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Brunch, We Love it a Bunch!

Wednesday, March 11

Brunch, a meal blending the best of breakfast offerings and standard lunch fare, originating in England in the late 1800’s, but finding popularity in the United States in the 1930’s, or so it is described by Wikipedia. To cooks, it’s a contentious word, usually involving them having to give up their Saturday evening activities early to make their way into the kitchen before the sun rises so that they can cater to twentysomethings who want all the creature comforts of the morning meal without having to see any of the morning itself. Making the task of preparing this meal all that much more pleasurable is the certainty that someone will tell you that your soft poached eggs are “just a little too soft for my liking” or that their toast wasn’t quite toasted enough or buttered like their mom used to do it. It would seem that in order to qualify as a brunch diner you must be an expert in all things breakfast cooking, while also knowing the cheapest spot in town for eggs benedict. It almost never ceases to amaze me how much people expect during the brunch hour, and for so little. Sure, they could buy a carton of eggs, some fresh bacon, and a loaf of fresh bread at the store and throw this together in their sleep, but it’s way easier to come to the restaurant and complain about the way someone else did their work.


I’m not bitter about brunch at all, I swear! Maybe it’s just that I’m not really a morning person. When I am up at that time of day I tend to lean towards something quick to inhale before I race out the day. Often that ends up being a bowl of cereal packed full of fruit. Sometimes, just sometimes when I’m in the mood, and my little monster is craving something tasty to fill her up in the morning, I get a little creative though. Sometimes we throw together some banana bread French toast. Other times we do some strawberry and cream cheese smeared waffles. Other days it’s chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes. No matter what we end up whipping up, it’s always something a little fun and playful.


Just over a year ago we opened Hart’s Table & Bar, and with it came it’s own brunch menu. As much as the idea of opening early in the morning was met with some reluctance, I actually had a lot of fun coming up with the brunch menu, and even spent the first couple of months cooking it up myself. Thankfully we have a good group of skilled cooks there now, so I get to spend most of my weekend mornings at home with family. Here’s one of the funkiest brunch items we came up with when Chef Tony and I were brainstorming. He threw out the idea of making carrot cake pancakes, and from there we played around until we came up with this delicious recipe. Give it a try for yourself this weekend, or skip the dishes and come see us. We will even greet you with a smile!


Carrot Cake Pancakes w/ Cream Cheese Icing


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Special Tools: a griddle or non-stick pan is ideal, but not necessary, a mixer

Makes: about 10-12 pancakes



For the pancakes:

1 cup              AP flour

¾ tbsp.          baking powder

1 tbsp.            almonds, chopped fine

1 tbsp.            brown sugar

1 tbsp.            sugar

¼ tsp.             cinnamon

¼ tsp.             nutmeg

2 ea.                eggs

¾ cup             buttermilk

2 cups             carrots, fine grated

½ cup             raisins

1 tbsp.            lemon zest

3-4 tbsp.        melted butter for cooking


For the cream cheese icing:

1 stick            cream cheese

¼ cup             icing sugar

2 tsp.              cinnamon

1 tsp.              vanilla

1 cup              whipping cream


For eating:

Some good quality Quebec maple syrup


  • Start with preparing the cream cheese spread
  • In a bowl or the bowl of a Kitchen Aid, cream together the cream cheese and the icing sugar until smooth
  • Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and the cream
  • Slowly blend the cream in to combine, but don’t overmix, as it will become grainy
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve, now for the pancakes!
  • Begin by sifting the flour into a large bowl
  • Then add the baking powder, brown sugar, sugar, almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Using a whisk, stir the dry ingredients to combine
  • In a separate bowl combine the eggs, and buttermilk
  • Whisk until combined
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until combined
  • Lastly, fold in the carrots, raisins, and lemon zest
  • Let stand for about 10 minutes for the ingredients to come together
  • This recipe may require an additional couple of tablespoons of buttermilk, or even milk to attain the right consistency, it should not be thin and runny, but it also should be able to pour fairly well with a ladle, adjust accordingly, if necessary
  • Once the batter is ready, heat a medium sized pan to medium heat
  • Add a little bit of melted butter and swirl to coat the bottom
  • Then quickly add the batter, enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not too much, swirl the batter around the pan to cover evenly
  • Let cook until it begins to brown slightly around the outside, and begins to bubble in the centre, about 2-3 minutes
  • Flip the pancake over and repeat cooking on the other side
  • If the pancake is too browned on the outside before it is cooked in the centre turn the heat down slightly, if the pancake is cooked through, without browning at all turn the heat up slightly
  • Repeat with the remaining batter until all of the pancakes are cooked
  • You don’t need to make your pancakes look the way that mine do, they will taste just as good even if you don’t present them quite the same, just smear them with the cream cheese, drizzle them with maple syrup and the kids will be in heaven!


Who’s hungry?

Beat The Heat With These Summer Treats!

Friday, June 27

Beat The Heat With These Fun Treats!

With the kids out of school and summer in full swing it’s time for we parents to get creative with keeping our kids entertained. It seems that the pressure has never been greater to be a Super-parent and have every day of the summer planned with fun-filled activities. It’s like every stay at home mom is competing with her “friends” on Facebook to have the coolest yard, the best toys, the oversized splash parks, the craziest field trips, and, of course, the most delicious kid friendly snacks. Things sure have changed. When I was young I left the house shortly after breakfast with a baseball glove, fishing pole, or hockey stick in hand, and would spend the remainder of my day getting into whatever wild and zany activity that my friends and I could come up with. I would only make it home long enough to refuel or change into a clean and/or dry outfit. If my mother only knew the kinds of things we got up to she probably wouldn’t have let me leave the house, but I survived. I might even go so far as to say that I turned out okay despite all of the shenanigans. It leaves me thinking that maybe, just maybe, our parents had it all figured out and it’s time to let go a little bit. Instead of being a Super-parent, take the training wheels off, let go of the harness and let your kids have a little fun again.  What’s the worst that could happen? They develop an imagination and a little independence? Sounds awful.

Something tells me that no parent is going to take advice from a cook on how to raise their children, so rather than try to continue to share my feedback, here’s some delicious home made popsicles that will surely make your fellow Super-parents jealous when you post pictures of your perfect kids eating them. Oh, and if you feel you need a little treat too, there are some tasty adult only Poptails that will help you cope with the idea of having to be a full time parent for the next 90 days. Cheers!

