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This Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam is the Perfect Appetizer

Not only does cooking reflect culture, but it also reveals the resources found in a community’s surrounding environment. I discovered a love for food as a child, later combining my passion for cooking with the desire to know the history and cuisine of the First Nations peoples better. This is the inspiration behind my dishes.

I work with foragers and hunters in northern Québec who supply me with exceptional products such as wild cattails and currant leaves. My venison carpaccio recipe, which includes cedar jelly and a sea buckthorn jam, is a great example of my cooking technique. Slices of the freshest venison are garnished with the boreal flavours of cedar and sea buckthorn, a tart vitamin C–rich berry that can be found fresh or frozen at specialty markets.

At its essence, my work is focused on adapting the traditional pantry of an ancient culture to modern tastes. For the First Nations, respect for Mother Earth is paramount. By staying in harmony with nature, my recipes permit me to rediscover forgotten flavours that long served as a cuisine of survival. The Canadian wilderness has so much to offer: spices, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and roots, plus boreal nutmeg, peppery green alder (or dune pepper), wood cardamom, serviceberry, wild celery root and the Labrador tea, a tisane of local herbs. These are the colours in my palette of Indigenous cuisine.

Venison-Carpaccio-With-Cedar-Jelly-and-Sea-Buckthorn-Jam_888embed

Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sea Buckthorn Jam
1 lb (600 g) sea buckthorn berries, rinsed
14 oz (400 g) apples, diced
17½ oz (500 g) sugar

Venison
12 thin slices venison
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cedar jelly
2 tsp (10 ml) duck fat
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Related: Holiday Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love

Directions:

1. In a saucepan with splash of water, cook sea buckthorn berries over low heat until they burst.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into clean saucepan then discard seeds. Add apples to berry mixture and stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on the surface. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Place venison on serving dish. Brush each slice with cedar jelly and duck fat, then sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Garnish with sea buckthorn jam and microgreens.

Published October 13, 2015, Updated December 28, 2020

Anna Olson holds up a ceramic ramekin dessert

Anna Olson’s Genius Way to Use Up Leftover Holiday Cookies

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure – and this rule certainly applies in the kitchen! From pie crusts to trifles, there are dozens of creative ways to use stale cookies in sweet repurposed recipes. Use Anna Olson’s tip below for any type of cookies you have on hand, or try your hand at one of our other great recipes that make use of your sweet holiday leftovers.

Related: Shop Anna Olson’s Top 10 Baking Gadgets

Sugar Cookies


To use as a crumble topping, break up leftover sugar cookies into little pieces in a bowl. For every one cup of crumbled up cookies, add two tablespoons of melted butter and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. It’s that easy! After cooling, serve this delicious dessert as you like it – drizzled with caramel sauce, with a scoop of ice cream, or a dash of icing sugar.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Wooden charcuterie board with a chocolate dessert salami cut into small coins

Take leftover store-bought or homemade chocolate sandwich cookies and make a rich, chocolate-y no-bake dessert (that makes a great late holiday gift!). Chocolate sandwich cookies, graham crackers and pretzels stud this dessert salami, making it the perfect recipe to use up all your leftover snacks.

Get the recipe for No-Bake Oreo Salami

Gingerbread Cookies

Milk chocolate bark studded with ginger snap cookies, cranberries and pistachios and drizzled with white chocolate

Got surplus gingerbread cookies or a smashed gingerbread house? Crushed up gingerbread cookies work perfectly in place of ginger snaps in this milk chocolate holiday bark.

Get the recipe for Gingerbread Holiday Bark

Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla ice ccream swirled with strawberries and topped with a cookie crumble

For a sweet, buttery topping, crumble leftover shortbread cookies on top of ice cream drizzled in homemade strawberry rhubarb syrup. It’ll add a little crunchy texture to your sundae.

Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb & Shortbread Cookie Crumble

Anything Else!

Grasshopper pie with chocolate crust and mint cream filling and a sprinkling of chocolate cookie crumble

Instead of graham crackers, use a cookie of your choice to make a delicious pie crust. For this traditional grasshopper pie recipe, crush chocolate cookies and mix with melted butter. Press into a pan and then fill with marshmallow fluff. Delish!

Looking for more ways to use up leftovers? Check out these tasty ways to use all that leftover turkey, plus these sweet & savoury ways to repurpose pie dough.

Vegan Antipasto Skewers Are the Creative Plant-Based Appetizer You Need

Let’s be real: the heart of any celebration is the food. To keep your guests happy, make sure the apps are flowing, which as it turns out, is a bit of an art form: appetizers should look “appetizing,” they should be finger-friendly, mess-free and only take a few bites to consume. That’s why these We Know You Have 10 Minutes vegan appetizers in the form of antipasto skewers make for the best addition to your table. They’re user-friendly, beautiful and a cinch to make! And since dietary restrictions are commonplace these days, it’s important to accommodate with vegan finger foods. These two dairy-free plant-based beauties are the perfect place to start.

Olive, Artichoke, Tomato and Balsamic Skewers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

Small wooden skewers (or toothpicks)
Artichokes, from a jar
Kalamata olives, pitted
Cherry tomatoes (extra points for multi-colour!)
Basil leaves
1-2 Tbsp balsamic reduction or syrup

Directions:

1. Remove the artichokes from the jar and cut them slightly so they’ll fit onto the skewers and are manageable to eat.

2. In any order, thread the ingredients above through the wooden skewers. We like to ribbon basil leaves between the ingredients to create more vibrant colour throughout and to get that punchy taste of raw basil with every bite.

3. Once all ingredients are on the skewers, take your balsamic reduction and lightly drizzle it over top. You can pour the balsamic on a spoon, hover about 10 inches above the skewers and drizzle away.


Eggplant, Tofu, Zucchini and Pesto Skewers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 to 35 minutes (if you roast the eggplant and tofu the night before, then the total time will only take 10 minutes!)
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, chopped into 1 ½ inch cubes
1 brick tofu, patted dry and chopped into 1 ½ inch cubes
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons
8 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
Small wooden skewers (or toothpicks)
2-3 Tbsp pesto

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Chop the eggplant and tofu into cubes, they should be around the same size.

3. Season both with oil, salt and pepper. Place them on separate baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

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

4. Roast the tofu for 15 minutes and the eggplant for 20-25 minutes. Both should be lightly crisp.

5. While the eggplant and tofu are roasting, peel the zucchini into thin ribbons and make your pesto, if you’re not buying it pre-made.

6. Once all veggies are prepped, begin threading them through the skewer in any order you desire.

7. Place them on a tray or plate and lightly dollop a few spoonfuls of pesto over areas of the skewers.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s vegan antipasto skewers? Try their easy lemon spatchcock chicken or sumac-spiced roasted delicata.

Published November 30, 2019, Updated December 23, 2020

Eggs benny with peameal bacon

The History of Peameal Bacon — Plus Our Favourite Recipes

Canadians know peameal bacon as an iconic national breakfast food, but the back bacon’s backstory is even richer than its flavour. For those who don’t know, peameal bacon is wet-cured pork loin from the back of the hog that has been trimmed of fat and rolled in cornmeal, creating a yellow crust.  Originally, it was rolled in crushed yellow peas, hence the name peameal. It is much leaner than regular bacon.

