apple fennel stir fry on a white plate with two forks

Apple Fennel Stir Fry is a Sophisticated Way to Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

My sister, Lynn, came up with this elegant side dish. It has become a family favourite, as it tastes fancy yet is so easy to make. It’s easy to fall in love with fennel; its crisp, crunchy texture and aromatic taste have endeared it to many culinary cultures. Fennel has the distinct ability to leave your mouth feeling fresh and has even been used for centuries as a digestive remedy. Many folks will say that it tastes like licorice crossed with celery. The slight licorice taste mellows completely when cooked. At only twenty- eight calories a cup and with good amounts of vitamins A, B and C, fennel may become your new best vegetable friend.

apple fennel stir fry on a white plate with two forks

Fennel Apple Stir Fry

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 cups sliced red or yellow onions
4 cups sliced fennel bulb (see note)
4 cups apples, sliced (about 2 large apples)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
¼ to ½ teaspoon unrefined pink salt
2 cups fresh sprouts such as broccoli, sunflower, or alfalfa (optional)

Note: Reserve the fennel fronds and use them when making homemade broth or as a salad topper (finely chopped).

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the fennel, apple, Italian seasoning and salt and stir-fry until softened but still retaining a firm texture, about 10 minutes.

3. Top with sprouts (if using) and serve.

Excerpted from Becoming Sugar-Free: How to Break Up with Inflammatory Sugars and Embrace a Naturally Sweet Life by Julie Daniluk. Copyright © 2021 by Julie Daniluk. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Becoming Sugar-Free: How to Break Up with Inflammatory Sugars and Embrace a Naturally Sweet Life, Amazon, $35.

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.

Shot of healthy, oven-baked doughnuts

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With These Vegan No Sugar Do-Nuts

Fried doughnuts? Not here. These doughnuts are baked in a doughnuts mold.

Healthy vegan oven do-nuts

The Oven Do-Nuts

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

½ cup date puree
1 small can of coconut milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1½ cups pastry flour

Decorations of your choice (such as unsweetened shredded coconut or chopped nuts)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Lightly grease the doughnut pan  — otherwise, everything will stick.
  4. Fill the doughnut cups three-quarters of the way up (the doughnuts will puff up upon baking!).
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes
  6. Let cook, then remove from the pan.
  7. If desired, decorate the doughnuts as desired, then make another batch.
  8. Enjoy!

Cover of 'Goodbye Refined Sugar'Excerpted from Goodbye Refined Sugar! by Madame Labriski. Copyright © 2021 Madame Labriski. Photography by Catherine Côté. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Goodbye Refined Sugar!: Easy Recipes with No Added Sugar or Fat, Amazon, $20.

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.

food from heydays restaurant at the june motel sauble beach

We Tried The June Motel’s Heydays Restaurant, Here’s Everything You Need to Order

It’s undeniable that motels are having a moment right now – their convenient COVID-safe accessibility (no shared elevators or indoor hallways!) means that escaping the work-from-home life in favour of a countryside motel has never been more appealing. Enter: The June Motel in Sauble Beach, Ontario’s answer to your getaway dreams, and the subject of Netflix’s latest docuseries Motel Makeover.

After the major success of their first June Motel in Prince Edward County (an influencer’s oasis that boasts a Rosé All Day vibe), moteliers April Brown and Sarah Sklash set their sites on Ontario’s Sauble Beach, known for its glorious sunsets and beachy small town feel. Motel Makeover follows the duo as they transform a 40-plus year-old motel and restaurant in Sauble Beach into an easy, breezy, perfectly Instagrammable destination.

The patio of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble BeachThe patio of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Naturally, we had to see what all the hype was about, so we took a road trip to The June Motel in Sauble Beach to see the motel and eat at the restaurant for ourselves. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts.

Related: 3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto

What You Need to Know About Heydays, The June Motel’s Restaurant
Helmed by Chef Fred Laliberte (previously the creative visionary behind popular Toronto spots like Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, Poutini’s House of Poutine and Hawker Bar), Heydays Sauble Beach is an indoor-outdoor restaurant that serves elevated beach casual cuisine with a strong spotlight on seafood. In true June Motel fashion, the décor of the restaurant matches the aesthetic of the rest of the motel – with a sunbaked colour scheme, relaxed bohemian touches and hipster décor undertones, both the motel and restaurant feel like a Pinterest board come to life.

The exterior of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble BeachThe exterior of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Must-Order Dishes

New Brunswick Oysters

Oysters at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Our dinner started with New Brunswick Oysters served with lemon, cocktail sauce and freshly grated horseradish. Truthfully, we’ve had some bad oyster experiences in the past, so we were skeptical, but these were the best oysters we’ve ever had – they were delicate, briny, and had that delightful shock of freshness we’re always looking for.

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

Charred Broccoli Caesar

Charred broccoli caesar salad at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Next, we tried the Charred Broccoli Caesar; it had the right level of char and just the right amount of bite to the broccoli. Plus, no good Caesar is complete without shaved parmesan and they were extremely generous with the cheese (just the way we like it!).

Hot Lobster Roll

A hot lobster roll at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

The signature Hot Lobster Roll tasted as satisfying as it looked; lovely chunks of lobster meat and crunchy leaves of lettuce were loaded into a soft, buttery, toasted bun. The charming vintage feel of the dish felt perfectly suited to the retro ‘70s vibes of the restaurant.

Crispy Skin Local Trout

Crispy local skin trout at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

The Crispy Skin Local Trout was equally as delicious – it sat on a bed of green lentils, capers and fresh herbs with a side of charred lemon. We’re addicted to crispy skin on fish, so we were happy that each bite had that crisp that wasn’t overdone but rather a lovely texture contrast to the inside of the fish.

Related: The Owner of Toronto’s Craig’s Cookies Shares His Secrets to Sweet Success

The Bevvies

No trip to The June Motel would be complete without a glass of wine, and the wine selection at Heydays is a delightfully curated range of high and low options. They also serve up a great selection of canned drinks and cocktails perfectly suited for the hot weather. We had the Planters Punch to start, Heydays’ version of a rum punch made with fresh fruit – it was lovely and tropical. Then we switched to Map Maker’s Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a creamy, dry, fresh white with flavours of lime, gooseberry and passionfruit. It was a perfect companion to our meal.

 

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Bonus: Brunch!

After a memorable dinner, we couldn’t resist going back to Heydays the next morning to try their weekend brunch menu. The Lobster Benedict (sweet lobster on an English muffin with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce) was the perfect way to cap off a sunny weekend, and the buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries was the sweet treat we needed to balance out the luscious savoury dish. Heydays nails it when it comes to serving up high quality comfort food.

Photos courtesy of Lauren Miller.

slices of sweet corn mochi cake on a blue plate

This Delightfully Chewy Mochi Cake is Made with Fresh Corn

It is prudent to preface this recipe with a warning: May lead to repeated urges to go back for more! This is my seasonal spin on the iconic Hawaiian butter mochi, a treat made primarily with glutinous rice flour and coconut milk which yields an addictively gooey yet chewy texture with crisp edges. This idea came to me in early summer when the arrival of fresh, local corn was still a (highly-anticipated) few weeks away. Now in peak corn season, I can confirm this is the best thing I have made with corn all summer.

