Tag Archives: winter

This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

Chinese hot pot is a broth set on a table meant for sharing, and is a social dining experience where people huddle around a simmering pot of broth with a variety of proteins, veggies, spices and a string of incredibly diverse dipping sauces. In short, you make a personalized dipping sauce, dunk some ingredients into the broth and scoop it out into your bowl. Much like cheese fondue, hot pot is a buffet of mix-and-match ingredients perfect for customized social gatherings.

Depending on the region of China, the broth and chosen protein will vary, with Northern China favouring lamb, and Cantonese hot pot commonly filled with fresh seafood. To make at home, you don’t need to choose a region. It just involves a bit of preparation.

Hot Pot Tips and Tricks

Equipment 101: To keep the broth simmering on the table, you need a portable burner. Whether you choose a butane burner or portable induction stove, look for butane burners in camping stores or online, and be sure to purchase the fuel every few hot pot dinners.

The Right Pot: The ideal pot has a divider in the centre to allow for two different broths (cool, right?) and is often called a shabu-shabu hot pot with divider. I have a wide, shallow pot with a fitted lid that accommodates a selection of protein, vegetables and broth while cooking quickly.

Tool Time: You’ll need chopsticks or forks/small tongs for dipping in the pot and eating. Strainers, spoons and small plates or shallow bowls for eating, and small bowls for dipping sauces. Remember, you are dipping into a communal pot, so you will need separate tools to dip the ingredients, retrieve and eat. No one likes double dippers!

Spice is Nice: Decide on the type of broth you will serve, whether you make your own from scratch or purchase the many flavoured packages offered in Asian grocery stores. Choose from a basic chicken broth with mild flavouring agents i.e. onion, ginger, daikon, or a tomato-based, mushroom-based or spicy broth (it’s called Hot Pot for a reason!).

Ingredient Buffet: The choice of ingredients fit for a hot pot is too long to list, and with no hard and fast rules, it’s a mix-and-match game. You want a little bit of everything, and balance is critical when it comes to vegetables. You want texture, satiating veggies and complementary choices for the remaining ingredients.

Hot Pot Ingredient List

Greens
Hearty and leafy, look for greens that retain texture after cooking like bok choy, watercress, snow pea leaves, Napa cabbage, Chinese spinach, gai lan and green onions.

Root Vegetables
Look for daikon, carrots, small potatoes and either cut into cubes or thinly sliced. For larger pieces, let them simmer in the broth to flavour it, and thinly slice for a slight crunch.

Mushrooms
More than an umami-rich flavour agent, reach for enokis, small cremini or shimeji mushrooms for quick cooking and sliced king oysters for a meaty choice. Add the small mushrooms the last minute of cooking; they’re ready as soon as they start to wilt, and king oysters can handle a longer cooking time.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a staple in many Asian soups and stews. Cut tomatoes into quarters and simmer until softened for the acidity to balance the spice.

Squash
Kabocha squash is my first choice for its bright hue, rich texture and sweetness to balance the stew. Winter melon, also known as bitter melon, is wildly popular in Asia for soups and stews with a mild flavour and absorbs the characteristics of the other ingredients. The skin and seeds must be removed, and while the flesh is firm, it can become mush if overcooked.

Other Vegetables:
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts, corn, green beans.

Dipping Sauces
Often, the hot pot is not the source of big flavours; it’s the personalized dipping sauce that sings and heightens the experience. You drop your protein and vegetables into the broth, or allow them to cook for a few minutes, scoop them out onto a plate or bowl, then sink the protein/veggie into the dipping sauce before eating. Choices of sauces include: Soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese black vinegar, Hoisin sauce, Chinese chili oil and Chinese sesame paste.

Soup Base
The broth is the foundation of any hot pot, and you can make your own with prepared chicken, beef or vegetable broth, then layer with flavour agents such as fresh or dried chilies, fish sauce, Chinese rice wine, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. The easy solution is to venture out into your local Asian market and look for the many Hot Pot Soup Bases. You will be spoiled for choice: Tomato Broth, Mushroom Broth, Sichuan Pepper Broth, Mild Broth, Spicy Broth, Vegetable Broth.

For a homemade spicy broth, fry dried whole chilies in vegetable oil until they turn red. Scrape into the hot pot with prepared chicken broth with star anise, sliced ginger and chunks of green onions.

Protein
Just about any protein will be utterly delicious in a hot pot. Buy thinly sliced lamb, beef or pork belly (often found frozen in Asian grocery stores) for pure ease of enjoyment. Dip a slice of your chosen protein a few times in the hot pot and, it’s done in about 30 seconds. For chicken, look for chicken cutlets and thinly slice into strips.

Seafood
Shellfish additions are as endless as the sea and promise to add even more flavour to the pot. The current favourite is shrimp, and don’t be afraid to leave the shell and head on. Scallops come in all sizes, oysters should be shucked and can be purchased frozen, shucked. Mussels are sustainable, and you need only to remove the beards and cleaned, clams need a good scrubbing too, and the littlenecks are best for hot pot for their quick cooking time, and they take up little room.

Fish Balls and Fish Cakes
Fish of all varieties when thinly sliced are great in a hot pot. Place salmon, halibut, and bass in the strainer during the cooking process to catch all the flaky pieces.

Fish balls are pressed fish paste, cuttlefish, shrimp and lobster and can be round, square, oval and even come in a variety of colours from white to brown to pink. Look for them in the freezer section of any Asian grocery store, when they’re already cooked and frozen and need a minute or two in the hot pot to thaw. When they float to the surface, they’re ready for dipping.

Tofu
Medium-firm or firm will work, the soft or silken variety won’t survive the jostling dippers from all angles. Fried tofu is pre-cooked and needs only warming.

Noodles
Traditionally, rice noodles are an excellent choice for its quick and clean cooking. Wheat noodles will thicken the broth and leave a cloudy soup.

From a party of two to an elaborate gathering, hot pot is a warming, fun and creative dinner idea, and the most deliciously entertaining.

We’ve also rounded up last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy. You should also try your hand at this easy, cheesy fondue board for entertaining.

