Bonnie Stern Food News
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Contents

Bonnie's Book Club

Corporate Services

News and Events

Restaurant Recommendations

Bonnie's Cookbooks

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 over 30 years. She offers a wide variety of corporate services, cooking classes and unique book clubs where authors actually attend and dinner is included. Bonnie is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award.

 

December 2017

It was a bittersweet (but mostly sweet) welcome to the holiday season when our book club celebrated Stuart McLean and Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe. We had an evening of wonderful memories starting with Comedian Gavin Crawford's impersonations of Stuart from Gavin's days on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Stuart’s long-time editor Meg Masters presented a lovely and often funny account of working with Stuart. There were hysterical stories and songs from Denise Donlon and Murray McLauchlan. Scott Sellers and Nicole Winstanley from Penguin/Random House were the perfect hosts. And then we all had the most delicious Christmas dinner (yes, in November) at Big Crow complete with turkey and stuffin’ muffins that were so popular that I got the recipe from the chef and it is in our recipe section below.

And talking about our book clubs - I went to the launch of Beautiful Scars by celebrated musician, artist and writer Tom Wilson, our featured author for January. Tom is a rocker, fierce looking and larger than life, so I was totally unprepared by how down to earth, kind and sensitive he was. His new memoir, Beautiful Scars, has been heaped with praise in the last few weeks and I am sure the book club will be wonderful in many expected and unexpected ways. Listen to his amazing interview with Carol Off on CBC; read about him in the Toronto Star and the many other reviews of this book. See details below in the Book Club section.

If you love food and want to share your food security with people who don’t have any, make donations instead of buying gifts this holiday season. Here are a few ideas:

The Stop Community Food Centre
Community Food Centres Canada
Daily Bread Food Bank
Second Harvest
Food Share
Mazon Canada
Leket Canada

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@bonniestern) and on Facebook (Bonnie Stern) for some of my favourite new cook books everyday until December 24. Here's a start:

Sweet by Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi
Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah
Koenig
Lure by Ned Bell
Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark
Soup Sisters Family Cookbook edited by Sharon Hapton
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
King Solomon's Table by Joan Nathan

And last but not least, I want to take this opportunity to welcome all the new subscribers to this newsletter. After my last column in the National Post two weeks ago I received so many warm and lovely emails, phone calls and comments on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Thank you all for the wonderful support.

Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday and new year with friends and relatives and delicious food.

Bonnie

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 the country's leading authors, 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. 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.

JANUARY 2018

TOM WILSON: BEAUTIFUL SCARS
STEELTOWN SECRETS, MOHAWK SKYWALKERS
AND THE ROAD HOME
TOM WILSON: BEAUTIFUL SCARS<BR />STEELTOWN SECRETS, MOHAWK SKYWALKERS AND THE ROAD HOMEWe are very excited to welcome Tom Wilson, author, musician and artist, as our first guest in the new year. Tom Wilson was raised in the rough-and-tumble world of Hamilton - Steeltown - in the company of World War II vets, factory workers, fall-guy wrestlers and the deeply guarded secrets kept by his parents, Bunny and George. For decades Tom carved out a life for himself in shadows. He built an international music career and became a father, he battled demons and addiction, and he waited, hoping for the lies to cease and the truth to emerge. It would. And when it did, it would sweep up the St. Lawrence River to the Mohawk reserves of Quebec, on to the heights of the Manhattan skyline.

With a rare gift for storytelling and an astonishing story to tell, Tom writes with unflinching honesty and extraordinary compassion about his search for the truth. It’s a story about scars, about the ones that hurt us, and the ones that make us who we are.

Tom Wilson is a three-time Juno winning Canadian musician with multiple gold records. He has written for and recorded songs with Sarah McLachlan, City and Colour, Jason Isbell, Colin James, Lucinda Williams, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mavis Staples and The Rankin Family. His band Junkhouse has scored eleven top-ten hits, and his iconic, Americana-fuelled Blackie and the Rodeo Kings was widely publicized for its presence on George Bush’s iPod. Tom’s most recent incarnation, Lee Harvey Osmond, has received extensive praise and airplay throughout the United States, where he’s been touring for the last two years as a result. His art has shown in galleries in New York City, Vancouver, Toronto and more recently, Ottawa.

