10 Tea-Infused Marinades and Brines

It’s time to think outside the cup. Marinating fish, chicken or even tofu in a brine laced with tea helps lock in moisture and adds a subtle sweet flavour dimension to your best dishes. Here are 10 hot new ways to eat your tea.

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1. Sunny Anderson’s Fried Sweet Tea Chicken
This recipe calls for a sweet tea brine — but would be equally delicious in a pre-cook bath of ready-made lemon tea — before getting dredged in a classic fried chicken coating of cornstarch, cayenne and black pepper.

2. Christine Cushing’s Tea Smoked Salmon
Classic Chinese flavours like soy sauce, ginger and star anise are bursting from this black tea salmon recipe. Swap in unsweetened tea and you’ll be one step closer to tucking in to this luscious fish dish.

3. Tea-Soaked Chicken Breasts
Lean chicken breasts stay moist and full of flavour on the grill thanks to a pre-cook soak in black tea.

4. Crispy Baked Sweet Tea Pork Chops
Using a riff on a fried chicken recipe, these baked pork chops get the same sweet tea treatment that keeps them moist on the inside while still getting that great crunchy exterior.

5. Sweet Tea Oven-Fried Chicken Sliders
Slider-sized chicken breasts get the royal treatment with a sweet tea and corn flake crust.

6. Tea-Marinated Salmon
A mouth-watering combination of smoky chipotles and chili powder are blended with jasmine tea for a unique marinade that will make your cedar plank salmon sing.

7. Sweet Tea Brined Pork Tenderloin
The secret to keeping your pork tenderloin unbelievably tender is to first steep it in a brine of sweet tea. Try steeping it in berry-flavoured tea for a fruity punch.

8. Black Tea and Soy Marinated Tofu
This black tea-soaked tofu recipe is equally delicious in a wrap or as a protein power punch on top of a salad.

9. Tea Smoked Chicken Wings
Smoking wings with tea adds tons of flavour without tacking on extra calories or fat and gives them a shiny, lacquer-like finish. But a quick brine in unsweetened tea will add a similar flavour that’s subtle.

10. Tea Brined Gravlax
This refrigerator gravlax gets a smoky infusion of lapsang souchong tea leaves and takes only 48 hours to cure.

How to Make a Pink Ombré Rose Cake

After seeing an ombré cake on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to give it a whirl. But don’t fret if you are thinking, “that is way too detailed and complicated for me,” because it’s not. It’s actually way easier than you think. Now let’s get to the recipe!

The elegant buttercream roses on the outside of this cake are truly stunning, but once you slice into it, lovely ombré layers are revealed — rich pink down to an ivory white. Overall, this cake is a real show stopper!

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Ombre Cake:

Ingredients:

3 boxes of French Vanilla cake mix
9 eggs
3 cups of water
1 1/2 cups melted butter
1 vanilla bean scrapped
3 tsp vanilla
Pink food colouring

Directions:
1. Combine all the ingredients until the batter is nice and smooth, and free of lumps. Grease a 7? round cake pan and fill it with the white cake batter. Now this is where your gradual colouring comes in. Using the pink food colouring, add a tiny bit and mix until the batter becomes a light pink. Pour another 7? round cake pan filled with light pink batter. Bake the two cake pans as recommended on the back of the cake box (mine was for 350°F for 23 minutes).
2. Now add more pink colouring to your batter and mix until you get a darker pink, and pour into a cake pan. For the last cake pan, my batter wouldn’t get any darker so I added a very small amount of purple food colouring to darken the pink, then poured it into my cake pan. You will also have enough left over batter to make 12 cupcakes to go with your cake!
3. Once your four cakes have baked, set them aside to cool for 10 minutes, remove from the cake pans and allow to fully cool on a cooling rack. Now it’s time to prep your buttercream.

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Ombre Buttercream Icing:

Ingredients:
2 cups room temperature butter
3-6 cups of icing sugar (depending how thick you like your icing to be)
4 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 tsp Mexican vanilla
1 vanilla bean scrapped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp butter flavoring
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream

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Note: Before we get into the directions for the buttercream, I cannot stress enough how important it is to taste and go with adding ingredients. Do the wet ingredients 1 teaspoon at a time, taste and go. Start by really whipping your butter. This should take at least 5 minutes on a high speed until your butter gets nice and fluffy. Now add in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time. Continue to whip and add until you get a consistency you like. Add the vanillas, vanilla beans, salt and butter flavouring. Whip again. Slowly add your cream last. If your icing is too runny, add more icing sugar. Too Thick? Add more cream.

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Directions:
1. Start by really whipping your butter. This should take at least 5 minutes on a high speed until your butter gets nice and fluffy.
2. Now add in your icing sugar 1 cup at a time. Continue to whip and add until you get a consistency you like.
3. Add your vanillas, vanilla beans, salt and butter flavouring. Whip again.
4. Slowly add your cream last. If your icing is too runny, add more icing sugar. If it’s too thick, add more cream.

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Building your cake:

1. Time to build you cake! Make sure to level off all your cakes using a cake leveler — this ensures the cake will stack nicely and most of all, looks great after your done.
2. Put your white cake on your serving plate and coat the top with a layer of icing (this is called a crumb coat and will help everything stick together and make your cake look pretty). Continue with your light pink, medium pink and dark pink cake slabs. Once they are all stacked, coat the outside of the cake with a smooth layer of buttercream.
3. Next up are your little buttercream roses. Fill an icing bag with a 1M tip (you’ll need a large coupler for this too) and start to pipe one row of white roses.
4. I eyeballed my ombré to the size of the cake layers and just worked my way from the bottom to the top of the cake. To ice a rose, start in the middle and make a circle, drawing it outwards. Once you have a complete circle, trace the outside again with buttercream until a nice rose forms. Watch this video if you need some visual aid.
5. Now just like you did with the cake batter, gradually start to dye your icing. Add in a bit of food colouring, mix, pipe on a row of roses, add more food colouring and pipe more roses until you are done!

