moroccan beet salad in a blue and white patterned bowl

The Only Beet Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need

You’ll find a version of this tangy beet salad at any Moroccan feast – and for good reason: It’s so delicious and easy! It’s one of my favourite “non-recipe” recipes and can be served as part of a holiday spread or piled into a crusty loaf with tahini or hummus for the best vegan sandwich.

This salad needs to be made in advance so the beets have time to cook, cool and marinate in the fridge to soak up all that lemony and cumin-infused flavour. A splash of maple syrup (my twin sister’s go-to secret ingredient) isn’t traditional but it lends a perfectly subtle sweetness to this classic. You can roast the beets if you like, but for this salad, I prefer the smoother texture that comes from boiling them.

Related: You Will *Heart* These Moroccan Stuffed Artichokes

moroccan beet salad in a blue and white patterned bowl

Moroccan Beet Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
6 to 8 medium beets, or 3 to 4 large ones, tops removed
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (3 to 5 Tbsp lemon juice)
½ tsp cumin, or more, to taste
1 Tbsp of maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Salt and black or white pepper

ingredients for moroccan beet salad on a marble countertop

Directions:
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add beets and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their size. To test doneness, pierce with a paring knife, inserting about an inch into the beet or more for larger beets. The blade should go into the tender flesh easily without any resistance.

2. Remove beets from the pot and place them in a colander. Run them under cold water to cool slightly. Remove the skins with a paring knife and your fingers, they’ll slide off easily. (Tip: Wear food handling gloves for this step to prevent stains on your skin.) Cut beets into approximately 2-inch pieces.

boiled, sliced beets in a white bowl

3. In a large mixing bowl, add sliced beets, onions, olive oil, lemon, cumin, maple syrup, salt and pepper and mix.

Related: Bright and Bold Moroccan-Spiced Cauliflower Bites

ingredients for beet salad in a white bowl, ready to be tossed

4. Chill for at least 3 hours until the salad is cold and seasoning is absorbed. Readjust lemon, cumin and salt as necessary.

Related: How to Grow Fall Vegetables and What to Do With Them

tossed beet salad in a white bowl

5. Top with fresh cilantro or parsley before serving.

moroccan beet salad in a white bowl, ready to serve

Love Claire’s beet salad? Try her challah next!

Headshot of Ree Drummond over a close-up of her broccoli rice casserole dish

The Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli Rice Casserole is a Comforting Twist on a Classic Side

There are a few things we all crave when we’re sitting down for that iconic Thanksgiving meal: fall flavours, harvest-inspired platters and plenty of soul-warming, comforting options. With that said — as much as we can’t get enough of seasonal classics like stuffing and cranberry sauce — there’s also plenty of room at the table for new spins on savoury side dishes. Enter the queen of home-cooking comfort food, The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, and her latest perfect-for-Thanksgiving casserole recipe. 

Close-up of Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

Made from a delectable mix of long-grain rice, broccoli and a plethora of cheeses, this easy-to-prepare casserole is creamy and oh-so comforting — making it a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving (and everyday, really) dinner table.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Must-Try Casserole Recipes

Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups whole milk
4-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
8-oz processed cheese, cubed
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar
8 cups small broccoli florets
6-oz diced pimentos, drained
2 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Ultimate Comfort Food Recipes

Directions:

 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

 2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour, dry mustard and cayenne and stir to mix it in well. Continue to cook for 1 minute.

 3. Next, add the milk, stirring constantly; cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan, stirring until totally combined. Stir in the pepper, salt and paprika. Add the processed cheese, stirring until completely melted. Next, add 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar and stir until melted. Then, fold in the broccoli and pimentos.

 4. In a large baking dish, create a base with half of the rice. Top with half of the broccoli cheese sauce. Repeat with the remaining rice, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the Cheddar evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Looking for more of The Pioneer Woman’s easy comfort-food meals to warm your dinner table? Try one of these recipes from Ree Drummond this week!

Watch The Pioneer Woman and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.


ace bakery pumpkin spiced french toast with chocolate ganache

Cozy Fall Mornings Call for Pumpkin Spice French Toast With Warm Chocolate Ganache

Kick your classic French toast up a notch with this autumn-inspired take on your favourite comfort food breakfast. Soft, buttery ACE Bakery® Brioche provides the perfect base for making French toast, and the one-two flavour punch of pumpkin spice coating and  warm chocolate ganache will have you helping yourself to seconds (and maybe even thirds!). This is sure to be the best French toast recipe you’ll try this fall.

ace bakery pumpkin spiced french toast with chocolate ganache

Pumpkin Spice French Toast With Warm Chocolate Ganache

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
Warm Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Pumpkin Spice French Toast:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp pumpkin spice blend
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter
8 slices ACE Bakery® Brioche Sliced Loaf

Directions:
1. For the Warm Chocolate Ganache, warm the cream over medium heat in a small saucepan until it begins to steam and bubbles are just breaking the surface, about 3 minutes. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and pour the hot cream over top. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

2. For the Pumpkin Spice French Toast, whisk together the sugar and pumpkin spice blend in a large shallow bowl until they are well combined. Set aside.

3. Cut each slice of ACE Bakery® Brioche into 4 strips.

Related: Elevated Spring Lemon and Smashed Pea Toast

4. In another large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.

5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt ½ tablespoon of butter.

6. Working in batches, dip the bread into the egg mixture and then remove it, allowing the excess to drip away. Arrange it in the skillet and cook until it is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Related: Rise and Shine With This Scrumptious Prosciutto-Wrapped Egg-in-a-Hole Breakfast Recipe

7. Remove the French toast from the skillet and use tongs to roll each piece in the pumpkin spice mixture, coating it completely. Transfer it to a cooling rack and repeat steps 5-7 until all of the French toast is cooked.

8. Serve French toast immediately with the Warm Chocolate Ganache on the side for dipping.

Watch the how-to video here:


halloween charcuterie board with cheese, meat and fruit

How to Make a Spooky Delicious Halloween Charcuterie Board

Cheese and charcuterie, but make it spooky! This easy Halloween-inspired charcuterie board is the perfect crowd-pleaser for your gatherings this year. There’s something for everyone, from white cheddar pumpkins to BOO brie cheese to pepperette witches fingers, and so many other wicked treats.

Tip: When building a holiday-themed board, keep in mind the colours of the season, textures and shapes to inspire you.

halloween charcuterie board with cheese, meat and fruit

Spooky Delicious Halloween Charcuterie Board

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 small wheel double cream brie
3 Tbsp red pepper jelly
8 slices of your favourite cheese (we used white cheddar)
6 pepperettes
Handful pistachios, shelled
1 Tbsp honey
5 black olives, pitted
12 slices Genoa salami
1 block spicy gouda, cubed
1 large cluster of black seedless grapes
3 black mission figs, sliced in half
Handful strawberries, cut in half
2 clementines, peeled
1 cup stuffed olives
1 cup beet and sweet potato chips or crackers
6 sandwich cookies
Edible googly eyes, for decoration

ingredients for a halloween charcuterie board

Directions:
1. Grab a large circular or rectangular board and ready all of your ingredients. Wash and thoroughly dry your fruit.

2. For the BOO-Brie: Slice the brie wheel in half horizontally. With letter or shape cutters, punch out cheese on one half. Place the wheel back together and spoon jelly into the holes.

brie cheese being cut for a halloween charcuterie board

3. For the White Cheddar Pumpkins: Using your preferred sliced cheese and a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, punch out the different shapes.

