The Market & Co Experience at Upper Canada Mall - How To Make Kombucha At Home

I’ve done my fair share of food experiences over these last five years since I started The Everyday Foodie. From visiting food halls, farmer markets, restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores I’ve seen them all, but not many stood out to me and left an impression quite like my visit here to Market & Co inside Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Ontario. I really didn’t know what to expect at first coming here because to be honest I wasn’t 100% sure what this was. Was it a food court? Was it a restaurant or a grocery store? Or was it a space where people gather here for workshops and unique events? I’ve soon found out that Market & Co encompasses all of that and more!

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The second you walk through those doors, you are immediately greeted my a bright and large indoor space where a combination of your local baker, butcher, seafood market, produce, flower shop, and trendy restaurants are all rolled into one curated market. It’s a one-stop shop for all your food and culinary needs with 20 best-in-class artisans and merchants ready to satisfy your every need (click HERE to view a list of all of the current artisans and merchants at Market & Co). There is literally something for everyone here. If you have a sweet tooth like me there is even a section that you can literally find any candy you ever wanted imaginable. It’s nuts!

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With that being said, Kitchen & Co is probably my most favourite part of this space. It’s a contemporary kitchen space and demonstration area in the heart of the market offering fun and educational opportunities for guests to cook, create, learn, and enjoy all the food and ingredients offered inside the market. It’s a community hub like no other, offering all kinds of weekly workshops, tastings, and activities that guests can sign-up on their website to register for interactive food experiences. Some examples of their classes include:

  • Oysters 101 & Tasting with World Record Holder “Shucker Paddy”

  • Thanksgiving Centrepiece Workshop

  • Master The Ultimate Bakery Style Cupcake

  • Create a Swoon Worthy Charcuterie and Cheese Board

  • Pasta Making with Acclaimed Chef Michael Angeloni

This is just a very small sample size of the types of classes Kitchen & Co offer year round. For me personally with so many unique and fun classes they were offering, it was hard to choose which first class I would be interested in attending when browsing through their schedule. Scanned the calendar a little bit more and bingo! The “Brew Your Own Kombucha Workshop” was calling my name!

Hosted by Village Juicery and certified Holistic Nutritionist Danielle Wiens, this 1.5 hour workshop was a step-by-step class on learning to brew kombucha at home!

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So what is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a probiotic beverage, created through an ancient process of adding a SCOBY (symbolic community of bacteria & yeast), often referred to as “the mother” to sweet black tea. This living bacteria consumes the sugars within the tea (aka it ferments), leaving behind all kinds of compounds that are renowned for their health benefits including probiotic bacteria and several types of organic acids.

The moral of the story that we were taught in the workshop is basically to not like the SCOBY die! Feed it, nourish it, check up on it. Think of it as a new pet you inherited. Pet SCOBY! Without a living SCOBY there is no kombucha to brew. No pressure right?

Brewing kombucha at home is a two step fermentation process that takes around two weeks to complete from start to finish. As this is a living beverage, once you have your first successful brew under your belt, you’ll be able to use that SCOBY to brew literally endless kombucha at home. Follow these steps I learned here at the “Brew Your Own Kombucha Workshop” and you’ll be an expert at making your own kombucha at home in no time.

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STEP 1: The 1st Ferment

Purpose:

  • To start new batch

  • Create fermentation

  • Grow your SCOBY so you can share it with others

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 black tea bag

  • 1/4 cup of organic sugar

  • 1 SCOBY

  • 1 brewing vessel (eg. glass jar)

Directions:

  1. Brew black tea in filtered water (1 tea bag + 1/4 cup of organic sugar per litre - don’t mess with this ratio!)

  2. Let it sit and adjust to room temperature (5 hours/overnight).

  3. Add piece of SCOBY, it can be any size, usually 3” is a good start. It will grow to cover the surface of your brewing vessel.

  4. Ferment for 7 - 10 days. Try after 7 days and decide when to start second ferment. The sweeter the final product, the less it needs to be fermented. The more sour/fermented it tastes, the longer you should ferment it for. It’s all your preference!

