how-to-get-jar-stuck

6 Simple Ways to Open a Stubborn Stuck Jar Lid

It’s dinnertime: You’ve got a pot of spaghetti boiling on the stove, and a pan of onions and ground beef simmering beside it. You grab a jar of tomato sauce from the pantry, but when you try to unscrew the lid, it feels awfully tight. Maybe it’s because your hands aren’t completely dry? You place the jar down, wipe your palms on a kitchen towel and try again. No luck. What are you supposed to do now?

Cancelling dinner plans due to a stuck jar lid might sound a little dramatic, but we’ve all had that thought after minutes of struggling to get a stubborn lid open. The truth is, jars can be hard to open for a variety of reasons, and it’s not necessarily because you’re not strong enough. Here, we offer some tried and true tips on how to get that just-won’t-budge jar open, every single time.

Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Cooking and Baking Conversions

open jar pickles

Add Traction

Glass jars can be slippery, so something that could help is added traction. Try wrapping a small towel around the lid to twist it open. If the towel moves while you’re trying to open the lid, wet the towel with water and then wrap it around the lid. Rubber dish gloves and rubber bands also work well to create traction. Put on those gloves to grip the lid or try wrapping a thick rubber band around the lid before you give it a go.

Related: Here’s How to Organize Your Tupperware Drawer Once and for All

Break the Seal

New jars often have a tight vacuum seal, and by breaking that seal, it takes less force to open the jar. Some people swear by the “baby bum” pat. Turn the jar on its side, then with the palm of one hand, give the bottom of the jar a few strong pats. You may hear a pop, which indicates the vacuum seal has been broken. Another method for breaking the vacuum seal is by targeting the lid. Use an object with some weight to it, such as the back of a heavy kitchen knife or a wooden rolling pin, and give the sides of the lids a few taps, rotating the jar as you go. This might help break the seal, making it much easier to twist open the jar.

Run it Under Hot Water

You’ve tried adding some traction and breaking the vacuum seal, but the lid is still stuck. Now, you’ll want to try running the lid under hot water. Depending on the contents of the jar, you may want to be careful not to place the entire jar under hot water (after all, nobody likes warm pickles). Let the hot water run from the tap until it’s piping hot, and then turn the jar on its side and carefully dip the lid under water. Rotate the jar so that all sides of the lid get wet. The hot water helps the metal expand, therefore loosening the lid and making it easier to unscrew.

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

tomato sauce jar

Tap the Lid

This method is more useful for jars that have already been open before. Perhaps there’s some food trapped around the rim of the jar, or a sticky sauce causing the lid to get stuck on the jar. Tapping the lid on top and around the edges, again using a heavier object such as the back of a chef’s knife or wooden rolling pin, can help dislodge the food, eventually loosening the jar.

Break Out the Tools

Believe it or not, there are tools you can buy that are made specifically for opening jars. New technology enables these tools to grip, twist and open stubborn jar lids with the simple press of a button. You can purchase them at most kitchen stores and online. You may feel silly for using one, but it will undoubtedly save you time, pain and future frustration!

Related: The Top 5 Kitchen Utensils Every Home Cook Needs

Brute Force

Sometimes, it’s really a matter of strength. It’s tough to wrap your hands around jar lids depending on the size, and jars themselves can be awkward to hold in one hand. If you have another person around, ask them to hold the jar with both hands, then use both hands to twist the lid open. If you’re alone at home, opening the jar may simply require a few tries, with breaks in between to rest your hands. As a last resort, you might want to visit a strong neighbour’s home for assistance.

A Nutritionist Reveals 10 Best Natural Foods for Dewy, Glowing Skin

If no makeup and no filter are your skin goals, Toronto-based integrative nutritionist and Good Goddess founder Natasha Geddes needs to be on your radar. This former fashion buyer and stylist to the stars, turned her laser focus to healthy eating after the birth of her son and daughter. She became passionate about quality ingredients, the power of supplements and, along the way, created an in-demand brand with a celebrity following. Here are 10 of her go-to foods for luminous skin that will help you get your glow on!

1. Wild-Caught Salmon

While Natasha likes to eat a plant-based diet as much as possible, she does make an exception when wild salmon is on the menu. It’s packed with vitamin E and Omega 3s – key players in reducing inflammation – plus a tongue-twister secret weapon: astaxanthin (pronounced asta-zan-thin). “This is a type of carotenoid and natural red pigment derived from algae,” says Natasha. “Astaxanthin helps skin maintain optimum moisture levels and has been proven to protect cells from UV damage.”


Get the recipe for Wheat Berry Bowl with Salmon and Miso Sauce

2. Avocado

Once relegated solely to taco night, this nutrient-dense fruit is now a menu powerhouse (avocado toast, anyone?). “Avocados are one of my favourite things,” says Natasha. “Full of healthy fats, they’re not only deliciously creamy, they also really pamper skin with antioxidants that brighten and hydrate. They are loaded with vitamin E, nature’s amazing moisturizer, and contain a natural sunblock that, like wild salmon, helps protect skin against UV rays – win win!”

