Tag Archives: recipe

Homemade pesto– you’ll give yourself a high-5.

Who else falls into the “I’ll just grab a jar of pesto from the store shelf”  while shopping rut?

My basil plant has gone wonderfully berserk with leaves this year and I had to use up the bounty.  The colour and freshness of the homemade stuff is huge.

And so versatile when it’s crazy busy back in September mode–yes pasta, but also sandwich spread, fish or chicken glaze or add to sour cream for a dip.

I used pesto as inspiration for my latest blog on foodnetwork.ca so if you would like the recipe click on the link.  It truly takes not time at all.

(You can substitute walnuts for pine nuts or keep it nut-free (a la french pistou, here is my chef basics video recipe).

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The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off (and grilled cheese giveaway-thanks Cheesewerks!)

THE WINNER: Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese by Chef Jason Bangerter

Remember that Bryan Adams song?  “Everything I do I do it for a Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese?”  A real wedding fave.

First off–yes–there is a grilled cheese give-a-way at the bottom of this post.  Second the Niagara Gold Crunch grilled cheese was unbelievable.

I spent this afternoon as a judge at The Dairy Farmer’s of Canada Grilled Cheese Cook-Off.  (I know, does lunch get any better?)  Four of Canada’s top chefs went head to head and each served two grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheese made from 100% milk  (you’ve probably seen the little blue cow label on your cheese, it means that a cheese is made with all cow’s milk, no other additives–aside from salt and culture of course.)

Just wanted to give you a little brief of the menu and the chefs, so I’ll start with Chef Bangerter and move on from there.

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of O&B ( Luma and Canteen), Toronto

CHEF JASON BANGERTER

Niagara Gold Crunch (The Winner)
Niagara Gold cheese, sour dough bread, prosciutto, baby arugula,  with the bread brushed with mayo that had been flavoured with garlic, thyme and pepper before being grilled.

*this was also served with pickled grapes and a sparkling fresh grape juice that was the perfect compliment to the savoury sandwich.  I hear it will be going on the menu…..  (but here is the RECIPE if you want to DIY it)

Sweet Summer Night

This was the Chef’s dessert grilled cheese. It was made with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries with a some basil added in between the grilled brioche. It was served with aged balsamic vinegar.

Executive Chef Michael Howell, Tempest Restaurant, Nova Scotia (defending champion)

CHEF MICHAEL HOWELL

Crabby Dipper

Yum, if you love crab dip, this is your man-wich from Chef Howell. The crab dip is made with cream cheese, marinated artichokes, fresh parsley and some hot sauce.  There as also a hint of smokiness from smoked Gouda and real crabmeat–of course.  Recipe here.

The Crabby Dipper

Apulia Panini

This was inspired by Chef Howell’s love of  Southern Italy (he gives culinary tours of Italy, just FYI!) this sandwich was on olive bread and had Asiago cheese, pesto, tapenade and sundried tomato compote inside. All homemade of course and incredibly flavourful.

Chef Liana Robberecht, Calgary Petroleum Club holding her Stampede Centennial

CHEF LIANA ROBBERECHT

Stampede Centennial

Chef Robberecht made this grilled ‘wich with pulled beef short ribs, provolone and blue cheese on sourdough–oh–and a bit of onion jam for some tangy sweetness. Must be eaten with fork and knife.  (Or just a pile of napkins on hand).

Cherry Bomb Grilled Cheese

The Cherry Bomb

This baby came close second for me.  It looked gorgeous on the plate (excuse my shoddy photo). The bright red, candied cherry tomatoes were bursting with flavour and gave the sandwich such a freshness married with Triple Cream Brie and then crunchy bacon (ok, my mouth started watering as I wrote that).  Trust me, you want the recipe for for the candied-tomato vinaigrette.

Executive Chef Ned Bell, Yew Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver

CHEF NED BELL

The Simple

This was a great concept, because the comfy, cozy grilled cheese we all want on a rainy day is just cheese melted and in this case served with a fruit chutney.  Showcased the bread and the cheese (Courtenay Cheddar and Island Brie).  And the presentation was, can I say, cute?  Would Chef Bell kill me?  I loved it.

