5 Unexpected Food Trends The Chopped Judges Love (And Hate)

Charcoal ice cream, bacon in your Bloody Mary, or dessert piled on top of dessert, piled on top of dessert, piled on top of dessert. There have been plenty of trendy food items the Chopped judges want to forget ever existed, especially as more and more foodies share their overindulgent finds on Instagram and other social media platforms.

“It’s bacon abuse. Bacon doesn’t belong everywhere,” notes Alex Guarnaschelli of the saltiest food trend. “Cupcakes and doughnuts with bacon on it? Why. I’m going to eat scrambled eggs and bacon and then I’m going to have a cupcake. All separately.”

“The food trend word itself is so annoying,” adds Maneet Chauhan. “Food is about nourishment, it’s about enjoyment. Having the word ‘trend’ beside it is annoying.”

To be fair, we wouldn’t expect our panel of classically trained judges to feel much differently about these gawker dishes being doled out at carnivals, food trucks and pop-up shops. But that doesn’t mean they’re against all food trends. Here are five surprising culinary movements the Chopped judges are totally getting behind.

1. Fermentation


At its core, the idea of using natural bacteria to feed on starch and sugar in order to preserve and extend a food’s shelf life is a bit weird to list as a trend. But given a chef’s ability to label preserved food as both additive-free and healthy, it’s something that’s definitely been gaining traction in 2018. And the Chopped judges love it.

“There has been a departure from high-end ingredients. We’re always going to have truffles and caviar and foie gras, but now you see places using a lot more fermentation and they’re bringing more interesting flavours,” says Marc Murphy. “You know what caviar tastes like. If you have good caviar it’s always going to taste the same. But with fermentation it’s like, ‘Holy cow. It’s hitting the palate in so many awesome and different ways.’”

2. Milling


“I was just in San Francisco so I’m obsessed with everything sour dough. Sour dough bread, long fermentation breads,” reveals Amanda Freitag. “Everyone makes their own breads and is growing and milling their own grains now. Like, chefs in California that are baking, or pastry chefs, they wouldn’t even think of buying flour anymore. They are all milling their own flour. Think about our upbringing in kitchens — we just ordered it in bulk! They would never do that anymore.”

“Grains are such a big product, and growing up in Scandinavia, that’s one of the things we had a lot, like seven-grain bread, multigrain bread,” adds Marcus Samuelsson.

3. Return to Basics

It’s not just fermentation and milling that has the judges impressed with where the industry is going. It’s the entire movement of taking things back to basics that has them hopeful for the next wave of culinary superstars.

“Even ethnic food is becoming more mainstream with things like fermentation,” Chauhan says. “That’s one of the amazing things being done, is going back to the basis. Things that we were doing for generations, going back to that. That’s the amazing trend.”

4. Shrubs

If you’ve noticed a surplus of vinegar in your cocktails lately, know that it’s no accident. “Shrubs” are an increasingly popular way to reimagine old flavours, and Guarnaschelli is all over them.

“Making fruit juices mixed with vinegar, which is sort of on the savoury side for cocktails, is called shrubs,” she explains. “And now we’re seeing them on dishes where fruit, which is usually sweet, is thought of in a more vinegary, acidic context.”

5. Plant-Based Eating

So the idea of eating a more plant-based diet isn’t exactly a surprising trend; it’s one that’s been boiling up for a while now thanks to certain documentaries and an overall appeal for better health. Still, as the movement plows forward, these judges are all for it.

“Vegetarian and vegan dishes are becoming stars on the menu now, and not just things you have to have on the menu,” says Chris Santos.

Sounds pretty delicious to us.

Watch an all-new season of Chopped premiering Tuesday, August 28th at 10 E/P!

5 Tips to Help Your Kids Pack Their Own Lunches

If you’re tired of making lunches your kids won’t eat, getting them to build their own lunches can help streamline your morning routine and increase the odds their lunchbox comes home empty. From shopping for the right ingredients to choosing the right lunchbox, there are many strategies that can set your family up for lunchtime success.

Take Them Shopping

The first step in getting your kids to help pack their own lunch starts at the grocery store. Have your child make a list of their favourite lunch foods, and then let them navigate the grocery store with you for those items. Commit to trying one new item from the produce department each week and talk to them about what makes a balanced meal. Knowledge is power, and this is true for food and meal prepping.