Date: Monday January 15, 2018
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: To be announced
Fee: 165 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of Beautiful Scars sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810


MARCH 2018

TOM RACHMAN: THE ITALIAN TEACHER
TOM RACHMAN: THE ITALIAN TEACHERWith the publication of his debut novel The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman emerged as one of the most exciting new novelists on the literary landscape. A devastatingly funny and perceptive look at the lives of journalists trying to keep an international newspaper afloat in Rome received rave reviews, and became a huge publishing success around the world.

Rachman followed the great success of his debut novel withThe Rise and Fall of Great Powers, the intricately woven story of a young woman’s remarkable journey around the globe to learn about her puzzling past. Once again, Rachman met with raves around the world.

In March, Bonnie is very pleased to welcome Tom Rachman to the Book Club as he makes a rare visit to Toronto to talk about his wise and moving new novel The Italian Teacher.

Rome, 1955. The artists gather for a picture at a party in an ancient villa. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast canvases, larger than life, is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.

From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly in his father's shadow, Pinch's attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.

A masterful, original examination of love, duty, art and fame, The Italian Teacher cements Tom Rachman as among this generation's most exciting literary voices.

Date: Monday March 19, 2018
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: To be announced
Fee: 165 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Italian Teacher sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810




Some of Our Book Club Locations
 
Big Crow x

Big Crow

We love the crazy deliciousness of Big Crow – Rose and Sons backyard bbq patio. It was so successful in the summer when it opened, they winterized it with walls, ceilings, heaters and blankets so it's now open all year.

176 Dupont Street
Toronto

(in the back of Rose and Sons)
647 748 3287

www.roseandsonsbigcrow.com

Fat Pasha Restaurant x

Fat Pasha

Everyone loves Chef Anthony Rose’s mash-up of Ashkenazi and Sephardi food that seems to explode with flavour.

“For a good time (and lots of food), head to Fat Pasha ... Lesson one of Fat Pasha: There’s always room for Fat Pasha’s chopped chicken liver. Which isn’t so different from lessons two through 47, really. I could easily find room for anything Fat Pasha makes.”Chris Nuttall-Smith, The Globe and Mail.

414 Dupont Street
Toronto
647 340 6142

www.fatpasha.com

Piano Piano Restaurant x

Piano Piano The Restaurant

An exciting location, we had the private room downstairs at Piano Piano (formerly Splendido). Chef/owner Victor Barry has switched up his elegant and innovative tasting menu for a more casual, but still innovative and delicious, approach.

88 Harbord Street
Toronto
416 929 7788

www.pianopianotherestaurant.com

Rose and Sons 2 x
Rose and Sons

It isn’t just me that loves Rose and Sons. The line-ups have become legendary at Rose’s cozy hip diner on Dupont.

176 Dupont Street
Toronto
647 748 3287


www.roseandsons.ca
Tabule on Queen Street East x

Tabule on Queen Street East

Tabule on Queen Street East is one of Bonnie’s favourite Toronto restaurants. Smart Middle Eastern decor, delicious exotic-flavoured food and professional friendly service makes this a great choice for our book clubs.

810 Queen Street East
Toronto
416 465 2500

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

$18.98 
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
News And Events
MASTERCLASS WITH WINEMAKER NORMAN HARDIE
MASTERCLASS WITH WINEMAKER NORMAN HARDIE

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Explore the celebrated wines of Ontario winemaker Norman Hardie in George Brown College’s newly renovated state-of-the wine lab. Hardie himself will lead the class through a discussion of the terroir, varietals, climates, and production methods that he uses on his vineyards to create his distinguished wines from Prince Edward County and Niagara Region.

Registration deadline Sunday December 10, 2017
For more information click Norman Hardie Masterclass

BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOP
BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOPChallah is the Jewish celebration bread that is enjoyed at every Friday night dinner except during Passover. You don't have to be Jewish to love challah and now challah is loved by many cultures and enjoyed all week in dishes like French Toast, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and many other favourites. Click here for a recent CTV Your Morning segment.

In 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 cinnamon buns, 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: Right now this workshop is for groups only but if you are interested in just one or two spots in an open registration class let me know and if I have enough people I will contact you.

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

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
CULINARY TOUR TO ISRAEL WITH BONNIE STERN <BR/ >FEBRUARY 27 TO MARCH 6, 2017Sunday February 25 - Tuesday March 6, 2018

Thanks so much for your quick response to this wonderful and delicious tour to Israel. This trip is now fully booked but we are taking a waitlist. For a look at this year’s itinerary click here.

