10 Tasting Menus Across Canada You’ll Want to Try

For many of us, tasting menus aren’t a weekly occurrence, but sometimes, it’s nice to splurge a little on a nicely presented and well-put-together dinner.

If you’re looking to sit back, let the chef take control and immerse yourself in a proper tasting menu experience, these 10 Canadian restaurants are places you should be eating.

atelier
Atelier

Atelier (Ottawa, ON)

Molecular gastronomy can go a little too far at times, but a few techniques, when used the right way, can help take a dish from nice to a full-on sensory experience. That’s the approach chef Marc Lepine takes at Atelier. Before the food hits your table, the course names leave it all up to your imagination, and imaginative they will be.

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Eden at The Rimrock

Eden at The Rimrock (Banff, AB)

Banff isn’t always known for having the most bustling food scene, with many spots catering to families and large groups. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you are looking for a truly elevated dining experience in the Rockies, you’ll find it inside The Rimrock Hotel at Eden. Sit down, sip on wine and taste your way through their renowned tasting menu while the sun sets behind the mountain peaks in the background.

George on Queen (Toronto, ON)

With a whirlwind of trends always breezing in and out of this city, George has stayed its course (or courses, if you will), serving up one of the well-received tasting menus in Toronto. The kitchen is also happy to make adjustments for dietary restrictions as well (with a bit of notice), making it a night that everyone gets to enjoy.

hawksworth
Hawksworth Restaurant

Hawksworth Restaurant (Vancouver, BC)

Consistently rated as a top-tier restaurant in Vancouver, Hawksworth is known for stunning plating and big flavours, whether you’re coming by for a bite at lunch or taking the time to spend an evening experiencing the tasting menu.

missionkits
Mission

Mission (Vancouver, BC)

One of the city’s newest restaurants takes the tasting menu approach a little more casually in a cozy dining room that offers proper, but more relaxed service. Top Chef Canada alumnus, Curtis Luk works his magic here with a regular tasting menu and a vegetarian one, too. His love of a vegetable-forward cooking approach really shines through.

Momofuku Toronto (Toronto, ON)

David Chang’s multi-level restaurant attached to the Shangri La hotel offers a lot in terms of dining diversity. Starting on the main floor noodle bar, the experiences get more elevated as you go up each floor. Head up a few flights to find Shoto, the most formal dining room that offers up a 10-course set menu for $95.

Q Haute Cuisine (Calgary, AB)

Just a block from the Bow River, you’ll find Q Haute tucked away in a fairly unassuming building, surrounded by tall apartment buildings. Pop in here, head up the stairs and sit down for a whimsical dinner of molecular gastronomy, full of smoke, mirrors and edibles. Alright, the only mirrors are in the bathroom, but you know what I mean.

Raymonds (St. John’s, NFLD)

After winning multiple accolades for their refined culinary offerings in the past four or so years, Raymonds has become both a chef and food lover favourite. With an emphasis on sourcing ingredients from all around Newfoundland and Labrador, you can bet that a dinner here will be like no other.

teatro
Teatro

Teatro (Calgary, AB)

A Calgary classic, Teatro has been going strong for 32 years now and is just as relevant as it was back then. Many well-known chefs have headed up the kitchen but it is currently run by Jason Barton-Browne, offering a tasting menu with an array of interesting Italian-inspired dishes. With some of the best service in Calgary, you can’t go wrong with spending your time (and money) here.

Toque! (Montreal, QC)

Established in 1993, Toque! was not only one of the first restaurants to experience gastronomic cuisine in Montreal, but one that also began placing an emphasis on sourcing locally and ethically. Today, this spot remains as one of the top restaurants to experience a tasting menu in the country, and they are as big of a local food advocate as ever, taking part in Food Day Canada 2015 this Saturday.

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.

Orecchiette with Homemade Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes

The first time I tried making ricotta from scratch I was about 300-years pregnant with my second child and in some weird hormone-induced frenzy, it drove me mad halfway into the night trying to make my own cheese.

A happy ending being the clincher to this story, I finally made it and it was truly spectacular. Despite a few hiccups the process was not that difficult. You only need four ingredients and at the end of the day, homemade ricotta is hands-down worth making yourself. It’s rich and creamy and has none of that grittiness that comes with buying it off the shelf.

So I ended up making it three times in one night the first time. I’ll tell you what I did wrong, so you can spare yourself some craziness.

homemade_ricotta

Things to Watch Out For When Making Homemade Ricotta

– Make sure your cheesecloth is folded enough so that your luscious ricotta curds don’t slip right through the holes, resulting in no cheese.
– Let your milk/cream mixture come very slowly, almost to a simmer. Rushing this part by cranking the heat will result in no cheese.
– Make sure you add enough lemon juice, especially when you’ve already tried making ricotta twice in one night. Not going out to get more lemons when you know you should will result in—you guessed it—no cheese.

Luckily my misadventures in cheese-making means you won’t (or shouldn’t, because…hello? No cheese!) make the same rookie mistakes I did, and that your ricotta-making experience will be a breeze.

Because once you’ve made your own, going back to the stuff in the tub won’t be the same. Trust me when I say you’ll be scrambling to find things to smear it on. I like it tossed with steaming hot, just-from-the-pot orrichette pasta, with spinach, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped shallots and a healthy whack of basil, like this:

orecchiette_finished

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
1. Set a large, fine mesh sieve over a deep bowl. Line the sieve with the two layers of cheesecloth.
2. Slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a simmer, stirring occasionally. This step can take as long as 20-25 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice.
4. Allow the curds to separate from the whey. About 3 minutes.
5. Gently pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and let stand until all the liquid has passed through and your left with only the curds.
6. The longer you let it stand, the dryer the ricotta. I like it somewhere in the middle.

Orecchiette with Homemade Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes

orecchiette_ingredients

Ingredients:
1 clove garlic
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small shallot, minced
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp quality olive oil
3-4 large basil leaves
1/2 cup, homemade ricotta
1 pound, orecchiette
Cracked black pepper and sea salt

Directions:
1. Cook orecchiette according to directions on the box.
2. Meanwhile, assemble garlic, shallot, tomatoes and spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add cracked black pepper and sea salt. Set aside to marinate.
3. Drain pasta and pour over tomato/spinach mixture. Add ricotta to hot mixture and stir. Add a bit of the pasta water to loosen up the mixture if necessary.
4. Serve immediately.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.

