Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Maple Syrup

Since there’s already been some cross-over between Chopped Canada and Top Chef Canada, with one of the chefs, Shelley Robinson, appearing on both, and Chopped Canada host Dean McDermott judging on Top Chef Canada, I think it’s only fair that I do some cross-over, too. This past week for Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, I set out to recreate Terry Salmond’s maple-soy glazed chicken dish with cashew butter and cherry relish.

After all was said and done, Chef Terry pointed out (via Twitter) one step that I did not do: brining. It was a slap myself in the face sort of moment. When you’ve got the time, whether it’s chicken, beef or in this case, some bone-in pork chops, brining meat helps keep the protein extra juicy and a lot more flavourful.

This week for Chopped Canada Mystery Solved it’s all about not skipping that step. It’s time to brine!

Maple syrup: it’s practically in our blood or, at the very least, in our cupboards.  In this recipe, I use the mystery basket ingredient from last week’s episode of Chopped Canada in a few different ways: in the brine for the chops, then with the sauteed green, and to finish the pork after searing.
The end result is a plate of food that will make anyone around the dinner table happy. If beet greens aren’t your cup of tea, try using Swiss chard or kale instead. The brine portion of this recipe can be used with a variety of meats so I encourage you to try it out on whatever protein your heart desires.
Maple Brined Pork Chops with Maple Butter Greens and Poblano Peppers

Brining time: at least 4 hours
Total cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 4


Brine ingredients:
2 ¼ cups water
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
3 ice cubes

Pork chop ingredients:
3 cups brine
4 bone-in pork chops
salt and pepper, to season
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup

Maple buttered greens and poblano pepper ingredients:
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 poblano pepper, halved, seeds removed, thinly sliced
3 cups beet greens, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to season

Brine directions:
1.    Place all ingredients except ice cubes in a medium pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, about 3 minutes.
2.    Transfer to a bowl, add ice cubes and let cool in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.

Pork chop directions:
1.    Place pork chops into a shallow dish or any sizeable container, cover with brine and let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
2.    Remove from brine, discard liquid and pat the pieces of pork dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
4.    Heat a cast iron pan on high heat. Working in two batches, sear pork chops until each have a dark brown crust on either side, approximately 2 minutes per side.
5.    Reduce to low heat, place all 4 chops in the pan. Add the butter and syrup and let melt.
6.    Carefully tilt the pan towards yourself and use a small spoon to baste each piece of meat with the maple butter.
7.    Transfer pan to oven and let cook until the pork is at a medium doneness, about 10 minutes, basting once or twice during the cooking time.
8.    Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Maple buttered greens and poblano pepper directions:

1.    Heat canola oil on medium-high heat and cook the onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
2.    Reduce to medium heat, add butter and maple syrup and let cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.    Add remaining ingredients, stirring to incorporate and continue to cook until the greens and poblano are tender, approximately 4-5 minutes.
4.    Keep warm on stove until ready to serve.

To serve:
Serve on a bed of rice or grains (I used pearled wheat), topped with maple buttered greens and a pork chop.


Top 10 Clam Recipes

Today is National Clam on the Half Shell Day, which means you
have an excuse to indulge in your clam craving! Here is a roundup of the tastiest
clam recipes, each with a punch of flavour that will certainly bring you out of your
shell and have you saying “Wham, clam, thank you ma’am!”

Top 10 Clam Recipes
1. Clams Casino with Spicy Chorizo

2. Chocolate Clams and Salsas

3. Cataplana of Pork and Clams

4. Clam and Mussel Chowder with a Light Curry Froth

5. Almejas A La Marinera (Sailor’s Clams)

6. Tomato Clam Pasta

7. Deep Fried Razor Clams in Red Pepper Sauce

8. Baked Clams with Chorizo and Fingerling Potatoes

9. Clam Risotto

10. Chicken and Seafood Paella




Colourful Easter Popcorn

Decorations you can eat, that are aesthetically pleasing with no clean up — what makes more sense than that? This year I decided to give coloured popcorn a go. I put some in a simple white dish as a colourful table centerpiece, but also used it to fill up mini Easter baskets for gifts.


Recipe: Colourful Easter Popcorn
Makes about 8 cups

½ cup popcorn kernels
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
few drops food colouring


Pop a ½ cup of kernels, you’ll get about 8-9 cups of popcorn.


Once the corn has popped, put it into a deep bowl. You want enough room to give it a good stir or toss once the coating goes on.


In a small pot, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tbsp butter and a ½ teaspoon salt with 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil and make sure all the sugar has dissolved.


