Calgary Stampede

Stampede Celebration Ideas

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Calgary Stampede Breakfast Menu

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/guides/summer/calgary-stampede-breakfast-menu/53936/story.html

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Glutton for Punishment
Stampede Flapjack Flipping

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/video/index.html?releasePID=2qdZHySCaVqehxXGj7_rluK_taOuzOAQ

pie
Calgary Stampede: On the Menu

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/guides/summer/calgary-stampede-on-the-menu/53974/story.html

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Unusual Food Offerings at Calgary Stampede

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/blogs/eatingout/2010/07/15/spotlight-unusual-food-offerings-at-calgary-stampede/?id=26950

stampede_foodonstick
Top 5: Foods on a Stick, from Sublime to Sickening

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/Pages/Community/BlogPost.aspx?id=23539

Top 6 Swankiest Hotel Bars in Vancouver

Season 1 of The Real Housewives of Vancouver has shown the world a new side of British Columbia’s gorgeous city-by-the-sea: the swanky side! From Ferraris and facials to glitzy car shows and high-priced ponies, Vancouver is proving itself a playground for the rich and fabulous. Want to get in on all the glam without breaking the bank? One of the best ways to rub shoulders with the city’s glitterati and soak up the high life is at a swanky hotel bar. Swing by one of these five-star hangouts and you may just run into a Real Housewife — out, and on the prowl.

Keefer_Anchor

Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim
Since this swish, ocean-side hotel opened in 2010, the Fairmont’s Lobby Lounge has been the place to be seen in Vancouver. (Proof? The line of Mercedes, Range Rovers and, yes, Ferraris perpetually parked outside.) Sink into one of the deep leather chairs and listen as the house pianist tickles the keys on the white baby grand. After dark, guys in fedoras and gals in slinky black dresses crowd the bar for artisan cocktails like the High Kick: a belle époque–inspired blend of vanilla vodka with aperol, fresh mint and lemon ($14). Hungry? Just up the stairs, hotel restaurant ORU serves high-end Japanese/Polynesian/Argentinean fusion unlike anything you’ll find in the city.

Lobby
The Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel: a favourite among Vancouver glitterati. Photo courtesy of Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.

Reflections Lounge at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia 
This summer-only rooftop bar, perched atop the vintage 1927 Hotel Georgia, is the definition of exclusive. Wind your way through the dark lobby, hop on the private elevator and discover Reflections: a secret oasis in the midst of the city inhabited by high-flying execs, wannabe models and international high rollers. This sleek outdoor space looks like a backdrop to a Cosmo photo shoot: low-slung tables, fluttering curtains and cabanas, warmed by a blazing fire pit. But it’s not all eye candy. The tapas-style menu (most items around $10) is a greatest hits list of Vancouver cuisine, offering everything from organic scallops sourced from the Gulf Islands to artisan cheeses from the Okanagan Valley. As for cocktails, the signature Hotel Georgia ($12) is not to be missed: a silky smooth blend of Plymouth Gin, egg white, nutmeg and orange blossom water, first mixed up at the hotel when it opened in the 1920s.

Reflections
Reflections Lounge, secreted away on the fourth-floor rooftop of the 1920s-era Hotel Georgia. Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

Xi Shi Lounge at the Shangri La Hotel 
Just off of Alberni Street (Vancouver’s mini Rodeo Drive), Xi Shi offers an Asian twist on the classy hotel bar. Cocktail waitresses in traditional hand-tailored Mandarin gowns make the rounds, serving up unique cocktails like the Iron Lotus ($12; Belvedere vodka, elderflower, ginger and sparkling wine). Intimate and surprisingly unpretentious, Xi Shi heats up at night with live jazz.

Xi_Shi
The Xi Shi Lounge in the Shangri La Hotel: a touch of Asia-inspired elegance. Photo courtesy of Shangri La Hotel.

The Keefer Bar at The Keefer Suites 
Think of The Keefer Bar as swank for the hipster set. This dark, conspiratorial lounge is attached to the same-named boutique hotel, which has just three (exquisite 2,400-square-foot) suites. Inside, the narrow room is dominated by a long bar and decorated in the style of a turn-of-the-century Chinese opium den. The Keefer regularly hosts retro cabaret shows and also serves some very original, handcrafted cocktails (which it calls “prescriptions”), including the Lao Baixing ($11; aged cachaça, aperol, licorice plum syrup and lime).

Keefer
Cabaret shows are a weekly feature at The Keefer Bar, which mixes sophisticated and seedy. This photo and photo at top of post courtesy of The Keefer Bar.

Bacchus Lounge at the Wedgewood Hotel 
Dominated by dark wood and red velvet banquettes, Bacchus is Vancouver’s consummate classy piano bar. A favourite happy-hour hangout for downtown execs and traveling jet-setters, the atmospheric lounge screams old money and Continental tastes. Cozy up to the piano and sip on something from the bar’s award-winning wine list. My summer suggestion: a refreshing rose from British Columbia’s Tantalus winery, $14.50 per glass.

Bacchus
Bacchus, multiple-time winner of Vancouver Magazine’s Gold Medal for Best Bar/Lounge. Photo courtesy of Wedgewood Hotel & Spa.

Opus Bar at the Opus Hotel 
Quite possibly  the only bar in Vancouver where you’ll find a line of limos outside on a random Tuesday night, Opus is a true celebrity hotspot (not to mention a personal favourite of Roberto Luongo and other Canucks stars). The bar is located inside the boutique Opus Hotel in the heart of the hip Yaletown warehouse district. If you can make it past the doorman and long queue outside, you’ll discover a dark, seductive space filled with designer furniture and young, beautiful people dressed to kill. Staying true to Vancouver’s cocktail culture, Opus serves some inventive, handcrafted drinks like the Opusition ($12; passion fruit liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice, local brut and poached pineapple).

Opus
Opus Bar boasts high-design style and A-list clientele. Photo courtesy of Opus Hotels.

Do you have a favourite swanky hotel bar in Vancouver? Let us know!

Tomorrow on FoodNetwork.ca: Remy dishes on budget dining in Whistler

Remy_ScalzaRemy Scalza is a food and travel writer whose work appears in The Washington Post, Wine Spectator, National Geographic Traveler and other outlets. He blogs about his adventures in Canada and elsewhere at RemyScalza.com and Inside Vancouver.

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Top 5 Wild and Wacky Burgers

Who doesn’t love a good, juicy burger? Whether you like veggie burgers, chicken, or even a couple of patties stacked on top of one another, it seems that there truly is something for everyone when it comes to the delicious sandwich. However, these days, restaurants are outdoing themselves in the burger department and creating for some wild concoctions. The results are absolutely mind-blowing.

