Apple Butter Tarts

Absolutely Addictive Apple Pie Butter Tarts

Even if you prefer your butter tarts raisin free, you’ll find this super sweet pie-like combination irresistible. Just like the traditional version, these butter tarts have a flaky crust and an ooey, gooey centre, but are studded with diced Canadian apples. Warming cinnamon and nutmeg, and a splash of lemon help round out the sweetness of the filling, and pair perfectly with the apple bits.

Apple Butter Tarts

Prep time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 to 18 minutes
Servings: 12 tarts

Ingredients:
1 recipe pie dough (for single crust)
3/4 cup peeled, diced apples
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt

Apple Butter Tarts

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
2. On lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3 to 4 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter (an upside-down glass works too), to cut out rounds of pie dough. Gently fit the pieces of dough into the wells of a standard muffin tin. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin tin.
3. Gently gather any scraps and re-roll the dough until you have 12 tart shells. Chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the filling.
4. In a small mixing bowl, dredge the diced apples in lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of brown sugar. Set aside.

Apple Butter Tarts

5. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the 1 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, egg, vanilla and spices.
6. Remove the chilled tart shells from the fridge. Evenly distribute the apple pieces, leaving their juice behind. Carefully pour the filling mixture into each tart shell, filling it about 2/3 of the way. Stir often to make sure the filling reaming uniform.
7. Bake the tarts in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 18 minutes. When done, the edges of the crust should browned, the centre slightly caramelized and puffed up, and apples should be tender. Cool on a wire rack before popping the tarts out of the muffin pan.

Apple Butter Tarts

Note: If any of the filling over-flows the tart shells and caramelizes, run a thin knife or small offset spatula around the tart to loosen before removing it from the pan.

Looking for more tasty recipes? Try our Best Maple Butter Tart Cheesecake.

chuck-and-danny's-rouge-park-bacon

Chuck and Danny Bring Home the Bacon

After a few weeks in the wilderness, Chuck and Danny are heading back to the big city for some urban renewal, along with a few expert tips from Toronto chef Elia Herrera, who shares some of the flavours and recipes from her native Cordoba, Veracruz. As they munch on Elia’s rajas poblanos tacos, she points the chefs towards the best purveyors in Southern Ontario, where they’ll gather bacon, onions and hot sauce for a Mexican-inspired campsite feast.

Chuck-Danny-Meet-Elia-Herrera
Chuck and Danny meet Chef Elia Herrera in Toronto.

At Frolic Acres Farm, the chefs meet Les and Terry Caswell to help them feed their prized pigs. The pigs’ feed is supplemented with buckwheat, which also gives the farm’s honey its buttery richness. The pigs roam the fields, rooting in the ground and playing with the  other animals on the farm, including the resident shaggy Scottish Highland cattle. “The flavour that you get from the pork is from what they eat outside,” says Terry. “It’s a fuller flavour.” Although Chuck and Danny have pork belly in mind to make porchetta, they’re tempted by the offer of maple-smoked bacon and pretend to mull it over — for almost a minute. “Yes, of course we want the maple-smoked bacon,” declares Chuck.

At Glen Rouge campground in Canada’s first urban national park, the chefs start assembling their bounty into a deluxe morning feast of maple-smoked breakfast burritos, made over the campfire with minimal fuss as a one-pan meal (someone’s got to do the dishes, after all). “That’s the thing about breakfast,” muses Danny. “People use four different pans, but if I could, I’d make the coffee in here, too.”

Chuck-Danny-Breakfast-Rouge-Park
Breakfast of champions: breakfast burritos with maple-smoked bacon.

The chefs start by crisping cubes of the maple-smoked bacon for a sweet and salty bite, then chop some onions they pulled from the ground at Willowtree Farm, where they learned to top and tail the locally grown alliums for market. “This is the smell of camping, right here,” says Danny. To top off their creation, and for an extra layer of velvety goodness, Chuck and Danny add in Oaxaca cheese — a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese with a squeaky texture — that will partially melt to bind the delicious ingredients together. Home cooks can substitute mozzarella and a sweeter-style smoked bacon (or make Chuck’s maple-glazed Big Time Bacon) if they want to try this playful take on bacon and eggs for an easy and hearty brunch or lunch.

Eager to dig in, the chefs wrap the mixture in tortillas — with a healthy sprinkling of some locally-made hot sauce they picked up from a roadside stand — and take a big bite. “The hot peppers aren’t hot at all,” deadpans Danny, whose bravado is interrupted with a coughing fit. “That’s going to wake me up.” Good thing he has the perfect antidote on hand: a glass of creamy horchata (a sweetened rice drink) made with the Caswell’s honey and the wild rice that the chefs gathered via canoe on Chemong Lake with James Whetung of Black Duck Wild Rice.

Chuck-Danny-Harvesting-Rice-Lake-Chemong
Harvesting rice on Chemong Lake

Watch the recipe video on how to make Breakfast Burritos.

As they sip and savour their Mexican/Canadian fusion meal, Chuck thinks about how the region’s ingredients have fit in so well with their theme. “Celebrating two nations through food is pretty special,” he says.

For more of Chuck’s better-with-bacon recipes, check out his Bacon Roasted Potatoes, Mussels with Bacon and Rapini, or Cobb Salad.

Missed the episode? Catch it online at Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip.

Easter Cupcakes

Spectacular Spring Carrot Cupcake Bouquet

Carrot cake has never looked so beautiful! Using a few simple techniques, turn regular cupcakes into a show-stopping dessert display for Easter or any spring celebration. This beloved cupcake design is one we’ve been testing for a while. On their own, they’re simple yet stunning — but joined together with a few frosting leaves and tied together with an icing bow, these cupcakes create a bouquet of Easter sweetness!

