Category Streetsville

My Favourite Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Sometimes I wonder who I love more – my guacamole or my husband? I raise one pondering eyebrow and make him a bowl. It’s a labour of love as I chop the fragrant cilantro, juice the sweet, tangy lime, and mellow as I mash the creamy avocado. As soon as it’s ready I feed my husband a scoop and watch him swoon…and then I know it’s him I love the most, of course! Hey, does he love my guacamole more than he loves me?


I used to mix my pico de gallo in with my guacamole but then I tasted the most delicious guacamole at La Cantina Mexicana in Streetsville. Since then, I’ve spent the rest of my guacamole-making days trying to replicate that smooth and luxurious, pure avocado dip that has a hit of garlic and is served with homemade tortilla chips and salsa on the side. Now I focus on the avocado and don’t get watered down by the tomatoes. Use firm but ripe Haas avocados; make sure the stem end yields to the gentle pressure of your thumb.

I prefer to serve my pico de gallo on the side; it’s easy to whip up since it uses some of the same ingredients. To have enough cilantro for both recipes, buy one large or two small bunches. I don’t use fresh jalapeno because I find the raw, crunchy bite of heat too jarring in a guacamole or pico de gallo. Green Jalapeño Pepper Tabasco Sauce gives me the flavour and heat I am looking for (and I ain’t ashamed to admit it) but switch out for the classic, fresh jalapeno if you like.


Makes 2 cups

This recipe is as close as I’ve come to the one we love at Cantina Mexicana. The guacamole can be made a few hours ahead, covered with plastic wrapped pressed on to the surface of the guacamole, and refrigerated.

Because the limes vary in size and taste buds vary in acidity tolerance, only add about two thirds of the lime juice initially; then taste the guacamole and add more juice as desired (I like to use it all). To get the most juice out of your limes, place your hand over the whole lime and lean down while rolling it around to soften it before you cut it open.


3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Few dashes of hot sauce (preferably Green Jalapeño Pepper Tabasco Sauce)
Juice of 1 ½ limes
3 Haas avocados, firm but ripe


Tortilla chips


  1. Mince and mash garlic in the salt to achieve a purée; add to medium bowl.
  2. Add the cilantro leaves and a few dashes of hot sauce. Add about two thirds of the lime juice.
  3. Slice avocados in half; remove pit and discard. Empty pulp into bowl.
  4. For chunky guacamole, mash the avocado with a potato masher until you achieve desired consistency. For smooth guacamole, purée with an immersion blender.
  5. Taste and add more lime juice or hot sauce if desired.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping.



Pico de Gallo

Makes 1 cup

My Spanish sister-in-law, Marie, converted me from jarred salsa to fresh pico de gallo with the spicy and refreshing pico de gallo she lovingly prepares for our clan when we gather at her pool in the summer. It’s a real treat; your guests will feel the love. Pico de gallo can be made up to a few hours before serving; any longer and the tomatoes breakdown and release too much of their juices.

To prevent my pico de gallo from becoming too watery, I’ve tried seeding my tomatoes first but the tomatoes lost some of their flavour and broke down too much. I also tried a technique I read about on the internet: chopping the tomatoes whole (including the seeds), placing them in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl, sprinkling them with salt, and leaving them to drain for about 30 minutes. But the results lacked a fresh tomato flavour, tasted bitter, and had a weird texture. So I just dice up the whole tomato, seeds and all, and love my pico de gallo for what it is: juicy and flavourful.

Use the ripest, locally-grown or homegrown tomatoes you can get your hands on – it doesn’t matter what size, along as you end up with 1 cup of diced tomato. If it is not tomato season, use roma tomatoes.


1 cup diced ripe tomatoes (locally-grown or roma tomatoes)
½ cup minced white onion
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Several dashes of Green Jalapeño Pepper Tabasco Sauce
Juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Add tomatoes to a medium, non-reactive bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.
  3. Let rest for 15 minutes and then serve with tortilla chips for scooping or cover in an airtight container and refrigerate up to a few hours.
Cantina Mexicana
277 Queen St. South
Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1L9
Telephone: 905-813-1992

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Canada Day BBQ: Kansas City-style BBQ Chicken

Kick off summer with a Canada Day celebration featuring Olive’s finger lickin’ Kansas City-style Barbeque Chicken. We used to steer away from barbeque sauce and chicken – a combo that left the poor bird burnt on the outside and flavourless on the inside. But over the years I have researched, tested tips, tweaked my method, and ended up with a recipe that we love (scroll to the bottom).  Hope you will too.