Related: These Easy Sourdough Discard Crackers Come Together With Just 5 Ingredients

cheese slices being cut into pumpkins for a halloween charcuterie

4. For the Pepperette Witches fingers: Cut pepperettes in half. Dip pistachio in honey (to act as the adhesive) and place on the tip of the pepperette.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

pepperettes being prepped for a halloween charcuterie board

5. For the Black Olive Spiders: Cut one pitted black olive in half. Cut one half into 6 long pieces. Arrange the 6 long pieces on the board to resemble legs and place the remaining half cut side down for the spider’s body.

6. Place the different cheeses on the board, spaced apart. Fold the salami into quarters and place them standing up to create height. Arrange the pepperette fingers so all “nails” are  pointed outwards. Scatter the fruit throughout to add a hint of sweetness and pops of colour. Fill in any gaps with stuffed olives, chips, crackers and cookies. Add creepy googly eyes on cookies and grapes for a playful finishing touch.

halloween charcuterie board

Related: This Spooky S’mores Bars Recipe is the Perfect Halloween Treat

a harvest table lined with dishes and plates with people gathered around it

The Big Social: Canada’s Ultimate Feel-Good Food Party

Here at Food Network Canada, we’ll take any opportunity to break bread with our friends, but the meals taste even better when we’re dining for a good cause!

The Big Social is a national cross-country food party that brings people together and raises funds for low-income communities. Like many other nations, Canada has been deeply affected by COVID-19 and for the many Canadians living on a low income, there is a heightened sense of anxiety. Food insecurity was already an urgent problem, with 1 in 8 Canadians struggling to put food on the table. Now, 1 in 7 people are experiencing food insecurity during the ongoing pandemic.

With The Big Social, you can connect in person or online (depending on your community public health guidelines) to help fight poverty and food insecurity. From October 1-31, raise funds, share food, have fun, show you care!

a harvest table lined with dishes and plates with people gathered around it
Pexels

The best part is that anyone can host, and joining is as easy as 1-2-3. Go to www.bigsocial.ca to register to host. Once you’ve registered, you can set a fundraising goal for your dinner, and send out invites to your friends, family or coworkers to join and support low-income communities through donations!

Your donation funds programs that promote food skills, connection and advocacy. Community Food Centres Canada works with over 300 partners in 175 communities across the country, bringing people together around food—in kitchens, dining rooms, and gardens—while fighting for a more equitable society.

An example of donation breakdowns:

$30 can give seniors a healthy cooking session
$50 can provide fresh fruit and vegetables for a family
$75 can bring food literacy education to kids
$100 can grow a garden in low-income communities
$175 can help to open a new Community Food Centre

Here are three ways you can get involved:

1. Cook: Make something delicious and drop it off to friends or family for a donation.

2. Create: Share your favourite recipe. Make or bake it together with your pod.

3. Connect: Host a dinner party for a good cause and ask your guests to donate.

Register to host an event for The Big Social at www.bigsocial.ca.

For more, check out how FoodShare’s Paul Taylor breaks down food insecurity (and how Canadians can help) and how food injustice inspired this 23-year-old to start her own farm.

vegan cornbread with rosemary and maple

Rosemary Maple Vegan Cornbread is the Perfect Sweet and Savoury Combination

Fall weather and cornbread go hand-in-hand, and this vegan recipe is sure to become your new go-to. All you need is one bowl, (yay for fewer dishes!) and ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry and fridge. With a perfect moist center and the crispiest edges, it’s the perfect vessel to lather vegan butter onto. Combining maple syrup with fragrant rosemary lends this classic recipe a punchy twist that complements its sweet and earthy flavours.

vegan cornbread with rosemary and maple

Rosemary Maple Vegan Cornbread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes
Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
1½ cups spelt, whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1½ cups cornmeal
½ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½  cup maple syrup
1 heaping Tbsp fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary, plus 1 sprig fresh rosemary for topping (optional)
Vegan butter, to serve (optional)

ingredients for vegan cornbread with rosemary and maple

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sea salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly.

Related: 5 Genius Ways to Use Cornbread Mix (Hint: Buttermilk Pancakes)

dry ingredients for vegan cornbread with rosemary and maple in a bowl

3. Make a little well in the center, then pour in the almond milk, olive oil and maple syrup.

4. Whisk the dry and wet ingredients together until a batter forms, then fold in the rosemary.

Related: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

batter for vegan cornbread with rosemary and maple in a bowl

5. Oil a 9-inch cast iron skillet thoroughly. You can also use a brownie tin or a pie plate. Pour the batter in and top with a sprig of fresh rosemary (optional).

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Related: Savoury Pumpkin, Feta & Sage Muffins

batter for vegan cornbread with rosemary and maple in a cast iron skillet

7. Enjoy on its own or with vegan butter.

8. Store on the counter for 1-2 days and toast before eating. You can also store it in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Love Tamara and Sarah’s vegan cornbread? Try their herby green soup next!

farm boy thanksgiving dinner 2021

We Tried 4 Canadian Thanksgiving Meal Kits, Here’s How They Really Turned Out

Whether you’re getting together with extended family or having an intimate dinner for two, the thought of making a complete Thanksgiving feast can be daunting even for the most seasoned home cooks.

Thankfully,  there are solid meal kit options on the market that can take the planning, shopping, and stress out of the equation so that you can focus on cooking (or heating up) something impressive and delicious. To help guide your Thanksgiving meal planning, we tried four of the most popular Thanksgiving meal kits on the market. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts, and see how the meal kits actually turned out compared to the pictures.

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

chef's plate thanksgiving dinner

Left: Chefs Plate’s Thanksgiving Turkey & Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Chefs Plate: Thanksgiving Turkey & Thyme Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Perfect For: An Intimate Dinner For Two

Price: $9.99 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via chefsplate.com by October 7th for delivery from October 8th-15th.

Why it’s great: Roasting a whole turkey for two people just doesn’t make sense. For an intimate Thanksgiving feast, the turkey dinner for two option from Chef’s Plate is the perfect solution. With gourmet touches like truffle salt mashed potatoes and maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, this turkey dinner can double as a luxurious date night meal. Bonus: this kit is available to order for 2-16 people, so you can order it even if you’re having a larger gathering.

How it compares: Despite having Thanksgiving touches like turkey and mashed potatoes, this meal kit tasted decidedly less Thanksgiving-y than the other kits (likely because of the mushroom gravy and lack of classic flavours like cranberry sauce and stuffing). Still, it’s a delicious meal that feels subtly festive, and the maple-bacon Brussels sprouts were a real standout.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

hello fresh thanksgiving box

Left: Hello Fresh’s Thanksgiving Box. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Hello Fresh: The Thanksgiving Box

Perfect For: A Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Dinner with All the Fixings

Price: $23.33 per person (boxes starting at $139.99)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via hellofresh.com by September 29th for delivery on October 7th.

Why it’s great: Hosting a crowd? Hello Fresh has you covered with their Thanksgiving Box that comes in two serving sizes to feed 6 or 10 people. If you’re looking for a complete turkey dinner with all the fixings, this is it! The kit includes ingredients for sage-roasted rolled turkey with gravy, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle, garlic-infused mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and almonds, dinner rolls with herb garlic butter, cranberry sauce with orange zest, and a dessert of graham cracker crust pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The comprehensive instructions guide perfectly times out your cooking process, so you know exactly when to simmer that cranberry sauce mash those potatoes, all while your turkey roasts in the oven. If it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you simply do not have the energy to put together a menu and buy all the ingredients (we don’t blame you!) but still want to cook something special, this is the kit for you.

How it compares: This is by far the most labour-intensive meal kit, but it really pays off with a whopping eight dishes including dessert (and nine if you add on the vegetarian main of Mushroom and Leek Stuffed Squash). While some of the sides are more simple (like the buttered green beans) compared to the sides in the other kits, it still makes for an exceptionally satisfying complete turkey dinner experience.

