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.

Ina Garten's Last-Minute Orange Easter Ham

Ina Garten’s Elegant Easter Menu

It’s tempting to believe that the best meals are the most complicated, but memorable dinners are more than a series of gourmet recipes — good food and good company work together to create good ambiance and good memories. So if you’re feeling pressured to craft a complicated dinner this Easter, don’t. With some help from Ina Garten, Easter will be an easy and elegant affair.

This menu focuses on ingredients you probably have in your fridge or pantry, while the rest can be found at most grocery stores.

Before you start, review the menu and recipes, check your supplies to see what you’ve already got on hand, and make a list of the items you don’t. Assuming you live within ten minutes of a grocery and liquor store, the entire process — from assessing to arriving back at home with the food — shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half.

Assemble the dishes in the order they’re presented here, and budget two hours for complete prep: cooking, setting the table, plus a 30-minute buffer so you can enjoy a breather before guests arrive. You’ve got this!

Ina Garten Cheese Board

Cheese Board

A selection of cheese, fruit and a sweet jam is an easy crowd-pleaser. Better yet, a good cheese board will stave off hanger in case guests arrive early or dinner needs more cooking time. This recipe calls for ham, but feel free to switch it up with salami, prosciutto or any other favourite deli meats. The key is variety: aim for a soft, creamy cheese like Brie or chèvre, a hard aged cheese like cheddar or Asiago, and a strong cheese, like your favourite blue. Add contrast with fresh fruit, honey and fig jam or red pepper jelly, and include a selection of crackers and bread. Cheeses will taste better if they’re set out 30 minutes to an hour before eating.

Ina Garten Champagne Cocktail

Champagne Cocktails

Champagne or sparkling white wine mixed with crème de cassis is a classic French aperitif known as Kir Royale. Ina Garten’s make-your-own champagne cocktail bar also includes framboise liqueur, brandy and fresh berries. Keep your crowd occupied by challenging them to see who can come up with the most delightful mix and the best cocktail name.

Ina Garten Orange Baked Ham

Orange Baked Ham

Ina Garten’s Orange Baked Ham is one of those miracle dishes that looks and tastes impressive, but only takes an hour to cook and very little time to prep. It can easily be scaled up or down, depending on the number of guests, and is a classic Easter main to boot. Pop it in the oven at 350ºF, ensuring there’s room in there for the next dish, the risotto.

Ina Garten's Easy Parmesan Risotto

Easy Parmesan “Risotto”

Risotto has gained a reputation for being labour-intensive, but Ina Garten’s recipe reduces stir-time down to three minutes, while preserving the dish’s classic creamy Parmesan flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Pop this one in the oven about 20 minutes after the ham has gone in, and you’ll have five minutes to remove the ham before you start your three minutes of stirring.

Ina Garten Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

Garlic sautéed spinach adds a dash of springtime colour to the menu, not to mention delicately earthy flavour. Prepare the spinach and garlic while your ham and risotto are cooking, then sauté in the final minutes before serving.

Ina Garten Limoncello and Biscotti Ice Cream

Limoncello and Ice Cream with Biscotti

Vanilla ice cream is a comforting, classic way to cap off a meal — serve with a crunchy biscotti on the side for kids and non-drinkers. For everyone else, a drizzle of Limoncello adds a delightful zing.

Looking for more delicious recipes? Check out Ina Garten’s 14 Best Easter 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.

Simple Pan-Roasted Brown Butter Radishes

Raw radishes have a sharp, pungent flavour, but pan roasting them brings out their natural sweetness. For this fresh and flavourful side dish, radishes are first sauteed and then tossed in brown butter and lemon juice until fragrant and topped with fresh chives.

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

888_brown-butter-radishes

Ingredients:
2 bunches radishes, assorted colours and types
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp lemon juice
1 bunch chives, chopped
Lemon wedges

Directions:
1. Trim the radishes so 1/2-inch (1 cm) of the stem is intact; trim and discard roots. Scrub well and dry well. Wash the leafy green tops, dry well and coarsely chop and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the radishes, cut side down. Sprinkle with salt. Cook, shaking occasionally but not turning, for 5 to 7 minute until golden. Cook, stirring often, for an additional 3 minutes or until lightly coloured all over.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, for 3 minutes or until butter is starting to brown and smell nutty, then remove from heat.
4. Stir the brown butter and lemon juice into the radishes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chives. Serve with lemon wedges.