Take the mixture off the heat and add a few drops of food colouring (I used gel colours). Combine well, and drizzle the mixture on the popcorn while you stir. Keep stirring to coat all the popcorn but also to make sure none of the liquid hits like a tidal wave in just one spot, which would make your popcorn soggy.


You’ll want to stir until the popcorn is evenly coated and then spread it onto a baking sheet. I have tried several versions of this recipe and each time found that I needed to dry out the popcorn in the oven a bit — which is easy, of course, but just be ready to hold off pigging out (or delicately eating one kernel at a time) for a little while longer.


With the oven at its lowest temperature (or in “warming” mode — I had mine at 180°F), leave the popcorn inside for about 30-40 minutes or until just lightly tacky. Remove and allow to cool. Now pig out! You can store the popcorn in a sealed container but I find it is best eaten within the first couple days of making. Happy Easter, everyone. Remember to save the chocolate bunny’s ears for yourself. The best part!


Recipe: Colourful Easter Popcorn
Makes about 8 cups

½ cup popcorn kernels
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
few drops food colouring


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°F.
  2. Pop your kernels to make about 8-12 cups plain popcorn and set aside in a large bowl-you want enough room to mix the popcorn and glaze well.
  3. In a small pan bring the sugar, butter, salt and water to a boil and make sure all the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove the liquid from the heat and add a few drops food colouring. Stir the mixture well until the colour is even and now drizzle onto the popcorn, stirring the popcorn so that the liquid is not hitting only in one spot.
  5. Keep mixing the popcorn until the fully and evenly coated and the glaze has cooled.
  6. Spread onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and dry in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until popcorn is just slightly tacky.
  7. Cool on the cookie sheet and store in an airtight container if not eating immediately.


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.







Top Chef Canada Episode 3 Recipe: Taking the Challenge Home


I could not imagine having to cook for a line-up of hungry firefighters and the Top Chef Canada judging panel after running around in a firefighter suit on the hottest day of the year in Toronto. Talk about putting sweat and tears into your food. Honestly, I’m surprised we didn’t see any of the chefs fall over with heat exhaustion. Then again, maybe they all had some fire hoses at their disposal behind the prep tables to quench their thirsts. Who knows!

While watching the elimination challenge of this week’s episode, Terry’s dish sounded like every flavour component I love on a plate; sweet and salty from the maple-soy marinated chicken and sour and rich from the cherry relish and cashew butter. It may have been snowing all day in Calgary, but I am Canadian, so that did not stop me from getting the barbecue going to make this winning Top Chef Canada dish!


This dish as a whole turned out absolutely amazing, but the separate components are just as rewarding if you don’t feel like making the complete plate. It was my first time whipping together cashew butter at home, which I am definitely going to do more often now and have it slathered on some bread with banana slices. The cherry relish would also make a great addition to burgers or on top of roast meats like pork or beef tenderloin.



Maple and Soy-Glazed Chicken with Cherry Relish and Cashew Butter
Total prep and cook time: 2 ½ hours

Serves 4-6

Cashew butter ingredients:
1 ½ cups roasted, unsalted cashews
¼ cup canola oil, approximately
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cherry relish ingredients:
2 cups cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted and loosely chopped
½ red onion, diced
¼ cup water
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Maple and soy-glazed chicken ingredients:

½ cup good quality maple syrup
¼ cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon chili flakes
8 bone-in chicken thighs

Cashew butter directions:
1.    Place cashews into a food processor or blender and pulse several times to crush them.
2.    Continue to pulse while slowly pouring in canola oil. The mixture will turn into a paste. (You can puree on higher speed for a smoother cashew butter, but I left mine with a bit of texture.)
3.    Add remaining ingredients and pulse a couple more times to mix.
4.    Spoon out into a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

Cherry relish directions:
1.    Place all ingredients except the lemon zest into a medium pan and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2.    Reduce to medium heat and let cook until liquid has reduced by half, approximately 10 minutes.
3.    Remove from heat, add the lemon zest and let cool slightly.
4.    Place half of the mixture into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
5.    Combine puree with remaining mixture from pan into a medium bowl.

6.    Place in the refrigerator to cool until needed.

Maple and soy-glazed chicken directions:
1.    Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.
2.    Place chicken into a large baking dish and pour marinade on top.
3.    Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning thighs over once or twice during that time to marinate evenly.
4.    Once you’re ready to grill, transfer chicken from marinade to a plate and let it come to just under room temperature before cooking.
5.    Pour remaining marinade from baking dish into a small pot and cook on medium-heat heat until reduced by half, about 5-6 minutes. Place into a small bowl and set aside.
6.    Heat up the barbecue and start by grilling the chicken thighs skin side down on the hottest part of the grill until you have a good sear on them, approximately 5 minutes.
7.    Flip over and move to a cooler area of the grill, brush lightly with reduced marinade and let cook for another 5 minutes.
8.    Turn over once more, brush again with marinade and cook for 5 more minutes.
9.    Give the chicken one more flip, brush with remaining marinade and let cook until meat is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes more.
10.    Remove from grill, cover and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

To serve:
Place a spoonful or two of the cashew butter on the plate, top with grilled chicken and a dollop of the cherry relish.