Make Packing Fun

If you think packing lunches is a boring chore, chances are your little one will too. One way to shake this stereotype is to make packing lunches fun. Pick up some cute and colourful reusable containers and bags, pop on your little one’s favourite songs, and make an assembly line where you can all pitch in together packing their midday meal.

Use a Bento Box/Snack Box

One way to get your kids to pack and eat their lunch is to stop calling it lunch! For whatever reason, kids seem to balk at the concept of eating a proper meal, but fully embrace a snack situation. The snacks-as-a-meal trend is having its moment right now, with parents using everything from muffin tins to plastic craft boxes to hold a variety of tasty eats for their kiddos. Have your child fill Bento box compartments with foods they enjoy – such as crackers, dried fruit and add some cheese, a hardboiled egg, and cucumber or apple slices for a balanced meal. Don’t forget a dip or two like hummus or seed butter for even more kid-friendly fun.

Keep Items Accessible

If kids can’t reach it, they can’t pack it, so leave ample supplies of storage containers and food options where your kids can access them. Once they know where everything is, get them into the routine of putting their lunch together at the same time every day – before bed the night before or after breakfast on the day of are both good options.

Shake up Lunch with New Recipes

Another way to get kids excited about packing their own lunch is to try making a new recipe together. Research shows that children are more likely to eat food that they’ve taken a role in preparing, so let them practice their measuring and mixing skills with a kid-friendly recipe. A medley of sweet, dried strawberries, apples and yogurt-covered raisins are right at home with crunchy crackers, roasted pumpkin seeds and puffed rice cereal. Make a double batch, because this snack will be popular on the playground.

Summer Starts With Saskatoon Berries (and the Most Delicious Berry Crisp Recipe!)

Growing up at her grandmother’s knee, learning to farm, forage and cook with the freshest ingredients, it’s no surprise that Candace Ippolito became the owner and CEO of the SaskMade Marketplace, a thriving business that showcases the best of what Saskatchewan’s farmers, food producers and artisans have to offer. Here, she recalls one of her favourite food memories: her grandmother’s Saskatoon berry crisp. “Every delicious bite of my grandmother’s Saskatoon berry crisp is a sticky, sweet flavour bomb, but there’s a lot more to it than that for me. My personal history is basically baked into that dessert.”

“Grandma’s crisp takes me back to the farm, where I grew up surrounded by my tight-knit family. Grandma and Grandpa lived right next door, and my aunt, uncle and cousins lived not too far away. As a kid, breakfast and lunch always took place at Grandma’s. Mom left early for work in town, so in the morning, my brother and I would have a quick bite with Grandma before boarding the school bus. At lunch, there was always a big made-from-scratch feast for everyone, including the men who worked with Dad and Grandpa on our cattle farm. Since Grandma was Irish, potatoes were always part of the meal. Every fall, we would dig the potatoes up and haul them down to her cold cellar in the basement, and every spring, we would haul about half of them back up again—never a shortage of potatoes. And since she had a huge garden, there were always veggies, too, either freshly picked or from her cellar stash of preserves and frozen vegetables.”

“The main attraction was usually a braised beef dish, but you never knew which parts you were going to get. Grandma was the original nose-to-tail chef! We never wasted a thing that was grown, butchered or foraged around our homestead.”

“Of course, Grandma’s spreads were never complete without her baked goods. She made wonderful cream puffs, rolls and fluffy biscuits. Best of all were her homemade pies, cinnamon buns, crisps and other sweet treats. Her Saskatoon berry crisp, always served with fresh whipped cream, was my favourite. There’s something about the texture. The base was ripe Saskatoon berries melted down, soft and sweet; then the crumb topping was really brown and rich and had kind of a caramelized taste to it. With every mouthful, you’d get a sweet, syrupy start, then finish with a delicate buttery crunch. I don’t know how else to put it except to say that, to me, that crisp tastes like love.”