5. Braille Burger

Earlier this year, South African fast food chain Wimpy came up with a concept that is not only clever in its advertising techniques, but also demonstrates that kindness and compassion can exist in the most unexpected places. The chain wanted to advertise the fact that all of its locations feature menus in Braille to assist the visually impaired. Of course, securing a TV or online ad wouldn’t have been the most effective way of getting the message across, so instead, the company had its chefs spell out messages on top of 15 burger buns using sesame seeds, saying things like “100% pure beef burger made for you” and delivered them to different institutions for the seeing-impaired. Wimpy then filmed the reactions of the people and made a commercial out of it. Sweet, useful and delicious; what could be better?

4. 1050 Bacon Strip Cheeseburger

Burger King in Japan recently held a promotion where customers could add 15 strips of bacon to any burger for approximately an extra $1.25. To test out how far the chain was willing to go to satisfy its customers, a Japanese reporter went in and ordered an extra 1050 strips of bacon on his burger, and wouldn’t you know it, the restaurant obliged. The result was a monstrous burger that cost roughly $90 to $100.

3. Lion Burger

During the 2010 World Cup, Cameron Selogie, owner of Il Vinaio restaurant in Arizona, wanted to offer his customers a taste of South Africa – literally. The restaurant served burgers made from the meat of African lions. Even though the restaurant, and Selogie himself, received several complaints and even a bomb threat, he continued to serve 15 lion burgers a day during the World Cup.

2. Grilled Cheese Burger Melt

When US fast food chain Friendly’s introduced the Grilled Cheese Burger Melt onto their menu, it came as no surprise that burger lovers were excited to try the new creation. The sandwich featured a beef patty and vegetables in between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Packing 1500 calories and 97 grams of fat, this burger is definitely not for the faint of heart (or stomach!).

1. 198-pound Burger

In 2011, Australian chefs Joe and Iman El-Ajouz created a burger so big that it took two full days to create. The finished product weighed in at 198 pounds and featured 120 eggs, 150 slices of cheese, 5.5 pounds of tomatoes and 4.5 pounds of lettuce. Unsurprisingly, the burger required the strength of four men to be flipped during the cooking process.

Family Fun: Pass the Lemonade, Easy on the Sugar!

The current heat wave has kicked my butt into stocking the fridge with plenty of fluids. Though we try and stick to water as much as possible, I do love lemonade in the summer. Making it yourself allows you to monitor the amount of sugar your kids are getting, as well as avoid other additives — still keeping those kids pleased, as they feel like they’re getting a treat.

Lemonade_Anchor

RECIPE: Lemonade
Makes litres upon litres of ’licious lemonade

Ingredients
Sugar
Water
6 tbsp simple syrup
8-10 fresh spearmint leaves (optional)
8-10 fresh spearmint leaves (optional)

The only real prep involves making a batch of simple syrup. One batch will yield many jugs of lemonade. Our house has a teeny garden, where Felix can pick leaves off our spearmint plant; we add them to the syrup to infuse it. It’s a fun way for young kids to make a connection between the garden and the kitchen.

Spearmint

For a 2L pitcher of lemonade, you’ll need only 2-3 lemons (= 1/2 cup of juice).

Lemons

Let the kids roll the lemons, applying slight pressure to loosen them up for juicing.

Rolling_Lemons

The basic lemon juicer is probably easiest for kids to use. You can also just stick a fork into the lemon and twist ’till all the juice runs out.

Juicing_Lemons

Strain out any seeds from the lemon juice and then pour it into a pitcher with 2L of cold water. Stir. (Guess what? Homemade lemonade is barely 1 degree tougher than opening a can of the frozen stuff!)

Measuring_Juice

Now, sweeten as desired with your simple syrup. About 6 tbsp takes the edge off the tartness and keeps the juice refreshing. Done! Refrigerate and enjoy the fruits of your labour (if one can call it such — definitely more fruit than labour, this!).

Sweeten_With_Simple_Syrup

Here’s how to make simple syrup. This syrup’s also perfect for iced tea or, if mint-infused, works nicely tossed into a fruit salad.

Simple_Syrup

Simple syrup requires a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water.

Sugar_Water

Pour the sugar and water into a small pot and bring to a boil. The sugar will be completely dissolved. Remove from heat.

Sugar_Water_Pot

Let the sugar water cool, and then store in a well-washed container in the fridge. Stored properly, simple syrup will last several weeks. To infuse, add about 8-10 large spearmint leaves (bruised gently with a knife, to release the oils) when sugar water is still hot but off the burner; remove leaves before refrigerating.

Spearmint_Infusing

As you can see, other than heating the syrup, all the steps in making lemonade are kid-friendly. A weekend lemonade stand can be stocked in no time at all — just make sure to negotiate a decent cut of the profits.

Lemonade_Outside

What are your own home-grown lemonade recipes? Any additional ideas for involving the kids?

Sue_RiedlSue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 3-year-old.

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6 Must-Visit Eastern Canadian Road Trip Stops

Eastern Canada boasts a cornucopia of culinary splendour. With communities whose origins come from around the globe and whose varying landscapes include lush forests, fertile farmland, mountainous terrain and vast waterways (and the Atlantic Ocean), it’s no surprise that the local specialties are as varied as they are delicious. For hungry road warriors, there are a multitude of options to be found. Here are my 6 must-visit recommendations for those of you lucky enough to eat your way through Eastern Canada. Stop and smell the coffee! All photos by Gav Martell.

Landmark_Cafe_Brunch

Brunch at the Landmark Cafe (Victoria by the Sea, Prince Edward Island)
A converted post office in a picturesque fishing village, The Landmark Cafe will win over your heart with its zany décor and a menu that is a little off-the-wall, deliciously so: fresh salmon on a bagel (pictured above), meat pie topped with aged cheddar, a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade… Yes, you are smacking your lips.

Landmark_Cafe

Freshly smoked fish from Poissonnerie Joseph Paquet (Île d’Orléans, Quebec)
You can drive onto this culinary gem of an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City. Joseph Paquet, the last remaining commercial fisherman on an island that was once full of them, smokes and sells fish from his small roadside shack. A delicious throwback to a different era in Canadian eats.

Poissonnerie_Paquet

Chickenburger and onion rings combo at The Chickenburger (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Canada’s oldest drive-up diner, this institution has been perfecting its craft for 70 years. Iconic burgers, chicken sandwiches and onion rings, oh my; you’ll wonder why every meal isn’t eaten in your car. They just don’t make them like this anymore — or anywhere else.

