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

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.

 
July/August 2021

I don't know about you, but I've been feeling as though I never appreciated vaccines enough! As the world is opening back up again, some of us are running straight to a patio while some of us are staying cozy and embracing a more at-home life. Some people are dressing up again and some are staying in their sweatpants (or if you're like me - my uniform of jeans and a black t-shirt which I've worn every day for 16 months but I promise I do have a number of each). Everyone is doing it their own way which I think is wonderful. I had three guests for dinner in the backyard the other day and it felt really good to be around a table instead of a screen. And I calmed myself down enough to go to the new beautiful patio at Stock T.C. the other night (see Dan's review in Restaurant Recommendations below). But I am still taking it slowly. My hope is that we all continue to cook as much or more than we used to, that we continue to support local business, appreciate restaurants and take-out and have more patience and empathy for each other.

Although I'm not hopping on a plane yet, I am getting excited about planning my 11th culinary tour to Israel at the end of February 2022 and also a book club/food tour to Fogo Island and St. John's Newfoundland, at the end of April 2022. I will be sending out information for both trips soon - see below on how to join our dedicated travel email lists.

This month I have exciting new restaurant recommendations from Dan Gutter @jackandlilsto (thanks for telling me you loved his recommendations last month!) and a delicious food 'tour' of Prince Edward County from my social media expert, and son, Mark Rupert @ruperson.

Our book club is taking a break for July but returns in August with award winning author Omar El Akkad - see below for details. We are so excited to welcome Omar back.

Be sure to visit and support your local farmers market and have a wonderful summer.

Stay safe,

Bonnie
Kitchen Tip
STONES IN YOUR HERBS KEEP THE SQUIRRELS AWAY
STONES IN YOUR HERBS KEEP THE SQUIRRELS AWAYI grow my own herbs in planters in my garden and every year the squirrels have a banquet. But last year, my good friends Lorraine and David gave me a tip. Put rocks in the planters with the herbs and it keeps the squirrels away. Worked for me.


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.

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 signed copy of our featured book will be sent out in advance so that you will have the opportunity to read it before the meeting.

AUGUST 2021

OMAR EL AKKAD: WHAT STRANGE PARADISE
OMAR EL AKKAD: WHAT STRANGE PARADISEBonnie is pleased to kick off a new season of the Book Club with a return visit from acclaimed novelist Omar El Akkad. Omar’s debut novel American War was one of the most talked-about novels in recent years, and was the runner–up for CBC’s “Canada Reads.” In August, Omar will launch his eagerly-awaited new book What Strange Paradise, a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving work that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child's eyes.

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one has made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials but of Vanna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though she and the boy are complete strangers, though they don't speak a common language, she determines to do whatever it takes to save him.

In alternating chapters, we learn the story of the boy's life and how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the girl and boy as they make their way toward a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world, it is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.

Looking forward to welcoming you back to the Book Club!

Date: Monday, August 23, 2021
Time: 7:30 pm EST
Place: Virtual
Fee*: $175 + HST
(includes a catered meal from The Edible Story, wine, delivery, gratuity and an autographed copy of What Strange Paradise sent out as soon as possible)
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 Monday August 9, 2021. 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 Monday August 16, 2021.




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
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
ZOOM COOKING EVENTS
COOKING CLASSESBonnie has been doing custom Zoom cooking events for fund-raisers, corporate classes and private groups. One of her favourites 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

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTUREAt the beginning of 2020 we had a magical 10th anniversary Eating Israel Culinary Tour. We are planning a tour for February/March 2022 and sending out an email shortly 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

FOGO ISLAND AND ST. JOHN’S FOOD TOUR & BOOK CLUB
FOGO ISLAND AND ST JOHN’S BOOK CLUBWe were in the middle of planning a book club and food tour at Fogo Island Inn with a stop in St. John’s when the lock down occurred. We are now hoping to do this tour in spring 2022. We will be sending out an email soon with more information to all those who expressed interest.

Fogo Island Inn is rated #3 in the Top Hotels in the World by Travel and Leisure Magazine and Raymond's in St. John's is consistently rated one of Canada's top restaurants and that's just the beginning of a magical and delicious trip.

If you have always wanted to go to Newfoundland the combination of a few days in St. John’s, including dinner at Raymond's, and 3 days on Fogo Island, staying at Fogo Island Inn, 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 information, once it is available, email Bonnie at bonnie@bonniestern.com Subject line: Fogo Island.
Restaurant Recommendations and More
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY RECOMMENDATIONS
BY MARK RUPERT @ruperson
Pasta Bar at The Old Third
@theoldthird
251 Closson Road
Hiller

www.theoldthird.com

Homemade pasta and wine...could there be a better combination? Enjoy lunch at this Prince Edward County winery eating outside with views of the vineyard. No reservations.
Moderate
JK Fries
@jkfrenchfries
18662 Loyalist Parkway
Hiller

jamiekennedy.ca
Chef Jamie Kennedy was hosting incredible looking meals at his PEC farm before the pandemic. He's now serving up his famous fries, braised beef poutine and tasty sodas (we tried a strawberry and rhubarb). Tues-Saturday 11am-5pm. No reservations.

