Food & Drink Recipe Tips & Hacks
We asked our contributors to dive into the archives and give us ideas for switching up their favourite Food & Drink recipes.
Charred Green Onions with Romesco Sauce
Amy Rosen, recipe developer
“Since many of us have participated in the greatest kitchen hack of modern times — placing the root ends of green onions in a glass of water to grow more green onions — let’s put our pandemic bounty to good use. (By now you’ve hopefully transplanted your new growth into soil and have a solid crop.) Charring bunches of green onions on the barbecue makes them sweet and soft on the inside and a little bitter and crunchy on the outside. They make a satisfying summertime side, especially when dragged through their perfect pairing, romesco sauce. Made with mostly pantry staples, such as roasted red peppers, almonds, red wine vinegar, olive oil, seasonings and a slice of stale bread (bonus points if it’s homemade sourdough), romesco is an addictive sauce that blends together in a snap. Not just for green onions, this pillar of Argentine cuisine is also great on chicken, fish and steak, and is a winning sandwich spread.”
Try Amy’s Charred Green Onions with Romesco Sauce
Fresh Vegetable & Noodle Spring Rolls with Chili Garlic Hoisin
Irene Matys, recipe developer
“It’s the season for fresh Ontario produce from your local grocer, farmers’ market, farm-share delivery or backyard garden. This means we need to make use of the abundance. Fresh rolls are a refreshing, healthy and delicious way to do that. They’re great enjoyed any time of the day. Don’t have rice paper rolls? Substitute lettuce leaves such as romaine, iceberg, red leaf or Boston for fresh lettuce wraps. Washing your lettuce before storing saves you time later on. Dry it well to remove excess water so it doesn’t lose its crunchy appeal. Make tropical-style rolls by adding fresh herbs, like mint, that pair well with mango, julienned colourful peppers and red onion. Give your dipping sauce additional freshness by mixing in a thinly sliced green onion. Your can also stir in 1 tsp (5 mL) of your favourite nut butter to give the sauce a creamy, nutty flavour.”
Get creative with Irene’s Fresh Vegetable & Noodle Spring Rolls with Chili Garlic Hoisin.
Grilled Radicchio Wedge Salad with Orange-Poppyseed Dressing
Jennifer MacKenzie, recipe developer
“Bring on the summer salads! Save a trip to the store with this DIY dressing made with ingredients you likely have on hand. No poppy seeds? No problem. Sub in sesame or hemp seeds, or simply leave them out. This sweet-and-tangy dressing is a nice change from plain vinaigrette on a baby green or spinach salad. Try it on a marinated cauliflower salad, as well. Add a splash to sautéed vegetables, or drizzle the dressing over fish fillets just before grilling for a quick flavour boost. It even makes a great marinade for chicken and pork. Does your family like chicken fingers? Take them for a dip in Orange-Poppyseed dressing for a change. Branch out from the savoury and drizzle the dressing over a fruit salad for brunch, or toss it with fresh strawberries and spoon over vanilla sponge or angel food cake, or even bowls of ice cream, for dessert.”
Mix up Jennifer’s Grilled Radicchio Wedge Salad with Orange-Poppyseed Dressing.
Heirloom Tomato Sandwich
Christopher St.Onge, food stylist and recipe developer
“My original recipe borrowed flavours from a favourite Sicilian pesto and instructs you to make a basil, garlic and almond butter mixture from scratch, something that involves using (and dirtying) a food processor. You can cut to the chase by rubbing a clove of garlic over the toast, spreading the pieces liberally with commercial almond butter and throwing a handful of basil leaves in the sandwich. And because the fried tofu was really about adding a bit of crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside texture, you can skip it and the frying pan, too. You’ll want to keep the Parmesan handy though. Before you close up your tomato, almond and basil sandwich, give it a good dusting of finely grated cheese. It’s same-same but different — still a straight-up pesto alla trapanese in sandwich form, only with fewer dishes to do afterwards.”
Make Christopher’s Heirloom Tomato Sandwich.
Cheesy Asparagus Frittata with Dilled Aïoli
Victoria Walsh, content editor and recipe developer
“The recipe for this frittata is basically the ratio I use to make a baked egg ‘something’ on a regular basis. All the parts of this dish are flexible — dairy, cheese, veggies and toppings. Swap the dairy for whatever is on hand: use half-and-half plus milk or, for a leaner version, just milk in place of whipping cream. Choose veggies like sautéed peppers, shredded kale or defrosted frozen peas instead of asparagus. The aïoli is just an extra. Whisk up your own version using whatever herbs you have on hand, drop the herb aspect or just skip the aïoli completely. On hot days, I’ve even had success ‘baking’ it in a foil dish on a closed-lid barbecue at about 400°F (200°C).”
Try Victoria’s Cheesy Asparagus Frittata with Dilled Aïoli and more weekend-worthy dishes.