Left: Goodfood’s Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Goodfood: Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Broccoli, Onion and Squash Mash

Perfect For: The Last-Minute Get-Together

Price: $9.98 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via makegoodfood.ca by 12 pm EST for same day delivery in select markets by 8 pm EST from October 4th-10th.

Why it’s great: So you forgot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner fixings? No problem! Goodfood’s Thanksgiving dinner kit can be ordered for same day delivery (yes, really!) in select markets including Toronto and Vancouver so you can decide to host in the morning and have an impressive meal on the table that same evening. While this is the only kit that doesn’t offer turkey, it still satisfies those traditional Thanksgiving flavour cravings with its cranberry sauce and squash mash.

How it compares: This kit was by far the easiest to cook, coming together (as advertised) in just 30 minutes. The combination of colours between the squash, red onion and broccoli was also especially stunning and made for a really enticing plate.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

farm boy thanksgiving dinner

Farm Boy Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner for Two. Right: Our plating of the meal.

Farm Boy: Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner For Two

Perfect For: The Hands-Off Chef

Price: $79.99

Availability: Order within Ontario via farmboy.ca, by October 3rd for in-store pick up from October 8th-10th.

Why it’s great: If cooking isn’t your thing but you’re still craving the smell of roasted turkey with stuffing wafting through your home, the Farm Boy Thanksgiving Dinner is your best bet. A complete Thanksgiving meal that you can heat up in 30 minutes is a pretty wonderful experience, and this meal kit features Ontario turkey with savoury turkey gravy, cranberry ginger sauce, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, maple bacon Brussels sprouts and a buttery Cranberry Pecan Tart for dessert. Farm Boy also offers their Thanksgiving Dinner in larger formats for 6-8 people priced at $169.99.

How it compares: Unsurprisingly, this prepared meal comes with the highest price tag per serving, an important factor to keep in mind. That said, the price tag is reflected in the presentation and organization: each dish comes individually packaged and beautifully arranged with straightforward heating instructions. While you can certainly remove the turkey, stuffing, mash and veggies from the packaging, we opted to keep them in the packaging because it was already so nicely plated.  Bonus: Farm Boy is extra generous with the servings of stuffing. And the dessert, a Cranberry Pecan Tart, is drizzled with dark chocolate and is simply divine

Availability: Farm Boy Indulgence Dinner for Two, farmboy.ca, $79.99. Order within Ontario by October 3rd for in-store pick up on October 8th, 9th or 10th.

Craving more Thanksgiving inspiration? See our best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Holiday Potluck. 

Carla Hall is laughing and has a big smile on the set of Halloween Baking Championship

Carla Hall Shares Her Favourite Moments From This Season (Plus, the Trend She Predicts for 2022)

She’s neither a fan of slasher movies nor psychological thrillers. But on this season of Halloween Baking Championship, Carla Hall says expect to see plenty of scary challenges incorporating those themes. That’s because this season, the show is playing homage to 1980’s slashers movies  both ionic, obscure and just downright freaky.

Carla Hall on the set of Halloween Baking Championship

Carla is joined yet again by her co-judges, Pastry Chefs Stephanie Boswell and Zack Young, as well as host John Henson to help choose this season’s winner. Carla says the group’s common shared interests, such as acting and overall rapport is a huge part of why she thinks Halloween Baking Championship has been such a fan favourite all these years and why it continues to be one of the most entertaining shows.

Related: Halloween Baking Championship: Meet the Season 7 Bakers

“ I think the bakers are great, but [the cast] there is a sense of family with John and my fellow judges,” Carla says. “We just don’t keep ourselves strapped with boundaries. We really play and we get into the characters that we dress up as. And no other show has the costumes. I think the costumes every year just level up.”

Judges look at a pie on this season of Halloween Baking Championship

Carla Hall’s Highlights From Halloween Baking Championship

Speaking of levelling up, Carla says fans can expect to see bakers create some of the scariest cakes to date with the set and costumes coming in a close second! “This year, the network allowed us to get really scary [meaning] we can have skin hanging off of our faces,” said Carla.

“The fact that the setting of the show is at Camp Devil’s Food Lake, so [think] legs, scariness, spookiness, things jumping out at you you can plan on all of that. I might not be able to tell you when it’s going to happen, but just know it’s going to happen.”

Finished pie on a cake stand on display in the Halloween Baking Championship studio

What else? Maybe not as frightening, only “ugly delicious” as Carla calls them, but “you’re going to see a lot of great crusts this season.” And who doesn’t like a good crust? Carla says she’s first in line for a delicious slab of pie.

“If I had to choose between cake or pie, I would choose pie because I love fruit and I love the flakiness. I love the differences in texture with pie. I love a flaky buttery crust.”

Tips for Going Beyond Cake Decorations

Decorating a cake so it wows the judges on the show takes technical skills, artistic abilities and a load of experience, says Hall.  But her advice for home bakers aspiring to be on the show or who want to be the star in their own kitchens at home?  Take risks and go beyond focusing on just the decorations.

Related: Gorgeous Edible Cake Decorations To Elevate Any Dessert

“It’s not just about decorating, but really [bakers have to] make sure that the textures of your baked goods are great,” she says. “Understand how butter works: Do you want to use room temperature or softened butter? I mean, those are very different things. Start slowly, then go to [the] decorating and then just make sure that it’s something that you enjoy.”

Carla Hall looking at a pie on the set of Halloween Baking Championship

As for that one winning element that edges out the competition? Dare to be different.

I think white sugar is overused and I think I would like to see the bakers explore different sweeteners because it gives more interest to the baked goods. I’m thinking there’s always some kind of raspberry with chocolate. I would like to see them break out and use something that’s not so predictable.”

Related: Apple Spider Web Pops

Carla Hall’s Trend Predictions for 2022: Savoury Sweets and Spices

Using savoury spices in baked goods is something Carla says bakers on the show typically shy away from using – but not this season.

“When I think of spices, I think of cumin, cayenne and black pepper, [and] we actually forced them [the bakers] to use them. You’re going to see cinnamon, you’re going to see nutmeg, you’re going to see allspice. Those are the very traditional spices, you see those. What we challenge them to do, though, is to go beyond their comfort level and use some of these other spices.”

Wes Dills' cake, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 7.

As for cake trends, Carla is glad to say goodbye to piñata cake, tsunami or pull-it-up cakes and drip cakes, and say hello to using savoury vegetables in cakes instead.

“What I think could be a trend or maybe I want this to be a trend is vegetables sweetened and turned into something else,” Carla told us. Using parsnips, or something like that in a cake, instead of carrot cake, [perhaps] celery root, the texture with celery root could be really nice. People are starting to use beets in a red velvet cake instead of the red dye because it’s natural, but the texture of beets also gives us that moist crumb.”

Related: Make-Ahead Gory White Chocolate Truffles for Your Next Halloween Bash

Carla Hall’s Favourite Recipes and Baking Traditions

Holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are a great time to get everyone in the family involved in creating a meal and making long-lasting traditions, says Hall. Admittedly, the former Top Chef contestant says she didn’t start baking until she was well into her twenties, but she always loved to eat especially her grandmother’s cornbread

I remember just like watching her waiting for that cornbread to be done..you would have that cast iron skillet, you put the oil in the skillet and then you pour the batter into the skillet, and I remember, the sizzle that the batter would make. And then all of the batter would be rolling up the sides of that cast iron skillet and that she would put it in the oven. And I knew in 20-minutes we’d be eating.”

She says in those early days it wasn’t about learning how to make the cornbread however, but rather for her, it was about recreating the memories surrounding the moments before she ate the cornbread that in part, inspired her baking career today. 

