Bonnie Stern Food News
Bonnie Stern's Food NewsFollow Bonnie Stern on TwitterFriend Bonnie on Facebook
Bonnie's Book Clubs

Corporate Services

News and Events

Restaurant Recommendations +

Bonnie's Cookbooks

Featured Recipes

Bonnie Stern

Phone: 416 484 4810


Follow Bonnie:


Bonnie Stern
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 writes weekly in the National Post. As well as offering a wide variety of corporate services, cooking classes and unique book clubs where authors actually attend and dinner is included. She is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award.

March, 2015


Our sixth Food for Thought Culinary Tour was better than ever. It wasn’t just about amazing food – although the food was so delicious – but how about star gazing in the Negev desert; a hummus tour in Jerusalem, lunch outside in the garden at Majda in the small town of Ein Rafa; dancing on the tables at Machneyuda; driving off-road in jeeps in the Ramon crater; challah braiding at the best bakery; and so many more experiences that made this trip the best ever. And of course, we had a great group! Thanks everyone. Special thanks to Rabbi Elyse Goldstein who has led these trips with me and showed all the participants – Jewish and non-Jewish that Israel is such a special place to visit.


Be sure to watch the 2nd season of Four Senses on AMI (Accessible Media Inc.) with Christine Ha (winner of Master Chef USA) and Carl Heinrich (winner of Top Chef Canada and owner of Richmond Station in Toronto). They explore topics related to eye health and provide accessibility tips and tools for independence in the kitchen.​​​​​​​​ It was an honour to be a guest on this show that promotes working together to create great meals and overcoming disabilities.


I am really excited about all of our book clubs for the spring and very happy to announce that Lawrence Hill will be coming to our book club with The Book of Negroes in June. You have been asking about this since the book was originally published in 2007 and finally it’s a reality. Even if our book clubs are 'wait list only', try to read the books as they are all remarkable. See below for more information.

Delicious wishes,

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.


ANDREW O'HAGAN: THE ILLUMINATIONSIn March, Bonnie once again highlights the very best in international fiction at the book club. Andrew O’Hagan caused a sensation with his debut novel Our Fathers. The book received rave reviews, was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and was nominated for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the IMPAC Literary Prize. O’Hagan’s follow-up novels, Personality (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction) and Be Near Me (winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize) established him as on of the UK’s brightest literary stars.

Andrew O’Hagan will visit the book club to discuss his eagerly-awaited new novel The Illuminations.

How much do we keep from the people we love? Why is the truth so often buried in secrets? Can we learn from the past or must we forget it? The Illuminations, Andrew O'Hagan's fifth work of fiction, is a powerful, nuanced and deeply affecting novel about love and memory, about modern war and the complications of fact.

Standing one evening at the window of her house by the sea, Anne Quirk sees a rabbit disappearing in the snow. Nobody remembers her now, but this elderly woman was in her youth an artistic pioneer, a creator of ground-breaking documentary photographs. Her beloved grandson, Luke, now a captain in the British army is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. When his mission goes horribly wrong, he ultimately comes face to face with questions of loyalty and moral responsibility that will continue to haunt him. Once Luke returns home to Scotland, Anne's secret story begins to emerge, along with his, and they set out for an old guest house in Blackpool where she once kept a room. There they witness the annual illuminations--the dazzling artificial lights that brighten the seaside resort town as the season turns to winter. The Illuminations is a beautiful and highly charged novel that reveals, among other things, that no matter how we look at it, there is no such thing as an ordinary life.
Date: Monday, March 30, 2015 (Wait list only)
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: exciting private club in Toronto!
Fee: $150 plus HST*
(includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Illuminations sent out as soon as possible after registration)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810


LORI LANSENS: THE MOUNTAIN STORY Author Lori Lansens has become a book club favourite. Her novels, the bestselling Rush Home Road, The Girls and The Wife’s Tale, have earned Lori a devote readership across North America. This April, Bonnie is very excited to welcome Lori Lansens back to the Book Club as she launches her new novel, The Mountain Story, a gripping tale of sacrifice and survival in the unforgiving wilderness of a legendary mountain.

On his 18th birthday, Wolf Truly takes the tramway to the top of the mountain that looms over Palm Springs, intending to jump to his death. Instead he encounters strangers wandering in the mountain wilderness, three women who will change the course of his life. Through a series of missteps he and the women wind up stranded, in view of the city below, but without a way down. They endure five days in freezing temperatures without food or water or shelter, and somehow find the courage to carry on.