The Ned “Bell Pepper” Sweet and Spicy

This little number was made on a country loaf with Hot Pepper Cheddar and Pacific Pepper Spicy Verdelait.   The red bell pepper jam on the side made it, I think you’ll be wanting this recipe too.

Judges Elizabeth Baird and Rita DeMontis (talking and tweeting about the event)

And who were my fellow judges?  Elizabeth Baird, Rita DeMontis and Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks which brings us to our free grilled cheese!

Judge Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks at Grilled Cheese Mission Control

HI EVERYONE–THE GRILLED CHEESE VOUCHERS ARE ALL SPOKEN FOR. Thanks for emailing, we’ll do another giveaway soon!

Kevin has generously donated a few sets of tickets for a free Original Grilled Cheese (so you can either bring someone or eat two sandwiches–it’s a toughie).

Cheesewerks (56 Bathurst St, Toronto) which also serves soups and mac and cheese, also offers some amazing sodas that are made in-house (and written up by Macleans magazine).

Email me at sueriedl@gmail.com with the words “Grilled Cheese” and I’ll give them away, first come first serve!

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Curds and Eh, Episode 6: Cheese Rolling and 3000 tonnes of curd

These people are chasing wheels of cheese down the Whistler slopes

This post is part of a guest blog series by Kelsie Parsons.   See the recent Globe and Mail piece about his travels.

Summer is the time for festivals. I’m not talking Lollapalooza and Osheaga here. I’m talking cheese festivals such as The Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Victoriaville Fine Cheese Festival, Festival des Fromages Artisanaux Quebecois and American Cheese Society’s Cheese Rally in Raleigh.

Although we’re half-way through August the festival season isn’t over yet. Here are a few cheesy festivals to keep you busy.

St. Albert, Festival of Curd

Festival de la Curd – St. Albert

St. Albert Cheddar Co-op makes some of the best cheddar curds in Canada. Fortunately for us they created a festival to celebrate squeaky cheddar curds. The annual festival began in 1994 when St. Albert Cheddar celebrated its 100th anniversary. This year’s festivities include a giant corn maze, an antique tractor show, beach volleyball, a magician, plenty of live music, wine and surprise, surprise…CURDS!!! Over the course of the 5-day festival, St. Albert typically gives away 3 tons of cheddar curds for free. 3 TONS of curds!!! That could make a lot of poutine!

I have never been to the curd festival but I’d love to go sometime! If you’ve been (or are going) I’d love to hear all about it!

Festival de la Curd takes place August 15-19 in St. Albert, Ontario. For more info visit the Festival de la Curd website. .

More cheese rolling–view from the bottom of the hill!  Helmets! Knee pads! This is intense.

The Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition

Where will you be on Saturday August 18th from noon-4pm? I’m planning on attending the Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition in Whistler, BC and I’m super excited to see it! As you may know, I’m spending my summer visiting cheesemakers in every province and will be writing a book about Canadian cheese. I’ve actually planned my whole trip so that I end up in British Columbia for this competition!

This guy for Pope. Just a thought (by Sue).

The Canadian Cheese Rolling Competition is based on the legendary cheese rolling competition in Gloucestershire, England but with a Canuck twist. All the cheese at the festival (and there’ll be a lot) is made from 100% Canadian milk.

Cheese rolling is pretty straight forward. Basically, cheese is rolled down a hill and people attempt to catch it. The lucky winners get to keep an 11-pound wheel of cheese and they receive two ski season passes to Whistler Blackcomb. Last year’s festival saw over 165 participants and 12,000 spectators! There’s more than just cheese rolling and running though. The festival also includes a costume contest, cheese seminars and a market featuring cheesemakers from Courtenay, BC to Charlottetown, PEI.

This event is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada and aims to bring attention to great cheeses made from 100% Canadian milk. As someone who is eating different Canadian cheese every day I have to say there’s a lot of great cheese made here!