Fresh corn kernels are blended right into the batter of this cake until smooth. The result is a mochi cake that showcases corn at its peak, adding a nuanced dimension that layers oh-so-well with the flavours of coconut milk, vanilla and butter. Did I mention how low-effort this is? Everything goes into the blender to make the batter. Honestly, the hardest part is waiting for the cake to cool before tearing into it.

slices of sweet corn mochi cake on a blue plate

Sweet Corn Mochi Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 16 pieces

Ingredients:
2½ cups corn kernels, preferably fresh cut from 2-3 cobs
½ cup full fat coconut milk
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing baking pan
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups glutinous rice flour (I use Koda Farms Blue Star Mochiko)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Ingredients for sweet corn mochi cake on a white countertop

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan with butter. You can use any of the following pans: 8” x 8” or 9” x 9” square baking pan, 8” or 9” round baking pan or similarly-sized cast iron skillet.

2. Place corn kernels and coconut milk in a high-speed blender. Blend until very smooth. Place remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.

Note: If you don’t have a high-speed blender, use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the corn and coconut milk until smooth. Then, in a medium bowl, whisk the “corn milk” with melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. In a separate large bowl, whisk glutinous rice flour, baking powder and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Whisk until very smooth and no streaks of white remain. There is no gluten in “glutinous rice flour” so you don’t need to worry about over-mixing this batter.

3. Pour batter into greased baking pan. Give the pan a few hard taps on the counter to knock out air bubbles. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until center is set but bounces back when pushed, and edges are golden brown.

Related: 18 Fresh Corn Recipes That Are the Perfect Late-Summer Dinner

Batter for sweet corn mochi cake being poured into a baking pan

4. Set pan on a wire rack to cool fully to room temperature. If you can’t wait until it cools to room temperature, the mochi cake will be more custardy and gooey but not yet its maximum chewiness. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature up to one day or in the fridge for longer periods.

Note: Mochi cakes in general are notably less chewy with the passage of time, so be sure to eat it fresh for maximum texture.

Related: Make the Most of Corn Season with These Sweet Corn Arepas

4 slices of sweet corn mochi cake piled high on a ceramic plate

Like Sonia’s mochi cake? Try her Japanese-inspired rolled omelette next!

a stuffed portobello mushroom on a white plate

These Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are Jam-Packed with Sweet Potato and Black Beans for a Hearty Vegan Main

Grilled portobello mushrooms are the star of this filling vegan dish that comes together in just 30 minutes. With a nourishing filling of sweet potatoes and black beans, you’ll be hooked on the satisfying mix of textures. Plus, the salsa verde herb sauce lends a tangy hit of acidity to the dish that’ll have you scraping your plate clean.

a stuffed portobello mushroom on a white plateSweet Potato Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Salsa Verde

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:
Salsa Verde:
1 cup cilantro leaves
½ cup mint leaves
1 tsp capers
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons honey dijon mustard
2-3 mini pickles, or 1 regular sized pickle
Salt and pepper to taste

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup canned unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
Avocado, to serve
Arugula, to serve

Mise en place for stuffed portobello mushrooms on a marble countertop

Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients for salsa verde. Puree until smooth and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.

3. Once sweet potato is cooked, drain the black beans and season with salt to taste. Place sweet potato and black beans in a large bowl, then add in salsa verde and toss gently until the sweet potato and black beans are coated. Set aside and keep warm.

Related: This Easy Ethiopian Mushroom Stir-Fry Will Be Your New Fave Weeknight Meal

A mixture of sweet potato and black beans in a white bowl beside a small bowl of salsa verde for stuffed portobello mushrooms

4. Brush both sides of portobello mushrooms with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a grill pan over medium heat and brush the pan with olive oil. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side.

5. To serve the portobello mushrooms, top with avocado slices and arugula, finishing off with sweet potato and black bean filling.

Related: One Humble Can of Black Beans, Six Different Meals to Remember

A stuffed portobello mushroom on a white plate

Like Valerie’s stuffed portobellos? Try her vegan steak or vegan spinach and artichoke dip next.

Viaggio Toronto - overhead shot of pizza, pasta and bomba sauce

3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto

Here’s a confession: both my dinner companion (content creator and host of Baking Therapy Sabrina Stavenjord) and I were eating low-carb diets when we met up for dinner. But when the two of us sat down at the marble tables on the spacious outdoor patio in Little Portugal’s Viaggio, we knew that it would not be a low-carb night – and if you’re going to break a diet, this is the way to do it!

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

What You Need to Know About Viaggio

Viaggio is located in a historic building on the corner of Toronto’s Dundas and Lansdowne with a covered patio tucked away at the side of the building. They don’t take reservations so you’ll want to come early to avoid disappointment (because trust me, missing out on Chef Jon Vettraino’s classic yet oh-so-indulgent dishes would be very disappointing). Viaggio features a rotating menu of classic Italian fare made with the season’s best offerings. For a late-summer dinner, that meant options like Zucchini Flowers, Corn and Chanterelle Risotto and Strawberry and Earl Grey Budino in addition to classics like Cacio e Pepe and Margherita Pizza.

Burrata, pizza bread balloon, wine and cocktails at Viaggio
Burrata with figs, aged balsamic and candied pecans and the Pizza Bread Balloon

Must-Order Dishes at Viaggio

Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini flowers Lightly fried, ricotta and parmigiano filled flowers, romesco sauce
Lightly fried, ricotta and Parmigiano-filled flowers served on Romesco sauce

If you’re lucky enough to eat at Viaggio when zucchini flowers are in season, these cheese-stuffed beauties are a must-try (but if not, look for anything cheese-stuffed on the menu and you’ll be just as satisfied). These were served with a lightly garlicky Romesco that was the perfect pairing for these delicate seasonal veggies.

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

The Pizza

Prince of Bologna pizza with bomba sauce
Prince of Bologna pizza with bomba sauce

A perfectly chewy crust, loads of cheese and a smattering of toppings to suit your taste buds – these pizzas are a must-try. We had the Prince of Bologna, a mozzarella and Parmigiano-topped pizza with a generous helping of mortadella, pistachios and honey for a hint of sweetness. Served with the spicy bomba sauce, it was *chef’s kiss*. Pro tip: if you can’t decide between pizza or a pasta dish, try the Pizza Bread Balloon as a starter with an appetizer.

Tiramisu Pancakes

Viaggio Tiramisu Pancakes
Tiramisu Pancakes with Mascarpone cream, marsala and espresso syrup

If we had to pick just one thing (and wouldn’t that be a shame?) from Viaggio’s menu, this would be it. Luckily for diners, this is on both the dessert menu for dinnertime guests as well as the weekend brunch menu, because who doesn’t love a sweet start to their day? The fluffiest pancakes (think Japanese soufflé-style) are drizzled with espresso maple syrup and topped with a mountain of Mascarpone whipped cream for a heavenly dessert that you’ll come back for again and again (trust us!).