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100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Blog Network family.

Avocado Fries with Roasted Garlic Dip

After coming across other blogs featuring avocado fries, I knew I had to try this intriguing combination. Here is my take on these curiously delicious snack.

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I haven’t tried this recipe with any other type of avocado, but I would recommend using one that isn’t quite ripe yet, and still stiff when you squeeze it. Store it in your fridge before making these, this way you don’t have to worry about it being too soft when you bread and cook it.

Ingredients:

For the fries:
1 Avocado
3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 to 3 Tbsp flour
1 egg
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Canola oil

For  the dip:
2 cloves roasted garlic
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp sour cream
Chili paste
Lemon juice (optional)

Directions:
1. In a small frying pan on low heat, add one tablespoon of butter and two cloves of chopped garlic, cooking until browned. Once the garlic is done, add it into a bowl with your sour cream and a few drops of chili paste (add as much or as little as you want, depending on your heat preference). Mix it all together with a spoon, mashing up the garlic as much as you can. Taste it once it is thoroughly mixed, if you feel it needs a little more zing, try adding a few drops of lemon juice. Set aside.
2. Take two plates and a bowl, put your panko and flour on the plates and scramble an egg into your bowl. Shred some Parmesan cheese into your bowl of panko. Add salt and pepper to taste (mix it around and get your finger wet, dip it in the panko and give it a taste until its to your liking). Slice your avocado into fry-like chunks, cover with flour, then egg and finally bread it with the panko and put it on a plate. Repeat this until all your avocado is done.
3. While you are breading everything, get a pan ready on medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is evenly heated, drop all your avocado fries in and cook each side until golden brown. Serve immediately with dip.

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography! Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

Steak Salad with Onions and Cilantro Chimichurri

It’s finally grilling season! And what better way to flex your (grilling) guns than with a steak salad. Flank steak is a cheaper cut of meat that grills really well. It’s flavourful and when grilled and sliced right, perfect for a salad.

I’ve come up with this twist on a basic balsamic dressing, adding cilantro chimichurri and piquillo peppers. Spanish piquillo peppers are actually sweet, not spicy. You can find them roasted, either jarred or canned. Chopping and adding them to the vinaigrette gives the dressing a slight sweet and peppery flavour. If you can’t find them, you can substitute with roasted red peppers which are very similar.

This is a staple salad in my household. It’s super easy to prep ahead of time and you can grill the onions and steak just before serving it. Every BBQ needs a salad — and this is the perfect one!

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Grilled Flank Steak and Onion Salad with Cilantro Chimichurri and Piquillo Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serving Size: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

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Ingredients:

2 large red onions, 1/2” thick rounds
olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper

1 1/2 lb (680g) flank steak (skirt or hanger are good too)
olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper

4 to 5 cups spinach leaves
3 to 4 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the Piquillo Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons finely chopped piquillo peppers (or roasted red pepper)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

For the Cilantro Chimichurri:
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet)
1/2 teaspoon salt

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Directions:

For the piquillo pepper balsamic vinaigrette:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chopped piquillo peppers, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
3. Set aside.

For the cilantro chimichurri:
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. Set aside.

Grill the onions:
1. Heat a grill (or grill pan) to medium direct heat.
2. Drizzle the onions with olive oil and generously season them with salt and fresh black pepper on both sides.
3. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side until nicely charred.

Grill the steak:
1. Heat the grill (or grill pan) on medium-high direct heat.
2. Drizzle the steak with olive oil and generously season with salt and fresh black pepper on both sides.
3. Grill the steak for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or 4 1/2 to 5 minutes for medium. ONLY FLIP THE STEAK ONCE!
4. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Assemble:
1. Toss the spinach and baby arugula with some of the dressing. The quantity for the vinaigrette above makes more than you should dress the salad with! Plate the dressed greens onto a platter.
2. Arrange the grilled onions on top of the greens and scatter the chopped hazelnuts over top.
3. Slice the steak, against the grain, into 1/3” thin strips. The thinner the better. Just be sure you are cutting against the grain of the steak or else it will be too tough to chew.
4. Place the sliced steak over the salad and drizzle with the chimichurri.
5. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette and chimichurri on the side. Enjoy!

100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs, 2 Ways

Break out of your food routine and heat up your barbecue menu with a little help from these grilled lamb koftas. In what basically shakes out to be a Middle Eastern style burger without the bun, these juicy kabobs are made with a ton of fresh herbs and a dash of spice, before being threaded on a skewer and grilled.

Serve it as I did here with an unbelievably fresh-tasting tabbouleh salad and you’ve got a pretty stunning summer meal. While I’m aware my variation on this salad may get tabbouleh enthusi-asts furling their brow, the addition of torn grilled pitas and crunchy baked chickpeas is beyond worth venturing off the path. I fact, you just may never go back.

You can also use the same lamb mixture and shape it into mini patties for a take on the ultimate summer favourite — the almighty slider. Smear on a spoonful of hummus, some thinly sliced cucumber and stack it for an open-faced version, or open them up and stuff them, pocket style.

Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Makes: 9 skewers or sliders

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Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Tabbouleh Salad

Ingredients:
1 lbs ground lamb
1/2 large onion, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp harissa
1 tsp ground cumin
Black pepper

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb with the rest of the ingredients. Form 1/4 cup-sized portions into an oval shape and thread onto a metal or soaked bamboo skewer. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.
2. Cook on a medium-heat barbecue and grill lamb kofta kabobs until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Tabbouleh Salad with Baked Chickpeas and Grilled Pita

Ingredients:
1/2 cup bulgur
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/3 red onion, minced
1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)
1/2 cup (125 ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
2 large pieces of pita bread, grilled
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp harissa
Olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse and drain chickpeas and pat dry. Toss with olive oil and harissa and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring once at halfway point.
2. Brush pita bread with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until crispy.
3. Combine bulgur and 1 cup warm water in a bowl and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl along with remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

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Lamb Kofta Sliders

Ingredients:
1 lbs ground lamb
1/2 large onion, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp harissa
1 tsp ground cumin
black pepper

Mini pitas:
1/2 cup hummus
1/2 large cucumber, sliced thin

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb with the rest of the ingredients. Form into 1/3 cup-sized patties. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.
2. Cook on a medium-heat barbecue and grill lamb kofta sliders until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, brush mini pitas with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until warmed through.
4. Spread pitas with hummus and top with sliced cucumber and lamb. Garnish with more chopped parsley and a sprinkle of harissa.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo.

