Tag Archives: long weekend

Fried Bacon (selective focus) on an old vintage wooden table

All the Ways to Cook Bacon For That Perfect Crisp

Fried Bacon (selective focus) on an old vintage wooden table

Few aromas compare to the smell of bacon cooking on a Sunday morning nor are there many meals not made better with bacon. Better still, the popular breakfast staple also comes in pork alternatives (and even vegan options), and can be cooked in a variety of ways to optimize that perfect crisp. Whether you tend to reach for thick-cut, regular or peameal bacon, here is a roundup of all the best ways to get your bacon fix. 

Whatever your chosen method, be sure to let your bacon temper to room temperature by taking it out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes prior to cooking to get the best results. 

Air Fryer

This trending way to cook your bacon is just one more food you can prepare in your air fryer. While it may not be immediately intuitive to cook your bacon in a countertop appliance, and while it may require a bit more maintenance, the results may just be worth it for you. The bacon is crispier when it doesn’t cook in its own fat, and depending on the size of your air fryer, it’s a good option for those looking to prep only a few pieces. The trick? You may need to shake your basket to allow all the drippings to drip down and away from your bacon. 

– Take out bacon from the fridge about 15-20 minutes prior to cooking
– For this method you need to preheat your air fryer to 400°F
– Lay out each strip with no overlap
– Shake the basket as needed
– Air fry until the bacon is your desired crunch (about 8 to 12 minutes)

Raw bacon strips

Pan Seared: Non-stick or Cast Iron

With this method you really only need your non-stick or cast-iron pan and your choice of bacon. The key is to not preheat your skillet. 

– When your bacon has tempered, lay out the strips on the cold skillet without overlapping the pieces so the fat renders slowly and consistently
– Cook over medium heat until you’ve reached your desired crispness and flip, as needed
– Cook for about 8 to 12 minutes
– Lay over a paper towel to absorb excess fat and serve

Just remember to dispose of that cooking grease in a responsible way

Close-Up Of Bacon Slices In Barbecue Grill

Baked: Grill or Parchment

This method requires a longer cooking time than the other methods, but it is a set-it-and-forget-it method in that it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, once you’ve placed it in the oven. It leads to a meaty bacon, with minimal shrinkage and the aluminum foil helps keep the drippings in place for easier clean-up. Pro-tip for extra flavour: Brush maple syrup on top of the strips prior to baking for a caramelized, crispy maple crunch to your bacon.

– Preheat the oven to 400°F (or even up to 425°F, if you prefer bacon crispier)
– Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch the drippings, making sure to fold up the foil along the edges
– Lay a wire rack on top of the foil
– Arrange slices of bacon on top of the rack so there is no overlap
– Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick and done you prefer your bacon

You can also bake your bacon on parchment paper without the rack (bake for about 18-24 minutes) but the results will basically resemble fried bacon, as the bacon bakes in its own fat. Place the strips on paper towel to soak up any excess fat prior to serving.

Microwave

While this may be the least sophisticated method, it is the quickest. It also allows you to prep only a few slices without committing to a full batch, and the cleanup is the easiest with the microwave. In this method you simply lay the bacon between sheets of paper towel and microwave on high until done. However, this method is also quickest to send your bacon from underdone to overdone, so it may require a few tries until you’ve perfected the timing. It may also require check-ins to remove any slices that are done from the ones that still require microwaving. 

– Layer two paper towels on a microwave-safe plate
– Lay bacon on top and cover with another two sheets of paper towel, without overlaying any slices
– Microwave for 4 to 6 minutes depending on thickness of your cut
– Check in and remove any slices that are done
– Continue microwaving the remaining slices in short bursts, 10 to 15 seconds, until all slices are done

Related: These Budget-Friendly Microwave Recipes Are Total Time-Savers

Sous vide cooker. In field of view are control panel which is backlit touch controlled temperature and time settings with chrome finish, ergonomic non-slip soft touch body, scroll wheel for adjusting time and clamp. Power cable. Clip system attached to pot of water. High point of view. Shallow depth of field.

Sous Vide

While this method is arguably the most elaborate and requiring the most planning (up to 24 hours ahead of your desired eating time), it may be worth the effort if you’re looking to truly wow. It taps into sous vide’s immersion circulator technology to render bacon that’s consistent, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and with least shrinkage compared to the other methods. Worth noting is that this only really works with thick cut bacon, so if you plan to try this one out, don’t waste your time on regular-cut. 

