How to Grill Any Cut Of Steak Perfectly

As soon as the nice weather begins, Canadians ditch cooking in the kitchen and fire up the barbecue. The aromas and flavours of meat and veggies fresh from the open fire are intoxicating. And, when it comes to steak, nothing beats a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, juicy cut. But this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to know what to buy at the butcher, how different cuts of steak vary and the best way to cook them.

With the stakes so high (pardon the pun, but these cuts can be expensive!), we’re giving you the ultimate guide to choosing and grilling steak this summer and beyond.

grilled-steak-and-papaya-salad

BBQ Steak Basics

1. Let steak come to room temperature before grilling: About 30 minutes before grilling, take it out of the fridge. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.

2. Get the grill super-hot: You want to get good sear on your steak for the perfect finished crust. Heat your grill to at least 450ºF before cooking.

3. Season with a bit of oil and lots of salt: Brush steaks with a thin layer of high-temperature oil, like grape seed or refined avocado. Then, don’t just sprinkle salt on your steak, season with reckless abandon. A thick slab of meat needs more salt than you think. Use kosher or coarse salt on both sides and apply until you can see it on the surface of the meat.

4. Use a thermometer: Unless you’re a veteran grill master with tons of experience cooking steak, it’s difficult to tell how well cooked the meat is just by touching it. Quit guessing and take the internal temperature with an instant-read of meat thermometer. To avoid burning the exterior if a steak is very thick, remove it from direct heat and finish cooking on indirect heat until it has reached your desired internal temperature.

5. Rest the steak: Let your steak rest for at least 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing. The meat needs time to recirculate its juices, and that can only be achieved through patience. Once you’ve come this far in cooking the perfect steak, it would be a shame to ruin it! Your steak will not get cold (this is where a warm plate comes in handy). When your time is up, slice against the grain for more tender slices.

Steak Doneness Temperatures

  • Rare: 120ºF to 130ºF
  • Medium Rare: 130ºF to 140ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF to 150ºF
  • Medium Well: 150ºF to 155ºF
  • Well Done: 160ºF +

With the basics mastered, it’s time to discuss some of the common cuts and how they differ.

The Best Cuts of Steak for Grilling

Ribeye (Rib-eye, Rib Eye) Steak: Sometimes called entrecote, it can be purchased with the bone intact or boneless. It’s a tender steak with plenty of delicious fat marbling. This cut has a big, beefy flavour and is supremely juicy. For this reason, ribeye is usually on the pricier side, making it perfect for special occasions.

Flank Steak and Skirt Steak: Both very affordable (though the popularity of flank steak has made it rise in price recently) and tasty steaks, but they require a bit more work than other cuts. Flank steak can be tough and chewy, however, marinating overnight and cooking only to medium-rare can help keep it tender. After marinating, grilling and resting, flank steak must be thinly sliced across the grain to remain tender. Skirt steak should be prepared the same way as flank steak: marinated, grilled to medium-rare, rested and sliced against the grain. Flank and skirt steaks are great for weeknights and entertaining large groups.

New York Strip Steak: This cut is also known as the strip steak, top sirloin, top loin and contre-filet. The meat has a finely-grained texture and rich, beefy flavour. Its medium fat content, decent marbling and tender texture (less so than ribeye, but this cut is also less expensive) make it an ideal steak for barbecuing.

Porterhouse Steak: This steak is also known as the T-bone, a bone-in steak that has two of the most prized cuts of beef in one tidy package. On one side, the tenderloin, and on the other, the ribeye. The tenderloin portion will generally cook a bit faster than the ribeye portion, but the bone helps to keep the meat juicy. The porterhouse is the perfect steak for high-heat barbecues and entertaining to impress.

Now that you’ve nailed barbecued steak 101, it’s time to fire up the grill and dive into a recipe. Grill guru Bobby Flay takes it from here with this summery Grilled Steak and Papaya Salad .

paleo breakfast recipes without eggs

5 Eggless Paleo Breakfasts Plus an Epic Grain-Free Granola

A lot of people are ditching grains these days in favour of a paleo or keto-style diet, making a replacement for traditional carb-heavy breakfasts, like toast, bagels, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, a real challenge. For this reason, grain-free breakfasts almost always consist of eggs: scrambled, poached, over-easy – you name it. But eating eggs every day can become tedious.