Finish off your barbeque with the quintessential Canadian dessert: the all-Canadian butter tart. I overheard some American tourists wondering why we Canadians love these gooey, runny tarts so much (they don’t have them in the US). I suggested they head straight to Kate’s Town Talk Bakery for the answer. Small batch, baked from scratch, using a tried and true recipe passed down from Kate’s Grandma Doris. A tasty crust that doesn’t collapse and spill filling all over you. Filling that isn’t all drippy nor cloyingly sweet, but caramelizes around the edges into chewy, toffee bliss. Now that’s my idea of a great butter tart! Available plain or with raisins or pecans; mini or regular sized.


Olive’s Kansas City-style Barbeque Chicken

Serves 4 (2 small pieces of chicken each – recipe easily doubled)

Part of my method comes from a recipe clipping that I think appeared in one of my favourite cooking magazines, Cuisine At Home, a few years ago (Root Beer Barbeque Chicken). The chicken is fully roasted in the oven first and then dipped in the barbeque sauce to absorb the flavours, and then grilled immediately.

I pour my Kansas City-style Barbeque Sauce recipe over the hot roasted chicken, put it in the fridge for several hours to marinate and chill the meat, then grill it cold out of the fridge, dipping it back into the sauce each time I turn it on the grill, building up a caramelized crust while I warm the meat. Most of the work is done ahead; it just takes a few minutes on the grill. The end result is flavourful meat with a lovely caramelized crust. The perfect barbeque party chicken.

If you want to serve my Kansas City-style Barbeque Chicken with my Kansas City-style Barbeque Ribs, make my Big Batch Kansas City-style Barbeque Sauce and prepare the ribs in the oven the day before. The next morning roast the chicken and chill it in the sauce. Just before serving, take the ribs and chicken out of the fridge and put them straight on the grill for a few moments, as directed.


4-5 chicken drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on)
4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Olive’s Big Batch Kansas City-style Barbeque Sauce (see August 2013 post)

Two to six hours before grilling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange chicken pieces on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush oil on chicken to coat evenly. Season well with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast chicken at 375°F until juices run clear and skin is golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the barbeque sauce gently, stirring occasionally.
  3. As soon as chicken is cooked, put the hot chicken in a heat-proof casserole dish; immediately pour warm barbeque sauce over hot chicken to coat evenly (use all of the sauce). Cover. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but preferably up to 6 hours.

Just before serving:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. When ready to grill, place chicken in sauce next to grill. Remove each piece with tongs, let excess sauce drip off, and place directly on a clean, well-oiled grill (keep tray of sauce beside grill to dip again). Grill for a few minutes.
  2. Remove each piece from grill and dip in sauce again. Return chicken to grill, turn over, and grill for a few minutes. Grill just until sauce has caramelized, skin is slightly charred, and chicken is hot throughout, about 5 to 10 minutes (dip chicken back into sauce each time you turn it on grill). Serve immediately.
Kate’s Town Talk Bakery
206C Queen Street South
Streetsville, ON
L5M 1L3
Telephone: 905-821-1166

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Farmers Market Find: The Strudel Lady at Streetsville Farmers Market

Unearthed at Streetsville Farmers’ Market: local strawberries (oops I got so excited I forgot to take the photo), asparagus and garlic scapes,


and – drumroll please – fruit strudel from local legend The Strudel Lady!! My friend has been raving about these strudels for ages.


What makes The Strudel Lady’s strudels so special? Fran’s Mom’s recipe, a special oven, and lots of homemade fruit filling using wild blueberries from Muskoka, or apples and cherries from Niagara.

Thanks to help from Fran’s siblings and their children, The Strudel Lady strudels can be found at Aberfoyle, Georgetown, Milton, Mississauga Central, and Streetsville Farmers’ Markets (check my Farmers’ Market Directory for locations). If you don’t see Fran’s face at the market, just ask for The Strudel Lady.

Once the farmers’ market season is over, The Strudel Lady sells at a few local craft shows, like Iroquois Ridge High School Annual Holiday Marketplace (Saturday November 1st, 2014). Loyal customers arrive in droves to pick up strudel to freeze for Christmas or winter enjoyment. Fran says it is a beautiful, juried craft show.