And if you would like to be on our email list for our February 2019 Israel culinary trip (and other trips) please send your name, email and phone number, with subject line: Trips, to bonnie@bonniestern.com (if you are not already on the list)

For any questions contact Bonnie
bonnie@bonniestern.com
or 416 484 4810

 

Restaurant Recommendations and More
TORONTO, ONTARIO
DaiLo
503 College Street
Toronto
647 341 8882
At The Stop’s fundraising event at the AGO last month, the sweet and sour pork that DaiLo served was so delicious we had to go to the restaurant for more. Then at DaiLo everything else we had was delicious too – crispy octopus tacos, pumpkin dumplings and braised lamb neck rendang.

Moderate

Miku
10 Bay Street #105
Toronto
647 347 7347
Also at The Stop’s fundraising event last month, Miku had a booth serving their specialty - aburi salmon. We wanted more of that too. Ray and I remembered going to their sister restaurant a few years ago in Vancouver and loving it. This time in Toronto we had salmon, prawn and mackerel aburi (torched) sushi, red wave roll and the mochi dome for dessert. So delicious.

Moderate to Expensive

Kwan
1496 Yonge Street
Toronto
416 901 6618
Dim sum at Kwan is always good. It’s a great uptown location that’s still downtown-ish.

Moderate

The Gabardine
372 Bay Street
Toronto
647 352 3211
Open Monday to Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Gabardine is a cozy pub style restaurant that is reliable and always good.

Moderate

Brothers Food and Wine
1240 Bay Street
Toronto
416 804 6066
Named Toronto Life’s best restaurant of the year, I was a little late to the party - but I will catch up because my lunch was fantastic. I haven’t tasted pappardelle this delicious in a long time. If it is on the menu when you go don’t miss it and also the carpaccio with radicchio; beet salad and cherry pavlova. It’s a tiny place and very busy so reserve early. Located over the Bay and Bloor subway, the whole place shakes occasionally but after your first bite of food you won’t even notice.

Moderate

Mermaid Fish and Grill House
44 St. Clair Avenue East
Toronto
416 546 9158
This very casual Egyptian/Mediterranean restaurant serves perfectly cooked, fresh fish. You choose your fish, the seasonings and cooking method. We had delicious baba ganoush, Pharo style grilled sea bass and fried calarmari.

Reasonable to Moderate

Mary Be Kitchen
21B St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto
416 792 7596
I chanced upon this beautiful new Scandinavian-ish cafe at Yonge and St. Clair. I loved my turmeric ginger latte, my salted chocolate chip cookie and double chocolate tahini GF cookie so much I can’t wait to go back for a main meal. Everything on the menu was what I wanted to eat.

Moderate

Featured Recipes
TRADITIONAL POTATO LATKES (PANCAKES)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled if necessary and cut into pieces for grating
  • 1/3 cup potato flour or starch, GF flour, matzah meal or cornflake crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unflavoured vegetable oil or more if necessary


  • toppings:
  • applesauce, sour cream, yogurt, guacamole, smoked salmon
  • TRADITIONAL POTATO LATKES (PANCAKES)Potato latkes are one of the most beloved Jewish foods. They are eaten at Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the temple that burned for eight days although there was only enough to last for one. There are many kinds of latkes - cheese, meat, zucchini and other vegetables but potatoes are the most traditional for Jews with an Eastern European background (Ashkenaz). In Israel sufganiyot (donuts), also fried in oil are eaten to celebrate Hanukkah. And this year many people who don't want to fry foods are making olive oil based cakes to celebrate the miracle of the oil.

    Method:

    1. Place onions in a food processor fitted with the main blade and chop. Add eggs and blend. Add salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

    2. Replace work bowl on food processor (no need to wash) and fit with coarse cheese grating blade. Grate potatoes. In batches, press excess liquid out of potatoes with your hands, in a strainer or wring them out in a tea towel. Add to eggs in the bowl and mix well. Mix in potato starch.

    3. Shape batter into 20 to 24 patties. Heat oil on medium to medium-high heat, in a large skillet and gently add the latkes in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Flatten latkes if necessary with the back or a spoon or spatula. Cook until brown and crisp, flip and cook second side - about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on 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 and add more oil in between batches if necessary.

    4. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, yogurt, guacamole or smoked salmon.

