Bonnie Stern Food News
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Contents

Bonnie's Book Club

News and Events

Bonnie's Cookbooks

Toronto Take Out
Recommendations

Bonnie's Local
Food Markets

Featured Recipes

Contact

Bonnie Stern

Phone: 416 484 4810

Email:
bonnie@bonniestern.com

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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.

 

August 2020

With Toronto's restrictions and caution regarding social gatherings easing up slightly, I recently hosted dinner in the backyard for three guests. It was like I had never had anyone over for dinner before. I'm guessing some (or maybe all) of you may be feeling that way too! Particularly if you, like me, have turned into a bit of a recluse. I'm okay with that though, because I will always err on the side of caution.

This dinner I hosted was a learning experience. And the social distancing was the least of it! We have a very long table in the backyard so keeping our distance wasn't a problem and everything looks so lush and beautiful this year that I didn't need to do much decorating - but I couldn't even think of how to set the table. Or how to serve the challah; whether to plate the food in the kitchen? to cook with gloves on? a mask? to carry everything plated outside? whether to offer leftovers? and yes, what about the bathroom?

No one can guarantee a completely safe space but there are many things you can do to lower the level of risk. From my experience, talking to friends and the reading I have been doing about entertaining during these uncertain times (unfortunately AFTER hosting this dinner) I thought I would share some ideas on how to have a backyard dinner, keeping risk in mind - see Outdoor Dinner Party below.

I am still posting recipes and restaurant recommendations on Instagram so follow me on Instagram You will also be able to click on three episodes of Bonnie's backyard produced by Mark Rupert.

The restaurant business is hard all the time and even harder now. To learn more about how hard hit it has been, read Corey Mintz's article here in Walrus Magazine. It's an eye-opener. Support your local restaurants and markets.

Bonnie's Book Club update:
We are dreaming about an exciting new idea for those of you (and me) who love our book club. We will be announcing soon so watch out for it.

Thanks for all your support, comments and messages on social media. It has lifted my spirits through this time. Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay safe,

Bonnie

PS: I heard that some people did not receive my July newsletter and if that's the case for you, let me know and we will send it to you.



Kitchen Tip
OUTDOOR DINNER PARTY
OUTDOOR DINNER PARTYHere are some tips I'd like to share after hosting my first 'new normal' outdoor dinner party. It seems like a lot of work. But it gets easier and personally, I think it's worth it to be together. Even if it is the new together.

It's a learning curve and I don't have all the answers. Please let me know your tips for getting together with minimal risk.


PLAN AHEAD
- Make lists. Plan your menu and how you are going to serve it. But remember to look at the list (I made the list but didn't look at it and forgot the frittata!).
- When planning your menu, remember HOW to serve the food is more important than what you are serving. Plan your menu around the service not the food.
- Start with a small group, as it will be easier to figure out the logistics.
- Be sure you have enough space for distancing. When you invite people, let them know who else is coming, how many people, that dinner will be shorter than usual (1½ to 2 hours at the most) and that dinner will be cancelled if it rains.
- Clarify rules of social distancing, mask wearing, sanitizer use, gloves (if applicable) and the bathroom situation up front. Have masks, hand sanitizer and anything else you'd like guests to have just in case they don't bring them.
- Don't be upset with anyone who chooses not to accept your invitation.
- It doesn't have to be fancy, and you don't have to serve as much food or as much variety as you usually do. Keep it simple.
- If you don't have a big table set up a few smaller ones.
- Have tape and a marker handy to label glasses, tongs and cutlery, etc.
- If you have different coloured or patterned napkins each person could have their own set of cutlery wrapped in a different napkin so they don’t get mixed up.
- Single servings plated by one person in the kitchen works well or you can serve family style for people in the same bubble.
- If you want people to help themselves food on skewers is a great idea and you could also give each guest their own labelled small tongs to take their own food with.
- If you do want to serve family style outside only one person should use the serving utensils. That way guests can say what and how much they would like.
- Single serving desserts are the best way to go. If you want to serve ice cream on top (a fruit crisp or berries or even just ice cream - scoop out the ice cream earlier, place it on a tray in a single layer and freeze. Then it is all ready to serve and you don't have to fight with a frozen container.
- It is better to nix candles on a birthday cake but the birthday person can still make a wish.
- Serve a cocktail, wine or beer. Not too much. It seems that the amount of alcohol is directly related to the amount of physical distancing...
- And then there's the bathroom issue. If you do not have an indoor bathroom close to your backyard or if you do not feel comfortable having people use it, let people know and plan for a short dinner. If you do have a bathroom option be sure to have hand sanitizer, paper towels, and disinfectant wipes for guests to use. Put directions up in the washroom of what you expect (eg. masks must be worn inside the house, lower the toilet seat cover before flushing, use the paper towels and wipes provided and discard in the garbage not in the toilet, etc).