Watch Halloween Baking Championship Mondays at 9 PM ET/PT. Watch and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

the best new farm boy products for fall 2021

The 7 Best New Farm Boy Products to Try This Fall

If you’re anything like us, you’re already completely obsessed with Farm Boy – also known as Canada’s answer to Trader Joe’s. While we’d be remiss to write this article without shouting out our all-time Farm Boy favourites (the lemon-garlic dressing, chocolate almonds, and spicy kale edamame dip to name a few!), it’s time to say hello to Farm Boy’s latest crop of game-changing products. Here are our top picks for fall:

farm boy cream soda caramel corn

Farm Boy Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn, $3.99/280g

Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn

Caramel popcorn and cream soda is the unexpected snack mashup you need in your life. With notes of banana swirled into the pink cream soda drizzle, it lends the classic sweet snack a welcome note of nostalgia. Who needs to choose between popcorn, soda pop and candy when you can have all three?!

farm boy truffle pepperoni sticks

Farm Boy Truffle Pepperoni Sticks, $8.99/150g

Truffle Pepperoni Sticks

Truffle lovers, rejoice! These truffle pepperettes contain real summer truffle (none of the synthetic stuff!) and have a rich umami flavour that would be right at home on a luxe charcuterie board beside a thick chunk of brie and some herb-studded crackers. While we’re certainly fans of this truffley creation, they aren’t for the faint of heart – opt for the equally delicious Olive Pepperettes if you plan on sharing with kiddos or the truffle-averse.

farm boy tostadas

Farm Boy Tostadas, $3.49/350g

Tostadas

Looking to switch up your Taco Tuesday routine? These certified gluten-free tostadas are the answer, and contain just four simple ingredients: yellow corn flour, water, sunflower oil and salt. Supremely sturdy with just the right amount of crunch, you can pile them high with your favourite taco toppings. Bonus: we have a feeling they’d make for an *excellent* addition to at-home version of a Crunchwrap Supreme.

farm boy tomatillo and jalapeno salsa

Farm Boy Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa, $4.99/300ml

Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa

You’d never guess that this sophisticated salsa comes from a jar. With an inviting deep green colour and complex smoky flavour palate, this is not your average salsa! Keep this alongside a bag of corn chips in the pantry to serve when unexpected guests arrive and they’ll be impressed by your gourmet hosting abilities.

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water, $1.49/1L

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy’s organic sparkling waters are always an instant add-to-cart (we’ve been known to buy five cases of the Orange Vanilla at a time), so we were delighted to get our hands on their latest flavour. It tastes like a fizzy sparkling hybrid of cantaloupe and watermelon, and we’re officially hooked.

farm boy seafood paella kit

Farm Boy Seafood Paella Kit, $6.99/255g

Paella Kit

ICYMI: Paella is trending right now, and you don’t have to be a pro chef to make it at home! Farm Boy makes it easy with this straightforward kit that contains traditional ingredients like olive oil, bomba rice, and delicate saffron for quick prep, all you have to do is add in your favourite seafood and veggies.

farm boy fruit and vegetable wash

Farm Boy Fruit and Vegetable Wash, $4.99/496ml

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

While there’s nothing wrong with washing your fruits and veggies  the old fashioned way, this all-natural, fragrance-free alternative helps the process of removing pesticides, and eliminating bacteria without the soak time. Just spray and rinse!

3 Kid-Friendly Halloween Dessert Decorating Ideas Inspired by The Big Bake

Sure, we can let the pandemic dampen another Halloween or we can make this year’s celebration special in a different way. Wicked or whimsical, macabre or kawaii, the thing that can be said about Halloween treats is that they are always fun and creative. Unleash your inner artist and delight the children (and adults) in your life with these bewitching desserts.  All three ideas require no baking – unless you want to!  Store-bought baked goods can be elevated with colourful candy melts, royal icing, melted chocolate, fondant and candies to lively (or ghoulish) effect. Everything you need can be sourced from the grocery store, doughnut shop, bulk store or art supply store.

Related: Try This Halloween Pumpkin Bundt Cake

The only from-scratch thing pictured is the buns, which you can sub with frozen or fresh rolls from the supermarket. The fun with these projects is in the design and decorating. Follow my lead or make your own phantom fantasies come to life. My daughters gleefully ate their way through a fair share of these confections, confirming they are as tasty as they are aesthetic. I’m giving you the download on how I created these three boo-licious treats so you can try your hand at one or all of them this holiday. Involve the little boos for a fun at-home activity. Queue the Halloween playlist and get decorating!

Six Halloween-themed decorated donuts on a pan sheet

Candy-Coated Donut Characters

Ingredients:
Plain doughnuts
Candy melts in desired colours (I used white, pink, green, orange)
Vegetable shortening for adjusting consistency of melted coating as needed (optional)
Small pack of white fondant (for mummy wrapping and eyeball)
Whole almonds for ears and little hands (or use candy corn if nut-allergic)
Dark chocolate chips and candy eyeballs (for eyes)
Chocolate Pocky for alien antennae and pumpkin stem
One dark chocolate ball for spider body
Candy corn or other small candy
Black royal icing

Related: This Candy-Filled Pumpkin Pail is the Perfect Halloween Showstopper

Directions:
1. Prepare candy melt as directed on the package. If the mixture seems thick and somewhat seized, add a dab of shortening to thin out and make it smooth. Pour enough candy melt into a small dish so that it will come halfway up the doughnut. Before dipping, poke in whole almonds for any ears and/or hands in the design. If making the three-eyed alien, break off the plain cookie end of a Pocky and insert it for the antennae.

2. Dip one side of the doughnut to coat. The candy coating will not be smooth immediately. Shake the doughnut side to side quickly to even out the candy coating – yes it actually works! For all black details, I used black royal icing piped out of a bag with a tiny hole cut at the tip for making precise, thin lines.  Add decorations as per below.

Related: How to Melt and Temper Chocolate for Perfect Candy Making

For the mummy (top left):
I used pink candy melt as the base. For the mummy wrap, roll out white fondant to 1/8” thickness and cut into thin strips. Drape them onto the donut. Attach candy eyes to the wet candy coating to adhere.

For the skeleton (top middle):
While the candy melt is still wet, adhere two dark chocolate chips with their flat base facing out to create the eyes. Dry thoroughly before decorating with icing. Dot nostrils and draw mouth with black icing.

For the alien (top right):
Before dipping in candy coating, make sure you’ve inserted two almonds on the sides for ears and the cookie end of a Pocky for the antennae. Place three candy eyes while the candy melt is still wet (otherwise glue it on with royal icing). Wait for the candy coating to dry completely before piping the mouth with black icing.

For the spider (bottom right): I used pink candy melt as the base. Add chocolate ball while still wet. Let dry thoroughly. Pipe spider legs with black icing. Use small dabs of black icing to glue candy corn and candy eyes onto the chocolate ball.

For the pumpkin (bottom middle): Before dipping into candy melt, insert almonds for hands. Let dry thoroughly. Draw face with black icing. Break off the chocolate end of a Pocky and insert it as the stem.

For the cyclops (bottom left):
Before dipping into candy melt, insert almonds for ears. Dip in green candy melt. Roll a piece of white fondant and cut a circle that will completely cover the donut hole (I used the larger end of a big piping tip). Place over the donut hole while the candy melt is still wet to adhere. Let dry thoroughly. Pipe a black circle on the white fondant for the pupil. I had a flat white disc sprinkle in a sprinkle mix, so I added that for a little “sparkle” in the eye. You can create the same effect with a tiny circle of white fondant.