Carrot Easter Cupcakes

Bake Time: 22 to 28 minutes
Total Time: 70 to 85 minutes
Servings: 24 to 28 standard size cupcakes

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup apple sauce
3 cups shredded carrots

Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 to 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Milk, as needed

Assembly:
Piping bags
Gel food colouring
Medium star tip
Leaf
Petal tip
Medium round/plain tip
Large serving platter, cutting board, or sheet cake board

Carrot Easter Cupcakes

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. For this design, use a combination of mini, standard and extra large cupcakes liners. With this recipe, you can make approximately 12 mini cupcakes, 12 standard size cupcakes and 6 extra large cupcakes.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, combine the oil and both sugars. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, 1 at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients in 2 batches to allow the batter to absorb the flour without overmixing. Add in the applesauce and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the shredded carrots.
5. Distribute the batter into the prepared cupcakes liners. Fill each about 2/3 of the way full. Bake until slightly golden on top and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The mini cupcakes will take 16 to 18 minutes. The standard cupcakes will take 20 to 23 minutes. The extra-large cupcakes will take 24 to 28 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to completely cool on a wire rack before icing.

Carrot Easter Cupcakes

Icing:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix until combined. 2. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the sugar and lemon juice. Once incorporated, mix on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add 1 Tbsp of milk at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

Assembly:
1. To create the flower bouquet, first separate the frosting into different bowls. Tint the frosting with a touch of gel food colouring your desired colours. Remember to tint 1 bowl green for the leaves and stems!
2. To create the rosette on top, fit a piping bag with a medium star tip (like Wilton 1M). Fill the piping bag with frosting. Keeping the piping bag nearly perpendicular to the top of the cupcake (hovering just slightly above the surface), apply even pressure to the bag as you pipe a tight spiral of icing. Continue around the cupcake, gradually release the pressure on the piping bag at the end and pull away. Pipe rosettes on all of the cupcakes in various colours.
3. Once the cupcakes are piped, arrange them into the shape of a bouquet on a large serving platter or cutting board. They should be fairly close together, using the smaller cupcakes to fill in the gaps. Fit a piping bag with a leaf tip and fill with the green frosting. Pipe overlapping leaves to connect the cupcakes together and fill in any smaller gaps. Switch to a plain, round tip, and pipe lines of the green icing coming out of the base of the bouquet to resemble the stems.
4. Lastly, fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip with any remaining frosting. Keeping the narrow end up toward the top of the bouquet, pipe to large loops on top of the “stems” followed by wavy ribbon tails to complete the design. For the loops and tails, the piping bag (and opening of the piping tip) should be held at a 45-degree angle,  switching from one side to the other.

Looking for more Easter treats? Try these 30 Festive Easter Cakes and Cupcakes.

meet the tcc chefs

Meet the Competitors of Top Chef Canada: All-Stars

They’ve got their knives packed and are ready to hit the kitchen chopping! Representing Canadian cities from coast-to-coast, these talented chefs are back to claim the illusive title of Canada’s Top Chef. Get reacquainted with each chef and discover what head judge Mark McEwan thinks about their return to the Top Chef Canada kitchen.

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars

Graphic by James Chia Han Lee.

Looking for more exciting Top Chef Canada: All-Stars news? Meet the judges of this all-star season.

Gorgeously Gooey Creme Egg Nanaimo Bars for Easter

Creme Eggs are one of the guiltiest pleasures around Easter, with a deliciously sweet centre covered with smooth milk chocolate. Everyone has their different way of eating them, weather it be licking out the middle or biting into it whole. Our way is the Canadian way: in the form of Nanaimo bars.

In this recipe, we start with the classic coconut base and swapped out the custard middle layer of the classic Nanaimo bar, replacing it with a cream egg centre and topping the chocolate layer off with some crushed mini eggs. The result is an ooey, gooey scrumptious Easter treat.

creme egg nanaimo bar

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Serves: 16

Ingredients:
Crumb:
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cream Egg Centre:
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar
4 drops yellow food colouring
1 drop red food colouring

Chocolate Topping:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup candy coated chocolate mini eggs, roughly chopped

creme egg nanaimo bar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the graham cracker crumb with the cocoa powder, coconut, sugar and salt in a bowl. Pour in butter and egg and stir to combine. Press mixture into an even layer in a greased 9×9-inch cake pan. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. To make the cream filling, combine corn syrup, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on high speed until fully combined and creamy colour. Add in icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until mixture is thick and creamy. Remove about 1/3 of mixture and place in a separate bowl. Mix separated mixture with yellow and red colouring until colour is a rich even yellow.

3. Spread the white mixture over crumb into smooth even layer. Swirl spoonfuls of yellow mixture into white layer. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

4. Place chocolate and butter into a glass bowl set over a heated pot of water. Do not boil water. Stir until chocolate is melted and shiny. Remove bars from refrigerator and spread chocolate evenly over cream filling. Sprinkle chopped mini eggs over chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Cut bars into 16 even squares.

Looking for more treats? Try 10 Tasty Nanaimo Bar Recipes.

Chuck And Danny Discover a Salty Paradise on Salt Spring Island

 All aboard the ferry to Salt Spring Island, as chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles head out to one of Canada’s premier growing destinations, 20 minutes off the coast of British Columbia.

