Bonnie Stern Food News
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Contents

Kitchen Tip

Bonnie's Book Club

Corporate Services

News and Events

Bonnie's Cookbooks

Restaurant Recommendations

Featured Recipes

Contact

Bonnie Stern

Phone: 416 484 4810

Email:
bonnie@bonniestern.com

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Website:
www.bonniestern.com

About Bonnie

When Bonnie Stern started her cooking school in 1973 she wanted people to have more fun in the kitchen, eat more healthfully and nourish their families and friends with delicious food. That goal has never changed. Bonnie is still sharing her love of cooking in everything she does.

Bonnie is an award winning author of twelve best-selling cookbooks and wrote a weekly newspaper column for almost 30 years, first for the Toronto Star and then for the National Post. She offers a wide variety of corporate services, cooking workshops and unique book clubs where authors actually attend and dinner is included. Bonnie is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award.

 

December 2019

What a busy month! So many meaningful moments. One was getting my flu shot – be sure to get yours. If you are travelling this season you will be glad you did and hope that everyone on the plane had theirs too!

The Remembrance Day service at Fort York always makes me reflect on how lucky we are to live in Canada and how grateful we should be to those who fought and are fighting for the lives we have today.

The Big Social is a new national fund-raising campaign from Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) that helps raise money for those who do not have access to healthy, sustainable food. From November 1 to 10, for the first time, Canadians across the country hosted food events at home or at work and instead of guests bringing a bottle of wine and/or gifts they were asked to make a donation to CFCC. It is such a good idea for any dinner party you are invited to or host, any time of year. For more information about CFCC and/or The Big Social or to donate go to www.cfccanada.ca and/or www.bigsocial.ca.

We were all excited when Ian Williams, the featured author at my book club last January, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His book Reproduction was a gift to all readers.

I am looking forward to our last book club of the season on Monday, December 9; welcoming back another Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author, Linden MacIntyre, talking about his new book, The Wake. This book, a true story about the earthquake and tsunami that hit Newfoundland in 1929, is heart-breaking and the story is brilliantly told by Linden MacIntyre. We have a few spots left so don’t miss it. See Bonnie’s Book Club below.

Our most recent book club with Ken Dryden - Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other was a book club like no other. Ken is a true celebrity and was so articulate and generous, giving everyone who attended time to reminisce and discuss the finer points of the sport they all love so much.

To keep up to date on my travels, restaurant choices, cooking tips and favourite foods as well as my cookbook advent calendar – where I recommend a new cookbook everyday for gifts this year, follow me on Bonnie's Instagram

Wishing everyone a delicious holiday season and Happy New Year,

Bonnie

Kitchen Hint
ROASTING AND PEELING HAZELNUTS
ROASTING AND PEELING HAZELNUTSI love roasting nuts before using them in savory (eg salads) or sweet (eg cookies) recipes because after roasting they have so much more flavour. You can also use (or eat) less because the flavour is more intense and nuts are expensive and high in calories. I usually roast one or two pounds at a time (a 12”x18” sheet pan full) and then store them in the freezer so I don’t have to roast them every time I use them. I roast almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts especially now around the holidays. I spread the nuts over a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until nuts are lightly browned. Set your timer early though, in case your oven is hotter than mine, and then 5 minutes at a time after that.  Hazelnuts require one extra step. When they are still warm rub them between your hands or a clean tea towel to remove the brown husks. You won’t be able to remove them all so don’t worry – just do what you can.


Bonnie's Book 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 inspired by the book.

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

Small print: All registrations must be paid in full when registering. Please check your schedule carefully before registering. Cancellations can be accepted only up to 14 days before event date, a $50 charge (plus HST) applies to cover the administration fee and cost of the book. However, at any time you may send someone in your place for no additional charge. It is the attendee’s responsibility to mark their calendar with the date, time and location of the event.