– Put the entire unopened package of bacon into a large pot or container
– Fill with enough water to cover the entire package
– Cook with the circulator at 147°F for 8 to 24 hours
– After the cooking process finishes, remove the strips from the package, separating each slice
– Quickly sear each side in a skillet so the bacon doesn’t look raw and serve

Related: The History of Peameal Bacon — Plus Our Favourite Recipes

Eggs pesto in carrot hash cups by Molly Yeh

Try Molly Yeh’s Healthy Twist on TikTok’s Latest Pesto and Eggs Breakfast Hack

Dubbed TikTok’s easiest breakfast hack, the pesto and eggs trend has swept the globe and has home cooks everywhere swapping in cooking oil with flavourful pesto instead. Registered dietitian Amy Wilichowski shows how to prep a breakfast toast with ricotta, smashed avocado, along with a pesto-infused sunny-side up egg, complete with salt, red pepper flakes and a little drizzle of honey.

@amywilichowski##eggs ##pestoeggs ##homecook♬ cooking video – cooking

But if you’re looking to keep that distinct fragrant pesto flavour while ditching the dough, look no further than Molly Yeh’s super easy, yet delicious carrot hash with eggs and pesto. While Molly’s breakfast recipe includes a homemade nut-free pesto, you can swap in a pre-made one as well to speed up the process. If you’re making your own, be sure to keep those leafy carrot tops to add to your pesto (not only does this minimize food waste, it adds flavour to the Genoa, Italy-originating sauce). You can also skip the skillet and bake the hash in the oven instead to make it even healthier (Molly recommends a cast-iron biscuit pan but you can use a muffin pan as well).Watch the how-to video here:

 

Molly’s recipe serves 8, so it’s also a great long weekend brunch idea that’s easy to make and share with your loved ones.

Molly Yeh's carrot hash with eggs and pesto on a plate

Carrot Hash With Eggs and Pesto

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 bunch carrots with tops (about 1 lb)
1 large russet potato (about 12.5 oz), peeled
3 scallions, white parts minced and green parts reserved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp harissa
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground sumac
5 large eggs
1 ¾ cups plus 1 tbsp olive oil
20 fresh basil leaves
⅓ cup salted sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Grate the carrots (set the tops aside — you will use them later) and potato in a food processor fitted with the shredding attachment. Transfer to a colander set over a large bowl and add the scallion whites and ½ tsp salt. Use your hands or a clean dish towel to squeeze as much moisture out as possible. Discard the liquid in the bowl, then add the carrot mixture to that bowl. Stir in the panko, raisins, harissa, brown sugar, cumin, sumac, 2 eggs, 1 ½ tsp salt and a bunch of grinds of black pepper (I did 20) until well combined.

Related: Our Most Popular Dinner Recipes in 2021 So Far (Feta Pasta Included!)

3. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat (see Cook’s Note). Drop a small amount of the carrot mixture into the skillet. When it starts to sizzle, your oil is ready. Add the rest of the carrot mixture to the skillet and press down using the back of a spatula. Let cook, untouched, until the edges of the carrots turn a very deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Create 3 small divots in the top of the carrot mixture using the bottom of a measuring cup. Brush 1 Tbsp oil on top and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the carrots are set and the top is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.

4. Carefully crack the remaining 3 eggs into the divots and bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 8 minutes. (Cracking the eggs into a small bowl and pouring them into the divots makes this part a little easier and less messy). Use a spatula to help slide the hash out of the skillet onto a serving platter.

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

5. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Roughly chop the carrot tops and scallion greens and add to the bowl of a food processor along with the basil, sunflower seeds, vinegar, garlic, 1 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Pulse until everything is very finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1 ½ cups oil and ¼ cup water until smooth and drizzly. Drizzle the pesto over the top of the hash and slice into wedges. Serve with the remaining pesto on the side.

Cook’s Note:
You can also cook the hash using a 7-cavity cast-iron biscuit pan. Preheat it in the oven for 15 minutes, then carefully press the carrot mixture equally into each of the molds, making a large well in the center of each. Brush with 1 Tbsp oil on top and bake until the carrots are set on top and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Then carefully crack an egg into each divot and bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 8 minutes. Serve them from the pan!

