Category Archives: The Kit

5 Gorgeous and Easy to Prepare Holiday Nibbles

Whether you’re hosting the office party or a neighbourhood drop-in, our superb spread of holiday bites has got you covered. From Thai-spiced chicken satays to Michael Smith’s famous shrimp cocktail, satisfy your guests in style.


Crostini with Sweet Pea Mash
Spinach and Prosciutto Party Wheels


Chicken Satays 
Michael Smith’s Shrimp Cocktail


Bal Anerson’s Spiced Eggplant Dip with Crudites and Flatbread

Photography: James Tse. Food Stylist: Adele Shaw. Prop Stylist: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.

Mark McEwan on How to Host Like a Pro

Whether it’s a handful of close friends or the whole office crew, entertaining is a stressful undertaking. Chopped Canada judge Mark McEwan tells us how to put the fun back into holiday hosting.


Stocking the Bar
When it comes to buying booze, McEwan recommends playing it safe by over-stocking. “The good thing is that alcohol doesn’t go bad,” he says with a laugh. “As long as you don’t open them, you can return bottles to the LCBO.” He estimates that the average person will drink three glasses of wine at a holiday party, and if there is a cocktail on offer, plan on a little more than one each. He also urges hosts to let guests drink at their own pace. “Don’t push it on them. Let them prompt you.”

Bubbly Greeting
Since preparing cocktails can be quite time-consuming, McEwan suggests premixing a simple libation — something whisky-based for winter is best — and setting it out on ice with lowball glasses and a bowl of jumbo ice cubes. But ideally he recommends greeting guests with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine. “It’s incredibly simple, incredibly festive, and the majority of people really enjoy it. I love a little bubbly.”

Simple Start
For nibbles during the cocktail hour, McEwan relies on a cheese-and-salumi board served with toasted baguette rounds brushed with extra-virgin olive oil. “It’s all set up ahead of time and ready to go.” For an easy appetizer, it’s hard to go wrong with a mushroom purée soup. “Just sprinkle it with a few chives and you’ve got an inexpensive first course that appears more luxurious than it is.”

In a Stew
To feed a crowd on a budget, McEwan suggests some type of stew, such as veal with root vegetables or a beef bourguignon. “You make it in the morning and it gets better as it sits. Serve it with soft polenta, which you can also make ahead, and you have no work to do at dinner time.” If your fridge is getting full, he suggests using an often overlooked backup. “Winter is great because your garage is a refrigerator.”

Think Like a Chef
Getting organized before a party goes beyond cooking ahead. McEwan says to think through every step of every process and get it ready. “When guests arrive, you don’t want to be reaching for a pot and filling it with water. That pot should be on the stove, the water salted and hot, and any utensils you need beside it. When a chef sets up their station, they live and die by their mise en place. Get into the same frame of mind for a party, and you’ll look like a pro.”

Chopped Canada Teen Tournament airs Saturdays at 9 E/P. Watch the new season of Chopped Canada premiering on January 9th at 9 E/P.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.

Holiday Party Wines Under $15

Indulge in exquisite wines this holiday season — but without the hefty price tag.


1. Villa Sandi Il Fresco Prosecco, from $14
This great-value Italian sparkler outperforms most of the competition on the Prosecco shelf. It’s fresh, clean and bright with notes of lemon and pear, and a frothy mousse. Chill well and pour as a guestgreeting aperitivo with mixed nuts, prosciutto- wrapped grissini, and smoked salmon canapés.

2. Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2014, from $10
Take one sip of this terrific unoaked Chardonnay from Chile’s Central Valley, and the first thing that will come to your mind is “Wow—I can’t believe this is only 10 bucks!” An outright steal at this price, it offers pineapple aromas, a silky texture and riveting acidity. It’s excellent with shellfish, including the ubiquitous holiday shrimp ring.

3. Errazuriz Estate Series Pinot Noir 2013, from $14
While most New World Pinots go for fruit over finesse, this bottle from Chile’s Aconcagua Valley draws you in with its old-school charm. Tart, herbal and spicy, it continues to seduce with cranberry flavours and a long, lingering finish. Pour with beet and ricotta crostini, stuffed mushrooms, and mini cheeseburgers.

4. The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2014, from $14
From South Africa’s Boekenhoutskloof—say that five times fast—this consistently delicious red has a small splash of Viognier, a white grape that amps up the aromatics. It’s a full-bodied wine, bursting with cassis and cocoa, juicy acidity and a beguilingly smoky finish. Serve with little beef empanadas and spiced lamb chops.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.

Tequila 101: Which Agave Spirit is Right for You

Ranging from clean blanco to smoky mezcal, Mexico’s agave-based spirits perfectly bridge summer and fall. Here is your required drinking list for Tequila 101.


1. El Jimador Tequila Blanco, from $30.95
The workhorse of cocktail bars, blanco (aka, silver) tequila is usually bottled immediately after distillation. This uncommonly affordable version has a subtle grassy aroma, citrusy flavours and a gently peppery finish. Use it in classic drinks like the Margarita or Paloma, or shoot it, if you must, but skip the salt.

2. Espolòn Tequila Reposado, from $44.95
Reposado means “rested,” and this tequila took a snooze for six months in American oak barrels. Light gold in colour, it’s slightly sweet with notes of brown sugar, orange peel and spice. It’s remarkably good in a highball with tonic, or in the beloved Tequila Sunrise.

3. Cazadores Añejo Tequila, from $42.95
The difference between añejo and reposado is that the former is aged longer in smaller casks, which imparts more flavour and colour. This one is a terrific value with layers of dried fruit, caramel, spice and earth. Savour straight, or use it to great effect in a Tequila Old Fashioned.

