Top Chef Canada Episode 7: Guest Judge David Rocco

If you watched last night’s episode of Top Chef Canada, you know that Canadian chef and Donut Showdown head judge, David Rocco, was the guest judge. If not, don’t fret: you can watch Top Chef Canada online or read our episode recaps. We caught up with David Rocco to talk about his time on Top Chef Canada. Check out what he had to say!






Top Chef Canada Season 3: Taking the Challenge Home – Episode 7

Are you all caught up on this week’s episode of Top Chef Canada? If not, you can watch Top Chef Canada online or read our episode recaps. It’s week seven of Taking the Challenge Home, a weekly post where we challenge Calgary-based blogger Dan Clapson to recreate a dish from each episode of the season. You get to vote on which dish he recreates, so vote as many times as you’d like below. We’ll keep polls open until Thursday at 9am, then check back in with us on Monday so you can see the results! Make sure to have a look at last week’s Taking the Challenge Home, too!



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Top Chef Canada Season 3: Episode 7 Recap

Can you guys believe we’re already on episode 7 of Top Chef Canada? It feels like the third season just started! So what did you think of this week’s episode? If you missed it, you can always watch Top Chef Canada online. With that said, beware of spoilers below if you’re not yet caught up (trust us, you don’t want to spoil the surprise ending). Anyway, let’s get this recap going.

The Quickfire Challenge was an interesting one this week because, well, there was no cooking involved. Instead, the chefs’ palettes were tested. The contestants went head to head in a taste challenge where they tasted the same sauce and competed to see who could name the most ingredients in the sauce. Impressive, no? After a few intense rounds, the always charming Danny Smiles beat out his fellow competitors and won immunity (for the second week in a row!).


Next up was the Elimination Challenge, and what a challenge it was! The chefs were instructed to come up with their idea of Canada’s new national dish (currently, our national dish is poutine). They would be serving their dishes at a food festival so it had to be something that had mass appeal and represents the upcoming trends in Canadian cuisine. To make things even more nerve-racking, this week’s guest judge was Canadian chef David Rocco, head judge on Donut Showdown. After some chaos in the kitchen (like Chris S having to ditch his bologna sandwich idea at the last minute and go with a grilled cheese instead), the chefs presented their dishes to the public and to the judges. So what did they think?


The strongest dishes of the week were: Danny Smiles‘ Shrimp and Crab Roll with Maple Bacon and House Smoked BBQ Chips, Caity‘s Ahi Tuna Slider with Spicy Aïoli and Asian Slaw, and Matt‘s Maple Pork Patty with Bacon Jam, Apple and Cabbage Slaw, with Danny Smiles taking home the title of best dish and a $10,000 cash prize.


Unfortunately, the weakest dishes of the week belonged to Rory, Chris S and Jonathan. In the end, the judges decided to spring a surprise double elimination on the chefs (we told you there was a twist!) and both Rory and Chris S got sent home. The worst part of the whole thing? The episode took place on Chris S’ birthday. We know, sad face.


Do you think the right person got sent home? Let us know by tweeting us @FoodNetworkCA and check out the dishes from this episode’s Elimination Challenge below.





Staff Picks for Mother’s Day

It’s no surprise that the Food Network Canada team is made up of people who are passionate about their food! Not a day goes by without one (or all!) of us snapping photos of our plates, swapping restaurant recommendations, and trading kitchen tricks. Seeing as most of us attribute our love for food to the matriarchs of our families, we thought Mother’s Day would be the perfect time to open our culinary conversations up to our viewers and readers. Here are the nostalgic dishes our staff will be serving up this Mother’s Day…

Steamed Pork & Vegetable Buns   

dim sum recipe

“When I was a kid, my mother would prepare Steamed BBQ Pork Buns for our family and everyone would get involved and help out. We would all be in the kitchen helping to assemble the buns and the memory of the time we all spent together is something that I hold very dear to my heart. Every Mother’s Day, I reminisce about the moments I’ve spent in the kitchen with my mother and eating any type of steamed bun really hits home.”  Terry Wong – Producer,

