The Chopped Canada Hail Mary

The Hail Mary is defined as a very long forward pass in football, made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half.

Hail Marys happen not just on the football field but in the kitchen – especially the Chopped Canada kitchen. When the clock is ticking and a chef has no idea what a mystery ingredient is or how it can ever work with the rest of their dish, they say a prayer, throw caution to the wind and hope that their risky long shot actually scores big.

Here are three Chopped Canada Hail Marys that were worth the play:

The Play: Chocolate Covered Dried Shrimp
Episode 4 – Appetizer Round – Chef Alvin
Mystery Ingredients: dark chocolate, dried shrimp, oysters, wasabi peas

Chef Alvin didn’t know what to do with his last two mystery ingredients: dark chocolate and dried shrimp. In a moment of desperation, he coated the dried shrimp in melted dark chocolate and added that to his appetizer plate of wasabi pea-encrusted oysters. Roger Mooking and Chuck Hughes thought the idea would be a disaster. Roger’s direct quote was: “A candy disaster gone completely wrong.” But after trying it, Roger and Chuck were both surprised that it worked! Chef Alvin was just as surprised as they were.

The Score: Alvin went on to win the Chopped Canada title.

Chef Alvin’s Wasabi Pea Encrusted Oysters with Chocolate Covered Shrimp

The Play: Jicama Puree
Episode 5 – Appetizer Round – Chef Terrance
Mystery Ingredients: snack cake, duck breast, jicama, hot chili sauce

“This big old thing that I’ve never seen before…I can’t even pronounce it,” is how Chef Terrance described the jicama he found in his mystery basket. He guessed and made a riff on mashed potatoes with it: boiling it, pureeing it, and then adding some duck fat and milk to the mix. The judges were intrigued by his approach especially since the other chefs weren’t cooking theirs and Anne Yarymowich stated that jicama is almost exclusively eaten raw. When Terrance’s plate was up in front of the judges, Susur Lee was surprised and a bit delighted that Terrence took a risk and cooked the jicama; he hadn’t ever tasted jicama cooked. The only time he looked to be enjoying any of the appetizers in this episode was when he was about to taste Terrance’s appetizer. We never did get a verdict from Susur if he liked it or not but the slight smile on his face before he tasted it was enough for us to call it a win.
The Score: Chef Terrance impressed Susur Lee with his innovative play and got him to eat something he’s never tried before. This is no small feat.

Chef Terrance’s Deconstructed Duck Slider with Jicama Puree and Snack Cake Fritter


The Play: Chef Paul’s Entire Dessert
Episode 5 – Dessert Round – Chef Paul
Mystery Ingredients: sweet green relish, graham crackers, limes, marcona almonds

Chef Peter used coconut milk, duck eggs and heavy cream from the pantry to make his lime-coconut custard. As he started to stir the ingredients together, he literally called it a Hail Mary, not knowing if the heavy cream and coconut milk would work together in a custard.  It sounded easy enough but he was right to be nervous – it just didn’t thicken. Close to the finish line, his entire dessert was in shambles and he knew it.  Instead of custard, he had a soupy eggnog. His graham cracker crust was just pulverized graham crackers in the food processor. He burnt his caramelized sugar and when his brittle emerged from the blast chiller, it wasn’t brittle – it was chewy. I would have called his entire dessert at that point one big Hail Mary. He dumped the runny custard into the dishes, tore at his brittle to get it on the plate and threw the graham cracker crust on top of his dessert. After he finished plating at the very last second, he looked at his dessert and was surprised that it wasn’t that bad. The judges didn’t think it was that bad either! The final dessert they tasted wasn’t what Paul planned on serving but Anne Yarymowich and Vikram Vij both really enjoyed the taste and texture between the custard and the brittle.
The Score: Chef Paul took the Chopped Canada title that night.