“You know what else? To me, this recipe tastes like the month of July. July is the only time of year for harvesting Saskatoons. Our whole family would go up to a friend’s property, each of us with an empty ice cream pail in hand, and we weren’t allowed to quit until everyone’s pail was full. The older kids were always happy to help out the younger ones—otherwise, the day would never end! That once-a-year outing set us up with enough berries to last a long time. We sometimes worried about finding bears up there in the hills, and I sure didn’t like wearing Grandpa’s ugly old work shirts that protected us from the prickly bushes and mosquitoes as big as hawks—but all the same, I have really happy memories of those berry-picking days.”

“For a lot of my friends, memories of their grandmothers are about going for ice cream or shopping at a mall. We’re a fourth-generation farming family, so that’s not my experience. For me, it’s about sitting on a veranda, peeling carrots or shelling peas. It’s about pulling potatoes in the garden, gathering eggs from the chicken coop or picking Saskatoons. ‘Busy hands’ is what we used to call our time with my grandparents. There was always some work project going on with us, and that’s OK. She instilled in us that a family that works together, stays together!”

Grandma Betsy’s Saskatoon Berry Crisp

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

4 cups freshly picked Saskatoon berries (if using frozen
berries, they must be completely thawed and excess moisture removed)
¾ cup flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch salt
½ cup cold butter

Directions:

1. Add berries to buttered 10- x 6-inch (3 L) baking dish.

2. In bowl, mix together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture is in coarse crumbs.

3. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over berries. Bake in 350° F oven for 40 minutes, or until  topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or  ice cream.

Published August 21, 2015, Updated August 20, 2018

Photo courtesy of Candace Ippolito

Chicken tortilla casserole

How to Host a Successful Freezer Meal Swap

From must-make recipes to time-saving tips, we’ve got everything you need to know about hosting the ultimate meal swap party . What’s a meal swap party? It’s a chance to meal prep with your friends and family, so you can all stock your freezers with a dinner stash that will last for months. So call up your friends and get ready for one great afternoon of cooking together.

Start with Freezer-Friendly Recipes

Deciding on recipes that freeze like a dream is the key to any successful meal swap party. While we love casseroles, soups and stews for freezing, this is the time to pull out all the stops. If you’ve been dying to try that recipe for cheesy lasagna made with slow-braised beef short ribs and pork belly, instead of regular ground beef, go for it. Everyone will appreciate the extra effort when they finally dig in to their freezer supply.

If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, start with these 12 Make-Ahead Meals You Can Freeze.

Beef stew and chicken tortilla casserole

Try Ree Drummond’s Chicken Tortilla Casserole or this Stew-Pendous Beef Stew with Biscuits.

Clear Out Space in the Fridge

Before your guests arrive, do an intense fridge and freezer clear out to ensure you’ve got enough space to accommodate all those meals you’re about to whip up. Take the opportunity to use up items you already have on hand, like frozen peas and corn for casseroles, fresh herbs and vegetables and even eggs, cheese and cream.

Have One Person Buy All The Food

Orchestrating a freezer meal swap party takes some next-level organization skills. Keep it as streamlined as possible by having one person do all the grocery shopping. This will minimize
waste and any chance of forgotten ingredients.

Make Work Stations

To run your cooking party with military precision, every recruit will need their own set of tools at their station — think chopping boards, a sharp knife (emphasis on ‘sharp’) and bowls to keep all those pre-chopped ingredients together. It’s also a good idea to ask guests to bring extra cooking vessels like pots and pans, to limit intermittent dishwashing and make the most out of your time.

Strategically Chop Your Veggies

Before you start, comb through each recipe to see how much chopped garlic, onions and fresh herbs you’ll need, and then designate a member of the group to tackle it all at once, making use of appliances like food processors and mandolins. Prepping all the ingredients ahead of time makes cooking and assembly that much faster.

Greta's-Shepherds-Pie

Another scrumptious recipe option is Shepherd’s Pie with “Squashed” Potatoes.

Make Sure You Have Enough Storage Containers

All those meals need to be portable, so ensuring there are sufficient food storage containers is key, especially if you want to maximize the number of meals each person gets to take home. One bonus to meal prep parties is that you often come out with more food than you bargained for, so plan accordingly. If your aim is to cook enough food to stretch into 15 take-home meals per person, it’s a good idea to budget enough containers so that everyone has 20. Also, don’t forget to label your meals clearly and include a simple ingredient list, the date it was made and cooking instructions.