4. Leyenda Tlacuache Organic Mezcal, from $71.95
While good tequila is made from blue agave, mezcal—the boldest white spirit on the planet—uses mostly espadin agave, which is first roasted in open pits. This hombre from Oaxaca is briny, vegetal and unctuous with a long, smoky finish. If you like peaty

Arguably the best cocktail to come out of the ’80s, this salt- and Cointreau-free margarita variation was invented by Julio Bermejo at his family’s restaurant in San Francisco.

2 oz (60 ml) 100% Agave blanco Tequila
1 oz (30 ml) strained fresh lime juice
½ oz (15 ml) blue agave syrup

1. Chill a rocks (lowball) glass in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.
2. Place tequila, lime juice and agave in a cocktail shaker. Fill ¾ full with ice; shake vigorously until ice cold, 10 seconds. Strain into chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Serve

Writen by Eric Vellend

12 Serving Pieces to Bring Your Salad to Life

From bone and silver to gleaming wood, these stunning serving pieces will have you tossing salad in style.


Steal This Style

1. Aero Salad Severs, $80,

2. Brown Bone with Silver Handles $40,

3. Wooden Branch Servers, $30,

4. White Bone and Black Horn Servers $40,

5. Modern Wood Servers, $30,

6. Aquarelle Sabre Serving Set, $80,

7. Antuco Serving Set, $47,

8. Grey Mango Salad Servers, $40,

9. Bone and Silver Serving Pieces, $24,

10. Nature Horn Salad Set Sabre, $71,

11. Black Horn with Silver Handle, $39,

12. Grey Runner, $49,

3 Great New Cookbooks to Try this Month

Whether it’s weekday Mexican from a celebrity chef or veg-centric dishes by an Iron Chef champ, these new cookbooks will take your kitchen game back to school.

By Eric Velland


Make Ahead Meals by Michael Smith (Penguin Canada, $32)

As a father of three, Food Network Canada star Michael Smith is no stranger to the pressures of putting out wholesome, delicious meals for your family day after day. With over 100 drool-worthy recipes, the celebrity chef focuses on strategic planning and cooking ahead so dinner is just a quick, stress-free assembly. Dive into this family-friendly book and watch your kids go wild for homey dishes like El Paso’s Shepherd’s Pie and Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas.


A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield with JJ Goode (Ecco, $43.50)

New York City–based Iron Chef America champion April Bloomfield rose to fame on her carnivorous cooking and nose-to-tail ethos. She does, however, get equally excited about vegetables, and shares her passion in this terrific new tome. Gorgeously shot and illustrated, the book showcases Bloomfield’s talent for robust flavours and unique combinations like Roasted and Raw Fennel Salad with Blood Orange and Bottarga. There are also some excellent root-to-leaf recipes like a revelatory Carrot Top Pesto.


More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless (WW Norton, $42)

While Mexican cuisine can intimidate with its complex mole sauces and labour-intensive tamales, Chicago chef and Mexican food authority Rick Bayless makes a good case for cooking it every day. Recipes are stripped down, convenience foods are used, and make-ahead condiments like the smoky-sweet salsa negra keep the flames burning. No tortilla is left unturned, there’s even a chapter for slow cookers with dishes like a classic Red Chile Pozole with Pork.

Get more recipes and entertaining ideas here: The Kit

5 Gorgeous Salads to Brighten Any Dinner Table

As summer runs its course, farmers’ markets are at their absolute peak with both warm weather favourites and the first robust vegetables of fall. Whether it’s simply dressed kale or a hearty bowl of spinach, carrots and freekeh, celebrate the season with these superb salads.


Bloody Caesar Tomato Salad
Courtesy of Anna Olson
Serves 6

6 cups (1.5 L) tomato chunks and wedges (use a variety of colours and sizes)
3 Tbsp (45 mL) fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup (60 ml) minced red onion
1 cup (250 ml) finely diced celery
½ cup (125 ml) diced cucumber
1 Tbsp (15 ml) drained prepared horseradish
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
Celery salt and freshly ground
black pepper

1. In a large mixing bowl, toss tomato, lime juice and garlic. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.
2. Strain liquid from tomatoes into a small pot. Reduce over medium heat to 2 Tbsp (30 ml). Cool. Add reduction back to tomatoes and toss with the onion, celery, cucumber, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
3. Season to taste with celery salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Roasted Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad
Courtesy of Lynn Crawford
Serves 4

2 large red beets
2 large golden beets
2 tsp (10 ml) thyme leaves
¼ cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar
½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 shallots, finely diced
2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
4 oz (125 g) soft mild goat cheese
4 cups (1 L) arugula
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine beets, thyme, vinegar and 3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Mix.
3. Place beets on double squares of foil. Drizzle with any dressing remaining in bowl. Wrap tightly and place on roasting pan. Bake on middle rack until tender, about 1 to 1½ hours. Unwrap beets and cool.
4. To make vinaigrette, whisk shallots and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk in remaining olive oil in a
steady stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins. Cut red and golden beets into half moons or wedges and put in separate bowls. Drizzle with vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Divide beets onto four salad plates. Toss the arugula with vinaigrette to coat and gently mound on top of beets; crumble goat cheese on top. Serve.


Kale Salad with Hazeluts and Grapes
Courtesy of Renée Reardin
Serves 4 to 6

8 cups (2 L) chopped dinosaur kale (stems removed)
¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) sliced scallions
¼ cup (60 ml) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, chopped
½ cup (125 ml) grapes, halved
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper

1. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and lemon juice. Add kale. Toss vigorously with your hands to coat. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Add scallions, hazelnuts and grapes. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.

