Category Archives: Shows

Beef tenderloin with festival

The Winning Dish From Junior Chef Showdown Will Become a Family-Favourite Meal in No Time

Finding a balanced, hearty meal that your whole family will enjoy isn’t always easy. But thanks to this season’s Junior Chef Showdown winner, Nazaree, this juicy, melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin recipe paired with three appetizing sides will have everyone at the table feeling full and happy.

Although the classic beef tenderloin is the star of the recipe, it’s the trio of sides that make this a truly unforgettable meal. Even if you’re not an extraordinarily talented young chef, making this show-stopping meal will leave you feeling like a gourmet cook in no time.

Junior Chef Nazaree’s Beef Tenderloin with Festival Bread

Prep time: 40 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 Servings

Plate of Beef Tenderloin with Festival

Ingredients:

Roasted Squash Ajvar Puree
2 cups butternut squash (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 shallot, peeled, quartered
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove
½ cup roasted red pepper
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Jus
1 cup beef demi-glace
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs thyme

Festival
¾ cup flour
¼ cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter, melted
½ cup milk
Oil for frying

Beef Tenderloin
4 beef tenderloins, about 1-¼-inch thick
1 Tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Charred Broccoli Rabe
12 stalks broccoli rabe
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili flakes
1 clove garlic, smashed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Related: Double-Stacked Patties + Secret Sauce Make for Jordan Andino’s Perfect Burger

Directions:

Roasted Squash Ajvar Puree

1. Heat oven to 425°F.

2. Combine squash, shallots, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne and 1 tablespoon of oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.

3. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until squash is golden and tender, stirring and adding garlic clove after 20 minutes.

4. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and add roasted red peppers, remaining tablespoon oil and vinegar. Pulse until blended and smooth.

Jus
1. Combine demi-glace, garlic and thyme in a small saucepan.

2. Cook, covered over medium-low for 30 minutes to infuse the demi-glace.

3. Discard garlic and thyme before serving.

See More: 3 Classic Sauces From Lynn Crawford That Will Be Instant Staples (Plus Recipes!)

Festival Bread 
1. Heat 1-½ inches oil to 350°F in a heavy-bottomed pot or fill a deep fryer. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire cooling rack.

2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter, stir to coat. Add milk gradually, stirring until combined.

3. Spoon two tablespoon portions of batter into oil and fry until deep golden, for about 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet to cool slightly.

Beef Tenderloin
1. Season steaks liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and steaks and cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side, until deep golden and medium-rare. (Note: If you’re using an instant-read thermometer, the centre of the steak will read 130°F).

4. Set steak aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Charred Broccoli Rabe
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add broccoli rabe, chili flakes, garlic, salt and pepper into the skillet.

2. Stir occasionally until the broccoli rabe is charred and tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Divide the puree, festival, broccoli rabe and steaks among four plates. Spoon demi glace over the beef, and serve!

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

Steve Hodge on the set of Project Bakeover

What Baking Ingredients Are Best to Buy for Home Bakers

In today’s competitive home baking world, where aspiring pastry chefs think nothing of churning out macarons or elaborate, gilded creations traditionally bought in a bakery, there’s a certain sort of bragging rights in doing it all yourself—right down to the core ingredients. Sometimes, however, using those ingredients involve complicated methods, access to specialized equipment or a level of expertise that comes through years of tradition and are best left to the professionals.

Let’s take a look at some of these things that home bakers can buy from a local bakery (such as the ones on Project Bakeover) or grocery store, and a couple of items that are easy to make in your own kitchen.

Pastry Chef Steve Hodge on the set of Project Bakeover

See More: Expert Food Photography Tips for Baked Goods

Phyllo Pastry

Watching professionals produce phyllo by hand is a mesmerizing experience—achieving those gossamer-thin sheets without breakage requires a light touch and nerves of steel. Although there are recipes to make phyllo at home, it requires a fair amount of space and a knowledge of texture and timing that can be tricky. Buy a high-quality phyllo pastry instead, either frozen or fresh from a local Greek or Middle Eastern bakery or even a large chain supermarket. Be warned that phyllo dough dries out in a snap, so keep it covered as you work, and try to work quickly.

Deconstructed Baklava Butter Tart with fresh berries and mint

Get the recipe for Baklava Butter Tart Bake

Puff Pastry

Much like phyllo, flaky, multilayered puff pastry is a delight, and the basis for many last-minute appetizers, desserts or tarts. Achieving those layers, however, depends on a multi-step process where you fold and roll dough around butter repeatedly—a simple but time-intensive process that varies depending on the heat of your kitchen and your rolling speed. The freezer case at your local grocery store will hold puff pastry options, from flat sheets to pre-formed tarts, ready to bake with your best homemade fillings

Fondant

Although hacks abound to make fondant with melted marshmallows, the real deal involves a gelatin-based dough with glycerine and glucose that involves kneading and resting for rolled fondant or a candy thermometer and bain marie for poured fondant. Save yourself some time and effort, buy ready-made fondant and spend your energy making pretty hearts, delicate flowers or perfect petit fours.

Cookie Dough That Requires Specialized Presses or Decorating Equipment

If visions of ornately decorated cookies dance through your head, spurred on by Spring Baking Championship and images of a benevolent judge beaming at you, take a moment and consider how often you’re actually going to use this equipment. The best-laid plans to make pressed or extruded cookies and finish them off with a decorating kit more involved than a surgeon’s array of tools can go awry, especially in the heat of holiday planning. Consider borrowing these tools from a friend, buying a set to share with family or adding to this collection over the years rather than purchasing a complete kit with all the options right off the bat. And unless you’ve got very steady hands, icing that elaborate piping or calligraphy onto your cake might be best left to a local baker.

Steve Hodge on the set of Project Bakeover

Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is far from difficult—it’s a basic method of pouring spirits over vanilla beans and letting time do the rest—but it’s included on this list due to the cost of ingredients versus buying a bottle in the store. For most people, a smaller amount of vanilla extract will last for months through the most frenzied of baking booms, so making it in bulk may not make sense for your household. Plus, once you factor in buying the alcohol and the vanilla beans, it may be worth spending your money on a high-quality store bought extract or paste (look for versions that contain real vanilla bean from reputable manufacturers, rather than “flavoured” extracts that can contain filler).

Vanilla and Calamansi Macaron stacked on a white tray

Related: Try These Vanilla Calamansi Macaron

“Handle With Care” Ingredients

If you’ve got little ones around or working in a cramped space, consider outsourcing some of your components to the pros. Heating sugar for caramels or candy creates a molten, sticky substance that requires vigilance and precise movements to avoid spills or spatters. The liquid nitrogen so beloved by cooking show contestants for instant ice cream requires knowledge of how to handle it and protective gear. You know your space (and yourself) best – if there’s a risk of injury when working with these items, think about buying a quality pre-made caramel, dulce de leche or candy for your baked goods.  

Watch Project Bakeover Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Afrim Pristine's Stinky Cheese Bread recipe from For The Love of Cheese

This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

I love using Appenzeller cheese when cooking because of its melting properties and the distinctive aroma it gives off when it’s melted. Image a beautiful summer day on a dairy farm in Appenzell, Switzerland. Flowers are blossoming, and the lush vegetation all around you is waving in a slight breeze. There’s a beautiful scent in the air and then a cow comes along and passes some gas. That’s exactly what your house will smell like after you make this recipe. I call that “pleasant pungeantness”.

