Two grilled tuna tacos filled with a mix of veggies and fresh salsa sit atop a crispy homemade corn tortilla

The Best Tacos in North America in 2021: John Catucci’s Picks

Originating in Mexico sometime in the 18th century, today’s taco craze proves these simple tortilla snacks have serious lasting power. And with good reason; tacos are cheap, versatile and undeniably delicious. This hand-held street food packs intense flavour in just one bite and boasts the ability of entirely new tastes depending on your salsa of choice.  Whether you’re grabbing some late-night eats off the street corner or indulging in the diverse flavours at a high-end restaurant,  a taco simply never disappoints.  Why not make your New Year’s resolution to try the best tacos with one of food expert John Catucci’s picks of 2021!


See More: Browse the Restaurants Featured on Big Food Bucket List

Based on the lamb Shwarma brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, the Al Pastor taco combines aromatic Middle Eastern spices with those indigenous to South America. A mainstay staple, this beef or pork-based taco can be found at just about any authentic taqueria, but for the ultimate plant-based take you’ll want to head to Tumerico in Tucson, AZ.  Prepared with smashed jackfruit, deep-fried then sauteed with pineapple for a sweet, caramelized finish. Top it all off with fresh corn, pico de gallo, onion, cilantro, a drizzle of cashew cream, and restaurant signature – a dusting of Tumeric. Beloved by meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike for it’s spicy, smokey flavour.

Get the recipe for Al Pastor Tacos

 

Over at Tacos Chiwas, Chef Nadia Holguin shares the flavours of her families home state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The smoked brisket Deshebrada Roja Gorditas is the supreme hand-held food; slow-cooked shredded beef and refried beans fill a homemade flour tortilla pocket. Chef Nadia makes the 12-hour trip home each month to bring in the dried red hatch chile used to make the savoury Roja sauce, so you know she is passionate about bringing her guests the absolute best.

Related: 50 Tasty Taco Recipes You’ll Crave Every Day of the Week

 

John Catucci and Chef Nick Liu smile at one another while cooking in the kitchen at DaiLo

At the height of their popularity, the traditional taco took on a whole new delicious dimension when chefs began cooking them in a fusion style. At Toronto, Ontario’s Dailo, Chef Nick Liu creates predominantly Chinese fare with signature flair, including his exquisite Crispy Octopus Tacos.  The self-titled Ninja Chef begins by substituting your standard corn tortilla with thin slices of crunchy, sweet jicama and follows up with layers of salty pork belly, crispy fried octopus and an Asian vegetable garnish. The result, as John demonstrates, is a bite worthy of three first pumps of pure joy.

 

Related: From Competitor to Judge: Nick Liu Returns to Food Network Canada on Wall of Chefs

If you’re intrigued by a new blending of flavours but aren’t ready to give up a corn base, Primal Kitchen & Bar has you covered with their Tuna Tacos.  This Halifax kitchen fills their tortilla with a seared, pink tuna steak, topped with avocado crema, pickled vegetables and delicate shavings of dried seaweed.  Not that it needs selling, but John Catucci does call it “the best fish taco” he’s ever had.

Get the recipe for Tuna Tacos

 

Now that you’ve dipped your toes in the experimental side of things, it’s time to up the ante with a true original; Abe Fisher’s Veal Schnitzel Taco, found in the heart of Philadelphia. These decadent tacos are uniquely prepared with chunks of braised veal, which are then breaded and deep-fried. Finished with a salty anchovy mayo and sweet and spicy pickled red cabbage for the perfect bite every time.

Get the recipe for Veal Schnitzel Tacos

 

If you’re looking to really surprise your taste buds, Hamilton’s own Rapscallion Rogue Eatery is slinging sweetbread tacos, made with a less conventional, but seriously amazing, buttermilk fried pancreas. This buttery, rich meat is complemented by a drizzle of smokey, poblano aioli, spicy mango salsa and garnish with pickled red onion and fresh cilantro. Meat lovers everywhere- add this to your bucket list!

Watch full episodes of Big Food Bucket List onlineYou can also stream your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

hot dog fried rice in black wok

Your Kiddos Will Not Stop Asking You to Cook This Hot Dog Fried Rice Recipe

It’s pretty much a fact that all kids (and many of us adults) love hot dogs. It’s also a fact that they are devoid of any meaningful nutrition. But alas, they find redemption in this hot dog fried rice recipe, alongside eggs, green beans and tofu. Tofu skeptics: this might just be your gateway tofu dish! This has long since been a family favourite at my house and I think it could be at yours too. (This dish can be enjoyed by everyone from age 3 and up). Be sure to cut hot dogs into small ⅛-inch slices so they’re not choking hazards for very young children. For a gluten-free version of this Kindred Kitchen recipe, opt for gluten-free hot dogs and tamari in place of soy sauce.

hot dog fried rice in black wok

Hot Dog Fried Rice

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-5

Ingredients:

6 cups cooked rice (2½ cups uncooked rice), cooled and refrigerated 1-2 days
4 large eggs
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt to taste
High-heat neutral oil
4 hot dogs, thinly sliced to ⅛-inch pieces
1 package (400 g) extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
1 ½ tsp soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), divided
½ lb green beans, stem trimmed and cut into ⅓-inch pieces
2 tsp finely minced ginger
3 tsp finely minced garlic (from 4-5 medium cloves)
3 scallions, finely chopped (reserve a little bit for garnish)

hot dog fried rice ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Take cooked rice out from the fridge and break up any clumps of rice thoroughly with your hands. Set aside. Then whisk eggs with sesame oil and a pinch of salt in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

person fluffing rice in black bowl

2. Prepare all other ingredients. The key to any stir-fry is to not crowd the pan, cooking and seasoning every ingredient separately.

3. Preheat a wok or large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Drizzle oil and add whisked seasoned eggs, moving it around constantly with a spatula until eggs are starting to set. but still quite runny. (They will cook more at the end). Scoop out and set aside.

Related: Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Rice

4. Turn heat up to medium-high. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil and add sliced hot dogs. Stir-fry until heated through and edges are just starting to brown and even crisp up if you like. Scoop out and set aside, leaving behind any oil that came out of the hot dogs.

5. If needed, drizzle a bit more oil and add the tofu cubes. Stir-fry gently so as not to break them. Let the tofu heat through and get a little brown on the edges. Season with ¾ tsp soy sauce (or tamari) and salt to taste. Cook for 30 seconds, scoop out and set aside.

cooking cubes of tofu in black wok

6. Next, drizzle a bit of oil and stir-fry the cut green beans until tender, but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and ¾ tsp soy sauce (or tamari). Again, scoop out and set aside.

7. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of oil and add the minced ginger. Move it around and cook for 5-10 seconds. Add the minced garlic and cook for 5-10 seconds or until the garlic is just turning golden, being careful not to let it burn. Stir in most of the chopped scallions, remembering to reserve some for garnish. Add 1 Tbsp more oil and make sure the oil is heated and quite hot at this point (but before smoking) before adding the chilled cooked rice. Stir everything to distribute everything evenly. Cook until rice is fully heated through.

Related: How to Cook a Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

8. Add back the hot dogs, tofu and green beans. Mix well and allow to heat back through for a minute. Finally, add the runny eggs and stir to distribute. Stir-fry another minute to cook eggs fully. Turn heat off and taste. Add salt if needed. Garnish with scallions. Enjoy!

hot dog fried rice in black wok

Like this hot dog fried rice recipe? Try this vegetarian mujadara!

Two glasses with healthier banana pudding

This Healthier Banana Pudding is the Perfect Make-Ahead Dessert

If you have bananas in your kitchen at this very moment, this recipe is for you. This healthier banana pudding is creamy, rich and delicious without being over sweet. It’s an easy dessert that layers in vanilla wafers (that soften to the perfect cake consistency), sweet bananas and vanilla pudding (which is naturally sweetened with just maple syrup). Seriously, make this now, so you can enjoy it later! And an added bonus? This recipe only requires eight simple ingredients.

Two cups of healthier banana pudding

Healthier Banana Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 4 hours or overnight
Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ cups 2% milk
⅓ cup maple syrup
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 box vanilla wafer cookies
3 bananas, sliced

Healthier banana pudding ingredient on countertop

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, milk, maple syrup and egg yolks, breaking up any clumps. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Strain through a fine sieve, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

White pot cooking pudding, with bananas next to it

2. Once the pudding has chilled, give it a good whisk to loosen the mix. Add in Greek yogurt and whisk to incorporate.

Related: These Banana Bread Recipes Will Provide All The Comfort You Need

3. At the bottom of a glass, break up a few vanilla wafers, next layer the sliced bananas and finally the vanilla pudding. Repeat the layering until the glass is full. Place back in the fridge for another 2 hours or overnight. The wafers will soften and become cake-like. Enjoy!

One cup of healthier banana pudding

Like Sabrina’s healthier banana pudding? Try her 8-ingredient warm salted caramel lava cakes or her healthy apple oatmeal cookies.

Your New Favourite Fish Dish: The Pioneer Woman’s Crispy Cerveza Battered Cod

We love a classic fish and chips recipe as much as the next person — but if you’re looking to up your kitchen (and seafood) game, make this crispy, battered fish dish from Ree Drummond herself.

Two pounds of fresh cod is simmered in Mexican lager-infused spicy seasonings, while homemade charred lime crema is the perfect topper in addition to the napa cabbage, onions, flour tortillas and lime wedges. Although it might take a little longer than the average dish, go ahead and break out that deep-frying thermometer and get started! Bon appetit!

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Tex-Mex Recipes Will Satisfy Your Cheesy, Meaty Cravings

The Pioneer Woman’s Crispy Cerveza Battered Fish

Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 servings
Special Equipment: a deep-frying thermometer

Ingredients:

Crispy Battered Fish

Vegetable oil, for frying
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Two 12-ounce bottles Mexican lager
2 lbs cod, cut into 1/2-by-1 1/2-by-3-inch sticks

Related: This Bold 5-Ingredient Sheet Pan Steak Supper From The Pioneer Woman Will Brighten Your Table

Serving

12 flour tortillas (7-inch)
2 cups shredded napa cabbage
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1 cup lime wedges
Charred Lime Crema, recipe follows

Charred Lime Crema

2 jalapenos
1 small white onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Mexican-style crema
1 lime, zested and juiced ‘

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Fast White Chicken Chili Will Become a Weeknight Staple

Close-up of Crispy Cerveza Battered Fish

Directions:

1. For the crispy battered fish: Preheat the oven to 200°F. Fit a wire rack in a baking sheet; set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat to 375°F.

3. Make the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, cayenne, paprika, baking powder and pepper. Add the beer and whisk until smooth.

4. Working in 2 to 3 batches, coat the fish in the batter. Carefully transfer the battered fish to the hot oil. Fry each batch for 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the fried fish to the wire rack on the baking sheet to allow the oil to drain away. This will ensure it stays crispy. Transfer the baking sheet with the fish to the oven to keep warm while you get everything else ready. The fish can sit in the oven up to an hour staying warm.

5. For serving: Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the oven to warm for 10 minutes.

6. Unwrap the tortillas and serve alongside the fish and all the fixings: cabbage, red onion, cilantro, lime wedges and Charred Lime Crema.

Charred Lime Crema

1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

2. Toss the jalapenos and onion rounds in the olive oil in a bowl. Grill the jalapenos and onion rounds until charred all over, turning as needed, about 5 minutes total. Place the jalapenos in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Set the onions aside.

3. Cut the jalapenos in half, remove the stems and seeds and gently scrape off the charred skin. Roughly chop the grilled onion rounds.

4. Combine the jalapenos, onion, cilantro and some salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse in 2-second increments until finely minced.

5. Whisk together the crema and lime zest and juice in a medium bowl. Add the jalapeno-onion mixture to the bowl with the crema and fold everything together until fully incorporated.

6. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve as a flavorful topping on your favorite tacos.

Watch the full how-to video:


Want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family? The Pioneer Woman’s top cooking tips for easier weeknight dinners will help you get started.

Watch The Pioneer Woman via stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Plate of healthy fried chicken

This Healthy Sriracha-Honey Oven-Fried Chicken is Simply Delish

For all the fried chicken lovers out there who are looking for a much healthier way to enjoy delicious chicken — this paleo Sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken is right up your alley. It’s spicy, sweet and savoury, extremely flavourful and there’s no deep frying or oil required.

Plate of healthy fried chicken

Healthy Sriracha-Honey Oven-Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serving: 4

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour
1 tsp flaky sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1 lb chicken breasts or thighs (4-5 pieces)
⅓ cup Sriracha hot sauce
⅓ cup pure honey
1 tsp garlic powder
Fresh chives or parsley, for topping

Ingredients for healthy fried chicken on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and pepper. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs.

Related: Our Best Budget-Friendly Chicken Recipes to Have on Rotation

3. Dip each chicken breast in the whisked eggs, then coat with almond flour mixture and place on the lined baking sheet. Store any leftover almond flour mixture in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. This can be reused within 3 days.

Healthy fried chicken in batter on baking pan

4. Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

5. In the meantime, combine Sriracha hot sauce, honey and garlic powder in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the honey is melted and mixture is smooth. Turn off the heat and set the sauce aside.

Sauce for healthy fried chicken in pot

6. When ready, take the chicken out of the oven, then turn the oven settings to broil. Using a pastry brush, brush the Sriracha-honey sauce on the surface of the chicken until coated. Place the chicken back in the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes.