Wolf, now a grown man, has never told his son, or anyone, what happened on the mountain during those five days, but he can't put it off any longer. And in telling the story to his only child, Daniel, he at last explores the nature of the ties that bind and the sacrifices people will make for love. The mountain still has a hold on Wolf, composed of equal parts beauty and terror.

Date: Monday, April 20, 2015
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: Pangaea Restaurant
1221 Bay Street, Toronto
Fee: $150 plus HST*
(includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Mountain Story sent out as soon as possible after registration)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810


JIM SHEPARD: THE BOOK OF ARONFor two decades Jim Shepard has been hailed as one of the most versatile writers in American letters. With a body of work that includes novels and short stories, and contributions to such publications as McSweeney’s, Granta, the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, the New Yorker and the Paris Review, he has earned a reputation as a “writer’s writer.” Whether exploring a young boy’s awkward growing pains (Flights), chronicling the exploits of an inexperienced B-17 flight crew stationed in England during the Second World War (Paper Doll), documenting the profound impact that a split-second can have on the rest of our lives (Kiss of the Wolf) or lifting the curtain on a gallery of men trying to navigate a world of hope and heartbreak (the National Book Award-nominated story collection Like You’d Understand, Anyway), Shepard is a master of plot and character.

In May, Jim Shepard makes a very rare visit to Toronto for the Canadian launch of his brilliant new novel The Book of Aron. An incredible work of extraordinary power that charts a young boy’s harrowing coming-of-age in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War.

When we first meet Aron, he is a beguiling and perceptive and not always a happy young boy coming into awareness of himself and his family's struggles. When soon they are driven from the countryside into Warsaw, their lives are changed forever. Aron and a group of boys and girls take terrifying risks, scuttling around the ghetto, smuggling and trading things through the "quarantine walls" to keep their people alive. They are hunted by blackmailers and Jewish and Polish and German police. Gradually, people begin to disappear, and survival is threatened on all sides.

Eventually, Aron comes to know Janusz Korczak, a Jewish-Polish doctor famous for his advocacy of children's rights, whose orphanage was relocated to the ghetto once the Nazis swept in. In the end, Korczak and the children he takes care of, Aron among them, are brought to the station to be put on a train to Treblinka.

The Book of Aron is a breathtaking novel of extraordinary craft and humanity. It looks fearlessly into the face of unspeakable evil and suffering, revealing the persistence and strength of the human spirit and the redemptive power of love. It is a novel that readers will be talking about for years to come.

Date: Monday, May 25, 2015 (Wait list only)
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: Fat Pasha
414 Dupont Street, Toronto
Fee: $150 plus HST*
(includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Book of Aron sent out as soon as possible after registration)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810



Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes has become a classic of Canadian literature. In addition to being a blockbuster international bestseller, it was recently adapted into an acclaimed miniseries on CBC TV.

Bonnie is thrilled to welcome Lawrence Hill to the Book Club in June for a discussion about one of the most beloved books in recent memory. Don’t miss what promises to be a great evening of literature and conversation.

Date: Monday, June 1, 2015
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: Rose and Sons Big Crow
176 Dupont Street (in the back), Toronto
Fee: $150 plus HST*
(includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Book Negroes sent out as soon as possible after registration)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810

Some of our favourite Book Club Locations
7 Numbers x
7 Numbers
Chiado x
Chiado Restaurant
L'Avenue Bistro x
L'Avenue Bistro
Luckee Restaurant x

Mengrai Thai x
Mengrai Thai

Quince 1 x
Quince Bistro

Rock Lobster x
Rock Lobster

Rodney's x
Rodney's Oyster House

Tabule x

Pangaea Restaurant
Pangaea Restaurant

Chef Martin Kroupie has always championed local, seasonal food and many of the ingredients he uses are only available to Pangaea. He is the author of Pangaea, Why It Tastes So Good, where he reveals the secrets of some of his most celebrated dishes.

1221 Bay Street
416 920 2323
Rose and Sons 2 x
Rose and Sons
Rose and Sons 5
Rose and Sons’ Big Crow x

Rose and Sons - Big Crow

We love the cozy deliciousness of Big Crow – Rose and Sons backyard bbq patio. It was so successful in the summer, in order to keep it open all year, they winterized it with walls, ceilings, heaters and blankets and it’s warm and toasty. Everyone agreed it was the perfect place when we held our book club there for Cataract City last year.

