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.

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. 

At Home With The New Vitamix Explorian Series E310 - Chilled Green Pea Soup Recipe

If there's one kitchen appliance that tops the wish list for everyone year after year, most will probably say it's owning a Vitamix. It definitely was for me. The versatility of having a compact machine in your kitchen with a motor and blades powerful enough to make a wide range of recipes such as smoothies, salsas, doughs, frozen desserts, batters, and even hot soups without ever touching a stove top is a dream!

With a new year upon us comes new ideas and innovation from Vitamix. A brand new line of Vitamix blenders were being launched and I was invited to take part in a culinary journey hosted by Vitamix Canada and Chef Craig Wong of Jackpot Chicken in Toronto to see what the new Vitamix Explorian Series E310 was all about! A carefully curated menu was prepared for us where all the key ingredients of each dish was prepared by the new E310 Explorian Series Blender.

From start to finish, check out what we indulged in that night where the Vitamix E310 played an integral role in our dinner.

Flash forward a few weeks after the media launch and my grown-up, kitchen-appliance loving dreams came true! A brand new Vitamix E310 Explorian Series Blender landed on my door step and a flood of recipe possibilities through the simple act of blending came rushing through. What I love about this new series is that it perfectly fits my lifestyle and kitchen space. I don't have a huge kitchen at home, but because the Vitamix E310 is smaller than its predecessor coming in at a 48-ounce (1.4L) container it fits perfectly into my kitchen space without taking too much room on the counter. The smaller container size is also perfect to blend drinks fit for one or two people, nothing goes to waste. The smaller size also comes with a smaller price tag compared to some of the other models with a price point of CAD$400 which is what people have been asking Vitamix to come out with for a very long time. They listened!

If you're finally in the market to upgrade your smoothie game and want to get a great quality blender, but at a manageable price-point, the Vitamix Explorian Series E310 is then perfect fo r you! Here are some great features of the new Vitamix Explorian Series E310 that you'll love!

Variable Speed Control

Ten variable speeds allows you to refine every texture with culinary precision from the chunkiest salsas to the smoothest purees

Pulse Feature

Layer coarse chops over smooth purees for heartier recipes or thick vegetable soups

High-Performance Motor

The powerful 2HP motor can handle the toughest ingredients to create high-quality blends

Easy Cleaning

With just one drop of dish soap and warm water, the Vitamix E310 can clean itself in 30 to 60 seconds -  no disassembly required.

With all these great features I was able to put it all to the test at home by re-creating the exact same recipe that Chef Craig Wong made for us during the series launch at his restaurant. The "Chilled Green Pea Soup" was among one of the favourite dishes of the night and surprisingly so easy to make with the Vitamix E310 at home. You literally just need to throw in all the ingredients in the Vitamix and let it blend! All the work is done by that powerful motor and spinning blades. Before you know it a vibrant and healthy appetizer is ready to be served for a serving of 4 people. Enjoy!

Chilled Green Pea Soup

Ingredients

5 cups frozen peas
4 cups cold chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup baby spinach leaves, blanced, shocked in ice, squeezed of excess moisture
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp ground white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

Add frozen peas & stock into Vitamix
Blend on high for 3 to 5 minutes until mixture is very smooth
Add mint, spinach, salt & white pepper. Blend for another 30 seconds
Add heavy cream and blend for 10 seconds
Strain the soup and refrigerate or serve chilled immediately

Summer Fresh Holiday Entertaining

Can you all believe it!? Christmas is here in just under two weeks and probably like most of us it's going to be one of the busiest two weeks of the year. Juggling with last minute Christmas shopping and holiday gatherings, the lead up to Christmas day can be an exhausting one especially if you plan on hosting a holiday meal with your family and friends. Lets face it, often times you end up spending hours on end in the kitchen pumping out dishes for your guests, but this year I am here to show you that holiday entertaining does not have to be time consuming if you have the right recipes in mind. This year by using Summer Fresh products you will be able to make some delicious holiday appetizers that can all be prepared in under 10 minutes and will satisfy your guests with every bite! 

If you are not familiar with Summer Fresh, catch up by reading my older articles here and here! But to give you all a quick refresher, Summer Fresh is a Canadian success story that has found a way into many of our lives at home through their line of salads, hummus, and dips. Made from clean ingredients with no added preservatives, Summer Fresh makes it easy for you to enjoy mealtimes with your loved ones without spending hours on end in the kitchen.

For this holiday season I've teamed up with Summer Fresh to create two brand new appetizer recipes for you all that are outrageously delicious yet takes only ten minutes to make! If you're in need of a new recipe idea to impress your guests at your upcoming holiday party, take a look below to learn how to make my "Honey Glazed Bruschetta" and my "Hummus and Cucumber Pita Bites." They are both to die for! 