DECEMBER

LINDEN MACINTYRE: THE WAKE
LINDEN MACINTYRE: THE WAKETo close out the Book Club’s incredible year, Bonnie is very happy to welcome back a true Book Club favourite. Over the years, legendary journalist and award-winning novelist Linden MacIntyre has launched The Bishop’s Man, Why Men Lie, Punishment and The Only Cafe at the book club and has delivered incredibly insightful talks about his work over some really incredible meals.

Linden returns to the Book Club with a brand new work of amazing non-fiction, The Wake, which became an immediate bestseller and is the gripping story of a tragic event in Newfoundland history that would go on to shape the future of the province and the country.

On November 18, 1929, a tsunami struck Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula. Giant waves, up to three storeys high, hit the coast at a hundred kilometres per hour, flooding dozens of communities and washing entire houses out to sea. The most destructive earthquake-related event in Newfoundland’s history, the disaster killed twenty-eight people and left hundreds more homeless or destitute. It took days for the outside world to find out about the death and damage caused by the tsunami, which forever changed the lives of the inhabitants of the fishing outports along the Burin Peninsula.

Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning writer Linden MacIntyre was born near St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, one of the villages virtually destroyed by the tsunami. By the time of his birth, the cod-fishing industry lay in ruins and the village had become a mining town. MacIntyre’s father, lured from Cape Breton to Newfoundland by a steady salary, worked in St. Lawrence in an underground mine that was later found to be radioactive. Hundreds of miners would die; hundreds more would struggle through shortened lives profoundly compromised by lung diseases ranging from silicosis and bronchitis to cancer. As MacIntyre says, though the tsunami killed twenty-eight people in 1929, it would claim hundreds if not thousands more lives in the decades to follow. And by the time the village returned to its roots and set up as a cod fishery once again, the stocks in the Grand Banks had plummeted and St. Lawrence found itself once again on the brink of disaster, The Wake is a major new work by one of this country’s top writers.

With his incredible gifts as a storyteller, MacIntyre brings history to life with a cast of remarkable characters. The Wake is a major new work by one of this country’s top writers.
Date: Monday December 9, 2019 (Limited seats available)
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: The Edible Story
320 Richmond Street East #105, Toronto
Fee: $175 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Wake sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810


MARCH 2020

MARJORIE CELONA: HOW A WOMAN BECOMES A LAKE
MARJORIE CELONA: HOW A WOMAN BECOMES A LAKETo kick the spring season off, Bonnie is pleased to welcome Marjorie Celona, one of Canada’s most exciting new writers. Marjorie is no stranger to critical and award acclaim, having been nominated for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize and winning France’s Grand Prix Litteraire de l’Heroine for her debut novel Y.

Marjorie makes her first visit to the Book Club to launch her long-awaited new novel How a Woman Becomes a Lake, a powerful tale told in taut illuminating prose which asks: what do you do when the people who are supposed to love you the most fail?

It's New Year's Day and the residents of a small fishing town are ready to start their lives anew. Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk with her dog along the lake, leaving her husband in bed with a hangover.

But she never returns. She places a call to the police saying she's found a boy in the woods, but the call is cut short by a muffled cry. Did one of Leo's sons see Vera? What are they hiding from the police? And why are they so scared of their own father?

In the months ahead, Vera's absence sets off a chain of reverberating events in Whale Bay. Her apathetic husband succumbs to grief. Leo heads south and remarries. And the cop investigating the case falls for Leo's ex-wife but finds himself slipping further away from the truth.

Told from shifting perspectives, How a Woman Becomes a Lake is about childhood, familial bonds, new beginnings, and costly mistakes. It is going to generate a lot of conversation.
Date: Monday March 23, 2020
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: To be announced
Fee: $175 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of How a Woman Becomes a Lake sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810



Book Club Location
 
The edible story
The Edible Story1
The Edible Story2
The Edible Story3
The Edable Story5
The Edible Storyx

The Edible Story
This cooking school, catering company and event space is the perfect place for our themed book club. Owners/chefs Alanna Fleischer and Brian Cheng will create a menu to suit.

