Before we get into the news, a reminder that this is Repair Café week! Check out this in-depth update from Repair Cafe TO on how another year of repairs, education, empowerment, and community has been realized!
We have a lovely report to share with you from All Sorts Acres. Jennifer Osborn writes:
Although we are running low on lots of things this time of year, the cycle is beginning again. Lambing has begun!
In the past couple of weeks a handful of lambs have arrived, and of course, at least one on the coldest night of the year. Luckily our 100+ year old bank barn was designed for animals in winter as it doesn’t get down below -10C, even with -35 windchill. A heat lamp and some dog coats help the lambs for the first 48-72 hours.
This means the nursery has begun. Lamb zoomies are in full swing. We do have one little one that likes to yell the entire time she is running around. She can’t seem to decide if she wants to stay with Mum or run with the other lambs. She can be heard from outside. There’s been more than once, when on my way up to the house, I’ve heard her, turned around, and gone back to check on her, just in case she’s in trouble. But no, she’s just yelling at the top of her lungs.
In the not too distant future, the weather will warm, the grass will stir underneath the snow, and milking will begin.
Alas, we’re still in the depths of winter, so no milking quite yet. Instead, it’s focusing on other aspects of the farm. Winter is an opportunity to really explore farm potential – the perfect time to flex creative muscles, so that’s what I’ve done with a couple of backburner projects.
As an artist, creating cards seems like a no-brainer, but I have never found it that simple. I can’t justify a temporary sentiment against the damage of the printing industry, and the shiny (possibly plastic covered) waste cards that may be difficult to recycle. Cards were out, until now! The cards are on post consumer paper that can be PLANTED! Yes, they are on seed paper! The cards themselves don’t have to be thrown in the garbage or recycling, they are paper wildflower seed “bombs.” I get to share some of the wonderful images I find on the farm too.
Bees aren’t something that we really talk about, but we have a couple of hives, and this past year was our first honey harvest. Like any harvest there’s always some waste. What to do with that waste? Another of my back burner projects has been making paint. Yes, bees and paint are connected; I promise.
January has seen the creation of that paint made from sustainable, non-toxic, eco-friendly pigments, and our very own honey! The honey used is the last drips and drops from the extraction and cleaning process form different batches. Nothing is wrong with it, it’s just not something I’d want to eat, nor sell; so, when life hands you waste honey, make paint.
As a watercolourist myself, I had to actually like the paints, and I do. The colours are vibrant, colourfast, and nice to use. I’ve focused on traditional colours such as yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, and burnt sienna as those are foundational colours. The paint sample card is an easy way to try them out. A primary and medieval palette are the first two to be created, but more are coming! Watercolour pans are in the works, too. The paints are on, you guessed it, seed paper, so when the paints are all used up, the paper can be planted. How cool is that!
I even made a bee Valentines Day card combining both projects, just in case you’d like to send it to your own honey.”
Speaking of honeys, here’s one for long-time Dufferin Fans. Happy 20th Anniversary to Jessie and Ben Sosnicki!
Letitia of Tish’s Dishes is back with her handmade pasta. She would really like to hear from you if you’ve tried it! She wants to know favourite shapes and grains, as well as anything else that would help her as she moves forward. Her email address can be found on her vendor page.
This week, she is giving us a Valentine: her Nonna’s cherished recipe for Bolognese Sauce.
By Letitia Mancini
Bolognese sauce is a traditional, hearty meat sauce that originated in the city of Bologna located in Northern Italy. This specific recipe is slightly different from the traditional recipe but speaks to the richness of where my Father was born: Supino, Italy.
My Nonna would make this sauce when our family would visit over the winter months. There was nothing more wondrous than sitting at her pink melamine table, the heady, umami smell of Bolognese sauce swirling around me, watching, in awe, as she swiftly rolled out pasta thin enough that the sunlight shone through it and then, with a long, sharp knife, cut the saffron-yellow dough into wide strands of pappardelle for dinner that night.
1 large red onion or sweet onion
2 celery stalks, strings removed
2 small carrots, peeled
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
½ lb. ground pork
1 lb. lean ground beef
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (or bacon), finely chopped
1 cup dry, rich red wine
¼ c. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 bottles of passata, preferably made from San Marzano tomatoes
½ c whole milk
A pinch of finely grated nutmeg
1lb. fresh tagliatelle or pappardelle, or dry rigatoni
½ c finely grated Pecorino, plus more for the table
Coarsely chop the onion, carrots, garlic and celery, add them to a food processor, pulse until the vegetables are puréed and set aside.
To a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, over medium heat, add small clumps of the ground meats (you may have to do this in batches to ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan), occasionally stirring until it is all lightly browned. It is okay if the meat is still pink. Season with half the salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and set it aside.
To the remaining fat at the bottom of the pan add the pancetta, stirring occasionally until it becomes crisp. With a slotted spoon remove the pancetta from the pan and set it aside with the other browned meats.
Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add to the fat released by the pancetta, the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the puréed vegetables and slowly, gently, sauté this mixture until the vegetables are aromatic, soft, dryer and come together as a uniform paste.
Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, and deglaze the pan with the red wine.
Return the ground meat mixture to the pan and break down the clumps into the wine with a wooden spoon, continuously stirring until the wine has almost evaporated and the meat is reduced to small crumbs.
Now add the passata (rinse out the bottles with a ⅓ cup of water and add this to the sauce as well), tomato paste, bay leaf, remaining salt & pepper, milk, and nutmeg. Bring the sauce to a very gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible. Leave the pan uncovered and stir occasionally until the meat is extremely tender, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. The sauce shouldn’t have any rapid bubbles. Rather, it should release the occasional small bubble or two. If the liquid reduces too quickly, before the meat is tender, add an extra ½ cup of chicken, beef or vegetable stock and continue cooking.
Once the meat is tender, discard the bay leaf. Taste the sauce, adjust for your salt preference and keep warm.
Cook your chosen pasta only until it is very al dente. Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the sauce. If you choose to drain the pasta with a colander, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Increase the heat of the sauce to medium, bring to a simmer, add the cheese and toss. If you like your sauce looser, this is the time to add the necessary pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. Cook, tossing constantly until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the pasta to a plate, sprinkle with more Pecorino cheese and serve.
NOTE: This sauce can be made a few days ahead. Left covered in the refrigerator, the flavour of the sauce deepens with time. This sauce also freezes well.
We want to honour Black History Month by including ‘food for thought’ in our February newsletters. To begin, here’s a link to an interesting CBC piece on BIPOC farmers in Ontario
Alvaro of Plan B wrote us recently and mentioned that the Gaelic festival of imbolc has passed. The festival celebrates the emergence of life around us, and occurred on Feb 1-2, at the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Spring is coming whether we can see it or not!
Anne and the Market Crew