3. Sweet Potato

Natasha remedies dry and dull looking complexions with this colourful superfood. A mashup of nutrients, the sweet potato is super skin-friendly thanks to beta carotene, the powerhouse antioxidant that converts to vitamin A when consumed. “Vitamin A promotes cell production and turnover so skin looks luminous – it’s sort of like the food version of retinol, which leaves skin supple and dewy. Use it to make fries, or swap out your avocado toast’s bread with a slice of baked sweet potato.”


Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Toast with Avocado and Sprouts

4. Cashews

Natasha rates most nuts as skin boosters – she’s especially fond of omega 3-rich Brazil nuts and how they promote skin elasticity – but her go-to for clear skin is the cashew. “It is the acne-fighting nut! Full of selenium, vitamin E and zinc, cashews reduce inflammation, promote cell growth and help renew damaged areas of the skin.” However, not all nuts are created equal when it comes to breakouts: Avoid peanuts, as they contain androgen, which speeds up sebum production and can worsen acne.

5. Bone Broth

This popular elixir is made by boiling bones to extract minerals, collagen (a key player in skin elasticity) and amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Note: when protein levels are low, premature sagging and wrinkling can occur. One of the broth’s noteworthy amino acids is glutamine, which helps heal the intestinal barrier for optimal gut health. Natasha says, “I truly believe that great gut health equals healthier-looking skin.” She suggests adding greens to bone broth for a healthy light meal.


Get the recipe for Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

6. Cantaloupe

This sweet treat is the skin’s multi-tasker thanks to a dynamic combo of vitamins A and C. On its own, vitamin A keeps sebum production and cell turnover humming along so skin glows; double it up with vitamin C and you’ll double down on collagen formation, which contributes to smooth, firm-looking skin. “Vitamin C is necessary to build collagen. Just one cup of cantaloupe contains 97% of the recommended daily dosage.”

7. Blueberries

If you’re worried about broken capillaries, this berry is for you. Its point of difference is a mix of phytochemicals, including bioflavonoids, which help strengthen blood vessels so they’re less susceptible to breaking. “While everyone can benefit from blueberries, I highly recommend them to those with fair and sensitive skin.”


Get the recipe for this Antioxidant-Rich Green Tea and Blueberry Smoothie

8. Beets

Think of beets – whether juiced, steamed, roasted or raw – as the food version of wrinkle cream. “They are the anti-aging veggie!” says Natasha. “Packed with high concentrations of antioxidants, carotenoids, folate, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium and vitamin C, beets can actually decrease the depth and severity of wrinkles. The results are remarkable.”

9. Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt

When Natasha was developing Good Goddess’s Coconut Cloud Yogurt, she knew that what she left out of it was just as important as what she put in. On the out list: dairy and sugar, which can weaken collagen and make skin vulnerable to wrinkles and sagging. On the in list: just two ingredients: coconut and vegan bacterial cultures. “This is a guilt-free treat that’s rich in probiotics, which get skin super glowy.”


See here for 20 Dairy-Free Foods Packed with Calcium

10. Detoxifying Water

To make the most of the day’s eight (or more) glasses, Natasha concocts her own detoxifying water. “Adding powerful boosters to water is fun and makes your H20 that much more efficient. My usuals: grass-fed collagen, lemon peels (filled with vitamin C to protect against free radicals), mint (fresh flavour plus nutrients) and a few slices of jalapeño (hello vitamin C and B6!). Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and it promotes skin elasticity. As we age, we lose it, so it’s important to supplement whenever we can.”

Looking for more ways to eat your way to a fabulous complexion? Be sure to avoid these 14 Worst Foods For Your Skin!

Big Food Bucket List tile

John Catucci is Back — Here’s Why You Gotta Tune in!

You Gotta Eat Here! fans, rejoice. Food Network Canada host and funnyman John Catucci is back with a brand-new show that lets you in on the most mouth-watering meals he’s had across North America.

John Catucci's Big Food Bucket List

Big Food Bucket List will take you on a hilarious new culinary journey through the most drool-worthy dishes, from a luxurious lobster dinner to comforting ramen soup, to the pasta so good it will bring a tear to your eye. It’ll have you craving true Chicago deep dish pizza and fried chicken from Kentucky, or eager to sample fabulous food fusions like Chinese-Jamaican and Viet-Cajun.

Here’s a sampling of the stops on John’s tasty tour:

This delicious new adventure will take John all over North America, from Nova Scotia to New Orleans. He’ll be sharing his must-know tips for the unforgettable dishes that just cannot be missed and meeting the incredible chefs who create them. You’ll be inspired to make your own list of must-try dishes so you can eat your way across the continent, too!

Big Food Bucket List premieres May 24 at 9 PM and 9:30 PM E/P.

