First crops of the Ontario season are in

You are in luck. April brings the first crops of the season. Now when you go grocery shopping you can look for Ontario produce and actually find freshly picked tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, sweet potatoes and lettuce fresh from our own greenhouses, not to mention mushrooms, maple syrup and farmed fish all grown locally. Buying local supports our farming communities and also ensures quality and freshness. Here are some recipes from Foodland Ontario to encourage you to cook local fresh ingredients.

Maple Pork Medallions and Sweet Peppers

Dinner for two in under 20 minutes? Wow! The epitome of quick and simple, this succulent pork tenderloin is cut into mini-steaks and simmered in maple syrup laced with apple juice for an addictive taste combination.

  • 1 Ontario pork tenderloin (12 oz/ 375 g)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 apple, quartered and cored
  • 1 yellow, orange or red pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) each, dried sage and thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) pure Ontario maple syrup

Slice pork into 1.5 inch (4 cm) thick rounds. Place slices on cutting board. Lay piece of plastic wrap on top. Press or gently pound to even thickness no more than 1/2 inch (1 cm)

In large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown, turning once about two to three minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to plate. Meanwhile, slice unpeeled apple into eight thin wedges; cut pepper into bite-size strips

Pour juice into skillet and scrape up brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add apple and pepper. Boil, stirring often, for three minutes. Pushing apple and pepper aside return pork to skillet along with any juices. Sprinkle with sage and thyme and cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Drizzle with maple syrup.

Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, until juices run clear when pork is pierced and still slightly pink inside, eight to 10 minutes, turning meat and stirring apple and pepper several times. Remove pork to plates. Spoon apples and peppers on top of pork.

Increase heat to high; boil remaining liquid to produce sauce, stirring often, until thick enough to glaze, two to three minutes. Pour sauce over pork, apples and peppers. Serve immediately.

Roast Chicken for Two

  • The joy of a roast chicken dinner for two people is possible with this streamlined recipe.
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) softened butter
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each, dried sage and salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground savoury
  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts with skin or 6 thighs
  • 1 lemon

Vegetables for roasting:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 cooking onion
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried or 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried leaf thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 400˚F ( 200˚C). Line baking pan with parchment paper.

In small bowl, beat together softened butter, sage, salt and savoury. Loosen one edge of chicken skin and slide finger between skin and flesh over most of the breast or thighs. Insert the herbed butter between the flesh and meat spreading as evenly as possible. If there is any herbed butter left, spread on skin. Arrange chicken in single layer at one end of the baking pan. Squeeze the  lemon over chicken. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut potatoes in half lengthwise and half again to make four quarters and cut in half again to make eight wedges; repeat with onion. Cut peppers into thick slices. Add vegetables to mixing bowl together with vegetable oil, toss to coat lightly. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the vegetables with herbs. Add the vegetables in a single layer to baking sheet. Roast uncovered about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender. Serve chicken and vegetables immediately on heated plates.

Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer 416-265-8445


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