Pan full of healthy fried chicken

7. When ready, top with fresh chives or herb of choice. Serve immediately.

Like Valerie’s healthy Sriracha-honey chicken? Try her low-carb mint lamb burgers or her low-sugar persimmon creme brulee.

Vegan egg salad on baguette

This One Ingredient Will Change Your Vegan Recipes Forever (Plus a Vegan Egg Salad Recipe!)

Kala namak AKA black salt is the secret ingredient to many vegan recipes. It is a kiln-fired rock salt with a similar texture to a pink Himalayan salt, but with a strong hard-boiled egg flavour. Often used in South Asian cooking, it is the perfect way to add egg flavour to any eggless dish. It is amazing in this Can You Vegan It? egg salad sandwich recipe — serve it between two slices of your favourite bread or on a toasted sourdough baguette (my preference!).

Black salt

Vegan Egg Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches

Vegan egg salad on baguette

Ingredients:

16 ounces medium or firm tofu, pressed
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup chives or green onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp turmeric
½ teaspoon kala namak
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Sourdough baguette, for serving

Vegan egg salad ingredients

Directions:

1. Press the tofu before using to drain out any excess liquids and ensure it soaks up the ingredients.

Tofu chopped up on cutting board

2. In a mixing bowl, toss together the tofu, celery and green onion. Set aside.

Vegan egg salad mixed in bowl

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, turmeric, kala namak and pepper.

Related: Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas Featuring 10 Ingredients or Less

4. Pour mixture over tofu and toss to coat. Scoop mixture over bread, garnish with chives and enjoy!

Vegan egg salad mixed in bowl

Like Marcella’s vegan egg salad recipe? Try her vegan eggnog recipe or her six different recipes from one humble can of tomatoes.

Kardea Brown’s Big Apple Crumb Cheesecake is the Dessert You Deserve Right Now

Kardea Brown’s hearty, creamy, apple-forward cheesecake may be a little more time-consuming than the average baking session, but it’s absolutely worth the wait. From the graham cracker crust and cream cheese filling to the tart and tangy apple crumb topping, there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to relish every last bite.

Related: Our Most Excellent Cheesecake Recipes for Total Dessert Bliss

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan-Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Kardea Brown’s Big Apple Crumb Cheesecake

Total Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes (includes cooling and chilling time)
Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
15 graham crackers (or 2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs)
3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Apple Crumb Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and diced

Cheesecake Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Pinch kosher salt
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
Store-bought caramel sauce, for serving

Related: Kardea Brown’s Beef and Okra Stew is the Warming Dinner You Didn’t Know You Were Craving

Directions:

1. For the graham crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2. Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until fine, then add the brown sugar and salt and pulse until well combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles damp sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared springform pan in an even layer. Bake the crust until firm, about 10 minutes, then let cool.

3. For the apple crumb topping: Stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand, using your hands to form some clumps. Fold in the diced apple.

4. For the cheesecake filling: Stir together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Pulse together the cream cheese and sour cream in a food processor until smooth. With the processor running, add the sugar mixture 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, pulsing until well combined, then add the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the processor and giving it another pulse to make sure everything is incorporated. Pour the cheesecake filling over the top of the graham cracker crust.

5. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake the cheesecake until it is mostly set but still has a bit of a jiggle in the center, 60 to 70 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly open for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, about another hour, then refrigerate for 1 hour more. Run a paring knife around the outside before unmolding and slicing. Serve drizzled with the caramel sauce.

Watch the how-to video here:


Watch Delicious Miss Brown and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Meet the Canadian Women Helping to Bring Gender Equality to the Wine World

It’s clear within minutes of our three-way phone chat that Emily Pearce and Jennifer Huether love talking about wine, from the terroir to the nitty-gritty details of winemaking. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, there’s something refreshing about hearing two women at the top of their game speak passionately about the grape. Not only do the Toronto-based entrepreneurs boast an encyclopedic knowledge on the subject, but they’ve also enjoyed massive success with Femmes du Vin — a  non-profit organization that launched less than five years ago.

“The story of Femmes du Vin is really about grassroots growth. It started in 2016 in my backyard in Toronto,” says founding president Pearce. “I got this idea to have a social event that was a safe space for women in the wine industry to come together to have a place to network, discuss successes and analyze challenges.”

What started as a small gathering has since transformed into the massively successful Harvest Seminars where speakers and attendees tune in from around the world to talk wine and culture.

For decades, women sommeliers or wine enthusiasts have been few and far between, with men dominating the conversation and top positions. Now, Pearce and Huether, master sommelier and  director of education at Femmes du Vin, are pushing for more inclusion of women in the wine world.

Related: Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

Emily Pearce

Tell us about the genesis and evolution of Femmes du Vin and why it’s needed in the wine industry today.

Emily Pearce: “Eventually, [the backyard event] outgrew me setting up a tent and making homemade sushi in my backyard. We had our first brick and mortar event [in 2019] and it continued to grow out of community demand to what it was [in 2020] — which was an amazing virtual event with speakers and attendees from across the world. It speaks to the hunger in our industry for these safe places in our community for women to connect. While there are still challenges women face — be it wage discrepancies that still exist or issues around discrimination or harassment — I really just wanted to create a place where women could build stronger networks.”

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

What were your earliest experiences in an industry dominated by men?

Jennifer Huether: “That’s a great question. Personally, I started out in the wine business about 22 years ago. I fell in love with wine, started taking some courses and became a sommelier. I can honestly say to you that, back then, I would look around and I could name maybe two other women sommeliers in Toronto — a massive, metropolitan city. And that certainly felt like the case wherever I went — whether I was flying to England for exams or on wine trips that were led by different countries, we [women] were always a very small minority in the group. At that time it was also a bit surprising for people to come across you, so they would unintentionally start mansplaining wine to you because they didn’t understand that you’d studied it or worked in it for several years.”

Related: Celebrating 10 Female Chefs That We Love, From Anna Olson to Molly Yeh

What shifts have you started to see since starting Femmes du Vin in 2016?

EP: “It’s two steps forward, one step back. I look at the top positions in our area [of Toronto] and we’re seeing a proliferation of women in top positions. But, on the other side, you see a continuation of discouraging things — whether that’s discrimination against women or perhaps harassment or other obstacles that still exist. I’ve worked very hard and I’m grateful for the positions I’ve held in the wine industry, but I’ve been on the other side of the table. I still think there are clear obstacles facing women. Having a family, for a woman in our industry, is tremendously challenging [for example].”

Jennifer Huether

How can Canadian wineries work toward including more women?

JH: “Some confidential conversations I’ve had with [female] winemakers said it was a really, really tough road for them. What they’ve done, sort of like what we’re doing, is create a bit of a community for each other where they’ll get together and chat and support each other.”