 

Top Chef Canada Nordic Ingredients

Your Guide to Mastering Scandinavian Recipes the Top Chef Canada Way

Top Chef Canada has celebrated a rich world of cuisines over the seasons, from street- and market-inspired fare to classic French, Italian, Mediterranean and Japanese dishes. Of course, there have also been myriad fusions and new techniques in between.

On Monday night the series revved up our palates for yet another kind of feast when host Eden Grinshpan welcomed guest judge Marcus Samuelsson and chef Emma Bengtsson (of New York City’s two-Michelin star Aquavit) to help guide the remaining chefs through a three-course Nordic feast—served on the Toronto Island, no less.

“[Nordic cuisine] is very raw, it’s very pure, it’s taking what the land is giving and bringing it to the table,” Bengtsson explained to the remaining chefs. “It’s making sure the natural flavours of the food is coming through.”

“The Nordic Cuisine was my favourite challenge because what I know about Nordic cuisine is actually very little,” Grinshpan tells us. “I got to learn from the best of the best. Marcus Samuelsson was able to come in and teach us a little bit about it and eat the food while we were eating it and give his critique. Nordic cuisine has specific ingredients that get used often and the location was beautiful.”

So what are those ingredients and how can you use them like a Top Chef Canada contestant? Let’s have a look at the specific components the chefs were working with Monday night.

Skol!

Rosehip

Dennis picked this dried fruit, which grows on—you guessed it—roses. Rosehip is traditionally picked in the fall when it’s bright red or orange, and then dried until ready to use (usually in a soup, jam or even tea). It’s said to boost immunity and help heart health, comes packed with vitamin C, and tastes tart, like hibiscus.

Bengtsson advised Dennis to rehydrate his in order to bring out maximum flavour, and then to grind it and use it as a powder. In turn he created a Rosehip-Roasted Venison with Beets, Celeriac, Rosehip Jus and Foraged Wood Sorrel that the judges were down with as a main.

Try: Quail in a Rosehip Raspberry Sauce

Lichen

Bengtsson straight up told Hayden that he picked a hard one when he chose lichen as his featured ingredient. The moss varietal is traditionally cleaned off and fried in order to add texture and a slight mushroom undertone to a plate.

Some types of lichen are toxic to humans, although the edible kind has also been used to help fight inflammation. For his part, Hayden wowed the judges with his beautiful Helbredt Oksekød: Cured Beef with Beer Bread, Oyster Cream and Crispy Lichen, propelling him to the night’s big win.

Sea Buckthorn

These bright orange berries grow on spiky bushes typically found near sandy soil or on rocky mountain ledges and are packed with vitamins C, B12, A and E, not to mention magnesium, iron and calcium.

Sébastien was tasked with transforming this Nordic superfood into a super dish. He described the fruit as sour and acidic, or basically “lemon juice times 10.” So in order to balance out the flavours, he pared it down with maple syrup, presenting the judges with a Scallop & Pork Belly With Rye Bacon Crumble and Sea Buckthorn Beurre Blanc.

Try: Venison Carpaccio with Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam

Autumn Olive

In North America, autumn olive is considered an invasive species as a result of the deciduous shrub’s ability to grow up to 20 feet high and to spread quite quickly. Despite the name, the berries are actually sweet and tart (like lingonberry), and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Paul had some trouble working with his autumn olive juice, and found it didn’t heat up the way he wanted. But he still managed to pull out an impressive dish of Autumn Olive-Marinated Duck Breast with Beet Sausage and Crispy Giant Puffball. The judges, at least, were impressed.

Cardamom

This spice, which is also used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, is slightly more familiar to North American palates. The pods and seeds can be used whole, or it also comes ground up. Cardamom is an antioxidant with a minty, spicy, fragrant flavour that makes it an easy dessert pairing, although it’s also used (sparingly!) in stews and curries.

Wallace, who worked briefly at Denmark’s renowned Noma restaurant, went the sweet route with his dish, and presented the judges with a Cardamom Spice Cake with Fennel, Carrot and White Strawberries.

Try: Cardamom Shortbread Tarte

Allspice

Most of us have heard of allspice, although we may be hard-pressed to identify exactly what it is. Turns out it’s a spice made from dried pimenta berries, and it has a flavour reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. It’s strong and pungent, and in Nordic cuisine it’s sometimes used instead of black pepper in savoury dishes like fish or sausages.

Phil went the opposite route and embraced allspice and the Scandinavian use of veggies in desserts for his dish, which was a show-stopping Celeriac Crepe Cake with Wild Grape Mousse, Crispy Parsnip and Buttermilk.

Try: Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Rum Raisin Sauce

Dill

Benet lucked out when he drew dill, one of the better-known flavours on a Nordic plate. Dill is considered one of Scandinavia’s most important herbs, and it’s often paired with fish and fresh veggies like potatoes and cucumbers. It’s also a standout in Dillkött, a lamb or veal stew.

Benet steered clear of seafood for his dish for the Elimination challenge and coupled the herb with his love of meat instead. He concocted his own outdoor meat house and presented the judges with Moss & Birch-Smoked Beef with Mushrooms, Dill Mayonnaise and Pickled Berries. The plate was Samuelsson’s favourite of the night—he even likened it to “Heart and Abba doing an outdoor concert in one.”