This Beef and Bean Chili Contains an Unsuspecting Secret Ingredient

Chili is the perfect comfort food: it’s delicious in cold weather (or any time), it feeds a crowd, it’s festive during sporting events, it’s spicy and stew-y, and now, it’s chocolatey too! We believe most chilis are missing this key, secret ingredient. Pairing cocoa with an already rich chili only deepens the flavours, adding more sweetness and bitterness, while creating a velvety texture.  

Hearty Beef and Bean Chili with Dark Chocolate

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
Few cracks of pepper
1 lb ground beef
1 red or yellow potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 cup broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 ounces (75g) dark chocolate (70% or higher)
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Place a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, heat to medium, toss in the oil and then sauté the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spices and mix around so they get nice and toasted.

3. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with your spoon, so it’s in smaller pieces that can brown. Mix it around so it gets coated in the spices. There’s no need to fully cook it yet, since the beef will cook further when it simmers in a few steps.

4. Toss in the potatoes, broth, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and dark chocolate, and give the whole pot a big stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with fresh cilantro on top.

For more comforting recipes, this winter greens mac & cheese and these slow-cooker ribs with a red wine sauce will save you on the coldest winter days. You can also try these slow-cooker curry recipes.

The Best Slow Cooker Short Ribs With a Delectable Red Wine Sauce

Richly satisfying and beefy, our easy short ribs are also deeply comforting with a reduced wine sauce and loads of veggies to stave off any guilt you may hold while hibernating from the frigid winter temperatures. Sear your short ribs and vegetables, transfer to your slow cooker and tuck in.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Reduced Wine Sauce and Vegetables

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (plus 3-6 hours in the slow cooker)
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 lbs short ribs cut into 2- to 4-inch pieces
1 ½ tsp each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 carrots, cut in thirds
2 onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups full-bodied red wine (like Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups no-salt added beef broth
12-14 small cremini mushrooms


Directions:
1. Sprinkle short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ribs and cook in batches, turning to brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker insert.

2. Add carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves to same Dutch oven and cook, turning carefully until browned, 4 minutes. Add tomato paste in centre of pan and cook, stirring until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in wine and broth; bring to a boil.

Tip: For a tomato based short rib ragout, add 1 can of good-quality plum tomatoes in place of beef broth. Remove the bones after removing from slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the meat for a lovely rich ragout.

3. Pour vegetable mixture over ribs. Cover and cook on low until meat is very tender, on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 5 hours, adding mushrooms the last hour (if using).

4. Remove short ribs and vegetables to a large bowl and cover. Strain sauce into medium pot and skim fat. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to half, about 2 cups. Add short ribs and vegetables to pot and serve with mashed potatoes or potato gratin.

Tip: For ease of skimming, let the wine sauce and fat sit overnight in the refrigerator. Pour remaining wine sauce over ribs.

Stay cozy all season with these 15 Dutch-oven recipes made for winter, our best slow cooker soups and stews, and 10 slow cooker casseroles that’ll warm you right up.

This Winter Greens Mac & Cheese Recipe Will Make You Feel Healthy

When the cold weather strikes, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort dish. This version takes advantage of the best winter greens the season has to offer. Any variety of nutrient-packed greens will work, such as chard, collards, rapini or kale. So go ahead and indulge in this cheesy, creamy pasta for dinner, while sneaking in a healthy serving of vegetables, too!

Winter Greens Mac & Cheese

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 lb macaroni noodles, cooked to al dente
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
6 oz chopped winter greens, stems removed
Salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
3 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
1 large egg, whisked
2 cups grated extra-old white cheddar, plus more for topping
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Directions: 

1. In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic and onion. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the greens, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the greens begin to wilt and cook down, about 5 minutes. Transfer the greens to a bowl and set-aside until ready to use.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. In the same pot over medium heat, melt together the butter and flour. Whisking constantly, cook until a smooth roux forms, about 5 minutes.

4. Whisk in the mustard, followed by the milk and bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Discard bay leaf, temper in the egg and remove pot from heat. Let cool slightly before stirring in the cheeses.

6. Add the macaroni noodles and mix until evenly coated. If the pot is not oven safe, transfer mixture to a 9 by 12 baking dish.

7. In a small mixing bowl, toss together the remaining olive oil, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

8. Top macaroni with additional cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Get in your cozies and enjoy more comforting recipes with a good-for-you twist, from Georgian cheese bread with kale to spaghetti puttanesca (starring cauliflower) to a decadent butternut squash tartiflette.

We’ll be Making Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls All Winter Long

Stuffed cabbage is an Eastern European favourite and depending on where you’re from there will be tons of variations on this comforting, classic recipe. Some swear by a sweet sauce, or insist on using raisins while others follow the sweet and sour tradition. Some stuff with pork and beef, while others keep it simple and vegetarian. No matter how you make them, this classic dish will always satisfy, but our recipe means you can make-ahead. Come home to a meal that’s been slowing cooking and will definitely warm you up in those colder months.

cabbage-rolls-cut-open

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4-8 hours
Servings: 6

Ingredients
1 large green cabbage head or 2 small

Sauce:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Filling:
½ cup uncooked brown rice
1 lb lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

cabbage-rolls-how-to-roll

Directions
Cabbage:
1. Boil a pot of water and toss in a little sea salt. Prepare a large bowl or pot of cold water.
2. Turn your cabbage upside down, carefully slice around the core and pull it out. There may be some parts of the core still inside, do your best to cut them out so you have a hole in the bottom of the cabbage.
3. Once the water is boiling, place the cabbage down into the water with the core-end down. After about a minute, use your tongs and begin turning the cabbage in the water. Allow to boil for 5 minutes and then plunge the whole head of cabbage into the bowl of cold water or simply run it under cold water from your tap.
4. Once slightly cooled, gently remove 12 cabbage leaves, being careful not to break.

Sauce:
1. Heat a pot on medium heat and drizzle oil. Add the onions cool until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
2. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, sea salt and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer while you prepare the filling.