Hummus and Cucumber Pita Bites

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Recipe

1) Toast the pita bread in the oven and cut it into 6 to 8 slices
2) Spread a layer of Summer Fresh Roasted Garlic Hummus on each wedge
3) Cut your cucumber into thin slices and place two of them on top of the hummus on each wedge
4) Sprinkle with paprika
5) Dab a small spoonful of Summer Fresh Artichoke & Asiago Dip
6) Garnish with dill weed

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Honey Glazed Bruschetta

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Recipe

1) Use your favourite cracker/toast as the base
2) Spread a layer of Summer Fresh Traditional Brushchetta on each cracker/toast
3) Crumple a pinch of feta cheese on top
4) Top it off with one ball of Bocconcini
5) Drizzle everything with honey
6) Garnish with a leaf of parsley

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For even more great holiday entertaining tips and inspiration, Summer Fresh has put together some fantastic food pairing ideas and created nine more unique and mouth-watering appetizer recipes for you to try this festive season. Pick up their free Summer Fresh APPYS Entertaining Guide in the refrigerated deli section at your local grocery store. A couple of my favourite recipes from them this year include their "Hummus & Baba Ghanouj Toasted Sweet Potato Rounds" and "Artichoke Asiago Spinach Stuffed Mushroom Caps." 

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Masterchef Canada Mary Berg's Original Churro Recipe

If you recently finished marathoning a Netflix show like me and is in dire need to find a new show to watch, I have a mighty good suggestion right here for you! Around a month ago I was on set of Masterchef Canada's Season 3 Winner Mary Berg's brand new cooking show, "Mary's Big Kitchen Party" and saw her whip up some delicious things! Premiering last month already in October, we all get to see Canada's favourite home cook make some of her best dishes for an entourage of some of her closest friends. If you haven't read my full experience of my visit on set and my one-on-one interview with her yet, you can play catch up by clicking HERE.

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Rolling out over 8 weeks on Bell Fibe TV1 and Gusto TV, Mary's Big Kitchen Party will see her create original recipes with unique ingredients in an effort to bring people together in her favourite room of the house - the kitchen! From seared scallops with crispy pancetta and poke crisps to peach pecan cake with burnt caramel and gingerbread whoopee pies with eggnog cream, each week will give viewers something new to try, allowing them to bring the party home.

When I was on set and watched the TV filming magic happen before me, I was able to witness Mary make these most delicious looking churros for her guests to eat. It was hard not to hear my stomach grumble as I watched from far away the entire cooking process of making this fried treat come to life. After filming was done I was able to grab one to eat and in my honest opinion, best churro I have EVER had! It was mindblowingly good and because it was just that tasty I made sure that I was able to share this amazing recipe to all my loyal readers!

Enjoy and don't forget to tune in every Friday at 9PM on Gusto TV and OnDemand on Fibe TV, Channel 1 to catch Mary make even some more mouth-watering recipes!

Mary Berg's Original Churro Recipe

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Serves 8

Ingredients

1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Store bought chocolate sauce

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt, sugar, and butter.  Bring this mixture to a boil, add the vanilla, and dump in the flour all at once.  Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir for about 30 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool and heat 3 – 4” of vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot to 375F.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Spoon the slightly cooled churro mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a few churros at a time into the hot oil by piping and snipping with scissors.  Fry the churros until golden and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

While still hot, place the churros in the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.  Allow them to cool slightly and serve warm with store bought chocolate sauce.

The Perfect Cocktail For Any Party

When it comes to entertaining often times the hardest part of putting a party together is trying to figure out what drinks you'll be serving to all your guests. Of course you can go the easy route and have a selection of store bought juices, pop, and beers on hand, but that's not the type of party you want to have. That's not the host you want to be! You want to provide your guests with choices. You want to elevate your party with home-made cocktails that get the alcohol flowing and people talking. Something that can be put together in a jiffy without leaving you stuck in the kitchen for hours on end. By the time you get through reading this article, you'll have at least one more party trick up your sleeve and let me tell ya. This is a good one!

A simple solution to spice up your next party that will surely be a hit among all your guests is by offering up the Mexican soda, Jarritos. Introduced in 1950 as Mexico's first national soft drink, this drink has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Made with 100% natural sugar, many of their 12 delicious flavours here in Canada are sourced from actual fruit trees in Mexico. You can drink them straight up out of their distinctive glass bottles or turn them into colourful cocktails for a new and exciting way to make some boozy drinks.

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A few weeks ago Jarritos helped celebrate "Dia de los Muertos" aka Day of the Dead or All Souls Day in Toronto, where they hosted a media dinner at one of the city's finest Mexican restaurant La Carnita. We had the most epic Mexican feast the night after Halloween which consisted of Dips & Chips (the fresh guacamole was amazing), chicken wings, Mexican street corn, tacos, and paletas. One of the highlights of this feast was definitely the Jarritos cocktail that started the night off for me, and ended the night as well. I just couldn't stop drinking it and lucky for us here I have the recipe to re-create it back at home!

The "Strawberry For The Souls Cocktail" was created by Joanna Matysiak of La Carnita and incorporates the strawberry flavour of Jarritos in it. This is the perfect cocktail to incorporate at your next party because it's so easy to make and it just tastes absolutely delicious and refreshing with the aromatic strawberry flavour it brings.