White plate with three pieces of peameal bacon

Peameal bacon holds a spot in 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die and it’s easy to understand why. The brining process makes it nearly impossible to overcook and it’s both leaner and juicer than regular bacon. A uniquely Canadian product, it’s often confused with Canadian bacon. What is Canadian bacon? A smoked back bacon that’s popular in the US — and isn’t Canadian at all.

These days, it’s hard to find peameal bacon outside of Canada, making it a favourite with tourists at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market. The Carousel Bakery, which has occupied the same spot in the market since 1977, is a city landmark famous for its fresh peameal bacon sandwiches.

Related: The History of Cakes: From Red Velvet to German Chocolate

Robert Biancolin, who co-owns the bakery with his brother, dubs peameal bacon Toronto’s most original food. “It wasn’t brought here from somewhere else,” he says. “It is very uniquely Torontonian. Of course, like poutine was uniquely Quebecois, it spread across the country. It is one of those dishes that encompasses being Canadian. It is part of our tradition.”

Unlike Canadian bacon (which is, let’s not forget, American) peameal bacon must be cooked. Biancolin says the best way to prepare it is by griddling, although it can also be baked, barbecued or roasted.

Related: How to Make French Toast and Other Easy Big Breakfast Recipes

Peameal bacon is delicious, iconic and Canadian, but culinary historians have struggled to identify its origins with absolute certainty. “I don’t think that you’ll find a single origin story,” says Daniel Bender, director of Culinaria Research Centre and University of Toronto history professor. “There are and have been for centuries many ways of curing pork — ways of making it last through lean months. Smoking is one. Salting is another. Corning (curing through brine) exists in numerous locations and recipes.”

Toronto’s oral history offers a clue by naming pork baron William Davies the inventor of peameal bacon. This is the story that’s been passed down through muddy stockyards, told over deli counters and posted across the blogosphere — and while the well-told tale has likely changed over the years, that doesn’t mean it’s hogwash. What we do know is that William Davies forged an empire on bacon and other pork products.

William Davies stall, St. Lawrence Market, 1911

William Davies’ stall in the St. Lawrence Market, 1911.
City of Toronto Archives

By the early 1900s, with the help of business partner Joseph Flavelle, Davies had built what was believed to be the largest pork plant in the British Empire, processing nearly half a million hogs a year at his Front Street plant near the mouth of the Don River and earning Toronto its nickname: Hogtown.

Davies couldn’t have had better timing. By the Victorian era, bacon was considered a necessity and demand for the Canadian export was high. Canadian cured pork continued to be an important food product in Britain well into the Second World War, when the Bacon Agreement stipulated that the UK would accept no less than 5.6 million pounds of Canadian ham and bacon each week.

William Davies Store, interior, 1908

William Davies store interior, 1908. Sources differ on the store’s location, which was either in City Hall Square or on Queen Street West, between Bay and Yonge streets.

Changing dietary attitudes and demographics mean that Canadian pork isn’t as popular with Brits — or Canadians — as it once was. Still, Davies’ legacy lives on. His company would eventually become today’s Maple Leaf Foods, which still produces peameal bacon for national consumption.

Meanwhile, the St. Lawrence Market remains a hub for cured meats and other delicacies. Locals, tourists and celebrities continue to flock to the market,  going hog wild for Toronto’s most original food.

Peameal eggs benny

Feeling inspired? Here are some of our favourite recipes that use peameal bacon: Anna Olson’s Eggs Benedict With Peameal Bacon on Scallion Waffles and Tomato Cream, Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich and Maple Bourbon Peameal Bacon Sliders.

Published March 29, 2016, Updated December 20, 2020

Photos courtesy of Getty Images and City of Toronto Archives

Apple cider coffee cake on white tray

This Apple Cider Coffee Cake is the Sweet, Warm and Comforting Recipe You Need

Apple cider is the perfect fall drink: it’s sweet, warm and comforting — and it’s extra delicious when baked into a coffee cake. This Baking Therapy apple cider cake consists of layers of tender cake made with fresh pressed apple cider and layered with a sweet, cinnamon crumble. This apple cake recipe is best enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or better yet — warm mulled apple cider!

Apple cider coffee cake on white tray

Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, room temperature

Apple Cider Cake
2 cups apple cider
5 Tbsp butter, room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ cup Greek yogurt

Apple Cider Glaze
1 ½ cups icing sugar
4 Tbsp apple cider
½ tsp vanilla extract

Apple cider coffee cake ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and butter a 9-inch round springform pan.

2. In a heavy bottom saucepan on medium-high heat, reduce 2 cups of apple cider to half, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. In the mean time, prepare the crumb topping, work together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter until it clumps together like wet sand. Set aside.

Apple cider coffee cake crumbs in bowl

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the cake ingredients: butter, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl. Stir together the reduced apple cider, as well as the Greek yogurt. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding small amounts of the flour mixture and apple cider mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Related: 20 Fall Desserts That Can Totally Double as Breakfast

6. Transfer half the batter to the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle on half the crumb topping. Top with the remaining cake batter and finish with the rest of the crumb topping. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely on wire rack.

7. Prepare the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, apple cider and vanilla extract. Drizzle on cooled cake and enjoy.

Slice of apple cider coffee cake

Like Sabrina’s apple cider coffee cake? Try her sticky toffee pudding and pumpkin pie squares with candied pecans.

Lemon spatchcock chicken on roasting pan

You’ll Love This Easy Lemon Spatchcock Chicken With Roasted Apples, Parsnips and Leeks

We are big fans of sheet pan-style meals where everything cooks together — especially when they’re a show-stopping dish like this. This is one of our favourite ways to cook a whole chicken, because when you spatchcock it, it cooks more evenly and you’re not left with overcooked breasts and undercooked thighs. Roasting apples, parsnips and leeks together with woodsy herbs like thyme has an incredible warming appeal that offers tart, sweet and earthy flavours.

Spatchcock chicken on sheet pan with roasted veggies

To spatchcock your chicken, flip the chicken so the back is facing up and cut along one side of the backbone from the top to the bottom. Now cut along the other side of the backbone, take it out. Flip the chicken over so it’s laying open in front of you. Using a knife, slice the cartilage that’s found between the breasts and then pull on both sides of the chicken to really open it up. And that’s it! Or if you don’t want to do the heavy lifting here, ask your butcher to do this for you.

Related: How to Grill the Perfect Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Lemon Spatchcock Chicken With Roasted Apples, Parsnips and Leeks

Prep Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

Chicken
1 whole spatchcocked chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped finely
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch black pepper

Apples, Parsnips and Leeks
3 parsnips, chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 large pink lady apples, chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 leeks, washed thoroughly, halved and sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
A few cracks of pepper

Garnish
Fresh thyme sprigs
Freshly chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

Spatchcock chicken ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Spatchcock your chicken if you did not buy one pre-spatchcocked. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl: garlic, parsley, thyme leaves, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper.

Spatchcock chicken marinade in glass bowl

3. Chop the fruit and veggies and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss around to ensure all pieces are seasoned well.

4. Push the fruit and veggies to the side and create space in the middle for the chicken. Lay the spatchcocked chicken down and then nuzzle it with the fruit and vegetables.

Lemon spatchcock chicken with veggies on roasting pan

5. Spread some of the marinade under the skin of the chicken and then spread the rest mostly on top of the bird. Rub a small amount on the underside. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

6. When you’re ready to eat, garnish with fresh thyme, fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

Cooked spatchcock chicken and roasted veggies on serving tray

Like Tamara and Sarah’s spatchcock chicken recipe? Try their sumac-spiced roasted delicata and their 5-ingredient beef Bolognese.