Try: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Dill Salad

Sorrel

Sorrel may have a fancy name but it’s really just another herb that happens to be popular in Nordic fare. It’s tart and sweet, or as Tania described it when she drew it on Sunday night, it, “Tastes like rhubarb meets apple.”

Traditionally the herb has been used in France both medicinally and in soups and stews, but in Nordic cuisine it’s embraced in a variety of dishes, from pestos and sauces to pairings with mushrooms, meats and fish dishes. Tania showcased the herb in a controversial Root Vegetable Cake with Sorrel Apple Puree, Toasted Oat Ice Cream and Lingonberry Chantilly, a dessert that had the judges spinning. The dish sent her home, but it may have more to do with it being dry and vegan rather than Tania’s creative use of sorrel.

Try: Bread-Crusted Chicken with Morels, Young Leeks, Sorrel and Hay-Infused Jus

Juniper

Most martini lovers have probably experienced the juniper flavour of gin, given that the alcohol is derived from juniper berries. But that isn’t the only use for this aromatic ingredient, which is also an antioxidant and good for digestive health. In Nordic cuisine, it’s paired with chicken, salmon and game meats or in sweet dishes like fruit cake, but Bengtsson was quick to warn Renee that a little goes a long way.

With that in mind, Renee concocted a savoury Juniper Panna Cotta with Roasted Buckwheat, Rye Crumb and Parsnip Chips as an appetizer, but the simplicity of it confused the judges, who wanted to see the ingredient pushed a little farther.

Try: Blueberry, Sumac & Juniper Preserve

15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta to Reclaim Your Weeknights

The weather may be warming, but we’re still all about indulging in comfort food with a fresh, seasonal upgrade. This dish is a twist on mac ‘n’ cheese that literally takes the same (or less!) amount of time to cook as the boxed variety. Bonus: Though it features three different types of cheese, it also contains peas, which lighten the dish and really make it pop (in colour and flavour). This one-pot recipe is a great choice make on those nights when there’s “nothing to eat” in the house – all the ingredients are fridge and pantry staples!

15 Minute Three-Cheese Pasta with Peas

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
225g (1/2 box) medium shell dry pasta
2 cups vegetable broth, warm but not boiling
1/2 cup spreadable cream cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients except peas, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large pot.

2. Mix gently to start melting the cream cheese.
3. Place the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 7 minutes.
5. After 7 minutes, add the peas and Parmesan, stir well and cook, continuing to stir, a further 2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce will thicken as the pasta sits, so if you prefer it more thick and creamy as opposed to saucy, let it sit for a few minutes, stirring from time to time.

For more one-pot wonders, browse these 55 Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes and 15 One-Pot Chicken Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less.

Vegan Grain-Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi with High-Protein Pesto

Gnocchi is one of those dishes that seems too intimidating to make at home; yet, it’s actually quite simple. What makes this gnocchi particularly special is that it’s high in protein, vegan, grain-free and seriously delicious. You won’t find 00 flour or white potatoes here, instead a blend of sweet potato, chickpea flour and almond flour is the base of this gnocchi.  Regardless if you subscribe to a gluten-free or vegan lifestyle, this recipe is satisfying, tasty, filling and will leave you feeling like an accomplished home cook. It’s paired with a fibre-rich and high-protein pesto, that seamlessly incorporates cannellini beans, along with basil, walnuts and olive oil, for a creamy, smooth consistency.

Vegan Gluten-Free Chickpea Flour Gnocchi with High-Protein Pesto


Prep Time:
 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:
2 sweet potatoes (1 ½ lbs)
1 ½ cups chickpea flour + dusting
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup brown rice flour
¾ tsp sea salt

Pesto:
2 cups basil
½ cup cannellini or navy beans
¼ cup toasted walnuts
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Water to thin out

Directions:

Gnocchi:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Puncture around the skin of the sweet potatoes with a fork, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
3. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool slightly, then discard the skin and scoop the inside of the sweet potatoes into a bowl.  Add 2 cups of chickpea flour, almond four, brown rice flour and sea salt and start to combine all ingredients together with your hands into a ball.
4. Flour your working surface and place the ball on top, begin to knead it well for about 3 minutes, form it back into a ball and cut it into 4 even pieces.


5. Roll each quarter of dough into a long log, then cut it into 1 inch pieces. Repeat with each piece of dough.
6. If you like, you can roll the gnocchi on the back tines of a fork to create those grooves (optional).
7. Place a large pot of water on the stove, salt it and allow it to come to a boil.
8. Once boiling, add a few pieces of gnocchi with a slotted spoon, careful not to overcrowd. Once they float to the top, take them out with a slotted spoon and place on a plate or in a colander.  If the gnocchis stick together in the water, stir the water (we prefer to use chopsticks when stirring).

Pesto:
1. Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blitz until you have a creamy consistency.

