Katelyn Sander

Recipes to help you transition from summer to fall

Spice of Life

September is just around the corner. And with it, comes the beginning of fall and the dreaded back to school season. This year, things feel strange. For many of us, our schedules are about to be flipped upside down, trying to balance work from home, virtual school, homework…

As we prepare to head into this new season, we wanted to bring you a few perfect, end of summer recipes to try out during these last few official days of summer, and offer up a few tips and recipes that will help you transition to fall. Enjoy!!

Quick and Easy Recipes with George: Stuffed Poblano Chiles

by: George Vavaroutsos, Sous Chef, Stratus Restaurant

Last time, I shared a simple, traditional stuffed pepper recipe. It’s delicious and a family favourite around my house. But, sometimes we want something that kicks the flavour up a notch and brings a new level of heat to a classic dish. That’s where this recipe comes in.

It’s a fast, delicious dish that your whole family can enjoy. The peppers can even be assembled up to 8 hours before you plan to bake them (just note you may need to add an extra 5 – 10 minutes in the oven to compensate for starting with cold peppers)!

  • 6 Poblano chiles
  • 5 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, or other Mexican melting cheese
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema
  • Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 375F.
  • Meanwhile, if you have a gas stove, turn heat to high on one of the burners, and set as many of the Poblanos as will fit on the grate. Cook, flipping and moving the chiles often with a pair of tongs, until blackened on all sides. If you don't have a gas stove, turn on the broiler to high. Place chiles on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and place underneath the broiler. Cook, flipping occasionally with a pair of tongs, until blacked on all sides.
  • When chiles are blackened, transfer to a plastic bag and seal. Let them steam for at least five minutes. When done, peel off the blackened skins. Cut a slit down the side of each, starting under the stem and continuing down to the tip. Carefully remove the seeds, being careful not to tear the chile.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the corn cobs. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When simmering, add the onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the corn, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until corn turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Carefully stuff each chile with a layer of 1/2 cup of the sautéed corn mixture, 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese, and 1 1/2 tbsp of the crema. Finally, add 1 1/2 tbsp of cheese on top of each slit. When stuffed, place each chile slit side up on a baking dish.
  • Transfer baking dish to the upper middle rack in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler to high, and cook until the cheese is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Barbequing with Sean: Bourbon Brown Sugar Grilled Peaches

by: Sean Vodden, Sous Chef and Team Canada BBQ Chef, Stratus Restaurant

As we prepare to head into fall, I’m still holding onto the beautiful summer weather and couldn’t resist sharing a recipe for one of my favourite, delicious barbecue desserts.

One of the best ways to eat peaches, which are just finishing their peak season, is to grill them! But how do you know if a peach will be good for grilling?

Pro Tips:

  • Be sure to pick the best peaches you can find. Take a look at the top where the stem used to be: if it’s golden or white (not green) and starting to wrinkle, that peach is ready to be eaten.
  • I always find that the best peaches are found at farmers markets and stands.
  • When you squeeze the peaches, they should still be a little firm if you want to grill them. The softer the peach, the more ripe it is and the sugars from riper peaches will caramelize too quickly when you put them on the grill and they may burn.

Ready in just 20 minutes, this recipe serves 6 – 8 people but you can easily double it if you want more servings of dessert (and who doesn’t want more servings of dessert?!?)! These peaches are just the start of your dessert journey. They can be topped with vanilla ice cream and enjoyed right away; topped with your favourite whip cream for a succulent and quick dessert; or they can be used in other desserts like cobblers, pies, and cakes.

  • 8 pc Freestone Ontario peaches
  • 1 cup Basil Hayden Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Set your favourite grill to 400F.
  • Cut peaches in half from top to bottom and remove seed.
  • Distribute bourbon evenly over the flesh side of each peach and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Grill peaches flesh side down for 4 - 5 minutes. Do not move peaches. This will help get those lovely grill marks.
  • Flip peaches over and distribute brown sugar and butter on each peach.
  • Cook for 4 - 5 minutes more, or until sugar and butter have melted.
  • Remove peaches from grill and let sit for 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Serve by itself or with your favourite dessert.
  • Have a bottle of water on hand in case the bourbon drips onto the grill and flares up.
  • Adjust your cooking times depending on the size of your peaches.

Cooking at Home: Meal Delivery Services

by: Christina de Bartolo, Food and Beverage Manager, Oak Room

We know back to school is going to feel different this year. Whether your kids are going back to the classroom for in-person learning or your family is transitioning to homeschooling and virtual learning, it’s going to be an adjustment for everyone. One of the last things that is probably on your mind right now is planning for your weekday dinners.

After a long day balancing work life, school, and home life, it’s possible that the last thing you want to do is figure out what you can make for dinner. That’s where meal delivery services can come in to play. These services bridge the gap between home-cooked meals and restaurant take-out, offering something for everyone.

They allow you to expand your rolodex of go-to recipes even if you lack some creativity in the kitchen. And, they make it easy for you to create delicious and Instagram worthy dishes without stressing about grocery shopping or finding the perfect recipe.

With a meal kit service, you choose the recipes each week that best fit your family. Then, the ingredients are shipped fresh to your door with full details on how to put everything together. And if you need to take a week off? You just adjust your delivery frequency. They make it easy for you to make adjustments, better accommodating you and your busy, ever-changing life.

Pro Tips:

  1. Choose a service that offers enough flexibility for your lifestyle. Most of the popular services offer 2 - 4 meals per week.
  2. Some meal kits are easier than others. Understand the difficulty level as well as the time needed to prepare these meals to ensure your success!
  3. Look into the types of meals these services provide. Some may cater to specific diets, including: vegan, low calorie, family friendly, low carb, etc. If you prefer more familiar meals vs. those incorporating exotic flavours, make sure the service is able to provide that for you!

This September is going to be unlike any other back to school season we’ve ever experienced before. These services can help to make your life just a little bit easier, and couldn’t we all use that right now?

Neighbourhood Gems: Dutch Dreams

by: Evan Middleton, Supervisor, Stratus Restaurant

As we try to hold onto the final days of summer, we’d be remiss to not feature a St. Clair Avenue summertime staple - Dutch Dreams

This fun, festive, family-run shop has become instantly recognizable by the huge ice cream cones and colourful cow that stand guard outside. Stepping into the shop feels like taking a step back into your childhood.

The Aben family has been providing frozen treats on Vaughn Rd., just south of St. Clair Ave., since the 1980s. They offer a tantalizing array of ice cream flavours, all of which are homemade with fresh ingredients and available in their very own waffle and pancake cones. You can even get your cones dipped in chocolate and adorned with nuts! And, bonus, for the Drake lovers among us, they even have a flavour named after the Canadian rapper!

Wrap up your summer with a trip to this Toronto classic to indulge your sweet tooth.

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