Tag Archives: everyday cooking

A variety of pasta shapes and sizes on a grey countertop

The Definitive Guide to Alternative Pastas

Whether you prefer it smothered in a hearty Bolognese or kissed with a delicate cream sauce, pasta is a comfort food favourite for good reason. Many of us turn to pasta when we’re in the mood for a quick, soul-warming dish, but it probably doesn’t top your list of better-for-you meal options. When nothing but noodles will do, however, a growing range of pasta made from flour alternatives is making it possible to enjoy your favourite recipes regardless of your health goals and dietary restrictions. From gluten-free noodles to high-protein varieties made from lentils, these are some of the best pasta alternatives to try the next time a spaghetti craving strikes.

A variety of pasta shapes and sizes on a grey countertop

Chickpea Pasta

Try it in: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Made from ground chickpea flour, these nutrition-filled noodles can contain up to double the fibre and double the protein of wheat-based pasta. In addition to these potential personal health benefits, legumes like chickpeas have a low ecological footprint, making chickpea pasta a more sustainable meal choice than its grain-based counterparts. Chickpea pasta’s mild, slightly nutty flavour goes best with creamy carbonara and alfredo sauces, as well as with dishes featuring plenty of veggies.


Get the recipe: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Black Bean Pasta

Try it in: 30-Minute Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Another protein-packed alternative that’s ideal for fitness-minded eaters, black bean pasta has a distinctive dark colour and a pleasantly earthy taste. It’s typically made from dried black soybeans beans and its high fibre content makes it extra filling, so it’ll keep you feeling satiated for longer than wheat-based noodles (no late-night, post-dinner snacking needed). Black bean pasta is also gluten-free and high in iron. Try mixing it with simple, classic sauces like pomodoro or pesto. As with most gluten-free pasta, black bean pasta tends to become mushy when overcooked. It’s therefore best not to completely rely on the cooking time recommended on the packaging and, instead, start testing the pasta a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done in order to get the texture right.

Related: The Best Non-Dairy Milks to Meet All Your Needs (From Baking to Latte Frothing)

Brown Rice Pasta

Try it in: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Like chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta offers higher levels of fibre and protein than traditional noodles. Nutritionally, brown rice pasta is similar to whole wheat pasta but, unlike whole wheat pasta, it’s also suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. With a fairly neutral flavour and a chewy texture, it’s a great go-to when you’re looking for a no-fuss nutritional boost on pasta night. Brown rice pasta takes a little more time to cook than classic pasta, with its naturally al dente consistency helping it to hold up particularly well in hearty sauces and noodle soups.


Get the recipe: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Quinoa pasta

Try it in: Spaghetti Puttanesca with Cauliflower

Containing all nine essential amino acids, as well as high levels of magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and calcium, quinoa is a health-conscious foodie favourite for good reason. Quinoa pasta delivers the better-for-you benefits of the classic grain plus its dense texture makes it less likely to turn into a sloppy mess if you overcook it by a minute or two. Many types of quinoa pasta are blended with other bases, such as white rice flour or corn flour, so take a good look at the ingredient label if you’re hoping to get the full nutritional benefits of a quinoa serving or have dietary sensitivities to consider.

Related: Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes That Are Seriously Delicious

Spelt pasta

Try it in: Pappardelle Duck Ragu

Spelt is a form of wheat that’s high in protein, fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins. Many people find it easier to digest than the durum wheat flour used to make traditional pasta, but keep in mind that spelt pasta does contain some gluten (although less than classic noodles) and it’s fairly high in carb content. Spelt pasta’s nuttier flavour pairs best with bold, meat- and tomato-based dishes, rather than creamier sauces. It’s also good at retaining its al dente texture when used in soups like minestrone or chicken noodle.

Corn pasta

Try it in: 15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta

Gluten-free and high in fibre, corn pasta has a subtle flavour with a touch of sweetness. Its texture tends to be a bit grainier than traditional pasta, but it holds up well in sauces and can therefore be substituted easily into a range of different pasta dishes. Le Veneziane (italianmarket.ca, $2.99) is a non-GMO option that’s made in Italy, giving it that authentic Bel Paese-feel in spite of its non-traditional corn flour base. You can play up corn pasta’s natural flavour by adding it to a dish featuring fresh corn kernels or draw inspiration from corn’s frequent culinary partners-in-crime by creating a Southwestern-inspired pasta dish.

cheesy one pot pasta in a blue pot
Get the recipe: 15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta

Looking for more pasta inspo? Check out these Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings.

Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage) on a plate

Getting To Know Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage)

Biting into a piece of lap cheong, or Chinese sausage, brings a flood of tastes and textures to the palate: the slight snap of the thin casing quickly yields to a wash of fatty meatiness and a vaguely soft salty flavour that lingers in the mouth.

See More: The Most Creative Ways to Cook Sausage for Dinner

As with much of the cuisines of China, lap cheong varies by region and the generic Cantonese term can even cover dried sausages from different countries in Asia. In North America, lap cheong commonly refers to the pork variety with a deep pink colour, while yun cheong is made with pork and duck liver and is darker brown with a deeper, more savoury flavour. Both types are made with coarsely ground or chopped meat in casing using a salt and sugar cure before being air dried (or, poetically, “wind dried”). The result is a firm, slightly sweet sausage that must be cooked before consumption, much like a raw chorizo.

Air dried lap cheong and yun cheong

These two varieties can be sold individually or packaged together with a dried, bacon-like pork belly product, and can be found in most Chinese supermarkets or grocers.

Related: Our Most Popular Pork Recipes

Storing Chinese Sausages

Although lap cheong and yun cheong are shelf-stable and sold vacuum-packed on store shelves, once the packaging is opened it is best to keep them in the refrigerator. Lap cheong has a relatively long shelf life (weeks in the refrigerator and months in the freezer) but should be cooked before the expiry date on the label and before it shows any sign of mold.

