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Seared Sea Scallops with Petits Pois à la Française

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Apr 4th, 2016


Makes: 4 servings



For the scallops:

  • 12 fresh sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Rosemary, garlic

For the petits pois à la française :

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 pearl onions, peeled and sliced
  • 6 baby carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 slices rillons, or smoked bacon, cut into thin batons
  • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups fresh English peas, shelled
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, core trimmed, finely sliced

For the pea puree:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and diced
  • 2 small heads Boston lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cups shelled fresh peas, blanched
  • 1 teaspoons salt

Garnish (optional):

  • Fingerling potato chips
  • Nasturtium leaves
  • Bibb lettuce heart



For the pea puree:

  1. In a 3-quart heavy sauce pan set over medium heat, melt the butter and add the shallot.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes.   Add the lettuce and 1 tablespoon of water and simmer, covered, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the blanched peas and continue cooking uncovered for another 3 minutes.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, then cool in a bowl set over ice.

For the petits pois à la française:

  1. Melt the butter in a sauté pan set over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes, then add the carrots, rillons, and rosemary; season with salt and white pepper, then continue cooking another 4 minutes.  Add the peas and chicken stock, cover and cook until the peas are tender. Add the romaine lettuce and stir until it is just wilted.  Adjust the seasoning if needed.  Keep warm on the side.

For the scallops:

  1. Warm a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Season the scallops with salt and pepper, and sear them, larger side-down in the pan until evenly browned, about 3 minutes.  Flip over each scallop and add the butter, rosemary and garlic.  Baste the scallops with the butter for another minute and transfer to a paper towel lined-plate.

To serve:

  1. Warm the pea puree in a small saucepot and add a large spoonful to the center of each plate.  Add the petis pois à la française on top of the puree and place the scallops around.  Add fingerling potato chips, nasturtium leaves and the plushes of bibb lettuce heart in between each scallop if you wish.  Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of Sylvain Assie, Executive Chef, Café Boulud.

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Cheese Stuffed Giant Shells

Chatelaine | posted Thursday, Jan 14th, 2016


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 servings


  • 12 jumbo shells
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 227 g cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup extra-smooth ricotta
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 796-mL can whole tomatoes, drained well
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella


  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Cook shells in a large pot of boiling water following package directions (omitting salt) until tender, 14 to 16 min. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 8 to 10 min. Stir in garlic and cook 2 more min. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in ricotta, basil and 1/8 tsp salt until combined.
  • Crush tomatoes finely, using hands or a wooden spoon, in a medium bowl. Stir in remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt. Season with fresh pepper. Spread half of tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8 x 8-in. baking dish. Fill each shell with a heaping tbsp of ricotta mixture, then arrange in baking dish, open side up. Spoon remaining tomato sauce overtop. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  • Bake in centre of oven until cheese melts and shells are warmed through, 10 to 12 min.

Originally published in the Today’s Parent February 2016 issue, this recipe has a triple-tested guarantee from the Chatelaine Kitchen powered by GE. Photo by Erik Putz.

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Supper nachos

Today's Parent | posted Monday, Nov 16th, 2015


Preparation time: 30 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Makes: 6 adult servings

Supper nachos


  • 8 whole-grain tortillas
  • 4 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 540-mL can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 454-g pkg lean ground turkey
  • 1 156-mL can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro


    1. Position racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 400F. Brush both sides of tortillas with 3 tsp oil. Stack tortillas and slice into 8 wedges. Arrange on 2 baking sheets. Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching and rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 min. Transfer to a rack to cool. Preheat broiler.
    2. Mash beans with a potato masher in a medium bowl. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add remaining 1 tsp oil, then garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir until fragrant, 30 sec. Crumble in turkey. Cook, breaking meat up with a fork, until it’s no longer pink, 4 to 5 min. Add tomato paste, water and mashed beans. Cook until warmed through, about 2 min.
    3. Divide tortilla chips between 2 large casserole dishes or transfer all to a baking sheet. Spread tortillas out in one layer if possible. Spoon turkey mixture evenly over chips, then sprinkle with cheese.
    4. Broil in top third of oven just until cheese melts, 1 min. Serve topped with lettuce, sour cream, tomato, green onion and cilantro.

Originally published in the Today’s Parent January 2015 issue, this recipe has a triple-tested guarantee from the Chatelaine Kitchen powered by GE.