Strawberry For The Souls Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

2oz Tequila
1oz Lemon Juice
3oz Coconut Water
3oz Strawberry Jarritos
Strawberry Slices (garnish)
Dehydrated Lemon Wheel (garnish)

Directions:

Combine tequila, lemon juice, and coconut water in a shaker and shake away. Strain contents into a mason jar (or glass) over fresh ice. Top up with strawberry Jarritos, garnish, and enjoy!

  All pictures on this blog post taken by Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Jarritos Canada

All pictures on this blog post taken by Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Jarritos Canada

If you want to switch it up a bit, or add some more variety of flavours into the mix just replace the Strawberry Jarritos in the end and try some other fruit flavours such as Pineapple, Mango, or Grapefruit (all personally my other favourite fruit flavours from Jarritos). Half of the fun is getting to experiment with all the colourful and fruity flavours Jarritos offer!

Creating a Viking Appetite with Highland Park

Did you ever wonder if you had any Viking ancestry in you? Well if you just so happen to be living and reading this from Orkney, Scotland you very likely could be part Viking! In fact 1 in 3 people living on Orkney today have Viking ancestry, and the Highland Park 12 Years Old Viking Honour Single Malt Scotch Whisky perfectly reflects the unique culture of the remote island home.

Highland Park is a premium and unique singe malt Scotch Whisky that honours the spirit of the Viking ancestors. It shares the pride, integrity and fierce independence of the Vikings and is distilled with the same rigorous standards introduced in 1798 by the founder, Magnus Eunson who was a descendant of the early Viking settlers.

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There are five keystones that separate Highland Park from other distilleries: hand turned floor malting, aromatic peat from Hobbister Moor, sherry oak casks, cool maturation, and cask harmonization. No other distillery uses all 5 of these benchmarks, so it's safe to say there is no other whisky out there that tastes like Highland Park.

Viking Honour features the perfect harmony of aromatic smoky peat, sweet heather honey, and rich fruit cake. The full Highland Park 12 Years Old Viking Honour Tasting Notes (43% abv/750 mL) are below:

Colour: Natural, glowing amber
Nose: Heather-honey sweetness, gently peaty smokiness
Palate: Rounded smoke and honey sweetness, full malt delivery, oak, alongside equal amounts of dried fruits and spice
Finish: Sweet and lingering with heathery notes and subtle smoke right at the end

With a recent update to its aesthetics (box & bottle design) and name, Highland Park has teamed up with The Healthy Butcher, a local Greater Toronto Area butcher, to create some unique infusion and pairing recipes that will no doubt stir up our Viking Appetites. The Healthy Butcher is focused on craftsmanship, providing only the best quality 100% grass fed and Certified Organic meat to their consumers. This partnership brings the smokey and sweet notes from the Highland Park Whisky to rustic and or gamey meats from The Healthy Butcher, so today I am going to share with you all a delicious Meatball recipe that will surely be the show stopper at your next family meal.

These meatballs can be eaten two ways. You can incorporate them in any classic pasta dish or better yet pair it off with the Highland Park Scotch Whisky Sauce (the recommended way of eating it)!

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Below you will find all the ingredients you need for the Meatballs and Highland Park Scotch Whisky Sauce. Simply combine all the ingredients together.

Meatballs

  • 2 1/2 ounces breadcrumbs

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt

  • 2/3 tbsp pepper

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 tbsp coriander

  • parsley

  • 1/2 diced onion

Highland Park Scotch Whisky Sauce

  • 1 diced onion

  • 1/4 cup Highland Park Scotch Whisky

  • 1/2 cup beef broth

  • salt to taste

  • pepper to taste

  • 1 oz roux (butter/flour)

  • 2 sprigs rosemary

  • 2 cloves garlic

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There are also select products that are already infused with the Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky that can be bought at any of The Healthy Butcher store locations in Toronto and Kitchener. So the next time you want to fire up your grill or have some mad cravings for some delicious meats, don't forget to bring out the Viking in you and pair it off with some Highland Park, The Orkney single malt with a Viking soul!

Summer Fresh Perfect Pairings - Grilled Portobello with Pesto Chicken Topped with Bruschetta & Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers Topped with an Artichoke Dip

Summer is slowly fleeting away as another month has come and gone. It seemed just like yesterday where we shared our Canada Day long weekend recipes featuring some of our favourite Summer Fresh dips and salads that could easily be grilled and assembled with less than 10 minutes to prep. In case you need a refresher the Canada 150 celebrations were kicked off with our Greek Burger topped with Tzatziki Feta & Cucumber sauce, and also a Roasted Red Pepper BBQ Pizza on Naan. If you haven't tried these recipes it's not too late to do so!

With another long weekend looming just around the corner, we've developed two new recipes perfect for another summer barbecue for this Civic long weekend using more of our favourite Summer Fresh products. They craft healthy, preservative-free gourmet salads, hummus, and dips using real and simple ingredients you can find in your own kitchen. They are a Canadian based, family run company with a manufacturing facility based in Woodbridge, Ontario. It's there where all the magic happens to package their products in their iconic containers with the bright green lids you'll find in your local grocery store.

Below you will find two of our original recipes that are easy to prepare, fun to grill, and even sweeter to eat. Both of these recipes can be deliciously paired off with the Summer Fresh Greek Couscous Salad.