Chinese Sausage Cooking Methods

As versatile as bacon (try these sweet and savoury ways to enjoy bacon) with the same fat and salty notes, lap cheong and yun cheong have similar cooking methods and can be enjoyed on their own simply steamed or used as a flavouring in small quantities for rice, noodles or stir-fried dishes. In recipe books ranging from the iconic All Under Heaven to my mother’s well-worn book of Chinese-American recipes from the seventies, the best methods for enjoying Chinese sausage are often the simplest. 

Steaming Chinese Sausage

Steaming the sausages, either by themselves or over rice, is a traditional way to enjoy the purity of the flavours and the plump texture of the meat. Although the instructions on the packaging may differ, an easy way to steam the sausages is to lay them in a single layer on a heatproof plate, then put the plate on a metal rack over simmering water. Steam for at least 20 minutes, although if you forget them for an hour, as a family member discovered by accident, the sausages will still turn out fine.

Related: The Best Rice Recipes for Dinner and Dessert

Steamed lap cheong on blue plate

Steaming Chinese Sausage on Rice

For something slightly more substantial, but no harder, bring white rice to a boil (using this method for a perfect pot of rice on the stovetop), then place the uncooked sausages on top of the rice before reducing the heat to low for the final simmer. Want to ante up the flavour some more? Bite-sized pieces of uncooked chicken, green onions or pre-soaked shiitake mushrooms are also savoury additions to this easy rice dish that make for a cozy meal for winter months. (While you’re soaking the mushrooms, the chicken can be tossed in a marinade of equal parts of soy and rice vinegar, with slightly less white sugar.) If you’re set on a sauce, use light soy, ginger and sesame oil to finish it off, or for lovers of spice, a non-traditional dollop of gochujang, sriracha or chilli crisp would add a bit of heat.

See More: Learn how to Prepare The Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

steamed lap cheong and Chinese greens on rice

Chinese Sausage Stuffed Vegetables

In love with stuffed squash? Some Chinese cooks put a North American spin on Chinese sausage by cooking the rice, frying it quickly with sliced lap cheong and cooked chestnuts and then filling butternut or kabocha squash with the mixture for a substantial side dish or entree.

Related: Brilliant Ways to Use Butternut Squash

Chinese Sausage Stir Fry

Speaking of stir fries, lap cheong and yun cheong are perfect additions to add a little savoury, salty umami to all manner of wok-based dishes. Slice the uncooked sausages thinly on a bias to increase the contact ratio on the heat for added crispiness and use them to flavour vegetables from boy choy to gai lan. They can also be added to pan-fried noodles such as e-fu mein, chow mein, rice or egg noodles. Think of flavour pairings and contrasts — the slightly sweeter lap cheong can be a nice contrast to slightly bitter or acidic greens, while the darker, more savoury liver based yun cheong stands up well to more aggressively flavoured ingredients and sauces. Learn about Chinese greens with this guide on How To Shop, Prep and Cook Chinese Greens

However you prepare your Chinese sausages, the best way to figure out your preferences is to buy a pack and experiment with techniques and flavours. From simple to sophisticated plates, these versatile ingredients are well worth adding to your arsenal of cooking techniques.

*Note: All Chinese names in this article are English phonetic translations of the Cantonese terms and may vary in terms of spelling, depending on the recipe, producer or grocer.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

Feature image of Japanese chicken curry with fresh apples in a bowl with rice and pickled vegetables

The Secret Ingredient in This Japanese Chicken Curry is Fresh, Crisp Apples

Japanese curry is sweet and mild, making it a perfect gateway version to introduce children and spice-shy adults to the delicious world of curries. This recipe makes for mouth-watering leftovers, too (though you may need to thin it out a touch with water when reheating as the sauce thickens with time). This Japanese chicken curry is so delicious and a major hit at our house.

Japanese chicken curry with fresh apples plated in a bowl with rice

Related: Slow Cooker Curries That Deliver All the Flavour

Japanese Chicken Curry With Fresh Apple

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Curry Roux
3 Tbsp (42g) unsalted butter
5 Tbsp (42g) all-purpose flour (or sub 1:1 gluten-free flour if needed)
1 Tbsp S&B curry powder *See note
⅛ tsp sweet paprika

Chicken Curry
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 tsp kosher salt (2 tsp if using Diamond Crystal brand, 1 tsp if other)
1 large white onion, sliced thinly (about 2 cups)
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
1 8g package instant vegetarian kombu dashi granules *Optional, see note
1 sweet red apple (Gala, Honey Crisp or Fuji), peeled and grated
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
1 Tbsp mirin
2-3 Tbsp honey, to taste
Neutral high heat oil for cooking

For serving
Steamed rice
Fukujinzuke (Japanese pickled vegetables such as radish, eggplant, cucumber)

Mise-en-place of ingredients for Japanese chicken and apple curry

See More: Our Top Make-Ahead Chicken Recipes

Directions:

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt to taste and set aside.

2. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it has turned golden brown (but not very dark brown). Add curry spice and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat.

Raw ingredients for Japanese chicken curry

3. Heat a large Dutch-oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown chicken in 2-3 batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. Set aside.

4. Add a drizzle more oil, then add in the onions, carrots and potatoes. Season with salt to taste and sauté about 10 minutes. Add broth, dashi, grated apple and the reserved chicken.

5. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Give it a taste and season with additional salt depending on salt content in your broth and your taste. Cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the grated apple has pretty much dissolved into the sauce. Check occasionally and skim off the scum on the surface and discard.