Vegan Lasagna Roll Ups with Almond Ricotta

To celebrate National Lasagna Day we thought we’d switch things up and roll up our lasagna! These fun and healthy lasagna roll ups are stuffed with spinach and zucchini, and the most velvety almond ricotta (the ricotta can be made the day before) and can be used in so many other delicious recipes. We’re actually kind of obsessed with it right now!

Prep Time: 55 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Makes: 8 rolls

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Ingredients:

Almond Ricotta:
1 cup blanched sliced almonds
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped basil

Tomato Sauce:
½ cup finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped basil

Lasagna Rolls:
8 lasagna noodles
4 cups baby spinach
1 large yellow zucchini (or 2 small)
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp nutmeg
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Note: The almond ricotta should be prepared one day in advance to give it time to set.

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Directions:
1. In a high-powered blender combine all the almond ricotta ingredients together except the basil. You will fold this in after the mixture is blended.
2. Once the mixture is smooth, fold the finely chopped basil into the almond mixture with a spoon, then place a double layer of cheesecloth over a large mixing bowl and pour the almond mixture into the cheesecloth.
3. Take the excess ends of the cheesecloth and tie it around a wooden spoon or something you can lay on top of the mixing bowl, suspending it in the mixing bowl. It shouldn’t be touching the bottom of the mixing bowl. Refrigerate this allowing the excess water to strain from the almond cheese for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove it from the cheesecloth and place it in a new clean dish.
4. To make the tomato sauce, heat a pan over medium and sauté white onion for 2 minutes with olive oil.
5. Then add minced garlic and dried oregano, and sauté for another minute.
6. Stir in tomato paste until the garlic and onions are well coated, then add crushed tomatoes, sea salt and ground pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Add fresh basil, cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.
7. While the sauce is simmering for the last 20 minutes, preheat oven to 325°F.
8. Boil the noodles in salted water for about 5-6 minutes, until half cooked. Drain and set the noodles aside on a damp towel or damp paper towel to prevent them from sticking until you prepare the lasagna rolls.
9. Thinly slice yellow zucchini with a mandolin.
10. Heat another pan over medium heat with 1 tsp of olive oil, and add spinach and zucchini together with nutmeg, sea salt and ground pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes. There will be a bit excess water from the vegetables, but just drain it from the pan before adding vegetables to the lasagna rolls.
11. To assemble the rolls take 1 Tbsp of almond ricotta and spread it across each lasagna noodle out to the edges, then layer spinach and zucchini on top. Roll the lasagna noodle snuggly.
12. Pour half the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 9” glass baking dish. Place lasagna rolls 4 across and pour the remaining sauce over each row of lasagna rolls.
13. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Crunchy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Crema

Even if you don’t plan on doing a tropical summer vacation, you can bring a touch of the ocean home with these delicious crunchy fish tacos with zesty cilantro crema. The crispy almond coating on the fresh cod along with the crunchy cabbage gives these fish tacos texture and flavour that will get you in the mood for summer.

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

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper (approx.)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/3 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onion
1 lb cod fillets
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp chili powder
8 corn or flour tortillas, toasted
8 lime wedges

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Whisk the lime juice with the oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss with cabbage and chill until ready to use. Stir the yogurt with the mayonnaise, cilantro and green onion. Set aside.
2. Cut the cod into 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) chunks and season all over with salt and pepper. Stir the almond flour with the chili powder. Coat each piece of fish with the almond mixture. Arrange fish on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Coat well with cooking spray.
3. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked though. Spread the crema on each tortilla and top with fish and coleslaw. Serve with lime wedges.

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 Blog Network family.

Family-Sized Bacon Cheeseburger

Have some fun on the barbecue this summer with this impressive burger that is big enough to feed a crowd! Filled with all your favourite fixin’s, this gigantic burger is not only fun to look at, but it’s juicy, delicious and satisfying too.

big burger

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Big Bun:
14 ounces pizza dough

Horseradish Mayo:
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
3 Tbsp sour cream
4 tsp prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp  chopped fresh chives
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper

Family-Sized Burger:
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound medium ground beef
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated onion
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp steak spice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tsp tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
5 slices cheddar cheese
5 lettuce leaves
1 beef steak tomato, sliced
6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked
1/2 red onion, sliced
Pickles
Waffle fries

Directions:

Big Bun:
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll and shape pizza dough into 9-inch round. Place on a parchment-lined pan. Let stand, in a warm place, for 15 minutes or until room temperature.
3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool completely.

Horseradish Mayo:
1. Meanwhile, stir mayonnaise with sour cream, horseradish, chives, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Family-Sized Burger:
1. Gently combine lean ground beef with medium ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, eggs, garlic, steak spice, Worcestershire, mustard, tomato paste and paprika. Shape into a large patty, about 9-inch in diameter and about 1 1/4-inches thick. Transfer to greased rimless plate or baking tray.
2. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat; grease the grate well. Slide patty onto grill. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes or until well marked. Slide the patty onto a clean plate and cover with a second clean plate. Invert the patty and slide, raw side down, back onto the grill.
3. Reduce the temperature to medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the center of the patty. Top with cheese; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted.
4. Slice the Big Bun in half, horizontally. Spread Horseradish Mayonnaise on both bread halves. Fill with lettuce, tomato, burger, bacon and onion. Cut into 6 wedges. Serve with pickles and waffle fries.

Notes:

– The mixture can also be portioned into 6 individual patties to make individual burgers.
– If flair-ups occur during grilling, squirt with a spray bottle of water.

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 Blog Network family.

