Caesar Cocktail Dip Feature Image

Spicy Canadian Caesar Cocktail Dip for Any Party

All of the fantastic flavours that go into the classic Canadian cocktail are whirled together with sour cream and mayo to create a creamy, spicy Caesar-inspired dip. Garnish with a swirl of puréed roasted red peppers and be sure to serve with lots of crunchy celery!

Caesar Cocktail Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4-1/2 cups

Ingredients:
2 roasted whole red peppers
1 Roma tomato
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup canned baby clams, drained
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus sprig for garnishing
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
8 dashes Tabasco or hot sauce, preferably jalapeño, to taste
4 generous dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp celery salt or Caesar rimmer
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

ingredients-caesar-dip

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulse roasted red peppers until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl.
2. Slice tomato in half crosswise, then seed. Coarsely chop and place in rinsed food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if you like.
3. Scrape dip into serving bowl and swirl puréed red pepper over dip. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro, if you like.

Caesar Dip Ingredients

Tip: If making ahead, dip will keep well covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Serve with tortilla chips and celery sticks for dipping.

Crazy for Caesars? Try our great Canadian Caesar garnishes.

Peameal Bacon

The History of Canadian Peameal Bacon

Canadians know peameal bacon as an iconic national breakfast food, but the back bacon’s backstory is even richer than its flavour. In fact, the story of peameal bacon is tied to several important themes of the last two centuries: the rise and fall of the British Empire, emigration and immigration, and the development of modern agriculture. But more than anything, the history of peameal is a salty tale of how Hogtown got its name, not to mention its most iconic sandwich.

For those who don’t know (and for Americans who claim it’s something else altogether), peameal bacon is wet-cured pork loin from the back of the hog that has been trimmed of fat and rolled in cornmeal, creating a yellow crust.  Originally, it was rolled in crushed yellow peas, hence the name peameal. It is much leaner than the pork belly strips that the British call “streaky,” and Canadians and Americans simply call “bacon.”

Peameal Bacon

Peameal bacon holds a spot in 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die, and it’s easy to understand why. The brining process makes it nearly impossible to overcook, and it’s both leaner and juicer and than regular bacon. A uniquely Canadian product, it’s often confused with Canadian bacon, a smoked back bacon that’s popular in the U.S., and isn’t Canadian at all.

These days, it’s hard to find peameal bacon outside of Canada, making it a favourite with tourists at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market. The Carousel Bakery, which has occupied the same spot in the market since 1977, is a city landmark famous for its fresh peameal bacon sandwiches.

Toronto's Carousel Bakery has occupied the same spot in the historic St. Lawrence Market since 1977.

Toronto’s Carousel Bakery has occupied the same spot in the historic St. Lawrence Market since 1977.

Robert Biancolin, who co-owns the bakery with his brother, dubs peameal bacon Toronto’s most original food. “It wasn’t brought here from somewhere else,” he says. “It is very uniquely Torontonian. Of course, like poutine was uniquely Québécois, it spread across the country. It is one of those dishes that encompasses being Canadian. It is part of our tradition.”

Unlike Canadian bacon (which is, let’s not forget, American) peameal bacon must be cooked. Biancolin says the best way to prepare it is by griddling, although it can also be baked, barbecued or roasted.

Peameal bacon is delicious, iconic and Canadian, but culinary historians have struggled to identify its origins with absolute certainty. “I don’t think that you’ll find a single origin story,” writes Daniel Bender, Director of Culinaria Research Centre and University of Toronto history professor, in an email. “There are and have been for centuries many ways of curing pork — ways of making it last through lean months. Smoking is one. Salting is another. Corning (curing through brine) exists in numerous locations and recipes.”

William Davies stall, St. Lawrence Market, 1911

William Davies’ stall in the St. Lawrence Market, 1911.
City of Toronto Archives

Toronto’s oral history offers a clue by naming pork baron William Davies the inventor of peameal bacon. This is the story that’s been passed down through muddy stockyards, told over deli counters, and posted across the blogosphere, and while the well-told tale has likely changed over the years, that doesn’t mean it’s hogwash. What we do know is that William Davies forged an empire on bacon and other pork products.

By the early 1900s, with the help of business partner Joseph Flavelle, Davies had built what was believed to be the largest pork plant in the British Empire, processing nearly half a million hogs a year at his Front Street plant near the mouth of the Don River, and earning Toronto its nickname, Hogtown.

William Davies Store, interior, 1908

William Davies Store interior, 1908. According to the City of Toronto Archives, sources differ on the store’s location, which was either in City Hall Square, or on Queen Street West, between Bay and Yonge streets.