Grilled Portobello with Pesto Chicken Topped with Bruschetta

Recipe:

1) Marinate some chicken breast and place it on the grill
2) Grill the portobello mushrooms whole on the grill
3) Once chicken breast is fully cooked, cut into small pieces and mix in 1/3 cup of prepared pesto
4) Place the pesto chicken on top of the portobello mushrooms, sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top, and grill again for 2 more minutes or until cheese has melted
5) Top it off with Summer Fresh Brushetta

 

Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers Topped with an Artichoke Dip

Recipe:

1) Place some Italian sausage on the grill
2) Cut the peppers in halves, take out the seeds, and place it on the grill
3) Chop up the grilled Italian sausage in cubes and stuff it inside the grilled peppers
4) Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top, and grill again for 2 more minutes or until cheese has melted
5) Top it off with Summer Fresh Artichoke & Asiago Dip

For even more recipe ideas with Summer Fresh, visit HERE to check out Summer Fresh's current Perfect Pairings guide to get even more grilling inspiration. This is real food you can feel good about everyday. Let us know how you like these recipes by sounding off below. Have a great long weekend everyone!

Summer Fresh Perfect Pairings - Greek Burger & BBQ Pizza on Naan Recipe

The official day of summer has come and gone which means it's time to fire up the grill for barbecue season! Summer is meant for backyard get-togethers, cold drinks, and great food with family and friends, so we have partnered this year with Summer Fresh to bring you some simple recipes that you can simply grill, assemble, and enjoy! It's summer entertaining made easy that will allow you to spend less time cooking and more time spending it with your guests.

If you have stepped inside a grocery store lately you may have seen the many products from Summer Fresh on the shelves in their iconic green lids specializing in gourmet salads, hummus, and dips. Their Canadian story started over 25 years ago in a family kitchen where recipes were developed using real ingredients that can be found in anyone's kitchen. These products are always used with clean ingredients, with no added preservatives, and made with a belief of super fresh quality and uncompromising flavours.

I've created two simple recipes here showcasing some of my favourite products from Summer Fresh, perfect for that summer barbecue this weekend to celebrate Canada Day and our nation's 150th birthday! With less than 10 minutes to prep, these recipes are delicious and a breeze to make.

Greek Burger topped with a Tzatziki Feta & Cucumber Sauce

Recipe:

1) Cut up your favourite hamburger toppings such as lettuce, onions, and tomatoes
2) Mix together Summer Fresh Tzatziki, Greek yogurt, feta cheese, dill, and chopped cucumbers
3) Grill your hamburger patties on your barbecue. Optional: If you're making your own patties from scratch, you can also mix in some crumbled feta with the meat
4) Half way when grilling your hamburger patty, place a layer of Provolone cheese and let it melt
5) Assemble your hamburger and top it off with the Tzatziki Feta & Cucumber sauce
6) Pair it off with a Summer Fresh Greek Pasta Feta Salad

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Roasted Red Pepper BBQ Pizza on Naan

Recipe:

1) Spread Summer Fresh Roasted Red Pepper Hummus on naan
2) Cover with Provolone cheese and sprinkle with shredded Mozzarella
3) Cut up cherry tomatoes in halves and place on top
4) Grill for 5-7 minutes
5) Top it off with prosciutto, arugula and/or spinach
6) Pair it off with a Summer Fresh Pad Thai Salad

If you need even more ideas for your Summer barbecue, check out Summer Fresh's current Perfect Pairings guide to give you some more recipes and inspiration by clicking HERE.

Would love to hear If you end up trying either of these two recipes at your next barbecue! As always feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below, and even how you personalized these recipes to fit your own barbecue style.  Keep checking back here next month as I will be creating some more recipes for you all with some new Summer Fresh products for the next long weekend in August.

Natrel's New Lactose-Free/Organic Butter - Date Squares Recipe

An undisputed dairy market leader across several categories, Natrel is continuing to innovate with the launch of Canada's first lactose-free butter in addition to an organic butter. This is an absolute must for anyone who loves authentic taste as nothing beats the flavour of real butter. I'm sorry margarine, I'm looking at you.

With a passion for authenticity, this is exactly why Natrel is launching two new butters which are both available in a 250g format aimed to please lactose-intolerant consumers as well as the ever-growing organic food category. That friend or family member that you know who is 1 of 7 million lactose intolerant Canadians can now find satisfaction that there is no need anymore to avoid their favourite baked desserts, or that buttery casserole on the dinner table that everyone else was able to enjoy except them. 

To discover the joys of cooking with Natrel's new organic and lactose-free butters, we are going to share a delicious dessert the whole family can enjoy and make together. These Date Squares perfectly showcase the creamy texture and rich taste of Natrel's newest butter with a delicious filling enclosed by light, golden layers.