25 Foods We Wish Were Perfume Scents

Perfume companies have been getting creative in the past few years, coming out with playful scents like bacon and apple pie. We love the fun approach that’s being taken and we got to thinking about what scents we’d love to spritz on before we head out for the day. Check out our list below!

Click on each image to get the recipe.




Perfectly Seared Scallops from The Hot Plate

Seared Scallops
Scallops may seem intimidating but when you know what to do they’re actually quite simple to prepare.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4


1 lb (500 g) sea scallops, about 16 pieces

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter


1. Remove the small side muscle from the scallop; discard. Pat dry well with paper towel. Season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottom skillet set over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the scallops to the pan without crowding.

3. Cook, without disturbing, for 2 minutes or until there is a 1/4-inch (5 mm) crust. Loosen from skillet and turn over. Cook for 1 minute or until browned on the outside but still translucent in the center.

Serve immediately.

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.




An Ode to Spring: Part 2

An Ode to Spring: Part 2

Spring veggies are amazing,

But maybe you need proof.

Go celebrate these edibles,

Come on, let’s raise the roof!

Roast it, bake it, boil it,

Why not try a hollandaise?

Asparagus is magical

in at least a dozen ways!

Artichokes are great as dip,

Go on there, grab a head.

They really are amazing things,

Despite what kids have said.

Peas and mint go hand in hand,

They’re fresh and versatile.

Soup or side or even mash,

Don’t skip them in the aisle!

Lemons aren’t veg, but actually

A tasty citrus fruit.

Zest or juice in lots of foods, plus

They smell sensational, to boot!

Now you’ve got the know-how,

The heart, the scoop, the gist.

Add these wondrous spring foods to

Your weekly grocery list!

5 Ways to Bake with Blueberries

blueberry baking recipes-

If it’s really true that you are what you eat, then we’re fairly certain we’ll be eating nothing but blueberries from now on.

This humble little superfood is packed with nutrients and powerful antioxidants. They neutralize free radicals that not only help fight diseases, but protect skin from harm, resulting in clearer, firmer and brighter complexions. Furthermore, a new study suggests baking blueberries, as opposed to eating them raw, alters the polyphenol levels and could be even better for you. In other words, your prayers have been answered, and those baked goods you love may have some health benefits to them after all.

Because we’re totally sharing your excitement, we’ve put together a list of five amazing ways to bake with this perfect gift from nature. From healthy vegan muffins, to succulent lemon-frosted scones, we have just what you need to satisfy your taste buds… while keeping you healthy, of course.

blueberries 5 ways

1. Healthy Blueberry Mini Muffins

For a breakfast or snack that’s equal parts healthy and delicious, try this recipe for blueberry mini muffins that are made from whole wheat spelt flour so they include only a little gluten, are sugar-free and vegan.

– 2 cups whole wheat spelt flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ? teaspoon salt
– 2 cups organic blueberries
– ½ cup vegetable oil
– ½ cup soy milk
– ½ cup 100% maple syrup
– ¼ cup agave nectar


1. Preheat oven to 375° F and line a mini cupcake tin with paper cups.
2. Mix wet ingredients together in large bowl, then stir in dry ingredients, followed by the blueberries.
3. Using small spoons, divide the batter among the cups so they’re almost filled to the top.
4. Bake until muffins are golden brown, for about 20 minutes.

2. Blueberry, Lemon and Brie Scones
Treats featuring the power duo of blueberries and lemons never fail to deliver, and when you add brie to the mix? You get the perfect mix of sweet and savoury.
Click here for ingredients and directions.

3. Wild Blueberry Soynog
For a refreshing, cleansing and filling snack, consider this must-try recipe for a delicious blueberry beverage.
Click here for ingredients and directions.

4. Blueberry Bran Pancakes
Add an extra dose of flavour to your favourite breaky with this delectable recipe for blueberry pancakes.
Click here for ingredients and directions.

5. Blueberry Lattice Top Pie
Impress your guests at dessert time with this ah-mazing recipe for blueberry pie.
Click here for ingredients and directions.



renee-headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.