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy and exciting egg-free options to get to know. Think outside of the egg carton with 5 healthy paleo breakfast ideas to spruce up your morning, without a yolk in sight.

Set Strawberries Coconut Cream

Coconut Strawberry Chia Bowl
Blending coconut cream, chia seeds and strawberries is basically like eating (a super-healthy!) dessert for breakfast. When combined with a liquid, or in this case, blended strawberries, the chia seeds thicken to resemble an indulgent pudding. This is a great paleo-friendly breakfast that will give your body the energy boost it needs in the morning.
Get the recipe for Set Strawberries with Coconut Cream.

Cucumber Salad with Fresh Coconut

Salad for Breakfast
Salad for breakfast has been embraced globally, so why not try it for yourself, right at home? Eating vegetables in the morning provides a boost of fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients – all components your body is craving to get up and go. Give salad for breakfast a chance, and add a blast of freshness to your morning meal.
Get the recipe for Cucumber Salad with Fresh Coconut.

Hungry Buddha Smoothie Bowl

Smoothies & Smoothie Bowls
Smoothies and smoothie bowls are quick to make, easy to take and very nutritious. Blend together kale, spinach, banana, berries, nuts and protein powder, and you have a deeply nourishing morning meal. To assemble your own Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl, pour your blended creation in a cereal bowl and decorate with superfood ingredients like hemp seeds, bee pollen, blueberries and chia seeds (or the Paleo Granola recipe below). Before diving in, don’t forget to take a picture! Enjoy an entire gallery of gorgeous and delicious smoothie bowls to inspire your creation.

Paleo granola in a bowl with fruit

Dairy-Free Yogurt with Berries & Nuts
One of our favourite go-to paleo breakfasts happens to be the quickest and simplest: a bowl of dairy-free yogurt topped with blueberries, strawberries, almonds and walnuts. Of course, that’s the skeleton of the recipe – feel free to spruce it up with a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of cinnamon, raw cacao powder, pomegranate seeds and hemp seeds. For the yogurt base, if you’re eating paleo, dairy is out, though there are many tasty dairy-free yogurt options made from plant milks (usually coconut or almond milk) that can be found at your grocery store, many of which still provide belly-friendly probiotics.

Paleo-GranolaFood Network 40854

Paleo Granola
Most granola is made with oats (a grain), but this paleo granola recipe replaces them with toasted coconut chips, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs and raisins for a grain-free, naturally sweetened, protein-packed breakfast.  

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp coconut oil, very soft or melted
1 to 2 Tbsp maple syrup, less or more for desired sweetness level
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened toasted coconut chips or pieces (not shredded)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cacao nibs

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Paleo Granola

2. Scatter hazelnuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds on prepared baking sheet. Toss nut and seed mixture with coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned (watch closely to be careful not to burn the mixture).
3. Remove nut and seed mixture from oven. Mix in coconut chips, raisins and cacao nibs. Cool before serving, if desired.
4. Serve granola in a bowl with dairy-free milk of choice and fresh fruit.
5. For storing, cool granola completely and keep in airtight jar at room temperature for up to one month.

Paleo Granola

Looking for paleo lunch and dinner recipes? Explore these grain-free zucchini noodle recipes, and kick carb cravings to the curb.

Jerk Chicken Wings

Turn Up The Heat With These Jerk Chicken Wings

If you’ve ever been to Toronto in July, chances are you’ve experienced Caribana. Since 1967, the festival has been a bright, colourful and delicious celebration of Caribbean culture. If you can’t make to the festival, you can still celebrate by making these spicy jerk chicken wings right at home.