Filling:
1. Place all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix so everything is well combined.

cabbage-rolls-in-crockpot

Assembly:
1. Place about ¼ – ⅓ cup of filling into each cabbage roll. Fold in the sides and end of the leaf and then continue to roll until it’s closed. Repeat until all the leaves and filling have been used.
2. Place a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the cabbage rolls in, seam side down.
3. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

cabbage-rolls-served

Looking for more comforting recipes? Try our Must-Make Slow Cooker Recipes that will keep you full and happy all season long.

What’s in Season? Your Ultimate Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

Crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes in your favourite salad. A ripe peach fresh from the farmstand. Sweet, earthy leeks in a creamy soup. Is your mouth watering yet? As Canadians, we have a plethora of seasonal produce at our fingertips throughout the year and knowing what and when to buy seasonally empowers home cooks with the best local flavours possible. Whether you are looking to shop local or support Canadian farmers coast-to-coast,  make food shopping a breeze all year round with our Canadian seasonal produce guide covering January to December.  Grab your tote bags and get shopping – bounty awaits!

potatoes-white-red-in-basket

What’s in Season in  Winter

The dead of winter brings the blahs for most of us. Winter fare, however, can be quite inspiring. Think warm soups and stews, gorgeous roasts with luscious mashed or roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and rutabagas. Fry onion rings and add sautéed garlic to everything. Braise cabbage or roll it around meat and rice filling for cabbage roll perfection. Dream even bigger with a moist, cream cheese frosted carrot or parsnip cake (yes, parsnip cake!) or rich, dark and dreamy chocolate beet cake. With dishes like these, winter won’t seem long enough!

What’s in Season in December:

Pears, Brussels Sprouts, Rutabagas / Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Pears

What’s in Season in January:

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

What’s in Season in February:

Rutabagas, Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

What’s in Season in March:

Rutabagas,  Turnips, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Red Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes

asparagus-cooked-sauce

 

What’s in Season in Spring

As the seasons change so does the fresh produce. Asparagus arrives – April in British Columbia, May in the rest of the country, continuing into July towards the East Coast –  along with fiddleheads, radishes, spinach and later peas, beans, cauliflower and broccoli. We begin to see fresh lettuce and radicchio along with celery and fennel in British Columbia, following in July in the rest of Canada. Fruit also begins with outdoor rhubarb as well as strawberries and cherries in May, continuing into July. Make the most of these months with light pastas, simple salads, pies, tarts and where weather allows a little grilling.

What’s in Season in April:

Asparagus, Radishes, Fiddleheads, Spinach, Fava Beans,  Rhubarb, Peppers (greenhouse), Tomatoes (greenhouse)

What’s in Season in May:

Asparagus, Radishes, Fiddleheads, Spinach, Rhubarb, Kale, Salad Greens, Morel Mushrooms, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Green Onions, Peas, Cherries,

What’s in Season in June:

Asparagus, Radishes, Spinach, Rhubarb, Kale, Salad Greens, Arugula, Beets, Lettuce, Green Onions, Gooseberries, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Broccoli, Celery, Swiss Chard, Garlic (Fresh), Peas, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Zucchini, Fennel, Cherries

fresh-strawberries-in-a-basket

What’s in Season in Summer

As summer hits, things kick into high gear with seemingly unending produce options. Stone fruits like peaches, plums, apricots and later nectarines burst onto the scene, tending towards an earlier arrival in British Columbia, soon ripening across the country and finally arriving in the Atlantic provinces in September. Berries also arrive this time of year, making it the perfect opportunity for crumbles, preserves and general good eating. Melons are now in full bloom, begging to be soaked in summery sangrias, wrapped in prosciutto and added to salads. And early pears and apples make their way onto the scene in late August, rounding out fruit season. Vegetables like homegrown corn, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and rapini are now in their prime, and it’s the start of leek and eggplant season in August.

What’s in Season in July:

Gooseberries, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Currants, Cherries, Blackberries, Apricots, Nectarines, Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh), Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes (New), Radishes, Rhubarb, Salad Greens, Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Peaches, Watermelon, Kale

What’s in Season in August:

Raspberries, Currants, Cherries, Blackberries, Apricots, Apples, Crab Apples, Blueberries, Gooseberries, Melons, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Strawberries, Artichokes, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard,  Corn, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers,  Potatoes (New), Radishes, Rhubarb, Rutabagas,  Salad Greens, Shallots, Spinach, Summer Squash,  Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Eggplants, Grapes,  Peaches, Watermelon, Kale, Pears

fall-apples-on-a-cutting-board

What’s in Season in Fall

We end our big season on a high note with pumpkin, leeks, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, crabapples and the continuation from August of muskmelon and grapes. We begin to crave in-season apples and pears, and as cool weather approaches so does the need for warmer dishes. Back indoors, get set for roasting, holiday feasting and all of the apple desserts.

What’s in Season in September:

Cranberries, Apples, Crab Apples, Blueberries, Grapes, Melons, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Artichokes, Green Beans, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Corn, Cucumber, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers,  Potatoes (New), Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnips,  Zucchini, Beets, Eggplants, Nectarines, Watermelon, Kale,

What’s in Season in October:

Cranberries, Apples, Crab Apples, Pears, Quince, Artichokes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Celery, Swiss Chard, Corn, Garlic (Fresh),  Leeks,  Lettuce, Green Onions, Onions, Parsnips,  Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Salad Greens, Spinach, Turnips, Beets, Eggplants, Kale

What’s in Season in November:

Cranberries, Pears, Quince, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower,  Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabagas, Turnips, Apples, Beets

mushrooms-crimini

What’s in Season in Canada Year-Round

Don’t forget about options available regardless of the season. Take mushrooms, for instance, which are grown year-round and across the country. In addition, many greenhouse farms are using methods that help cut down on waste and reuse water, soil and energy, producing year-round. Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce are excellent greenhouse-bought options in winter when local outdoor choices have dwindled so you can enjoy a taste of summer, whatever the weather.

Make the most of your market haul any time of year with all of our in-season recipes.