176 Dupont Street (in the back)
647 748 3287

Fat Pasha
Fat Pasha2
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, June 27, 2014

414 Dupont Street Toronto
647 340 6142

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Out of Print Cookbooks
Out of Print Cookbooks
Here is a list of Bonnie Stern classics that are out of print. Limited used copies are sometimes available on line.

Food Processor Cuisine

At My Table

Bonnie Stern’s
Cuisinart Cookbook

In the Kitchen
with Bonnie Stern

Cooking with Bonnie Stern

Simply HeartSmart Cooking

More HeartSmart Cooking

News And Events
BETTER FOOD FOR ALL CHALLENGETo empower Canadians to eat better, from now until March 26, 2015, Sobeys is sponsoring a contest where one person could win a trip for two to London, England to attend a cooking class hosted by Jamie Oliver.

For more information about the challenge, including contest rules, visit:


For this year’s theme, "Pioneering Change – crafting the way we eat", the symposium will focus on influential individuals who challenge colleagues and consumers to rethink and reimagine food and beverage cultures.

Date: Monday, May 11, 2015
Place: Arcadian Court
401 Bay Street, 8th Floor (Queen & Bay), Toronto
Time: 7am to 6pm
Type: Wine and Food
Ticket: $299

For more information visit:

Restaurant Recommendations and More

92 Fort York Boulevard
416 623 9662

This casual new Italian restaurant west of Spadina Avenue south of Front Street is an exciting addition to the area. The chef is Ben Heaton, formerly of The Grove, one of my favourite TO spots. Hip but not hipster, the service is friendly and even on one of our coldest nights it was warm and inviting. The Brussels Sprout bruschetta, roasted cauliflower, daily specials of branzino and braised shortribs were all delicious but whatever you do don't miss the salted caramel bomboloni – the best I’ve had in Toronto.
Forno Cultura
609 King Street West
416 603 8305

A very sophisticated and very cool Italian bakery on King Street West to have coffee and pastry.

832 Dundas Street West
416 364 4785

It was great to return to Campagnolo – how I missed their delicious bone marrow appetizer and burrata with roasted grapes. Their caramel budino with chocolate meringues is classic and now they are serving the lemon lava cake recipe I brought home from Amalfi. Service is always friendly and professional.

Cafe Boulud
Four Seasons Hotel
60 Yorkville Avenue
416 963 6000

When you are too tired to wait in line at a cool hipster resto for brunch, treat yourself to Cafe Boulud. So elegant and civilized. And delicious. Try the Tarte Flambe, smoked salmon salad, lemon ricotta pancakes and don’t miss the best dessert of all – grapefruit givre –with housemade everything - grapefruit sorbet, rose Turkish delight, sesame cream, crispy cookie and best of all – Turkish candy floss. (And the day I was there so were a few hipster chefs!)
The Chase
10 Temperance Street
647 348 7000
It is easy to get confused. There are two restaurants in the same building. On the main floor there is the casual and expensive 'The Chase Fish and Oyster' and on the 5th floor there is the more expensive, luxurious and formal 'The Chase'. We accidentally ended up at The Chase. The food was delicious – scallops with cauliflower puree, the $95 roasted halibut for two (with the over the top presentation) and angel food cake with lime curd, coconut and marshmallow cream.
Very Expensive

King George Street 41
+972 2 625 2733

I have always loved Chakra for its casual style, lots of choice and good, reasonably priced food. This time we had 30 people with us and the wonderful staff did a great job keeping everyone happy. It’s a very busy restaurant so make reservations and get exact directions as it is tucked away, just off the street, a little way down the hill. Non-kosher.

Chopin 5
+972 2 581 1927                          

This new cafe, the latest addition to the Machneyuda group of restaurants (see below) is underneath the Jerusalem theatre. Open all day, it is a perfect place for any occasion – breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, meetings or a rest while shopping. Non-kosher.
Beit Ya'akov Street 10
+972 2 533 3442
This restaurant changed the dining scene in Jerusalem. Not kosher and open 7 days a week – it’s a chef driven restaurant using food from the nearby and famous Machane Yehuda Market. (The restaurant’s name is a slang version of the market’s name.) Dancing on the tables is not unusual and the food is sensational. Reserve far in advance. They now have five restaurants in Jerusalem (Mona, Yudale, Talbiye and Culinary Workshop) and have recently opened Palomar in London, UK to great reviews. Do not miss the polenta with asparagus and mushrooms!
Moderate to Expensive

