Posts Tagged ‘Scratch Kitchen’

Goodbye, frozen pizza: These local businesses deliver healthy, sustainable food to your door

Friday, December 20th, 2013

 


Photo courtesy of Eating Well Ottawa

Most of us are so busy these days that shopping for and preparing healthy food often gets caught in the crunch. Big food corporations make lots of money on our appetite for convenience, catering to it with everything from frozen pizza to meal replacement shakes to soups you can sip while driving.

But food doesn’t have to be hyper-processed to be convenient. As demand ramps up for local and organic foods, Ottawa chefs and entrepreneurs are finding ways to provide the convenience people want without compromising on food quality, nutrition or environmental sustainability.

Several services in Ottawa allow you to order healthy, sustainably produced food online and have it delivered to your door. Depending on the service, you can get organic groceries, fully prepared gourmet meals, or boxes of recipes and ingredients to make chef-designed dinners.

The newest of these services is Eating Well Ottawa, an organic grocery business that started taking online orders last month.

Eating Well Ottawa

With the service, you sign up for a box of fresh, certified organic fruit and vegetables to be delivered to your home or office each week. Harvest and Office boxes are available year-round, and during the growing season there’s a Local box for customers who want produce from local and regional farms. Depending on the size and type of box selected, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $55.

The company’s emphasis on organic and local reflects its commitment to sourcing foods in an ethical, eco-friendly way, says president Brendan Gorman. “We believe in local, regional and Canada first, and we support fair trade practices and environmental responsibility.”

Another important goal is to show that eating well can be simple and affordable, Brendan adds. “Grocery stores mark up organic foods by at least 40%. We’ve chosen to cut back on the mark-up so that good, sustainable food can become a more mainstream choice.”

Come mid-January, Eating Well Ottawa plans to launch new options such as a “detox” box with juices and other products to get people healthy again after holiday excess. In addition, customers will be able to add to their regular orders with items from organic/natural food businesses in the region including Mountain Path, Signature Foods  and Natural Gourmet.

In the longer term, Brendan says he hopes to offer meat and dairy products as well.

Ottawa Organics and Bryson Farms

At least two other businesses are already on Ottawa’s organic food home delivery scene. Ottawa Organics and Natural Foods works along the same lines as Eating Well Ottawa.  Bryson Farms is a certified organic CSA near Shawville, Québec, that delivers its own fresh heirloom produce, its own line of flash-frozen vegetables and prepared foods, and organic beef.

Chefx

Chefx is a new service geared to people who enjoy cooking but don’t have the time for meal planning or grocery shopping. Sign up and receive everything you need to prepare a gourmet dinner in about 45 minutes: a chef-designed recipe, step-by-step instructions, and fresh, portioned ingredients (local and seasonal whenever possible). Prices for weekly boxes with supplies for two dinners range from $59 for two people, to $139 for six.

Featured chefs include Chris Deraiche (Wellington Gastropub), 2013 Gold Medal Plates winner Marysol Foucault (Edgar), Marc Lepine (Atelier), Patricia Larkin (Black Cat Bistro), Matthew Shepheard (Mariposa Farm), among others.

Red Apron

Heading into its eighth year in Ottawa, Red Apron prepares fresh, eco-friendly gourmet meals for pick-up or home delivery.  Menus  highlight seasonal ingredients from regional producers and dinners can be ordered by the day or the week.

For the holidays, you can pre-order a whole, herb-roasted turkey – (locally sourced, antibiotic- and hormone-free) with all the trimmings, as well as other seasonal dishes such as tourtière, or bison, sweet potato and cranberry pie.

For more info on Red Apron, read my 2012 post.

Scratch Kitchen

Scratch Kitchen cooks, freezes and delivers healthy gourmet meals. Food is prepared in small batches in a commercial, health-inspected kitchen, using locally sourced and organic ingredients when possible. All meals are low in sodium and free of additives and preservatives. Order online from menus that include vegan dishes, soups, salads, pastas, ragouts and curries.

Read about Scratch Kitchen’s 2014 menu sourcing here.

What would make it easier and faster for you to prepare healthy meals?

Crowdsourcing the menu: Help Scratch Kitchen choose new dishes for 2014

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Crowdsourcing – using social media and other online services to ask the public for ideas or funding – is changing the way businesses, non-profits and individuals reach their goals. This is certainly true of food production, where crowdsourcing is being used for everything from starting farms to developing new ice cream flavours.

Ottawa’s Scratch Kitchen is putting its own stamp on the technique. To fill six spots on its 2014 winter menu, the family-owned meal -preparation-and-delivery business is asking Ottawans to contribute favourite comfort food recipes inspired by winter and cold weather. Winners will get bragging rights and a promotional code for a Scratch Kitchen order.

Of the suggestions sent in so far, Scratch Kitchen chef Sean Patrick Murphy is especially enthusiastic about a recipe for pumpkin and sweet potato soup from Andrea Woolner. Murphy adapted the recipe slightly and prepares it with vegetables from Acorn Creek Garden Farm and garlic he harvested from his own garden. “It’s not only perfect for the holiday, the soup is a perfect pick for our 2014 menu,” he says.  The recipe for it is included at the end of this post.

About Scratch Kitchen

Scratch Kitchen cooks, freezes and delivers healthy foods directly to customers. “We cook meals in small batches in a commercial, health-inspected kitchen, using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible,” Murphy says. “We don’t put in preservatives or additives, and we go easy on the salt.”

 

Chef Sean Patrick Murphy

Chef Murphy is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu Paris Cooking School and the Culinary Institute of America, and has worked in some of Canada’s most prestigious restaurants, including Truffles, Scaramouche, and Café Henry Burger.

December 20 deadline

To have your recipe considered for Scratch Kitchen’s 2014 menu, send it to social@scratchkitchen.com. The deadline is December 20, 2013.

Andrea’s World Famous Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

Makes 2 servings

Step 1:  Make Quick Vegetable Stock

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes about 3–4 cups (750ml–1 litre)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium size onions

2 celery sticks with leaves, chopped

4 cups (1 litre) water

Place ingredients in a medium stock pot and bring to a simmer, partially cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, and use as needed.

Step 2:  Make Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

1.5 tsp olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 cup onion

2.5 cups vegetable stock

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 cup pumpkin (or any seasonal squash), boiled, peeled and mashed

1.5 tsp cumin

1.5 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp honey

* If you are missing any of these spices, curry can be substituted for an equally bold and unique flavour.

Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

Add cumin, white pepper and ginger and cook lightly 2 to 3 minutes. Add cooked and peeled sweet potato and pumpkin, add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Finish with honey and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Carefully purée the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender.

Serve with a baguette from Art-is-In Bakery and enjoy!!

 

What’s your go-to winter comfort food recipe?