Irish Slow Cooker Stew

This Slow Cooker Irish Stew Recipe is a Classic Restored

Irish beef stew is a cozy, family-friendly dinner, and it can be incredibly easy to make, especially when all you have to do is toss everything in a slow cooker. Our recipe uses beef, however, if you’re a true lover of lamb, feel free to use that instead. Of course, a hearty Irish stew isn’t complete without earthy root veggies and here, Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, carrots and celeriac shine in a hearty medley. Make this easy version in your slow cooker or Instant Pot for St. Patrick’s Day or a chilly, yet busy weekday. It’s classic comfort food for contemporary schedules.

Irish-Slow-Cooker-stew-in-bowl

Slow Cooker Irish Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes on high, 8 hours 10 minutes on low
Serves: 4 to 6

Irish-Slow-Cooker-stew-ingredients

Ingredients:

2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1-inch pieces (see Notes below)
3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium parsnip, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
salt, to taste (check the saltiness of your beef stock before adding)
ground black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Irish-Stew-in-the-Slow-Cooker

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients except parsley in a large slow cooker and stir to combine. Replace lid and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

2. Once your cook time is up, give the stew a stir, spoon into bowls and top with fresh parsley. Serve warm.

Notes: 
If you have time, brown the beef first by searing the cubes in a skillet with a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat – it adds a great depth of flavour.

Serve something cool and creamy for dessert while keeping with the Irish theme and mix up this Guinness Ice Cream Float.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

Your Weeknight Needs This Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Perfect for a gathering or a simple weeknight dinner, this meat-and-veg meal always impresses. Slow cooker pork tenderloin is incredibly tender and moist so you can forget all about dryness.  What’s more, the leisurely braising brings on a sweet, caramelized flavour as the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup work their magic on the pork tenderloin. Finally, seasonal vegetables add pops of colour and a welcome earthiness to this hearty meal. While oven baked pork tenderloin is delicious we’ll be making this easy Crock Pot dinner all winter long.

Slow-Cooker-Pork-Tenderloin-2

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Winter Veggies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes on high, 4 hours 10 minutes on low
Serves: 4
Slow-Cooker-Pork-Tenderloin-3

Ingredients:

1 (2 lb) pork tenderloin (see Notes below)
3 red potatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes
3 stalks celery, chopped into 2.5-inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into 1-inch circles (we used a mixture of purple and orange carrots)
1 red onion, sliced into 1-inch half-moons
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste
fresh thyme leaves, to taste
fresh chopped parsley, for serving

Directions: 
1. Add all ingredients except parsley to a large slow cooker, positioning the pork tenderloin in the centre and surrounding it with the vegetables. Replace lid and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

Food-Network-pork-tenderloin-2

2. Once the cook time is up, transfer pork to a cutting board and slice into medallions.
3. Dish up the vegetables along with those delicious slow cooker juices onto plates or into shallow bowls, top with pork tenderloin medallions, then garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

Slow-Cooker-Pork-Tenderloin-Recie

Notes:
To enhance the caramelized flavour in this stew, you can sear the pork in a skillet before it goes in the slow cooker. To do so, add olive oil to a skillet set over medium-high heat, then brown each side of the pork tenderloin until desired colour; continue with the remainder of the recipe.

Soak up all of those mouthwatering juices on your plate with a warm slice of Chef Michael Smith’s Pot Baked Bread with Homemade Butter.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup is Fiesta Flavour Without the Fuss

This zesty and warming soup is just asking to be on your dinner menu this week. Toppings of tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro and lime add incredible flavour and texture to a big, comforting bowl of slow-cooked shredded chicken, sweet potato, black beans and tomatoes. To make this into a vegan or vegetarian soup, simply skip the chicken, toss in another can of black beans and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes on high, 4 hours 20 minutes on low
Serves: 4  

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

Tortilla Soup
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

For Serving
1 lime, quartered
1/2 cup (about a handful per serving) tortilla chips
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 avocado, pitted and diced

Directions:
Tortilla Soup
1. Stir to combine all tortilla soup ingredients (except for toppings) in a large slow cooker. Replace lid and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

2. After time is up, shred the chicken using two forks and stir to coat with remaining soup ingredients.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

For Serving:

1. Dish the tortilla soup into bowls and top each one with a squeeze of lime, tortilla chips, cilantro and avocado. Serve hot.

For tortilla soup outside of the bowl, try this family-friendly Chicken Tortilla Casserole (aka Mexican lasagna!) from The Pioneer Woman.

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer is the Tastiest Way to Eat Your Greens

Looking for new and exciting ways to eat your greens? We’ve got the perfect healthy slow cooker recipe for you. This saag paneer is loaded with spinach, fresh cheese, spices and a hint of lime juice, leaving your taste buds happy. We’ve given this traditional Indian dish a twist by omitting the heavy cream that’s commonly used and replaced it with coconut milk to add natural sweetness. A big bowl of saag paneer will definitely warm you up on a cold day, especially if you have some naan handy to heat up and dunk in!

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes on high, 4 hours 10 minutes on low
Serves: 2 to 3 as a main, 4 as a side


Ingredients:

2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 tomatoes, diced
2 bunches fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
1/2 lime, squeezed
3 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp coconut oil
1 brick of paneer (fresh Indian cheese), cubed
1/4 cup toasted shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Toss all ingredients except coconut oil, paneer and toasted shredded coconut in a large slow cooker. Replace lid and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours. When the saag (spinach) mixture has about 15 minutes left to cook, make the paneer.
2. Heat a large skillet (non-stick ensures easy turning) over medium and add coconut oil. Place the cubed paneer into the skillet and fry until golden, flipping around every so often until most sides are brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside pan-fried paneer while you puree the saag mixture.

3. Once the saag mixture has finished cooking, use an immersion blender to puree inside the slow cooker until smooth, or carefully transfer to a blender, puree and add it back to the slow cooker to keep warm. The green colour will have dulled but the flavour is huge.
4. Add the reserved pan-fried paneer to the slow cooker with the pureed saag and stir until combined and warmed through. Or, keep pan-fried paneer on the side and add on top of bowls of saag right before serving, like we did in the photo.
5. Divide saag paneer into bowls or enjoy as a side dish. Garnish with additional cilantro and toasted shredded coconut. Serve warm.