Brooke-Winters-with-Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles
Brooke Winters, center, with Chefs Danny Smiles and Chuck Hughes

After meeting up with Brooke Winters, chef and owner of BNurtured Farm to Fork Food Trailer, to get the lay of the land, Chuck and Danny fall in love with the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market — in order to sell here, you have to have grown it, made it or raised it yourself — and immediately add it to their list of must-visit destinations in Canada.

Chuck-Danny-Salt-Spring-Island-Farmers-Market
Chuck and Danny enjoying the vibes at the Salt Spring Island Farmers Market.

Salt-Spring-Island-Farmers-Market-Vegetables
Gorgeous vegetables from the Salt Spring Island Farmers Market

The island’s specialty is sea salt, which comes from evaporated sea water. Fleur de sel is made from the prized salt flakes that form on the top of the water during the evaporation process.

The chefs learn some salty language from local expert Philippe Marill, owner of Salt Spring Sea Salt. “As a chef, as a cook, you’re nothing without salt. It boosts the flavours in all your ingredients,” says Chuck. Fellow francophone, Philippe, who hails from Montpellier in southern France, teaches them his method for salting food: holding your hand high, sprinkle the salt, rubbing it between three fingers to crumble the flakes. “Don’t touch it on the plate,” he warns. “Accept the chaos — that’s what you want to create, a little roller coaster of taste and also, emotion.”

Chuck is impressed. “Philippe is deep,” he says.

Philippe-Marill-Salt-Spring-Sea-Salt
Chuck’s salt guru: Philippe Marril, owner of Salt Spring Sea Salt

The salt will be a big theme for the dinner — with five different flavours, including  jalapeno-lime and blackberry, it’ll be a saltapalooza, promises Chuck.

The menu is ambitious, with Philippe’s salt in every dish. To take the edge off of people’s appetites, guests roast salt sprinkled spot prawns over a campfire, while the chefs stay hard at work, packing a salt crust around ling cod (thanks to Chuck’s fishing prowess), and working on the pièce de résistance: lamb three ways. Chuck and Danny are more than up to the task as they prepare rack of lamb with garlic sea salt, lamb loin chops and thinly sliced barbecued lamb for lettuce wraps.

Chuck-and-Dannys-Grilled-Lamb-Chops
Chuck and Danny’s grilled lamb chops with fresh herbs and lemon.

Danny shows how to make his smokey and creamy baba ghanoush.

 

A key component to their DIY lettuce bundles is a unique baba ghanoush, made Chuck and Danny style by placing the  eggplant directly onto the hot coals to pick up the smokey flavour and aroma. The chefs are using a few types of local eggplant, including a Turkish variety, from EcoReality Co-op — an organic permaculture farm in Salt Spring Island’s Fulford Valley — to lend a riot of colours, tastes and textures to the dish. Eggplants are widely varied in terms of bitterness, firmness, thickness of skin and number of seeds, and roasting them on a barbecue is a forgiving cooking method that allows home cooks to try an assortment of shapes and sizes. After roasting, the eggplants are covered with plastic wrap, which allows the steam to soften the flesh, making the eggplant skin easier to separate.

In the RV, Danny blends the eggplant with roasted garlic, tahini, cumin and Salt Spring’s smoked mesquite salt. Home cooks can steal Danny’s secret ingredient — a touch of plain yogurt — for a creamy consistency. “It’s almost like a cheat to add richness to it,” he says. A final drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of more salt to garnish, and the baba ghanoush is ready to pair with the lamb, lettuce and pickled garlic scapes for a sweet and savoury parcel.

Long after the salt celebrations come to a close, Chuck is still consumed with their new discoveries on Salt Spring Island. “I think you were even talking in your sleep about that salt,” teases Danny. “You’re obsessed with salt on this trip — it’s changed your life.”

Find out more about how sea salt is made.

Bubbie's Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

Bubbie’s Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

My Bubbie used to make this cake for my family every Passover. My siblings and I used to get so excited for the first Seder, so we could finally dig into the layers of chocolatey deliciousness.

To carry on the tradition, I started making this luscious cake using coconut between each layer for some crunch and nuttiness. Serve this no-bake treat chilled or right out of the freezer for a tasty Passover dessert.

Bubbie's Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
4 oz. bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Manischewitz wine
8 matzo sheets
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Bubbie's Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

Directions:
1. Melt chocolate over a double boiler on the stovetop, or microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring until glossy and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time and then vanilla. Pour in melted chocolate and stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold into chocolate mixture.
4. Pour wine into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Soak 1 sheet of matzo in wine for 15 seconds then transfer to a cutting board or cake stand.
5. Smear 2-3 Tbsp of chocolate onto matzo. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of coconut over chocolate. Repeat with remaining 7 layers.
5. Use remaining chocolate to cover sides of the cake. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.
6. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or serve frozen.

Matzo cake

Looking for more ideas? Try our 15 Gluten-Free Desserts for Passover.

Where to Find Chuck and Danny’s Favourite Canadian Ingredients

When it comes to shopping for ingredients, chefs are often looking for the same things as their customers: freshness, value (hey, restaurants have food costs, too), and local and sustainable products. Chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles spill their sourcing secrets, from their best spot for vegetables to some must-have Canadian libations.

  1. Organic Ocean Seafood

BC-Spot-Prawns
When Chuck and Danny aren’t able to catch spot prawns off the coast of Salt Spring Island, B.C., they get them from Organic Ocean Seafood. 