Carrot, Spinach and Freekeh Salad with Miso Vinaigrette
Courtesy of Kristen Eppich
Serves 4 to 6

½ cup (125 ml) cracked freekeh, rinsed
1 cup (250 ml) water
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
1 lb. (500 g) carrots
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
8 cups (2 L) baby spinach
½ cup (125 ml) walnut halves, toasted, chopped
Miso Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp (30 ml) white miso paste
2 Tbsp (30 ml) hot water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

1. Bring freekeh, water and salt to a boil in a medium pot; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until freekeh is tender but toothsome. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
2. Peel carrots and cut into ½-inch (1-cm) coins. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook until well coated with butter, about 2 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until carrots are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat 3. To make vinaigrette, whisk miso
and water in a small bowl. Add rice vinegar and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
4. Arrange spinach on a platter. Sprinkle with freekeh and walnuts. Spoon warm carrots over the salad
and drizzle with miso vinaigrette.

Bulgur, Cranberry and Zucchini Salad with Citrus-Sumac Dressing
Courtesy of Dan Clapson
Serves 4 to 6

1½ (375 ml) cups water
½ tsp (2 ml) salt
¾ cup (175 ml) medium bulgur
¾ cup (175 ml) dried cranberries
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups (500 ml) cooked chicken meat, loosely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) parsley, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) green beans, trimmed, sliced ½-inch thick
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
½ cup (125 ml) feta, crumbled
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
2 tsp (10 ml) sumac
1 tsp (5 ml) white wine vinegar
½ tsp (2 ml) ground black pepper
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
¼ tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper

1. Bring water and salt to boil in a medium pot on high heat.
2. Add bulgur, reduce to heat to medium and cook until wheat has absorbed liquid and is al dente, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cranberries and olive oil. Mix well with a spoon. Let cool for 15 minutes.
4. Add remaining salad ingredients to bowl. Toss well to combine.
5. To make dressing, whisk all ingredients in small bowl. Pour over salad. Toss until everything is well coated.
6. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Toss again before serving.


Tabletop Top Photography: Ronald Tsang. Food Styling: Michael Elliott. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson.

Get more recipes and entertaining ideas here: The Kit’s Fall Guide

6 Easy Tips to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables

Before summer’s bounty is gone, do yourself a favour and put some up for the long winter ahead. Chef In Your Ear star Craig Harding offers his tips on preserving at home.


It All Boils Down To

“Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene,” says Harding, of the most important thing for beginner canners. “All along the way.” Since the idea of preserving is preventing bacteria from spoiling the food, extra care is worth it. This means submerging all canning equipment in boiling water, ensuring your hands are scrubbed and that the rims of the jars are clear and clean when you seal them.

Get Equipped
“Invest in a few little pieces,” he says. “Get a metal rack so your jars don’t touch the bottom of the pot when you’re boiling them. Get a pair of the tongs made so you can grab the jars out of the boiling water, and a funnel made for jars with a very wide opening, which protects the rim from getting anything on it.”

Jars That Pop
“If I do 24 jars, there’ll be four jars or so that don’t pop, that don’t get that vacuum seal. I just put them in the fridge and eat them within four weeks. Everything else can stay over the winter.”

Trying Drying
“Drying opens up preservation to a whole new style. You can do just as many creative and interesting flavours with drying as you can with canning,” says Harding, dispelling the assumption that dried fruit always tastes like, well, just dried fruit. “You can sprinkle spices on it rather than just dry fruit in its natural state. I like to dip them in a light syrup. The possibilities are endless.”

Freeze Fame
Blast freezing may be all the rage in high-end kitchens, but bringing that technique home requires some adapting. “Blast freezers are incredibly expensive machines. A home freezer accomplishes nearly the same result—blueberries in your own freezer will soften just a little bit before hitting that deep freeze. Freezing naturally without additives preserves food closest to its natural state. You need to can with heat, so that changes the food. Freezing, you can thaw the food and treat more closely to if it was fresh.”

Cold and Alone
Harding offers a great tip for storing fruits and veggies in your freezer. “Lay them out flat on a tray with a enough space between them to freeze solid separately so they don’t clump together; then store them together in a Ziplock bag. But there is a shelf life to a frozen product: After about six months because of the moisture in the product it’s inevitable that you’ll get that freezer burn.”

Watch Chef in Your Ear on Mondays at 10pm E/T.

Get more recipes and entertaining ideas here: The Kit.

Chef Lynn Crawford on How to Get the Best from Your BBQ

For Chopped Canada judge and host of the upcoming Food Network Canada series Great Canadian Cookbook Lynn Crawford, there’s nothing like the sound of steak sizzling over blazing coals. It’s cooking at its most basic and — of course — most delicious. “I do love grilling,” Crawford says. “ Anything that’s put on a hot charcoal grill—that’s magic.” So as Canadians countrywide clear off their decks and prepare for barbecue season, here’s Crawford’s take on how to get the most out of your grill.


1. Going Green
While she’s a fan of the traditional charcoal grill, Crawford has fallen in love with her Green Egg ceramic barbecue. “It’s like an incubator. It retains so much heat. There are a lot of opportunities to do slow cooking, you can grill, you can smoke, you can actually bake. I can reach a really amazing high temperature, which is great for grilling steaks, or you can tone down the airflow and do things like a whole pork shoulder overnight.”

2. Good Wood
If you want to grill right, for Crawford’s money, you’ve got to go charcoal. What gas grills have in ease and speed, they lose in flavour-building and intense heat. “Having good charcoal that’s totally natural without any additives is the way to go. Sure it takes time to fire it up, but anything you cook on charcoal just seems to be better — you get that smoky flavour, the cooking time is faster, it reaches a hotter searing temperature when you’re doing meat for that wonderful exterior.”

3. Time is on your side
There are ways to speed up the process of lighting charcoal — Crawford recommends fire-starting briquettes — but it’s important to remember that part of the joy of grilling is the process itself, and there’s no need to rush. “It takes time, but I mean that’s what cooking is all about. It shouldn’t be about instant gratification.”