Cool things down after dinner with Indian-inspired Mango Coconut Ice Pops.

3 Sourdough Stuffing Recipes

Move Over Turkey, These 3 Stuffings Are Bound for Thanksgiving Stardom

Holiday meals just wouldn’t be the same without turkey’s best sidekick: stuffing. Soaked in gravy and flavoured with herbs and spices, it’s a holiday essential. Some home cooks follow recipes that have been passed down for generations, while others try their hand at new recipes every year, searching for a modern classic. Here, using one loaf of humble sourdough bread, we’ve created three different stuffing recipes to suit any menu. Try one or try them all, and add something a little different on your table this year.

Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base 
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Tear 1 (454 g) loaf sourdough into 1-inch pieces and divide between two baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Toast bread in oven until golden and dry, about 15 minutes. Use in stuffing recipe of choice (below).

Date Walnut Stuffing

Date, Walnut and Cinnamon Stuffing
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add in 1 recipe Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base (recipe above), 3/4 cup torn pitted dates and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Stir everything to combine, transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and bake until crisp on top and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Sausage Stuffing

Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, deep skillet, cook 400 g Italian sausage (casing removed), breaking up meat with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add in 2 ribs diced celery, 1 finely chopped onion and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 recipe Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base (recipe above), 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage and 1/2 cup of roasted chestnuts (homemade, canned or vacuum-packed). Add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, stir everything to combine, transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and bake until crisp on top and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve.

applecranstuffing

Apple Cranberry Stuffing
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1 thinly sliced onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 1 large diced apple and cook for another minute. Stir in 1 recipe Sourdough Toast Stuffing Base (recipe above), 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary. Add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 tsp salt, stir everything to combine, transfer to a large ovenproof baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and bake until crisp on top and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve.

Turkey and stuffing are best buds, so we’ve compiled our best holiday bird recipes to pair with these newfangled stuffing centrepieces.

Slow Cooker Chicken Coconut Curry

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry is the Easiest Healthy Comfort Food

Are you craving a warming, deeply delicious curry that is slow-cooked to perfection? This coconut chicken curry has the bold, creamy flavours we love in restaurant versions, but is a cinch to make at home, and far healthier. The method is as simple as adding ingredients to your slow cooker and setting the timer – you come home to a beautifully cooked meal that’s especially satisfying to eat as the weather gets chilly. Served on a bed of whole grain quinoa or rice and topped with refreshing cilantro, it’s healthy comfort food done right.

Slow cooker chicken curry 3

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes on high, 8 hours 10 minutes on low
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp sea salt
1 heaping cup of baby spinach
Warm cooked quinoa, for serving
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Curry ingredients

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients except baby spinach, quinoa and cilantro in a 6-quart slow cooker. Mix well to combine, cover and set on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

Slow cooker chicken curry-1

2.  When ready to serve, open the lid and stir in baby spinach to wilt. Ladle curry over cooked quinoa or rice with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serve.

Slow cooker chicken curry-2

Spicy-hot curry is all about the cooling condiments. Smooth things out with this refreshing mint, yogurt and cucumber raita.

Looking for more slow cooker ideas? Try these tasty chicken slow cooker recipes.

French Onion Soup Casserole for Chilly Days

The biting cold of winter requires major comfort foods to indulge in, and French onion soup is at the top of our list. While we love a big bowl of soup, turning it into a cheesy casserole is a no-brainer. It’s super easy and delivers huge on flavour. The combination of rich, caramelized onions, gooey melted cheese and toasted baguette packed with the deep flavour of French onion soup will leave you weak in the knees and totally satisfied.

onion soup casserole

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups sliced Spanish onion
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Madeira wine
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6-8 1 inch slices of French baguette, toasted
1 cup of Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions:
1. Heat butter in a large pan over medium. Once butter is bubbly and foaming, add the onions and salt. Stir onions to coat in butter and let cook until deep brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes, stirring intermittently.
2. Once onions have caramelized, pour in Madeira wine, stir and continue to cook until alcohol is evaporated and liquid is fully absorbed into onions, about 1 minute.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and thyme. Increase heat to medium and cook until stock reduces by about 1/3, about 5 minutes.
4. Pour contents of pan into a medium-size casserole dish. Remove thyme sprigs. Arrange toasted baguette slices over onion mixture and press down allowing the bread to absorb the liquid. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with melted butter.
5. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and golden, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Looking for more comforting dishes? Try Ina Garten’s Most Comforting Casseroles.

Great-Canadian-Toque-Cake

Get Cozy with the Great Canadian Toque Cake

This winter, let’s embrace the cold (and even celebrate it) with this chilly-weather inspired cake. Ultra-Canadian both inside and out, this maple and nutmeg flavoured dessert reminds us of bundling up for snowy winter days spent tobogganing or skating on the local rink.

Toque Cake

To create this super cute cake, simply carve a small layer cake into the domed shape before using a few decorative piping techniques to mimic different knit patterns with buttercream icing. Pop a pom-pom on top, and add a few marzipan maple leaves for extra Canadian flair!

This gorgeous cake is a perfect, whimsical showstopper for any party this season.

Toque Cake

Bake Time: 24 to 26 minutes
Total Time: 75 to 90 minutes
Serves: 6 to 10

Ingredients:

Maple Nutmeg Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Red gel food coloring (optional)

Maple Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Assembly
2 oz marzipan (or fondant)
Red gel food coloring

Toque Cake

Directions:

Maple Nutmeg Cake

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 6-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix on medium until light and fluffy. Add in the maple and vanilla. Mix until combined.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in the eggs 1 at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
5. With the mixer on low, add in 1/2 the dry ingredients. Once combined, stream in the buttermilk. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
6. Remove 1/3 of the batter and mix in the red gel food coloring until desired shade is achieved. Mix the remaining plain batter by hand until smooth.
7. Place the red batter in one of the prepared cakes pans. Evenly divide the remaining batter between the other 2 pans. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Maple Buttercream
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the sugar and maple syrup and mix until combined. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add more sugar and/or milk until desired consistency is reached.

