All posts by Melissa Girimonte

How to Grow Fall Vegetables and What to Do With Them

Sweater weather is here, but growing season is far from over. Just because the days are shorter and the temperatures are dropping, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your garden. Want your very own harvest of autumn produce? Here are the fall vegetables you should consider and some recipes to try once they’re ready to pick.

How to Grow Garlic

If you’re new to fall gardening, growing garlic is a good place to start. If you’ve ever wonder how to grow garlic, it can be easily planted mid-autumn in a sunny spot with soil that is well-drained. Separate the cloves and set them with the pointed end up and the root side down in rows that are at least one foot or 30 centimetres apart — and you should have some new bulbs by late fall. Take your freshly harvested garlic and roast it, pickle it or add it to  your favourite dishes. Interested in growing garlic indoors? While you can’t grow bulbs if you don’t have any outdoor space, you can easily grow garlic greens in a pot on a sunny window ledge. In about 7 to 10 days, you can snip the greens and add them to soups, salads, baked potatoes and more.

A chicken breast cooked to a golden finish with whole cloves of garlic and a creamy sauce

Get the recipe for The Barefoot Contessa’s Chicken With Forty Cloves of Garlic

How to Grow Cauliflower

It may be the most challenging vegetable in the cabbage family to cultivate, but fall is the perfect time for growing cauliflower. The secret is to start your seeds indoors about four weeks before you plan to plant them. Once the seedlings are ready, select a spot in your yard where they’ll get lots of light and be sure to water them so they grow quickly. Plant them outside when it’s between 18°C and 24°C for a late fall or early winter harvest. Once the florets are densely formed, the cauliflower is ready to harvest. Serve as a side dish with Sunday roast, toss it into a stir-fry or use it in a low-carb mac and cheese.

Cauliflower prepared popcorn style with a red Korean gochujang sauce

Get the recipe for Korean Gochujang Cauliflower Popcorn

How to Grow Beets

Beets are a fall harvest favourite that is best grown from seeds. Plant them in mid-summer or early fall — at least eight weeks before the first heavy frost — in an area with full sun and well-loosened soil. To speed up germination, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. After planting, add a thin layer of mulch to keep the roots cool on warmer days. When you’re growing beets, you’ll want to give them water regularly to develop healthy roots. Harvest when they’re anywhere from the size of a golf ball to a tennis ball. And don’t discard those greens! They’re packed with nutrients and a tasty whether sautéed on their own or added to pastas and soups.

Roasted red beet quarters tossed with fresh tarragon and parsley

Get the recipe for Valerie Bertinelli’s Roasted Beets With Herbs

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts

It takes patience to grow Brussels sprouts, but they are an easy crop that takes up minimal space in your garden. The seeds have to be planted six to 10 weeks before the first frost in rows three feet or 90 centimetres apart. Water them weekly and harvest after the first fall frost for the sweetest flavour. Twist them off the stem when you’re ready to cook them and any remaining sprouts will stay on the plants through part of the winter, even after the snow has begun. If you plant your seeds in the fall, don’t expect any sprouts until late winter or early spring. Roast them with bacon and maple syrup, shave them into a salad or even try them in your air fryer.

Get the recipe for Orecchiette With Vegan Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

How to Grow Broccoli

Growing broccoli takes time and extra care. You’ll have to plant the seeds in early fall, well before the first frost of the season. Plant them 18 to 24 inches or 45 to 60 centimetres apart in well-drained soil that gets at least eight hours of sun per day, ideally a partially-shaded area. There are so many ways to enjoy fresh broccoli, whether you include it in a sheet pan dinner or serve it steamed with melted Cheddar on top.

Slices of beef and broccoli florets on wooden skewers with teriyaki sauce

Get the recipe for Broccoli Beef Skewers With Teriyaki Glaze

How to Grow Pumpkins

Bright orange gourds and fall go hand in hand. Early June is the time to start thinking about planting as the seeds need warm soil to get started. They also need ample space for the long, rambling vines. Once planted, give them a deep watering of about one inch per week and adjust the amount depending on rainfall to prevent the vines from rotting. Once the pumpkins begin to grow on the vines, you’ll need to raise them off the ground using supports for even colouring and shape. If you have limited space, but still want to grow a pumpkin or two, plant smaller sugar pumpkins that are perfect for cooking and baking. They’re perfect for pies, cakes and soups.

Orange pumpkin soup served in white bowls topped with fresh herbs

Get the recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Don’t know the difference between butternut and acorn squash? Our ultimate squash guide breaks it down for you.

Ree Drummond’s Rustic Strawberry Tart is the Perfect Way to Celebrate Canada Day

Baking doesn’t always require hours in a hot kitchen, especially if you try something as quick and simple as The Pioneer Woman‘s rustic strawberry tart. Ree Drummond skips the homemade pastry and opts for store-bought pie crusts to cut down on prep time, then she fills it with ripe summer strawberries and bakes the tart for 30 minutes until golden. Topped with sweetened whipped cream, it’s the perfect dessert for your Canada Day celebration at home.

Related: Ina Garten’s Easy Recipes That Start with Store-Bought Ingredients

The Pioneer Woman’s Rustic Strawberry Tart and Sweetened Whipped Cream

Total Time: 1 hour (plus cooling time)
Serves:
6

Ingredients:
4 cups strawberries, halved
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting your work surface
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 store-bought pie dough crusts, thawed if frozen
1 large egg
1 Tbsp water plus a splash
1/3 cup apricot preserves
Sweetened Whipped Cream, for serving, recipe follows

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp granulated white sugar

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Best Summer Grilling Recipes

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Add the strawberries to a bowl along with the sugar, flour, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and toss together until well combined. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

3. Lightly flour your work surface so the crust doesn’t stick. Unroll the pie crusts and lay one on the other, overlapping about halfway. Use a rolling pin and roll the crusts in the center to join them together and to spread them out slightly. It should be about 19 inches by 11 inches and fit on a sheet pan.

4. Use a knife to round the top and bottom edges slightly and along the sides to neaten up the edges; no more than 1/2-inch of dough should be cut away. (Discard the extra dough.) Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan.

5. Spoon the strawberry mixture into the center of the dough leaving a 1-inch border around all sides. (Be sure they aren’t too mounded so they bake evenly in the oven.) Working carefully, fold edges of the dough up and over the strawberries, pleating them as you go.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s 30 Most Popular Cake and Pie Recipes

6. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon water together. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat only the folded edge of the dough.

7. Place the sheet pan into the oven and bake the tart for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the bake to make sure it bakes evenly. While it is baking, heat the apricot preserves in a small pan with a splash of water until warmed through.

8. When the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Brush the strawberries gently with the warmed apricot preserves and cool completely before cutting and serving with the Sweetened Whipped Cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1. With a whisk, a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and white sugar until it has formed soft peaks.

Related: Red and White Desserts to Celebrate Canada Day

If you’re looking for more of Ree Drummond’s kitchen shortcuts, check out The Pioneer Woman’s Top Cooking Tips for Easier Weeknight Dinners.

Watch The Pioneer Woman 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.

Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken is a Game Changer for Weeknight Meals

Roast chicken isn’t just for Sunday dinners any more thanks to this easy recipe from The Barefoot Contessa. Using a cast-iron pan, nestle an herb-marinated, butterflied chicken on a bed of lemon slices, onion and garlic and roast at a high temperature. In just under an hour, you’ll have perfectly tender chicken with golden, crispy skin. With a little help from Ina Garten, you’ll be channelling your inner chef in no time at all!

Related: Ina Garten’s Quick Recipes Using Store-Bought Ingredients

Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes (includes resting time)
Serves:
3

Ingredients:
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (4-lb) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Juice of 1 lemon

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Chicken Recipes: From Roast Chicken to Pot Pie

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.

3. Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

4. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160°F.

5. Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken in quarters or eighths, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.