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
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
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 
HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends
HeartSmart Cooking
for Family and Friends
Featuring nine entertaining menus (over 200 recipes) with complete work plans, presentation ideas and wine suggestions, as well as complete nutritional analysis for each recipe, plus the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Food Choice Values. Colour photos and black and white instructional illustrations throughout.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2000, 320 pages, paperback

$28.95
Recevoir au goût du cœur: recettes, menus et conseils pour des réunions de famille et d’amis
Recevoir au gout du coeur:
recettes, menus et conseils pour des réunions de famille et d’amis

Published by Trecarre, 2000, 320 pages, paperback

$29.95
News And Events
COOKING CLASSES
COOKING CLASSESI am doing Zoom cooking classes for private groups so let me know if you are interested. Of course, I love to feed people so it's not exactly the same, but it’s fun and I love the connection.

 

 

 

A few of the popular themes are:

Challah Workshop

Italian All the Time

Israeli Family Dinner

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

Here are two upcoming open Zoom cooking events you can join.

COOKING WITH HERBS WORKSHOP
COOKING WITH HERBS WORKSHOPA Cook-along Zoom cooking class. Featuring live demos of two recipes along with lots of hints and tips as Bonnie shows you how to cook for optimum success.

 

 

 

Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Time: 3 pm
Fee: $10
For more information and to register:
click Cooking with Herbs

CHALLAH WORKSHOP FOR ROSH HASHANAH
CHALLAH WORKSHOP FOR ROSH HASHANAHChallah: The Shape of Things to Come with Rabbi Goldstein and Bonnie Stern. A braid-along workshop on easy to intricate round challahs, the history and meaning of the round High Holiday shape, and other ideas to make this year's Rosh Hashana feel “haimish” and special. Proceeds to Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund of City Shul for charitable projects.

Bonnie’s challah recipe will be shared beforehand to registrants and techniques will be shown at the workshop.

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Time: 7:30 pm
Fee: $15 per screen
To Register: click Challah workshop

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTUREWe had a magical 10th anniversary Eating Israel Culinary Tour. Normally by now our February 2021 tour would be planned, information sent out and almost fully booked, but of course, these are not normal times. For now, we are postponing that tour and we will let you know once air travel resumes and it feels safe.

On this last trip, as well as all our culinary events, market tours, cooking classes and chef meals, we held our first international book club event. It was held at a wonderful restaurant, Eucalyptus, in Jerusalem with Matti Friedman, New York Times columnist and author or Spies of No Country. Matti was amazing and gave us insight into Israeli politics as well as the history behind his book.

Send me an email to be on our culinary tour mailing list if you are interested (and not already on the list).

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

FOGO ISLAND AND ST JOHN’S BOOK CLUB
FOGO ISLAND AND ST JOHN’S BOOK CLUBWe were in the middle of planning a book club at Fogo Island Inn with a stop in St. John’s when the shut down occurred. We have postponed the trip for now but continue to plan for the time it can take place. Fogo Island Inn has just been rated #3 in the Top Hotels in the World by Travel and Leisure Magazine. If you have always wanted to go to Newfoundland the combination of 2 days in St. John’s, including dinner at Raymonds, and 3 days on Fogo Island, staying at Fogo Island Inn, will be perfect. We will also be including 2 to 3 book club events, tours, classes and wonderful meals.

If you are interested in receiving information once it is available, email me. Everyone on our Food Tour list will receive information about the travelling book clubs as well.

Restaurant Recommendations and More
TORONTO TAKE-OUT
Pukka Pukka
2633 Yonge Street
Toronto
416 293 2600
Pukka, one of my favourite Indian restaurants, has a little sister. Their take-out food is as delicious as if you were eating at one of the restaurants. They have a similar, but not as complete, menu as Pukka on St. Clair but all our favoruites were there – Sweet Potato Samosas, Pumpkin Curry, Butter Chicken or Tandoori chicken, butter naan and a new one that was amazing – brisket! They will deliver or you can pick-up.
Moderate
Isaan Der Thai Kitchen
2013 Yonge Street
Toronto
647 454 4629
This is a north branch of the popular spot on Dundas Street West. Very delicious and reasonably priced, with all the favourites like pad Thai, green or red curry chicken and pad see ew, a dish of wide, flat, rice noodles that I particularly like.
Moderate
Vit Beo
58 Bloor Street West
Toronto
vitbeo.com
We love Vietnamese food and Anna ordered the vegan dumplings, braised beef noodles and chicken wings which she reported back were all great. Take-out and delivery to certain areas.
Moderate
Dandylion
1198 Queen Street West
Toronto
647 464 9100
I have had many delicious meals at Dandylion on Queen W but their take-out menu that Anna tried was especially imaginative and reasonably priced for such a wonderful restaurant.
Moderate
Dynasty Chinese Cuisine
69 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto
416 923 3323