Davies couldn’t have had better timing. By the Victorian era, bacon was considered a necessity and demand for the Canadian export was high. In The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davies writes that bacon enlivened otherwise “stodgy” British cooking. British Food writer Colin Spencer is more generous, writing, “If the British are known for any culinary achievement it is the great British breakfast…even in the nineteenth century, bacon for breakfast would become almost de rigueur, even for the lower classes.” Canadian cured pork continued to be an important food product in Britain well into the Second World War, when the Bacon Agreement stipulated that the U.K. would accept no less than 5.6 million pounds of Canadian ham and bacon each week.

Changing dietary attitudes and demographics mean that Canadian pork isn’t as popular with Britons — or Canadians — as it once was. Still, Davies’ legacy lives on. His company would eventually become today’s Maple Leaf Foods, which still produces peameal bacon for national consumption.

Meanwhile, the St. Lawrence Market remains a hub for cured meats and other delicacies. Locals, tourists and celebrities, including chefs Anthony Bourdain, Bobby Flay and David Chang, continue to flock to the market,  going hog wild for Toronto’s most original — and enduring — treat.

anna-olson-mother's-day-treats

Anna Olson’s Mother’s Day Treats

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and one of the best ways to show Mom how much you appreciate her is gifting her with some homemade treats. To help inspire you, we’ve put together Anna Olson’s yummiest and most adorable sweets that Mom will be sure to love.

mother's-day-cheesecake-pops

Berry Blast Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cookies

Mini Cannolis

French Macarons

Cheesecake Pops

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Chocolate-Dipped Lady Fingers

Fudge Brownies

Baby Cherry Pies

Individual Ganache Tarts

Pecan Butter Tarts

Lemon Meringue Squares

Easy Easter Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every family kitchen needs a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. One day, a couple of years ago, the kids and I decided to add some leftover mini chocolate eggs to our chocolate chip cookie dough.

We were pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out — and it was so easy! It has now become our family’s Easter tradition. They are perfect for an Easter potluck or as a bright addition to your own Easter table.

Easter-egg-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe

Chocolate Easter Egg Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 36 cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
2¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 to 2 cups Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs

Easter-egg-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe1

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat together butter and both sugars until smooth. Mix in your eggs and vanilla.
3. In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into wet ingredients. Pour in your chocolate chips and mix well.
4. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets about 1 to 2 inches apart. Next gently press 2 chocolate eggs on each cookie.
5. Bake in oven for 8 to 9 minutes, turning and rotating pans half way through until edges are lightly browned.
6. Let cool completely on racks. Can be frozen for up to two weeks.

Raspberry Cordial

Raspberry Cordial Inspired by Anne of Green Gables

A trip to Prince Edward Island wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a raspberry cordial and a tour of Green Gables, the inspirational house behind L.M. Montgomery’s famous tales of a red haired orphan named Anne.

As the much-loved children’s story goes, Anne of Green Gables accidentally serves her friend what she believed to be this fruity cordial, only to discover that she accidentally got her friend drunk on red currant wine.

This literary-inspired blushing beverage is sweet, tart and best served chilled with sliced lemon and fresh mint.

Raspberry Cordial

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 12-24 hours
Makes: 7 cups

Ingredients:
2 bags (each 400 g) frozen raspberries, about 5 1/2 cups
6 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions:
1. Place raspberries in large heatproof bowl.
2. Bring water and sugar to boil in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Pour sugar water over raspberries. Cool to room temperature.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
4. Strain into bowl. Reserve raspberries for another use.
5. Stir in lemon juice.
6. Serve chilled. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Tip: You can press the raspberries to extract more juice, however, it will cause the cordial to be cloudy.

Top up your glass with sparkling water for a raspberry spritzer!

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

If there were two ingredients that belong together, that everyone can unanimously agree complement each other in best possible way, its peanut butter and jelly. The perfect combination of sweet and salty, these peanut butter and ice wine jelly bars are an irresistible snack, with a unique Canadian twist. Ice wine jelly gives these sweet treats a downright grown-up taste that will surely satisfy your PB &J cravings.

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 squares

Ingredients:

Shortbread Cookie Base Layer:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups flour

Peanut Butter and Jam Layer:

1 cup ice wine jelly
1 x 7g package gelatin
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 – 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts

Peanut Butter and ice Wine Jelly Bar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking tin with parchment paper with overhanging sides.
2. In a large bowl combine butter and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, beat until creamy and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together salt and flour. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
3. Press shortbread evenly into prepared tin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
4. While shortbread base is cooling, make peanut butter and jam layer. Heat ice wine jelly in a saucepan on low heat to melt slowly, about 2 to 3 minutes. In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over hot water and stir to combine. Leave for 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture to melted jam and stir to combine. Leave to cool.
5. When shortbread base has cooled (about 1 hour), spread jam mixture evenly over top. Dollop tablespoons of peanut butter on top of jam. Use a toothpick to swirl peanut butter into jam. Top with crushed peanuts. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour or up to 12.