6. Add in the curry roux, soy sauce and mirin. If the curry roux hardened after cooling, scoop a ladle of sauce into the pot to thin it out enough to scoop. Simmer and stir until curry roux is completely incorporated with no lumps remaining. Taste and add honey as needed (how much honey is needed depends on your spice blend. I like adding 2-3 tablespoons to mellow out the slight bitter edge of the S&B curry powder). Simmer low uncovered 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve over steamed rice with a side of Japanese pickles.

Japanese chicken curry being cooked

Notes: Many households make this dish using store-bought Japanese curry roux ‘bricks’ which are tasty and convenient. But you will see in this recipe that homemade roux is not difficult to make at all and nicely eschews all the additives in the purchased bricks.  What’s great is you can scale up the roux recipe to keep a few portions on hand in the freezer—then defrost and use in the recipe just like you would the store-bought bricks.

You’ll see this recipe calls for the S&B brand of “oriental curry powder”, which is a Japanese spice blend containing some of the usual suspects like turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, chili pepper, ginger, etc. plus mandarin orange peel which is perhaps a little bit different. It can be purchased at Japanese or other well-stocked East Asian supermarkets, as well as online. If you can’t source S&B specifically, substitute with your favourite mild “curry powder” blend and it will work well. Instant vegetarian kombu dashi powder is another very Japanese ingredient in this recipe.  It is made from dried kelp (different from the standard version made with fish). It adds a uniquely Japanese flavour and umami to the curry that I love but is not an absolute must so I have listed it as optional.

JApanese chicken curry with apples cooking on stovetop

Want more comforting dinner recipes? Check out satisfying slow cooker recipes that are perfect for any night of the week.

a harvest table lined with dishes and plates with people gathered around it

The Big Social: Canada’s Ultimate Feel-Good Food Party

Here at Food Network Canada, we’ll take any opportunity to break bread with our friends, but the meals taste even better when we’re dining for a good cause!

The Big Social is a national cross-country food party that brings people together and raises funds for low-income communities. Like many other nations, Canada has been deeply affected by COVID-19 and for the many Canadians living on a low income, there is a heightened sense of anxiety. Food insecurity was already an urgent problem, with 1 in 8 Canadians struggling to put food on the table. Now, 1 in 7 people are experiencing food insecurity during the ongoing pandemic.

With The Big Social, you can connect in person or online (depending on your community public health guidelines) to help fight poverty and food insecurity. From October 1-31, raise funds, share food, have fun, show you care!

a harvest table lined with dishes and plates with people gathered around it
Pexels

The best part is that anyone can host, and joining is as easy as 1-2-3. Go to www.bigsocial.ca to register to host. Once you’ve registered, you can set a fundraising goal for your dinner, and send out invites to your friends, family or coworkers to join and support low-income communities through donations!

Your donation funds programs that promote food skills, connection and advocacy. Community Food Centres Canada works with over 300 partners in 175 communities across the country, bringing people together around food—in kitchens, dining rooms, and gardens—while fighting for a more equitable society.

An example of donation breakdowns:

$30 can give seniors a healthy cooking session
$50 can provide fresh fruit and vegetables for a family
$75 can bring food literacy education to kids
$100 can grow a garden in low-income communities
$175 can help to open a new Community Food Centre

Here are three ways you can get involved:

1. Cook: Make something delicious and drop it off to friends or family for a donation.

2. Create: Share your favourite recipe. Make or bake it together with your pod.

3. Connect: Host a dinner party for a good cause and ask your guests to donate.

Register to host an event for The Big Social at www.bigsocial.ca.

For more, check out how FoodShare’s Paul Taylor breaks down food insecurity (and how Canadians can help) and how food injustice inspired this 23-year-old to start her own farm.

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!

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.

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.

Chinese vegetables on white plate with chopsticks

The Best Ways to Shop, Prepare and Cook Chinese Greens

From the satisfying crunch of a sturdy stalk of gai lan (often called Chinese broccoli or flowering kale) to the delicate and yielding tenderness of dau miu (snow pea leaves or shoots), there’s a veritable cornucopia of Chinese greens out there for you to explore. Let’s take a look at a few common varieties that you’ll find in your local market or large-scale grocery store, and some tips and tricks to try them stir-fried, steamed, braised or even roasted.

green Chinese vegetables on white plate with Chinese lettering
Unsplash

Buying and storing

When buying Chinese vegetables, look for fresh green colour, without any yellowing or browning in the stem or leaves. Feel the leaves — they should be relatively clean and not slimy (a sure sign that the vegetable is doomed for the garbage sooner rather than later). 

green leafy pea shoots
Pexels

Some supermarkets mist their vegetables to keep them fresh longer, so if the vegetable is super wet, place it upside down in your cart to drain as you shop (not on top of your other groceries!). Prop it on the counter to drain some more when you  get home, and place a paper towel in the bag to absorb excess moisture before placing it in the vegetable crisper.

Prepping

When washing greens, the easiest way is to place them in a clean sink full of cold water and let them soak to get out the dirt and sand. Scoop the vegetables off the top as they float, rinse and repeat until there’s no more sediment on the bottom of the sink, ideally two or three times. Drain them in a colander until dry.

Bok choy in red colander on kitchen counter
Unsplash

For vegetables with a firm stalk, such as gai lan or choy sum (flowering greens), trim the bottom of the stalk off, and remove leaves with browning tips. Some cooks also cut off the flowering yellow parts, although this is more for aesthetics, as these parts are edible.

For bulbous vegetables such as white stemmed bok choy, which is technically a cabbage, and its variations (baby bok choy and the green hued Shanghai offshoot), you can trim the bottom end off to cook individual leaves, or slice through the vegetable vertically so that the leaves remain together while cooking.