Wall of Chef’s Christine Cushing Looks Back at 20 Years of Cooking on TV

Christine Cushing had an accidental career. Or at least that’s how she looks back at her past two decades as one of the most prominent food personalities in Canada. The chef was a master of all trades, so to speak, 20 years ago when she was feeding hungry hotel guests, punching out fresh dough, catering swanky parties, and hustling in a restaurant. But it wasn’t until she was hired to do a live product demo that a producer realized her big personality and infectious love of food belonged in homes across Canada.

Chef Christine Cushing smiles in her chef's whites on the set of Wall of Chefs

“I had to do a five-minute audition,” Cushing recalls. “From that moment, it really tapped into something for me. When the camera light went on I realized this is what I love to do. Inspiring people and sharing what I know about food and getting them excited about it.”

Related: See What Made These Chefs Worthy of “The Wall”

Taking Her Shot

Of course at the time Cushing thought she had bombed. She’d been given a laundry list of dos and don’ts heading into the audition, such as what to wear or how to act. Her brain bypassed all of that and honed in on the cooking aspect, to the point that she recalls showing up in jeans, “the ugliest green army t-shirt,” and zero makeup.

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh God, this is so done,’” she says. “But I decided to just do my thing. It was all about the food.” In the end that approach resonated with the decision-makers in the room. The formally trained chef’s ability to explain the Greek pizza recipe she had decided to make—and the fact that she offered customization options for different family members—convinced them to hire her for Dish it Out.

See More: Inside Christine Cushing’s Fridge

If that show allowed Cushing to become comfortable with cooking in front of the cameras, and taught her how to read from a teleprompter or work with producers, her next gig—Food Network Canada’s Christine Cushing Live—was a masterclass in TV on the fly. The series featured call-in questions from viewers and guest chef appearances as Cushing and her sous-chef, Juan Salinas, whipped up delicious dishes. Cushing admits she prefers to live in the moment, so the show was actually a perfect fit for her. And even better than that, doing the series made her learn to trust in herself and her abilities.

“For four years, four nights a week, we basically had to run a restaurant,” Cushing recalls. “There was so much learning, so much collaboration. But from a culinary standpoint, you just didn’t know what was going to happen. You didn’t know what would go up in flames. Which pan wouldn’t fit in the oven. It was really live—people were kind of shocked by that.”

Christine Cushing sits cross legged wearing all denim with a bowl and whisk on her lap in a promotional photo for Christine Cushing Live

Continuing to Find Inspiration

After Christine Cushing Live wrapped in 2005, the chef remained a constant TV presence with series like Cook With Me, Fearless in the Kitchen, and a Chinese travel series, Confucius was a Foodie. She admits that travelling inspires her in the kitchen, but with the current pandemic she—like many others out there—has turned to comfort foods. She’s currently baking bread and crafting Italian classics and Greek favourites with a twist, like moussaka with grilled eggplant and zucchini, which she was prepping for dinner the day we spoke with her.

“In Greece, food is more of a shared experience,” she explains. “There are very few dishes that are singularly plated. You don’t necessarily do a portion of anything. It really is nourishing, it’s nutritional, but it’s [also] comforting and it has beautiful flavour.”

Those kinds of dishes also remind Cushing of her father, whom she calls one of her original culinary heroes. She recalls him being the kind of guy who would start thinking about what’s for dinner before they’d finished lunch (a trait she inherited), and she puts him up there with two of her other culinary heroes: Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain.

Headshot of Anthony Bourdain smiling

Image Credit: Getty Images
Getty Images

“Bourdain was one of my favourite guests on Live. He had kind of gotten huge television-wise and everybody had an impression about him and what he was going to be like,” Cushing recalls. “He was very energetic, just so articulate and fantastic. It was a very memorable night. Although he wasn’t a troubled individual, you could see those kind of dark moments in him throughout. I could sense it. But he wanted to go to a place and really find that truth. Just find it—not create it in advance. He was lucky to have had the freedom to do that because so often now, yes there is some latitude, but not too much latitude.”

Looking Towards the Future

These days, Cushing finds inspiration as one of the pros on Wall of Chefs. She’s of the mindset that you can learn from anybody, and the home cooks featured on the series are certainly proof of that. Even more specifically though, she’s impressed by some of the women in their early twenties that have come on the show, and with how well they’ve been able to think and react on their feet given everything the show throws at them.

“It happened a few times, actually, that all the chefs looked at each other and said, ‘I would hire her tomorrow,’” Cushing reveals. “That was super impressive. You think it’s experience that brings you to a level where you can impress a chef, but sometimes it’s youth and fearlessness.”

Christine Cushing and Noah Cappe check in with a home cook on the set of Wall of Chefs

That’s exactly the type of feel-good programming that Cushing believes we’ll see in the next couple of years as the effects of the pandemic continue to play out. As we shift away from straight-up instructional shows and more into the collective experience of cooking, Cushing sees more of those personal journeys and connecting stories coming down the pike in her imaginary crystal ball.

“If anything, the past eight months or so have shown us [how to] connect, find meaning, collectively know that we’re all in this together as a planet,” she says. “We’ve really seen that in spades, and when we don’t experience that it erodes us as a planet. People want to be inspired and uplifted.”

Christine Cushing should know. She was, after all, one of our original inspirations.

Watch full episodes of Wall of Chefs online. You can also stream 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.

These Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Roast Cabbage Wedges Will Help Your “What’s for Dinner?” Woes

Healthy and budget-friendly, cabbage is one of the most delicious and versatile cruciferous veggies. Anyone who is “on the fence” about cabbage will be converted with this roasted variety — promise! High heat cooking caramelizes the outer cabbage layers and opens up the nutty sweetness, while maintaining a tender, textured crunch. With the addition of the quick and easy pan-fried pork chops, this meal ticks off all the boxes and will become a family favourite.

Pan-fried pork chops and roasted cabbage on white plate

Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Roast Cabbage Wedges

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Cabbage
1 red cabbage (feel free to swap out red cabbage with white cabbage or a medium Savoy cabbage)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Pork Chops
2 bone-in pork chops (1 ¼ to1 ½-inch thick) (approx. 1 ½ lbs)
½ tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 thyme sprigs
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 green olives (optional)

Garnish
Chopped parsley
Finely grated Parmesan

Ingredients for pan-fried pork chops and roasted cabbage

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut cabbage in half and then each half into 6-8 equal wedges, keeping the core and stem intact. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet; brush with ¼ cup of the oil all over and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Roast until browned and slightly charred on bottom, about 10 to 15 minutes. Flip and continue roasting until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar.

Cabbage roasting on pan

3. While the cabbage is cooking, sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and cook pork chops until golden brown on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes; repeat flipping and cooking until browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 135°F, about 8 minutes total.

Related: 12 Must-Try Fall Cocktails to Give Thanks for This Autumn

4. Remove pan from heat. Add butter, thyme, olives (if using) and garlic to pan, tilting and spooning the butter mixture over chops, basting the fat cap to brown.

Pork chops in pan

5. Transfer chops to a cutting board; cover and rest for 5 minutes. Cut into thick slices, reserving juices. Sprinkle with parsley or grated Parmesan (if using). Serve with cabbage.

Pork chops and roasted cabbage

Like Soo’s pan-fried pork chops with roast cabbage wedges? Then try her Chinese stir-fried eggplant or pork banh mi burgers.