Before we get into them, there are a few pointers to consider. You will need a decent blender for all of these. You will obviously need some popsicle molds to pour the liquids into as well. They are very easy to find at most big box stores and are quite cheap. Alternatively you can use a paper cup and a popsicle stick, although I actually found it cheaper and easier to find the molds than it was to find popsicle sticks anymore. Once you nail these down you will realize that you can pretty much make any of your favorite drinks into popsicles. The key is to remember that they require a little bit of sugar to ensure they are a little soft, rather than simply ice cubes. That doesn’t always mean refined white sugar, it can be natural sugars found in fruit, or even honey, jam, cane sugar, or simple syrup. Follow these ideas to start, and then create your own favorites! All of the popsicles will take at least 4-6 hours to freeze. To pop them out, run the mold under a little hot water until it slides out.

Berry-Coconut Yoghurt Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooling Time: 4-6 hours at least

Makes: about 8


8 oz.               fresh mixed berries (choose your favorite!)

1 ea.                lime, juice only

1 tbsp.            honey

1.5 cups         honey yoghurt

½ cup             coconut milk

pinch              salt

  • In a bowl combine berries, lime juice and honey, let stand 10 minutes
  • Roughly smash the berries to soften up
  • In a separate bowl combine the yoghurt, coconut milk
  • Then fold in the berries, being sure to leave behind streaks, rather than working it in completely
  • Place in the molds and freeze at least 4-6 hours

 Nutella Fudgesicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooling Time: 4-6 hours

Makes: about 8 popsicles                                            

3 ea.                bananas, over ripe, frozen

½ cup             Nutella

1 tbsp.            cocoa powder

½ cup             milk

½ tsp.              vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract

¼ cup             hazelnuts, chopped

  • Peel the bananas and slice into chunks
  • Place bananas, nutella, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla in blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Fold in the chopped hazelnuts for some texture inside the popsicle
  • Place in the popsicle molds and freeze at least 4-6 hours

Grapefruit & Strawberry Greyhound  Poptails (not kid friendly)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooling Time: 4-6 hours, at least

Makes: about 8 popsicles

8 oz.               ruby red grapefruit juice (fresh, if you can)

12-15 ea.       medium strawberries

2 tbsp.            honey (optional, depending on how ripe your berries are)

5 oz.               vodka


  • Trim the stems off of the strawberries
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pour into molds and freeze at least 4-6 hours





Blackberry-Pinot Poptails (not kid friendly)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooling Time: 6 hours or more

Makes: about 8 pops


¼ cup             cane sugar (you can sub honey or regular old sugar if you must)

3 tbsp.            water

5 cups            blackberries

1 cup              pinot noir


  • Combine cane sugar and water in a small pan, bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar
  • Remove from heat and cool
  • Once cool combine the berries and sugar in the blender, blend, slowly adding the wine
  • Take the concoction, if you like a little more wine in there I’m not going to judge!
  • Pour into your molds and freeze for at least 6 hours










My Review of The Chef Movie

Wednesday, June 4

In this business we have to work hard, but we also like to play hard. Getting that rare time away from the business is important, especially when we get to do it together, over good food, good drinks and good company.

Last week I was given just that chance to get some of my team together for the premiere of Jon Favreau’s new film, Chef. Given the title and the storyline how could we not make a night of it and check this movie out? Before plopping in a theatre chair for two hours of escape we needed a little sustenance to ensure we wouldn’t need to settle for theatre snacks mid-show.

Being the carnivores we are, a stop at the newest addition to the Whyte ave. area, Meat, seemed the perfect choice. The concept is the brainchild of the team at The Next Act Pub, and prides itself on delivering an authentic BBQ experience. The room is cool and modern, with a collection of communal tables, encouraging people to come together and break….meat. I will leave the detailed dining review to the experts, but will say this; they do BBQ justice. The smoked chicken and the Andouille sausage were two of the meal’s highlights for me, and the rest of the table seemed to fight over the brisket.  If you are a meat lover you won’t be disappointed. Get there early though, this is sure to become a hipster haven!

With food in our belly and a few frosty suds knocked back we made our way to the theatre to see if Hollywood finally get it right when it comes to describing what really takes place in a kitchen. Sure, they’ve had talented chefs consult on movies like Spanglish, No Reservations, and The Five Year Engagement, but these were movies that included chefs, and didn’t really hit the mark.

Given my past experience with movies like this, and my sheer terror of what usually happens when Hollywood gathers “a stellar ensemble cast” , my expectations were low going into the evening, but I am pleased to say that they were actually surpassed.

The story was that of a successful L.A. chef, working for an owner who was content for him to keep doing what he was doing. When the chef got wind that he was going to be reviewed by L.A.’s top food critic e wanted to flex his culinary muscles and impress, but the restaurant owner, shall I say encouraged, him to “play the hits” rather than go out on a limb. To no surprise the chef was lambasted when the review came out. The chef, lacking any social media savvy, then got into a pissing match with said critic on twitter, which led to him paying the restaurant another visit. Again, the owner pressed the chef to not change the menu, which led to the chef throwing in the towel and walking out, only to return later that night, through the front door to face his critic. In what might have been the highlight of the film he proceeded to feed it to the critic, both figuratively and literally, something most every chef has dreamed of doing, with little having the fortitude to go through with it. That scene was worthy of a slow clap.

Where the movie touched me most was the accurate portrayal of how we in this business often choose to sacrifice our time with our family for the sake of our careers. It also allowed for Hollywood to work it’s magic and tell a touching story of choosing family over career as this chef was able to find his passion again and well, you can probably guess what comes next. Yes, the plot was pretty predictable, even down to the redemption piece with the critic, but I guess they couldn’t spend two hours following a chef around a kitchen, telling crude jokes and swearing at service staff could they? All in all it was really good movie that had some good laughs, painted a fairly accurate picture of our lives, if not romanticizing it a little too much. If you’ve spent some time in this business it’s definitely worth watching, as you will definitely relate. Don’t go getting any ideas about leaving your job and opening a food truck though! I don’t want to deal with any hate mail from your bosses! With that, I will now end my illustrious movie critic career almost as soon as it began.