Kale, Feta and Barley Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

I think I’ve said this before, but I love kale. It tastes good year-round, and whether I’m sauteing it in some butter with garlic, baking it into ‘chips’ – which is one of the most oddly delicious things you’ll ever try, I assure you – or just chopping it up for a salad, this leafy green never lets me down.

Lately, I’ve also been debating whether or not to have a summer fling with barley. It doesn’t sound quite as cool as kale, but it’s a great grain that’s easy to cook and tastes great in a fresh salad. Cooking it until it’s el dente will give it a nice texture and let it hold up against salad dressings, without getting mushy like some types of rice.

So, I guess what I’m really trying to say is that barley is great too. So, why not put combine it with kale for a wicked summer salad?

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Salad Dressing:
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp  honey
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper

Salad:
1 bunch kale (thinly sliced, approx 5 cups)
2 shallots (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
1/2 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 cup feta (loosely chopped)
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup pickled turnips (diced, I realize this sounds random. I picked them up in the ethnic food aisle at SuperStore a few weeks ago. Pickled red onions would be a perfectly find substitute)

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients for salad dressing into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside for now.
2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour salad dressing into the bowl and toss with tongs until evenly mixed. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and toss again before serving.

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

Green Onion Parmesan Crepes with Ricotta, Spinach and Bacon

When it comes to crepes, I prefer the savoury over the sweet. My initial plan was to stuff it with ricotta, spinach, bacon and mushrooms, but in a stroke of genius, I decided to put some green onion and parmesan cheese in the crepe batter. Best decision ever! These things smelled so good while cooking, and taste incredible.

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Green Onion Parmesan Crepes with Ricotta, Spinach, Bacon and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Serves: 4

Crepe Batter Ingredients:

1 cup cold water
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Filling Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sliced mushroom
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups packed spinach
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup chopped cooked bacon
¾ cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

For Filling
1. Add butter to a pan on medium heat. Once butter has melted, add mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are tender, about 5-10 minutes, before adding spinach, add one tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Add spinach to pan, cover with lid for about 1 minute. Once spinach begins to wilt, add bacon, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Stir to mix seasoning in, remove mixture to a bowl once spinach is cooked, add ricotta and mix ingredients together.

For Crepes
1. Combine water, milk, eggs & salt in blender or bowl if using a handle blender.
2. Add flour, butter, green onion, and parmesan, blend at high speed for about 1 minute until ingredients are combined. Mixture will be quite thin, just thick enough to coat a spoon. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.
3. To cook crepes, get a pan on medium heat. Spread a thin film of butter on pan.
4. Pour a ¼ cup of crepe batter into your pan, slowly rotating the pan with your wrist to spread the batter in a circle.
5. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until crepe begins to brown.
6. Flip and cook for another minute or until browned.
7. Place filling in middle of crepe and roll together, or if folding the crepe, place filling in one quarter of the crepe, fold in half once, and then fold in half once more (resulting in a triangle).

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Vegan Quiche Tarts with Red Pepper Relish

Eating vegan food isn’t about sacrifice or restriction but rather expanding your palette and creating magic in the kitchen! Here’s another recipe to prove our point. This delicious, egg-free quiche has savoury mushrooms and asparagus in a fluffy filling with flakey crust and is served with a tart red pepper relish that will leave your mouth watering for more.

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Makes: 12 mini quiches
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons cold vegan butter (1/2 cup)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cold water

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup medium soft tofu
¼ cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon ground chia (or flax)
1 teaspoon arrowroot flour (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper (or ground pepper)
1 ½ cups diced mushrooms
½ cup diced asparagus
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Red Pepper Relish Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped red pepper (approx. 1 pepper)
½ cup finely chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons agave nectar
½ teaspoon dijon mustard

Garnish (optional):
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2. To make the crust, combine all-purpose flour, sea salt, and cold vegan butter in a food processor. While the machine is running slowly add cold water. Stop the machine once the dough comes together in a ball.
3. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until it’s ¼” thick.
4. Cut out 5” wide circles. You should only need to roll out the dough twice and cut circles.
5. Then gently press each circle of dough into the cups of a regular size muffin pan and bake for 10 minutes.
6. While the crust is baking cook the shallots, mushrooms, and asparagus in olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes and add sea salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
7. Combine the remaining filling ingredients together in a high-powered blender until smooth.
8. Pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl and fold in the cooked vegetables.
9. Fill baked crusts with the filling and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
10. While the quiche are baking make the red pepper relish by sautéing red pepper and onion in olive oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chili flakes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Bring heat to medium-low to prevent burning the garlic and onion.
11. Then add white wine vinegar, agave nectar, and dijon mustard and simmer for 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
12. Serve quiche right out of the oven with dollops of red pepper relish on top. Garnish with finely chopped chives if desired.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

12 Canadian Food Trucks Worth Seeking Out

You know what warmer weather means: Canadian food trucks are finally back out on the streets waiting to feed you.

If you’re looking for some delicious meals-on-wheels this spring and summer, here are 12 unique trucks across Canada to get you started.

Ace Burger (Saskatoon, SK)

If you’re looking for a good burger at any one of Saskatoon’s many outdoor summer festivals, or if you simply have a craving while roaming downtown, you can probably find this mobile eatery grilling up juicy burgers dressed with all the fixings for a perfectly messy meal. Be sure to grab some napkins!