Chickenburger

Lobster on the water with Shediac Bay Cruises (Shediac, New Brunswick)
Everybody east of Quebec has their own tried and true method for preparing lobster. Pull over for a quick ride around Shediac Bay with Shediac Bay Cruises and learn the history of lobster fishing in Canada and the true Acadian method of preparing lobster.

Shediac_Bay

Poutine from Resto La Banquise (Montreal, Quebec)
The parking is sparse and the line-ups are long but it will be well worth your while to try some of the dozens of poutine offerings at La Banquise. Definitely worth the wait.

Banquise

Fresh deep-fried seafood at the side of the road from Ossie’s (Bethel, New Brunswick)
Blink and you could drive right by this small roadside stop. Perched on the side of the highway, Ossie’s is a modest eatery; part of that modesty involves having no web site (talk about old-school legit!), and part of it involves you placing your order at a walk-up window and then waiting to hear your number called over the loudspeaker, for pickup. With fresh seafood such as fried clam and lobster rolls served with french fries and a side of coleslaw, the tasty food and generous portions more than make up for the fact that you are eating at a picnic rest stop.

Ossies

What are your favourite must-visit Eastern Canadian roadside eateries?

Gav_MartellGav Martell is fortunate to call travelling the globe in search of good eats “work.” When he isn’t busy cooking on TV — CHCH and Rogers — and publishing recipes and articles — FoodNetwork.ca, YummyMummyClub.ca and CanadianFamily.ca — he uses his three kids as an extra set of hands in the kitchen, and as the very best taste-testers.

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Playful Poutine Recipes

No other food screams ‘Canadian’ like a plate of steaming hot, delicious poutine, but this Canada Day, switch up your go-to dish with these creative and yummy alternatives. Whether you want to treat your party guests to some gourmet snacking, or you’re looking to get wild by throwing some unexpected ingredients into the mix, these recipes are a perfect way to experiment with the classic Canadian dish.

 

Poutine Baked Potatoes

Who says poutine has to be made with french fries? Instead, the next time you bake potatoes, top them with poutine gravy and cheese curds. Not only is this a smart alternative to french fries, but it’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

poutine-sweet potato

Sweet Potato Poutine

Feeling a bit guilty about indulging in poutine? Switch it up and use sweet potato fries instead. The result is just as delicious and your waistline will appreciate the change. Plus it’s full of the good stuff like dietary fibre and vitamins.

Gnocchi Poutine

On July 1st, have some fun and combine Italian and Canadian cuisine. The concept is unexpected but so simple: top gnocchi with gravy and cheese curds. The final step? Sit back and watch your guests fall in love with this rich dish.

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Meatball Poutine

Poutine may be a classic Canadian dish, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be simple. Add a touch of sophistication to your menu this Canada Day by topping your poutine with meatballs, marinara sauce and chorizo sausage.

Nacho Grande Poutine

Watch your guests go crazy over this hybrid of poutine and nachos. What better way to kick off a Canada Day celebration than with a combination of two of the most popular North American snacks?

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Foie Gras Poutine

Let your guests indulge this Canada Day with this ultra-sophisticated and creamy dish. They (and you!) will never look at poutine the same way again.

Dessert Poutine

Okay, so this isn’t technically poutine, but it sure looks like it. End your July 1st bash with this delicious treat and you’ll have your guests lining up for seconds. Top churros with caramel sauce and marshmallows for a fun play on the classic dish.

Grilled Corn Cobs from The Hot Plate

When Canada Day and the 4th of July roll around each year it is impossible to deny that craving for charred corn. We weren’t sure we could top simple cobs, but thankfully we were wrong. When these golden treats come into season they are sweet juicy and way too addictive! Beware, corn lovers, we just took this flavour fest up a couple of notches. Growing up there was always that one person at a BBQ that would eat enough corn to make it a main course. With corn this good, who could blame them? Our recipe is as simple as regular old corn, but with a zesty smokey kick from chili powder and lime. Then there’s the hearty dusting of sharp, nutty manchego cheese. These corn cobs are a must this BBQ season. Make sure you have extra napkins and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

 

GrilledCornCobs_TheHotPlate_Main

 

Grilled Corn Cobs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

 

Ingredients:

6 corn cobs

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 lime

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 cup grated manchego cheese

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

salt

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat the grill or broiler to high. Meanwhile, combine the zest of the lime, chili powder and manchego. Slice up the remaining lime in wedges.

2. Brush the corn with butter on all sides.

3. Place the corn on the grill or under the broiler and cook until charred on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Season with salt.

4. Remove from the grill, baste with a little more butter and sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

 

Amanda_Garbutt Amanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.

Maple on the Menu

Canada Day is always loads of fun and there’s no better way to honour our beautiful country than by throwing a bash for your family and friends, filled with recipes infused with the ultimate Canadian ingredient: maple. From starters and sides, to main dishes and sweets, maple is truly versatile and can easily and deliciously be incorporated into countless recipes.

maple-roasted-soup-corn

APPETIZERS AND SIDES

Maple Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Baked Maple Brie 

Maple Baked Beans

Sherry Maple Vinaigrette

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Crisp Corn and Rosemary Fritters

maple-salad

MAIN DISHES

Smoked Ham with Maple Mustard Glaze

Salad with Maple Pork and Brie Dressing

Maple Soy Salmon with Couscous and Asparagus

Spiced Ground Beef with Grilled Japanese Eggplant and Maple Syrup Sauce

Maple Peameal Roast

maple-pear-clafoutis

DESSERTS

Maple-Baked Apple Bites

Maple Pecan Crumble

Maple Pear Clafoutis

Mini Toffee Apples with Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Sticky Maple Pudding

Canada Day Dessert Ideas

Canada Day is fast approaching and while the Great White North is certainly known for many appetizing and hearty treats (hello, poutine and peameal bacon!), our dessert options are sometimes limited. Until now, that is. There are a plenty of sweet treats that have a yummy Canadian flair, and this Canada Day, why not serve up a few of these delicious options to cap off a great meal?

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are perhaps the most well-known Canadian dessert. Named after the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia, these sweet and irresistible treats are a Canadian tradition. Made of three layers, these bars are super easy to make and even easier to fall in love with. Start with a wafer-crumb base, top with vanilla or custard-flavoured butter icing  and finish with a layer of melted chocolate. Simple and scrumptious!
mapleptart

Maple Pecan Tart

Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned pecan tart? This Canada Day, spice things up and add a touch of Canadian flavour by incorporating maple into the classic dessert. Surprise your guests by mixing a bit of maple syrup into your recipe and you’re guaranteed to see them coming back for seconds.
Whole Grain Crusted Apple Pie with Maple Yogurt Topping

Desserts don’t get much more classic than apple pie, but when it comes to serving treats at your Canada Day bash, the American staple just won’t do. Instead, add some Northern love to the recipe by topping it with maple-flavored yogurt instead of plain old vanilla ice cream. Delicious and health-conscious? Don’t mind if we do.

cchip

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

A surefire way to put a smile on the faces of the kids (and the kids at heart) at your Canada Day gathering is to serve homemade chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. The summer staple is always a hit and is simple to make. Whoever came up with the concept of putting a scoop of ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies deserves some serious gratitude when you’re planning your next backyard bash.

Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue

This light and fluffy dessert is a great way to end a Canada Day barbeque. Just when you think you’ve eaten as much as you can handle, this yummy chiffon cake will surely tempt you. Thankfully, it’s as light as it is irresistible and you won’t regret sampling a slice (or two!). Flavoured to taste like a cup of earl grey tea with milk, this cake is the perfect way to top off a Canada Day feast in a classy way. The maple meringue adds a truly Canadian touch.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Sometimes you just can’t decide between sweet and savory, and with these incredible maple bacon cupcakes, you and your guests don’t have to. This yummy combination of flavours is sure to surprise and delight your guests. Not only are these cupcakes succulent and impossible to resist,  but they are a perfect addition to your Canada Day feast.

Apple Maple Sugar Pie

Sugar pie is one of the most popular French-Canadian desserts and it’s easy to see why. A combimation of delicious flavors, this dessert will definitely fly off the table at your Canada Day bash. The super sweet pie will satisfy your guests after an afternoon barbeque and have them lining up for more.

Top 5 Celebratory Cakes

My wife’s family has a long-standing tradition of celebrating all birthdays with an ice cream cake. Not just any ice cream cake, either: It must be a roll of chocolate cake surrounding pralines and cream ice cream. Always a nice treat, to be sure. Still, the saying “variety is the spice of life” was coined for a reason, and when we recently sat down for some cool cuts of cake in honour of my wife, I secretly started thinking that any of the following flavourful options would be more than adequate for observing an important milestone. (Yes, my own included.)

Black_Forest

5. Black Forest Cake
I know some people who loathe this German gateau, but I think they must’ve suffered through too many grocery-store offerings made with goopy cherry jam and altogether too much whipped cream. They’ve also probably missed out on the hint of tart cherry — distilled liquor known as kirschwasser that’s mandatory in a true Black Forest cake. When all these ingredients come together properly — just the right balance of chocolate cake, black cherries, whipped cream and liquor — you’ve got yourself a decadent yet surprisingly light slice of dessert.

Cheesecake

4. Cheesecake
The fact that cheesecake is so versatile is, in my book, one of its prime selling points. Different regions have different “traditional” cheesecakes; New York–style is probably the most popular, but throughout the world, different countries typically employ different cheeses and cooking methods, putting their own twists on the savoury-sweet dessert. From there, cheesecakes can, of course, come in many different flavours — from strawberry to green tea — and are almost always excellent when served with fresh fruit. But for me, what really makes a great cheesecake (well, a North American cheesecake, anyway) is the graham cracker crust. The textural combination of silky-smooth cheese and crumbly, buttery biscuit is distinct among cake-based desserts.

Angel_Food

3. Angel Food Cake
Now that strawberry season has arrived, I can’t halt my cravings for this staple of neighbourhood potlucks and church picnics everywhere. The fluffy, not-too-sweet cake is perfectly paired with fresh and juicy berries and a dollop of whipped cream. Of course, if strawberries aren’t at hand, you can also finish the sponge cake with a simple glaze — lemon, perhaps, or even maple syrup.

Tiramisu

2. Tiramisu
OK, this Italian “pick me up” isn’t a cake in the strictest sense (you don’t even need to bake it!), but it is composed of alternating layers of dough and creamy filling, which is good enough for me. Like proper Teutonic Black Forest cake, it’s also got a nice splash of alcohol — in this case, Marsala wine — which adds complexity to a flavour profile that already mixes subtly sweet mascarpone cheese, bittersweet cocoa and bold espresso. There are few greater food-related pleasures than taking a mouthful of moist tiramisu and simply letting it dissolve on your tongue.

Ice_Cream

1. Ice Cream Cake
What can I say? There’s a good reason why my in-laws indulge in celebratory ice cream cakes at least five times a year. Everyone loves summer’s sweetest dairy-based treat; it goes really well with a layer of cake made nice and chewy by freezing and then a little bit of thawing. Basically, you’re getting two desserts in one. And while I may be stuck with pralines and cream plus devil’s food cake for the foreseeable future, ice cream cake flavour combinations really are endless. What are your favourites? Mint chocolate chip with chocolate cake? Raspberry ripple with white cake? Or perhaps you have a secret recipe for something like cotton candy ice with red velvet cake!

What are your all-time favourite cakes? Share below.

Craig_MoyCraig Moy is a writer and editor in Toronto. He enjoys exploring the city’s vast culinary landscape, and envies people who can afford to eat out every night of the week. While writing about food and restaurants isn’t Craig’s only gig, it’s certainly his tastiest.

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Dishcrawl: Where Foodies Come to Meet and Eat

Hi, my name is Glenn and I’m a food addict. I’m also addicted to fun. It’s been a few weeks since my last Dishcrawl and I’m afraid that I’m hooked. Judging by the crowd of 30 foodies that turned out for last month’s “Corktown Dishcrawl,” in Toronto’s Distillery District, I’m not the only one that fell off the wagon.

Soma_Shop

Dishcrawl is a new trend in communal dining best described as a pubcrawl for foodies. It gets bigger every month, and is really starting to make waves in the culinary scenes of major cities across Canada and the United States. To the former: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton are just some of the participating cities (sorry, Vancouver and Halifax — not yet!).

Here’s how it works. Each month, local Dishcrawl organizers select a distinct neighbourhood in their host city and lead 30-50 lucky ticketholders through a culinary adventure that involves pit stops at four geographically proximate restaurants. At each eatery, dishcrawlers meet the chef and sample the signature dishes. Ticket prices are around $60 and include all food; unless otherwise listed, drinks are separate. It’s a fully interactive experience designed to bring the community together, with meals often served family-style.

Meeting and eating with fellow foodies is only part of the fun. To build a bit of mystery and excitement, the restaurants featured in each Dishcrawl are not revealed until the day of the event. Participants are given only the details for a meeting place, emailed two days before the dinner. (That said, I cheated and discovered a couple of the restaurants I would be visiting on my Corktown Dishcrawl by simply monitoring the Toronto team’s Twitter page, @dishcrawlTO.)