Related: Spooky S’Mores Bars Are the Perfect Halloween Treat

Nine decorated buns with Halloween theme

Chocolate Decorated Buns

Ingredients:
One batch of rolls, homemade or frozen store-bought and baked according to package directions
Melted dark chocolate
Candy eye
Optional if making from scratch: culinary matcha and turmeric powder to add colour to dough

Directions:
1. If you’re baking dinner rolls from frozen store-bought, prepare them based on package directions and allow to cool fully on a rack before decorating. If you’re making the rolls from scratch, consider using the milk bread recipe in my Honey Scallion Wool Roll Bread, without the filling. Form the dough into balls (about 55g each), stuff them with chocolate chips if you like and bake as dinner rolls for 35 minutes. For optional colouring, after the 10-min kneading step, split the dough into three equal pieces. For one third, knead 1 tbsp culinary matcha for 2 minutes. For second third, knead ½ tsp turmeric powder for 2 minutes. Leave the final third plain.

2. Once your rolls are fully cooled, melt dark chocolate until smooth. Place in a piping bag with a small tip cut at the end. Pipe decorations as desired. For my spider, I also attached candy eyes using small dots of melted chocolate.

Sheet pan of chocolate cake dessert with RIP signs and a hanging ghost overtop

Chocolate Cake Graveyard With Hanging Ghost

Ingredients:
Chocolate sheet cake, homemade or store-bought
Oreo cookie crumbs
Crackers or cookies for gravestones
Chocolate rock candies (from bulk store)
Melted dark chocolate for writing on gravestones
For hanging ghost: small piece of white fondant, small candy ball or a small rolled up ball of fondant, piece of twine for hanging
Small branch for the tree (make sure it’s not from a toxic plant)

Related: Pull-Apart Graveyard Cupcakes

Directions:
1. Melt chocolate until smooth and place in a piping bag with a tiny tip cut off. Write “RIP” on cookies for the gravestones. Let dry. For the hanging ghost, roll a piece of white fondant 1/8” inch thick and cut a small circle about 2” in diameter. Roll another piece of fondant into a small ball to fit inside as the ghost head – you can also use a small candy ball. Gently double-knot a piece of twine around the collar, with one end long enough for hanging. Dot two small eyes with melted chocolate.

2. Cover chocolate sheet cake with a generous layer of Oreo cookie crumbs for soil. Insert cookie gravestones into the cake. Scatter rock candies.  Trim the bottom of your tree branch for appropriate scale to your cake. Wrap the bottom 1-2” of the branch with cling wrap so it doesn’t come in direct contact with cake, but is concealed once inserted. Insert branch into the cake. Hang fondant ghost off a branch. You may need to tilt the tree to counterbalance the weight of the ghost. Use rock candies at the tree base to stabilize it. 

Tune into The Big Bake: Halloween on September 27 at 8 PM ET to see new episodes. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

herby green spinach soup in a beige bowl

Herby Green Goddess Soup with Avocados and Feta

We all know we need to eat more greens, and oftentimes that means eating lots and lots of salads. But as the weather cools down, a raw salad just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to blend up those greens into a refreshing and creamy soup, and we have just the recipe. The fresh herbs add a wonderful aromatic scent and flavour, while the avocado lends the soup a gorgeously creamy texture. Don’t forget to top with feta for the perfect salty finish!

herby green spinach soup in a beige bowl

Herby Green Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 oz or 1 small box of baby spinach
1½ cups fresh parsley, leaves and stems
1 cup fresh mint, leaves
½ cup fresh basil, leaves and stems
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable stock
2 avocados, 1 reserved for garnish
½ lime, juiced
¼ -⅓ cup crumbled feta

ingredients for herby green soup on a white countertop

Directions:
1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat, pour in the olive oil and swirl around the pot.

2. Add in the onions and cook until translucent.

3. Next, add in the spinach, parsley, mint and basil. Mix around until slightly wilted. Season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

Related: This Yummy Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip is the Perfect Appetizer

ingredients for herby green soup in a stock pot

4. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Carefully blend the soup with 1 whole avocado, squeeze in the juice from half a lime, re-season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Related: This Creamy Green Hummus is Made for Avocado Lovers

6. If it’s too thick, add more broth to get your desired consistency.

7. To serve, pour into individual bowls and garnish with crumbled feta, diced avocado and cracked pepper.

herby green soup topped with feta and avocado in a bowl

Love Tamara and Sarah’s herby green soup? Try their sourdough toasties next!

two bowls of fruit salad with rose custard on a white countertop

This Autumn Fruit Salad with Rose Custard is the Seasonal Dessert You Must Try

This fruit salad is a show-stopping finale to any festive autumn feast. With a juicy base of in-season fall fruits, a lovely rose aroma and subtle notes of cardamom and cinnamon, it’s the perfect dessert to celebrate the arrival of cooler temperatures. Not to mention, the smooth velvety custard and crunchiness of the fruits are a brilliant marriage of textures.

two bowls of fruit salad with rose custard on a white countertop

Autumn Fruit Salad with Rose Custard

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
For the rose custard
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tsp rose water
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
1½ Tbsp corn starch

For the fruit salad
½ cup water
2 Tbsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
2 pods cardamom
1 apple, diced
2 plums, diced
2 peaches, diced
1/2 cup blackberries

To serve
Dried rose petals, for garnish (optional)

ingredients for rose custard and fruit salad on a white countertop

Directions:
For the rose custard:
1. Bring milk, cream, and rose water to boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Remove from heat and set the mixture aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch until pale, thick, and creamy.

egg yolks, sugar and corn starch being whisked together for rose custard

3. Pour a little of the creamy rose water mixture into the egg mixture (this prevents the eggs from cooking). Then, add the rest of the creamy rose water mixture, whisk, and transfer back to the saucepan.

warm milk being added to the ingredients for rose custard in a white bowl

4. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until it thickens slightly.

Related: These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

A thick and creamy bowl of rose custard

5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Related: Nothing Says Fall More Than This Sumac-Spiced Roasted Delicata With Tahini Lemon Drizzle

a bowl of rose custard covered with plastic wrap

 


For the fruit salad:

1.  Add water, honey, and spices to a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Then carefully stir in all of the fruits except for blackberries and simmer for 5 more minutes.fruit salad ingredients chopped on a round wooden cutting board

2. Remove the pan from the heat, add in the blackberries and mix thoroughly.

Related: These Ginger Molasses Cookies Will Warm You up on a Chilly Fall Day

a bowl of fruit salad being tossed together

3. Let fruit cool for 5 minutes, then divide into four bowls. Top with a generous dollop of rose custard, a sprinkle of dried rose petals (optional) and serve.

2 bowls of fruit salad with rose custard on a white countertop

Like Yakuta’s fruit salad and rose custard? Try her no-bake saffron yogurt tarts next!

steamed chinese eggplant recipe on a white plate

This Silky, Tender Chinese Steamed Eggplant is Topped with Aromatics and Drizzled with Sizzling Hot Oil

Everyone needs at least one reliable and reproducible recipe for entertaining. This is mine, because it’s easy, unique, and universally pleasing. This dish can be prepared ahead of time, with ample time in the fridge to cool down. I find that eggplant can be a polarizing vegetable—some people dislike the texture, but others have no problem with it. I used to dislike eggplant until I discovered the steaming method. Eggplant is often fried with a lot of oil and ends up being too heavy for my tastes, but steamed eggplant is light and a wonderful vessel to soak up sauce. It’s a fast way to cook eggplant, and even more important, the texture transforms and becomes silky soft, tender, and creamy.

steamed chinese eggplant recipe on a white plate

Seasoned Steamed Eggplant

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35-40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 Chinese or Japanese eggplants
2 tsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp black vinegar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp neutral cooking oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil
2 tsp red chili oil, optional
1½ tsp toasted white sesame seeds
Handful cilantro leaves

Directions:
1. Cut off the base of each eggplant, then cut each eggplant into 3 segments. Halve each segment lengthwise so that you have 6 pieces total per eggplant.