Assembly:
1. Once all the gnocchi is cooked, heat a skillet over medium heat and add a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil.
2. Toss the gnocchi in the oil so they lightly brown.  Once browned, place in a large bowl with the protein-packed pesto.
3. Scoop out a serving, and enjoy.

For more hearty, good-for-you dinner ideas that still taste indulgent, we know you’ll love these 15 Dairy-Free Pasta Recipes That Are Extra Creamy and these Satisfying Weeknight Recipes Where Vegetables Replace Carbs.

how to grill the perfect steak

How to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

When it comes to cooking steak, nothing beats the grill. It’s the combination of that slight char and simple seasoning that pushes us to cook outdoors — even when it isn’t summer grilling season.

If you’re going to brave cold temperatures for winter grilling or the high heat of the hottest months, it is a good idea to know how to make the most of a steak. What cut of meat should you buy? What grill temperature is just right? Does that lid stay open or closed? These sorts of questions are all that stand between you and a delicious, flame-kissed meal. For your perfect barbecued steak dinner, we’ve got you covered with this guide to mastering the grill. Luckily, we also believe practice makes perfect — that means steak should be on the menu all year round.

What Cut Should Make the Cut?

One of the best things about steak is that from the time it hits the grill to the time it lands on the plate isn’t too long – especially for those who prefer their steak rare. Steaks with nice marbling — those striations of white fat — cook up perfectly succulent. That is because fat means flavour. So when you’re looking at the butcher counter, opt for one of these:

Ribeye: Lots of marbling along with larger pockets of fat makes these steaks great for the grill. Preheat the grill with two burners on medium-high, and two that aren’t on at all – a two-zone fire. Sear the steaks for a few minutes per side to get those delightful sear marks, then move them to the “off “ side to finish cooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the perfect temperature of 125°F / 50°C. Rest for 10 minutes. The high heat will melt the fat and keep this steak super juicy.

Strip Loin: This cut, sometimes called a New York strip, is leaner than rib eye but still has plenty of beefy flavour. Season simply with salt and pepper, then sear them over direct high heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side. Rest before serving.

T-Bone: A classic cut, this is what we usually picture when we hear the word steak. Kind of like two steaks for the price of one, this cut is named after the T-shaped bone that divides the strip loin and a small portion of tenderloin. Cooking depends on the thickness. For T-Bones less than 1-inch thick, searing for a few minutes per side, then resting is enough. If the steak is over 1-inch thick start it slow, using indirect heat, on a grill set to 325°F / 165°C, until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F / 148°C, then sear over high heat for a couple minutes per side for grill marks. Rest and serve topped with a knob of butter.

Flank Steak: This long, flat cut of beef is incredibly lean and an exception to the marbling rule. It should be cooked in a flash; too long on the grill can cause the meat to become tough. Think medium-rare, about 4 to 5 minutes per side over direct, high heat. A little help from an overnight marinade before hitting the grill is always a good idea. To serve, let the flank steak rest before slicing against the grain for tender strips of beef – ideal for tacos and sandwiches.

Skirt Steak: Similar to flank, skirt steak needs to be approached the same way. Marinate it before grilling to medium rare, rest and slice.

Filet Mignon: If you’re splurging and want an incredibly tender and thick steak, you can try a filet mignon, a cut of beef tenderloin. With only a little fat, this steak is subtle in flavour, but buttery in texture. It’s easy to overcook, so best for those who prefer their steaks medium or on the rarer side. Grill them using a similar technique to the Ribeye, and keep that meat thermometer handy.

Heat It Up

Cooking steaks is all about searing, so you want to get your grill hot, hot, hot.

Heat to at least 450°F before you put those steaks on to cook. This ensures the meat gets that delicious crust and stays tender on the inside.

When using infrared heat to cook your steak, side burners, reaching the right temperature takes less than a minute. You can go from craving a nice steak to searing in the juices for a restaurant-quality meal in mere minutes.

Open or Closed?

If you’re puzzling over whether your steaks are best grilled with the lid open or not, wonder no more. The simple answer is: keep it open when high-temperature searing.

Closing the lid turns your grill into an oven — great for roasting meats, slowly cooking thicker cuts, and cooking chicken, but not as ideal when searing. A closed grill will start to cook the top of your steak, so you’ll miss that sizzle when you flip it.

An open lid gives you more control and lets you keep an eye on things. After all, there’s nothing worse than an overcooked steak.

Grilling 101

You’ve selected your cuts, heated your grill and are eager to eat. There are just a few steps to follow to make your steak truly great.

Start by generously salting your steak and letting it come to room temperature before grilling. About a half hour is all that’s needed to let the salt do its work. Use kosher or coarse salt will bring out the best flavor. Add a little freshly ground pepper or dehydrated garlic for even more flavour.

For some additional flavour, think of getting smoky. Wood chips, like mesquite or Applewood, enhance beef without much effort. With an integrated wood chip smoker tray — adding that woodsy, smoky flavour is about as easy as turning the grill on.

