start, some inattention during a critical early period, and very few hot days left us with not a lot of produce. The tomatoes were pathetic, and the zucchini only really started producing at the beginning of September. Therefore, we leaned on the farmers’ market more than usual.

However, one item that we always get from the market, regardless of how well (or how miserably) our garden did, is pie pumpkins.

20100918

I am a lucky woman, because my husband makes a wonderful pumpkin pie. And he doesn’t use the canned stuff; he starts with an actual pumpkin, roasted in the oven. And… he’s starting smoking the pumpkin before roasting it.

When he first suggested doing this, I admit to being skeptical. Smoky pie? I rolled my eyes. Ever since we got the smoker, he’s smoked a huge variety of things, and I’ve liked most of them. But smoky pie was just weird, I thought.

I was wrong.

Actual Pie

Obviously, you don’t want the pumpkin saturated with smoke, so it’s only lightly smoked. Pumpkin is like a sponge for smoke, so it’s a good idea to smoke it at the tail end of some other smoke job you have going. I’ve included instructions in the recipe below. But he had a few other suggestions that might help you find success:

  • Make sure you’re getting a pie pumpkin. You can make pies with regular pumpkins (like the ones you carve for Hallowe’en), but they won’t taste nearly as good. Proper pie pumpkins have dense flesh and a high sugar content.
  • Heft it a bit. You want one that’s heavy for its size.
  • Pick a pumpkin with at least an inch or two inches of stem left, and avoid pumpkins with soft spots.
  • Use a mild, sweet smoke like apple or maple.
  • Save any leftover pumpkin puree in a freezer bag, and use it in soups, muffins, or to pad out your next pie.

Finally, he noted that he screws with this recipe constantly; this is just its current iteration.

Smoked Pumpkin Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A pumpkin pie with a light smoky flavour, perfect for fall.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
Ingredients
Smoked Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 pie pumpkins
Pumpkin Pie
  • 4 cups smoked pumpkin puree
  • 1 300ml can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup half-n-half
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (rounded) nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 2 prepared pie shells (using your favourite recipe or store-bought)
Instructions
Smoked Pumpkin Puree
  1. Preheat smoker to 250°F and start apple or maple smoke.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Split pumpkins vertically and remove seeds.
  4. Place pumpkins in smoker.
  5. Smoke for 20 minutes, then remove from smoker. (Pumpkin absorbs smoke like a sponge, so beware of leaving the pumpkins in for much longer.)
  6. Line two cookie sheets with foil and cover the bottom of the sheets with water.
  7. Place smoked pumpkins face-down on the foil and place in oven.
  8. Bake until soft. After 30 minutes, check the pumpkins with a fork. Continue to check every 15 minutes until they are done.
  9. Shut off oven and open the door slightly. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
  10. Remove skins and cut into chunks. Process pumpkin in a food processor until smooth. Note: Smoking can dry the pumpkin out. If your pumpkin puree is too dry, add a bit of water, orange juice or vodka until it has a smooth consistency.
Pumpkin Pie
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients and stir. Add the spices and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour the pie mix into the prepared pie shells. Cover the edges of the crust with foil or a pie crust shield and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue baking for another 35-40 minutes. Pies are done when an inserted knife comes out clean.
Notes
Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Recipe, Uncategorized

What’s Not at Our Farmers’ Markets

We have returned from spending some time in Ohio, visiting family and friends. As part of our trip, we visited a farmers’ market that has popped up in my hometown, right downtown under an overpass bridge next to the river. It’s nicer than it sounds, and even in the morning we were glad for the shade.

The local food movement isn’t confined to Manitoba, fortunately. Wherever you go during the summer, you’re likely to find some kind of market where farmers sell direct to the consumer. (Some of them might not be quite so local, so do your homework before you go.) Ohio and Manitoba are a few zones apart in terms of the things that you can grow. There were lots of similar items, but one of the things that is missing from the Manitoba markets was peaches.

Peaches at the Kent Farmers' Market

Until I moved away, I totally took fresh peaches for granted. The ones we get from Ontario are nice; in fact I found some delicious ones at Safeway last week. But they’re not this fresh. I really miss them. Manitoba excels at blueberries, while Ohio does not, but peaches… Mmm.

Another thing that stood out at the market we visited was dairy. There were at least two goat milk producers at the market. One of them was selling litres of frozen goat milk, and both of them sold various types of goat cheeses, including flavoured fetas. I thought about how wonderful it would be to complete my shopping at the market: fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk… and dairy.