Related: Irresistible Grilled Cheese Recipes

Afrim Pristine's Stinky Cheese Bread recipe from For The Love of Cheese

Embrace the Stinky Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 (or 1 hungry Afrim)

Ingredients:

1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
½ small white onion, coarsely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded
½ cup (125 mL) cilantro
1 can (28oz/796 mL) whole tomatillos, drained
Juice from 1 fresh lime
Fine sea salt
1 ½ lb (700g) round loaf or sourdough rye bread
10 oz (285g) grated Appenzeller cheese

See More: Get to Know Afrim Pristine

Directions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. To make the salsa verde, combine the garlic, onion, jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor. Process the ingredients until finely chopped. Add the tomatillos, and pulse until combined, but don’t pulse the living daylights out of it; be sure to leave some texture. Mix in the lime juice and season to taste with salt. Should you have any leftover salsa verde, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 5 days.

3. To assemble, place the loaf of bread on the prepared baking sheet.

Related: BC Wines You Need On Your Radar (Plus Drink Pairings)

4. Using a knife, make cuts 2 inches (5 cm) deep and 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart in the loaf. Rotate the loaf a quarter-turn and make the same cuts again to create 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes.

5. Pour some salsa verde into each of the cuts. Then take the cheese and stuff it into each of the cuts. Cover the loaf with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 7 minutes or until golden brown and cheese has melted.

6. Serve hot and tear this cheesy bread to shreds.

Excerpted from For the Love of Cheese: Recipes and Wisdom From the Cheese Boutique by Afrim Pristine. Copyright© 2018 Afrim Pristine. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

For the Love of Cheese: Recipes and Wisdom From the Cheese Boutique, Amazon, $30.

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

Watch Cheese: A Love Story with Afrim Pristine 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.

Top Chef Canada season 9 final four wait for the winner to be announced

Top Chef Canada Winner: Exclusive Interview With the Season 9 Winner

From the moment Erica Karbelnik stepped into the Top Chef Canada kitchen, she was a force to be reckoned with. The Toronto-based executive chef came in hot with the season’s first Quickfire win, and she continued to impress in a series of tough challenges throughout the entire season.

Of course, it probably helped that one of her fellow competitors was her husband, Josh Karbelnik, a chef de cuisine in Toronto. The duo supported each other through thick and thin throughout their season 9 run, and as a result, they proved to be among the best of the best. No one was really surprised when they both made it to the top 4.

Unfortunately though, Josh stumbled with the amuse bouche and appetizer during the last cook, and he was eliminated alongside fellow top 4 finalist Andrea Alridge in the finale. The good news was that Josh got to stay behind to help Erica finish her menu against Kym Nguyen (and their new sous chef Andrea).

It all led up to one of the closest calls ever on Top Chef Canada, but in the end judges Mark McEwan, Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak and Janet Zuccarini awarded Erica $100,000, a Lexus RX Hybrid Electric SUV, and the title of Top Chef Canada.

Following Erica’s big win we caught up with the chef to get her hot take on this year’s competition, working with her husband, and what’s next for the winning couple with a baby on the way.

Chefs often say doing this show is harder than they expected, but what was the hardest part for you?

I’d say not knowing what to expect when you get there and what’s going to come your way. I’ve been a huge fan of Top Chef and Top Chef Canada for over 15 years, and I’ve watched every episode. But it doesn’t really prepare you for what it’s like when you’re actually there and how real it is. When the judges say you’ve got 30 minutes on the clock, you have 30 minutes on the clock, and you want to make the best things that you possibly can make. There’s no room for error and that puts a lot of pressure on everybody.

On the flip side of that, what was the most rewarding part—other than winning!?

It was really finding myself and finding who I am as a chef and as a person. I’m classically French, Italian trained. But going on the show, I was pulling out things from my backgrounds and cooking with a lot of Moroccan flavours, which I don’t normally do. So it’s definitely helped me find my stride in who I am as a chef.

What was it like to do all of that alongside your husband?

Honestly, it was amazing. We’re each other’s biggest support system. Being there together, this is something that both of us have always wanted to do. So to make it on the show together is a huge accomplishment. Like we never thought in a million years that would happen. It was really cool. It’s an accomplishment for us. And it’s something that we both get to look back on years down the road and have the laughs about, have some cringes about. But honestly, I loved every minute.

You two shared such a positive rapport on the series, with each other and with your competitors. Does that speak to how we’re maybe moving away from some of the negative perceptions of all kitchens being this pressure-cooker environment?

Not necessarily, I think Top Chef Canada really wants to show everybody in their best light. They do a good job in that. I had some rough times in that kitchen, and they definitely showed a few moments of weakness for me… I guess you can say not my best moments. But that’s what it is to be a chef. Nowadays, we want things to be a lot calmer in the kitchen than they once were, a lot nicer. And I guess I could say things are a little bit more sugar-coated. But at the end of the day, our kitchen is the kitchen, it’s a high-stress environment, it’s a tough industry, and you have to have a really tough backbone to be able to do this job.

The judges and Top 4 contestants cheers to the winner of Top Chef Canada season 9

Related: The Season 9 Chefs Talk Eating Local

In nine seasons, you’re the second female to win Top Chef Canada (Nicole Gomes was the first). What is it like to be a female working in the industry these days?

I’m so proud to be the second female to win Top Chef Canada. I really am. But I’m also the person that, when I walk into a kitchen, I don’t see gender, I don’t see colour, I see food. And food is what matters at the end of the day. And whether you’re male or female. It’s about if you can cook, and how you cook, and how you represent yourself. The food is what speaks for itself.

I’m extremely happy to represent women in the kitchen. We do have a hard time because of that reputation. So that makes us have to work harder. Let’s show them that there is no difference. We are just as good. We can do the exact same job. I’m currently four and a half months pregnant and I’m still working every day. Still pulling 12-hour shifts sometimes to try and kick butt in a kitchen because I don’t think that being a female should get in the way of that. It’s something to be very proud of. But it doesn’t matter whether I’m male or female. One of my favourite chefs, Dominique Crenn, [who is] one of the most respected women in the industry, says, “I am not a female Chef. I am just a Chef.”

Related: Mijune Pak Reflects On Reinventing Her Career

Congrats on the pregnancy! Have you and Josh thought about what you’ll do if your kid winds up being a picky eater?

I really don’t think the kid will have a choice in the matter! I don’t think it’ll be a picky eater though, because I have to say my cravings are like left, right and center. I’ve been eating everything and anything under the sun. So I think we’ll be okay.

Erica and Josh Karbelnik on the set of Top Chef Canada

You watched every episode of Top Chef Canada leading up to your season, so of the former competitors who would you say is your inspiration?

Dale Mackay from Season 1 is the one who really struck my nerve to want to be on this show. And to put my best foot forward and to be that competitive person… and to go for it and just do you. He’s an extremely talented chef. He’s very accomplished. And his food was spectacular on the show. When he was on Top Chef Canada I was an apprentice, so he opened so many doors for so many chefs for us to say, “Hey, we can do that, too!”

How much did your knowledge of previous seasons help you out when it came time to plan and execute your final menu?

Watching the show previously definitely had an advantage. You do learn what the judges are looking for. But at the end of the day, when we’re doing challenges, there’s a box that we’re placed in and there’s restrictions. You have to follow guidelines on exactly what the judges are looking for in that dish. So you don’t really have free rein to kind of create whatever you want to create.

