Pork Recipes in 90 Minutes or Less

pork recipes

What’s a pig’s favourite movie? Jurrasic Pork! While we love bacon as much as the next person, we feel like pork in every other form is being neglected. While bacon is basking in the spotlight, making appearances everywhere from breakfast to dessert and even cocktails, we want to focus on these more traditional ways of enjoying pork. Whether you’ve got 90 minutes to spare, or barely 20, we’ve got a recipe for you!



90 minutes: Rolled Pork Florentine Recipe

30 minutes: Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice Recipe

18 minutes: Fast-Fry Pork Loin Chops with Feta Cheese and Black Olives Recipe





Top 5 No-Bake, No-Cook Recipes for Mercury Retrograde

no bake recipes


Astrology-lovers, you’re probably well-aware that we’re in the final stretch of the first Mercury Retrograde of 2014. What this means, for those who don’t know, is that Mercury has slowed down and appears to be moving backwards. This is, of course, an optical illusion, but astrologers claim it has a huge effect on how we function during the three weeks of retrograde. Beware of issues caused by miscommunication during this time, and technological mishaps as well. Phone unexpectedly shut down on you? Blame Mercury.

With only three days left of Mercury Retrograde, we don’t want you to risk anything, so we’ve rounded up the top 5 recipes that require no baking or cooking (read: no appliances) so you can avoid any unwanted trouble, just to be on the safe side.


1. Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Arugula and Figs Recipe

2. Cauliflower Salad Recipe

3. Massaged Kale Salad Recipe with Apple and Dates Recipe

4. No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Bars Recipe

5. No-Bake Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe




Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Shallots


This week’s episode of Chopped Canada once again demonstrated the chefs’ creativity in action when it came to the basket ingredients. Whether the puffed rice cereal in the entrée round was used to bread octopus (a great idea for the home cook if you love homemade chicken fingers) or to thicken a stew, I was impressed with how the chefs approached this breakfast item. My initial instinct was to get cooking with the cereal but I was stumped on doing something with it (aside from marshmallow squares, of course) that wasn’t too similar to what we saw on Chopped Canada.

In the dessert round, the ingredient that posed the biggest hurdle to the chefs was the shallot. Although their taste is much mellower and sweeter than a white or yellow onion, adding them to a sweet dish is not a simple task. While I would never opt for a shallot-centric dessert at a restaurant, I do like the idea of embracing the sweet side of an ingredient in an interesting way. I decided to use both the shallot and pureed pumpkin in a biscuit that happily totes the line between sweet and savoury.

Biscuits like these are ridiculously easy to make. The pumpkin pie filling plays nicely with the smokiness of the pancetta and the sweetness of the shallots. I’m a huge fan of sweet-meets-savoury plates of food, so try using these biscuits for the foundation of eggs Benedict or as the bread in a turkey and cranberry sandwich. Even just douse a biscuit or two in maple syrup for a midnight snack. Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
Pumpkin, Shallot and Pancetta Biscuits
Total cook time: 25 min
Makes 8 biscuits
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup smoked pancetta, diced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
? cup pumpkin pie filling
1 egg
1.    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2.    Heat the canola oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the diced pancetta until it is nice and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
3.    Place the sliced shallots into the same pan and fry for 2 minutes. Transfer to the same paper towel as the pancetta and let cool for a few minutes.
4.    Next, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, pepper, sugar, salt and cayenne.
5.    In a small bowl, whisk together cream, pumpkin and egg. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture, add in the pancetta and shallots and stir until a soft dough forms.
6.    Place dough on a lightly floured surface, fold several times and roll out to a thickness of approximately 1”.
7.    Cut into 8 equal pieces, place onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes or until bottoms of biscuits are golden brown.



Watch Chopped Canada Episode 8: Ramp It Up

Chuck Hughes’ Caramelized Shallot Popovers Recipe


How to Bake a Difference



Fundraising and charity work are part of our every day social interactions.  Sometimes we have to rise to the occasion for school, or the office sponsors a drive, or a personal cause speaks to us and motivates us and it’s quite handy when we can combine our personal hobbies and passions with that good cause.

