Category Archives: Shopping

Tips on How to Eat on $1.75 A Day: Live Below the Line Challenge

Eating and drinking on $1.75 a day is not something many of us have ever considered. That’s the Canadian equivalent of the extreme poverty line, an amount that 1.2 billion people around the world must live on daily for all their needs.

The Live Below the Line Challenge, which kicked off today (April 27), aims to bring awareness to those living in extreme poverty by encouraging participants to eat and drink on $1.75 a day for 5 days (April 27 to May 1, 2015).

Many Canadians are taking the Live Below the Line challenge and to help them along we’ve put together a few practical tips for cooking on a budget.

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From Odette Hutchings, Canada Campaign Manager and past participant:

Plan ahead: Create a meal plan and a list before doing your grocery shopping and try to do one big shop.

Be sure to pick up some low cost proteins such as: eggs, beans, soy-based protein, lentils and steel cut oats. These proteins are versatile and will help keep you full. Odette  topped her steel-cut oats with a sprinkle of cinnamon and banana which tastes delicious and will keep you satisfied and full throughout the morning.

Beans and lentils are also versatile and can be mixed well with different flavors to keep things interesting throughout the challenge week.

When you get home from grocery shopping, divide the food out into individual meals to ensure you don’t run out throughout the week.

From Chef Trevor Bird, co-owner/head chef of Fable restaurant and runner-up on season 2 of Top Chef Canada:

Research and plan: The more prep work you do, the less processed food you buy, the more successful you’ll be and the less it will cost you.

Stock up on vinegar, which always makes everything taste better, just like salt does.

Trevor also recommends buying whole vegetables — carrots, onions, eggplant, cauliflower, sweet potato — which can be chopped, sprinkled with salt and roasted.

Rice and pasta are inexpensive, especially if you make the pasta yourself with an egg and flour.

Shop with coupons and look for produce that’s marked down because it’s close to its sell-by date.

For even more tips and easy recipes that cost just cents a day, click here.

Live Below the Line is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, an organization that envisions a world without extreme poverty by 2030. More than 30,000 people in the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada have taken the challenge and raised in excess of $10 million for anti-poverty organizations. Information on signing up for or donating to the challenge is available at their website here.

 

3 Tiny-Budget Meal Recipes

Do you think you could survive on $1.75 a day on food and drinks? An estimated 1.2 billion people do that every day.

The Live Below the Line Challenge (which runs from April 27 to May 1, 2015) aims to bring awareness to those living in extreme poverty by encouraging us to do just that for 5 days. To kick off the global campaign, now in its third year, Live Below Line organizers asked chefs from across Canada to create meals on a $1.75 budget.

Want to join the challenge? Here are three recipes below, specifically created for Live Below the Line campaign. Plus get tips here.

Egg-and-black-bean-enchilladas-Live-Below-the-Line

Breakfast of Champions: Egg and Black Bean Enchiladas
Created By: Created by: Executive Chef Elia Herrera of Los Colibris
Cost Per Person: $0.59
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

8 tortillas
4 large eggs
Bean purée
¼ cup Cotija cheese
½ cup dry black beans
1½ tablespoon chopped Spanish onion
½ garlic clove, chopped
½ cup water
1½ teaspoon canola oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Soak the beans overnight. In a pot, sauté the onion and garlic with canola oil until translucent. Add pre-soaked beans and water over medium heat until cooked.
2. Blend mixture and place back on the heat to slightly reduce. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a non-stick pan, scramble the eggs. Fill the tortillas with the scrambled eggs.
4. Add the hot bean purée over the tortillas and sprinkle the Cotija cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Chicken-and-rice-Live-Below-the-Line

Lunch: Fajitas with Chicken and Rice
Created By: Executive Chef Elia Herrera of Los Colibris
Cost Per Person: $0.63
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 cup rice
4 garlic cloves
8 oz chicken
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
1 tablespoon canola oil
400 mL water
Pinch salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a pot, heat half of the oil and sauté garlic until golden. Add raw rice and let it get some colour.
2. Add warm water and salt, cover and leave rice over low heat until cooked, occasionally stirring.
3. Cut chicken into strips roughly the same size as the peppers and onion, and in a separate pan, heat remaining oil and add peppers, onion and chicken. Season with salt and pepper and keep over heat until chicken is fully cooked.
4. Serve chicken and vegetables over bed of rice.

White-Bean-cassoulet-Live-Below-the-Line

Dinner: White Fish and Navy Bean Cassoulet
Created By: Executive Chef Wayne Sych of Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Cost Per Person: $0.66
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

5 oz white fish, cod or sole, cut into cubes
700 ml white beans cooked per package instructions
3 stalks celery, julienne
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and julienne
1 white onion, julienne
60 ml tomato paste
15 ml vegetable oil
2.5 ml thyme leaves
2.5 ml fennel seeds
large pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch chili flakes
500 ml water

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, celery and carrots, sauté until soft 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste, thyme, chili flakes, fennel seeds and water, simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until vegetables are cooked.
3. Add fish, white beans, salt and pepper to taste, add more water if needed, simmer until hot and fish is cooked through 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into serving bowls.