Crab & Lobster Omelette


“My family has a Mother’s Day tradition of going to the King Eddy hotel in Toronto for brunch. My mom loves seafood and they’ve got quite a spread! Stuffed with my mom’s favourite – delicious crab! – this recipe is the perfect way to recreate that tradition at home.” Cathy Kurzbock – Senior Publicist

Piggies in a Blanket


“The only thing my mom loves more than her children is hot dogs! When I graduated from culinary school, I offered to make my mom anything in my gastronomic repertoire; but there was only one thing she wanted…This recipe is my party-friendly ode to Mama Gryfe!” Joanna Gryfe – Managing Editor,

Raspberry Jubilee Smoothie


“As a new mother, I don’t have experience with being served Mother’s Day brunch by my boys. But at the moment, my 14 month old boys LOVE smoothies.  It’s a breakfast favourite for me, and something that my boys just go wild for; so this Mother’s Day brunch/breakfast will likely consist of a shared smoothie.” Darrell Jose – Director of Strategic Scheduling

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Benedict


“Eggs Benny is probably my favourite meal on the planet. In fact, the day after my son was born, my husband treated me to this one with smoked salmon (what I most wished for but avoided during pregnancy). Since then, it’s become a bit of a running joke for my Mother’s Day breakfast each year.” Melissa Jenkins-Gray – Manager,

Lemon Meringue Squares


“Lemon squares (with real lemon curd, sweet & tart) was always my grandmother’s and mother’s favourite dessert, and I now realize is one of my favourites too – must be in the genes!  They’d both say the same thing when they tasted one: “Deee-lightful!” Leslie Merklinger – Director of Original Production



“I grew up eating traditional Middle Eastern food, but didn’t gain an appreciation for it until after I moved away from home. These days when I go back to my mom’s house, we spend our time together in the kitchen, where she teaches me to make the dishes I was raised on, like this refreshing tabbouleh salad.”  Souzan Michael – Junior Editor,


Top Chef Canada: Taking the Challenge Home; Week 6

Typically, I take a break from soups when spring rolls around. That being said, we have had some pretty sub-par weather here in Calgary, so soup is still hitting the spot even though May is just around the corner. But once it warms up, I’m kicking soup to the curb!

This third season of Top Chef Canada has been wicked so far and last week’s episode was the most fantastic one yet. From Shereen’s food auction with Chris’ $36 kale and mushrooms (yikes!), to Lisa Ray’s genuine surprise party and guest judge Andrea Nicholson, it was the best hour a guy could ask for on a Monday night.


At first glance (i.e. on social media), it may seem like I give Geoff Rogers a hard time (and even though I have never met Matt, I occasionally give him a hard time as well). In fact, I’ve known Geoff for a long time and the nature of our relationship is based on sarcasm and large amounts of ridicule. I actually helped him film his audition video for the series and was beyond excited when I found out he was going to be on the show. Jokes aside, he’s an amazing chef and is a great contributor to the food community in my city and I am proud to know him. It’s hard to pick a favourite with three Calgary chefs still in the running, but for whatever reason, I am committed to #TeamGeoff. So I, along with every Calgary food fan, was definitely happy to see Mr. Rogers with a winning dish. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s much more handsome when he’s smiling, isn’t he? As for Matt, he is handsome 24/7. Here’s to more handsomeness and winning dishes!

Now that I’ve lamented my bromances, let’s move on to the soup! For starters, Matt and Geoff’s soup won the weekly poll on Food Network Canada’s site by a landslide. While I was at Nicole Gomes’ viewing party last week, a woman in the room actually tapped me on the shoulder after the soup appeared on screen and said, “I hope you get to recreate that soup this week.” Well, she got what she wanted!


Ethnic flavour profiles can definitely be intimidating. While watching the remaining contestants draw knives, you could tell they were all dreading pulling out Mumbai. Serving an Indian-influenced dish to a table full of (beautiful) Indian women must have been even more stressful.

Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables. It’s especially amazing when roasted; it gets a rich, meaty kind of taste. I love that. When I went to The Calgary Farmers’ Market to grab my ingredients for the recreation, I knew I had to buy some heavy cream. Cream, cauliflower and curry are soulmates in my books and there is a locally-made heavy cream at the market, weighing in at 52%, which I love cooking with. If the word ‘delicious’ could be bottled and sold, this would be it.

The soup was simple enough to make. I roasted one head of cauliflower with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, and combined it with the second head in a pot with stock, onion, garlic and spices. After pureeing it to velvety perfection, I added in a half cup of heavy cream and topped it off with some sliced, dried apricots. It was the perfect soup to have for dinner last night and now that it is snowing in Calgary (seriously), I think I will have it for dinner tonight too!


Curried Cauliflower and Apricot Soup


1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 heads cauliflower (loosely chopped, approximately 5 cups)
¼ cup dried apricots (chopped)
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup dried apricots (for garnish, thinly sliced)
salt and pepper (to taste)
olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Toss half of the chopped cauliflower in olive oil, place on roasting pan and cook in oven for 20 minutes.
3. Cook onion and garlic in a large pot with some olive oil on medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
4. Add remaining cauliflower, stock and apricots to the pot. Once it begins to boil, reduce to medium heat and add in vinegar and spices. Let simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes.
5. Remove cauliflower from oven, add to pot and puree with immersion blender until smooth.
6. Finally, stir cream into soup and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. To serve, ladle out soup and top with sliced apricots! Enjoy!



Dan Clapson 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.









National Pretzel Day

Happy National Pretzel Day, readers! The popular salty snack is getting its time in the spotlight today! If you’re craving a satisfying treat tonight, pretzels are a fantastic way to go. Make your own giant ones or use store-bought pretzel sticks as toppings on your favourite snacks! Check out some of our most popular pretzel recipes below.


Sweet and Salty Party Mix

Pretzel-Topped Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts

Ballpark Pretzels

CC’s Homemade Pretzels


Giant Pretzels with Assorted Mustards

Chocolate Spider Webs

Family Fun: Coconut Macaroons

With the weather so up and then down, down, down, I was having cravings for some sweets to comfort my other craving for sunshine and sandals. Working with a “whatever’s in the house” mindset, I came across a macaroon recipe. Golden, chewy, toasted coconut bites seemed a perfect salve. Honestly, even if you’ve never cooked before, you can make these.


Recipe: Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 45

5 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Start with 5 cups shredded unsweetened coconut. (You can buy it in 200g bags; the amount required is a little more than two bags.)


Open a can of sweetened condensed milk (not just condensed milk, and not evaporated milk). Pour that in a bowl — and lick your fingers. Good stuff, yum.


Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1 egg white. Mix this together.


Mix in the coconut, in two batches. Your batter is done. See? Easy.


Line three cookie sheets with parchment. Drop the batter onto the sheets with a teaspoon. I made five rows of three cookies per sheet.


Bake at 325F until the macaroons are golden — this took about 17 minutes in my oven, but check at 15 minutes. Basically, you want the tops nice and golden and the bottom a little crisp.


Allow them to cool a bit on the cookie sheet and then finish cooling them on a rack so the cookie bottoms don’t get too moist. You can store these in an airtight container for a week (at least). They travel very well and are gluten-free.

Recipe: Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 45

5 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to °325 F.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the condensed milk, the egg white and the vanilla.
  3. Add the coconut, and combine to form a batter.
  4. On three parchment lined-cookies sheets portion the batter with a teaspoon.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom and tops of the cookies are golden. You want them to develop nice colour and be a little crisp on the bottom.
  6. Cool slightly on the sheet until you can handle the cookies and move to a rack to completely cool. Serve right away or store in an airtight container up to a week.



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 4-year-old.







Catching Up with Top Chef Canada Season 2’s Trevor Bird

Season 1 alum and Restaurant Takeover host Andrea Nicholson returned to the Top Chef Canada battleground to guest judge this week’s episode. Her success story inspired us to catch up with other TCC alumni. (If you missed this week’s episode of Top Chef Canada, you can read our recap or watch the full episode online). We chatted with Season 2’s Trevor Bird to see what he’s been working on since the show. Check out the video below!




