Bonnie Stern Food News
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Contents

Kitchen Tip

Bonnie's
Book and Dinner Club

Bonnie's Cookbooks

News and Events

Restaurant
Recommendations
and More

Featured Recipes

Contact

 
Phone:
416 484 4810

Email:
bonnie@bonniestern.com

Follow Bonnie:

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Website:
www.bonniestern.com

 

About Bonnie

Bonnie Stern is the founder of the Bonnie Stern School of Cooking in Toronto which she opened and operated from 1973 to 2011. She has studied and taught cooking around the world, authored 12 bestselling cookbooks, hosted three national cooking shows, and appears regularly on various television and radio shows across Canada.

For 17 years Bonnie wrote a weekly column for the National Post and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines. She has conducted popular workshops for the James Beard Foundation in New York City and leads culinary cultural trips to various delicious destinations. Bonnie is also the creator of a ground-breaking book club in which novelists are invited to discuss their work during thematic dinners.

Bonnie Stern is the recipient of many awards including ones from the Toronto Culinary Guild, the Ontario Hostelry Institute, Cuisine Canada and most notably she is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award. Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking won the coveted International Association of Culinary Professionals’ award. Bonnie was inducted into the Taste Canada Hall of Fame in 2021.

 

Welcome to 2022

Food trends are always a hot topic every January but considering the pandemic, climate change, changes to the hospitality industry - they have become more serious recently. Case in point - I always thought home cooking was an important life skill but I never thought it would take a pandemic to prove my point.

In 2022 look for more: bakeries; bread; cocktails; comfort foods; compassion; desserts; ethically made foods; fermented foods; functional ingredients; gluten; gratitude; home cooking; hope; Instagram foods; kindness; locally produced foods; mash up cuisine (formerly called fusion); nut milk; open-fire cooking; patience; patios; pizza ovens; plant-based diets; plant-based meat, chicken and fish; potato milk; tahini and halvah; upscale pet food; vaccines; vegan restaurants and vegan choices on all menus; vegetable main courses; virtual everything; ZOOM.

Restaurant trends: restaurants are an important part of our culture and our local identity. Although traditional restaurants may now seem like a thing of the past, I think we're in a period of change still, and many of the changes we'll see will hopefully address some of the major problems that have always existed in the restaurant industry. Servers and chefs are looking for better wages and work life balance (and who can blame them); front of the house tips pooled with those working in the back of the house; many restaurants will continue to do some take-out even when things return to 'normal'; some restaurants will do their own delivery; as food and labour costs increase, prices will go up; tips will be included; restaurants may only be open 4 or 5 days per week; menus will be simplified to reduce waste; cancellation fees will be charged and/or deposits required to stop diners from no-showing and reserving at numerous restaurants. Watch for more patios and to be open longer - I remember being in Oslo in December where patios were still open and diners happily ate under heat lamps and blankets; and it seems that more and more people are asking restaurants if pets are allowed on the patios or indoors when they call for reservations - so there may be changes there too.

As of this newsletter, in Ontario we are essentially in lock-down again. Take-out during the last two years has kept many of our restaurants alive and we should do what we can to support them again. Try to pick up rather than use a delivery service and ask the restaurant if they have their own delivery to avoid huge charges if possible. And whether dining indoors (when allowed again) or ordering take-out, have patience and be forgiving if everything isn't perfect.

Thanks so much for telling me how much you have enjoyed our virtual book clubs and the delicious dinners from The Edible Story. They aren't over yet! Lighten up your January with Mark Critch - see below for details. CBC has just made a streaming series based on Mark's last book, Son of a Critch that begins this month. And the great thing is you don't have to worry about the weather, parking, babysitting, what to wear and so much more.

Wishing you a safer, kinder and happier 2022. And of course, delicious wishes,

Bonnie

Kitchen Tip
CAN OPENER
CAN OPENERAm I the only one that was doing this wrong? It was only recently that I realized I wasn't using the can opener, that I have had for years, properly. I used to attach the can opener to the side and now I attach it to the top as shown in photo. The lid is removed with a smooth edge in a safe way.


Bonnie's Book and Dinner Club

Bonnie’s Book Club is a labour of love. Nothing pleases Bonnie more than to have the opportunity to bring readers and writers together in a truly unique way that offers the rare opportunity to meet some of Canada’s leading authors (and some from farther away), discuss their work and enjoy a delicious meal.

Drawing on her degree in English and her passion for food and cooking, Bonnie Stern invites you to a literary evening you won’t soon forget – Oprah’s book club never tasted this good!

The Book and Dinner Club comes with a delicious catered meal and wine from The Edible Story, delivered to your home the day of the event. A copy of our featured book will be sent out in advance so that you will have the opportunity to read it before the meeting.