UPDATE FROM KELSIE:  The winner of the 2012 cheese rolling is Tyler Belan, front end manager at Highland Sobeys in Kichener, ON.  Congrats Tyler!

Cheese Rolling winner

For an up-to-date countdown until the festival  check out canadiancheeserolling.ca

Come out and taste the best grilled cheese of 2012.

The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off

The start of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto is always a bittersweet time. Around this time you’ll hear people exclaim, “The CNE is opening! I can’t believe summer’s almost over!” But that sentiment doesn’t last long as they indulge in tasty treats and then attempt to hold them down while on dizzying rides.

One of the hot food events at the CNE will be The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off held in the All You Need Is Cheese booth. At this event top chefs from around Canada compete to create the “gratest” grilled cheese sandwich.

In 2010, Michael Howell (chef and owner of The Tempest in Nova Scotia) won for his Panini Toscano which featured Canadian Havarti, prosciuto, baby arugula, fresh figs, lemon aioli, and balsamic vineagar. Whoa! I’ll be cooking this up when I return home in September.

Michael will be defending his title against three top chefs from across Canada: Jason Bangerter, executive chef at O&B Luma and Canteen restaurants in Toronto; Ned Bell, executive chef at the Yew Restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver; and Liana Robberecht, executive chef at the Calgary Petroleum Club in Calgary. Each chef has created two recipes featuring cheeses made from 100% Canadian milk and the winning chef will walk away with the 2012 Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese trophy. Recipes from the event will be posted on the All You Need Is Cheese (www.allyouneedischeese.ca/grilledcheesecookoff) website after August 29th.

Chef Melissa Craig at the 2010 competition.

One the judges who will taste all these gooey creations will be Cheese and Toast’s very own Sue Riedl! I’m sure Sue makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich too! (Awwww, stop. SR) What’s your favourite grilled cheese sandwich? Personally, I like mine with horseradish cheddar (go on!  me too…SR)…or maybe a triple cream mixed with a Swiss style cheese. There are infinite possibilities!

The competition will be held on August 29th at 11am in the All You Need Is Cheese  booth at the CNE in Toronto, ON.

For Curds and Eh 1 (the itinerary), click hereCurds and Eh 2 (Quebec), Click Here, Curds and Eh 3 (Quebec) , click here and Curds and Eh 4 (St.John’s).

**Photo of the grilled cheese from http://theinterrobang.com

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How to Make the Best Schnitzel (let the games begin)

flour, bread crumbs, egg and pork

I was going to call my blog The Sunday Schnitzel.  Because I love schnitzel and that name sounded kind of cool.  But since I went with a meat-free name I must be satisfied with sharing with you the basics of the best schnitzel ever (for Sunday or any day).  I feel like I have some authority as my mom makes the best schnitzel and I have learned from her.  Are mine as good?  Well, they’re getting there.

What makes a schnitzel the best?  Well, you want it thin enough to have a proper crust to meat ratio, and crispy is important and golden brown (a few burnt patch never did anyone harm either if you asked my grandfather) but I think it also has to do with the salt.  You need to season well.  But first things first.  And when properly done the crust will make a little jacket for the meat, but not be attached to the meat.

Take your pork cutlet or boneless butterflied pork chop (each side can be its own schnitzel) and if you’re my mom, give it a good wash and dry well.  If you’re me you might forget that step. (I should mention we never make veal schnitzel, in our family the pork is top choice over the occasional chicken–at which time complaints are made to the chef.)

First remove the excess fat from around the pork.  I don’t go insane on this, just the main fatty bits come off.

I may have gone a little deep with the slicing here, but it is important to cut around the edges so that when you whack your pork with the tenderizer, it will really give way.   Also, it creates all these delicious breaded crispy edges to rip off and run away with when the schnitzel is cooling.  I loved that as a kid so I guess I like to ensure plenty of sneaking potential.