Related: Metis Herbalist and Educator Lori Snyder on Urban Foraging and Food Sovereignty

EP: “And what Femmes du Vin is doing is we’re working on a really exciting project with two wineries [The Grange from Prince Edward County and Benjamin Bridge from Nova Scotia] and we’re going to be doing a private label Femmes du Vin wine which is very exciting. We’re working with a local winemaking school to offer internships for women — hopefully BIPOC women — to work with head winemakers for these custom private labels for Femmes du Vin. It will provide them with professional one-on-one experience with head winemakers that they can actually put on their resumes to make them more professionally competitive when it comes to the market… It’s a small thing that might only help a handful of women each year, but we’re really excited to be able to leverage our network and work toward change. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of those wines will also be going into our scholarship fund for women in wine.”

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

What is your favourite wine?

JH: “Can we give you a wine region or a style? [laughs] For me, we’ve got to go to France and we’ve got to go to Burgundy. Then we have to go with white wine — a Chardonnay. They’re the most intriguing wines in the world.”

EP: “I would have to concur — a beautiful Chardonnay from Burgundy. Anything with the word Montrachet in it. It’s so expressive with its terroir [the natural environment where it’s produced] and it’s versatile with food. It’s something that is a treat — a desert island wine that is irresistible.”

Related: Top Pinot Gris Wines to Sip Right Now

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Feature photo courtesy of Unsplash; second and third photo courtesy of Emily Pearce and Jennifer Huether.

Host Jeff Mauro arrives, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 1.

Getting to Know Kitchen Crash’s Jeff Mauro: From Comedy To Cooking

Jeff Mauro’s worn a lot of hats during his career — from a chef’s toque to a ball cap — but he’s best known for his cooking shows. From the love of the humble sandwich to a hard-won place in the Food Network Canada roster, Jeff’s sampled a smorgasbord of skills on his way up. Here are 10 things you may not know about the host of the new Food Network show Kitchen Crash.

He’s Been a Comedian From Childhood

Born and raised in Chicago, Jeff’s been joking around since he was a kid — he started doing plays and comedies in the second grade and began honing his improv chops at Second City youth classes the next year. He even did standup comedy (briefly) in his 20s.

He’s Studied the Art of Television

Jeff’s ease with the camera comes through some serious studying: he has a degree in communications, radio, and television production from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. and was the valedictorian of his graduating class in 2000.

He Cooked His Way Through College

As the kitchen steward at the Sigma Chi fraternity house at Bradley, Jeff paid for his room and board by practicing his cooking skills on his fellow students. “I remember making everyone sit down and enjoy a nice dinner with wine,” he said in an interview with Spoon University. “It was pretty funny turning this crazy animal house into a place where we enjoyed a civil supper.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeff Mauro (@jeffmauro)

He Has Professional Training in Cooking

During a stint in Hollywood pursuing his comedy and cooking career, Jeff made his bones the old school way — by enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu culinary program to hone his cooking chops, according to his bio.

Deli Runs in His Blood

After moving back to his hometown of Chicago, he opened up Prime Time Deli & Catering in Westmont, Ill., with his older cousin Dave, a chef. Jeff was also behind the now-defunct Pork ’n Mindy’s and now builds sandwich kits for his brand, Mauro Provisions.

Chef By Day, Actor By Night

Jeff split his time between slinging sandwiches and singing on stage at Piper’s Alley Theatre as Tony in the Chicago production of the interactive and kitschy musical, Tony and Tina’s Wedding. “I auditioned as a waiter and worked my way up to the Tony role,” he told Love In The Time Of Coronavirus.

He Has a Podcast With His Sister, Emily

One of four siblings, Jeff gets in lots of family time — especially with his sister Emily, with whom he does the podcast Come On Over (which has recently been spun off into a cookbook). Jeff jokes about the high ratings amongst his family members: “We are the ‘#1 New Podcast hosted by siblings’ as voted on by at least 6 of my 9 Aunts,” he posted on Instagram.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeff Mauro (@jeffmauro)

He’s No Stranger to the Food Network Canada Audience

Although Jeff auditioned three times for The Next Food Network Star before ultimately winning season 7, he’s making up for lost time. He’s made appearances on Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Guy’s Grocery Games, and judged Chopped Junior and Cupcake Wars. He also spun off his niche from The Next Food Network Star into three seasons of Sandwich King and currently co-hosts The Kitchen and his new show, Kitchen Crash.

He Has Two Mini Golden Doodles Called Jojo and Pinot G

Jeff’s fallen in puppy love with his two tiny doggos, who have their own Instagram account (@jojoandpinot) which currently sits at over 6,300 followers. The pups apparently prefer yak bones and turkey to sandwiches, however.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeff Mauro (@jeffmauro)

His Family Sometimes Acts As His Camera Crew

During pandemic times, Jeff’s wife Sarah and son Lorenzo helped out with camera and styling duties during socially distanced filming for some of his television appearances.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeff Mauro (@jeffmauro)

And Once More With Feeling: Jeff Loves to Belt Out the Classics

Whether he’s serenading a ballpark with an enthusiastic version of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during a Cubs game or taking a happy birthday wish to operatic heights, Jeff isn’t afraid to attack each song with gusto.

Watch Kitchen Crash January 10 at 10ep and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Bulgur salad in white bowl

This Middle Eastern Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad is Full of Whole Grains

Bulgur wheat is one of the most underrated grains, but it’s oh-so versatile and packed with fibre. It’s a common Middle Eastern staple and comes in various sizes — from very fine (which is used for tabbouli) to coarse grind (which has a similar cook time to rice). If you’re looking for a creative way to give bulgur a try, this winter salad is the perfect recipe. It’s crunchy and nutty, with hints of sweetness and tartness from the pomegranate and lemon juice; and the parsley and green onion add freshness. It’s the ultimate balance of flavours and ready within minutes.

Bulgur salad in white bowl

Middle Eastern Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

Bulgur
¾ cup coarse bulgur wheat (makes 2 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 ¼ cups water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Salad
1 cup pomegranate seeds (roughly half a large pomegranate)
¾ cup slivered almonds (or whole or blanched almonds)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped parsley
¾ cup chopped green onions
½ cup crumbled feta (optional)

Dressing
3 Tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup pomegranate juice
Juice of 1 lemon (roughly ¼ cup)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Bulgur salad ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Wash and drain the bulgur. In a pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and washed bulgur. Saute for a few minutes to toast the bulgur.

Related: Fantastic Warm Salad Ideas to Enjoy Right Now

2. Add the water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, cover and turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork when it is ready.

Bulgur cooking in pot

3. Meanwhile, deseed the pomegranate. You can do this by using your fingers or tapping the back of half the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to release the seeds.