It’s all about timing, but even the pros can stumble over how long each side of the steak needs to reach the perfect temperature. A good rule of thumb is you need about two to three minutes per side to reach rare for a ¾-inch steak. Four minutes will be close to medium and another minute or two per side for a well-done steak. Your best bet is to take the guesswork out of the equation by using an instant-read meat thermometer.

When flipping the meat, it’s best to use tongs. Barbecue forks will pierce the meat, letting all those delicious juices escape. Finally — and this is the hard part! — let it rest for about 10 minutes before eating. This gives those juices time to redistribute and will keep your steak tender and tasty.

Is It Done?

Cooking times may vary, but steak doneness temperatures are dependable.

For a rare steak, look for an internal temperature of 120ºF / 52°C. Medium-rare is around 135°F / 57°C. Medium steaks will read 140ºF / 60°C to 145ºF / 63°C and Medium-well between 150ºF / 66°C. A steak is well done at 160ºF / 71°C or more.

Anna Olson’s 10 Secrets to Mastering Meringue Make Lemon Pie That Much Better

The perfect meringue is a lofty, yet very attainable, goal for any baker. Achieving that crowning glory of pillowy softness inside and browned exterior is no easy task — but professional baker Anna Olson has you covered with a few tips and tricks to make sure your next meringue attempt doesn’t fall flat.

Let’s start by breaking down meringue by type. Depending on the stability required, meringue techniques can vary from a simple whip and serve to a more complicated cooked syrup version:


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Common Meringue

This is simply egg whites with granulated sugar, sometimes with cream of tartar or lemon juice added for stability. The whites are whipped to a medium peak, which Anna describes as “peaks with a curve, but not a full curl when the beaters are lifted”. This method is used for the pretty swirls you see atop lemon meringue or other pies, and is often browned once frosted.

Swiss Meringue 

A method that takes the simple meringue one step further by heating the egg whites and sugar over a water bath until gently warmed (for those reluctant to pull out a double boiler, a bowl placed over a pot of boiling water will also work). The warmed egg white mixture is then put into a mixer and whipped into a meringue, which sets as it cools. You’ll see this technique used for pavlovas, meringue cookies or anywhere you want a little more stability and firmness once baked.

Italian Meringue

This is the zenith of meringue firmness — Anna calls it “the magical combination of whipping hot sugar syrup into softly whipped egg whites.” By melting sugar (and sometimes honey) to a specific temperature, then whipping it with egg whites, this extra thick meringue can be used for marshmallows and other candy (Anna makes torrone, a type of Italian nougat candy with pistachios, almonds and citrus zest). You can also use this method for key lime pie, a cousin to the ubiquitous lemon meringue.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Key Lime Meringue Pie

Ready to get started? Here are Anna’s 10 secrets to achieving the perfect meringue for lemon pie.

1. Don’t Over-Whip

One of the hardest things for novice bakers (and even some pros) to judge is how much is too much when it comes to whipping egg whites. Over-whipped egg whites look kind of craggy, says Anna, and when you touch them, they start to collapse. You don’t want to bake with over-whipped eggs, because whatever you bake will fall once it hits the heat of the oven.

A quick fix? A little bit of time: let the eggs sit, and after about 10 minutes, the mixture will start separating. Even if you’ve added sugar, you can whip those egg whites on medium speed back to the point you missed the first time.

 2. Keep Thing Hot

When topping a pie, make sure your filling is hot when you’re ready to put on your meringue, says Anna. The reason you don’t want to put a layer of meringue on a cold filling is to prevent condensation — that layer of dew in between the lemon filling and the meringue. Keeping the filling hot when spreading on the meringue ensures a nice even layer without gaps or weeping (either from the pie or the cook).


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Pie

3. Pretty Peaks

Want to get the same Instagram-worthy swirls and flourishes you see in the bakery window? In her recipe for lemon meringue pie (above), Anna recommends adding half the meringue and using a bamboo skewer or paring knife to swirl and secure it to the lemon curd. Then, dollop the remaining meringue onto the pie and use the back of your spatula to lift up the meringue and create spikes.

 4. Stir, Stir, Stir

If you’re making an Italian meringue, you’ll be standing by the stove for a bit: Anna advises that you stir the sugar mixture constantly when you’re bringing it up to the initial stage of 280°F to prevent it from boiling over. Between 280°F and 315°F (the final stage), you can take a break and ease off the stirring — the danger of an overflowing pot is past.

5. Safety First

To prevent spatters when putting hot sugar syrup into a mixer going at high speed, Anna has a safety tip: pour it down the side of the bowl — it will bypass the beaters entirely and go to the bottom without splashing a single drop. You’ll be able to tell when the mixture cools and thickens by the sound of the motor, and by touching the side of the bowl.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Squares

6. Connect the Dots

When smoothing your meringue over the pie filling, make sure it connects with the crust — that little connection kind of latches the meringue in place, says Anna. Use a spatula and even, long strokes to smooth the thick meringue onto the pie, making sure you don’t press too hard, deflating your meringue and, even worse, staining the pristine white fluffiness with flecks of filling.