Photos courtesy of Sabrina Stavenjord.

sephardic challah bread on a linen tablecloth

This Sephardic-Style Spiced Challah is the Perfect Addition to Your Rosh Hashanah Spread

For most Canadians, challah is best known as a wonderfully fluffy, eggy, yeasty and sweet braided bread appreciated by Jews and non-Jews alike. Whether it’s enjoyed for Shabbat and Jewish holidays or as the base of custardy French toasts and decadent deli sandwiches, this golden Ashkenazi loaf has origins in Central and Eastern Europe and is popular for good reason. But there are other delightful challah traditions, including lighter, more savoury loaves favoured among Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews of North African and Middle Eastern ancestry.

Unlike the multi-stranded braided challahs, these loaves are commonly coiled into festive (and far easier) “crowns,” which, during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), take on special meaning to symbolize the continuity of life. The flavours of these loaves are also wildly different. My Moroccan grandmother’s challah was always laced with whole spices such as cumin and caraway seeds that were mixed into the smooth and airy crumb. It was the perfect pairing for a table full of spicy, saucy and tangy cooked salads and tagines. This challah recipe takes me back to everything I loved about my grandmother’s cooking and being in her kitchen.

Note: This recipe can easily be made vegan with a couple simple swaps, outlined below.

sephardic challah bread on a linen tablecloth

Sephardic-Style Challah with Whole Seeds and Spices

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 3-4 hours
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4-5 hours
Servings: One large round loaf or two small loaves

Ingredients:
For the dough
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp cumin or nigella seeds
1 Tbsp of caraway, coriander or anise seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled, plus extra for dusting
1½ envelopes (12 grams) instant yeast
1 egg (optional), at room temperature
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp canola or sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling hands and baking sheet
¾-1 cup warm water

For the egg wash and topping (optional)
Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet
1 egg, plus 1 Tbsp water
Salt to taste
Sesame or poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Ingredients for sephardic challah on a white countertop

Directions:

1. For the dough, in a skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds,  cumin, caraway or other seeds until fragrant (and before they start to pop), about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Related: Pomegranate Ginger Chicken For a Sweet and Fruitful Rosh Hashanah

Seeds and herbs toasting for sephardic challah

2. Combine all of the dough ingredients (including the seeds), then mix and knead for about 10 minutes by hand, stand mixer (with dough hook) or bread maker until smooth, soft and supple. If using egg, add ¾ cup of warm water first.

Option: For a vegan “water challah” without egg, use 1 cup of water. If the dough is too stiff, add more warm water, one tablespoon at a time, as needed. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.

3. Let the dough rise in a tightly covered bowl for roughly 2 hours until puffy and about doubled in size.

Dough for sephardic challah in a mixing bowl

4. Sprinkle cornmeal on a lightly-oiled baking sheet.

5. With oiled hands, gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

Related: Irresistible Dulce de Leche Rugelach

6. To make one large loaf, roll the dough into a 40- to 50-inch-long rope. (If you don’t have enough work space, roll it one half at a time, bending the rope in the middle.) If the dough isn’t stretching easily, let it rest covered for 5 to 10 minutes, then continue rolling. For two smaller loaves, aim for 25-inch ropes.

7. Let the rope(s) rest for 5 minutes. Form the rope into a coil, starting from one end. Tuck the second end under the finished coil.

Two coils of dough for sephardic challah on a white countertop

8. Place the coil(s) on the prepared baking sheet(s), one loaf per pan.

9. To make the egg wash topping, mix the reserved egg with 1 Tbsp water and a pinch of salt.

Option: For a vegan “water challah” version, skip this step or substitute egg wash with maple syrup or aquafaba (without water).

10. Brush dough coil(s) with a first layer of egg wash. Cover coil(s) with a large inverted bowl. Let stand for 60 to 90 minutes, until very puffy.

10. Near the end of the rising time, place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400°F.

11. Brush a second layer of egg wash onto dough coil(s) (this extra step will make the loaf beautifully shiny) and sprinkle generously with sesame or poppy seeds.

Dough for sephardic challah sprinkled with sesame seeds on a baking sheet

12. Place baking sheet in center of preheated oven (for two small loaves, place the baking sheets side by side or one at a time) and bake for 30 minutes or until the loaf is a rich, golden colour and the bottom is crispy. To check doneness, a digital thermometer poked into the centre of the loaf should read 190°F. Transfer to a rack to cool before serving or slicing.

Related: An Easy, Tender Brisket Recipe That is Sure to Impress

A golden loaf of sephardic challah on a linen tea towel

Love Claire’s challah? Be sure to try her upside-down apple cake for a gorgeous Rosh Hashanah dessert.

Thyme Aperol Spritz

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

Thyme Aperol Spritz

Thyme-Infused Aperol Spritz

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings:  1

Related: Savour the Best of the Season With This Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Spritzer

This That’s the Spirit Aperol spritz is a classic summer cocktail. It’s light, refreshing and truly tastes like summertime in Italy. Take this cocktail up a notch by incorporating a little thyme-infused simple syrup. The thyme really complements the orange and herbal notes in the Aperol tying this cocktail together. Perfect for a hot summer day (or eve), this spritz is one you’ll want to keep making again and again! Cheers. 

Related: Savour the Best of the Season With This Strawberry Rhubarb Gin Spritzer

Ingredients:

Thyme simple syrup (makes 0.5 oz)
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs

3 oz Prosecco D.O.C
2 oz Aperol
0.5 oz Thyme simple syrup
Splash of soda
Garnish: Orange wedge and fresh thyme sprigs

Related: This Blood Orange Negroni is the Perfect Summer Cocktail

Directions:

Thyme-Infused Simple Syrup

  1. Add ½ cup sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Remove from heat and add 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme. Let steep for 10-15 minutes, depending on how strong you want the thyme flavour to be. 

Related: This Earl Grey Mar(tea)ni is the Cocktail You Need

Thyme Aperol Spritz

Cocktail 

  1. Fill a white wine glass with ice. 
  2. Pour 3 parts of Prosecco D.O.C, followed by 2 parts of Aperol and 0.5 oz. thyme-infused simple syrup. 
  3. Top with a splash of soda and stir. 
  4. Garnish with an orange wedge and fresh thyme sprigs. 

Like Abhi’s summer cocktail? Try his refreshing Brazilian Lemonade Margarita

 

three rolled hotdog omelettes on parchment paper

Hot Dogs for Breakfast? Yes Please! You Need to Try This Japanese-Inspired Rolled Hot Dog Omelette

Inspired by both Japanese rolled egg omelettes (tamagoyaki) and trendy Korean rice dogs, this Hot Dog Rolled Omelette recipe is a fun, reimagined version of a classic breakfast omelette . My daughters say this recipe is like wrapping a hot dog in three cozy layers of eggy blanket, which is pretty accurate. Be sure to serve with a squiggle of your favourite sauce(s) such as Japanese mayo, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce or tonkatsu sauce for the full effect.