My own Dishcrawl adventure began at the gates of Toronto’s historic Distillery District. A Dishcrawl brand ambassador provided a quick history lesson about the area before leading us to the first stop, at Soma Chocolatemaker (pictured, top of post). An artisan chocolatier gave us a brief tour of the onsite chocolate laboratory — the only reason I didn’t use capitals, is, they didn’t (see below!) — where imported cocoa beans are transformed into decadent chocolates.

Soma_Chocolate_Laboratory

We sampled truffles, and downed shots of Mayan chocolate, infused with a kick of cayenne pepper. And, inevitably, we hit the Soma store — when you’re talking chocolate, you’re talking gifts for all occasions.

Soma_Mayan_Decadent

Next, we walked to a studio apartment tucked away in a building down the street, to attend Massimo Bruno’s Supper Club. The Italian chef was charming and entertaining. He regaled us with stories about his Nona’s cooking, while serving generous portions of homemade focaccia bread, pasta, salami, and oyster mushroom arugula salad. I felt like I was having dinner at a friend’s house.

Massimo_Bruno_Focaccia

Feeling a little stuffed, I crawled at the back of the pack as we made our way to our third destination: Tappo Wine Bar and Restaurant, one of the Distillery District’s best-known fine-dining destinations. Ushered to a romantic corner of the restaurant, we were treated to a tasting of red wine along with a sampling of beef penne, risotto, and arancini. I’ve seen similar dishes on cooking shows aired on the Food Network, but this was the first time I’d ever tried arancini: risotto-battered, then deep fried into crispy balls — what’s not to like?

Tappo_Arancini

Our food adventure came to an end at Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill. I got my first taste of raw oysters, and salivated over seafood paella topped with a fresh muscle, and served alongside a shrimp dumpling soup.

Pure_Spirits_Oysters

And that was the end, perhaps just as well, as the unmistakeable taste of perfection permeated the air. Sure, I was sad that the dinner tour was over, but excited at the promise of future Dishcrawls. I turned to my friends to start making plans — after all, the best meals require booking in advance, non?

Interested in taking a culinary journey of your own? Visit Dishcrawl.com to learn about upcoming events in your area. But don’t wait too long. At $60-or so per ticket — beyond reasonable! — events often sell out quickly. Reserve your seat at the dinner table today! I’ll probably see you there!

 

Glenn_CalderonGlenn Calderon is a Toronto-based writer and self-proclaimed “bachelor foodie.” He enjoys trying new restaurants and writing about the experience. Currently, he is attempting to teach himself how to cook but always has a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case. Follow Glenn on Twitter @glenncalderon.

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Backyard BBQ Cupcakes from Duhlicious

These backyard BBQ cupcakes are super cute and easy to make, you don’t have to be a grill master to make them. I bought colored sugar at the bulk store a couple of weeks ago because it was available in so many colors. I didn’t know what I would use it for, but it looked a lot of fun. The black sugar looked a lot like charcoal, so I thought they would make really cute BBQ cupcakes.

BBQ_Cupcakes_Duhlicious_Main
Ingredients:

– ready-made cupcakes (I used chocolate cupcakes)

– chocolate frosting or butter cream

– “Hot Tamale” Candy

– caramel Squares

– multi colored Gummi Worms

– black sugar, orange sugar, red sugar

– black food color

+ toothpicks

 

Directions:

 

1. Frost your cupcakes with the chocolate frosting. Reserve 2 tablespoons of frosting, and using a small amount of the black food coloring gel, dye the frosting tray.

 

BBQ_Cupcakes_Duhlicious_1

 

2. Place black sugar in a bowl, and dip the top of the frosted cupcakes in the sugar to fully coat. The black will be the ‘charcoal’ of our BBQ’s. Sprinkle a little bit of orange and red sugar on top to represent ‘hot’ coals.

 

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3. Using a parchment triangle or a piping bag to pipe lines across the cupcakes using the gray frosting. These will represent the grill of the BBQ.

 

4. Prep the “Meat”: Mold the caramels into steaks. Next, cut the multi-colored gummy worms into small pieces, and skewer them onto a toothpick. Dip a toothpick into the black food coloring gel, and draw lines across the candy to make it look like grill marks. Place the finished candies onto the “cupcake BBQ”.

 

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MadalinePaulMadalina Paul is the blogger behind Duhlicious, a food blog dedicated to creating and sharing unique and original recipes for great tasting food and featuring tutorials, food news, and culinary adventures.

Local Dish: Conch Salad in the Bahamas

Where does a visitor really learn about a country and its food? Not in the confines of a hotel, a place often presented best-face-forward, and with its locale’s true soul a little too clean and polished.

On a recent trip to the Bahamas in May, in a moment of inspiration, I decided to use my legs for more than changing the location of my beach chair. Sun-screened and ready for surprise, I walked up the bridge from the Bahamas’ tourist-friendly Paradise Island toward the locals-only food stands that lay underneath the roadway. This was not a lazy Pina Colada moment; this was a determined mission for good food. For real food. And I found it: a delicious, healthy, fresh-prepared and made-to-order conch salad.

Conch_Salad

I tried to avoid looking like a tourist, but stumbled at the first hurdle, when I unfortunately pronounced conch as it is spelled (correct pronunciation is “conk”).

I walked the row of stands and admired their variety and business savvy — some declared favourable reviews from the New York Times. Still, for this mission, I decided to steer clear of Mark Bittman’s recommendations, despite being a fan.

I ended up at a conch stand after all: “Doc Sands,” charmingly if mysteriously named and, typical of these set-ups, sparingly decorated (notice the exposed pressboard and drywall in the pic below). The woman running it had smiled me over, and told me she had the best conch salad in the Bahamas. I trusted her, because I was on vacation.

Conch_Stand

Conchs are slow-moving marine snails. Think of conch salad ($10) as a rather large helping of the best escargot you have ever had, without the need for butter.

The conch cook asked if I would like it spicy. Having learned on a Thai trip that my spice appetite does indeed have limits, I said, “somewhat.” Small red peppers were added to tomatoes, cucumbers and onion, on diced them on a cutting board. Over this, a juicy lime, squeezed until only the rind remained; ditto, an orange. Next, the cook mixed together as much conch (also diced) as vegetables. Salt was massaged onto the heap and it was all piled into a plastic container with two ice cream spoons (pictured, top of post) — it’s a great salad for sharing.

The verdict? Divine. Healthy food should always be this fresh and delicious. Better still, the taste seemed to mingle with the air, which always carried a whiff of ocean.