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STEP 2: The 2nd Ferment

Purpose:

  • To add carbonation, C02

  • Add flavour

  • Bottle it up

What You’ll Need:

  • Glass bottles

  • Sugar and water to make simple syrup

  • Herbs of your choice

  • Strainer and funnel for bottling

Directions:

  1. Make Simple Syrup

    • 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water with optional unlimited herbs and roots of your choice

    • Add sugar, water, and optional herbs of your choice into pot

    • Let simmer allowing sugar to melt

    • Bring heat down to low temperature & cover

    • Let herbs sit in sugar/water to allow for the absorption of flavour

  2. Remove SCOBY by hand or with wooden spoons, and add to your SCOBY hotel (another glass vessel to temporarily stow it in).

  3. Strain kombucha into other vessel

  4. Bottle kombucha liquid into glass bottles

  5. Add 2 TBSP of simple syrup (carefully measured)

  6. Cap off sealed tight

  7. Ferment outside of fridge, at a moderate temperature, away from the sun for 2 - 3 days

  8. Place in fridge after 2 - 3 days to stop fermentation

  9. Enjoy!

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Tips of Kombucha:

  • Bacteria is boss, everything we do in kombucha is to nourish and cultivate the yeast & bacteria cultures

  • Only use wood & glass utensils. Never allow metal to come in contact with your kombucha. It will affect the bacteria and kill the SCOBY.

  • Drop the soap! Never use soap in your vessel or on wooden spoons. Just use hot water to clean as an alternative.

  • Use filtered water & organic ingredients as fluoride, chlorine, or other commonly used chemicals can change the bacteria/yeast symbolic relationships

  • Temperatures matter. Fermentation ideally occurs between 23 - 29 degrees celsius. Temperature will also affect carbonation and flavour.

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in just a short time at Market & Co. It’s not just about the food and drinks here, but obtaining more knowledge and a new skill set is what makes this place worth coming back over and over again. To see what upcoming classes are being offered at Market & Co that you may be interested in, click HERE to visit their calendar page and register your spot before they fill up! Share in the excitement with all your friends and family inside Market & Co at Upper Canada Mall to buy, learn, eat, and celebrate all of the delicious and amazing food it offers.

Plant-Based Dinner and Converstations with Aeroplan

The past few months have been a whirlwind. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and from this constant travel naturally for me comes a lot of food. I travel to eat and eat to travel. No doubt about it! Do I eat healthy when I’m traveling abroad though? Not always. When I’m on the move it’s just so easy to pick up a quick snack and go. Junk food? Admittedly so. Lately it’s also been a lot of seafood and meat in my diet, so I’ve actually been craving some hearty and healthy vegetables after coming home from my trips in Prince Edward Island, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Florida. Those cravings luckily were satisfied ten fold.

Aeroplan hosted a plant-based dinner and conversation for some of their Aeroplan Diamond members at Evergreen Brick Works with two world-renowned plant-based chefs David Lee and Chad Sarno. Chef David Lee is the Executive Chef and co-owner of Toronto’s incredibly successful vegan restaurant Planta. He also holds fine-dining experience from all around the globe with an immense respect for sourcing quality ingredients, and is seen as a leader in plant-based cuisine space. On the other hand, Chef Chad Sarno from Texas is not only a creative genius in the kitchen with plant-based cuisine, but he’s also an educator, cookbook authour, and entrepreneur as co-founder of “Good Catch Foods,” a 100% plant-based seafood line launching December 2018. You know if you had these two culinary giants at the helm of one’s dinner you were in for a real treat. You could sense both of their passions for plant-based dining every time they told their stories and described their meatless dishes.

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Aeroplan has been partnering with some of Canada’s top culinary events, and if you would like to explore some other culinary events Aeroplan has been a part of this year, make sure you check out my previous blog posts.

