Bonnie Stern Food News
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Contents

Kitchen Hack

Corporate Services

Bonnie's Book Clubs

News and Events

Bonnie's Cookbooks

Restaurant Recommendations

Featured Recipes

Contact

Bonnie Stern

Phone: 416 484 4810

Email:
bonnie@bonniestern.com

Follow Bonnie:

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Facebook

Website:
www.bonniestern.com

About Bonnie

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

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

 

July, 2019

Welcome to summer! I think we are finally feeling the heat.

Madhur Jaffrey was in Toronto last month speaking at the ROM about Indian food. When asked about her new book Madhur Jaffrey's Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot and what attracted her to the Instant Pot, she explained that she has always used a pressure cooker and this works the same way except that it does much more. In the introduction to the book Madhur says the recipes are truly Indian - both classic and modern - and often have lots of ingredients because she didn't want to "dumb down India's authentic tastes for this book". I have been cooking Madhur's recipes for many years and they are always delicious. (Look in the restaurant recommendation section below to read about Alobar Yorkville, where we went for dinner after her talk.)

Adeena Sussman was also in Toronto for a few days and will be back in October to promote her highly anticipated new cookbook Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors from my Israeli Kitchen. She will be appearing at October’s Foodball and also cooking at a private dinner associated with that event. (See news and events for information about the Foodball).

In June I attended a meaningful and often hilarious evening at Holy Blossom Temple celebrating the book, The 100 Most Jewish Food: a Highly Debatable List (Thomas Allen & Sons) with a panel featuring the author, Alana Newhouse from New York, and David Sax and Michael Wex both from Toronto. Not only did they debate what foods were included in the list, they debated what foods were really Jewish, was food itself enough to encompass a Jewish identity and most importantly whose bagels are the best.

We are so excited about Michael Crummey's visit to our book club on August 26. The book is amazing and we are going to serve some of my favourite foods that I have enjoyed in Newfoundland. There's only a few spots left so if you are interested see the book club section below and call to reserve.

Farmer's Markets are outdoors and busy - check online to see which one is closest to you and the days and times they are open. Be sure to bring your own reusable bags.

And to end on an inspiring note, I wanted to share something you may have seen posted on my Instagram account. My friend Lezli Kuntze has always been an inspiration to everyone who knows her, but now she has gone above and beyond. Diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemo, she lost her hair but still found a way to change the conversation around cancer. She asked her kids to paint her head. For Canada Day they painted the Canadian flag. For their graduation they painted the school's mascot. And then when she went to buy more paint at The Hokey Pokey Shop in Concord, the face painting artists there asked if they could paint her head, and came up with a rainbow of flowers and butterflies. Now when people see her, they smile and want to talk about it - a completely different conversation. Follow Lezli on Facebook or Instagram @klmdr to see the designs on her head and help spread the word.

Delicious wishes,

Bonnie

Kitchen Hack
PITTING CHERRIES
PITTING CHERRIESA great trick for pitting cherries is to use a straw to push out the pit. And now with the sturdy metal straws that are available, it works even better. Use the straw to push the pit through as shown in the photo and be sure to clean out the straw well!


Bonnie's Book Club

Bonnie's Book Club is a labour of love. Nothing pleases Bonnie more than to have the opportunity to bring readers and writers together in a truly unique way that offers the rare opportunity to meet some of Canada's leading authors (and some from farther away), discuss their work and enjoy a delicious meal inspired by the book.

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

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


AUGUST

MICHAEL CRUMMEY: THE INNOCENTS
MICHAEL CRUMMEY:  THE INNOCENTSWe are thrilled to launch the new season of the Book Club with one of Canada’s finest writers (and a Book Club favourite): Michael Crummey.

Over the course of his incredible career, Michael Crummey has established himself as one of the greatest novelists of his generation. His novels River Thieves,The Wreckage, Sweetland and his masterpiece Galore, have been shortlisted for every major Canadian literary prize, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction (twice) while earning rave reviews from critics and attracting a loyal readership across the country.