320 Richmond Street East #105
Toronto

(Entrance on Sherbourne)
647 278 1819

www.theediblestory.com

Corporate Services

Corporate culinary events are a great way to host a corporate function. Great food always brings co-workers and staff together. People have fun, learn a lot and take home delicious memories.

Events are customized to meet your location, schedule, objectives and food preferences. Bonnie works with nutritionists, food producers, restaurants, etiquette experts and authors to create exciting programs.

All events will be planned and hosted by Bonnie personally.

Corporate Cooking Class
Private Cooking Class

 

Bonnie Stern has worked with various food manufacturers, grocery chains, restaurants, chefs, health professionals as well as cookware manufacturers, etc., offering a wide variety of corporate services, such as:

Corporate culinary events
Corporate family dinners
Market Tours
Recipe development
Private cooking classes
Product consultation
Menu consulting for parties
Fundraising events

For detailed information,
please call: 416 484 4810

Bonnie's Cookbooks
 
Appetizers
Appetizers
A very special collection of over 150 mouth-watering recipes including soups, spreads, salads, hors d'oeuvre, pastas and much more. Complete with presentation, entertaining, menu planning tips and over 50 detailed illustrations.

Published by Random House of Canada, 1990, 176 pages, paperback

$22.95
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
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

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
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
Cuisiner au goût du cœur
Cuisiner au gout du coeur
Published by Trecarre, 2006, 512 pages

$18.98 
News And Events
BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOP
BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOPIn this workshop Bonnie will show you everything you need to know to make the most delicious and beautiful braided challah. Everyone will have a chance to make challah dough, knead the dough and get to know the perfect texture at each stage. You will learn to make braids with 3, 4 and 6 strands and also round braided breads. You will learn about ingredients and all the tricks and tips you need for success.

This very popular workshop includes coffee and snacks, a delicious lunch or dinner, printed recipes, all ingredients and lots of fun. And best of all - you'll take home your own challah on Bonnie's favourite quarter sheet pan to bake for your family and friends.

Please Note: As with all our classes and workshops, right now we are only offering this to groups (groups of ten with one person organizing the group).

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Bonnie’s Challah Workshop to bonnie@bonniestern.com

ITALIAN ALL THE TIME
ITALIAN ALL THE TIMEI am always hungry for Italian food. It is so delicious, so user friendly and everyone loves it.

This dinner class will feature some of my favourite Italian recipes for pasta, risotto, Giuliano Bugialli’s crispy baked chicken with lemon sauce, and a special dessert.

Please Note: As with all our classes and workshops, right now we are only offering this to groups (groups of ten with one person organizing the group).

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Italian All the Time to bonnie@bonniestern.com

 “Everyone was impressed by the professional cooking lesson in such a warm, comfortable atmosphere, like being in a friend’s kitchen.” Jeanne Bullock
ISRAELI FAMILY DINNER
ISRAELI FAMILY DINNERIsraeli food is what everyone wants to eat right now. Come and learn the ingredients and flavours that make it so popular. Israel is an immigrant country and Israeli cuisine is a delicious mash-up of food and flavours from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Workshop includes appetizers on arrival, lunch or dinner, recipes and lots of fun.

Please Note: As with all our classes and workshops, right now we are only offering this to groups (groups of ten with one person organizing the group).

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Israeli Family Dinner to bonnie@bonniestern.com

“What a wonderful night at your kitchen. I am just so thrilled that I finally got to experience your Israeli dinner class. As usual, your classes always go beyond my expectations.” Cathy MacCallum

Restaurant Recommendations and More
TORONTO
Gordy Smiles
224 Ossington Avenue
(at Dundas)
Toronto
647 350 4400

 

Exciting that we were able to try Anthony Rose’s new Mexican taco place right when it opened. It was delicious, and because some items have changed since the opening, we are looking forward to going back to try all the new things too!
Moderate
Favourites Thai BBQ
141 Ossington Avenue
Toronto
(Reserve online)

 