Have Easy Snacks at the Ready

To have a marathon cooking day, you’re going to need sustenance. Ideally, things that don’t need to be cooked and don’t take too much time to prepare. We like the idea of a simple charcuterie board that guests can munch on throughout the afternoon or this idea for a DIY bruschetta bar.

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

Nutritionist Reveals 10 Secrets to Keeping Energy Levels Up All Day Long

In today’s bustling everyday life, keeping energy levels up and steady can be a struggle. Over the last several years, I’ve incorporated doable strategies and practices into my daily routine that really work to keep my energy levels soaring. These are my top 10 tips for achieving that get-up-and-go feeling.

1. Drinking Lots of Water

For the last 15 years or so, I’ve made it a focus to drink plenty of water every day. Today, I’m never without my stainless steel water bottle when I leave the house. Drinking water keeps my energy levels up by keeping me hydrated, which is especially important during hot summer days, or after vigorous exercise. It’s also had a positive effect on my naturally dry skin, and my digestive system. And I never buy plastic bottled water unless I’m travelling and there isn’t a place to fill up my water bottle – we’re inseparable.

2. Exercising Regularly

This does so much for my energy levels – I love to move! Exercise also keeps my appetite strong (here’s what to eat post-workout), clears my mind and helps me sleep more soundly (I have always had trouble sleeping). This, in turn, boosts my energy levels and mood the next day. It also reduces my stress tremendously. And those post-workout endorphins really keep going – when I’m in a good mood, my energy levels soar, and exercising makes me happy.


Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Toast with Almond Butter, Banana and Coconut Chips

Here’s what I do: I walk everywhere I can, taking the stairs up to our apartment. I also do the rare run along with barre or yoga classes five times a week. It may seem like a lot, but I make it part of my every day routine. I choose to spend one hour at an exercise class instead of on my phone mindlessly scrolling through social media, which is a more positive choice for me (and my eyes). And I never exercise if I really, truly don’t feel like it – it’s all about balance.

I recommend starting slowly with an exercise routine. You may feel more tired at first, but that washes away after a few weeks of consistency. Start with a walk and build from there.

3. Sipping Coffee

After a few glasses of water, I start my day with a cup of pour over coffee. Two cups of coffee is my max, but I find this really propels me forward and gives my brain and body energy and clarity for the day ahead. I’ll occasionally have a bulletproof coffee, which is essentially grass-fed butter and coconut oil blended into hot coffee, if I’m feeling in need of a bigger energy jolt, but 99% of the time I drink it black.

4. Limiting Caffeine

Although I just said that coffee boosts my energy levels in the morning, I don’t overdo it and never use it as a quick fix for an energy boost. I find that too much coffee or green tea creates highs and lows in my energy levels and increases my anxiety. Limiting caffeine or cutting it out completely after 12 p.m. is critical for me if I want to get any sleep that night. I switch to herbal teas in the afternoon and into the evening, which also add to my overall water consumption for the day. Win-win!

5. Eating Intuitively

I don’t follow any diets, but instead, eat intuitively. Essentially this means that if I’m hungry, I have a meal, and if I’m not hungry, I don’t. When I do eat, I make sure to consume whole foods filled with produce, good fat, protein and complex carbs. However, nothing is off limits for me – I enjoy all foods. And I do eat dessert (see here for guilt-free ways to satisfy your sweet tooth), but I’ll have it after dinner or in the afternoon on a lazy weekend when I can spare the sugar crash.


Get the recipe for Healthy Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Brownies 

6. Eating Lunch

I never skip lunch because I need the energy to power me through the day. In general, dinner is always the biggest meal of the day, but I find that also eating a hearty yet light lunch is better for my energy levels. Bowls with vegetables, protein and healthy fats keep me full for hours, and ensure my stamina is high with no afternoon crashes.

7. Enjoying Balanced Meals

I look to get a ton of fresh produce into my diet including leafy greens, dark orange vegetables, whole grains, eggs, meat, beans and healthy fats (and an absurd amount of full-fat plain Greek yogurt!) I eat for energy and pleasure in equal amounts. Enjoying a range of colourful, real food is at the heart of my diet. And when I say enjoying, I really mean it. I slow down to chew, engage in conversation with the person I’m sharing a meal with and appreciate what it’s providing for me.