The key to jerk seasoning’s delicious burn is the scorching Scotch bonnet peppers. Dial down the heat by removing the seeds and using as many or as few peppers as you desire.

jerk chicken wings

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 2 hours 45 min
Serves: 1 to 2 people

Ingredients:
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
6 garlic cloves
3 green onions
2 to 3 small Scotch Bonnets, seeds removed
1 1/2-in piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 lbs chicken wings

jerk chicken wings cooking

Directions:
1. Combine oil with soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, green onions, scotch bonnets, ginger, thyme, allspice and cinnamon in a blender. Purée until smooth, then pour into a large bowl.
2. Add chicken wings, then toss to coat. Let marinate, in refrigerator, for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 500°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on prepared sheet. Spray rack with oil. Transfer wings to rack. Reserve marinade.
4. Roast wings in centre of oven, turning once and brushing with reserved marinade, until crispy and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
5. Remove pan from oven and let stand until cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

Tip: Enjoy these wings on their own or skewer them for an impressive garnish for a cool and refreshing Caesar cocktail.

jerk chicken wing caesar

bbq corn on the cob

5 Insanely Tasty Ways to Top Corn on the Cob

When the heat of summer hits and its bounty finally brings sweet corn, there’s no better way to celebrate than by throwing some ears on the grill.

Eating corn right off the cob is so satisfying and the smokiness from the grill only adds to the depth of flavour to these sweet ears. Most people dress their corn the classic way, slathering on butter and salt before gnawing away. But grilled corn on the cob is basically a blank canvas, perfect for adding flavours and toppings.

This summer, skip the butter and get creative with one of these five ways to top your cobs.

bbq corn on the cob

Middle Eastern
Spread with a little butter then add Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Top with feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon.

Maple Mustard
Mix equal parts grainy mustard and maple syrup to make corn on the cob that begs to be served with ribs.

Everything Bagel
If you are reminiscing about breakfast, test out this recipe that mimics the best bagel flavour out there. Give your corn a good smear of either butter or cream cheese and sprinkle with equal parts dehydrated onions, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

bbq corn on the cob

Korean Spice
Add a bit of Korean flare to your corn on the cob by drizzling mayonnaise and gochujang, a sweet-and-savoury Korean condiment, over the corn. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Cacio y Pepe
Italians know that the best way to top their pasta is simply with butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Adopt the Italian mentality, but apply it to corn. Slather your cob with butter, then sprinkle liberally with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, season with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt.

Can’t get enough summer corn? Try these 40 Fresh Corn Recipes.

black ice cream

Why Charcoal is the Inky New Ingredient of Summer

If you’ve noticed an eerie new food trend this summer, you’re not alone. Pitch-black foods from ice cream to breads to cocktails and smoothies are popping up on menus and on your Instagram feed in droves. The colour of these concoctions is thanks to activated charcoal, the newest (and eeriest) addition to the ever-growing roster of superfood boosters.

Activated charcoal bread

Activated charcoal bread.
laurapeill.com

Activated charcoal is popular in the health food realm as it’s thought to assist in detoxification, likely because it’s frequently used if a patient is rushed to the hospital for an overdose or ingested poison. There is reason to be cautious when consuming, as its binding properties can also remove important vitamins and minerals from the body, along with the “bad.” In terms of using it as a health food supplement, the amounts are miniscule versus those used in hospitals, so you can rest easy. But don’t think of activated charcoal as a panacea – it’s a supplement and natural colourant, not a medication.

Also, don’t go searching for activated charcoal by harvesting backyard barbecue coals – they are not the same thing. Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning plant fibres, like coconut husks. Overall, in moderation, charcoal can be a funky add-in here and there for the average, healthy adult.

So, if you’re ready to give the raven-hued trend a try, consider a playful bite of ebony pizza crust, “burnt” sourdough, inky ice cream or a sable-hued latte. Bartenders are even creating detox-retox sips using activated charcoal, like The Carbon Bar in Toronto, which created the Black Mamba Margarita with charcoal-infused Avion tequila, St. Germain, Bowmore, lime and a sea-salt rim.

Black Mamba Margarita

This cocktail is made with charcoal-infused Avion tequila, St. Germain, Bowmore and lime with a sea-salt rim.
The Carbon Bar

The recently opened iHalo Krunch, “Toronto’s first charcoal ice cream shop,” is swirling up dreamy combinations, complete with activated charcoal cones.

And for the health nuts, to whom the activated charcoal trend in food should be attributed, find cold-pressed lemonade, vegan soft serve, almond milk lattes, sourdough breads and edible body treatments (whitening toothpastes and facemasks) to satisfy your curiosity.

Ihalo Krunch cones

At iHalo Krunch, the ice cream is served up in activated-charcoal cones.
ihalo Krunch

While the trend has some latte-slinging baristas up in arms, as activated charcoal can leave a gritty texture and off taste when combined with coffee and milk, it is, for the most part, a visual barrier more than a physical one.