The Best Gluten-Free Dessert Recipe

When we see the words ‘gluten-free’ we immediately assume it’s synonymous with ‘healthy.’ However, this is not the case.  A lot of gluten-free products are still loaded with refined sugar and rising agents that give people stomachaches.  Gluten-free grains are traditionally much denser than glutinous ones, so it’s sometimes hard to get that same light and fluffy consistency.  The best gluten-free dessert doesn’t use flour and uses natural rising agents such as eggs to achieve the fluffy, cake-like consistency.


  • Why eat gluten-free?

Many people believe that gluten-free is simply a fad.  The truth is that gluten actually creates inflammation within the body, especially within the digestive tract.  Many people complain of feeling bloated, foggy and in pain after eating gluten.  You don’t need to be celiac to have any underlying gluten sensitivity.  For most of us, we don’t actually feel the effects of gluten after eating it, so it’s hard for many to believe that it may have a negative impact on the body.   Yet when people remove or limit gluten from their diet they tend to see major shifts with their weight, energy and digestion.

  • How to make gluten-free desserts that actually taste good:

There have been many gluten-free dessert kitchen disasters out there.  Gluten-free baking, as with any baking, can be a real trial-and-error effort.  A few companies make an all-purpose gluten free mix that will take the headache out of mixing the flours yourself.  Most gluten free baking does require 2-3 flours being mixed together (such as brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa). However, I have had success with just using brown rice flour for certain desserts.

As mentioned above, gluten-free flours are dense, so you need to add ingredients to make them less dense.  Most commercial gluten-free baked goods use xanthan gum or gaur gum which can be tricky, expensive and can upset a lot of people’s tummies.  I prefer to use eggs, chia seeds and flax seeds.  Chia and flax seeds act as ‘vegan eggs’ and will actually help the consistency of the baked good.  Simply mix 1 tablespoon chia or ground flax with 3 tablespoons water, let it sit for 10 minutes until it becomes gelatinous, then add it into the baking mixture.

Now for the best gluten-free dessert ever (Yes, ever…)

gluten-free chocolate blondies recipe

  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Blondies
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 can chickpeas (preferably BPA free can)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼- ½ cup coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 dark chocolate bar
  • Directions:
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  • 2. In a food processor or a high powered blender add the chickpeas, eggs and coconut sugar.
  • 3. Melt or soften the coconut oil and add it into the food processor.  It will still work if the coconut oil is not melted, however the consistency will not be as smooth.
  • 4. While the mixture is blending, roughly chop the chocolate bar into pieces.
  • 5. Pour the mixture into a short and deep baking dish.  If it is in a wide, long dish the consistency will not be as cakey and delicious.
  • 6. Mix in all of the chocolate and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes
  • 7. When you take it out of the oven, the top should be firm and not loose.
  • 8. Enjoy, because you are about to eat the best gluten-free dessert of your life.
  • tamara-green-living-kitchen

Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives. 


Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Sumac


As luck would have it, I was perusing the shelves at a Mediterranean market near my home the other week and just happened to pick up a big bag of sumac. It had been sitting on the shelf in my kitchen cupboard just begging to be used since that afternoon, so the latest episode of Chopped Canada was the perfect opportunity to embrace it.

So, what is sumac? Sumac is one sexy-looking spice! The spice is made of small berries that have been dried and crushed. It has a deep red colour and is very fragrant. It smells almost lemony. From chickpeas and eggplant to fish and chicken, this Mediterranean spice can go well with a lot of things. Although it seems exotic, it’s an inexpensive spice that you’ll be able to find in boutique spice shops or, like I mentioned, any mom and pop-style Mediterranean corner store market.

If you’ve ever had tabbouleh, this recipe is somewhat along those lines. The salad is bright and fresh-tasting because of the lemon and parsley and the bulgur wheat makes it surprisingly hearty. If you stick to a vegetarian diet, just skip the chicken and have an extra couple spoonfuls for lunch. You’ll feel just as content.

Also, try adding a couple tablespoons of honey to the dressing of this salad and using it as a glaze for roast chicken.
Bulgur Wheat, Cranberry and Zucchini Salad with Citrus Sumac Dressing
Serves 4
Total prep time: 1 hour


Salad ingredients:
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup uncooked bulgur wheat
? cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups cooked chicken meat, loosely chopped
2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and ½” sliced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing ingredients:
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sumac
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salad directions:
1.    Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium pot on high heat.
2.    Add the bulgur wheat to the pot, reduce to medium heat and cook until bulgur wheat has absorbed all liquid and has an al dente bite, about 10 minutes.
3.    Transfer to a large bowl, add in the cranberries and olive oil and mix well with a spoon. Let cool for 15 minutes.
4.    Add remaining salad ingredients to the bowl and toss well to combine.