Date Squares

Serves: 16 Squares
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the date filling

4 cups pitted dried dates
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla

For the crust and crumble

1 1/8 cups cold Natrel Organic or Lactose-Free Butter, cubed
2 1/2 cup oats
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

To prepare the date filling

1) In a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water on low to slowly soften the dates.
2) Cook the mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every so often. The dates will absorb all the water and form a chunky, soft paste. Let cool.
3) Transfer the date paste to a food processor. Add the vanilla and then process the mixture into a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To prepare the crust and crumble

4) Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Butter a 9" x 9" brownie pan and then line the bottom with a square of parchment paper. Set aside.
5) In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the oats, light brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Drop in the cold butter and pulse to form a crumble.
6) Take two-thirds of the mixture (roughly 1/3 lb or 600 grams) and press it evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan with your hands or a flat-bottomed glass baking dish to create a very firm base.
7) Smooth the date filling over top, from edge to edge. Evenly sprinkle the last third of the crumble mixture on top of the date filling. Press it gently into the date layer.
8) Bake the date squares for about 40 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let the squares cool completely in the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Once thoroughly chilled, cut into 16 squares to serve.

Milk Calendar's 40th Anniversary - Eggs Benedict With A Twist Recipe

Holy cow! I just had to do it.

Dairy Farmers of Canada's Milk Calendar which has been an integral part of many Canadian families from coast to coast is celebrating their 40-year milestone with their 2017 edition. Like many of us, every year we eagerly wait for the new Milk Calendar to hang up on our walls, providing us with easy, innovative, and delicious dairy related recipes for every meal and occasion.

The majority of Canadians do not consume the recommended servings of milk and dairy products, so the Milk Calendar was created 40 years ago to help Canadian families get their recommended daily servings using 100% Canadian milk in its recipes. This year of course is no exception and the 2017 edition reflects the milestone with a "How Far We've Come" theme that is also intended to honour Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017.

As soon as you turn to the first page of the 2017 Milk Calendar, you'll notice they've included some of their favourite recipes from their four decade old collection such as the Piquant Potato Salad from 1974, the Beef Ring with Seasonal Vegetables from 1981, and the Apple Berry Cobbler from 2000. All of these nostalgic recipes have been updated with flavours and ingredients using the current culinary tastes that anyone will come to love and enjoy in today's times.

Breakfast/brunch is absolutely my most favourite meal of the day so it is quite fitting that I will be sharing with you all the December 2017 Milk Calendar recipe, Eggs Benedict With A Twist. Fast forward a year from now, many Canadian families will be serving this up for the whole family to enjoy during the Holiday season. But for now you all get a sneak peak into this take on eggs benedict that includes the fresh and creamy taste of avocado.

Eggs Benedict With A Twist

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook: 3 Minutes
4 Servings

Ingredients

2 tsp (10 mL) butter
4 tsp (20mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250mL) milk
1/2 cup (125mL) finely grated Canadian Parmesan
1/2 tsp (2mL) mustard power
1/4 tsp (1mL) each, hot sauce and salt
4 small slices olive, cheese, or crusty Italian bread
4 eggs
4 thin slices Black Forest ham
4 slices tomato
1 avocado, peeled, and thinly sliced
Chives for garnish (optional)

Directions

1) Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour. Gradually whisk in milk. Stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently 1 min. Whisk in Parmesan, mustard powder, hot sauce, and salt. Remove from heat; sauce will thicken slightly while preparing remaining ingredients. 2) Toast bread. 3) Poach eggs in simmering water about 3 mins. Fold ham to fit on each slice of bread, followed by a slice of tomato, avocado slices then egg. Drizzle with sauce then sprinkle with chives if using.

Cooking Tip

Add about 1 tbsp (15mL) white vinegar to eggs' poaching water; this helps eggs to hold their shape. Gently pat eggs dry with paper towel after cooking to prevent bread from becoming soggy.

Variation

Try fried eggs instead of poached and prosciutto instead of ham. 

Per Serving

Energy: 344 Calories, Protein: 19 g, Carbohydrate: 21 g, Fat: 21 g, Fibre: 4.6 g, Sodium: 694 mg, Calcium: 267 mg

All Milk Calendar recipes since 1974 are also available online at MilkCalendar.ca. Visit MilkCalendar.ca to see how you can pick up your copy of the 2017 calendar!

POM Wonderful - Bountiful & Beneficial

The almighty pomegranate. If you are willing to put in the effort to tackle an often time messy endeavor, the end result will be a bounty full of delicious and nutritious red jewels that your body and taste buds will appreciate. We all can understand though that you do have a busy life, and there is sometimes not enough time to dig for those red seeded jewels yourself. As pomegranates are ripe and in season now, let POM Wonderful do the work for you as it is the perfect time to indulge in a cold, refreshing glass of pomegranate juice.

According to a recent Leger survey, 93% of Canadians want to live a healthier lifestyle, and part of that dedication to healthier living starts with changing beverage choices from sugar-filled carbonated drinks to more natural options. Pomegranate juice contains natural ingredients that are vital for our bodies. POM Wonderful (original) is made with 100% pomegranate juice and does not contain any added sugar, colourants, or cheap filler juices. It is also a great source of potassium.

Did you know that every 473ml bottle of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice has the juice of four whole pomegranates inside and nothing else? That means that 125mL is a serving of fruit towards the 7-10 servings a day recommended for adults by Canada's Food Guide.