Related: Any Hour is Cocktail Hour Thanks to Ina Garten’s Classic Cosmopolitan

For more kitchen inspiration from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, check out the 15 Cooking Techniques That Ina Garten Wants You to Know.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics 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.

Molly Yeh’s Bagel Salad Recipe is an Instant Brunch Classic

Salad has officially become the hottest addition to your brunch spread thanks to this colourful and creative dish straight from Molly Yeh‘s kitchen. Toasted everything bagel croutons, sliced egg, tomato, cucumber, red onion and nuggets of cream cheese rolled in everything bagel seasoning are nestled on a bed of vibrant greens, then topped with a homemade honey-Dijon dressing. You’ll never see salad the same way again (we’re talking to you, skeptics!) after just one bite of this instant brunch classic.

Related: Start Your Day the Molly Yeh Way With These Breakfast Recipes

Molly Yeh’s Bagel Salad Recipe

Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves:
4

Dressing Ingredients:
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad Ingredients:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 large everything bagels, torn into bite-sized pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
2 Tbsp everything bagel topping (see Cook’s Note)
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 block), cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
5 oz mixed baby greens
4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 scallions, chopped
4 sprigs fresh dill, leaves only

Cook’s Note: Store-bought everything bagel topping will absolutely work; however, some brands are extremely heavy on the salt and should be avoided for this recipe. It’s super easy to make your own everything bagel topping though: Simply combine equal parts dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, poppy seeds and sesame seeds, then add a pinch of kosher salt. You can also add a few pinches of caraway seeds and/or black sesame seeds if you’d like!

Related: Shaker Things Up: These Healthy Salt Substitutes Are the Real Deal

Dressing Directions:

1. Whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon and honey in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking until creamy. Stir in the scallions and season with salt and pepper.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos Will Satisfy Your Late Night Takeout Craving at Home

Salad Directions:

1. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bagels and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and crispy on the outside, about 7 minutes (they’ll still be a little chewy on the inside, but that’s good). Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath. Carefully lower the eggs into the boiling water, reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath to cool (or run under cold water for a little). Peel and slice into halves or quarters.

3. Place the everything bagel topping in a bowl. Roll the cream cheese cubes into little balls with your hands and then roll them around in the everything bagel topping.

4. On a serving plate, arrange the mixed greens. Top with the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, bagel croutons, cream cheese balls, eggs, scallions, dill, a few pinches of salt and a few turns of pepper. Drizzle with the dressing.

Get to know the cookbook author and blogger behind Girl Meets Farm with the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Molly Yeh.

Watch Girl Meets Farm 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.

Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos Will Satisfy Your Late Night Takeout Craving at Home

When you can’t decide between tacos and shawarma, why not have both? Resist the urge to order takeout and satisfy your craving with Molly Yeh‘s irresistible chicken shawarma tacos. Warm, fluffy flour tortillas are filled with tender morsels of spiced chicken thigh meat and golden fried onion, then topped with a tasty tahini sauce. Once you’ve tried a bite of this fun food fusion, it’ll instantly become your go-to late night snack.

Related: Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves:
4

Chicken Shawarma Taco Ingredients:

1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion
10 6-inch flour tortillas
Tahini Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Related: Start Your Day the Molly Yeh Way With These Breakfast Recipes

Chicken Shawarma Tacos Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the curry powder, garam masala, chicken bouillon, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Rub all over the chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

3. Spread the chicken out onto the lined baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice into bite-size pieces.

4. Thinly slice three-quarters of the onion and dice the remaining one-quarter. Set the diced onion aside for the topping. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons of the marinade) in a skillet over medium-high and add the sliced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes.

5. Add the chicken and some of the marinade to the onions and cook until crisp and beginning to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. To assemble, fill them with chicken, Tahini Sauce, diced onion and cilantro.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Recipe

Tahini Sauce Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons cold water until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Looking for more fun recipes from the star of  Girl Meets Farm? Try Molly Yeh’s grown-up spins on indulgent childhood favourites!

Any Hour is Cocktail Hour Thanks to Ina Garten’s Classic Cosmopolitan

In a recent Instagram post (watch it here!) Ina Garten declared, “It’s always cocktail hour in a crisis!” while shaking up a batch of classic Cosmopolitans. The good news: you too can follow suit, shaking up the fruity concoction in the comfort of your own kitchen, with The Barefoot Contessa‘s reliable recipe. Simply combine vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and freshly squeezed lime juice for a tart, refreshing beverage that you can share with someone else… or keep it all to yourself. No judgement here. Giant martini glass optional!

Ina Garten’s Cosmopolitan Recipe

Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves:
4

Ingredients:

1 cup vodka
1/2 cup Triple Sec or Cointreau
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Related: Ina Garten’s 25 Easiest Weeknight Dinners

Directions:

1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and pour through a strainer into four martini glasses.

Once you’ve mastered Ina Garten’s legendary Cosmopolitan, check out her most show-stopping desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth!

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics 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.

Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

Your carrot cake game will never be the same once you try Molly Yeh’s sensational spring recipe. The secret ingredient that sets this dessert apart from the other carrot cake recipes you’ve tried in the past? Cardamom-forward hawaij, a warm spice blend from Yemen that Molly adds to both the cake and the creamy frosting. The simple (read: genius!) rainbow carrot rosettes adorning the cake also lend a touch of whimsy. Don’t be surprised if your friends and family ask for a second slice… it really does, dare we say, take the cake as the recipe to bake this season.

Related: Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form, From Cupcakes to Cookies

Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves:
6-8

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake
Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pans
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp hawaij (see Cook’s Note)
1 ½ cups neutral oil, such as canola
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 cups shredded carrots
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Spiced Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp hawaij
Pinch of kosher salt
Rainbow carrots, peeled into ribbons with a peeler, to decorate
1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked, to decorate

Cook’s Note: Hawaij is a Yemeni warm spice blend that’s heavy on the cardamom and can be used to flavour baked goods, frosting or even sprinkled in coffee! You can make a substitute by mixing 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.

Related: Carrot Cake and Cheesecake Combine Into One Glorious Dessert

Directions:

Carrot Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.

2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and hawaij in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Whisk in the vanilla.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts to Get You Excited for Spring

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, and mix until about 90 per cent incorporated. Add the carrots and sesame seeds, and mix to incorporate (by this time, all of the flour mixture should be incorporated as well).

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans, and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Related: Simple Spring Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Spiced Frosting
1. Add the butter and cream cheese to a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Then add the heavy cream, vanilla, hawaij and salt. Mix until combined and smooth.

2. Cover the cakes with frosting and stack. Use the carrot ribbons to roll into rose shapes and place on top of the cake. Decorate with the rosemary, and serve!

Looking for more standout dishes from the celebrated food blogger and Girl Meets Farm star? Start your day the Molly Yeh way with these breakfast recipes!

Anna Olson Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level: Easy to Advanced

Has Great Chocolate Showdown inspired you to try out some new skills in your kitchen? Not all chocolate recipes are created equal, so we asked Canada’s most beloved baker and Great Chocolate Showdown host Anna Olson to help us break down which of her recipes would be best suited to your skills.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, here are Anna Olson’s best chocolate recipes for bakers of all levels.

Easy Chocolate Recipes for Baking Beginners

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’re not sure where to start your chocolate baking journey, look no further than this classic bake — cookies. “Chocolate chip cookies are a great basic because it gets you into the chocolate world,” recommended Anna.

Anna Olson's Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies RecipeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Anna Olson’s Fudge Brownies

For a serious sweet tooth, fudgy brownies are another great option for new home bakers, and as a bonus, they use items you probably already have in your kitchen. “Brownies take minimal equipment. If you’ve got a pot, a pan, and a whisk, you can make brownies,” said Anna.

