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Kohlman: Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle

Baking Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Instead of writing about Easter favourites like honey glazed ham, asparagus quiche, or beet-pickled eggs, I’m writing about fancy pancakes.
'April is the month of dodging potholes, cleaning up the yard and filing taxes. Those tedious tasks are balanced out by eating ever-so-many pastel-coloured mini-eggs and hot-cross buns while binge watching previous seasons of Game of Thrones. I know I’m not alone when I say I would rather face an army of White Walkers than deal with the mountain of receipts I have to prepare for my accountant. Luckily, Easter is celebrated in April and with it comes plenty of delicious food to occupy our minds and our bellies before it’s crunch time with the accountant and the Ice Dragon. Read More'

Hicks’ Weekly Dish: The king of the green onion cake is back

Baking Edmonton Sun

The Green Onion Cake Man 9312-118 Ave. no website, no phone no delivery service (take-out counter at the restaurant) 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed Monday and Tuesday) Green Onion Cakes: 4.5 of 5 Suns Rest of Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3.5 of 5 Suns
'The Green Onion Cake Man 9312-118 Ave. no website, no phone no delivery service (take-out counter at the restaurant)11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed Monday and Tuesday)Green Onion Cakes: 4.5 of 5 Suns Rest of Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 SunsDinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $15; loaded $25This is not about going to a restaurant.It’s a pilgrimage to a shrine. Not to the Green Onion Cake Man eatery itself. Heck, it’s only four months away from its first anniversary!!Siu To’s new restaurant capitalizes on his reputation for making the best green onion cakes in Edmonton.No, the bricks and mortar are not the attraction. It’s to see, live, in person, flipping those green onion cakes, a human Edmonton shrine … the one and only Green Onion Cake Man himself!By conventional standards, Siu To should be long retired.  After all, he is 78.He did retire. He and his wife moved to Vancouver. But after three years, Siu was restless and bored. They returned home.Siu decided to become Edmonton’s “official” Green Onion Cake Man.  “My wife doesn’t care where we live,” he says. “She’s always travelling to visit our children and grandchildren. I decided to open this restaurant, to keep making green onion cakes.”Those green onion cakes:  A common northern Chinese staple, Siu started making them ages ago, as a side attraction at his long-standing Happy Garden Restaurant.  The onion cakes became the stuff of legends on the festival food circuit. Festival-goers would patiently line up for 20 to 30 minutes at Siu’s food kiosk for his hot-off-the-griddle, made-from-scratch green onion cakes.Siu opened several more restaurants – Mongolian Food Experience being the best remembered – but green onion cakes were always his calling card. “Once our kids moved away, we didn’t have the staff to make green onion cakes at the festivals, so we left the  festival circuit.”Siu To’s famous green onion cakes are now available five days a week.Siu had semi-retired before his move to Vancouver. He still had a small commercial kitchen, making frozen green onion cakes sold in select stores around town. Most of the time he was experimenting with a golf putter of his own invention … which he still swears will turn the golf world on its head.Meanwhile, green onion cakes took on an Edmonton identity of their own. Other festival vendors started selling them, essentially cashing in on Siu’s reputation.  But imitations are imitations, nowhere close in taste, texture and freshness to the Siu version.A few months after his return, last fall, he decided to take full advantage of his unexpected, but enduring reputation by opening The Green Onion Cake Man restaurant up on 118 Avenue and 93 Street, in a cute little 20-seat restaurant.Always mischievous with a fine sense of humour, Siu has just had his white hair, always tied back in a small ponytail, green-streaked. If you’re making green onion cakes, he reasons, be the green onion cake.It’s more of a hobby than a job for Siu, being open five days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  He’s certainly not in it for the money – his pancake-sized signature green onion cakes sell for only $4 each, with an accompanying bowl of  sweet ‘n’ sour soup a mere $3. The Green Onion Cake Man has little-if-any social media, no website, no phone, no delivery service – though his take-out counter is always busy.The hot ‘n’ sour soup is priced at only $3 a bowl.The onion cakes are definitely THE attraction –  hot, steaming, crispy-fried, soft, the green onions sprinkled through the dough providing some kind of magic that only Siu’s green onion cakes have.The rest of the food offerings are middle-of-the-pack, still representing great value.  Siu’s pork dumplings are good but not great, but 20 dumplings for $8 is tough to beat.  The hot ‘n’ sour soup is good for the soul and warming on a cool early spring day … but pretty well the same corn-starch thickened base as every other hot ‘n’ sour soup. The spring rolls, not too big, not too small, are  good but standard.  The Szechuan beef pieces come with a nice saffron-rice variation, but otherwise are routine.The Green Onion Cake Man’s pork dumplings, another bargain at $8 for 20 pieces.No, it’s the green onion cakes and Siu the Green Onion Cake Man himself who are the attractions here. The onion cakes are great, the rest fair-to-good. It’s the ambience and fun of bantering with Siu that makes a visit to the Green Onion Cake Man a necessity.As for green onion cakes being the “official food” of Edmonton, it’s a no go.  Only Siu has made consistently great green onion cakes.  And the official food of Edmonton should be Ukrainian sausage and perogies – with a huge history, many excellent brands, and the famous Uncle Ed’s restaurant 40 blocks east of The Green Onion Cake Man on 118th.'