Sustainable seafood has been a hot topic among chefs for years now, and Chuck and Danny take this issue very seriously. At their Montreal hot spot Le Bremner, the chefs use West Coast seafood sourced from independent fishermen at Vancouver’s Organic Ocean Seafood. “They’re dope guys,” says Chuck. “They’re amazing and they have great product. We get mostly halibut, but also tuna and British Columbia spot prawns when they’re in season.”

Try using Canadian seafood in this Pan-seared B.C. Halibut and Spot Prawns with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragoût.

2. Birri at Jean Talon Market

Jean Talon Marche
Jean Talon Market photo credit: Creative Commons/@mouses_motor

Jean Talon Market has been a Montreal institution since 1933, and local shoppers and chefs can be found prowling its aisles looking for the best local produce, baked goods, meats and other amazing eats. Chuck and Danny’s favourite place to stop is the Birri brothers’ family-run produce stall. “We have a lot of great markets in Montreal, but my favourite is Jean Talon, and Birri has some of the best vegetables there,” says Chuck. “I love to get cherry tomatoes, and tomatoes in general — we don’t use them all the time, but in the summer, when they’re good, we get them from Birri. They have a selection of fresh herbs, and their zucchini is phenomenal. A lot of our stuff in the restaurants come from them.”

Try this sweet and savoury recipe for Colourful Cherry Tomatoes, glazed with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.

3.  Norman Hardie Winery 

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-at-Norman-Hardie-Winery
Norman Hardie, centre, with Chuck and Danny

A former sommelier at the Four Seasons and a well-known champion of local product, winemaker Norman Hardie is no stranger to Canadian chefs from coast to coast. Chuck and Danny made a point to stop at his winery during their tour through Prince Edward County to snag some freshly made pizza from the wood-fired oven, and sip some of Norm’s chardonnay. “We’ve got to be proud of what he’s doing right now,” says Danny.

Watch Chuck and Danny scarf down some of Norm’s pizza, made with locally-produced water buffalo mozzarella, on the first episode of Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip.

4.  Walter Craft Caesar

the perfect caesar

Although the origin of the Caesar can be a hotly-contested issue, it’s safe to say that Canadians have claimed this cocktail for their own, spiking it with everything from chicken wings to grilled cheese. Chuck likes the all-natural Caesar mix from Walter Craft Caesar, a locally produced, small-batch, ready-made mix that’s even on the Ocean Wise partner list for approved suppliers. “Their Caesar mix is good stuff,” says Chuck.

Try this recipe for a classic version of the Caesar, perfect your mixing technique with this infographic, or take a cue from Chuck and top your libation with a snow crab claw for an ultra-luxe finish.

Discover Chuck and Danny’s Must-Visit Canadian Destinations.

lemon-cheesecake

Anna Olson’s Guide to Making the Perfect Cheesecake

If you’re in charge of hosting the family for Easter brunch or planning a springtime get together, cheesecake is ideal for serving a group. This rich, velvety cake not only makes you look like a hero, it can also be prepared ahead of time. That’s one thing off of your to-do list right before the doorbell rings!

From trying to avoid the dreaded crack in the centre to impressing guests with a stunning homemade dessert, these insider tips and tricks will ensure cheesecake success. Plus, they’ll give you the confidence to jump right into this brand new recipe I’ve got for you!

cheesecake-main2

Here are 5 essential tips for the perfect cheesecake.

1. Ingredient Temperature
Ingredients of a like temperature combine easily and smoothly, so:

a) Pull your cream cheese out an hour before using (cut it into pieces while still cold, spread onto a plate and cover it with plastic.) Do NOT microwave your cream cheese — if it’s too soft on the outside and still cool in the middle, you’ll get lumps in your cheesecake.

b) Warm your eggs up by placing them in a bowl and covering them completely with hot tap water. In 3-4 minutes, those right-from-the-fridge eggs will have warmed up to room temperature without you having to pull them out hours ahead.

2. Scrape Your Bowl!
For a smooth and creamy cheesecake, you need to scrape your bowl often, and after each addition. It might feel tedious to stop the mixer or beaters every minute or two, but it’s a simple task that will result in a velvety and smooth texture.

3. Watch Your Mixing Speed
When beating cream cheese and adding sugar, you can beat on a higher speed. Once you start adding the eggs, reduce the speed to low, so you don’t add too much air. Whipped eggs will soufflé in the oven, and, once the cheesecake starts cooling, those souffleed eggs will fall. This is when a crack can develop, even hours after the cheesecake is out of the oven.

4. Gradual Cooling
Allowing the cheesecake to cool completely to room temperature before chilling is a simple and important step. Accelerating the cooling time by rushing it to the fridge can cause the cheesecake to contract, creating a crack. To check if the cheesecake is cool, touch the bottom of the pan, not the sides.

5. Loosen the Sides of the Cheesecake
By running a palette knife around the inside edge of the springform pan soon after the cheesecake comes out of the oven, you separate the cake from the pan. This way, if the cheesecake does want to contract, it can pull away from the sides of the pan, making it less likely to crack in the middle.

cheesecake-main

Meyer Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Recipe

Prep Time: 75 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes (plus chilling time)
Makes: 1, 9-inch cheesecake
Serves: 12-16

anna-olson-cheesecake-ingredients2

Ingredients:

Graham Crust:
1 cup (225 g) graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp (25 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:
3 pkg (750 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tin (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice

Lemon Curd:
2 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup (60 g) sour cream

Meringue Topping:
3 large egg whites
9 Tbsp (110 g) granulated sugar

anna-olson-cheesecake-ingredients-2

Directions:

Graham Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan.
2. For the crust, stir the graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter together in a bowl until combined and press this into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes (no change in colour to note) and cool completely on a rack before filling.