National Pigs in a Blanket Day

Happy Pigs in a Blanket Day, everyone! To celebrate this momentous occasion, we’ve rounded up our favourite hot dog recipes for you. Of course, we like to do things a bit bigger and better here at Food Network Canada, so while we’ve included a classic Pigs in a Blanket recipe, we’ve also thrown in some unique hot dog recipes! Check them out!


1. Piggies in a Blanket

2. Curried Pork and Cheddar Hot Dogs

3. Deer Hot Dog

4. Hot Southern Mess

Top 5 Duck Recipes

It’s top 5 time again! This week, we’re inspired by this season of Top Chef Canada; we love how often (and creatively!) the competing chefs use duck in their dishes, so we’ve rounded up the top 5 duck recipes that you’ve been searching for on our site. Enjoy!


1. Raspberry Duck

2. Duck Breast with Red Wine Sauce

3. Duck a l’Orange

4. Duck Breasts with Green Peppercorn Sauce

5. Duck with Sour Apples and Port




Grazing Bison Burgers from The Hot Plate

If your idea of a ‘fix’ is a juicy hamburger with all the trappings, these Grazing Bison Burgers are a great way to ‘fix up’ your fix! Using lettuce leaves or other greens as the vehicle for your burger makes this meal gluten and carb-free, as well as allows for the rich taste of the bison to come through against a crisp green palette, unhindered by a mountain of bread! The health benefits continue to pile up like condiments on a burger when you take into consideration that bison meat is significantly lower in calories, fat and cholesterol while retaining all the taste of  regular ground beef. So get a MOOve on and make this meal a new family favourite!


Grazing Bison Burgers

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


1 lb ground bison
1 green onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
8 iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper
Optional garnishes: Tomato, Red Onion, Cheese, Pickles

Preheat a lightly oiled grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, gently mix together ground bison, green onion, cumin and salt and pepper. Shape into four ¾-inch thick patties. Using your knuckles, make a shallow depression in the center of each patty. This prevents the patty from turning into a baseball while it cooks.

Transfer the patty to the preheated grill. Grill with the lid closed for 7 minutes per side for medium.

Meanwhile, arrange lettuce leaves on four plates. When burgers are finished cooking let them rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to lettuce and top with your favourite burger garnishes.


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.









Top Chef Canada Season 3: Taking the Challenge Home – Episode 6

Are you all caught up on this week’s episode of Top Chef Canada? If not, you can watch Top Chef Canada online or read our episode recaps. It’s week six of Taking the Challenge Home, a weekly post where we challenge Calgary-based blogger Dan Clapson to recreate a dish from each episode of the season. You (yes, you!) get to vote on which dish he recreates, so vote as many times as you’d like below. We’ll keep polls open until Thursday at 9am, then check back in with us on Monday so you can see the results! Make sure to have a look at last week’s Taking the Challenge Home, too!








Top Chef Canada Episode 6: Guest Judge Andrea Nicholson

We caught up with Chef Andrea Nicholson of Restaurant Takeover to chat about her appearance on Top Chef Canada this week. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, you can watch it online and read our recap.




Top Chef Canada Season 3: Episode 6 Recap

Welcome to another week, Top Chef Canada fans. What did you think of this week’s episode? If you missed it, you can always watch Top Chef Canada online. With that said, beware of spoilers below if you’re not yet caught up.

For the Quickfire challenge, the judges switched things up a bit. The chefs participated in the first annual Top Chef Canada auction, where they bid on fresh ingredients for a delicious, cost-efficient dish that would test their restaurant management knowledge; could they price a dish so that it made money for the restaurant? The weakest dishes of the challenge belonged to Chris C, Becky, and Jonathan; all of whom priced their dishes too high for the meals they presented. The strongest dishes belonged to Dennis and Danny, with Danny winning the challenge and gaining immunity for the week.