As you might expect, baking is the foundation of my career, but it continues to be my personal passion – it’s not as if I “clock out” at 5 pm and the baking stops. It’s a constant and dynamic process, and whether I bake and develop recipes for a TV series, a book, an article, at an event, there is always a personal element to it. So when I learned about National Cupcake Day and it’s connection to SPCA and Humane Societies across Canada, I had to learn more.

My beagle, Priscilla, came from the Humane Society here in my hometown of Welland. When she locked eyes with me upon a visit there, we were bonded forever. For the 13 years I had her, she was such a dear companion – she would always hover near the kitchen door (never in, too much activity – better to watch at a distance) and she was even involved featured in the opening to my series “Fresh with Anna Olson” (along with Michael’s beagle, Oscar).

National Cupcake Day is today, and it is the perfect way to combine a love of baking with support for the care of our furry friends, be they feline or canine. Anyone can make a difference, and it’s easy to do. You set up a cupcake bake sale, at school, work, home or you can even deliver or send virtual cupcakes on that day, based on advance orders you take and also selling on that day.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • 1. Go to www.nationalcupcakeday.ca and register your on-line bakery. A cupcake hospitality kit will be sent to you to help you along.  In registering your bakery, you can select the SPCA or Humane Society closest to you, so that they receive the funds you raise.
  • 2. Send out emails announcing that you are making cupcakes and invite people to order and donate on-line – it’s easy and secure.
  • 3. Bake away! Jump in the kitchen and bake up your cupcakes – get the whole family involved, and you can make them as simple or elaborate as you wish.
  • 4.  Set up your cupcake sale & pick up station and make sure those whose donated get their treats (and have extras for those who want a cupcake on the spot).  For those who ordered virtual cupcakes, email them their cupcake message (remember – virtual cupcakes are calorie-free, and ideal if you’re schedule is too busy for 3-D baked cupcakes).


What a fantastic way to put your love of baking to a good cause.  And even if you don’t have the time or means to create your own cupcake sale, you can always go to www.nationalcupcakeday.ca to make a donation.

I developed this recipe especially for National Cupcake Day (and it includes a school-safe, peanut-free frosting option, too) or you can make your own favourite cupcakes and decorate them as you wish.


Happy Baking!





Podium Pots: Standout Soups for the Winter Games


It’s that time again! Since 1924, the Winter Games have provided the stage for athletes all over the world to test their abilities in the snow and on the ice. However, sometimes the Games aren’t about competing in the events themselves, but combating that cold weather… something we Canadians know all about.

There are a lot of soups out there that claim to be the gold medal winner in today’s event: Warmth. We here at The Burnt Tongue have put a lot of soups to the test this winter and just like the Olympians, our soups come from all over the world!

Our top 3 choices may come as a surprise to some, but hey, that’s what makes it interesting!

Bronze: Jamaica
Soup: Jamaican Sweet Potato
With flavours that originate in the islands, this soup most definitely has the ingredients to help you battle the Canadian cold. The sweetness of the potato is balanced well with the heat of the scotch bonnet; that tasty combination is what makes this soup our Bronze medal winner!

Silver: Russia
Soup: Russian Red Kale
Like us Canadians, the Russians know the cold weather intimately. This soup is so hearty, healthy and comforting with its main ingredients being Kolbassa and Kale. The Burnt Tongue guarantees that this broth based soup will warm you to your bones, making it our Silver medal winner.

Gold: Britain
Soup: Mulligawtawny
Our Gold medal winner is the classic gold-coloured Anglo-Indian soup, Mulligawtawny. This soup directly translates into ‘pepper water’ and was created for the British Raj, but gained its notoriety on Seinfeld. Mulligawtawny is one of those soups which has endless variations. The Burnt Tongue’s version is full of garlic, ginger, chilli, cilantro and a pinch of saffron and will help anyone get comfortable in that cold weather.


Top 5 Foods on a Stick

Hockey season and winter are pretty synonymous in Canada. Add the Winter Games on top of that, and suddenly you can’t walk down the street without being exposed to the sport in some shape or form. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our experience with sticks is off the ice and in the kitchen, because we have a soft spot for foods served to us on a skewer. Check out our top 5 foods on a stick below!

1. Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs with Red Rice Recipe
shrimp and chorizo skewers
2. Chicken Yakitori with Soba Salad Recipe
chicken yakitori skewers
3. Grilled Swordfish Skewers with Caribbean Salsa Recipe
swordfish skewers
4. Grilled Canadian Feta and Zucchini Ribbon Skewers with Creamy Lemon, Pepper and Oregano Sauce Recipe
grilled feta skewers
5. Harissa-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Couscous Recipe
harissa chicken skewers






Top 10 Tips for an Athletic Diet

Whether we compete in a sport, are crossfit addicts or simply love to go for a daily run, it’s important to know what to eat to support our athletic body.


1. Eat Breakfast
When we wake up our blood sugar is super low, and we need some fuel to get our bodies (and brains) going.  It’s best to eat about 1.5-2 hours before a workout; stick to complex carbs and minimal proteins and fats. If eating almost 2 hours before working out is too difficult, try making a green smoothie for a vitamin, mineral and carb-packed breakfast. It’s easy to digest, which means it won’t tax your energy and will nourish your cells.

2. Eat Immediately After Working Out
It’s important to eat 15-30 minutes after working out as this saturates glycogen stores (the stored version of glucose/energy). Eating after a workout aids in muscle recovery and helps prevent soreness. Eat something that is a simple carbohydrate mixed with some protein: dates and nuts or a fruit smoothie with protein powder are both great options.

3. Always Hydrate
Hydration is key. It’s really important not just to hydrate with water during and after the workout, but also to constantly hydrate throughout the day; this helps prevent dehydration during the work out. When we start to feel thirsty, it’s our body’s way of signaling that we are already dehydrated. We also want to hydrate with electrolyte drinks that will replenish our electrolytes that were lost while sweating. Try to stay away from super sugary energy drinks and find natural more wholesome brands.

4. Plan Ahead
This tip applies to everyone, but especially to athletes: We need to plan our snacks, meals and drinks ahead of time. Without making a clear plan of when to buy groceries, when to prepare meals and when to actually eat them, many of us are left grabbing choices that are low in nutrition and detrimental to the athletic body. Eating often and eating well helps to prevent blood sugar from crashing, keeps hormones balanced and helps maintain a strong immune system.

5. Load Up on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Working out can cause a lot of inflammation in the body. We need to reduce added stress and inflammation in the body to increase recovery time and prevent soreness. While training, load up on anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ginger, garlic, dark leafy greens and omega 3’s found in flax oil, fish oil and salmon.

6. Think Quality of Calories over Quantity
The quality of our calories is way more important than the quantity. We need to eat foods that provide “high-net-gain” according to Brendan Brazier, triathlete and author of the Thrive Diet. He says, “simply eating more calories will not necessarily ensure more energy for the consumer.” This is because of the digestive energy required to convert this high caloric, non-nutritious food into usable energy. We need to shift from refined and processed carbs to whole foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

7. Avoid Common Allergens
Many of us don’t even realize when we are sensitive to certain food items. By eliminating common allergens, we may notice major positive shifts in our breathing, focus, digestion, energy and even movement. Try to stay away from heavy dairy, soy, corn and even gluten if you are ready to take that leap!

8. Increase Antioxidants
Intense training can create free radical damage in the body, this is a natural process of working out. It’s important that our bodies are equipped with antioxidants to combat free radicals and prevent any serious issues. Eating a diet that is rich in colourful fruits and vegetables will have you covered on the antioxidant front.Consuming lots of antioxidants will also help maintain a strong immune system.

9. Don’t be Afraid of Carbs
For many athletes, carb loading is a natural part of the training process. When we are training, our bodies need adequate fuel to power us through. One of the best fuels comes from complex carbohydrates, because they provide slow absorbing glucose with a mix of fiber. The glucose works to nourish our cells and stores as energy for later. The fiber cleans the body and removes excess waste. The best complex carbs include starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, beets and whole grains like quinoa, millet and brown rice.