Going into the finale menu, I said it in the semifinals: “If you let me into the finals, you’ll be able to read me like an open book. Let me show you who I am in my cooking.” At the end of the day, that’s what I do every day. I want people to understand me through food. I am not always able to express myself fully in words. And a lot of people misunderstand me. So food has always been my go-to, it’s always been like my voice. But I really wanted to showcase myself in that menu. Those dishes are dishes that I would put forward over and over and over again. I’m so insanely proud of who they represented. Each dish represented something that was extremely close to my heart and really told the story of who I am and who my family is and where I come from.

Other than Josh, who else did you originally expect to go all the way to the finale?

To the honest, Galasa. From the moment Galasa started cooking, just the way he carried himself in the kitchen, the way he understood flavours. I think that dude is a force to be reckoned with. He’s going to do really great things in his future culinary career. He was definitely one that I was a little scared of.

See More: Top Chef Canada Judge Janet Zuccarini Talks Resilience in the Restaurant Industry

You and Josh have been doing catering while your current gig with Elmwood Spa is on hold because of COVID. And you talked about opening up your own place if you won. Is that still the plan?

We would love to have our own restaurant, we really would. We would love to also have our own catering company. With COVID, a lot of chefs had to rethink and pivot their ideas and their future plans. Unfortunately, restaurants at the moment really have an unforeseen future and we don’t know what’s coming our way. So it’s always good to have a backup plan. That’s been our backup plan for now and it’s been working really well for us. And, as I said, we did get pregnant. So, our little sous chef has a nice college fund started. We’d like to use that money to create a stable home and a future for us and for the baby.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Competing on Top Chef Canada was awesome and I’m very happy with the outcome and to be able to do it with my husband. I’d like to thank him for being my support system there, and for helping me through the finale. And also just for being an amazing partner. There’s nobody else I would have rather have done this with.

Watch Top Chef Canada 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.

Anna Olson image over a beauty of her Dutch baby recipe

Sunday Brunch Just Got Better With Anna Olson’s Easy Dutch Baby

Start your weekend right with an extra special breakfast that will make you feel like you’re at one of the most popular brunch spots in town. A Dutch baby is baked in the oven instead of on the stovetop and is best described as part souffle pancake and part turnover. The best part? A Dutch baby can be easily customized with your favourite toppings—Anna likes to add orange zest in hers. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, add a dollop of whip cream or a scoop of ice cream once it’s cooled from the oven —we promise not to tell!

Made using baking staples you likely already have at home, this easy and fluffy Dutch Baby pancake from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Anna Olson will become one of your go-to brunch dishes after the first bite.

See More: Indulge in Dessert for Breakfast With Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Pancake

Anna Olson’s Dutch Baby

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minute
Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

Pancake
¼ cup flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
⅛ tsp salt
⅔ cup 10% cream
3 eggs
¼ tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp melted butter

For Serving
Icing sugar
Maple syrup
Fresh berries

Related: Anna Olson’s Apple Cannoli Tart is the Best New Dessert Mashup

Dutch baby in cast iron skillet topped with berries

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 450°F and place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat while you prepare the batter.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, orange zest and salt in a bowl. Add the cream, eggs and vanilla and whisk well. Then, whisk in the melted butter.

3. Pour batter into the heated pan and return to the oven. Bake until puffed and deep golden for approximately 16 to 18 minutes.

4. Serve warm, topped with dusted icing sugar and drizzled with maple syrup and berries.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

Jordan Andino Photo with Fresh Chopped Salad

Jordan Andino’s Pantry Staple Salad Makes for a Fuss-Free Summer Lunch

Summer is on the horizon, and with more time spent enjoying the beautiful weather, the last thing you want to do is go grocery shopping or eat a heavy takeout meal.  Make the most out of the longer days by opting for light, no-cook meals that are budget-friendly and will be ready to serve in no time. As an easy lunch or picnic side dish, this easy chopped salad recipe is made with pantry staples like luncheon meat, black beans and canned corn.

Topped with a healthy and light four-ingredient vinaigrette, this pantry chopped salad recipe from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Jordan Andino is a great make-ahead meal for busy summer days.

See More: 3 Crowd-Pleasing Appetizers From Lynn Crawford 

Jordan Andino’s Pantry Staple Chopped Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

Salad
½ cup luncheon meat, chopped into ½ inch cubes
1 avocado, chopped
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
1-½ Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup corn kernels

Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp lime juice, divided
1 Tbsp honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Related:  Jordan Andino’s Perfect Burger Recipe

Directions:

1. Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil along with canned meat and cook for approximately 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Then, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon lime juice and honey in a small bowl.

3. Place avocado in a large bowl and toss with the remaining tablespoon of lime juice. Add jalapeno, cilantro, tomatoes, red onion, beans, corn and cooled luncheon meat.

4. Season with salt and pepper. Lastly, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

steak with garlic sauce

Take Our Quiz to Find Out What Your Cooking Style Says About You (Plus Recipes!)

Eating may be universal, but everyone has their own flair in the kitchen. Whether your signature style is pressing buttons on a microwave, sauteing veggies to your heart’s content or marinating and grilling the choicest cuts of steak, your style is your own. And it can say a lot about you.

Look no further than this season’s batch of Top Chef Canada contestants for proof. The cast is the most diverse ever featured on the series and as a result we’ve also seen some of the most exciting dishes ever pulled off. Want to know which chefs share your style and maybe even dig up a new recipe or two to try out in the process? Take our quiz and then grab your Interac debit card to get shopping for ingredients. Of course, how you prepare those ingredients is totally up to you.

Watch Top Chef Canada 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.

Instant Pot and microplane and ghee photos courtesy of Getty Images. All other quiz photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Photo of Anna Olson beside a close up of an Apple Cannoli Tart

Anna Olson’s Apple Cannoli Tart is the Best New Dessert Mashup

When it comes to comforting sweet treats, mouthwatering apple tarts are in a league of their own. Perfect for upcoming summer BBQs, this easy, elevated apple tart recipe is inspired by the traditional cannoli, but it’s the baked apples marinated with maple syrup that really makes this dessert shine.

Paired with a fresh and creamy ricotta cheese filling, this two-in-one dessert mashup from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Anna Olson features an unexpected twist on an all-time favourite dish that brings out the flavours of the classic Italian treat.

See More: Anna Olson’s Best Fixes for Your Biggest Baking Fails 

Anna Olson’s Apple Cannoli Tart

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Yields: One 9-inch fluted tart

Ingredients:

Pastry
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1 hard-boiled egg yolk
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
1-¾ cups pastry flour, sifted
¼ tsp salt

Filling
2-½ cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced apple, like  Cortland or Honeycrisp
3 Tbsp maple syrup or sweet Marsala wine
1-⅓ cups full fat, creamy ricotta cheese
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp grated dark chocolate
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Related: The Best Recipes from Junior Chef Showdown 

Cannoli Apple Tart With Ricotta Cheese

Directions:

Pastry
1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together with a hand mixer in a large bowl until smooth.

2. Press the hard-boiled egg yolk through a sieve into a small bowl and stir in the raw egg yolk and vanilla. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended.