Red Buttercream
1. Make 1/2 the frosting used for our Red Rose Cupcakes.

Toque Cake

Assembly
1. Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops of the red layer and 1 of the white layers. Place the trimmed white layer on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on about 1/2 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Top with the red layer and repeat with the last white layer (dome side up, if present).
2. Using a long, serrated knife, trim and carve the cake into a domed shape. Save the cake scraps and set aside.
3. Once the cake has been carved into the shape of a toque, crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream all over.

Toque Cake
4. Fill 2 piping bags fitted with decorative piping tips with the red and maple buttercream. Stating from the bottom, pipe rows of the maple buttercream 1/3 of the way up (or until the red cake layer appears). Pipe red buttercream where the red cake layer is. Continue on to pipe maple buttercream over the top layer of cake.
5. For the pom-pom on top, gather a portion of the scraps and roll/form into a large cake ball. Place on top of the cake and pipe on red buttercream using a grass piping tip.
6. Tint the marzipan with red gel food coloring. Roll out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch and cut out maple leaves using a small cookie cutter. Place on the cake as desired.

Toque Cake
7. For the maple buttercream (white) piping details, use a small rose tip (104) to pipe roses of small, interlocking V’s to create the woven pattern. Reverse the direction of the piping every-other row.
8. For the red buttercream piping details, use a small star tip (18) to pipe ropes (spirals) of buttercream. Use a grass tip to cover the pom-pom on top.

Toque Cake

Looking for more Canadian cake inspiration? Try our 15 Cool Canadian Cakes.

 

8 Sugar Shacks You Need to Visit This Winter

Sorry Western Canada; you might have all the gorgeous mountain ranges and top ski destinations, but Eastern Canada rules the roost when it comes to homegrown maple syrup and sugar shacks.

From Ontario to Nova Scotia, here are eight sugar shacks that are worth putting on those winter boots and stomping through the snow for.

Sugar Moon Farm

Sugar Moon Farm

Cabane PDC (Montreal, QC) 

Arguably the most well-known sugar shack in the country, Martin Picard’s Cabane au Sucre is also one of the hardest spots to get a seat. Just like his Montreal eatery, Au Pied De Cochon, it’s all things rich and indulgent here, so don’t expect to walk out feeling anything but full to the brim.

Crinklaw Maple Products (London, ON) 

Having been in operation for over 180 years, I think it’s safe to say this family-run maple syrup business has truly stood the test of time. Though it doesn’t open until early March and doesn’t offer a dining experience, there’s tons of winter fun to partake in, like sleigh rides and maybe throwing a snowball or two.

Érablière Au Sous-Bois: Brunch

Brunch at Érablière Au Sous-Bois

Érablière Au Sous-Bois (Mont-Saint-Grégoire, QC) 

A bit larger than your regular sugar shack, Érablière not only offers the standard maple producing tours, and food and drink, but also night time dancing. Open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, this spot would make a super fun outing for a group of friends or a couple on a date.

La Tablee des Pionniers (Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré, QC) 

Owned by celebrity Québecois chef Louis-Francois Marcotte, this sugar shack is a must-try for any self-proclaimed lover of the maple delight. With coursed, family-style menus (centred around maple syrup, of course), ranging from $30-$50 per person, you can dive into a myriad of dishes; pulled pork and mushroom in puff pastry, warming split pea soup with savoy cabbage and bacon, and much more. Don’t worry, there’s maple taffy, too.

La Tablee des Pionniers

La Tablee des Pionniers

Sand Road Sugar Camp (Moose Creek, ON) 

You’ll find this popular maple syrup manufacturer just a short drive from Ottawa. Ideal for a family excursion, there’s so much to explore including how maple trees are tapped, strolling around forest trails, or simply enjoying a big brunch buffet.

Sugar Moon Farm

Sugar Moon Farm: Sugar Baby Jarfait

Sugar Moon Farm (Earltown, NS) 

A beautiful drive on winding roads in rural Nova Scotia will bring you to this charming little spot nestled in a forest of maple trees. The menu offers good, honest food with a focus on breakfast. The pancakes and maple baked beans are the perfect sweet-meets-savoury combination, but don’t skip the Sugar Baby Jarfait; layered with maple granola, organic yogurt and Nova Scotia blueberries, this is simplicity at its best!

Sugar Moon Farm

Sugar Moon Farm: Maple Baked Beans

Temple’s Sugar Bush (Lanark, ON) 

Once you’re done exploring the outdoors, take a seat inside Temple’s main building to find that it’s anything but a dusty old shack. Tall vaulted ceilings, a large fireplace and lofted areas make you feel like you’re in more of a mansion than a maple farm. Don’t forget to pick up some maple sugar and their signature maple sticky buns on the way out!

Temple’s Sugar Bush

Temple’s Sugar Bush

Trites Maples (Stilesville, NB) 

Just outside of Moncton, this cozy family-run sugar shack operates during the weekend until 3 p.m. For breakfast, you can enjoy big stacks of buckwheat pancakes, sausages, maple baked beans cooked in a wood-fired oven, and (the most important one of all) all-you-can-eat maple taffy. Meet me there?

chicken-broth-feature-image

3 Basic Broth Recipes You’ll Make Again and Again

Broth is hot right now. Yeah, we know, it is meant to be served hot, but as the winter chill sets in, the newest food trend is really heating up.

The simple, comforting liquid that is the base for soups, stews and sauces is finding a following as more than just an ingredient. Food lovers are sipping broth on it’s own and restaurants like Brodo Kitchen, in Penticton, B.C. are serving liquid gold to customers eager for a comforting, winter pick-me-up. In New York, bone broth bars have become the new coffee shops as cafes sell cups of broth to cold commuters on the go.

What is bone broth? It’s both broth and stock. Broth is made from cooking meat and vegetables in water, forming a light, flavourful liquid you can sip on it’s own. While stock is created from slowly simmering bones for hours to extract the gelatin. The rich, concentrated liquid is often used to flavour soups, sauces and gravies. Bone broth, a hybrid of the two, is a lighter, sip-able liquid with all the goodness and flavour of slow-cooked bones.