Budget Shopper’s Guide: The Dirty Dozen

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Every trip to the grocery store begins with the same internal debate: should I spend $6.99 on a carton of organic strawberries, or settle for the $3.99 conventional ones? While the budget-focused side (read: shopaholic side that wants a new fall wardrobe) of our brain is pushing to cut corners wherever possible, the practical side is insisting on thinking about the longer-term benefits of buying organic. Fact: Research shows the benefits of organic food consumed over a lifetime, outweighs the cost of the conventional variety, but what about the long-term effects on our wallet? A few extra dollars added to every grocery bill is bound to add up to quite the hefty sum over a lifetime. But what if it isn’t essential we buy everything organic? What if there’s an outlined list of items you must buy organic, taking the cheaper route on the rest?

Enter: The Dirty Dozen. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an annual rating of conventional foods with the most pesticide residues. This informs us budget-friendly shoppers of the most effective ways we can reduce pesticides in our diet, without having to splurge on the higher-priced option every time.

The EWG highlighted twelve fruits and veggies that tested positive for the most amount of pesticide residue compared to other produce items. This list includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, and potatoes. Furthermore, all samples of imported nectarines and 99% of apples tested positive for pesticide residue, potatoes had more pesticides by weight than any other item, and a single grape contained 15 pesticides. That’s gross, guys. Suddenly that new fall wardrobe doesn’t seem as important.

And what about the other produce on your shopping list? You’re welcome to skimp on the conventional ones. The EWG’s Clean Fifteen is a list of fruits and veggies that are least likely to hold pesticide residues. This list includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

So there you have it. Next time you’re at the grocery store, leave the debate behind because when it comes to the Dirty Dozen, going the cheap route really isn’t an option when buying produce that’s covered in pretty scary stuff. And if you still can’t spend the extra dough on organic items? Well, you can always add the dirty dozen items all together and restrict your diet to include only those on the Clean Fifteen. Sound good?

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

More on Budgets:

When to Import and When to Buy Local

“Where does that come from?” has become the most asked question by our guests at Marben (aside from, “Uh, excuse me, where are your washrooms?”). “Does your beef come from Ontario? Where do you buy your trout? Is that cheese Canadian?”

Ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, those questions were almost unheard of—so why now, all of a sudden, the interest in where things come from?

We have all become much more educated on the subject of provenance, the importance of understanding what you are ingesting and the impact it has locally and globally.  The premise is a simple one: buy ingredients close to home and in season. If you do that, in theory, it will be fresher, tastier, environmentally friendly, and you will be putting money into the pockets of someone in your community trying to put a kid through university, rather than into the pockets of a CEO buying another yacht.

At Marben, we use only the best quality ingredients available to us. The vast majority of those ingredients are locally sourced, but to be honest, that is by default. That means we look first at the quality of the ingredient and secondly at where it comes from. I don’t believe in using an ingredient just because it is local; local ingredients can be amazing ingredients, but not all local ingredients are great ingredients.

We buy rainbow trout from Kolapore Springs in Collingwood, cheese from Monteforte in Niagara, and beef from McGee farms in Sterling, Ontario, because they are the best ingredients that we can source, and also because they are local.

We do import a few key ingredients that, in my humble opinion, you just can’t replace with local ingredients. Things like; Spanish Iberico ham, salt-cured anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea, Parmesan cheese, saffron and olive oil.  I don’t believe that anyone in Canada has been able to make ham like the Spanish… yet. So we buy Spanish ham. Olive trees just don’t grow in the diverse climate of Canada, so we import fine olive oil from Italy or Spain.

Spanish ham, I think, is a perfect example of when to import. There are plenty of great charcuterie producers in Canada; prosciutto-style hams are made right here, in our own backyard. But Iberico ham really is something different—something special that only the Spanish make.

 

Here is a very quick rundown of Spanish ham:
Jamon means ham in Spanish, and Jamon Serrano or Jamon Iberico means Serrano ham or Iberico ham. Serrano and Iberico are breeds of Spanish pigs, and in Ontario, for example, you will often hear of Berkshire or Duroc pigs, which are the names given to those specific breeds of pig.

To put it simply, Iberico ham is the king, and Serrano the queen of Spanish ham. Iberico is in many ways comparable to Kobe beef in Japan, a prized breed that is fed and cared for with the utmost respect. They are also animals that naturally provide very evenly marbled meat, which results in an incredibly juicy, tender and full flavour.

Iberico ham is so valued because in Spain, it is state law that they must be allowed to roam free in the ‘dehesa’ plains, eating acorns to make up at least 70% of their body fat. This imparts an almost indescribable nutty taste and silky smooth texture. Iberico ham is typically aged 12-36 months, giving it a firm texture and intense flavour. Unfortunately, like Kobe beef, Iberico ham is very expensive, but is worth every penny.

 

Check out these decadent and daring recipes!

 

Tequila Cones

Tequila Ceviche Cones

Iberico Ham

Iberico Ham with Tomato-Rubbed Cristal Bread

Manchego Batter

Manchego Cheesecake Batter

 

Bob Bragagnolo Rob Bragagnolo is the executive  chef at Marben Restaurant in downtown Toronto. Rob, a native Torontonian, lived and cooked in Spain for over a decade, and is co-proprietor of Marc Fosh Restaurants in Palma de Mallorca.

 

Related:

How to Shop for Canned Food

canned-food-shopping
Knowing how to navigate the canned food aisle can be your secret weapon for mealtime success. Between the potatoes, peas, beets and corn, canned goods offer home cooks the ingredients of the produce aisle – without the prep work.
To get you started on stocking your pantry, we’ve narrowed the beginner’s list down to four easy categories of canned goods.