Conch_Fritters

Also recommended by yours truly: conch fritters ($2, pictured above), lightly fried and piping hot, served with a side of spicy mayo. It’s always a delight to enjoy fried food that has not seen a heat lamp. Crispy and crab cake-like, the fritters went down easily with a Bahamian beer ($3) that helped to quench my thirst in the abiding heat.

A local man seemed to agree, grabbing a cold one and nodding to two cops before stepping into his car to drive away, beer in hand. Miming a cheers back at him, I headed back to my hotel, happy, a little hot, and a whole lotta conchy.

 Courtney_SundayCourtney Sunday is a writer and yoga teacher based in Toronto. When she is not travelling to distant lands to get fresh culinary experiences, she feverishly reads food blogs and tries weird and wacky recipes. Her next experiment is with bean brownies.

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Top Chef Canada: Taking the Challenge Home: Final Dish

It feels like only yesterday I was getting excited about the second season of Top Chef Canada and was eager to start attempting to reinterpret dishes from each week’s episode. Apparently time really flies when you’re having fun (and getting relatively stressed out!) in the kitchen. With the second season coming to a close last Monday and Carl taking home the title of Canada’s newest Top Chef, it is now time for me to wrap things up as well. Please, no tears…

Instead of having an online poll to choose the final dish I would have to tackle, we (i.e. the FoodNetwork.ca powers that be) decided it would only be fair that after twelve weeks of being subject to public opinion, I could pick a dish of my own — my favourite creation of the entire season.

 

It was hard to narrow it down because there were so many interesting plates throughout the series. But I eventually decided to do my own take on Trista’s winning dish from episode nine — her Seared Squab Breast with Confit Legs, Lyonnaise Potatoes, Wild Berry Jus, Pain Perdu, Crispy Bacon and Herb Salad. (Whew! That’s quite the mouthful.)

 

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My rendition would have a few less words in its title. I remember watching that episode for the first time and seeing her dish. It was beautiful, and the squab claw garnish was right in line with the sense of playfulness I have with my own food.

I searched high and low in Calgary for some squab, but could not locate any. OK, truth be told, I may have only tried two grocery stores and one butcher shop, but I didn’t have all day!

 

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On a quick side note, squabs are technically pigeons, and there are a lot of those hovering around town, but I didn’t think catching one and cooking it would be very healthy (or safe). I ended up settling on a Cornish game hen from the butcher shop.

Back in the kitchen, I got to work by tossing the hen in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, then seared it off and popped it into the oven to crisp up the skin. I made my jus out of blackberries, chicken stock, dried blueberries and a bit of fresh ginger. After some quick research, I realized ‘Pain Perdu’ is actually french toast. I had a day old baguette on my counter, which soaked up its rosemary, thyme and egg coating perfectly. In the end, everything came together quite well. Between the hen, jus, and pain perdu, there were some rich, rustic flavours on the plate. I’d like to think that Trista would be fairly happy with this home cook’s version!

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In closing, I’d just like to say that it’s been a great run. Although I had deemed myself fairly adept in the kitchen prior to taking this challenge on, I’ve definitely learned a lot since then. For instance, I’ve learned that baking requires a lot of attention to detail. I also learned that you shouldn’t leave friends alone in the kitchen with your dish in the process of being created. But perhaps most notably, I learned that I am certainly not a chef.

 

I think it’s very easy for all of us to watch a culinary competition on television, from the comfort of our own couches, and criticize. Watching cooking challenges on screen, for whatever reason, makes the goal look much easier to accomplish than it actually is (trust me). I have a massive amount of respect for the 16 chef-testants who put their chops to the test on this second season of Top Chef Canada. Whether a chef was the second person to be sent home or made it all the way to the finale, it takes a lot of skill to even get there in the first place.

See you when season three rolls around. Until then, you can catch me in my kitchen, practicing my macaron-making. In the meanwhile check out the photo gallery below to relive my 13 stressful weeks of Top Chef Canada dish recreations!

 

 

 

 

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Seared Cornish Hen with Blackberry Jus, Pain Perdu and Fennel Mint Salad
Serves 3-4
Total cook time…35 min

What you’ll need…

Seared Cornish Hen:
• 1 cornish game hen (halved, flattened)
• salt and pepper
• olive oil
Blackberry Jus:
• 1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
• 1 clove garlic (minced)
• 1 cup blackberries
• 1 cup chicken stock
• ¼ cup dried blueberries
• 1 TBSP fresh ginger (grated)
• 2 TSP white wine vinegar
• salt and pepper
• olive oil

Pain Perdu:
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup half and half
• 2 TSP dried rosemary
• 2 TSP dried thyme
• salt and pepper
• 1 baguette (1” sliced)
Fennel Mint Salad:
• ½ cup fennel (thinly sliced)
• ¼ cup red onion (thinly sliced)
• ¼ cup fresh sage (loosely chopped)
• ¼ cup chives (loosely chopped)
• ¼ cup mint (loosely chopped)
• 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
• 2 TSP lemon juice
• 1 TSP white sugar
• salt and pepper
• olive oil

Seared Cornish Game Hen:
Preheat oven to high broil. Drizzle some olive oil on the hen halves and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear hen for 5 minutes on each side. Place seared hen into preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and skin is brown and crispy. Segment the hen into desired portions and keep warm until ready to serve.

Blackberry Jus:
In a small pot, cook off the chopped onion and garlic on medium-high heat with some olive oil for 5 minutes. Add in the next 5 ingredients and let mixture simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and keep hot on stove.

 

Pain Perdu:
Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and soak baguette slices in the egg mixture for a few seconds. Place into a large hot pan on stove and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Fennel Mint Salad:
Place all salad ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and toss to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Keep in the refrigerator to stay cool until ready to plate.

Assembly:
Place two pieces of hen onto each plate with a small side of the fennel salad and 3 slices of the pain perdu. Spoon some blackberry jus onto the seared hen and perdu. Finish place with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

 

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Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.
 

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Chorizo Stuffed Calamari from The Hot Plate

Calamari always brings me back to my university days. We’d just started The Hot Plate and I was in full swing teaching friends, and especially my roommate, Maeve, how to cook. Before I get into this story I really have to give her full credit for her trust in me. In third year, I took Maeve down to Atwater Market in Montreal. There was a fish store in the market where restaurants sourced their products that I’d been dying to try, and we desperately needed to stock up on groceries. Doing errands quickly morphed into playing hooky, and the fun began! I suggested that instead of buying prepared calamari rings that we buy whole calamari instead (skin, guts and all). Maeve was a great sport and decided she’d be willing to learn how to gut and clean her own dinner. How barbaric! Well, to this day we still laugh about it.