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

John Catucci’s Italian Easter Traditions

If you’ve ever been a guest at an Italian holiday or family celebration, you know Italians cook up the most delizioso feast. Easter is one of the great Italian feasts of the year,  where a spread of savoury meats, cheeses and salumi, a bounty of seasonal vegetables, and rich sweet desserts are devoured to celebrate this important spring holiday.

John-Catucci-You-Gotta-Eat-Here

You Gotta Eat Here! host John Catucci, whose family hails from southern Italy, told us that an antipasto platter called a Benedetto (John calls it a “pyramid of deliciousness”) is a big part of his family’s Easter feast. This traditional dish is made by layering slices of different savoury cured meats, creamy ricotta, oranges, lemons and hard boiled eggs. John’s family would make a special trip to buy the cured meats and other Easter ingredients at Diana Meat and Grocery, a traditional Italian grocer  in Toronto’s Corso Italia neighbourhood.

Benedetto-Italian-Easter
Image credits (from left to right): michelaalicino.it; cucinasuditalia.blogspot.ca; cucchiarando.wordpress.com

A large platter of Italian meats and cheese sounds satisfying enough but that was just the beginning. The feast culminated with John’s dad’s roast lamb, the traditional choice for the Catucci family’s Easter feast. To make your own Easter roast lamb,  check out these great recipes from Food Network Canada chefs:

Lynn-Crawford-Roast-Lamb

For more great Easter ideas and recipes, visit our Easter Guide.

Watch new episodes of You Gotta Eat Here! with John Catucci Fridays at 9 ET/6 PT.

padma

Sink Your Teeth Into Padma Lakshmi’s New Memoir

For the past 12 seasons of Top Chef, host Padma Lakshmi has continued to be stylish and sophisticated, without any pretension. Each week we’ve seen her introduce challenges, judge dishes and politely demand contestants to “please pack your knives and go.” But there’s much more to this woman when the cameras stop rolling. From comfort foods to stormy relationships and chronic illnesses, Padma reveals it all with gusto in her new memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate.

Released on International Women’s Day, Padma’s book offers readers an honest memoir of her life, using food to frame her story.

Padma’s Favourite Foods

Padma’s memories of growing up in India are interspersed with some of her favourite recipes; yogurt rice, kumquat and ginger chutney, and kichidi, a rice and lentil porridge. All these and more are sprinkled throughout her memoir.

Padma explains she was on a lacto-vegetarian Hindu Brahmin diet in her teens, so she found it hard to eat American foods at first, sticking only to rice. At one point, Padma even dubbed herself the “most practiced rice aficionado.”

As an adult, cooking became the best way to mask her insecurities. At dinner parties with former husband Salman Rushdie and his intellectual friends, Padma writes she was nervous to speak freely and instead spent time in the kitchen keeping her hands busy. She would often get lost in cooking, making three times the amount of food, without having any room to store leftovers.

Padma’s Personal Struggles

Growing up in America, you’re exposed to a lot of different cultures, and unfortunately, Padma struggled with her identity at a young age. She even went so far as to change her name to Angelique to Americanize herself. She writes candidly about getting egged and being called names by other girls in school because of her ethnicity. As Padma got older, she felt like less of an outsider and eventually became comfortable in her own skin.

Padma also reveals her experience with endometriosis, a painful uterine disorder in which tissue grows outside the organ. For years she hid this condition from her family, still in denial even after being rushed to the hospital due to chronic pain. Padma writes that she did not want to be defined by her condition, one that 10 percent of women have. Endometriosis is one of three major causes of infertility, so in 2009, Padma launched The Endometriosis Foundation of America, an organization focused on increasing awareness and education of the disorder.

Padma’s On-Set Concoctions

With Top Chef being the sister show to Project Runway, it made sense for a model to host the show — but Padma always strives to be more than just a pretty face. In her memoir, she cites instances where she felt inferior to the accomplished chefs who appear as judges. But lucky for her, it didn’t take long to make her mark in the culinary world.

Shooting a television show is a lot of ‘hurry up and wait,’ and during that waiting, Padma would eat. She eventually taught many colleagues how to make her childhood classic: chili cheese toast. And because she constantly tastes food on the show, Padma created a special drink to cleanse her digestive pipes. She calls it the Cranberry Drano. It includes cranberry juice, clear fiber powder and one pack of Emergen-C with hot green tea and honey. We’ll cheers to that!

Love, Loss and What We Ate is available in bookstores now.

Canadian Style Irish Coffee

A Canadian-Style Irish Coffee to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Canadian-ified version of the classic Irish coffee cocktail. This twist is spiked with our patriotic Canadian whisky and a drizzle of maple syrup then topped with maple-laced whipped cream, of course.