1. Protein in a pinch
When cooking with beans, dried varieties need to soak overnight; but what if you want a three-bean salad in a pinch? This is a definite canned can-do! When dinnertime calls for ingredients that require planning ahead for soaking, marinating or precooking, try swapping dried or fresh ingredients such as beans, tuna and sardines for prepared canned options. Your meal will be protein-packed in minutes.

White Bean Salad with Patty Pan Cups 

Name-That-Tuna Casserole  

2. Labour-intensive ingredients, no prep work
You love the idea of fresh artichokes — pretty as a flower, delicious in any course — but you simply can’t stomach the idea of wielding your paring knife for hours on end to get them table-ready. Take the work out of making fresh meals by opting for canned ingredients that have been prepped by pros. Craving fresh tomato sauce but there’s no time to score, blanch and peel those hothouses? If it’s a labour-intensive ingredient you need, consider the can!
Baked Artichoke Mozzarella Dip 

Mussels with Spicy Vodka Tomato Sauce 

 

3. Out-of-season ingredients
Shopping for seasonal ingredients provides the best bang for your buck and flavour for your cooking. Canned fruit and vegetables are plucked at the peak of freshness and allow you to enjoy seasonal ingredients without any guilt. Corn, peas and peaches can adorn even the coldest winter’s night meal when you go canned.

Scallops and Minty Peas 

Peach Oatmeal Griddle Cakes 

4. Flavour boosters
Even a little tin can will boast big flavour. Chilies, pickled products and pastes line the shelves of the grocer’s International aisle. Just a dollop can bring a bland dish to life and help you travel around the world without leaving your kitchen table. Harissa, Chipotle in adobo sauce and tahini might turn you into a canned goods addict.

Crispy Moroccan Lamb Pastilla 

Quinoa Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing

 

 

Original image courtesy of  Boarding1Now

 

Related:

4 Easy Ways to Perfect the Potluck

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(Original image courtesy of Jill Chen)

4 Easy Ways to Perfect the Potluck

Potlucks are a great way to get your favourite people together for a feast that won’t leave you starved for cash. Each guest contributes one dish to the meal; someone’s aunt’s “famous” dip recipe usually makes an appearance alongside another guest’s signature cocktail, a baked pasta bubbles away in the middle, and the meal is often topped off with a store-bought dessert.

Note: nobody likes the guest who whizzed through the packaged produce aisle while everyone else slaved away in the kitchen! Save that for your weeknight book club meeting where the culinary expectations are minimal.

Everybody’s got a specialty or potluck go-to, but the culmination of guests’ mystery dishes doesn’t always make for a well-balanced meal.

Take control of your next community-cooked party by choosing a single dish that everyone can contribute an ingredient to. Choosing a simple and familiar dish is kind of like working with a blank canvas; guests can feel free to keep it traditional or bring along exotic ingredients to spice things up.

Here are four approachable, much-loved and easy dishes to plan your next potluck around:

1. Pizza A couple balls of white or whole-grain pizza dough
are the perfect vessels for any ingredient under the sun. Hosts should
portion the dough out for each guest beforehand and provide at least two
sauce and cheese options. Guests can bring along toppers from roasted
chicken to tater tots, bruschetta to fresh herbs. Don’t think this is
just for dinner either! Sweet pizzas topped with chocolate sauce,
berries and chopped nuts can keep the party going for an extra course or
two.

2. Sandwiches This is the best thing since sliced bread! Potluck hosts can have a
variety of breads (baguettes, slider buns, naan), condiments and basic
toppings laid out to start. Almost anything goes between the buns, so
whether your guests arrive with meatballs, butter chicken, or eggplant parmesan, you can turn it into a finger-friendly party dish.

3. Soup Potluck or Top Chef throwdown? Turn your next gethering into a Chopped-style challenge like Dine Out Vancouver’s Chef Soup Experiment, where fifty chefs contributed random ingredients that somehow had to be balanced and simmered into a delicious soup. Missed it? Check it out on @DineOutVan’s takeover of our Instagram feed! This is the riskiest of the four potluck options when it comes to flavour, but it is a guaranteed good time.

4. Baked Potato It’s the side that eats like a meal. Whether Russet or sweet, potatoes
are a hearty base for a potluck plate. Guests can load them up with chili, quinoa salads, cheeses, and even topped with eggs. The only thing that limits you here is your imagination!

 

Related:

Video and Giveaway: Chuck Hughes’ Holiday Wishlist

Listen up, food lovers! We’ve got some exciting Chuck Hughes giveaways taking place this week! First, watch the featured video and answer the question below to win a copy of Chuck Hughes’ cookbook Garde Manger.

garde-manger

GIVEAWAY: We have one copy of Garde Manger to give away each day for one week. For your chance to win today’s contest, email giveaways@foodnetwork.ca with missing word to our question.

Fill in the blank: In the video, Chuck says he wants this year to be a little more about the heart and a little less about the _______.

 

Giveaway Rules
The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for the Chuck Hughes cookbook giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).

RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run until December 23rd at 11:59pm, after which time no answers will be considered.

RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER
Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.

RULE 3. PRIZE
There is one prize available to be won each day, which consists of a copy of Chuck Hughes’ Garde Manger (“Prize”). The approximate value of the Prize is thirty dollars Canadian (CDN $35).

RULE 4. GENERAL
By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.

Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.

The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.
Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.

By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.
In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway

 

Rules by Shaw shall be final.

The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.