The Strudel Lady strudels are dairy-free, dye-free, and preservative-free. They will last about two days (including market day) on the counter or four to five days in the fridge. If well wrapped, they should last up to six months in the freezer. When ready to eat, warm the strudel for a few moments in a preheated 325ºF oven if you have stored them in the fridge or 4 to 5 minutes if they are frozen; it will crisp up the pastry nicely.

Streetsville Lions Friends’ and Farmers’ Market has moved to Centre Plaza (downtown Streetsville across from Shoppers Drug Mart). Thanks to the work of Christine Simundson, the market offers a good selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables, farm fresh eggs, baked goods, antibiotic/hormone-free meats, sausages (including bbq lunch), as well as dried seasonings, gluten-free goodies, jams, vintage treasures, handcrafted lip balm (olive the almond flavour), and the nicest Avon lady you’ll ever meet. And more, including weekly special guests.

Streetsville Lions Friends’ and Farmers’ Market
Centre Plaza (same plaza as Shoppers Drug Mart in village of Streetsville)
128 Queen Street South
Streetsville, Ontario
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How to Serve a Cup of Kindness

For the past three years, Streetsville United Church Sunday School has served a cup of kindness to our treasured seniors at our annual Seniors’ Tea. With the help of the children and their wonderfully supportive parents and teachers, we pull together a free lunch of tea sandwiches, dainty desserts, hot tea, and lemonade.  Here is how we do it:

Make cups of kindness cards (download paper teacup pattern here) using pretty patterned paper (cardstock purchased at Walmart), an x-acto knife, and glue. Fill each cup with a couple of paper hearts decorated by the children and one tea bag. Make one cup for each place setting.

Cups_of_Kindness Gather up the children. Have fun creating beautiful tissue paper flowers (instructions here – no need to snip the ends to make a petal shape). Don’t they look like they belong in Monet’s garden?


Put out a plea to the congregation for donations of unwanted, pretty, fine china teacups. If you like, glue the bottom of the cup to the saucer using a hot glue gun.

Tea_Cups Place a cheap but cheerful dollar store flower blossom in each cup (Dollarama is a good source). Offer them to the seniors as take-away gifts; take out the flower and use the cup as a jewelry holder or candy dish.


Set tables in cream-coloured tablecloths, plates, napkins, and tea cups (tablecloth, plates, and  napkins found at Party City). Place one cup of kindness card at each place setting. Evenly space flower-filled china teacups down the centre of the tables. Add bursts of colour with tissue paper flowers. Leave enough space for serving platters and tea pots. Don’t forget teaspoons, milk, and sugar.

Place_Setting Ask the Sunday School parents to contribute homemade tea sandwiches, cookies, and squares. Scroll to the bottom for instructions on making and cutting tea sandwiches. Cookies and squares should be delivered already cut in small sizes; make enough for each person to have a total of three or four pieces. Arrange assortments of sandwiches and an assortment of desserts on large platters to pass around during the tea. Make sure your platters are light enough for children to carry and line them with paper doilies (Party City is a good source for both). Ask someone to bring raw veggies (cut in small pieces) and someone else to bring tea, milk, sugar, and lemonade for the kids. Tea_Sandwiches Round up some parents to help cut the sandwiches and arrange the platters just before the tea begins (you may need them to bring cutting boards and knives). Ask the kids and parents to help serve at the tea and help clean up after too.

Make an announcement several weeks in advance, inviting the seniors of your congregation to join you for tea; ask them to sign-up in advance so you can get a good idea of the numbers. On the day of the event, greet them with smiles. Pour them a cup of kindness. Sit and enjoy the luncheon together. Your friendships will blossom and I bet that it will turn out to be just as heartwarming an experience for you as it is for the seniors.


Simple Tea Sandwich Instructions

The Streetsville UCW taught me how to keep the sandwich making simple and fuss-free while keeping the sandwiches as fresh as possible (they have lots of experience serving luncheons to large groups at funerals). Be sure to scroll to the bottom for important How to Make the Sandwiches and How to Cut the Sandwiches instructions, as well as useful Sandwich Calculations.

Keep the fillings traditional and not too adventurous so that both old and young will enjoy. We make egg salad, ham salad, tuna salad, cream cheese and cucumber. Lettuce will wilt and get mushy and other toppings will make the sandwiches gloppy and soggy, so don’t add them. I’ve included my Mom’s super easy recipe for Ham Salad Sandwiches.