14 Hativat Yerushalayim Street
+972 2 624 4331

Moshe Basson’s Biblical food is a learning experience as well as a great dinner. He forages for ingredients and explains all the dishes he serves. Moshe has won many Slow Food awards in Italy for preserving old recipes and ingredients and his son Ronny is winning awards for updating classics. Kosher.
Ein Rafa
02 579 7108
Majda, the restaurant made famous by Anthony Bourdain in Parts Unknown, was even better on this visit than it was on my first. The inspiring couple – Michal who is the chef and Jewish and her husband Jakab who built the restaurant, made the furniture and planted the garden and who is  Palestinian, give hope that peace is possible. I especially loved the freekeh soup (green wheat), chicken wrapped in filo, lamb dishes, and lovely desserts. It is located about ½ hour outside Jerusalem across from Abu Gosh.

Joz Ve Loz
5 Gvulot Street
Tel Aviv
+972 3 560 6385

This restaurant is a bit of a cultural institution in Tel Aviv and you never know if a guest is going to get up and play the piano or recite poetry. Service is casual and the food is delicious and different - Israeli specialties along with Asian influences and Italian flavours. We loved the homemade bread with dukkah and pickled lemons; the fried cheese, Bedouin lentil soup, fish kebabs, the amazing pizzettas and ricotta gnocchi. Don’t miss the malabi for dessert.

27 sderot Shaul Ha'melech
Museum of Art Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
+972 3 644 7441

Pastel, at the Tel Aviv Museum, was awarded first place in the Best Design of Dining Spaces category (in the world) by the International Space Design Award – Idea Tops Competition. And the food is delicious too.
Moderate to Expensive

10 Kedumim Square
Jaffa, Tel Aviv
+972 3 681 9998

If you are sight-seeing or shopping in Jaffa this is a popular place to stop and have lunch. Delicious Greek specialities including amazing beet ravioli with tahini. And really yummy cocktails! At lunch? Arak with homemade lemonade – yes!
Blue Sky
Carleton Hotel
10th Eliezer Peri Street
Tel Aviv
+972 3 520 1830
The same way more non-kosher restaurants are opening in Jerusalem, celebrity chefs are now opening kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv. At the Carlton Hotel two beautiful new kosher restaurants were recently opened by Meir Adoni (whose non-kosher restaurants include Catit and Mizlala). Blue Sky is the new elegant fish plus dairy restaurant - the food was delicious and the presentation was spectacular by any standard.
Carleton Hotel
10th Eliezer Peri Street
Tel Aviv
+972 3 520 1830
Lumina is the more casual new kosher restaurant in the Carlton Hotel. It is meat plus fish and celebrates local and international cuisines. The food is less fussy than at Blue Sky but also beautifully presented.
Moderate to Expensive
73 Rothschild Boulevard
Tel Aviv
+972 053 809 4855
Omer Miller’s Shulchan was one of my favourite meals on this trip. Service was friendly and professional and the food was amazing. Don’t miss the liver pate with lots of onions, the salads, grilled meats and chocolate brownies with chocolate mousse.
North Abraxas
Lilienblum St 40
Tel Aviv
+972 3 516 6660
One of my favourite restaurants in Tel Aviv. It is always fun and exciting but try to sit at the bar, interact with the other people and throw back shots with your server. Try all the vegetable dishes plus the best hraime (fish in spicy tomato sauce) ever. They have started assembling some of the dishes on the table in front of you – like pounding carpaccio - all fun. And don’t miss the naked chocolate cake and bananas wrapped in homemade dulce de leche.
Moderate to Expensive 
David Elazar 30
Tel Aviv
+972 3 601 7777
I was at Claro when it first opened and it was delicious but it’s even better now! Do not miss the beet salad, slow cooked lamb and the vanilla mille feuille with toffee sauce for dessert.
Moderate to Expensive
Beresheet Hotel
and Spa