One thing I was not aware of about POM Wonderful was not only do they sell their pomegranate juices that we all know and love, they also sell POM Arils! If you have never heard of what an aril is, it is simply the seed pod inside a pomegranate. Translation? The pomegranate seeds have all been magically picked out for you to enjoy with no work or mess involved on your part! It is a wonderful, wonderful thing. You really won't be able to appreciate the hard work it is to pull those arils out unless you have actually cut the pomegranate fruit open and tried it for yourself. It's tough work! 

POM Wonderful being such a versatile drink also comes in three delicious flavours. Of course there is the original 100% pomegranate juice, but there is also POM Cherry and POM Blueberry! A small fruity twist to the already wonderful flavours and nutrition of pomegranate. If you are feeling even more adventurous and want to try something else besides drinking it on its own, with the Holiday season upon us it can also be transformed into the Winter Warmer Cocktail. This is a winning drink recipe created from Toronto bartender Meghan McIntosh, designed to taste festive as we head into this Holiday season. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1.5 oz Tromba Anejo
1 oz POM Wonderful
1.5 oz Apple cider
1 oz Cinnamon syrup
0.75 oz lemon juice  

Method

1) Shake
2) Served straight up or on the rocks with lemon wheel and pomegranate seeds as garnish

#LGChuckBites - Tomato Pie Recipe From Chuck Hughes & LG Appliance Showcase

Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes was in the city last week showcasing some of the latest, most technologically advanced kitchen appliances LG has to offer. Utilizing the LG Stainless Slide in Range with ProBake Convection, Chuck Hughes demonstrated right in front of our eyes how easy it was to put together a delicious and savoury Tomato Pie that is perfect to share around the Christmas dinner table. Speaking of Christmas, the entire time spent watching Chuck work his magic in the kitchen, all I could think of was how I was going to lure my family and friends to get me one of these sleek LG kitchen appliances. I mean it would fit perfectly in my kitchen decor. Honest! 

LG has really stepped up its game recently by releasing their newest generation of kitchen appliances, notably the new LG Black Stainless Slide in Range with ProBake Convection (MSRP $2899.99). Inspired by pro-style ranges, it has a modern, luxurious look that is fingerprint resistant with a finish that easily wipes clean with just a smooth, dry cloth. Its heating element is moved from the bottom of the oven to the back wall for optimal heat distribution, and cleaning has never been easier using EasyClean for just ten minutes.

Watch Chuck Hughes create his Tomato Pie recipe using the LG Black Stainless Slide in Range with ProBake Convection below!

Need a place to store all your tomatoes? Look no further than the new LG Stainless Fridge (MSRP $4899.99). The coolest thing about this fridge has to be its InstaView Door-in-Door with ColdSave Panel built right into it. With just a double tap on the right side door, it instantly lights up allowing you to see what's inside without opening the fridge. Its Slim SpacePlus Ice System is also located on the door, so you end up with more storage space on the top shelf of the freezer.

Watch Chuck Hughes show us the features of the LG Stainless Fridge including the built-in InstaView Door-in-Door with ColdSave Panel below!

Now this Tomato Pie recipe from Chuck Hughes does not require you to have the above LG appliances (although it would be nice to have), so any oven and fridge will do. This savoury pie combines fresh tomatoes, basil, and sweet onions in a delicate phyllo crust with zesty Cheddar topping. It's extremely flavourful and presents very well, yet so easy to put together.

Ingredients

Crust

6 sheets of phyllo
1 cup cold butter, cut up, melted

Filling

6 large field tomatoes, divided
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) freshly shredded extra-sharp white Canadian Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced paper-thin
Basil leaves
1 tbsp instant tapioca

Directions

Crust

Melt the butter. Lat out 1 sheet of phyllo and brush with clarified butter. Lay another phyllo sheet on top and repeat until you have 6 layers of buttered phyllo sheets

Filling

Cut 4 of the 6 tomatoes into 1/4" thick slices and remove the seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F (220C). Stir together Cheddar, Gruyere, mayonnaise, eggs, sugar, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl until combined.

Pat tomato slices dry with paper towel. Sprinkle tapioca over the bottom of the crust. Lightly spread 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture onto the crust. Layer with half of the tomato slices in slightly overlapping rows.

Spread paper-think red onions and basil leaves evenly. Then spread on another 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture.

Repeat layers, using the remaining tomato slices, red onions, basil leaves, and cheese mixture. Cut the remaining 2 tomatoes into 1/4" thick slices and arrange on top of the pie.

Bake at 425F (220C) for 30 - 35 minutes, shielding the edges with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1-2 hours before serving.

Recipe - Chocolate & Hazelnut Popsicles

One of my favourite recipes I've come across this year is delicious, fun to make, and probably one of the easiest things I've learned to do all summer! At the focal point of this recipe are organic ingredients supplied by PRANA who promote wholesome living through good nourishment. All of PRANA products are certified organic, kosher, vegan, gluten-free, gmo-free, preservative-free, sulfite-free and, above all, free of compromise.

This recipe is perfect for the entire family and very kid friendly, so feel free to have the young ones help out in the kitchen on this one. You even get to make your own almond milk at home!