It was truly a magical evening where the night’s dinner explored the idea of sustainable agriculture and the hottest trend in the food world right now: plant-based dining. Aeroplan created an evening aimed to inspire a new appreciation for the importance of local agriculture, healthy eating, and an understanding of just how well anyone can eat without any meat. The night started off with an open bar and plant-based horderves being served to guests mingling outside the dining area. After everyone got their bubbly and a sampling of what was to come, the main event would begin and guests started entering the main dining hall to get settled for the four-course plant-based meal. And oh yes, there was even wine pairings with each course!

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The four dishes were split between the two chefs to prepare where Chef David Lee prepared the first and fourth course, and Chef Chad Sarno prepared the second and third course. The second course for me personally from Chef Chad Sarno was my favourite of the night. I honestly have never ever tasted a dumpling as good as the one he made. It wasn’t the filling that caught my taste buds by surprise, but the dough. When asked how me made it, he simply said it was just flour and water. The good thing is his dumpling recipe is included in his cookbook, so it’s safe to say which recipe I will be hunting down next!

Take a look below and see some of the moments we savoured from that night’s meal. A meatless dinner that for sure was inspiring as it was delicious.

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FIRST

  Cookstown Greens Hubbard Squash, White Kimchi, Pears, Pumpkin Pesto & Chicharron

Cookstown Greens Hubbard Squash, White Kimchi, Pears, Pumpkin Pesto & Chicharron

SECOND

  Corn Dumplings, Coconut Corn Broth, Chiles & Herbs

Corn Dumplings, Coconut Corn Broth, Chiles & Herbs

THIRD

  Charred Hoisin Maitake, Sesame Rice Cake, Pickled Cauliflower, Brussel Leaves & Mint

Charred Hoisin Maitake, Sesame Rice Cake, Pickled Cauliflower, Brussel Leaves & Mint

FOURTH

  Niagara Peninsula Apple Pie, Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream, Candied Corn Nuts & Quebec Maple Syrup

Niagara Peninsula Apple Pie, Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream, Candied Corn Nuts & Quebec Maple Syrup

I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming winter months in Toronto when Aeroplan becomes the premier sponsor for Winterlicious. Bring on the snow!

Grab & Go Four Ingredient Turkey Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups Recipe - Cooking with Lilydale Part 2

The birthday celebrations just keep on going! If you've read my last recipe post you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. If not (no judgement here, everyone's busy) so let me give you a quick recap of exactly whose birthday we've been celebrating over here at The Everyday Foodie. It's Lilydale! Canada's premier poultry provider is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and there's no better way to celebrate one's birthday than by tearing up the kitchen and making some kick-ass food!

I've been busy creating some recipes with some of my favourite Lilydale products to celebrate this milestone, and today I'm going to share with you a dish for my personal favourite meal of the day.... breakfast!

  • If you missed my Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice with Turkey Sausage recipe I created last time with Lilydale you can check it out here. It's the perfect dish for lunch and/or dinner, and having it served inside a pineapple shell turns an average fried rice dish into a showstopper.

But back to this week's breakfast recipe that incorporates something that everyone loves to eat. BACON. Am I right? You can't have a proper breakfast without having bacon somewhere in the dish, yet many people do and who can fault them? Most of the time people will avoid having bacon for health reasons, which is perfectly understandable in my mind. With all the calories and fat involved even I tend to avoid it as much as I can for the sake of my arteries. Good news though. I found a solution! Going through all the products Lilydale offers I found the perfect substitute to regular pork bacon.

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TURKEY BACON.

  Lilydale Turkey Bacon   - 70% less fat and 55% less calories than regular pork bacon.

Lilydale Turkey Bacon - 70% less fat and 55% less calories than regular pork bacon.

With 55% less calories and 70% less fat than regular pork bacon, Lilydale's Turkey Bacon is the perfect way to still cook up that bacon smell in the morning, and then indulge in it without any of the guilt.