Canadian-Style Irish Coffee

Canadian-Style Irish Coffee

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
2 oz Canadian whisky
1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters, optional
4 to 6 oz hot strong coffee, preferably good-quality

coffee

Directions:
1. Using a whisk, electric mixer or stand mixer, whisk whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk in 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside. If making ahead, whipped cream will keep well, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
2. Add whisky, maple syrup and bitters to a heat-proofed mug. Pour in coffee. Top with a dollop of the maple whipped cream.

Whisky

Looking for more patriotic libations? Try one of our 10 Sensational Canadian Cocktails.

Food Safety: The Shelf Life of Meats and Seafood

Nothing makes weeknight dinners easier than having a fridge fully stocked with a variety of delicious possibilities. Purchasing meats and seafood on sale can save you a lot of money in the long term. But before you fill your cart full of groceries, read this simple guide on safety practices for keeping eggs, poultry, beef and more.

open-fridge-meat-shelf-life

Eggs
Whole eggs are one of the top contenders when it comes to having a long shelf life. They will keep safely in the fridge for a full 5 weeks. Over time, eggs take in air, which pushes the white away from the shell making it extremely easy to peel — a bonus for deviled egg lovers!

Liquid, pasteurized eggs may seem more convenient, but they have a shorter shelf life. Once opened, they need to be used within 3 days. Regardless of the type of egg you purchase, they should never be stored in the freezer.

Beef
When you buy fresh, ground beef, you don’t have long to cook it, as it has to be consumed within 2 days of purchasing. Other cuts of beef, such as steaks or roasts, are a bit more forgiving; they can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze it: To extend the shelf life, freeze any type of beef in a tightly sealed container. Ground beef can be used within 4 months, and all other cuts can be kept for up to 12 months.

Cook it: From a rich Bolognese to a saucy stew, if you like to make big-batch meals with beef, they can be cooked and safely stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure to transfer any hot food into small, shallow containers to ensure it cools quickly, which prevents bacteria from growing.

Pork
It’s hard to grocery shop without picking up a package of the ever-beloved bacon and luckily, you have a full week to safely consume it. Fresh sausage and ground pork are also delicious options, however, they should both be cooked within 2 days of purchasing. Other cuts of pork, such as chops, can be consumed within 5 days.

Freeze it: Freeze any pork in a tightly sealed container. Bacon will keep for up to a month, fresh sausages and pork for up to 2 months and other cuts for up to 6 months.

Cook it: Cooked pork of any kind can be safely stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and the freezer for up to 3 months.

Poultry
Poultry is a great staple for delicious and affordable meals. From chicken to turkey and quail, all fresh poultry should be consumed within 2 days of purchasing.

Freeze it: Freeze any poultry in a tightly sealed container. Individual cuts, such as breasts or thighs, can be used within 9 months and whole poultry, such as chicken, can be kept for an entire year.

Cook it: Cooked poultry can be safely stored in the fridge for 4 days and the freezer for up to 4 months.

Lunch Meats
Your sandwich meats should be consumed within 4 days of purchasing. If you’re looking for something that will last the full week, try buying cured meats, such as summer sausage, which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Freeze it: Freeze any lunch meats in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 months.

Seafood
Whether it’s trout, haddock, spot prawns or lobster, all fresh fish and shellfish should be consumed within 2 days of purchasing. However, smoked fish has a longer shelf life and can be kept for up to 14 days.

Freeze it: Freeze any fish or shellfish in a tightly sealed container. Fatty fish, such as mackerel, along with any shellfish or smoked fish will keep for up to 2 months and leaner fish, such as sole, will keep for up to 6 months.

Cook it: All cooked fish can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

*Note: Always remember you can never re-freeze any food that has previously been frozen, regardless of the type of meat or seafood.

Maple Pie Parfait

How to Make Canadian Maple Pie Parfaits

Picture all the yummy goodness that goes into a traditional Canadian maple pie — maple syrup, buttery crust, pecans — all layered into an elegant parfait. In classic fashion, this scrumptious dessert is best topped with decadent crème fraiche or whipped cream.

Maple Pie Parfaits

Canadian Maple Pie Parfaits
Total Time: 180 minutes
Makes: 4 parfaits

Ingredients:

Maple Custard:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk, 3.8%
1/2 tsp maple extract

Buttery Pecan Pie Crust:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp whole roasted or toasted pecans
2 generous pinches salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1/2 tsp lemon juice, optional

Topping:
1 cup crème fraiche or whipped cream
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
8 tsp maple syrup

Maple Pie Parfait Custard

Directions:

1. Prepare Maple Custard by placing yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth and evenly mixed. Set bottom of bowl on a kitchen towel to help secure to counter. Pour milk into a medium saucepan. Set over medium. Heat, stirring occasionally until steaming, about 5 minutes. Scrape bottom to avoid scalding. When milk is steaming, remove from heat. Slowly whisk half of milk into egg mixture, being careful not to scramble.
2. Slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into remaining milk in saucepan. Set over medium. Heat, whisking frequently, being careful not to scramble until thickened and the first bubble pops, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately.
3. Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve back into bowl. Using bottom of a ladle, swirl and push through sieve. Scrape any custard from bottom of sieve. Whisk maple extract into custard until evenly mixed. Press a piece of plastic wrap over surface of custard. Cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. If making ahead, custard will keep well, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Maple Pie Parfait Crust
4. Meanwhile, prepare Buttery Pecan Pie Crust. Mix flour, sugar and pecans in a food processor until pecans are ground. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized crumbs form. Mix until dough comes together. Add lemon juice, if needed. Scrape over a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap and shape dough into a disc. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
5. Roll chilled dough out on a generously floured surface until 1/4–inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut out 4 leaf-shaped pieces, each about 2 inches wide. Carefully transfer to one side of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Next, transfer remaining dough to other side of baking sheet. Don’t worry about it’s rough shape or if it tears a little. The remaining baked piece will be mostly crumbled later anyway. Roughly cut this dough into 2-inch pieces. Chill in the fridge until firm.
6. Preheat oven to 325°F (160C).
7. Bake prepared dough in centre of preheated oven until lightly golden, 15 minutes. Remove to a rack. Let cool completely.
8. When ready to serve parfaits, layer ingredients in 4 parfait cups, each with a 1 cup capacity. Begin with 1/4 cup chilled Maple Custard topped with 2 Tbsp crème fraiche in each glass. Crumble 1 rough square cookie overtop. Sprinkle each with chopped pecans. Drizzle each with 1 tsp maple syrup. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Garnish each with leaf-shaped piece of crust.

Looking for more delicious Canadian treats ? Try our 10 Great Canadian Desserts.

CIYE - Jake Donaldson Chef Jordan Andino

Jake Takes the Cake as Chef in Your Ear Juniors Champ

When 14-year-old Jake Donaldson appeared on Chef in Your Ear Juniors, his goal was simple: be a better cook than his dad, who only makes cereal. Now the first Juniors champion can brag about his winning crab cakes — and about busting out his dance moves on national television.

Dancing helped Jake deal with his nerves.

First of all, who or what inspired you to go on the show?
When I found out what it was, I just really wanted to do it.  Even the name of the show, Chef In Your Ear, it seemed like a cool concept and I was hooked right away. Why not try new things?

Since winning, have you made any more crab cakes?
I haven’t made any more crab cakes because my life is really busy with music and dancing and singing. Now I at least know how to make crab cakes — maybe better than my mom or dad — so maybe one day I’ll do it again for the family!

What has the response been like from your classmates and teachers?
It’s actually really cool because a group of my friends invited me over when the show aired. We went to my friend’s house, had a party to watch the show. They all made fun of me, because I was holding the knife upside down, and I didn’t cut the lemon in half to squeeze it to get the juice out.

Any behind the scenes secrets you can share?
If anyone has seen my episode and saw how stressful it was, it was exactly that stressful. I didn’t know beforehand what I was cooking so it was stressful trying to figure it out, but tons of fun at the same time.

Jake's winning dish, King Crab Cakes with Lemon Aoili and Herb Salad.

Jake’s winning dish, King Crab Cakes with Lemon Aoili and Herb Salad.

What do you think of the host Greg Komorowski – is he as funny in person as he is on the show?
Greg is as funny in person, yeah. He’s cracking jokes left and right and it was so fun working with him. He’s as cool as when you see him on TV.

Your competitor Liv, you’d never met before right?
It was our first time meeting each other. I haven’t kept in touch with Liv. I have to find his social media so I can keep up with him. It was such a fun time working with Liv as well.

Hopefully he’ll read this interview and reach out! You were on Chef Jordan  Andino’s team – what’s so cool about him?
He reminds me a lot of myself. Very energetic, very fun but serious at the same time, knowing we had to get the job done. It was so fun working with him. He’s basically an older version of me. That energy came through, even just through the earpiece.

Jordan Andino, Greg Komorowski, Jake Donaldson, Chef In Your Ear

So if Jordan’s an older version of you, does that mean you’ll soon have a restaurant in the Hamptons?
I have no idea if I’ll have a restaurant one day. As I said before, I’m focusing my passion on my music and my dancing right now. But you never know, one day ‘Chef’ might be a good title.

Watch Jake’s episode “Let Them Eat Cakes”, and catch up on Chef In Your Ear Juniors with a March Break marathon starting Tuesday, March 15. See schedule here

Introducing Canada’s Own Rainbow Bagel

Colourful, carb loaded, psychedelic, delicious… these are not words you would typically see strung together, but the rainbow bagel encompass all of these and more.

rainbow-bagel-cream-cheese-2

Courtesy of Dizz’s Bagel

The Bagel Store in NYC has been making the popular Rainbow Bagel for 20 years, but only until recently did it receive the praise it deserved. With lineups out the door and selling hundreds of these labour-intensive treats on a daily basis, there’s no doubt this trend is worth a try.