Our New Favourite Dessert of the Summer: Nanaimo Bar Popsicles

The Nanaimo bar is one of those great Canadian desserts with a name that does not at all describe the deliciousness of what is actually in the bar itself (a sweet coconut and graham cracker base, topped with custard-flavoured buttercream and finished with a thin layer of chocolate ganache).

Well, skip the grocery store. We’re giving the humble Nanaimo bar a refreshing summer makeover just in time for Canada Day. This fudgy, creamy and decadent popsicle recipe consists of three main components that pay homage to the iconic dessert: a chocolate custard base studded with crushed graham cracker pieces and toasted coconut flakes, a vanilla custard centre and a dark chocolate drizzle.

Nanaimo Bar Popsicles

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours (includes freezing)
Servings: 6-8 bars (depending on size of popsicle mold)

Ingredients: 

Vanilla Custard Layer
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Layer
1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate, chopped
Crushed graham crackers
Toasted coconut flakes

Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions: 

1. Combine milk, cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a gentle simmer. Remove saucepan from heat.
2. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and vanilla in a heatproof bowl until well combined.
3. Slowly stream in the hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly.
4. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon.
5. Once custard has thickened, transfer the custard into two separate bowls to cool, with 1/3 of the custard in one bowl and 2/3 of the custard in the other (we will be reserving the smaller portion for the chocolate layer).

6. While custard is cooling, place chopped dark chocolate for the chocolate layer over a double boiler. Once chocolate has melted, using a rubber spatula, fold the melted dark chocolate into the reserved smaller portion of the custard.
7. Allow custard to cool before transferring to popsicle molds. Place a piece of saran wrap directly on the custard to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on top of the custard.

8. Once custard has cooled, transfer custard into popsicle molds. The vanilla custard layer goes in the mold first, taking up the majority of the mold. A thinner layer of chocolate custard goes on top of the vanilla layer.
9. Insert the popsicle sticks, cover and freeze overnight.

10. When popsicles are ready to be served, melt the remainder of the dark chocolate and add coconut oil to create the chocolate drizzle.
11. Drizzle unmolded popsicles with chocolate and sprinkle with crushed graham cracker and toasted coconut flakes. Serve immediately.

Can’t get enough of this Canadian sweet treat? We have 10 more tasty Nanaimo bar recipes that are calling your name, plus 50 red and white desserts to celebrate Canada Day.

One-Pot Campfire Mac & Cheese is the Ultimate Camping Comfort Food

Mac and cheese is one of the easiest recipes to prepare, which is why it’s perfect to make on a camping trip. Perfectly al dente noodles, surrounded in creamy cheese it’s hard to improve on perfection. But the smoky, woodsy flavour from a roaring campfire takes the classic comfort food to a whole new level. This is a meal that feeds a crowd, is simple, fast and best of all, only requires the use of one pot!

Easy Campfire Mac and Cheese Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

2½ cups whole milk
1 cup water
2 cups macaroni noodles
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2½ cups grated cheddar cheese
½ tsp dry mustard powder
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Get your fire going or turn your grill to medium-high heat.
2. Pour milk and water into a medium pot and bring to a boil, then add the macaroni noodles and stir. Cook the noodles, stirring often, until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Take the pot off the fire or grill and immediately stir in butter, grated cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Mix well so the noodles are cheesy, gooey and delicious. Serve hot.

Looking for more camping ideas? Try our Brilliant Camping Food Hacks.

campfire-nachoes-with-cheese

These Campfire Nachos Are the Ultimate Camping Snack

This crowd-pleasing appetizer shouldn’t be reserved exclusively for game day, it also makes a fabulous summertime camping recipe, whether you’re in the backyard or deep in the woods. This is a one-pot wonder recipe where all ingredients are cooked together in a single dish, which then doubles as the serving platter, making for ultra-easy cleanup. If your campfire is in the backyard, we recommend using a cast iron skillet, but if you’re really roughing it, a disposable aluminium pan will do the trick.