Cheesecake:
1. For the cheesecake, lower the oven temperature to 300ºF (150ºC).
2. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the condensed milk, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl well. Beat in the zest and vanilla, then on a lower speed; beat in each egg and the yolk one at a time. Still on low speed, beat in the lemon juice.
3. Pour mixture over the cooled crust and bake for about 45 minutes, until the outside of the cheesecake is set, but the centre still has a little jiggle to it.
4. Prepare the lemon curd as the cheesecake cools.

anna-olson-cheesecake-directions-1

Lemon Curd:
1. For the curd, whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a metal bowl. Whisk in the butter and sour cream and place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, whisking often, until the lemon curd has thickened (but it will still be fluid), about 10 minutes.
2. Strain the curd and spread this gently over the cheesecake.
3. Once fully cooled to room temperature, chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours (do not cover with plastic wrap).

Meringue Topping:
1. For the topping, whisk the egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water until frothy and very warm to touch (165ºF if using a thermometer).
2. Use electric beaters or transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until the meringue has cooled and holds a stiff peak when the beaters are lifted.
3. Use a butane kitchen torch to brown the meringue or pop it into a 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 3-4 minutes to brown and then cool before refrigerating.

anna-olson-cheesecake-directions-2

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Meyer Lemon Meringue Cheesecake here.

matzoh-brie

The Ultimate Cinnamon-Strawberry Matzo Brei for Passover

If you’re a pancake or French toast fanatic, it can be tough to find an equally delicious breakfast during Passover. Sweet matzo brei is the perfect solution. Similar to French toast, matzo is soaked in an egg mixture and fried in butter until golden and crispy. It’s super satisfying, delicious and comes together in a snap!

matzo brei strawberry

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
3 sheets matzo (you can use egg matzo, gluten-free or any other type)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
5 strawberries, sliced matzo brei berry

Directions:
1. Break matzo into mismatched pieces and place in a bowl. Run water over matzo for 20 seconds then drain.
2. Beat together eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Place wet matzo in mixture and let soak for 1 minute.
3. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium. Add matzo and pour in any residual egg mixture. Let cook for 1 minute, then stir using a rubber spatula, scraping the sides. The matzo will break apart. Cook, while stirring until egg is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and divide between two plates. Top with strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries.

Looking for more delicious recipes? Try these 10 Delicious Things to Make with Matzo.

Figs

Fun Ways to Eat Fresh Figs with Chuck and Danny

It’s a day of land and sea ahead as Chuck and Danny wheel into Vancouver Island. Briny, spiny sea urchins and 100-foot bull kelp seaweed pulled fresh from the ocean are saline superstars of tonight’s feast, but the chefs are thinking sweet thoughts for their morning repast — and for that, they head off to find fabulous, fresh figs.

Figs-on-a-Tree

Figs ripe for the plucking on ALM Organic Farm, Vancouver Island.

Within walking distance of their campsite at Goldstream Provincial Park, Chuck and Danny discover Mary Alice Johnson’s ALM Organic Farm , which operates year-round and has 15 acres of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Mary Alice is eager to show Chuck — who has never eaten a fig just off the tree — how to pick ripe figs off her precious plants. “When they’ve got a shine on, they’re ready. You don’t want to tear them at the top, so just give them a twist,” she advises. Sampling these “fruits of the gods”, the chefs are surprised by the texture and sweetness of the organic figs. “Usually the figs that you get are wet on the inside, but these are drier, with distinct pulp and are so tasty,” says Danny. Although quite perishable and easily bruised, this versatile B.C.-grown fruit is simple to use in a multitude of ways: fresh, dried, roasted, candied, preserved, paired with prosciutto or added to baked goods.

Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles

Not far from the tree, Chuck and Danny get ready to whisk up a batch of camping-style cardamom fig muffins to give to Mary Alice, pressing their trusty barbecue into service. They gather eggs from the happy hens at Jesse and Evelyn Pereira’s local farm Terra Nossa, and are using a few unexpected ingredients — cardamom, orange, mint and almond flour — for a unique twist on a breakfast staple. “The figs will add that floral, honey flavour,” says Danny, who adds chopped figs to the batter and places halved figs on top. All that fruit keeps everything moist, with a finished texture in between a cake and a muffin. Home cooks looking to make this recipe without a muffin tin can borrow a technique from the chefs by pouring the batter into ramekins, then placing them into the centre of a preheated barbecue with a closed top, which works as a makeshift oven. Served with creme fraîche and drizzled with dark buckwheat honey, these beautiful baked goods will be the star of your table, whether at home or to start out an outdoor adventure.

Cardamom Fig Muffins

Danny Smiles whipped up these fig muffins spiced with cardamom.

“This is the part of camping that I love,” says Chuck. “You may not have everything, but what you do have, you use in a unique way, so maybe you’ll discover something new.”

For more fun with figs, check out Chuck Hughes’ Sticky Fig Pudding With Candied Fresh Figs, Christine Cushing’s Fig and Armagnac Preserves, or Laura Calder’s Pistachio-Stuffed Figs.

Missed the episode? Catch it online at Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip.

Watch the recipe video below to learn how to make Cardamom Fig Muffins.

S'more Cookie Pizza Featured Image

5 Genius Ways to Hack Store-Bought Cookie Dough

Chocolate chip cookies deserve praise for their modesty and simplicity, but sometimes you want to shake up your dessert game. We’ve got five recipes that use store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough and surpass the humble beginnings of just a plain ol’ cookie. So grab a log of that dough and get ready to give your chocolate chip cookies a new groove.