10. Eat for Sleep

Sleeping is necessary for all of us to function properly, but it is especially necessary for athletes. Without proper sleep our mental and physical performance falls short. During sleep our body repairs and regenerates itself. To get that deep, restful sleep we need to reduce the elevated cortisol levels in our bodies. We do this by eating foods like avocados, dark leafy greens, colourful fruits. Avoid the refined stuff!


Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies from The Hot Plate

coconut brownies


Even if you aren’t gluten-free, this coconut brownie recipe is going to win your heart. Use coconut flour and gluten-free cocoa powder to get the same sinfully delicious flavour of your favourite homemade brownie recipe, but healthier!

Don’t believe us? Watch our video to see the recipe come to life and we dare you not to want to try this delectable dessert.


  • Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) gluten free cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut oil
  • 12 oz (375 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) shaved coconut
  • Directions:
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish with parchment paper that over hangs the edges. Coat well with cooking spray; set aside.
  • 2. Whisk the coconut flour with the cocoa powder and salt; set aside. Place the coconut oil, chocolate and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until melted and smooth.
  • 3. Stir each egg into the chocolate mixture, one at a time, until well combined. Stir in the dry mixture; fold in the pecans (if using). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter coconut over top. Using damp hand, gently press the coconut into the brownie batter to adhere.
  • 4. Bake for 35 minutes or until only a few moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted into the centre. Cool completely. Using the parchment, transfer to a cutting board to portion into squares.




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.





How to Use Your Noodle


(“The Plethora of Pasta Permutations” by Pop Chart Lab. Buy the poster here)

Comfort food is on the menu this season: fried chicken to casseroles, and hearty stews to – our personal favourite – pastas. Between the alfredo and the ravioli, there are entire grocery aisles of options to choose from, which can be quite daunting. So we’ve enlisted the help of Hamilton-based food truck Nudulz to teach us how to use our noodle and the symbiosis in saucing them.

Soups & Broths
If you’ve made a beautiful clear soup, the last thing you want to do is muddle it with large pasta. Go for the more tiny, delicate shapes like ditalini, fregula (*the easiest of all pasta to make), orzo, stelline or pastina.

*To make fregula you simply get a cookie sheet and sprinkle semolina flour on it. Wet your hands and drip the water on the sheet. After doing this for a bit, strain the semolina through a colander and the larger pieces remaining are fregola! Poof, you’ve made pasta!

Rich Sauces
So, you’ve just made a lovely rich meat sauce and you are thinking about what type of pasta to use. Think about pasta like engineering. Did she really just say that? Yup, but there is logic behind it, so please be patient. Meat sauce as a rule is thick and chunky. If you were to stretch a strand of linguini or spaghetti like a tight rope, would the meat sauce stick? Nope. If you used a wider cut of pasta, a tubular or cup shape, would it hold the sauce? Absolutely. Rule of thumb: think of the pasta as a hand cupping the sauce. For rich sauces, try pastas such as penne, campenelle, conchiglie, lumaconi, fusilli, orecchiette, and rigatoni.

Light Sauces
Very light pasta sauces, including the cream sauce variety, are the most challenging.  You don’t want the pasta to overwhelm or be underwhelmed.  For a marinara or a cream sauce such as an Alfredo, here are the pastas to use:  spaghetti, spaghettini, ziti, linguini, farfale and capellini.

Cheese, Cheese, Glorious Cheese
What pasta pairs with a dense cheese sauce? Here is the answer: jumbo shells, lasagne, manicotti, macaroni and sfoglia.


I recommend exploring pasta in all its glorious shapes. Use this as a guideline, but do experiment and let us know about your “pasta adventures.”

Sending #noodlelove to you all!
Cathy and the Nudulz Team




Olympics Viewing Party Recipes

The Winter Games are more than halfway through, and if you’re thinking of hosting a viewing party or two before the closing ceremonies, we’ve got recipe ideas that will showcase some of the top competing countries. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you’ll love gathering for good food, good fun and good company. We’ve rounded up some countries with the most-ever winter wins, to showcase each of their delicious cuisines.