Anna Olson's Fudge Brownie RecipesGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Fudge Brownies

Intermediate Chocolate Recipes if You Have a Few Baking Skills Under Your Belt

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

For home bakers who have the basic chocolate skills down and want to give themselves a challenge, Anna provided some delightful options.

“You can get into fun things like chocolate crinkle cookies, a good, rich chocolate cake, a flourless chocolate torte, or vegan chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting,” Anna shared.

Anna Olson's Chocolate Fudge CakeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

Advanced Chocolate Recipes for Baking Masters

Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you’re ready to face the ultimate home baking challenge and show off your chocolate technique, Anna had a couple of ideas.

“I have a delicious chocolate mousse cake: chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and it’s got a dark chocolate mirror glaze, which is really hot right now,” she divulged.

Anna Olson's Rich Chocolate Mousse CakeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

“[My] chocolate souffle is another very challenging recipe,” she also shared. “It takes confidence, and you have to feel positive that you know how to get it just right.”

Anna Olson's Grand Chocolate Souffles with Salted Caramel SauceGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Souffles with Salted Caramel Sauce

For even more inspiration, watch Anna Olson on the Great Chocolate Showdown, Tuesdays at 9 PM ET/PT only on Food Network Canada.

No Food Snobs Here: Noah Cappe on Why Wall of Chefs is for Everyone

You may know Food Network Canada personality Noah Cappe from Carnival Eats or The Bachelor Canada franchise, but I first knew him from one of my first-year theatre classes in Toronto once upon a time. While promoting his latest hosting gig, Wall of Chefs, I had a chance to catch up with him to get an inside look at the new competition series and find out how he became a popular voice on 21the Canadian food scene. We also chatted about his favourite food trends, the gourmet ingredients he could do without, and the celebrity chef he’d love to take on a carnival food adventure.


Noah Cappe on the set of Wall of Chefs

While many hosts also happen to be chefs or restaurateurs, it was Cappe’s passion for food and not a lengthy culinary resume that brought him into the food world.

“I grew up in a big family, and food was always a big part of my life. We always ate together, eight kids plus my parents, so everything was always plentiful. When I got the audition for Carnival Eats, they were looking for somebody who had a passion for food… [but] we weren’t in Michelin restaurants. There wasn’t a need at the time to be able to break it down. So it was a nice entryway into the network. I’m a firm believer that energy is contagious and that people respond to genuine, real moments, and that’s what I do.”

Wall of Chefs has been such a beautiful fit [in that sense]. I feel like I’m a conduit between home cooks and the celebrity chef world.” The home cooks on Wall of Chefs are faced with three challenges, starting with the Crowd-Pleaser. Although Cappe stands by his crowd-pleasing dish, he doesn’t think he’d make it past the first round.

“My go-to [dish] is unfortunately not elevated enough to get me through to the next round, which is a shame. I make a toasted English muffin with peanut butter better than anybody else. It sounds silly but I have a little trick with a double toasting process. Would I still make it just to say, ‘Listen, you need to experience this and I’m willing to take the loss for the greater good?’ Yes!”


What’s in Mark McEwan’s Fridge? Probably not the leftovers, peanut butter and edamame you’d find in Noah Cappe’s

The second round in Wall of Chefs has the home cooks creating a dish using three staple ingredients found in one of the celebrity chefs’ fridges. In case you’re curious about what three items would be in Cappe’s fridge, he was happy to divulge.

“One of them is leftovers, either from a food delivery service or from dinner out. When you host a show where you’re working with over 30 of the country’s biggest and brightest culinary names, you start dining out way more. I don’t keep peanut butter in the fridge, but I would put it in for this challenge because it’s such a big part of my diet. And then edamame. That’s the beautiful part, taking the combination of three elements that you would never really think of, besides the fact that you get a glimpse into the home fridge of a celebrity chef.”


Chef Hugh Acheson and Noah Cappe on the set of Wall of Chefs. Is that a double-toasted English muffin you see, Noah?

Not all foods are created equal, and not all are loved by everyone. In one episode, the chefs on “The Wall” get into a debate about sundried tomatoes, and Cappe wasn’t scared to share which side he falls on.

“I don’t think there’s an argument. Sundried tomatoes are just bad, and half the people out there haven’t realized it yet.” He added, “And oysters. There’s a reason why people bake cheese on top of them and dump hot sauce on them because we’ve gotta hide this experience with strong, bold flavors. The first time I had ever eaten them was for the Great Canadian Cookbook. They aired the segment because my reactions were so weird. Oysters are the fancy food that I could live without.”

On the flip side, there’s one food trend that he believes has staying power.

“I’m not ready for the Brussels sprout train to stop. We made them taste delicious, let’s just eat them forever now. We’ve sent someone to the moon, invented the Internet, and made Brussels sprouts delicious. We’ve done the impossible.”

Outside of Food Network Canada, Cappe is known as the host of The Bachelor Canada and The Bachelorette Canada but says the Wall of Chefs are harder to wrangle than love-hungry men and women.

“It’s like being a college professor in a room of brilliant minds, and you’re trying constantly reel them in. They are so excited to be there. The format, the energy, the space creates such a buzz. It’s not very often that these chefs get to be in a room together, let alone 12 of them who are bringing such unique, diverse and different backgrounds. Whether it’s Chef Suzanne Barr and that Jamaican angle, or Chef Meeru Dhalwala and her traditional Indian flavors, when you get these people who are the pinnacle of entire genres of foods in one space together, they’re going to talk a lot.”


There’s never a dull moment with “The Wall” and Noah Cappe

There’s one type of food where Cappe is considered an expert: the
wild world of midway fare that he’s sampled on Carnival Eats. And there’s one particular Wall chef that he’d like to introduce to that world.

“Chef Susur Lee made a comment in an episode that he’s never had mac and cheese. I would love to take him out to the fairgrounds and give him a hot, fresh order of deep-fried mac and cheese balls with a little honey and Sriracha drizzle. He’d be a fun personality to take out into the world of carnival food because it is the polar opposite of his style, ingredients, and flavours. I’m trying to picture him eating a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried hamburger dipped in jam.”

See more: 16 Mouth-Watering Treats From Carnival Eats

Cappe is equally passionate about basketball as he is about food, and has some ideas on creating the ultimate Raptors fan dish.

“You have to play into the stadium food angle, like pizza slices, hot dogs, and peanuts. Let’s do a peanut encrusted, bacon-wrapped hot dog dressed like a pizza slice. Hit it with a little tomato sauce and maybe some pepperoni. Then we’re going to brush the inside of that hot dog bun with garlic butter. And we’re going to call it the Sir Dunk-A-Lot Dog.”

By the end of our chat, one thing was evident: Cappe’s genuine enthusiasm for his latest project.

“I’m so excited for everybody to see [Wall of Chefs]. I’m a viewer of Food Network Canada as much as — if not more than — I am a personality on the network. And this is a show that I know I would watch. There’s really nothing like it, but at the same time, it feels like it’s the best parts of all the shows that you know.”

Hayden Johnston Top Chef Canada

How the Cuisine of Thunder Bay Shaped Top Chef Canada’s Hayden Johnston

Hayden Johnston has a lot of culinary experience under his belt at only 30-years-old, and now he can add a spot in the four of Top Chef Canada to that list. We sat down with Top Chef Canada Season 7 contestant Hayden Johnston to get the scoop on the competition going into the final four, his love for Thunder Bay and the culinary destinations he’d like to visit.

You’re very passionate about your hometown of Thunder Bay. How did the city shape you as a chef?

Growing up in Thunder Bay, you spend a lot of time outside, not necessarily foraging per se, but fishing and hunting. There’s a lot of time gathering with friends and family because it’s a smaller town. It’s close-knit, so we spend a lot of time eating and barbecuing [together].

Read more: 25 Brilliant Camping Food Hacks You’ll Want to Try

Hayden on Top Chef Canada

Were there any hometown dishes that you brought to Toronto with you that people didn’t understand, or that it took them a while to warm up to?