Let us know if you have or would join in the activated charcoal food movement.

Taste Testing the Calgary Stampede with Top Chef Canada: All-Stars Champ Nicole Gomes

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what can be served on the Calgary Stampede.

Every year, the Stampede releases a list of new and noteworthy – or jaw-dropping, depending on how you look at it – midway foods to try. This has ranged from unorthodox edibles like pizza topped with fried mealworms and crickets, red velvet chicken strips, a corn dog containing a dill pickle-wrapped hot dog and ice-cold dulce de leche mini doughnut popsicles.

nicole-gomes-calgary stampede

This year, there are 40 different new items to try on the Calgary Stampede grounds. Since that’s too much for two people to eat in one outing, Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner Nicole Gomes and I tried 10 of the most interesting creations while helping judge the annual “Best new midway food” competition.

Here’s what Nicole, an award-winning chef, thought of the wild midway offerings at The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

funnel cake poutine calgary stampede

Funnel Cake Poutine, from Next Generation Concession
“This is the best thing ever,” says Nicole and it’s hard to disagree – especially as it was awarded “Best new savoury food on the midway” at this year’s Stampede. The deep-fried dough that’s usually topped with sweet powdered sugar gets a savoury twist with fresh cheese curds and beef gravy. One bite and Nicole’s chef mind is spinning with ideas for more fair funnel cake creations. “You could add some chicken, white gravy and bacon or make a beef taco salad-funnel cake hybrid. Ah, so many great things you could do with a funnel cake base!”

raindrop cake calgary stampede

The Raindrop Cake, from Sweet Tooth
This unusual jiggly “dessert” made of water and agar-agar (a vegan equivalent to gelatin) rose to fame in New York last year. Since then, it has popped up in countries like England, Japan and now Canada. “Just not my cup of tea. It just tastes, um, Jell-o-ish, but tasteless,” says Nicole, trying to describe the translucent creation.

horchata mini doughnut popsicle

Mini Donut Chata, from Family Squeezed
It’s hard to decipher from its name, but this epic drink-meets-dessert draws its inspiration from the Latin American drink horchata. The iced beverage is a mix of rice milk, cinnamon and vanilla and it’s surprisingly refreshing. But the garnishes – whipped cream, toffee crumble and the food vendor’s famous mini-doughnut popsicle dipped in butterscotch – takes this drink over the top. In a good way. “I love this popsicle! It is such a clever spin on a mini doughnut,” says Nicole. “The drink it comes with, though, is really, really big, but it would be an easy thing to share.” Nicole’s enthusiasm was shared by the Stampede, which awarded this concoction “Best new sweet food on the midway” for 2017.

chicken and waffles calgary stampede

The Texas Waffle,  from Waffles & Chix
Since Nicole owns the popular fried chicken spot, Cluck ‘n’ Cleaver, it takes a lot to impress the chef. “This is a cute idea, but it needs something more,” Nicole says after taking a few forkfuls of lightly battered chicken sitting on top of a Texas-shaped waffle that’s been filled with sliced jalapenos and aged cheddar. While tasty, this one is not ideal for walking and eating. “You’ll need to grab a fork and a knife and find a seat to really enjoy it.”

deep fried lemonade calgary stampede

Deep-fried Lemonade, from Family Squeezed
Just when you think everything in the world has been deep-fried, someone thinks of just one more thing to dip into the fryer. This year, the unofficial “strangest item to deep-fry” award has to go to Family Squeezed’s deep-fried lemonade. But, as Nicole discovered, it’s not quite what you’d expect. “I was sort of expecting to get a burst of frozen lemonade inside, kind of like when you bite into deep-fried ice cream, but this is more like a little doughnut,” the chef says.

cheeto dusted corn calgary stampede

The Flaming Cheeto, from Fresh Roasted Corn on the Cob
After taking a big bite, Nicole thought this mayo and Spicy Cheeto covered corn was much sweeter and less spicy than expected. This “flaming” addition to the midway is supposed to be a spin on Mexican street food, but ends up being a miss. “The Cheetos are so finely ground, they get mushy really quickly,” says Nicole. “They would have been better off coating it with something crispier.”