Warm yourself from the inside out by making souper-flavourful broth right at home. Whether you enjoy it on it’s own, make a pot of soup or freeze it, these three fantastic recipes are ones you’ll make over and over, all winter long.

Chicken broth

Liquid-Gold Chicken Broth
A whole chicken plus the chicken bones make for a rich, stock-like broth. The best part of this recipe is you have both chicken meat and flavourful, clear broth at the end. Tip: Save leftover chicken bones in your freezer, then use them when you’re ready to make the recipe.

Beef Broth
Roasting oxtails, short ribs and beef bones are a great way to add depth to the flavour of your broth and give it a deep brown colour. Oxtail is a tough and bony cut of meat that releases immense flavour when slow-cooked. Tip: Freeze stock in 1-cup portions, which will come in handy in many recipes.

Miso Broth
A simple, vegetarian broth you can make in a matter of minutes. Miso is mild-tasting paste made from fermented beans and is a mainstay in Japanese cuisine. A mug of this flavourful broth is the perfect way to warm yourself up after coming in from the cold.

Looking for ways to use your broth? Try our 20 Best Slow Cooker Soups and Stews.

All New This Winter: Chopped Canada, Chef in Your Ear, Sugar Showdown and More

With the New Year right around the corner, we can’t help but celebrate a batch of brand new shows! Get ready to welcome back your favourites and find new ones with our exciting season filled with lots of talent, competition, inspiration and drool-worthy recipes. Ready, set, go!

Chopped Canada

Chopped Canada is back with a new batch of talented chefs vying to show off their skills and be crowned champion! With new host Brad Smith and baskets of new ingredients, we can’t wait to see what creative dishes chefs will come up with. Watch the fun unfold Saturdays at 9 E/P beginning January 9, 2016. Click here for schedule information.

Chef in Your Ear

The excitement continues as expert chefs help clueless cooks create classic dishes from scratch in Chef in Your Ear. The pressure is on and so are the headphones, as frustrated chefs try to teach top-notch cooking skills from another room. Catch all the excitement and blunders starting January 4 at 10 E/P. Click here to get recipes from the show.

Top Chef

Top Chef kicks off 2016 with a high-stakes challenge. Competitors arrive in Palm Springs where they’re tasked with catering a wedding for 25 couples. Catch the action January 7 at 10 E/P then watch a supersized version of the episode online January 8. There’s even more exclusive episodes online with our web series, Last Chance Kitchen. Click here for schedule information.

Simply Nigella

Nigella Lawson brings her paired down approach to cooking with simple, stress-free dishes that bring back the pleasure of cooking. Catch Nigella’s quick and calm recipes starting January 9 at 1:30 pm ET. Click here for schedule information for Simply Nigella.

Patricia Heaton’s Parties

Actress Patricia Heaton is back in front of the camera, this time sharing her best tips, trick and recipes for entertaining. Catch her Saturdays starting January 9 at 11:30 am ET. Click here for schedule information.

A group of extremely talented junior chefs take over the Chopped kitchen for another season of unforgettable dishes and healthy competition. See what these energetic kitchen prodigies have in store as a new season of Chopped Junior kicks off January 5 at 8 E/T. Click here for schedule information.

Sugar Showdown

Celebrate all things sweet with Sugar Showdown! This lively competition that pits expert bakers against one another to see who can create the tastiest confections. The rotating panel of judges includes Harry Eastwood, Zane Caplansky and Elizabeth Falkner to name a few. Tempt your sweet tooth with this fun and tasty show starting with back-to-back episodes January 7 at 6 E/P. Click here for schedule information.

They’re young, but these pint-sized bakers are ready to show off their big talent! Eight expert bakers will use their creativity and skill to bake delectable desserts in order to impress hosts Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli. Catch all their creativity of the Kids Baking Championship starting January 10 at 8 E/P. Click here for schedule information.

Join Giada as she returns to her roots to explore the bounty and beauty of Italy. Travel along with Giada as she revisits family, friends and the food that inspire her life’s work. Taste the flavours of Italy January 6 at 11am ET. Click here for schedule information.

CranberryEggnogMuffins

Cranberry Muffins to Cozy up with This Winter

By Barbara Mayhew

Cranberries grow in Prince Edward Island and are a versatile food. I remember as a small child going with my mother and grandmother to pick wild cranberries. In the fall, these berries were highly sought after. We used them fresh in cranberry sauce and froze them for use over the winter months.

The cranberries used in this recipe were grown in Farmington, near Souris, in the eastern part of P.E.I. A visit to Mikita Farms to watch the wet-harvesting of the cranberries got my creative juices flowing and inspired this recipe. I like to know where my food comes from, and being able to watch the cranberry harvest and then stop by the stand at the farm gate to buy the berries, meant I was able to use the freshest local produce available.

Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins, Courtesy of Barbara Mayhew,  myislandbistrokitchen.com, Charlottetown

These muffins combine cranberries with eggnog – two classic winter flavours.

CranberryEggnogMuffins

Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12-14 standard-size muffins

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) cranberries (fresh or frozen), coarsely chopped
1½ Tbsp (20 mL) sugar
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole-wheat flour
⅔ cup (150 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) rolled oats
1½ Tbsp (20 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) allspice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup (175 mL) eggnog
½ cup + 1 tbsp (125 mL + 15 mL) vegetable oil
⅓ cup (75 mL) mashed banana
¼ cup (50 mL) orange juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
1½ tsp (7 mL) vanilla
Streusel
¼ cup + 2 tbsp (80 mL) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp (45 mL) brown sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped pecans

Directions
Streusel
1. In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Set aside.
Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230ºC). Grease muffin tin, including top of tin.
2. In small bowl, sprinkle chopped cranberries with 1½ tbsp sugar. Toss lightly to coat cranberries. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, brown sugar, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and orange rind. Mix well. Set aside.
4. In liquid measure, stir together egg, eggnog, oil, mashed banana, orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk together.
5. Pour wet ingredients into well in centre of dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the sugared cranberries.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling almost to top. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
7. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400ºF (200ºC). Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
8. Let muffins rest in muffin tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

My Island Bistro Kitchen
My blog focuses on local Maritime foods and beverages, with a particular concentration on those produced in P.E.I. In addition to sharing my own recipes, I write stories about local food and beverage producers and feature their products in recipes that I share on my blog.