There’s one in particular and I actually cooked it for my first episode — the Shoreline Lunch. That’s something we run as a feature at [Richmond Station] all the time. It’s basically battered and fried fish with roasted potatoes. Maybe there’s a pierogi or two, a can of beans, and whatever else is in the cooler. We would do a more refined version of it. At first, people didn’t get the concept, but now there are diners who come to the restaurant asking when we’re doing Shoreline Lunch next. That’s something that I grew up cooking and eating back home, definitely with friends and family, and something we’ve translated into a more mainstream dish in Toronto.

Thunder Bay Persian Rolls

Is there one item specific to Thunder Bay that you really enjoy eating, like Persians or Finnish pancakes at The Hoito?

My dream is to take over the Hoito. I want to be the chef, cook breakfast and lunch, and be done. It’s just so Thunder Bay. There are so many ingredients, dishes, and techniques that are uniquely “Thunder Bay.” The Persian is a good example of that. We have a large Finnish population, so Finnish pancakes are definitely something, even if you’re not from Thunder Bay. You drive through and everybody goes to the Hoito.

Sometimes I feel awkward throwing that city so much love. People always ask, “What’s so good about Thunder Bay?” For me, it’s home. My family and friends are still there, and I always say that if I have the right opportunity to go back, I totally would.

Get the recipe:  Thunder Bay Persian Rolls

Hayden is joined by his mother on Episode 7 of Top Chef Canada

What was your favourite challenge so far during this season of Top Chef Canada?

My favorite challenge was the Quickfire where we got to cook with a family member. Seeing my mom’s bright, smiling face was the best part of filming the whole season. Even better than my Elimination Challenge win. You’re in a stressful environment for so long that seeing a friendly face that you know is on your team is pretty nice.

Hayden’s Fermented Beef Plate

Which dish are you most proud of so far this season?

I’m most proud of my fermented beef plate that I won the Nordic challenge with. It was very representative of the food that I like to eat and cook, with fresh, clean flavors that are big, bold and acidic.

Read more: Your Guide to Mastering Scandinavian Recipes the Top Chef Canada Way

Do you have a list of culinary destinations that you’d like to visit if you win Top Chef Canada?

If there was one area I could focus on, it would be the Southern US. Not barbecue necessarily, but the Sean Brock style of seasonal cooking. I spent two weeks staging at Husk years ago. I like to see the history of food and [learn about] a group of people that have something that’s specific to them. Finding those little niches is really fun. There’s a place in Tennessee called Blackberry Farm that does a lot of [farm to table cuisine].  At the restaurant, we cook a ton of vegetables, so [visiting] Southern California, Napa or Yountville where it’s vegetable-focused would be really neat.

I’m more ingredient or technique-focused. I went to Husk to learn how to cook rice and beans. I really wanted to learn how to pick vegetables from a garden, so I staged two weeks with Dan Barber at Blue Hill in New York. When I want to learn something, I go and find the person who does it best.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Watch Hayden on the finale of Top Chef Canada on Monday, May 20 at 10 P.M. E/P.

Ask a Plant-Based Chef: How to Embrace Zero-Waste Cuisine

Top Chef Canada Season 7 contestant Tania Ganassini has a mission to introduce nutritious and satisfying plant-based dishes to a wider audience. Here, the vegetarian chef offers up her must-try tips for incorporating plant-based meals into your weekly rotation, and moving toward a zero-waste lifestyle.

How important is it for everyone to start adopting a zero-waste lifestyle?

It’s crucial. Every single one of us needs to start embracing a zero-waste lifestyle, not just in terms of our food waste, but with single-use plastics and even our clothing. Really look at not sending things to landfill, and not purchasing “new” all the time. Repurpose food in the fridge by using the rinds, leaves, and roots that get thrown in the trash. It’s something I’m extremely fired up about. I want to spread the message about zero-waste living, or less wasteful living because we’re a wasteful species post-industrial revolution. We need to revert back to our old ways, like growing our own food and using every part of the vegetable or animal. Being mindful of our consumption and waste is not an option anymore.

Read more: 12 Best Zero-Waste Restaurants and Food Stores Across Canada

Are there easy ways to reduce waste while cooking?

Try to grow your own food. It gives you a different appreciation for the ingredient because you’ve seen it go from seedling to actual vegetable.

Purchase locally from farmers. Having a connection with your grower really changes the way you look at each ingredient and the way you utilize it.

Instead of doing one grocery shop a week, maybe do a few, especially for fresh produce. Logistically, that can be really hard for people, so maybe [try] a grocery delivery program if it’s not convenient for you to leave.

Purchase less so you can manage the amount of food you have in your fridge. We all shop hungry with ambitions of making these meals at the end of the week, but it’s a really easy way to let produce go bad in your fridge.

Know how to use every part of each ingredient, like which leaves are great to use and how to repurpose them. Pestos are an amazing way to use carrot tops, beet tops, kale stems, or chard stems. You can use citrus peels in household cleaners, or candy them. It’s truly endless.

Take a moment, almost like a moving meditation, and [think about] where your food came from. Instead of just haphazardly discarding parts of the ingredient — whether it be plant or animal — take a second to try to be creative. Maybe it takes an extra step to chop up the stems and wash them, but over time it saves you money. It’s amazing for the planet, and it’s the way forward.

Do you have a go-to clean your fridge, food scrap recipe?

We make some version of a classic ribollita easily once a week with Tuscan beans, greens and vegetables. It’s a super easy way to hide stems, or use that one weird carrot in your fridge, or celery that’s going limp. It’s a one-pot, throw everything in [dish]. Beans are the foundation, plus garlic, onion, celery, carrot and some type of green vegetable like cabbage, kale or Swiss chard. You can hide any vegetable in there. Toss in a can of tomatoes, and finish it with lots of herbs, lemon, parsley and Parmesan, if you eat cheese. I like to make a vegan cheese with almond flour, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. If you want to take it up a notch, add some really beautiful pasta like ditalini or shells.

Read More: 10 Vegetables You Can Regrow in Your Kitchen

Can you suggest some tips for incorporating plant-based meals for meat eaters?

A good first step is replacing your normal animal products with a veggie substitute like vegan cheese or making your own cheese with cashews. It opens up a world of possibilities with cooking because you’re not relying on old favourites like butter, cream and bacon.

Look at recipes that you love, like lasagna. It’s a classic, and everybody probably has one in their repertoire. Translating that into a vegan or vegetarian version is great because the ingredients and flavours are familiar, and you’re just making a few small swaps.

The-Perfect-Vegan-Lasagna-hot-for-food
Get the recipe: The Perfect Vegan Lasagna

It’s different than it was five or 10 years ago, and a lot easier to find substitutes that taste just as good. People still need to really enjoy their meals. I never want anyone to feel like they’re missing out. The joy and pleasure of eating is such a big part of it. One meatless meal a day or week makes a big impact. Pick one day a week, plan it out and get the whole family on board so they don’t feel like it’s being slapped on their plate as a some kind of punishment. You might actually be surprised by how you feel and how much you love it, and then it could maybe lead to two days a week or [more].

Read More: 20 Easy Vegan Weeknight Dinner Recipes

What do you believe is the most underrated food?

I have a mild obsession with lentils. They get a bad rep because they’re boring, they don’t look beautiful. But they’re chameleons of flavour, even on their own with a simple braising liquid, like homemade veggie stock. That’s an amazing way to use food scraps. Veggie stock can be transformed into a trillion different things. Lentils have all kinds of varieties that fit into every cuisine. They are very meaty and packed with nutrition that keeps you full. If digesting lentils is a concern, soak them overnight first and then cook them the next day to help with digestion, or buy sprouted lentils. They are a superfood in every way, and I’ll never get tired of them.