Next came the Elimination Challenge. The chefs were told that they would have to prepare dishes for Lisa Ray‘s surprise wedding shower, which was thrown by Shereen. The competing chefs worked in teams of two to create a five course tasting menu inspired by five places around the world that have been milestones in Lisa’s life and career: Mumbai, Vancouver, Milan, Paris and Napa Valley. The guest judge for the challenge was Top Chef Canada Season 1 alum, and Restaurant Takeover host, Andrea Nicholson. Since Danny won the Quickfire Challenge, he was granted leadership, meaning he got to decide on the menu and assign each team to a course. At the last minute, the chefs were told that the guests had some dietary restrictions: 4 vegetarians, 1 gluten allergy and a shellfish allergy. When we say last minute, we mean it! Everything was cooked and ready, and the guests were seating and waiting for their food! We’re stressed out just thinking about it again.


Thankfully, the teams pulled through and quickly created some dishes to suit everyone’s needs. In the end, the weakest dishes of the challenge were Becky and Caity‘s Four Spice Lamb Chop with Kale, Pecans, Napa Fruits and Balsamic Dressing, and Nicole and Chris C‘s Brown Butter Hazelnut Cake with Sautéed Peaches and Vanilla Bean Crème. The strongest dishes of the week were Geoff and Matthew‘s Curried Cauliflower Soup with Currants, Dried Apricots and Toasted Almonds, and Danny‘s St. Simon Oyster with Calvados Crème Fraîche and Caviar, with the soup taking the title of best dish in the end. Unfortunately, Chris C was told to pack his knives, as his overly-simple dishes could not cut it on Top Chef Canada.


Do you think the right person got sent home? Let us know by tweeting us @FoodNetworkCA and check out the dishes from this episode’s Elimination Challenge below.





Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Celebrated every April 22nd, this is the largest and most celebrated environmental event in the world. To do our part, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite recipes that use fresh, crisp produce. Check them out below!


Sweet Grilled Corn on the Cob with Orange Butter

Squash and Ricotta Salad

Eggplant Stacks

Vegetable Salad with Grapes

Smoky Chipotle Hummus

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche in a Potato Crust

Peach Gazpacho



Top Chef Canada: Taking the Challenge Home; Week 5

Canadians must really love their fried foods. So far, frying has been involved in three of the five dishes that I’ve been voted to recreate in the past month and a half. First, there was that crispy fried chicken in week one, and then two weeks ago, I was battering and frying bacon and beans. Now it’s time to make spring rolls! Perhaps I should consider investing in a forty litre vat of Canola oil?


I scampered around the Calgary Farmers’ Market on Friday morning in nothing but a t-shirt (and pants, of course), which was exciting seeing as we’ve had hardly any warm weather in the past month here in Calgary. Aside from some miscellaneous items, the bulk of my ingredients for the week were shellfish; so I grabbed a lovely, fresh variety from Blu Seafood and made my way back home in my t-shirt hoping that the sun would tan my pasty, winter white skin.

Now, the original version of the Imperial Rolls that Caity and Nicole made on last week’s episode were little, one-biters, made for a canape party. Since I was at my friend Chelsea’s making this lunch, and I wasn’t interested in impressing her too much with pretty hors d’oeuvres, I made a batch of larger rolls instead. (Not that she’s not worth it, it’s just that she was still wearing her pajamas. If my mom taught me one thing in life, it’s that people in pajamas never deserve a canape!) Jumbo rolls it was!


To be honest, these were not the most beautiful appetizers I’ve ever made, by any means, but they definitely tasted good. Generally, anything involving crab, prawns and scallops usually ends up being pretty stellar. To jazz up the seafood filling a bit, I put in some fresh ginger, heavy cream, five spice powder – which, I have to admit, is a regularly overlooked spice in my cupboard! – and, last but not least, sriracha. Yes, the spicy rooster sauce that makes almost everything better (except my morning cereal, I guess…).

Once the rolls were filled and wrapped tightly, it was time to fry. Since I’m not an avid fry guy at home, I’m always a little worried that items will explode in a pan of hot oil. Once the first few rolls were dropped into the pan, there were some apprehensions about whether or not they would swell up like balloons, pop and shoot filling and oil everywhere. Luckily they did not! Although, my wrapping skills must not be up to par, as a few of the rolls didn’t hold their filling. Good thing I was not offering these up to Mark McEwan!