Ed’s Lobster Roll Recipe

Poutine Recipe

Maple Peameal Roast Recipe



Norwegian Cheddar Pancakes with Warm Honey Butter Recipe

Lefse Recipe

Open-Faced Sandwiches Recipe



Hamburger and Caesar Salad Recipe

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

New England-Style Clam Chowder Recipe


russian food

Red Borscht with Braised Cabbage and Dill-Lemon Sour Cream Recipe

Blini with Pickled Beet Caviar Recipe

Anna Olson’s Beef Stroganoff Recipe



Pork Schnitzel with Tartar Sauce Recipe

Fried Bratwurst, Sauteed Red Cabbage with Apples and Baby Potatoes Recipe

Black Forest Molten Cake Recipe


Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Rose Water

As usual, there were some bizarre ingredients hiding in the mystery ingredient baskets in episode seven of Chopped Canada. I wasn’t in the mood to expose my nostrils to the off-putting smell of durian, so I opted for another one of the more odd ingredients: rose water. It’s popular in Iranian and Indian cuisine but it’s definitely not something you’ll find in a friend’s pantry. That being said, it is readily available in most quality grocery stores so finding a bottle shouldn’t be a problem.

What to do with rose water? To be honest, I had never even tasted the stuff before. After picking some up, I decided to man up and just take a big gulp of it. I was expecting the flavour experience of a bouquet of roses to slap me in the face but it was fairly subtle, somewhat perfume-y, but not in an overbearing way at all.
The problem now was trying to figure out exactly what to do with it.  When I was watching episode two, I was thinking how tough it would be to cook with gin, a mystery ingredient in the dessert round. But then it hit me – I’ll take these two mystery ingredients and make a granita! It’s not exactly the most appropriate dish for the season, but here in Calgary we are blessed with some lovely, warm chinooks, so when the weather peaks, a boozy, slushy dessert isn’t uncalled for.
Gin combines with floral flavours well; you’ll even find botanicals like lemongrass and lavender in more boutique gins. Making a granita is foolproof; anyone can pull it off and this combination allows the rose water to shine without making you feel like you’re spooning into some sort of bizarre rose petal snow cone.

Gin, Apple and Rose Water Granita
Total preparation time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups club soda
¾ cup cane sugar
½ cup rose water
4 ounces good quality gin
1 ambrosia apple (cored and finely grated)
1 lemon (zested and juiced)

1. Place all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2. Transfer to shallow baking dish and place in the freezer until frozen, approximately 2 hours.
3. Remove from freezer and scrape with a fork until the granita has a slushy snow consistency.
4. Keep frozen until ready to serve.

Watch Chopped Canada Episode 7: Clams, Lamb, Thank You Ma’am
Rhubarb and Rosewater Eton Mess Recipe

Kids Can Cook

Don’t let the thought of hot stoves, sharp knives or complicated ingredients stop you from cook-ing with your kids. Cooking is an excellent way to engage with your children, have fun, and teach responsibility.

Here are a few tips to make cooking with kids fun and easy:

1. Pick an easy meal. Rice dishes like stir fries are a great opportunity to add a ton of vegetables that the kids can wash, peel and even chop. Studies show that when you begin with rice you end up with a meal that’s better for you.

2. Do all the cutting and chopping ahead of time. This keeps the cooking focused on assembling ingredients and is especially helpful with younger ones.

3. Use the cooking process as a way to teach your kids little lessons on nutrition by explaining the benefits of each ingredient as it goes in. Ask them to share what they learned over dinner. This simple act is a great way to help them build healthy nutritional knowledge and habits.

Healthy Kids Eat Complex Carbs

Good nutrition is critical for healthy, developing kids and a balanced diet is an essential part of the equation. While carbohydrates have been often been vilified, the truth is complex carbs such as rice and sweet potatoes fuel both the body and the mind and are essential for proper metabolic functioning. Nutrient-dense meals that include whole foods such as rice, vegetables and protein are needed to give kids the energy they require to grow, stay active and learn.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, speed and convenience are high on the home cook’s must-have list. Rice is quick and easy to prepare, but studies show that meals built around this nutritious grain tend to be healthier. Not only is it the perfect conduit for a rainbow of colourful vegetables and lean cuts of meat, but forms the base for countless meal options that are well-rounded and wholesome.