Derech Beresheet 1
Mitzpe Ramon
+972 8 659 8000
On the edge of the Ramon Crater, this is one of the most spectacular hotels I have ever seen. The breakfasts were amazing. So much to enjoy.
6 Har Boker Street
Mitzpe Ramon Spice Route Quarter
+972 08 940 8473
This very sweet cafe and shop specializes in local food and crafts. It’s definitely worth a visit. Great vegetarian soups and delicious coffee.
Featured Recipes
  • 2 shoulder lamb chops (about 12oz)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery with leaves, diced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp each ground ginger and cumin
  • 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp each hot red pepper flakes and saffron
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups cooked chick peas (one 590mL tin)
  • 1 796mL tin plum tomatoes, chopped or pureed with juices
  • 5 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • 1/3 cup rice or broken vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp each chopped fresh cilantro and parsley
  • MOROCCAN HARIRA SOUPOn a blistery day in Tel Aviv, my friend Hanoch Drori, who just opened a very cool Osiris shoe store, took me around the corner from his shop to Falafel Gabay, a crazy busy street food restaurant known for their wonderful, hearty soups. This is my version of their harira, a Moroccan chick pea and lentil soup. You can use chicken thighs instead of lamb or make it vegetarian. Serve with harissa or your favourite hot sauce.


    1. Remove meat from lamb chops and dice. Reserve bones.

    2. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add lamb and bones and brown a few minutes. Add onions. Cook 5 minutes, add celery and cook a few minutes longer.

    3. Combine salt, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, pepper flakes and saffron. Add to onion mixture and cook 30 to 60 seconds until fragrant.

    4. Add lentils, chick peas, tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    5. Add rice and cook until very tender about 20 minutes. If soup is too thick add additional water or stock. Add lemon juice, chopped cilantro and parsley. Season to taste.

    makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 4 lbs beef - blade or chuck, cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 28oz/796mL plum tomatoes, chopped or pureed with juices (preferably San Marzano)
  • 1 cup beef stock or water
  • 1 tbsp pureed canned chipotle chiles
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • to serve:
  • rice, cooked red kidney or black beans, sour cream or yogurt, grated smoked Cheddar, crumbled goat cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, thinly sliced green onions, chipotle mayo, diced avocado or guacamole

    The Super Bowl may be over but a delicious chili recipe lives on. This is my favourite. I like it the traditional way – the meat in chunks and the beans on the side. I set up a DIY chili bar so that people can add beans, chipotle mayo, rice, guacamole, corn, cheese and cilantro as they wish.  For chipotle mayo combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 to 2 tbsp pureed canned chipotle chiles (they are hot!) and 1 tbsp lemon juice.

    Use leftovers in tacos, burritos or quesadillas.

    Note: ‘Chile’ refers to the peppers and ‘chili’ refers to the recipe you make with them.


    1. Toss beef with a combination of flour, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.

    2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Brown meat well in batches if necessary. Remove meat from pan and discard all but 1 tbsp oil. Add onions and garlic and cook gently 5 to 10 minutes until fragrant and tender.  Add chili powder, cumin, oregano and cinnamon. Cook 30 to 60 seconds.

    3. Add tomatoes, stock and chipotles. Bring to a boil. Add browned beef. Cover surface of meat with a round of parchment paper and cover tightly with lid or aluminum foil. Cook gently on top of the stove or in a preheated 350F oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. Remove lid and paper and, if necessary, cook until liquid is reduced and chili is thick. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. Arrange steamed rice, beans, chili and all the toppings on the counter and let guests create.

    makes 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs swordfish, cut into thin slices (1/3" thick), 6 to 8 pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • baby arugula
  • thin slices of lemon
  • SWORDFISH WITH LEMON AND CAPERSFrom my trip to Naples and Sicily, this is the definition of quick cooking. Serve on a bed of arugula with roasted or steamed little potatoes.


    1. Season swordfish well with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and dip fish into flour, shaking off excess. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer.

    2. Heat oil in large heavy pan. Brown swordfish, in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a serving platter lined with arugula. Discard oil in pan and return pan to heat. Add lemon juice, water and capers. Reduce until only a few tablespoons of liquid remain in the pan. Reduce heat to low, add half the parsley and butter and swirl until butter melts.

    3. Pour sauce over fish and sprinkle with remaining parsley and lemon slices.

    makes 4 servings

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled but whole
  • 1 oz pancetta - diced, optional
  • pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
  • 2 lb butternut squash, halved, seeds and pulp discarded, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 3/4 lb large rigatoni or other tubular pasta or a combination of similar sized pasta (you can use up odd bits!)
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • GIANT RIGATONI WITH BUTTERNUT AND PARMIGIANO REGGIANOItalian cookbook author, Marcella Hazan, used to say that she didn't understand why North Americans put every ingredient they knew into one pasta dish. On my recent trip to Naples and Sicily, we had many delicious pasta dishes that focused on one or two local, seasonal, ingredients like this one that we made with Chef Vincenzo Amatruda at the interactive cooking school at Hotel Villa Maria in Ravello.