After watching the movie and salivating at the memory of this sandwich, how could I not throw one together for you. Try it, you’ll never make a plain grilled cheese again.

Classic Cuban Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Special Tools: A Panini press would help, but isn’t necessary

Feeds: 4 people

This is the perfect simple sandwich to put together and enjoy on the deck on a nice sunny day with a cold beer. A true Cuban sandwich usually only has mustard, but I like the addition of a little bit of mayo to help mellow out the mustard and provide even a little more richness.

4 ea.              French sub buns, or Cuban loaves, but they’re hard to find

12 slices        ham, I like black forest, but it’s not necessary

12 slices        roast pork

12 slices        Swiss cheese

4 ea.              large dill pickles

½ cup            regular mustard

¼ cup            mayonnaise

TT                 S&P

Butter, don’t be shy!

  • Remove the butter from the fridge to ensure it is soft
  • If using the Panini press, plug it in and warm it up
  • In a small bowl combine the mayo and mustard
  • Using a knife or a mandolin, thinly slice the pickles into medallions
  • Using a serated knife, slit your buns in half lengthwise
  • Smear a tablespoon or so of the mayo mix on each side of all of the buns
  • Now, lay the sliced pickles down, splitting them up evenly between all of the buns
  • Place 3 slices of Swiss on each sandwich, followed by 3 slices of the ham and the roast pork
  • If using a frying pan, place it on medium heat now
  • Close the sandwiches and then smear the top generously with softened butter
  • Place the buttered side down in the pan or on the Panini press
  • Butter the top side generously
  • If using the Panini press, press down the top and allow the bun to crisp up and brown nicely
  • If using a frying pan, use a spatula to press down the sandwich and let the bun crisp up, it should take 2-3 minutes brown on either side
  • If your timing is right the bun will be nicely browned while the meat is heated through and the Swiss cheese is nicely melted

Enjoy this sandwich with some plantain or Yuca chips and a cold frosty and it will be sure to hit the spot.


Who’s hungry?

Give Your Special Lady the Best Mother’s Day Gift!

Friday, May 9

We get so busy in our day-to-day lives that sometimes we men take for granted just how great the women in our lives are. While we grind our way through the workday to get home and lay on the couch, complaining about how tough our day is and how tired we are, all the while she has also put in a full day of work, picked up the kids from school, helped them with their homework, got dinner ready, did a load of laundry, and tidied up our mess. Let’s face it men, the reality is that women are the superior gender. They are just nice enough to let us feel like we are. Some men have already wised up to this and adorn the cherished women in their life with gifts and offerings of gratitude. For the rest of us there is one day. One day that should be all about recognizing those ladies in our lives that do so much and make it look so effortless. Pay close attention here gents, that day is Mother’s Day, and that day is this Sunday!


If you haven’t made plans to take your mom, wife, and family out for brunch yet, you may be in trouble. Only slightly behind Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, this is one of the busiest days of the year for most restaurants. Booking a table at your better half’s favorite restaurant may be out of the question already (but because I work in the business I suggest you call them anyway!). If you are in out of luck when it comes to finding a table then it’s time for you to come up with plan B. What is the best back up plan in a situation like this? Breakfast in bed! Taking the time to prepare a simple and delicious breakfast for your wife, even getting the kids involved, is a sure way to earn some brownie points and really show her your appreciation. To take this year’s breakfast to the next level though, it’s time to pull off eggs benedict. No woman can resist the deliciousness of slow poached eggs on a freshly toasted English muffin all smothered in rich, succulent hollandaise. Now this dish isn’t for the faint of heart or the completely inept, but, with a little guidance I can walk you through it. If you consider yourself a visual learner then I recommend you tune in to Global Edmonton this Saturday morning at 8:15, at which time I will take you through the steps, making this easy enough for you to pull off yourself.


Eggs Benedict


Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Feeds: 4 people

Tools: Medium metal bowl, whisk, medium pot, slotted spoon, fine mesh strainer, coffee filter, toaster


The dish that we are preparing is classic eggs benedict, but once you master this, you can easily change it up. The image included is a delicious lobster and arugula eggs benedict. I have done steak and eggs benedict, crab and avocado, and countless others. It really comes down to thinking about what your special someone really enjoys.


4 ea.                English muffins

8 ea.                eggs

8 slices          back bacon


for the hollandaise:

4 ea.                egg yolks

1 lb.                butter

1 cup              white wine

1 tbsp.            minced shallots

½ tsp.                        whole peppercorns

1 ea.                bay leaf

1 tbsp.            vinegar

1 wedge         lemon, juice only

TT                   Lea & Perrins

TT                   Tabasco

TT                   S&P


To poach the eggs:

1 tbsp.            vinegar


  • The first step in making eggs benedict is preparing for the hollandaise, and that begins with clarifying the butter
  • To make clarified butter slice the pound of butter into 4-5 chunks and place in deep pot, in medium heat
  • While it is melting, set up the fine mesh strainer with the coffee filter inside,  place over the top of a heat proof  1 lt. container
  • The butter is first going to melt, and then begin to separate, with the water steaming off, the milk solids sinking to the bottom, leaving the fat to clarify, this will take about 10-15 minutes, depending on how high you are cooking it, look for the butter to foam twice, the first time as it simmers, the second time as the milk solids begin to brown slightly and separate, when you see that foam the second time, and a slight browning around the outside of the pot that’s a sign that your butter is clarified, now you must move quickly
  • Quickly and carefully pour the butter through the filter into the container, letting gravity drain the fat, while keeping the milk solids trapped in the filter, set aside clarified butter, discard milk solids
  • Now it’s time to prepare the wine reduction for the hollandaise
  • In a small pot place the white wine, minced shallots, bay leaf, and vinegar
  • Bring the white wine mixture to a simmer and let simmer until reduced to about ¼ of it’s original volume
  • Once reduced, strain through a fine strainer
  • The clarified butter and the white wine reduction can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until needed
  • When ready to make the hollandaise place a medium pot with water on the stove, about half full (this can also be your egg poaching pot!)
  • Ensure your clarified butter is warm, at least body temperature
  • Place the egg yolks in the stainless steel bowl and add the white wine reduction
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the reduction, place over the pot of hot water and continue to whisk vigorously, you are to cook the mixture by slowly bringing up the temperature, without scrambling the eggs, keep whisking! Once the mixture thickens like a light custard remove from heat
  • Using some help, or steadying your bowl, very slowly add the warm clarified butter to the egg mixture while whisking vigorously. You are creating an emulsion and must whisk to combine
  • Continue to whisk in all of  the butter as the hollandaise begins to take shape
  • Once hollandaise is thickened, it’s time to adjust the flavoring
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon wedge in, followed by a splash of Lea & Perrins and Tabasco.  Finish with salt and pepper and keep in a warm environment, until ready to serve this must be served quickly, *hollandaise should be prepared to order, and not be stored for any longer than one hour
  • Time to finish off your eggs benedict
  • Slice the English muffins in half and toast in toaster
  • Heat your 8 slices of back bacon (or lobster, or meat of choice)
  • Now, place 1 tbsp. of vinegar in your pot of boiling water
  • Using your slotted stir the water slightly
  • One by one, crack the eggs into the pot gently
  • Cook the eggs to your desired liking, generally about 2-3 minutes for soft, 3-4 for medium, and 5+ for hard
  • Lay the English muffins down side by side, top with back bacon,  use the slotted spoon to remove the eggs and place on top of the back bacon
  • Cover the eggs generously with your delicious hollandaise and serve with your wife’s favorite sides and hot cup of coffee