How to Make Apple Juice and Other Questions About Fall’s Favourite Fruit

Move over, pumpkin – it’s time to talk about that other autumn classic: apples. Whether you’re looking to whip up a piping hot cider or want to get your bake on with a fresh batch you recently picked from the orchard, there’s a plethora of ways to incorporate apples into your everyday meals. One of the most important factors, however, involves proper preservation. (Say goodbye to the dreaded browning).  From cider recipes to apple-related hacks, we answer some of your biggest questions about everyone’s favourite fall fruit.

How to Make Apple Juice

If you’ve already had your fill of apple pie and apple dumplings in recent weeks, it’s time to satisfy your cravings with the season’s fruit favourite another way: homemade juice. (Psst, it’s also a lot easier to make than you’d think — and doesn’t involve a blender or juicer).

1. Wash, quarter and core the apples, making sure to remove all the seeds. Peeling isn’t necessary, it’s baker’s choice.

2. Add apples to a pot of water (just enough liquid to cover the fruit, otherwise your juice will turn out too watery). Boil the apples for 20-30 minutes, until soft.

3. Slowly pour contents from the pot into a mesh strainer with a bowl underneath, gently mashing the softened apples with the back of a large spoon or ladle. The juice will be filtered while the apple mush remains behind.

4. Once the juice is cooled, add sugar or cinnamon, depending on personal preference.

5. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within one week of making.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Irresistible Apple Desserts

How to Make Apple Cider

If you’ve been apple picking lately, grab the largest pot you own and get simmering! (Hot tip: if you like your cider sweet, opt for the Fuji, Gala or Red Delicious varieties, while those who prefer their cider tart should go with McIntosh, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples).

1. To start, add quartered apples, one sliced orange, one piece of peeled ginger, one tablespoon of black peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of cloves and a half cup of brown sugar to an oversized pot.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Let it simmer for at least two hours. Alternatively, you can do this in your slow cooker for up to five hours. Although there are 15-minute variations for apple cider, more time in the pot or slow cooker will allow all the flavours blend together and will leave your kitchen smelling divine.

3. Strain apple mixture through a sieve, discard solid pieces and serve hot. Bonus: freshly made apple cider can last for up to two weeks in the fridge! Find more apple cider recipes to try this fall.

Want to try the “grown up” version? Get the recipe for Nancy Fuller’s Sparkling Apple Cider or if you’ve got extra time on your hands, try the Slow Cooker Hard Cider variation pictured above.

Related: Refrigerator Rules: How Long Do Leftovers Last?

How to Freeze Apples

If you’ve picked more than your usual amount of apples from the orchard this year, don’t let all that fine fall fruit go to waste. There’s a simple hack that will preserve your leftover apples for up to a year!

1. Peel and core apples, cutting them into thin eighths or bite-size chunks – baker’s choice.

2. Once all the slicing and dicing is done, give them a five-minute soak in a water and lemon juice mixture – the lemon will help prevent browning.

3. Once drained, arrange each piece on a baking sheet (to stop them from sticking together) and freeze overnight.

4. The next day, transfer the slices or chunks to an eco-friendly freezer bag or container labelled with the date. The beauty of this food hack is that you can freeze your apple slices for up to one year and it won’t dilute the taste!

Get the recipe for Hasselback Apples Topped With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Related: This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (and Major Food Waste)

How to Keep Apples From Going Brown

Ah, the dreaded browning process. Think of how many apples it’s ruined over the years. Luckily, there’s more than one simple hack that’ll help you preserve fall’s most iconic fruit.

1. For same-day usage, soak sliced apples in lemon juice – the citric acid will help slow down the browning process leaving your apple pieces looking fresh and crisp for several more hours.

2. Out of citrus? Another option is to soak the apple slices in a bowl filled with one cup of cool water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let them float for about 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to a week. Worried about a salty aftertaste? Fear not! That leftover brine comes off with a simple tap rinse.

3. If you’re looking to pack or use an entire apple, slice it into quarters and then put it back together before wrapping a rubber band around it. The band will ensure your ready-to-eat slices aren’t exposed to the air.

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Apple Pancake Bars With Brown Butter Crumble Topping

Related: 10 Brilliant Ways to Use Fruit That’s Going Bad

Don’t know the difference between butternut and acorn squash? Our ultimate squash guide breaks it down for you. You can also keep your green thumb happy this autumn by learning how to grow fall vegetables.

First two images courtesy of Unsplash.

Plate of Anna Olson's Hot Chocolate Nanaimo bars topped with mini marshmallows from her new cookbook Baking Day with Anna Olson

Anna Olson Remixes a Classic With Her Hot Chocolate Nanaimo Bar Recipe

As the weather turns crisp and we’re spending more time at home, baking becomes one of our favourite pastimes. Not only can the act be soothing itself, but it’s rewarding to create delicious treats to share with loved ones (we firmly believe that baking is a love language). And what better to cozy up with than Canadian treasure Anna Olson’s new cookbook, Baking Day with Anna Olson?

Anna Olson on the cover of Baking Day with Anna Olson

Pre-order Baking Day with Anna Olson, Amazon, $31

To celebrate the October 27th release of Anna’s new cookbook, we’re sharing a sneak peek at one of her delectable new dessert recipes. Classic Nanaimo bars are remixed with the cozy addition of hot chocolate and marshmallows for a truly delightful treat.

Related: 9 Nanaimo Bar Recipes to Sink Your Teeth Into

Hot Chocolate Nanaimo Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 18 Nanaimo bars

A twist on a classic can be a beautiful thing, and adding hot chocolate mix to a Nanaimo bar recipe really works. Nestled between the traditional chocolate coconut base and the melted chocolate topping is a layer of hot chocolate–spiked custard icing. When the bars are topped with mini marshmallows, the hot chocolate twist is complete.

Related: Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly This Fall

A plate of hot chocolate Nanaimo bars topped with miniature marshmallows

Ingredients:

Bars
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 g) cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups (195 g) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (100 g) sweetened flaked coconut or toasted sliced almonds

Filling
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (195 g) sifted icing sugar, divided
⅓ cup (40 g) powdered hot chocolate mix
2 Tbsp (12 g) vanilla custard powder
Pinch fine salt
3 Tbsp (45 ml) 1% or 2% milk

Topping
4 oz (120 g) semisweet couverture/baking chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups (75 g) mini marshmallows
Sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

1. Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) square pan and line it with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides.

2. For the crust, place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a metal bowl and set over a pot of gently simmering water, whisking until the butter has melted. Add the lightly beaten egg and whisk until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs and coconut (or almonds). Scrape the crust mixture into the pan and spread to level it. Chill the pan while preparing the filling.

See More: Anna Olson’s Best Chocolate Recipes 

3. For the filling, beat the butter with 1 cup (130 g) icing sugar until smooth. Stir the hot chocolate mix, custard powder and salt with the milk (it will make a thick paste) and stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Beat in the remaining ½ cup (65 g) icing sugar. Do not overbeat — the filling should be smooth, but not fluffy. Spread evenly over the crust (no need to refrigerate).

4. For the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring gently with a spatula until melted. Cool the chocolate slightly and then pour over the filling, spreading to cover it. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the chocolate in an even layer (it will not fully hide the chocolate) and, if you like, finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

5. Chill the pan for about 2 hours before slicing into bars. Nanaimo bars will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For more of Anna Olson’s delicious dessert recipes, check out her ultimate holiday desserts or Anna Olson’s best-ever cake recipes.