 

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Book Review: Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

jerusalem

The Stats

Title: Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Price: $35.00
Availability: Major book retailers

The Book

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi grew up on two different sides of one city.  Sami was a child in Muslim east-Jerusalem, with Yotam in the Jewish west. Although being born in the same city and in the same year, the two didn’t meet until nearly three decades later – world’s away in London UK.  Becoming close friends and business partners (Tamimi is part owner of Ottolenghi’s eponymous chain of restaurants and the co-author of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (Ebury Press, 2008).) the two began to explore their parallel childhoods, and the city so rich in culture that is their common bond.

Ottolenghi’s latest follows the New York Times bestseller Plenty (Chronicle Books, 2011) which was an ode to vegetables with a collection of fresh and original plant-based fare. Jerusalem’s focus is on the traditional, with 120 age-old recipes based on the rich cultural traditions of the Mediterranean, and the flavours that are embedded in both Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s DNA. Some recipes are classics, some have benefitted from creative updates and lastly others are inspired by the flavours of the city itself.

The spirit of Jerusalem is wound through the book, with a brief introduction outlining the history of the city and its complicated past. Photographer Jonathan Lovekin showcases gorgeous food images alongside more candid snaps of everyday life. While the book’s recipes focus on its namesake city, There are dishes with Palestinian and Georgian influence as well. Jerusalem is a cultural melting pot and home to Jews originating from Russia, Poland, Tunisia, Libya, France, Britain, Iraq, Ethiopia, Argentina as well as Christians and Muslims.  The result is a complex and cosmopolitan book full of the unpredictable, family recipes, heart-warming nods to childhood, and a wonderful homage to the city from which the book takes its name.

Overall:  As with Plenty, a number of dishes require ingredients that are not pantry staples, so the dishes take some pre-planning. This book assumes basic culinary knowledge. With exciting flavors, and both inventive and traditional combinations, Jerusalem is the most enticing cookbook I have seen in a while. Jerusalem has me excited about Middle Eastern basics like Hummus. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about hummus.
Selected Recipes
? Na’ama’s fattoush (Worth getting the book for this recipe alone)
? Burnt eggplant & mograbieh soup (Palestinian equivalent to cous cous) soup
? Pistachio soup
? Ruth’s stuffed Romano peppers
? Roasted chicken with clementines & arak

Food Porn Rating: 5 out of 5 on the food porn scale. Part cookbook, part travelogue, Jerusalem features gorgeous photos of Israeli marketplaces and mouthwateringly beautiful dishes.

 

Final Analysis

You may like it if…
? You have a love of history, culture, trying new things.
? You are unapologetically into farmers markets, organics, the fresh & the best
? You love preparing food, are awed by unique flavours, love wandering through spice markets.

You may not like it if…
? If you are looking for quick, no-nonsense easy weeknight meals
? You do not have easy access Mediterranean ingredients
? Are not into trying new or unfamiliar flavors (although, I would still give it a try)

jerusalem_recipe1

Recipe

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Fresh Figs

4 small sweet potatoes (2 lb / 1 kg in total)
5 tbsp olive oil
scant 3 tbsp / 40 ml balsamic vinegar (you can use a commercial rather than a premium aged grade)
1 tbsp / 20 g superfine sugar
12 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-in / 4cm segments
1 red chile, thinly sliced
6 ripe figs (8 oz / 240 g in total), quartered
5 oz / 150 g soft goat’s milk cheese (optional)
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 475°F / 240°C.
Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and then cut each half again similarly into 3 long wedges.
Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and some black pepper.
Spread the wedges out, skin side down, on a baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes, until soft but not mushy.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, until it thickens.
Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools.
Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter.
Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the green onions and chile.
Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to make sure not to burn the chile.
Spoon the oil, onions, and chile over the sweet potatoes.
Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction.
Serve at room temperature. Crumble the cheese over the top, if using.

 

Excerpted from Jerusalem.  Copyright © 2012 Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  Published by Appetite by Random House Canada, which is a division of Random House of Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Jennifer Myers is lead web designer on Foodnetwork.ca & HGTV.ca. She loves deconstructing recipes in her mostly all-white loft with her mostly all-white French Bulldog.

 

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Kickin’ it Cowboy Style: Throwing Your Own Stampede Party

Can’t make it to Calgary for the 100th anniversary of the Stampede this July? Well, we may not be able to get you to the big rodeo or on a giant ferris wheel, but what we can do is share some tips to help you throw an awesome Stampede party in your own backyard.

Dress The Part, Boots ‘n all!
For starters, denim, cowboy boots are a given. These days, plaid is everywhere, thanks to all those hipsters across Canada. But this is one occasion where the pattern is definitely appropriate and most clothing stores will have an ample selection. You could also try encouraging guests to rummage through second-hand stores for some Stampede-appropriate apparel. You’ll be rewarded with some truly one-of-a-kind gems to wear for the party. Rhinestone cowboy boots with matching hat anyone?

Wild Western Party Fare
Weather permitting, a Stampede party is best experienced outdoors. Covered patio or picnic tables with red and white patterned cloth is a must. Use large mason jars and an assortment of vintage mismatched plates instead of regular glasses and dinnerware. It’ll give your gathering that “back-in-the-days” feel. Swing by a pet store and grab a couple small bags of hay to sprinkle around the table. Last, but not least, a party is nothing without tunes. A country-centric playlist is strongly recommended. Be sure to include artists such as Shania Twain, Paul Brandt, Brad Paisley, and, of course, Garth Brooks!