The Ultimate Breakfast Pizza

Recently I decided that it was time I try making a breakfast pizza and let me tell you — it did not disappoint! Not only did it fill the kitchen with the pleasant aroma of all my breakfast favourites, but it tasted absolutely delicious. Combining breakfast classics onto thin, airy pizza crust… How could you go wrong? Well, you can’t! Unless you burn it of course…

Breakfast-Pizza-3-of-7

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

No-Knead Pizza Dough:
250g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
? tsp active dry yeast
180ml water

Pizza Toppings:
Tomato sauce
Cheddar cheese (grated)
Cooked bacon
Ham
Green onion
Russet potato (very thinly sliced)
Egg

Breakfast-Pizza-7-of-7

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients, slowly mix in water while stirring with a wooden spoon.
2. Once dough begins to form, work it into a roughly shaped ball with your hands, leaving it in the bowl, and covering with plastic wrap.
3. Allow dough to rise at room temperature for around 18 hours or until doubled inside.
4. After 18 hours, remove dough from bowl and place on a floured work surface,
5. Cut the dough into three even pieces for personal sized pizzas.
6. Knead each piece of dough into a ball and allow to rise for another hour covered with a damp towel, or wrapped in plastic wrap.
7. If you won’t be using all the dough right away, refrigerate it, and remove it from the fridge 1-2 hours before cooking allowing it to warm to room temperature.
8. While dough is resting, if using a pizza stone, place it in the cold oven and turn the heat to 500°F (or as close to that heat as possible), allowing the oven to heat for about an hour.
9. If you don’t have a pizza stone, arrange the pizza dough on a baking sheet, and just preheat the oven to 500-550°F.
10 Once the dough has finished resting, on a floured surface, stretch it thinly to your preference (without breaking the dough).
11. Spread tomato sauce, topped with grated cheddar cheese, potato, bacon, ham & green onion. Once all your ingredients are placed, crack an egg on top of the pizza.
12. If using a baking sheet, bake at 500-550°F, if using a pizza stone, turn your oven to broil and cook the pizza for 5-10 minutes until desired doneness.

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.

Best Ways to Ripen Avocados

We’ve all been there; schlepping a bag of avocados from the supermarket, thinking of all the delicious guacamole and sandwiches we’ll be making with them. Then BAM — three days later and all five avocados are soft and you have a day to eat them all before they go bad.

There are a few ways to make a bag of avocados last more than a week. In fact, the two avocados in the photo above were from the same bag. The one on the left is ready to eat, while the one on the right still has a few more days to go before it can be eaten.

Here’s how to do it:

Avocados_sized

Finding a Ripe Avocado

Look for a dark exterior as opposed to green (see photo above). You can also (gently!) press down on the stem. If it gives a bit, then it’s ripe. If it’s too hard or too mushy then it’s not ready or starting to rot.

Many online sources suggest flicking off the stem to see if it reveals a pretty green patch, but doing that to a dozen avocados, just to find one or two ripe ones is kind of a jerk move. Without the stem, the blotch will turn dark from air exposure and no one else will be able to tell if it’s ready. Also, resist the urge to squeeze avocados as you can bruise them, and subsequently make other shoppers believe that they’ve got a ripe avocado when they’re actually grasping at a fruit that you tampered with.

Ripening of Avocados

Online help forums tell me to take half of a hard avocado and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds (gross) or force it to soften by mashing it with a mallet. This might help with the texture, but the taste won’t be great compared to an actual ripe avocado.

Another popular tip is to put the whole avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana because those fruits release ethylene gas; an odorless gas that causes other fruit to ripen. In my experience, it doesn’t make that much of a difference from leaving them on the kitchen counter at room temperature for two or three days.

But one thing that really helps is heat. Steve Gonzalez, owner and chef of Latin restaurant Valdez in Toronto, says that when he’s in a pinch he’ll put avocados on his roof top patio. Arturo Anhalt of Toronto’s Milagro Cantinas also says that 30°C is a good temperature to accelerate ripening times. At one of his restaurants, he’ll actually put unripe avocados in the basement’s engine room.

But in the end, if want to eat an avocado as soon as you leave the supermarket, just buy one that’s already mature (sometimes there will be a “ripe” sticker right on the avocado).

Slowing Down the Ripening Process

When you come home with groceries, take out the number of avocados you plan on eating in the next two days or so and put the rest in the fridge where they can last an extra week. The cold will slow down the ripening process, but you’ll have to take them out a few days prior so they can ripen again at room temperature. Ripe avocados will last an additional day or two in the fridge.

The Other Open Half

As you know, avocados should be eaten as soon as they’re cut open because the air will start turning the flesh into a mushy brown-like a banana. But since most people eat just one half of an avocado at a time, Anhalt says to tightly wrap the remaining avocado half in plastic wrap, ensuring minimal air comes into contact with the exposed area. He also suggests that if you’re storing guacamole; make sure the plastic film sticks directly onto the guacamole itself.

Freezing Avocados

Be warned that freezing avocados will negatively affect the taste and texture. Both Anhalt and Gonzalez don’t recommend freezing avocados, though Gonzalez says the only time he’ll freeze them is if he’s making ice cream or a mousse.

But if you must, mash the avocado into a pulp, mix in a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and store in a freezer bag. Flatten the bag out to get rid of any excess air and keep in the freezer for up to three months.

Avocados_guac_sized

The Bare-Minimum Guacamole Recipe

Every chef and home cook will swear that their guacamole recipe is the best. We’ll leave that argument to them. In the meantime, here’s a super bare-minimum recipe that will kick things off. Experiment by adding other ingredients like chopped tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, chilies, hot sauce, and even pineapple chunks. I like a chunky guacamole, but if you want a smoother, mousse-like consistency, use a blender or food processor.

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados, roughly cubed
1 Tablespoon white onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime*
Salt, to taste

Directions:

In a bowl, combine avocados, onion, garlic, and lime juice. Using a large serving spoon, mash everything together until you achieve a desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.

*Some would call this blasphemous but you can substitute in lemon juice if you don’t have a lime. Since lemons are more acidic, add a bit of the juice at a time and taste it so that your guacamole doesn’t turn to lemonade.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.