Most importantly, clean up after yourself and do the dishes! Nothing spoils the surprise more than having to clean up after your messy husband.


Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, to my beautiful wife, and to all the mothers out there that put up with us. We men would be lost without you! 

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Tuesday, January 28

Are you ready for some football? Of course you are! You’ve spent your last three paycheques on your 80” HD big screen, you splurged to get the HDPVR so that you can get the American commercials, had your tech-savvy buddy set up your surround sound, and you spent hours strategically placing the living room furniture to ensure everyone has the optimum view, the stage is set! This year’s game surely won’t disappoint either. With the powerful offense of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos facing the impenetrable defense of Seattle Seahawks, equipped with the support of their 12th man, it is sure to be a thriller. Half time entertainment should pack a punch too with the likes of Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers taking the stage. Let’s be honest though, most years, it’s the overly expensive commercials that steal the show.  I’ll be honest, seeing Tom Brady lose to Peyton Manning felt like my own little Superbowl victory. Tom’s got enough already, chiselled good looks, Superbowl rings, super model wife, and countless lucrative sponsorship deals. That guy has won the lottery more than enough for one lifetime!

Nobody’s asking me to share my “highly skilled” knowledge about football though. What I can help you with is a little advice on how to feed your gridiron guests. After all, you’ve spent all this time and money planning, you wouldn’t want to blow it by serving stale chips and cold take-out pizza that tastes like the cardboard box it was delivered in. This year, it’s time your menu lives up to the rest of your Super Bowl experience.

So, the real question you need to ask yourself is, are you ready to make some great eats for the big game? With Super Bowl 48 just mere days away it’s time to put the finishing touches on the feast you intend on serving. You don’t need to be Martha Stewart or break the bank to do so either. Whip up a tasty batch of chilli. It requires maybe 30 minutes of preparation and once it’s going, throw it in the slow cooker and don’t worry about it until halftime. Sex up your nachos by making some delicious pulled pork to throw on top. Again, the slow cooker will do most of the work, and your guests will thank you for it. Take a few minutes to peruse my website for lots of delicious and simple to make dishes to spice up your Superbowl munchies.

One delicious dish you can try are these tasty steak tacos. They will satisfy the hunger of even the largest of linebackers at your party! I will also share a few pointers for making these as simple or as elaborate as you choose.

Chipotle Lime Steak Tacos

Prep Time: 20-60 minutes

Inactive Marinating Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes

Tools Required: BBQ

Makes: about 24 tacos


3 lbs.                       striploin steak, about 4 (you can use sirloin for cost savings)

4 tbsp.                                     chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 ea.                        lime, juice only

½ cup                    canola oil

¼ cup                     BBQ sauce, sweeter variety, not too smoky

¼ bunch              fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (serve the rest as condiments)

½ stalk                 green onion, chopped

1 tbsp.                                     minced garlic

1 tbsp.                                     honey

TT                             S&P


1 lb.                         aged white cheddar (could also use Monterey jack, jalapeno Havarti)

½ head                 cabbage, shredded (or you can buy shredded cabbage)

2 cups                    pico  de gallo (fresh salsa, recipe is on my website, or use a jar)

1 cup                      sour cream

1 cup                      pickled jalapenos

1 recipe                pickled red onions (optional, recipe is on my website!)

24 ea.                     soft tortillas (I like flour, but you can use corn, or even hard tacos)

3 ea.                        limes, cut into wedges

1 bottle                 Valentina or your favourite hot sauce


  • If preparing the pickled red onions, start by preparing them
  • Place the chipotles on a cutting board and coarsely chop
  • In a bowl combine chipotle peppers, lime juice, canola oil, BBQ sauce, fresh cilantro, green onion, minced garlic, and honey
  • Whisk thoroughly to combine
  • Place the steaks in a large enough dish to contain them
  • Pour the marinade over the steaks and work it in, turning the steaks over to ensure they are evenly coated
  • Allow to marinade for 1-2 hours
  • Grate the cheese
  • If preparing the pico de gallo prepare it now
  • Place the shredded cabbage in a serving bowl
  • Place the cheese in a serving bowl
  • Place the pico de gallo in a serving bowl
  • Place the pickled red onions and pickled jalapenos in serving bowls
  • Preheat the BBQ to high
  • Once the BBQ is hot place the steaks on
  • Allow to cook with the lid closed 3-4 minutes, watching for flare up, you want some char, but you don’t want blackened steaks
  • Flip over and continue to cook until nearing medium, about 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steaks and the temperature of your BBQ
  • When the steaks are just about ready turn one half of the BBQ off, leaving the steaks to finish on the one side
  • Using tongs, place the soft tortillas on the side of the BBQ that is turned off
  • Allow them to lightly grill and warm through, 30-60 seconds, then flip
  • Remove the steaks and tortillas from the grill
  • Once inside, place the steaks on a cutting board and allow to rest one minute
  • Meanwhile, place the tortillas in your oven, don’t even worry about turning it on, you just don’t want them to cool off too much
  • Very thinly slice the steaks
  • Serve the steak and tacos immediately with the shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, cheese, pickled red onion, and pickled jalapenos
  • Serve with some Valentina or your favourite hot sauce and some lime wedges
  • Let your guests build their own tacos as you sit back and bask in the glory of a well made half time meal!