We all loved our dinner here. When you enter off Ossington there is a kind of secret hallway past the kitchen and into the dining room. This is the third success for Jonathan Poon and Jesse Fader of Paris Paris and Superpoint. And it was super busy even on a Monday night. We loved the grilled Thai sausage, the lamb chops, pineapple appetizer snack and everything else.
Moderate
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
691 Bloor Street West
Toronto
416 537 0972
Bloor and Bathurst is the home to many good Korean restaurants and this is a delicious one. It has a limited menu so three of us ordered three different things to share – Bibimbap (no problem to order a vegetarian version), Soon Tofu with Dumplings and BBQ Beef with Hot Stone Pot Rice. It was all terrific.
Reasonable
Sukhothai
1442 Dundas Street West
Toronto
416 792 2432
I love Chef Nuit Regular’s Royal Thai food at Kiin but also loved my first visit to Sukhothai, her much more casual restaurant on Dundas Street West. Even standard Thai dishes like Pad Thai and Green Curry Chicken are special here.
Reasonable
Aburi Tora
Yorkdale Shopping Centre
3401 Dufferin Street
612B
Toronto
Craving the grilled cheese sandwich at Restoration Hardware, I was sad it was totally booked and couldn’t accommodate us. But the good news is we found a new, delicious and exciting sushi restaurant across the hall - Aburi Tora. You can sit at the counter where your order comes flying down the conveyer belt when it's ready and stops right in front of you. It was delicious and fun - once we got the hang of it. My new go-to restaurant at Yorkdale.
Moderate
By The Way
400 Bloor Street West
Toronto
416 967 4295
When By the Way opened in the late 70’s, we used to exercise at the YMHA at Bloor and Spadina almost everyday, and often treated ourselves afterwards to frozen yogurt. It was a new concept then and in my memory, still the best frozen yogurt I have ever had.  Since then (actually many years ago), the restaurant moved on to a more Mediterranean/Middle Eastern focus and is now a neighbourhood hotspot and a destination for people going to Hot Docs. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a real homestyle feel. At dinner, as well as the regular menu, they recently introduced more adventurous specials that change daily and are very popular.
Moderate
Il Covo
585 College Street
Toronto
416 530 7585
One of my favourite restaurants in Toronto. The food is so delicious, the wines and cocktails are great and service is so lovely - professional but friendly and warm. This time we had the roasted ricotta in brodo; orecchiette with swordfish, preserved tomatoes and cardoons; fish and clams with butter, basil and bergamot; lasagne with ground meat, cheese and fennel; and roasted duck breast with sweet potatoes and hazelnuts. For dessert we shared the rum baba with pistachio cream. Perfect.
Moderate
Featured Recipes
ANNA'S QUINOA SALAD FOR TRAVELLING
  • 1 cup quinoa*
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered*
  • 1 cup cooked corn off the cob or frozen and defrosted*
  • 1 cup frozen peas*
  • 1 cup roasted diced sweet potatoes, carrots or squash
  • 1 cup cooked chick peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, dill or parsley (or a combination)
  • 2 tbsp each sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • 3 to 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt + more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ANNA'S QUINOA SALAD FOR TRAVELLINGIf you are travelling this holiday, my daughter Anna has the perfect dish to take on an airplane. It is gluten-free, vegan and doesn't offend anyone sitting nearby. Add or subtract anything you like or don't like.

    *Quinoa is sometimes bitter. Read the package directions and if it says to rinse it before cooking, place it in a sieve and rinse it a few times with cold water. Some cooks rinse it even if the package says it is pre-rinsed.

    *If using cherry tomatoes squeeze out the seeds and juices so the salad doesn't get extra soggy.

    *Defrost frozen corn or peas by covering them with boiling water for 2 minutes, draining and patting dry.


    Method:

    1. Place quinoa in a medium sized saucepan and cover with boiling water. Bring back to the boil, cover and cook gently 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to cool.

    2. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, corn, peas, sweet potatoes, chick peas, cilantro, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Add the quinoa and toss gently.