A square or rectangular omelette pan is normally used for rolled omelettes, and can be purchased online or at Japanese kitchenware stores. However, a small round egg pan can be made to work as well. You can also create a similar look by folding in the two side flaps of each egg layer to form straight edges first, before proceeding to roll. Online how-to videos are a great resource for visual guidance.three rolled hotdog omelettes on parchment paper

Rolled Hot Dog Omelettes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the omelettes
8 large eggs
2 Tbsp water
¼ tsp salt
1 scallion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup corn kernels
4 small hot dogs
Neutral oil, for frying

Optional sauces for serving:
Japanese mayonnaise
Ketchup
Mustard
Hot sauce
Tonkatsu sauce

mise en place for rolled hotdog omelettes

Directions:

1. Whisk eggs, water and salt together. Stir in scallions, bell peppers and corn kernels.

Related: Here’s How to Cook Eggs Perfectly Every Time

eggs, scallions and peppers being mixed together in a ceramic bowl

2. Heat pan over medium heat. Set out a small dish of oil and fold a half-piece of paper towel into a 2” x 1” rectangle to be used for oiling the pan.

3. Using tongs or chopsticks, dip folded paper towel into oil and brush it onto the pan to very lightly grease. Pan fry hot dogs until warmed through and slightly browned. Set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low and let pan cool off a little.

scrambled eggs, peppers and scallions in an oiled square pan

4. Brush pan again with oil. Pour a thin layer of egg mixture into the pan, swirling to coat evenly. In my 6” x 7” pan, I use 3-4 Tbsp of egg mixture per layer. When the top is still slightly runny but the bottom is cooked enough to roll, place a hot dog about an inch from the far end of the pan and. Using two utensils (e.g. spatulas, tongs, chopsticks) start rolling the egg over and around the hotdog towards you.

A hotdog placed over omelette mixture in a square pan, ready to be rolled

5. Once the hot dog is fully rolled, push it back to the far end. Brush oil onto the pan and pour a second thin layer of egg mixture in. Swirl to cover the entire area of the pan not occupied by the rolled up hot dog. Adjust heat between low and medium as needed so the egg doesn’t cook too quickly. Again, cook the egg mixture to the point that it still looks runny on the top but the bottom has cooked enough to allow rolling. Roll hot dog towards you again, pulling the second egg layer over and around as you roll.

Related: Your Kiddos Will Not Stop Asking You to Cook This Hot Dog Fried Rice Recipe

a rolled hotdog omelette in a pan

6. Repeat step 5 one more time with a third egg layer. Once rolled, cook the finished hot dog omelette about five seconds more to ensure it is cooked through.

7. Optional step: roll the warm omelette inside a parchment and/or bamboo mat and very gently shape with hands into a uniformly-rounded tube. Allow it to cool a few minutes before unwrapping.

a hotdog omelette being rolled up in parchment paper and a bamboo mat

8. Serve hot dog rolled omelettes with your choice of sauces.

Like Sonia’s hot dog rolled omelette recipe? Try her Japanese fruit sandos next!

Vendors selling produce at a booth in the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto

An Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market is Helping Revitalize a Toronto Neighbourhood

Farmers’ markets have become a draw in cities across Canada, offering fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods and other artisan products, but the price points make them cost-prohibitive for those on a fixed income. Toronto’s newest market is changing its surrounding community for the better, breaking down barriers and making it a welcoming place for all.

The Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market is located in the Little Jamaica-Afro Caribbean Cultural District at Eglinton West and Oakwood. Anyone familiar with the area knows that it has been a sea of construction for close to a decade because of the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line. Shops were shuttering even before the pandemic, and it’s only gotten worse since.

We spoke with Lori Beazer, Market Manager for the Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market, about its origins and how it’s already making a difference by injecting life back into the neighbourhood and reminding the city that this important cultural hub is still open for business.

The Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market in the York-Eglinton West neighbourhood of Toronto, Canada

The market first ran as a pilot project in 2017 in a different area of the city, but it didn’t have a home until a chance encounter between Beazer and Toronto City Councillor, Josh Matlow. “I bumped into Councillor Matlow in 2020, introduced myself and pitched the market,” Beazer told us. “He loved it, so we started working on it.”

Related: Food Activist and Dietitian Rosie Mensah Looks at Nutrition Through a Social Justice Lens

Fast forward to the market’s July 2021 launch in partnership with Councillor Matlow and the York-Eglinton BIA, where it found a home in Reggae Lane and the adjacent parking lot on Eglinton West. “Here we are, a year later, and it’s been well-received. Its success shows what the area was craving for so long,” said Beazer.

Visitors to this unique market can shop for clean, culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables from the Caribbean and continental African countries along with clean produce grown by local urban farmers, baked goods, fresh juices, sauces and other artisan products. “We use the word clean instead of organic because this produce is clean of any pesticides, and is grown using diatomaceous earth,” Beazer explained. “The market features clean foods that are locally grown by people that look like them. And I think for them, that’s important.”

Vendors selling homemade condiments at the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto, Canada

Until this point, many farmers’ markets across the city exude a sense of exclusivity and elitism, but this is where the Afro-Caribbean Farmer’s Market is breaking the mold. “In having conversations with many of our vendors, they’ve felt a sense of racism when shopping at or even vending at other farmers’ markets,” Beazer disclosed. “We have created a platform where they’re not only able to sell their products, they’re selling out.”

Related: The World’s Biggest Rooftop Farm is in Canada — and Growing Fast

They’ve even gone as far as providing a program for those facing food insecurity called Callaloo Cash, making this farmers’ market accessible to more people, especially those in the neighbourhood. From the earliest stages of planning, the program was always going to be an important facet of this market, according to Beazer.

“I understand this area and a good majority of our population of the African diaspora rarely go to farmers’ markets because they can’t afford it. But we have urban Black farmers who need a space to sell their wares. They’re not travelling a long distance and can get to the site using less mileage and expense, which lowers the cost of their produce. Having the Callaloo Cash subsidy program allows people from the community to walk out of the market with bags of food that they paid little or nothing for. They can go home with all of these wonderful things that they know are local and clean.”

Related: Allison Gibson Talks Launching Food Businesses and Reclaiming the Term “Ethnic Food”

Since the July launch, the market is quickly becoming a destination for people in the neighbourhood. “It has become important to the community,” Beazer shared. “They’re grateful to have something to do on a Sunday in this area. They can invite family to their homes and go to the market together for coconut water and sugar cane, or some jerk chicken with rice and peas.”

Vendors selling produce at a booth in the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto

A market does so much more than provide food and a sense of community. Farmers’ Markets Ontario, the organization that represents over 180 markets across the province, has researched and proven that real estate values increase in neighbourhoods following the launch of a farmers’ market, something that Beazer has already witnessed in the area. “The community members, homeowners, and business owners have already seen the benefits of the farmers’ market being mentioned in their postal code. And that’s incredible.”

She continued, “The community wants the market here because they see the benefits. The stores see the benefits and open if they’re not typically open on a Sunday. The foot traffic has been close to a thousand people every Sunday since it started, many of who wouldn’t have normally visited Eglinton West. Our vendors sell out of their products, which has never happened to them at other farmers’ markets in the city. It’s a great place to be with a fantastic vibe.”