Pomegranate seeds in bowl

4. In a pan on medium heat, toast the almonds in the olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until they turn golden brown. Remove immediately off the heat.|

Almonds roasting in pan

5. Chop the parsley and green onions.

6. Mix all the salad dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake well.

Salad dressing in jar

7. Assemble the salad by mixing all the ingredients except for the toasted almonds and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (You can also eat this salad warm!). Before serving, add the toasted almonds, mix well and enjoy.

Bulgur salad in white bowl

Like Amina’s bulgur, pomegranate and almond salad? Try her roasted cauliflower with tahini and curried Brussels sprouts.

Ramen with tofu and bok choy in white bowl

This Hearty 20-Minute Vegan Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup Will Not Disappoint

No matter what, you always found yourself eating ramen out of a microwaved bowl in college. It was soupy noodles and not much else. Imagine if you found a veggie-based recipe that was full of flavor, packed with protein, low carb and delicious. That’s exactly what this ramen is: healthy good food. In this Can You Vegan It? recipe, we swap eggs for tofu — further transforming this classic comfort food.

Ramen with tofu and bok choy in white bowl

Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

¼ cup sesame oil, divided
4 baby bok choy, quartered
2 Tbsp yellow miso paste (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
¼ cup coconut aminos
8 cups vegetable broth
½ tsp kosher salt
4 zucchinis, spiralized
4-6 omega-3 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced or cooked tofu
2 3-oz (85 g) packages enoki mushrooms
1 cup scallions, diced

Related: Genius Ways to Hack a Pack of Ramen Noodles

Directions:

1. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy to the skillet and cook for roughly 2 minutes on both sides until lightly charred. Remove the bok choy from the skillet and set it aside.

2. Add the remaining oil, then add the miso (if using), garlic, shallots, ginger and coconut aminos. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the broth and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, then add the zucchini. Let the soup simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with the bok choy, eggs (or tofu), enoki mushrooms and a topping of scallions.

Like Valerie’s ramen noodle soup? Try her zesty lamb burgers or her low sugar persimmon creme brulee.

front cover of 30-Minute Low-Carb DinnersReprinted with permission from 30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners by Valerie Azinge, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Valerie Azinge, Yasaman Shafiei and Kabir Ali.

30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners, Amazon, $23.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Sweet potato blondies on kitchen counter

These Comforting Sweet Potato Blondies Will Defeat Your Winter Blues

Traditional blondies get a comforting, cold-weather twist with the addition of sweet potato.  These Can You Vegan It? fudgy squares can easily be made vegan-friendly by swapping in a few simple ingredients. And the addition of chopped pecans kick things up a notch, adding a nice crunch and a decadent touch. Feel free to sub in different nuts, toffee bits or anything else you might be craving. Tip: serve warm to keep you toasty during blustery winter nights.

Sweet potato blondies

Sweet Potato Blondies

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

Blondie Base
⅔ cup unsalted butter (or vegan butter)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg (or vegan egg substitute)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup of pecans (optional)

Sweet Potato Top
1 small sweet potato
3 Tbsp condensed milk (or vegan condensed milk)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)

Sweet potato blondies ingredients on table

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bake the small sweet potato for 40 minutes. To save time, you can peel and cut the sweet potato into large even pieces, then boil until soft. It will cook faster when boiled, but I suggest baking it instead to maintain all the delicious flavour.

2. As the sweet potato bakes, prepare the batter by browning the butter first. Add the butter to a pot on low-heat. As the butter begins to melt, stir and slowly raise to medium heat. Be careful when you increase the heat, as it’s very easy to burn butter. If possible, use a light-coloured pot so you can see the butter clearly as it begins to brown. Stir continuously — and once the butter has reached a golden brown colour, remove and sift into a large bowl.

Related: Comforting Desserts to Battle Bitter, Cold Winters

3. Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, add the light brown sugar and combine. Then add the egg and stir in the vanilla.

4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) to the mix and combine well. Be careful not to over mix. Then fold in the chopped pecans and pour the batter into a buttered baking dish. Set aside.

Sweet potato blondie batter

5. Once the sweet potato is soft and fully baked, remove it from the oven and turn down the heat to 350°F (to bake the blondies). Let the sweet potato cool, then remove its skin and mash it up in a large bowl. Next, add the condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and pecans. Mix until all ingredients are evenly combined.

6. Pour the sweet potato mixture on top of the blondie batter in the baking dish. Spread it on top as an even layer. Add a few more crushed pecans to top it off.  Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Like Eden’s sweet potato blondies? Try her vegan sloppy Joe sliders or her cardamom teff apple muffins.

Published January 9, 2019, Updated January 2, 2021

Host Jeff Mauro appears, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 1.

5 Hot New Releases to Binge on Amazon Prime This January

Here’s a resolution: watch more of the most delicious, drool-worthy shows to inspire you in the kitchen in 2021 (and beyond). Ring in the new year with a slew of new Food Network Canada series that you can binge-watch now with STACKTV on Amazon Prime. Ready to bid adieu to 2020 and hone your cooking skills in the year ahead? Read (and watch) on.

Kitchen Crash

Who Should Watch: The family who grocery shops together.

Host Jeff Mauro appears, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 1.

Jeff Mauro (The Kitchen) arrives in unsuspecting neighbourhoods to put chefs to the ultimate grocery showdown. Chefs are challenged to ambush real family homes and have a cookout right in the middle of the street. The winning chef achieves bragging rights (and a cash prize to split with the family whose pantry they raided!).

Big Food Bucket List

Who Should Watch: Supporters of local restaurants.

John Catucci watches as a restaurant patron takes a big bite of a pizza dish

John Catucci returns for all-new episodes of the most delicious and hilarious channel show. From Orlando, Florida to Hamilton, Ontario, John is leaving no stone unturned and trying all the delicious joints on his bucket list.

Related: Big Food Bucket List Restaurants That Offer Takeout Now

Kids Baking Championship

Who Should Watch: Little bakers, and the ones who love them.

Wideshot of Bella, Miabella, Haylin, Nemo, Keaton, Trey, Cydney, Mckenzly, Andrew, D'von, Namiah, Jonah racing to pantry, as seen on Kids Baking Championship, Season 9.

Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli return for an all-new season of the exciting baking competition. Child prodigy bakers compete in a series of challenges to prove that they have the baking chops to be named the baking champion.

See More: Ree Drummond’s Very Best Dinner Recipes for Kids

Chopped $50,000 Champs Challenge

Who Should Watch: Couch culinary critics.

Contestants Brittany Rescigno, Gregory Headen, Fernanda Tapia, and Cory Oppold prepare to open their appetizer baskets during the Champions Tournament, as seen on Chopped, Season 45.

Former Chopped champions return to compete once more! It’s a battle of racing clocks and mystery basket curveballs as the best of the best compete to win a whopping $50,000.

