Bonnie Stern Food News
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Contents

Bonnie's Book Club

News and Events

Bonnie's Cookbooks

Restaurant Recommendations+

Featured Recipes

Contact

Bonnie Stern

Phone: 416 484 4810

Email:
bonnie@bonniestern.com

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Website:
www.bonniestern.com

About Bonnie

Bonnie Stern is the founder of the Bonnie Stern School of Cooking in Toronto which she opened and operated from 1973 to 2011. She has studied and taught cooking around the world, authored 12 bestselling cookbooks, hosted three national cooking shows, and appears regularly on various television and radio shows across Canada.

For 17 years Bonnie wrote a weekly column for the National Post and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines. She has conducted popular workshops for the James Beard Foundation in New York City and leads culinary cultural trips to various delicious destinations. Bonnie is also the creator of a ground-breaking book club in which novelists are invited to discuss their work during thematic dinners.

Bonnie Stern is the recipient of many awards including ones from the Toronto Culinary Guild, the Ontario Hostelry Institute, Cuisine Canada and most notably she is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award. Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking won the coveted International Association of Culinary Professionals’ award.

 

July 2020

Every time I start to write this newsletter I have so much trouble finding the words. A lot has happened in the last few months and talking about food and recipes doesn't feel like enough. Along with many of you, I am going through a time of reflection. It started with the pandemic and, of course, now includes the importance of anti-racism. I'm reading, listening and learning - how to be a more supportive and understanding person, and I'm doing work to better understand what the world looks like through a lens differently than my own. The process requires time and energy and although I am still cooking, sometimes it is with a heavy heart. Thanks for letting me know you missed us - we missed you too. It has only been a few months but it feels like years.
 
Almost every day since the lockdown, I started posting an easy recipe on my Instagram account and everyone seems to love them (and cook them!). In the recipe section I have posted a few of the most popular ones in case you missed them. Follow me on Instagram.

Other signs of change - Our restaurant recommendation section now recommends great places for take-out to keep supporting restaurants as they've gone through a tremendously difficult time. (Patios are coming soon to Toronto as I write this but many of you may not be ready for this yet.) Some places deliver or offer curb-side pick up, and others use a delivery service (although these often take a large percentage of the price). Restaurants are having a really rough time. I always recommend you support your neighbourhood restaurants, those you've always loved going to. And it's also an interesting time to try hard-to-get-a-table restaurants that are now offering take out and delivery.

The same goes for food shopping. I like to support local, independent markets whenever possible and especially now. Pro tip: If you are looking for hard to find items - recently flour and yeast - be sure to check smaller grocery stores that might have them. Also, be sure to double check times and days they are open as many have changed their hours due to COVID-19.

No matter what your situation, staying safe can feel like a full-time occupation. Wear a mask, don't touch your face and wash your hands often. Especially as we start to ease back into daily life.
 
Thank you all for your 'remote' company and support you've provided me through your comments and messages on social media. It's meant the world to me and has lifted my spirits through this time.

Stay safe. Happy Canada Day!
Bonnie

Bonnie's Book Club

Bonnie's Book Club has been suspended, sadly, for now. I will keep you posted. I encourage you to support authors whose books were released this spring and coming out in the fall. The two books that were scheduled for our book club are amazing.

 

HOW A WOMAN BECOMES A LAKE
by Marjorie Celona


Be sure to read Marjorie Celona’s How a Woman Becomes a Lake. It is one of the best novels I have read this year.

FALASTIN
by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley

We were also planning a book club with Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, authors of the new cookbook Falastin which has just been published. Sami is a founding partner and head chef of Ottolenghi and wrote Jerusalem and Ottolenghi with Yotam (Ottolenghi) and Tara is the co-author of Ottolenghi Simple.

I have made a number of recipes from this book and they have turned out delicious. See their recipe for Lemon Chicken with Za’atar in the recipe section below.