Waffle Taco, from Steve-O’s “Deep Fried” Public House
When it comes to the flavour, Nicole approves of the crispy sweet waffle shell and ice cream. “Ice cream options like this at the Calgary Stampede are good for people that like to mix and match, since you can choose different toppings like berries, sprinkles, chocolate sauce and more,” she says, but admits that it can be a mess to eat. “I just hate when you have to walk around with sticky hands,” says Nicole after biting into a taco-shaped waffle cone filled with ice cream and whipped cream.

rice krispie ice cream sandwich stampede

Cereal Monster Sandwiches, from Monster Cones
Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, this spin on a traditional ice cream sandwich – featuring two scoops of your choice of ice cream sandwiched between rainbow cereal marshmallow squares – is worth sinking your teeth into, says Nicole. “If I wanted something that was just cold and sweet, this is what I would go for,” she says. It’s not for the faint of heart or appetite, though, because of its giant portion. “The size does sort of intimidate me. It’s huge,” Nicole says and laughs. “It would be a great thing for kids. This is another thing you would have to go find a place to sit to eat.”

macn cheese hot dog calgary stampede

Double Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Hotdog, from Super Foot-long Hotdog
Enjoying at least one hotdog while spending a day at the Calgary Stampede is a given, but finding a dog that truly rises above mediocre can be hard to find. Nicole seems torn about this particular new midway offering that’s a foot-long dog wrapped in bacon and then topped with a few spoonfuls of bacon mac ‘n’ cheese. “You can tell that the hotdog is good quality,” she says.  “I’d say just stick with their regular foot-long dog and skip the mac ‘n’ cheese.”

Mr crab sushi taco calgary stampede

Mr. Crab, by Happy Fish
Sushi may not be the first thing a person gravitates toward while strolling down a midway lane full of doughnuts, hot dogs and cotton candy, but this Top Chef Canada champion doesn’t want anyone missing out on this fulfilling sushi taco.  “This dish is fun. This is what Stampede food should be all about,” says Nicole while holding a crispy-fried nori taco filled with rice, imitation crab meat, tempura-fried soft shell crab that’s been topped with avocado and unagi and mango sauces. “It’s interesting, it’s tasty, it has great textures – I really love soft shell crab too – and it’s really easy to eat while you’re walking around!”

The Ultimate Guide To Campfire Cooking

When we were very young, my sister and I used to canoe camp on our own in the wilderness of the Yukon Territory. From an early age, I learned the ins and outs of campfire cooking and that knowledge is just as applicable today when I’m prepping dinner for my family of five.

Now that I’m older, I still think that the best part of a camping trip is the food, and that cooking over an open fire makes it taste that much better. Camp cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you’ve put some time into the preparation.

Campfire Cooking

Below are a handful of tips for successful campfire cooking, along with an equipment list that brings your home kitchen to the great outdoors. Just remember to add a measure of patience and a good dose of humour, because things don’t always go according to plan when you’re out in the woods!

Campfire Cooking dutch oven

Campfire Cooking Basics 
Safety First
Always make the area safe by ensuring that there are no branches overhead or dried leaves too close to where you are building the fire. Start your fire with small tinder such as twigs or dried moss and build up to larger logs. If you can, always use dry wood, not green or wet wood.

Keep Heatproof Tools On Hand
Keep a sturdy pair of tongs on hand for cooking, as well as a thick dry kitchen towel or an oven mitt.

Adjust The Temperature
Once the wood has been burning for at least 10 minutes, create the equivalent of high, medium and low heat settings in your fire pit. To do this, use a sturdy stick to maneuver some of the burning wood into a higher level at the back of the fire pit while keeping a bed of coals at the front.

Mise En Place
As much as possible, prep your food in advance of starting the fire, because once your fire hits a sweet spot with both glowing coals and low flames, you’ll want to get cooking right away.

Campfire cooking, sliders beside the campfire

What To Bring: Campfire Cooking Equipment 

Dutch Oven
Packing this one-pot wonder on a camping trip means you have the option to stew, boil, fry or simmer your food. Heap hot coals all around and on top of the Dutch oven to create an oven-like heat. You’re then ready to bake up anything from deep-dish pizza to fruit crisps and cobblers.

Cast Iron Skillet
From bannock to bacon, this handy pan ensures even heat and perfect colouration, every time. Be sure to get the pan smoking-hot before cooking or foods can stick.