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

Despite support from Councillor Matlow and Ontario MPP Jill Andrew, the Toronto Parking Authority, which owns the lot where the market takes place, hasn’t been supportive according to Beazer. “Every farmers’ market has its challenges and we have ours. This market is dealing with some really ugly things because of this space that we’re in. The Toronto Parking Authority is not doing what they need to do for the space. They’re disrespecting the vendors by not keeping the lot clean for us.”

In fact, Beazer has taken on the site clean-up since the first day of the market and tearfully described the human waste that she faces each week when she arrives. “Every Sunday at 8AM, I head to the market site with anxiety because I don’t know what I’m going to find. Without fail, I have to clean it up myself before the vendors arrive.”

An assortment of freshly baked bread for sale at the Afro-Caribbean Farmers' Market in Toronto, Canada

Ideally, Beazer wants this market to happen annually, and as part of that, she would love to see this space returned to the community. She envisions it as a hub for art shows, yoga classes, movie nights, children’s activities and so much more beyond the farmers’ market. “This project was really supposed to help change the attitudes of people that live in the area that haven’t come to Eglinton West for 15 years because they were afraid. By bringing food and culture to this neighbourhood through the Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market, we can start to change that footprint.”

Related: Vegan West African Peanut Lentil Stew: The Comfort Food You Need

Beazer also believes that there is magic in this space, especially in the Reggae Lane mural created by artist Adrian Hayles. “When the sun comes out and hits the mural, it comes to life. The talk of the community is that the elders from the mural that have transitioned join us at the market.” She added, “Hayles is creating another mural on the opposite side. Should the market happen again next year, the whole space will be filled with beautiful art.”

The Afro-Caribbean Farmers’ Market runs every Sunday from 11AM to 3PM until October 3 in Reggae Lane and the Green P Carpark at 1531 Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto.

American singer Meghan Trainor and Acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson smile for the camera in front of a banner that reads Top Chef Family Style

4 Hot New Releases to Binge on Amazon Prime This September

Cooler temps, fall colours and craving comfy foods: Seasons are changing and so is the great content on Food Network.

From your top shows with a twist (think, “Top Chef but make it family”) to Halloween on Food Network (ghastly cake creations and frightful eliminations!),  we won’t be judgy if you binge on these shows playing on your device with StackTV on Amazon Prime.

Top Chef Family Style

When to Watch: New series premieres September 16 at 9 PM ET/PT


This new reality-based cooking competition is hosted by Grammy Award-winning global superstar Meghan Trainor with acclaimed chef, James Beard Award winner and best-selling cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson serving as Head Judge. It takes family ties and blends in high stakes, jaw-dropping talent and heart-warming humour that families across generations can enjoy. Talented young chefs – each teamed up with an adult partner of their choice –are competing to win the grand prize including $50,000.

Related: Memorable First Bites from Top Chef Canada

Halloween Baking Championship

When to Watch: New season premieres September 13 at 9 PM ET/PT

Judges Stephanie Boswell, Zac Young and Carla Hall and Judge John Henson, looking at the camera on the set of Halloween Baking Championship.

Camp Devil’s Food Lake is the backdrop for Season 11 of this wildly popular baking competition. The inspiration? 1980s slasher films. So get ready to see creepy-crawly desserts to deadly delicious cupcakes being whipped up, as the bakers try and prove their skills to a panel of costumed judges in order to land the $25,000 prize (and the title of Halloween Baking Champion)!

Related: Meet the Season 6 Competitors

Halloween Wars

When to Watch: New season begins on September 19 at 9 PM ET/PT

Zak Bagans sits in a chair on the set of Halloween Wars

Paranormal investigator Zack Bagan has seen a lot of supernatural things in his 15-years on the job. As the new host for the season, he shares some of those experiences with eight expert teams.  Taking inspiration from his collection of dangerous and mysterious artifacts from his Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, he will challenge the teams of sugar decorators, cake bakers and pumpkin carvers to create spooky AND tasty creations, eventually earning the coveted $25,000 prize.

Related: Meet the Halloween Wars Season 10 Competitors

The Big Bake: Halloween

When to Watch: Series premiere September 27 at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT

The Big Bake: Halloween is back with a bang for Season 2. The team of bakers need to think big and bold, blowing up their designs to gigantic proportions – keeping their spirits aligned with everything Halloween, of course. In the end, the most ambitious, eye-popping and delicious cake will go home with a $10,000 prize.

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.

Ina Garten's skillet kitchen in a cast iron pan with lemon slices

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

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

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

Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

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

Ingredients:
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup good olive oil
1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (4-lb) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Juice of 1 lemon

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

Cast iron pan with skillet cooked grilled chicken

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

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

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

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

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

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

Bone-in chicken bread with lemon and side of greens

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

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

comeback snacks founder emily o'brien beside bags of her popcorn

This Popcorn Shop is Destigmatizing the Ex-Con Label, One Kernel at a Time

Almost every job application form asks one simple question: “Do you have a criminal record?” For many people, it’s easy to breeze by it without a second thought. But for an ex-convict, it can feel like an impossible employment barrier to overcome.

comeback snacks founder emily o'brien beside bags of her popcorn
Comeback Snacks founder Emily O’Brien

After being sentenced to four years in prison for attempted drug smuggling, Comeback Snacks founder Emily O’Brien knows this firsthand. “If you’re an employer and you have two candidates, you’re probably going to go with the person who doesn’t have a criminal record just because it seems like a safer bet, without knowing anything about the other person.“

Which is why O’Brien decided to do something about it by starting her own business helping ex-convicts like herself: “I knew I couldn’t let my sentence determine the rest of my life in a negative way,” she explains. Food felt like a natural path to pursue: “When I was in prison I noticed the ways food brought people together. It made people laugh and forget where they were. It also allowed people to talk about their anxieties about reentering the workforce. They were terrified of being misunderstood and stigmatized and having no one believe in them. I wanted to change that narrative for myself and for others.”

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

5 bags of comeback snacks popcorn on a marble countertop
Comeback Snacks Popcorn, $6/bag, well.ca

And so, over many bowls of popcorn (a prison-approved snack), the idea for Comeback Snacks was born: “We would make different popcorn recipes, my favourite was Kraft Dinner cheese, I called it Jailhouse Cheese. I would buy Kraft Dinner from the canteen and put the cheese powder on the popcorn,” says O’Brien. “Some people would put mixtures of spices, some people would use a blend of cinnamon and Splenda from their morning coffee. It was really interesting to see how creative a lot of people were.” In many ways, popcorn provided the blank canvas O’Brien needed to map out her future: “I knew this would be the vector to my new way of life and my way of helping others to reenter the work force by proving that we are capable of so much more.”

That kernel of an idea turned into the thriving business that Comeback Snacks is now. With the help of friends and family on the outside, Emily mapped out her business while in prison and went full speed ahead once she was released, developing many of her flavours while living in a halfway house. Today, with five sweet gourmet flavours on their roster (think: Lemon Meringue and Salted Chocolate Caramel) and a staff of 5 employees (all of whom have criminal backgrounds), Comeback Snacks popcorn is in over 200 stores and ships across Canada. Each employee also earns above minimum wage: “Financial struggles are often a leading cause of why someone could become incarcerated,” says O’Brien. “When you come out and you have no credit or job and you’re trying to get an apartment, it can be really hard to build that foundation. We’re trying to help with that.”