Delicious Miss Brown

Who Should Watch: Anyone whose new year resolution is to cook more!

Miss Kardea Brown plates her Steakhouse Burger with frizzled onion, thick cut bacon, tomato and blue cheese dressing, as seen on Delicious Miss Brown, Season 3.

Caterer and cook Kardea Brown is whipping up Southern comfort food and sharing her recipes with you. Many of her recipes pay homage to her Gullah heritage (a distinct group of African Americans living in the Lowcountry region), inspired by recipes from her mother and grandmother. One thing is certain – when you’re in Miss Brown’s kitchen, there are sure to be some delicious eats!

Related: Easy, Comforting Recipes From Delicious Miss Brown

Duck salad inside red box

Meet the $45 Takeout Meal That Comes in a Jewellery Box

The pandemic is changing habits — and we’re all embracing takeout like never before. While fast-food chains were always set up for takeout, other restaurants had to quickly adapt their business model to pay the bills. Fine-dining restaurants that previously relied on dine-in patrons are forced to now reimagine their food to offer an upscale dining experience to-go.

Hana in Toronto’s ritzy Yorkville neighbourhood offers one the best modern Kyō-kaiseki (Kyoto-style cuisine) dining experiences in the city. Chef Ryusuke Nakagawa’s food does a dance between modern and traditional — and pre-COVID, his preparation and presentation of each dish was so meticulous. Clearly, I had to see if the takeout experience shared the same sentiment. I opted for the duck salad, which costs $45. Expensive compared to fast-food takeout, but quite on par in terms of fine-dining prices.

Duck salad inside red box

First Looks

Let’s start with the packaging. The duck salad comes in a glistening, cherry-coloured, faux mahogany keepsake box from Japan, which adds an instant sophistication to the experience. From afar, you wouldn’t believe it’s not real wood. Once the lid is removed, your eyes are drawn to the variety. The dish is made with over a dozen ingredients that are all visible and vibrant. The star of the show is the ribbons of duck which Hana is not frugal about in this salad.

Red box on white counter

Digging In

Where do I even start? In a dish with so many ingredients, I like to try each one individually to get a sense of taste and texture separately. Essentially, I give each ingredient its own attention. It’s important to note that the duck salad’s veggies vary depending on the season. When I tried this in December 2020, this is what I had.

The duck is marinated in akamiso (red miso) and is slightly charcoal-grilled. It’s soft and buttery. The salad also has delicious carrot kinpira (julienned vegetables that are braised in a sauce made of soy and sugar), shungiku leaves (slightly bitter, yet delicate leafy greens) and maitake mushrooms, blanched and boiled in a dashi-based broth.

Related: Can’t Dine Out? These Toronto Restaurants Are Offering Date Night Meal Delivery

Ingredients that were new to me include: ginkgo (nuts that comes from a ginkgo tree and taste like edamame), golden beets (which are much sweeter than the red ones) and kikka kabura (a flower-shaped turnip). Other characters that make up the salad include daikon, radish sprouts, red cabbage, persimmons (because they’re in season), lotus roots, figs and the most finely sliced limes that complimented every bite.

Duck salad inside red box

The Sour Notes

This salad is made with a variety of vinegars: saffron vinegar, tosa vinegar, sweet vinegar and more. I can say with confidence, I never once made a dramatic sour face the way babies do when trying a lemon for the first time.

The Verdict

This dish could have gone terribly wrong given the amount of acidity in it. Ninety per cent of the vegetables were marinated with acidic notes, yet the duck stood up to it all.

I think one of the ways the chef was able to control the acidity is by his masterful knife skills, which Japanese chefs are known for. You’ll notice the dish is full of vegetable that are sliced, diced, julienned, fine-julienned and chiffonade cut. The cutting technique affects flavour. The more finely cut a vegetable, the more marinade it can absorb, which mean the chef is able to maintain a balanced flavour.

Although the shiso flower buds make a very pretty garnish, next time I would politely put them to the side. They have a very strong, lingering herb flavour that I could easily do without. I see why it would work well in a cocktail.

Overall, if you like duck, this is a must-have. You won’t be disappointed with the portion, presentation or palatableness.

Closeup of takeout duck salad in red box with wood chopsticks

Interested in more takeout reviews? We tried the KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits and Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich.

Photos courtesy of Deepi Harish

Festive vegan latte

We Tried 3 Seasonal Vegan Lattes at Your Favourite Coffee Shops. Here’s the Winner

Holiday latte season is one of my favourite seasons. You can indulge in the best coffee beans, but with a shot of sugary flavour and warm, frothy milk. And now thanks to an increased popularity of veganism and food allergies, plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat) is also typically on the menu.

This year I wanted to sample all of the best seasonal vegan lattes to see which one held up best. However because of the pandemic it felt like the options for such bevvies has been limited as many smaller joints have had to shut down. The good news is that some of the coffee franchises we all know and love did step up to pump out the special syrup and spices this season. And while I’m always a fan of supporting local, for the purpose of Canadian readers everywhere, here’s my hot take on the best vegan lattes from three of the more widely available cafes in the country.

Related: Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly

Chestnut Praline Latte With Almond Milk, Starbucks

Available across Canada

Festive flavour: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, perhaps? Just ordering this drink, which promises “caramelized chestnuts and spices” is enough to make me want to bust out the Nat King Cole.

Sweetness: A grande comes with four pumps of syrup, which was a touch on the sweet side. Next time I might stick with two or three.

Real talk: To make this version vegan, I omitted the whipped cream. Because of that, they also left off the “specialty spiced praline crumbs.” It doesn’t matter — I fell in love with chestnut lattes years ago. To be honest, it’s one of the first drinks my husband and I order every holiday season when they make their way to Canada.

Related: Famous Recipes We’re Making at Home, From McDs Hash Browns to IKEA Meatballs

Verdict: This year did not disappoint. While my drink was overly sweet (it took me a while to finish the whole cup) I did love how smooth and velvety it was. It also came piping hot, which was a bonus because I’m also that girl who microwaves her coffee if it’s not steaming. And as for the almond milk substitution? The syrup actually overpowered that chalky taste you can sometimes get with almond milk — and I think the drink would have been even sweeter with the regular stuff. So I’m calling this one a glorious, vegan win. Now if only they made chestnut lattes available year-round…

Gingerbread Latte With Almond Milk, Coffee Culture

Available in Ontario and Manitoba

Festive flavour: Gingerbread is kind of the ultimate holiday flavour, don’t you think? So drinking it in latte form (rather than biting into a tooth-chipping piece from the stale house my kids always insist on decorating) makes sense.

Sweetness: This one wasn’t nearly as sweet as the chestnut latte, but it definitely left me with a bit of a sugar rush.