Chef Paul’s Coconut Lime Custard with Burnt Relish Brittle

Watch Chopped Canada Episode 5: Just Desserts
Jicama, Carrot and Red Cabbage Slaw Recipe



Sunchoke hash from Derek’s Kitchen

sunchoke hash

Jerusalem artichokes, sometimes called sunchokes, are one of those ingredients that are usually only seen used in fancy restaurants. That’s too bad, because they are delicious. They are similar in texture to potatoes, but have a rich nutty flavour. They are great for making rich purees and creamy soups with a real depth of flavour. Jerusalem artichokes come from the same family as sunflowers, which explains their nutty, almost sunflower seed taste and also the ‘sunchoke’ nickname.

In the time it takes to boil them I fry up some onions and bacon to make a killer hash that is the perfect side for a nice thick steak.  Of course, this recipe can serve as more that just a side for steaks. It’s also great with fish, or you could just through in some cubes of ham or beef to make a satisfying full meal.

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. Makes 4 sides.


680g (1 1/2 lbs) jerusalem artichokes
4 green shallots, diced
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 cups onion, finely diced
1 cups bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup sour creme or creme fraiche


1. Thoroughly wash the Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) and then use a paring knife to cut away any brown spots or imperfections. Cut the sunchokes into 1/2 inch cubes, place in a sauce pot, cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until the sunchokes are very soft, about 8-10 minutes.

2. While the sunchokes are simmering, sautee the bacon in a large frying pan. When the bacon just starts to brown, pour off some of the excess fat and then add the onions. Continue frying until the bacon and onions are golden brown.

3. Strain the sunchokes and then add them to the onions & bacon. Sautee everything together on medium-high heat until the sunchokes start to brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the flat leaf parsley. Season with fresh ground black pepper. Add salt if desired, but depending on how salty your bacon is, you might not need to add any. Serve with sour cream and green shallots.

DerekBockingDerek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years culinary experience. On his blog, Derek’s Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers. 


5 Favourite Comfort Food Recipes Turned into Soup

We wanted to end off National Soup Month with a post that eats like a meal… warm, delicious and pure comfort for your daily reading. So we enlisted the help of Hamilton’s souped up team at The Burnt Tongue to ladle up and share their favourite comfort food dishes-turned-soups.

The challenge? Turn these five hearty dishes into soup:

1. Stuffed baked potato
2. Cabbage rolls
3. Buffalo chicken wings
4. Macaroni and cheese
5. Choucroute garni (sausages and sauerkraut)

Challenge, accepted!

Why is it that most people think of soup as the mere gateway to a meal? At our restaurant, soup is the main feature and we have five hearty recipes to prove it. You can make these soups from scratch or use the leftovers of the meal that inspired the soup itself.

These five soups are guaranteed to eat like a meal.


Loaded Baked Potato Soup 


One of our all-time best-sellers, this soup is definitely going to fill
you up. If it’s meat and potato you’re after, this bowl is for you!

Cabbage Roll Soup 


When it comes to making cabbage rolls, you’re probably already making
too many in a single batch anyway! This soup is perfect for squeezing an
extra meal out of just two leftover cabbage rolls.


Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup


This soup has Americana written all over it. Our favourite pub fare from
just across the Peace Bridge is now a hearty bowl of soup, blue cheese
included. Made with Franks Red Hot sauce, this spicy soup pairs
perfectly with fresh-cut celery and carrots on the side.


Macaroni and Cheese Soup


This classic comfort food has been tried and tested in almost every way
imaginable, and mac & cheese-style soup is our kick at the can.
Classic mac & cheese and soup: two of the world’s most beloved
comfort foods join forces in this tasty new spin.


Sausage and Sauerkraut Soup


Was it wurst night at your house last night? Don’t know what to do with
the last of that sausage and sauerkraut? Maybe you should use it to make
one of the tastiest soups ever, complete with mustard and beer!


The Burnt Tongue is a Hamilton-based restaurant serving up homemade soups, Belgian fries, curries and other tastiness to tingle your taste-buds.

Images courtesy of Chanry Thach.



Chinese New Year Desserts: Fun, Festive and Super Easy

Gong Hei Fat Choi!