2. Add the white vinegar to a large bowl of water. Add the eggplant pieces and let them sit in the vinegar water for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Set a bamboo steamer over 2 inches (5 cm) of water in a wok, and bring the water to a boil over high. Place a layer of eggplant skin side down in the steamer, then pile the remaining pieces on top (see Note), working in batches if necessary.

4. Cover and steam the eggplant over high for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and easily pierced with a chopstick. The texture should be silky soft and creamy but still firm enough to hold its shape. Set the steamed eggplant aside in a colander to cool slightly.

5. Meanwhile, mix together the light and dark soy sauces, black vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper. Set the sauce aside.

6. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, tear each piece lengthwise into strips about 3/8 inch (1 cm) wide. Arrange the eggplant strips on a plate. Pile the ginger, half of the scallions, and the garlic in the center of the eggplant.

7. In a small saucepan, heat the cooking oil until it bubbles when a chopstick is inserted, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the hot oil over the aromatics. They should sizzle and release a gorgeous fragrance.

8. Drizzle the soy sauce mixture and chili oil, if using, over the egg- plant. Top with the remaining scallions, the toasted sesame seeds, and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately at room temperature.

Note: Step two is a trick to keep that gorgeous purple on the eggplant, otherwise it will turn brown. You can omit this step, though; it has no effect on the taste. When layering eggplant in the steamer, I’ve found that piling the pieces yields the best result. Place the bottom layer skin down to prevent oversteaming, then pile the other eggplant segments on, crisscrossing them to create air pock- ets so steam can reach every piece.

the cover of my shanghai by betty liu

From the book MY SHANGHAI by Betty Liu. Copyright © 2021 by Betty Liu. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permissions.

MY SHANGHAI: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water, Amazon, $41

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

Apple cider Moscow Mule

Kick Off Cozy Season With This Autumn-Inspired Apple Cider Moscow Mule

As the weather changes and the autumn apple cravings kick in, this cider twist on a Moscow mule is a must-try cocktail to celebrate the start of fall. The spicy flavour of the ginger beer (a key ingredient to a traditional Moscow mule) pairs perfectly with the sweet mulled cider. So throw on your favourite fall sweater and shake up the latest That’s the Spirit cocktail!

Apple cider Moscow Mule

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

Prep: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1

Related: Travel Back in ‘Thyme’ With This Seasonal Twist on a Classic Aperol Spritz

Apple cider Moscow mule ingredients

Ingredients:

2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 pinch ground cinnamon
3 ounces apple cider
3 ounces ginger beer
Apple slices, to garnish
Fresh rosemary, to garnish
Lime wedge, to garnish

Related: This Blood Orange Negroni is the Perfect Summer Cocktail

Apple cider Moscow mule with cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or cocktail mixing glass with ice. Add vodka, lime juice, ginger, cinnamon and apple cider. Shake or stir until well combined, about 30 seconds.Hand stirring apple cider Moscow mule
  2. Strain over a moscow mule glass filled with ice. Finish with a splash of ginger beer. 
  3. Garnish with apple slices, rosemary and lime. Cheers!

Apple cider Moscow mule

Like Marcella’s Moscow mule? Try her refreshing Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Spritzer

rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack

These Rye Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Are an Elegant Twist on a Classic

Chocolate chip cookie lovers, say hello to your new favourite baked good. The subtle additions of rye flour and oatmeal lend the classic cookie a nutty, earthy flavour that’s perfect for pairing with your morning coffee or a late-night glass of milk. Plus, the dough can be made in advance and frozen so that you can have fresh, warm cookies at a moment’s notice, perfect for an impressive last-minute dinner party dessert or taking with you for long weekend cottage getaway.

rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack

Rye Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 16-18 minutes
Total Time: 66-68 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup rye flour
⅓ cup oatmeal
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks

ingredients for rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a white countertop

Directions:
1. In a stand mixer, whip together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and combine.

2. Add all of the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) into the wet batter and combine using a stand mixer with beater attachment.

Related: These Ginger Molasses Cookies Will Warm You up on a Chilly Fall Day

3. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

4. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop (for large cookies), portion the dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure they are well spaced apart (2-3 inches), so they don’t join when baked.

Dough for rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet

5. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden on the edges.

Related: These Creme-Filled Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches Will Make You Feel Like a Pro Baker

Rye chunky chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet

7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Related: Date Night at Home Isn’t Complete Without This Chocolate Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie

A rye chunky chocolate chip cookie on a cooling rank with a bite taken out of it

Note: The cookie dough can be chilled for up to 3 months in an airtight container in the freezer.

Love Yakuta’s cookies? Try her mango tarts next!

two glasses of wine clinking for a cheers

How to Order Wine at a Restaurant Like a Pro

After a long (and sad) hiatus from restaurant visits, it feels incredible to be back on sunny patios and in cozy booths. Don’t get us wrong, the takeout nights were fun, but nothing beats having fresh, warm food brought to a table full of your closest friends. One thing we didn’t miss, however, is our adversity to ordering wine. There’s just something so intimidating about it!

To help cork that fear, we spoke to Master Sommelier, Jennifer Huether about how to order wine like a pro. Jennifer has been loving (and drinking) wine for over a decade. Her passion for the grape has brought many adventures, including her current role as head sommelier and director of alcohol curation at Fresh City Farms. Read on for her best advice.


Pexels

What are your best food and wine pairing tips?

The basics of food and wine matching is complex, but there are three main things to consider on your own: What is the main protein? How is it cooked? And what are the sauces and or spices?

Ultimately, what you’re trying to do is even the playing field between the wine and the food. You’re trying to go for that balance. For example, let’s say you have a beautiful, sweet dessert and a dry light wine. The fruit and the sugar in the dessert is going to overpower that light little dry wine. It needs something that is full and rich, and probably has as much sugar, if not more, than the dessert. Look for flavours that complement or contrast each other.

 

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A post shared by Fresh City (@freshcityfarms)

What are some rules for pairing wines with plant-based foods?

Generally white wine, rosé, and lighter, wet reds work well. And I’m going to add in something else here: orange wines. I’ll be playing with a lot of orange wine going into the fall, just because I also love color matching with food and wine.

Related: 20 Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Beginners That Will Make You Drool

What is colour matching?

It’s literally matching the colour spectrum of wines to foods. We know that overall white meats work with white wine and red meats work with red wine. If you have that in the back of our head, you can just take it a step further and have fun with it. 

For example, if you take a lovely butternut squash soup with roasted pecans and pair it with a nice orange wine, it’s just visually spectacular. Remember, the whole eating process starts with seeing the food.

How important is the price of a wine?

If we’re looking at wines by the bottle, the cheapest wines have the highest markup. Where you’re going to find value is at what I call the heart of the list. The heart of the list is where most of the people will shop. Let’s say the wine list starts at $30 a bottle and goes up to $150 a bottle. The middle section will be where most people buy and therefore there will be lots of turnover in that section and usually some decent value. That being said, usually, the most expensive bottles do not receive the same markup as the rest of the list, so there can be value there too, as long as you’re willing to spend more.

Related: Meet the Canadian Women Helping to Bring Gender Equality to the Wine World

What’s the best way to use your server or in-house sommelier when ordering?

Ask yourself, what do I want to spend? What do I like to drink? And what am I eating tonight? If you can answer those three questions, you should be telling the sommelier. Nobody wants to sell you a wine that’s more than you want to spend, because then you end up with a customer that’s not coming back because they feel ripped off.

 

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A post shared by Grape Witches (@grapewitches)

Is there a discreet way to tell your server or sommelier what you want to spend without saying it?

I will have the wine list open, and I will point to something [in my price range]. And that way [the sommelier] will get the price right away. They might go up by $10 or $15, but at that point they know what you’re willing to spend.