Rustle up some Grub!
Barbecue. It’s the classic fare for all things Stampede and sometimes, you just don’t mess with a good thing! To really emulate a Stampeding atmosphere, the smoke billowing (controllably!) from an outdoor grill will do just that. Marinate some steaks and pork chops overnight in a great barbecue sauce for optimum flavour. Wrap some potatoes in tin foil and pop them on the grill as a hearty, not to mention easy, side.
Pulled Pork is another great option. It can be prepped several days ahead. All you need to do come the day of the Stampede party is reheat and serve with some slider buns and creamy coleslaw.

Try making a few different batches of barbecue sauce from scratch. It’s surprising easy. Here are a few suggestions to help put a nice twist on a basic barbecue recipe.

  • Espresso: Toss in some espresso (brewed, not the beans!) to get a rich kick in the sauce
  • Root Beer: Adds a nice touch of sweetness and sassafras root is definitely cowboy-approved.
  • Merlot: A nice red wine will deepen the flavour and appease even the most ‘elite’ cow folks at your party.

Dessert for a Stampede-Style Sweet Tooth
The fairway food stands at the Stampede are known for their ridiculous offerings. This year, deep-fried Kool-Aid and Bacon Funnel Sundae Cake are just two examples of the obscure items you’ll find on the grounds. Now, we’re not saying to make anything that crazy, but if you’re willing to get a little goofy, try making some homemade elephant ears (aka beaver tails) and top them with a ‘healthy’ portion of cotton candy. Good for you? No. Will it taste delicious? Yes!

Barring that, a nice batch of small dessert pancakes, topped with cream cheese icing and berries would be a nice ode to the hundreds of pancake breakfasts that take place in Calgary during the 10-day festival.

What do Cowboys drink?
Back in 1912 when the first Calgary Stampede kicked off, real cowboys and cowgirls drank whiskey from their flasks or enjoyed an ice-cold brew. As nice as a few shots of whiskey are, let’s keep this party a bit more elevated. Stick with go-to cocktail for the evening, like a whiskey sour, and have a cooler stocked full of great micro-brew beers.

Going out with a bang!
We suppose it depends which Canadian city you live in, but every night of the Calgary Stampede closes with a grand fireworks display. We’re not encouraging you to go out and spend $300 on fireworks, but lighting off a few Roman candles into the night sky would be the perfect way to end the evening.

 

 

Creative Entertaining: Backyard Mexican Fiesta, with Recipes!

By: Rana Florida

Rana Fiesta 1

Everyone loves tacos!  From food trucks to gourmet eateries, this Mexican street snack is all the rage. So why not turn a traditional backyard bbq into a fun and flavourful authentic Mexican grill?

This evening begins by welcoming guests with cool and tangy margaritas. Chunky guacamole with organic chips for dipping is the perfect appetizer. Then, guests can step up to a make-it-yourself seafood taco bar with fresh salsa and spicy rice. For dessert, indulge in warm cinnamon churros oozing with sugary sweetness or a refreshing mango, kiwi, and pineapple salad with mint and granadilla. For the kids, Mexican adorned vanilla and chocolate mini cupcakes.  Heat up your grills for this modern day fiesta!  See the Party Planner on HGTV.ca!

Rana Fiesta 2
All recipes by Chef Jason Smidt of Jay Exclusive Caterers

MENU

Rana Fiesta 3

Starter
Guacamole with organic pita chips

Taco Bar
Fish & shrimp taco bar
Fresh corn tacos
Chili, lime marinated grouper and shrimp
Pickled red and white cabbage
Sour cream
Cilantro
Black beans
Pureed tomato salsa

Sautéed peppers and onions

Dirty Mexican rice with assorted vegetables and black beans

Shredded red and white cabbage

Dessert
Churros sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

Mango, kiwi and pineapple salad with mint and granadilla
Cupcakes
Cocktails
Frozen Margaritas and Virgin Frozen Margaritas
 

RECIPES

Frozen Margarita and Virgin Frozen Margarita 

Rana Fiesta 4

Add your favorite margarita mix, the
juice from a quarter lime, good quality Tequila, and a splash of Triple
Sec to the blender, along with a few ice cubes. Mix a bit of your best
coarse salt flakes with regular Kosher salt and rim your glass. Whizz
your Margarita in the blender until nice and frothy, pour into the glass
and add a lime disk garnish. For Virgin version, same recipe but hold the alcohol.


Guacamole with organic pita chips

Rana Fiesta 6

Ingredients
• 4 ripe avocados
• ½ vine tomato, seeded and diced
• ½ Jalapeno pepper, finely diced
• ¼ Vidalia onion, finely diced
• 1 zest and juice of a large lime (or more to taste)
• ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
• Salt and pepper

Directions
Half and pit the avocados, scoop flesh out with a spoon into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add tomato, Jalapeno, onion, lime zest and juice, and cilantro. Roughly break up the avocado with a spoon, combining all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy with your favorite organic pita chips.