Reading Recommendations
 
HOW A WOMAN BECOMES A LAKE

HOW A WOMAN BECOMES A LAKE
by Marjorie Celona

FALASTIN

FALASTIN
by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley

Bonnie's Cookbooks
 
Friday Night Dinners (Paperback)

Friday Night Dinners

Bonnie's latest cookbook with her favourite menus, recipes, photos and stories. Over 170 delicious recipes for every occasion - holidays, barbecues, fast suppers and fabulous feasts - and Bonnie makes sure you can make fantastic meals and still enjoy the food and fun with everyone else. You'll want to use this book every day of the week.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2010, 320 pages, paperback

$29.95

Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking
Bonnie Stern's
Essentials of Home Cooking

Winner of the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. A beautiful cookbook filled with Bonnie’s personal favourites - dishes that reflect the way we are cooking today.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2003, 208 pages, paperback

$34.95
HeartSmart
HeartSmart
This wonderful compendium is a must for every kitchen featuring over 300 favourite recipes from the bestselling Simply HeartSmart Cooking, More HeartSmart Cooking and HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends, as well as 75 brand-new recipes to add to your HeartSmart repertoire. Many of the classic recipes have been fully updated to incorporate current food trends and new nutritional information.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2006, 480 pages, paperback.

$34.95
Cuisiner au goût du cœur
Cuisiner au gout du coeur
Published by Trecarre, 2006, 512 pages

$18.98 
Appetizers
Appetizers
A very special collection of over 150 mouth-watering recipes including soups, spreads, salads, hors d'oeuvre, pastas and much more. Complete with presentation, entertaining, menu planning tips and over 50 detailed illustrations.

Published by Random House of Canada, 1990, 176 pages, paperback

$22.95
Desserts
Desserts
Over 120 recipes for decadent cakes, pies and pastries, scrumptious cookies, creamy mousses and ice creams – A collection of recipes from a master that stand the test, and tastes, of time.

Also provided are elegant decorating tips, helpful information on equipment and ingredients, and black-and-white illustrations throughout demonstrating basic techniques that will make these recipes absolutely no-fail.

Published by Random House Canada, 1998, 214 pages, paperback

$21
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
News And Events
COOKING CLASSES
COOKING CLASSESI am offering Zoom cooking classes for private groups so let me know if you are interested.

Of course, I love to feed people so it's not the same, but it is fun and everyone loves the connection.

 

 

 

A few of the popular ones are:

CHALLAH BRAIDING

ALL ABOUT HERBS

ISRAELI CUISINE

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTUREWe had a magical 10th anniversary Eating Israel Culinary Tour at the end of February 2020. We will decide if we are going to do it again once air travel resumes and we feel it is safe and airfares are reasonably priced.

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

For a small taste of my time in Israel check these videos filmed and produced by Mark Rupert:

A gorgeous February day in Israel

My favourite coffee shop in Tel Aviv

Everyday is a busy day at Port Said

Restaurant Recommendations and More
TORONTO TAKE-OUT
Pukka
778 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto
416 342 1906

www.pukka.ca//order-online

The food was outstanding just like it tastes at the restaurant. We had sweet potato samosas, squash curry, butter chicken, rice and butter nan. Delivered on time by Derek himself.
Tabule
2009 Yonge Street
(there are a few locations)
Toronto
416 483 3747

orders.tabule.ca

Always one of the best values in the city, the quality of food and preparation is always terrific. We had babaganuj, falafel, chicken tawuk and Lebanese vermicelli rice.
Fat Pasha
414 Dupont Street
Toronto
647 350 4261

www.fatpasha.com

Another place we love to go to, now comes home to us. We have picked up orders of hummus, falafel, and lamb ribs from Fat Pasha, Fet Zun chicken shawarma, and Madame Boeuf and Bottle burgers.
United Bakers Dairy Restaurant
506 Lawrence Ave. West
(in Lawrence Plaza)
Toronto
416 789 0519