 7. Perfect Piping

For pro-level piping to top mini lemon meringue pies, cupcakes, eclairs or even profiteroles, scoop your meringue into a piping bag (be sure to prep your fillings first). Anna’s technique involves piping evenly and in one concentric motion for round desserts, or using a slight back and forth wave for an eclair. Any mistakes can be scraped off for a second attempt — we won’t tell.

Get the recipes for Anna Olson’s Cheerful Lemon Meringue Desserts

 8. Time for the Torch

Although meringue will set on its own, those dramatic dark touches of colour can be added with a butane kitchen torch to brown the meringue. Don’t have a creme brûlée torch? Take a tip from Anna’s recipe for lemon berry meringue cake (below) and turn the desserts out onto a parchment-lined baking tray, pipe and then bake the meringues for two minutes in a 450°F oven.


Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Berry Meringue Cakes with Bumbleberry Sauce

 9. Cool it Down

Even if you’re tempted to dive right in, it’s very important that once you’ve baked your meringue, you let your pie cool completely before slicing into it. The reward for your patience? Pretty, even slices with distinct meringue and filling layers.

 10. Keep Things Fresh

Sadly, lemon meringue desserts aren’t meant for keeping. Anna advises making the pie the day you plan to serve it in order to show off your perfect meringue at its finest. Don’t worry — with a pie this good, you’ll have no problem indulging in seconds.

Fore more inspiring Anna Olson Dessert recipes, browse her 50+ Most Popular Easter Desserts, Top 20 Lemon Desserts and her Best-Ever Cake Recipes.

Giveaway! Win Tickets to a Conversation with Ina Garten in Toronto

Join Food Network Canada host, culinary icon and cookbook author Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Ontario for in an evening in celebration of her newest cookbook, Cook Like a Pro. Enter below to win one of two (2) pairs of tickets to a live interview with Ina Garten in Toronto (travel not included).

Cook Like a Pro is filled with Ina’s favourite recipes for the home cook, plus genius tips and tricks that every cook needs to know. Ina will be joined by renowned journalist Katie Couric. An audience Q&A will follow the interview.

Event details

Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 PM
Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Toronto, Ontario

 

 

Top-Chef-Canada-Eden-Grinshpan-Mark-McEwan

Mark McEwan and Eden Grinshpan Dish on Why the New Season of Top Chef Canada Will Give You Serious Food FOMO

Some of the most promising young chefs—representing a culinary coming-of-age for Canadians across the country—are about to congregate in the Café kitchen for the contest of a lifetime. With a hefty cash prize, a trip for two to anywhere in the world, and a fully stocked kitchen on the line, these competitors are among the strongest and fiercest we’ve seen to button up the chef’s jackets over seven seasons of the culinary competition.

Host Eden Grinshpan and head judge Mark McEwan agree. They promise that this upcoming season, the 12 selected chefs will present some of the most impressive dishes (throughout a bevy of challenging cooks) that showcase all of the great ingredients and techniques Canadians have to offer.

Here we sit down with the dynamic duo to preview what we can expect when the competition fires up.

Top Chef Canada Mark McEwan and Eden Grinshpan

What are you most excited for fans to see this year?

McEwan: Just the food. The food this season was great. The chefs really stepped up to a new level. They nailed the timelines and they nailed the products. That what was most impressive to me.

Grinshpan: All the judges were just floored this season. It feels like it’s getting better, and better, and better. This season we all looked at each other and we were like, “We eat very well!” It’s just such a joy to be a part of. And also this season, in particular, the locations we shot in were just really fun. We showcase Toronto in a new way and the actual challenges the producers put together are extremely hard and extra creative. A lot of people are just going to really enjoy watching them unfold.

McEwan: The chefs were super competitive. In a nice way, but this season the competitive side was a little more obvious to me. Some seasons were a little more kumbaya; a lot of hugging. Not as much hugging this season.

Top Chef Canada Season 7 Episode 1 Watch

See More: Meet the Season 7 Top Chef Canada Competitors

What advice do you have for the chefs in cooking their first dish on the show?

McEwan: At the start of the game, you want something that’s really flavourful. I tell the chefs this every season: “The last memory I have of your plate is the flavour that’s on my palate.” So, a beautiful presentation is one thing, but if it didn’t eat well it goes downhill from there. Whatever you’re going to choose, it should be really punchy flavour-wise and then it should incorporate some interesting technique. Whether you’re making dumplings or fresh pasta, you’re not just sautéing a piece of meat or fish and saucing it. I like to see different levels of techniques on a plate.

Grinshpan: This isn’t a dish that you should be trying to challenge yourself with necessarily; it’s a dish you need to reach into your back pocket and go, “I know it’s successful, everyone that I’ve given it to loves it, it’s a crowd-pleaser.” It’s something that you’ve tested out numerous times and people love. Don’t try and think outside the box when you’re trying to get into the competition. Show us who you are and what you know. That’s what you should fall on.