Get Kids Involved

Encouraging kids to get involved in meal preparation helps them develop healthy eating habits at an early age and is the kind of skill set that they will carry throughout their lives.

Chef’s Tip!

Cook more rice than you need; the leftovers can be easily reheated or even transformed for a nu-tritious, energy packed lunch that will help kids power through their afternoon and maintain con-centration at school.

Cooking with Kids: Disconnect to Connect

It’s a reality of our modern digital world that we’re distracted and, all too often, distant. Dinner time is often spent absorbed by the constant hum of our various gadgets, and over time it can take its toll on the family.

One way to help break the cycle is to get the whole family involved in preparing and cooking dinner together. Cooking a meal inevitably leads to sharing a meal, and studies show that eating together is good for both kids and families as a whole. It’s a set time carved out each day where everyone can catch up and unplug.

Cooking as a family gives even the youngest members an opportunity to contribute, even if it’s only to peel vegetables, measure out the rice, or merely set the table. Not only does it give kids a sense of satisfaction, but encourages bonding, helps teach fundamental life skills, and fosters positive lifestyle habits.

Simple recipes are the best way to start cooking with your children. A roast chicken with fresh vegetables and a side of rice is a well-rounded, nutritious crowd pleaser. Rice is a go-to staple that wholesome meals are built upon. Just add your favourite vegetable and protein and you’re on your way to a quick and easy meal that’s good for the whole family.

Top 5 Cooking Tips from the Chopped Canada Judges

With all of their combined cooking experience, the Chopped Canada judges are fountains of culinary knowledge. Here is some advice the judges have given the competing chefs that any cook can use in the kitchen.
1. You Can Actually Be Too Rich
Rich flavour is delicious, but it can also overwhelm your palate after a few bites. A bright burst of flavour helps cut back on the richness and provides something else to chew on.

Chef Brianne’s Spiced Beer Nut Crusted Stuffed Lamb with Kimchi Fritter
In episode seven, Chuck Hughes thought chef Brianne’s lamb entrée was really tasty but overwhelmingly rich. He told her that the kimchi – a spicy, pickled and fermented Korean cabbage that was in her mystery basket – actually would have worked well in the dish to cut the richness and give the palate some excitement.

2. Make It Pop
Flavour isn’t the only factor in a winning dish; looks count, too. Adding pops of colour to a tasty dish will take it from being a ‘maybe’ to a definite winner.


Chef William’s Lamb Two Ways with Beer Nut Fritter
Chef William’s kimchi lamb ragu entrée in episode seven was cooked well and generally liked by the three judges. However, Chuck Hughes wasn’t keen on the look of the dish, describing it as “monochromatic…brown on brown on brown.” It needed a pop of colour to really bring it to life.

3. Keep It in Proportion
With appetizers, the best ones come in smaller packages. These small bites should tease the appetite not satisfy it.

Chef Jesse’s Milkweed Clam Seafood Salad on Toast
In episode seven, Roger Mooking commended Chef Jesse on his restraint and simplicity in making his clam and seafood salad on toast appetizer. But Susur Lee found the dish way too heavy for an appetizer with the clam salad mounded on top of one large piece of toast. If this dish is just a starter course, his suggestion was to make the portion much smaller, cutting the toast into smaller pieces. The appetizer would then be the appropriate nibble size.

4. Timing Is Everything
Whatever your protein, cooking it for too long is one blunder that will kill your dish (and your chances of ever winning on Chopped Canada). Watch the cooking time closely and time your dish so that the main attraction – that pricey piece of fish or meat – comes off the heat at the perfect moment.
Chef Muriel’s Grilled Tuna With a Jicama and Greens Salad

Chef Muriel’s tuna entrée in episode six had a tasty and crunchy salad that John Higgins thought worked really well. But Michael Smith called her out on her completely overdone tuna steak. He shared the two rules of cooking tuna, both of which she broke: get a nice sear on the outside and don’t ever overcook the inside.

Chef Luke’s Butter Roasted Lamb with Kimchi Two Ways

In episode seven, chef Luke committed the cardinal sin of overcooking his leg of lamb. All of the judges agreed that he presented truly winning flavours with his dish but he killed any chances of winning when he left the lamb in the oven for too long.