Chef Suzanne Barr Will Make You Think About Your Dinner Plate Differently

If you read her bio, Suzanne Barr is described as a Toronto-based chef and restaurateur, a judge on Food Network Canada’s Wall of Chefs and a committed social advocate. Talk to her, and she’s all of these things, but it’s the more intimate details about her life and the refreshing perspective she brings to her work that will make you wish you could share a meal with her weekly. We caught up with the chef to learn about her culinary influences, her role in the fight for food justice and equality, and ultimately what she contributes to the world with every plate she creates.

Chef Suzanne Barr posing at True True Diner (now closed)

Photo courtesy of Samuel Engelking

Culinary Roots

Suzanne remembers growing up and crafting Jamaican beef patties in her parents’ kitchen alongside her mother, father and siblings. The flaky, fragrant pastries made for a coveted after-school snack or light Saturday supper (being of Jamaican descent, it’s long been a family staple for Suzanne). Today, her focus remains on paring a plate back to its essence, taking every opportunity to showcase local, seasonal ingredients.

“My cooking style has gone on a massive journey,” she says. “Right now, I’m really inspired by preservation, using old traditional techniques to store food and then use at later dates.” This past summer, Suzanne, along with her husband and five-year-old son, travelled to Montreal for a few days, and came back with a massive case of locally grown tomatoes, which she pickled whole with garlic and fresh basil. “It’s all about getting access to really incredible vegetables and elevating them to give them their shining moment of just being what they are.”

Related: 15 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Pickle, From Avocado to Okra

Jar of pickled whole tomatoes

Honing Her Craft and Mission

After over a decade in the film and television industry, Suzanne endured hardship when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She became her mom’s caretaker, often contemplating the role food plays in health and community.

“After losing my mom, I needed something that was more healing and connective, that brought me back to the most essential things in life, which is eating and breaking bread and having community around food,” she says. “I rediscovered this passion that was such a big part of me, but had lay dormant for far too long. It was now my duty to follow it and walk away from everything I had known and worked toward,” she says.

Growing up and witnessing her mother as a vivacious force who saw the value in voicing her opinion and beliefs instilled in Suzanne the courage to do the same. “Having my mom as such a matriarch in my life really pushed my passion and drive to fight for women and folks who look like me.” Suzanne attended her first protest in 1997 when she was in her early 20s. It was The Million Woman March in Philadelphia. She was moved and inspired by the act of travelling to another city for a day-long celebration of being a woman of colour. Advocating for women and the BIPOC community is woven into her work, shining light on issues of inequality and structural racism that too often go unheard.

“It’s become a big part of the mission in the work I do: feeding and healing folks with food, all the while educating people on the importance for BIPOC folks to be connected, and having a voice that can stand and fight for the people who don’t always have those same opportunities,” she says.

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

Chef Suzanne Barr critiquing a dish on the set of Wall of Chefs

Suzanne was the head chef and owner of Toronto’s True True Diner, an Afro-Caribbean restaurant and community space that paid tribute to the civil rights movement. She also paid her staff living wages, and believes tipping should be removed from every restaurant. Even if menu items become pricier,  if you’re transparent with your customers about your values, Suzanne believes enough people will stand behind you and support your mission.

“It’s important to pay people real living wages, to understand that when we speak about sustainability, it doesn’t stop with the food that we’re utilizing as restaurateurs and chefs. The sustainability of your staff, of the people who are working in these establishments, that to me is one of the most valuable resources that we have overlooked for far too long.”

True True permanently shuttered its doors this past July, and Suzanne was blindsided (she wrote a heartfelt statement about the experience). “I wanted to share that it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to share some of those not-so joyful stories that are part of being a business owner, and being a person of colour trying to compete in this industry that doesn’t always recognize the importance of having these faces for other POC and other non-POCs,” she says. “We’ll do it again in another space. True True lives within everyone who experienced it, and I’m grateful for that.”

Related: What It’s Honestly Like Dining out Right Now ⁠— and What I’ll Never Take for Granted Again

Recipe for the Perfect Dish

“I always tell my staff: No matter what you do, no matter where you end up working, make sure that when you’re creating a dish, a part of you is on that plate,” she says. “Because that same intention and love and commitment can spread, and it gets shared over and over again. It becomes a new memory for someone else in a different way. Even different from what you intended when you put it on that plate in the first place.” For Suzanne, the plate represents her Caribbean descent, her personality, her joy, and sharing that experience with others, from the first moment a diner sees the dish to their very last bite.

Pasta made by a home cook on Wall of Chefs

That’s Suzanne’s advice to home cooks and budding chefs, including those inspired to try out for Wall of Chefs someday. And with that comes embracing the fear of the unknown: “Being a little scared in the kitchen can actually inspire you to make some of the most incredible foods you’d never imagined you could make. Because you push yourself,” she says. And really, that’s the beauty of Wall of Chefs, too – it connects people to their own experience of cooking, and inspires fans to try their hand at making something new, whether it’s chicken cordon bleu or a first attempt at making pasta or bread from scratch. If it doesn’t pan out the first time, simply try again.

Watch full episodes of Wall of Chefs online. You can also stream your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe = The Fall Dessert You Need (Trust Us)

The best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had was in London, England, which makes perfect sense given its origin. A soft and spongy cake made with sweet dates and soaked in a rich toffee sauce? Count me in! I make this dessert for my family every year at Thanksgiving and around the holidays, but truthfully, this dessert‘s good all year round.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 28 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 58 to 60 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Cake
1 cup dates, pitted and packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbsp fancy molasses
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Sauce
½ cup butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp fancy molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Roughly chop the dates to ensure there are no pits, add to a small bowl with baking soda and boiling water. Let side for 10 minutes then puree both water and softened dates until smooth.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottoms of 6 ramekins with parchment paper. Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, molasses, melted butter and vanilla. Add the date puree. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until just combined.

4. Scoop the batter into the prepared ramekins until ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. Now prepare the sauce: in a heavy bottom saucepan, whisk together the butter, cream, brown sugar and molasses on medium-high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil and let bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Related: 25 Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts Everyone at Your Table Will Love

6. Once the cakes come out of the oven, while they’re still warm, run a knife around the perimeter of the ramekin to loosen. Invert the ramekin, placing the cake upside-down and remove the parchment paper. Slowly drizzle a couple spoonful’s of the warm toffee sauce on top. The cake will slowly absorb the sauce. To serve, drizzle extra toffee sauce on the plate, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakedessert wontons and easy peach plum cobbler.

How to Make Bruschetta in 15 Minutes (Plus the Best Bruschetta Bar for Nights Inside)

Nothing says staying indoors quite like a delightful seasonal spread bursting with fresh ingredients. We absolutely love to use the best of the season, and one summer and early fall favourite is tomatoes. Fresh, juicy and perfectly ripe at the end of summer, we’re always looking for ways to make them a star. Our new favourite is to assemble a quick and easy bruschetta bar when spending time inside with loved ones (because we’re desperate to switch things up these days!).  With a few simple ingredients, you can showcase the bright, herbaceous flavours of this beloved app and present an impressive spread in just a few minutes.