Cookie smore tart pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie S’more Tart
Press a log of cookie dough into a 9-inch pie plate and up the sides in an even layer. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Let cool. Set oven to broil. Place marshmallows over cookie base to fill the pie. Place under the broiler for 10 seconds. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chucks over top of marshmallows to melt.

Oreo Cookies

Oreo-Centered Cookie
Wrap 3 Tbsp of cookie dough around an Oreo cookie. Bake in a 350°F oven on greased cookie sheet until edges are golden, about 10 minutes.

banana cookie muffins

Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins
Let a log of cookie dough come to room temperature. Line a 24 cup mini muffin tin with paper liners. Mash 2 ripe bananas into dough and stir to combine. Divide mixture into liners and bake in a 350°F oven  for 15 minutes or until golden and baked through.

Cookie brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Prepare the batter of boxed brownie mix as per package directions. Pour into a 9×9 inch baking pan. Break up log of cookie dough into 2 inch pieces. Disperse throughout brownie dough. Bake as per brownie directions, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

cookie dough pizza

Milk and Cookies Pizza
Roll out cookie dough into a large circle 1/2-inch thick and bake in a 350°F oven until cookie is cooked through and edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Beat 1 stick of butter with 1/4 cup malted milk powder and 1 1/3 cup icing sugar. Smear over cooled cookie leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with chocolate, or toppings of choice.

Looking for more delicious ideas? Learn 5 Ways to Hack a Can of Cinnamon Rolls.

Irish Coffee

The Boozy History of Irish Coffee

What do flying boats and Irish coffee have in common? Everything, and more.

I should know: my family tree has a direct bloodline to Joe Sheridan, the legendary chef who invented this classic Irish cocktail. Nutty and caramely, it’s a rich, hot blend of dark coffee, fiery whiskey, brown sugar and a swirl of thick whipped cream. An Emerald Isle favourite for over 70 years, this quintessential Irish beverage has unorthodox beginnings.

Tracing the roots of Irish coffee requires venturing to Foynes, a tiny town on Ireland’s west coast that was once the epicentre for the aviation world. During World War II, Pan Am’s famed flying boats (a.k.a. clippers) transported a range of people, from celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy, to refugees (children fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe). It’s here that commercial air travel was born — as well as Irish coffee.

Irish Coffee

One wintery night in 1943, a clipper departed from Foynes to North America, but the flight didn’t get far. After battling bad weather conditions for several hours, the captain decided to return to Ireland. As the weary passengers offloaded into the airport’s restaurant, Chef Joe Sheridan decided to prepare a special treat to spread some cheer. He brewed dark, bitter coffee, and to each cup added a shot of Irish whiskey, a little brown sugar and whipped cream on top. As the perked-up passengers slurped up the steamy drink, one asked, “Is it Brazilian coffee?”

“No,” Sheridan said. “That was Irish coffee!”

With those four words, a classic Irish drink was born. However, it took almost a decade before the toasty tipple traveled worldwide. In 1951, Stanton Delaplane, a travel journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, took his first sip and was instantly hooked. Back home, Delaplane raved about the newfangled Irish coffee drink to Jack Koeppler, owner of the Buena Vista Café. The duo tried to re-create Sheridan’s recipe, stirring and sipping all night, but the taste was off and the cream collapsed on the surface.

Enjoy Sheridan's original recipe for Irish coffee at the Foynes Maritime Museum

Enjoy Sheridan’s original recipe for Irish coffee at the Foynes Maritime Museum.

After a slew of taste tests and a “research” trip to Ireland, the two men finally cracked the code: the tricky cream only floated when aged and frothed to a precise thickness. Regardless, they decided to poach another key ingredient: Chef Sheridan himself. In 1953, Joe Sheridan immigrated to the United States and started working at the Buena Vista Café.

Chef Sheridan’s original recipe is still served at the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco and the Foynes Maritime Museum, where there’s a small exhibit dedicated to the drink. Of course, virtually all bars and restaurants in Ireland have this boozy beverage on their menu, though flavours may vary.

However, there’s no need to travel across the pond for a mouthful of this hot cocktail. Just gather all the ingredients in your kitchen and follow these instructions. If you’re really looking to impress guests, pair the drink with a plate of Irish Coffee Pie or Anna Olson’s Irish Creamy Fudge.

valerie's irish coffee

Once you’ve mastered the recipe, get playful and try this decadent recipe for Valerie Bertinelli’s Irish Coffee, made with espresso and topped with Lemon-Vanilla Whipped Cream. Or, delight guests with Irish coffee with a Canadian twist, spiked with Canadian whisky, a drizzle of maple syrup, and maple-laced whipped cream.

For a fancy after-dinner nightcap, make a batch of Nancy Fuller’s Dressed Up Irish Coffee, sprinkled with shaved dark chocolate, it’s almost a dessert in a glass. The options are endless.

This St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be celebrating my bloodline to booze legend, Chef Joe Sheridan, by raising a glass of Irish coffee. From my family, to coffee and whiskey lovers everywhere, I say: you’re welcome and Sláinte!

Nest Cake Feature Image

Show-Stopping Easter Nest Cake

Impress your guests with this show stopper of a cake that celebrates Easter and the coming of spring. Not only does this dessert make a stunning centrepiece, the buttery, fluffy sponge cake is a light and tasty treat that gets added texture and flavour thanks to the toasted almonds and coconut. Don’t forget the egg-cellent chocolate filling!