Related: Joshna Maharaj on Tackling Food Security, Inclusion in Canada’s Hospitality Industry + More

In addition to hiring staff with criminal records, part of Comeback Snacks’ mandate is also to work with organizations that align with their values through fundraisers and popcorn donations, including the Yonge St. Mission, the Elizabeth Fry Society and even the SPCA: “Animals need a second chance too!” says O’Brien with a laugh.

 

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Comeback Snacks also recently opened their first bricks and mortar location in Hamilton, Ontario called Comeback Commissary. “Instead of it just being a store with popcorn it’s an educational experience for people to come and learn about the prison system and break some of the stigmas they may have,” says O’Brien. “I have a storytelling wall with my old uniform, pictures and other documents that explain the institutional challenges that limit people and make their reentry into society very difficult.” The shop also plans to serve as a community hub in its off hours: “We’re going to host AA and NA meetings. A lot of people that have worked with us struggle with that, and it’s important that they have a safe space they can use.”

As for what’s next? Comeback Snacks has partnered with snack food powerhouse the Neal Brothers to manufacture their popcorn on an even larger scale and produce new savoury flavours, including Lemon Pepper Dill and Emily’s own version of the Jailhouse Cheese flavour that started it all: “Instead of it being Kraft Dinner cheese it’s composed of three real Canadian cheddar cheeses.” Breaking stigmas has never been more delicious.

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

Photos courtesy of Martyna Domurad

halloumi burgers with a side of rainbow coleslaw

Eat the Rainbow with These Halloumi Burgers and Colourful Veggie Slaw

If you’re looking for the perfect vegetarian burger, this is it. Halloumi cheese has won the hearts of many because of its salty nature and high melting point, making it the perfect choice for grilling and frying. Pairing it with a fresh, colourful slaw that’s loaded with vibrant herbs brings out a symphony of complex flavours and textures. While you can certainly season the halloumi burgers any way you like, we chose to add a Middle Eastern spin with the sumac sauce and quick drizzle of pomegranate molasses at the end. If that’s not your thing, try replacing the sumac with oregano and the pomegranate molasses with a squeeze of lemon. Although there are a few moving parts to this recipe, it comes together very quickly, making it an ideal weeknight meal.

halloumi burgers with a side of rainbow coleslaw

Rainbow Veggie Halloumi Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:
Rainbow Veggie Slaw:
½ cup shredded purple cabbage
½ cup shredded green cabbage
1 carrot, ribboned
⅓ cup cilantro and mint leaves, roughly ripped a part
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon, squeezed
1 tsp sumac (optional)
Pinch of salt and pepper

Sumac Sauce:
⅓ cup Greek yogurt or labneh
½ tsp sumac
½ clove garlic, minced

Halloumi Burgers:
1 brick halloumi cheese, sliced into 4 equal pieces
2-4 burger buns

Garnish:
Drizzle of pomegranate molasses
A few sprigs mint and cilantro leaves

Ingredients for halloumi burgers with rainbow veggie slaw

Directions:
1. For the rainbow veggie slaw, toss cabbage and carrot together with the cilantro, mint, oil, lemon, sumac, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Related: This Grilled Halloumi Salad Will Be Your Go-To Summer BBQ Side

rainbow veggie slaw in a large bowl

2. For the sumac sauce, whisk the Greek yogurt or labneh together with the sumac and garlic. Set aside.

Related: This Grilled Halloumi Salad Will Be Your Go-To Summer BBQ Side

Creamy sumac sauce in a large white bowl

 

3. For the halloumi, heat an oiled grill on medium-high.

4. Slice the halloumi in half down the center, and then halve it again to create 4 pieces.

5. Place it on the hot grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until crisp grill marks form.

6. Place the buns on the grill for a few minutes to lightly toast.

Related: Grilled Za’atar Carrots with Halloumi & Mint

Rainbow veggie halloumi burgers being prepared on a white plate

7. To assemble, spread the sumac sauce on the bottom of the buns, top with a small handful of the rainbow cabbage slaw, place 1-2 pieces of grilled halloumi on top, drizzle a small amount of pomegranate molasses, and finish with a few sprigs of fresh mint and cilantro.

8. Serve immediately with remaining slaw on the side of the halloumi burger.

For more vegetarian dinner ideas from Tamara and Sarah, try their vegan antipasto skewers or spicy sautéed cauliflower and chickpeas.

sweet corn arepas on a grey plate

Make the Most of Corn Season with These Sweet Corn Arepas

Sweet corn arepas, or chocolo arepas, are sweet and cheesy. I lean toward adding both queso fresco and Manchego cheese to the dough for a more interesting taste, rather than mozzarella. But I leave it up to you… The key is to get your griddle very hot so that a nice crusty outer layer forms. In my desire to make this a full meal — breakfast for dinner, that is—I toss together a tomato and avocado salad to cut through the richness.

sweet corn arepas on a grey plate

Sweet Corn Arepas

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Arepas
1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels
1 cup pre-cooked yellow cornmeal or Masa Arepa
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quesito or fresh ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons
¾ cup 2% milk

Raw Tomato & Avocado Salad
2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
2 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and cubed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
4 ounces quesito or queso fresco, crumbled
½ cup cilantro leaves

Directions:

1. Grind the corn in a food processor until the kernels break apart and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the ground corn to a large bowl and add the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, the ricotta cheese, and Manchego cheese. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients to combine. Add the 3 tablespoons butter and the milk and stir until the mixture comes together. Do not overmix. In the beginning, your mixture will look like a very loose pancake batter. Don’t fret, the cornmeal will take a few minutes to absorb
the liquid and achieve a better consistency. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the raw tomato and avocado salad: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes and avocados. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter until bubbles form. Measure ½ cup of the batter and pour into the pan — pancake style. You can fry the arepas 2 at a time or more, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the skillet. Cook the arepas until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. You may need to turn down the heat as you go so that the pan doesn’t get too hot from batch to batch. Place the finished arepas on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.

5. To serve, plate each arepa and top with a spoonful of the tomato and avocado salad, the crumbled quesito, and cilantro leaves

From the book COLOMBIANA by Mariana Velásquez Villegas. Copyright © 2021 by Mariana Velásquez Villegas. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Photos by Gentl & Hyer.

COLOMBIANA: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia, Amazon, $40.

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.

Host Duff Goldman at Charm City Cakes with his arms folder and a smile on his face

The Evolution of Duff Goldman: From Ace of Cakes to Buddy vs. Duff

Duff Goldman became a household name with Ace of Cakes but soon, the success of the Food Network series inspired other cake shows and the landscape became sweetly saturated. Thankfully that was just beginning for this chef, who is also a bit of a rock star — he plays bass in the Elvis cover band Foie Grock, after all.

From emerging as the face of Charm City Cakes, to cookbooks, a handful of shows on Food Network Canada, and a very full personal life, it’s safe to say that Duff’s (dessert) plate is full. Let’s go back and see how it all began, shall we?

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT 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.