After frying the rolls, I served piping hot to my friends with a simple aioli made up of egg yolk, vinegar, oil, pickled ginger and spices, which was a perfect tangy ‘ying’ to the rich ‘yang’ of the creamy seafood filling. Since 8 spring rolls don’t really constitute a lunch for three people, we made a batch of fried rice and green onion cakes as well. It ended up being a tasty mish-mash of Asian-inspired dishes, which hit the spot perfectly on a lazy Saturday!

Chelsea is now insisting that I come over every week to make my Top Chef Canada recreation dish for her. I told her I’d consider it, but not until she stops wearing pajamas all day on the weekend. Will she put some proper clothes on? I guess you’ll have to find out next week!


Prawn, Scallop and Crab Spring Rolls with Ginger Aioli

Yield: 8 large rolls and 2/3 cup aioli
Total cook time: 25 minutes
Spring Rolls:
1 shallot (minced)
1 bunch green onions (minced)
3 large prawns (finely chopped)
2 large scallops (finely chopped)
1/2 cup crab meat (finely chopped)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sriracha
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups hot tap water
8 large rice paper rolls
Canola oil (enough for frying, approx 3 cups)

Ginger Aioli:
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon pickled ginger (minced)
2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
salt and pepper (to taste)


Spring Rolls:
1. Place all ingredients, aside from the rice paper rolls and oil, in a medium bowl and toss with spoon until evenly combined.
2. Put the hot tap water in a large, shallow bowl. One by one, take the rice paper rolls and submerge them in the water until softened, about 15 seconds.
3. Lay reconstituted rolls flat on a large cutting board or work surface.
4. Place two spoonfuls of the seafood mixture in a small line in the centre of the roll.
5. Roll each up tightly, the same way you would roll a burrito.
6. Heat up the canola oil in a deep pan on medium-high heat.
7. Working in batches, fry rolls until crispy and brown, about 3 minutes.

Ginger Aioli:
1. Whisk together yolk and vinegar in a small bowl.
2. Continue to whisk while slowly adding the olive oil until the mixture emulsifies and thickens.
3. Stir in the pickled ginger and hoisin sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper and let chill in the fridge until ready to serve.



Dan Clapson 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.










National Garlic Day

Happy National Garlic Day, everyone! There are few things we love more than garlic, so we’re loading up on garlic bread, shrimp and pasta tonight (with lots of gum for dessert!). Check out our favourite garlic recipes below!



Garlic Roast Chicken

Roast Garlic Oregano Butter

Gorgonzola Garlic Bread

Shrimp with Garlic and Basil Oil

Garlic Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

Garlic Mayonnaise

Garlic and Parsley Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Soup and Artichoke Croutons

Family Fun: Afternoon BLTs

I thought it might be Spring-ish enough to start up the BBQ. It was getting to to be 4 o’clock and warm enough for Felix to go bike riding after school. I figured I could turn a bacon craving into a mini-meal that could double as the inaugural 2013 launch of the grill.


Recipe: BLT
Makes 4 sandwiches

4-6 slices bacon
1 ripe medium tomato, sliced
Chopped romaine or arugula
4 small fresh buns


Now, I love bacon — but in small quantities (at least for Felix!). So I bought some small, fresh buns, juicy tomatoes and two types of lettuce.


I’ve recently switched to cooking my bacon in the oven: less mess, and easier to get the crisp level I like. Simply lay your bacon on a parchment lined-sheet and put it into a 400F oven for 12-15 minutes. No flipping, no greasy splatter.


While you drain the bacon on some paper towels, slice up some fresh lettuce. I give the crispy romaine to Felix but I like the peppery bite of a little arugula.


And of course, mayo.


A quick grill on the BBQ and the exterior of the bun is nice and crisp while the interior is soft and warm. Now assemble! You don’t need much bacon to add a salty crunch,so  load up the veggies instead and enjoy the contrast of texture and temperature — warm bacon, cool tomato, soft bun.