Looking for more seasonal recipes? Check out our collection of spring dinners that can made in 30 minutes or less.

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.

The Sweet Prairie History of Girl Guide Cookies

When the Girl Guides of Canada come a-knockin’, the gut reaction for many Canadians is to pull out their wallet and loosen their belts. Few Canucks can resist a box (or two) of Girl Guide cookies, famed for their chocolate and vanilla icing, squeezed between crunchy cookie layers.

Girl Guide Cookies classic

But did you know that the now famous cookies were invented on the Canadian Prairies? It started in 1927, when one Girl Guide leader in Regina, Saskatchewan baked and packaged batches of cookies for her troupe to sell, hoping to raise funds for uniforms and camping equipment. Little did she know that her tasty treats would kick off a feeding frenzy spanning close to a century! Seeing the sales of the Regina troupe, Girl Guides of Canada joined the party in 1929, making  cookie sales the official fundraising activity for the organization.

However, the types of treats have evolved throughout the decades, starting with vanilla crème, maple cream and shortbread cookies in 1946. It wasn’t until 1953 that the classic chocolate and vanilla-flavoured sandwich cookies first made a cameo on the sweets scene. Finally, in 1995, a new kid on the block was born: crunchy, chocolatey cookies with a cool mint filling. But one thing hasn’t changed; the cookie craze across Canada continues almost 100 years later, with over 2.3 million boxes of cookies sold in Ontario alone, just in 2014 and 2015. If the boxes were laid down on a road, it would reach from Windsor to Timmins. That’s a lot of cookie love!

Ever since Girl Guides started selling door-to-door, Girl Guide cookies have become one of Canada’s best-loved food traditions — one that’s held a special place in Canada’s culinary history. During the Gulf War in the 1990s, every Canadian soldier was given a box of  cookies upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, and there are photographs of Canadian astronaut (and former Girl Guide) Roberta Bondar juggling vanilla and chocolate cookies in space.

Nowadays, you can do more than gobble biscuits by the box, as Canadians are taking their love of Girl Guide cookies to the next level. There are a gazillion and one ways to make these cookies crumble in your home kitchen.

Girl Guide Mint Cookies

Try making this decadent No Bake Chai Cheesecake developed by Bal Arneson, host of the Food Network Canada’s Spice Goddess, using a dozen chocolate and vanilla cookies. On chilly days, warm up with a steaming mug of Minty Hot Chocolate paired with a moist slice of Chocolate Vanilla Coffee Cake, both made with GGC cookies. Got a bake sale coming up? Bake a batch of these decadent Girl Guide Brownie Cupcakes and watch ‘em disappear in seconds!

The best part? Snacking on these crunchy and creamy cookies benefits more than your belly. The dough (no pun intended) goes towards supporting Girl Guides of Canada’s programming, which provides opportunities for girls to discover, explore, be adventurous and make a difference, while building the leadership and life skills.

The Brunch Capital of Canada Is…

You Gotta Eat Here! host John Catucci eats out — a lot. No really, A LOT. So when he told us that Victoria, B.C. is the official brunch capital of Canada, we listened (and drooled).

“People there are obsessed with brunch,” says John, noting that brunch spots in the garden city always have lineups, and that whenever the YGEH! crew visits a Victoria restaurant at brunchtime, it’s packed like a sweet-cheese blintz (which you can find at Victoria’s The Village).

Why are Victorians so hungry, particularly on weekend mornings? Maybe it’s all that fresh ocean air. But more likely, it’s the sheer variety of delicious eats that’s inspiring them to throw off the covers and queue for breakfast.

Jam Cafe

After all, if you could stuff your face with a tower of red velvet pancakes, or a heaping of brioche French toast topped with caramelized fruit, wouldn’t you? If you prefer savoury, how about a double stack of pancakes layered with pulled pork and topped with a maple BBQ glaze, jalapeño sour cream and pickled cabbage? All of these dishes and more are offered at Old Town’s Jam Café, which serves breakfast all day long.