The Name of the Game

 

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Jeffrey Adam Goldman was born in Detroit in 1974 before his family moved to Missouri. His nickname came from his older brother, Willie, who was unable to pronounce “Jeffrey.” Instead, “Duffy” became his new permanent nickname. Thank goodness. Not sure we could handle a Jeff and a Geof (Geoffrey Manthorne, Duff’s right hand man).

Easy as Cake

 

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Duff’s been working in kitchens since he was 14. His first job was at a bagel store at the mall and eventually he became a fry cook at McDonald’s. In college, he applied to work as a cook at the Charleston, one of Baltimore’s finest restaurants, but head chef Cindy Wolf told him he lacked experience. She did, however, offer him a position making cornbread and biscuits. That was the turning point in his career.

Fine Art

 

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Let’s not forget that Duff went to culinary school. Post-university (he has degrees in philosophy and history from the University of Maryland), Duff attended the Culinary Institute of America. It was there that he discovered his serious cake-making skills. He then worked at The French Laundry, run by renowned chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Thomas Keller. Under Keller’s leadership, Duff realized food and art could become one beautiful thing.

Business as Usual

 

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Duff first launched his cake business in 2000, out of his Mount Vernon, Virginia apartment. There, he would make one cake a week, but as time went by his confections were becoming more in demand. Two years later he opened Charm City Cakes — this time out of a studio in Baltimore. By 2003, Duff sold $130,000 worth of cakes, nearly three times what he sold in his first year.

Show Time

 

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Ace of Cakes was born in 2006. The show focused on the daily operations of Charm City Cakes as Duff and his equally fun and quirky staff went about their daily routines, constructing cakes using a variety of traditional and unconventional tools (like belt sanders, blowtorches and power saws). The show ran for 10 seasons over five years, coming to an end in 2011.

No Slowing Down

 

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Ace of Cakes may have ended but that didn’t mean things were less busy for Duff. On the contrary, he opened his second bakery, this time in Los Angeles, which has the same Baltimore charm just in sunnier conditions. And more famous people.

Memory Lane

 

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Some of the more memorable events Charm City Cakes has represented over the years were the premieres of Kung-Fu PandaHairspray and a couple of the Harry Potter movies, not to mention the times he was commissioned to make replicas of Radio City Music Hall, Wrigley Field, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Love and Marriage

 

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Duff and his then girlfriend Johnna Colbry dated for three years before they got married on Jan. 21, 2019. Naturally, there were three cakes at the ceremony: an underwater-themed creation that hung from the ceiling, a traditional white wedding cake for Johnna and a meat cake for Duff. That last concoction was memorable thanks to its bottom meatball tier, secondary meatloaf tier, lamb shawarma for the third tier, and scrapple on top. The frosting was mashed potatoes, bacon roses adorned the “icing,” and gravy cascaded from the chocolate fountain. Obviously.

Lights, Camera, so Much Action

 

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Ace of Cakes may have taken up a lot of Duff’s precious baking time, but after a few years’ hiatus, the baker and chef returned to the small screen in 2014 with Kids Baking Championship. He quickly followed that up with Holiday Baking ChampionshipSpring Baking Championship and Duff Takes the Cake.

Putting Pen to Paper

 

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Duff has always been willing to share the secrets to his success, which he does in cookbook form. The personality released his third title in Fall 2020, Super Good Baking For Kids. Previously he had also released  Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes and Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home.

Growing His Family

 

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Duff’s third book may have been inspired by the fact that he was about to become a dad himself. In February 2021 Duff and Johnna welcomed baby girl Josephine to the world. “We made a family! I have a whole little family!” he wrote on social media at the time. “I keep telling Josephine about all the wonderful things she’s gonna get to try like pizza and candy and swimming and concerts and riding a bike.”

Merching Out

 

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In addition to growing his business and his family, Duff has also gotten into the merchandising game. On his official site, he hocks plenty of branded t-shirts, beanies and baking accessories, allowing fans to bring a little of Duff into their own kitchens, too.

His Latest TV Adventure

 

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Duff’s latest competition, Buddy vs. Duff, is now in its third season. Duff took the crown in Season 1 thanks to his seriously charming yet complex cakes, but Buddy Valastro rebounded in a big way to take home the win in Season 2. This season, everything will be on the line for these legendary cake artists, who hope to prove once and for all that they are the reigning cake champ.

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT 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.

Posted by Denette Wilford. Last Updated on August 22 by Amber Dowling.

Placing Strawberries into a Freezer Bag

5 Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn

So you hit a great sale and stock your freezer up. But a few weeks or months later, you pull out your edibles and they’re covered in ice crystals. The sad phenomenon that causes unappealing, dried-out, discoloured food happens to the best of us. 

We have five useful tips to make sure you never feel the (freezer) burn again.

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Frozen Strawberries

1. Wrap your freezer-bound fare twice, with as little air as possible. First wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as you can.

2. Keep your cold storage well organized. That way, you don’t have to keep the door open for five minutes every time you look for something, avoiding temperature fluctuations as much as possible. If you’re shopping for a new unit, keep in mind that self-defrosting models are worse for freezer burn.

Related: This is the Right Way to Freeze Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

3. Don’t put hot foods directly in the freezer; let them cool first. 

4. Keep your freezer full, but not too full. At about three-quarters capacity, the freezer is most efficient at maintaining its cool. 

5. Invest in a vacuum-sealer.  It sucks out all the air around the food before freezing, which makes a big difference in longevity.

Related: 35 Easy Freezer Meals You Can Make Ahead (And Devour Later)

Although colour, texture and taste all suffer when freezer burn strikes, it does not render the food inedible — it’s still perfectly safe. To rescue freezer-burnt provisions, try concealing it in flavourful mixed dishes with lots of liquid, like stews, a bolognese, or barbecue sauces.

Looking for more kitchen tips? Learn our top 20 Life-Changing Freezer Hacks.

a bowl of spicy shrimp and mango salsa

You’re Just 15 Minutes Away From Spicy Shrimp Mango Salsa

For sunny backyard brunches and late summer evenings where you’re craving something delicious, tropical, and quick, this Spicy Shrimp Mango Salsa is just the ticket. With sweet chunks of mango, juicy pink shrimp and a generous squeeze of lime that ties it all together in under 15 minutes, you’ll want to eat this salsa with everything. And the best part is, you can!

a bowl of spicy shrimp and mango salsa

Spicy Shrimp Mango Salsa

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: Yields 4

Ingredients:

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1 lime, divided
1½ cups diced mango chunks
¾ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

mise en place for spicy shrimp and mangosalsa

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, season shrimp with salt and pepper, then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil.

2. Add in the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes, about 2 minutes per side. Once you flip the shrimp, add in garlic and cook for the remaining 2 minutes until the shrimp is pink.

Related: Delicious Dinners That Start with Frozen Shrimp

3. Remove from heat and squeeze in ½ of lime juice, then set the shrimp aside and keep warm.

A bowl of spicy mango salsa beside a plate of cooked shrimp

4. In a large bowl, combine mango chunks, remaining lime juice, red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and sea salt. Toss until combined.

5. Serve on its own, with cauliflower rice, as a taco, or with grilled fish.

Spicy shrimp mango salsa served three ways: with fish, over cauliflower rice and in a taco

Like Valerie’s shrimp salsa? Try her sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken or sweet chili chicken wings.