Dressing directions:
1.    Place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until incorporated.
2.    Pour dressing into salad bowl and toss again until everything is well coated.
3.    Let salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Toss one final time before serving.



Top Chef Canada Episode 2 Recipe: Taking the Challenge Home


There were a ton of dishes that looked delicious on the second episode of Top Chef Canada. Whether it was Terry’s quickfire challenge winning potato pasta with potato chip garnish or Shelley and Rich’s Vietnamese family-style dinner in the elimination challenge (I’m a sucker for the make-your-own type of Asian dishes), I was getting extra hungry throughout the hour.

Calgary-based fans were a little let down when local chef Karine Moulin didn’t finish her seaweed pasta dish for David Chang in the quickfire challenge. It was a little mysterious how her burner kept ‘accidentally’ being shut off by another competitor. I’m OK with mistakes, as they do happen, but this seemed a little suspicious and I wonder if the viewers thought so, too.

I thought this week would be a good opportunity for some redemption, so I headed down to Karine Moulin’s kitchen to help the chef finish her seaweed linguine dish (and get the recipe, too)!
If you’re like me and do not have a pasta roller in your kitchen, you can get a good workout rolling out the dough with a rolling pin until you get it to about ?” thick. Flour the dough generously before rolling up and slicing.
If it looks a little more ‘rustic’ than what Karine and I ended up with here, just call it pappardelle instead. Homemade pasta is lovingly flexible like that. Luckily, with a Top Chef by my side, the pasta turned out A-OK. Actually, dare I say, almost perfect.
Once we started on the sauce, a fragrant mix of red curry paste, lemongrass, coconut milk and other spices, Karine popped out of the kitchen to grab some more seaweed. Being ever the prankster, I thought it would be pretty funny if I turned Karine’s burner off a few times while we were cooking the sauce. I did not get away with it in Moulin’s kitchen.
Jokes aside, I was pleasantly surprised with the subtle taste of seaweed in the finished pasta dish. The homemade noodles, topped with candied cashews in that rich, slightly spicy curry sauce made for the perfect lunch since it’s decided to blizzard here in Calgary, at the start of spring no less.

Seaweed Linguine with Coconut Lemongrass Sauce
Serves: 4

Seaweed pasta dough ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
½ tablespoon crushed nori (dried seaweed)

Coconut lemongrass sauce ingredients:
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, bottom 4″ only, tough outer layer discarded, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
2 chopped peeled fresh (or frozen and thawed) galangal
6 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 fresh serrano chillies, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 piece of long pepper
4-5 sprigs of fresh cilantro
5-6 sprigs of Thai basil
2 cans of coconut milk
4 small sprigs of Thai basil for garnish
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds for garnish

Seaweed pasta directions:
1.    Mound flour and seaweed on work surface; make a well in the center. Break eggs into well, sprinkle with salt.
2.    Using fork, beat eggs. Starting at inside edge and working around the well, gradually incorporate flour into egg mixture until soft dough forms. Scoop up and sift flour left on work surface, discarding any bits of dough. Set aside.
3.    On lightly floured surface, knead dough, dusting with sifted flour, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 20 minutes.
4.    Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel as you work to prevent drying out. To roll our dough, start by dusting it with flour and running it through the pasta machine roller on the widest setting. Dust lightly with flour again, adjust to the next smaller setting and run through again.
5.    Continue dusting the pasta with flour and reducing the roller settings until dough is very thin, approximately 1/8″ in thickness.

6.    dust with flour a final time and gently roll up the pasta sheet into a circle. Cut pasta into 1/4″ wide strips.
7.    Drop pasta into seasoned boiling water for 2-3 minutes, remove and cool under cold running water. Set aside until sauce is ready.

Coconut lemongrass sauce directions:

1.    Place all ingredients (except coconut milk) in a mini-processor; process until paste forms.
2.    Cook all ingredients in a medium pot with coconut milk for about 20-30 minutes.
3.    Strain the sauce into a large sauce pan.

To complete the dish:
1.    Put the pan with the sauce over low heat.
2.    Add noodles to the sauce and toss gently with tongs until well-coated.
3.    Let the noodles sit in the sauce until heated through, about one minute.
4.    Portion out the pasta into 4 shallow bowls and pour the remaining sauce evenly over each bowl.
5.    Garnish each dish with the Thai basil and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.




An Ode to Spring: Part 1

Ode to Spring

Dear winter, it’s me,

Your near five-month slave,

I’ve grown tired of the mess

You unrelentingly gave.


Now that you’re gone,

My appetite’s changed.

Heavy eats from which

My stomach’s estranged.


Throw open the windows,

Prop open the door,

Take a walk to the market

To see what’s in store!