3. Then, add flour and salt to the butter mixture, stirring until blended.

4. Shape the dough into a disc (it will be very soft) and, wrap in plastic and chill for about 2 hours until firm.

5. On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the dough just a little soften, then roll it out to a circle about 12 inches across and ¼-inch thick. Line a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan, pressing the pastry into the bottom and sides.  Be sure to trim away any excess dough.

6. Chill the tart shell for 30 minutes and heat the oven to 325°F.

7. Place the chilled tart shell onto a baking tray and dock the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown.

8. Cool the tart shell to room temperature.

Filling
1. Heat the oven to 350°F

2. Toss the apple with the maple syrup or Marsala and set aside; stir occasionally.

3. Whisk the ricotta, ¼ cup of the sugar, grated chocolate, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest and nutmeg together. Strain the Marsala from the apples into the ricotta mixture and stir to blend.

Assembly
1. Pour the ricotta filling into the tart shell and arrange the apples over top. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

2. Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the apples are tender.

3. Cool the tart to room temperature then chill until ready to serve.

Note: The apple ricotta tart will keep refrigerated for up to two days.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

Harry Eastwood headshot overlaid on a food beauty of a tahini, lemon and berry pound cake

Gorgeous Edible Cake Decorations to Elevate Any Dessert

I’ve always been a big fan of using natural flowers to decorate celebration cakes, not only because they look spectacular, but also because you can then clean the stems and re-use them as cut flowers afterward. Fresh flowers are low maintenance and will immediately turn your cake into a glamorous thing of beauty.

Tahini pound cake with a lemon drizzle and fresh edible flowers

Get the recipe: Dairy-Free Tahini, Lemon and Berry Pound Cake

The things to bear in mind when choosing your fresh flowers are the following:

-Only use flowers that are edible, such as roses, calendula, borage, lavender, fennel, violas, nasturtiums, pansies, cornflowers and dahlias – as well as herbs we already commonly use in cooking.

-If you’re picking them yourself, rather than ordering them through a producer, make sure to wash the stems before use. Avoid flowers from the side of the road or in areas where pesticides are widely used.

Related: These One-Bowl Flowerpot Cupcakes Are the Cutest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

-Decorate with flowers at the last minute and keep in the fridge until needed.

-Just to be on the safe side, I prefer using decoration flowers only on cakes that are iced with a barrier between the flowers and the cake itself, such as fondant or royal icing – avoiding naked cakes. Even edible flowers may cause allergic reactions in some people so remember to remove them before handing the cake out to be eaten.

-Always tape the flower stems with floral tape to ensure that none of the liquid from the flower stems transfers to the cake itself

Can’t get your hand on edible flowers? Why not try Harry’s recipe for creating beautiful stained glass fruit to decorate cakes?

Watch the how-to video below:

Watch and stream The Big Bake and 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
Mijune Pak on set of Top Chef Canada season 9

Top Chef Canada Judge Mijune Pak Reflects on Reinvention in Her Own Career and the Restaurant Industry

Among the lessons that those in the hard-hit hospitality industry have had to learn this past year is reinvention — from the early days of pandemic closures, chefs and operators have scrambled to adapt to takeout, social distancing and often costly retrofits, as well as other hurdles in their path.

And when it comes to transforming herself based on both circumstances and passion, Top Chef Canada judge Mijune Pak is well suited to offer up some hard-won wisdom from her career, which has evolved and shifted with the zeitgeist as she adapts and refreshes her brand. “I think that my role as this food personality has really changed because when I first started it was a lot more from a critiquing side,” she says. “Now, it’s more of a support system for the industry and being a voice for the Canadian culinary food scene on an international level.”

Mijune Pak on the set of Top Chef Canada

Born and raised in the food-forward city of Vancouver, Mijune originally set her sights on a career in media relations. With a degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University, Mijune’s first job was marketing for Paramount Pictures, handling advance screenings, tracking critics’ reviews and other promotional material. Her interests, however, lay in filling up notebooks with pictures and observations of the dishes she was eating in her travels. Based on her sister Mijon’s encouragement, Mijune launched , her food and travel blog, FollowMeFoodie.com, in 2009. Over time, Mijune’s role has shifted away from the blogging that launched her career into a more expansive role as entrepreneur and spokesperson for an industry she loves.

Related: We Tried Mijune Pak’s New Chocolate Creations

When the pandemic curtailed her travel last year, Mijune started hosting At Home With Mijune, a cooking show with chefs, on Instagram Live as a means of bolstering the industry. “I had this platform to use, and these connections for chefs, so why not keep supporting the industry that’s supporting you, and try to push through this together by being creative?” she asked herself. 

Mijune also brought this spirit of adaptation and evolution to her role as a judge on Top Chef Canada — a cooking competition completely changed by the circumstances of the world around it. Adding to the heightened awareness around this season of the show are growing, and necessary, discussions around social justice, food origins and responsibility in acknowledging the cultures behind ingredients and using them mindfully. “So many things happened in 2020 politically as well as globally, and I think it put everyone in a really sensitive position. Everyone took a step back from their usual role: listening to everyone’s background and where everyone’s food was coming from,” says Mijune. She drew from her own Chinese heritage (Mijune’s mother, Mimi, has a Hong Kong and Malaysian background) as well as her own experiences as a Chinese-Canadian when judging and sharing stories at the Top Chef Canada table. “Growing up in Vancouver, when I would bring anything Chinese to school for lunch, I would get made fun of and teased for it,” she remembers. “And now it’s so awesome it’s being celebrated. But there are dangers of cultural appropriation of food. My mother’s recipes have been adapted over the years — it’s not exactly how her mom or grandma would have made it. Food and recipes evolve with ingredients and over time and place, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s really important to bring forward a lot of the cultural history and knowledge that comes with using these ingredients, as well as showing how they are used traditionally, and not just in a modern context.” 

Along with these discussions around food origins and authenticity lay the constant awareness of the pandemic’s devastating effect on restaurants. “Adapting really quickly to changes has always been kind of a theme in the competition, but this was in very different circumstances. We filmed it in the fall and didn’t know what was going to happen with the pandemic when it aired,” says Mijune. “We had to take into consideration what kind of challenge would be mindful of the pandemic. Along with the producers and creative staff, it challenged the chefs to think about the competition as something they might actually have to apply in the future in their businesses.”

See More: Watch Full Episodes of Top Chef Canada

Ultimately, Mijune, much like her fellow judge, Janet Zuccarini, sees these challenges and adaptations to changing social mores as a process of evolution in the restaurant industry — and a sign of its resilience. “When people don’t see the background of what’s happening — the real behind the scenes —  they can think that your career or industry is only on an upwards trajectory because they don’t see the lows,” she says. “And I think when those lows happen, you just have to kick yourself in the butt, and ask what you haven’t tried yet, and what you still enjoy, because so much of this industry is built on passion. You really have to enjoy it and live and breathe it, and love it without any expectations.”

Watch Top Chef Canada Mondays at 10ep 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.

A platter of deviled eggs and tempura cauliflower and a plate of ricotta topped figs

3 Crowd-Pleasing Appetizers From Lynn Crawford That Make the Perfect Snack Board (Plus Recipes!)

Kids aren’t the only ones that like to snack! Grazing platters are an impressive way to plate a variety of appetizers perfect for entertaining when you just can’t decide on one dish. Beyond that, snack platters can make for a special dinner at home that’s casual and delicious.