4. Grill gadgets
Like with anything to do with cooking, there is a battery of tools to make the job easier. But how many of them are necessary? Crawford identifies a few essentials for the grill master’s arsenal. It starts with a great pair of tongs — “not those really long, six-foot ones” she laughs. Another go-to is a pizza stone. “That allows you to do some fun things like a flatbread, pizzas and I’ve actually made my cheddar biscuits on it.” Finally there’s the grill basket. There’s nothing worse than when “you’ve got the first of Ontario asparagus, you put it on the grill — and it falls through!” A good basket will save all your veggies and your sanity.

Crawford’s final piece of advice is to remember that barbecuing, however you choose to approach it, is a fundamentally simple way to cook. “Barbecue is minimalistic—there’s fire and there’s food,” she says. “You shouldn’t overcomplicate things.”

Chopped Canada airs Saturdays at 9pm ET/PT.


Photography: James Tse. Get the burger recipe.

Get more grilling tips and summer entertaining ideas here: The Kit’s Grill Guide


BBQ Menu: 5 Mouth-Watering Dishes for a Weekend Feast

The back deck is scrubbed, the patio furniture assembled, and the beer’s on ice. It’s time to throw on an apron, grab a pair of tongs and fire up the ‘cue. From sweet-n-saucy ribs, to a jaw-defying burger, to garlicky shrimp on the barbie, we’ve got all your summer favourites for the grill.

the-kit-senator burger recipe

The Senator Burger
Recipe courtesy of Andrew Taylor of The Senator

Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 90 min
Serves: 4


Corn Relish
1 cup (250 ml) fresh corn niblets
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 English cucumber, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/8 head cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) mustard seed
1/4 cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard
3 bay leaves
3 cups (750 ml) + 3 tbsp (45 ml) white vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (30 ml) flour

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
6 onions, finely chopped
8 strips bacon

2 lb. (900 g) ground beef
1/4 cup (60 ml) chili sauce
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground pepper
8 slices cheddar cheese
4 sesame seed buns
2 tomatoes, sliced
Dill pickles, sliced


Corn Relish
1. In a large pot, combine corn, onion, cucumber, red pepper, celery, cabbage, parsley, dry mustard, mustard seed, Dijon, bay leaves, white vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper and flour.
2. Stir well and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture reaches a thin relish consistency, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken; refrigerate until burger assembly. Relish will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, stirring, until soft and brown, about 30 minutes, lowering heat if necessary. Set aside until burger assembly.
2. In a large fry pan over medium heat, cook bacon, flipping once, until crisp; place bacon strips on a paper towel to drain. Set aside until burger assembly.

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, chili sauce, egg, salt and pepper; mix well. Divide meat into 4 8-oz. (250-g) patties. Grill patties for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side; flip and top each with 2 slices of Cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and 2 strips of bacon.
3. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese melts, burger juices run clear, and burger reaches an internal temperature of at least 165F (75C). 4. Serve patties on sesame seed buns with tomato, dill pickle, lettuce and reserved corn relish.

The-Kit-chicken skewers and couscous recipe

Harissa-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Couscous
Recipe courtesy of Kristen Eppich

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 115 min
Serves: 4


3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoons (15 ml) garlic, minced
4 teaspoons (20 ml) tomato paste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cayenne, or less to taste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) caraway seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt
2 lb. (1 kg) boneless skinless chicken breasts
8-10 wooden skewers

1 1/4 cup (300 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) kosher salt
1 cup (250 ml) couscous
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cilantro, chopped


1. Combine olive oil with garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, caraway, coriander and cumin and salt in a small bowl. Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch (3.5-cm) cubes and place in a large bowl. Add spice mixture to chicken and stir to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
2. Soak skewers in water for 30 min. Thread 4-6 pieces of chicken onto each skewer.
3. Preheat barbecue or grill pan to medium high. Cook skewers until nicely charred and chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 min per side. Serve with couscous.

1. Bring water, cumin seeds and salt to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 5 min. Fluff with a fork and stir in butter and cilantro. (You could also use cooked Israeli couscous, and simply heat it up with the cumin seeds, butter and cilantro.)

The-Kit-grilled shrimp recipe

Herb and Garlic Grilled Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of Matt Dunigan of Road Grill

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 85 min
Serves: 2 to 3


20 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
Celery salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges (for serving)

1. Place shrimp, parsley, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, celery salt and pepper in large sealable plastic bag. Toss to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Preheat grill to high heat 475-500°F (245-260°C). Oil grill to prevent sticking. Place shrimp on grill and cook until nicely charred and opaque, about 1 minute per side. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

The-kit-grilled veggies recipe

Spiced Grilled Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of Bal Arneson of Spice Goddess

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
Serves: 4


1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) garam masala
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
1/4 cup (60 ml) dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cobs corn, husked
4 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 red pepper, seeds removed and cut in half
1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut in half


1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. In a small bowl, stir together oil, garam masala, cumin and fenugreek. Brush onto vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender-crisp and slightly charred around the edges, brushing more spice oil onto them as they cook. Cut into smaller pieces and serve.

The-kit-bbq ribs recipe

Honey Garlic Baby Back Ribs
Recipe courtesy of Matt Dunigan of Road Grill

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 180 min
Serves: 6 to 8


Basting Sauce
1/2 cup (125 ml) honey
Juice and zest of 4 small lemons
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Baby Back Ribs
2 whole side baby back pork ribs, approximately 3 lbs. each


Basting Sauce
1. In a small pot, combine all the basting ingredients. Set the pot over medium-low heat and whisk until the butter melts and is emulsified. Remove from heat and set aside.