Oh, and Go Broncos Go!


Who’s hungry?











Break The Mealtime Routine Blues



We all go through it. We get so busy in our lives that our meal plan goes on to autopilot. There’s no time to mix things and up and get creative with dinner, especially when it’s much safer to simply cook something that you know the kids aren’t going to push aside or complain about. In your sheer state of exhaustion you don’t have the time or the energy for the dinnertime negotiations. If you’re a parent you know exactly what I am referring to. The “Mom, if I have one more carrot can I have ice cream with dessert?” type battles. Sometimes it feels as though I am negotiating the releases of hostages in order to get the kids through a meal, so I can completely understand why parents often give up and go with what is proven and safe.


It doesn’t always have to be that way though. You can still get creative and have fun with your meals, well, at least when the kids are having a sleepover at the neighbors or something. When you get the chance, don’t be afraid to break out of that mundane line up of safe dishes you have become used to. Try something different. Don’t be afraid, and don’t think you’re the only one who gets stuck in a rut. As chefs we often find ourselves reaching for favorite dishes a little too often, or working with the ingredients we know well. I think it’s human nature. We like to feel a sense of comfort. Even though many of us like to say we are adventurous, the truth is, when push comes to shove, we like to stick with something we know.


This week, after feeling a little stuck in a box myself, I felt the need to get a little uncomfortable and try something a little different. So for dinner I decided to do a little slow cooking and some baking, not something I do all that often anymore. I decided to prepare a stew, but not a typical beef stew or chicken pot pie I would normally settle for. I took the idea of a classic stew and played with it a little by using turkey as the main protein and adding southwest ingredients, like peppers, corn and chipotles to it. Rather than thickening it up with flour or potatoes I decided to really go outside my box and use red lentils. It provided a great thickening to the stew as well as some wonderful texture. What better way to enjoy a hearty stew than to whip up some homemade biscuits too? So I pulled out an old biscuit recipe and tweaked it slightly to include some sharp cheddar and green onions. The meal started with basic cooking principles I was comfortable with, took a few twists and turns, added a few less conventional ingredients, and ended up with a delicious result. Even the kids managed to choke it down with very little negotiating required! That kind of play is what cooking is all about. Having fun in the kitchen, creating new combinations and mixing it up. Sometimes they will be smashing successes and sometimes they will be horrific flops, but if that happens, relax, order a pizza, and try again next time!


Turkey & Chorizo Stew w/ Aged Cheddar Biscuits


First the Stew


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Feeds: 8 people, easily


1 kg.               fresh turkey, boneless, skinless

2 tbsp.            smoked paprika

1 tbsp.            chili powder (chipotle if you can find it)

4 tbsp.            canola oil

4 ea.                chorizo sausage

1 ea.                red pepper, large dice

1 ea.                yellow pepper, large dice

½ ea.              red onion, large dice

2 cups                        corn kernels, fresh if you can

3 cloves         fresh garlic, minced

2 cups                        red lentils

¼ cup             tomato paste

3 lt.                 chicken stock, low sodium if you can

2 tbsp.            fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp.            fresh oregano

1 tbsp.            fresh thyme

TT                   S&P


  • Cube the turkey into 1” cubes
  • Place the chorizo sausage into a pot of water and bring to a simmer
  • Let simmer 5-6 minutes, drain, place in ice bath to cool
  • Cut the sausages into medallions
  • Heat a large sauté pan to high heat
  • In a bowl, combine the turkey, smoked paprika, chili powder and seasoning, stir thoroughly to season evenly
  • Lightly oil the pan, and sear the turkey in the pan to brown, do not overcrowd the pan
  • Once browned, remove from pan, drain fat and set aside
  • Repeat with chorizo medallions
  • Repeat with vegetables, adding the
  • Place the tomato paste in the pan and stir around to lightly brown
  • Deglaze the pan with about a cup of chicken stock
  • Now, place the turkey, chorizo and vegetables in a large pot and pour the tomato paste drippings over top
  • Add the remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer
  • Once simmering, add the red lentils and continue to simmer until the lentils are soft and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes
  • Add the fresh herbs, adjust the seasoning, and simmer another 5 minutes


Now for the Aged Cheddar Biscuits


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Baking Time: 25 minutes

Special Tools: food processor, parchment or waxed paper

Makes: about 8 biscuits


2 cups                        AP flour, plus additional as needed

1 tbsp.            baking powder

1.5 tsp.           kosher salt

1.5 sticks      cold butter

½ cup                        cold buttermilk

1 ea.                egg

1 cup              aged white cheddar

¼ cup             green onions, chopped

1 ea.                egg

1 tbsp.            milk

TT                   sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 425F
  • In the food processor place 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt
  • Cube the chilled butter and place in the food processor
  • Pulse the mixture until the butter blends in to form balls the size of peas
  • In a bowl combine the buttermilk and egg and whisk together
  • Quickly pulse the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, only until moistened
  • Grate the aged cheddar
  • Place in a bowl and lightly toss with a touch of flour
  • Now, add the cheese and green onions to the dough mixture, slowly pulsing until just combined
  • Dump out the dough onto a well floured cutting board and knead lightly, about a minute
  • Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 10 inches by 5 inches
  • Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 8 roughly square biscuits
  • Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • Combine the remaining egg and milk in a small bowl and whisk together
  • Now, lightly brush the biscuits with the egg wash, and then top with seas salt (optional)
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, when the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through
  • Serve warm with your tasty stew!


Who’s hungry?

Five Chefs Come Together

Every chef you work for leaves a lasting impression on you for one reason or another. I distinctly remember my first chef. He was by far and away the most charismatic personality I had come across at my young age and he sure left an impression on me. He was as much a circus clown and comedian as he was a talented chef. Even at my young age he taught me a great deal about cooking and about how to lead people. I remember that he would do anything for his cooks and always take the heat for anything that went wrong in the kitchen. I had a great deal of respect for him and would do anything for him because of the man he was.