Bok Choy leaves in a bowl
Pexels

For leafy vegetables, such as dau miu, trim the ends of the shoots and the curly tendrils, which can be tough. Chinese cabbage (either the yellow, rounded Napa or flatter, green Taiwanese version) can be treated much like lettuce, taking out the bottom core and either keeping the leaves whole or slicing or shredding into smaller pieces.

Cooking

Based on highly regional ingredients and preparation, Chinese recipes for vegetables can vary widely. Just as there are countless types of green vegetables used by cooks throughout China, there are specific methods of cooking that highlight the vegetable in its own way.

Stir-fried or seared simply with garlic, ginger and other aromatics, most greens take well to this treatment. With gai lan, Chinese cabbage, dau miu and even iceberg lettuce (often served cooked), cooking on high heat quickly allows the greens to retain their colour and slight crunch. When preparing vegetables for stir-frying or searing, you can cut them to bite sized pieces or leave them whole for a more dramatic preparation (quickly seared Chinese cabbage looks particularly pretty on a plate).

Chinese vegetables on white plate with chopsticks
Pexels

Adding a little liquid to the cooking process results in steamed greens that are mid-way between the softness of braising and the crisp of a stir-fry. This method works best with greens that have a little structure to them, such as gai lan or halved bok choy. Finish it off with a drizzle of oyster sauce and few drops of roasted sesame oil for a savoury interplay with the slight sweetness of the greens.

Cooking greens in slightly more water or broth reveals the delicate textures of braised greens, often cooked in conjunction with small pieces of meat or tofu. Again, sturdier greens hold up better to the longer cooking process here.

braised Chinese vegetables, tofu and mushrooms in white covered bowl on plate.
Unsplash

Get the Recipe: Braised Baby Bok Choy.

A relatively low-key way to incorporate many of these greens into a prepared dish is to simply add them to soup, either as a garnish at the table or as part of a communal hotpot, where raw vegetables and meat are cooked in broth by diners.

Get the Recipe: Chinese Hot Pot.

If you want to eschew the stovetop completely, some greens can be served raw or pickled (gai choy, or mustard greens, are particularly nice prepared this way). Chinese cabbage or other more delicate options are often used by cooks around the globe for alternative preparations including slaws, salads or wraps.

Although it’s somewhat less traditional, roasting or grilling stalk or bulb based greens can produce charred edges with a slightly bitter counterpoint. The sheet pan method, using parchment paper for easy cleanup, gives similar results.

fish and green vegetables on parchment paper sheet pan.
Learn about roasting in a sheet pan with this Easy Summer Supper.

Once you’ve mastered these techniques, there are many more greens and methods to explore. Try adding a bunch of a new-to-you ingredients to your cart the next time you’re in the produce section, and customize them to your favourite flavours and tastes.

*Note: All vegetable names in this article are English phonetic translations of the Cantonese terms and may vary in terms of spelling, depending on the recipe, producer or grocer.

Smiling Chef Nazaree in an orange apron and floral blouse

5 Steps to a Better School Lunch With Junior Chef Showdown Winner Nazaree

Kids will be back in school  before you know it, so now would be  a good time to start brainstorming about your family’s September routine. Why not make this the year that you start incorporating kids into the lunch planning process? After all, learning how to make school lunches is a great way to encourage kids of all ages to become more comfortable and confident in the kitchen.

With this in mind, we turned to one of Canada’s most talented young chefs and this season’s Junior Chef Showdown winner, Nazaree, to give us some of her tips and tricks for packing better school lunches. 

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

A boy eating lunch while watching his mom slice a cantaloupe

1. Get Kids Involved

Inspire kids to get excited about eating lunch at school by offering them a variety of options, making different recipes or taking them grocery shopping. As most parents can agree, just because their child likes a particular type of food or recipe at home does not always mean they’ll enjoy eating it at school. 

“I love eating pizza, but not if it’s cold,” Nazaree says, explaining that her microwave in the cafeteria isn’t always the best. “Instead, I like to bring a pizza-inspired sandwich to school,” to which she adds marinara sauce, shredded cheese and her favourite pizza toppings.

A sandwich in a child's bento box with cherries and carrots and celery

Related: Kitchen Skills Parents Should Teach Their Kids By Age 10

2. Pack Better Sandwiches 

There are many reasons why people love packing sandwiches for lunch: they’re portable, budget-friendly and the variety of ingredients that you can pack inside are endless. But there’s one aspect about sandwiches in your lunch box that’s hard to love they can get soggy quickly.

“Soggy sandwiches are worse than soggy pizzas,” Nazaree says with a laugh. Keep lunch box sandwiches from getting too soggy by packing the ingredients in individual containers and assembling the sandwich once it’s time to eat, she says. 

Another way to keep lunchbox sandwiches interesting is by rotating from your go-to sliced bread to bagels, pitas or baguettes. Kids with a more adventurous palate can taste test different cheeses or experiment with various sandwich toppings like mustards and dressings. If you or your little one isn’t a fan of sandwiches, check out these portable lunch ideas.Mango salad with tomatoes and onions

3. Switch Things Up

Busy families know that it’s all too easy to get into a rut when packing lunches for school. Add more excitement to your lunchbox by thinking how different ingredients can be incorporated into multiple meals and snacks. “I love bringing sliced mangoes to school,” Nazaree says. But to add more variety to her lunchbox, she eats them plain some days and uses them in her fruit salad on others. 

School age girl filling up reuseable water bottle

4. Buy Proper Supplies  

Stocking up on proper lunch supplies like reusable snack containers, thermal food jars and reusable water bottles makes packing lunches for school much easier. 

For many students, bento boxes are the must-have accessory in the cafeteria table. “Bento boxes are really popular for kids in the first or second grade,” she explains. For middle school students like herself, Nazaree recommends using bento boxes for more exciting lunches like build-your-own tacos. 