Campfire Nachos Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 cup tomatoes, diced
½ bag tortilla chips
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½ lime, for serving

Directions:

1. Make your fire or heat your grill or burner to medium-high, and place on your cast iron or aluminium pan. Add a splash of olive oil when the pan is hot.
2. Evenly distribute ½ cup of the diced tomatoes into the pan, followed by ½ of the tortilla chips, ½ cup of the black beans, ½ cup of the grated cheese, ¼ cup of the diced tomatoes and ¼ of the sliced green onions on top.
3. Repeat all layers again until remaining ingredients have been used, except for the avocado, cilantro and lime.
4. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and let cook for 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
5. Remove from heat, uncover, top with diced avocado, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Planning a camping trip? Try these Brilliant Camping Food Hacks.

10 Perfect Red and White Drinks for Canada Day

If you plan on throwing the ultimate Canada Day bash, you might be stumped as to what to serve when it comes to drinks. With the exception of domestic beer, it can be difficult to think of “Canadian” drink recipes — besides the Caesar of course. Spice up your drink menu by incorporating these red and white cocktails your guests are sure to love.

strawberry-sour

1. Strawberry Sour

Start your Canada Day bash right with this gorgeous red and white cocktail from Chef David Hawksworth. Nothing says summer like strawberries!

cranberry-kir-royale

2. Cranberry Kir Royale

Tyler Florence combines frozen cranberries, orange juice and Champagne for the ultimate summer drink. Bring

shuggieJPG

3. Shuggie

Why is this drink called a Shuggie? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re certain you and your guests will love this rum-based cocktail infused with rhubarb, ginger, lime and Thai basil flavours.

citrus-berry-spritz

4. Citrus Berry Spritz

This sweet fizzy drink from Giada De Laurentiis is filled with berry ice cubes and a hint of mint for freshness.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

5. Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Bobby Flay’s sweet, citrus-infused summer drink is ideal for a party or get-together with friends.

lava-flow-mocktail

6. Lava Flow Mocktail

What’s more Canadian than the combination of red and white? These sweet dessert-worthy drinks start with a base of raspberry purée, then a milky topping, a generous amount of whipped cream and finished with sugared frozen raspberries on top. Don’t forget to rim the glasses with red-coloured sugar!

rum-punch

7. Rum Punch

Try this refreshing booze-infused punch filled with tropical flavours and Jamaican white rum from Bobby Flay.

Cranberry-Mojito

8. Cranberry Mojito

To keep with the red and white theme, don’t forget to serve this fizzy bevvy with floating cranberries and fresh, muddled mint leaves.

watermelon-martinis

9. Watermelon Martinis

Sure to quench your summertime thirst, Bobby’s fruity martini is loaded with tons of fresh watermelon and melon liquor for the utmost melon flavour.

Classic Canadian Caesar
10. Classic Canadian Caesar

The ultimate Canadian drink — thanks to our nation’s love of Clamato juice. This classic drink is a must-have for any Canada Day celebration. This version adds fresh sage and lime for a fresh new twist.

Looking for more recipes for your party? Try these Great Canadian Desserts.

chicken-marinade

5 Make-Ahead Chicken Marinades You Can Freeze Now and BBQ Later

One of the very best things about summer eating is the effortless cooking. And a smart way to make summer cooking simple while keeping it interesting is to marinate chicken and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, just defrost the package of your choice and toss it on the grill. To get you started, we’re giving you 5 unique, quick-to-prepare marinade options for a freezer full of winning chicken dinners. 

How to Marinade and Freeze Chicken for the BBQ

The following marinades are great with chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings. All you need to do is whisk or blend the ingredients listed together, toss them with 1 lb of your favourite chicken directly in an airtight zipper bag, seal and store in the freezer for up to two months. Set in the fridge the night before to defrost and voila: a tasty, weekend-worthy barbecue is possible on even the most hectic weeknight!

Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe

Inspired by fresh Greek flavours, this chicken marinade comes packed with flavour, and is best served with tender veggies, grains or potatoes and a generous sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Whisk to combine ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil with 2 Tbsp each chopped fresh oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice, 4 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sesame-Orange Chicken Marinade Recipe

Sweet with a bit of heat is all it takes to make this irresistible, Asian-inspired marinade. Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes and ground black pepper to taste.

grilled-chicken-marinade

Green Goddess Chicken Marinade Recipe

A super-easy, garden herb marinade that brings tons of fresh, summery flavour. In a blender or food processor, blend ½ cup each chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh cilantro leaves (with their tender stems), 4 chopped green onions, ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sticky BBQ Chicken  Marinade Recipe