    3. Add 3 tbsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice, salt and olive oil.

    Makes about 5 to 6 cups

    SICILIAN CAPONATA
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + more if needed
  • 2 lbs eggplant, preferably round or regular, skin on, cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced 1/2" thick
  • 16 cippoline onions, peeled and quartered through the stem or halved or left whole if small (or other small-ish onions)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste, optional
  • 1 cup pureed cooked or canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano*
  • 1/2 cup each black and green olives, pitted and crushed a bit
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp good red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • SICILIAN CAPONATA

    This delicious Sicilian mixture of vegetables is perfect to have on hand at the holidays. Make a big batch and serve it as an appetizer with crusty bread. I based this version on one I learned at Maria Grammarian's La Scuola de Cucina in Trapani where they served it as a salad. It's also makes a delicious pasta sauce or topping for grilled or roasted fish. This will keep about one to two weeks in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

    *I puree a 28oz tin San Marzano tomatoes, use one cup and freeze the rest



    Method:

    1. Heat oil in a large deep skilled on medium high heat. Add eggplant, in batches if necessary, and cook 10 to 15 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove eggplant to a large bowl. Add more oil to pan if necessary.

    2. Add celery to pan and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until partially tender and golden brown. Add to eggplant.

    3. Add onions to pan and cook 10 to 15 minutes until tender and brown. Stir in tomato paste. Add celery and eggplant back to pan along with tomato puree, olives and capers. Add 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook gently 10 minutes.

    4. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan (or in a glass measuring cup in the microwave) just to dissolve the sugar. Add to vegetables and stir in well.

    5. Add parsley and cool. Season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

    Makes approximately 6 cups

    BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK PANCAKES
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or half whole grain)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk*
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted and a bit more for the pan
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries or frozen fruit or chopped fresh pears
  • Maple syrup and icing sugar
  • BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

    If you have guests staying over during the holidays or want a special family breakfast, you can't miss with pancakes. Use frozen blueberries (from the frozen state) but diced fresh pears or bananas are also delicious. It is better to press the fruit into the uncooked side of the pancakes rather than stirring into the batter so that the fruit is distributed evenly and in the case of frozen blueberries - it does not discolour the batter as much.

    *If you do not have buttermilk you can make a substitute by placing 2 tbsp plain vinegar in a 4 cup measure and adding enough milk to reach the 2 1/2 cup mark. Or use 2 cups yogurt thinned out with 1/2 cup milk.



    Method:
    1. In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

    2. In another bowl whisk eggs with buttermilk and melted butter.

    3. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined - batter should be thick and lumpy. Do not overmix.

    4. Brush one or two 10" (approx) non-stick skillets with butter and heat until melted. Add about 1/2 cup batter for each pancake. After about one minute press a some frozen blueberries into each pancake. Cook a few minutes on the first side until browned, flip and cook second side until browned and pancake is cooked through (pancake will be a little thick so be sure to check it is cooked through).

    5. Meanwhile warm up the remaining fruit in some maple syrup and serve over pancakes. dusted with icing sugar.
     
    Makes about 8 medium sized pancakes
    POTATO LATKES (PANCAKES)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled if necessary and cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup cornflake crumbs, matzah meal or potato starch
  • 1/2 cup unflavoured vegetable oil or more if necessary


  • toppings:
  • applesauce or sour cream or yogurt
  • POTATO LATKES (PANCAKES)Potato pancakes are served at Hanukkah and are one of the most delicious and popular Jewish foods. They are eaten at Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days although there was only enough to last for one. I like to have latkes as a meal so I can eat lots without feeling too guilty but many people serve them as a side dish or appetizer. There are many kinds of latkes now made with other root vegetables - use half potatoes and half any other vegetable you like (eg sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips). Latkes are also delicious for brunch - make them larger and top with smoked salmon and a fried egg.

    Method:
    1. Place onions in a food processor fitted with the main blade and chop. Add eggs and blend. Add salt and pepper.