Related: Meet the Youngest Self-Funded Winery Owner in Ontario’s History

After you have picked your bottle and the server brings you the first sip to try, what are you really looking for? Is it to see if you like the wine?

It’s not a question of, “Is this your favorite wine ever?” it’s a question of “Is the wine healthy?”. You’re checking to see if the wine is stable. Are you getting tons of wet cardboard or a musty basement from the wine? That could be an indication that the wine has cork tank, or any of the other 20 things that can go wrong. That’s what you’re checking for. It might be a little bit more tannic than you really wanted, but that’s just the wine.

And if it [doesn’t taste healthy] no problem, send it back. A lot of times sommeliers are pretty good! Even if they suspect that the wine is fine and you just don’t like it, they’ll try to steer you to a different wine.

a fluffy loaf of wool bread on a piece of patterned parchment paper

You Must Make This Trending Salted Honey Scallion Wool Bread

Wool Roll Breads entered the viral food scene earlier this year thanks to their super Instagrammable aesthetic. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a yeasted white bread studded with a sweet or savoury filling, cut and arranged to bake up and resemble a pleasingly plump roll of wool or yarn. This version combines both sweet and savoury elements with a sublime honey scallion butter filling (because I’m truly all about that sweet-savoury combo!). The dough is made using the tangzhong method, a Chinese yeasted bread technique popularized by its use in Japanese milk breads that yields the lightest, fluffiest texture everyone goes mad for.

This recipe is a standard milk bread recipe which can be formed into a regular loaf of bread in a 9.5” x 4.5” loaf pan, too. But hey, what would be the fun in pulling out an ordinary loaf of bread when you can pull out this show-stopping wool roll bread with a little more effort? (Note: For bread recipes like this, I highly recommend weighing the ingredients on a kitchen scale for better accuracy and results).

a fluffy loaf of wool bread on a piece of patterned parchment paper

Salted Honey Scallion Wool Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rise Time: 1-3 hours
Total Time: 2-4 hours
Servings: 1 loaf

Ingredients:
For the tangzhong roux starter:
3 Tbsp (24g) bread flour
½ cup (120ml) water and/or milk of choice

For the yeast mixture:
½ cup (120ml) lukewarm milk of choice, plus more for brushing the bread
1 tsp (4g) sugar
2 tsp (7g) dry active yeast

For the dough:
2⅔ cup (340g) bread flour
2 Tbsp (24g) sugar
1 tsp (4g) salt
Cooled tangzhong from above
Activated yeast mixture from above
1 large egg (55g), room temperature
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the filling:
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp (45ml) honey
2 scallions, finely chopped
2½ tsp (10g) salt (start with half the amount if using kosher salt and adjust to taste)

ingredients for wool bread on a grey countertop

Directions:
1. Make tangzhong roux starter by whisking the flour and water in a small pot over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until thickened to the consistency of pudding. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. For the yeast mixture, activate the yeast by warming the milk in the microwave for 20 seconds to a lukewarm temperature (between 100°F-110°F). Whisk sugar into the milk to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast in, whisking quickly to minimize clumps. Bloom for 10 minutes or until frothy.

Related: Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

3. Make the dough by adding bread flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix dry ingredients well. Once tangzhong is cooled and yeast is activated, add those along with the egg. Turn mixer on low speed and mix for 5 minutes. Add butter in 3-4 portions, allowing each to incorporate, waiting 10 seconds in between before adding the next. Turn mixer to medium speed and knead for 10 minutes or until it pulls away from the bowl, forming a dough that is smooth, stretchy and fairly tacky. Tug and stretch a piece of dough using your fingers to confirm it can stretch and hold a thin film. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased bowl. Cover with kitchen towel or cling wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 40-60 minutes or up to 2 hours depending on ambient temperature and climate. You may proof at room temperature or inside a turned-off oven with the light turned on to speed it along, especially in colder months.

a ball of dough resting for scallion wool bread

4. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing butter, honey, scallions and salt in a medium-sized bowl with a spatula. Spread mixture onto a piece of cling wrap. Use spatula to form it into a 5” x 3” rectangle. Wrap and chill in freezer to harden. This makes it easier to fill the dough later.

Related: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

5. Shortly before dough has doubled in size, grease a 9” round pan with butter and line with parchment. Set oven rack to center or just below, making sure there is sufficient clearance for bread to rise during baking. Place a large sheet pan on a lower rack or directly beneath the loaf pan to catch any drippings or filling that may burst through while baking. Preheat oven to 350°F.a ball of risen dough for scallion wool bread

6. Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down with a fist and turn onto lightly floured surface. Pat with hands to flatten and pop any air bubbles. Cut dough into 5 equal pieces (if using a kitchen scale, each piece should weigh about 140g). Shape pieces into balls, cover and rest for 10 minutes.

Related: How to Make Everything Garlic Bread Knots
rectangles of dough for scallion wool bread topped with scallion and honey mixture

7. Meanwhile, Cut chilled scallion filling into 5 equal pieces.

Related: This Easy Recipe for Soft Rolls Uses Less Than 10 Pantry Ingredients!
the 4 steps of rolling scallion wool bread being shown

8. Then, using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a loosely rectangular shape, about 9” x 4”. Lightly mark midway point of the rectangle with a horizontal line by pressing down gently (not cutting through) using a dough scraper or back of a long knife. Make lengthwise cuts below the demarcation into thin “wool strands”. I like to very lightly dust the area first before making the cuts so the dough doesn’t stick to the knife blade.  Place a piece of scallion filling on the uncut portion of the rectangle and roll to form a cylinder with the wool strands showing on the outside. Repeat with remaining 4 pieces of dough and filling. Arrange in pan right up against the outer edges. The center will fill in one the dough rises.

dough for scallion wool bread in a round baking dish

8. Cover and let it rise again until it has doubled in size, filling up the pan and rising well above the top of the pan, again between 40-60 minutes or more depending on ambient temperature. Brush the top gently with milk and bake 30-35 minutes. Tent with foil if the top is getting darker than you like. You can check doneness by lifting the bread out of the pan and inserting a skewer from the side into the center – it should emerge dry. If you have an instant thermometer, the internal temperature of the bread should be between 190°F-205°F. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove bread and place directly on wire rack to finish cooling. Bread can be eaten warm or sliced after it fully cools. Store in an airtight container or ziptop bag out of direct sunlight for a couple of days.

a closeup of scallion wool bread

Love Sonia’s wool bread? Try her corn mochi cake next!

mooncakes for mid autumn festival 2021

Mooncakes Decoded: Everything You Need to Know About the Decadent Treat

Dense, with a sugary richness contrasted ever so slightly by a golden brown pastry shell, mooncakes have a certain moreishness that make them a perfect indulgence for celebration. This is fitting, considering the role of mooncakes as a prized gift during the Mid-Autumn festival in China and throughout the world.

mooncakes for mid autumn festival 2021
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Origin and History of Mooncakes

The origin of mooncakes is spun from a fanciful legend of Moon Goddess Chang’e, who became a deity upon drinking a potion for immortality given by the gods to her heroic archer husband Hou Yi, celebrated for shooting nine of 10 suns from the sky. In one version, the separation of the two lovers due to the flight of Chang’e to the heavens leads a heartbroken Hou Yi to set out favourite foods in her honour — a tradition that has continued in the moon festival.

Related: The Best Ways to Shop, Prepare and Cook Chinese Greens

Mooncake delicacies have long been rumoured to be the basis of revolution throughout Chinese history, from the Manchu rebellion (a story, which turns out, may be equally mythological) to the recent political uprisings in Hong Kong. The round cakes are gifted and shared with family, friends and business acquaintances to symbolize reunion each year on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Today, mooncakes are made throughout China, although, as with much Chinese cuisine, regional variations abound.