We’ll begin with fresh fish,

Newly caught and on ice.

Cod, halibut and snapper,

Ooh, trout would be nice!


Round, smooth and frail,

Can you guess what these are?

Scrambled, over easy,

Raise the culinary bar!


Ready for the answer?

It’s a fresh batch of eggs!

Cook ’em as you like, but

How ’bout something with legs?


A mouth-watering rump,

Of juicy, baked ham,

Or maybe a rack,

Of herb-crusted lamb.


Though we’ve talked of proteins,

I do beg your pardon,

Next week we’ll praise veggies

Right from your green garden!

What Rockstars Eat: A Sneak Peek into Hedley’s Tour Bus

Exciting news, music lovers! We got a special sneak peek into Canadian band Hedley’s tour bus to see what they eat and drink to keep themselves healthy on tour. Check it out below!


As you can see, the guys are serious about pizza. You know who else feels the same way? Us. We, too, take pizza very, very seriously. So you could say we connect to the Hedley guys on a spiritual level. We’ve rounded up our favourite pizza recipes, so you can eat like Hedley!


Pesto Pizza Recipe 

Bruschetta Pizza Recipe

Easy Tandoori Chicken Pizza Recipe

Thin-Crust Spicy Sausage Pizza Recipe

White Pizza Recipe




Top Chef Canada: When Two Chefs Are Better Than One

Even though there will be only one
chef to reign supreme at the end of Top Chef Canada, delicious creativity can thrive
in the kitchen with teamwork.

It’s every chef for her or
himself, but in the first two episodes the competing chefs paired up in challenges to see who could work best together and create a winning plate.
Here are the best Top Chef Canada dishes (so far) when two chefs were better than one.


1. Evelyn and
Jesse’s Thai-Inspired Salt-Crusted Grouper Head with Manila Clams and Coconut


Legendary restaurateur and chef
David Chang, a guest judge on episode two, chose Jesse and Evelyn’s dish as the winner of
the elimination challenge where chefs were given an Asian country
as their flavour inspiration for a family-style meal.  Mark McEwan thought the dish was
perfectly cooked and really flavourful. David Chang said that while this
amazing dish looked very simple, it had deep, deep flavour.


2. Rich and Gabriela’s Seared Scallop
with Pickled Zucchini, Pear and Fennel Slaw

Mark McEwan said that these chefs
worked together the best and created a dish that absolutely blew him away. He
chose their dish as the premiere episode’s quickfire challenge winner.

3. Ruth and Rene’s Pan-Seared
Halibut with Warm Mushroom and Rapini Salad

Although this dish didn’t win the
premiere episode’s quickfire challenge – it was a runner-up to Rich &
Gabriela’s seared scallop dish – it did get major kudos from Mark McEwan. He
thought the dish was outstanding and
that he could have finished the entire plate.

4. Karine and Vittorio’s
Korean-Inspired Wagyu Shortribs, Sweet Potato Puree with Pickled Korean Pear
and Kimchi


In the second episode’s
elimination challenge, Karine and Vittorio’s dish didn’t take first prize but
it really impressed Shereen Arazm. She gave kudos to the pair, telling them
that they nailed the flavours and that their presentation was great. David Chang, who is Korean-American,
thought their fresh kimchi was really, really good and that they did a nice job
of capturing Korean flavours. It’s no small feat to receive that kind of
compliment from this tough chef.


5. Ruth and Evelyn’s Chicken
Ballotine with Roasted Shallots, Pancetta and Fava Beans

In the premiere episode’s
elimination challenge, Ruth and Evelyn collaborated to make the fourth course
as part of a five course dinner. It wasn’t chosen as the best dish of the night
but the judges almost unanimously commended their dish. Susur Lee thought
Evelyn and Ruth displayed good techniques in making the ballotine and Mark
McEwan thought the women did a great job of the dish. Guest judges Tori Spelling and
Dean McDermott seconded the positivity and said that the dish was very good.


After all that delicious teamwork (and before the chefs go back to every man for him or herself), let’s see some hugs!



Watch full episode Top Chef Canada: The Battle of the Sexes
Watch full episode Top Chef Canada: The World According to Chang




Asparagus Tart from The Hot Plate

Asparagus Tart

The first day of spring is just days away and we are celebrating this season’s fresh flavours. First up we serve some delicious spring asparagus.

Dine on this stunning Asparagus Tart as an appetizer, as part of a brunch buffet or as a light meal with a simple green salad. However you choose, it will be delicious.


