Go for the crunch!

Go for the crunch!

When asked to name the most under-rated vegetable, MasterChef judge Graham Elliot didn’t hesitate: Celery!   “I love it for the crunch, and for its slight bitter edge,” says the celebrated Chicago chef and restaurateur, in TO recently to promote Walmart’s fresh produce. “You can juice it, shave it into salads, pickle it, garnish a cocktail, … Continue reading

Zucchini Italian style

Zucchini Italian style

At a recent ‘Made in Italy’ dinner, graduates of George Brown College’s Italian program set the stage for a summer of good eating. As chef school director John Higgins handed out cheques from the Italian Trade Agency to students who cooked the winning dishes, he noted that cooking in Italy over the next few months will … Continue reading

Watercress adds a regal bite

Watercress adds a regal bite

Bring on the pomp and circumstance, as Britain prepares to officially celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday tomorrow. After travelling along London’s Mall in horse-drawn carriages and assembling on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for their annual photo op, Her Majesty and Co., along with her loyal Canadian subjects, will surely be ready for a pot of … Continue reading

Green garlic adds a taste of spring

Green garlic adds a taste of spring

Nestled beside the heaping displays of local asparagus at the farmers market sit bunches of thick white stalks with long green ribbons for leaves. Oversized green onions? Undersized leeks? Meet one of Ontario’s newest spring crops, green garlic. “When we started growing garlic three years ago, we left it all to form bulbs,” says market … Continue reading

All choked up

All choked up

They’re big, they’re beautiful and they’re a pain to prepare. Why bother? Because artichokes are a rite of spring, and because the meaty, mineral-rich heart hidden deep within their armoured leaves make it (almost) worth the effort. Of course, as soon as I decided to write about this edible thistle I couldn’t find any medium-sized … Continue reading

The “other” rhubarb

The “other” rhubarb

When Bill French needs a blast of spring, he just opens his barn door. Inside, thousands of lipstick-pink stalks of rhubarb with lemon-lime leaves vie for attention. Pick me! Pick me! Grown without sunlight, these elegant stalks are tender, fibre-free and sweeter than their outdoor cousins, though still tart. And they’re at their peak for … Continue reading

Snap to it!

Snap to it!

Craving a healthy spring snack? Pick up a bag of sugar snap peas. Developed in Montana in the 1970s, these emerald green pods combine the sweetness of familiar shelled green peas with the crunch of the flat, edible snow pea pods beloved in Chinese cooking. Sugar snaps are a snap to prepare. Some come pre-washed, … Continue reading

My year of Elsewhere

My year of Elsewhere

Christmas Day, 2015 My year of Elsewhere began with a dinner party last December, where friends Helen and Ron invited me to spend a week at their rented condo in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende. I arrived the first week of March, catching a ride at Mexico City’s airport for the four-hour … Continue reading

Crazy for cranberries

Crazy for cranberries

Matt French’s cranberry sauce will be smoking this Christmas. French, sales director and winemaker at Johnston’s in Muskoka, Ontario’s largest cranberry farm, teamed up with a Port Carling chef to throw homegrown cranberries in the smoker for 30 minutes before mixing them with sautéed leeks and onions, a splash of his cranberry wine and local … Continue reading

Parsnips a smash hit

Ontario’s biggest parsnip producer is still astonished to see his roots on three-star menus. “When I was a kid the old Anglo Saxons bought them,” says Tony Tomizza, whose family has pulled parsnips from the black muck of the Holland Marsh for more than half a century. “They knew how to cook them and what … Continue reading