F
ish & shrimp tacos

Rana Fiesta 5

Ingredients
Seafood

• 1 pound white flaky fish, such as Grouper or mahi mahi
• 1 pound peeled and de-veined jumbo shrimp
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1 lime, zested and juiced
• 1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
• ½ Jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
• 8 flour tortillas

Directions
Place fish and peeled shrimp in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, Ancho powder, Jalapeno and cilantro, and pour over the fish and shrimp. Marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade, lightly salt both sides. Place on a hot grill, flesh side down. Grill the fish for 4 minutes and the shrimp for 2 minutes on the first side and then flip for 30 seconds and remove. Let the fish rest for 5 minutes then flake off the flesh with a fork. Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 20 seconds. Divide the fish among the tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.
Pureed tomato salsa

 

Rana Fiesta 7

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons peanut oil
• 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
• 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
• 1 Serrano chili
• 1 Jalapeno pepper, sliced
• 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
• 2 large limes, zested and juiced
• Salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat grill or use side burners of the grill. Heat oil in medium saucepan, add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add tomatoes, Serrano and Jalapeno and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree the mixture with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add the oregano, cilantro, lime zest and juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Shredded red & white cabbage
Ingredients
• ¼ red cabbage thinly sliced
• ¼ white cabbage thinly sliced
Note: Keep cabbages separate or the color of the red cabbage will run (or prepare just one color cabbage)
• 1/2 cup white vinegar
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 large dried bay leaf

Directions
Combine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, bay leaf and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over a medium flame until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour over your thinly sliced cabbage. Toss and let rest. When mixture is at room temperature toss one more time, put in an airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Other garnishes
Tin of black beans lightly rinsed
Hot sauce
Sour cream
Diced tomatoes
Thinly sliced green onion
Chopped cilantro leaves

Dirty Mexican rice with assorted vegetables and black beans

Rana Fiesta 8

Ingredients
• 1 cup cooked long grain brown rice
• 1 large carrot finely diced
• 4 celery stalks finely diced
• 1 cup peas
• 2 corn on the cob, grilled and shucked
• 1 large red onion, finely diced
• 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup lightly rinsed tin of black beans
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 bay leaf
• 4 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• Salt and pepper

Directions
Place a large saucepan on high heat, add the olive oil and butter, add all vegetables except black beans, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and pan fry on high 3-5 minutes. Turn heat down to med-high, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and chili powder and fry for an additional 5-8 minutes. Add rice to pan and mix in with vegetables. Add black beans and salt and pepper to taste.

Sautéed peppers & Onions
Ingredients
• 1 large red onion sliced
• 1 large Vidalia onion sliced
• 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced
• 1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions
Place a pan on high heat, add olive oil before pan smokes, add onions and peppers and begin to pan fry, tossing onions frequently. Once vegetables start to change color add the garlic and chili powder and toss for two more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Churros sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

Rana Fiesta 9

Ingredients
• 1 cup water
• 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 quarts oil for frying
• 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.

Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Using a pastry bag, pipe strips of dough into hot oil. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and roll drained churros in mixture. Serve.
Mango, kiwi and pineapple salad with mint & granadilla 
Ingredients
• ½ pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
• 4 kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into quarters
• 2 mangoes peeled, flesh cut into chunks
• ½ cup mint leaves
• 4 granadilla halved with fruit scooped out

• Raspberries if desired

Directions
Place fruit in a bowl and mix together with mint.

 

Cupcakes by Eat My Words
Vanilla and chocolate mini cupcakes adorned with Mexican themed decorations, such as sombreros, chili peppers, and cactus.

Rana Fiesta 11Rana Florida is the writer and editor of the HGTV series
Creative Spaces. Rana is a lifestyle columnist and has over two decades of experience in corporate strategy, marketing and branding for Fortune 100 companies. She is the CEO of the Creative Class Group,
whose client list includes BMW, Microsoft, IBM, Zappos, Starwood,
Philips, Nomura Financial Securities, Emaar Properties and Johnson &
Johnson. Follow Rana on Twitter @ranaflorida.

Related:

 

 

 

Review of The Bonne Femme Cookbook from Eat Live Travel Write

It was my birthday on the weekend and today it’s my blog’s THIRD birthday! What better way to celebrate both than with a fabulous apéro and some fancy French snacks, right? Fortunately, I received a copy of The Bonne Femme Cookbook recently from the kind folks at Harvard Common Press and I had been dying to test some of the recipes so I invited some friends over to help me  – for my birthday, but really, “for the blog”. My friends are used to “taking one for the blog” these days so an invite to a “blog food meal” is not unusual.

 

BonneFemme_eatlivetravelwrite_1

The book, the brainchild of Wini Moranville of Chez Bonne Femme, is “authentic French cooking without fuss or fear, the way real French families eat today. Now that the typical French woman, the bonne femme of the title, works outside of the home just like her American counterpart (and now that French men, like their American frères, are often in charge of getting dinner on the table), the emphasis is on easy techniques and speedy preparation.

It’s a user-friendly (though I missed illustrations or pictures of the dishes, to be honest) manual of up-to-date French classic recipes, demystified for today’s busy cook which includes a ton of time-saving tips. The over 250 recipes are short and sweet – not intimidating at all – and just about every page contains a recipe I want to try. Ahem. Moranville’s writing is lighthearted and conversational – it’s kind of like having her in your kitchen chatting as you cook – a lovely trait for a food writer to have!

 

For my little “apéro,“ I made delicious “Croques Jeune Homme Amuses Bouches” – ham and cheese in buttery puff pastry. Mmmmm…So much easier than a croque monsieur and so much easier to handle at a cocktail party!

 

BonneFemme_eatlivetravelwrite_2

 

Also, continuing in the buttery puff pastry theme – Flaky Green Olive and Cheese Spirals… (though I used black olive tapenade but you get the idea!!)

 

BonneFemme_eatlivetravelwrite_3

 

And last but not least, Frenchified wings – Lemon Saffron Rosemary Wings to be exact!  These were delightful – unlike most “Buffalo” wings that you get here in North America. Fresh and elegant tasting – well as elegant as finger food can be! I whipped up these three dishes in around an hour – not bad for three different cocktail snacks! I can’t wait to try more of the recipes from the other chapters in the Bonne Femme Cookbook!