Real talk: Full disclosure: I’m pretty picky about how I like my gingerbread. I love fresh ginger, so if we’re talking cookies, I prefer the warm and chewy kind.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

Verdict: As a drink, this gingerbread latte had a pretty great balance of coffee to ginger — and just smelling it was enough to bring a warm and fuzzy feel to my hectic afternoon. But one cup was definitely enough to last me for the entire season. I’m of the camp that gingerbread is special because it’s a once-in-a-while treat. But if they made this drink in candle form? Well that’s something I’d light up all season long.

Cinnamon Toast Latte With Almond Milk, Second Cup

Available across Canada

Festive flavour: I feel like cinnamon is a year-round flavour, so I wasn’t necessarily getting a festive vibe from this drink. But it did feel special and new, especially since I got to sip it in a fully decorated cafe while my toddler nibbled on a croissant.

Sweetness: Once again this latte was slightly too sweet for my personal preference, so next time I would ask for one less pump of syrup.

Real talk: Growing up my dad used to make me cinnamon toast and it was one of my favourite breakfasts. So I was immediately excited to try this grown-up version. I sipped it while watching my kid take in the experience of having a snack at a cafe (something he hasn’t really gotten to do yet in his life, especially with this pandemic) and it just reminded me of traditions, holiday shopping and taking a timeout to savour the season. Yes, I got all that from a drink.

Related: We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada — Is It Worth the Hype?

Verdict: I appreciated that while the other cafes were happy to offer up vegan milk in any of their lattes, Second Cup specifically put a plant-based version of its Cinnamon Toast Latte on the menu. They usually make theirs with oat milk (because oats and cinnamon are another memorable combo), but in order to be completely fair to the other shops, I had mine with almond milk. That suited me just fine and it was delicious, but next time I’m there I’m definitely trying to recommended version.

Winner

While the chestnut latte was delicious and the gingerbread latte was memorable, I have to go with the cinnamon toast latte. Are you surprised? I believe the season is all about the memories we make — and to me, the drink was a mood. Add in the fact that Second Cup put effort into branding the latte as a vegan drink and it had to win — hands down.

That said, this year has been strange and weird for so many reasons. Restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat, let alone sink money into new products. So I’m calling this a tentative win for now and here’s hoping that by this time next year, we can all over-imbibe on caffeine and more holiday-themed, sugary goodness.

Photos courtesy of Amber Dowling

We also tried the KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits. Are they worth the hype?

Fill Your Bread Basket With Ina Garten’s Mini Brioche Rolls

The Barefoot Contessa’s warm, comforting mini brioche rolls may be a little more time-consuming than what you’re accustomed to when baking, but they’re well worth the wait once you take a bite of these melt-in-your-mouth gems. Perfect for a special occasion or to make-ahead for a mid-day snack, Ina Garten’s mini brioche rolls are bursting with flavour.

Related: Ina Garten’s Fresh Whiskey Sours Will Be Your Go-To Cocktail

Ina Garten’s Mini Brioche Rolls

Total Time: 12 hours, 5 minutes
Yields: 20 rolls

Ingredients:

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
1 package dried yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

See More: Dinner Etiquette Tips That Would Make Ina Garten Proud

Directions:

1. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it’s at least 110 degrees when you add the yeast.) Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 1/4 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

2. The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, grease 20 mini brioche tins. Set aside.

3. Place the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the softened butter in chunks, and mix for 2 minutes, adding additional flour as needed to make a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough into 20 (1 3/4-ounce) balls and place them in the tins. Cover the tins with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. When the rolls have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool.

Related: How to Make Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

The Top 2020 Baking Recipes From Food Network Canada’s Sweet Treat Queen

2020 was truly a strange year. With everyone spending more time at home and more time in the kitchen, my hope was that these Baking Therapy treats would inspire you to try something new. I’m sharing some of my favourite recipes from this past year, from my soft and pillowy rolls to one of my all-time favourite carrot cake recipes, that will hopefully ignite the baking enthusiast in you. Happy baking!

East Soft Dinner Rolls

Does the thought of baking bread intimidate you? Don’t let it! These soft and fluffy rolls are easy to make and require just a few basic pantry ingredients that you probably already have at home.

two soft dinner rolls on cooling rack

Get the recipe for Easy Soft Dinner Rolls

Key Lime Pie Icebox Cake

Layers of tart key lime curd, creamy vanilla ice cream and soft graham cracker cookies make up this delicious icebox cake. Did I mention it’s no-bake? Plus: it only requires 30 minutes of prep!

No-bake key lime pie icebox cake on wood cutting board

Get the recipe for Key Lime Pie Icebox Cake

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Start your mornings on a sweet note with these gooey cinnamon rolls. Soft, fluffy and drizzled in the most addictive brown butter cream cheese icing, I promise you will not be disappointed.


Get the recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pastry Pockets

These pastry pockets will get you feeling nostalgic. Flaky pie crust filled with your favourite jam or jelly and the most delicious cream cheese. To make it even easier, try store-bought pie dough.


Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Pastry Pockets

Ginger Molasses Cookies

The quintessential holiday cookie. These ginger molasses cookies are soft, chewy, full of bold flavours and have the perfect crackly tops. My little secret? Spicy ginger candies to take it to the next level.

Ginger molasses cookies with crumbled candied ginger on top

Get the recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Squares With Spiced Candied Pecans

If you love pumpkin pie, you will love these pumpkin pie squares! Velvety smooth filling with a spicy ginger snap crust.

pumpkin pie squared on cooling rack

Get the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Squares With Spiced Candied Pecans

Sweet Potato Brownies

No one will ever know these fudgy brownies are made with sweet potatoes. They’re perfectly chocolatey, loaded with nutrients and — surprise! — also gluten-free.


Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Brownies

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is the perfect ending to any dinner. Sweet and spongy cake soaked in a decadent toffee sauce, there’s no passing up this sticky dessert.

sticky toffee pudding on white plate

Get the recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

The one cake recipe you will make time and time again. Carrot cake has always been a favourite of mine and since carrots are available year-round, there’s no reason to wait until spring to enjoy it! This one is loaded with coconut, pecans and fresh pineapple chunks.


Get the recipe for Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

12-Layer Chocolate Cake

Impress your family with this 12-layer chocolate cake. Yes, you read that right. But here’s a little secret: it’s made with just one single 9-inch cake pan.


Get the recipe for 12-Layer Chocolate Cake

Hasselback Apples With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Apples are such a versatile fruit and there are unlimited ways to enjoy them. These Hasselback apples are sliced open like a fan and stuffed with a truly addictive coconut-oat streusel. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Caramel being drizzled on Hasselback apples

Get the recipe for Hasselback Apples With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Tiramisu Cream Puffs

You can have more than one favourite dessert right? Tiramisu is one of my weaknesses. Sweet custard layered between coffee-soaked lady fingers — what’s not to love? All the flavours of tiramisu wrapped into a handheld treat.

tiramisu cream puffs on cutting board

Get the recipe for Tiramisu Cream Puffs

Banana Upside-Down Cake

We all have a bunch of brown bananas lying around in our kitchen. Skip the banana bread and make this impressive upside-down banana cake instead! Topped with sliced bananas, caramel and of course — you must always add ice-cream.


