It’s that time of the year when Dairy Farmers of Ontario celebrate the Milk Calendar, a welcomed annual fixture in many homes. The 2021 digital edition features 15 seasonal recipes that have been inspired by locally grown, raised and produced foods. Easy to follow, the dishes range from a pot of hearty home-style mushroom soup to holiday eggnog brunch pancakes that all incorporate the best of the province’s locally produced quality dairy products.
This year we partnered with three Toronto-based chefs for a friendly competition where they were asked to put a creative spin on a recipe from the 2021 Milk Calendar. Their final dishes will be judged by you! To participate, simply sign up to receive the digital version of the 2021 Milk Calendar at calendar.milk.org and vote for your favourite recipe to win a digital gift card valued at $500, or one of two $250 gift certificates to the Cheese Boutique!
Cast your vote above, and check out the cooking process and final plates below. We’ve also included the chefs’ reimagined recipes, complete with insider tips, for you to try at home.
Chef Missy Hui with her brunch crumpet entry
Original Recipe: April’s Poured Pizza Bianca
Reimagined Dish: Brunch Crumpet with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
Hui’s choice to revamp April’s Poured Pizza Bianca wasn’t a huge surprise to anyone who knows this powerhouse chef: besides having a deep affinity for the beloved open-face baked flatbread, she spent 8 years working under The McEwan Group’s Italian arm. For this brunch recipe, Hui has created a crumpet base made from high-hydration dough that’s cooked in a cast-iron skillet similar to the original Milk Calendar dish. She also included pizza yeast – not used in the original recipe – to introduce home cooks to the complex flavours the fresh yeast provides.
“This recipe is unilateral cooking, meaning it’s all done on one side,” says Hui. “So once you get it in there, just trust in your heat. Just set it and forget it. Also, if you can’t find Everything Bagel seasoning, adding fresh garlic and kosher salt would be just as fantastic.”
Hui mixes the batter with a pair of chopsticks (Step 2)
Melting the unsalted Ontario butter (Step 3) in a hot cast-iron skillet
Hui cooks the crumpet batter in the prepared cast iron pan and sprinkles Everything Bagel seasoning over its surface (Step 4)
While the crumpet cooks, Hui prepares the toppings
Hui flips the crumpet over to finish cooking when bubbles appear across the surface and it’s a little dry to the touch
Time to finish the dish with a generous layer of Ontario cream cheese and artfully arranged toppings
The finished plate: Brunch Crumpet with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
Brunch Crumpet with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
By Missy Hui
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp (3 mL) baking powder
¾ cup (175 mL) local Ontario milk
½ tsp (2 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) pizza yeast*
1 ½ tbsp (22 mL) unsalted local Ontario butter
1 tsp (5 mL) Everything Bagel seasoning
150 g smoked salmon
150 g local Ontario plain cream cheese
2 tbsp (30 mL) red onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp (10 mL) capers, rinsed
1 piece winter radish, thinly sliced
1 piece cucumber, thinly sliced into 6 to 8 strips
3 sprigs fresh dill or soft herbs of your choice
Optional if not using Everything Bagel seasoning:**
½ tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
- Gently warm milk until it is warm to the touch. In a large bowl, dissolve honey in the milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, yeast and baking powder. Pour the dry ingredients in the warm milk and honey mixture, and mix well with a whisk, spatula or pair of chopsticks. Cover the crumpet batter in plastic wrap or kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot. Let sit undisturbed for 20 to 25 minutes until the batter has slightly increased in volume and small bubbles begin to appear on its surface.
- Over low-medium heat, melt the unsalted butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed non-stick pan, completely coating the bottom. Butter should appear frothy.
- Pour the crumpet batter directly into the buttered pan and gently push the batter to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the top with Everything Bagel seasoning or fresh minced garlic, if desired. Leave to cook until bubbles appear all across the surface of the batter and the top appears a little dry, about 8 to 10 minutes. The crumpet should be almost entirely cooked, not wet or sticky to the touch, before proceeding to the next step.
- When the crumpet has a delicious crisp bottom crust and the top appears set, flip it over and continue to cook for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove finished crumpet from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Top finished crumpet with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, capers, cucumber rolled length-wise into tubes, radish and plucked dill or soft herbs. Enjoy!