Get the recipe for Banquet Bowls with Cauliflower Hazelnut Pilaf, Dhal and Scallion Cucumber Raita

8. Regulating Blood Sugar

I experienced extreme blood sugar drops and energy dips my entire life until I started paying attention to what I was eating. For me, I love carbs, and my body does really well on them, but they need to be complex for the most part, which are rich in fibre and slower to digest, containing a lower or low-glycemic index. Pairing complex carbohydrates with a protein source, for example, an apple with peanut butter or sourdough toast with eggs, digest slowly for sustained energy. I make homemade energy bites or pack a small bag of almonds and dried fruit to take with me when I leave the house, which I can snack on in times of emergency. As much fun as a cookie is as an afternoon snack, I need something with more substance to help me through.

9. Turning to Healthy Fats

I am so excited about healthy fats, and make sure that every meal and snack includes some form of fat. If I need a real energy kick-start for breakfast (most days), I add a dollop of coconut oil on top of my fruit, granola and yogurt, or cook my eggs in extra butter. I’ve been amazed at how just a teaspoon or two of extra fat can steady my energy levels for hours. Incorporating more fat into my diet over the years has done wonders for my mood, digestive system, hair and skin, too.


Get the recipe for Shakshouka

10. Choosing Iron-Rich Foods

Like many women, I have ongoing problems with extremely low iron, which causes overwhelming fatigue for me, among other unwelcome side effects. Incorporating good-quality red meat once a week into my meals, as well as plenty of dark leafy greens (squeezed with lemon, as the vitamin C helps with iron uptake), flaxseed, chia seeds, beans and whole grains is what works best for me. A texturally appealing kale salad with a vibrant dressing (like this recipe) is one of my go-tos to ensure I’m on my way to getting enough iron for the day (here are 15 tasty ways to boost your iron intake).

Try one or more of my tips out if you’re looking for sustained or boosted energy levels throughout the day, or share what works for you. Even one or two minor changes can make a big difference – I’m a baby-steps-approach-to-wellness devotee.

Breakfast Skillet With Spinach, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

If you live in Toronto, you know that grabbing brunch can sometimes be a three-hour endeavour and it’s nearly impossible to go anywhere with more than four people. If you do, you know you’ll be waiting. And after a full night of drinks, you’re body does not want to wait to be nourished. Hanger kicks in. Through my frustration, I decided that I should be making more brunches at home. Those are the times when I concoct my one-pot breakfast skillet. It’s always a mashup of what I’ve got in the fridge or pantry, with the addition of some eggs.

This recipe is one of my favourites. Sautéed mushrooms and wilted, garlicky spinach are the perfect (and quickest) accompaniments to eggs with a runny yolk. Yes, there are a ton of other great ingredients that can be used as well, like potatoes, corn, beans, zucchini, chorizo… the list goes on. But this is what I just happened to have in my fridge one day and now I continue to go back to this.

Breakfast skilled served onto two plates

Breakfast Skillet With Spinach, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

350 g cremini and/or baby bella mushrooms, sliced 1/3” thick
3-4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2-3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
100 g baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
6-8 eggs
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Toasted sourdough grain bread or bread of choice

Directions:
1. Over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid.

2. In batches, sauté the mushrooms. Make sure not to crowd the pan so the mushrooms crisp up evenly.

3. Sauté for 4 minutes, flipping the mushrooms halfway through and seasoning with salt and fresh black pepper, to taste.

4. Add more butter and olive oil as needed for the second batch of mushrooms. Remove from the pan as well after seasoning.

Related: The Best Ways to Prepare Eggs Around the World, From France to Japan

5. Add a bit more olive oil and butter to the pan and toss in the spinach and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.

6. Add the mushrooms back into the pan and create pockets for the eggs. Crack an egg into each pocket and cover immediately with the lid.

7. Let the eggs cook for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes. Do not lift that lid! This ensures the egg whites cook from the top as well as the bottom. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

8. Crumble goat cheese over top and serve with toasted bread.

Breakfast skillet in pan

Annie Sibonney’s Comforting North African Shakshuka

Ever since we were little, my twin sister has always been willing to cook, and I’ve always been willing to eat. No one was surprised when Annie Sibonney became a chef (and Food Network host ), while I became a journalist who writes a lot about food. Though we pursued different interests and have even lived in separate countries over the years, sharing food together brings us back to our roots.