Tin Foil
Everyone loves a foil-packaged meal because all the delicious juices are sealed in. To avoid keeping those juices intact, use a rubber-tipped cooking tongs to move and maneuver my foil food packages. This way, the delicious juices stay contained and there’s no soot in my dinner!

Multi-Pronged Stick
Whether you’re sharpening your own green stick or packed a metal one, always choose two or three prongs instead of just one. You’re a lot less likely to accidentally drop your dinner into the fire this way.

Grate Grill
For quick cooking, it’s hard to beat slapping food on a grate grill over an open flame. Choose foods that are improved by a little char on the exterior such as whole fish, whole sweet potatoes or thick steaks.

Campfire Cooking, building a fire

Respect The Woods
Finally, be a conscientious camp cook. You can burn some garbage, such as paper plates, used napkins and food scraps, but never toss in used Styrofoam, plastic or tin foil as these produce highly toxic fumes. And always be sure to douse your fire with water when the last s’more has been consumed.

Happy Camping!

Now that you’ve mastered campfire cooking 101, watch how to cook pretty much anything over the open flames.

Watermelon-Fattoush-Salad-feature-image

3 Delicious Ways to Use All That Leftover Watermelon

There is nothing better than a cold, crisp slice of watermelon on a hot sunny day. Biting into sweet, refreshing fruit that leaves juice dripping down your face is one of the quintessential moments of summer.

Unless you’re having a seed spitting contest, chances are, you won’t eat the whole melon in one sitting. Watermelon loses its fresh texture when it’s been in the fridge for a few days, getting soft and mealy. To make the most of this seasonal melon, you’ll need to think beyond the standard wedge. Don’t feel burdened by this extra large fruit; instead, try one of these recipes to savour those watermelon leftovers.

Watermelon Fattoush

Watermelon Fattoush Salad
Watermelon and feta salad is old news. Replace it with this fresh and flavourful summer salad. Drizzle pita with olive oil and za’atar and toast until crisp. Break the pita into bite-size crackers. If you don’t have za’atar, just use some sesame seeds and salt. Cube watermelon into 1-inch chunks and toss with sliced cucumber and some finely sliced red onion. Mix the pita, onion, cucumber and melon together with some parsley leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice halloumi cheese into 1/2-inch slices. Grill it over high heat until crisp and then top the salad with it.

watermelon basil lemonade

Watermelon Basil Lemonade
Muddle 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice. Blend 3 cups watermelon with 1 1/2 cups cold water. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer and transfer to pitcher. Mix in the basil and lemon mixture. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh basil, lemon and lime slices.

watermelon pops

Watermelon Kefir and Kiwi Popsicles
Blend two cups of chopped watermelon with 1 cup kefir, the juice of one lime and 1 tablespoon of honey. Slice 2 kiwis into 1/4-inch slices. Divide kiwis into 6 popsicles molds and then pour in the watermelon mixture to fill. Place in freezer until frozen through, about 4 hours.

Looking for more marvelous melon? Try these Refreshing Watermelon Recipes.

vegan-ice-cream-cake feature image

A Dreamy Ice Cream Cake You’d Never Guess is Vegan

Treat yourself to an amped-up Oreo with this chocolate-and-vanilla cookie ice cream cake. It’s so deliciously decadent, you wouldn’t guess it’s vegan. But the classic sandwich cookie is vegan-friendly, making them perfect for that crumbled cookie crust, filling and topping for this stacked creation. Homemade chocolate shell is the “icing” on this crowd-pleaser of a cake, good for big celebrations or as an everyday dessert.

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 7 hours
Serves: 8 to 10

Crust:
15 Oreo cookies (one sleeve)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Filling:
6 cups dairy-free vanilla coconut milk ice cream, such as PC or Coconut Bliss
15 Oreo cookies (one sleeve)
1/2 tsp flaky salt

Topping:
2 cups dairy-free vanilla coconut milk ice cream, such as PC or Coconut Bliss
8 Oreo cookies (half of one sleeve)

Chocolate Shell:
1/2 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips
2 Tbsp coconut oil

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Directions:
1. Remove ice cream from freezer while preparing crust and let sit at least 10 minutes. Line a dinner plate (or any other flat surface that will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper.