Apple Pie granola bars

5. Bring Shareable Snacks 

After many students experienced virtual learning during the past year or so, eating lunch together in person will feel even more special for kids that are returning to in-person learning. Nazaree says that nut-free desserts like donuts or ice cream sandwiches are always a big hit, if parents want to bring in treats for special occasions such as birthdays.

“My friends and I like to swap juice boxes, and we always like to share cookies and chips,” she adds.  So the next time you’re packing a special snack like homemade granola bars, ask kids if they want to pack a few extras to share with their friends at the lunch table. 

Watch Junior Chef Showdown 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.

Halloumi cheese on top of salad

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

Putting cheese on your salad is the best way to elevate your next meal. Grilled halloumi cheese adds a wonderful salty/savoury element to this salad and after grilling, it develops a crispy golden exterior and a soft gooey interior. It goes perfectly with a bed of greens, crunchy elements like cucumber and almonds and bursts of sweetness from fresh juicy pineapple. Make it a main or a side dish!

Halloumi cheese on top of salad

Grilled Halloumi Salad

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

Ingredients:

250g halloumi cheese, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (one lemon)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
2 cups packed spring greens
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 ½ cups chopped pineapple
⅛ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup toasted almonds (or any other nuts)

Grilled halloumi cheese salad ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Slice halloumi into ¼ inch slices and grill on a stovetop grill pan or regular pan. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes on each side. If using cast iron pan, brush each side of halloumi cheese with olive oil to avoid sticking.

Halloumi cheese being grilled in pan

2. Mix together all of the dressing ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.

Related: Best Summer Salads for BBQs, Picnics and More

3. Assemble the salad by layering the greens, cucumber, pineapple, onions, halloumi cheese and almonds. Drizzle the dressing on top.

Like Amina’s grilled halloumi salad? Try her 20-minute salmon or her Middle Eastern bulgur, pomegranate and almond salad.

A bowl containing cripsy pasta chips

Meet Your Next Favourite Crunchy Snack: TikTok Pasta Chips

If you’ve spent anytime at all online, you’ve likely seen any number of the recent (and tasty!) recipe hacks circulating on TikTok and beyond. Add an air fryer to the mix, and well, in comes the latest: TikTok pasta  chips.

Crispy pasta chips in a bowl alongside some dip

Serve with your favourite dip, and you’re ready to enjoy this simple and crunchy snack!

Related: Food Network’s Rigatoni Pie is the OG TikTok Honeycomb Pasta (and Now We Want Both!)

TikTok Pasta Chips

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20-24 minutes
Total time: 29 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

200 g rigatoni pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp granulated onion
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
Kosher salt to taste

Related: This Feta Tomato Pasta Trending on TikTok is as Easy as 1-2-3

Rigatoni in a bowl alongside mixins

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

2. Drain pasta and season with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Toss until the pasta is well coated.

Cooked rigatoni pasta in a bowl with parmesan on top

3. Place the pasta in one single layer in the air fryer basket, fry in two batches. Air fry at 400F for 10-12 minutes, shaking halfway, until golden and crisp.

Pasta chips in an air fryer basket

4. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Related: I Tried Meghan Markle’s “Filthy, Sexy” Zucchini Pasta Sauce — Here’s How It Stacked Up

Cheese Shopping Mistakes

Advice From a Cheese Master: How to Buy, Store and Eat Cheese

Weekly trips to the grocery store just aren’t complete without a stop at the cheese counter. Whether feta for your Greek salad, sharp cheddar cheese for a vegetarian quiche, smoked gouda for homemade pizza night, there’s a cheese that will improve your dish in a way that your taste buds will thank you.  We sat down with a maître fromager (AKA cheese master) and Cheese: A Love Story host, Afrim Pristine for his dos and don’ts for buying cheese. 

Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead

Overbuying cheese is one of the most common rookie mistakes people make, Afrim says. First of all, cheese needs about two to four hours to breathe before being enjoyed. “If you overbuy, store it in your fridge, and take it back out again, the integrity of the cheese isn’t quite the same.”

Related:  The Facts You Never Knew About Cheese

Do Buy in Smaller Quantities

With this in mind, Pristine recommends buying four or five different cheeses but purchasing them in smaller amounts.  When you purchase the right amount of cheese that you need, you don’t need to worry about unintentional food waste.

Four different cheeses on a white countertop with garnishes

Don’t Store Cheese in Plastic Bags

Afrim recommends wrapping cheese in a layer of wax or parchment paper with another layer of tinfoil. This technique will help cheese have the proper amount of moisture it needs, he explains.

“Creamy cheeses can stay in the fridge for a maximum of 7 to 10 days.  Hard cheeses have a longer shelf life, but won’t be as enjoyable after more than a few weeks,” he says.

Do Seek Out Local Canadian Cheese

Did you know that provinces like Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and even Nova Scotia make world-class cheese? Make the most out of living in Canada’s unique cheese culture by trying out different local cheeses.

As a proud Torontonian, one of Afrim’s favourite Canadian cheese is a Mountainoak gouda from Ontario. “Mountainoak gouda is a pretty complex cheese. It’s very salty and nutty, kind of like butterscotch or a bar of very dark chocolate.”

Related: Meet a Toronto Chef Making His Own Cheeses

Three pieces of parmigiano reggiano

Don’t Stick to the Same Cheese Every Time

It can be all too easy to get into a cheese rut. You already know that grated Parmigiano-Reggiano will taste phenomenal over your legendary risotto or go-to Caesar salad, but why not mix it up and try new recipes centered around your favourite cheeses?

Curb any chance of cheese boredom by experimenting with new unique pairings regularly.  For example, if you like Parmigiano-Reggiano, try it how Afrim’s family recipe: a salad with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged balsamic vinegar, strawberries and basil.