I also remember his apple strudel. This was one of his signature dishes, loved by everyone who tried it. The apples were perfectly seasoned and ever so lightly sweetened. The dough was so thin and flaky and melted in your mouth like butter. One night when it was slow, we had a little time to some preparation for the upcoming weekend. He asked me if I wanted to learn how to make his famous apple strudel. Knowing just how delicious it was I jumped at the chance. So we began. He began to prepare the dough. While he was doing that he asked me to rum downstairs to fetch the apples. By the time I had grabbed the apples he had assembled the ingredients for the dough.  I missed the quantities but I could still see how he put it together. Then he had me run downstairs and grab some more flour and some raisins. By the time I came back the dough was pretty much put together. As the dough rested he had me peel the apples. Then he got me to core the apples. After that he asked me to chop up the apples. Once that was done he sent me back to the dish pit to do some tidying up. While I was back there he cooked off the apples, seasoned them and began to roll out the dough. I came around the corner to catch him preparing the final roll of the strudel. In my naivety I had managed to be duped into to doing the grunt work for chef while he prepared the key elements of the dish. I never did learn how he made his dough so thin and flaky. It wasn’t until after the fact that I realized just how sacred that recipe was to him and that he had never fully shared that recipe with anyone, not even our sous chef.


His actions were not unlike most chefs of that era. They each had their own signature dishes that they held close to the vest. If you managed to pry the information out of them, seldom did you get all of it. There was a degree of paranoia and fear that someone would steal their recipes and become their competition down the street.


Boy, have things changed. As the Food Network gained popularity and chefs began to come into the spotlight a shift in the mindset began. Suddenly these new found celebrity chefs were writing cookbooks, sharing their cherished recipes with others. Once the internet became commonplace the floodgates opened. Celeb chefs, cooks, wannabe cooks, and Suzy homemakers alike now had the opportunity to share their creations with the world. Nowadays you can find countless recipes for just about anything online. There are numerous websites dedicated to cracking some of the world’s most popular recipes. Want to know how to make KFC at home, look it up. Craving a Starbucks hot chocolate, look it up. Feel the need to recreate Outback’s blooming onion, look it up.


More recently, chefs like world famous Grant Achatz have released gorgeous and elaborate cookbooks, unveiling all of their trade secrets to the world, and then retiring these dishes, much like a magician might retire an illusion once his secret has been revealed. It is quite the evolution from where we have come.


Chefs are spending far more time collaborating and sharing their knowledge than ever before. It can be a real pleasure to work alongside other chefs who bring a different perspective to cooking and are perhaps working with ingredients that aren’t currently in your repertoire. Maybe they are applying new techniques that you have yet to work with. The art of cooking is an endless education and there are always opportunities to learn from those around us.


I am fortunate enough to have been invited to one such collaborative event. On January 25th, I will be working alongside a young and progressive group of chefs for the Menu of Modern Art 2.  For those of you who attended the first event back in November you know just how delicious the meal was, but for you first timers let me fill you in. Chef Andrew Hess brings a wealth of experience to the table, with tours of duty at Zinc, Burrowing Owl Winery, and Wildflower Grill. Joining us for the evening will be Nathan Saurette, whose resume boasts time at the likes of Jack’s Grill, Niche, Culina, Café Select, and he was the driving force behind the food at The Common. He currently hangs his hat at The Three Boars, one of Edmonton’s hottest eateries. Rounding out the group are John Lizotte and Steve Brochu, two more formidable forces to be reckoned with. This evening is sure to be a real pleasure, having all of us coming together to create something memorable, and in one of Edmonton’s finest art galleries, Lattitude 53. Not only is this event going to be a blast, the proceeds from the event are going to the Hope Mission. At only $65 per ticket, I would implore you to snatch yours up now, as they are selling fast. If you would like to attend, you can find out more and purchase your tickets at


If you can’t make it I have shared the “light” version of my dish for you to attempt to prepare at home. It isn’t quite nearly as elaborate or intense at what I will be preparing, but it should be something you can attempt at home quite easily.


Smoky Valley Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Quick Pickled Beets


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Inactive Rest Time: Minimum 4 hours

Special Tools: blender, paper cups, coffee filter or cheesecloth

Yields: 8 appetizers


1.5 cups         heavy cream

0.5 cups         whole milk

4 oz.               Smoky Valley chevre

1 envelope    powdered gelatin (bloomed in 3 tbsp. cold water)

2 tbsp.            Greek yoghurt

3 tbsp.            honey

pinch              salt


4 ea.                baby beets (if you can, get a couple varieties)

1 cup              vinegar

0.5 cups         sugar

1 tsp.              coriander seeds

1 tsp.              mustard seeds

1 ea.                orange, juice and zest

1 tbsp.            sambal oelek

1 clove           garlic, smashed


4 oz.               fresh dill

1 cup              canola oil


0.5 cups         pistachios, chopped

3-4 sprigs     fresh dill, for garnish

TT                   S&P


  • In a pot heat the cream, milk and honey, once simmering add the bloomed gelatin and yoghurt, stir to combine
  • Break up the goat cheese and drop into hot liquid, stirring to combine
  • Once combined, remove from the heat and place in a pitcher
  • Pour the contents into the 8 cups, about 4 oz. each
  • Refrigerate and let set, about 3-4 hours
  • Meanwhile, place a pot of salted water on to boil, prepare an ice bath
  • Remove the large stems from the dill and then blanch in boiling water
  • Let cook 30 seconds, strain and immediately drop in ice bath to cool
  • Squeeze all excess water from the dill, then place in blender
  • Add the canola oil and blend on pulse until the dill is broken up
  • Place in refrigerator and let infuse 3-4 hours
  • Peel the baby beets and thinly slice using a mandolin, place in water
  • Bring vinegar, sugar, coriander, mustard, orange juice & zest, sambal oelek and garlic to a simmer, let simmer 4-5 minutes, strain
  • When ready to serve, drain the dill oil through the coffee filter allowing gravity to push the green oil through
  • Drain the water off the beets, pour the pickling liquid over, if using various varieties keep them separate or they will bleed
  • Using a paring knife loosen the panna cotta from the sides of the cup and slide onto the plate
  • Finish the plate with seasoned beets, pistachios, dill oil and fresh dil


Who’s hungry?