JANUARY 2022

AN EMBARRASSMENT OF CRITCH'S
AN EMBARRASSMENT OF CRITCH'SWe’re going to start the 2022 season of the Book Club with some laughter. (And goodness knows we can all use as much laughter as we can get.) We are excited to welcome beloved Canadian writer, comedian, performer Mark Critch back to the Book Club as he launches his new book, the national bestselling An Embarrassment of Critch’s.

One of Mark Critch's earliest acting gigs was in a Newfoundland tourist production alongside a cast of displaced fishery workers. Since, he's found increasing opportunities to take his show on the road. In An Embarrassment of Critch's, the star of CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes revisits some of his career's and the country's biggest moments, revealing all the things you might not know happened along the way: A wishful rumour spread by Mark's father results in his big break; two bottles of Scotch nearly get him kicked out of a secret Canadian airbase in the United Arab Emirates; and for anyone wondering how to get an interview with the Prime Minister and Bono (yes, that Bono) on the same evening, Critch might recommend a journey to the 2003 Liberal Convention.

Critch's top-secret access to all of the funniest behind-the-scenes moments involve many of the charismatic and notorious politicians we love to see blush, including fearless leaders Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Paul Martin, and Jean Chretien, celebrities such as Pamela Anderson and Robin Williams, and other colourful figures he's met over years of pulling off daring skits at home and abroad. Remember when MP Carolyn Parrish took her boot to George W. Bush's head in an interview? Or when Critch asked Justin Trudeau where the best place to smoke pot on Parliament Hill was before pulling out a joint for them to share? There's more to each of those stories than you know. Though Critch has spent years crisscrossing the country, and the globe, with the explicit aim of causing trouble everywhere he goes, like the best journeys, this one takes him right back home.
 
Help us welcome the new year with a wonderful evening of food and stories.
Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Time: 7:30 pm EST
Place: Virtual
Fee*: $175 + HST
includes a catered meal from The Edible Story, wine, delivery, gratuity and a copy of An Embarrassment of Critch's (autographed if possible) sent out as soon as available.
Advance registration only: Call Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810

Some geographical restrictions may apply.

* Small print:
All registrations must be paid in full when registering. Please check your schedule carefully before registering. Please mark your calendar with the date and time of the event.

Cancellations can be accepted until Tuesday January 11, 2022. A $50 charge (plus HST) applies to cover the administration fee and cost of the book. However, you may have someone take your place for no additional charge. It is the attendee’s responsibility to notify us regarding change of address for the meal delivery by Tuesday January 18, 2022.




The Edible Story
 
The Edible Story Box
The Edible Story box2


Bonnie's Cookbooks
 
Friday Night Dinners (Paperback)

Friday Night Dinners

Bonnie's latest cookbook with her favourite menus, recipes, photos and stories. Over 170 delicious recipes for every occasion - holidays, barbecues, fast suppers and fabulous feasts - and Bonnie makes sure you can make fantastic meals and still enjoy the food and fun with everyone else. You'll want to use this book every day of the week.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2010, 320 pages, paperback

$29.95

Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking
Bonnie Stern's
Essentials of Home Cooking

Winner of the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. A beautiful cookbook filled with Bonnie’s personal favourites - dishes that reflect the way we are cooking today.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2003, 208 pages, paperback

$34.95
HeartSmart
HeartSmart
This wonderful compendium is a must for every kitchen featuring over 300 favourite recipes from the bestselling Simply HeartSmart Cooking, More HeartSmart Cooking and HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends, as well as 75 brand-new recipes to add to your HeartSmart repertoire. Many of the classic recipes have been fully updated to incorporate current food trends and new nutritional information.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2006, 480 pages, paperback.

$34.95
Desserts
Desserts
Over 120 recipes for decadent cakes, pies and pastries, scrumptious cookies, creamy mousses and ice creams – A collection of recipes from a master that stand the test, and tastes, of time.

Also provided are elegant decorating tips, helpful information on equipment and ingredients, and black-and-white illustrations throughout demonstrating basic techniques that will make these recipes absolutely no-fail.

Published by Random House Canada, 1998, 214 pages, paperback

$21
News And Events
FOGO ISLAND AND ST. JOHN’S FOOD TOUR & BOOK CLUB
FOGO ISLAND AND ST JOHN’S BOOK CLUBThursday April 28
to Wednesday May 4, 2022

We are getting closer to finalizing the itinerary and price of our tour to Fogo Island and St. John’s. We will send out an email with registration information when available to all those who have requested.

If you have always wanted to go to Newfoundland the combination of a few days in St. John’s, and 3 days on Fogo Island, staying at Fogo Island Inn (a social enterprise that was ranked #3 hotel in the world in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards), will be a dream come true. We will be hosting two or three book club events, tours, classes and wonderful meals.