Chinese New Year is a fantastic reason to gather up family and friends and get crafty. If you want to have a little fun with your festive spread this holiday, we’ve found some easy and decorative ideas to add sparkle to your Spring Festival.

Get baking.

While the traditional Chinese New Year feast focuses on savoury meats, dumplings and noodles, no celebration is complete without something sweet. Cookie cutters, homemade royal icing and store-bought rolling fondant can transform a typical dessert into a centrepiece for your holiday meal. Kneading food colouring into the fondant will produce vibrant decorative pieces to bring your desserts to life.

Use these recipes as your base and let your imagination be your guide:

Get inspired.

Lanterns, orchids and dragons are just the start. Turn your kitchen into an art studio, have fun and be inspired by the festive season! Here are some awesome ideas from around the web to tickle your creative taste buds:
















Top 5 Cabbage Recipes


Why does cabbage always win a race? Because it knows how to get a-head! Besides providing material for delightful jokes, cabbage is also a great source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Furthermore, it contains cancer-fighting antioxidants, and it has the fewest calories and fat of any vegetable. Now, you’re probably tempted to run straight to the produce aisle and start munching your way through the cabbage supply – and by all means, go for it if that’s what your heart desires – but we also have some recipes for you, should you choose to, you know, add other ingredients.


1. Red Borscht with Braised Cabbage and Dill Lemon Sour Cream Recipe

2. Napa Cabbage Slaw with Lime-Honey Dressing Recipe

3. Asian Cabbage Salad Recipe

4. Cabbage Soup Recipe

5. Grilled Chicken Cabbage and Corn-Stuffed Tortilla Wraps Recipe




Roasted Eggplant With Ricotta And Pomegranates from The Hot Plate

roasted eggplant

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6


6 mini eggplants

1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil

1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) each salt and pepper

1/2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon (5 mL) finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (125 mL) pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped toasted walnuts

2 tablespoon (30 mL) chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoon (30 mL) pomegranate or balsamic glaze


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut each eggplant in half, lengthwise, leaving the stem in tact. Score the flesh diagonally to make a diamond pattern. Whisk the oil with the thyme, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and cinnamon.

2. Brush the oil mixture over the eggplants until it’s all used. Place the eggplants, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and tender.

3. Meanwhile, stir the ricotta with the lemon zest. Arrange the eggplant on a platter and top each piece with a dollop of ricotta. Scatter the pomegranate seeds, walnuts and chives over the eggplant. Drizzle with glaze.

Amanda Riva 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.


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Tea Leaf Reading

tea leaf reading faq

We’re about a month into 2014, and we don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t mind getting some insight into what’s to come. Enter Abella Arthur, 3 of Cups occulist, with her impressive tea leaf reading skills. We asked her about the art of tea leaf reading, its history, and other fun and fascinating things. Check out the 5 things you didn’t know about tea leaf reading.

1. How did tea leaf reading originate?

The making of leaves for tea originated in China. Then tea made its way to India, and then on to Europe, with the Dutch being the first importers of tea. Tea was extremely expensive, and often only royalty or the very wealthy could afford it.

One story says that one afternoon, a group of tea leaf drinkers were sitting around talking about their affairs, when suddenly they saw symbols in their cups that reflected the topics of conversation. Thus, tea leaf reading was born.

2. What does it entail? 

Someone can get a tea leaf reading whenever they would like their past, present, and/or future fortune told. It’s especially welcome for those who fear tarot cards or other divination tools. After all, there is only positive magic in tea.

Guests sit around and sip their tea while engaging in friendly chit chat, thinking about what they might want to know, and waiting their turn to have their fortunes told.
It takes about ten to thirty minutes to drink tea comfortably, allowing for the energy and things on the mind of the tea drinker to invigorate the reading of the leaves.

Depending on what has been agreed to for your booking, the actual reading of the leaves can take anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. Sometimes other reading tools such as tarot, palm, angel cards, or a crystal ball conclude the tea leaf reading.