Nanaimo bar gets Canada Post stamp, but critics question base-to-filling ratio

Baking Vancouver Sun

The Canada Post series features regional dessert faves like Saskatoon berry pie and blueberry grunt along with the B.C. classic
'The Nanaimo bar, arguably B.C.’s most famous contribution to the pantheon of sweet treats, has received the stamp of approval from Canada Post.The crown corporation plans to release stamps of the West Coast confection and four other Canadian desserts from across the country next week.“Rich and chocolatey Nanaimo bars have been associated with their namesake Vancouver Island city since the no-bake recipe first appeared there in the 1950s,” Canada Post announced on its website in advance of the stamp set’s April 17 issue date.But is it really a Nanaimo bar? Images of the eminently lickable stamp were released Thursday, and while all three layers of the classic dessert are accounted for — the crumbly base, the custard filling, and the chocolate ganache icing — many were quick to point out that the ratio is all wrong.Canada Post’s Nanaimo bar stamp.“These are awesome, although the Nanaimo bar ‘filling to crust’ proportions are off,” tweeted Nova Scotia author Tom Ryan, one of several Canadians to weigh in.Toronto illustrator Tyler Clark Burke agreed. “Seems like the middle layer is too thick, and the bottom layer is too thin? The top layer is kind of weak too,” she said.To get to the bottom of this delicious controversy, Postmedia reached out to Nanaimo resident Joyce Hardcastle, the winner of a 1986 competition to find the ultimate Nanaimo bar recipe. If anybody is an authority on the famed three-layer dessert, which recently got its own spread in the New York Times, it’s Hardcastle, whose recipe is featured on the city of Nanaimo’s official website.Prompted to assess the stamp, Hardcastle gasped, then agreed with the online commentary: Canada Post’s Nanaimo bar is almost baseless, but the criticism is not.“The only comment I can make is that I don’t disagree,” said Hardcastle, before expounding on the proper ratio. “The two bottom layers are pretty equal. The top layer is a bit thinner. And it does look nicer than that.”As evidence, Hardcastle provided Postmedia a picture of a fresh batch of Nanaimo bars that were chilling in her freezer, atop a tea towel sold in local shops, which also features her famous recipe.Joyce Hardcastle’s Nanaimo bars, with the correct filling to base ratio.Troubling ratio aside, most Nanaimo residents are thrilled to see their custardy confection commemorated in a stamp.Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog savoured the news when told Thursday.“I couldn’t be prouder than to have the dessert recognized as one of Nanaimo’s many contributions to the world,” he said.He credited the bar’s surge in popularity of late to its unparalleled taste.“It’s popular because it’s really good,” he said, noting that Nanaimo bars were on the menu when then-U.S. president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, for a state dinner in 2016.“It is a signature dessert for this country, up there with the famous butter tart and the other desserts,” Krog said. “I always say to everybody, whenever I’m at an event, if there’s Nanaimo bar, ‘Be patriotic. Eat some Nanaimo bar.’”The City of Nanaimo’s website describes the bar’s history as “elusive” and “shrouded in mystery.”“Of course, we know that Nanaimo bars originated in Nanaimo, or they would be called New York bars, or New Brunswick bars,” the site says.With files from Lindsay Kines, Victoria Times Colonist. Read more Vancouver Island stories at timescolonist.com'