Crust:
1. Line a 7- to 8-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper on the bottom.
2. In a food processor, pulse Oreo cookies until finely crushed. Add coconut oil and pulse until mixture is uniform. Sprinkle over parchment paper in springform pan and gently press into bottom.

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Filling:
1. Roughly chop Oreo cookies. In a large stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, slowly mix 6 cups of ice cream until smooth and whipped. Add chopped Oreos and salt, mixing again to fully combine and smoothing over prepared crust. Transfer to freezer for at least 6 hours.

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Topping:
1. Scoop 2 cups worth of ice cream into balls and place on a parchment lined plate and transfer to freezer along with springform pan (crust and filling).
Chocolate Shell:
1. After chilling for 6 hours, make the chocolate shell. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat chocolate and coconut oil until melted, about 2 minutes.

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake
Assembly:
1. Remove springform pan from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and unhinge springs. Remove bottom and place on a serving plate that will fit in your freezer.
2. Working quickly, drizzle cake with chocolate shell, reserving 1 tablespoon for finishing, allowing it to fall over the edges. Crumble 4 of the 8 remaining Oreos for the topping.

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake
3. Remove ice cream balls from freezer and place on top of chocolate shell. Mound ice cream balls in the centre of the cake, drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon chocolate shell and remaining 4 Oreos, halved or crumbled.
4. Immediately transfer back to freezer to firm up for at least 1 hour. Remove cake from freezer, slice and serve. Store leftovers covered in freezer in a large container or cake box.

Looking for more tasty treats? Try these Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

Strawberry Shortbread Jammy Bars

These Strawberry Shortbread Jammy Bars Are Almost Too Pretty to Eat

It’s not summer without a crumble bar filled with seasonal berries, and few are as decadent as these jammy shortbread treats. They are reminiscent of traditional thumbprint cookies, but offer the perfect amount of berryful jam in every bite.

Cornmeal gives the cookie base the crumbly texture we all love in shortbread, and the muscovado sugar adds a hint of caramel. A pinch of lavender sprinkled in the dough complements the bold strawberry sweetness.  With strawberry slices, garnishing every square, the streusel topping melts in your mouth. These are irresistible, especially with a cup of afternoon tea.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
Makes: 16 bars

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine cornmeal
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp culinary lavender, crushed
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup muscovado sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup strawberry jam
4 medium fresh strawberries

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Directions:
1. Place the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the sides.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, salt and lavender until well combined.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a mixing bowl with a sturdy wooden spoon, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla.
4. Carefully tip in the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough is the consistency of damp sand. Scrape down the sides of the mixer and scrape off the paddle.
5. Reserve a heaping 1 cup of shortbread dough and add the rest into the prepared pan. Distribute the dough evenly around the pan and press into the bottom. Poke the crust a few times with a fork. Bake this bottom crust for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

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6. Spread the jam over the shortbread base. Crumble the remaining dough over the jam, and then thinly slice the fresh strawberries and arrange them on top.
7. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20 to 22 minutes, or until the top shortbread crumbles are lightly browned and the jam is bubbly.
8. Cool the shortbread bars for 10 minutes, then while still in the pan, slice into 16 bars. Cool completely, then slice again when cooled. Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Store the bars in an airtight container for up to three days. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Looking for more tasty summer treats? Try one of our 45 Best Summer Pies and Tarts.

Strawberry Frozen

5 Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn

So you hit a great sale and stock your freezer up. But a few weeks or months later, you pull out your edibles and they’re covered in ice crystals. The sad phenomenon that causes unappealing, dried-out, discoloured food happens to the best of us. 

We have five useful tips to make sure you never feel the (freezer) burn again.

Frozen Strawberries

1. Wrap your freezer-bound fare twice, with as little air as possible. First wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as you can.

2. Keep your cold storage well organized. That way, you don’t have to keep the door open for five minutes every time you look for something, avoiding temperature fluctuations as much as possible. If you’re shopping for a new unit, keep in mind that self-defrosting models are worse for freezer burn.

3. Don’t put hot foods directly in the freezer; let them cool first. 

4. Keep your freezer full, but not too full. At about three-quarters capacity, the freezer is most efficient at maintaining its cool.  Pack it more, and the air won’t circulate properly.