Baby Back Ribs
1. Remove membrane from the back of the ribs using kitchen pliers.
2. On unlit barbeque, place a drip pan under the barbeque grates. Preheat barbeque to low indirect heat 220°F (105°C) by turning on only 1 burner.
3. Brush the ribs generously with the honey garlic glaze on both sides.
4. Place the ribs on the grill and close lid. Basting every 20 minutes with sauce, cook until you can tug a bone and it pulls away with ease, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 5. Remove ribs from grill. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
6. Cut between each of the bones and serve.


Tabletop Top Photography: James Tse. Food Styling: Ashley Denton. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson.

Get grilling tips and summer entertaining ideas here: The Kit’s Grill Guide

4 Amazing New Cookbooks On Our Shelf

From inspired vegetarian by a nutritionist blogger to quick dinner ideas from a handsome bloke, these titles will make you spring into the kitchen.


Quick, Modern: Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone (Appetite by Random House, $35)
While many celebrity chefs are known for the quantity of their books more than the quality, the Australian Curtis Stone isn’t one of them. His latest is excellent and filled with food photographed so gorgeously, you’ll want to eat off the page. Now settled in Los Angeles and running his own restaurant, the celebrated Maude, Stone betrays distinct American influences in dishes like Chicken Chili Verde. If that doesn’t sell you, there’s always Stone’s sex appeal, exploited via copious photos of him hanging in the kitchen with his young son.

My New Roots

New Veg: My New Roots by Sarah Britton (Appetite by Random House, $30)
A holistic nutritionist, Toronto native Britton rose to culinary stardom via her hugely popular blog, My New Roots. Preferring the term “plant-based whole foods” to “vegetarian,” her meat-free dishes blend the same flavour-building principles and aesthetic appeal as famed Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, but with 40 percent less ingredients and work, making them perfect recipes for the weekday cook. You’re going to want to try her Sprouted Wild Rice Salad with Spring Vegetables, and her Four Corners Lentil Soup is an instant classic.

Brown Eggs & Jam Jars

Kid-friendly: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque (Penguin Canada, $32)
Raised in the Yukon, Wimbush-Borque was determined to bring her three kids up with the same homesteading principles she was—but in an urban environment just outside of Montreal. The much-loved blogger at Simple Bites focused her recipes here on whole- some and delicious family food, such as Slow-Cooker Cider Ham and Whole- Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Plus, at the end of each chapter there are tips on involving kids in every stage of the food cycle, from tending a garden to packing their lunch.


Vegetables, y’all: Root to Leaf by Stephen Satterfield (HarperWave, $56)
No thanks to Paula Deen, Southern cuisine has become synonymous with porcine platters and calorie-bomb desserts. The American South, however, has a long tradition of veggie-based cuisine – their growing season is 12 months long, after all – and Atlanta chef Satterfield celebrates Dixie in this stunning tome. Divided by seasons and vegetable, there are handy growing tips for the budding gardener, and particularly strong recipes for preserves like Pickled Ramps.

Story: Eric Vellend. Check out The Kit’s Grill Guide!

Gin Craze

Shining best with the zing of citrus and a muddle of herbs, gin is the ultimate spring spirit. Here are four diverse bottles to keep in your bar.


Beefeater London Dry Gin 750 mL, $27
If you only have room for one bottle of gin in your liquor cabinet, Beefeater’s your man. It’s a classic London dry gin, sharp and citrusy with a strong baseline of juniper. From a G&T to a martini, it will cover all your bases, and it’s a favourite among Negroni fanatics, as it can stand up to Campari’s aggressive bitterness.

Dillon’s Gin 22 Unfiltered 750 mL, $40
From a new micro-distillery in Niagara, this award-winning gin is for people who claim to not like gin. Made with 22 botanicals, the flavour profile is very floral and pretty with juniper playing a secondary role. It’s at its best in modern libations with muddled berries or fresh fruit purées.

Plymouth English Gin 750 mL, $45
Made by Coates & Co in Plymouth, England since 1793, this spirit has a unique piney aroma, not unlike a Christmas tree. It was listed as the gin of choice in the first recorded recipe of a dry martini, and plays especially well with lemon and lime in classic cocktails.

Bruichladdich The Botanist Islay Dry Gin 750 mL, $50
Complex, perfectly balanced and smooth with a ‘v’, this Scottish spirit is distilled on an island known more for its smoky single malts. Its subtleties are wasted on most cocktails. Enjoy it on the rocks, or in a bone-dry martini where the vermouth is applied with an eyedropper, or better yet, left in the fridge.

Sweet, sour and infused with fresh mint, toast the warm weather with this simple classic.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

6 mint leaves
¾ ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
2 ounces London dry or Plymouth gin
¾ ounces fresh-squeezed
Lemon juice
Ice cubes

1. Chill a coupe or cocktail glass in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2. Muddle 5 mint leaves and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add gin and lemon juice. Fill ¾ with ice. Shake vigorously until ice cold, 8 to 10 seconds. Fine-strain into chilled glass. Garnish with remaining mint leaf and serve immediately.

Written by: Eric Vellend

8 Steps to Next-Level Chocolate Desserts

Whether you’re a beginner tackling brownies or a seasoned pro ready for a showy challenge, Food Network Canada host Anna Olson’s tips will make you a better baker.

To be a better baker:

DO build a better toolbox: For next-level baking, expand your collection of baking pans, from muffin tins and baking sheets to springform pans. Get silicone spatulas. Piping bags and piping tips are important, too.

When it comes to nuts, DO trust your nose: While you can see the pecans darken, you really want to use your sense of smell. You’ll smell light toastiness and richness and almost a sweetness when they’re properly toasted.

DO prep ballons for chocolate cups: Wipe the little balloons to remove any film, and make sure they’re completely dry. If there’s any moisture on the balloons, the chocolate won’t stick.

DON’T pop them! It’s not your birthday. Use a pin to just gently poke a little hole close to the balloon’s knot. That way it won’t burst, but it’ll slowly deflate and come away from the chocolate shell.