unitedbakers.ca

UB, as it is known by regulars, and there are so many regulars, has always had great take-out. You can pick up or have it delivered. I love the split pea soup with noodles, the smoked whitefish salad is outstanding, the tuna salad can’t be beat, blintzes like my mom made, Greek salad, latkes, grilled cheese – I could go on and on. It is a dairy restaurant (fish and vegetarian).
7 Numbers
(There are a few locations)
516 Eglinton Ave. West
Toronto
416 322 5183

sevennumbers.com

If you don’t have your own Italian grandmother, Rosa is there for you. She has started baking bread every morning and makes the very best lasagne. We usually order lasagne (of course), lamb shanks, osso buco and calamari salad. They are also selling grocery items like cheese, sauces, vegetables, rice, and Mutti canned tomatoes (I love Mutti products).
Jack and Lil’s
St. Clair Commissary
684 St. Clair Avenue West
(rear laneway off Humewood Drive)
647 347 7459

www.jackandlils.com
Jack and Lil’s are changing their menu for summer.  Always delicious food with many gluten-free baked options, I now want to try their toasted chicken and mayonnaise sandwich!
The Edible Story
320 Richmond St. East #105
(the entrance is actually on the east side of Sherbourne north of Richmond)
Toronto
647 350 7707

www.theediblestory.com

This catering company and event space (where I have hosted many book clubs) has started doing take-out and it is one of the best dinners you can order. It arrives like a big surprise gift and it’s so exciting to open. They have different rotating themes like taco night, shawarma, main course salads, poke bowls, etc. We had the taco box – so beautiful, delicious and plentiful.
Tom's Dairy Freeze (Take-out)
630 The Queensway
Etobicoke
416 259 1846

www.tomsdairyfreeze.ca

One of the most delicious treats I had during this pandemic was a Mother's Day gift from Tom’s Dairy Freeze. I love soft serve and Tom’s is the best. Their vanilla soft serve with peanut butter and chocolate sauces and chopped peanuts made me happy. They have next day curbside pick-up or delivery via Uber Eats. My daughter’s neighborhood is in the delivery zone and then she delivered it the rest of the way for us. Amazing.
Soma Chocolatemaker
– Cacoa Bean Lab
77 Brock Avenue
Toronto
427 232 7662

www.somachocolate.com
Not normally for dinner, but in desperate times who knows! Their entire collection is available online. Next day curbside pick-up at the factory or free porch drops (with minimum order $50). Great for delicious and uplifting gifts – for yourself and others.
BONNIE'S LOCAL FOOD MARKETS
Fresh Harvest
546 Eglinton Avenue W.
Toronto
416 487 0388
This wonderful Italian fruit and vegetable market has been my go-to neighbourhood shop for years. They carry many organic shelf items as well and a large selection of Italian pastas and cheese. Delivery and curbside pick-up available.
Dave Young
Fruit Market

494 Eglinton Ave West
Toronto
416 489 1118
Another popular fruit and vegetable market in our neighbourhood is Dave Young. As well as fruits and vegetables, they have a large selection of flowers and plants and also carry many Jewish and Chinese sauces and noodles, etc. that are otherwise hard to find nearby.
Cumbrae’s
(multiple locations)
1591 Bayview Avenue
Toronto
416 485 5620
Cumbrae’s has been my butcher for over twenty years. They are farmers, butchers and chefs and have top quality meat and prepared foods. (They also have a location on Queen Street West and in Dundas, ON) Call in your order for curb-side pick up or shop in person.
Avenue Seafood
1751 Avenue Road
Toronto
416 783 2288
This has been my go-to fish store also for many years. Their fresh fish and seafood is reliable and they carry my favourite double smoked salmon from New Brunswick –  Wolfhead smoked salmon.
Ambrosia
1725 Avenue Road
Toronto
647 748 1725
This is a meticulous health food store with knowledgeable, friendly service. They also have a wide selection of organic and gluten-free foods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. They carry my favourite Organic Meadow regular and lactose free dairy products – I especially love their milk and yogurt.
Ararat
1800 Avenue Road
Toronto
416 782 5722
This small store is very deceptive. Owned by Peter and Aurora for 50 years, it contains all the Middle Eastern (and more) ingredients you could ever need.
Featured Recipes
MANGO CHICKEN STIR FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCE
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into 1” chunks or extra firm tofu, or a combination of chicken and tofu
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Thai green curry paste, or any curry paste or powder
  • 1 stalk broccoli, florets and stem thinly sliced (or ½ lb asparagus, sliced)
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro and/or Thai basil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp coarsely chopped peanuts, optional
  • MANGO CHICKEN STIR FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCEI adapted this recipe from my HeartSmart cookbook to the ingredients I had on hand and my need for comfort now - you should too. I often use half chicken and half extra firm tofu in stir fry dishes. Serve with steamed rice.