 

ChorizoStuffedCalamari_TheHotPlate_Main

 

When we arrived home we realized just how much went into cleaning them. First, we had to wash the bodies. Okay, not so bad until you realize that you have to skin them, too. It is like peeling the skin off a moulting ghost. Then comes the “wings.” The wings essentially have to be torn off from the outside of the body. Then it gets really fun. I asked Maeve to reach inside the bodies and carefully remove the heads, tentacles, organs and cartilage. Just thinking about her reaction and her fearless attempt to conquer the calamari makes me double over laughing. Finally, we had the bodies 90% cleaned when I told her to slice off its eyes. That was probably the easiest task we’d had all afternoon.

 

After all that work, we grilled up the bodies and enjoyed them on a simple feta orzo salad. In hindsight, we probably should have considered a dish like this, but then again hindsight is always 20/20!

 

Chorizo Stuffed Calamari

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cleaned calamari bodies with tentacles, if desired

1 large chorizo sausage

1/4 cup pitted diced cherries

2 shallots, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon lemon juice

fresh parsley

salt and pepper

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Remove the chorizo from the casings and crumble into the skillet, sauté for 5 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic, sauté for 1 minute.

2. Add the cherries to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until sausage is fully cooked and the cherries begin to release their juice, about two minutes longer.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley.

4. Preheat a grill pan or BBQ to high.

5. Stuff the calamari bodies with the sausage mixture. If desired, seal the end with toothpicks to avoid spilling. Brush the grill surface with the remaining olive oil and season the outside of the calamari with salt and pepper.

6. Grill on all side until cooked, about 2 minutes per side and 8 minutes total.

7. Serve on your favourite summer salad.

 

Amanda_GarbuttAmanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.

Father’s Day Q&A With David Rocco

This Sunday is all about the fathers. Spending some quality time with the family and having a great meal is, really, what Father’s Day is all about.

 

davidrocco_amalfi

Recently, I sat down with Food Network personality, David Rocco, host of the new series David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway (coming to Food Network Canada this fall), to chat a bit about what it’s like being a father, cooking for his kids and what Father’s Day means to him…

 

DC: You are a father of three now. Have you noticed your style of cooking change at all since starting a family?

DR: Well, you always think “Oh, my kids will eat everything that I make!” and then reality sets in…They discriminate on colour, texture, taste… The key to cooking with kids, getting them excited about food, is to get them involved in the kitchen. Even just to stir something, because then they get excited with something that ‘they’ made and say: ‘Hey mom, hey dad, this is what I made!”
DC: So what are your plans for Father’s Day?

DR: I’m just celebrating, being with my family. My dad just turned 70 on June 1st and I’m a new father of a baby boy who’s only 7 months. It’s still neat and new, so we’re just going to hang out.

 

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DC: Do you cook on Father’s Day?

DR: I cook because I like to cook. It’s just like drinking water, you know, you need to drink it! I enjoy cooking, but there are certain things that my wife makes that I love. She makes a great lasagna. So, she might surprise me with that.

 

DC: Any simple tips to help make Father’s Day memorable?

DR: First, taking that time to set the table. If it’s kids cooking for their fathers, fortunately the mother is kind of behind it too, to help out. I think in the opposite situation (i.e. Mother’s Day), people [can] get really overwhelmed.

Ask your father what he wants and make it for him. Make those special things. For example, if there’s a special beer or a special wine, make a dish that he loves. Even if you’re a wife or child [typically] saying “Dad you shouldn’t be eating that.” If he wants double the bacon with his morning toast, just make it for him! It’s always about the celebration of food and eating together.

davidrocco_amalfi3

DC: Mother’s Day is typically known for having family brunches, and Father’s Day gatherings later in the day. What do you typically do?

DR: For us it’s definitely been more of an afternoon thing. Because of the weather, it was always about playing soccer that afternoon and coming back from the park with dad and having, like a…is there a word for a meal that’s somewhere between lunch and dinner…maybe a ‘linner’? [laughs]

 

DC: If you have to pick a drink to enjoy at a weekend brunch or barbeque would it be a Caesar, a mojito or a glass of prosecco?

DR: Well, all are good. Actually, I use prosecco (and this is great for mom or dad) and mix it with pear juice or cucumber juice. It’s really fresh. Prosecco acts a nice backdrop, the bubbly and sweetness [of it], to work with other things. For an Italian mojito, just use prosecco instead of soda water! Could be fun for dad if he wants to go a little crazy on Father’s Day!

 

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Family Fun: Plane, Train and Automobile Sugar Cookies for Father’s Day

Regardless of the occasion, nothing beats a cookie painstakingly iced by your child. Better still, cookies are simply a great, heart-felt kid-to-dad Father’s Day treat.

Sugar_Cookies_01_Sugar_Cookies

So, for this Sunday, I am going to make cookies with Felix, to give to his dad. What kind of cookies? Sugar cookies — and not just your regular, everyday sugar cookies: Felix was recently gifted some plane, train and car cookie cutters that we can’t wait to use!

Sugar_Cookies_02_Cookie_Cutters

RECIPE: Sugar Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen

 

Ingredients

  • ? cup shortening
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • zest of a lemon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tsp of milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Icing sugar
  • Lemon juice

Cookie dough entices kids to the kitchen but also provides the opportunity for them to help — pouring, mixing, rolling, adding icing, there is so much that they can do. Little or big, kids really feel they did most of the work. It’s great fun, and a great confidence booster.

Sugar_Cookies_03_Ingredients

Start by assembling your ingredients. If your kids are older, you can let them help measure. You’ll need (see above): ? cup vegetable shortening, ¾ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste), one egg, 4 teaspoons milk, 2 cups flour, 1-½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Sugar_Cookies_04_Lemon

For sugar cookies, I like to add the zest of one lemon, but this is optional; you can also use an orange or lime. Teach your kids to grate off only the exterior and not the bitter pith.

Sugar_Cookies_05_Sugar_and_Shortening

To start, cream together the sugar and shortening in a medium bowl using a hand mixer.

Sugar_Cookies_06_Ingredients_Wet

Now, add lemon zest, vanilla, egg and milk.

Sugar_Cookies_07_Combine_Ingredients

Combine, with the hand mixer.

Sugar_Cookies_08_Add_Flour

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, slowly adding them to the wet mixture a bit at a time. I used the hand mixer on med-low speed. Combine ’till a ball of dough forms.

Sugar_Cookies_09_Dough

You can finish shaping the dough by hand, on a lightly floured cutting board.

Sugar_Cookies_10_Dough_Wrapped

Divide the dough in two, and wrap it. Chill wrapped dough in the fridge for one hour.

