November 29th, 2013
Spending quality time in the kitchen we can deal with. Planning a week's worth of meals and groceries is the true challenge.
That's why we're so enamoured with two new services that deliver meal plans and the groceries to go with them straight to our door, leaving us with nothing to do but follow directions. Dinnerit (pictured) has a weekly set menu of four-serving meals, with your choice of medium bag (three meals/12 servings, $99) or large (five meals/20 servings, $139), while Fresh Canteen lets you choose between two or four servings per meal and from two to four meals per week (starting at $60 for two recipes, two servings). Both companies aim to deliver delicious, healthy meals ready in less than 45 minutes.
Just think of what you can do with all the extra time. —Kat Tancock
October 25th, 2013
Gluten, soy, cow dairy...it's hard to keep up with your friend's intolerances, let alone serve a meal that everyone can eat.
Footbenders makes impromtu dinner parties easy-peasy, with healthy, homemade meals conceived with unique dietary needs and tastes in mind.
Offer your guests a smattering of options from organic raw beet and walnut salad to chickpea and olive tapenade to a herbed pumpkin and lentil stew.
Top it off with ice cream and boozy figs.
Everyone leaves full and happy, which is just the reaction you want. —Athena Tsavliris
2763 Dundas St. W., Toronto, http://foodbenders.com
October 18th, 2013
Toronto's food scene is stellar, but it can be hard to craft the perfect itinerary when entertaining out-of-town guests.
Next time, we're leaving the work to local tour operator Foodies on Foot, whose selection of Toronto excursions includes the stellar 501 Streetcar Tour. For just $75 including a TTC day pass (discounts are available if you have your own), you'll spend a leisurely Sunday hopping on and off the Queen car from Parkdale to Leslieville, making stops along the way to socialize with and enjoy massive samples from six of the city's top chefs and purveyors. Give guides advance notice and they'll tailor the tour for experienced locals, meaning there's always a chance to learn something new.
Most important? Skip breakfast. You really will eat that much. —Kat Tancock
September 28th, 2013
If you usually have a rapt audience while you whip up meals and snacks, turn those curious kids into kitchen helpers. Here's how:
Get them comfortable: Anything that has a blade or requires electricity may be a bit advanced for smaller kids, but you can get them comfortable with a mortar and pestle. They can crush spices and nuts, and they’ll love seeing the result of all their hard “work." $62 at Williams-Sonoma.
Let the Making Begin: There’s a reason ham-and-cheese is such a classic – it’s a comfort combination loved by eaters of any age. For a warm, gooey take on this family favourite, use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and this simple 3-ingredient, 20 minute recipe for Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups at www.mypillsbury.com
Don’t skip dessert: Keep them motivated with the promise of chocolate (mixed with fruit of course). Chocolate dipped strawberries (if they are out of season, try bananas) don’t have to be fancy - or neat: melt down a bag of chocolate chips with a bit of shortening, wait for it to somewhat cool and let them go to town with fruit and even sprinkles. A word of warning: lay down some parchment paper or your kitchen will look like Willy Wonka’s factory. Martha Stewart does hers with crushed pistachios; the kids can shell and crush the nuts with the mortar and pestle. Find the recipe here.
September 27th, 2013
So powerful is the popularity of mustard that even Malcolm Gladwell has explored the Grey Poupon phenomena in a New Yorker essay.
Salad dressing, dips, sauces, dolloped on top of poultry or fish - this condiment doesn't have to hide in the back of the fridge like ketchup. But who knew that 90% of mustard seeds are grown in Canada? Ontario company Kozlik's, that's who. With 60 years in the mustard biz, Kozlik's knows its stuff, and has branched out with Amazing Maple (using two Canuck greats, maple syrup and mustard seed), Triple Crunch (with a splash of Canadian Club) and Sweet & Smokey, perfect for the grill (including hot dogs, of course).
That's one luxe mustard. —Maria Tallarico
September 6th, 2013
Egotistical characters, backstabbing, cat fighting - no, this isn't an episode of Real Housewives, it's the underbelly of the restaurant world. Herewith, the food-centric Twitter accounts that serve up the dishiest food news.
The Braiser is attached to the the fantastic food blog of the same name, combines US Weekly-style gossip, cringe-worthy food tv show clips and hot-button topics like tipping. https://twitter.com/TheBraiser
Created as a nom de plume used poke fun at the sometimes-pretentious world of food, Ruth Bourdain has been revealed as New Jersey freelance writer Josh Friedland. The avatar photo (a mashup of Ruth Reicl and Anthony Bourdain) is good for a terrifying chuckle and the commentary is still biting. https://twitter.com/RuthBourdain
And speaking of Bourdain, Twitter is the perfect spot for his no-holds-barred attitude. Bourdain doesn't suffer fools (even famous ones) gladly - and he even posts a food photo once in a while. https://twitter.com/Bourdain
Celebrities love Toronto chef Susuar Lee's restaurants (and he ain't afraid to show it). His restos will be a hot spot during TIFF, but even if you can't make it in for meal, he posts DIY videos for his favourite dishes. https://twitter.com/susurlee
September 5th, 2013
With in-flight food options worse than ever, many of us load up on whatever we find in the terminal.