Check out this unique recipe made by Marie-Josée Richer, co-founder of PRANA below!

Ingredients:

2 cups homemade almond milk
2 tablespoons of hazelnut butter
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla pod
1/8 cup guar gum (optional)

Directions:

How to make homemade almond milk:

  1. Soak almonds for at least 12 hours in pure water with ½ tsp sea salt.

  2. Rinse almonds well.

  3. Blend several minutes until smooth and creamy.

  4. Strain mixture into a large bowl through a sprout bag, cheese cloth or kitchen towel.

Place all the ingredients in a blender.
Mix at maximum power until blended.
Pour into moulds and let set at least 4 hours in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Drake One Fifty Caesars

We have three exclusive Caesar recipes for all our readers today from one of the hottest restaurants in Toronto right now, Drake One Fifty, the Drake Hotel's chic stand-alone destination restaurant in the heart of the Financial District. These three cocktail recipes is directly from the head bartender himself Gord Hannah who has already mastered the art of cocktail making, and has graciously shared three of his favourite Caesar recipes with us including their Classic Drake Caesar. These cocktails will surely impress your guests the next time you are hosting your very own cocktail party, and the great part to this is that they are super easy to make thanks to the clear and concise directions from Gord below.

Check out the three Drake One Fifty Caesar recipes below!

Classic Drake Caesar

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Vodka

  • 1 oz. Carol + Co. Bloody Mix

  • Lemon Wedge

  • Olives

  • Pinch of...

    • Horseradish

    • Clamato Juice

    • Cracked Pepper

    • Celery Salt

Directions: To craft your perfect Canadian Caesar, begin by moistening the rim of your glass with a lemon wedge and then coat with celery salt. Fill your glass half-way with ice and then you’re ready to pour! First, add the vodka followed by the Carol + Co. Bloody Mix and a pinch of horseradish. Top your glass off with Clamato juice and then let the garnishing begin. Trim your Caesar with olives and add crushed pepper to taste. After that, it’s all yours to drink!

Cucumber Gin Caesar

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Gin

  • 1 oz. Carol + Co. Bloody Mix

  • Lemon Wedge

  • Sliced Cucumber

  • Cucumber Ribbon

  • Pinch of...

    • Clamato Juice

    • Cracked Pepper

    • Celery Salt

Directions:  A new twist on an old classic, the Cucumber Gin Caesar is the perfect drink for summer! Begin by moistening the rim of your glass with a lemon wedge and then coat with celery salt. Ice your glass half-way and add in a couple of cucumber slices. Follow this by pouring in the gin and the Carol + Co. Bloody Mix. Top off your drink with Clamato juice and garnish with crushed pepper and a cucumber ribbon. The cucumber ribbon is a pretty touch that will be sure to wow! To make: peel a thin slice of cucumber and weave through a tooth-pick in an ‘S’ formation.

Cilantro Tequila Caesar 

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Tequila

  • 1 oz. Carol + Co. Bloody Mix

  • Lemon Wedge

  • Olives

  • Pinch of...

    • Horseradish

    • Clamato Juice

    • Cracked Pepper

    • Celery Salt

    • Cilantro

Directions: For a drink that truly packs a punch, look no further than the Cilantro Tequila Caesar! Begin by moistening the rim of your glass with a lemon wedge, coat with celery salt and ice. Next, bruise your cilantro by putting it in the palm of your hand and slapping it with the other. This will really bring out the flavour! Add the cilantro into the glass and pour in the tequila, Carol + Co. Bloody Mix, and horseradish. Top off your glass with Clamato juice and garnish with olives and cracked pepper to taste!

 Photos taken by Brian Lai.

Photos taken by Brian Lai.

Recipe: Georgian Bay Vodka Smash

Summer is just around the corner and for many people that means a cocktail party is in order.  To get you on the right track this summer when picking out that perfect summer sipper to share with your friends and family, we have this remarkable cocktail recipe for you to try out.

This recipe features Canada's own small batch distillers "Georgian Bay Spirit Co." and its Georgian Bay Vodka. What make's this vodka special? The small-batch vodka is made using a unique combination of single malt and a corn-based vodka, blended with spring water from what has been described as the purest reservoir on earth in Ontario's township of Springwater.


Cool, crisp and bold like the landscape that inspires it, Georgian Bay Vodka tastes fresh and lively with subtle citrus notes in each sip. The purity of the spring water used lends to the vodka's characteristic smoothness. Remarkably balanced with a creamy, vanilla finish, the handcrafted spirit pairs exceptionally well with fresh air and long weekends.

The distinguished judges of this year's World Spirits Competition in San Francisco unanimously awarded Georgian Bay Vodka top marks in a blind taste test, and ultimately was chosen as Best Vodka, a “best of the best” ruling determined in a final round of judging. As the prestigious winner of this elevated round, Georgian Bay Vodka represents the finest spirit in its class. 

To put this award winning vodka to good use, below you will find a simple recipe that will certainly be a crowd-pleaser.

