Kitchens are Theatre
Working, schooling and staying in our home for the past eighteen months has given us all a new appreciation of what comprises three squares a day plus a never-ending assembly line of snacks. Food and appliance manufacturers have heard our collective cry for HELP! and have devised some brilliant new products to spark up our meals. It’s surprising how one different ingredient or a different twist in prep can put a whole new spin on a meal.
Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven
Okaaay! I can plant geraniums on my stove and use the oven for storage. I called my sister to tell her all about the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Double Decker Convection Oven that is sitting quietly on my counter ready to leap into service at the touch of a button. After use, it politely flips on its side so as not to take too much counter space. “Oh!” she said. “I know all about it, quite a few of my friends have just purchased it and they love it!” What’s so special about this beauty? The Dual Zone Technology allows me to air-fry chicken wings and make a stir fry at the same time. I can air-broil a steak and make French fries at the same time. I can air-roast chicken or red meat and at the same time, air-roast a sheet tray of harvest vegies. And, a bonus for me, no need to bend down into a hot oven. So how does this spectacular appliance really work? The proof is in the pudding. All I need to know is that I cut up a whole chicken and air-fried it to crispy skin perfection in 25 minutes. With tongs, I pulled out the rack and the drip tray and put them in the dishwasher, then I flipped it on its side to clear the counter space. I don’t like having to fiddle too much with food and appliances, so for me, my Ninja is the appliance for the times. ninjakitchen.com
Del Monte Veggies for Salads
It’s the best thing since sliced bread. Imagine three gorgeous salads on your table without having to chop and shred and ruin your manicure! Del Monte is re-inventing canned vegetables with three new products: Diced Beets, Shredded Carrots and Shredded Celery Root. I haven’t bought vegetables in a can since the 1950s, but these are in a league of their own, with no soggy liquids. Open the beets with the ring pull-top, and they are fresh and dewy as if they were chopped that morning. Combine them with greens and some good quality olive oil, diced red onions and crumbled feta or goat cheese. Add a generous grind of pepper and there you are. Shredded carrots are crisp and bright, and, tossed with raisins, diced peppers, almonds and a bit of mayonnaise, you can serve them on greens or jazz up your next sandwich. My favourite is the shredded celery root (Celeriac) with its mild celery flavour and crunchy texture. I add it to tuna salad with a dressing of mayonnaise mixed with Greek yogurt-based dressing, capers, tarragon, and a bit of Dijon mustard. delmontecanada.com for info and recipes
Maille, the most renowned maker of Dijon and other mustards, buys its mustard seeds from Canada. Consider the ubiquitous mustard plant. A spoonful of those pampered and prepared tiny yellow seeds can kick the taste quotient of your standard dishes up quite a few notches. And scientific studies show mustard is really good for your health and has medicinal qualities. At the core of 50% of the worlds production of mustard is the little town of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. Mustard was introduced to this Francophone heritage town in the 1940s and they’ve never looked back. For me, Maille is a basic condiment right up there with Balsamic vinegar. Now, they have come out with Honey Mustard and Dijon in comfortable size squeeze bottles. Add a dab to your salad dressing, or mix it with your favorite mayo and minced herbs as a dipping sauce. My family’s favorite chicken is roasted with honey mustard glaze. And consider this: You’re buying Canadian. maille.ca
True Confessions: I have a lactose intolerance, but I cheat because I love ice-cream. After mindlessly devouring half of my first Finsicle, I began to wonder what went into this wonderful thing I was eating. Finsicles are healthy “ice cream” bars on a stick made from sunflower seeds, maple syrup, almond milk and coconut oil. They are organic, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, plant-based and vegan. And the bonus is they are thickly coated in Vanilla Sea Salt Chocolate. How can they taste so good and fulfill every corner of my ice cream craving? After I had licked every speck of chocolate from its wooden stick, I realized that something was missing. There was no fat coating my mouth. The chocolate ‘sicle I had chosen was so rich and chocolatey, I was satisfied for the day. Finsicles come from the creative mind of lovely young Chef Doris Fin. Some of her wild and wonderful flavours are: Chocolate with peanut butter center; chocolate mocha; chocolate with raspberries; chocolate vanilla; vanilla with raspberries; raspberry with raspberries; vanilla lavender; vanilla; and chocolate. You will find whole hazelnuts in the chocolate hazelnut and whole pistachios in the pistachio. Each one is between 100-120g, and so intensely flavoured. I have not been able to eat a whole one at one sitting. email@example.com for delivery.
Andrew Kinnear and his company Yellofruit have taken bananas, one of the world’s perfect foods, and found a way to make them even better. Practically speaking, bananas contain fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamin C, all of which support heart health. But emotionally speaking, when breakfast sometimes leaves me feeling that I want something more, I happily indulge in a scoop of the Mango ice cream. The taste of the banana comes through, but it’s the fresh fruity flavour that hits the spot. After lunch, usually a salad with a bit of tuna or chicken, the Strawberry ice cream rounds out the meal. After dinner, it’s a scoop of Chocolate. Yellofruit ice cream is organic, non-GMO and made exclusively from plant-based materials. Yes, three desserts in one day: high in flavour quotient and only 100 calories per serving with none of them from fat or sodium. Who could ask for anything more? yellofruit.com
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.