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Simply Nigella: Indian-spiced shepherd’s pie

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015


Indian-spiced shepherd’s pie

Serves 4


For the topping:

  • 1kg sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons white peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods, cracked
  • peeled strips from 1 lime, preferably unwaxed, and juice of ½ lime
  • approx 1 litre cold water
  • 4cm piece (20g) fresh ginger, peeled, plus more for filling (see below)

For the filling:

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4cm piece (20g) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • seeds from 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 500g minced lamb, preferably organic
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

To decorate:

  • 4 teaspoons nibbed or finely chopped pistachios


  1. Preheat your oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Start with the topping, cutting each of the sweet potatoes into approx 4-5cm chunks.
  2. Put the unpeeled potato chunks into a large saucepan (with a lid) and add the salt, peppercorns, cracked cardamom pods and lime strips (you don’t need the ginger just yet), then add just enough cold water (about 1 litre) to cover.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly, put the lid on and cook for about 30 minutes – or until the sweet potato is tender – while you get on with the filling.
  4. Slice the garlic and ginger roughly, quarter the onion, and put them all into the bowl of a food processor with the cardamom, cumin and coriander seeds, and whiz until finely chopped. Alternatively, use a bowl and a stick blender, or just chop everything very finely by hand.
  5. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-based pan (with a lid), and then tip this paste in.
  6. Cook for a few minutes or so to soften, stirring frequently, then stir in the garam masala, chilli flakes and turmeric, and tip in the lamb mince, turning it in the spiced onion mixture and breaking it up gently.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, then fill the empty can with cold water and, swilling it around, pour this in as well. Stir in the red lentils.
  8. Season with the salt and Worcestershire sauce, then bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice to stop it catching on the bottom of the saucepan.
  9. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, drain them, reserving the liquid, and leave until cool enough to peel away the skins. Put the flesh into a wide bowl.
  10. Mash the sweet potatoes, using a potato masher, or any gadget of your choice (even a fork would do) and slowly beat in some of the potato cooking water – adding as much as you need to make the mash a less dense, more spreadable consistency – and squeeze in the juice of half the lime.
  11. Grate the peeled ginger for the topping on to a plate – I use a coarse microplane grater – then spoon the grated ginger into the centre of a piece of kitchen roll. Moving quickly, pull up the edges of the paper and twizzle them, so you have a little wrapped swag-bag, then squeeze and wring out over the mash (an intense ginger juice will drip out). Beat this juice into the mash (above). Check the seasoning, tasting to see if you want any more lime or ginger, too.
  12. Once the lamb filling has had its time, ladle equally between 4 small ovenproof bowls or dishes of approx 400ml capacity (or a larger rectangular dish, measuring approx 30 x 20 x 5cm deep and 1.6-litre capacity), and then top with the mash, also dividing this equally between the bowls, spreading it to cover the rim of the dishes.
  13. Sit the dishes on an oven tray and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes (or, if you’re cooking this in one larger dish, it will need 30-35 minutes). The mash should be piping hot (though it won’t get a crust) with the mince bubbling underneath.
  14. On serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of nibbed pistachios over each bowl.


The pies can be assembled up to 2 days ahead. As soon as the pies are cool (and within 2 hours of making), cover each one and refrigerate until needed. Bake for an extra 10-15 minutes, making sure that the pies are piping hot in the centre before serving.


Wrap each pie tightly in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge and bake as Make Ahead Note.

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Black bean fritters with mango salsa

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Oct 28th, 2015


A healthy, gluten-free dinner that’s packed with protein and fresh flavours.

Black bean fritters with mango salsa


  • 1 cup (250 mL) gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7.5 mL) gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 cups (500 mL) canned black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh cilantro + extra for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for frying (enough to cover the bottom of the skillet by approx. 1/2 to 3/4 inch/1 to 2 cm)


In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a hole in the center and add the egg and the milk. Stir into the flour, making a smooth batter.

Mix in the scallions, black beans, and fresh cilantro. Season well with salt and pepper.

Heat up the oil in a large heavy skillet and add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) heaps of the mixture for each fritter. Cook about 4 to 6 fritters at a time, for about 4 to 6 minutes until golden brown, turning once.

Serve fritters with mango salsa on a large platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Courtesy Mary Jo Eustace
Click HERE to buy the book.

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Parmesan-crusted baked chicken with tomato sauce

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2015


This single dish makes two separate meals — a chicken finger plate for the kids and a real meal for the adults. Leftovers can be made into a sandwich for lunch the next day.