DO make extra cups: Getting the perfect shape, depth, consistency and texture takes a few tries so plan to make more than you need to serve.

DON’T over-whip your cream: Avoid whipping to the point where cream splits and separates. A soft peak means when you dip your whisk into the cream and pull it upwards, you get a curl that folds over almost in half. A great little tip is to whip on one speed lower than high. Whipping on high speed cuts the time spent whipping but shortens the window between soft peak and over-whipped.

DO watch the clock: When folding whipped cream into chocolate, time is the enemy. If you’re too slow, the cream may deflate. Better to be vigorous if it speeds up your folding process. And fold from the top, right to the bottom of the bowl and lift over.

DO work to master the basics: Baking, like any skill, takes practice. You’ve got the guidelines in the recipe, but with repetition comes confidence. With baking, once you put your dish in the oven, it’s out of your hands. So that’s where respect for technique becomes really important.

Amateur: Fudge Brownies


Expert: Chocolate Mousse Cups


Photography: James Tse. Food Styling: Ashley Denton. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson

Kitchen Dictionary: Tempering

No, tempering is not kitchen slang for an ornery chef on a rampage. It comes from the calm serenity of the chocolate shop, and it’s an essential skill for any pastry chef or chocolatier. If you just melt and cool chocolate, it loses its glossy shine and vigorous snap. Technically speaking, it’s lost its temper. This also happens to chocolate that has been stored in improperly warm conditions: it’s why those Turtles that Nana bought at last year’s Boxing Day sales have an unappetizing white bloom. (They are still perfectly fine to eat.)

Tempering is hard to explain without dropping a bit of science. The fatty acids in chocolate de-crystalize when melted. They can reform in six different ways, but it’s the fifth, called beta-prime, where you get a glossy finish and a textural snap. In order achieve this, the chocolate must be heated to 115°F (46°C), cooled to 81°F (27°C), then raised again and held at 90°F (32°C) long enough for the crystals to form the beta-prime. This tempered chocolate is now ready for coating and dipping bars and bonbons that will be stable at room temperature. Since tempering is a bit involved for the average home cook, you can store homemade confections in the fridge to avoid the bloom. But if you want to roll like a chocolatier, it’s worth adding tempering to your repertoire.

Written by: Eric Vellend

Country Strong

An HGTV star helps a couple fund a new, rural lifestyle and make the most of a small kitchen.

Celebrating its 10th season, Income Property finds Scott McGillivray on the road, helping homeowners renovate the vacation rentals of their dreams in a four-episode special edition called “Destination Payoff.”

On one stop, contractor McGillivray guides Rebecca, a food-truck owner, and Stew, a painter, who have left the big city for life in the country. McGillivray gives the couple two options: convert their freestanding art gallery to a rental apartment or build a B&B within their home. Their decision, which will be revealed in the April 9 episode, led to a kitchen facelift.

Ahead of the show’s premiere, The Kit editor Eric Vellend spoke with McGillivray about the challenges of designing a small kitchen.


You weren’t given much room to work with in the kitchen. What are some tricks to making the most of a small space?

It wasn’t a wide kitchen, so we tried to keep everything streamlined. A great tip for small kitchens is to maximize your vertical space. We did some open shelving to avoid overwhelming the room (and also help show off the original brick), but we also did tall, narrow shelving next to the fridge as well as a large cabinet above it. For any small kitchen, start with your fridge, stove and sink locations and build around those elements.

Is the dining table meant to double as a counter when necessary?

Absolutely. We chose a great dining table that not only fit the look of the space, but that was extremely durable. We knew this table had to play double duty, so we went with something fairly large with regular chairs on one side and stools that could tuck away on the kitchen side.

A long bar runs almost the length of the kitchen. What else can you hang on it besides dishtowels?

You can also add hooks for utensils and mugs, small storage caddies for miscellaneous items like sponges, and even a hanging dish rack. This helps keep small items off the counter to keep that space as clear as possible for food prep.

What kind of considerations do you have to make with a kitchen if the owners plan to run a B&B from their home?

Think functional, practical, sturdy for all elements of the kitchen, as well as things that are easy to clean. You need your kitchen to work for you, and not the other way around.


For the big reveal, tune in to HGTV Canada, April 9 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT for Income Property: Destination Payoff

Written by: Eric Vellend
Photography supplied by: HGTV Canada

Food Fight

Food Network Canada celebrity chef and father of three David Rocco shares hard-won tips for getting kids to —gasp!—eat their veggies.


Get them involved
“When my kids are engaged in the kitchen they’re more inclined to eat whatever they cook. They help stir or pour and come mealtime they can say “look what I helped make.” They’re proud of it and certainly they will sit down and start eating.”

Set expectations
“When it’s something new my rule is ‘If you don’t like it that’s fine, but you have to try it.’ They have a little piece, then there’s something else that they can have alongside it. But if they try it, more often than not they’ll end up enjoying it.”

One family, one meal
“One thing that I think is very important is the family meal, and the whole family eats the same thing. There’s no ‘Little Johnny gets this, Little Jenny get’s that,’ no kids’ table at celebrations. It’s just the whole family together eating a meal.”

Start them young
“Until my daughters turned three, we had steamed vegetables we’d puree and freeze in ice cube trays to be introduced in risottos. The kids got used to those flavours, which helped introduce them to vegetables. The more kids are exposed to food, the more they taste, the more their palates expand and they start appreciating.”

Give the veggies some help
“There’s ways of encouraging your kids through, not necessarily bribery, but by adding other elements that they like. If you sprinkle some Parmesan cheese, for example, over broccoli, it gives that nice saltiness and it’s still nutritious.”