Each guest will leave about two teaspoons in the cup – enough tea left so they don’t need to suffer the bitter taste of tea leaves on their tongue, and so that the reader can give the reading. Once seated with the reader, the guest will sip a final small amount (with at least one teaspoon or less in the cup) and then hold the teacup with their left hand and with intention on what they would like to know.

The reader then takes the cup, connects to the sitter and the leaves, and begins to read the guests fortune.

3. What kind of tea does a tea leaf reader use? Are some teas better to use than others?

Plain loose leaf tea (without twigs, powders, fruits, flowers, etc) is ideal because it makes different shapes and sizes and creates better images for the reading. A small and slender leaf, (Black Chinese, Jasmine from DAVIDsTea, Green, Earl Grey, Ceylon, Keemun Classic Tea) is great. 40 grams of tea serves 20 cups.

4. What are readers looking for when reading tea? Does a certain tea leaf placement mean certain things?
The tea leaf reader seeks out symbols, letters, and other shapes to interpret. They connect these shapes and patterns to each other, and this forms a story for the seeker.

The reader might see symbols such as a key (moving), a mountain (promotion), a ring (getting married), or a letter (a message), and depending on where these metaphorical objects are located, this will indicate whether it is related to the past, present, or future.

5. What kind of questions are best to ask during a tea leaf reading session? Is the same cup used for all the questions?

The sitter can ask all kinds of questions, similar to any other divination type reading (i.e. tarot), but popular fortune-telling questions are: When will I get married? Will I start a romance? Will I have children? Will I win the lottery?

However, often the reader will peer into the cup and offer a general reading (to start), and the seeker can ask about anything — even for advice.

The cup is used for the entire reading. So after the general read, as the seeker offers their input – new symbols can materialize from the leaves along with sudden psychic insight.




Heart-Shaped Red Velvet Cream Puffs

If red velvet cakes, waffles and crêpes are a thing, why not cream puffs? And why not take it a step further to make them into hearts? I couldn’t come up with a good reason, so I did it.


Makes: 24 cream puffs


Choux Pastry
1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), unsalted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp of cocoa powder
1 tsp concentrated red food coloring, powdered

Pastry Cream Filling
1 cup of milk
2 Tbsp white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons white sugar (divided)
1 egg
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of heavy whipped cream+2 tablespoons of sugar (for whipped cream)


Choux Pastry
1. In a medium pot, bring the buttermilk, salt, and butter to a simmer on medium heat. Add the flour, cocoa powder and powdered coloring to the milk mixture, and with a wooden spoon or spatula, stir very quickly.
2. Carefully watch and you’ll see that the flour starts absorbing the liquid — a dough will form. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two. At this point, remove the pot from the stove. When the dough comes clean off of the sides of your pot, this is an indicator your dough is ready for step two.
3. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a bowl if you’re using a hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time mixing rapidly until each is combined into the paste. The paste will go from shiny to slippery to sticky as the egg is incorporated. The pâte a choux can be cooked immediately at this point or refrigerated for up to a day until ready to use.
4. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet pipe out the paste. You can make traditional round cream puffs by piping round “drops”, or, you can make heart shapes. Pipe a circle with the paste, and pull downwards to create a tear drop shape. Repeat again on the opposite side to create a heart. Dip your finger in water, and connect the shapes.
5. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then 350F for 18-30 minutes, depending on the size of your puffs. You want them to rise about twice the size, and cook until the centres are dry. The color will change as they become “golden”. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before you cut them into halves and pipe the cream.

Pastry Cream
Note: You can make the pastry cream a day in advance.
1. In a heavy saucepan, stir together milk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.
2. While the milk is coming to a boil, whisk together egg, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cornstarch. Mix until smooth. Add a tablespoon of the hot milk to this mixture, stirring constantly. This is done to “temper” the eggs, so you don’t end up with a scrambled egg mixture. When the milk comes to a boil, remove from heat, and slowly pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, making sure you have a thin stream and you are constantly stirring so you do not cook the eggs. Return the saucepan back to heat and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle. When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat, or into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.
3. Once your pastry cream has fully chilled, remove plastic wrap and whisk until the mixture is smooth and well combined (no chunks). Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar until you have firm peaks. Fold 1/4 cup at a time of the whipped cream into the pastry cream; carefully mix until it comes together.