Saskatoon Berry Lentil Muffins
Try: Saskatoon Berry Lentil Muffins

This interview has been edited for clarity.

mallard-cottage-fish-and-chips

10 Great Canadian Restaurants Where You Can Dine for a Good Cause

This fall, indulge in some exquisite Canadian eats while supporting a worthy cause! If you’ve been dying to try Antonio Park’s paella, Nicole Gomes’ fried chicken or Chuck Hughes’ lobster poutine, this is your excuse. Not only can you savour a delicious, memorable meal, you’ll feed your soul by helping those in need.

On October 17, 2018, more than 75 restaurants in 19 Canadian cities are taking part in Restaurants for Change. An initiative of Community Food Centres Canada, a national non-profit organization, this annual event benefits healthy food programs in low-income communities across the country.

Visit the Restaurant for Change website to find a restaurant near you, and make those reservations for October 17th. Bring your appetite to one of these 10 tantalizing dining establishments, or one of the 75+ eateries participating from coast-to-coast.

 

Lavanderia (Montreal, QC)

This Westmount eatery from Chopped Canada judge Antonio Park taps into the South American flavours of his childhood. Serving elevated Argentinean cuisine, diners can feast on ceviche, grilled meats and even paella.

 

Chew (Winnipeg, MB)

Located in River Heights, Chew offers an intimate dining space where you can savour rustic fare such as crispy duck breast, potato gnocchi and bison. Chef Tyrone Welchinski recently took the reins in the kitchen, creating sumptuous shareable plates that showcase local farmers and producers.

Cluck N Cleaver (Calgary, AB)

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner Nicole Gomes and her sister, Francine, are chicken connoisseurs. Whether you prefer your poultry southern fried or rotisserie grilled, this Calgary hotspot’s sandwiches, poutines and meals are sure to satisfy.

Richmond Station (Toronto, ON)

A vibrant downtown Toronto restaurant from Top Chef Canada’s Season 2 champ, Carl Heinrich, Richmond Station focuses on serving up the finest seasonal offerings. Whether you opt for shareable dishes like beef tartare and rabbit & pork pate en croute, or go straight for mains like roasted black cod or Berkshire Pork, it will be a memorable meal.

Mallard Cottage (St. John’s, NL)

Not only will you enjoy a scrumptious meal inspired by the flavours of Newfoundland and Ireland, you’ll be dining in a Canadian National Historic Site located in picturesque Quidi Vidi Village. Chef Todd Perrin, a Top Chef Canada: All-Stars alumnus, celebrates the province’s wild game, seafood and produce in beautifully crafted dishes that feature cod cheeks, lobster, foraged mushrooms and more.

 

Burdock & Co. (Vancouver, BC)

The Canadian Pacific Northwest’s bounty is the star at this Mount Pleasant eatery. Chef Andrea Carlson carefully selects her ingredients from locally-sourced growers, foragers and farmers and prepares them in a way that allows them to shine. Heritage wheat spaghetti with a hearty pork ragu, buttermilk fried chicken, and house-milled sourdough bread are some of the culinary delights that await diners.

Garde Manger (Montreal, QC)

Located in Old Montreal near the Old Port, Executive chef Chuck Hughes (of Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip ) serves up indulgent eats like lobster poutine, razor clams, porchetta and more. The menu changes daily, so there’s always something new and exciting to try.

The Canteen on Portland (Dartmouth, NS)

Just steps from the Alderney Ferry Terminal in downtown Dartmouth, this warm, welcoming restaurant boasts a menu with dishes influenced by traditional Nova Scotian cuisine with some classic French and Italian flourishes. Owner and chef Renée Lavallée will treat you to unpretentious fare like herb-crusted haddock, seared scallops and beef brisket prepared with her secret ingredient — love.

Ruby Watchco (Toronto, ON)

This Leslieville restaurant from Chefs Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk has been offering prix-fixe dinners made with seasonal Canadian ingredients since opening in 2010. With a menu that changes each day, you could be surprised with seared rainbow trout, grilled flank steak or BBQ chicken, along with inspired salads, artisanal cheeses and decadent desserts.

RGE RD (Edmonton, AB)

Canadian farm-to-table cuisine is an art at this Edmonton hotspot that places an emphasis on Western Canadian providers and flavours. Chef Blair Lebsack dishes up fresh local fare including Alberta beef, bison and pork with unique twists that will please adventurous diners.

Canadian Restaurant Locations from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Guy Fieri’s road tripping adventures on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives have taken him all across the United States and beyond. More recent seasons included stops in Cuba, Spain and Mexico, but before he ventured to those countries, he headed north of the border to Canada.

Guy has sampled some of the most eclectic cuisine that reflects our country’s diversity, from Chinese hand-pulled noodles to Jewish deli-smoked meats. Here are the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Canadian locations that you can visit in Toronto and Vancouver.

Jethro’s Fine Grub (Vancouver, BC)

In Season 12, Guy was treated to homemade pulled pork with slaw at Jethro’s Fine Grub. When you’re in Vancouver,  stop by for breakfast and try the Gold Rush; pancakes stuffed with bananas, pecans and streusel.

The Rosedale Diner (Toronto, ON)

Season 17 brought Guy to Toronto with a visit to the Rosedale Diner for Asian pork ribs. Brunch is a popular time to visit this diner for a classic Eggs Benny or scrumptious chicken and waffles.

No waffling about today’s brunch choice.

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The Tomahawk (Vancouver, BC)

Season 13 included a visit to Vancouver’s Tomahawk for some roast beef, a French dip, and a steak and mushroom pie. This legendary diner is also known for its Skookum Chief Burger, made with an organic beef patty, Yukon-style bacon, a free-run egg, aged Cheddar and a sliced hot dog.

Have you ever tried our Skookum Burger? #Tomahawk BBQ #Burgers #North Vancouver

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The Stockyards (Toronto, ON)

The Stockyards was one of Guy’s Toronto stops in Season 17. They were excited to show off their burgers, fried chicken and mouth-watering BLT, but their BBQ smoked ribs are one of the main reasons that locals flock to this smokehouse and larder.

Falconetti’s (Vancouver, BC)

While in Vancouver during Season 13, Guy sampled the handmade Thai chicken sausage at Falconetti’s. This east side bar and grill is known for its delicious eats and live music to entertain you throughout the week.

The Ace (Toronto, ON)

A Season 16 episode, ‘Layers of Flavor’ included a visit to The Ace in Toronto. Guy tried their pork belly, the mac and cheese burger, and a Christmas burger, but their Clubhouse is where it’s at when lunchtime rolls around.

Meat and Bread (Vancouver, BC)

In Season 13’s “Old Faves, New Craves,” Guy paid a call to Vancouver’s Meat and Bread. The porchetta sandwich was on the menu, followed up by a decadent maple bacon ice cream sandwich.

The Lakeview (Toronto, ON)

During Guy’s Season 16 trip to Toronto, stuffed French toast, a cornflake chicken club and a pie milkshake were ready to be devoured at The Lakeview. This restored diner serves up diner classics, including a banana split perfect for sharing.

Peaceful Restaurant (Vancouver, BC)

Family kitchens were the focus of the Season 13 episode that brought Guy to Peaceful Restaurant in Vancouver. Some of their recipes have been passed down from generations, including their fresh hand-pulled noodles and beef rolls.

#dandannoodles #foodie #fodgasam #chinesefood #spicy #delicious???? #sichuan #nomnom

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The Red Wagon Cafe (Vancouver, BC)

Guy dug into some pulled pork pancakes with a side of Jack Daniels syrup at Vancouver’s Red Wagon Cafe in Season 13. The savoury shredded pork is featured in other dishes on the menu, including their ooey, gooey mac and cheese.