How to Make Bruschetta (And the Best Bruschetta Bar!)

bruschetta-bar-spread

Related: From Homemade Bread to Pickles, 20 Recipes to Master While Indoors

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced or 12 cocktail tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup labneh or Greek yogurt
3/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp za’atar
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Olive oil

bruschetta bar assembled

Related: Ranking Canadian Retailers Offering Grocery Delivery Right Now, by Price

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Place labneh, ricotta, hummus, walnuts, parsley, basil, parmesan and pine nuts into small bowls and place on platter.
3. Sprinkle labneh with za’atar and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle ricotta with herbs, if desired.
4. Assemble all items on a platter and serve with plates for guests to assemble their appetizers.

Looking for more easy peasy recipes? Trust us: these snack plates are the easy dinner option you need this week!

Cheyenne Sundance of Sundance Harvest

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

Food is political and should be rooted in justice. That’s the message that’s at the core of the work of 23-year-old urban farmer Cheyenne Sundance.

Sundance Harvest, started by Cheyenne when she was just 21, was created based on a void she saw for farms operating in an ethical lens in the for-profit farming industry. “What farm would I want to see when I was younger? What farm would I want to work at and learn from? And I literally just created it from that,” she says of her Toronto-based urban farm.

Her farming career began after she turned 18 and worked on a socialist farm in Cuba. Working with many Afro-Indigenous and Black Cubans, she was introduced to the ideas of food justice and sovereignty. “Access to food is affected by someone’s health status, socioeconomic status. There’s data from U of T that correlates food insecurity and food injustice to Black and Indigenous people being the most systemically affected. So I started understanding those things and noticing these trends,” Cheyenne says.

Cheynne Sundance of Sundance Harvest holding up a box of greens

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

Can you tell us about how Sundance Harvest came about?

I could not find a farm that existed in Toronto with those same values, that also respected the workers, paid them a fair wage and was actually trying to further food justice.

I wasn’t really thinking so much about “Is this the most profitable farm?” because for Sundance Harvest, it’s my full-time job and has been for a year and a half, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just having a farm that exists in a vacuum. I want to have a farm that is planting the seeds and all these other small farms are grown from my farm and that’s why I started a program called Growing in the Margins as soon as I started Sundance Harvest.

I didn’t want to be a farm that relies on grants and I didn’t want Sundance Harvest to be a not-for-profit. I wanted to make sure my farm was profitable, so I have a CSA three seasons of the year and I also sell at farmers’ markets year-round.

Mentorship is at the core of your work. Can you tell us more about the farming education programs you’ve developed?

[On Growing in the Margins] It’s a free urban agriculture mentorship for youth who are BIPOC, queer, trans, two-spirit, non-binary and also youth with disabilities. Youth who are marginalized and low-income within the food system have the ability to take [the program] Growing in the Margins for free. They either want to start their own farm, have a career in urban agriculture or start their own food sovereignty movements and I teach them everything I know about the basics of starting a farm. Growing in the Margins is not for gardeners, because it’s primarily focused on mentorship.

[On Liberating Lawns] When COVID hit, the city of Toronto was not opening community gardens and I am part of a group that was trying to lobby to have them open them. If we hypothetically can’t get community gardens to open, what are ways that I can have people grow food? The easiest way is private land. Working with the city is like watching paint dry, so I decided to start Liberating Lawns, which basically matches up landholders with growers. My next intake is this fall, in September.

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

What are some of the challenges you faced with racism/sexism/ageism within the food system and how did you address them?

One is big corporate farms that operate on colonial and white supremacist ideals. There is a corporate farm in Toronto — also a couple of the non-profits — that is actively harming the food justice movement. It was so hard starting Sundance Harvest. Finding land and basically competing with corporate farms who have really wealthy investors and backers to help them get these large properties that I don’t have the privilege to because I don’t have those connections. I would also say corporate gentrification of urban farming in Toronto which exists and is happening very rapidly [and] is really scary because a lot of community land is turning into corporate farms, probably in the next couple years.

It makes it really hard for someone who’s in a position like I am, who does face intersectionality oppression. Because I have no wealthy parents, I have no investors, I don’t have a degree. I don’t really have anything to start my farm off of. What would really help in the future would be grants, subsidies and the city zoning for urban agriculture, because there’s currently no zoning for urban agriculture. One of the biggest hurdles was the total lack of support [from] the city. [Access to] land is also one of the biggest issues.

Sundance Harvest greenhouse

Related: Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

What advice can you offer to Canadians interested in growing their own food?

One of the easiest ways to start gardening is to do container growing. [It’s] super easy and you don’t have to worry about making sure you have the right soil and if it’s draining enough because that’s a whole other issue.

For people who are Black or Indigenous, the best thing I can say is to reach out to other people who are Black and Indigenous or both in your area who are doing the work already because they’ll know who to connect, who to talk to, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. I’ve found that creating a community has really helped me in expanding Sundance so quickly. I started Sundance Harvest a year ago. I doubled the size of my greenhouse to a production that is 2,600 square feet and bought a 2.5-acre farm. I’ve done all that in a year. It’s really helped me connecting and getting tips, because farming while Black, it takes a lot of lived experience to do it right.

What other actions can non-farming Canadians take in their everyday life?

The first and most obvious one is purchasing your produce from a CSA. It’s a produce box you get each week. When someone buys a CSA, they usually buy it in the springtime and what that does is gives the farmer money upfront to buy seeds and equipment. If you can purchase a CSA, it’s great to buy one from a POC. Purchasing from a CSA helps small farms — and the more small farms we have, the more youth that can be trained on those small farms and they’ll get experience and start their own.

The second is to look into your neighbourhood (or town or city) and see what’s being done about urban agriculture. If you can, volunteer at a local non-profit that does urban agriculture and ask them, “What would you like to be seeing?” Once you know that from the people that are in the industry, write to your MPs or your city councillors and say that you value urban agriculture.

Cheyenne Sundance with her leafy greens

What are your favourite crops to grow and why? Do you have a favourite recipe you make from your produce?

I’m going to say the easiest one – kale. Kale is the easiest crop to grow, same with Swiss chard. I like making a kale Caesar salad. I swap out Romaine for kale because it’s way more nutritionally-dense. You can marinate it overnight and have it as a cool dinner party dish. With Swiss chard, I love substituting it for lettuce in sandwiches because it has a thicker crunch.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Photos courtesy of Cheyenne Sundance

Kardea Brown Fish Fillet Sandwich

Skip the Drive-Thru With Kardea Brown’s 30-Minute Fish Fillet Sandwich

Kardea Brown has had her fair share on online success with her drool-worthy food pics on Instagram, but none appealed to the masses quite like her Fish Fillet Sandwich, and it’s easy to see why.

Kardea Brown Fish Fillet Sandwich

Related: The Best Work-From-Home Lunch Ideas That Are Better Than Takeout

Growing up, the Brown family didn’t eat a lot of fast food, so this homemade play on a drive-thru favourite was a real treat for Kardea. This crave-worthy recipe comes in handy for when those fast food cravings hit and you don’t want to leave the house – plus, we guarantee this sandwich will have you ditching the drive-thru.

Skin-on or off, dredge a thick piece of white fish in a seasoned panko batter and fry to golden perfection. A creamy homemade tartar sauce made with mayo, capers, dill relish and some fresh dill perfectly complements that salty and crunchy fish, slice of American cheese and a soft potato bun.