But you don’t need to take a trip to NYC to try this trend. Montreal has created its own psychedelic take on the traditional breakfast food at Dizz’s Bagel. These colourful, looped wonders are putting our sesame bagels to shame with their vibrant, chewy exterior, only to be heightened by big slab of sweet, birthday cake cream cheese.

rainbow-bagel-cream-cheese-6

Courtesy of Dizz’s Bagel

The creation process is no doubt time-consuming due to the multiple layers of neon coloured dough that are piled one on top of another. They’re then cut and rolled so each individual rainbow bagel is slightly different than the next.

rainbow-bagel-cream-cheese-5

Courtesy of Dizz’s Bagel

People have said it’s like eating cake for breakfast, which isn’t the worst way you could start your day. So watch out Skittles, with this bagel you really can “taste the rainbow.”

Le Roy Jucep Poutine

The History of Poutine: One Hot Mess

When it comes to poutine, three things are certain: it was invented in Québec, it’s best made with fresh cheese curds and it’s undeniably delicious. What’s less clear is who first made it, and when.

The very history of this palate-pleasing, artery-clogging French Canadian masterpiece is a hot mess, peppered with colourful characters and laced with a distracting array of secret sauces and gooey melted cheese curds.

Jucep Poutine

Two Québec restaurants in the region south of Trois-Rivieres claim to be first to serve up the now-iconic dish. Café Ideal, later re-named Le Lutin Qui Rit (The Laughing Elf), has the earliest claim. Story has it, the Warwick, Qué. café was serving poutine — or something quite like it — as early as 1957. But detractors suggest that even if Café Ideal served it first, their piping hot bag of fries and fresh cheese curds was missing a key ingredient — the gravy, known in Québec as ‘sauce brune.’

The more widely accepted claim to serving all three key ingredients together comes from Drummondville’s Le Roy Jucep, once owned by the late Jean-Paul Roy. Le Roy Jucep holds the trademark as “l’inventeur de la poutine” but just like their menu, which offers 23 options for cheesy, sauce-smothered fries, their origin story comes in several flavours. Some say it was an out-of-town customer who first asked his waitress to toss fresh cheese curds — widely available in the dairy-rich region — onto his plate of fries and gravy. Others claim the culinary ménage a trois was a frequent off-menu request from the diner’s regulars – so frequent that Roy decided to make it an official menu option around 1965 or 1967.

Le Roy Juce

Le Roy Juce, is one of a few restaurants claiming to be the birthplace of poutine.

“Whoever’s the first human to put cheese, gravy and fries on a plate, we’ll never know for sure,” says Charles Lambert, Le Roy Jucep’s third owner and current protector of the diner’s secret sauce recipe. “[But] the first restaurant to write the letters P-O-U-T-I-N-E on a menu is for sure Le Roy Jucep. And that represented fries, cheese curds and gravy.”

According to Lambert, in the mid-60’s wait staff grew tired of writing “fries, cheese curds and gravy” each time a customer ordered the increasingly popular dish, and decided it needed a name. Lambert has a few ideas for how the now famous moniker came to be. “Poutine” was regional slang for “pudding,” and another way of saying “mix” or “mess” — both appropriate adjectives. Moreover, one of Le Roy Jucep’s cooks went by the nickname “Ti-Pout,” so “poutine” was a name that honoured both the dish and its maker.

Café Ideal’s name story is a similar, albeit saltier tale. Popular history has it that when Eddy Lanaisse, reportedly the first customer to ask for cheese curds with his fries, made his request, owner Fernand Lachance exclaimed, “Ça va te faire une maudite poutine!” or “That will make a damned mess!”

On that point, at least, we have accord: poutine is a mess, but damned if it isn’t delicious.

Can’t get enough poutine? Try these delicious 9 Fun Facts About Poutine.

How to Make a Breakfast Fondue for Mother’s Day

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a fun breakfast fondue . Make a delicious spread of all of Mom’s favourite treats complete with fruit skewers and melted chocolate.

chocolate_fondue

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
8 oz (250 g) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) 35% whipping cream
Fresh cut fruit or fruit kabobs
Mini cinnamon buns
Mini croissants
Mini muffins
French toast sticks
Granola bars
Waffles

Directions:
1. Heat cream in small saucepan set over medium heat just until it starts to simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Then whisk until smooth.
2. Keep warm and serve with your favourite breakfast dippers.