    Makes 20 to 24 pancakes

    Baked Latkes: Place 2 tbsp oil in a 9"x13" baking dish or quarter sheet pan. Heat pan in a preheated 425F oven. Very carefully remove from oven and spread latke batter evenly over the pan. Return to oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until browned and crisp. If top isn't browning turn on the broiler but watch carefully! It should only take 1 to 3 minutes to brown (and then burn). Cut into squares.

    BEET, SWEET POTATO AND CARROT LATKES WITH MIDEAST FLAVOURS
  • 2 medium red beets (about 10oz, peeled if necessary) and halved
  • 4 medium carrots (about 8oz), peeled if necessary
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 12oz), peeled if necessary and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 cup chick pea flour or potato flour/starch (or cornstarch, rice flour or matzah meal)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pureed chipotle or other hot sauce (optional)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • BEET, SWEET POTATO AND CARROT LATKES WITH MIDEAST FLAVOURSThese Middle Eastern flavoured latkes (pancakes) are a delicious addition to Hanukkah menu or as a great appetizer any time. Drizzled with tahini.

    Method:

    1. With the grating disk of a food processor or by hand with a four-sided grater (the size grater that you would grate Cheddar not Parm), grate beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and onions. Combine together in a large bowl.

    2. In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cumin. In another bowl whisk together eggs, chipotle and cilantro.

    3. With your hands or a big spoon coat the vegetable shreds with the dry mixture. Then add eggs and coat vegetables well.

    4. Shape into approximately 24 thin (ish) patties. Heat 1/4 cup oil in one (or two skillets) and add patties. Flatten slightly if necessary. Cook 4 or 5 minutes or until browned, flip and cook the second side. Remove to a cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Continue until all patties have been cooked, adding more oil if necessary.

    Makes approximately 24 latkes

    VANGIE'S TURKEY MESS
  • 1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil - divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover stuffing
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded leftover cooked turkey
  • 1 cup turkey gravy
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • VANGIE'S TURKEY MESSLast summer when we went glamping at 'Ome Sweet 'Ome in Burlington, Newfoundland we had a delicious dish called 'turkey mess'. It was at a food truck called 'Newfie Grab N Go' owned by Vangie Mills. It was recommended as the best place to eat in the area, as it turned out, by her son. But it really was the best in the area. Vangie makes roast turkey with stuffing, home fries, onions and gravy to make her turkey mess. I thought it would be the perfect way to use holiday dinner leftovers. (You could also do this with leftover brisket or any braised meat with sauce (gravy).

    Method:

    1. Toss potatoes with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and oregano. Spread on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast in a preheated 400F oven 30 to 40 minutes until browned and crisp. Place stuffing in a baking dish, cover and warm up in the same oven about 20 minutes.

    2. Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook, without stirring, until starting to brown. Lower heat and cook about 15 minutes longer until browned and tender.

    3. Place turkey and gravy in a saucepan and heat gently. If gravy is too thick (probably) add enough water or milk to thin it.

    4. Place some potatoes on each plate. Top with a spoonful of stuffing, some turkey with gravy and then the onions. Place a spoonful of cranberry sauce on the side.

    makes 3 to 4 servings

    KEVIN GILMOUR'S STUFFIN' MUFFINS
  • 1 lb challah (egg bread) or firm white bread, with or without crusts, cut into 1" dice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
  • 6 oz bacon, diced
  • 10 oz bratwurst (or a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausages), meat removed from casings and broken up
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, rinsed and sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chile flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups whipping cream (or a combination of cream and chicken stock)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • KEVIN GILMOUR'S STUFFIN' MUFFINSWhen we had Christmas in November at the Stuart McLean tribute book club (celebrating ‘Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe’), we were at the restaurant Big Crow and they, appropriately, served Christmas dinner. The stuffin' muffins were a huge hit. Chef Kevin Gilmour shared the recipe - I adapted it slightly. Serve with gravy and/or cranberry sauce at Christmas dinner but when I was testing these I served them as appetizers and they were gobbled up in a minute.

    Method:

    1. Spread bread pieces over a 12"x 18" sheet pan and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until toasted through. Cool.

    2. Heat oil in a large skillet and add bacon pieces. Cook a few minutes and add sausage meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until bacon and sausage loose their raw appearance - about 8 minutes. Add onions, garlic, leeks, chile flakes and dry sage. Cook until onions and leeks become tender but do not brown about 10 minutes. Cool.