Madalina 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.

Top 9 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes


The Super Bowl has got us thinking about “super bowls” this week: one dish that eats like a Hungry Man meal with layers of flavour to keep you satiated through the day. If the finale of football season has you overloading on potato skins, wings and nachos, we’ve got recipes that are hearty, healthy and piled high with delicious ingredients for a winning lunch or dinner. Any of these bowls of plenty will have you fueled for the day… and overtime!

9 Healthy “Super Bowl” Recipes

  1. Bibimbap
  2. Basil Chicken Bowl
  3. Chicken, White Bean and Corn Chili
  4. Vietnamese Beef Pho
  5. Warm Brown Rice and Wheat Berry Salad Bowl
  6. Quinoa Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing
  7. Huevos Rancheros
  8. Warm Kale Bowl
  9. Bouillabaisse



15 Awesome Oatmeal Toppings

oatmeal toppings
Looking for a breakfast that’s delicious, versatile and crazy-good for you? Well, put down the sugary cereal and cold leftover pizza, because we’ve come bearing gifts! Oatmeal is a blank canvas that is almost impossible to dislike, because you can add anything to suit your palette’s needs and your heart’s desires. It’s basically the original superfood (sorry, kale; step aside for now), as it helps to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, stabilize blood-glucose levels, and pump your body full of fiber and vitamin B. Can we get an amen?
Whether you want to add the crunch of nuts, stir in the sweetness of fruits, or even crumble in some delectable baked goods, we’ve got 15 recipes to suit your style.

Nuts and Seeds

Honey-Spiced Nuts

Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Golden Toffee Nut Gems

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

Sweet and Savoury Nuts


Lemony Poached Pears

Baked Apples with Caramel Sauce

Lavender Peach Compote

Sour Cherry and Pear Jam

CC’s Fruit Salad

Baked Goods

Banana Nut Bread

Carrot Loaf Cake

Chocolate-Coconut Granola

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Peppermint Crunch Bark



Skinny Dipping: Top 15 Healthy Dips

healthy dips


The Super Bowl is just around the corner, but if the thought of fatty, cheese-filled dips ruining your diet is stressing you out, we’re here to save the day. Cheering on your favourite team doesn’t have to come with a side of nachos. Instead, serve these irresistible and healthy alternatives; your guests – and their waistlines – will thank you!


1. Classic Hummus Recipe

2. Healthy and Tasty Sweet Potato Dip Recipe

3. Cilantro Dip Recipe

4. Middle Eastern Bean Dip Recipe

5. Ginger Almond Eggplant Dip Recipe

6. Dried Tomato Hummus Recipe

7. Spinach and Yoghurt Dip Recipe

8. Roasted Carrot Chip Dip Recipe

9. Janet and Greta’s Hearty-Choke Dip Recipe

10. Pumpkin Seed Dip Recipe

11. Quick and Nutritious Spinach Dip Recipe

12. Avocado Dip Recipe

13. Garden Gazpacho Dip Recipe

14. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Recipe

15. Macho Nacho Dip Recipe




5 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is the new miracle food – we slather it on our bodies, spoon it into our smoothies, cut it into our baking batter, and even use it as a detox mouthwash.  Although it was once touted as an evil fat, coconut oil is making a comeback in a big way and is now a staple in most health foodies pantries.  So, why is everyone going coco-nuts for coconut oil?

1. It’s super energizing
Coconut oil is 92% saturated fat – this may seem like a lot, but the type of saturated fat in coconut oil is called medium chain fatty acids.  The most important thing to note is that not all fats are created equally.  Coconut oil is unlike other fats in that it is not processed in the same way.  Fats in coconut oil are transported directly to the liver and are immediately converted into energy, rather than stored as fat.  Next time a pick-me-up is needed, simply add a little bit of coconut oil to water, to a smoothie or take it by the spoonful to get that extra energy boost.