Sugar_Cookies_11_Dough_Shapes

Remove the dough and preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough to about ? inch thick. Using cookies cutters, cut out whatever shapes you like. Put the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the edges brown lightly.

Sugar_Cookies_12_Icing_Mix

For the icing, I just keep it simple with my son. I mix about 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar with about 1-½ teaspoons lemon or lime juice, until I get a thick paste. (Note: you don’t want this too thick, or it will drip off the cookies.)

Sugar_Cookies_13_Icing

Now, add food colouring and… voilà!

Sugar_Cookies_14_Decorating

Add sparkles or other decorations. Leave the cookies out until the tops are completely dry. For storage, stack into a sealed container.

Sugar_Cookies_15_Plane_Train_Automobile Cookies

Get your assistant to eat one of each shape before you give them to dad. Just to give them a proper test run — you want them to be perfect, after all! Yes, you can have some, too.

 Sue_RiedlSue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 3-year-old.

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Anna’s Bake Off: Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue

Drumroll please…. we are super excited to launch Anna’s Bake Off — a monthly baking challenge (a spin off from our popular Cooking Club Challenge).  

 

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Here’s how it works:

  • Our hostess with the mostess, Anna Olson,  picks a recipe middle of every month
  • You make the recipe (follow it or add your creative flair)
  • Email us (giveaways@foodnetwork.ca) a picture and short descriptive blurb before July 15th for your chance to win! (The Bake Off is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!)
  • Anna will pick the winner (For the inagural Bake Off we’re giving away KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer and a personalized autographed copy of Back to Baking, Anna’s latest cookbook). 

We hope you’ll participate so without further ado… we’ll let Anna take it from here.  
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Let’s kick off what will now be a regular monthly feature – Anna’s Bake Off — with a real celebration!  It’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this month and why not celebrate with a proper afternoon tea?

 

I’m a big fan of afternoon tea – I’m definitely a tea drinker, but I do love the ritual that counters our normal routine and has us stop midday to enjoy a cup along with savoury and sweet treats.  If you’ve ever been to a Fairmont Hotel that offers afternoon tea, then you know what I mean  – there is such a friendly formality to the service and I have made it a mission to have tea at every Fairmont property that offers it.  Most recently I visited Victoria, BC and insisted on setting aside time to have tea at The Empress Hotel with my dear friend, Lisa.

 

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From the white tablecloth, the china cups and silver service to the tiered tray, we felt so much like Lady Lisa and Countess Anna, and we are definitely a far cry from that 😉

 

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If you’re going to make a point of celebrating afternoon tea, whether for the Queen’s Jubilee, or to celebrate a birthday, graduation or other tea-friendly occasion, then you need a dessert worthy of the pomp.  Give my Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue a try.  The cake itself is light and fluffy, and the colour looks exactly like a cup of earl grey with milk, and the taste matches.

 

When posting your photos of your creation, I’d love to also see a tea-time setting, whether using your grandma’s doilies and tea cups or going modern with clean lines.  Whatever inspires you, tell me about it! And remember, you can watch my Chiffon Cake episode of Bake with Anna Olson on this website, to get some expert insight into making a super chiffon cake.

 

Enjoy this baking challenge and if you find yourself getting stressed, remind yourself what the Brits say: “Keep Calm and Carry On!”

 

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EARL GREY CHIFFON CAKE with MAPLE MERINGUE

Makes one 10-inch tube cake
Serves 16 to 20

 

Cake:
2  Earl Grey tea bags
¾ cup  boiling water
8  egg whites at room temperature
½ tsp  cream of tartar
2 ¼ cups pastry flour
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ tsp  baking powder
¼ tsp  salt
½ cup  vegetable oil
5  egg yolks
1 tsp  vanilla extract
1 tsp  finely grated lemon zest
3 oz  milk chocolate, chopped and melted

Maple Meringue:
2  egg whites at room temperature
½ tsp  cream of tartar
2 Tbsp  sugar
¾ cup  pure maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Keep an 10-inch tube pan ungreased.

2.  Steep the tea bags in the boiling water, until the water cools to room temperature.  Remove the bags, without squeezing out excess liquid, then top up the water to its original ¾ cup measure.

3. Whip the whites with the cream of tar until foamy, then add ¼ cup of the sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a medium peak.  Set aside.

4. Sift the flour, the remaining 1 ¼ cups of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt into a large bowl or into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.  Add the cooled tea, the vegetable oil, egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest.  Whip this mixture on high until it is thick, about 4 minutes.  Add the melted milk chocolate and whip in on low speed.  Fold in half of the whipped egg whites by hand until they are incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites (the batter will be quite fluid).

5. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed.  Invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack and cool the cake upside down in its pan.  To extract the cake, run a spatula or knife around the outside edge of the cake, then tap the cake out onto a plate.

6. To prepare the maple meringue, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then add the sugar and whip the whites just to a soft peak.  Bring the maple syrup to a boil and cook uncovered and without stirring until it reaches a temperature of 242 F (softball stage) on a candy thermometer.  While beating on medium speed, carefully pour the maple syrup into the meringue by pouring it down the side of the bowl (this will help prevent splashing of hot syrup) and continue whipping until the mixture has cooled but is not quite room temperature, about 3 minutes.  Stir in vanilla.

7. Use a spatula to spread the meringue over the entire surface of the cake (use a small spatula or butter knife to frost the cake inside the center hole.  Store the cake at room temperature until ready to serve and only cover with plastic wrap the interior cake once cut.


From “Back to Baking” Whitecap Books 2011

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We created a chart for level of difficulty to guide you on your Bake Off journey. 

 

Level 1 – Easy – A simple one to make with the kids
Level 2 – Moderately Easy – Pay attention while baking, but still approachable for the novice baker
Level 3 – Moderate – Some experience required – May take a little planning
Level 4 – Moderately Advanced – Ready to show off a little?
Level 5 – Advanced – Superstar baker!

 

Anna rated her Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue at 3.5.

 

Related: 

You Gotta Eat Here! Wants You!

We’re cooking up ideas for the next season! Got a Canadian restaurant you’d like us to visit? Then the ‘You Gotta Eat Here!’ team wants to hear from you!

Please drop us an email at ygeh.tips@gmail.com with your suggestions and feel free to provide us with some of the following details:

* Name of Restaurant
* Location (City, Province, Address, Phone)
* Food style
* Type of restaurant establishment (24-hour diner, dessert, pub, etc.)
* Your favourite food menu item along with a brief description
* Other food factoids you’d like us to consider
* Owner, interesting background
* Reason why ‘ya gotta eat’ there

 

For full episodes, recipes, locations and much more, visit the You Gotta Eat Here! website.