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.

blog_network_banner

Maple

How to Make Maple Taffy on Snow

How to Make Maple Taffy on Snow

Design by Alexandra Tanner
Alex Tanner

Maple syrup is a sense of pride for many Canadians and rightly so. We produce 85 percent of the maple syrup that the world enjoys on their pancakes, waffles and crêpes. And here in Canada, we get to enjoy one quintessential Canadian experience — eating the oh-so-delicious taffy on snow.

Charlie Temple knows the joy of serving up the delicious golden sticks of taffy to visitors to Temple’s Sugar Bush in Ferguson’s Falls, Ont. Each year, he opens up his sugar bush and restaurant to the public, serving up lots of syrup and sharing the sweet secret to making liquid gold.

“It’s magic,” says Charlie, who’s been making syrup since the 1970’s. “The liquid pours out the trees and becomes the most wonderful tasting stuff.”

As guests walk through the trails in Temple’s 80 acres of sugar bush, they’ll see the criss-cross of tubes collecting sap from the trees each spring. As the days get warmer and warmer, the sap starts flowing from sugar maple trees and travels down the tubing to the boil house. There it’s boiled for hours until thick and golden. It takes about 40 litres of sap to produce just one litre of syrup.

Every year, visitors are excited to witness the process first-hand and learn how one of Canada’s favourite foods is harvested from the forest.

“Even for me I’m still awestruck by the whole process,” says Charlie.

Looking for more sweet ideas? Try these 20 sweet and savoury maple syrup recipes.

Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

If brunch has taught us one thing, it’s that Sunday mornings were made for indulgence. So why not indulge in the most Canadian way possible; with a Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich?
Peameal bacon plays the starring role, but like every Canadian knows, no breakfast is complete without maple syrup. This is why we’ve sandwiched smoky Canadian cheddar, peameal bacon, eggs, apple and a maple-mustard sauce between a warm, homemade maple biscuit.  Breakfast doesn’t get any more Canadian than this.

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

Biscuits:
1 cup 35% cream
3 Tbsp maple syrup, plus more for brushing
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Sandwich:
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp canola oil
8 slices peameal bacon
4 large eggs
75 g smoked cheddar, thinly sliced
1 gala apple, thinly sliced

Maple Biscuit

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream and 3 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir flour with baking powder and salt. Using your hands, work in butter until mixture becomes crumbly. Gradually add cream mixture, stirring until dough comes together. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently pat or roll into a 1/2-inch thick disc. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out rounds and place on baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with maple syrup. Bake until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, stir mustard with 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside.
5. Pat bacon dry using a paper towel. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp oil then bacon, cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe pan clean and add remaining oil. Crack eggs into pan, breaking yolks if desired. When whites are almost set, cover and cook 30 seconds more.
6. To assemble, cut 4 biscuits in half. Smother both halves with maple-mustard mixture. Top bottom half with cheese, bacon, egg and apple slices. Sandwich with remaining biscuit half.

Looking for more delicious breakfast ideas? Try one of these 10 Great Canadian Breakfasts.

The Women Who Inspire Our Stars

To celebrate International Women’s Day today, the stars of Food Network Canada are eager to tip their chef’s hat off to the women who have inspired them the most. From long time family friends to up-and-comers, these women have made a lasting impression in and outside the kitchen.

141x141-Anne-Yarymowich

Anne Yarymowich’s Local Influence

“The most influential woman in the trajectory of my career as a chef has to be hands down Donna Dooher; local talent, entrepreneur, chef, restaurant proprietor and current president of Restaurants Canada,” says the Chopped Canada judge.

Donna Dooher

“Donna, chef and owner of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (the reincarnation of Mildred Pierce Restaurant), took me on and gave me a chance at my first position as Chef de Cuisine.  The restaurant, named after the film noir Mildred Pierce, featuring Joan Crawford as a gutsy female restaurant entrepreneur, opened its doors for its first brunch on International Women’s Day, March 8, 1990.

I cut my teeth and built my reputation as a chef as the restaurant gained success and acclaim with the support, guidance and mentorship of Donna Dooher. Throughout my career, I have done my best to pay it forward to as many women chefs as I could.  A shout out has to go to my Mom who taught me not only how to cook, but how to be a decent human being.”

Devin Connell

Devin Connell’s Family Friend

This Chef in Your Ear star says Mary Risley from Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco made the biggest impact on her career. “Mary started one of North America’s most respected cooking schools, is an award winning cookbook author, the founder of Food Runners (The American Second Harvest) and was at the forefront of the slow food movement in California, along with Alice Waters. She has been a long time family friend who allowed me to stay with her in San Francisco before I started Delica,” she says.

“Being with Mary was always an adventure, whether it was having lunch with Chuck Williams (founder of Williams-Sonoma), taking daily visits to the best local farmers markets, or preparing grand feasts in her cooking studio with her foodie friends. She taught me that the best food starts with the best quality ingredients. She also taught me to go with my gut, and not to get too precious about process. She has a famous YouTube video called Just Put the $%&!ing Turkey in the Oven. That pretty much sums her up. She’s brutally honest, for better or worse, which is what you need from a mentor.”