Act like a grown up
“For going out, there’s a deal: if my kids want to eat at an adult restaurant, they’ve got to step it up, eat what adults eat and finish what’s on their plate. We’ve never given them kids’ menus.”

Stay strong
“I get it: with work and life, parents are exhausted, and kids are going to want to eat cereal for dinner every night. Some parents just buckle in, but I’m like ‘You don’t wanna eat it? No problem, you’re going to bed hungry.’ It’s too easy for kids to say ‘I don’t want to eat it’ and have mom make something else. It’s not my first choice to have my kids go to bed hungry, but there’s a power play: kids who are one or two years old, the only thing they really have control over is what goes into their mouths—they spit it out, they close their mouths. You have to be pretty strict.”

Learn to make David Rocco’s Lemon Granita here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul. Literally.

Simplicity is key for matzo ball soup that warms your heart.


From bagels to brisket, kreplach to kishkes, Jewish cuisine has never experienced such mainstream popularity. For chef Eden Grinshpan, judge on Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada, its day in the sun is a long time coming. “I don’t think it’s a surprise that it’s popular,” she says. “It’s a surprise it took this long.”

She has a point: Matzo ball soup has comforted food lovers for generations, regardless of their heritage. In a culinary world in constant flux, part of what makes its appeal so lasting is that at its best, matzo ball soup is always as you remember it. Grinshpan recalls being fresh from culinary school and eager perfect her version of the classic. “I started getting super-complex with the stock,” she says, “then I went over to my friend’s house and had his mom’s chicken soup and I was like ‘What is it about this broth that I’m just not getting from mine?’ ”

Turns out, all you needs is countless generations of refinement. “You can’t change what’s already perfect,” says Grinshpan. “If you start fussing around with it you’re just kind of ruining it.” Best of all, the old-school way is the easiest. For the stock “take a whole bird—skin on, bone-in, not cut up—and throw it in,” says Grinshpan. “You want every piece of that bird in there to add to that flavour.” The dumplings are even less fussy. Whether grandmas are willing to admit it or not, pre-packaged matzo meal is fine. “Everyone uses it,” laughs Grinshpan. “I don’t think anyone talks about it, but it’s just an accepted thing.” Even the veggies are the same that have been used for generations: parsnips, carrots and onions, as are the crucial flavours of dill and parsley. Season properly—“Don’t skimp on the pepper!”—and you’re there, in comfort-food heaven.

Chicken Soup with Dill Matzo Balls

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


Chicken Soup:
1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds
2 each onions and parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks
4 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
½ cup each chopped parsley, chopped dill (plus more for serving)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Dill Matzo Balls:
1 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon each baking soda (omit if making for Passover), freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
¼ cup chopped dill
¼ cup vegetable oil or melted chicken fat
½ cup soda water


Chicken Soup:
1. In a large pot, bring 16 cups of water to a boil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add chicken and vegetables. Return to boil then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, skimming off foam and fat, for 1 hour. Add herbs and simmer another 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
2. Remove chicken. When cool enough to handle, remove and dice meat. Return meat to pot. If not using immediately, cool soup completely. Refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months.

Matzo Balls:
1. In a large bowl, mix matzo meal, baking soda (if using), salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk eggs, dill and oil or chicken fat.
2. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir in soda water until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Take the mixture out of the fridge. With oiled hands, roll into 2-inch balls. Add to water, cover and turn down heat to low. Simmer until cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes.
4. While matzo balls are cooking, reheat soup. Ladle soup into warm bowls. Add one or two matzo balls. Sprinkle with chopped dill.

Recipe courtesy of Eden Grinshpan

Eden grinshpan is a judge on Chopped Canada, airing saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Follow Eden on twitter @edeneats.

Hex Appeal

Sculptural serving dishes, witty glints of gold and a slice of fresh peach adorn a spring table like jewellery.



Steal This Style:

1. Runner, $20,
2. Copper Creamer, $30, Flatware in Mug, $70/20 Pieces,
3. Large Bowl, $16; Small Bowl, $8, Both Grey Platter, $18,
4. Coasters, From $8,
5. Printed “Ito” Salad Plate, $20; White Appetizer Plate, $4; Both Pink Salad Plate, $7,
6. Eight-Sided Melon Plate, $9; Eight-Sided Marble Trivet, $28, Both
7. Grey Mug, $3,
8. Candleholders, $12,
9. Small Pink Bowl, $3,
10. Graphic Napkins, $25/Set Of Four, Grey Linen Napkin, $9, Serving Spoon, $6,
11. Wine Glasses, $22 Each,

Table Top Photography: James Tse. Food Styling: Ashley Denton. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson


Make The Best Of What’s Left

Because when it comes to food, the morning after should give the night before a runny egg for its money.


“When you’re a chef and that’s your primary lens on food,” says chef Michael Smith, “leftovers take on a bad cast.” Diners often think that restaurant specials are made of unsold food from the night before. “But when you’re a home cook it’s just part of life. So you anticipate that. It’s one more reason why you try to cook whatever you’re cooking right in the first place, so the leftovers are valid as well.”

Hiding last night’s holiday meal in morning eggs is an easy default use of leftovers, but Smith, a judge on Food Network’s Chopped Canada, sees it more as a cheat for concealing overcooked food.

“You can make a frittata out of anything. What’s wrong with it is, it really comes down to the quality of the leftovers.” Dried out hams and turkeys, says the television host and cookbook author, are the result of improper cooking — heat too high, too long, not enough moisture from basting.

“Make a broth,” advises Smith. A quick stock, bones thrown into a pot of boiling water while the table is being cleared, can reinvigorate those dishes when they are reheated. “That broth is the key to moisture the next day with the leftovers.”

But even with a properly cooked ham, he is more interested in its secondary use. “Rarely do we roast a ham and eat every single bit of it,” says Smith. “You know you’re gonna have leftovers. So as you start to carve the ham, right away, take a big chunk off it, and maybe even the very best chunk, for sandwiches.”