Related: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

Cheese counter with several wheels of cheese

Do Be Adventurous

“The best thing about cheese is that it’s personal,” Afrim explains, adding that’s what makes cheese so unique. “There’s so much variety, but I think it’s really up to you on the individual on what you like.”

In other words, don’t be afraid to get out of your element at your local cheese counter and test out a few unique combos in the kitchen. Or you can just try new options for beloved recipes, like these  perfect cheeses for grilled cheese sandwiches. Trust us: the flavour payoff of going out of your comfort zone will be so worth it.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Watch Cheese: A Love Story with Afrim Pristine and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Afrim Pristine smiling and holding a plate of grilled cheese

4 Cheeses You Need at All Times, According to a Maitre Fromager

It doesn’t matter if you’re at home making your family a spaghetti and meatball dinner or are sharing a pot of traditional fondue in Switzerland— cheese makes almost any meal so much better. As a staple in nearly every culinary culture globally, it’s also the versatility of cheese that makes it so unique. “There’s a lot of hard work that goes into making cheese,” says maître fromager (AKA cheese master) and Cheese: A Love Story host, Afrim Pristine.

For this reason, no matter what type of cheese you’re working with, it’s important to respect the ingredient, he explains. And with more than 25 years of experience, Afrim still thinks that the art of cheese making is all pretty magical. “We sell a ten-year-old cheddar in our store (Cheese Boutique),” he says. “What other foods can you see that are ten years old, and still unbelievably tasty?”

Whether you’re grating a sharp cheddar or are baking a block of feta for an oh-so-trendy pasta dish, cheese has the transformative power to elevate a recipe from simply memorable to unforgettably delicious. Pristine shares how home chefs can set themselves up for culinary success by incorporating these cheeses into everyday meals.

See More: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

French hard comte cheese on a black plate with a knife

French Comte

French Comte is a big, bold, nutty sharp cheese. It can be purchased in most grocery stores, but that wasn’t always the case 20 years ago. Now it’s everywhere, Afrim says, which makes it easier for any cheese enthusiast to enjoy. For a beautiful pairing, serve a French Comte with slices of prosciutto and a glass of red wine.

Related: 10 Facts You Never Knew About Cheese 

Parmigiano-Reggiano wedge on a wooden cutting board with a grey background

 Parmigiano-Reggiano

A cheese that needs no introduction, Afrim says that even just the tiniest bite of Parmigiano Reggiano is something that he can’t help but savour. “A good, aged Parmigiano Reggiano that’s three or four years old is possibly one of the best cheeses ever made,” he says. In fact, he believes it’s one of the most important cheeses that’s ever been made. “It’s just so complex and versatile. And I love that. It’s something that’s always so easy to snack on.”

Manchego cheese wedge and slices on a wooden cutting board with grapes and a knife

Manchego

If you’re looking for a cheese that can elevate almost any meal, turn to manchego. This salty and tangy Spanish cheese is made from sheep’s milk, and Afrim says it’s the best bang for your buck. Manchego goes well with so many different types of food, he explains, adding that it can be served in a cheese wedge as a separate side dish that guests can munch on throughout the meal.

See More: The Perfect Swiss Cheese Board 

Blue cheese wedge on a white cutting board with jam and crackers

Blue Cheese

Aside from cilantro, few foods are quite as divisive as blue cheese: you either love it or hate it. For Afrim, blue cheese is his absolute favourite. “I love blue cheese because it grabs my taste buds and takes me for a ride,” he says, adding that the saltiness and creaminess are what makes it so great. If you’re hesitant about blue cheese, his advice is simple: keep experimenting.

Since there’s so much variety within mild and strong blue cheeses, it can take some time to experiment and find which type of blue you prefer. For a crowd-pleasing blue cheese dish, try these caramelized onion & blue cheese crostinis.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Watch Cheese: A Love Story with Afrim Pristine and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Egg curry and roti on kitchen countertop

Eat Leftovers for Days With This West Indian Egg Curry and Roti

This recipe holds a very special place in my heart. It’s another West Indian dish like channa that encourages breakfast ingredients for dinner and is a play on all five senses. But what makes it stand out is the memory of my extended family gathered together while egg curry with potato was cooking on the stove. Truly made for a crowd or big batches with plenty of leftovers, the process of cooking egg curry is how we cooked from the heart — a dish enjoyed with our hands, honouring my dad’s recipe, paired with my grandmother’s roti recipe. It’s our family’s version of a labour of love. And if there was ever a meal to bring us together, it’s this.

Egg curry and roti on kitchen countertop

West Indian Egg Curry With Roti

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

12 eggs, room temperature
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced, plus additional for serving (optional)
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, stem removed
2 Tbsp curry powder
1½ Tbsp garam masala
1½ Tbsp geera
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
Roti, for serving

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lay the eggs in the water. Cook for 7 minutes, then immediately drain the water and transfer eggs to a large bowl of ice water. Crack each egg and return to the ice water. Once cool enough to handle, peel the eggs, rinse any bits of remaining shells off and place the eggs on a paper towel to dry.

2. Place the onion, garlic, scallions, thyme and Scotch bonnet in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth, thick paste, adding a splash of water if necessary.

Related: The Best Ways to Prepare Eggs Around the World, From France to Japan

3. In a small bowl, combine curry powder, garam masala and geera, then set aside.

4. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke, pour in the seasoning mixture. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and starting to brown. Sprinkle in the spice mix and continue to fry, stirring frequently, for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add small splashes of water as the seasoning sticks the bottom of the pan to prevent it from burning.