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Cheezy Bizness: Truck (left) and Hot Mess Sandwich (right)

Cheezy Bizness (Calgary, AB)

Everyone loves a good grilled cheese sandwich, and truck owner Nicole Fewell brings a lot of love to her sandwiches, opting for local ingredients and cheeses to make her crispy, gooey pieces of goodness. The Aloha Arkansas is a go-to here with homemade pulled pork and smoked cheddar, as are the mac ‘n cheese melts, only available once a week which — I’m sure your taste buds will agree — is a crying shame.

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El Gastronomo Vagabundo via Instagram

El Gastronomo Vagabundo (Niagara, ON)

While Toronto was still struggling with bylaw issues to permit food trucks on their city streets, Gastronomo was happily serving its globally-inspired dishes to people in the Niagara area. Lucky them! Chef/owner Adam Hynam-Smith, originally from Australia, travelled the world (hence the truck’s universal menu) before eventually settling on our lovely country and launching one of the first gourmet food trucks in Ontario. Toronto has no shortage of trucks these days, but this Eat St. alumnus remains ahead of the pack in Ontario as a whole.

For all you cookbook lovers out there, Hynam-Smith has just put out a book of his own, Curbside, where he shares a myriad of recipes for street-eats, including many for dishes that people have come to love from Gastronomo.

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Gecko Bus

Gecko Bus (Halifax, NS)

If only to walk up and see this truck in all its green, lizard-y grandeur, the Gecko Bus is one of Halifax’s premier food trucks and quite possibly the largest one in Canada. The menu is fairly simple, offering a mix of tacos, burritos and salads, but its charm lies mostly in its appearance and the fact that you can actually go inside of the truck/bus to order and wait for your meal. If someone in this country has turned a school bus into something more creative, then I haven’t found it yet!

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Green Canteen: Fish Tacos (left) and Grilled Cheese (right)

Green Canteen (Kenora, ON)

Though it’s technically in Ontario, this small lakeside town is only a two-hour drive from Winnipeg, thus making it a popular summer destination for most Winnipeggers. MasterChef Canada finalist Mike Green, who lives in the Manitoban city, grew up in the small town and recently opened up this seafood-centric truck with friends.

Enjoy some crispy, fried fish tacos or grilled cheese sandwiches while sitting lakeside to find out why Ontario lake country is truly a sight to be seen.

Grumman 78 (Montreal, QC)

We’re touching on many original street food businesses in this list, but it’s important to acknowledge the trendsetters as well as the newer folks that do a trend proud. Grumman, which has a restaurant location as well, is credited with being the city’s first food truck; still drawing long line-ups with its Mexican-inspired eats, including street corn and tacos.

JAPADOG (Vancouver, BC)

Alright, so this one isn’t a truck, or a trailer… It’s a series of carts (a brick-and-mortar location now, too). But this once small hotdog vendor was doing something creative before food trucks were even a twinkle in Vancouver city’s eye. Their fun combinations of different meats like pork or turkey wieners with anything from seaweed and Japanese mayo, to kimchi and black sesame, are still as delicious today as they were when they first opened for business 10 years ago.

Me.n.u (Toronto, ON)

Like Roaming Dragon, Me.n.u is serving up an Asian fusion menu, frying up rice balls with bulgogi beef and kimchi (“Gangham Style”), tacos filled with Malaysian-style chicken and more. The dish that’s likely to pique your interest most, though, is the Smokin’ Peking Duck Poutine, made with hoisin-marinated duck, crispy duck skin, gravy, cheese curds and green onions.

Roaming Dragon (Vancouver, BC)

A staple of Vancouver’s street food scene, this food truck is hard to miss because of its bright red decor with black dragons flying along the sides. Their specials change often, but people seem to love it all. With offerings like a chili-lime marinated tofu burrito with peanut sauce and Chinese pork sliders, it’s easy to see why.

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Soho Road Naan Kebab: Tandoori Wrap (left) and truck (right)

Soho Road Naan Kebab (Vancouver, BC)

You can never go wrong with Indian-style kebabs wrapped up in a warm pita. Well, not with these guys anyway. Eat St. alum Soho Road dishes out bold Indian flavours from their little trailer to hungry folks all around Vancouver. If it happens to be a little rainy when you stop by (I heard that happens sometimes in this city), make sure to order a chai latte to warm you up!

Sticky Ricky’s (Calgary, AB)

Bringing a little Creole flavour to the streets of Calgary is this vibrant, Mardi Gras-coloured truck. Try their gumbo/jambalaya hybrid, loaded with andouille sausage, chicken and grilled shrimp, blackened catfish po’ boy sandwich or their spin on poutine with chicken pan gravy.

While you’re waiting to order or waiting for your food to be ready, Ricky’s serenades you with lively jazz music for that extra New Orleans feel. Gotta love it!

Totwheels (Winnipeg, MB)

Top Chef Canada season one alum Darryl Crumb has been running this truck for a few years and, as the name suggests, using crispy tater tots as a blank canvas for a variety of toppings. If you’re in the mood for breakfast or lunch, try their morning tots topped with eggs, chorizo, mushrooms and onions. Not healthy food by any means, but everyone needs a cheat day.

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

Chef Lynn Crawford on How to Get the Best from Your BBQ

For Chopped Canada judge and host of the upcoming Food Network Canada series Great Canadian Cookbook Lynn Crawford, there’s nothing like the sound of steak sizzling over blazing coals. It’s cooking at its most basic and — of course — most delicious. “I do love grilling,” Crawford says. “ Anything that’s put on a hot charcoal grill—that’s magic.” So as Canadians countrywide clear off their decks and prepare for barbecue season, here’s Crawford’s take on how to get the most out of your grill.

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1. Going Green
While she’s a fan of the traditional charcoal grill, Crawford has fallen in love with her Green Egg ceramic barbecue. “It’s like an incubator. It retains so much heat. There are a lot of opportunities to do slow cooking, you can grill, you can smoke, you can actually bake. I can reach a really amazing high temperature, which is great for grilling steaks, or you can tone down the airflow and do things like a whole pork shoulder overnight.”