Georgian Bay Vodka Smash

Ingredients:

1 oz. Georgian Bay Vodka
1⁄2 oz. lemon juice
1⁄2 oz. lime juice
1⁄2 oz. St. Germaine
1 1⁄2 oz. pomegranate blueberry juice
12-15 blueberries (15 - 20 if using wild)
4-5 raspberries
6 or 7 mint leaves
Soda water

Directions:

Add lemon juice, lime juice, blueberries, raspberries and 4 or 5 mint leaves to a cocktail shaker and muddle. Pour in St. Germaine, vodka and pomegranate blueberry juice. Add ice and stir. Strain into highball glass filled with ice. Top with 2 to 3 oz. of soda water. Garnish with remaining mint leaves.

Georgian Bay Vodka    |    $39.95    |    Available at the LCBO

Recipe: Nutty Home - Style Mac & Cheese

One of the most beloved, universal comfort foods out there is none other than a glorious bowl of Mac & Cheese. With so many different variations to choose from, it can be hard to find that one perfect recipe that stands out with diverse flavours, a balanced blend of different cheeses, but above all else the one recipe that just hits the spot each time you take in a bite of the macaroni smothered in stringy cheese goodness.

That is why today I will be sharing with you all an award winning Mac & Cheese recipe that has proven to be a favourite among foodies and critics alike. Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, emerged victorious in one of Canada's highest profile culinary comfort food battles, Dairy Farmers of Canada's (DFC) Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off. Earlier this month, four top chefs from across Canada took the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate Mac & Cheese using Canadian cheeses, pasta, and a little creativity.

Through an esteemed judging panel, Chef Feswick's "Nutty Home-Style Mac & Cheese" recipe was declared victorious. This truly unique Canadian macaroni & cheese experience starts with combining the distinctive nostalgia of home-styled comfort classics such as cheddar, sage and mushrooms, and memorably finishes by pairing them with the luxurious flavours of hazelnuts,  blue cheese, and Jerusalem artichokes. Now you will be able to make her award winning recipe to be enjoyed at the comfort of your very own home.

 Souce: www.newswire.ca

Souce: www.newswire.ca


RECIPE

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

Cooking Time: Approx 48 Minutes

Baking Time: 40 Minutes

Yield 6 Servings

 Source: www.dairygoodness.ca

Source: www.dairygoodness.ca

Ingredients:

1 lb (500 g) Jerusalem artichokes, divided
2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) salt
3 cups (750 mL) 2% milk,  divided
1 1⁄2cups (375 mL) 35% whipping cream, divided
1 pkg (150 g) Beech mushrooms, trimmed and separated (about 2 cups/500 mL)
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) each ground nutmeg and black pepper
1 lb (500 g) cavatelli pasta    
1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) shredded Canadian 7-year-old Cheddar cheese
1 1⁄2 cups (375mL) shredded Niagara Gold cheese
2/3 cups (150 mL) crumbled Blue d’Elizabeth cheese
1cup (250 mL) shredded Alpindon cheese

Toppings:

1 cup (250 mL) panko breadcrumbs, toasted
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) chiffonade or finely chopped parsley
3 tbsp (45 mL) finely shredded Alpindon cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped sage
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) salt

 All the ingredients you will need!

All the ingredients you will need!

 The blend of cheeses!

The blend of cheeses!

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 375°F (160°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2.    In medium bowl, toss half of the whole, unpeeled Jerusalem artichokes with oil and salt. Place on prepared baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes or until artichokes are soft, easily poked with fork. Place roasted artichokes in blender with 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) of milk and 1⁄2cup (125 mL) of cream; blend on high until smooth. Set aside.

3.    In medium saucepan, combine remaining milk and cream, heat over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edge of the saucepan and steaming about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.    

4.    Meanwhile, dice remaining Jerusalem artichokes into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) pieces. Add to heated milk and cream mixture and cook over low heat until soft when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Strain Jerusalem artichokes and reserve milk and cream mixture. Return milk and cream mixture into saucepan; add mushrooms and cook on low heat until mushrooms soften, about 3 minutes. Strain mushrooms and reserve milk and cream mixture.

5.    In a clean medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in flour until fully incorporated. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, cook for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in reserved milk and cream mixture, nutmeg and pepper. Simmer on low heat, constantly stirring until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes.

6.    In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and spread on parchment lined baking sheet; set aside. Preheat oven to high broil.

7.    Remove sauce from heat and whisk in oneat a time the Cheddar, Niagara Gold and Blued’ Elizabeth cheeses (the sauce will be thick and stringy with melted cheese). Stir in reserved Jerusalem artichoke puree.

8.    In large pot, mix together sauce, pasta and reserved Jerusalem artichokes and mushrooms until well combined. Transfer into a 13x9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish and sprinkle with Alpindon cheese. Broil on middle rack, until bubbly and top is crispy,  about 5 minutes.

9.    Toppings: In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, nuts, parsley, Alpindon cheese, sage, and    salt. Sprinkle over hot pasta in dish. Serve and enjoy!

Chef Tip: Combining the pasta with the cheese sauce while they’re both hot helps guarantee a moist and creamy mac and cheese.

 Dinner for 6 is served!

Dinner for 6 is served!