Growing up in a French Moroccan home, one of the most cherished food memories from our childhood is shakshuka, an impressive North African dish of eggs poached in a bubbling, fragrant stew of tomatoes and spices. This was the dish that got everyone out of bed in our house. It’s the kind of one-skillet meal that connects everyone around a table. It’s cutlery-optional. All you really need is a perfectly crusty loaf of bread for sopping up the sauce and the rich, runny egg yolks.

Shakshuka-ready-on-a-table

Photo by Claire Sibonney
Claire Sibonney

Shakshuka is wildly popular throughout the Middle East for breakfast or brunch but can stand on its own for any meal of the day. With its heady aromas of garlic, onion, paprika and cumin, it’s the kind of dish that gets people’s attention.

Eggs simmered in a spicy sauce is so simple and satisfying that it’s eaten in many iterations around the world—from Italian eggs in purgatory to huevos rancheros in Mexico and menemen in Turkey—all of these dishes involve a little magic as the resulting meal is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Some people add feta, olives, sweet bell peppers or even potatoes to shakshuka, but for purists it’s not necessary. Although a bowl of labneh—Lebanese strained yogurt—or olives on the side never hurt.

More than anything, it’s a dish that’s meant to be shared—the bigger and louder the gathering, the better. When it’s served, the shakshaka pan (Annie uses a cast-iron bottom of a traditional Moroccan tagine here) is placed in the centre of the table and the portion closest to you is yours. One of the only rules of sharing shakshuka: never dip your bread into someone else’s yolk, even if it’s your twin sister’s!

annie-sibonney-with-Shakshuka-ingredients

Photo by Claire Sibonney
Claire Sibonney

North African Shakshuka Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the final dish
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or 28 oz canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand)
1 medium onion, finely sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small green chili pepper such as jalapeño or serrano, seeds removed and finely chopped
4 large eggs
1 ½ Tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp hot paprika or substitute with ground ancho powder, optional
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup water, plus more if necessary
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of roughly chopped cilantro or parsley leaves, or a mix of both

Shakshuka-ingredients

Photo by Claire Sibonney
Claire Sibonney

Directions:
1. Heat a medium-sized heavy skillet, such as cast iron over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions until they have softened but not browned. Add the garlic, chili pepper and spices and stir for 1 minute, just enough for the kitchen to smell wonderfully aromatic.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, water and salt to taste and increase the heat to high for 1-2 minutes, stirring the mix so that the tomatoes start to break down into a sauce and comes to a bubbling simmer. Reduce heat to medium once more. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
3. The sauce should have a pungent flavour and a deep-red colour from the spices. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to scorch the sauce. Add more water if necessary to maintain the consistency of a rustic pasta sauce.
4. With the back of a large spoon, make room for each egg in the pan by creating little wells in the sauce. Carefully crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl, making sure to keep the yolks intact.
5. Gently tip in your eggs, one at a time into the sauce, making sure to leave enough space between them. Season each egg with a little more salt. Cook for 10-13 minutes longer at a gentle simmer, rotating the pan constantly (do not stir!) to poach the eggs evenly in the sauce. The shakshuka is ready when the egg whites are set and cooked but the yolks are still bright, golden and velvety. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and parsley over the finished dish with a liberal drizzle of olive oil.
6. For an authentic family-style meal, serve the shakshuka in its pan at the centre of the table and don’t forget plenty of good quality crusty bread to soak up the tomato sauce and to dip into the decadent yolks.

claire-and-annie-sibonney-eating-Shakshuka

Photo by Masumi Sato

Looking for more fresh summer recipes? Try our 40 Fresh Tomato Recipes.