1 lb (500 g) asparagus, trimmed

1 sheet puff pastry (225 g)

1 cup (250 mL) 10% half & half cream

2 eggs

1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

2 oz (60 g) Crumbled goat cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Plunge the asparagus into a pot of rapidly boiling, salted water for 1 minute. Immediately drain and plunge into ice water; drain and dry well.

2. Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface, large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 7×11-inch (18 cm x 28 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom; trim and discard the excess. Whisk the cream with the eggs, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into the base. Arrange the asparagus across the tart.

3. Bake, on the lowest rack, for 30 to 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set. Cool for 10 minutes; transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve warm.


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. 

Related Links:



Top 20 Poultry Recipes


Today is National Poultry Day, the day we celebrate our feathered friends. Whether you like your poultry staples (chicken, quail, turkey or duck) fried, glazed, or grilled, we have a recipe for you. Here’s some creative (and dare we say, crazy) ways on how to serve poultry.


The Craziest Clucking Chicken Recipes Ever 

Butter Chicken Lasagna

Parmesan Popcorn Chicken and Cutlets

Gingered Chicken Wings

Lemon Fried Chicken

Chicken Schnitzel


Quirky Ways to Eat Your Quail 

Bacon Wrapped Quail Stuffed with 3 Cream Cheeses

Herb Rolled Quail Eggs

Quail in a Rosehip Raspberry Sauce

Kentucky Fried Quail with Vietnamese Slaw

Quail Saltimbocca Rolls & Fig Vincotto Glaze


Techniques for Mouth-Watering Turkey

Turkey Cutlets with Squash, Swiss and Honey Sauce 

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Cutlets with Squash, Swiss & Honey Sauce

Turkey Escalope 

Turkey and Mango Sandwiches


Delightful Duck Recipes  

Barque Smokehouse Smoked Duck Pancakes 

Braised Duck in a Chocolate Wine Sauce

Duck Confit Pizza

Smoked Duck Salad  

Duck a l’Orange 







5 Ways to Cook with Kale

5 ways to cook with kale

Loaded with beta-carotene and other nutrient-rich antioxidants, it’s no wonder why kale is known as a miracle food. It’s the perfect ingredient for year-round cleanses, and an easy way to gain a glowing complexion. So what’s the problem? Well, if you’re anything like us you’ve probably heard the bad news – it tastes like a chewy garden.

The truth is we completely agree… but it doesn’t have to. We’re here to tell you (and show you!) it’s possible to still gain all those vitamins and detox benefits from the super-green, while actually enjoying it. Like, really enjoying it.

From tasty salads to zesty enchiladas, here are five must-copy ways to cook with kale.

kale recipes 5

1. Kale Salad
The perfect mix of sweet and tart, this kale salad recipe with grapes, hazelnuts and scallions is our ultimate go-to for lunch.

– 8 cups chopped dinosaur kale (ribs removed)
– Juice of 1 lemon
– ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
– ¼ cup chopped scallions
– ? cup chopped hazelnuts
– ½ cup slice grapes
– Coarse salt and ground black pepper

Step One: In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice and olive oil, then add kale. Toss to coat, then add scallions, hazelnuts and grapes. Season with salt and pepper and toss again before serving.

2. Millet, Kale and Lemon Risotto
Hot, rich and filling, this millet risotto is a great option for lunch or dinner sides.
Click here for ingredients and directions.

3. Kale, Zucchini and Pinto Bean Enchilada
For a food everyone’s bound to love, this spicy vegetarian enchilada recipe is a great choice for everything from family dinners to party apps.
Click here for ingredients and directions.

4. Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Cheese Croutons
A cold-weather favourite, this comforting food is an ideal choice for lunch or dinner.
Click here for ingredients and directions.

5. Chili Kale Chips
Replace your guilty pleasure with a healthy option, like opting for these spicy kale chips instead of those greasy potato chips.
Click here for ingredients and directions.


renee-headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.


3 Healthy Comfort Food Recipes

Canadian winter is cold, and even though spring is just around the corner (hopefully), it’s nice to indulge in delicious comfort foods when we’re feeling chilly, exhausted or experiencing the long winter blues.

Most traditional comfort foods are loaded in white carbohydrates, refined sugars, heavy creams and rancid oils, which actually only further contribute to our low energy and fatigue. After we eat our favorite comfort foods we tend to feel heavy and bloated as we slowly slip into a deep food coma. Comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy, nor do they have to make you feel awful afterwards. Here are three great ways to eat the comfort foods you love and still feel great.


Salty Sweet Potato Fries

Most french fries are deep-fried, which is what makes them delicious but it’s also what makes them carcinogenic. When fried at a high heat, acrylamide forms, which is a chemical compound that has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Enjoy these delicious french fries without the frying and without the starchy white potato.