Now you pound your schnitzel with the tenderizer.  I probably am a little too enthusiastic–but boy–is it easy to get carried away!  Work from the outside in and joking aside, you do not want to tear the meat into bits.  Flip it over part way through–the meat should spread to almost twice its size.   You will now salt it on both sides.

schnitzel, floured, goes into egg

Next step is the breading. Put out a plate with some flour.  A plate with bread crumbs and a large bowl with a couple of eggs lightly whipped with a fork.  Add salt to all of these plates.  This is what gives the savory, salty, yum to the crispy fried schnitzel.  Triple level seasoning.

First take one of the naked schnitzels and put it in the flour until well coated–do not miss the nooks and crannies.  Now dip this into the egg mixture, the egg will stick to the flour.

Let excess egg drip off and then lay into the bread crumbs.  Coat and turn well–again–make sure you are getting into the nooks and crannies.  Should be well covered.  Using a fork it is possible to do this without mess, most often I end up with breaded fingers though.  I do not think this happens to my mom.

Pile up the breaded schnitzel on a clean plate until ready for flying.  You can even bread these a little in advance, and then just fry them an hour later for dinner.

Frying:  This is where my mom would instruct ” just pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into the pan” and fry.  No.  If you watch what she does, you will know that the oil actually comes about halfway up the schnitzel.  So, glug in some vegetable oil (or something fairly neutral with a high smoking point-add some butter if you like–YUM) and heat over med-high.  Add the schnitzel when the oil is glistening.  Should sizzle as it goes in.

no this schnitzel did not shrink, the one above was a previous batch.

Flip the schnitzel when golden.  It only takes a minute or two. Finish on the other side.  Watch the heat, you may need to lower it a bit.  Remove schnitzel and let dry out on a paper towel.  Eat immediately.  With potato salad if possible.  My mom’s potato salad if circumstances are ideal.  (I should post that one day…)  Usually we poke the schnitzel with a fork and then drizzle it with fresh lemon before attacking.

Do not add cheese to the plate.  That’s just crazy.

**OK, so no reference to schnitzel/wiener schnitzel in the Penguin Companion to Food, but Shoofly Pie, that’s got a few paragraphs.  WHAT?  What do penguins have against the the Austrians?  Here is some schnitzel history from the German Food Guide.

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Ribs as Fast Food–when it’s Tuesday night and you’re panicking

Quick ribs with baby new potatoes (dill and olive oil) and arugula salad.

I love ribs.  You love ribs.  We all love ribs.  Last time I made them (last summer) we ate at 10:30 at night.  I thanked the rib-Gods that the guests I had invited over for my homemade smoked ribs had cancelled last-minute.  Whatever they ended up doing was probably more fun than politely pretending, “oh no, this bag of chips with salsa is totally filling us up until the moon comes out, a wolf howls and your Weber grill spits out its slow-cooked creation.”

But–I will say the ribs kicked ass.

Still, I was curious (as a rib craver) to try a new product from Mastro.  They held a tasting at St. Lawrence market in June and I got to take home some of their prepackaged ribs.  Ready in just 15 minutes!

I finally pulled them out a few nights ago when I came home to a starving family and not a minute to spare before we settled on  a meal of Triscuits and some old mum-mums from Felix’s teething days.

My hesitance with the pre-cooked ribs is kind of a guilt/snobby/ foodie annoying thing.  Ribs should be made with a secret sauce, over a smoky charcoal grill, basted at regular intervals, internal temperature monitored, sweat wiped from the brow, anticipation building…..yada yada yada.

But–when it came down to a meal of ribs or a meal of stale carbs, I chose ribs.  I opened the package, popped them on a cookie sheet (on foil) and baked for 15-17 minutes, flipping them halfway.  You can also heat them on the grill (which is where you put them 5 minutes before guests arrive and then fake some perspiration on the brow I imagine).

The ribs were great.  I tried the balsamic and fig (my fave) and spicy fire-roasted tomato (had a good hit of spice) — there is also a roasted garlic and tomato flavour.