Spaghetti with Roasted Red Peppers, Arugula & Crispy Quinoa
Eshun Mott, food stylist and recipe developer
“There are moments (not just during a pandemic — think the lazy days of summer!) when it’s great to have a flexible pantry recipe in your back pocket. If you don’t have (or want to fry) quinoa, just add the same amount of another crunchy ingredient like toasted coarse bread crumbs or nuts. Swap any flavourful green for the arugula (such as spinach, kale, chard, or even sautéed rapini or zucchini), use jarred roasted red peppers, or substitute in some halved cherry tomatoes in place of the fresh red peppers. And mix up the herbs by using parsley, chives or even a spoonful of pesto.”
Riff on Eshun’s Spaghetti with Roasted Red Peppers, Arugula & Crispy Quinoa.
Coffee Molasses Barbecue Sauce
Heather Trim, recipe developer
“Barbecue sauce is one of those ubiquitous fridge staples used for summer grilling. But for me, store-bought sauces are often too sweet or ketchupy and not spicy enough for what I’m throwing on the barbecue. So I make my own. It’s super easy to do and adjust depending on what ingredients I have on hand. Here are a few substitutions to get you started on your own sauce. Out of Dijon? Try yellow or grainy mustard. No cider vinegar? Try basic white or whatever you have — fancy vinegars aren’t needed for barbecue sauce. When it comes to heat, be bold if you want to. Simply pick your favourite hot sauce and add as much as you like (a smoked one would be perfect too). No fresh ginger? A generous pinch of dried will do just fine. And when you’re looking for a gift for a friend, a jar of homemade barbecue sauce might just be perfect for a drop-off.”
Simmer up Heather’s Coffee Molasses Barbecue Sauce.
Peri Peri Farro Salad
Monda Rosenberg, recipe developer
“Having a chilled sturdy, no-wilt salad sitting in the fridge is not only warm-weather dinner security but also an ever-ready lunch or picnic hamper standby. Farro is a top-notch source of plant protein, so just skip the chorizo and you have a healthy vegetarian main. (Quinoa can be subbed for the farro.) None of the vegetable additions are essential, so use whatever is in the crisper. Don’t forget canned or frozen vegetables can be almost as nutritious as fresh. If you don’t have peri peri sauce, start with ¼ cup (60 mL) of any hot sauce in your pantry. You can always taste and add more. While this salad lasts for days, stirring in chopped fresh vegetables just before serving brighten it up and add crunch. And if you want to cut the recipe down in size, no math skills are required.”
Make Monda’s Peri Peri Farro Salad.
Grilled Clams & Scallions with Pan con Tomate
Tonia Wilson, recipe developer
“Grilled clams are a perfect dish for outdoor eating but can be just as delicious made indoors. Try turning this recipe into a one-pot wonder! First, heat oil in a large pot over low heat and gently fry bread in batches (adding more oil as necessary) until light golden; set aside. Then add scallions to pot and allow to sear slightly, flipping once. Remove scallions and set aside with bread. Add an additional splash of oil to pot and cook chopped garlic and thyme for 1 minute over medium heat; add clams and wine. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for at least 10 minutes or until clams have opened (it may take longer, depending on the clams). While clams cook, rub the fried bread with the whole garlic clove, and then rub with tomato as in the original recipe. Season with sea salt and top with cooked clams and their juices. Voila!”
Toss together Tonia’s Grilled Clams & Scallions with Pan con Tomate.
Vanilla Bean Crepes with Poached Persimmons
Michelle Rabin, recipe developer
“Crepes are best prepared when the batter has had time to rest in the refrigerator. The batter can stay in the fridge for up to a week. Heat up a pan, and they come together in a snap. Next time you are whipping up a batch, be spontaneous. There is no better way to stuff a crepe than to use what’s in season. If persimmons aren’t around, use what is! Add fresh berries or stewed apples, or just sprinkle on some sugar and lemon zest. If you prefer a savoury crepe, omit the vanilla bean in the batter recipe — then you can stuff your crepes with blanched asparagus, sliced ham, wilted spinach and cheese. Crepes also make for a great breakfast: stuff or top them with a poached egg and fresh greens, and use the crepe to sop up all the deliciousness.”
Make Michelle’s Vanilla Bean Crepes with Poached Persimmons.
Fresh Fig & Raspberry Galette with Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream
Joanne Yolles, recipe developer
“Once you have a go-to pastry recipe and a tried-and-true method, you can mix things up as local summer fruits come into season. Take this Fig and Raspberry Galette, for example — you don’t even need figs and raspberries! Use 4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) of whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. The trick is putting that layer of flour and light brown sugar over the bottom of the dough to absorb all the juicy goodness. Furthermore, you don’t even need a pie plate. Go rogue and make it free-form on a parchment-lined baking sheet — the dough is designed to hold up to that method. And the ice cream? It’s definitely worth making, but your favourite store-bought brand should do the trick.”
Make Joanne’s Fresh Fig & Raspberry Galette with Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream.
Michelle E. Hunt and Laura E. Panter, cocktail experts
“Mojitos are the staple of any summer cocktail repertoire. No mint? No problem. Try creating a modern version of this classic cocktail using basil, tarragon or a combination of both. No muddler? Use a wooden spoon to crush your ingredients.”
Try their Classic Mojito, and get more great cocktail tips.