5. Add the potatoes, season with salt and stir until coated in the curry. If the curry is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a splash of chicken stock or water to loosen it. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot for 5 minutes, stirring the potatoes halfway through. Stir in the tomato paste until combined, then pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

Related: Slow Cooker Curry Recipes That Deliver All the Comfort

6. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high, then pour in remaining oil. Ensure the eggs are completely dry, then cut four 1-inch lengthwise slits in each, just through the egg white, and place them in the oil. Fry the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned and blistered on all sides. Using tongs, place the fried eggs into the curry and lightly boil, uncovered, until the curry has thickened to a gravy consistency, about 8 to 10 more minutes. Serve
in a bowl with roti on the side.

Tip: Cutting slits into the eggs allows them to soak up some of the curry sauce and prevents them from exploding while frying.

Cover of cookbook 'Eat With Us'Excerpted from Eat With Us: Mindful Recipes to Make Every Meal an Experience by Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai. Copyright © 2021 Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai. Photography by Mystique Mattai. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Eat With Us: Mindful Recipes to Make Every Meal an Experience, Amazon, $25.

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.

Arabic Coffee Beef Ribs With Pomegranate BBQ Sauce Are Finger Lickin’ Good

My friend Shai introduced me to this incredible idea: rubbing beef with equal parts coffee and coriander, with a pinch of sugar. I’ve been using this rub for years, but the tweak of using Arabic coffee brings in a subtle hint of cardamom as well. Look for ground Arabic coffee in a specialty Middle Eastern grocery store or substitute by adding a pinch of cardamom to your favourite coffee. This recipe features a rib cooking technique that you can use for beef, pork and even lamb ribs. Plus, the pomegranate BBQ sauce is another go-to that you can rely on all grilling season.

Arabic coffee BBQ ribs on countertop

Arabic Coffee and Coriander Beef Ribs With Pomegranate BBQ Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 Tbsp ground Arabic coffee
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp chili flakes
2 lb beef back ribs
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ white onion, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chili flakes
1 cup ketchup
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
⅓ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil, for grilling

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix the coriander, coffee, sugar and chili flakes in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning all over the ribs and massage into the meat. Wrap the beef ribs tightly in foil, then wrap again in another piece of foil. This tight wrapping helps to trap the heat and steam, allowing the ribs to cook slowly and become fall-apart tender. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and cook for 3 hours.

Related: Top Grilling Recipes and BBQ Ideas

2. To make the barbecue sauce, heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Sweat the garlic, onion and ginger in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the paprika, cinnamon and chili flakes and cook for an additional minute, then add the ketchup, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, brown sugar, salt and 1 cup water. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer over very low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until darkened and thickened. This sauce can be made several days in advance.

3. Remove the ribs from the oven and unwrap. They should be fork-tender and almost falling off the bone. Coat the ribs in the sauce.

Related: This 20-Minute Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Salmon is the Perfect Weeknight Meal

4. Heat some olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with a generous pinch of salt and place on the grill pan. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side to caramelize the sauce, but be mindful not to burn the sugars. Remove, carve individual ribs for serving and enjoy!

Cover of the cookbook 'Eat, Habibi, Eat!'Excerpted from Eat, Habibi, Eat! Fresh Recipes for Modern Egyptian Cooking by Shahir Massoud Copyright © 2021 Shahir Massoud. Photography by Kyla Zanardi. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Eat, Habibi, Eat! Fresh Recipes for Modern Egyptian Cooking, 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.

This 10-Ingredient Japanese Grilled Chicken is the Easy BBQ Recipe You Need

Yakitori is a Japanese recipe that simply translates to “grilled chicken” and it’s so popular in Japan, restaurants specialize in this seriously delicious protein on a stick. Traditionally, chicken thighs are best, they’re forgiving and still juicy if you accidentally overcook the skewers. Serve as an appetizer or as a main course with steamed rice or a fresh salad. I recommend serving with grilled shishito peppers!

Japanese yakitori grilled on serving platter

Yakitori

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

½ cup Japanese soy sauce or soy sauce
½ cup mirin (a syrupy, sweet Japanese cooking wine low in alcohol content used for seasoning and glazing. Look for it in the cultural food aisle in your local supermarket or Asian grocery store)
¼ cup sake or Chinese rice wine
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
8 pieces green scallion + 8 scallions cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Equipment:

12-16 bamboo skewers or 8-10 metal skewers

Japanese yakitori ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Submerge bamboo skewers in a casserole dish half-filled of water for 20 minutes or up to overnight.

2. Make the glaze: combine soy sauce, mirin, sake, brown sugar, water and 8 green onion pieces in a small saucepan and stir. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered until thickened and reduced to by half, about 15 minutes. Discard the green onion and let cool, glaze should be syrupy. (You can store the glaze in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 months).

Related: Our Most Popular Skewer Recipes for Summer Grilling

3. In a bowl, stir together the chicken, oil, salt and pepper. Working with 1 chicken piece at a time, fold in half and thread onto a skewer tightly together, repeat with 1 more chicken piece alternating with a scallion. Repeat with 2 chicken pieces and 1 scallion making sure they’re tightly packed. Repeat.

Japanese yakitori being skewered before hitting the grill

4. Preheat a grill to medium-high then clean and oil the grate. Place skewers over the heat and cook, covered. Turn after browned on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Brush the chicken and scallion with some of the glaze and cook for 30 seconds, turn and repeat with more glaze for another 30 seconds. Brush with more glaze and place on a serving platter. Serve with skewered and grilled shishito peppers, it takes about 1 minute per side for the most deliciously blistered accompaniment.

Tip: Don’t have a BBQ? Line a heavy baking sheet with foil and top with a greased cooling rack and broil for 6-7 minutes. Brush with glaze and broil until nicely charred and caramelized.

Like Soo’s yakitori recipe? Try her pan-fried pork chops with roasted cabbage wedges or pork banh mi burgers with grilled pineapple.