    3. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, cream (or cream and stock), salt, pepper and nutmeg to make a custard mixture (or royale in cheffy terms). Add fresh sage, bread and onion mixture. Combine well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    4. When ready to cook, butter or spray 18 muffin cups. Place a generous 1/4 cup stuffing mixture in each cup - an ice cream scoop works well for this. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Cool 5 minutes and then remove from pans.

    Makes 18 stuffin' muffins

    MY FAVOURITE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
  • 2 cups salted butter
  • 1 cup fruit sugar* see intro
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • MY FAVOURITE SHORTBREAD COOKIESWhat better recipe represents the holidays than shortbread. This is one of my most requested recipes and the one I make every year for family and friends. These buttery cookies are easy to make and people will think you are a genius.

    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. You can use the bottom of your 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.



    Method:

    1. Cut butter into chunks and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the K-beater, 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 just until flour is incorporated. 

    3.  Shape dough into 1" balls. Place on baking sheets lined parchment paper. Press down with a cookie press* or see intro for other options.

    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

    HOLIDAY YULE LOG
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • sifted cocoa


  • filling and icing:
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp Irish whiskey
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • sifted cocoa and sifted icing sugar
  • HOLIDAY YULE LOGHonestly - it is possible to roll up a cake. Many yule logs are based on genoise or sponge cake but this one has a very light chocolate souffle-ish kind of cake that is naturally gluten free, dark and intensely chocolate. I like Irish coffee flavoured whipped cream but you can flavour the cream with good vanilla or your favourite liqueur and sprinkle the filling with candied orange peel, chopped Toblerone chocolate, berries, crushed candy canes or chopped chocolate bars before rolling it up. You could also use your favourite chocolate icing or mousse or buttercream instead of whipped cream. It freezes well so it can be made ahead.

    The meringue mushrooms are optional but very delicious and cute. Make them ahead and freeze.

    This cake is gluten free.



    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter a 15"x10" baking sheet.  Line with parchment paper and butter paper lightly.

    2. Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer in a large bowl with 1/2 cup sugar until very light - about 2 minutes. Beat in cocoa and vanilla.

    3. In another large bowl beat egg whites until opaque and foamy. Slowly beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until egg whites are firm.  Stir one quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture and then fold in the remaining whites.

    4. Spread batter evenly over the prepared pan.  Bake 15 minutes or until puffed and cake feels springy when touched. (It will deflate as it cools – don’t worry.) Cool in pan about 20 minutes. Dust top with sifted cocoa. Loosen edges of cake from pan. Invert onto a clean sheet of parchment paper. Gently remove top parchment (paper baked with cake).

    5. Whip cream to soft peaks. Beat in icing sugar, whiskey, espresso powder and vanilla. Beat until cream just holds its shape.

    6. Have one long side of the cake closest to you. Spread cake evenly with half the cream. It should be a thin layer. Using the paper to help, roll cake up lengthwise, away from you. (Don’t worry – if cake cracks a bit or is squishy - the icing will cover that and it will still taste amazing.) Gently transfer the paper and cake to a serving platter or board and roll cake off the paper. Place strips of waxed paper under edges of cake to keep the platter clean while icing it. Ice the top and sides of the cake using all but 2 tbsp of the remaining cream. Run a fork down the length to create a "bark" look. Dust lightly with cocoa. (Discard paper.)

    7. Stand some mushrooms (if using) in the top of cake and some on the side. Dust mushrooms with a little cocoa and dust the whole cake with icing sugar.

    MERINGUE MUSHROOMS
    Ahead of time make meringue mushrooms. Beat 3 egg whites until opaque and just starting to hold their shape. Beat in 3/4 cup fruit sugar (sometimes called instant dissolving sugar) or regular sugar, a little at a time. Continue beating until stiff. Place meringue in a piping tube with a plain 1/2" nozzle (or in a heavy zipper style plastic bag with one corner cut off) and pipe different sized rounds for mushroom caps on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Also pipe different sized strips of meringue for the stems. Bake in a preheated 225F low oven for 2 hours. Turn off oven and allow meringues to dry another few hours. (Remember to take them out before using the oven again!)  Assemble mushrooms by carving an indentation into the bottom of each cap, dipping the top of each stem into the reserved cream and inserting it into the caps. (You won’t need all the caps – eat or freeze the rest.)

    makes 10 servings

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