SHARP TEA-CERÉ: MATCHA MADE EASY

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Matcha: The Healthier Green Tea

Sharp Tea-Ceré makes enjoying delicious, authentic Japanese matcha easier. The traditional brewing process of this tea is very labour-intensive. Created in consultation with leading Japanese tea experts, Sharp Tea-Ceré preserves the traditional Japanese preparation process for authentic matcha but with none of the hassle.

This delicious, traditional Japanese tea is known to provide many health benefits, but it is difficult to prepare. Brewed green tea from tea bags is convenient, but provides fewer nutrients of traditionally prepared matcha because the leaves are steeped and discarded rather than ingested whole.

REAL MATCHA IN FOUR EASY STEPS

Four-step process grinds, brews, whisks and pours up to four* cups of matcha at a time. Tea-Ceré does the work for you.
*For a frothier cup of tea, brew one cup at a time.

STEP 1 GRINDING

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First, Tea-Ceré grinds tea leaves into fine powder—the only one on the market to do so—preserving the traditional Japanese method for authentic matcha.

STEP 2 BREWING

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Next, adjust the amount of matcha powder to your taste, and Tea-Ceré boils water and brews your tea—hot or cold.

STEP 3 WHISKING

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Tea-Ceré whisks the tea for you. Enjoy authentic matcha with no physical strain. Relax and let Tea-Ceré do the work.

Set It & Forget It – Holiday Cooking Event with Traeger

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Traeger makes holiday cooking simple.

Come join us at TA Appliance & BBQ’s in Mississauga on November 9th from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm

and learn how a Traeger grill can maintain a perfect temperature no matter the weather. The secret to creating a killer Holiday BBQ meal is in the smoke. The Traeger BBQ Pro team will be on site to give you smokin’ tips and tricks on how to create your holiday meal outside to free up oven space. Let that meat smoke while catching up with relatives and enjoying a cold one.

PLUS! Enter our grill raffle & you could win “The Tailgater” valued at $599.99. Proceeds will go to Cardiac Kids in support of SickKids Foundation.

BONUS 1-Day Offer: $100 Off any Traeger grill & 6 FREE bags of Wood Pellets. Offered November 9th only at all TA Appliance Locations

Click Here to RSVP today to reserve your spot!

Weber: The Anatomy of a Steer

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Have you ever wondered how a steer is broken down into the different primal cuts?  Do you want to learn about the best grilling methods for those cuts?  Read on!

The steer is broken down into 9 primal cuts. The butcher further processes them into retail cuts for the consumer.

1. Chuck   

Chuck steak beef for grilling on your Weber Grill

The chuck is the front shoulder of the animal, and is about 28% of the carcass’ weight. This primal is large, contains the neck, upper arm and five ribs. The shoulder supports a great deal of the steer’s weight and gets a lot of exercise. It also contains a large amount of connective tissue and requires the proper grilling technique to make this cut tender. Cuts from the shoulder are relatively inexpensive but do contain a fair amount of fat. Popular retail cuts from the chuck:

Chuck eye roast (pot roast)
Chuck steak
Chuck short ribs
Stew meat
Flat iron (top blade steak)
Ground chuck
Shoulder petite tender

2. Rib

Rib

The rib primal has seven full ribs and accounts for approximately 9% of the steer. It is cut from the chuck between the fifth and sixth rib. The rib section of the steer includes some of the most tender and flavorful cuts. This is definitely this butchers favorite! Rib cuts include:

Bone-in rib roast (prime rib)
Bone-in rib steaks
Ribeye steaks
Rib short ribs
Beef back ribs

3. Short loin

Short-Loin

This primal includes the single last rib of the steer and makes up about 8% of the animal. The short loin runs along the spine up to the hipbone. This primal does very little work as it in the middle of the back. It includes the most tender cut…the tenderloin; it is tapered and starts just past the last rib and continues into the sirloin. These steaks are always in high demand and come at a premium price. Short loin cuts:

Porterhouse steak
T-bone steak
N.Y. strip steak 
Beef tenderloin steaks and roasts