Ham-and-Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich


4 slices sourdough bread
1 cup (250 ml) butter, softened
6 oz (175 g) each thinly sliced cheddar
cheese and ham
2 fried eggs


1. Preheat frying pan on medium-low heat
2. Brush one side of each slice of bread lightly with butter. Pile two slices, butter side down, with half of cheese, ham and 1 egg each.
3. Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered side up.
4. Place the sandwich in pan and cook until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and repeat. Serve.


Story: Cory Mintz. Recipe: Andrea Nicholson. Photography (for sandwich): James Tse. Food Styling: Ashley Denton. Prop Styling: Carolyn Souch. Creative Direction: Jessica Hotson.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.

How to Cook With Your Kids

Celebrity chef—a dad of four!—Roger Mooking dishes on how to get children into the kitchen.


Roger Mooking’s a busy guy. The celebrity chef appears on several television shows and has a music career but at the end of the day he’s got a house full of kids and dinner to be made. Who can blame him for enlisting a little help from his girls? “I’ve got four kids,” Mooking says, of his daughters ages 1, 3, 6 and 7. “They eat a lot of food and it’s not gonna make itself.”

Step 1: Gauge interest.
Just because you love cooking doesn’t mean your kids are as enthusiastic. If your kids aren’t interested, don’t force them. Make cooking a chore and you risk turning them away from the kitchen for good. “[Cooking] was a big part of how I grew up as long as they’re interested I’m going to support that, Mooking says.

Step 2: Let them choose the meal.
Making a popular meal can be key to getting little helpers on-board. Even for Mooking, the menu can help inspire his most reluctant helper. “If I’m making something that she likes, she’ll be interested,” he says. “Other than that she just prefers to eat.”

Step 3: Assign tasks.
Once you know what you’re going to make, you can delegate age-appropriate jobs. Anything that’s not sharp or hot is good for any age. “My girls all know how to beat eggs, how to make dough and cut it with cutters for biscuits,” he says. “I’ll let them hold the measuring cup when I pour out the flour and they’ll dump it in the bowl, or they’ll use things like the potato masher.”

Step 4: Enjoy!
If all goes well, you’ll have a great meal and some good memories. “They’re my happiest customers, y’know?” says Mooking.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.

What to Give the Person Who Eats Everything

Chopped Canada judge Eden Grinshpan picks the perfect presents for the foodie who eats everything.


1. Saveur: The New Classics, $45, Indigo
With more than 1,000 recipes and handy tutorials covering everything from brunch to pizza, meat to desserts, this new tome from the trusted culinary magazine is reminiscent of the holy bible itself: The Joy of Cooking. There’s enough in here to keep hard-core home cooks and part-time dabblers happy.

2. Le Creuset Rectangular Bakeware, $250, The Bay
Just as jewellery lovers squee! at the sight of a blue Tiffany box, no cook can contain their delight at seeing the cheery hues of Le Creuset bakeware. This trio of dishes is versatile enough for roasts, baked pastas and whatever else the recipient owes the person gave them these dishes.

3. Marble and Wood Pedestal, $45, Indigo
Elevate the treats the avid baker on your gift list makes from the simple to the sublime with this elegant pedestal. Bonus points if you load it up with brownies or cupcakes before gifting it.

4. Lucky Peach Subscription, $48 for 8-issue Holiday Collection, Lucky Peach
The quarterly magazine from Momofuku chef David Chang offers an inside look at chef culture around the world with insightful essays, gorgeous photography, cheeky illustrations and—of course—recipes. An anti-gourmet mag, the food is often messy, the kitchens less than gleaming, and the restaurants loveable holes-in-the-wall.

5. Toronto Cooks, $38, Indigo
Food writer Amy Rosen compiled dozens of recipes from the city’s most popular restaurants in a beautiful coffee table book that also serves as a yearbook capturing 2014 in Toronto dining. It’s heavy on the burgers, donuts and bacon. And that’s all right by us.

6. Gyokuro Yamashiro Tea, $39/100 Grams, DAVIDsTEA
This is definitely a splurge item, but the buttery richness of these leaves will ruin the drinker for all other green teas. Excellent on a cold morning or as a palate-cleanser after dinner, gyokuro leaves also do surprisingly well in baking, ground in a coffee grinder and added to shortbreads and cakes.

7. Susur Lee’s Happy Holiday Basket, $60, Susur – Lee
Toronto’s original celebrity chef, Susur Lee has put together a basket containing a bottle of ice syrup, signed chopsticks, a cranberry-raspberry-lemon compote, a jumbo fortune cookie and a spice mix called Golden Sand. Perfect for Lee groupies out there.

8. Soma Truffles, $2 Each, Soma Chocolate
The gold standard of chocolate-making in Canada, you can always count on Soma for unusual and innovative flavours (Douglas Fir truffles, anyone?). This season, they’re releasing new worldly flavours such as mulled wine, Vietnamese coffee, Thai iced tea and a spicy Mexican Chamoy.

9. Dropp! Bowl, $80, Bergo
Add a literal drop of whimsy to the kitchen counter with this adorable fruit bowl (why yes, it is a Scandinavian design, how’d you guess?). Made of dishwasher-safe silicone, you can splash the bowl all you want and it’ll bounce back.

10. Macaroons, $38 for Box of 16, Nadège Patisserie
These candy-coloured confections are as delicate and pretty as glass-blown ornaments, and will be a hit either passed around a party or put under the tree on Christmas morning. A box of 16 from Toronto patisserie Nadège come in beautiful boxes designed by Canadian artists (the box by illustrator Brandon James Scott is shown below), letting you bypass gift-wrapping.


Market Edit: Karon Liu.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.