It’s been a five year wait for Michael’s new novel, but the wait is definitely worth it. In August, Michael Crummey will visit the Book Club to launch The Innocents, a spell-binding story of survival. A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by a savage ocean and by a relentless pendulum of abundance and scarcity. Still children, with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father. Muddling through the severe seasons, through years of meagre catches, storms and illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as the seasons pass, they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures and even that loyalty will be tested. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world we live in, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves. This is bound to be an outstanding evening.

Date: Monday August 26, 2019
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: The Edible Story
320 Richmond Street East #105, Toronto (Entrance on Sherbourne)
Fee: $175 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of The Innocents sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810


SEPTEMBER

LILIAN NATTEL: GIRL AT THE EDGE OF SKY
LILIAN NATTEL: GIRL AT THE EDGE OF SKYBonnie is pleased to welcome Lilian Nattel, bestselling author of Web of Angels and The River Midnight, back to the Book Club as she launches Girl at the Edge of Sky, a unique, thrilling, sometimes terrifying novel based on the life and death of Lily Litvyak, a female Soviet flying ace and fighter pilot shot down behind German lines in the Second World War.

Lily Litvyak is no one's idea of a fighter pilot: a tiny, dimpled teenager with golden curls who lied about her age in order to fly. But in the crucible of the air war against the German invaders, she becomes that rare thing--a flying ace, glorified at home and around the world as the White Lily of Stalingrad. The real Lily disappeared in combat in August 1943, and the facts of her life are slim, but they have inspired Lilian Nattel's indelible portrait of a courageous young woman driven by family secrets to become an unlikely war hero. Even more powerfully, Nattel takes another big leap, asking the compelling question: what if Lily survived that last crash and became a prisoner of the Germans?

Lily lives in a world of horrifying risk, where the life and death stakes are high in the air, but also on the ground. In the Soviet system, everyone is an informer, even your best friend. Lily lives in constant fear that she will be found out, arrested and executed as the daughter of an "enemy of the people." When she ends up a German prisoner, as a Soviet officer and a Jew, the need for deception becomes even more desperate.

Girl at the Edge of Sky is a masterwork of the imagination, subtle and bold all at once, bringing us deep into the precarious life of a remarkable woman who lies to fight for the country that would disown her, and then lies to survive the enemy that would annihilate her.

Date: Monday September 23, 2019
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: To be announced
Fee: $175 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of Girl at the Edge of Sky sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810



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

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

320 Richmond Street East #105
Toronto

(Entrance on Sherbourne)
647 278 1819

www.theediblestory.com

Corporate Services

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

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

All events will be planned and hosted by Bonnie personally.

Corporate Cooking Class
Private Cooking Class

 

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

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

For detailed information,
please call: 416 484 4810

Bonnie's Cookbooks
 
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
SUMMERLICIOUS 2019
SUMMERLICIOUS 2019July 5 to 21, 2019

Summerlicious celebrates Toronto’s restaurant industry and is the perfect opportunity for foodies to sample the best of the city’s eclectic cuisine. Take advantage of the prix fixe menus offered at more than 200 of Toronto’s dining establishments!

For more information, click Summerlicious 2019

FOODBALL
FOODBALLFriday October 4, 2019

Foodball is an exclusive new culinary event and will feature 40 chefs from Italy, Israel, France, Denmark, Sweden and the USA as well as across Canada. Each chef will be highlighting their personal culinary style with innovative canapes and desserts.

Proceeds from the event support Sinai Health Foundation.

For more information click Foodball

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURESunday (dinner) March 1 to Tuesday (breakfast) March 10, 2020

Thanks to all of you who have requested information, and to those of you who have already signed up to come with me on this delicious journey.