These three elegant appetizers from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Lynn Crawford are so easy to make and, when plated together, make for a lovely spread of hors d’oeuvres. Featuring classic deviled eggs, lightly crusted tempura cauliflower and ricotta-stuffed figs drizzled with honey, this picturesque and crowd-pleasing grazing platter tastes as good as it looks.

Easy Five-Ingredient Deviled Eggs

Total time: 20 minutes
Yields: 12 devilled eggs

Seven deviled eggs on a wooden platter

Ingredients:

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp salmon roe
1 Tbsp minced chives

Directions

1.  First, cut the hard boiled eggs in half. Remove yolks and transfer to a small bowl.

2.  Pass the yolks through a fine mesh sieve or mash well with a fork.

3.  Add mayonnaise and Dijon and stir until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Spoon or pipe filling into egg halves evenly and then top evenly with roe and chives. Serve immediately.

Related: Lynn Crawford’s Bacon and Egg Ramen

Better-Than-Takeout  Cauliflower Tempura With Quick and Easy Buttermilk Ranch

Total time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Three plates of cauliflower tempura and buttermilk ranch

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Tempura
1 small head cauliflower, cup into medium florets, about 4 cups
1 cup flour, divided
3 egg yolks
1 cup cold club soda
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
Oil for frying

Buttermilk Ranch
Sour Cream
Mayo
Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Dill, Chives)
Buttermilk

Related: BBQ Halibut Collar & Tempura Spot Prawn Salad

Directions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack and toss cauliflower with ¼ cup flour in a large bowl.

2. Then, whisk together egg yolks and water in a large bowl until foamy. Add remaining flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix until smooth.

3. Heat oil in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed saucepan to 325°F.

4. Toss cauliflower and flour in the batter. Add in batches to oil and fry for 3 minutes. Transfer to prepared sheet, sprinkle with more salt and cool slightly before serving.

5. Serve with buttermilk ranch (recipe below) or your dipping sauce of choice.

6. For buttermilk ranch, in a small bowl stir sour cream and a little mayo with  fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, and chive. Add buttermilk until desired consistency and salt and pepper. Optional: Add a few dashes of your favourite hot sauce.

Ricotta-Stuffed Figs Drizzled With Honey

Total time: 20 minutes
Yields: 12 stuffed figs

Six figs topped with ricotta and drizzled with honey on a plate

Ingredients:

12 figs
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped pistachios
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

1. Prepare the figs by cutting 1/2-inch off the steams. Them, score the top of each fig with an “X” about 1/2-inch  deep.

2. Gently separate the cuts and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, stir cheese with lemon juice. Place the sauce into a small piping bag or sandwich bag.

4. Cut the tip and pipe the cheese mixture into each fig and sprinkle with the crushed pistachios.

5. Stir honey with the lemon zest. Drizzle over the figs before serving.

Related: 3 Classic Sauces From Lynn Crawford That Will Be Instant Staples (Plus Recipes!)

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

Sunny Anderson’s Easy Chili Cheese Fries Get Major Flavour From a Secret Shortcut

The food experts on The Kitchen are all about making delicious dishes quick, easy and fun — and these super-simple chili cheese fries from co-host Sunny Anderson are like a fast-pass to flavour city.

Sunny’s genius nunya business shortcut? Pre-made marinara sauce makes a hearty chili in a fraction of the time. Once it comes together, the rich, beefy chili teams up with tangy nacho cheese sauce, all poured over a mountain of hot crinkle-cut fries. Why choose crinkle over straight or shoestring varieties? The crinkled ridges are essential for catching all the yummy, saucy goodness. The final result? These fries are the perfect pick for a crowd-pleasing game-day — or any day, really — snack.

Related: Sunny Anderson’s Chicken and Sausage is a One-Pot Wonder

Sunny’s Nunya Business Chili Cheese Fries

Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
One 28-to-32-oz bag frozen crinkle-cut french fries
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 lb ground beef (80% meat/20% fat)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups marinara sauce (pick one with personality!)
One 15-oz jar nacho cheese sauce (mild, medium, spicy — your choice)
3 scallions, sliced on the bias
1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos

Related: 55 Crowd-Pleasing Chili Recipes

Sunny Anderson holds up her chili cheese fries

Directions:
1. Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Arrange the fries on the sheet tray in a single layer. Bake according to the package instructions. Season with salt.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook until the spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beef, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, breaking the beef into bits while browning, until fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and stir to coat. Let cook for 5 minutes to let the flavours meld.

3. Heat the nacho cheese sauce according to the package instructions. Top the fries with the chili and nacho cheese sauce, then garnish with the scallions and pickled jalapenos.

Can’t get enough of Sunny’s time-saving hacks for comfort food classics? Try her tasty take on late-night mac and cheese — all made in the microwave, in one mug.

Watch The Kitchen 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.

Kardea Brown’s Maple BBQ Chicken and Waffles Put a Sweet Spin on Comfort Food

Inspired by passed-down family recipes and an innate flair for flavour, Kardea Brown does comfort food right with every must-try recipe she shares on Delicious Miss Brown. Her latest spin on a soul-food classic — chicken and waffles — takes your brunch to the next level with the perfect balance of warmth, spice and sweetness.

For the chicken component of the dish, Kardea makes crispy fried chicken wings the same way her grandmother and mother showed her — well-seasoned and shaken up old-school in a brown paper bag. Once golden, the wings are dipped in Kardea’s sweet-and-tangy barbecue sauce. Plain waffles wouldn’t do the finger-licking wings justice, so Kardea created a crave-worthy spin with smashed sweet potatoes and spiced up with cinnamon for a callback to sweet potato pie. Finally, maple syrup is the delicious thread that ties the dish together — it’s the sweetheart of the barbecue sauce and it’s drizzled over the waffles.

Related: These Waffle Recipes Will Make You Jump Right Out of Bed

Maple BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yields: 4 servings (4 sweet potato waffles, 3 cups of Maple BBQ sauce and 5 tsp of seasoning)

Ingredients:

8 whole chicken wings, about 2 lbs. total
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Miss Brown’s House Seasoning, recipe follows
Canola oil, for frying
About 1 cup Miss Brown’s Maple BBQ Sauce, recipe follows
4 Sweet Potato Waffles, recipe follows
Pickled jalapeno slices, optional
Maple syrup, for serving

Sweet Potato Waffles
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
3/4 cup mashed sweet potato
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Miss Brown’s Maple BBQ Sauce
One 14.5-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Miss Brown’s House Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Related: Kardea Brown’s Big Apple Crumb Cheesecake is the Dessert You Deserve Right Now

Directions:

1. Pour enough oil into a large Dutch oven to come about one-third of the way up the sides (it should be deep enough to cover the wings) and heat to 350ºF. Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with a wire rack.

2. Rinse the chicken wings (the water is going to help the flour stick) and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Season both sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place the flour and House Seasoning in a large paper bag and shake to combine. Add the chicken wings, 2 at a time, shaking well to coat. Return the coated wings to the same baking sheet.

3. Fry the wings in batches until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165ºF, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to the other prepared baking sheet.

4. To serve, toss the wings with the Maple BBQ Sauce. Place two wings on each Sweet Potato Waffle. Top with jalapeno slices, if desired, drizzle with maple syrup and serve warm.

Sweet Potato Waffles:

1. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sweet potato, melted butter, sugar and eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.

4.. Add a heaping cup of waffle batter to the preheated waffle iron and cook until the outsides of the waffle are lightly browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Remove the waffle and repeat with the remaining batter.