 

We hadn’t had dim sum for months so it was so exciting to have it from one of our favourite spots Dynasty. We had shrimp dumplings; bbq buns; sticky rice; sautéed greens and beef with rice noodles.Pick up or delivery.
Moderate
Jack and Lil’s
St. Clair Commissary
684 St. Clair Avenue West
(rear laneway off Humewood Drive)
647 347 7459
www.jackandlils.com
Jack and Lil’s is hidden in the cutest garage behind 684 St. Clair Avenue West. There is always something new along with their fan favourites and their many gluten-free baked goods. I finally tried their version of South Africa’s favourite sandwich – chicken mayo. The chicken is cooked sous vide in chimicurri, with roasted garlic aioli on housemade South African seed bread and grilled. What a sandwich.
Moderate
Don Pollo
419 College Street
Toronto
donpollo.ambassador.ai
Mark said the new fire-grilled, take-out chicken from Chef Grant Van Gameren is a big step up from rotisserie chicken. He said the family meals are great value and loved the potatoes, grilled pineapple, salsas and of course the chicken!
Delivery available and a discount if you pick it up.
Moderate
Khao San Road
11 Charlotte Street
Toronto
647 352 5773 #1
Khao San Road is considered one of the best Thai restaurants in the city. It lived up to its reputation when we ordered it for a family dinner. Everything was so delicious, even the leftovers - red curry chicken; pad Thai; pad see ew; fresh rolls with chicken sausage and khao soy.
Pickup or delivery. Order by phone at 5pm.
Moderate
United Bakers Dairy Restaurant
506 Lawrence Ave. West
(in Lawrence Plaza)
Toronto
416 789 0519
unitedbakers.ca
UB, as it is known by regulars, and there are so many regulars, has always had great take-out. You can pick up or have it delivered. I love the split pea soup with noodles, the smoked whitefish salad is outstanding, the tuna salad can’t be beat, blintzes like my mom made, Greek salad, latkes, grilled cheese – I could go on and on. It is a dairy restaurant (fish and vegetarian).
Moderate
The Edible Story
320 Richmond St. East #105
(the entrance is actually on the east side of Sherbourne north of Richmond)
Toronto
647 350 7707
theediblestory.com
This catering company and event space (where I have hosted many book clubs) has started doing take-out and it is one of the best dinners you can order. It arrives like a big surprise gift and it’s so exciting to open. They have different rotating themes like taco night, shawarma, main course salads, poke bowls etc. We had the taco box – so beautiful, delicious and plentiful.
Moderate
Fat Pasha
414 Dupont Street
Toronto
fatpasha.com
We ordered a pasha family meal and it was amazing. The special that week was lamb ribs and they really were phenomenal. Delivery or curbside pickup as well as patio dining.
Moderate
Big Crow BBQ
176 Dupont Street
Toronto
roseandsonsbigcrow.com
The menu we all love at Big Crow is back. Everyone wants comfort food and it’s at its best here. Anna had her favourites and said they were better than ever - JW chicken and baby back ribs were just the start.
Moderate
BONNIE'S LOCAL FOOD MARKETS
Fresh Harvest
546 Eglinton Avenue W.
Toronto
416 487 0388
This wonderful Italian fruit and vegetable market has been my go-to neighbourhood shop for years. They carry many organic shelf items as well and a large selection of Italian pastas and cheese. Delivery and curbside pick-up available.
Dave Young
Fruit Market

494 Eglinton Ave West
Toronto
416 489 1118
Another terrific fruit and vegetable market in our neighbourhood. As well as fruits and vegetables, they have a large selection of flowers and plants and also carry many Jewish and Asian sauces, ingredients and noodles that are otherwise hard to find nearby.
Cumbrae’s
(multiple locations)
1591 Bayview Avenue
Toronto
416 485 5620
Cumbrae’s has been my go-to butcher for over twenty years. They are farmers, butchers and chefs and have top quality meat and prepared foods. (They also have a location on Queen St. W. and in Dundas Ont.)  In store shopping for limited numbers or call in your order for pick up.
Avenue Seafood
1751 Avenue Road
Toronto
416 783 2288
This has been my go-to fish store also for many years. Their fresh fish and seafood is reliable and they carry my favourite double smoked salmon from New Brunswick –  Wolfhead smoked salmon.
Ambrosia
1725 Avenue Road
Toronto
647 748 1725
This is a meticulous health food store with knowledgeable, friendly service. They carry my favourite Organic Meadow regular and lactose free dairy products – I especially love their milk and yogurt.
Ararat
1800 Avenue Road
Toronto
416 782 5722
This small store is very deceptive. Owned by Peter and Aurora for 50 years,  it contains all the Middle Eastern (and more) ingredients you could ever need.
Featured Recipes
MINI CAULIFLOWER CAKE
  • 1 small cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lbs), trimmed and broken into 1" to 1 1/2" florets
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil - divided
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion (or regular onion), whole, skin removed
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup grated smoked Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley, dill or basil)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds, optional
  • MINI CAULIFLOWER CAKEI have been making a version of this Ottolenghi cauliflower cake since I first saw it in 'Plenty More'. Last year I made it as a surprise birthday cake for my wonderful hair colourist, Kimiko (at the wonderful Mateus Hair), because she doesn't like sweets and it looks so festive and cake-ish. She told me this was the best birthday 'cake' she had ever had and I should share it for people who want cake but don't like sweets. So here's a delicious brunch dish and also a great birthday cake for people who don't like sweets! (Is there anyone else who doesn't like sweets?)