Embrace The Winter!

Saturday, January 11

The New Year has arrived and with it comes our resolve to change for the better. Given the difficult winter we have already endured some of us, myself included, might have resolved to look for a warmer climate.

Trolling the various social media platforms we are almost constantly reminded by our armchair weatherman who we loosely call friends of just how bad it is. It’s the social media version of the guy who starts most of his conversations with, “Cold enough for ya?” The truth is, though, for most of us the idea of uprooting our family, leaving our friends, our jobs, our home behind is just not that feasible. Maybe it’s time we look at our situation differently and embrace winter for what it is.

With us being faced with near six months of winter-like weather a year, why not embrace it? When you stop to think about it there are countless great festivals and events already around the city helping us to do just that. From the various ski hills and skating rinks in and around the city, to the couple of outdoor patios, and the seemingly countless outdoor events and festivals that take place every winter, maybe I’m a little late to the party!

Regardless, with events like Ice on Whyte, All is Bright (perhaps Edmonton’s newest winter festival on 124 Street) and Christmas on the Square just to name a few, there are many options to choose from.

Shortly before Christmas I was invited to participate as a judge at one of Edmonton’s newest events focused on our winter culture. Winter City Edmonton hosted the first annual Signature Drink Contest. It was an opportunity for Edmonton amateur mixologists to conjure up their favorite winter concoction, and boy did they not disappoint.

Alongside the likes of some of Edmonton’s most talented mixologists, TV personalities and the Mayor himself, we painstakingly made our way through a dozen delicious blends to select the cream of the crop. There were two categories, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. In the non-alcoholic category there were several great selections, but the real highlight for me was the homemade ginger beer prepared by the students of Jasper Place. The drink was infused with rosemary and featured ingredients that were grown right at the school.

In the alcoholic category there was a very diverse mix of cocktails, but when the votes were tallied the winner was the Birkie Break, a coffee inspired drink prepared by CBC and the great people at Transcend Coffee.

If you’d like to prepare of any of these delicious winter cocktails to help you beat the winter blues or you want to learn more about all things happening in Edmonton this winter head to their Facebook page at

So this year, instead of ranting and complaining about the brutal cold and mountains of snow as I shovel my driveway, I am going to resolve to embrace our Edmonton winters and try to make the most of them. Well, that’s what I’ll do until I can afford a nice shack on Maui, replacing the snow shovel and ice scraper for scuba gear and sandals!

Here is a delicious and soul-warming hot chocolate recipe that has a little hint of Mexico in it, reminding you of what you’re missing, but also helping you make it through those cold winter nights!

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 8-10 cups

1 cupwater

8 tbsp.cocoa

8 tbsp.sugar

6 cupshomogenized milk

1 cupsemisweet chocolate chips

1 cupheavy cream

¼ tsp.cayenne pepper

¼ tsp.nutmeg

¼ tsp.cinnamon

2 pc.cloves

1 tsp.vanilla bean paste

4 oz.espresso vodka

4 oz.Kahlua

1 cupwhipped cream

cinnamon for garnish

•Place the water, cocoa and sugar in a microwave proof container and stir together

•Heat the mixture together for 45-60 seconds, to create a chocolate syrup

•In a pot, heat the milk, chocolate chips, cream and add the syrup mixture

•Once simmering add the spices and vanilla bean paste, stir to combine and remove from the heat

•The cayenne should provide a nice mild kick, feel free to add a little extra if you choose, but keep in mind that the spice will continue to come out as it sits, so don’t overdo it

•Strain the hot chocolate to remove the cloves and then begin to assemble the Spiked Hot Chocolate

•In each glass pour ½ oz. each espresso vodka and Kahlua, then add 8 oz. hot chocolate

•Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon

•Enjoy responsibly!

Oh, and by the way, for those of you resolving to lose weight this New Year I might pass on this one!

Who’s Thirsty?


This Holiday Season Give Something Back

Wednesday, December 4

There’s no denying it. The holiday season, and all the “joy” that comes with it, is upon us. The anxiety of finding that sold-out gift, the stress of finding parking at the mall, the worry that comes with the mounting credit card bills, and then there are the meals with the in-laws. It’s all enough to stress a person out. Somewhere along the way we lost what the meaning of what the season was all about.

This year, thanks to the inspiration of a good customer, I decided to do something more this holiday season. I had first heard of this guest on a local news story.

His name is Dan Johnstone, aka, Can Man Dan. He was camped out at a neighbourhood grocery in the bitter cold in an effort to fill a massive truck with food for the Edmonton Food Bank. I remember thinking at the time how noble his efforts were, and at the same time thinking I should be doing more to help. Earlier this year one of my co-workers introduced me to Dan. He was interested in becoming a celebrity chef at Delux to raise funds and awareness for the Edmonton Food Bank.

After exchanging emails I was convinced that Dan would make a great Celeb chef and ambassador. It also got me thinking of how we could take this a step further. Then it donned on me.

I suggested to Dan that we take feeding those in need a step further and actually feed the needy. I reached out to Devon at the Hope Mission and I am pleased to share that Dan, my chefs and I will be handing out a delicious meal to those in need at the Hope Mission this Thursday. We will be preparing Dan’s delicious turkey burger, along with a tasty spinach salad and some crunchy kettle chips. To help a little further, $1 from every one of Dan’s burgers sold at our two Delux locations throughout December will be donated to the Edmonton Food Bank. We will also be collecting non-perishable food donations on behalf of the Food Bank .

This little bit of generosity got me motivated, and when the Ronald McDonald House came calling earlier last month it was hard to say no. They were looking for a chef to contribute to their Home For Dinner program. It was my first experience with Ronald McDonald House so when they offered a tour of the building I couldn’t say no. I wanted to better understand what their program was all about.

I was amazed to find out that they housed over 800 families last year, and had more than another 500 families that they had to find alternative accommodations for. I couldn’t help but think of my 18-month old daughter and how gut wrenching it was to think of her being sick. I couldn’t imagine having to uproot my family, spending weeks and even months at the hospital while doctors try to cure her.