So sweet and sticky, you’ll have trouble not licking your fingers! Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp hot sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Honey-Sriracha Chicken Marinade Recipe

The ubiquitous hot pepper sauce strikes again with a homemade chicken marinade made for the BBQ. Stir together 2 Tbsp each Sriracha hot sauce, honey and vegetable oil with 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Every BBQ needs an ice-cold beverage, so here are a handful of fruit-filled sangria recipes to take on that role.

tofu skewers on a slate plate

These Are the 5 Best Meatless BBQ Skewers You’ll Ever Eat

Standard grilled vegetable skewers grow old pretty quick. That’s why we’ve developed five creative, crowd-pleasing vegan versions worthy of any backyard BBQ. We promise they’ll satisfy even the most discerning palates.

1. Candied Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprout Skewers with Red Onion

Brussels sprouts aren’t your typical BBQ fare, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how incredibly flavourful and gorgeous they are. Think of them as vegetable lollipops that have been caramelized in sweet maple and balsamic. You can also feel good knowing that you’re eating one of the most nutritious veggies out there. Cue the cravings!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3-4

brussels sprouts skewers on a slate plate

Ingredients:
1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced into 1-inch squares
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt

Toppings:
Drizzle of maple syrup
Squeeze of lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley

prep for brussels sprouts skewers being prepped on a cutting board

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, toss in the brussels sprouts for 1 minute until tender. Remove them, rinse under cold water and pat dry with a towel.
2. Place the brussels sprouts in a bowl with red onion and the rest of the ingredients, toss so the veggies are well coated in the marinade.
3. Arrange the sprouts onto the skewers with red onion in between them – there should be about 4 brussels sprouts per skewer. If using wooden skewers, soak them first. 

brussels sprouts and red onions in a light marinade

4. Pour any remaining marinade left in the bowl over the skewers.
5. Place the skewers onto your BBQ or grill that’s set to medium heat. Cover and grill for about 5 minutes per side, until a nice browning forms.
6. Brush with a little extra maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh parsley and enjoy.

2. Tofu Peanut Satay and Cucumber Skewers Topped with Toasty Peanuts and Fresh Mint

Peanuts, tofu and coconut are a classic combination, and when paired with crisp cucumber ribbons and fresh mint, you get an unbelievably refreshing summertime dish. The satay sauce is creamy, sweet, zesty and salty – we recommend generously drizzling it all over your skewers.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Servings: 4

tofu skewers on a slate plate

Ingredients:
1 block firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 English cucumber, peeled into long thin ribbons

Tofu Marinade:
1 Tbsp peanut butter
3 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced

Satay Sauce:
1/4 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tsp maple syrup
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes or dash of hot sauce (optional)
Pinch of sea salt

Toppings:
1/2 cup toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

mise en place for tofu skewers

Directions:
1. Make the marinade in a bowl and let the tofu sit in it for 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash off the cucumber well. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long, thin ribbons, going from top to bottom. You should have 16 long cucumber ribbons. You will have leftover cucumber, so slice it into sticks to snack on.
3. Stir together the ingredients for the satay sauce until smooth.
4. Thread the marinated tofu onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers,  make sure you soak them first.
5. Place your skewers onto your BBQ or grill that’s set to medium heat and lightly oil with about 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil. Grill the tofu for 3-4 minutes per side until you see a nice browning.

A closeup of tofu skewers

6. Once cooked, carefully remove the tofu from the skewers, except for one tofu cube. Then begin threading on the cucumber ribbons, interchanging between tofu and cucumber. You’ll need to fold the cucumber back and forth several times so that it’s easy to thread onto the skewer.
7. 
Top with chopped peanuts, satay drizzle and mint leaves. You can also dip each skewer into the satay sauce.