They also sell different items depending on the day (check their instagram story).
Reasonable
Midtown Brewing Company
@midtownbrewingcompany
266 Wellington Main Street
Wellington
613 399 1001

midtownbrewingcompany
.com
Located in the heart of Wellington, Midtown Brewing Company is a great place for a casual meal when in the county, and they've recently expanded their patio. Their burgers and pizzas are staples and they have a strawberry sour beer on the menu that is super refreshing on a hot day.
Moderate
The Drake Devonshire
@drakedevonshire
26 Wharf Street
Wellington
613 399 3338

thedrake.ca
The Drake's lakeside patio is one of the prettiest around. If you haven't been in a few years it's worth coming back. The new menu is very enjoyable with a great caesar salad, tuna tostada with harissa and yogurt marinated chicken. The chocolate cake had a very welcome surprise layer of jam. Reservations recommended.
Moderate to expensive
Piccolina Mercato
@piccolinamercato
304 Wellington Main Street
Wellington

enidgrace.com
If you are looking for a quick breakfast or lunch in Wellington, Piccolina serves up some very good Italian pastries, sandwiches and coffee. They also sell dry pasta, sauces, oils and more. Closed Tuesdays.
Reasonable
RECOMMENDATIONS BY DAN GUTTER @jackandlilsto
Stock T.C.
2388 Yonge Street
Toronto
416 489 1020

stocktc.com

Bonnie, Mark, Anna, Lauren and I recently had dinner on the rooftop patio and we loved it. This space is a collaboration between Cosimo Mammolti of Terroni and Stephen Alexander of Cumbrae's, who have combined forces to create an exciting food destination at Yonge and Eglington. The food is clearly Terroni inspired but with an added meat section undoubtedly thanks to Cumbrae’s. Cocktails were beautiful and balanced, service was warm and thoughtful, food was delicious and the ambiance was the highlight of it all. We recommend the lobster and shrimp roll, tagliatelle alla Bolognese (both the house made gluten free pasta and regular pasta were great and also available in the market on the main floor), spaghetti alla Norcina and most definitely the Banoffee Pie. Be sure to stop in at the market on your way out for the city’s best prepared foods, like pasta al forno, beef or lamb moussaka, rotisserie chicken, salad dressings and much more.
Moderate
Restaurant 20 Victoria
@twentyvictoria
20 Victoria Street
Toronto
416-804-6066
A new dinner spot brought by the team behind the former Bothers Food & Wine. With only 20 seats and a single seating (stay as long as you like!), it will be a hard reservation to snag. The approach to food and service here is based around the guests’ wants and needs. This place is hospitality at its finest and most genuine. Standout dishes were braised cucumber in jus and the smoked sturgeon with white asparagus. Dinner Tuesday - Saturday.
Expensive
Vela
@velatoronto
90 Portland Street
Toronto
416 364 1111

velatoronto.com

I’ve been patiently waiting for this restaurant from Robin Goodfellow (Bar Raval) and Amanda Bradley (Alo). It has the energy and atmosphere of a bustling hotel lobby bar. You’ll have to wait for indoor dining restrictions to lift before enjoying the inside space but until then the patio is worth a visit.  Cocktails are a focus and there is a page dedicated to the classics both old and new. The food is excellent, in particular the steak tartare, bbq chicken, charred rapini and vela pasta. Most notable was the vegan foie gras torchon made from cashew nuts with a bruleed crust and preserves on the side.
Expensive
Sohmers Pizza
@sohmers
Order via Instagram on Wednesdays at 3pm for Saturday Pickup.

The pizza craze that hit Toronto during this past pandemic is unbelievable and I am not complaining.  Sohmers started up in late-2020 serving his unique, focaccia style pizzas every Saturday. He’s still doing it and they are still selling out! It’s a fun thing when you have to order 3 days ahead and then have something exciting to look forward to. My favourite is the classic Pepperoni and I do recommend a gentle reheat at home.
Reasonable
Oji Seichi
@ojiseichi
354 Broadview Avenue
Toronto
From Chef Mitchell Bates (Momofuku, Grey Gardens), this spot is all about ramen, gyoza and Japanese-style “Sandys”. The menu is short and sweet and very delicious. There are 3 types of ramen broth to choose from, one of which is vegetarian (my favourite!). The noodles are made in house as is everything else and they are perfect. You’ll even be asked if you’d prefer to cook your noodles at home for maximum freshness which I did. One of everything is my recommendation here. Thursday 4:30-8pm, Fri to Sun noon-2:30pm, 4:30-8pm
Reasonable to Moderate

 

Featured Recipes
SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced or chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (I use Mutti)
  • 1 796mL tin plum tomatoes pureed or crushed, or 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes or chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 lb spaghetti
  • reserved pasta water
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp butter, optional
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (best Parmesan)
  • SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLSWith all the rain we have been having, I just want to stay indoors and eat comfort food. If the weather changes just save this recipe for October. (If you use ground chicken or turkey double the breadcrumbs.)