Bacon and eggs are a breakfast classic, and I wanted to find an easy and fun way to enjoy them together in a non-traditional way. Turkey bacon is already pretty non-traditional, and so is.... a muffin pan. Yes, that's right you will need a muffin pan for this recipe because all of the whopping four ingredients needed for this recipe will be structured inside this muffin pan to create that cup shape we're aiming for. Once it gets baked in the oven, just like an ordinary muffin you can easily take it to go and eat it while you're on the move. Check out my recipe below and let me know what you think!

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Grab & Go Four Ingredient Turkey Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 red potato, sliced 1cm thick, rounded ends discarded
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 package of Lilydale Turkey Bacon Style (12 strips total)
6 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Thyme, oregano, or chives to garnish (optional)

Directions:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Grease up your muffin pan. In my opinion I would also recommend using paper baking cup liners on top of that. This not only allows you to easily take out the finished dish at the end, but it also ensures that all the ingredients (especially the runny egg) does not leak out.
3) Take 12 pieces of Lilydale Turkey Bacon out and cut 1/4 off each piece, as the standard size is too large in width.
4) Start to partially cook the Lilydale Turkey Bacon Style in a frying pan per package instructions. It should not be too crisp. We are just rendering a lot of the fat out of it, and it should still be pliable enough to wrap it inside the muffin pan without it snapping in half. Drain on paper towels and cool slightly.
5) Cut the potato in circles roughly the same size of the base of the muffin cup, about 1 cm in thickness and place one of them at the base of each muffin cup.
6) Fit two slices of Lilydale Turkey Bacon Style loosely around the sides of each cup, overlapping as necessary, lining the sides of the muffin cup to form the "cup."
7) Divide the finely chopped red peppers into six portions and then place a thin layer on top of the potato base in each muffin cup.
8) Finally, break the egg and add to the turkey bacon-lined cup on top of the red peppers and potato. Sprinkle the top of the egg with salt and pepper.
9) Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until the turkey bacon is cooked to crisp.
10) Run a spatula around the edges and remove to platter. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!

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Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice with Turkey Sausage Recipe - Cooking with Lilydale

Birthday celebrations are always worthy of cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and we have a very special birthday worth celebrating! I'm talking about Lilydale and they’re turning 75! If you haven't heard about Lilydale before they were established 75 years ago as an Alberta Farmers cooperative, and now Lilydale has become Canada's premier poultry provider. They are committed to providing Canadians with wholesome and delicious products that only use 100% Canadian raised chicken and turkey from local farmers. With its signature green logo, their various poultry products ranging from deli meats, breakfast sausages, turkey bacon, frozen boxed products, carved and fresh turkey and chicken can all be found at local grocery stores across Canada. If you are ever in need of some poultry to complete your breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipe Lilydale is what you need to get!

Now as I said earlier birthdays are always worth celebrating, and the best way I know how is to celebrate through the taste buds! I've been going through a Thai cuisine phase lately and I've been hitting up some of my favourite Thai restaurants in the city. One dish I keep on ordering at these restaurants is Pineapple Fried Rice. And of course when it comes from a Thai restaurant more than likely the fried rice is served in a pineapple bowl! Pure genius if you ask me! Presentation is fun and you let nothing go to waste. Even the pineapple shell is used and it really is a wow factor when served to all your guests at a party. The juiciness from the pineapples mixed into the fried rice is my absolute favourite part of the dish, delivering another level of flavour and acidity to each bite that you won't be able to find in just ordinary fried rice.

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Instead of craving it at restaurants all the time, I've decided to create my own Pineapple Fried Rice at home using some of Lilydale's poultry products as inspiration, especially since we are celebrating such a momentous occasion. This is a great lunch or dinner recipe to make for your friends and family, and my favourite part of making fried rice is it incorporates leftovers! Leftover refrigerated rice from the night before is key because it needs to be cold in order to retain the chewy, distinct texture that fried rice has. If its fresh cooked rice it becomes sticky and warm and your fried rice will turn out soggy. Nonetheless, this meal comes together very quickly and is a perfect recipe for beginners as it's incredibly simple to make. In its simplest form you are essentially just chopping up the ingredients and throwing it all together in a pan. Yet the end result is so rewarding because when served inside a pineapple shell the presentation of the dish gets taken to a whole new level and you suddenly look like a masterclass chef to all your family and friends. It's the power of the pineapple shell I tell ya!