5-Ingredient Summer Sides for Any Main

Side dishes round out any meal — how could you possibly have a summer BBQ dinner without grilled veggies, corn on the cob or a flavour-packed salad? Side dishes may complete a meal, but they also need to be simple, and relatively quick and easy. No one wants to be slaving away over the hearty main and then have to spend another few hours cooking up a veggie side. These 5-ingredient side dishes will blow your mind — and your taste buds!

 brussel sprouts raw in bowl  

 Maple Brussels Sprouts Explosion

 Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
4 Tbsp maple syrup
4 Tbsp whole mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp grapeseed oil

 Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Wash and slice the Brussels sprouts in half.
3. Mix the maple syrup, mustard and grapeseed oil in a large bowl.
4. Add the Brussels sprouts to the bowl and make sure they’re all nicely coated with the marinade. Add the sea salt and keep mixing. If you like this dish a little sweeter, add a bit more maple syrup.
5. Place the Brussels sprouts on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes until Brussels sprouts are crisp and sweet.

 kale-in-wooden-bowl

 Oh-So-Pine-Nutty Kale Salad

 Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 container cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for tomatoes) + 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for salad)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (for tomatoes ) + 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (for salad)

 Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes and roast for 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can use 1 cup of chopped sundried tomatoes.
3. While the tomatoes are roasting, lightly toast the pine nuts by placing them on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven for 5-7 minutes and watch them so they don’t burn!
4. Wash and chop the kale into pieces and add to a big salad bowl.
5. Once the tomatoes are roasted, add them on top of the kale and then toss pine nuts on top.
6. Dress the salad with 4 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, mix and enjoy!

mediteranean 

 Mediterranean Madness 

 Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, squeezed

 Directions:
1. Slice the kalamata olives in half and make sure they are pitted. Place them in a bowl
2. Slice the sundried tomatoes and add them to the olive bowl.
3. Crumble feta and place in the bowl. Pour extra virgin olive oil and squeeze lemon over, mix around until everything is coated in oil.

sweet-potatoes-glazed

 Caramelized Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

 Ingredients:
5 sweet potatoes, cubed
5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

 Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Chop the sweet potatoes in cubed and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Drizzle grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt over the potatoes. Mix around so they are all covered in balsamic vinegar.
4. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes until caramelized, soft yet slightly crisp.
5. Place in a bowl and mix with fresh basil.

fennel-salad

 Zippy Fennel Slaw

 Ingredients:
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 green apple, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch sea salt

 Directions:
1. With a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the fennel bulb into thin pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Slice the apple into matchsticks and add it to the bowl.
3. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the fennel and apple. Add 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Mix around so everything is coated.

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.

Top 100 Vegetarian Recipes Without Tofu

Eating vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re limited to tofu. Mother Nature and grocery store shelves offer a bounty of options to eat like an animal, without cooking one! Whether you’re test-driving Meatless Mondays or doing a complete overhaul of your pantry, we’ve got the best vegetarian recipes to satisfy even the most skeptic carnivore at your table.

Below you’ll find the best ingredients to invest in to beef up your list of meat-free options.

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Quinoa 
Quick-cooking, packed with protein and gluten-free, no wonder it’s considered a super food! Though it’s an ancient Inca ingredient, quinoa has only recently made its way to mainstream markets.

1. Quinoa Black Bean Salad

2. Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew with Figs

3. Quinoa Cumin Bites

4. Quinoa Buckwheat Pancakes

5. Quinoa Tabouleh

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Lentils & Chickpeas
One can of each of these hearty ingredients offers endless possibilities; they’re affordable, neutral in flavour and the perfect way to add protein, iron and fibre to any dish you stir or stew them into.

6. Curried Lentil Wild Rice & Orzo Salad

7. Lentils with Lemongrass

8. Lentil Cookies

9. Lentil Salad with Fruits, Nuts & Cheese

10. Red Lentil Dahl

11. Big Ben’s Lentil Burgers

12. Lemon Lentil Salad

13. Lovin’ Lentil Sloppy Joes

14. Lentils & Tomato Sauce with Pasta Shells French

15. Lentils with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

16. Vegetable Biryani

17. Chana Dhansak

18. Ratatouille with Toasted Chickpeas

19. Pan-Roast Chickpeas with Mint

20. Chickpea Sandwich

21. CC’s Falafel

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Beans
Green beans, kidney beans, pinto beans… With so many different types, this versatile ingredient can be used for so much more than your average burrito or salad.

22. White Bean Salad with Patty Pan Cups

23. Green Bean Griddle Cakes

24. Three Bean Salad with Sesame Garlic & Lemon

25. Pasta with Rapini, Broad Beans, Rosemary & Walnuts

26. Kale with Zucchini and Pinto Bean Enchilada

27. Black Bean Tortilla Chip Soup with Avocado-Tomato Salsa

28. Great Greek Baked Beans

29. Warm Garlic Bean Crostini

30. Mexican Bean Soup

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Mushrooms
There are enough varieties of mushrooms that you could sample a different one every day for over 38 years (but try to avoid the poisonous ones)! When cooked, mushrooms can have a beef-like flavour and texture, and offer twice the protein than other vegetables, making them a great substitute for steak.

31. Mushroom Cheddar Vegetarian Burgers

32. Herbed Mushrooms & Asiago Baked into Brioche

33. Blue Corn Mushroom & Cheese Quesadillas

34. Whole Mushroom Salad

35. Mushroom & Smoked Cheddar Frittata

36. Spinach Mushroom Lasagne

37. Shiitake Mushroom & Bok Choy Stir Fry

38. Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Pecorino & Lemon-Thyme Cream Sauce

39. Mushroom and Spinach Quiche in a Potato Crust

40. Mushroom Stew

41. Mushroom Stuffed Blintzes with Beet Glaze

42. Mushroom & Brie Wellington

43. Mushroom Benedict

44. Mushroom Parmentier

45. Tagliatelle with Mushrooms, Lemon and Breadcrumbs

46. Paneer Mushroom Burger

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Almonds
Some of your meat-eating friends may think you’re totally nuts for going vegetarian. Here are some recipes to prove them right!

47. Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Garlic Almond Sauce

48. Tender Greens with Marinated Sweet Cherries in Almond Vinaigrette

49. Artichokes with Almond Sauce

50. Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds

51. Ginger Almond Eggplant Dip

52. Almond Apricot Couscous

53. Grilled Almond Butter & Banana Sandwiches

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Dairy
To ensure you get your fill of calcium and protein, supplement your vegetarian feast with dairy ingredients. You’ll be more than happy to leave the bovine behind when yogurt, cream, milk and cheese are part of your meal.