Miss Brown’s Maple BBQ Sauce:

1. Stir together the tomato sauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add up to 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Use on poultry, pork, beef or seafood. The sauce will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.

Miss Brown’s House Seasoning:

1. Stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Cook’s Note: Miss Brown’s House Seasoning can be made in a large batch and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 months.

Special Equipment: Belgian waffle iron

Want another delicious chicken idea from Kardea? This creamy smothered chicken will have you licking your plate clean.

Watch Delicious Miss Brown 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.

Eddie Jackson’s Tips for What to Do With Leftover Cake

Maybe you had a celebration and everyone was a bit too full for dessert (unthinkable!) or maybe you just got the baking bug and couldn’t help making that cake just because. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself with a lot of leftover cake, have no fear! My easy ideas will help you repurpose that cake into entirely new dishes that are just as delicious.

Add Leftover Cake to a Smoothie for a Delicious Dessert Mash-up


Use dry leftover cake as a base for an epic ice cream sundae as seen in my recipe above.

Make Leftover Cake Into a Frozen Treat

Use a round cookie cutter to cut your leftover cake into ice cream sandwich size portions. Dip in melted chocolate and garnish with sprinkles, nuts or chocolate chips. These freeze really well so go ahead and make a large batch!

Related: Ice Cream Sandwiches for a Sweet Summer Treat

Toast Leftover Cake to Add Texture to Parfaits

Cut up leftover cake and toast it on low in the oven until crisp. Top your yogurt and granola with it for an extra punch of flavour and texture. Try it with a fig compote for a delicious sweet parfait.

Breakfast Parfait with Fig Compote as seen on Valerie's Home Cooking On the Road Again episode, season 7.

 

Use Leftover Cake to Make Multi-Use Cake Crumbs

Make multipurpose cake crumbs from your leftover cake and to a frosted cake for texture or find a great cake crumb cookie recipe and add them.

See More: Classic Cake Recipes and Expert Advice for a Perfect Bake

Make a Carnival-Worthy Treat

Cut up chunks of cake and add them to pancake batter before frying or deep-frying in oil for a treat that will transport you straight to a summer carnival.

Watch The Big Bake Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription

Take This Quiz to Find Out Which Top Chef Canada-Inspired Meal Should You Make for Dinner Tonight

Hungry for a little dinnertime inspiration? No worries, because Top Chef Canada has your back. It’s still early in the season, but already the contestants on this year’s show have proven they’re concocting some of the most diverse and flavourful dishes to-date. From spice-filled fish dishes to flamed-kissed meats to delightful vegan offerings and everything in between, it’s hard not to salivate when tuning in.

If you’re on the hunt for ideas on what to make for your next dinner, take our quiz and then grab your Interac debit card and select ingredients for your feast while shopping. And get cooking already because your time starts… now!

Watch Top Chef Canada 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.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Lynn Crawford headshot with her Chinese Veggie Stirfry With Black Bean Sauce

3 Classic Sauces From Lynn Crawford That Will Be Instant Staples (Plus Recipes!)

The secret to elevating any meal from meh to memorable is all in the sauce. A delicious sauce is a sure-fire way to boost flavour and add texture and dimension to any dish. These three classic sauces from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Lynn Crawford are super versatile and can elevate any weeknight dinner from just delicious to simply divine. From a creamy, cheesy Mornay sauce (daughter sauce to the French béchamel) to a simple and fresh Sofrito (a Latin American staple) to a Chinese black bean sauce that’s bursting with salty umami flavour, you’ll be making these staple sauces again and again.

Related: Lynn Crawford’s Comforting Bacon and Egg Ramen Soup

Chinese Veggie Stir Fry With Quick and Easy Black Bean Sauce

Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings + 1 cup of sauce

A healthy veggie stir fry with easy black bean sauce on a bed of rice.

Ingredients:

Black Bean Sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1 green onion, minced
3 Tbsp fermented beans, soaked in water for one hour, drained and mashed with a fork
½ cup mirin
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp water
1-½ tsp cornstarch

Chinese Veggie Stir-Fry
2 heaping Tbsp of Black Bean Sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
2 cups sliced or torn shiitake mushrooms
½ cup Vidalia onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into ½ inch strips
2 Tbsp julienned ginger
6 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
6 stems gai lan (Chinese broccoli), stems cut in half lengthwise, cut into 1-inch sections
1 cup sugar snap peas
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 finger chili, thinly sliced

Related: Blind Sauce Taste Test With the Junior Chefs

Directions:

1. For the Black Bean Sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add green onion; cook for 1 minute. Add beans and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and pepper to pan and  bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

3. Mix together water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to bean mixture and cook until thickened slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Spoon onto a serving platter and sprinkle with pine nuts and cheese.

5. For the stir-fry, heat up 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large non-stick skillet.

6. Place the mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

7. Then, add the remaining oil, onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add red pepper and ginger into the wok and continue to cook for another minute.

8. Add bok choy and gai lan; cook until the gai lan is tender crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes.

9. Stir in sauce to combine (add up to two tablespoons of water if needed to help the sauce coat the vegetables).

10. Serve hot over rice sprinkled with green onions, sesame seeds and chilies.

See More: Jordan Andino’s Perfect Burger Recipe

Creamy Mac and Cheese With Classic Mornay Sauce

Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings + 3 cups of sauce

Lynn Crawford's creamy mac and cheese with Mornay sauce in a cast iron skillet

Ingredients:

Creamy Mornay Sauce
1 bay leaf
1 clove
1/4 white onion, peeled, root attached
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp white pepper
2 cups whole milk
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt, to taste

Mac and Cheese
Classic Mornay Sauce
½ cup diced pancetta
⅓ cup breadcrumbs (seasoned or plain)
8 cups cooked short pasta, such as macaroni or rigatoni
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Related: Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings 

Directions:

1. For the Creamy Mornay Sauce, first, pin bay leaf to onion with the clove.

2. Then, melt butter in the medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, nutmeg and pepper; whisk until the mixture is bubbling; cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute.

3. Gradually whisk in milk, add onion and increase heat to medium-high. Bring mixture to a simmer and continue to whisk until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

4.  Strain out the onion, bay leaf and clove, reduce heat to medium-low and return mixture to saucepan.

5. Stir in the cheese until melted. Season with salt, to taste.

6. For the mac and cheese, heat oven to 375°F.

7. Cook pancetta in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

8. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan and add breadcrumbs. Cook until toasted, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.

9. Toss pasta with mornay sauce and transfer to a lightly greased 2L casserole dish.

10. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

11. Bake for 30 minutes until the mixture is bubbling at the sides.

Related: How to Perfectly Crack Eggs With the Junior Chefs

Refreshing Grain Salad With Authentic Sofrito Sauce 

Total Rime: 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings + 1 cup of sauce

Lynn Crawford's grain salad with refreshing Sofrito sauce on a platter

Ingredients:

Sofrito Sauce
2 cloves garlic,  finely minced
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary
1 small bay leaf
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
¼ tsp pepper

Grain Salad
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 cups cooked farro
1-1/2 cups cooked barley
1-1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1 small bunch watercress
1 cup breakfast radishes, quartered lengthwise
1 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, mint and cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Related: Fresh, Flavourful Salads to Celebrate Spring 

Directions

1. For the Sofrito sauce, pulverize garlic with salt into a paste using the side of a chef’s knife on a cutting board.

2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic puree and cook for 1 minute. Add onion and herbs, cook until onion is translucent, for approximately 5 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes to the pan and cook until broken down and sauce has thickened slightly for approximately 4 minutes.