If you are interested in receiving additional information, email Bonnie at bonnie@bonniestern.com Subject line: Fogo Island.

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURESunday November 20
to Tuesday November 29, 2022

At the beginning of 2020 we had a magical 10th anniversary Eating Israel Culinary Tour. We are now planning a tour for November 2022 and will send out an email when the itinerary and price are available to all those who requested information.

If you are interested to be on our culinary tour mailing list (and not already on the list), email Bonnie at bonnie@bonniestern.com Subject line: Eating Israel.

For a small taste of my time in Israel check these videos filmed and produced by Mark Rupert:

A gorgeous February day in Israel

My favourite coffee shop in Tel Aviv


Everyday is a busy day at Port Said

ZOOM COOKING EVENTS
COOKING CLASSESBonnie has been doing custom Zoom cooking events for fund-raisers, corporate classes and private groups. One of her favourite formats is to bring families together who are separated by distance to cook and enjoy dinner together.

Contact bonnie@bonniestern.com for more information and rates. Subject line: Bonnie’s Cooking Events. Events can be personalized but some of the popular themes are:

Italian All the Time

French Country Cooking

Israeli Family Dinner

Mediterranean Flavours

Restaurant Recommendations and More
TORONTO
Because we are back in lockdown here’s a list of our favourite local take-out places we have recommended in the past:Pai
7 Numbers
Pukka
Tabule
United Bakers Dairy Restaurant
Schmaltz Appetizing
Fat Pasha
Rose and Sons
Stock
RECOMMENDATIONS BY MARK RUPERT @ruperson
TORONTO
Fonda Balam
802 Dundas Street West
Toronto
416 815 8484
Once a small and very popular pop-up at Queen and Spadina, Fonda Balam opened their permanent location at 802 Dundas Street West in October of 2021. Matty Matheson, Kate Chomyshyn and Julio Guajardo are the team behind this cozy Mexican restaurant and they've developed a fan following for some of their standout dishes including the shrimp ceviche with cucumbers and the quesabirria con consome (2 crispy corn tortillas filled with beef, cheese, onion, cilantro and salsa that you dip in consome).
Moderate

Temporarily closed but take out may be available - check their instagram or website for updates.

Crosley's
214 Ossington Ave
Toronto
416 531 0123
One of the new kids on the Ossington block, Crosley's seriously impresses with its self described 'thoughtful food that's made with love.' The menu changes frequently, but on a visit back in November, a few delicious dishes included the chicken liver pate, fried monkfish, beet salad and lamb saddle.
Moderate

CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa
1 Langdon Drive
Cambridge
519 740 2100
If you're looking for a staycation this winter, Langdon Hall is a great choice. I recently spent a night at the Relais & Chateaux (weeknights are less expensive) and ordered room service from the award winning kitchen. You can order from the upscale menu, or there are a few more low-key but equally impressive dishes, like the short rib cheese burger. Don't forget to try one of their famous croissants during breakfast.
Expensive
Featured Recipes
LEEK AND POTATO SOUP
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, sliced and cleaned, see above
  • (about 4 to 5 cups sliced)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into about 1" chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or cream or more, optional


  • toppings: optional
  • grated Swiss or cheddar cheese
  • crushed potato chips (for crunchiness only)
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • LEEK AND POTATO SOUPAfter watching the leek episode of Emily in Paris, I really craved leek and potato soup! And luckily this classic French soup is classic comfort food.

    Cleaning Leeks: Clean leeks well as sand and dirt can get trapped in the layers. Jacques Pepin taught us this method of cleaning them when he taught at my cooking school. Trim off the root end and the dark green layers at the top. Slice the remaining white and light green stock in half lengthwise and then slice or chop. Put them in a big bowl of cold water, swish them around to loosen the dirt. Leave them for about 5 minutes which allows the dirt to settle on the bottom of the bowl and the leeks to float on the top. Then gently lift the leeks out of the water and pat dry.



    Method:
    1. Heat olive oil in a medium or large saucepan. Add leeks and garlic and cook gently 10 to 15 minutes until tender and very fragrant. Add potatoes and carrots and combine well. Add stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook gently 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Add milk or cream if using and heat thoroughly.

    2. The soup can be served chunky, pureed or partially pureed which is how I like it best. I use a small potato masher or immersion blender to mash about half the soup. Add more liquid if necessary (especially if you are pureeing it) and re-season.

    3. Serve as is or sprinkled with cheese, chips and green onions.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.
    RIB ROAST WITH HERB RUB
  • 1 6 lb standing rib roast


  • rub:
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • RIB ROAST WITH HERB RUBA standing rib roast is something special but it is also comfort food. I made it for the first time in years over the holidays and it was so amazing. My mom used to make it at least once a month and when I made it recently the aroma took me right back to Friday night dinners with my parents.  A rib roast was always expensive but now it is even more expensive and I have to say I was nervous about overcooking it. It is important to have a good instant read meat thermometer - I use a Thermapen. I used a modified version of the 'reverse sear technique' - I found it on Serious Eats (check it out) via my friend Mitchell Davis. It was a bit too late to cook it really long and slow but I still cooked it at a lower temp first and then raised the heat to sear it at the end.