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

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

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

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

Chinese Veggie Stir Fry With Quick and Easy Black Bean Sauce

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

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Related: Blind Sauce Taste Test With the Junior Chefs

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See More: Jordan Andino’s Perfect Burger Recipe

Creamy Mac and Cheese With Classic Mornay Sauce

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

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Related: Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings 

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

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

Related: How to Perfectly Crack Eggs With the Junior Chefs

Refreshing Grain Salad With Authentic Sofrito Sauce 

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

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Related: Fresh, Flavourful Salads to Celebrate Spring 

Directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Heuvos rancheros on white serving platter

Make Breakfast at Home With This Hearty Huevos Rancheros Recipe

So much of my inspiration in the kitchen comes from when my daughters and I lived in Mexico City. When it comes to breakfast, huevos rancheros were a big part of our weekend brunch. We would go out to our favourite neighbourhood restaurant, where the aroma of freshly made corn tortillas filled the air and start our Saturday in the best way possible. Bathed in a fiery tomato sauce and topped with dollops of refried black beans, these huevos rancheros are the ones I make at home when the craving for a hearty Mexican breakfast strikes.

Heuvos rancheros on white serving platter

Huevos Rancheros

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 can (540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tightly packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
⅓ cup water
¼ tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (398 mL) fire-roasted tomatoes
½ tsp ancho chili powder
4 eggs
4 corn tortillas
¾ cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

Directions:

1. In a blender, combine the black beans, ½ cup of cilantro, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, chipotle, water and salt. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

2. In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute. Pour in the tomatoes, sprinkle the mixture with chili powder and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, keeping warm.

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

3. In a medium frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the black bean mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Wipe the pan clean.

4. In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan, leaving space between each egg. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the whites are cooked and no longer translucent and the yolks are still runny. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Wipe the pan clean.

Related: Tasty Taco Recipes You’ll Crave Every Day of the Week

5. In the same pan over medium-high heat, toast the tortillas, about 2 minutes per side. A few charred spots are OK.

6. To serve, top each tortilla with refried beans, a fried egg, tomato sauce, cheese and avocado and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro.

Cover of Diala's Kitchen cookbookExcerpted from Diala’s Kitchen by Diala Canelo. Copyright © 2020 by Diala Canelo. Cover and interior photography by Diala Canelo. Published by Penguin an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Diala’s Kitchen, Amazon, $30.

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

Egg-in-a-hole breakfast with orange slices on white plate

Rise and Shine With This Scrumptious Prosciutto-Wrapped Egg-in-a-Hole Breakfast Recipe

Combine your egg and toast together as one with this prosciutto-wrapped egg-in-a-hole recipe. A delicious runny yolk wrapped in bacon-like prosciutto and baked in the center of a cheesy piece of toast is the best way to treat yourself in the morning. It’s simple, fun and something that everyone will enjoy!

Egg-in-a-hole breakfast with orange slices on white plate

Prosciutto-Wrapped Egg-in-a-Hole

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

Ingredients:

¼ cup softened, salted butter
6 slices of prosciutto
6 medium eggs
Pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped,
1 ACE Bakery® Three Cheese Oval

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Cut the bread loaf into six 1 ½-inch thick slices, discarding ends. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the bread from the centre of each slice and discard bread cut-outs (or set aside for extra dipping). Spread both sides of each cut-out slice of bread with a light coating of butter.

Related: The Best Ways to Prepare Eggs Around the World, From France to Japan

3. Place bread slices onto a lined baking sheet. Next, fold and layer in a slice of prosciutto so it cups the well like a cupcake liner. You’ll want the sides to stick out like a flower because it’s going to cradle the egg and the edges will crisp up in the oven.

4. Crack an egg into each of the wells and sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and chives. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the egg whites are set, but the yolk is still soft like a poached egg. Serve warm and enjoy right away.

Watch the how-to video here:


beef with plantains on white plate

This Beef With Plantains and Black Beans Recipe is a Taste of Venezuela

A dish indigenous to Venezuelan people for over 100 years, this primavera beef with plantains and black beans recipe is filled with so many delicious ingredients, including onion, garlic, mushroom gravy, peppers, cilantro, spices and of course, beef, plantains and black beans. The perfect weeknight dinner!

beef with plantains on white plate

Primavera Beef With Plantains and Black Beans

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

2 lbs of beef in cubes
1 medium onion chopped finely, divided
3-4 cloves of garlic, divided
½ cup mushroom gravy
½ cup beef broth
1 red and 1 green bell pepper chopped in cubes
1 dried red hot pepper
¼ tsp oregano
Salt to taste
½ lb of black beans
¼ tsp black pepper
1-2 plantains
1 lime cut into quarters
Cilantro to garnish

Directions:

1. In a frying pan, cook the beef with ½ the onion, ½ the garlic, mushroom gravy and beef stock, until tender.

2. Add the bell peppers, red pepper powder and oregano and add salt according to taste.

Related: Transgender Day of Visibility: Yasmeen Persad Talks About Food Insecurity and Trans Nutrition

3. Also in a pan, cook black beans with salt, pepper and remaining onions and garlic until soft.

4. Peel off the skin of 2 large plantains and slice them thin. Deep fry in vegetable oil.

5. Serve all with steamed rice. Garnish with lime and cilantro.

Cover of the cookbook 'Cooking With Trans People of Colour'Excepted from Cooking With Trans People of Colour, a cookbook of recipes of significance from The 519’s Trans People of Colour Project (TPOC). The cookbook is compiled by and for racialized trans people, also featuring unique sections including cooking and eating on a budget, hormones and healthy eating for trans folks, and resources and sexual health promotion information to support racialized trans folks.

Cooking With Trans People of Colour, Glad Day Bookshop, $25.

Photo by: Eli Carmona

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