This Creamy Green Hummus is Made for Avocado Lovers

Combining edamame and green peas along with ripe avocado, this take on hummus is bright, fresh, and creamy!

Avo-Mame Hummus

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Blend Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1½ cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed (see note)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (see note)
1 cup cubed ripe avocado
¼-⅓ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1 medium clove garlic (use more if desired)
1¼-1½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Few ice cubes for blending
Handful fresh basil or cilantro leaves (optional)
½ teaspoon grated lemon or lime zest

Directions:

1. In a high-speed blender (see note), combine the edamame, peas, avocado, lemon juice (starting with ¼ cup), garlic, salt (starting with 1 ¼ teaspoons), cumin, black pepper, and 2–3 ice cubes (as needed to get the puree moving, but not too much to thin out).

Related: Best Ways to Ripen Avocados

2. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the blender as needed.

3. Taste and season with extra salt or lemon juice if desired. If using fresh herbs, pulse them in now, then pulse in the zest.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Beet Hummus

4. Serve or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2–3 days (see note).

Edamame/Green Pea Note: To thaw, put the edamame and peas in separate bowls and cover with boiling water. Do them separately, since edamame will need to soak longer (or require draining and a second soak), whereas green peas will thaw in just a minute when covered with boiling water. Drain well.

Blender Note: This hummus works best blended in a high-speed blender, because it will better pulverize the skins on the green peas. You can use a food processor for this recipe, though the hummus will not be as smooth and you may notice the flecks of green peas.

Refrigeration Note: Since this dip has a fair amount of avocado, it will oxidize some, and so the dip is best when eaten freshly made. However, you can keep it for a few days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I prefer to use a deeper, narrower jar or container, to lessen the oxidizing. After refrigerating, you can scrape off the surface layer of the dip where it has discolored and serve the fresher layer of the dip.

Excerpted from Dreena’s Kind Kitchen: 100 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes to Enjoy Every Day by Dreena Burton. Copyright © 2021 by Dreena Burton. Published by BenBella Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Dreena’s Kind Kitchen: 100 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes to Enjoy, Amazon, $32

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.

Anna Olson poses smiling with her hat box birthday cake

Here’s the Cake Anna Olson Bakes for Her Birthday – and Why You Should, Too!

Everybody loves birthday cake! And why not? A birthday cake means there is a celebration, and someone is being honoured, and best of all if that person is you!

My birthday is May 8th, falling very near or sometimes right on Mother’s Day, so there are now two reasons to bake a cake.  The question is: what type of cake to make?  You’ve seen me make every possible type of cake, but are you curious which are my favourites?  Here are a few things about me and my love of cake, and some guiding tips that I follow:

Related: Magical Birthday Cupcake Recipes

Cake vs. Cupcake

Cupcakes were always my choice growing up, and ballerinas were my “thing”. My Mom had a set of plastic ballerina figurines that she would top each cupcake with for years.

Remember regular layer cake batters don’t always adapt well to cupcakes.  Often wet batters will stick to the paper liners on cupcakes instead of peeling away easily.  If you want a cupcake, choose a cupcake recipe.

Related: Anna Olson’s Best Chocolate Recipes

A chocolate cupcake topped with swirled chocolate and vanilla icingGet the recipe: Chocolate Spice Cupcake with Chocolate “Swirl” Frosting

Tip: When baking cake layers, whether round or square, use cake pans with sides that are a straight 90° from the bottom.  Some cake pans have angled sides (for the only reason that they nest well for shipping) but when layers are assembled, the cake won’t have straight sides, and the angle is noticeable when the cake is sliced. I’ve designed my Anna Olson Kitchen cake pans specifically with this in mind.

Choosing Your Birthday Cake Flavour

I love the classically named cakes, with their defined flavour & filling combinations:

Black forest cake sliced open revealing delicious layers of chocolate cake and cherry filling
Black Forest Cake – chocolate cake, cherry filling and whipped cream frosting

Beautiful Dobos Tort decorated with caramelized sugar Dobos Torte – thin layers of nut sponge with chocolate buttercream and a caramelized sugar “fan” on top

Slices of opera tart cakeOpera Torte – sponge, ganache and mocha buttercream

I also like watching cake flavour and decor trends, including “naked” cakes, confetti cakes, and I am going through a serious waffle cake phase right now.

I don’t repeat birthday cakes – I change it up every year, and I rarely choose a chocolate cake.

See More: Anna Olson’s Healthier Dessert Recipes

When to Bake Your Birthday Cake

Because I’d like to be a guest at my own birthday party, I plan on baking the cake layers two days ahead (or baking and freezing further ahead) and making the fillings and frosting the day before, and assembling then.

Tip: Cake layers are less crumbly and easier to slice when baked a day before frosting them.

Anna Olson poses smiling with her hat box birthday cake

Tip: Unfrosted cake layers should not be refrigerated (it would dry the cake out. If baking a day ahead, wrap them well and leave them on the counter.  Once assembled, the frosting seals in the moisture, so it can be chilled and stay fresh.

Related: Anna Olson’s Guide for Working With Buttercream

How Long Will Your Cake Sit Out?

If the weather is nice (and you went to a deal of effort), you’ll want to show off the cake and let it sit out at room temperature (out of direct sunlight).

Tip: Frosting and fondants that have food colouring added fade when exposed to direct sunlight. Take care where the cake is placed for display, and adding a little glycerin (available where you buy cake decorating supplies) to your frosting or fondant will help preserve the colour.

So you need to choose fillings and frosting that suit:

Out for under 30 minutes: mousse fillings and whipped cream frostings are fine.

Out for 30-90 minutes: Curd fillings, fruit fillings, cream cheese frostings and chocolate ganache can handle sitting out for longer.

Out for 90+ minutes: Swiss buttercream cakes, fondant-covered cakes, and cupcakes can sit out longer.  Italian buttercream is the most stable frosting, which is why it is a favourite choice of pastry chefs for wedding cakes.

Anna’s Birthday Cake

So now that we’ve talked about all types of cakes, what is my choice for a birthday cake?  And the winner is:

Beautifully decorates lemon buttercream hatbox cake with buttercream bow
Get the recipe: Lemon Swiss Buttercream Hatbox Cake

Lemon cakes are ideal in spring, and I’m also thinking about Mother’s Day – I’ll be celebrating with my Mom then, and she loves a good lemon cake as well.  The silkiness of the Swiss buttercream is sweet, smooth and stable, but is not overly rich or cloying.  I’m not certain that I’ll replicate this hatbox style – I may go for piping spring flowers on top to suit the season.  Now that the Anna Olson Kitchen line carries a box of 100 reusable & recyclable disposable piping bags, and a piping tip set, there are no limits to my decor stylings.

Slice of Anna Olson's lemon swiss buttercream birthday cake

And if you are baking a birthday cake for yourself or someone else, remember that delicious memories are made in the kitchen – enjoy the time spent baking as much as the time spent eating!

The Anna Olson Kitchen collection of 48 items of bakeware, baking tools and décor tools are available exclusively at The Hudson’s Bay Company and  www.thebay.com

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