Easter nest Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup icing sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup of chocolate mini eggs

nest cake

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter with sugar, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add in eggs 1 at a time and then vanilla. Continue to beat until mixture is fluffy.
5. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 the buttermilk. Repeat, then stir in last 1/3 of flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
Pour batter into a greased 10 cup Bundt pan.
6. Bake in oven until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
7. Let cool for 15 minutes then invert pan to release cake.
8. To make glaze, whisk milk with icing sugar. Add more milk to thin if necessary. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake. Sprinkle coconut and almonds over glaze. Fill centre of the Bundt with chocolate mini eggs.

Looking for more delicious Easter ideas? Try our 50 Fantastic Easter Desserts from Anna Olson.

Chuck and Danny’s Guide to Cooking with Sumac

After a long day on the road in Hastings and Prince Edward Country, chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles set out to create a succulent feast from the bounty of local Ontario ingredients they’ve gathered.

After foraging for wild juniper,  harvesting local beets and squash and securing tender buffalo mozzarella, plus a bone-on tomahawk ribeye roast,  the pressure’s on to create a campfire feast for the local farmers and purveyors.

With the help of a custom-made barbecue grill on loan from Enright Cattle Company, they’ve got the perfect vehicle to cook the 43lb ribeye roast. Sounds impressive, but the menu doesn’t end there. They’re also roasting Golden Nugget Cups, candy-sweet squash from Earth Haven Farms, halved and stuffed with Ontario buffalo mozzarella (a gift from winemaker Norman Hardie.) The squash holds another local secret: sumac foraged from chef and local resident Justin Cournoyer’s back woods.

This citrus-like star ingredient is widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, which is why the chefs were surprised to find it growing in the wild in Ontario.

chuck-hughes-danny-smiles-golden-nugget-cups
Chuck and Danny’s sumac-spiced golden nugget squash cups. 

Neither Danny or Chuck are strangers to the flowering plant: Danny uses it in his homemade za’atar mix with sesame seeds and thyme, and it’s part of Chuck’s arsenal at his restaurants as a citrus substitute. “It’s like a Canadian lemon,” says Chuck.

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-Foraging-Sumac

Justin teaches them how to find the best plant by looking for a vibrant red hue in the berries, and to store it by drying it whole in the sun and making a powder, which can be used to braise beef or put on raw bread.

Chuck-Hughes-Holding-Suamc

Chuck and Danny use their collected sumac to sprinkle on the golden nugget squash, tempering its sweetness with a slight pucker. The cups rest just above the coals, collecting the succulent drippings from a 43 lb. bone-in tomahawk style side of beef rubbed and spritzed with juniper, and juniper branches are tossed onto the fire, creating fragrant smoke. The food’s so good, even a slight drizzle can’t dampen the mood, and the feast goes on under the stars for hours.

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-Cooking-Dinner-PEC
Chuck and Danny begin cooking the bone on tomahawk ribeye roast hours before their guests arrive.

Home cooks can take a walk on the wild side with sumac in their own kitchens. In the warmer months, ground sumac gives flavoured butter an extra kick, lending a slight tartness to balance out summer-sweet corn on the cob. Paired with juniper, sumac steeped in tea and poured over wild Canadian blueberries from British Columbia makes for a spread-worthy preserve to liven up breakfast at home or the cottage. And for lazy nights any time of year, a potent sumac infused potion, sweetened with maple syrup, uses whole sumac clusters — combine it with vodka for a Canadiana martini, a true sweet and sour sipper.

Missed the episode? Catch it online at Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip.
Watch video below to learn more about sumac.

Coffee and Donut Trifles

Oh-So-Canadian Coffee & Doughnut Hole Trifles

We’ve transformed your afternoon snack into a creamy and indulgent dessert with layers of rich flavour and texture. A hint of coffee gives extra punch to the silky custard, making it the perfect accompaniment to doughnut holes. Top with homemade maple whipped cream and you have a quintessentially Canadian dessert.

Coffee and Donut Trifles

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 2-3/4 hours
Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:
2 tsp instant coffee powder
2 tsp boiling water
4 eggs yolks
2 cups milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
16 doughnut holes, quartered
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
4 tsp maple syrup
Cocoa nibs (optional)

Coffee and Donut Trifles

Directions:
1. In small bowl, whisk together coffee powder and boiling water until smooth; set aside.
2. In large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/3 cup of the milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and coffee mixture. Set side.
3. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour remaining milk. Heat over medium until bubbles form around the edges. Slowly pour milk into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon, about 6 minutes.
4. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
5. In bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Beat in maple syrup; set aside.
6. Layer 4 doughnut hole quarters in bottom of small jars or glasses (about 2/3 cup in volume). Top with 2 heaping Tbsp of custard; top with 3 doughnut hole quarters and another 2 Tbsp of custard. Dollop with a little whipped cream; top with 1 doughnut whole quarter. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs, if using.

For more sweet treats, check out our 30 party-worthy doughnut recipes.

5 Tasty Ways to Use Hummus (That Aren’t Dip)

Nutritious, filling and most importantly, tasty, hummus is so easy and inexpensive to make that there’s no excuse not to make it from scratch. We all know that hummus is everyone’s go-to dip for vegetables and pita, but how else can you use this popular Middle Eastern condiment? Here are five delicious ideas to hummus-ify your meals.

Basic Hummus Recipe
Traditional hummus contains tahini, a creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds. However, I tend to skip the tahini since I don’t use it in much else. You can make your own tahini by simply grinding sesame seeds and olive oil together in a food processor—and this version is tasty as is.