Mo:Le

Speaking of all-day breakfasts, Mo:Le serves them too, offering an array of Tex-Mex and vegetarian fare, like poached eggs with tinga, eggs benny, red pepper polenta with eggs and fruit salsa, and huevos rancheros.

Shine Cafe

What if you knew that a Scottish breakfast of potato scones, black pudding, fried tomatoes and crispy rashers of bacon was just a quick stroll away? If you’re near one of Shine Café’s two locations, it is.

The Village Restaurant

And if we told you that red shakshuka, Montreal smoked meat-festooned bennys and a heaping platter of meat, fruit and roasted potatoes could all be yours with a quick trip to any of The Village Restaurant’s three Victoria locations, you’d go, right?

John Catucci is a funny guy, but Victoria’s brunch selection is serious business. And by the way, the meals pictured here are just the top of the flapjack stack. Be sure to check out our You Gotta Eat Here! Restaurant Locator for more details on Victoria’s best brunches.

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!

Breakfast Pizza Rainbow

3 Easy Breakfast Pizzas for Kids (and Adults)

If there’s one thing kids can’t get enough of, it’s pizza. Get ready to win major points when you bring pizza to the breakfast table with these three tasty (and healthy) versions they’ll be leaping out of bed for.

Breakfast Pizza Rainbow

Rainbow Pizza Pancakes
If a plate of pancakes is your kid’s dream breakfast, then try this fun, healthy spin on your classic flapjack. Thanks to the Greek yogurt and myriad of fruit, your kids will get the proper protein and nutrients for a full day of school and fun.

Prep Time:15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Pancake:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp butter

Toppings:
1/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup peach, sliced
1/4cup banana sliced
1/4 cup kiwi, sliced
1/4 cup blueberries, sliced

Directions:
1. In a small bowl whisk together flour and baking powder. Add egg, yogurt and vanilla, and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. Let rest for 10 minutes.
2. Heat a large non-stick pan to medium high. Melt 1 tsp of butter in pan. Spoon ¼ cup of batter into pan working in batches of two. Flip pancakes once when golden, about 2 minutes. Cook other side for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining batter. Set pancakes aside to cool slightly.
3. To top the pancakes, begin by mixing the yogurt, cinnamon and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread yogurt mixture equally among pancakes. Top each pancake in rows of strawberries, peaches, bananas, kiwis and blueberries to resemble the rainbow.

Tip: Use any combination of colourful fruit to make different shapes and patterns.

Breakfast Pizza Taco

Taco Breakfast Pizza
This taco breakfast pizza recipe comes together in a snap and packs a ton more nutrients than any frozen pizza pocket you can buy at the grocery store. It’s made with scrambled eggs, cheese and avocado; a winning combination that’ll your keep your little back-to-schooler full until lunch time.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup prepared salsa
2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Spread prepared salsa equally among tortillas, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
2. Divide the scrambled eggs among the tortillas. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas.
3. Bake until cheese is melted and salsa is warm, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and place avocado slices on each tortilla. Cut each tortilla into “pizza slices” and serve.

Breakfast Pizza Fruit and Chocolate

‘Chocolate’ Pita Pizzas
This pita pizza recipe looks like it’s laden with chocolate, but shhh… we use a healthy alternative that’ll make your kids think you’re the best! We blend avocado and banana, then add a touch of cocoa and honey to turn this nutrient-rich spread into a chocolate lover’s dream. Topped with fun animal faces made of bright fruit slices, coconut and chocolate chips, your kids will think you’re serving dessert for breakfast!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 pitas
1 banana, divided
1/2 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp honey
5 strawberries, sliced
1/2 kiwi, sliced
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Slice 1/2 the banana into small rounds and set aside.
2. In a small bowl mash the other 1/2 of the banana with avocado until a smooth paste forms. Stir in cocoa powder and honey.
3. Spread equally over 4 pitas. Using the sliced fruit, coconut and chocolate chips, top each pita with patterns of your choice.
4. Enjoy!

Looking for more delicious breakfast ideas? Try our 10 Quick Breakfasts for Busy Mornings.

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.