See More: Our 75 Best Sandwich Recipes

Miss Brown’s Fish Fillet Sandwich

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time:
30 minutes
Serves:
3 servings

Ingredients:

Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 1/2 Tbsp dill pickle relish
1 1/2 tsp capers
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch sugar
1/4 onion, diced

Fish Sandwich
1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus additional as desired
Three 6-oz skinless boneless halibut fillets or steaks
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional as desired
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 Tbsp seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
3 potato buns
Unsalted butter, for toasting the buns
3 slices American cheese

Special equipment
A deep-frying thermometer

Related: Our Most Popular Fish Recipes

Directions: 

1. For the tartar sauce: Mix together the mayonnaise, relish, capers, dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar and onion in a bowl and refrigerate.

2. For the fish: Sprinkle the lemon juice over the fish fillets. Combine the milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Put the flour on a large plate. Combine the panko and seafood seasoning on another.

3. Heat 2 inches oil to 350°F in a large Dutch oven.

4. One at a time, dip the fish into the flour, then the egg and milk mixture, then the panko. Set on another plate or small baking sheet. Place the fish in the oil and fry, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes total (if you are using the shallow-frying method, cook both sides until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes). Transfer the fish with tongs to a plate lined with paper towels or a wire rack set in a baking sheet. (I like to hit my fish with a little salt and lemon juice while it’s hot.)

5. Meanwhile, toast the buns, by melting the butter in a pan and cooking them in it or by buttering the buns and broiling them until slightly golden.

6. Top the bun bottoms with the cheese and the fish, then spread the bun tops with tartar sauce and top your sandwiches.

These Quick and Tasty Guava Tarts Will Be Your New Favourite Dessert

If you’re looking for the perfect treat to enjoy these last few weeks of summer — this is it. These guava tarts are my remix of a traditional Cuban guava dessert, pastelitos guayaba y queso. The pastries are super simple, flaky and so delicious. I used puff pastry to save time, but feel free to step it up and make your own puff pastry from scratch. I topped these treats with some fun island-inspired icing and added citrus to the cream cheese filling. I loved the results — hope you do too!

Quick Guava Tarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 to 12

Ingredients:

2 eggs
250 grams cream cheese (1 block)
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 package of puff pastry (400 grams)
200 grams guava paste (½ of standard 400 grams block)
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp mango nectar (or juice)
½ tsp hibiscus powder

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Separate one egg yolk from egg white and set aside. In a large bowl, combine room temperature cream cheese, one egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.

Related: 12 Brilliant Ways to Use Puff Pastry

3. Unroll thawed puff pastry. Each sheet is usually split into 3 sections; cut in half to create 6 sections. If you’d like to make the tarts smaller, cut the puff pastry into two sections to make 12 tarts.

4. Cut guava paste into thin slices and place on each puff pastry. Add a large spoonful of cream cheese filling on top of each piece of guava.

5. Beat 1 egg and water to create an egg wash. Brush the pastry edges with egg wash and top with remaining puff pastry. Press down on edges to seal, then use knife to cut a few slits on top of each pastry.

6. Put tray in the freezer or fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

7. Then brush the top of pastries with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

8. If you want to top with icing: mix icing sugar with mango nectar until you achieve the consistency you desire. Lightly drizzle on top of cooled pastries. Then mix hibiscus powder into remaining icing and drizzle the mango hibiscus icing for a pop of colour and flavour. Enjoy!

Like Eden’s guava tarts? Try her sweet potato blondies or easy Ethiopian mushroom tibs recipe.

The Top 5 Kitchen Utensils Every Home Cook Needs

An equipped kitchen is incredibly important for any home cook. Imagine baking a cake without mixing bowls or chopping veggies for a stir-fry without a knife. Whether you’re moving into a new home and need to stock your kitchen or you’ve been living with an ill-equipped cooking space for years – now is the time to take charge! While there are many cooking tools and equipment you can buy, here is a list of the top five utensils every kitchen needs.

Related: Do You Really Need an Air Fryer? (And 5 Other Kitchen Essentials You’ve Been Eyeing)

wooden-spoons-in-mug

1. Chef’s Knife

I’m not just talking about any old chef’s knife, I mean a good-quality one. Trust me, this is one tool that is worth the investment. A knife is the most used utensil in the kitchen, and having a sharp knife that properly slices, dices and chops is a key component for cooking. Higher-quality sharp knives are actually safer than dull, cheap varieties because they’re less likely to slip and cut you. A paring knife is also a great and inexpensive investment. It’s very sharp and great for chopping smaller veggies and fruit.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: ZELITE INFINITY Chef Knife 8 Inch, Amazon, $190.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Mercer Culinary 3.5-Inch Forged Paring Knife, Amazon, $31.

Related: Top 5 Kitchen Knives Every Home Cook Should Own

2. Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls are like your kitchen’s hands. You use them for just about anything, from storing to cooking to baking and everything in between. Having varying sizes is important because you will likely need a small, medium and large bowl depending on what you’re making. If you have a big family or often make large quantities of food, I highly recommend purchasing an extra-large bowl. I personally love stainless-steel, but any variety will work. If you tend to store food in your bowls, consider purchasing silicon lids: they’re reusable and easy to clean!

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Luvan Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 5, Amazon, $28.

3. Cutting Boards

A kitchen is not complete without cutting boards. Where are you going to chop your onions – on the counter? I don’t think so! Similar to mixing bowls, having varying sizes is important for any home cook. It’s also great to get a variety of materials such as wood, plastic or glass. Some people love to leave out a large all-purpose cutting board on their countertops, too.  It’s a good idea to have designated cutting boards for meat and veggies/fruit to prevent any cross-contamination.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: Home Organics Bamboo Cutting Boards, Amazon, $20.

Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Cooking and Baking Conversions

4. Wooden Spoon & Spatula

A home cook’s kitchen is not complete without spoons and spatulas! How are you going to mix your batter, sauté your onions or scrape your leftovers without them? A wooden spoon is a great all-purpose cooking utensil; it doesn’t scratch pots and pans, which makes it safe for frying and sautéing. It’s also a great baking utensil perfect for mixing and scraping. A spatula carries out many of the same tasks as a wooden spoon, especially if you get a silicone one. Spatulas are great for lifting and flipping. Get a spatula with a thin front edge rather than a thicker one so that it easily slides under food.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: 6-Piece Natural Teak Kitchen Utensil Set, Amazon, $35.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: KitchenAid Silicone Mixer Spatula, Amazon, $24.

5. Measuring Cups and Spoons

It doesn’t matter if you’re baking or cooking, measuring out flours, grains, spices, sweeteners, vinegars and oils is important for crafting a delicious dish. Eyeballing when cooking is a wonderful skill to have; however, sometimes it’s important to be precise with the amounts you’re putting into your dish. Measuring cups and spoons will give you the precision you need (although some baking does require a scale) and you won’t have to worry if you added way too much of one ingredient. No one wants a meal that is overly spiced or seasoned.

Food Network Canada Editor Pick: U-Taste 10-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set, Amazon, $35.

Looking for more tips? Learn how to organize your Tupperware drawer, plus the cooking “rules” you should actually be breaking.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy through links in this article, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Ren Navarro in a diner

Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

Ren Navarro loves beer. If you ask her to pin down one favourite, she can’t – there’s simply too many to choose from for a connoisseur such as herself. “That’s like seeing someone with multiple kids and asking them, ‘which is your favourite child?’,” she says with a laugh.