Recipe: BLT
Makes 4 sandwiches

4 -6 slices bacon
1 ripe, medium tomato, sliced
Chopped romaine or arugula
4 small, fresh buns


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place bacon on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until as crisp as you desire. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Slice buns in half and grill on the BBQ till slightly crisp.
  4. Assemble sandwiches with mayo, lettuce, tomato and bacon. Eat immediately while warm.



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 4-year-old.







Anna Olson’s Bake Off: Jam-Filled Doughnut Muffins

Seeing that Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May, I thought a simpler recipe, ideal for kids to bake with or for Mom would be a good idea. This month’s challenge is Jam-Filled Doughnut Muffins.

Okay, perhaps I was motivated by Donut Showdown now airing on Food Network Canada, but now you can create these little doughnut gems in your kitchen, without the need for a deep fryer!

As always, I like when you get creative – change up the fillings, and toppings, or even add icing. Just keep Mother’s Day in mind as you show me the baking stuff I know you are made of.



Makes 18 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


1 ½ cups (375 mL) 2% milk
1 ½ cups (375 mL) sugar
2/3 cup (160 mL) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla extract
3 ½ cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 mL) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
¼ teaspoon (1 mL) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1 mL) ground nutmeg
½ cup (125 mL) raspberry or strawberry jam

½ cup (125 mL) sugar
½ teaspoon (2 mL) ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and grease 2 muffins tins (or line 18 of the cups with paper liners).

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the milk, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until blended.  In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and then add this to the wet mixture, stirring just until blended (a few lumps are OK).  Fill 18 muffin tin cups 2/3 full with the batter.  Stir the jam to soften and drop a teaspoonful into each of the muffins.  Scoop the remaining batter overtop so that it covers the jam completely.  Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow the muffins to cool for 20 minutes, before turning out to cool completely.

3. For the topping, stir the sugar and cinnamon together.  Brush the top of each muffin with the melted butter and dip the muffins into the cinnamon sugar, tapping off any excess.

The muffins will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Here’s how Bake Off 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 ( a picture and short descriptive blurb before May 15th at 9am ET for your chance to win! Anna will pick the winners (We are giving away a$250 gift card to Williams-Sonoma and an autographed copy of Anna’s cookbook).



Professionally trained pastry chef Anna Olson is the host of Food Network’s Bake with Anna Olson. Anna’s culinary philosophy is based on a common-sense approach of cooking and baking with the seasons, as well as respecting the ingredients, the technique and the process of sharing with others through food. Most of all, cooking and baking should be fun!




Chard Burritos from The Hot Plate

Chard is a fresh and carb-free alternative to tortillas or wraps, and makes for a great, light meal. The crispness and delicate bitter flavour of the chard is balanced by the richness of the sweet potato’s naturally buttery flesh. Black beans add even more flavour and fibre to the mix while adding a great textural element and bite in contrast to the fresh diced tomatoes. Minced cashews provide even more crunch to your lunch, just be sure to substitute if you’re sending them to a ‘nut-free’ zone. One thing you can be sure of is this: anywhere you serve these meatless munchies, you’ll earn the reputation of total ‘wrap star!’


Chard Burritos

Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


2 very large swiss chard leaves
1 medium sweet potato
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup black beans
1 tomato, seeded and juiced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted cashews, finely minced
¼ cup alfalfa sprouts


Prick a clean sweet potato all over with a fork. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook the sweet potato until completely tender.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, cook until softened about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste followed by the black beans, cumin and cashews; cook for 2 minutes more. Add ½ cup water and continue to cook until water has evaporated and flavours have combined, about 10 minutes.

For the wrap, clean and thoroughly dry the swiss chard leaves. Using a sharp pairing knife trim the thick part of the Swiss chard’s stem. Trimming the back of the stem reduces its thickness and makes the burrito easier to roll.

Arrange the swiss chard leaves facing up. Scoop half the cooked sweet potato flesh into the center of each swiss chard leaf. Top with black bean mixture and alfalfa sprouts. Roll the swiss chard leaves start at the bottom of the stem and continue to roll to the top of the leaf. Secure the burritos closed with kitchen string, if desired.



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.