5. Clams Are a Bit Shy And Need Some Time To Open Up
Clams are not mussels. They need more than a few minutes of steaming to open up and release their briny, flavourful juices. Chuck Hughes was a bit alarmed in episode seven when Brianne started cooking her clams with only about four minutes to go. “You always think that they’re going to open faster than they actually do,” he explained. Clams need at least five to ten minutes to open up, so don’t short-change the cooking time.
Chef Brianne’s Steamed Clams with Rosewater Slaw

Brianne actually saved her appetizer dish by chucking the clams into rolling, boiling water to get them to cook faster. But she sacrificed the flavour she would have gotten steaming them in a pan with her white wine and sausage. She was extremely lucky to get her clams on the plate in time and move onto the next round.



Watch Chopped Canada Episode 7: Clams, Lamb, Thank You Ma’am!

Michael Smith’s Grilled Lamb with Tomato Mint Tapenade Recipe

Rice: A Wholesome Staple

Balancing Act

It’s no secret that the key to a balanced diet is a good, old-fashioned, home-cooked meal. A well-balanced plate adorned with an abundance of colourful vegetables, a lean cut of meat and—at the heart of it—a side of fluffy rice. It makes for a meal that’s not only satisfying, but nutritionally complete. It’s a fact that healthier meal choices happen when we cook and eat food made in our own kitchen, as opposed to a restaurant or drive-through.

Whole Goodness

For thousands of years our ancestors from almost every corner of the globe have used rice as an essential cornerstone of their diets. Today this natural, plant-based whole food continues to be an essential part of the modern diet. It’s rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre—both es-sential attributes for fuelling the mind and the body.

Modern Convenience

Having a well-stocked pantry filled with staples like rice helps take the guesswork out of dinner time. And when meal prep is easy, the chances of cooking at home with healthier ingredients skyrockets. Rice has the ability to transform itself no matter the menu and is the perfect base for countless varieties of fast, wholesome and creative family meals. It’s the perfect conduit for quickly creating nutritious and diversified meals.

Food Training: What to Eat if You’re Training for a Marathon

marathon food

The Winter Games are in full force, which means all of us Canadians are cheering proudly and excitedly for our athletes abroad in Sochi.  As we watch our Olympians, we may turn inwards and start to think about what our own personal sport of choice is.  For many, it’s marathon running.  The thrill of a long distance run that ends with endorphins, glory, pride and a much-needed Epsom salt bath is incredibly appealing.  This empowering sport requires quite a bit of training, and while some people only focus on the physical run, nutrition plays a huge role in successfully crossing the finish line and completing a marathon.
What to Eat While You Train
During the training period runners need to fuel their bodies properly to speed up recovery times and optimize their performance.  During this time it’s so important to be consuming tons of antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, minerals and electrolytes to keep your body strong and to train the digestive system for the big race.  During training, the diet should consist of about 50-60% complex carbohydrates. This ensures the muscles in the body are saturated with glycogen, which is the storage form of glucose/energy. This is what fuels runners during those very long runs.  Complex carbohydrates include brown rice, quinoa, sprouted whole grains and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash.

It’s also important to be eating tons of antioxidant and omega 3 rich foods.  Hardcore training puts a lot of stress on the body, which creates free radical damage.  Free radicals are behind many diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Your body is brilliant and it does its best to protect against free radical damage, but you also need antioxidants from food to play a big protecting role.  Eat lots of dark leafy green vegetables and colourful vegetables to get an array of different antioxidants.  Also load up on coldwater fish, like salmon, fish oil or flax oil to get those Omega 3’s in the body.  Omega 3’s are natural anti-inflammatories and will really help with reducing muscular inflammation after and during runs.

What to Eat Right Before a Run
It’s best to eat about 2 hours before going on a run, which may be difficult for some who want to train early in the mornings.  Eat low-glycemic complex carbohydrates to saturate glycogen stores; this prevents fatigue and will provide sustained energy throughout the run. The meal should be low in fat and moderate in protein.  Whole grain toast with nut butter, whole grain cereal with almond, soy or dairy milk or oatmeal with fruit are all great options.