4. For the grain salad, mix together Sofrito, olive oil and lemon juice in a large bowl.

5. Add grains, watercress, radishes and herbs. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Spoon onto a serving platter and sprinkle with pine nuts and cheese.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

Michael Smith's wild blueberry grunt with cardamom dumplings and fresh basil from Farm, Fire & Feast: Recipes from the Inn at Bay Fortune

Celebrate East Coast Flavour With Michael Smith’s Blueberry Grunt With Cardamom Dumplings

On Prince Edward Island, if you get one or two country roads off the highway and go down some dirt lane, chances are you’ll stumble onto a distinctive crimson-hued wild blueberry field. They are a wonderful addition to our agricultural landscape. Unlike their big bland berry-basket brethren (a high-bush blueberry hybrid grown year-round in warm climes), these wild northern plants grow low to the ground and produce smaller fruit with much more intense flavour. And lots of them. So many wild blueberries that Island cooks traditionally had enough to simmer into a delectable stew, often with maple syrup and bright lemon. Dumplings would then be baked or simmered in the stew. Our twist of fresh basil was not traditional, but if you try it once, you’ll discover one of our favourite farm flavours for dessert. Blueberries and basil are delicious together, and cardamom loves basil too. You can reliably find wild blueberries in the frozen fruit section of your favourite supermarket.

Michael Smith's wild blueberry grunt with cardamom dumplings and fresh basil from Farm, Fire & Feast: Recipes from the Inn at Bay Fortune

Related: How to Add Anti-Oxidant Rich Blueberries to Your Diet

Wild Blueberry Grunt With Cardamom Dumpling and Fresh Basil

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Blueberry Stew
4 cups (1 L) fresh or frozen wild blueberries
1 cup (250 mL) pure maple syrup
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh basil, tightly rolled and thinly sliced

Cardamom Dumplings
4 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cardamom
¼ cup (60 mL) butter, frozen
¾ cup (175 mL) whole milk

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Fresh Herbs and Their Best Uses

Directions: 

1. For the Blueberry Stew, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Turn on the convection fan if you have one. (Alternatively, to cook on the stovetop, start the stew but instead of reducing it, add the dumplings, cover tightly, and simmer until they’re tender and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a dumpling comes out clean, 15 minutes.)

2. Toss the blueberries, maple syrup, and lemon zest and juice into a large, heavy skillet. Bring to a full boil over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and reduced by half or so. Remove from the heat.

3. For the Cardamom Dumplings, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cardamom. Grate the butter into the mixture through the large holes of a box grater and evenly mix in the shards with your fingers. Pour in the milk and stir the mixture into a smooth dough. Using a spoon or your hands, divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Nestle the dough into the blueberry stew. Bake until the dumplings are tender and lightly browned, 20 minutes. Serve with lots of fresh basil sprinkled on top.

Excerpted from Farm, Fire & Feast: Recipes from the Inn at Bay Fortune by Michael Smith Copyright © 2021 Michael Smith. Photography by Al Douglas. Published by Penguin Canada®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Farm, Fire & Feast: Recipes from the Inn at Bay Fortune, Amazon, $30.

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

Janet Zuccarini judging on the set of Top Chef Canada

Janet Zuccarini on Having Resilience in Her Own Life and on This Season of Top Chef Canada

Restaurateur and Top Chef Canada judge Janet Zuccarini learned all about one of the themes of this season — resilience — from her father at an early age. Giacomo Zuccarini opened Toronto’s Sidewalk Caffè before Janet was even born; a legacy that would shape her outlook on restaurants in more ways than one. “The restaurant was really successful, with lineups out the door,” she says. “And one day, when my father took his first vacation to go back to Italy to visit his mother, his business partner emptied out his bank account and fled to Mexico with all the money, and my father had to shut the restaurant down.”

Although Giacomo would go on to have a long career in the espresso machine importing business, he warned his daughter about the travails of being a restaurateur. When Janet went against his wishes and opened up her first restaurant Cafe Nervosa (later renamed Trattoria Nervosa) in 1996, it caused a rift between them. “My father brought me up telling me almost every day to never go in the restaurant business,” she remembers. “And when I did, it upset my father so much that he did not speak to me for one year. It was horrible. Because it was so traumatic for my father to lose everything at one point, he felt that I did it on purpose, in a way. But we healed.”

Janet Zuccarini on the set of Top Chef Canada

Today, Janet’s Gusto 54 restaurant group — named in tribute to year her father first opened Sidewalk Caffè — spans multiple cuisines and cities, including Wall of Chefs judge Nuit Regular’s Pai and Kiin restaurants, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Gusto 101 and others in Los Angeles, but she’s never lost sight of those early lessons of adaptability and overcoming adversity. 

Related: Eden Grinshpan’s Baba Ghanoush Recipe

This outlook would serve her well when the COVID-19 pandemic irrevocably changed the restaurant landscape. According to a December 2020 survey from industry group Restaurants Canada, eight out of 10 restaurants are either losing money or barely scraping by in today’s climate, and 48 percent of owners of single location restaurants are expecting to close within six months if conditions don’t improve. “It’s been absolutely devastating and has been a decimating experience for anyone with a small business, but the restaurant industry has been hit arguably the hardest during the pandemic,” says Janet. “With this third wave, we spent money that we don’t have to reopen outdoor dining just to be shut down again for the third time. Every time there’s a shutdown on short notice, you furlough all your team members that you just hired and paid to train, and figure out what to do with all of your inventory of food. We just keep getting one blow after the other. “

Viewers will be able to see this shift in the industry reflected in this season of Top Chef Canada, from behind-the-scenes logistics to Quickfire and Elimination Challenges. “The show is going to be very relevant, because not only did we have to shoot the show in such an extra safe way, with everyone on the set being tested every day they were on set, and of course wearing face shields and masks, and sitting separated at the judges’ table,” says Janet. Creating pandemic appropriate challenges was also an issue. “We had to address COVID, and what restaurants are going through and create challenges that represent how we’ve changed our way of relating to food and dining with regards to restaurants,” she says.

Related: Meet the Season 9 Top Chef Canada Competitors

Janet Zuccarini on the set of Top Chef Canada with Mark McEwan and Eden Grinshpan

Overall, what Janet hopes the audience takes away from this season is a feeling of looking forward in terms of the restaurant industry. “As a restaurateur, I’ve shifted and adapted from selling groceries to takeout to home meal kits with chef tutorials over Zoom. We’ve opened four restaurants during the pandemic. The ideas have to keep coming, and going, and changing,” she says. “As the year has gone on, we’ve had different needs: people are not traveling, they’re not going to concerts, they’re starved for experiences. So, I have a lot of hope for the future.”

Watch Top Chef Canada Mondays at 10ep 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.

anna-olson-icing-a-cake

Anna Olson’s Best Fixes for Your Biggest Baking Fails

When it comes to baking, nobody is perfect. Even expert bakers like the talented teams on The Big Bake have bad days in the kitchen, but the best part about messing up is learning from those mistakes.

Whether you’re baking a cake, whipping up a batch of cookies, or trying your hand at homemade pie dough, the next time you head into the kitchen, let Anna Olson show you how to fix your biggest baking fails.