 

iced-coffee-pour-feature

How to Make Easy Flash Brew Iced Coffee All Summer Long

Cool down in a flash with this simple iced coffee recipe that is crisp, refreshing, and delicious. Instead of waiting hours for cold brew, or chilling hot brewed coffee, this easy method requires brewing a coffee concentrate directly over ice. The result is an instantly chilled coffee that is ready to serve in less than 10 minutes.  The best part is that you don’t need fancy equipment—almost any manual drip or pour-over style brewing device with a filter will do. This easy method can also work with some automatic drip machines.

flash-iced-coffee-pouring

Easy Flash Brew Iced Coffee

Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2.5 cups

Equipment:
A coffee brewer like a Chemex or a similar brewer that you use to make filter/drip coffee at home.
Kettle
Kitchen scale
Timer
Spoon

flash-iced-coffee-setup

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups (14 oz) hot water,  just finished boiling
2 cups (300 g) ice
1/2 cup (50 g) coffee grounds, medium

Directions:
1. Add ice to the carafe.
2. Place the coffee filter in the brew basket and add coffee grounds.
3. Position coffee brewer on top of a kitchen scale and set value to zero.
4. Start the timer and pour first 1/2 cup (4 oz) of hot water over coffee grounds in about 30 seconds. Gently stir the grounds with a spoon, making sure all of the coffee is fully soaked.

pour-over-flash-iced-coffee
5. After 1 minute, pour an additional 1/2 cup hot water (4 oz) over wet coffee grounds.
6. After 2 minutes, pour the remaining hot water over the coffee grounds for a total of 1 ¾ cups (14 oz).
7. Brew will finish dripping through coffee grounds after about 4:30-5 minutes.
8. Serve freshly brewed cold coffee over ice and enjoy!

final-iced-coffee-pour

Looking for more coffee knowledge? Learn how to brew the best cup of coffee ever.

Super Easy S’mores Popcorn Perfect for Summer Weekends

From Oreos and Goldfish to Ben & Jerry’s, companies everywhere have come out with a chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow version of their signature treats to please customers everywhere. Somehow s’mores have become the Pumpkin Spice Latte of the warm weather season. To carry on with the trend everyone seems to be so fond of, I gave one of my own favourite snacks the s’mores treatment. I topped sea salt popcorn with drizzled milk chocolate, toasted marshmallows, graham cracker bits and a little bit of caramel, to create a treat that’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

s'mores popcorn in white bowl

S’mores Popcorn

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bag sea salt popcorn
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup light brown/golden sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup broken graham crackers

s'mores popcorn ingredients on counterop

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the bag of popcorn over the entire surface. Preheat oven to broil on high.

2. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter and stir in the sugar. Cook while stirring until completely combined and smooth. Pour the caramel over the popcorn. Be sure to work fast as the caramel dries quickly and becomes difficult to spread.

Related: Scrumptious S’mores Recipes to Try This Summer

3. Divide the chocolate chips into two batches and heat them in the microwave for about 45 seconds or until melted. Mix with a spoon until smooth and drizzle over popcorn. Repeat with remaining chocolate chips.

4. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top and place the pan on the top shelf of the oven to roast the marshmallows. Be alert: you only want the marshmallows to be lightly golden and this can take as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Make sure you remove the pan from the oven before the chocolate gets burnt.

s'mores popcorn ready for the oven next to red bowl of melted chocolate

5. While still warm from the oven, sprinkle the graham crackers on top. Gently press to help them stick to the chocolate. Refrigerate for about an hour and break into pieces. Enjoy!

Published August 26, 2015, Updated August 1, 2018

strawberry shortcake pies

No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Shortcake Pies

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

strawberry shortcake pies

No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Shortcake Pies

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

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup cashews
1 cup dried coconut
2/3 cup dates

Filling
2 cups cashews
2 cups strawberries (to blend)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups strawberries (reserve)

Directions:

1. To make the crust, place coconut and cashews in food processor. Process until flour-like.

2. Add the dates to the food processor mixture. Process again for 3 minutes. Stop processing once it sticks together when pinched.

3. Press crust mixture firmly into tart pan(s). (Press crust down very firmly so it will stay together. If it won’t stick together, you haven’t processed long enough.) Set aside.

4. Place filling ingredients (except cashews and the final 4 cups of strawberries) in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Related: Our Best No-Bake Dessert Recipes That Won’t Let You Down

5. Add cashews and blend again until smooth. Pour filling mixture into large bowl.

6. Finely chop the remaining strawberries. Add to filling mixture and stir gently with a spoon.

7. Spoon mixture into tarts and enjoy immediately.

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

Published July 23, 2015, Updated August 1, 2018