Father’s Day

Not sure what kind of gift to get Dad for Father’s Day?  He’s already got enough ties (that he never wears), and we’re past the age where macaroni art is considered cute.  If you ask me, the best gift you can give Dad is a full stomach. Think outside the BBQ and forgo the typical steak and burgers routine.  Get creative and serve up something non-traditional, like meatballs!

Meatballs are a great alternative because the varieties are endless.  You can use any ground meat, like chicken or turkey, but I tend to favour a combination of pork and beef.  Sure, you can whip up a batch of spaghetti and meatballs, but there are so many more flavour combinations to explore.

How about a meatball sub, loaded with a fiery tomato sauce and gooey Tre Stelle® Mozzarella. Serve the sub alongside a cold glass of Dad’s favourite Pale or Amber ale.  If Dad likes spice, try a Red Thai Curry sauce with meatballs and served with rice. Keep with the Thai theme, and serve this dish with a Thai-style Lager.

My favourite way to make meatballs is to stuff them with Tre Stelle® Mini Bocconcini Cheese. Not only do these meatballs go with almost any sauce you choose, but they’re super easy to make, and score you major wow-factor points with Dad.

Really want to knock Dad’s socks off this Father’s Day? Try this Spicy Apple Glaze, made with ginger, garlic, jalapeño and apple jelly. Since this dish is sweet and spicy, a Wheat or Cider beer works best – and make sure the beer is very cold!

Bocconcini Meatballs with a Spicy Apple Glaze

Yields about 20-25 meatballs depending on size

Meatballs

½ lb ground beef

½ lb ground pork

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp onion powder

½ cup bread crumbs, such as Panko

1 egg

Tre Stelle® Mini Bocconcini Cheese

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a cookie sheet in the oven while it’s preheating.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until well combined. Measure out about 2 tbsp for each meatball. Wrap the meat around the mini bocconcini balls and roll in your hands until the cheese is completely encased.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and add some oil so the meatballs don’t stick. Bake for 8-10 minutes, but not so long that the cheese is exploding out the sides.

 

Glaze

½ cup apple jelly

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp cayenne

½ small jalapeno, finely chopped

 

Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Toss cooked meatballs with hot sauce and serve with rice or rice noodles.

Happy 150th Canada! Let’s celebrate with food!

The height of summer, when the cicadas are humming, the breeze is hot, and the local fruits and vegetables are overflowing from your fridge: that’s my favourite time of year. And this year, the buzz around summer and Canada Day in particular has been loud and clear. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday!

Sure, there are plenty of things you can do to celebrate: organize a picnic or BBQ, visit the capital, take part in one of the many festivals and celebrations. I’ll do a few of those, but I’m also spending my summer celebrating Canada the way I normally do: reveling in the freshness of the Canadian summer harvest. Whether it’s from my own backyard, a farmer’s market, or finding new products from across the country, gathering up all the ingredients Canada has to offer and serving them to my family and friends is my way of saying “Happy Birthday Canada!”

Fresh, local berries bursting with flavour. Juicy, dark red tomatoes. I pick up jars of honey and maple syrup from early morning markets and stock my fridge with Canadian cheese (did you know that most Tre Stelle® cheese is made with 100% Canadian milk? I only found that out recently!). I’m a fan of Alberta bison burgers and eagerly await New Brunswick lobster season. Now that’s celebrating Canada!

This year, I’ve discovered a new favourite to add to my Canadian food celebration: bannock. This traditional bread of the Canadian Indigenous People, is prepared without yeast and similar in texture to an Irish soda bread. It’s quick to make, tasty, great over an open fire, and most importantly for me, a perfect pairing to other local foods. Split open a hot bannock bun and stuff it with a prairie-raised organic sausage. Serve it up in the morning – it bakes up quick but can also be fried – with sunny-side up eggs from the local farm.  Or try it as a dessert. Add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the bannock dough to bake up sweet biscuits for a quick and delicious homemade dessert. I split them open while they are still warm, scoop in some Tre Stelle® cheese and top with whatever fruits are in season. My go-tos are Tre Stelle® Ricotta topped with black berries or plums and drizzled honey. Or super-ripe strawberries layered on top of Tre Stelle® Feta and a small pour of Canadian maple syrup (a perfect salty-sweet combination!).

There are so many ways to make Canadian foods part of your Canada Day or summer celebrations! So while I’m in a pick-your-own berry field, filling my basket and singing Happy Birthday to Canada, I hope you are celebrating too. Support your local farmers, buy foods proudly produced in Canada, and invite your family and friends over to enjoy the delicious summer eats with you. Happy Birthday Canada! Thanks for all the fresh bounty!

Bannock Biscuits with Tre Stelle® Cheese and Fresh Fruit

3 cups + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 cup melted butter or oil

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Once baked layer with your Favourite Tre Stelle® cheese – I suggest Tre Stelle® Ricotta,

Tre Stelle® Feta or Tre Stelle® Mascarpone

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together 3 cups of flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix together the water, vanilla and the butter or oil, and then pour into the flour mixture.

Using your hand or a wooden spoon, mix together all the ingredients until everything is wet and incorporated. Be careful not to overmix. Turn out the dough on a flat surface, sprinkled with the additional 1/4 cup of flour, and knead 8 to 10 time to reduce the stickiness of the dough.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, or an overturned glass, cut out rounds of dough and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 25 to 30 minutes until the bottoms are a golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let the biscuits rest for 5 minutes. Using a fork, pierce the biscuits along the side to split them open. Layer your favourite Tre Stelle® Cheese and fresh local fruit in the centre of each one and drizzle with a little sweetness, like honey or maple syrup.