For this fried rice recipe I've decided to not just use one Lilydale poultry product, but two. That's just how fried rice works; you can almost add whatever you want into it to make it your own. And since I'm so indecisive, I decided to incorporate both of the Lilydale's Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast and Lilydale's Breakfast Turkey Sausage into my recipe. How can you just choose one protein when Lilydale produces such superb chicken and turkey products to use. Got to go with both!

  Lilydale Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast   - fully cooked and carved cuts of Canadian lean chicken breast

Lilydale Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast - fully cooked and carved cuts of Canadian lean chicken breast

  Lilydale Breakfast Turkey Sausage   - 65% less fat and 50% less calories than regular pork breakfast sausages.

Lilydale Breakfast Turkey Sausage - 65% less fat and 50% less calories than regular pork breakfast sausages.

If you're ever wondering where to find that specific Lilydale poultry product you want to use in your fried rice recipe or any other recipe, head on over HERE to their store locator and find the retailers that carry the Lilydale products.

Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice with Turkey Sausage

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 fresh ripe pineapple
1/2 package of Lilydale Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast, sliced
4 Lilydale Breakfast Turkey Sausages
1/2 pound of baby shrimp (optional)
1 1/2 cup of leftover, refrigerated jasmine rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 small orange pepper, finely chopped
1 bunch Chinese broccoli, cut into 4cm lengths
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

1) Cut the pineapple in half, length wise and hollow each one of them. Remove the core which is in the centre of each half. Cut the flesh of the fruit into small chunks.
2) Heat oil in skillet set over medium heat. Saute Lilydale Breakfast Turkey Sausages for 10 minutes or until sausages are cooked through. Transfer to plate and slice into small chunks. Set aside.
3) Meanwhile, in a different pan, heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Cook for a minute or so, until fragrant.
4) Add the Lilydale Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast and cook until browned for a few minutes (we are simply re-heating the chicken here as the Lilydale Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast comes ready-to-eat)
5) Make space in the pan and beat in the two eggs. Quickly stir fry to scramble.
6) Add in the red pepper, orange pepper, baby shrimp (optional), and Chinese broccoli. Cook for another 3 minutes.
7) Add in rice and the Lilydale Breakfast Turkey Sausages. Mix well.
8) Add in the curry powder, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Toss until the rice and chicken are evenly coated.
9) Stir in the pineapple chunks. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
10) Serve in the pineapple shells. Bon appetit!

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New Ways to Tanqueray

With almost a 200 year heritage the original 1830s Charles Tanqueray gin recipe is still being re-invented and enjoyed by people all around the world. If you go to any bar or restaurant the classic gin and tonic is bound to make it on the menu. It's a classic. I mean I just had a Gin & Tonic at my friend's wedding this past weekend! No matter the occasion whether it's at a fancy affair or just a casual night in with your friends, there are endless refreshing and delicious ways to enjoy a Tanqueray cocktail. 

Now re-launching in Canada, Tanqueray Malacca is one of the world's most awarded and expertly crafted gins. Malacca is known as a mischievous, flavourful gin that uses an exotic mix of peppercorn, rose, and clove to achieve its distinctive flavour. Providing the perfect base for creative DIY twists for your cocktails this season I have three fun and easy recipes that you can all try at home!

Each of these three recipes require the same base:

1 Part Tanqueray Malacca
4 Parts Tonic Water
Ice Cubes

How To Mix:

Fill your glass up with ice cubes. Add all the ingredients. Garnish with a lemon twist, cucumber swirl, or grapefruit wedge. 

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Tanqueray provides the classic foundation for a delicious and refreshing beverage. No matter how you put your own spin on it with your favourite garnish, the recipe is fool proof with the high quality gin at its core. For even more inspiration on new ways to Tanqueray so you can serve up that perfect gin and tonic, visit the Tanqueray Canada Facebook page HERE and remember to enjoy responsibly.