3. Coconut Crusted Tempeh Skewers with Mango Salsa

Tempeh is often a mysterious ingredient, and many people aren’t quite sure how to cook it. This is the perfect recipe if you’re new to the tempeh game – or if you’ve been eating it for years. The coconut provides a nice crisp coating and the mango salsa adds a refreshing, sweet and zesty component.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3-4

coconut tempeh skewers on a blue plate

Ingredients:
1 brick of tempeh, sliced into 1-inch cubes

Tempeh Marinade:
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mango Salsa:
1 mango, cubed
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Topping:
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

prep for coconut tempeh skewers

Directions:
1. Melt the coconut oil and whisk together with coconut milk.
2. In a separate dish, like a wide bowl or pie plate, combine the shredded coconut, sesame seeds and sea salt.
3. Slice the tempeh into cubes, dip them in the coconut liquid mixture and then into the coconut coating, place them on a plate.

tempeh blocks being breaded

4. Repeat until all cubes are well coated. Work quickly so the coconut oil doesn’t harden, then thread the tempeh onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them first.
5. Heat your grill or BBQ to medium and oil well with coconut oil.
6. Place the tempeh on your grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, don’t cover the grill. The coconut coating on the tempeh will burn if it’s left on the grill too long, so don’t overdo it.
7. Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients together.
8. Garnish the tempeh skewers with fresh cilantro and serve with mango salsa on the side.

4. Sticky Cauliflower “Wing” Skewers with Sesame Seeds

This is a really creative and delicious way to eat more cauliflower: a versatile and superfood vegetable that’s rich in antioxidants. Although there’s a bit of prep work before these skewers hit the grill, the sticky, sweet and spicy result is worth every minute. While we offer a simple BBQ sauce recipe, you can always swap for store-bought.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3-4

cauliflower skewers on a light blue plate

Ingredients:
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped in large sized florets (approx. 4 cups)

Cauliflower Marinade:
1 cup spelt or all purpose gluten-free flour
1 cup dairy-free milk
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp molasses
4 tsp tamari
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp hot sauce (add to your preference)
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch sea salt

Toppings:
2 green onions, sliced
Handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds

mise en place for cauliflower skewers

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Chop the cauliflower into large florets.
3. Combine the flour, milk, sea salt and pepper in a bowl, whisk until smooth and thick.
4. Coat each cauliflower floret into the flour mixture and place on the baking sheets – don’t overcrowd them. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside.

breaded cauliflower skewers on a parchment lined baking tray

5. Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often, until it thickens.
6. Let the cauliflower cool, then drizzle the BBQ sauce over and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Save some sauce to be served on the side of the skewers.
7. Place 3 to 4 cauliflower florets on a skewer. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them first.
8. Heat your grill to medium and oil it well. Place the cauliflower on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, no need to cover.
9. Remove from the grill and top with chopped green onions and cilantro. Sprinkle some extra sesame seeds over top. Serve extra BBQ sauce on the side.

5. Pineapple, Banana, Strawberry Skewers with Salted Chocolate Drizzle

Grilled fruit is the perfect summertime dessert. We love the combination of caramelized bananas, jam-like strawberries and sweet pineapple, but feel free to use your favourite fruit or better yet, whatever is in season.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

fruit skewers topped with coconut on a light blue plate

Ingredients:
2 cups pineapple, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 -inch cubes
2 bananas, sliced into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
8 strawberries
2 tsp coconut oil
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

mise en place for fruit skewers

Directions:
1. Thread the pineapple cubes, banana circles and whole strawberries onto your skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them first.
2. Turn the grill to medium and rub the fruit with coconut oil to prevent them from sticking.
3. Place the fruit skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes per side, uncovered.
4. Remove the fruit from the grill and place on a plate.

chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler

5. Make the salted chocolate drizzle by heating the chocolate chips, coconut oil and sea salt in a double boiler. Continue to stir the chocolate until it becomes creamy, then drizzle it right over the fruit.
6. If you don’t drizzle it all over top, serve on the side for extra dipping.
7. Sprinkle toasted shredded coconut on top, and voila!

Craving more warm-weather recipes? Check out these 10 Vegan BBQ Recipes That Pack a Flavour Punch.

The Ultimate Guide To Campfire Cooking

When we were very young, my sister and I used to canoe camp on our own in the wilderness of the Yukon Territory. From an early age, I learned the ins and outs of campfire cooking and that knowledge is just as applicable today when I’m prepping dinner for my family of five.

Now that I’m older, I still think that the best part of a camping trip is the food, and that cooking over an open fire makes it taste that much better. Camp cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you’ve put some time into the preparation.

Campfire Cooking

Below are a handful of tips for successful campfire cooking, along with an equipment list that brings your home kitchen to the great outdoors. Just remember to add a measure of patience and a good dose of humour, because things don’t always go according to plan when you’re out in the woods!