They are about $14.99 and I think could serve 4 people–or 2 super hungry people.

So, I’m passing on the info, you can decide for yourself if it’s possible to come terms with pre-packaged ribs. I think I would have to make my own on a weekend or if friends came over (dury calls and all that) but let me tell you, in a pinch?  Hit the spot and timeline.

Enjoyed with a little of this.  I must admit the bottle came in my gift bag from the tasting event, but I keep a couple of these bottles around for some weeknight sipping so I was pretty content with the match.

Ascheri BARBERA D’ALBA 2008

Here is a bit more info from the company about ingredients and make-process:

Mastro starts with lean, top-quality pork ribs, seasons them with Italian herbs and spices, individually oven-cooks them, and then smokes them over hardwood hickory.

The ribs are always shipped to your grocery store fresh, never frozen. You don’t have to thaw them – don’t have to pre-cook them – and don’t have to sauce them.  They are available at Sobeys, Metro, Royal Canadian Super Centres, and No Frills.

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Roll with the heat by embracing Cheese Boutique’s old school Gelato

The gelat-area.

In this heat you may want to climb into the little freezer area that stores Cheese Boutique’s scrumptious house-made gelato, but I am pretty sure that is a no-no in terms of health and safety standards.   But it would bring you cheek-to-frozen cheek with the authentic gelato that Cheese Boutique has started making this year.  They had an Italian gelato expert come in and train their gelato-maker (I forgot to ask his name-rude) but there he stands (saddened by my bad manners) behind the counter.

You can see the gelato process right in the gelateria.

They start by pasteurizing the cream themselves, which is how it is traditionally done.

Many flavours all made with natural ingredients (and using real Italian words).

Felix and I tried the hazelnut (nocciola), the fior di latte (fresh cream) and settled on splitting the lemon gelato.  It was all pretty frigging divine.

When I asked Afrim Pristine for his favourite’s at the family store he mentioned the above three and the Frutto di Bosco (wild berry).  He also suggested 25 year old balsamic on the Fior Di Latte (damn, that guy has good ideas).

Best of all– The Cheese Boutique gelataria will be open until 9pm all summer starting next week (July 9).  And you can buy tubs to go!

Address: 45 Ripley Avenue, Toronto

FYI Gelato is slow churned and has less air whipped into it than ice cream.  It is denser, very silky and smooth, intense in flavour and can be kept at a warmer temperature– so gelato is creamy and softer in texture.

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In case you forgot the pleasures of homemade lemonade

As I scurry around trying to get the “To Do list” checked off so I can leave for the cottage I thought I would leave you with a lemonade recipe which I made for the first time (this heat wave) for the foodnetwork.ca blog.  And you should try it too.

Because it is so very, very easy.  We’re talking the juice of 2 (maybe 3) lemons.  Add water.  You can sweeten with sugar but make a batch of simple syrup and it will last you jugs of lemonade into the future.   And it is delicious.  I used 6 tablespoons simple syrup (infused with spearmint leaves) for 2L lemonade and it took the sharp edge off but kept a refreshing tartness.

Here’s the recipe.  The full on directions with photos will be featured on my Family Fun blog.   With the simple syrup instructions too if you need them.

And PS–yesterday morning a real estate woman who was canvassing the ‘hood rang my doorbell and  looked just melty from the heat and I was able to say, “I just made lemonade.  Could I get you a glass?”.   How often does a gal get to say, “I just made a batch of fresh lemonade?”  Unless you’re in the South.   Sookie Stackhouse offers lemonade.  Though not to vampires obviously— but even to enemies.  But not enemy vampires.  Hmm, it gets tricky.

Ingredients for Lemonade

2-3 Lemons

2 L cold water

6 tbsp simple syrup

Juice the lemons til you have 1/2 cup juice. Add to 2 L cold water. Sweeten as desired with simple syrup (or super fine sugar).

Here is my Chef Basics video on making Simple Syrup if you are interested. (just re-watched it, informative but I’m very serious in it.  Simple syrup is no joke people.)

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