    1. Heat olive oil, garlic, pancetta and pepper flakes in a large deep skillet and cook gently 5 minutes. Add squash and cook on medium high heat until lightly browned.

    2. Add broth or water to pan, bring to a boil and cover surface directly with parchment paper. Reduce heat and simmer gently approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove paper and continue to cook a few more minutes if there is a lot of liquid in the pan. Discard garlic.

    3. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add 1 tbsp salt and pasta. Cook pasta until just tender but still a little chewy. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup cooking liquid, and add pasta to squash. Add about 1/2 cup cooking liquid and cook gently until saucy about 5 minutes.

    4. Sprinkle pasta with cheese and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

    makes 3 to 4 servings

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp quick rise instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • finely grated peel of one lemon
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled (warm to the touch but not hot)
  • 3 eggs

  • syrup:
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • peel of one lemon
  • peel of 1/2 orange
  • 3/4 cup Limoncello
  • additional Limoncello for drizzling
  • lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • BABA AL LIMONCELLOThe French and Italians share their love of babas – sweet little yeast cakes soaked in syrup laced with liquor. Rum used to be the spirit of choice but Limoncello is gaining momentum. In Amalfi, we saw mini babas everywhere packed in jars of Limoncello syrup but homemade ones are the best.


    1. Place flour, yeast, sugar, salt and finely grated lemon peel in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk ingredients together for one minute.

    2. On medium speed,  using the paddle, slowly beat in butter. Beat in eggs one at a time and then beat mixture about 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and a bit sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes. Don't worry if dough doesn't double in size but it should look smoother and puffed.

    3. Stir dough down and scoop (an ice cream scoop works well) into 12 buttered muffin pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 30 minutes.

    4. Bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack and cool about 2 hours to overnight. (The staler the babas, the more syrup they will absorb.)

    5. Make syrup by combining water, lemon juice, sugar and peel in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook gently 5 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Strain into a deep bowl. Add Limoncello.

    6. Drop a few babas into the syrup and turn over and over about 2 minutes. Place on a rimmed plate. Repeat until all the babas have been soaked. Spoon extra syrup over babas or save to serve with them.

    7. To serve, cut babas in half and fill with whipped cream. Pour any extra syrup on top and/or pour a little extra Limoncello on too.

    makes 12 servings

    lemon curd:
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 egg yolks

  • cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut up into chunks
  • 4 oz best quality white chocolate, cut up into chunks
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd (see recipe above)
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • LEMON LAVA CAKEI fell in love with the lemon lava cake we had at Ristorante Masaniello on the Amalfi Coast. When I got home I found a similar recipe online from ‘Land O Lakes’ and adapted it to suit my memories. It may take a few tries to get the lava flow perfect (oven temperatures, size of ramekins and temperature of the cakes can vary) but it’s worth it. Even if they are slightly over baked they will be delicious - serve it with the leftover lemon curd. I like to make the cakes ahead, refrigerate and bake just before serving. I heard that one of my fave Toronto Italian restaurants – Campagnolo – is now serving this for dessert.


    1. Make lemon curd ahead. In a medium saucepan combine lemon juice, peel, sugar and butter. Bring to a boil. Beat egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and slowly whisk in hot lemon juice mixture. Return everything to the pot and cook on medium heat, stirring, until mixture starts to bubble and thickens. Strain lemon curd into a bowl making sure you use a spatula to get everything off the bottom of the strainer. Cool. You should have about 1 1/2 cups - use 3/4 cup for this recipe and refrigerate or freeze the rest.

    2. For the cakes melt butter and white chocolate in a stainless steel bowl set in a skillet of simmering water. Stir until smooth. In another bowl whisk together flour, icing sugar and salt. In another bowl combine eggs and egg yolks.

    3. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Then stir in eggs and then lemon curd and grated lemon peel.

    4. Spray or butter 8 ramekins and fill each with a generous 1/3 cup batter. Place on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake or bake right away.

    5. Preheat oven to 425F. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until top puffs slightly and edges are slightly browned. If they are over baked they will not be 'lava like' but still delicious. Let rest a few minutes, invert onto dessert plates and dust with icing sugar. Serve warm.

    makes 8 servings

    © Copyright 2015, Bonnie Stern Cooking Schools Ltd.
    To unsubscribe from this newsletter please visit

    Please Note: Bonnie Stern does not sell, trade or share her email list.
    © Bonnie Stern. All Rights Reserved