Out of all the locations the show travels to this year, which one was your favourite?

Grinshpan: Obviously Canada’s Wonderland. Watching Mark on the roller coaster was a huge highlight for me.

McEwan: I screeched. For the first time in my life! It was a new moment for me.

Grinshpan: Also being at Canada’s Wonderland they had to set up the challenge in an interesting way, so it was cool for the chefs and also really challenging for them to cook in that space.

McEwan: We had great food that day.

What’s scarier—a giant Canada’s Wonderland roller coaster or facing the judges of Top Chef Canada?

Grinshpan: Facing the Top Chef Canada judges, to be honest. These chefs… listen, this is their livelihood, this is their passion. When you become a cook, when you become a chef, it takes over so much of your life. In order to get to that next level, it really takes priority over other things, and they want to show who they are. They feel like they’ve made it to a certain place in their careers and they want to put themselves out there. Having Mark McEwan eat your food and give feedback, that’s huge for these chefs. So it’s extremely intimidating, and also really great. When you get that positive feedback you’re on cloud nine. You’re already a winner.

McEwan: The criticism comes at you in waves and it can be inconsistent. One [episode] you’re flying and everybody is loving your product and you have confidence. And so you go into the next one with confidence and maybe that’s what screws you up. And then all of a sudden, you’re on the bottom of it. We’re trying to be constructive in telling you why we hate your food. It’s kind of the roller coaster of Top Chef Canada that is really hard for them.

Top Chef Canada Season 7 Chris Mijune Janet

Have your judging styles changed or evolved over the years?

Grinshpan: This is my third season on Top Chef Canada, and what I have learned working with [these guys] is you can’t learn that stuff. Basically what I’ve picked up… their approach to food, their opinions of food, the way they look at food when it hits the table, it’s amazing. Listening to them talk about food and watching them taste it has really affected the way I look at food and judge and critique it. Because we’ve judged food together for the last three seasons, we’ve found this rhythm and genuine respect for each other’s opinions. Look at the level. This is chef Mark McEwan. I want to hear what he has to say about food and how he looks at food because that affects his entire career and how he has viewed the restaurants and businesses that he’s put out there. I’ve learned a lot.

McEwan: It’s a fun judging table. Everybody brings their own unique style and viewpoint. Chris Nuttall-Smith is very studied about food and food writing and [he] is very articulate. Mijune Pak has eaten everywhere.

Grinshpan: She’s eaten everywhere, everything and everyone under the table.

McEwan: It’s amazing there’s a tree standing anywhere in Canada… but in terms of my judging, I’ve not really changed my format in all the years, it’s always been the technique and style and cleanliness. The flavour side of it is always 50 per cent of the roster for me. But what I don’t do, is I don’t tell the other judges how I really feel about everything, I kind of bottle it up and keep my thoughts in my head and then I let it out. You don’t want to change someone else’s opinion. I like to hear their virgin idea of what the food was rather than base it on a conversation.

Have you ever been surprised by a winner or did they catch you off guard?

McEwan: Last season, season six, I did not expect Ross Larkin to be in the finale.

Grinshpan: I second that.

McEwan: He had some really disappointing days and he seemed to be spinning his wheels and not clicking, but he saved himself. He stayed in the competition and all of a sudden he started to shine. He caught fire very late, and the fact that he won still surprises me.

Grinshpan: I agree. This is the thing… you either have people that have extremely high highs and extremely low lows throughout the competition or you can have people who play the middle ground until the end and then they just hit you with their talent. There are so many ways that this can go, because when we judge it’s not based on, “Oh their dish was good last time.” It’s, “Is their dish good this time?” It doesn’t matter how good you’ve been the entire time, if you make a crappy meal, you’re being judged on that, unfortunately. That’s just the way it goes. You start to see where the talent is at the beginning, and you read up on the chefs and have these expectations, but the competition gets to them. You have the cameras, the crazy challenges. All that pressure adds up.

Have you ever had to resist the urge to jump in and do a challenge yourself?

Grinshpan: Naw. Nope. No. Honestly, cooking in the Top Chef Canada kitchen is probably the most intimidating thing to do. Mark McEwan could take them all down.

McEwan: It’s challenging. At my age, my eyesight is not what it used to be. I find that to almost be a disability, having to take glasses on and off. I can’t cook with my glasses on because it’s foggy, but I can’t read a label without them. So to run around and be in the Top Chef Canada kitchen, I’d be the slowest chef without a doubt. The way they bolt—they’re like gazelles, running around. It’s a little bit intimidating.

Grinshpan: Even sometimes after I give the Quickfire challenges and I’m walking out of the kitchen it’s like, dangerous. Whoever is a guest, I have to hold them close to me, and it’s like we’re dodging traffic. It’s really intense.

McEwan: They’ll knock you over.

Grinshpan: They will! It’s a pretty wild environment.

Top Chef Canada debuts Monday, April 1 at 10 PM E/P on Food Network Canada.