What to Eat During a Run
While you’re running your body needs quick bursts of energy that are easy and fast to digest. Simple carbohydrates, fluids and electrolytes are all very important during a long run. Sports bars, energy drinks, gels and dried fruit are all great choices.  Think of foods that are easy to carry, easy to eat and easy to digest.  However, always be aware of what sports bars and drinks you’re buying, because of a lot of them are filled with nasty preservatives and ingredients.  Make sure to test out eating these foods beforehand to know how you react to them.  No one wants an unfortunate digestive mishap during a run.

Keeping hydrated is also really important for the body during a long run.  You need to hydrate with electrolytes as well as water.  Some marathon runners suggest drinking 5-12 oz of fluid every 15 minutes.

What to Eat After a Run
After you’ve finished running, you have 30 minutes to get the post-run snack into your system. This snack replenishes glycogen stores that were used up during the run.  Eating a simple carbohydrate with protein helps immediately repair muscle and balance blood sugar.  Some good options are fruit smoothies with a scoop of protein powder or nut butter, raw energy date and nut balls or the very popular choice of chocolate milk.  However, chocolate milk is often very hard for people to digest and the dairy creates inflammation in the body.  Also, remember to drink plenty of fluids to replace what was lost during the run.

Now that you know what to eat to start training for a marathon, it’s time to hit your sole to the pavement… or to a treadmill (it is winter, after all).

And let’s not forget: Go Team Canada!

Tamara Green is Chief Nutritionist and Natural Cook with The Living Kitchen Wellness Group in Toronto.




Escarole and Chorizo White Bean Soup with Barley from The Hot Plate

escarole soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6



1 tbsp (15 mL)    olive oil

1 onion, chopped

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

4 oz (125 mL) dried spicy chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup (60 mL) white wine

6 cups (1.5 L) sodium-reduced chicken broth

1 cup (250 mL) pearl barley

1 can (540 mL) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 bunch escarole, stalks removed and leaves chopped

Shaved Parmesan cheese


1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the chorizo and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute or until reduced by half.

2. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil; stir in the barley. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the barley is tender but still toothsome. Add the beans and escarole. Simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through and thickened. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

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.






Salted Caramel Frosting from The Hot Plate

salted caramel frosting

  • Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (175 mL) 35% whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
  • 2 cups (500 mL) salted butter
  • 3 cups (750 mL) icing sugar
  • Gourmet salt, such as fleur de sel
  • Serves: Enough to cover 18 cupcakes or a 2 layer cake
  • Directions:
  • 1. Mound the granulated sugar in the center of a medium, heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the water; cover and bring to a boil (do not stir). Uncover and cook, swirling the pan often, until sugar turns a deep amber colour. Remove from the heat. Immediately, wearing oven mitts, slowly whisk in the whipping cream until smooth; stir in the vanilla and salt. Cool to room temperature.
  • 2. Beat the butter until fluffy; beat in all but 2 tbsp (30 mL) prepared caramel. On low speed, gradually add icing sugar; increase the speed and beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Frost baked goods and drizzle with reserved caramel. Sprinkle very lightly with gourmet salt.

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.




Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk: 6 Awesome Milk Recipes to Keep You Smiling

6 Classic Milk Recipes

If you think milk is something to cry over, we’re here to turn that milk-mustached frown upside-down!

Think back to your happiest childhood memories filled with chocolate birthday cakes and creamy ice pops. You can’t help but smile.

Channel those happy days with six classic recipes from your younger years to remind you why there ain’t nothin’ sad about baby’s first bevie.


Frothy, creamy and a special treat. Milkshakes are the markers of a diner meal or an easy way to sneak some fruit into your kids’ dessert, like with this Chocolate Banana Milkshake recipe.


ice cream

Skip the frozen treats aisle and opt to make your own. Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream is simple to make and impressive to serve.

hot chocolate

On a cold winter’s day, Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate can warm any blues away.

mac and cheese

Mac and cheese? Oh yes please! This dish never gets old, even when we do.


The proof is in the pudding… or at least it’s in this Glorious Mango Pudding!


If all else fails, the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie will always be there for your dunking needs.
(Original images courtesy of Thinkstock)