To receive the sample itinerary, date and price for my 10th anniversary culinary tour to Israel send your name, email and phone number, with subject line: TRIPS to bonnie@bonniestern.com (if you are not already on the list). For registration information contact Idit Papular at idit@aufgangtravel.com

What people are saying about our last trip:

"Thank you for the experience of a life time! It was truly wonderful! I can’t imagine ever being able to see and do all that we did without you!" Diana D’Amelio

"Thank you for an amazing trip. Sometimes you build things up in your mind. I had been looking forward to doing this for years and worried I had set expectations too high. You and this trip blew all my hopes out of the water - you completely exceeded every hope." Joanna Smith

“We had such a unique opportunity to meet with Israeli culinary experts, and we learned not only about the food, but about the culture and efforts to build bridges of peace. The tour introduced us to so many things we would never have discovered on our own.” Kathy Kruk

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

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

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

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Italian All the Time to bonnie@bonniestern.com and let us know if you are interested in bringing a group or would like to join an open class if and when we offer them.

ISRAELI FAMILY DINNER
ISRAELI FAMILY DINNERIsraeli food is so 'hot' now it is what everyone wants to eat. Come and learn the ingredients and flavours that make it so popular. Israel is an immigrant country and Israeli cuisine is a delicious mash-up of food and flavours from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa.

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

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

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Israeli Family Dinner to bonnie@bonniestern.com and let us know if you are interested in bringing a group or would like to join an open class if and when we offer them.

"Bonnie: thank you once more for a wonderful evening of amazing food and inspiration. I was on a food high when I got home and could not get the thought of your incredible chicken out of my mind! Your recipes are the best." Barbara Kerbel

BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOP
BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOPChallah is the Jewish celebration bread that is enjoyed at every Friday night dinner except during Passover. However, now challah has risen way above Jewish cooking and is a favourite for French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, bread pudding and so much more.

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

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Bonnie’s Challah Workshop to bonnie@bonniestern.com and let us know if you are interested in bringing a group or would like to join an open class if and when we offer them.

Restaurant Recommendations and More
TORONTO
Konjiki Ramen
5051 Yonge Street
Toronto (North York)
647 350 7766
The convenient location, very close to the Empress Walk Cinema on Yonge north of Sheppard, is what brought me to Konjiki Ramen but the amazing ramen is what will bring me back. Accidentally we were there on a Wednesday night when they serve their lobster ramen – what can I say – we were lucky on all counts. Konjiki Ramen is considered one of the best in Japan and Toronto is their first international location. It’s very casual with limited seating at the bar and tables (although bigger than their eight-seat restaurant in Tokyo) but they are very serious about their ramen. Everything is house made and they say you will never forget the flavour of their broth and it’s true – I am still dreaming about it.
Moderate
A La Turk
3443 Yonge Street
Toronto (North York)
416 770 1122
Nice to find a Turkish restaurant close by with traditional food in a comfortable space. The delicious balloon lavash came with four dips and we also liked the lahmajun – a kind of pizza topped with seasoned ground lamb and the wonderful lamb chops. Try the kanafe for dessert.
Moderate
Alobar Yorkville
57A - 162 Cumberland St.
(up the laneway near Avenue Road)
Toronto
416 961 1222
Where to take Madhur Jaffrey and her husband Sandford Allen after Madhur’s talk at the ROM last month was the big question. AloBar was the perfect place - service, beet salad, fries and steak were all perfect. I rarely order steak but this menu was exactly right for a late night sharing dinner.
Expensive
Quetzal
419 College Street
Toronto
647 347 3663
I had been to Quetzal, Grant Van Gameren’s modern Mexican restaurant on College Street a few times and loved it. And then the chef changed and I liked it even more. The cocktails were delicious and the ceviche, coal roasted sweet potatoes, empanadas with smoked chicken, flat iron steak and the octopus were better than ever.
Moderate