2. Good Wood
If you want to grill right, for Crawford’s money, you’ve got to go charcoal. What gas grills have in ease and speed, they lose in flavour-building and intense heat. “Having good charcoal that’s totally natural without any additives is the way to go. Sure it takes time to fire it up, but anything you cook on charcoal just seems to be better — you get that smoky flavour, the cooking time is faster, it reaches a hotter searing temperature when you’re doing meat for that wonderful exterior.”

3. Time is on your side
There are ways to speed up the process of lighting charcoal — Crawford recommends fire-starting briquettes — but it’s important to remember that part of the joy of grilling is the process itself, and there’s no need to rush. “It takes time, but I mean that’s what cooking is all about. It shouldn’t be about instant gratification.”

4. Grill gadgets
Like with anything to do with cooking, there is a battery of tools to make the job easier. But how many of them are necessary? Crawford identifies a few essentials for the grill master’s arsenal. It starts with a great pair of tongs — “not those really long, six-foot ones” she laughs. Another go-to is a pizza stone. “That allows you to do some fun things like a flatbread, pizzas and I’ve actually made my cheddar biscuits on it.” Finally there’s the grill basket. There’s nothing worse than when “you’ve got the first of Ontario asparagus, you put it on the grill — and it falls through!” A good basket will save all your veggies and your sanity.

Crawford’s final piece of advice is to remember that barbecuing, however you choose to approach it, is a fundamentally simple way to cook. “Barbecue is minimalistic—there’s fire and there’s food,” she says. “You shouldn’t overcomplicate things.”

Chopped Canada airs Saturdays at 9pm ET/PT.

Credit:

Photography: James Tse. Get the burger recipe.

Get more grilling tips and summer entertaining ideas here: The Kit’s Grill Guide

 

Easy Tortilla Hot Dog Wraps

Today I found myself with an abundance of hot dogs in my fridge and no hot dog buns to be found. Now some people may have just given up right there, but not me. I was determined to eat two hot dogs for lunch.

I could have settled on eating them bunless, or on a slice of bread, but that just wasn’t doing it for me. Then I saw mini tortillas in my freezer, and I knew what I had to do. Enter: Tortilla Hot Dog Wraps, or “Pigs in a Poncho,” as some people call them. I kept my ingredients pretty simple — a tasty hot dog, surrounded by gooey cheese and red onion, encased in a crunchy tortilla — but feel free to add whatever you want to yours!

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Prep Time: 2 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
1 small tortilla
1 hot dog
Red onion
Shredded cheese
Salt
Canola oil

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Directions:
1. Get a pan on medium-low heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. If you want your hot dog to poke out of each end, slice two of the edges off the tortilla (refer to picture).
3. Place some red onion near the bottom of the tortilla, then sprinkle cheese on the tortilla and top the hot dog.
4. Roll the tortilla tightly around the hot dog.
5. Place in pan with the end of the tortilla on the bottom, which allows it to fry and stay closed.
6. Rotate as each side becomes golden brown, cooking until the whole tortilla is golden brown.
7. Remove to paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
8. Serve with your favourite dipping sauces.

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100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Asparagus season is upon us and though it is the first sign of all the vibrant fruits and veggies still to come our way, we can only use asparagus as a side dish so many times before panicking at the sight of those green stalks in the grocery store. Today’s simple salad recipe not only showcases the fresh, nutty flavours of the classic spring vegetable, it also makes a great dish to bring to a BBQ.

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To serve 4-6 people, grab about 400-500 g of asparagus. Look for crisp, thin stalks. Wash and dry them well.

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Remove the denser, woody lower section of the stalks by gently bending and allowing the stalk to break at a natural point.

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Using a veggie peeler, slice the asparagus into thin strips. Simply peel away thin layers and keep going until there’s no more asparagus left. This is a good job for one of the older kids.

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Toss all the asparagus slivers into a large bowl as you go.

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Squeeze some fresh lemon on the salad, then drizzle it with about a tablespoon of good olive oil. Toss and season with salt and pepper.

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Grate a ½ cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) and toss with the salad just before serving. Don’t use the fake or pre-grated stuff; it does not yield the same flavour!

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You can prep the salad in advance and just add the dressing before serving. To add a bit of colour, toss in some shaved radish slices. Either way, it’s a perfect match for anything on the grill.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
500g fresh asparagus
half a fresh lemon
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan)

Directions:
1. Wash and dry the asparagus, then snap off the lower, woody part of the stems.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, start to shave off thin slices of asparagus and collect them in a large bowl.
3. Squeeze fresh lemon over the salad and drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and fresh pepper and toss to combine.
4. Add the Parmesan just before serving and toss lightly.

Sue 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.
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Roasted Tomato Tart Two Ways

After what feels like an eternity, suddenly the trees are in bloom, gardens are being planted and now, the season’s first sun-ripened tomatoes are starting to roll in. Just like that, we’re heading into summer. Which begs the question. Can comfort food be fresh? The answer is a resounding heck, yeah.

The balsamic and burrata tart is like a pizza-fide version of my favourite antipasto plate, splashed with a hint of tart balsamic and nestled on a bed of buttery puff pastry. It’s basically akin to having a built-in bread bowl. But it’s the combination of creamy burrata, blistered toma-toes and the pop of fresh herbs that makes this dish something I’m going to dream about for weeks.

That’s not to say I don’t love the simplified tomato tart any less. These intense, blood-red tomatoes set atop a smattering of melted cheese turns into something extraordinary when you add the one-two punch of fresh basil and oregano.