54. Cheese & Onion Tart

55. Butternut Squash & Ricotta Filled Crepes with Maple Crème Fraiche

56. Cilantro Pesto Quesadilla

57. Potato Cheddar Perogies in Brown Butter

58. Honey Yogurt Dip

59. Mashed Butternut Squash with Yogurt and Roasted Garlic

60. Spicy Yogurt Cucumber Dip

61. Chilled Yogurt Soup

62. Cilantro Couscous & Tomato Yogurt Salad

63. Pumpkin Seed Dip

64. Baked Camembert with Pine Nuts & Sun-dried Tomatoes

65. Marble Cheddar Apple Nut Fritters

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Eggs
This breakfast favourite is a lean source of protein that fuels your body and brain; choline in the egg’s yolk aids in brain stimulation and development — so get crackin’!

66. Chili Poached Eggs

67. Huevos Rancheros

68. Herb-Rolled Quail’s Eggs

69. Roger Mooking’s Baked Eggs

70. Cocotte Eggs

71. Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina

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Pasta
Stock up on oodles of noodles! A prime ingredient for the much-loved Mediterranean diet, pasta is a great source of fibre, cooks in minutes and can feed a crowd without breaking the bank.

72. Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Asparagus

73. Creamy Orzo Risotto with Blue Cheese & Pine Nuts

74. Chilled Asparagus, Snap Pea & Soba Noodle Salad

75. Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

76. Giant Ricotta Spinach Ravioli

77. Bowtie Pasta with Roast Red Pepper Sauce & Baby Spinach

78. Pasta with Mushrooms, Herbs & Beet Greens

79. Aubergine and Pasta Charlotte

80. Pistachio Pesto with Angel Hair Pasta

81. Penne with Gorgonzola, Spinach & Walnuts

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Super Veggies
Keep your wallet as lean as your waistline by cooking with what’s in season; those ingredients will be cheaper, at their most flavourful and more likely to have been grown locally.

82. Vegetable Tagine

83. Ricardo’s Vegetable Samosas

84. Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice

85. Spicy Thai Asparagus Soup

86. Onion Tarte Tatin

87. Sweet Potato Vichyssoise

88. Carrot & Potato Pancakes

89. Golden Eggplant with Green Pea Sauce

90. Pistou Soup

91. Wilted Greens with Raisins, Pine Nuts and Garlic Croutes

92. Spinach and Swiss Chard Cannelloni

93. Spinach Pie

94. Spinach Balls

95. Broccoli Cheese Soup with Chef Salad

96. Baked Spaghetti with Broccoli

97. Fully Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

98. Tomato-Olive Rice Bake

99. Veggie Goulash

100. Diana’s Chile Rellenos

Citrus, Kale & Avocado Salad with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

This bright and fresh summer salad is loaded with tons of great ingredients: oranges, raw kale, almonds and a creamy yogurt lemon dressing.

Rather than smothering this gorgeous dish with multiple artery-clogging dairy products, we used light coconut yogurt and made some homemade tofu feta instead. Trust us — it will blow your taste buds away!

Serves: 4-6

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For the tofu feta:

Ingredients:

1/2 brick extra firm tofu, cubed
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. In a bowl or glass container, whisk together rice vinegar, lemon juice, non-dairy milk, basil, garlic and sea salt.
2. Submerge the cubes of tofu in the liquid and cover bowl with plastic wrap or fit the lid to your container.
3. Refrigerate micture for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours to develop more flavour.

For the salad dressing:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup snipped chives (optional)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk with coconut yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Stir in chives, if using.
2. Store dressing in the fridge until ready to use.

For the salad:

Ingredients:
1 small bunch of kale (approx. 10 cups)
1 seedless orange, peeled and cut into segments
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled tofu feta (as per above)
1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled and cut into cubes

Directions:
1. Trim the kale by cutting out and discarding the tough ribs of leaves.
2. Stack leaves and then slice crosswise into strips about 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) wide.
3. Place kale in a serving bowl and add orange segments, almonds and tofu feta, and gently toss.
4. Drizzle with about 1 cup of dressing, then gently toss in avocado.
5. Refrigerate remaining dressing up to 5 days.

Tip: for even more flavour, toast almonds for a couple of minutes in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

What better way to indulge on a Fryday than with these delectable vegan and gluten-free cinnamon sugar doughnuts. They’re obviously delicious any time of day, but this particular version is best enjoyed for breakfast, paired with a big ol’ cup of coffee.

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Note: This recipe will only work with a flour blend that contains xanthan gum and baking powder. Look for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit & Baking Mix at your grocery store. It’s fairly common as most commercial grocers carry this line of products and have specific gluten-free sections.

Ingredients (makes 12 medium sized doughnuts):
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp ground flax
3 Tbsp water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup organic golden sugar (same as unbleached granulated sugar)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup gluten-free flour mix
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Doughnut Coating:
1/4 cup organic golden sugar (same as unbleached granulated sugar)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Directions:
1. In a small bowl mix together ground flax and water. Let sit for 15 minutes in the fridge to thicken. In another mixing bowl combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. After letting these 2 components sit for 15 minutes, heat up vegetable oil in a pot to 375°F while you prepare the rest of the dough.
2. In a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix (the other ¼ cup is for rolling out the dough) and mix with cinnamon until well combined.
3. Add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, vanilla extract, sugar and flax mixture to the bowl with soy milk and apple cider vinegar, and whisk together until well combined.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it just comes together into a sticky ball of dough.
5. On a clean, dry surface spread out 1/4 cup of the flour and place the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface. Knead the dough into a little bit of flour while ensuring you keep the surface floured to prevent the dough from sticking. It will become a little less sticky to handle as you incorporate a bit more of this flour into it. Pat the dough down with your hand until it’s 1/2” thick.
6. Cut 3 1/2” circles from this dough, making sure to lightly coat the cookie cutter with excess flour on the counter. Bring the excess dough together in a ball again, ensure you’ve spread out a bit more of the excess flour across your surface/counter and flatten the dough again to 1/2” thick. Continue to cut out circles. After this second round of cutting out circles you should be left with just enough dough to make 1-2 more doughnuts with your hands.
7. To make the centre hole you can lightly coat the thicker end of a chopstick with a bit of excess flour. Then stick it through the middle of the circles and roll it around a little to create a small 1/4” hole.
8. Combine sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a shallow dish and have it near your frying oil. You’re going to sprinkle the doughnuts right out of the fryer.
9. Ensure your oil has reached a temperature of 375°F and place 2 doughnuts in the hot oil. After about 1-1 1/2 minutes they should be floating at the surface. Using a slotted frying spoon, gently flip them. Let them fry for another 2-2 1/2 minutes until golden.
10. Lift them out with the slotted frying spoon allowing excess oil to drip onto paper towel. You can let them sit for a few seconds but you want to get them coated with cinnamon sugar almost immediately while they’re still hot. Roll the doughnuts around in the cinnamon sugar until evenly coated and place them on a separate clean plate. Continue this process until all the doughnuts are fried.