2. It’s a virus, fungus and bacteria killer
Coconut oil contains 50% lauric acid, which converts into monolaurin in the body.  Monolaurin is a potent virus, fungus and bacterial killer, making it a fantastic immune system supporter.  The only other substance that contains this much lauric acid is breast milk, which provides babies with gentle but powerful immune support.

3. It’s a metabolism booster
Most fats need to be slowly broken down before they are absorbed by the body.  Since coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids, they are converted immediately into energy, which helps speed up metabolism.

4. It’s a blood sugar stabilizer
Coconut oil and carbohydrates both provide the body with energy.  However, coconut oil does not spike blood sugar and insulin after consumption.  This is incredible, because stabilizing blood sugar is the best way to sustain energy and promote weight loss.  This is even more fantastic for people who have blood sugar sensitivities like diabetics.

5. It’s a moisturizer
There are tons of health benefits when coconut oil is taken internally, and it is just as beneficial when used externally.  The fat within coconut oil locks in moisture and keeps skin hydrated; it also makes a great lip balm.  Coconut oil is also a natural makeup remover and helps clear away dead skin.  It is a natural antiseptic which is important for removing unwanted bacteria from the skin.

Now that you know all of the amazing benefits of coconut oil, try it in this Coconut Choco Cookies recipe and this Super-Powered Coconut Energy Smoothie recipe.


TamaraGreen1 Tamara Green is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, personal cook and co-founder of The Living Kitchen Wellness Group.



Brutally Honest Fortune Cookies


Crystal balls and horoscopes might help decipher your present and predict your future, but sometimes brutal honesty is a dish best served sweet.

If you thought fortune cookies were simply an afterthought to a chow mein and dumpling feast, consider the wisdom in the not-so-innocent dessert below.
A spoonful of sugar helps the honest truth go down…but you might want to chase it with some calming green tea.



funny fortune cookie 14







funny fortune cookie 15

































Top 5 Perfect Soup Toppers

top 5 soup toppers

‘Tis the season of soup, and what better way to jazz up your bowl than with some homemade toppers? A bit of texture can take your meal from ordinary to extraordinary. You’re just a crunch away from enjoying a souped up lunch! Check out our top 5 soup topper recipes.


1. Croutons Recipe

2. Herbed Potato Crisps Recipe

3. Toasted Pita Chips Recipe

4. Tortilla Crisps Recipe

5. Parmesan Crisps Recipe






Food Inspiration at the Grammy Awards

Last night, as we watched Hollywood’s most popular starlets make their way down the red carpet for the 56th annual Grammy Awards, we couldn’t help but notice ourselves getting hungrier and hungrier. After some frantic rummaging through our fridges, it quickly became clear that our favourite songstresses looked – for lack of a better term – more delicious than ever.  Check out some of the drool-worthy dresses that reminded us of irresistible dishes.




Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Millet

This past week, I went to a Chopped Canada screening party for Calgary competitor, Steve Glavicich. It was nice to see a bar full of folks cheering him on. Although he didn’t take home the big cash prize, he was definitely vibrant throughout the episode.

Of all the mystery ingredients that popped up throughout the challenges, millet stuck out to me the most. If you have a pet bird at home, like I do, you’ll know that they generally go crazy for a sprig or two of millet. It wasn’t until a few years that I found out it was a mildly popular ingredient in the kitchen and was gluten-free, no less! Gluten-sensitive folks, rejoice! But please buy millet for humans, the stuff for the birds still has the indigestible outer hull.


When cooked, millet has a really neutral flavour and a textural consistency somewhere in-between couscous and quinoa. I tend to shy away from quinoa in savoury dishes because I find it has that breakfast-y, cereal sort of taste. Millet is also fairly inexpensive when compared to quinoa; I’m all about finding a balance between deliciousness and budget. Although millet won’t get you exactly the same consistency in this recipe as going with  Arborio rice, the traditional choice for a risotto, it still is a rich, filling meal using an interesting little grain typically sidestepped for more mainstream choices.