    2. Add potato chunks and process on/off until potatoes are chopped fairly evenly. (You can also use half chopped potatoes and half grated potatoes.) add cornflake crumbs, matzah meal or potato starch and combine briefly. Transfer to a large bowl.

    3. Heat oil on medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add batter by the tablespoon and gently flatten with the back of the spoon. Add the latkes in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Cook a few minutes until brown and crisp, flip and cook second side. When ready, remove to a rack set over a sheet pan. Repeat until all batter is used. Remove and discard any bits of batter in oil as best you can between batches and add more oil if necessary.

    4. Serve with applesauce, sour cream or yogurt or all three for people to choose.

    Makes about 20 latkes
    MY FAVOURITE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
  • 2 cups salted butter
  • 1 cup fruit sugar*
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • MY FAVOURITE SHORTBREAD COOKIESWhat better recipe represents the holidays than shortbread?

    To shape the cookies, as seen in the photo, I used an old cookie press that Lillian Kaplun, a beloved Toronto cooking teacher, invented many years ago. It was inspired by the pattern on her potato masher. They are almost impossible to find now so use the bottom of your own potato masher, if appropriate, or the bottom of a glass or a fork – dipped in flour or sugar to prevent sticking.

    *Fruit sugar is sometimes called instant blending sugar or caster sugar. You can buy it or make your own by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.

    Note: I have also made these successfully with Cup4Cup gluten-free flour. Use 3 ¾ cups to replace the all-purpose flour and the rice flour.


    Method:
    1. Cut butter into chunks and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat butter until light. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat until creamy.

    2. In a large bowl whisk all-purpose flour with rice flour until well combined. Add to butter mixture and stir in by hand or on low speed just until flour is incorporated.

    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down with a cookie press, bottom of a glass or a potato masher if it has an interesting pattern on the bottom. Dip into sugar or flour to prevent sticking.

    4. Bake in a preheated 300F oven 25 to 35 minutes or until very lightly browned but still very pale. Cool on racks.

    Makes about 60 cookies
    CARAMELIZED PEARS WITH TIRAMISU CREAM
  • 4 ripe but firm pears (I like Bosc pears for this)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, optional
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced


  • filling:
  • 1/2 cup well-drained ricotta cheese or mascarpone
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Marsala wine or dark rum or strong coffee
  • 2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate
  • bunch of fresh mint
  • icing sugar
  • CARAMELIZED PEARS WITH TIRAMISU CREAM

    Here's a way to indulge, just a little, in tiramisu the fantastically rich and delicious Italian dessert. The caramelized pears are wonderful on their own or over ice cream, angel food cake, meringues and will make your morning oatmeal so special. The tiramisu cream can be served on raw or cooked fruit or with any plain cake or cookie.

    Note: If using a vanilla bean with the pears, when the pears are finished, rinse the vanilla bean, allow to dry on a paper towel and then add to your sugar canister. Your sugar will be gently infused with vanilla and you can remove and use the bean a few times.



    Method:
    1. Cut pears in half lengthwise. Scoop out cores - a melon baller works well for that. I like to leave the stems attached but trim the ends.

    2. Sprinkle sugar over the bottom of a large skillet that will hold the pears in one layer. Place pan on medium high heat and when sugar begins to melt and just starts turning brown, add pears, cut side down in a single layer as much as possible. Add vanilla bean between the pears and place lemon slices on top. Cook until sugar browns (don't let it burn), reduce heat and cook 10 minutes. (If you think sugar is burning add a few tablespoons water.) Cover the pan. Remove from heat and allow pears to rest 30 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Place the cheese in a small mixing bowl. Sift icing sugar through a strainer into the cheese and combine. Add vanilla and Marsala if using. Place chocolate in the strainer and shake out the chocolate dust (that would discolour the cheese) and add the little pieces of chocolate to the cheese.

    4. Just before serving, line a platter with sprigs of mint. Arrange pears cut side up on mint. Spoon about 1 tbsp filling into each pear. Dust with icing sugar.

    Makes 8 servings
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