The Warming Gnocchi You Can Make Ahead of Time

By Cassandrea Gascoyne

Gnocchi has always been one of my favourite dishes. The first time my husband and I tried making it at home, it was on a winter night that was -30ºC, so now making and eating gnocchi always makes me feel warm and cozy. This recipe is a little different than traditional gnocchi in that it is made with a light tomato broth instead of a rich cream or cheese sauce.

When we were making the broth that cold winter night, the kitchen windows fogged up from the steam. The whole house smelled of tomatoes and garlic. The broth is light and complements the gnocchi well.

As we ate our heaping bowl of gnocchi and broth I can remember thinking this is the perfect winter dish! The best part is that the gnocchi and broth are freezable, so you can come home from work during a blizzard and know you can look forward to a warm bowl of comfort food that will be ready in just a few minutes.

Gnocchi in Tomato Broth, Courtesy of Cassandrea Gascoyne, chewsandbrews.ca, Spruce Grove, Alta.

This simple pasta dish is the perfect comfort food for dinner in the depth of winter.

 

888x600_gnocchi-in-tomato-broth

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: approximately 80 gnocchi and 2.5 cups (625 mL) broth

Ingredients
Gnocchi

4 russet potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) whole-wheat flour

Tomato Broth
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
12 oz (341 mL) jar Italian tomato purée
handful fresh basil (plus more for garnish)
salt
pepper
Parmesan cheese

Directions
Broth
1. Meanwhile, in large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Sauté until vegetables have softened and onions and garlic have started to brown.
2. Pour in wine and stir, scraping up browned bits. Cook until wine has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, tomato purée and basil; reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Gnocchi
1. Bake potatoes in 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a knife. Let cool.
2. Peel cooled potatoes and grate into large bowl. (Or use a potato ricer, instead of grating.)
3. Stir in beaten egg and salt. Add all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, mixing until the mixture forms a soft dough that isn’t too sticky.
4. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide dough into quarters; roll each quarter into a long rope, about 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter. Cut rope into 3/4-inch (2 cm) pieces.
5. Place gnocchi on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. If desired, freeze gnocchi on tray, then transfer into a freezer bag.
6. To cook the gnocchi, drop into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook the gnocchi about 2 minutes, or until they float. (If cooking from frozen, let them cook for 3 to 4 minutes.) Drain.
7. To serve, put 10 to 12 cooked gnocchi in each bowl and top with hot tomato broth. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Note:
-If you like a traditional-looking gnocchi, there are some neat tools you can use in Step 6 to add ridges, such as the Gnocchi Board or Gnocchi Stripper.
-A slice of garlic toast goes nicely as well, and can soak up any leftover broth at the end!

Chews and Brews
Cassandrea Gascoyne loves to cook and eat, and now has a passion for writing about and sharing everything she cooks and eats. She also enjoys wine, craft beers and good coffee. When she isn’t eating or drinking you can find her camping and hiking with her husband in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Her kids have four legs and are fuzzy and are named Bob and Sam.

RoastedRootVegetableSoup

A Comforting Soup to Use up Extra Veggies

By Margaret Bose-Johnson

When you are the child of German immigrants, you learn not to waste a thing. Both of my parents spent their childhoods as refugees in Europe during World War II, constantly fleeing danger and subsisting on very little. Consequently, even with the abundance of the life they were able to live in Canada, they could never throw out any usable item or even the tiniest bit of food. They instilled that thriftiness into their children. We grew up in hand-me-down clothes, we washed our plastic sandwich wrap to reuse again and again, and we made all our food at home, “from scratch.” I always say my mom could turn the scraps from the compost pail into the most delicious dinner.

This soup came about one day after discovering that my refrigerator crisper drawer was full of sad, wrinkly, mould-spotted vegetables. I couldn’t throw them out! All they needed was a good trimming and a loving roast in the oven. The vegetables caramelized into luscious sweetness, to be transformed into this creamy, complex, flavourful soup.

Now I make it often, and we sometimes call it “Clean Out the Crisper Drawer Soup.”

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup, Courtesy of Margaret Bose-Johnson, kitchenfrau.com, Stony Plain, Alta.

This recipe is a great way to use up veggies that are past their prime.

RoastedRootVegetableSoup

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 to 60 min
Yield: Makes about 5½ cups (1.325 L), or 4 servings

Ingredients
1 lb (450 g) mixed vegetables, peeled, trimmed and chopped (such as 1-2 parsnips, 3-4 carrots, 1 red, yellow or orange pepper)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
pinch cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 tsp (5 mL) sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) pure maple syrup (optional)
olive oil, truffle oil or basil oil, to garnish
fresh black pepper, to garnish

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200ºC).
2. Combine vegetables, onion and garlic cloves in large roasting pan. 3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
4. Roast vegetables for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring halfway through, until carrots are easily pricked with fork and edges of vegetables are starting to turn dark brown and crisp.
5. Transfer vegetables to blender, using rubber spatula to scrape in any remaining olive oil.
6. Add half of the chicken stock and, taking care to avoid splatters, process until smooth, adding more chicken stock if mixture is too thick. Pour purée into saucepan; add remaining chicken stock. (Alternately, transfer vegetables and oil directly into saucepan, add chicken stock and purée with immersion blender.)
7. Add cayenne pepper and, if desired, salt to taste. Add sherry vinegar. Add maple syrup, if using. Head soup over medium-high heat until just boiling.
8. Garnish each serving with olive oil and fresh-ground pepper.

Note: The flavours of this soup are brightened up by a hit of sherry vinegar and maple syrup added at the end of cooking. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, substitute red or white wine vinegar, and if you don’t have maple syrup, use honey.

Kitchen Frau
I am a mother of four, teacher and writer. The kitchen and the garden are my two favourite places to be (and out feeding my chickens). I love healthy cooking using fresh garden ingredients, whole foods and alternative grains.