Arthur’s
12 St. Clair Avenue East
Toronto
647 348 7000

Arthur’s is a bit of a throw back to the fancy dining rooms in New York or Miami in the 1950’s but the food is so much better. The restaurant is big and gorgeous and even though it was very busy, it didn’t feel crowded. Our linguine with clams and the veal chop Milanese were delicious and the chocolate cake was as good as it looked on Instagram! (Portions are large.)
Expensive
ELORA, ONTARIO
Elora Mill
77 W Mill Street
Elora
647 348 7000
A weekend outing brought us to Elora for lunch at the beautiful new Elora Mill nestled in a waterfall that is picture perfect. The town was very busy but the hotel (and spa) is a quiet oasis and really lovely. The smoked arctic char salad and the vanilla panna cotta with strawberry jelly, strawberries and lemon curd were our favourites.
Moderate
Featured Recipes
MITCHELL'S KASHA VARNISHKES
kasha:
  • 2 cups boiling water or stock or chicken soup
  • 2 tbsp butter, optional
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked buckwheat groats
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • mushrooms and onions:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz bow-tie pasta
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • to reheat in oven:
  • 1/2 to 1 cup stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • MITCHELL'S KASHA VARNISHKESMany of us who grew up with 'kasha and bows' remember it to be dry and flavourless. But this version, one of Mitchell Davis' family recipes, could never be dry and flavourless. Try it and you will see what I mean. Buckwheat, by the way, is gluten-free but pasta isn't, so if you cannot eat gluten, just use a gluten free pasta that's approximately the same size. This recipe is taken from Mitchell's recipe contribution to The 100 Most Jewish Foods by Alana Newhouse (Thomas Allen & Son Limited). (Serve this as a side dish or a main dish.)

    Note: If you are using meat or chicken stock or soup and this has to be kosher, use schmaltz (chicken fat) or extra virgin olive oil (or half and half) instead of butter.



    Method:

    1. Make kasha by combining water, butter and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile place buckwheat in a dry wide saucepan, add egg and stir to combine. The buckwheat with clump together but don't worry. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the clumps of buckwheat break apart into individual grains and give off a nutty aroma, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add liquid and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed and kasha has plumped 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.

    2. For mushrooms and onions, melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat until warm. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have given off most of their water and mushrooms and onions are tender about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a large bowl and add kasha.

    3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about 1 tbsp kosher salt. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and transfer to bowl with the kasha mixture. Combine well.

    Note: Eat immediately or reheat on top of the stove stirring gently or, transfer to a baking dish, drizzle with about 1/2 cup stock, cover and bake at 325F for 25 minutes. Increase heat to 375F, uncover and bake 15 to 30 minutes longer until top begins to brown.

    Serves 6 to 8

    MANGO SALAD WITH TAHINI COCONUT DRESSING
  • 1 large ripe mango
  • 4 cups salad greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted and salted cashews
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
  • chives or sliced green onions


  • dressing:
  • 2 tbsp tahini (or peanut butter)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp ice water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • MANGO SALAD WITH TAHINI COCONUT DRESSINGYears ago my friend Lauren Gutter and I used to make this salad with a peanut butter dressing. Lauren is a fantastic cook and works with her son Dan in their culinary enterprise 'Jack and Lil's'. I just rediscovered this delicious salad but now use a dressing with tahini. Make it into a main with grilled chicken or shrimp. Use any extra dressing as a dip for vegetables.

    Once coconut milk is opened, it only last a few days in the fridge so freeze anything you are not using.



    Method:

    1. Peel mango (I like to use a sharp vegetable peeler.) Cut the flesh from the pit and then slice it into wedges. Place greens on a serving plate and mango on top.

    2. Make dressing by whisking (or blending) tahini with lime juice, coconut milk, water, soy sauce, honey and sriracha until smooth.

    3. Just before serving drizzle salad with dressing and sprinkle with cashews, coconut, cilantro and chives.

    Make 4 servings

    KUKU (PERSIAN HERB FRITTATA WITH MIXED GREENS)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 2 tbsp
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, white and light green parts only, washed and thinly sliced (or one onion)
  • 8 cups greens (eg arugula, baby kale and spinach, chopped (about 1 lb)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh leafy herbs (combination (eg. dill, parsley, chives, tarragon, basil, cilantro, green onions)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour or GF flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp each kosher salt and ground turmeric
  • 1/4 black pepper
  • 3 tbsp yogurt, optional
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • KUKU (PERSIAN HERB FRITTATA WITH MIXED GREENS)I became obsessed with Persian fritattas (called kuku) while reading Sabrina Ghayour's cookbook Persiana. After testing many combinations of greens and herbs, my favourite was the one where I used up all the random greens and herbs in my fridge! Now I sometimes chop some raw broccoli or rapini and cook that with the leeks, or use chopped leftover cooked vegetables (about 2 to 3 cups). It’s a great way to use up what’s in your fridge.