Ham Salad Sandwiches

I loved opening up my school lunch bag to find one of my Mom’s ham salad sandwiches. This recipe makes enough filling for one loaf of sandwiches.


2 tins (156 g each) Maple Leaf Flakes of Ham

1/3 cup (scant) real mayonnaise

1/3 cup (scant) sweet green relish

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 loaf of thinly sliced sandwich bread


  1. Open, drain, and discard liquid from cans of ham. Add ham to a medium bowl; mash with a fork to break into flakes.
  2. Add mayonnaise and relish; mix thoroughly.

How to Make the Sandwiches:

  1. Save the plastic bread bag and tie. Do not cut the crusts off the bread; leave the crusts on. Remove and discard outer ends of loaf.
  2. Spread butter lightly and evenly over one side of each remaining slice (spread to edge of the crust). Spread sandwich filling evenly over half of the slices. Top with 2nd half of buttered slices. Press down lightly.
  3. Do not cut the crusts off the bread. Do not cut the sandwiches. Assemble the whole sandwiches back into a loaf and place the whole loaf back in the plastic bread bag and seal it tightly closed. Refrigerate for at least one hour, until ready to serve. Can be made the night before.

How to Cut the Sandwiches Just Before Serving:

  1. Just before serving, cut each whole sandwich into 4 triangle-shaped sandwiches. We leave the crusts on to avoid wastage.
  2. Arrange an assortment of sandwiches on platters with pointed ends visible.
  3. As each platter is filled, cover it completely with lightly dampened, clean J-Cloths and then seal with a covering of plastic wrap to prevent the sandwiches from drying out.
  4. Once all of your platters are ready, remove the J-Cloths and plastic wrap and serve immediately.

Sandwich Calculations:

We allow 6 small tea sandwiches per person (which equates to 1½ full-sized sandwiches cut into 6 tea sandwich triangles, using 3 whole slices of bread). We always have some leftover but like to have extra in case any seniors, who haven’t signed up in advance, decide to come at the last-minute; people are more than happy to take home any leftovers. The average loaf has 16 slices of bread (crusts excluded) which will make 8 sandwiches.

# of guests (seniors, children, and adult helpers) × 1.5 tea sandwiches = total # sandwiches

total # sandwiches ÷ 8 sandwiches per loaf = total # loaves required

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Gourmet Food Trucks Coming to the Bread & Honey

The banner is hanging proudly over Queen Street, the rides are almost set up, and Streetsville is buzzing. Not just because this will be Hazel’s last year leading the parade as mayor (she inspires a standing ovation from me at every parade). But also because two of Toronto’s top ten gourmet food trucks will be rockin’ the Streetsville Bread and Honey Festival again this year, to gastronomical proportions.

These food trucks serve some seriously good eats and have a huge following. Toronto’s original mobile barbeque smokehouse, Hogtown Smoke, serves it up slow-cooked and smokin’ good using an on-board smoker.


How about sinking your teeth into the Brisket-Infused Burger: an organic Angus beef burger infused with brisket, topped with pulled pork, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, Jack Daniels and BBQ sauce, three cheeses, bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a Cobb fresh-daily bun? Can you say that five times fast?


Or a Jacked Up Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich:  Jack Daniels-infused pulled pork, orange and white cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, beer braised onions, and red pepper on Cobb fresh-daily bread?  Want to see more? Check out Hogtown Smoke on YouTube or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

A whole lotta love will be roamin’ into the festival on this truck. Mississauga’s own Rome’N Chariot serves classic Italian comfort food inspired by Nona’s recipes from Molise, Italy which have been passed down through generations.


How about Chicken Parmesan served on a soft Italian kaiser, smothered in homemade marinara sauce, sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan, and topped with mozzarella, sautéed sweet peppers, and caramelized onions?


Or Toasted Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, finished with Parmesan and served with a side of marinara sauce? Big on comfort, big on flavour….mamma mia! Want to see more? Check out Rome’N Chariot on YouTube, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.


Check out the Bread and Honey website for a list of all the good eats at the festival this year…and don’t forget your slice of free bread and honey! Mmm, sweet!

The Streetsville Founders’ Bread and Honey Festival

Located at Streetsville Memorial Park/Vic Johnston Community Centre. Click here for map and information.

Friday June 6th, 2014 from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Saturday June 7th from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm (Queen Street parade: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm)
Sunday June 8th from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

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