BonneFemme_eatlivetravelwrite_4

 

Mardi_Michels Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time food blogger based in Toronto. Her blog, eat.live.travel.write focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she travels as often as she can!

 

Green Week: My Favourite Sustainable Cookbooks

I’ll be honest: I have a love/hate relationship with cookbooks. On one hand, I appreciate the inspiration they provide, because it’s shocking how often I throw up my hands and say, “I have no idea what to make!” when I’m preparing meals for company or rustling up every day dinners. On the other, I don’t follow directions very well, and prep work is not my forte. However, especially when it comes to planning sustainable meals made from local, organic ingredients, a little help never goes amiss. But I do like a recipe that leaves room for some free styling (which is why I almost never bake). These are my favourite because they’re subtly sustainable and leave lots of room for improvisation.

The Meat Free Monday CookbookThe Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu For Every Monday of the Year (with forward by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney) (Kyle Books, 2012). I blogged earlier about the fact that I’m a fan of Meat Free Mondays, a movement started by the McCartneys. This cookbook makes going meatless on Mondays for a year a great deal of fun, in part because of the fabulous, seasonal recipes, and in part because of the celebrity chef contributors, who include Vivienne Westwood and Woody Harrelson. And, because of the calendar-style format, each menu is seasonal—which means getting local in-season food is an added bonus. My favourite recipes: the Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta and the Grilled Figs with Ricotta.

The Best of Chef at HomeThe Best of Chef at Home, By Michael Smith (Whitecap Books Limited, 2009). This is one of my favourite cookbooks in the world, in part because Smith fully advocates winging it, offering ‘freestyle options’ with most of the recipes. Although not formally a sustainable cookbook, Smith subtly advocates using fresh, local, organic and sustainable ingredients, often taking a bit of a moment to explain why, for example, free range, organic chicken tastes so much better than conventionally farmed. My favourite roast chicken recipe ever is in this book (it includes apples, and here is a little known fact: the smell of chickens roasting with apples is possibly the best smell in the worldu—unless you’re a vegetarian, I suppose).

 

The Food Matters CookbookFood Matters Cookbook: 500 Recipes for Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman (Simon and Schuster Canada, 2010). I like this cookbook because it’s very balanced. Bittman doesn’t make you feel guilty when you sauté some greens you didn’t get from the farmer’s co-op down the street—but he also helps make responsible eating make more sense. His main point: that we should be eating more plants and less animal products, and avoiding processed food and junky food with little nutritional content because it’s actually easier to make it yourself. This means many of these simple recipes centre around vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Meat and animal products are included, but almost never as a centre stage item. Two highlights: Roasted Pork Shoulder with Potatoes, Apples, and Onions and Roasted Butternut Chowder with Apples and Bacon. Oh yes, and then there’s the Coconut Tart with Chocolate Smear. I do not feel that anything more needs to be said about this.

 

 

A Year in Lucy's KitchenA Year in Lucy’s Kitchen (Random House Canada, 2009). Canadian treasure Lucy Waverman taps into the seasonal, ‘locavore’ trend with very little complexity and a huge amount of flavour. Each calendar month has its own chapter, which makes it easy to shop for and plan meals that star local, in-season ingredients. There are also sidebars on special celebrations (even a Robbie Burns Day themed meal!), and her husband, a vino-loving lawyer, offers wine pairings to complement each seasonal choice. Plus, the photography is spectacular—and while almost none of my attempts come out looking quite like they do in the images, it gives me something to aspire to.

Written by Marissa Stapley-Ponikowski

Shopping Report: April 2012 – Cool Tools for Making Ravioli, The New Look of Potato Mashers, and More

Our shopping report April 2012 revolves around comfort foods: pasta, potatoes, pizza, and so on. But, maybe that corn on the cob is giving you a hassle, too? Read more about this month’s trends in kitchen gadgetry.
Ravioli at Home
Considering the sheer volume of ravioli molds, stamps, and makers out there right now, you’d think everyone was making their own pasta at home. Wait, are you making your own pasta at home? I know I’m definitely not. But, if you are taking the time to make it yourself, it seems that ravioli is the pasta du jour and the tools of the trade are hot!

 

 Shopping Report - Ravioli Makers

From top: square ravioli maker with rolling pin from Sur La Table, KitchenAid ravioli maker, and spring-loaded ravioli stamps from Williams-Sonoma

Potato Mashers Get a Facelift
If you’re piling your plates with mashed potatoes this spring, perhaps your old masher needs an update. Mashed potatoes are in regular rotation at my place, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up my old-school masher yet. Although, this Joseph Joseph Mash & Serve is pretty sleek looking, and it’ll mean one less utensil to wash…

 Shopping Report - Potato Mashers

 

Out with Pizza Wheels
It can be a real pain to clean up after one of those old-school wheel-style pizza cutters, especially if you’ve let it dry before tackling clean-up. One of these rocking pizza cutters may be a better alternative. They’ll take up a bit more room in your drawer, but if you make a lot of pizza, that might not be an issue for you. I tend to gravitate towards using a big chef’s knife to cut my ‘za instead.

 Shopping Report - Pizza Cutters

   From left to right: Pizzacraft stainless steel rocking pizza cutter with hardwood handle, and Epicurean pizza cutters from Sur La Table   

Easy-Pour Measuring
Flexible and easy-to-pour measuring cups would really come in handy in my kitchen. Making muffins or pancakes or anything that leads to messy drips can be irritating because you have to deal with burnt bits of batter. Imagine a world where you don’t have to scrape off hardened bits of batter from your muffin tins!