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

Burrata Tart with Arugula Salad

Balsamic, Burrata & Roasted Tomato Tarts
Inspired by Donna Hay

Ingredients:
2 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed
1 pint red & yellow tomatoes, left whole
4-6 ounces burrata cheese
1/2 mozzarella, shredded
3-4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
4-6 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves chopped
4 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt + pepper

Burrata Tomato Tart Bonnie Mo

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stack two pieces of puff pastry one on top of the other and press gently to adhere. Cut into a large circle.
3. Place on the prepared baking sheet, score the puff pastry along the sides about 1/2 inch, to make a small border. Inside the border, pierce with a fork. Lightly brush with olive oil.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and oregano. Add tomatoes to the balsamic mix and toss.
5. Sprinkle puff pastry with mozzarella and arrange tomatoes. Add any remaining balsamic mix-ture left in the bowl.
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and pastry is golden.
7. Let stand for 3-5 minutes and top with torn burrata and prosciutto. Garnish with fresh basil.

Cherry Tomato Tart on Puff Pastry

Cheesy Cherry Tomato Tarts

Ingredients:
1 sheet butter puff pastry
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp chopped basil
1/2 Tbsp chopped oregano
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Olive oil, salt, pepper

Cherry Tomato Tart with Herbs & Cheese

Directions:
1. Thaw frozen puff pastry according to directions. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Place chopped cherry tomatoes on a paper towel facing down to drain for about 30 minutes (this will keep them from being to wet and making the tart soggy). Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and the chopped herbs.
3. Unroll the thawed pastry and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out the pastry slightly. Transfer to a baking sheet and score the puff pastry along the sides about 1/2 inch, to make a small border. Inside the border, pierce with a fork. Lightly brush with olive oil.
4. Sprinkle puff pastry with cheese and top with the tomato mixture, facing the cut tomatoes up.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and pastry is golden.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo.

How to Make Your Own Wedding Cake

Your wedding cake is undoubtedly the most significant dessert you’ll ever eat in your life. As kids, we dreamed of a cake tiered to the ceiling, trimmed with frothy white icing and topped with mini-me (and mini-him) cake toppers. We dreamed of that classic wedding picture of cutting the first slice with our other half. We dreamed of eating it respectfully and so not shoving it into each other’s faces, America’s-Funniest-Home-Videos style. It’s such an important, traditional element to a wedding, and yet these days, more and more couples are choosing to eliminate it as a way to cut corners. Why? Because a single cake can rack up quite the hefty bill.

If you want to keep with tradition but aren’t feeling the $1000 price tag, then why not whip up your own gorgeous gateau? Below, I’m showing a step-by-step guide to making your own wedding cake, complete with tiers, frothy icing and topped with pretty blooms.

Naked Wedding Cake 1

Decorating Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:
6 cakes (Follow this recipe for your classic white cake. You will need three batches.)
36 oz icing (Follow this recipe for vanilla buttercream icing. Again, you will need three batches.)
Flowers, for decorating

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Note: The prettier the flowers, the better your cake will look. Hit up a flower market to get some stunners like peonies and ranunculi. Don’t forget to add some greens to the mix. Try green leaves with a white, wishy-washy coat for a whimsical look.

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Directions:
1. Before you make your batter, heat the oven to your recipe’s advised temperature. Use unsalted butter to grease the sides of two cake pans, one 8” and one 10”, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. As for the cake I made… I cheated a bit. To save a little time and cash, I succumbed to a cake mix and pre-made icing. If you feel like taking the easy route like me, you will need three boxes of cake mix, which will give you two cakes per box, and three 12-oz containers of icing.

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3. I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to beat the batter. Cakes made with an essential baker sidekick come out so much lighter and fluffier than with a handheld beater.

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4. Divide the batter into your two pre-lined, pre-greased pans. Try to make them similar in depth. Bake them for the recipe’s advised amount of time, let cool, and move to a cooling rack. Repeat.

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5. When the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice off the top of each cake where necessary, to create an even surface.

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6. Take the parchment paper off the bottoms of each cake, and place your first layer on the cake stand. Add a few dollops of icing, and smooth over the surface gently, ensuring not to get cake crumbs worked into the icing.

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7. Smooth over the entire surface, add the next layer, and repeat.

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8. Add icing to the sides of the cake for a more whimsical finish. Apply it with your icing wand, and scrape off excess to even it out.

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9. I like to place the majority of the flowers on the top of the cake, so I only added a few subtle touches of flowers to the sides and base of the cake. I placed a piece of greenery to the bottom, and lightly pressed it into the cake to secure it into place.

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10. On the opposite side on the second tier, I added a small, blooming peony and more greens.

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11. For the top of the cake, I started with a few greens and filled it in with seven flowers.

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12. I had a brighter pink flower option but decided to keep it to the softer shades for a dreamier feel.

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Notes:
– Try to lay the flowers on the cake instead of puncturing the surface so you can rearrange the blooms as you see fit. You will also lessen the risk of contaminating the cake with the flower’s chemicals.
– Flowers should be placed on the cake just before displaying.

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Happy Wedding Day!

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

BBQ Menu: 5 Mouth-Watering Dishes for a Weekend Feast

The back deck is scrubbed, the patio furniture assembled, and the beer’s on ice. It’s time to throw on an apron, grab a pair of tongs and fire up the ‘cue. From sweet-n-saucy ribs, to a jaw-defying burger, to garlicky shrimp on the barbie, we’ve got all your summer favourites for the grill.

the-kit-senator burger recipe

The Senator Burger
Recipe courtesy of Andrew Taylor of The Senator

Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 90 min
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Corn Relish
1 cup (250 ml) fresh corn niblets
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/8 head cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) mustard seed
1/4 cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard
3 bay leaves
3 cups (750 ml) + 3 tbsp (45 ml) white vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (30 ml) flour

Toppings
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
6 onions, finely chopped
8 strips bacon

Burgers
2 lb. (900 g) ground beef
1/4 cup (60 ml) chili sauce
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground pepper
8 slices cheddar cheese
4 sesame seed buns
2 tomatoes, sliced
Dill pickles, sliced
Lettuce

Directions:

Corn Relish
1. In a large pot, combine corn, onion, cucumber, red pepper, celery, cabbage, parsley, dry mustard, mustard seed, Dijon, bay leaves, white vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper and flour.
2. Stir well and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture reaches a thin relish consistency, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken; refrigerate until burger assembly. Relish will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Toppings
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, stirring, until soft and brown, about 30 minutes, lowering heat if necessary. Set aside until burger assembly.
2. In a large fry pan over medium heat, cook bacon, flipping once, until crisp; place bacon strips on a paper towel to drain. Set aside until burger assembly.