It’s best to eat these immediately while they’re still warm!

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

DIY Brunch Taco Party

Skip the lines and the hassle of corralling a large group into a 40-seat restaurant by hosting brunch at your house with an easy and fun breakfast taco party. Have your friends assemble their own tacos and they can even make their own corn tortillas from scratch. Not only does this keep your friends busy, it also means less work for you.

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Restaurants typically use a tortilla press to flatten balls of masa (corn flour), but unless you have one of your own, here’s a way to achieve perfectly round and flat tortillas using two cutting boards, some plastic wrap and a steady two-foot jump. Seriously.

For the Tortillas:

Ingredients:
Two sturdy wooden cutting boards (or large, heavy hardcover books)
Plastic wrap
Corn flour (Maseca is a popular brand)
Water
Salt
Frying pan

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Directions:
1. Follow the instructions on the package of corn flour to make the masa dough. Typically it’s 1 cup of corn flour, 3/4 cup of water and 1/8 tsp of salt to yield 8 tortillas. Double up the portions to make more.
2. Use a Tbsp-sized measuring spoon to make evenly sized individual balls of dough.
3. Put one of the cutting boards on the floor and place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the board.
4. Place a dough ball in the middle of the cutting board, followed by another piece of plastic wrap on top. Carefully place the other cutting board (or sturdy book) on top of the dough ball. Holding on to a countertop (or trusty friend) for balance, make a two-foot hop directly on top of the cutting board, flattening the dough ball. Shift your weight back and forth and side to side to ensure that the dough is flattened.
5. Remove the cutting board and gently peel away the plastic wrap, revealing a perfectly round corn tortilla. Place the tortilla on a hot, un-greased frying pan for about 30 seconds on each side.
6. Stack the cooked tortillas on top of each other on a plate. Place a slightly moist sheet of paper towel on top to prevent the stack from trying out.

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Taco Fillings:

There are no rules as to what you can put in a brunch taco, but here are some suggestions. Fill individual bowls with these toppings and let your guests make their own:

– Diced tomatoes
– Sautéed mushrooms
– Green or white onions
– Sliced avocados or guacamole
– Hot sauce
– Spicy mayonnaise (Sriracha mixed with mayo)
– Bell peppers
– Cut up bits of chorizo or breakfast sausage
– Scrambled eggs
– Lime wedges

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.

No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Shortcake Pies

Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake! Sweet cashew-coconut crust is packed with a creamy strawberry filling in these raw vegan strawberry shortcake pies. They’re delicious, healthy and completely satisfying — perfect for an outdoor party or an intimate get-together with friends. Tip: you can choose to forgo the crust and serve the filling in custard cups or martini glasses for a quick yet beautiful result.

Total Time: 12 minutes
Serves: 4 (4 mini tarts or 1 medium pie)

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Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 cup cashews
1 cup dried coconut
2/3 cup dates

For the filling:
2 cups cashews
2 cups strawberries (to blend)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups strawberries (reserve)

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Directions:
1. To make the crust, place coconut and cashews in food processor. Process until flour-like.
2. Add the dates to the food processor mixture. Process again for 3 minutes. Stop processing once it sticks together when pinched.
3. Press crust mixture firmly into tart pan(s). (Press crust down very firmly so it will stay together. If it won’t stick together, you haven’t processed long enough.) Set aside.
4. Place filling ingredients (except cashews and the final 4 cups of strawberries) in a blender. Blend until smooth.
5. Add cashews and blend again until smooth. Pour filling mixture into large bowl.
6. Finely chop the remaining strawberries. Add to filling mixture and stir gently with a spoon.
7. Spoon mixture into tarts and enjoy immediately.

Notes:
– If preparing in advance, store the pie crust and filling separately, then spoon filling into pie crusts just before eating.
– To make a smaller batch, feel free to halve the recipe. It won’t be enough to make an entire pie crust (using a standard 8″ pie dish), but if you have 2 mini pie pans they will work perfectly.

100x100_laura-jane-rawtarian Laura-Jane The Rawtarian is a leading creator of simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes.

Top 5 Foods That Prevent Bloating

Summer is the time to indulge; steak, ice cream, cookies, burgers, pizza — the list goes on! Not only is it everyone’s favorite eating season, but it’s also the time when our tummies start to ache and the unwanted bloated belly busts out of our tightly secured jean shorts. The summer belly bloat is often inevitable, but luckily there are some foods to help with bloating and prevent that post-meal slump.

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1. Ginger
Ginger is your belly’s new best friend. Slice it up and throw it in some hot water, toss it into an iced beverage or simply chew on a piece. Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and has been used for centuries as a digestive aid helping to alleviate gas, bloating, nausea and indigestion. Next time you start to feel the bloat coming on, grab some ginger and melt that digestion tension away.

2. Mint
Mint is a classic summer herb. Although it is often used to make summer-time mojitos, this fresh garden herb has medicinal properties. Mint actually has muscle-relaxing abilities and can reduce indigestion and belly spasms. The best use of mint to prevent bloating is to steep it in tea. Unfortunately, drinking it with alcohol may actually exacerbate your stomach pain, so try to decrease your intake those delicious minty drinks.

3. Fennel Seed
Similar to ginger, fennel or anise seed has been used for many, many years to prevent digestive issues like bloating. In India, many people actually chew on fennel seeds after a rich meal to aid digestion. Fennel seed will also freshen up your breath, while eliminating stomach cramping, gas and bloating.

4. Lemon
When your tummy needs aid, make lemonade! Adding ginger, mint or even lavender to lemonade will help to enhance your digestive ability and prevent bloating and pain. Lemons actually stimulate digestive juices in your body, enhancing your body’s ability to digest nutrients. Don’t feel like making this sweet summer drink? Squeeze one quarter of a lemon in a glass of water and drink up!

5. Parsley
Parsley is the most commonly used herb in cooking. It is also a diuretic (helps to increase the loss of water and salt from the body) and excellent for helping to prevent and overcome gas and bloating. Steeping parsley with your tea is the best way to eliminate bloating and reduce excess water weight. For an added bonus, it will also freshen up your breath.