Campfire Cooking dutch oven

Campfire Cooking Basics 
Safety First
Always make the area safe by ensuring that there are no branches overhead or dried leaves too close to where you are building the fire. Start your fire with small tinder such as twigs or dried moss and build up to larger logs. If you can, always use dry wood, not green or wet wood.

Keep Heatproof Tools On Hand
Keep a sturdy pair of tongs on hand for cooking, as well as a thick dry kitchen towel or an oven mitt.

Adjust The Temperature
Once the wood has been burning for at least 10 minutes, create the equivalent of high, medium and low heat settings in your fire pit. To do this, use a sturdy stick to maneuver some of the burning wood into a higher level at the back of the fire pit while keeping a bed of coals at the front.

Mise En Place
As much as possible, prep your food in advance of starting the fire, because once your fire hits a sweet spot with both glowing coals and low flames, you’ll want to get cooking right away.

Campfire cooking, sliders beside the campfire

What To Bring: Campfire Cooking Equipment 

Dutch Oven
Packing this one-pot wonder on a camping trip means you have the option to stew, boil, fry or simmer your food. Heap hot coals all around and on top of the Dutch oven to create an oven-like heat. You’re then ready to bake up anything from deep-dish pizza to fruit crisps and cobblers.

Cast Iron Skillet
From bannock to bacon, this handy pan ensures even heat and perfect colouration, every time. Be sure to get the pan smoking-hot before cooking or foods can stick.

Tin Foil
Everyone loves a foil-packaged meal because all the delicious juices are sealed in. To avoid keeping those juices intact, use a rubber-tipped cooking tongs to move and maneuver my foil food packages. This way, the delicious juices stay contained and there’s no soot in my dinner!

Multi-Pronged Stick
Whether you’re sharpening your own green stick or packed a metal one, always choose two or three prongs instead of just one. You’re a lot less likely to accidentally drop your dinner into the fire this way.

Grate Grill
For quick cooking, it’s hard to beat slapping food on a grate grill over an open flame. Choose foods that are improved by a little char on the exterior such as whole fish, whole sweet potatoes or thick steaks.

Campfire Cooking, building a fire

Respect The Woods
Finally, be a conscientious camp cook. You can burn some garbage, such as paper plates, used napkins and food scraps, but never toss in used Styrofoam, plastic or tin foil as these produce highly toxic fumes. And always be sure to douse your fire with water when the last s’more has been consumed.

Happy Camping!

Now that you’ve mastered campfire cooking 101, watch how to cook pretty much anything over the open flames.

How to Make Summer Fruit Popsicles

FN_RReardin_13Aug1

In case you weren’t aware already, it’s really hot outside. Even on the days that our iPhones tell us it’s only 20ºC, we still find ourselves in a sweaty, frizzy-haired mess. And since we still have a few more weeks left of summer, I’m sharing the ultimate recipe for the quintessential frozen treat.

No, I’m not talking about the Frappucino you opt for over a steamy cup of coffee (no-brainer), or that cup of FroYo you eat for dinner a couple times a week (it’s summer vacation—duh!). I’m talking about the perfect, healthy alternative to tasty frozen desserts.

Instead of blowing all your money (and bikini bod!) on candy-covered yogurt and Frappa-whatevers, try my easy, inexpensive and refreshing recipes for real fruit popsicles.

Whether you make them for a mid-day snack or a BBQ dessert, you’re in for a real treat.

FN_RReardin_13Aug2

Ingredients:

  • Popsicle molds (I got mine from Ikea)
  • Orange juice
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Strawberries
  • Peach
  • Raspberries
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Ice
  • Large popsicle sticks
  • Gel pen
  • Magic Bullet Blender

FN_RReardin_13Aug3

Directions:

1. I started with writing the different fruit combinations as labels on the popsicle sticks: fruit punch (a mix of whole fruit slices with orange juice), strawberry-banana (blended together), and blueberry-raspberry (blended separately with vanilla Greek yogurt).

FN_RReardin_13Aug4

2. Prepare by slicing the kiwi and peach, and a few strawberries for the fruit punch popsicles (you can leave them whole for the strawberry-banana popsicles).