Like many people who enjoy a cold pint, the Kitchener, Ont. native prefers her beer options diverse – in flavour, appearance, aroma and mouthfeel. But she’s also at the forefront of change in the industry, pushing for more inclusion of diverse people in places where it’s lacking – mainly representation in breweries and in advertising. In an effort to kick start a larger national conversation, Navarro created Beer.Diversity. Launched in 2018, the company addresses the “lack of diversity in the Canadian beer industry” head-on while offering ways for the community to work together to make it more inclusive and approachable for people of colour, those in the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.

After a career as a sales rep for a renowned brewery, Navarro identified a sizeable gap in the industry and sought to fill it with people from a variety of backgrounds. She first co-founded the Toronto-based Society of Beer-Drinking Ladies (SOBDL), which was a smashing success, welcoming all female-identifying people who wanted to bond over brewskies (fun fact: it’s now the largest women-focused beer group in North America) before setting her sights on Beer.Diversity. We chatted with Navarro about her time working in the industry, the gradual changes in representation and how diversity of flavours can help the Canadian beer industry.

Photo: Racheal McCaig

Tell us a bit about your decision to place periods between “beer” and “diversity.”

“I talk about beer. Period. I talk about diversity. Period. I talk about the diversity in beer – all the different styles – and I talk about the diversity of beer, including all people and backgrounds [that are involved]. The name was dreamt up about two-and-a-half years ago, although the company is branching out – it’s not just beer anymore, but it’s too late to change the name and I have no idea what I’d change it to.” [laughs]

You’re on the frontline of change in this industry. What shifts have you seen so far with breweries regarding diversity – both the successes and challenges?

“I’ve been in the beer [industry] for seven-and-a-half years, which is why I’m so passionate about it. I don’t think you can be in beer for that long and be ‘meh’ about it. [When] I started there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me – there weren’t a lot of women, in general. Now we’re seeing more diversity – not just in terms of women or people of colour, but also those from different backgrounds such as Indigenous brewers, people with disabilities and older folks. I think we still have a far way to go, though, because it’s still only a small handful. You think about all the beer consumers and what they look like – we need to reflect that more within in the industry itself.”

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

How can Canadian breweries work towards the type of diversity you’re promoting and where do we go from here?

“I think it’s about education. We need to get to the point where we can show that it’s open to everyone. Representation always matters. Stop being so scared. There is this fear of the unknown or fear of being perceived as being fake. The more people you can welcome in, the better it’s going to do. Baby steps, but it’s happening.”

Ren Navarro in a diner

What changes are you seeing with representation for the LGBTQ+ community?

“There’s definitely more partnerships and community outreach – and it’s not just about Pride Month saying we should talk about this group of people. It’s become more about working together for a common goal. For a brewery, engaging more people means they will make more money, but it’s also about highlighting groups that don’t get the spotlight on a regular basis. Working with an LGBTQ+ community is win-win for everyone involved because people who didn’t think that they were welcome within the beer community learn that they are – and [in turn they] learn that they’ve got certain skills that are invaluable to the brewery [workforce].”

Related: LGBTQ+ Terms You Keep Hearing – and What They Mean

How can diversity help shape beer varieties and recipes?

“It happens when you start looking outside of the ‘norm.’ Think about all those fun beers that come out in the summer, like guava or pineapple-passion fruit. These are fruits that are known to certain groups. I’ve seen a passion fruit tree, but a lot of people haven’t. For me, that’s about being part of a Caribbean background – it’s about the acknowledgement that there are other flavours. It’s bridging that gap because a group of people that may not have thought they were welcome within the beer community are seeing things that they know as a regular, everyday [item]. I think seeing the diversity – and seeing that breweries are willing to make changes – leads to the inclusion of [even] more people.”

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

What’s your favourite Canadian craft beer or brewery?

“That’s like the hardest question ever. [laughs] Oh man, I love a lot of beer. I really love the things that Left Field are doing; they’re in Toronto. Muddy York, who is also in Toronto and Dominion City Brewing, which is in Ottawa – I think all three of them make fantastic beers, but they are also community-driven. For me, a lot of it is about ‘what does the brewery do [about diversity]’? You can make the best beer, but if you don’t interact with the community, it doesn’t matter. I know you asked which one is my favourite beer, but I’ll say all three of those.” [laughs]

This interview has been edited and condensed.

First photo courtesy of Racheal McCaig; second photo courtesy of Chris Thiessen/Toque Ltd.

The Ultimate Dessert Mashup: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Meets Chinese Fried Wontons

Wontons are not just for dumplings: they make delicious, crispy fried desserts too. These caramel apple cheesecake dessert wontons are my cheat version when you just don’t feel like baking an entire cheesecake. They’re filled with a rich caramel, tart Granny Smith apples and yummy cream cheese filling. Bet you can’t have just one!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fried Wontons

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: 30 pieces

Ingredients:

Caramel Apple Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (about 1-2)  Granny Smith apples, diced

Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract

Other
1 package of store-bought wontons
1 egg, for sealing
Vegetable oil, for frying

Topping
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. First, you’ll make the caramel sauce. In a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat, add the sugar. Heat the sugar, stirring constantly until it begins to dissolve. The sugar will begin to clump together, continue to stir and cook on medium until it’s completely liquid. Carefully stir in the butter, one Tbsp at a time until completely melted. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, the mixture will begin to bubble, continue to stir until the cream is well incorporated. Remove from stove, add the vanilla extract, salt, diced apples and cool completely. Refrigerate until you need to use.

2. In a small bowl, mix together everything for the cream cheese filling until smooth: cream cheese, icing sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Related: 32 Chinese Takeout Dishes You Can Master at Home

4. Take a wonton wrapper, add about 1 tsp of the cold caramel apple filling in the centre and about ½ tsp of the cream cheese filling. Dip your index finger in the egg wash (one beaten egg) and run it along the outer edges of the wrapper, fold it over and press to seal.

5. Place the filled wontons in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before frying.

6. In a deep saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 360°F. In a bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Fry the wontons 3-4 at a time for about 2 minutes until lightly golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain any extra oil and toss in the cinnamon sugar while still hot. Enjoy warm with a drizzle of the remaining caramel sauce.

Love Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakecheesecake pastry pockets and easy peach plum cobbler.

How to Make Your Own Butter and Buttermilk (Plus a Cornbread Recipe!)

I’m sure many of you have made your own cornbread from scratch, but have you ever made this tasty dish using homemade buttermilk and homemade butter? Two commonly store-bought items are so simple to make at home. Yes, if you’re wondering how to make butter and how to make buttermilk, it’s as easy as two ingredients each. Once you’re done whipping those up, use them in this simple one-bowl cornbread recipe. It’s a great base to stir in any extra flavours you want, like spices, bacon, jalapenos and cheese!

Homemade Buttermilk

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar
1 cup whole milk

Directions:

1. Add vinegar to a measuring cup and pour in milk. Stir and let rest for 5 minutes.

Homemade Butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. In a stand mixer, add the whipping cream. Starting on low speed and increasing to medium, whisk cream until the mixture breaks, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture has solidified, pour off the liquid and transfer butter to a mixing bowl. Rinse with ice water and squeeze to remove any additional liquid. Season with salt.

Related: Which Pie Are You, According to Your Zodiac Sign?

Simple Cornbread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 to 35 minutes

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain medium-grind cornmeal
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with butter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, buttermilk and eggs until well blended. Add in the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt and pepper. Stir until ingredients come together.

3. Transfer to skillet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving!

Like Marcella’s butter, buttermilk and cornbread? Try her cinnamon streusel muffins and s’mores butter tarts.

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