Caplansky’s (Toronto, ON)

Authentic Jewish deli fare was the star of Season 16’s ‘Real Deal Roots’ that brought Guy to Caplansky’s Deli. Their College Street location has closed, but you can still sample smoked meat sandwiches, knish and brisket at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

The Reubenesque @ #caplanskys #reuben #deli #meaty ????: @hmdfood666

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Save-On-Meats (Vancouver, ON)

Vancouver’s butcher shop, turned bakery and diner, Save-On-Meats, welcomed Guy in Season 13. Their menu includes classics like turkey pot pie and decadent burgers, but selections like this Ranchero Shrimp Benny really shine.

Ranchero shrimp benny for the win!

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10 Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Butter tarts are a uniquely Canadian dessert with a history as rich as the country itself.

If you’ve never experienced the glory of these treats, they’re delightful pastries filled with a sticky, sweet, buttery filling. Raisins or pecans are popular additions to the filling while some bakers get creative with fruit, candy, or other unique variations.

Invented in Ontario, the province is also home to award-winning tarts and even has a festival that has transformed the dessert into a full-day experience. If you’re on a quest for butter tart bliss, here are 10 of Ontario’s top spots to indulge in this tasty national treat.

Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival (Midland, ON)

The ultimate destination for butter tart buffs, Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival takes place in Midland June 9, 2018. With more than 60 vendors and over 150,000 tarts for sale, it’s the perfect place for the entire family to try baked goods from across the province. Home to Ontario’s Best Butter Tart competition, bakers enter their finest classic and contemporary creations, and a panel of expert judges selects the best of the best! Another highlight of the day is the Butter Tart Trot, which includes a family-friendly fun run, as well as a 5k, 10k and half marathon.

Maple Key Tart Co. (Locations in Toronto and Northumberland County, ON)

Rachel Smith and Jean Parker, hosts of Food Network Canada’s The Baker Sisters, have been baking tarts since childhood when they helped their mother with her butter tart business. After they became mothers themselves, they co-founded their boutique butter tart company, taking their mother’s award-winning recipe and making a few tasty tweaks. Their rustic, handcrafted tarts are made with locally-milled flour and vegetable shortening and are available in four varieties: classic, raisin, pecan, and maple walnut. Jean and Rachel are judges in the “Traditional Butter Tart” category at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival this year, plus they’ll be taking part in a meet and greet.

The perfect buttertart ❤️ #buttertartfestival #themaidscottage

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The Maid’s Cottage (Newmarket, ON)

Three-time winners at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, sisters Pam and Debbie got a young start helping their mother, Jackie, sell tarts and other baked goods on their front lawn. As word spread about Jackie’s baking, she opened their first shop on Main Street in Newmarket, and expanded to a larger location nearby a year later. Jackie sadly passed in 2003, but Pam and Debbie have continued the tradition, making their famous butter tarts from a secret family recipe.

Bitten on Locke (Hamilton, ON)

Rebecca and Erica at Bitten conquered the cupcake game before venturing into butter tarts just over a year ago. They researched a number of recipes from cookbooks, friends and family to come up with a base for their tarts, and spent many delicious months adjusting it until they landed on their current formula. Their traditional flaky pastry is made with lard and includes one secret ingredient that really sets them apart. While their cupcakes venture on the wild side, this duo considers themselves butter tart purists, offering only plain, raisin or pecan tarts.

Nana B’s Bakery (Merrickville, ON)

Owner Anne Barr created the award-winning Maple Rhubarb Apple butter tart that took first place in the Pro All-Ontario Ingredient category at last year’s Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival. Anne’s tarts are proudly made with ingredients sourced locally, in Eastern Ontario, and while her bakery is popular with locals, it is also a destination for day-trippers, boaters and cyclists alike. Nana B’s is committed to helping keep the environment beautiful, reducing and recycling as much as possible, and sends its used vegetable oil to a local garage for biodiesel conversion.

The Sweet Oven (Barrie, ON)

This Barrie Bakery owned by Becky Howard and her family is known right across the country for their handcrafted tarts. Each tart is made from scratch from the highest quality ingredients and baked on site. With more than 20 flavours to choose from, there is something to please every palate. They have the classics like pecan and raisin, but chocolate chip, peanut butter, English toffee and their signature tart raspberry are other popular picks.

In honour of #TeamCanada and how proud they’ve already made us #pyeongchang2018

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Carla’s Cookie Box (Toronto, ON)

Carla’s love of baking started as a kid while making traditional Italian cookies with her mom. As an adult, she started her butter tart journey at the request of her son after sifting through recipes from friends. None were quite right, so she experimented until she landed on her own recipe. Her handcrafted tarts are made in small batches, sometimes with help from her husband and kids, using the freshest maple syrup, flour, eggs and butter from Ontario farms and businesses. In addition to traditional fillings, she dabbles in fun flavours like Nutella Swirl and Pina Colada.

Doo Doo’s Bakery (Bailieboro, ON)

It was a bittersweet beginning for Diane Rogers’ butter tarts. Newly widowed and raising a teen and a toddler; she started her late-night baking sessions while the kids were sleeping. A self-taught baker, she developed her signature pastry by experimenting with an old recipe. Her soft, hand-rolled pastry is made in small batches with the finest ingredients. The light, flaky tarts have a jelly-like filling that’s not overly sweet with a good filling-to-crust ratio. Diane’s best ideas still come at night, so that’s her favourite time to prepare for a competition or event.

Betty’s Pies and Tarts (Cobourg, ON)

Over 40 years ago, Betty sold homemade baked goods from a converted garage, using a butter tart recipe handed down from a bakery she worked at. Betty retired in 2001 and sold the business to Nancy Coady, who first moved it to Port Hope and then to its location on Highway 2. Current owner Ali Jiggins worked at Betty’s through high school, and after university, bought the bakery from Nancy. Ali still uses Betty’s award-winning recipe with a few tweaks. They have a slightly heavy crust with a runnier filling, and comes in unique flavours like PB&J and raspberry-coconut.

13th Street Winery and Bakery (St. Catharines, ON)

13th Street Winery and Bakery is owned and operated by Karen and Doug Whitty, with Karen’s sister, Jo, as head baker. Their butter tart recipe was given to Jo by an old neighbour, which had been passed down for three generations before ending up in her hands. The filling is hand-mixed, measured into pressed pastry, and then baked until caramelized on top and runny on the inside. Raisin or pecan is available daily along with seasonal flavours like heart-shaped chocolate butter tarts for Valentine’s Day. Drop by on the weekends, when they feature pancake breakfast-inspired bacon butter tarts.

Have a favourite butter tart spot? Tell us in the comments below!

Toronto Taste Chef Challenge

Enter for a Chance to Win VIP Passes to Toronto Taste

Toronto Taste, the city’s renowned culinary fundraiser, returns June 3rd for another enticing evening in support of Second Harvest. We’re thrilled to be giving away a VIP prize pack to one Food Network Canada fan!

Mark McEwan at Toronto Taste 2017

Set at Corus Quay, located on Toronto’s scenic waterfront, this year’s event features delectable dishes and delightful drinks from over 60 restaurants and 30 beverage purveyors. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet some of your favourite Food Network Canada stars including Mark McEwan, Michael Smith, and Top Chef Canada contestants Elia Herrera, Ivana Raca and Carl Heinrich.

Toronto Taste 2017

The evening is filled with exquisite eats, auctions and entertainment, including the action-packed annual Chef Challenge, co-hosted by Noah Cappe. Food Network Canada and Global News will also be hosting a lounge where guests can sit back and savour the entire experience.

Since 1991, Toronto Taste has raised over $13 million to support Second Harvest’s food rescue program. Every ticket sold enables Second Harvest to provide meals for adults, children and seniors in need. Last year, the event raised a record-breaking $925,000 — enough to rescue and deliver 1.8 million nutritious meals across the city.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Toronto Taste on June 3rd visit torontotaste.ca.

We’re giving away one (1) VIP prize pack to Toronto Taste (including 2 VIP tickets, an overnight stay at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, and a $50 Uber gift card).