Baked Parmesan-crusted chicken with oven-roasted tomato sauce

Serves a family of 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Special tools: empty wine bottle, freezer bag, Vitamix


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups whole wheat pita chips
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  • Sprinkle of fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Roasted tomato sauce:

  • 8 very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 bulb fennel
  • 1/2 white leek
  • Handful basil
  • Lots of olive oil love
  • Salt and pepper


Tomato sauce:

Turn oven to 400 F.
‎Dice tomatoes, carrot, peppers, fennel, leek, basil and garlic. Toss in a heavy amount of olive oil, season and place in roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Let rest and blend.


In a large freezer bag, add mustard and buttermilk. Not so gently pound out the chicken to 3/4-inch thickness.
In a blender, toss chips, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Blend till smooth and lay out on a plate.
Heavily coat the chicken on both sides with Parmesan mixture and place on oven rack. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Top with tomato sauce and a side of pasta!

Courtesy Randy Feltis

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Portobello mushrooms 101

Chatelaine | posted Saturday, Jun 20th, 2015


Large portobello mushrooms are almost always on my weekly grocery list. A perfect stand-in for meat, they are really mature cremini mushrooms which can have caps from four to six inches wide. Their deep umami flavour (the fifth basic taste after salty, sweet, bitter and sour) is so robust that they don’t need as much salt. It’s a substantial vegetable – perfect for use in vegetarian dishes.

Select portobellos with firm, unblemished caps, then turn them over to check the gills (the dark brown feathery structure underneath). If they are dry, it means they’re fresh. If moist (or slimy) they’ve begun to spoil. Take them home and keep them in a paper bag before refrigerating. The bag will keep them dry up to 5 days.

Before cooking, cut off and discard the stem, which can be woody. Use a spoon to scrape off those gills because they can discolour other ingredients. Wipe the cap with a damp paper towel or just brush off any dirt. Cut in half, then thinly slice for stir–fries or keep whole if roasting or grilling.

A single portobello mushroom can contain more potassium than a banana, plus other nutrients such as vitamin C & D, iron and selenium. They are also low in fat, calories and carbs. They’re great stuffed or in fajitas and salads.

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Stout-braised beef stew with steel-cut oat risotto & Emerald Island greens

Cityline | posted Saturday, Mar 7th, 2015


Stout-braised beef stew

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 3 hours


  • 1.5 kg boneless beef blade or chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-in. cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 2 440-mL cans dark stout, preferably Guinness or Murphy’s
  • 3 bay leaves


Toss beef with 3 tbsp of flour and salt in a large bowl until coated.

Heat a large pot over medium. Add 1 tbsp canola oil, then half of beef. Cook, turning meat occasionally until brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add another 1 tbsp oil and repeat with remaining beef.

Add remaining 1 tbsp oil, then onion, carrot, celery and remaining 1 tbsp flour to pot. Season with fresh pepper. Cook until onion starts to soften for 3 minutes. Pour in stout. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up and stir in any brown bits from pot bottom. Return beef and any juices to pot. Add bay leaves. Boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid has reduced slightly. This will take about 30 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to low. Continue simmering until meat is tender, for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Serves 4 | Per serving 641 calories, 69 g protein, 16 g carbs, 32 g fat, 2 g fibre, 858 mg sodium. Excellent source of vitamin A.

Steel-cut-oat risotto

Consider this an easier, nuttier version of rice-based risotto. The oats maintain a slight chewiness even when fully cooked. We used store-bought beef broth; if you use homemade, season the risotto generously with salt.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 900-mL carton beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter


Heat a medium saucepan over medium. Add oats and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir until liquid is gone, this will take 2 minutes.

Add broth and water. Boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. For 20 minutes, simmer, partially covered, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove lid and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until liquid is completely absorbed and oats are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in butter. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 | Per serving 217 calories, 7 g protein, 27 g carbs, 8 g fat, 3 g fibre, 827 mg sodium.


Emerald Island greens

Lacinato kale is also called black, dino or Tuscan kale. Its leaves are smaller and more delicate than regular curly kale’s. Either type works for this recipe.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2 bunches lacinato kale (about 700 g)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Boil a large pot of water. Cut tough stems away from kale leaves with a paring knife and discard. Add kale to boiling water. Boil until kale is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, then rinse well with cold running water. Pat dry.

Melt butter in an extra-large frying pan over medium. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add reserved kale. Cook until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serves 4 | Per serving 196 calories, 3 g protein, 9 g carbs, 18 g fat, 2 g fibre, 302 mg sodium.

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