4. Sirloin

Sirloin

As we move closer to the rear leg, we have the sirloin primal; its take is about 9%. This muscle will not be quite as tender as the middle meats, yet it still boasts a nice beefy flavor. The sirloin is less expensive than some other cuts of steaks, and will certainly be tender as long as you don’t over cook it. The sirloin is great for any recipe which calls for cut up steak, such as stroganoff or stir-fry. The most popular cuts:

Top sirloin steak
Ground sirloin

5. Round

Round

The round is the rear leg of the steer and pulls in somewhere about 27%. This primal is big and has four basic muscles: top round, bottom, eye, and knuckle. Cuts from the round are lean and tend not to be the most tender. The round gets a lot of use. It contains some tendons and cartilage, therefore, the proper cooking method is a must. Round cuts include:

Round steak
Eye of the round, steaks and roasts
Rump roast
Top round roast
Bottom round roast
Sirloin tip, steaks, and roasts
Ground round

6. Brisket

Brisket

The brisket is the breast, or lower chest of the steer, and weighs in at only 6%. Located just below the chuck, these muscles are heavily used to carry a great deal of the animal’s weight. The brisket is made up of two different muscles: the point and the flat cut. The point cut is the fatty part of the brisket, which is called the deckle that connects the brisket to the rib cage. The flat cut, also known as the “first cut”, has the deckle removed making it leaner and laying flat. Brisket is notoriously difficult to grill, but once you’ve mastered the low and slow technique needed to tenderize this tough cut, there’s nothing better! Briskets are commonly sold as:

Whole brisket
First cut brisket

7 and 8. Flank and short plate

Flank-and-Short-Plate

These two primal cuts are the lower abdomen, or belly of the steer. Together they are about 9%. The flank is a hard working muscle that has long, tough, and thick fibers. The flank is lean, and has a nice beefy flavor. Slicing across the grain of the meat is a must. The short plate is in the center of the steer, just below the ribs. The short plate contains a long thin diaphragm, the skirt steak. The skirt steak has a skin on both sides and must be peeled and trimmed.

9. Shank   

Shank

The shank is the leg of the animal; two in the front and two in the rear. Beef shanks make up about 4% of the steer. They are very tough, sinewy, and full of connective tissue. The shank contains marrow. When cooked properly, they add great flavor to soups and stews. Most commonly found as:

Crosscut beef shanks
Knucklebones

Danby: White or Red: How to Know Which is Right for Your Dinner Party

No meal is complete without a glass of wine! Make your meal as excellent as possible and keep these tips in mind when you uncork a bottle at your next dinner party.

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Red or White: Wine Pairing 101

Pairing food and wine doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s more to it than matching wine to the main ingredient of a dish. Think of how different chicken tastes depending on whether you roast on a bed of herbs, fry it with flour and buttermilk, or grill the chicken to perfection on the BBQ. Those distinct flavours call for different wine pairings!

The best wine pairings consider both the main ingredient and how you cook and season the food.

Food and wine should enhance each other’s best characteristics, with neither overpowering the other. For example, a meal with intense flavour should be served with a wine to match it. Sweet dishes, especially desserts, are best paired with an even sweeter wine. Sipping a tart wine over an acidic meal will bring out the flavour in both. Rich, hearty foods beg for rich, red wine.

Certain dishes require a more careful choice. Combining bitter food with bitter wine will overwhelm both their secondary characteristics, for instance. Spicy and oily meals react poorly with tannins, calling for a lighter, white wine.

Of course, it’s also a matter of personal preference. Not everyone loves the bite of an aged red wine, or the sweetness of a fresh white. Wine pairings are meant to enhance your dining experience; there are no rules saying you must always choose red over white or white over red. These suggestions are simply a starting point when selecting a wine for the main course.

Beef and Lamb

Red meat usually calls for red wine. Leaner cuts pair best with a lighter red, while bolder reds bring out the best in rich, fatty meats. Dark-fruited wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, are a delectable pairing for roasts and steak. If the meal is based around a more delicate piece, like lamb or beef tenderloin, choose a softer and rounder red wine, like Merlot.

Fish

Fish often flows well with a light, fruity white wine. Mild and flaky fish, like bass, tilapia, trout, and halibut, taste fresher with a creamy Chardonnay or bubbly champagne. But if dinner just doesn’t feel done without a great red wine, you may opt to serve fish with a low-tannin red, like Dry Rosé, instead of a white.