Where to Find Mooncakes

In larger Chinese supermarkets, you can often find more than 100 kinds of mooncakes and be warned: these delicacies dont come cheap. Around the Mid-Autumn Festival, which starts this year on September 21, store shelves and bakery displays begin to fill with colourful boxes of these treats.

Although you can certainly make mooncakes at home if you’re looking for a project, part of the pleasure of these pastries is opening the elaborate wrapping or box and getting that first glimpse of the intricate lettering or patterned design of the pastry created with a specialized mold that varies by bakery or manufacturer. Cutting through the thin golden crust to reveal the dense filling inside is also a satisfying sight, revealing the splendid treasures beneath the patterned pastry.

Related: Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

If you want to attempt them at home, molds can be found in some Asian supermarkets and restaurant supply stores, and come in either wood or plastic for easy extraction, according to Carolyn Phillips’ comprehensive work, All Under Heaven.


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Types of mooncakes

From traditional to modern, here’s a rundown of the most common types you’re likely to encounter.

Sizes

Mooncakes generally come in two sizes, depending on the type: a larger 3-inch version and a smaller 1-inch mini cake.

Shells

The most traditional version of mooncakes uses lard or shortening to create a tender light brown shell, easily pressed into a mold and shaped. One variation you may see on store shelves today, however, are the increasingly popular snowy or snow skin mooncakes, which are unbaked and use rice flour, giving them a mochi-like consistency.

Related: Make These Soft and Fluffy BBQ Pork Bao Buns

Fillings

One of the most commonly made types of mooncakes are the ones using red bean paste, resulting in a dark brown filling the colour of a Mexican mole sauce or roux for gumbo. The texture is soft and chewy but easily sliced, and densely sticky sweet.

Lotus seeds, on the other hand, produce a lighter filling based on a laborious process involving shelling, boiling and pureeing the seeds to form a paste. The creamy caramel coloured filling is smooth and delicately sweet, contrasting with the thin pastry shell.

Although these two fillings are the staples, bakeries and manufacturers have gotten increasingly creative, using fruit such as durian or dates, nuts or even egg custard as fillings to cater to a wider audience.


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In addition to the red bean, lotus seed, and other fillings that may come inside your mooncake, salted egg yolks are often added to represent the full moon in autumn. Whether you choose a one or two yolk filling is up to your tolerance for rich textures: brined duck eggs are used for both savoury and sweet applications in Chinese cooking and the salting process turns the yolks into the essence of deeply yellow egginess. If you really want to go all out, three egg yolk versions are available, but not for the faint of heart.

Whatever your choice, be sure to share your mooncakes with friends and family, the way that they were meant to be eaten —  in celebration and amidst the joy of reuniting.

Related: These Chinese Coconut Buns Come Together With Ingredients You Already Have on Hand

an assortment of pastries from barbershop patisserie

3 Things You Must Try From Barbershop Patisserie in Toronto

Charming patisseries on cobblestone streets feel like a distant European travel daydream these days – that is, until we discovered Barbershop Patisserie. The decadent European-inspired pastry shop feels like a glimpse into Parisian café culture, with a hint of London pasty shops mixed in (their signature pastry is a savoury sausage roll!), all in the heart of Toronto. After gobbling up our pastry haul, we found ourselves scraping up each fallen pastry flake and eating them off our (sanitized) fingers because we just couldn’t bear to waste a single one.

pastries from barbershop patisserie

What You Need to Know About Barbershop Patisserie

Located on a bustling stretch of College St. in the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, Barbershop Patisserie is the brainchild of renowned pastry chef Jill Barber (formerly of Black Bird Baking Co. and Paradise on Bloor). The takeaway shop opened mid-pandemic in late 2020 to great acclaim, regularly selling out of their buzzy pastries midday. Their rotating menu of pastries, cakes and cookies makes the most of fresh, seasonal produce for their fruit and veggie-based pastries, and fresh meat from local butchers for their meaty hand pies and pastries. They also serve up frothy coffee and tea based-lattes that pair perfectly with their baked confections.

See More: What’s in Season? Your Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

 

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Must-Try Baked Goods at Barbershop Patisserie

Sausage Roll Bites

barbershop patisserie sausage roll bites on a white and blue patterned plate
No trip to Barbershop Patisserie would be complete without trying one of their iconic sausage rolls, and we instantly fell in love with these mini bite-sized versions of their classic sausage roll. Reminiscent of London sausage pasties, the hearty sausage filling was perfectly spiced and the golden pastry shell held the roll together firmly, despite being oh-so delicate. Plus, the mini size (and price at just $1!) meant we could try even more off the menu, which is always a win in our books.

Roasted Eggplant Tart

The savoury veggie tarts at Barbershop Patisserie are often overshadowed by their sausage-filled counterparts, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not add one of these to your order. With plump eggplants currently in season, the seasonal veggie tart du jour was the roasted eggplant tart with fresh cream, spiced shallots and garlic chili oil. While eggplant isn’t typically a veggie found atop French pastries, you’d never guess it from this sophisticated tart – it was delightfully creamy with just a hint of spice, and the eggplant skin was so delicate that it just about melted into the flaky pastry.

Related: Tasty Indigenous Restaurants in Canada That You’ll Love

Chocolate Fudge Cake

A decadent slice of Barbershop Patisserie chocolate fudge cake on a patterned plate
A decadent slice of chocolate cake is always a good idea, and this single-serving portion of Barbershop Patisserie’s chocolate fudge cake is no exception. Moist layers of chocolate cake are sandwiched between thick, creamy chocolate icing for pure chocolatey bliss. At just the right level of sweet, our only regret is not getting a second slice for later.

Tip: Barbershop Patisserie also creates custom large cake orders, so you can order XL versions of this chocolate cake and other show-stopping creations for a crowd.

 

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Craving more Toronto restaurant recommendations? See our 3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto!

herb crusted roasted chicken with lemon garlic orzo on a blue and white patterned plate

This Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Orzo Makes Meal Prep So Easy

Roasting a whole chicken is easier than you think, and provides endless leftovers (and meal-prep opportunities!) for the week ahead. First, a chicken is liberally seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon, then roasted to perfection with the breasts served fresh out of the oven over a fabulous lemon-garlic orzo. The wings, legs, and thighs can be set aside for to make anything from chicken pot pie to an immune-boosting soup.

herb crusted roasted chicken with lemon garlic orzo on a blue and white patterned plate

Herb-Crusted Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Orzo

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:
For the Herb-Crusted Roasted Chicken
1 (3½- to 4-pound) whole chicken
4 Tbsp (½ stick) salted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Lemon- Garlic Orzo
12 ounces dried orzo
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ small red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
1. To roast the chicken, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.

3. In a small bowl, mix the butter, oregano, rosemary, and thyme until well combined.

4. Rub about half the herb butter over the outside of the chicken. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast and smear the rest of the herb butter under the skin.

5. Place the chicken in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Tuck the wing tips under the joint where the wing meets the chicken’s body. Using about 6 inches of kitchen twine, tie the ends of the drumsticks together.

6. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear and/or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165ºF. If the skin starts to brown too deeply, simply tent the chicken with a piece of aluminum foil.

7. Meanwhile, make the lemon-garlic orzo: Cook the orzo according to the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

8. Add the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the orzo and stir to combine.

9. Remove the chicken from the oven, tent it with foil (if it’s not already tented), and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the legs, thighs, and wings from the chicken, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate to use for leftovers. Carve the breasts from the chicken and slice them.

10. Divide the chicken breasts and orzo between two plates. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

cook once dinner fix cookbook cover

From COOK ONCE DINNER FIX by Cassy Joy Garcia. Copyright © 2021 by Cassy Joy Garcia. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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