Burgers
1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, chili sauce, egg, salt and pepper; mix well. Divide meat into 4 8-oz. (250-g) patties. Grill patties for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side; flip and top each with 2 slices of Cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and 2 strips of bacon.
3. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese melts, burger juices run clear, and burger reaches an internal temperature of at least 165F (75C). 4. Serve patties on sesame seed buns with tomato, dill pickle, lettuce and reserved corn relish.

The-Kit-chicken skewers and couscous recipe

Harissa-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Couscous
Recipe courtesy of Kristen Eppich

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 115 min
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Skewers
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoons (15 ml) garlic, minced
4 teaspoons (20 ml) tomato paste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cayenne, or less to taste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) caraway seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt
2 lb. (1 kg) boneless skinless chicken breasts
8-10 wooden skewers

Couscous
1 1/4 cup (300 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) kosher salt
1 cup (250 ml) couscous
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Skewers
1. Combine olive oil with garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, caraway, coriander and cumin and salt in a small bowl. Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch (3.5-cm) cubes and place in a large bowl. Add spice mixture to chicken and stir to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
2. Soak skewers in water for 30 min. Thread 4-6 pieces of chicken onto each skewer.
3. Preheat barbecue or grill pan to medium high. Cook skewers until nicely charred and chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 min per side. Serve with couscous.

Couscous
1. Bring water, cumin seeds and salt to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 5 min. Fluff with a fork and stir in butter and cilantro. (You could also use cooked Israeli couscous, and simply heat it up with the cumin seeds, butter and cilantro.)

The-Kit-grilled shrimp recipe

Herb and Garlic Grilled Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of Matt Dunigan of Road Grill

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 85 min
Serves: 2 to 3

Ingredients:

20 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
Celery salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges (for serving)

Directions:
1. Place shrimp, parsley, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, celery salt and pepper in large sealable plastic bag. Toss to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Preheat grill to high heat 475-500°F (245-260°C). Oil grill to prevent sticking. Place shrimp on grill and cook until nicely charred and opaque, about 1 minute per side. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

The-kit-grilled veggies recipe

Spiced Grilled Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of Bal Arneson of Spice Goddess

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) garam masala
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1/4 cup (60 ml) dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cobs corn, husked
4 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 red pepper, seeds removed and cut in half
1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut in half

Directions:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. In a small bowl, stir together oil, garam masala, cumin and fenugreek. Brush onto vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender-crisp and slightly charred around the edges, brushing more spice oil onto them as they cook. Cut into smaller pieces and serve.

The-kit-bbq ribs recipe

Honey Garlic Baby Back Ribs
Recipe courtesy of Matt Dunigan of Road Grill

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 180 min
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

Basting Sauce
1/2 cup (125 ml) honey
Juice and zest of 4 small lemons
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Baby Back Ribs
2 whole side baby back pork ribs, approximately 3 lbs. each

Directions:

Basting Sauce
1. In a small pot, combine all the basting ingredients. Set the pot over medium-low heat and whisk until the butter melts and is emulsified. Remove from heat and set aside.

Baby Back Ribs
1. Remove membrane from the back of the ribs using kitchen pliers.
2. On unlit barbeque, place a drip pan under the barbeque grates. Preheat barbeque to low indirect heat 220°F (105°C) by turning on only 1 burner.
3. Brush the ribs generously with the honey garlic glaze on both sides.
4. Place the ribs on the grill and close lid. Basting every 20 minutes with sauce, cook until you can tug a bone and it pulls away with ease, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 5. Remove ribs from grill. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
6. Cut between each of the bones and serve.

Credits:

Tabletop Top Photography: James Tse. Food Styling: Ashley Denton. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson.

Get grilling tips and summer entertaining ideas here: The Kit’s Grill Guide

Rainbow Quinoa Taco Salad with Vegan Dressing

We only have one diet tip and it’s easy. Ready? Here it is: eat all the colours of the rainbow the majority of the time. Just look at the spectrum of colour in this healthy rainbow quinoa taco salad. It’s full of flavour and we especially like the little zing from the creamy sunflower dressing. You might not find a pot of gold at the bottom of your bowl, but you’ll feel good eating this nutritious and filling salad.

rainbow-taco-salad-recipe-vegan

Rainbow Quinoa Taco Salad

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients for Salad:
½ cup rainbow quinoa
1 cup water
¼ cup teaspoon sea salt
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 small can black beans (approx. 1 cup), drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup diced tomato
¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
corn chips, for serving (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:
½ cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 3 hours)
½ cup water
1 lime, juiced (approx. 2 ½ tbsp.)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

1. In a small pot combine quinoa, water, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile combine diced tomato, red onion, cilantro and lime juice to make a fresh salsa.
3. Drain and rinse the soaked sunflower seeds and then add to a high-powered blender with remaining dressing ingredients. Combine until smooth.
4. Just before serving dress the chopped romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl with 4 tablespoons of dressing and then divide portions into serving bowls.
5. Top each serving with quinoa, black beans, corn, diced avocado, fresh tomato salsa, and another drizzle of dressing.
6. Serve with corn chips on the side if desired.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

10 Quick & Easy Ketchup Variations

We all know ketchup is one of the most popular condiments, but its primary uses typically involve a big juicy burger and plate of fries. It has a very sweet, salty and savoury taste that pleases taste buds and makes numerous foods more palatable. The classic ketchup we all know and love uses tons of sugar to make it sweet and appetizing. The ‘healthified’ classic ketchup uses coconut sugar, a sweetener derived from the flowers of palm trees to bring about that sugary taste without all of the caloric damage.