But unless the law changes, that’s unlikely to happen.

There is nothing in the Manitoba guidelines or regulations preventing dairy from being sold. The problem – and here is where my naïveté about economics becomes evident – is the agriculture marketing boards in Canada. They limit who can sell a product, when, to whom, and for how much. For dairy, farmers have to buy quotas – which are limited – in order to produce to sell. This effectively keeps new, smaller producers out of the market, and also removes the possibility of niche producers from jumping in to grab the smaller market share available at a farmers’ market. (And please, if I’m totally out to lunch on this, let me know in the comments.)

I am torn on this issue. I see the benefits of having a mandatory marketing board, but the consumers are really the losers in these cases. I remember the hullabaloo over Peak of the Market’s clamping down on local potato producers. That was eventually resolved, but the thought of having to fight that battle for every type of food stuff is a bit exhausting. This type of marketing board is becoming less and less popular, and I’m sure everyone in Winnipeg knows what the Canadian government did to the Canada Wheat Board.

Thank you for supporting...

For someone who just wants to buy locally-produced food, preferably directly from the producer and without having to travel all over the countryside to get everything I need, this is all a bit depressing. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can, and keep my eyes open for new and exciting food available at our own local markets.

1 Comment

Filed under Opinion

Spring is springing?

The weather forecast for the summer predicts a hot, dry summer across the Prairies.

…really? Could have fooled me. The spring started off promising, but we seemed to have settled into a rather cool, wet period for the last few weeks.

Or maybe I’m just getting impatient. See, I haven’t been able to get my garden in yet. My seedlings are started, my whole seed order has arrived… I just need to wait until the garden warms up and dries out a bit. Hopefully I’ll get that chance next weekend. I’m starting to worry about my tomato seedlings, since they’ve been shuffled in and out of the garage so much lately. I may need to start fertilizing them to keep them happy if I can’t plant them out soon.

20120425

I did manage to get my peas and lettuce in about a month ago, though, so they are coming along nicely. They both thrive in the cool and wet, so we should have peas by the end of June, and butterhead lettuce before that.

Every year I try something new, something that I’ve never attempted to grow before. Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, broccoli and sweet melons have all made an appearance in my garden. This year, I’m attempting artichokes. Artichokes are tricky in this climate, since they won’t produce in their first year, and they aren’t hardy in this climate and thus won’t survive the winter. But the variety I’m trying can (apparently) be fooled into thinking they’ve gone through a winter by setting them out in chilly weather while they are seedlings. The cool temperatures we’ve been having have helped with this, so at least it’s helping me out that way.

But, even if the weather prevents me from getting my garden in this weekend, another sign of summer will be arriving: the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market! The first market of the year will open on Saturday, June 2 at 8am, and will run until 3pm. The Wednesday market will also open next week, starting June 6.

Also, we’ve already started making pilgrimages down to Crampton’s Market on Waverley, which recently opened for the summer.

Have heart! Summer is on the way. We just have to be patient, right?

2 Comments

Filed under Gardening

Eggs now available at the St. Norbert Farmers' Market

Ok ok ok ok ok! I’m back! School is over, the requisite trip back home has taken place, job has been secured. I am crossing my fingers that I will have more time for blogging, now that I don’t have homework and other issues hanging over me!

In case it passed your notice, the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market is now open. The market is open every Saturday 8:00am-3:00pm. It will also be open on Canada Day (8:00am-3:00pm), and starting in July it will be open Wednesday afternoons noon – 6:00pm.

Saturday haul.

We’ve gone every weekend that the market has been open so far, and it’s been even better than last year. The produce stands are awash in asparagus and spring greens, and we’re even starting to see carrots and tomatoes. (And of course, Wenkai Liu is back with his wealth of greenhouse-grown Oriental veggies.) Our favourite vendors are back, and there are some new ones.

One of the most exciting additions has been Nature’s Farm eggs from Steinbach. The market was really lacking in two areas: eggs and dairy products. I suspect this is because of the tight grip that marketing boards have on producers, so I am thrilled to see these eggs available directly from the producer. The colour of these eggs is amazing. The chickens are fed with flax, which gives their yolks an amazing orangy-yellow colour. Nature’s Farm also makes a variety of pastas that I’ve written about before.

I’m looking forward to another summer of exploring our local foodshed via the Market. Hopefully, the addition of Nature’s Farm means that there are even more good surprises in store in the years ahead.

7 Comments

Filed under News