    Note: Freeze leftover canned coconut milk. It only keeps a few days in the fridge. I freeze it in a ziplock bag (lying flat on a plate to freeze), so that I can break off what I need, even when a recipe calls for a small amount.



    Method:

    1. For sauce, in a 2 cup measure, gently stir peanut butter and hoisin sauce together. Add coconut milk and water. Reserve.

    2. Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok with 1 tbsp oil. Add chicken or tofu and brown on both sides. Remove from pan.
     
    3. Return pan to heat with remaining oil. Add onions and cook until lightly browned. Stir in curry paste.
     
    4. Re-add chicken or tofu. Cook about 2 minutes. Add broccoli and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes and then add sauce. Combine well and continue cooking. Add mango and keep stirring. Add a bit more water if mixture seems dry. It should be saucy but thick-ish. Cook about 3 to 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is barely tender.

    5. Sprinkle with herbs and peanuts if using.

    Makes 3 to 4 servings

    NO-KNEAD ARTISANAL BREAD
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp water (room temp)
  • Extra flour and about 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • NO-KNEAD ARTISANAL BREADBaking your own sourdough bread is very romantic and almost irresistible. Especially right now that we have so much time. I have gone down the sourdough path numerous times - feeding the starter, making bread everyday, eating too much bread, giving away bread, giving away starter, discarding the discard, repeat. So when I discovered Jim Lahey’s no-knead artisanal bread about 15 years ago, I was hooked. And I still am. Now I can make my own almost sourdough bread anytime, or buy amazing sourdough bread made by professional bakers. (Seriously - cudos to all those who have been learning to make sourdough during this pandemic. Your breads are stunning and look very delicious.)

    Method:
    1. Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in water to form a sticky, messy dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature 12 to 24 hours. Dough should have bubbles on surface.

    2. Spread about 1/2 cup extra flour on a clean tea towel set on the counter. Scrape dough onto the tea towel (it will be messy) and pat into a rectangle about 6”x12”. Cover loosely and let sit for 15 minutes.

    3. Arrange another clean tea towel on the counter, rub with more flour and half the cornmeal. Very gently fold dough into thirds and then into thirds again to form a rough cube of pudgy dough. Gently place dough upside down on second tea towel. Dust the top with more flour and remaining cornmeal. Fold ends of towel loosely over top and let sit 2 hours.

    4. After 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 450F. Place a cast iron Dutch oven with lid on (I use my 26cm Le Crueset) in the oven to preheat for 30 minutes. (Yes - it is empty.)

    5. Very carefully now because the pot is very hot - slide your hand under the bread and, over a tray to catch the excess flour, open tea towel and flip bread upside down into the hot pan. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer until browned. Cool on rack.
    LEMON CHICKEN WITH ZA’ATAR
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into quarters or 3 lbs chicken pieces preferably with skin and bones
  • 2 onions, halved and each cut into thirds
  • 2 heads garlic, halved crosswise, skin on
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 4 tbsp za’atar, divided
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (oops I forgot them!)
  • LEMON CHICKEN WITH ZA’ATARThis recipe from Falastin, the delicious new cookbook from Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, jumped out at me when I first went through the pages. I have made it often and you should too.