Pork

When it comes to pork, your choice of wine will depend on how the meat is prepared. Aromatic white wines with a heavy fruit taste are a wonderful balance to the saltiness of ham or cured pork. Try pairing the smoky flavour of barbequed pork with a spicy red, like Zinfandel.

Poultry

There are as many ways to prepare chicken as there are wines, and how you prepare it is the key to a great wine pairing. You should serve grilled chicken, especially when it has a heavy BBQ flavour, with a low-tannin red wine. Fried chicken goes great with a bubbly champagne or other sparkling wine. A rich, fruity white Chardonnay will enhance the flavour of your Thanksgiving turkey, as well as chicken baked in a cream or butter sauce.

Pasta

Picking the right wine pairing for pasta depends mainly on the choice of sauce. If the dish is heavy on tomatoes, choose an acidic white wine without many tannins. A rich sauce dressed in fresh herbs will mingle nicely with a crisp Pinot Grigio.

Salad

Dressing will dictate the preferred pairing for salad. If you’re unsure, Sauvignon Blanc is often a good complement, especially to salads topped with a mild vinaigrette or dairy-based dressing. Pay attention to the acidity of the dish, and remember that bitter wines won’t pair well with bitter vegetables.

BlueStar: SPICE UP YOUR FALL WITH THESE MUST-HAVE PUMPKIN DESSERTS

Our fall cooking program is back again with our All-Star Chefs sharing some of their favorite seasonal recipes.  This year’s program kicks off with the one ingredient that people can’t get enough of this time of year – Pumpkin.  BlueStar chefs Alex Raij and Brigette Prather bring you two delicious recipes that feature this must have ingredient.

“Coffee cake is my way of eating dessert for breakfast,” says Chef Prather who brings us this recipe for Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Buttery Pecan Streusel.  This cake is ideal for fall mornings because it’s moist, not overly sweet and is perfect to nibble with a cup of coffee or tea.  Turn out large batches of your fall baked goods with the extra-large oven capacity of a BlueStar oven like Chef Prather has in her kitchen.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake from Chef Brigitte

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Buttery Pecan Streusel from Chef Brigitte Prather

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Sorghum, molasses or maple syrup
  • 1 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ cups Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cup Pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup Flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp sorghum, molasses or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk the oil with the eggs, sugar, syrup, and pumpkin puree. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin pie spice, flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry to form a thick batter.
  3. To make the streusel, melt the butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the pecans and toast until fragrant and crisp, about 4 – 7 minutes.  Combine the pumpkin spice, flour, salt, sugar, sorghum, and vanilla in a small bowl and add the toasted pecans and butter.  Stir to form a crumb topping.
  4. Spread half of the cake batter into a greased 8×8 baking pan. Sprinkle with about one third of the streusel crumbs, then follow with the remaining batter and the rest of the streusel.  Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes.

 

Our next recipe comes to us from acclaimed Chef Alex Raij, owner of the Spanish restaurants Txikito, El Quinto Pino, La Vara, and Tekoa in New York City.  Her Pumpkin Olive Oil Cake a la Plancha is one of the must-have recipes at her restaurant Txikito and now you can enjoy it in your own home.  “The pumpkin spice makes the house smell nice and the cake is great for breakfast on warm or cold days,” says Raij.  The unique combination of flavors along with browning it on a griddle like the one offered by BlueStar creates a hyper-tasty edge you’ll enjoy all season long.  Complete this simple but composed dessert by finishing it with ice cream or soft cream and poached fruit on the side.

Olive Oil Cake in BlueStar Fall Cooking Program

Txikito’s Pumpkin Olive Oil Cake a la Plancha from Chef Alex Raij

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, or your favorite extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Solid-pack pumpkin

Directions:

  1. Using the convection: Pre-heat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine sugar and olive oil until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice in a separate bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
  2. Transfer to a greased 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan (a couple smaller loaf pans could work too). Bake 60 – 65 minutes (less if making loaves) or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.  Remove pan and cool completely.
  3. To serve: Slice the cake into 12 – 16 slices. Pre-heat your BlueStar griddle to medium low heat.  Brush the griddle and cake with more olive oil.  Brown for about 45 seconds per side (cut-side down) until it releases.  Plate and serve with ice cream or winter fruits.