141x141-Eden-Grinshpan

Eden Grinshpan’s Fellow Food Mates

This Chopped Canada judge fell in love with cooking when she discovered Food Network Canada in grade 10.

Food Network Canada

“Some of my favorite shows were hosted by women. Nigella Lawson, Rachel Ray and Ina Garten were my top faves, and they always made food seem so effortless, fun and exciting! It was definitely a huge inspiration for me to get into the kitchen and eventually apply to culinary school,” she says.

Elizabeth Falkner

Elizabeth Faulkner’s Protégé

“I had a protégé years ago, a pastry chef named Maya Erikson and she just did one of those Munchies videos,” explains the judge of Donut Showdown.  “[Maya is] super cute, super talented and dedicated. She’s really young too — she started with me when she was like 16 and stuck around, becoming one of the pastry chefs at my restaurant. Later, [at the age of 23] she went on to work at a restaurant called Lazy Bear in San Francisco.”

Anna-Olson-Chef-Head-01

Anna Olson’s Grandmother

“I think about mentorship more and more as I progress through my career and life,” says the Bake With Anna Olson star.  “I think this is because I have transitioned from the apprentice to the teacher, and with that comes an appreciation for those who have guided me personally and professionally throughout my life, many of them women. I’d like to share my very first and most impactful mentor in my life: my grandmother.

Grandma took care of her family but took the most pleasure in cooking and baking for them.  As a child, I quickly came to appreciate that if I wanted to spend time with Grandma, then I had to spend time in the kitchen.  At an early age she would set me to task on easy things — learning how to break eggs easily or whisk up a pancake batter and as I grew, she would challenge me with greater responsibility. We connected over cookies, cakes and doughnuts, and in her later years, when her memory would betray her, I could see the sparkle come back in her eye when we started talking about cabbage rolls and perogies.  Her name was Julia, and even though I would fondly watch Julia Child flambée and sautée her way around the kitchen on TV, it was my own Grandma Julia that was my personal mentor.”

Mini Easter Brunch Quiches

Hosting Easter brunch this year? Don’t panic. What we have here is your little saving grace.

Mini spinach quiches are healthy, delicious and totally easy to make…and that’s not even the best part. They can be made ahead of time then re-heated when guests arrive so you don’t spend all morning hidden away in the kitchen. If those aren’t good enough reasons to make mini quiches then how about this: they’ll cost you well under $10.

Ingredients:
1 dozen eggs
1 (6-8 ounce) bag of baby spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1 /4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin pan with butter or oil.
2. Saute chopped onions in a pan with the oil until onions are translucent.
3. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk. Fill about ? of muffin cups with spinach, and sprinkle about a teaspoon of the sauteed onions on top.
4. Pour whipped eggs into muffin cups and fill them about two-thirds full, then add a pinch of grated cheddar cheese.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden on top.
6. Gently remove them from pan with butter knife, then serve.

Naturally Coloured Easter Eggs from The Hot Plate

This year forget the artificial dyes. With such a strong focus on buying local, natural, and seasonal, it’s a wonder that come Easter each year we all love to get down and dirty with messy dyes. This year I got to thinking about all of the great ways I add colour to dishes using vegetables. Beets, for instance, add a wonderful and vibrant pink colour to an otherwise beige risotto. Cabbage adds crunch and colour to dishes when used as a slaw or side dish. While these dyes might be slightly less potent, the results are beautiful and seasonal pastel colours.

EasterEggs_TheHotPlate_Main

One of my favourite reasons for loving this dye is that once you’ve finished the craft, these eggs can be enjoyed free of any concerns about artificial ingredients. After finishing this fun tea time craft, we used the leftovers to make deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. So, maybe it isn’t a long lasting craft, but it’s rewarding and economical for people looking to have some fun in the kitchen. When crafting with kids, this is also a fun science experiment to educate kids on vegetables and just how cool eating your greens can be!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 12 eggs

Ingredients:
12 large white eggs
2 large red beets, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large yellow or orange beets, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 head purple cabbage, cut into wedges

EasterEggs_TheHotPlate_1

Directions:
1. Fill three pots with three cups of cold water. Add one type of vegetable to each of the pots, cover, and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer the vegetables in each of the pots for 15-20 minutes. Pour each of the liquids through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
3. Let the vegetable liquid cool to room temperature.
4. While the vegetable liquids are cooling, hard boil the eggs. Add the eggs to a large pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Uncover and boil the eggs for 7 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot, careful they will be hot. Let the eggs cool for 10 minutes.
5. Add your eggs to the dyes and let them sit for 5-6 minutes in the dye. The colors will be soft pastels.
6. Eggs will keep in the fridge for 5 days.