Ingredients:
1 591 mL can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced*
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:
1. Combine chickpeas, garlic and olive oil in a blender, food processor, or a bowl if you’re using a hand blender.
2. Purée the ingredients until everything becomes a smooth and velvety texture, with all the lumps gone. If the mix is too thick, thin it out with a bit of water.
3. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Continue blending until everything is well incorporated. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

*If the taste of raw garlic is too strong, use one clove or opt for roasted garlic, which yields a milder, sweeter taste.

Hummus_sandwiches

1. Sandwich Spread

Skip the mayonnaise and use hummus to beef up and boost flavour in your sandwiches and wraps. The nutty taste goes especially well with turkey slices, and the creamy texture adds a good contrast to crunchy toppings like cucumber and carrots. In the picture below, I made a vegetarian breakfast sandwich with thinly-sliced mini cucumbers and chunks of leftover, roasted butternut squash from the fridge.

Hummus_PastaSalad

2. Pasta Salad Dressing

Thin out the hummus with olive oil and a bit of water until the consistency is similar to a creamy salad dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the dressing in a big bowl of fusilli, penne, or any pasta shape that has crevices to hold on to the hummus. Bonus: if you’re using hummus from the fridge, the cold dressing will help cool down the cooked pasta quicker. Here, I added chopped cucumbers, sliced chicken breast, and roasted corn and onions for a summery weekend lunch with the family.

Hummus_Chicken

3. Chicken Topping

Jazz up a piece of grilled chicken breast by smearing hummus and sprinkling crushed raw almonds on top for some added texture. Bake the chicken at 400ºF for 12-15 minutes until it is well done.

Hummus_SaladDressing

4. Salad Dressing

The strong, garlicky taste of hummus goes especially well with the bitter taste of dark greens. Similar to the pasta salad, dilute the hummus with olive oil and water until it reaches Thousand Island-like consistency. Add a bit more lemon juice and salt, and mix with the greens.

Hummus_Soup

5. Hearty Soup

This soup is so thick and creamy (not to mention protein-filled) that this pot can feed four people, especially when you add in the vegetables. Speaking of, you’ll have to sauté the veggies (or better yet, roast for at about 30 minutes at 400ºF) until they’re soft, before you dump them into the pot. If you have any leftover roasted carrots and potatoes in the fridge, use them in this recipe to skip the first step and save time. Save this soup recipe for the cold, winter months when you’ll be craving a hot bowl of soup with a big punch of nutty, garlicky taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups hummus
2 1/2 cups no-salt added chicken broth, plus more for vegetables
2 cups carrots, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cups potatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup pancetta, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped green onion, to garnish
Grated Parmesan, to garnish

Directions:
1. Bring a splash of chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and let cook until they begin to soften. Add more broth if the pan starts to dry up.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the hummus and stir until well incorporated. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.
3. Using the same pan used to cook the vegetables, add a bit of oil and fry up the pancetta until it starts to brown. Add it to the soup pot, along with the cooked vegetables. Stir and bring to a simmer.
4. Pour the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with chopped green onion and parmesan. Serve immediately.

Indulge In This Luscious Lobster Poutine

As if poutine wasn’t decadent enough — an indulgence of crispy fries, thick gravy and cheese curds — we’ve amped up the luxuriousness with fresh lobster, salty bacon, diced tomatoes and, of course, loads of gravy. This secretly easy-to-make weekend meal is worth every cheesy, lobster-filled bite.

lobster-poutine-2

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45
Serves: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

For the Fries:
3 russet (baking) potatoes, skin intact, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips or wedges
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

For the Toppings:
11/2 cups cooked lobster meat, torn into bite-sized pieces
200 g poutine cheese curds
2 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup gravy, heated

lobster-poutine-1

Directions:

For the Fries:
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. On a large baking sheet, toss all potato ingredients until potatoes are evenly coated.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and golden brown on the bottom.

Assembly:
1. On a warm platter, add a bed of fries. Top with lobster, cheese curds and bacon, if using. Ladle over hot gravy (use as much as you like; there may be extra). Garnish with chopped tomatoes, parsley. Serve immediately.

Love poutine? Learn more about the iconic Canadian dish with these 9 fun facts.

Pineapple-Salsa

How to Make Easy Blender Salsa, 3 Ways

If you’ve only ever made tomato salsa, you’re in for a treat. This quick and easy blender salsa is made using tomatillos; a crisp, slightly sweet fruit long considered a staple of Mexican cuisine. Closely related to ground cherries, the tomatillo requires a few extra steps compared to your basic tomato. Simply peel back their husks and give them a good rinse before proceeding with the recipe. We’ve also included two bonus recipes (one sweet and one spicy) to help you step up your salsa game, no dicing required.

Blender Salsa Verde

Classic Salsa Verde

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:
1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup cilantro
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Salsa will thicken as it sits.
2. Serve with tortillas chips or use as a garnish for your favourite taco.

Variations:

Blender Chipotle Salsa

Spicy Tomatillo-Chipolte Salsa
Omit jalapeño and add 2 canned chipotles to blender. Proceed with recipe. Heat a medium saucepan over medium, add 1 Tbsp canola oil, then salsa. Bring to a simmer, and cook until raw taste is gone, about 5 minutes. Let cool before serving. Makes 2 cups.

Blender Pineapple Salsa

Tomatillo-Pineapple
Blend tomatillos, garlic, onion 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (preferably Mexican canela) and 1/2 cup roughly chopped pineapple until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro, 1 finely chopped jalapeño and 1 1/2 cups finely diced pineapple. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Looking for more delicious recipes? Try our 12 Fresh Salsas for a Party.