Chef tip: “We love it with vanilla and poached pears, rum raisin and roasted Italian prunes or seared pineapple or simply whipped cream and chocolate sorbet.”

Fall is the time of year when we all start spending more time in the kitchen and why not do it with the incomparable cooking power of BlueStar.  The pro-style open burner design and extra-large oven capacity help you produce restaurant-quality results in your own kitchen.  Start building your own BlueStar now on our interactive Build Your Own tool now.

AGA Hot Spiced Mulled Cider

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Mulled Cider Recipe

Warm up with this festive holiday drink, served piping hot with a fresh cinnamon stick.  You’ll love the rich aroma of mulled cider and spices filling your home with the spirit of the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 pints dry or sweet cider
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 3 allspice berries (whole allspice)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon

Directions

Place all ingredients in the large AGA 6L casserole or stockpot and bring to a boil. Take heat down, and simmer for 15 minutes. If you have an AGA cast iron range, transfer from boiling plate to the simmering oven for 15 minutes. Strain and serve hot with a cinnamon stick.

Danby: 5 Steps to Keep Your Herb Garden Growing…Indoors!

What’s better than garden-fresh vegetables? Veggies garnished with delicious, hand-picked herbs! Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow, adding fragrance and colour to any garden.

Most culinary herbs hail from the sunny Mediterranean, so they don’t fare well in our Canadian winters. But you can keep your herb garden growing all year round by bringing the plants indoors! Find out how to set up an indoor herb garden in five steps.

5 Steps to Keep Your Herb Garden Growing…Indoors!

Choose a Container

Herbs aren’t picky about where they’re planted. Most store-bought planters, including the classic terracotta pot, can accommodate herbs. You can also repurpose old containers, like mason jars and cans, for a unique and creative herb container.

The main thing to consider when it comes to picking a planter is drainage. Any container you choose must have holes to allow excess water to drain. Without proper drainage, the roots of the plant can rot.

Since they don’t need much room to grow, you can plant multiple herbs in a single large planter. Just be sure each plant has the same water and sun requirements, and keep them trimmed so they don’t overshadow their neighbours.

Water Frequently

Indoor container gardens require more frequent watering than your backyard garden. How often you need to water will depend on your choice of herbs and the size of the container. The smaller the container, the quicker it dries out. Choosing a proper potting soil with plenty of organic matter will help the container retain water without drowning the roots.

An easy way to tell whether a plant needs water is to insert your finger one inch below the soil; generally, if the soil is dry, the plant is thirsty. Some herbs, like thyme and sage, can tolerate drier conditions.

Set Up Lighting

Lighting is the tricky part of keeping your herb garden growing indoors. Most herbs need at least six hours of full sunlight per day, and Canadian winters don’t always cooperate in that regard.

The ideal place to keep an indoor herb garden is on the sill of a large, south-facing window that gets plenty of sun. However, if you really want your plants to thrive, it’s best to provide supplementary lighting. The Danby Fresh herb grower uses energy-efficient 100-watt LED lighting to provide a full colour spectrum that simulates the natural environment. Unlike other grow lights, the herb grower runs right out of the box, with no complicated wiring or set-up required!

Feed with Fertilizer

To keep your herbs growing well indoors, you may have to give them a dose of fertilizer. Potted plants have limited soil to begin with, and frequent watering washes away the nutrients over time. You can help by mixing in a slow-release fertilizer with the potting soil, then providing a small amount of plant food once the plants get established.

Trim and Harvest

With enough water, food and sunlight, your herbs will quickly take root and start thriving in their new home. At this point, you should start pruning the plants regularly to encourage new, dense growth. Use a pair of clean scissors or shears (ones you only use for plants) to cut the oldest stems first. Use the trimmings to spice up your meals, brew an herbal tea, or take a relaxing herbal bath!

If you intend to harvest your herbs for cooking, be sure to cut off any buds or flowers that form on the plant, as they become bitter and less flavourful after flowering.