3. Using a blender (I used the Magic Bullet), blend strawberries and bananas with ice. Then blend raspberries, ice and vanilla Greek yogurt (about half as much as you made for with the strawberry-banana mix), followed by blueberries, ice and vanilla Greek yogurt. By the end you will have three different fruit blends. You can put the blueberry one in the fridge—we’ll get to that later.

FN_RReardin_13Aug5

4. Pour the raspberry mix until the halfway mark of the container, and pour the strawberry-banana mix to the brim of the container. For the fruit punch pops, place kiwi, peach, strawberries and blueberries in the containers, and fill them with orange juice.

FN_RReardin_13Aug6

5. Using the cardboard packaging from the popsicle molds to secure the sticks, place the labelled popsicle sticks into the molds, and put them in the freezer. After about two hours, take them out, and top the raspberry pops off with the blueberry mix, then put them back in the fridge and leave them overnight.

FN_RReardin_13Aug7

6. Ready to enjoy the pops? Run each mold briefly under warm water (but don’t let the warm water touch the popsicle!) and they should slide right out. Enjoy!

FN_RReardin_13Aug8

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

Related:

Best Mason Jar Desserts for Any Picnic

FN_RReardin_8Aug

Salty snacks and comfort foods are great. But desserts? Desserts, I adore. The way I feel about cakes, ice cream, pies, and cookies is how Don Draper feels about his Lucky Strikes cigs. It’s basically impossible to get through the day without something sweet, and pretty rare not to see one in my hand.

However, unlike Lucky Stripes, desserts don’t come in secure little packaging, ready to be taken wherever you go. Until now that is.

I’m highlighting the best, tastiest, must-try desserts that can be made in a mason jar. It’s the perfect (read: essential) companion for any picnic. Just picture it; sitting on a blanket under a tree, with your own individualized, mess-free dessert in hand. Now that’s heaven.

Below, you’ll find eight easy recipes to make your own mason jar desserts. And you really should be making your own because I’m not sharing.

1. Banana Pudding from Lets Dish Recipes

What to do: Crush up ¼ bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and put half of them at the bottom of the jar. Make the filling found in this recipe and scoop some on top of the crushed cookies. Then, add whipped cream, banana slices, more filling, more whipped cream, and then top with banana slices.

2. Cheesecake from I Am Baker

What to Do: Make the crust and cheesecake from this recipe, but be sure to bake them separately. Crush up the crust and place into the mason jar as the first layer, and then do the same with the cheesecake. Cook strawberries and a few teaspoons of sugar over the stove (about 2 strawberries and 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving), let cool, and then scoop onto the cheesecake.

3. Birthday Cake from Babble

What to Do: Using this classic vanilla birthday cake recipe and vanilla buttercream icing recipe, whip up a batch of each, adding sprinkles to the batter and dye to the icing (if preferred). Crumble up the cake, use one scoop for the first layer of the mason jar cake, add icing, then add more crumbled cake and more icing, and top with a couple of candles.

4. S’Mores from How Sweet It Is

What to Do: Crumble up graham cracker and make a batch of this chocolate cake and crumble. Put the cracker pieces in the mason jar for the first layer, the chocolate cake for the second, and put a few large mashmallows on a baking sheet, broil them for a couple minutes until golden, then carefully push them down in the mason jar to top off the s’mores dessert.

5. Butterfinger Pie from Crumbs and Chaos

What to Do: Whip up a batch of this cheesecake crust, and the follow Crumb and Chaos’ recipe for the filling. Layer the crumbled crust then the peanut butter filling into a mason jar, then top with whipped cream and a piece of Butterfinger.

6. Eclairs in a Jar from Me and My Pink Mixer

What to Do: Crush up one quarter bag of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and put half of them at the bottom of the jar. Scoop in French vanilla pudding, and top with this chocolate frosting and a few sliced almonds.

7. Lemon Meringue Pie from It All Started with Paint

What to Do: Start with this cheesecake crust crumbled at the base of the mason jar. The more experienced bakers can go ahead and cook and crumble the lemon curd filling and meringue from our famous recipe, but the rest of us (Aye!) can simply follow the instructions on the “Cook & Serve” box of Jell-O.

8. Apple Pie from Eat Boutique

What to Do: Make this “Blue Ribbon” apple pie crust and filling, baking and crumbling separately. First put the crumbled crust into the jar, followed by the apple filling, then sprinkle lightly with more pie crust.

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

Related: