The tenth theme for the Canadian Food Experience is Regional Food in one's area. We are revisiting this topic again as it was also the July Theme.
Calgary has Farmer's Markets with the products coming from surrounding areas in Alberta but mainly the Okanagan Valley.
However, I choose to buy local products grown close to my home. Saskatoon Farm is a short drive from my home with a view of the Rocky Mountains on route. Over the years, I have seen Saskatoon Farm evolve from a greenhouse and a place to buy buffalo meat and Saskatoon berries to also include a gift shop and restaurant along with an increasing variety of homemade products one can buy, a wedding venue and most recently selling vegetables that are grown at the farm.
While loading up the car with seasonal vegetables, I usually take in the restaurant that features a Mexican inspired menu.
In speaking to Chef Chino, he uses local products grown on the farm in his menu, in particular the soups that he makes.
The freshness of local products in the Mexican dishes makes the cuisine healthy and so festive to the eyes!
|Vegetarian Sopes with a Verde Salsa|
My dish was Vegetarian Sopes which are thin corn bread filled with refried beans, Pico de Gallo and grated cheese served also with the creamy coleslaw and fresh green salsa.
The sopes used at Saskatoon farm is supplied by a Mexican Speciality shop in Calgary. In searching for the corn mix to make the sopes, I found a few Mexican stores in Calgary and drove to the closest Mexican market. According to La Tiendona Market, they supply local Mexican restaurants and Saskatoon Farm.
|Freshly baked Empanadas at La Tiendona Market|
The Tiendona Market's shelves were stocked with jars of salsa, hot sauces, tomato sauces, an assortment of dried hot peppers, the freezers were filled with tortillas of various sizes, sausages, cheese. Many other products from Latin America were available in the Market.
1 1/2 cups of Instant Corn Masa Mix
3/4 cup water
Mix instant Masa and water with your fingers in a small bowl. Mix until you have shaped a soft uniform dough. Add more water if needed to make it a soft moist dough. Pinch off a small amount of the dough the size of your palm, pat down with your hand and shape into a small disc.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the patties until golden brown, approximately 1-2 minutes on each side. Pat the cooked patties with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
While the sopes are still hot, immediately fold up the edges by pinching around the edge of the patty to form a firm rim 1/3 to 1/2 inches high. Use a clean tea towel if the patties are too hot to handle when making the ridge. Keep the sopes warm in the oven.
A variety of toppings can be layered on this hollow tart. Sopes are like a blank canvas that can be filled with whatever you may have in your refrigerator or garden. A perfect way to have kids involved in making their own sopes. The ideas are endless!
- Refried Pinto beans
- Mashed Black Beans mixed with Salsa and hot sauce
- Cooked ground Beef or Sausage with diced or mashed potato
- Shredded cheese i.e. cheddar, cotija cheese
- Pulled pork
- cooked chicken
|Vegetarian Sopes at Saskatoon Farm|
Garnish with lettuce, tomato, radish and/or cucumber. Top with a hot spicy sauce, a spoonful of Guacamole and a dollop of sour cream.
Last night, after making the sopes, I had great fun adding the following toppings.
Grated cheese with chopped Chipotle peppers in Adodo sauce were
added to the sopes, and then heated in the oven until cheese bubbled.
Baked Beans were added on the layer of cheese and chipotle peppers.
Locally grown carrots from Saskatoon farms that were purchased last week were used as another layer of topping. Yes, there are still last year's root vegetable and garlic available for purchase at the farm.
Cilantro and baby romaine lettuce, then topped with a fried egg. The finishing touch was a drizzle of Jalapeño pepper sauce.
Mexican Sopes have become part of my repertoire by adapting them to local products, easily accessible ingredients and personal taste yet retaining the Mexican flavor.