To enter, comment below and tell us, “Who is your favourite Food Network Canada Chef?” For your chance to win, you must comment by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 22, 2018.

No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per person per day. One (1) Prize available to be won. Approximate retail value of Prize CDN$1,200.00. Must be a legal resident of the province of Ontario who is age of majority or older at time of entry.  Contest runs from May 18, 2018 to May 22, 2018. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 22, 2018. Skill testing question must be correctly answered to claim Prize. Odds of being selected depend on number of eligible entries received. For full set of rules visit here.

 

Red Rover Summer Cider

Great Canadian Ciders You Must Try This Summer

Cider has become an art form in Canada, with cider houses popping up across the country. Not only are they elevating this simple apple sipper to a  whole new level, Canadian cideries are winning international awards and showing off their best beverages on the global stage.

Whether it’s dry or sweet, hopped or barrel-aged, spiced or fruit infused, there is a cider to please every palate. From coast-to-coast, here are some of Canada’s finest ciders that you should be sampling this summer.

British Columbia

Lonetree Ginger Apple Cider

Ginger Apple Cider, Lonetree Cider Co. (Vancouver, BC)

Lonetree is a small cidery that uses apples from old-growth orchards in the Okanagan Valley to make its classic dry ciders. Their Ginger Apple is refreshing with a hint of spice, and is an excellent choice if you enjoy a Moscow Mule.

Salt Spring Wild Hopped Apricot

Hopped Apricot, Salt Spring Wild Cider House (Salt Spring Island, BC)

This cidery makes use of the wild apples that grow on Salt Spring Island and blends them with fruit from 100-year-old heritage trees and organic orchards. Made with Cascade hops, apricots, and organic apples, their Hopped Apricot will please both beer and cider fans with its Hefeweizen-esque flavour.

Blue Moon Asian Pear

Raven’s Moon Asian Pear Apple Cider, Blue Moon Winery and Ciderworx (Courtenay, BC)

The hand-crafted sparkling ciders at Blue Moon feature organic fruits from Vancouver Island, and are created with an adventurous streak of fermenting fruits to see what happens. Their off dry, bubbly Asian Pear Apple Cider pairs well with curry or a pasta in cream sauce.

Alberta

Rock Creek Strawberry Rhubarb Cider

Rock Creek Strawberry Rhubarb Cider, Big Rock Brewing (Calgary, AB)

Alberta brewery Big Rock is known for its beers, but their Rock Creek ciders are definitely worth trying. The Strawberry Rhubarb cider pours a deep red hue, and is a perfect balance of dry and sweet.

Saskatchewan
Crossmount Cider Company Citri Hopped

Citri Hopped, Crossmount Cider Company (Saskatoon, SK)

Crossmount has its own orchard of 1,500 trees featuring a selection of Prairie varietals, including the the Norkent apple. Their hop-infused Citri Hopped is like a sparkling wine, IPA or radler with notes of peach, pink grapefruit and passionfruit. It’s refreshing when paired with seafood or Mexican fare.

Manitoba

fort-garry-lucky-cherry

Lucky Cherry BC Black Cherry Cider, Fort Garry Brewing Company (Winnipeg, MB)

Made with BC black cherries and just a hint of pear, Fort Garry’s Lucky Cherry cider is for the red wine or sangria fans. The juice is fermented with lager yeast, yielding a libation that is tart and sweet.

Ontario
Collective Arts Brewing Apple & Cherry Cider

Apple & Cherry Cider, Collective Arts Brewing (Hamilton, ON)

Collective Arts takes their Local Press cider and adds Ontario Montmorency cherry juice from the Niagara Escarpment to create this easy drinking cider. It’s a fresh, juicy and well-balanced beverage that makes it perfect for warm summer days.

Tawse Sparkling Apple Cider

Sparkling Apple Cider, Tawse Winery (Vineland, ON)

Tawse Winery has taken 100 per cent Ontario apples and turned them into their delicious Spark-Apple Cider. Bottle fermented and much like a Prosecco, this is a cider made for brunches or a rich meal.

West Avenue Catalyst Mark II

Catalyst Mark II, West Avenue Cider House (Freelton, ON)

West Avenue has a great selection of ciders that they offer year-round, but they are also innovators with their barrel-aged and cask-conditioned concoctions. This summer, their Catalyst Mark II is a dry-hopped, barrel-fermented farmhouse cider with cherries that would definitely satisfy the sour beer aficionados.

Quebec
st-nicolas-rose

Rosé Crackling Cider, Cidrerie & Vergers St-Nicolas (Saint-Nicolas, QC)

The Rosé Crackling Cider from St-Nicolas was made for summer sipping. Created with apples and strawberries, it’s crisp, slightly sweet and aromatic. Serve it instead of a sparkling wine, or pair it with fruit-based dishes.

Ice Cider, Domaine Leduc-Piedimonte (Rougemont, QC)

Canada is known for its ice wine, but Quebec has perfected the ice cider. Leduc-Piedimonte’s golden ice cider is ranked one of the best in the world, with hints of orange zest, butter, honey, and vanilla. Smooth, refreshing and well-balanced, you’ll want to enjoy this after a long meal.

New Brunswick
Red Rover Summer Cider

Summer Cider, Red Rover Craft Cider (Fredericton, NB)

Red Rover is leading the cider scene in New Brunswick, and you just have to add its award-winning Summer Cider to your “must try” list. It is light, crisp and dry with a tart finish that will quench your thirst on those sultry summer days.

Scow Craft Cider,  Verger Belliveau Orchard (Memramcrook, NB)

This is a clear, slightly sharp cider made from four varieties of heritage apples grown on the Belliveau orchard. Named to honour the memory of boat crews and builders from the region, it’s a simple, traditionally crafted beverage.

Nova Scotia
No Boats on Sunday Premium Craft Cider

Apple Cider, No Boats on Sunday (Truro, NS)

No Boats on Sunday makes only one cider, but they make it well. Light-bodied with notes of apple and citrus, you’ll want to serve this at barbecues, picnics or backyard bashes. Fun fact — the version available in the Maritimes is made with Nova Scotia apples, but there’s also a version made in Ontario with locally-sourced fruit.

Bulwark Gold

Bulwark Gold, Bulwark Cider (New Ross, NS)

Apples straight from the Annapolis Valley go into Bulwark’s selection of slowly fermented craft ciders. Their smooth-tasting, award-winning Bulwark Gold is infused with honey and can be served on its own or on ice. This is a cider to enjoy while sitting outside on a warm, sunny day.

Looking for more cider? Try our Cider Can Chicken recipe.

Butter-Tart-Beauty-feature

Anna Olson’s Butter Tarts Are the Ultimate Canada Day Treat

Can’t decide on which classic Canadian dish to serve for the nation’s 150th birthday? Look no further, because now you can make Anna Olson’s famous butter tarts for your Canada Day festivities!

anna olson butter tarts canada day

It’s no stretch to say that Anna Olson is a butter tart expert. Even when travelling around the world, the Bake with Anna Olson star is often asked to demonstrate how to make these quintessential Canadian treats. So when teaming up with Kin Community creator Beth Le Manach of Entertaining with Beth for a festive summer collaboration, Anna knew exactly what would be on the menu.

To celebrate this momentous Canada Day, Anna’s sharing her “true Canadian, classic sweet treat”! In this scrumptious video from Anna Olson’s YouTube channel, Oh Yum, you’ll learn the secret to making her irresistibly sweet and flaky butter tarts, just in time for the long weekend!

Can’t wait to get baking?  Get into that kitchen and start whipping up a batch of these Canadian treasures.  Find the recipe to her delicious Canada Day Butter Tarts below.