    This recipe works all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It is great for picnics, barbecues and cottage meals. Leftovers can be cut into small pieces for appetizers and slices make great sandwiches.



    Method:

    1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 10" ovenproof skillet. Add leeks and cook until wilted - about 5  minutes. Add greens and cook, rotating greens from top to bottom of skillet, until wilted and tender - 2 minutes for spinach or 3 to 4 minutes for other greens. Add herbs. Cook gently another 2 minutes. Remove greens from pan and spread on a baking sheet to cool quickly. Wipe out pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

    2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, turmeric and pepper. Slowly stir in yogurt, a little at a time, until smooth. Whisk eggs and then whisk some into flour mixture and then whisk in the rest. Add cooled greens and herbs.

    3. Return pan to heat, add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and heat. Add egg mixture. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Cook a minute or two to firm up the bottom and then transfer to a preheated 350F oven. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or longer until centre is just firm to the touch and top is lightly browned and puffed. (Or transfer egg mixture to a 9” or 10” square baking dish and bake 40 to 50 minutes until centre is set.) (Time will depend on thickness of the kuku.)

    makes 6 to 8 servings

    LEBANESE NIGHTS (SEMOLINA PUDDING WITH CREAM AND BERRIES)
    pudding 'cake':
  • 4 cups milk (I use 2%)
  • 2/3 cup semolina (wheat semolina)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water (I use Cortas brand)


  • orange blossom syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water


  • strawberries:
  • 4 cups local berries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • vanilla cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water


  • topping:
  • chopped or slivered pistachio nuts
  • LEBANESE NIGHTS (SEMOLINA PUDDING WITH CREAM AND BERRIES)This recipe is a combination from two amazing Israeli chefs. Sabina Valdman is a professional culinary instructor who also has the unique talent for writing amazing recipes for home cooking. I have taken many groups to her for lessons and she always shares wonderful dishes with us - this being one of them. And then a few months later, when another talented Israeli chef, Osama Dalal, visited Toronto to participate in fund-raising events for - Shalva, a children’s rehabilitation hospital in Jerusalem; he made this dessert too, I thought – it must be a trend. This Lebanese dessert is a little exotic, easy to make and everyone loves it. Use any berries that are in season, and in the winter, a dried fruit compote or orange segments would be great.

    Note: When using orange blossom water or rose water be aware that brands differ greatly so be cautious at first and taste as you go. Also - it keeps forever although the flavour may lessen.



    Method:

    1. For the pudding, prepare your pan first. Line a 10" square or 9"x13" pan with parchment paper - paper should hang over the edge so that you can remove pudding after chilling. Reserve.

    2. Place milk in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently until mixture just comes to a boil. Whisk in semolina, in a thin stream, whisking all the time to keep it from lumping. Then whisk in sugar. Bring to a boil, whisking, and then cook gently, stirring 10 minutes or longer until texture is very smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and orange blossom water. Pour onto prepared pan and move the pan from side to side until it is even - about 1/2" thick. Cool on a rack and then chill.

    3. For the orange blossom syrup, combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then cook gently about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and orange blossom water. Cool. (Any extra will keep in the refrigerator about one month.)

    4. Combine strawberries with sugar and reserve.

    5. For the cream, chill bowl, beaters and cream in the refrigerator. Whip cream until soft peaks form and then add sugar. Beat until stiff. Beat in vanilla and orange blossom water. Beat a few seconds longer but do not over beat.

    6. Spread half the cream evenly over the pudding and sprinkle with some of the pistachios. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    7. To serve, lift pudding out of pan (using the parchment to help) to cut more easily. Cut pudding into squares or cut out 2 1/2" to 3" circles and place one on each dessert plate. Spoon some berries on one side, top with more cream and drizzle with orange blossom syrup. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.

    Makes 8 to 10 servings

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