Cibo Express passes with flying colours by offering healthy, tasty options like a golden beet salad, grilled veggie sandwich or a blueberry, granola yoghurt. Fresh fruit, artisanal pastries and Beretta Farms' famous 'Protein Puck' cookie are up for grabs, as are a smattering of gluten free snacks, nuts and gourmet potato chips.
Even a tardy flight is more tolerable with the right nibbles. —Athena Tsavliris
August 23rd, 2013
We covet their shiny hair and flawless skin (and don't they know it!); herewith, our four favourite food tips from celebrity bloggers.
Jillian Harris a West Coast’s design darling and former Bachelorette, but she also has a great blog offering up style, fashion, home décor and health tips. We like her Greens Complexion Smoothie which she says keeps her skin clear, nails strong and “things” working a little better. www.jillianharris.com
Supermodel Miranda Kerr has been dishing on body, health and wellness tips for Net-A-Porter’s The Body Beautiful series. Our favourite tip is one we can all add to our daily routine — lemon and warm water. Kerr starts every day with warm water and citrus to kick start digestion, boost the immune system and stimulate liver detox. www.net-a-porter.com
Gwyneth Paltrow has been helming Goop for a few years now and we really love this Chocolate Love Smoothie recipe. It’s created by nutritionist Dr. Frank Lipman and is made from raw cacao (yup, chocolate), honey and avocado for a delicious rich smoothie that’s actually good for you. www.goop.com
Lauren Conrad has parlayed reality TV into a real-life empire: she writes about fitness, style, décor (but sadly, no feuds iwth Heidi and Spencer) on her website. One of her health secrets is the endless benefits of apple cider vinegar, which boosts your immune system and metabolism. She also says it keeps you slim by regulating your blood sugar levels, aids in weight loss because it helps control your appetite and keeps your PH levels balanced. Bonus: rinse your hair with it weekly for added shine. www.laurenconrad.com
July 12th, 2013
Even if your summers are all about grilling, some veggie side dishes will round out that meal. Get inspired by these three gorgeous new plant-centric cookbooks.
Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl
You'll have major life envy after reading this Stockholm-based couple's award-winning blog Green Kitchen Stories, and their new book is no exception. We got rave reviews on our first try making the frozen strawberry cheesecake with sunflower-date crust, and we're converts to cauliflower crust pizza, too. Next up? The oat and coconut milk-based blackberry chocolate milkshake. $21.96 at Amazon.
The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier
Though not vegetarian herself, famed Chocolate and Zucchini food blogger Dusoulier (whose Edible Adventures in Paris we have ready and waiting for our next visit) is evangelical about fresh seasonal produce, and her cookbook puts a Parisian spin on dishes that let the vegetables take the spotlight. On the top of our to-make list: the simple and summery eggplant and black olive caviar, which will do double duty brightening up basic sandwiches and accompanying the cheese board at our next soirée. $17.49 at Indigo.
Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes by Makini Howell
Though we've yet to dine at Seattle's finest vegan establishment, we're itching to make our way out west to sample the dishes and cooking philosophy that inspired this pretty book. Intended to show followers and newbies the broad variety of vegan cuisine, the recipes move from basic (basil soy ricotta, a new way to prep roasted garlic) to fancy, such as tempeh in a vermouth sauce. On our radar come fig season: savoury gluten-free crepes with fresh figs, ricotta, arugula and balsamic dressing. $19.76 at Indigo.
June 3rd, 2013
Hangry is an emotion we like to avoid whenever possible – and ready-to-go healthy snacks are the key to avoiding blood sugar crashes. Besides the always-useful baggie of almonds, here are four options, all created by local companies.
These dense nuggets of goodness are packed with tasty, nutritious ingredients including goji berries, hemp protein, honey and enough cocoa to satisfy a chocolate craving. They come in three flavours; we're partial to peanut butter, naturally. www.kewaza.com
In chili and herb flavours (with barbecue apparently on its way), these pea- and potato-based chips are high in protein, vegan and gluten free – and extremely addictive. www.thesimplybar.com
Made in the dehydrator, these crackers satisfy our cravings for crunchy, salty and fatty – but unlike the usual suspects, they're gluten-free, raw and satisfying, too. www.livefoodbar.com
With just four ingredients – banana, coconut, sesame seeds and spirulina – these cookie-like dehydrated snacks are just sweet enough to satisfy and packed with nutrition, too. http://nudfud.com