When cooked and cooled, millet holds its integrity well, making it a great addition to salad if you’re looking for something lighter for lunch. As far as health properties go, it’s a decent source of protein, calcium and Vitamin B. Less millet for the birds and more for us humans, I say!


Millet, Kale and Lemon ‘Risotto’
Total cook time: 35 min
Serves 3

4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups half and half
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ granny smith apple, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 cup uncooked millet
1 cup torn kale leaves
1 cup fresh spinach, well-packed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

1.    Place the stock and half and half into a medium pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Reduce to low heat to keep warm.
2.    Heat the canola oil on medium-high heat in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
3.    Add the diced apple and paprika and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.    Place the millet, kale and spinach into the pan, stirring well to incorporate. Reduce to medium heat and let cook until millet has absorbed excess liquid and oil, about 1 minute.
5.    Take 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and add it to the pan, stirring regularly. Once the liquid has been absorbed by the millet, add another cup of hot liquid.
6.    Continue this process of adding and stirring until the millet has soaked up all of the liquid and the consistency is thick and creamy, about 18-20 minutes
7.    Stir in the lemon juice, zest and parmesan and let cook for another 3 minutes.
8.    Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve!


Watch Chopped Canada Episode 4: All’s Fair in Cooking and War
Ratatouille Au Gratin for Grown Ups Recipe


Super Bowl Recipes: Think Beyond the Hot Wing!



The game is high-stakes, the halftime show is flashy, but Super Bowl Sunday is nothing without an epic spread.
Wings may be the standard, but we’ve pulled out our game day playbook to share the secrets of touchdown taste.
Keep it simple, keep it hot, and keep it coming all afternoon; these recipes will have your crowd cheering for more.

Bring the heat
Fire up the fans with spicy recipes that can be cooled off with an ice cold beer.
Spicy Tequila Salsa
Crispy Chicken Wings with Tsaketa Hot Sauce
Spicy Pork Tacos

Pop it like it’s hot
Bite-sized snacks with big flavour always make for a winning spread.
Maple Bourbon Peameal Bacon Sliders
Chipotle Chili Bites
Bacon-Wrapped Poppers

Stack the flavour
Layer on the flavour with recipes that can be portioned into snack-size servings or laid out for a family-style feast. Ingredients can be varied and individualized for dishes like nachos, quesadillas and pizza that will please even your pickiest game day guest.
Firefighter Special Nachos
Southwestern Chicken Quesadillas
Leaning Tower of Pizza

Be in it to win it
Sometimes a football feast requires some serious commitment; slow-cooked dishes may tie up your stovetop for a few hours, but the finished product is definitely worth the wait!
Campfire Chili
Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

Pulled Pork Stew


When in doubt, cover it with cheese
Doesn’t matter which team you’re rooting for on Sunday, cheese is always a sure bet.
Chili Mac & Cheese
Deep-fried Mozzarella Sticks
Barbecue Cheddar Dip



4 Easy Ways to Perfect the Potluck


(Original image courtesy of Jill Chen)

4 Easy Ways to Perfect the Potluck

Potlucks are a great way to get your favourite people together for a feast that won’t leave you starved for cash. Each guest contributes one dish to the meal; someone’s aunt’s “famous” dip recipe usually makes an appearance alongside another guest’s signature cocktail, a baked pasta bubbles away in the middle, and the meal is often topped off with a store-bought dessert.

Note: nobody likes the guest who whizzed through the packaged produce aisle while everyone else slaved away in the kitchen! Save that for your weeknight book club meeting where the culinary expectations are minimal.

Everybody’s got a specialty or potluck go-to, but the culmination of guests’ mystery dishes doesn’t always make for a well-balanced meal.

