Christine Cushing is a TV chef, cookbook author and creator of her own line of food products.
I will be the first to admit that this was the most difficult set of challenges yet, but inspiration strikes during the hardest times. I must still be feeling the gold medal halo from our Canadian Olympic athletes' inspirational victories!
We've used the stovetop quite extensively in the last two challenges with stewing and stir frying, so for the final challenge it's time to pay attention to the oven; this week, we're mastering our roasting technique.
03/14/2014 11:48 EDT
The inspiration for my first dish is eggplant Parmigiana, normally a casserole dish that is slowly cooked in the oven. Instead of using large eggplant, which can be a bit bitter and usually hides many seeds, I thought the quick stir-fry method would be perfect for the sweeter, virtually seedless, Japanese eggplants.
03/10/2014 04:37 EDT
For my first course, I'm going with a classic hunter's style chicken with a few of my own twists. Many different cultures make this style of chicken and the most celebrated are probably chicken Cacciatore from Italy, and chicken Chasseur from France. The beauty of slow cooking is the intricate flavours and layers are developed by the gentle cooking process itself, rather than a lot of effort on the cook's part.
03/05/2014 04:14 EST
As we head into late winter with no early signs of spring (I really need a little chat with the groundhog) it could be a bit more challenging to find fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season. For this challenge I've carefully selected ingredients that are readily available and produce that can be grown in green houses year round or doesn't have to travel from too far away.
03/03/2014 04:30 EST
It seems that the more convenience and technology we have, the more frenzied the holidays get. So having meals and snacks under control is my way of taking charge. And based on all the families who participated in this month's main ingredient challenge, you all found some innovative ways to incorporate these nutritious offerings into your holiday table.
01/06/2014 02:08 EST
There is one upside to the cold blistery weather during the holiday season and that's all the gently simmering food you can braise, boil, simmer and roast. There is something wonderfully comforting about taking a few seasonal ingredients, putting them into a pot in a particular order and -- shazam -- you've got a stew going!
12/30/2013 04:46 EST
Playing on the classic winter combination of beef and barley, I thought using low sodium beef broth would make a chewy and delicious pilaf dotted with a few sweet currants and the fennel for a subtle anise note.
12/23/2013 04:55 EST
This week, I've decided to make dishes for an office holiday party or pot luck dinner that I think everyone will love without all the fried or heavy offerings. My inspiration for my first dish is the Greek holiday table which by definition has a ton of options.
12/18/2013 05:59 EST
The holidays have always been special for me and I have to admit I have gone to great lengths to create that Christmas spirit. My selection of ingredients for this wintery time of year is still very colourful and nutritious and I'm excited to see what we're all going to build using them.
12/10/2013 10:49 EST
For my first dish of the Holiday Edition of the Main Ingredients, I'm going with a crowd-pleasing egg dish that is nutritionally balanced but also looks very festive. For brunch, eggs are still king. They are so versatile and have few nutritional equivalents. But since vegetables are usually lacking in most brunch options, I'm adding some fresh cooked pieces of rapini right into the frittata.
11/30/2013 09:18 EST
It's always interesting to see what others will do when given the exact same ingredients. From a small pool of options comes dozens (hundreds?) of possible recipe ideas, and I was lucky enough to encounter four such recipes during this round of The Main Ingredients.
10/10/2013 05:21 EDT
This week's challenge is a way to celebrate this multicultural menu and use our twelve chosen ingredients in an ethnic way with a breakfast, lunch or dinner. I've chosen to make dinner and put my spin on some Italian specialties.
10/08/2013 05:20 EDT
In my books, turkey makes the best stock for soup because it has so much flavour and body. Normally, I suggest making a proper, long, slow-cooked stock or using turkey bones left over from a roast turkey As a shortcut I'm making an express stock by simmering a turkey leg while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
09/30/2013 04:06 EDT
For the kids, portability and nutrition are always key factors so I really think they will love this week's meal challenge, a quick little pita pocket lunch. I was able to sneak in some ricotta cheese, which is creamy and sweet but pretty neutral in flavour.
09/27/2013 01:34 EDT
Our challenge this week is to make a quick breakfast before everyone rushes off to work or school, using as many of the ingredients from the list as possible.
09/17/2013 07:24 EDT
For this busy back to school time of year, I have chosen these 12 ingredients from nature's Canadian fall bounty that I think will make great additions to your autumn table. As before, I will be introducing the challenges next week, but for now here's why I love them.
09/09/2013 04:41 EDT
It was both very entertaining and insightful to see how families across the country dealt with the Main Ingredients Challenge. It's one thing to read a recipe and say "Oh, I think this might be a good recipe for dinner one night," but it's something totally different to try use a set of pre-determined ingredients and follow a plan knowing that your family may completely refuse your offerings.
08/28/2013 06:28 EDT
As we head into the last of our challenges, for these 12 ingredients, no doubt you've already been inspired with some new ways to cook with all of them. For the last challenge, we have to dig deep and use every single one of the ingredients to prepare a smorgasbord (why is that word so funny?) of recipes still abiding by the same principles of nutrition and balance. Let's do this!
08/26/2013 08:06 EDT
This week's meal is colourful, beautifully presented, and is nutritionally balanced. I'm presenting a food platter with a beet and carrot slaw over a leafy green salad - using the beet greens and an avocado dressing - with a quick homemade hummus and whole grain tortillas to dip.
08/22/2013 04:19 EDT
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