Trish Magwood: Keeping your kitchen cool

If you want more of Trish Magwood’s tips and tricks, be sure to check out her book and show!

Ask Trish Magwood any question and her answer will be quick and simple. She’s a self-made superwoman who as a caterer, consultant, Canadian celebrity chef and cookbook author has found the secret of boiling things down to the basics. As a mother of three, she is also a master multi-tasker. We caught up with her while she was shopping for groceries (!), and asked her to share some insights on tradition, inspiration and keeping things simple.

As a chef, do you experiment with Holiday dishes or do you stick to tradition?

“Both! I’m a fourth-generation Canadian, so Holiday dishes are pretty classic. I also have a real passion for the recipes I’ve collected from my mother’s and grandmother’s recipe boxes. But I’m also inspired by the chefs I work with who have brought the flavours of different cultures to my cooking. You get things from family, you get things from friends, and you make them your own.”

But isn’t there a certain amount of expectation attached to Holiday traditions, especially when it comes to food?

“Yes, of course, but our lives are different now from the lives our mothers and grandmothers led. Life is more complicated, we have less time, we’re living in smaller spaces. Sometimes we have to do less to make things fit in our lives. If you’re coming home from work and trying to pull off the meal your grandmother made, you’re giving yourself a very tough job. If the torch has been passed to you as the host, then it’s up to you to make your own traditions and do things your way. Do what’s comfortable for you.”

You always seem so calm and so organized. How do you avoid stress in the kitchen during the Holidays?

“The more organized you are, the simpler things become. If anything can be done ahead of time, do it. I’m not saying set the table two days in advance, but go ahead and pull everything out – all of your non-food items. Never go shopping without a list. Easy things like this are huge time savers and will help you feel calm. You can also enlist family members or guests who like to be contributors and get them involved. Have them bring specific things.”

Are the cheeses in your fridge during the Holidays different from the cheeses you normally stock?

“Well, I’m never without a good Canadian Aged Cheddar. My kids really love it, it’s what they’ve grown up with. I always have Parmesan on hand for pasta and risotto, and everybody also loves Havarti, especially on sandwiches. Over the Holidays, I’ll have more ‘entertaining’ cheeses at home. I love going to a specialty cheese store and learning about new Canadian cheeses, and bringing home something special like a triple cream Canadian Brie or a wonderful Canadian Blue cheese. These are great cheeses to put out for family during the Holidays. And then you don’t have to fuss about hors d’oeuvres.”

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Read In My Mother’s Kitchen

Cheese soufflé

Servings: 4
Minutes: 20 minutes
Cooking: 35 to 40 minutes

Per serving: 308 Cal., 16 g Protein, 8 g Carb., 24 g Fat, 0.2 g Fibre, 319 mg Sodium, 310 mg Calcium

INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp (45 ml) butter
3 tbsp (45 ml) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 ml) milk
½ tsp (2 ml) dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup (250 ml) Canadian Aged Cheddar, grated
4 eggs, separated
Salt and black pepper to taste

PREPARATION & COOKING

• Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).

• In heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Add mustard and cayenne. Stir in cheese until melted. Set aside to cool.

• Beat egg yolks until thick and pale yellow. Season and stir into cooled cheese sauce.

• In a large bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Do not overbeat. Carefully fold egg whites into cheese sauce – do not overmix and deflate egg whites. Pour into ungreased individual soufflé dishes.

• Bake until soufflé has risen and top is light golden brown, 35–40 minutes. (Peek through oven window at 30 minutes but don’t open the door.) Serve immediately.

Notes:

• Bring right to the table – it’s so impressive! Have spectators ready to cheer because it falls quickly.

• My mom prefers an ungreased dish so the batter “creeps and walks up the sides.”

Cheese alternatives: CANADIAN SWISS, AGED PROVOLONE, AGED GOUDA.

Canadian Aged Cheddar

Crumbly texture increasing with age, along with its sharpness, saltiness and fully matured unique flavour that make it famous.

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