Take control of your next community-cooked party by choosing a single dish that everyone can contribute an ingredient to. Choosing a simple and familiar dish is kind of like working with a blank canvas; guests can feel free to keep it traditional or bring along exotic ingredients to spice things up.

Here are four approachable, much-loved and easy dishes to plan your next potluck around:

1. Pizza A couple balls of white or whole-grain pizza dough
are the perfect vessels for any ingredient under the sun. Hosts should
portion the dough out for each guest beforehand and provide at least two
sauce and cheese options. Guests can bring along toppers from roasted
chicken to tater tots, bruschetta to fresh herbs. Don’t think this is
just for dinner either! Sweet pizzas topped with chocolate sauce,
berries and chopped nuts can keep the party going for an extra course or

2. Sandwiches This is the best thing since sliced bread! Potluck hosts can have a
variety of breads (baguettes, slider buns, naan), condiments and basic
toppings laid out to start. Almost anything goes between the buns, so
whether your guests arrive with meatballs, butter chicken, or eggplant parmesan, you can turn it into a finger-friendly party dish.

3. Soup Potluck or Top Chef throwdown? Turn your next gethering into a Chopped-style challenge like Dine Out Vancouver’s Chef Soup Experiment, where fifty chefs contributed random ingredients that somehow had to be balanced and simmered into a delicious soup. Missed it? Check it out on @DineOutVan’s takeover of our Instagram feed! This is the riskiest of the four potluck options when it comes to flavour, but it is a guaranteed good time.

4. Baked Potato It’s the side that eats like a meal. Whether Russet or sweet, potatoes
are a hearty base for a potluck plate. Guests can load them up with chili, quinoa salads, cheeses, and even topped with eggs. The only thing that limits you here is your imagination!



16 Great Ways to Cook with Beer

beer recipes

From the dock to the crockpot, beer isn’t just for summertime sipping. Warm up your kitchen this winter with lagers, ales and stouts.  If you’ve got some brews collecting dust in
the back of your fridge, put them to good use and add bold flavour to your dishes with these 16 delicious
ways to cook with beer.


1. Cheddar Beer Soup Recipe

2. Michael Smith’s Beer-Steamed Mussels Recipe

3. Spicy Beer Can Chicken Recipe

4. Beer-Battered Oysters Recipe

5. Beer Batter Fish and Chips Recipe

6. Onion Soup with Beer Recipe

7. Beer Baby Back Ribs Recipe

8. Beer-Battered Onion Rings Recipe

9. Beer-Battered Halibut with Chipotle Tartar Sauce Recipe

10. Beer-Brined Grilled Veal Chops Recipe

11. Beer-Marinated Flank Steak Recipe

12. Beer Beef Stew Recipe

13. Beer Bird with Celeriac Puree Recipe

14. Beer-Steamed Lobster Tails Recipe

15. Cheddar n’ Beer Cheese Fondue Recipe

16. Drunken Piggy Sandwich Recipe





5 Recipes to Serve at Your Grammy Awards Party

The 56th annual Grammy Awards are set to air this Sunday night and while we’re still picking out our viewing party outfit (we’re leaning toward Lady Gaga’s meat dress), one thing we know for sure is what we’ll be serving. We’ve rounded up five delicious recipes – one to represent each song nominated for Record of the Year. These are sure to impress your guests!

1. “Royals” by Lorde


Just like Lorde, we’ll never be royals, but that won’t stop us from eating like we are. These Royal-Tea Cookies are an adorable treat to set out at your viewing party.

2. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons

Play up the idea of radioactivity by serving mini pastries dyed – what else? – bright green. Green Eggs and Ham is the obvious choice.

3. “Locked out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars


Shower your guests with these Seventh Heaven Bars, made with cookie crumbs, almonds, chocolate, coconut and Skor bar chunks. Your friends will be on cloud nine.

4. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

Feeling lucky? The show might be ending, but you can serve each guest a fortune cookie at the end of the night to see what’s in store for them.

5. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell

You know you want it, but is it dessert or is it dinner? Blur the lines with these delicious Maple Bacon Cupcakes.