Anna Olson’s Pecan Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a Canadian classic sweet treat. While this recipe uses pecans, feel free to use other additions in place of the pecans such as raisins, walnut pieces, chocolate chips or simply leave the butter tarts plain.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12 butter tarts

Ingredients:

Pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces (does not have to be ice cold)
1/4 cup cool water
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

Filling:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins, pecans or walnut pieces

Directions:

1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter, electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture.
2. Add the butter and cut in until rough and crumbly but small pieces of butter are still visible. Stir the water and vinegar (or lemon juice, if using) together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 2 logs, wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Pull the chilled dough from the fridge 20 minutes before rolling.
4. Cut each of the logs of chilled pie dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface to about 5 mm thick and use a 12 cm round cookie cutter to cut each into a circle. Line each muffin cup with the pastry so that it comes about 1 cm higher than the muffin tin, and chill the lined tin while preparing the filling.
5. Whisk sugar, maple syrup and butter in a bowl by hand until combined. Whisk in eggs, then vinegar and vanilla. Sprinkle a few raisins, pecans or walnut pieces into each cup and then pour the filling into the shells and bake the tarts for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to 375°F and continue baking until butter tart filling starts to dome, about 20 more minutes. Cool tarts in the tin, and chill the tarts in the tin before removing.

Looking for more yummy treats? Learn the sticky-sweet History of Butter Tarts.

Food Network Canada’s Guide to Summer 2017 Food Festivals

The sun is shining and the weather is warm, which means summer festival season has arrived in Canada! Whether you’re looking for a city street fair or a road-trip worthy culinary adventure, here’s your definitive guide to summer food festivals across the country.

1. Porkapalooza BBQ Festival (Edmonton, AB)
Dates: June 10 – 11

The Porkapalooza BBQ Festival in Edmonton is a community event that showcases the art and culture of all things barbecue. At the heart of the event is a BBQ competition where some of Canada’s finest grill-masters contend for the title. Festival goers can enjoy all of the mouthwatering grilled pork, plus assorted local food truck fare and icy cold brews.

2. Taste of Toronto (Toronto, ON)
Dates: June 15 – 18

Referred to as “The World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival,” Taste of Toronto takes over Garrison Common at Fort York for four days of divine dishes and sensational sips. World-class chefs will serve up bite-sized versions of their signature dishes and conduct live cooking demonstrations. If you’re an aspiring chef, you’ll also have a chance to get hands-on with interactive master classes.

taste-of-toronto2

Courtesy of Taste of Toronto

 

3. Taste of Little Italy (Toronto, ON)
Dates: June 16 – 18

Celebrate Toronto’s Italian history and the city’s international community at the Taste of Little Italy. Sample global eats from the kiosks that line College Street, like pizza, panini, and skewers of lamb known as speducci, or sit on one of the patios for a cocktail and watch the people stroll by. And don’t worry about trying all of the food — live music will have you dancing the night away.

Want to know what other countries have must-visit food festivals? Check out the13 Biggest Food Festivals Around the World.

4. The Shediac Lobster Festival (Shediac, NB)
Dates: July 5 – 9

With a title like the “World Lobster Capital,” of course Shediac is home to Canada’s most celebrated annual lobster festival. A tradition spanning close to seven decades, highlights of the weekend include the world’s longest lobster dining table, the longest lobster roll and a lobster eating contest. Get those bibs ready and prepare to indulge in all things lobster.

worlds-biggest-lobster-shediac

World’s Biggest Lobster, Shediac, NB
Getty Images

 

5. Taste of Saskatchewan (Kiwanis Park, SK)
Dates: July 11 – 16

Saskatoon’s culinary greats come together at the Taste of Saskatchewan each July in picturesque Kiwanis Park. The city’s top restaurants serve up some of their house favourites, from creative appetizers and mouthwatering mains to decadent desserts and specialty items. Whether you prefer a more traditional dish or like a dash of adventure, there will be something to make your tastebuds sing.

6. Taste of Edmonton (Edmonton, AB)
Dates: July 20 – 29

A summer tradition, the Taste of Edmonton celebrates all of the city’s rich culinary offerings. Sample an assortment of fabulous food from Edmonton’s restaurant scene — including gluten-free eats — accompanied by a refreshing beer or a crisp glass of wine. If the heat from the grills isn’t enough, things get even hotter when some of Canada’s finest musical acts take the stage.

7. Taste of the Danforth (Toronto, ON)
Dates: August 11 – 13

Taste of the Danforth in Toronto’s vibrant Greektown is Canada’s largest annual street festival, hosting close to 2 million guests each year. Indulge in Mediterranean treats like souvlaki, spanakopita and baklava, or sample other international foods as you enjoy music and other exciting activities. It’s a fun-filled weekend for the entire family.

taste-of-the-danforth-busy-street

Courtesy of Taste of the Danforth
Courtesy of Taste of the Danforth

 

8. Vegan Food and Drink Festival (Toronto, ON)
Dates: August 19

The third annual Vegan Food and Drink Festival returns to Toronto this August for a day of delicious comfort food and craft brews. Open to the entire family, prepare to nosh on delectable vegan eats that will satisfy even the carnivores in your life. With a wide selection of fine food vendors from Toronto, Southern Ontario, and even the US, every drink and food item available is 100% vegan goodness.

9. The Drummondville Poutine Festival (Drummondville, QC)
Dates: August 24 – 26

Now in its tenth year, the Poutine Festival in Drummondville (not far from Montreal) is the ultimate celebration of Québec’s delicious gift to the world. Enjoy traditional poutine — delicious fries smothered in cheese curds and brown gravy — or savour one of the more exotic takes on the culinary treasure paired with impressive live musical acts.

drummondville-quebec-poutine-festival

Poutine Festival, Drummondville, QC
Getty Images

 

10. Canada’s Largest RibFest (Burlington, ON)
Dates: September 1 – 4

What makes this Labour Day tradition in Burlington “Canada’s Largest RibFest?” Perhaps it’s the 180,000 people expected to attend, or maybe it’s the 150,000 pounds of ribs sold over the four-day event carefully prepared by 19 Ribber Teams from across North America. Or, it could be the millions of dollars that the Rotary Club has raised for charity during this grilled meat extravaganza over the past two decades.

Check out some of the wacky and delicious food festivals Noah Cappe visits on Carnival Eats.

Mark McEwan Toronto Taste

Giveaway: Win VIP Passes to Toronto Taste!

Toronto Taste, the city’s acclaimed culinary fundraiser, returns June 4th for another tantalizing and tasty evening in support of Second Harvest.  Want to be there? Food Network Canada is excited to be giving away one pair of VIP passes!

John Catucci Toronto Taste

Set at Corus Quay, a gem on Toronto’s waterfront, the event features delicious dishes and drinks from over 90 restaurants and beverage purveyors. You’ll also get a chance to meet some of your favourite Food Network Canada stars including Mark McEwan, Roger Mooking, Michael Smith, and John Catucci. You don’t want to miss the culinary event of the year!

Foie Gras Crostini Toronto Taste

The evening is filled with delectable eats, silent auctions and entertainment, including the annual Chef Challenge, where three renowned chefs are tasked with creating a winning dish using mystery ingredients. In an exciting new twist, Second Harvest is offering three individuals the chance to become sous chef for the Chef Challenge, and one top fundraiser will earn a coveted spot at the all-star judge’s panel.

Since 1991, Toronto Taste has raised over $12 million to support Second Harvest’s food rescue program. Every ticket sold enables Second Harvest to provide meals for adults, children and seniors in need.

For more information and to get tickets for Toronto Taste on June 4th visit torontotaste.ca.

We’re giving away one (1) pair of VIP passes to Toronto Taste, valued at $720 CDN. If you are a Ontario resident and the age of majority or older, comment below and tell us, “Which currently airing Food Network Canada show is Chef Mark McEwan the Head Judge on?”. For your chance to win, you must comment by 12:00 pm ET on May 24, 2017. Odds of being selected depend on number of eligible entries received. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by email no later than 12:00 pm ET May 25, 2017. Selected entrants may be required to sign and return a Winner Release Form in order to claim their prize.

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