Get the recipe for Banana Upside-Down Cake

White Chocolate Funfetti Cookies

Everyone needs an emergency cookie stash. These funfetti cookies are crispy on the edges, chewy in the centre and deliciously nutty from the brown butter.

White chocolate funfetti cookies on white plate

Get the recipe for White Chocolate Funfetti Cookies

Rainbow Crepe Cake

Brunch never looked so good. This vibrant cake has 24 layers of soft, colourful crepes layered between light whipped cream.

rainbow crepe cake with berries on top on white cake stand

Get the recipe for Rainbow Crepe Cake

Like Sabrina’s Baking Therapy recipes? Check out more here!

This Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam is the Perfect Appetizer

Not only does cooking reflect culture, but it also reveals the resources found in a community’s surrounding environment. I discovered a love for food as a child, later combining my passion for cooking with the desire to know the history and cuisine of the First Nations peoples better. This is the inspiration behind my dishes.

I work with foragers and hunters in northern Québec who supply me with exceptional products such as wild cattails and currant leaves. My venison carpaccio recipe, which includes cedar jelly and a sea buckthorn jam, is a great example of my cooking technique. Slices of the freshest venison are garnished with the boreal flavours of cedar and sea buckthorn, a tart vitamin C–rich berry that can be found fresh or frozen at specialty markets.

At its essence, my work is focused on adapting the traditional pantry of an ancient culture to modern tastes. For the First Nations, respect for Mother Earth is paramount. By staying in harmony with nature, my recipes permit me to rediscover forgotten flavours that long served as a cuisine of survival. The Canadian wilderness has so much to offer: spices, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and roots, plus boreal nutmeg, peppery green alder (or dune pepper), wood cardamom, serviceberry, wild celery root and the Labrador tea, a tisane of local herbs. These are the colours in my palette of Indigenous cuisine.

Venison-Carpaccio-With-Cedar-Jelly-and-Sea-Buckthorn-Jam_888embed

Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sea Buckthorn Jam
1 lb (600 g) sea buckthorn berries, rinsed
14 oz (400 g) apples, diced
17½ oz (500 g) sugar

Venison
12 thin slices venison
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cedar jelly
2 tsp (10 ml) duck fat
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Related: Holiday Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love

Directions:

1. In a saucepan with splash of water, cook sea buckthorn berries over low heat until they burst.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into clean saucepan then discard seeds. Add apples to berry mixture and stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on the surface. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Place venison on serving dish. Brush each slice with cedar jelly and duck fat, then sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Garnish with sea buckthorn jam and microgreens.

Published October 13, 2015, Updated December 28, 2020

Leftover turkey pizza

The Best Leftover Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need (We Promise!)

We’re sure you’ve come across a lot of ways to use up leftover turkey, but what about a recipe that uses ALL the holiday leftovers? Introducing the Love Your Leftovers holiday pizza! You will never need — or want — to find another holiday leftovers recipe again. You might even find yourself roasting up a turkey just to make this delicious pizza. For the carbs portion, feel free to use any leftover carb you have available, like roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or stuffing. Add the cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts and you’re good to go!

Leftover turkey pizza cut up on counter

Leftover Turkey Pizza Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Total Time: 25 to 28 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup leftover turkey, pulled or diced (Not a fan of turkey, but have leftover ham or leftover rotisserie chicken? They both work too!)
½ cup mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or stuffing
½ cup cranberry sauce
½ cup roasted Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

Leftover turkey pizza ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place pizza stone in the oven. Divide dough into two equal portions. Stretch and roll out dough to desired thickness.

Person kneading pizza dough

2. Generously brush the dough with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a pizza paddle.

Related: Delicious Uses for Leftover Mashed Potatoes

3. Dollop with ricotta cheese. Top with turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts.

Leftover turkey pizza

4. Slide pizza onto the heated stone and bake until the crust is golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Enjoy!

Leftover turkey pizza

Like Marcella’s leftover turkey pizza recipe? Try her vegan eggnog or her cinnamon streusel muffins.

Anna Olson holds up a ceramic ramekin dessert

Anna Olson’s Genius Way to Use Up Leftover Holiday Cookies

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure – and this rule certainly applies in the kitchen! From pie crusts to trifles, there are dozens of creative ways to use stale cookies in sweet repurposed recipes. Use Anna Olson’s tip below for any type of cookies you have on hand, or try your hand at one of our other great recipes that make use of your sweet holiday leftovers.

Related: Shop Anna Olson’s Top 10 Baking Gadgets

Sugar Cookies


To use as a crumble topping, break up leftover sugar cookies into little pieces in a bowl. For every one cup of crumbled up cookies, add two tablespoons of melted butter and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. It’s that easy! After cooling, serve this delicious dessert as you like it – drizzled with caramel sauce, with a scoop of ice cream, or a dash of icing sugar.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Wooden charcuterie board with a chocolate dessert salami cut into small coins

Take leftover store-bought or homemade chocolate sandwich cookies and make a rich, chocolate-y no-bake dessert (that makes a great late holiday gift!). Chocolate sandwich cookies, graham crackers and pretzels stud this dessert salami, making it the perfect recipe to use up all your leftover snacks.

Get the recipe for No-Bake Oreo Salami

Gingerbread Cookies

Milk chocolate bark studded with ginger snap cookies, cranberries and pistachios and drizzled with white chocolate

Got surplus gingerbread cookies or a smashed gingerbread house? Crushed up gingerbread cookies work perfectly in place of ginger snaps in this milk chocolate holiday bark.

Get the recipe for Gingerbread Holiday Bark

Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla ice ccream swirled with strawberries and topped with a cookie crumble

For a sweet, buttery topping, crumble leftover shortbread cookies on top of ice cream drizzled in homemade strawberry rhubarb syrup. It’ll add a little crunchy texture to your sundae.

Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb & Shortbread Cookie Crumble

Anything Else!

Grasshopper pie with chocolate crust and mint cream filling and a sprinkling of chocolate cookie crumble

Instead of graham crackers, use a cookie of your choice to make a delicious pie crust. For this traditional grasshopper pie recipe, crush chocolate cookies and mix with melted butter. Press into a pan and then fill with marshmallow fluff. Delish!

Looking for more ways to use up leftovers? Check out these tasty ways to use all that leftover turkey, plus these sweet & savoury ways to repurpose pie dough.

Just another msblogs site