While classic ketchup is the most common, variations on ketchup bring out its other delicious and unique qualities. Mixing balsamic vinegar, kimchi or BBQ sauce with ketchup are all great ways to take the flavour profile up a notch.

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Here are 10 creatively delicious ketchup recipes that are sure to blow your mind and your taste buds!

1. Classic Ketchup
2. Indian-Spiced Ketchup
3. Nice n’ Smoky Ketchup
4. Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup
5. Sriracha Cha-Cha Ketchup
6. Kimchi Ketchup
7. BBQ Ketchup
8. Balsamic Ketchup
9. Roasted Garlic Ketchup
10. Tabasco Ketchup

Click here for more healthy condiment recipes.

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.

S’Mores Bark for the Long Weekend

Oh, May long weekend…the unofficial start of summer. The first gloriously warm long weekend of the year, spent at a cottage enjoying morning hikes, afternoon tanning on the dock, and evening huddles around the campfire.

As lovely as that sounds, it’s not the case for most of us, and we’ll be settling for a little stay-cation in our own ‘hood.

But don’t give up on your lakeside fantasies just yet, because we’ve got a recipe for everyone’s campfire favourite that will totally make your long weekend — we’re talking about s’mores. Well, s’mores bark, to be exact. Think graham crackers, melted milk chocolate, and soft, roasted marshmallows all in one delectable bite.

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With only four ingredients required (and no bonfire needed), you’ll be able to whip up this new take on everyone’s ultimate fireside treat — in under 15 minutes and for under $12!

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Ingredients:
12 graham crackers (broken into quarters)
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup Skor bits

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to broil on high, line baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay graham crackers on baking sheet.
2. Pour about 1/3 of chocolate chips into a bowl, and microwave for about 60 seconds. Mix chocolate until smooth and lump free.

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3. Working in sections, pour the chocolate sparingly on top of the graham crackers, and carefully spread it out with a spatula. Repeat steps 2-3 to finish off the bag of chocolate chips, and evenly cover all graham crackers with a layer of chocolate.

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4. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the chocolate. Try to keep them within the cracker lines, so it’s easy to separate the pieces at the end.

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5. Place in oven on a rack that is on the third notch from the top. Roast the marshmallows until golden, about 30-60 seconds.

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6. When chocolate is still hot, sprinkle Skor bits sparingly on top.

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7. Refrigerate until hard, about an hour. Break into pieces and serve.

4 Amazing New Cookbooks On Our Shelf

From inspired vegetarian by a nutritionist blogger to quick dinner ideas from a handsome bloke, these titles will make you spring into the kitchen.

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Quick, Modern: Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone (Appetite by Random House, $35)
While many celebrity chefs are known for the quantity of their books more than the quality, the Australian Curtis Stone isn’t one of them. His latest is excellent and filled with food photographed so gorgeously, you’ll want to eat off the page. Now settled in Los Angeles and running his own restaurant, the celebrated Maude, Stone betrays distinct American influences in dishes like Chicken Chili Verde. If that doesn’t sell you, there’s always Stone’s sex appeal, exploited via copious photos of him hanging in the kitchen with his young son.

My New Roots

New Veg: My New Roots by Sarah Britton (Appetite by Random House, $30)
A holistic nutritionist, Toronto native Britton rose to culinary stardom via her hugely popular blog, My New Roots. Preferring the term “plant-based whole foods” to “vegetarian,” her meat-free dishes blend the same flavour-building principles and aesthetic appeal as famed Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, but with 40 percent less ingredients and work, making them perfect recipes for the weekday cook. You’re going to want to try her Sprouted Wild Rice Salad with Spring Vegetables, and her Four Corners Lentil Soup is an instant classic.

Brown Eggs & Jam Jars

Kid-friendly: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque (Penguin Canada, $32)
Raised in the Yukon, Wimbush-Borque was determined to bring her three kids up with the same homesteading principles she was—but in an urban environment just outside of Montreal. The much-loved blogger at Simple Bites focused her recipes here on whole- some and delicious family food, such as Slow-Cooker Cider Ham and Whole- Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Plus, at the end of each chapter there are tips on involving kids in every stage of the food cycle, from tending a garden to packing their lunch.

Root-to-Leaf

Vegetables, y’all: Root to Leaf by Stephen Satterfield (HarperWave, $56)
No thanks to Paula Deen, Southern cuisine has become synonymous with porcine platters and calorie-bomb desserts. The American South, however, has a long tradition of veggie-based cuisine – their growing season is 12 months long, after all – and Atlanta chef Satterfield celebrates Dixie in this stunning tome. Divided by seasons and vegetable, there are handy growing tips for the budding gardener, and particularly strong recipes for preserves like Pickled Ramps.

Story: Eric Vellend. Check out The Kit’s Grill Guide!

Chicken Pesto Picnic Sandwiches

Not sure what to pack for a picnic? The answer seems simple enough: how can you go wrong with sandwiches? Believe us when we say you can! Using mayonnaise in your sandwich as a spread or ingredient in a tuna or egg salad poses the huge, not to mention unsavory, risk of going bad in the heat and turning your picnic into a sick-nic, and who wants that? Not us, that’s for sure. So instead of a fat-filled mayo time-bomb, try this fresh, fabulous and eminently packable and preservable Chicken Pesto Picnic Sandwich – and make sure all memories of that day are good ones filled with family, friends and the fabulous flavours of summer!

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Chicken Pesto Picnic Sandwiches

Serves: 4
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup homemade or prepared pesto
3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
1 cup baby arugula
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and rinsed
freshly ground black pepper
4 cibatta rolls, split in half lengthwise

Directions:

  1. Preheat the broiler to high. Arrange the cibatta halves, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until toasted to desired doneness.
  2. In a bowl toss together the chicken and pesto. Divide chicken and pesto between ciabatta rolls. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, and freshly ground black pepper. Top with remaining bun half.

amanda riva 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. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.
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