    Method:
    1. For the rub, in a small bowl combine the garlic, rosemary, parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Rub into the roast on all sides and if you have time let rest overnight in the refrigerator.

    2. A few hours before cooking the roast remove roast from the refrigerator. Set in a shallow roasting pan with the fat side up, bones on the bottom.

    3. Preheat oven to 325F and for rare, roast 20 minutes per pound. Because every oven is a bit different and the time will vary with the temperature of the roast (cold or at room temp) be sure to have a meat thermometer handy and start testing after 1 1/2 hours. When the internal temperature reaches 120F remove from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 475F. Let roast rest about 20 minutes. Return to very hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes until roast is seared and outside is crispy. (You can carve right after searing as it only affects the outside.)

    4. While roast is resting and searing, this is a good time to make Yorkshire pudding or a sauce with the pan juices. Carve, remove string, cut the meat from the bones in one piece. Place meat on carving board boned side down and carve into slices. Spoon juices over as you serve.

    Makes 6 to 8 generous servings
    YORKSHIRE PUDDING
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (eg. cup4cup)* or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (only for gluten-free version)
  • 6 tbsp beef drippings or vegetable oil
  • YORKSHIRE PUDDINGYorkshire pudding, made with gluten-free flour or all-purpose is basically the same thing as popovers but made with beef drippings instead of butter. Many people like to serve Yorkshire pudding with a rib roast so bake the puddings as soon as you take the roast out of the oven while it is resting before you carve it. You can make the batter ahead which gives you a bit of a head start. As soon as the roast comes out of the oven, set the oven temperature to 425F and carefully spoon about 1/2 cup of the fat drippings from the pan into a heat proof bowl to use for greasing the muffin pan.

    *If you are not making these gluten-free just substitute 3/4 cup all-purpose flour for the gf flour and omit the xanthan gum.


    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 425F.

    2. In a medium mixing bowl, preferably with a spout, whisk eggs with milk until well blended. In another bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and xanthan gum if using. Whisk into egg mixture. If the mixture is only slightly lumpy don't worry, but mine was so lumpy I used an immersion blender very briefly just to smooth it out. (GF flour is often lumpier than all purpose.)

    3. Adjust oven rack so that you can bake the Yorkshire puddings on the bottom rack or bottom third of the oven. Thoroughly brush a 12 cup muffin tray with the beef drippings (or vegetable oil). Place in the preheated 425F oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and set it on a rack. Quickly pour batter into each cup a little over half full. (The batter should sizzle as it hits the pan.) Quickly and carefully return pan to oven and bake without peaking 25 minutes. If they haven't risen bake 5 to 10  minutes longer. Remove from pans and serve with the roast and the pan juices.

    Makes 12 Yorkshire puddings
    PISTACHIO POLENTA CAKE WITH LEMON SYRUP
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground pistachio nuts (see intro)
  • 1 cup fine polenta or fine cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • finely grated peel of one lemon


  • syrup:
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • topping: optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp crushed rose petals
  • sprigs of fresh mint


  • drizzle: optional
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • PISTACHIO POLENTA CAKE WITH LEMON SYRUPThis Middle Eastern inspired cake is delicious and beautiful. It is also naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. It's extra special make with pistachios but it also works with almonds or hazelnuts too and you can buy those already ground (sometimes called almond or hazelnut flour). It keeps well about one week in the fridge and can be frozen. You could also bake these in muffin pans to give to friends who need a treat!

    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9" round or square pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

    2. In a large bowl whisk together ground pistachios, polenta, baking powder and salt.

    3. In another large bowl beat eggs with an electric hand mixer until frothy. Beating at high speed until light and slowly drizzle olive oil. Add sugar slowly and keep beating until light. Beat in lemon peel. Add dry ingredients in three batches, folding in thoroughly after each addition. Batter will be a little thin.

    4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out dry or an instant read thermometer registers 195F. If top is browning too much cover loosely with foil.

    5. Cool cake in the pan on a cooling rack about 15 minutes.

    6. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Bring lemon juice and  sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Simmer gently about one minute or until sugar is dissolved. Cool about 5 minutes. With a thin skewer make some holes in the cake and brush syrup over the cake until it is all used up. Sprinkle with pistachios, rose petals and sprigs of mint.

    7. For the drizzle stir 2 tsp lemon juice (or more) into icing sugar to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cake before or after the toppings.

    Makes 10 to 12 servings
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