Don’t let the fear of bloating, indigestion or gas stop you from living it up this summer. Equip yourself with these foods in your own, personal ‘digestive-first-aid-kit’ and don’t forget to share with your friends — they will certainly thank you!

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.

How to Make Strawberry Jam

As much as we love a delicious gourmet meal, there’s something to be said about a good ol’ classic PB&J. What better way to take a basic sandwich to a whole new level than with rich, homemade strawberry jam?

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Composed of nothing but a few simple ingredients, this made-from-scratch pantry staple is a must-try. When you see how easy (and insanely delicious) it is, we’re sure you’ll be making it every other week!

Ingredients:
1 quart of ripe strawberries (normal-sized container from the grocery store)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp water

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Directions:

1. Sort through the strawberries and make sure they’re completely ripe. Green ones just won’t cut it.

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2. Wash them, remove the stems, cut out the white bits and place them on a paper towel to remove the water.

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3. In a medium-sized pot on medium heat, add 1 tsp water along with the strawberries. Using a wooden spoon, mash the strawberries into small pieces and add the sugar. Stirring continuously, let them come to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and let it sit over night.

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4. The next morning, put it back on the stove. While you wait for the strawberries to come to a boil, fill two small jars with water and put them in the microwave until boiling. When the strawberries on the stove start to boil, pour the water out of the jars and fill them with the strawberry jam.

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5. Seal the jars, turn them upside down, let them cool and keep them stored in the fridge.

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.

How to Make Easy Blueberry Scones

When it comes to baked goods, most of us don’t even attempt to make them from scratch. But it turns out, scones can be just as simple as that go-to muffin recipe of yours — not to mention you likely already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

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Whether you bake them for a yummy weekend breakfast or for a tea party with friends, these simple, budget-friendly scones are bound to impress.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Icing sugar for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust racks so one’s in the centre. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pick over blueberries for only the ripe ones, and rinse.

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2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using 2 knives in a criss-cross motion, cut butter into the mix until pieces are no bigger than the size of peas. Stir in blueberries.

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3. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and eggs. Make a hole in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir lightly with fork, then bring to a lightly floured surface and knead just a little.

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4. Pat dough into a square that’s about 1” thick. Using a floured knife, cut it into four squares. Then cut the squares in half on a diagonal and once more, to create 16 mini triangles.

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5. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar.

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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.

How to Make Peach Bundt Cake

There’s one fruit that I look forward to all year; a fruit that just won’t do if it’s out of season, and that’s peaches. This juicy, flavour-packed fruit is always worth the wait, and you just won’t be able to find it in the cold weather months.

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When peaches hit the shelves near the end of summer, I buy them by the basketful. When I’m not eating fresh peaches, I look for ways to incorporate them into every other dish. Chutneys, salads, grilled and sautéed… These are all great ways to consume this delicious stone fruit. But really, I’m a sucker for cake.

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I love making this peach bundt cake — it’s stuffed full of peaches and if you like, topped with even more. I highly recommend serving it still warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a nice big dollop of fresh whipped cream.

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Ingredients:
1½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp  salt
½ cup whipping cream
4 large peaches (or 6 small) cut in large dice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a bundt tin and set aside. In a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on high after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Beat batter on high for 4 minutes until very pale and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl combine 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture along with cream and mix on low speed just until combined. Toss your chopped peaches in 1 Tbsp of flour and gently fold into your batter. The flour helps stop the peaches from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
3. Pour the batter into prepared tin and bake in the center of preheated oven for 1 hour or until golden brown and a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
4. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Don’t be tempted to remove the cake any sooner or you’ll risk having some stuck inside the tin.
5. Eat with a big spoonful of chopped peaches, ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Healthy White Bean Dip

When all you can scavenge from your cupboard is a can of beans, this delicious recipe will put them to good use. This white bean purée really stands out; it’s so lemony, so garlicky…and so necessary when hosting a party or get together. All you need is a few simple ingredients and some pita crisps or crackers for dipping, and you’re good to go.

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Ingredients:
1 540 ml can Romano beans, drained and rinsed
10-12 basil leaves
8 mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Half a lemon
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Rinse a can of Romano beans and look around the kitchen. Even look outside the kitchen — maybe you can grab some basil leaves and mint from the garden, as I was able to do. (Don’t be too impressed: I already managed to kill the thyme and tarragon this year).

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2. Peel 2 cloves of garlic (if you want a real garlic punch, go for 4 cloves). Add the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp salt.

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3. Pour in ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, then use the a blender to mix everything until smooth and creamy.

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4. Now, taste your mixture. It should be lemony and garlicky, with a nice balance of salt. You’ll know the flavours are perfect if you can’t help sticking your finger in for another sample. You can serve this dip simply, with a few crackers and it will certainly be a hit.

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Tip: If you want to make it a meal, toast some bread, add the purée and top with good tuna in olive oil, plus a few slices of seasonal tomatoes.

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Sue_Riedl

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.

12 Best Juice Bars Across Canada You Need to Try

Most people with juicers at home will agree that although the end result can be rewarding, it’s the clean up afterwards that makes it a chore. Pair that with a few failed juicing experiments and your juicer might start collecting dust. Needless to say, some things are best left to the professionals.

Here are 12 different spots from coast to coast that are all about keeping you refreshed and energized with their cold-pressed juices, smoothies and more. Whether you’re a cold-pressed juice fanatic or not, Canadian juice bars are making their mark (and they’ve got some pretty cool names, too).

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instagram.com/crujuice

CRU Juice (Calgary, AB)

With a clear knack for marketing, the slick look of Cru’s cold-pressed juice and clever names like “Menage a trois” (a blend of almonds, cashews and hemp seeds, sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla) or “The Big O” (a naval and blood orange combination), have helped make this spot the go-to juicery Calgary. Attention-grabbing names aside, their juices are well-made and worth every penny. Why the Cru, you ask? Well, because it means “raw” in French.

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instagram.com/enviehalifax

enVie: A Vegan Kitchen (Halifax, NS)

Halifax’s premier vegan restaurant isn’t just focused on serving nice plates of food. The front half of the restaurant offers a lot of take-away options, including a line of invigorating juices, like the “ABC” made with apple, beet, carrot (get it?), ginger and lemon.