    Method:
    1. Knead together ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper and parsley. Shape into about 16 meatballs. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown meatballs well - in two batches if necessary. Remove from pan.

    2. If necessary add more oil to pan to make about 2 tbsp. Add onions, garlic and pepper flakes and cook gently a few minutes until tender and golden. Add tomato paste and cook gently, stirring, one minute. Add crushed plum tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until thickened and saucy about 10 minutes.

    3. Add meatballs and cook gently, covered, about 20 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and cook, uncovered, about 5 to 10 minutes longer until they soften.  Season with salt and pepper.

    4. Meanwhile add spaghetti and 1 tbsp kosher salt to a large pot of boiling water. Cook spaghetti until just tender. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. If mixture looks dry add reserved cooking liquid about 1/4 cup at a time to make it saucy. Stir in butter and spinach - spinach will wilt quickly. Season to taste.

    5. Serve with parsley and cheese on top.
    Makes 4 servings
    BULGOGI (KOREAN STYLE STEAK OR CHICKEN OR TOFU)
  • 1 lb boneless fillet, boneless rib eye, sirloin or skirt steak, about 1" thick, thinly sliced into 1/4" to 1/3" thick strips


  • sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark roasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 tsp gochujang (Korean hot chile paste) or other hot sauce, or more to taste


  • to cook:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1" pieces on the diagonal
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, optional
  • BULGOGI (KOREAN STYLE STEAK OR CHICKEN OR TOFU)

    I usually make this with thinly sliced raw beef but when we had leftover very rare skirt steak the other night, Anna suggested I make bulgogi. I sliced the very rare meat very thin and marinated it in the sauce below about 5 minutes. I heated a heavy pan very hot, brushed it with extra virgin olive oil, added the marinated meat and stir-fried about 2 minutes to reheat and cook a little bit more. I added some green onions and spinach and served it over rice. We had some of the best leftovers ever.

    Notes: If making this with chicken, use boneless chicken thighs, cut the meat into 1" chunks and marinate. Brown in a hot pan and in step #3 cook (add marinade to pan) 10 to 15 minutes until thoroughly cooked through and sauce is syrupy. If using tofu, use extra firm cut into 1/2" thick slices and in step #3 cook 3 or 4 minutes per side until browned, add sauce and cook until syrupy.



    Method:
    1. In a large bowl combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and hot sauce. Place meat in the bowl and stir to coat well. Cover and marinate 1/2 hour at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator.

    2. Remove steak from marinade.

    3. Heat a large heavy skillet or wok and brush with oil. Add steak (with a little marinade), in two batches if necessary about one minute per side until browned, stirring. Do not overcook. Add green onions and cook another minute. Add spinach and cook about 30 seconds until starting to wilt.

    4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.
    Make 4 servings
    SLOW ROASTED SALMON WITH LEMON AND HERBS
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon in one piece, boneless with skin removed, or other fish about 1" thick
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • grated peel of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme or both
  • lemon slices
  • SLOW ROASTED SALMON WITH LEMON AND HERBSAlthough I usually roast my fish at a high temperature for a short time, I tried this method and love it! Use any seasoning or sauce and try it.

    Method:
    1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place fish on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon peel, rosemary and thyme. Marinate at room temperate up to 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator.

    2. Preheat oven to 300F. When hot, roast fish 25 to 30 minutes or until the thickest part just flakes when pressed with the back of a spoon.

    3. Serve warm or room temperature with sprigs of herbs and lemon slices.
    Makes 3 to 4 servings
    RHUBARB STRAWBERRY CRISP COBBLER
  • 1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces (about 3 cups after trimming)
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved (about 3 cups after hulling)
  • 2 tbsp white or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour


  • topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract, optional
  • RHUBARB STRAWBERRY CRISP COBBLERWhen @pam.jammin messaged me on instagram that she loved my Aunt Reba's oatmeal cookies so much that she added the flavours to her fruit crisp, I thought, what a great idea! Here's my version adapted from the cobbler recipe in my cookbook, Friday Night Dinners. Serve as is or with yogurt or vanilla ice cream. It tastes like summer.

    Method:
    1. Preheated oven to 350F. Butter and/or line with parchment paper an 8" or 9" square baking dish.

    2. Combine rhubarb and strawberries in baking dish. in a small bowl combine 2 tbsp sugar with 1 tbsp flour. Toss with fruit.

    3. For topping, combine 3/4 cup flour with oats, both sugars, baking powder and salt. Beat egg and add to flour/oat mixture and mix with a fork or your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.

    4. Combine melted butter with vanilla and almond extracts and spoon over topping.

    5. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until top is golden, fruit is juicy and tender and the kitchen smells amazing.
    Makes 6 to 8 servings
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