Why do my chocolate chip cookies spread too much when baking?

There are two main reasons why your chocolate chip cookies are too soft and meld together into one giant sheet while baking. The first is that your butter could be too soft. An easy fix for that is to scoop the dough onto a pan, and then chill it for an hour before baking.

Your cookies could also fall flat if you use too much sugar or not enough flour. Even a seemingly harmless extra tablespoon of sugar could cause the cookies to spread because sugar liquefies as it bakes. Be sure to use measuring spoons and cups and follow the instructions for the best results.

How do I stop my cake from sinking in the centre?

A common culprit for why your cake is too wet (AKA raw in the middle) or sinking is an incorrect oven temperature. Just because your oven beeps and the display indicates that it’s 350ºF doesn’t mean that the temperature is accurate. An oven that runs too hot may make your cake look done when it really isn’t, or if the temperature oscillates, your ingredients can’t set at the right time and the cake sinks. The best solution is to purchase an oven thermometer and manually adjust how you set your oven.

Another cause is inactive baking powder or baking soda. If you don’t bake on a regular basis, always be sure to check the expiry date on your baking powder. For baking soda, replace it every three to four months and use the older box in the fridge as a deodorizer.

Anna Olson's lemon cake with coconut frosting and shaved coconut, a slice cut out and plated

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Luscious Lemon Coconut Cake

What causes my cheesecake to crack in the centre?

There are a few key steps to remember when baking a cheesecake. First, when adding eggs to your batter, mix them in on a low speed to prevent air working into the batter. Second, run a palette knife around the inside edge of the pan within 15 minutes of the cheesecake coming out of the oven. That way, if the cheesecake contracts, it will easily pull away from the sides without causing it to crack or tear in the centre. Finally, be sure to cool the cheesecake completely to room temperature before chilling. Your cheesecake can be refrigerated when the bottom of the pan is cool to the touch, not the sides.

See More: Watch Baking 101 With Anna Olson

How do I prevent peaked tops on muffins?

When your muffins come out of the oven with peaked tops, this is a sign of overmixing. To get those perfect muffin tops, mix your batter by hand instead of using electric beaters. When hand mixing, use a gentle stirring motion until the point where flour is no longer visible.

Anna Olson's chocolate banana muffins on a plate

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Muffins

Can I still use curdled custard?

Curdled custard means that the eggs in the custard have overcooked, but don’t throw it away and start over. While still hot, put the custard into a food processor or blender, and puree on high speed. Strain the custard into a dish, cool and chill as usual, and no one will even know – it’ll be smooth and perfect!

Ready to get even more advanced? See more baking tips from Anna Olson.

What is seized chocolate, and how do I avoid it?

If your chocolate has seized, it will take on a dull, curdled look, it will not be smooth, and some oil (which is actually cocoa butter) will be floating. To prevent seizing, melt your chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot filled with an inch of barely simmering water while slowly stirring. The steam from the water gently melts the chocolate. Try and avoid using the microwave to melt your chocolate, but if you must, use a lower heat setting.

If your chocolate seizes, remove it from the heat and add a few drops of tepid water. Stir slowly and gently with a spatula where the water was added, then increase the radius of your stirring motion to return the chocolate to its smooth state.

Craving a chocolate dessert? Try Anna Olson’s chocolate recipes for every skill level.

Why does my pie dough crack when rolled or shrink when baked?

Dough cracking while rolling may not be a sign of anything wrong with the dough itself. It is often that the butter within the dough is too cold, causing cracking. To prevent this, try pulling out the dough 30 minutes before rolling. It will roll out with less cracking (and far less effort).

If your dough shrinks when rolled or after baking, it’s a sign that it needed “relaxing.” The proteins (gluten) in flour become elastic when “exercised,” i.e. making and rolling the dough, and time is the only fix. If your dough springs back when rolling, pop it back into the fridge to rest for 20 to 45 minutes. To avoid a crust that shrinks when baking, chill the lined pie shell for 30 minutes before baking.

Anna Olson's flaky savoury pie crust

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Savoury Pie Crust

Is there a way to prevent a cake from breaking when it’s turned out of the pan?

All baked goods, including cakes, tarts, cookies and muffins, are fragile directly out of the oven. Be sure to wait 15 to 20 minutes before turning them out to cool.

If you suspect that the problem may be caused by the pan (cake will stick to a scratched pan even if it’s greased), then line the pan with parchment paper. Have the parchment hang just above the edges of the pan so you can use it to easily lift out the cake.

Is there a secret to preventing butter tart filling from bubbling over or sinking in the centre?

Butter tart filling bubbles over or sinks in the centre due to over-mixed filling. The eggs hold in the air which rises in the oven, causing the filling to overflow while baking and then sink immediately when taken out of the oven. The secret is to whisk the filling by hand until it’s evenly blended.

Sugar crystals in the bottom of the tarts are also caused by over-mixing, causing the sugar to separate from the eggs as the filling bakes. Adding a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to the filling ensures the sugar will completely dissolve as the filling bakes.

How can I avoid lemon square filling from seeping under the crust base?

The key to making squares with a fluid filling poured over a base, such as lemon squares, is how you mix the base. It should feel crumbly, so don’t over-mix it. Gently press the base into the pan, and make sure a bit of it comes up the edges and goes into the corners. Do not pack it in firmly or it will pull away from the edges while it bakes, leaving a gap for the fluid lemon filling to seep underneath.

Anna Olson's lemon meringue squares with graham cracker base, lemon curd and toasted meringue top

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Lemon Meringue Squares 

For more with Anna Olson, watch The Big Bake and Junior Chef Showdown. Watch and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription

Jordan Andino's double stacked smash burger with cheese and all the fixings

Double-Stacked Patties + Secret Sauce Make for Jordan Andino’s Perfect Burger

Although burgers are a great way to experiment with different toppings, nothing can beat a classic, flat patty diner burger. This simple smash burger recipe from Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Jordan Andino tastes gourmet using everyday ingredients you likely already have in stock.

See more: Our Most Popular Burger Recipes

The Perfect Cheeseburger

Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 small white onion, divided
2 Tbsp oil, divided
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp relish
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 lb (675 g) medium ground beef
2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 slices processed cheese
4 burger buns
1 tomato, sliced
8 leaves Boston bibb lettuce
Additional condiments, as desired

Related: Meaty Burgers That Don’t Contain Any Beef

Jordan Andino's double stacked smash burger with cheese and all the fixings

Directions

1. Slice half the onion into thin rounds and set aside. Slice remaining onion into ½-inch thick strips.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet to high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and onion strips. Cook until charred, about 5 minutes.

3. Chop onion and add to a small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, ketchup, parsley, relish, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, mix ground beef with mustard. Divide into eight, 3 oz portions and place one patty on a plate with a square of waxed paper brushed lightly with a bit of the remaining oil. Flatten the patty to ¼-inch thickness with another plate. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining beef portions.

5. Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle to high heat. Working in batches, place patties onto pan and cook until dark golden, about 90 seconds per side. After flipping, place cheese onto each patty until melted.

6. Spoon about half of the prepared sauce onto the four bottom buns. Top evenly with lettuce, tomatoes, onion rounds, two burger patties and any additional condiments. Spread bun tops evenly with remaining sauce and place over burgers.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Sundays at 9ep 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.

Just another msblogs site