*Standard yeast can be used in substitution for pizza yeast, however, the yeast needs to be bloomed in the warm milk and honey mixture before it’s mixed with the dry ingredients.
**There is no salt in this crumpet recipe because the Everything Bagel seasoning contains salt. If you are not using the seasoning you may choose to add ½ tsp (2 mL) kosher salt to your dry ingredients and top the crumpet with fresh minced garlic.
Chef Trevor Lui with his hand-rolled cheese noodles dish
Chef Competitor 2: Trevor Lui, chef, serial entrepreneur and principal of Highbell Group known for Kanpai Snack Bar and La Brea Food, who is currently operating JoyBird Fried Chicken out of Stackt Market
Original Recipe: November’s Hand-Rolled Cheese Noodles
Reimagined Dish: Hand-Rolled Cheese Noodles with Taiwanese Fried Chicken, Furikake Sage Butter and Soy Tea Egg
Admitting that pasta is one of his all-time-favourite meals, Lui was intrigued by the Milk Calendar’s noodle recipe that called for the untraditional use of breadcrumbs instead of flour. Lui adds a soulful Asian twist to the ramen-inspired dish by combining noodles with his other loves, fried chicken and eggs. Packed with flavour, the avid sneakerhead (Air Jordan 1s specifically) gives an alternative suggestion to diners looking for a fish-free version of furikake: use a mix of toasted sesame seeds and crushed nori.
“It’s not that scary to fry foods at home, you just have to be very safe around your pot of oil,” shares Lui. “Have a clean working area, don’t have any water nearby, and when you drop your protein into the oil, make sure you place it away from your body as opposed to plopping it in and having oil splash up.”
Lui forms and shapes the noodles (Step 4)
Adding chopped sage and furikake to the browning Ontario butter (Step 8)
Lui stirs the cooked noodles into the butter sauce (Step 9) and seasons the dish to taste
Mise en place
Divide the noodles into two bowls and drizzle dish with the remaining butter sauce. Garnish with soy tea egg, chicken, Asiago and chopped cilantro.
The finished plate: Hand-Rolled Cheese Noodles with Taiwanese Fried Chicken, Furikake Sage Butter and Soy Tea Egg
Hand-Rolled Cheese Noodles with Taiwanese Fried Chicken, Furikake Sage Butter and Soy Tea Egg
By Trevor Lui
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 hearty portions
Soy Tea Eggs (prepare 2 days in advance)
2 local eggs, large
1 black tea bag
½ cup (125 mL) tamari or regular soya sauce
1 cup (500 mL) warm water
2 cloves, whole
½ tsp (2 mL) black peppercorns, whole
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
2 local eggs, large
¾ cup (175 mL) Ontario Asiago cheese, freshly grated
1 cup (250 mL) dry seasoned bread crumbs
Taiwanese Fried Chicken with Sage Butter
1 skinless boneless chicken thigh, butterflied and cut in half
1 local egg, large
½ cup (125 mL) water
¼ cup (60 mL) corn starch
¼ cup (60 mL) potato starch
½ cup (125 mL) custard powder
3 cups (750 mL) canola oil for frying
3 tbsp (45 mL) fresh sage leaves, chopped or 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried sage leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper, divided
⅓ cup (75 mL) local Ontario butter
½ tsp (2 mL) furikake seasoning
2 tbsp (30 mL) Ontario Asiago cheese, grated
1 sprig cilantro, chopped
Chinese chilli oil (optional)
For the Soy Tea Eggs
- Fill a small pot halfway with water and bring to a full boil. Gently place 2 raw eggs into the boiling pot of water and turn the heat down to medium-high. Leave eggs to lightly boil for 7 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and transfer the eggs with a slotted spoon into an ice bath or cold running water. Allow eggs to cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove shells gently and move peeled eggs off to the side.
- In a sealable container, add all marinade ingredients and mix well. Add eggs to the mixture and seal the container. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
For the Noodles
- In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork, then stir in the cheese until combined. Add ¾ cup (175 mL) of the breadcrumbs and stir until a crumbly dough starts to form. Using your hands, knead the dough together, gradually adding some of the remaining breadcrumbs until dough is stiff and no longer sticky.
- Take 1 tsp (5 mL) of the dough and roll it back and forth between the palms of your hands until you form a strand to your desired length and thickness.*** Set the noodle onto a plate and repeat forming noodles of the same size until all the dough is used.
For the Fried Chicken
- In a small stockpot, heat the canola oil to 360 °F/183 °C.
- While the oil heats, place the starches, custard powder, egg and water in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, blend the mixture until it is slightly thick and runny. Add the chicken into the wet batter and coat until both pieces are fully covered.
- When the oil is ready, gently drop battered cutlets into the pot away from your body (for safety). Cook for 8 to 9 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 170° F/77 °C (use a meat thermometer). Remove the chicken and drain on a rack or paper towel-lined plate.
- In a non-stick skillet, on low heat, melt the butter and add in chopped sage, salt, pepper and furikake. Cook for 2 minutes or until butter starts to brown. Move off heat and keep warm.
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Lightly drop the noodles into the boiling water and leave to cook for 3 minutes or until they float to the top. Remove noodles with a slotted spoon and add to the skillet with the reserved butter sauce. Stir noodles and sauce to combine, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until noodles are golden.
- Divide noodles into two bowls. Nestle a cutlet on top of each portion of noodles. Cut the soy tea eggs in half; place halves next to the chicken. Sprinkle with Asiago, drizzle with remaining butter sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve noodles with a side of Chinese chilli oil.
*** Making the noodles all the same size ensures they will cook evenly.
Chef Tawfik Shehata with his version of beef and sweet potato stew
Original Recipe: January’s Canadian Beef and Sweet Potato Winter Stew
Reimagined Dish: Tawfik-style Canadian Beef and Sweet Potato Winter Stew
With winter fast approaching, Shehata’s recipe choice decision was driven completely by the promise of a warm and hearty dish. This reboot of the Milk Calendar’s Canadian Beef and Sweet Potato Winter Stew is inspired by aromatic and rich Malaysian Rendang. The recipe is simplified further by cooking the meat with all the aromatics, which doesn’t only save time but also eliminates any potential smokey smells that would come from the initial searing step. Shehata keeps the sweet potatoes in his version which both thickens the saucy-stew as it starts to break down and helps to counter the heat from the chillies. Best served with steamed jasmine or brown rice.
“This version of the stew has flavours from the ginger and lemongrass.” Shehata says of the riff of one of his favourite dishes, rendang.
The simple one-pot dish just needs time to cook. As the stew reduces, Shehata advises stirring the dish more often to prevent the bottom from scorching
Once the stew is finished cooking and the beef is tender, about 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours, remove the lemongrass and makrut leaves before serving
Mise en place
Garnish the stew with reserved toasted coconut and cilantro. Serve with rice
The finished plate: Tawfik-style Canadian Beef and Sweet Potato Winter Stew
Tawfik-style Canadian Beef and Sweet Potato Winter Stew
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 ¾ hours
1 lb (454 g) cubed Canadian stewing beef
4 shallots, finely minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 dried red chillies, soaked and chopped (or ¾ tsp (3 mL) chilli flakes)
½ tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper, divided
¾ cup (175 mL) unsweetened coconut, shredded and divided
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 4 pieces
3 makrut lime leaves
2 small or 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 1 lb/454 g)
3 tbsp (45 mL) coriander, ground
2 cups (500 mL) local Ontario whole milk (3.25%)
2 cups (500 mL) beef stock
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
- In a bowl, combine beef with the minced shallots, ginger, garlic, ground coriander and chillies. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a small frying pan on medium-low heat and toast 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the shredded coconut. Remove and reserve.
- In a large deep saucepan, add the beef mixture, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, the remaining coconut, milk and stock. Bring everything to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes.**** Note: it’s normal for the milk to separate as the mixture reduces.
- Add the sweet potato to the pot, stirring to incorporate and continue to cook until the mixture is fairly dry and the beef is tender, about 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours in total.
- Remove the lemongrass and makrut leaves before serving. Garnish with reserved toasted coconut and cilantro.
**** Do note the mixture needs to be stirred more often as it thickens to prevent the bottom from scorching.
To receive a copy of the 2021 Milk Calendar, visit calendar.milk.org. You can also sign up online to get immediate and free access to this year’s Canadian dairy-inspired recipes.