    This recipe is in honour of Sami and Tara who were going to be doing a book club with me on Monday (April 27th) - the start of their North America book tour. I know I will see you soon, Sami and Tara, and I know people are loving your book so much! Congratulations!



    Method:
    1. Thinly slice 2 lemons. Place in a big mixing bowl. Grate the peel of the third lemon and reserve. Juice half that lemon and add juice to the bowl along with chicken, onions, garlic, sumac, allspice, half the za’atar, 2 tbsp olive oil, stock, 1 1/2 tsp salt and some freshly ground pepper. Mix well and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
     
    2. Preheat oven to 425F. Transfer chicken (skin side up), onions, garlic and lemon slices to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle marinade over chicken and a little more olive oil. Bake about 45 minutes, stirring halfway, or until chicken is cooked and browned.
     
    3. Combine reserved lemon zest, parsley and remaining olive oil and sprinkle on chicken. Serve with onions, lemon slices (I love them), roasted garlic halfs, almonds and juices.

    Makes 4 servings
    RUTHIE'S CHEESECAKE
    Crumb Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups (8oz) graham or vanilla wafer crumbs or other cookie crumbs like shortbread, ginger or oatmeal cookies
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted


  • Filling:
  • 1 lb cream cheese (I use Philadelphia full fat cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Topping:
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • strawberries
  • RUTHIE'S CHEESECAKEThis is the cheesecake my mom always used to make. Serve them plain or topped with fresh seasonal fruit. I topped mine with the adorable strawberries that just came into season - perfect for celebrating Canada Day. Serve in cupcake papers (or not).

    Note: My mom always used graham wafer crumbs but crumb crusts are a great way to use leftover homemade cookies. You can even mix and match. 



    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8” sq baking pan and line with parchment paper, hanging over two sides for easy removal.
     
    2. For crust, if you don’t have cookie crumbs, break about 8 oz cookies into pieces and chop in a food processor to make 1 1/2 cup crumbs. (Otherwise place cookies in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.) Combine crumbs with butter and press into pan.

    3. For filling beat cheese with sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour evenly over crust. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until set in the middle.

    4. For topping combine sour cream with sugar and vanilla. When cake is ready, smooth the sour cream over the hot cake and return to oven for 5 minutes to set. Cool cake on rack and then refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight.
     
    5. Serve from pan or remove from pan to cut into squares. Run a knife around the two sides not lined with parchment paper and gently lift cake out of the pan using the parchment paper ends to help. Trim edges and eat. Cut into squares with a knife dipped into very hot water and dried between cuts.

    Makes 25 squares

    LEMON PUDDING CAKE
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • LEMON PUDDING CAKEThis old-fashioned dessert, from my Friday Night Dinners cookbook, separates into a cake on the top and pudding on the bottom. You probably have all the ingredients to start now. Serve as is or with whipped cream or ice cream. Tip: melted berry sorbet makes a delicious instant sauce. If you like lemon desserts very tart use 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup lemon juice.


    Method:
    1. Heat oven to 350F. Butter an 8” square baking dish.
     
    2. Beat butter with 1/2 cup sugar until light. Beat in egg yolks and lemon peel. Whisk in flour until smooth, whisk in milk and lemon juice.

    3. In a clean bowl with clean beaters beat egg whites until frothy and light. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar slowly and beat egg whites until stiff. Whisk 1/4 egg whites into butter mixture and then fold in remaining egg whites.
     
    4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Set pan in a larger pan and fill larger pan halfway up the sides of the baking pan with hot water. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until top has puffed and browned and centre feels firm when lightly touched. The cake will fall as it cools - don’t worry.
     
    Makes about 6 to 8 servings
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