3 sweet potatoes
3 parsnips
1 tsp dried italian spices or dried rosemary
sea salt to taste
3 Tbsp avocado or grapeseed oil


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Slice the potatoes and parsnips into thin strips.  Leave the skin on for extra fiber.
3. Place the potatoes and parsnips on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
4. Lay the fries out and drizzle with oil, sea salt and herbs.  Make sure the potatoes and parsnips are not over crowded, this will make them soggy and they will not cook well.
5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until slightly crisp.

Savoury Vegetable Pie

Traditional savoury pies tend to have a lot of dairy, which for many is very, very difficult to digest. Overdoing it on the dairy can actually create congestion in the body all the way from the respiratory tract to the digestive tract. Many people are also sensitive to gluten, causing negative inflammatory reactions within the body. Eat a vegetable pie without the guilt and without the inflammation.


1 cup chickpea flour (garbanzo flour)
½ cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
4 Tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil
3 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp sea salt

1 sweet potato, cubed
1 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups spinach
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp coconut oil
2 cups white beans


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients.  Spread out in a pie dish that is oiled or is covered in parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until slightly firm.
3. While the crust is baking, prepare the vegetables. Chop the sweet potato into cubes and steam in a small pot until soft, then mash.
4. Chop the other vegetables and saute in a pan with the spices and beans until lightly cooked.
5. Pour the vegetable and bean mixture into the crust. Carefully spread the sweet potato mixture out over top.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Slice and serve.

Shepherd’s Pie

Traditionally, this is a very simple dish with ground beef and white potatoes as the main ingredients.  For some, beef can be hard to process and digest. It is a heavy and hearty meat that doesn’t work with all bodies. White potatoes are a staple in many people’s diets, although they don’t offer a ton of nutritional value compared to some other starchy veggies. Try this shepherd’s pie for some added cruciferous vegetable goodness.


1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup soup stock
1 cup kale, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil or avocado oil

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place roughly chopped cauliflower in a pot with about ½ cup water.  The water should not cover the cauliflower, just enough so that the cauliflower will steam. Cover the pot and place on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until cauliflower is soft.
3. Once cauliflower is steamed throw it in a food processor with garlic, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  Blend until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor then mash with a masher or a fork.
4. Place a saute pan on medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or avocado oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute for 5-7 minutes until onions are really translucent.
5. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned.  Use the back of a spoon to break up the turkey and mix around so it is evenly cooked.
6. Add the tomato paste, Dijon mustard, and soup stock.  If the broth is low sodium, add a pinch of sea salt.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
8. Oil a casserole dish and layer in the turkey mixture and then spread the mashed cauliflower on top.  Use a fork to texture the top of the cauliflower. Bake for 40 minutes.


Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives. 


Top 5 Butter Chicken Recipes


Craving some comfort in the midst of this never-ending cold weather? Comfort food doesn’t have to mean reaching for the same old mac n’ cheese or mashed potatoes. Instead, add some Indian flavour to your weeknight meals by whipping up one of these delicious butter chicken recipes.


1. Trish Magwood’s Butter Chicken Recipe

2. Butter Chicken Lasagna Recipe

3. The Better Butter Chicken Recipe

4. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe

5. Butter Chicken Pizza Recipe




Jerk Chicken Alfredo from The Hot Plate

Jerk Chicken Alfredo Recipe

We will be sharing our own personal food passion at The Hot Plate by revealing the favourite recipes of our team each month. Designer and Photo Editor Yvonne Stanley is kicking off this series with her signature pasta recipe:

Jerk Chicken Alfredo was a recipe that my college boyfriend and myself created. Both being new to living on our own and coming from a Jamaican culture, we needed a homey meal. We decided to experiment one night by mixing my favorite jerk sauce with his favorite pasta, penne alfredo. Since that time it has been the go to meal that is simple, quick and delicious.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4


6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons (30 mL) jerk chicken sauce

4 strips bacon, finely chopped

1 jar Alfredo Sauce

3 cups (750 mL) penne, cooked and drained

2 tablespoons (30 mL) prepared basil pesto

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) Montreal steak spice

1/4 cup (60 mL) 10% Cream

1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan

1 green onion, thinly sliced



1. Toss chicken in Jerk sauce, marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a nonstick skillet set over medium heat until crispy; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble into pieces; set aside.

2. Drain and discard all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) bacon fat from the skillet. Add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through; chop into bite-sized pieces.

3. Toss the cooked penne with hot Alfredo sauce, pesto, Montreal steak spice and enough cream to achieve the desired consistency. Stir in chicken and bacon. Sprinkle Parmesan and green onion over top. Serve immediately.


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.