    This is a mini version - about half the recipe made in a 6" springform pan. (Double it for a 9" pan but only use 8 eggs.) If you are making this in a springform scrunch up a large piece of parchment paper and press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan so that the eggs cannot run out if the pan leaks.



    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line the bottom and up the sides of a 6" springform pan or 6" deep square pan with parchment paper. Butter well and sprinkle sides with sesame and nigella seeds.

    2. Toss cauliflower with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast 30 to 35 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.

    3. While cauliflower is baking, thinly slice onion and reserve about ten of the smallest rings for the top of the cake. Dice the remaining onion. Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and cook chopped onion gently until tender and fragrant. Cool.

    4. In a mixing bowl whisk eggs with salt, pepper, flour, baking powder and turmeric. Stir in cooked onions, cheese and cilantro. Stir in roasted cauliflower. Pour into prepared pan, arrange rings of onions on top and press in slightly. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until puffed and browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

    Makes 3 to 4 servings
    DECONSTRUCTED GREEK SALAD
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters if large
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, 2 sliced into rounds or diced and 2 very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 4 oz feta cheese, sliced or diced
  • 2 cups chopped crunchy lettuce


  • dressing:
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or more taste
  • optional fresh herbs: 1 tbsp each fresh parsley, mint, oregano, cilantro and/or chives
  • DECONSTRUCTED GREEK SALADThis beautiful way to serve Greek salad, in a cucumber basket, is an idea from Leonie Eidinger, who works with me often, when there is no pandemic.

    Method:

    1. Arrange salad ingredients separately in individual serving bowls.

    2. Surround salad with long slices of cucumber as shown in the photo.

    3. For the dressing whisk lemon juice with garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil. Drizzle on salad and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

    Makes 4 servings.

    KATE KRADER’S SALTED FUDGE BROWNIES
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 oz unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa, sifted after measuring
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup gf flour)
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon salt
  •  KATE KRADER’S SALTED FUDGE BROWNIESWhen I saw Kate Krader's brownie recipe in Food and Wine Magazine, I had to try them. I know Kate Krader and trust her taste. Afterall she is the food editor at Bloomberg Pursuits. These brownies are so easy to make and so delicious you will never buy brownies again!

    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9" buttered square baking pan with parchment paper to come up above at least two opposite sides.

    2. Place butter and chocolate in a medium sized saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring, just until melted. Remove from heat.

    3. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Whisk in sugar - it will be thick. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking in until smooth. Whisk in flour and then vanilla.

    4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Spread evenly. Sprinkle with salt. With a knife, swirl salt into batter.

    5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set around the sides and still a little soft in the middle. Cool on a rack for at least an hour. For easy cutting, refrigerate at least one hour to overnight. Remove from pan.

    Makes 16 to 36 brownies depending on size you like

    4 INGREDIENT BANANA SOFT SERVE
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into 2" chunks, frozen
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or yogurt
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey), to taste


  • suggesting toppings: (optional)
  • chocolate or caramel sauce
  • sliced bananas
  • chopped chocolate
  • 4 INGREDIENT BANANA SOFT SERVEThis is the perfect antidote to a hot summer day. I love soft serve anytime but especially when it is hot. This easy version is made with frozen fruit and very little sugar or cream so it is best to eat it when freshly made. That's why I like to make it in small batches. This is also great made with 1 cup frozen mango pieces, strawberries or raspberries. If you want this vegan, substitute tahini for the sour cream and coconut cream for the whipping cream.

    Method:

    1. Place frozen bananas in the food processor or super blender. Pulse on/off until chopped.

    2. Add sour cream, whipping cream and maple syrup. Pulse on/off again until almost pureed. Process until smooth.

    3. Scoop into two or three bowls (or one) and top with any of the suggested toppings.

    Make 2 to 3 servings (or one large)

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