Until you are faced with something like that I don’t think you can fathom just how difficult that process can be.

Thankfully there are great organizations like the Ronald McDonald House that help families cope, offering shelter, a warm meal, classroom time for the kids, and activities to help take their minds off the harsh reality of their situation. It’s great to know that there are wonderful people who aren’t doing things for others day in and day out, not just once a year in an effort to feel good about themselves.

We are excited to be helping them out by preparing a holiday dinner for the families staying with them on Dec. 9th.

So this holiday season, rather than getting all caught up in the madness, find a way to give back to your community in some small way.

When you’re done your good deed for the season, whip yourself up this delicious burger to celebrate your efforts.

Holiday Turkey Burger

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Feeds: 4

1.5 lbs. lean ground turkey

¼ cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 tsp. fresh ginger

¼ cup minced onions

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

6 slices stale bread, cubed

1 egg

¼ cup chicken stock

2 Tbsp. minced onion

1 tsp. fresh chopped sage

1 tsp. fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp. melted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

4 brioche buns

8 slices brie

8 slices bacon

½ cup mayo

2 Tbsp. cranberry jelly

1 cup turkey gravy

In a bowl combine cubed bread, egg, chicken stock, spices, herbs and melted butter

Mix to combine and then form into 4 stuffing patties

In a separate bowl combine turkey, egg, bread crumbs and spices

Mix to combine and then form into 4 burger patties

Combine the mayo and cranberry sauce until smooth, refrigerate

Precook the bacon slices

Preheat the oven to 450F if cooking with a pan

In a large pan or on the grill, cook the burger patties until medium

Place the brie on top of the burgers, followed by the bacon

Heat a separate pan to medium heat

Lightly grease the pan and then place the stuffing patties in the cook on both sides, 3-4 minutes

Place the burgers in the oven to melt the cheese and finish cooking, 2-3 minutes

Heat the gravy

Smear the mayo on the bottom buns and then place the stuffing patty, followed by the turkey patty, then drizzle with gravy and top with the top bun


Who’s hungry?


Some Chai Eggnog to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Wednesday, November 27

I have been talking a lot recently about the various paths one can take to become a chef. Five years ago I would have told you that my life was as about as traditional as a chef’s life can get. The same can’t be said today.

Years ago my days consisted of working on line with my cooks, day in and day out, preparing food with them and assuring the successful flow of the lunch and dinner services. They were long days, hard on the body and mind, but they were also rewarding.

Things have changed a great deal in the past five years for me. Sure there are still the occasions where I am in the trenches with my team, cooking up a storm and slugging it out with them through a hectic dinner service. Those days, though, are much fewer and far between of late. More often I am involved in some other facet of our business.

There are days I miss it but my new role also provides with it a great deal of excitement.

The upcoming weeks are a prime example of just how exciting it can be. We are smack dab in the middle of opening a new restaurant this week. In fact, as this column makes the paper we will have successfully (fingers crossed!) completed our first dinner service at The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar. The opening of a new place always comes with more than enough excitement than I can handle, but there are so many other fun things going on right now. I am being interviewed to encourage others to contribute to YESS because of the work our team did with them for Bacon Day this year.

I am working with Can Man Dan and our team from Delux to prepare over 350 lunches to feed those in need at the Hope Mission on Dec. 5. My team of talented chefs and I will be feeding families staying at the Ronald McDonald House a holiday meal on Dec. 9, trying to do our part to make them feel at home during what I can only imagine is an impossibly difficult time. We will also be gathering our next group of Delux Celebrity Chefs to create their burgers and do their photo shoots for their burger of the month. Throw in a couple of TV segments, sitting on the board of two event planning committees, planning and preparing for yet another new restaurant, and keeping the existing restaurants up to snuff, I have my hands full.

Just last week I was invited to a unique event that I never thought would come my way. London Drugs reached out to me a while back to work alongside them in showcasing their extensive variety of premiere kitchen appliances to local media and food writers. Preparing unique and tasty recipes to showcase specific kitchen tools was something new and fun, so I took them up on their offer.

After brainstorming with my team, we came up with a delicious list of eight appetizers and three cocktails, each featuring one or more of their appliances. What made this event that much more fun was it was also set up in a premium group of show homes. So rather than setting up a display in a store, we were actually set up in three different chef-inspired kitchens, with the guests arriving in each home to a small kitchen party. It was a fantastic way to showcase the tools in action, allow the guests to see the wonderful homes and to sample some mouth watering appetizers and libations. It gave us a great opportunity to interact with the guests in a warm and relaxed environment, where we could share trade secrets, even walking guests through the cooking process for those that were interested.

It was also a great opportunity for social media to lead the way in getting the message out there. People were sharing with others the treats they found in each house, sharing recipes and taunting those who didn’t brave the weather with photos of the tasty items. It was a unique coming together of brands to create a memorable experience and is likely indicative of where the future of brand marketing is going.

There was much dialogue over which item was the favourite of the night, but one of the highlights seemed to be the Chai egg nog I prepared. A little lighter than traditionally rich and thick holiday nog, this version is filled with spice and leaves you wanting more. With the big day less than a month away and holiday festivities in full swing I thought what better to be sharing this with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! If you’re looking for other great holiday appetizer ideas head to my website, for some delicious options.

Chai Egg nog

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yields: About 1 lt.

15 whole cloves

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 cinnamon sticks, broken up

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

½ tsp. whole black peppercorns

1 cup milk

4 Darjeeling tea bags (you can substitute Double Chai Tea if necessary)

4 egg yolks

¾ cup sugar

pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups milk

½ cup spiced rum (optional, but hey it’s Christmas!)

to garnish resh grated nutmeg

Using the food processor, combine cloves, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and whole black peppercorns, pulse to grind

Heat the one cup of milk, adding the pulsed spice mix, then steeping the tea bags in for 4-5 minutes

Remove from the heat and strain to remove spice mix and tea bags

In a pot combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Add heavy cream and remaining milk, bring to a simmer slowly, stirring constantly to avoid curdling the mixture

Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon it is ready

Remove from heat and continue to stir

Add the strained steeped milk and either serve warm or chill until cold.

Add the liquor right before serving

Garnish with nutmeg and serve

Who’s thirsty!