Shopping Report - Measuring Cups

A Spatula City Populated with Your Favourite Characters
This is a trend I just cannot get behind. I have a very particular need when it comes to spatulas, and this is really messing with it. Sometimes flipping a pancake can be a very delicate task, and these oddly-shaped spatulas are sure to make that an even bigger challenge.

 Shopping Report - Spatulas

Clockwise from the left: Stars Wars spatula set, Snow White spatula, and Marvel spatulas from Williams-Sonoma


Because a Knife Just Won’t Cut It (the Corn, That Is)

Corn season is still a few months away, but there are quite a few of these little gadgets populating your favourite kitchen supply stores right now. However, a sharp knife is probably your best bet, instead of holding on to a gadget you’ll use a handful of times a year, if you’re lucky.

 

Shopping Report - Corn Strippers

 

From left to right: OXO corn peeler, and OXO corn stripper.

Written by Jessica McLaughlin. Jessica is a foodie in Toronto who spends her days as a web manager and evenings as a freelance writer. You can find her on Tumblr where she blogs about kitchen and dinnerware.


Shopping Report, March 2012: Cool Tools for Making Ravioli, The New Look of Potato Mashers, and More

Our shopping report for March 2012 revolves around comfort foods: pasta, potatoes, pizza, and so on. But, maybe that corn on the cob is giving you a hassle, too. Read more about this month’s trends in kitchen gadgetry.

Ravioli at Home
Considering the sheer volume of ravioli molds, stamps, and makers out there right now, you’d think everyone was making their own pasta at home. Wait, are you making your own pasta at home? I know I’m definitely not. But, if you are taking the time to make it yourself, it seems that ravioli is the pasta du jour and the tools of the trade are hot!

Clockwise, from top-left: square ravioli maker with rolling pin from Sur La Table, ravioli mold with roller from Williams-Sonoma, KitchenAid ravioli maker, and spring-loaded ravioli stamps from Williams-Sonoma.

Potato Mashers Get a Facelift
If you’re piling your plates with mashed potatoes this winter, perhaps your old masher needs an update. Mashed potatoes are in regular rotation at my place, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up my old-school masher yet. Although that Joseph Joseph Mash & Serve is pretty sleek looking, and you’ll have one less utensil to wash.

From left to right: Joseph Joseph pump-action potato masher, Joseph Joseph mash and serve, and Prepara collapsible potato masher.

http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/joseph-joseph-smasher-pump-action-potato-masher?ID=588115&CategoryID=8152

http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/joseph-joseph-mash-serve?ID=588113&CategoryID=8152

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-642967/Prepara-Collapsible-Potato-Masher

Out with Pizza Wheels
It can be a real pain to clean up after one of those old-school wheel pizza cutters, especially if you’ve let it dry before tackling clean up. One of these rocking pizza cutters may be a better alternative. They’ll take up a bit more room in your drawer, but if you make a lot of pizza, that might not be an issue for you. I tend to gravitate towards using a big chef’s knife to cut my ‘za instead.

From left to right: Pizzacraft stainless steel rocking pizza cutter with hardwood handle, and Epicurean pizza cutters from Sur La Table.

http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/27922-pizzacraft-stainless-steel-rocking-pizza-cutter-with-hardwood-handle.aspx

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-187614/Epicurean-Pizza-Cutters

Easy-Pour Measuring
Flexible and easy-to-pour measuring cups would really come in handy in my kitchen. Making muffins or pancakes or anything that leads to messy drips can be irritating because you have to deal with burnt bits of batter. Imagine a world where you don’t have to scrape off hardened bits of batter from your muffin tins!

From left to right: Norpro measuring funnel pitcher, and Flex-It silicone flexible measuring cup set from Williams-Sonoma.

http://www.norpro.com/store/products/measuring-funnel-pitcher-35c28oz900ml

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/flex-it-silicone-flexible-measuring-cup-set/

A Spatula City Populated with Your Favourite Characters
This is a trend I just cannot get behind. I have a very particular need when it comes to spatulas, and this is really messing with it. Sometimes flipping a pancake can be a very delicate task, and these oddly-shaped spatulas are sure to make that an even bigger challenge.

Clockwise from the left: Stars Wars spatula set, Snow White spatula, and Marvel spatulas from Williams-Sonoma.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/star-wars-storm-trooper-darth-vader-flexible-spatula-set/

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/snow-white-spatula/

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/marvel-flexible-spatula/

Separate the Grease
‘Tis the season of many hearty meals, such as roasts. Something to make easy work of separating the good from the grease is bound to come in handy in the colder weather.

From left to right: OXO fat separator, and Amco swing-a-way easy-release grease separator.

http://www.thisnext.com/item/ADE3B7D2/OXO-Fat-Separator

http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/25394-amco-swing-a-way-easy-release-grease-separator.aspx

Because a Knife Just Won’t Cut It (the Corn, That Is)
Corn season is still a few months away, but there are quite a few of these little gadgets populating your favourite kitchen supply stores right now. A sharp knife is probably your best best, instead of holding on to a gadget you’ll use a handful of times a year, if you’re lucky.

From left to right: OXO corn peeler, and OXO corn stripper.

http://www.oxo.com/p-878-corn-peeler.aspx

http://www.oxo.com/p-482-corn-stripper.aspx