5. Invest in a vacuum-sealer.  It sucks out all the air around the food before freezing, which makes a big difference in longevity.

Although colour, texture and taste all suffer when freezer burn strikes, it does not render the food inedible — it’s still perfectly safe. To rescue freezer-burnt provisions, try concealing it in flavourful mixed dishes with lots of liquid, like stews, a bolognese, or barbecue sauces.

Looking for more kitchen tips? Learn our top 20 Life-Changing Freezer Hacks.

Guilt-Free, No-Bake Breakfast Cheesecake Tart

Turn yogurt and granola into a delicious no-bake breakfast cheesecake. High in protein, calcium, fibre and healthy fats, it’s a fresh and tasty take on breakfast. Light, crispy oatmeal crust topped with a sweet cheesecake filling, this dessert-worthy breakfast is perfect for those humid summer days when hot oatmeal is out of the question. Top with fresh fruit, chopped nuts and a drizzle of honey and your off to the races.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Granola Crust:
1 cup large-flake oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour or light spelt flour
3 Tbsp raw turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp salt

Filling:
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp powdered gelatin
2 cups unsweetened plain yogurt (Balkan-style or Greek-style)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup well-shaken coconut milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange zest, more for toppings

Toppings:
Fresh fruit of choice (orange slices, pitted cherries, berries, etc.)
Chopped nuts of choice
Honey

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Directions:

Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Mix in coconut oil until combined. Press crust mixture into prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until fragrant and dry on top. Cool completely in pan.

Filling:
1. Add orange juice to a small skillet and sprinkle over gelatin. Heat over medium until gelatin has dissolved and a few bubbles begin to break on the surface, about 1 minute. Reserve.
2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine yogurt, maple syrup, coconut milk, lemon juice, vanilla and orange zest. Slowly whisk in gelatin orange juice mixture.
3. Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 6 to 8 hours, preferably overnight, until set.
4. Cut into large squares or triangles and top with fruit, nuts and honey.

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Looking for more nutritious and delicious breakfast ideas? Watch this video for 3 creative oatmeal variations or try this recipe for vegan strawberry cheesecake bites.

Dinnertime Done Right: Coconut-Crusted Cauliflower Tacos

Are you ready for some crispy, flavour-packed cauliflower tacos? We are, so we’re serving up this incredibly bright and delicious recipe to satisfy your taco needs. When the weather is warm, most people tend to crave zesty, fresh and light flavours and this vegetarian dish delivers just that. Make it for dinner this week — you (and your belly) will be very pleased.

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Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Serves: 3-6

Ingredients:
1 small cauliflower, chopped in florets
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp sea salt

Avocado Crema:
1 avocado
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 small clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt to taste

Mango Cabbage Slaw:
2 cups finely chopped purple cabbage
1 fresh mango, chopped in small cubes
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt

6 corn tortillas (or use sprouted corn tortillas)

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Directions:

Coconut-Crusted Cauliflower:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Combine shredded coconut, almond meal, garlic powder, chili powder, turmeric and sea salt in a bowl.
3. Place coconut milk in another bowl.
4. Chop cauliflower into florets.
5. Coat each floret in the coconut milk and then dip in the shredded coconut mixture.
6. Spread coated florets of cauliflower out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Bake for 35 minutes, until the outside is crisp and the cauliflower is soft.

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Avocado Crema:
1. Meanwhile, prepare avocado crema by blending the avocado, coconut milk, garlic, lime juice and sea salt together in the food processor until creamy and smooth.
2. Place avocado crema in a small plastic bag and squeeze toward one of the corners of the bag. Eventually, you’ll snip a very small hole on one of the corners, right before you’re about to squeeze the crema over (in a few steps).

Mango Cabbage Slaw:
1. Chop purple cabbage finely, cut mango into small cubes and chop cilantro.
2. Combine purple cabbage, mango and cilantro in a bowl together with lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup and sea salt.

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Assembly:
1. Once the cauliflower is cooked, warm up tortillas for a few minutes in the oven.
2. Place a layer of the mango cabbage slaw down the centre of each tortilla.
3. Add some roasted cauliflower on top of each one.
4. Snip a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and gently squeeze the avocado crema to drizzle over top.
5. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

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Watch this video to learn how to properly dine out at a Mexican taqueria.