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instagram.com/freshrestaurants

Fresh (Toronto, ON)

Whipping up cold-pressed juices before it was a fad, this healthy Toronto dining staple has been around since 1999. Today, there are four locations downtown, all offering up a healthy drink menu that’s just as varied as their food menu, with choices of fruit-based juices, unique milk varieties, green smoothies and a ton more.

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instagram.com/glowjuicerybc

Glow Juicery (Edmonton, AB and Kelowna, BC)

You’ll find this refreshing juice producer in both Edmonton and Kelowna. In addition to selling a variety of “glow” blends like the “Sky Glow” (pear, cucumber, lemon and mint), the juice bar also offers different types of juice cleanse packages if you’re looking to try a purely liquid diet for a few days.

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instagram.com/juicetruck

The Juice Truck (Vancouver, BC)

The first cold-pressed juice truck in Canada is a go-to for many Vancouverites, with their long list of refreshing and creative drinks like the Blueberry matcha smoothie or “The Remedy,” made with pineapple, kale, mint and ginger. I’ve heard the latter is rumoured to cure hangovers!

If you aren’t much of a truck chaser, not to worry. They’ve got a bricks and mortar location on West 5th Avenue as well.

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instagram.com/jusubar

Jusu (Victoria, BC)

Victoria’s original juice bar has now grown to a four-location family around the small coastal city. They pride themselves on using only organic ingredients to create their juices and nut milks. There’s a lot to choose from here, but you should definitely try the “Hawkeye,” made with apple, orange, carrot and tumeric. It won’t disappoint, unlike the superhero by the same name in the latest Avengers movie. Just saying…

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instagram.com/juspur_

Juspur (Montreal, QC)

Go green at this popular Montreal juice bar with the “V4,” a healthy mix of parsley, romaine, spinach, cucumber and celery or try something uniquely sweet by cracking open an “L1,” an interesting mix of Swiss chard, pear and more or the “L3,” which includes almond milk, butternut squash and maple syrup. Variety is the spice (juice) of life, after all.

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Krokodile Pear (Vancouver, BC)

Taking a slightly different approach to juicing, Krokodile’s menu changes with the seasons. Like when B.C. blueberries come into season (hint: that’s right now), you should expect their juices to taste as fresh as can be. Once the weather starts to cool off in the fall, expect beets and stone fruits to start filtering onto the menu.

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Live Food Bar (Toronto, ON)

Around since 2002, Live has been a consistent hot spot for health-conscious Torontonians since day one. Even if a raw food meal isn’t up your alley, you can appreciate their juices and rich smoothies like the “Butterscotch Ripple,” a deceiving indulgent blend of coconut cream, banana, dates, vanilla and much more. Sounds good to me!

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Refuel Juice and Salad Bar (Toronto, ON)

Swing by Refuel for a build-it-yourself salad for a super healthy and filling lunch, but you’ll need something to wash it down with. Try a bottle of the “Fresh Mojito,” which includes grapefruit, lime and mint, will definitely do the trick.

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Thrive Juice Co. (Saskatoon, SK)

Saskatoon’s bright and airy juice bar on the corner of 20th Street and Avenue B is just one more business helping to revitalize the Riversdale neighbourhood in the city’s downtown. Speaking of revitalizing, try sipping on one of Thrive’s organic juices for a little pick me up. They even offer weekly juice deliveries straight to your door.

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Wild and Raw (Calgary, AB)

Think twice about grabbing a big, calorie-ridden frappucino from the Starbucks across the street and perhaps opt for a more fulfilling drink from Wild and Raw. Stay cool in the summer heat with the “Berry Spicy Kapha,” a unique blend of Saskatoon berries, beets, ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper for a little heat.

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.

11 Foods That Should Never Be Refrigerated

Call me weird, but I really hate putting away the groceries. There’s never any room in the fridge and I now know why. I’ve been putting foods I don’t need to refrigerate in my already-crowded fridge!

Have a look at the list below (I’m going home and taking out #3, #6, #7 and #9 immediately)!

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1. Honey

No need to put honey in the fridge, it’ll just thicken and crystallize which is really annoying to scoop out but perfectly fine. Honey is all natural so it stays good almost indefinitely in the pantry. In fact, a 1000-year-old jar of honey will be as fresh as the day it was put into that jar.

2. Avocados

Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, you can put them in the fridge for a week. Best to keep avocados whole, not sliced, to avoid browning that occurs when the flesh is exposed to air. Also if you want them to ripen faster, put them on top of your fridge in a paper bag.

3. Hot sauce

I didn’t know this but you can keep it in the pantry for up to three years!

4. Coffee

The fridge (and the freezer) create condensation which affect the flavour of both ground coffee and coffee beans. It’ll also absorb odours in the fridge. My mom actually uses coffee grounds instead of baking soda for its odour-absorbing powers. Keep coffee in an airtight container in the pantry.

5. Onions

Avoid direct sunlight. Keep them in a cool, dry place but NOT next to your potatoes. When stored together, both deteriorate faster. Moisture in your fridge will turn onions soft and moldy–yuck.

6. Potatoes

Putting them in the fridge affects the flavour and texture (they become gritty) Store in the pantry in paper bags (plastic bags trap moisture and speed decay). Most varieties should last three weeks but not next to the onions (See #5).

7. Bread

Did you know refrigeration will dry your bread out quicker? It’ll also make it tough and less tasty. Unless it’s sliced bread you plan on using in the next few days, keep it in the freezer or the counter.

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes lose all their flavour in the fridge because the cold stops the ripening process. It also messes with the texture and them mealy and mushy.

9. Melons

You really shouldn’t store any whole melon fruit in the fridge. Once it’s cut though, that’s another story. There’s research that shows refrigerating whole melons decreases the antioxidants – that’s the good stuff you want.

10. Garlic

Store them in a cool, dry and ventilated container to preserve their powerful flavour. Once the head has been broken open, use the cloves within 10 days.

11. Oils

Nut oils (like hazelnut oil or peanut oil) must be refrigerated, but for other types of oil keep them in the pantry. They become cloudy and harden when refrigerated. While this doesn’t do lasting damage, it’s a pain to wait for the oil to warm up before it flows properly again.