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Cooking Club:

Michael Smith's Soft Taco Recipe

For the meat

1 tablespoon (15 mL) of chili powder

1 tablespoon (15 mL) of ground cumin

1 tablespoon (15 mL) of dried oregano

1 teaspoon (5 mL) of sea salt

2 chipotle peppers in adobo

sauce, minced

2 nice big onions, chopped

Cloves from 1 head of garlic,

thinly sliced

A 28-ounce (796 mL) can of crushed,

puréed or diced tomatoes

3 pounds (1.35 kg) or so of beef for

roasting or stewing (such as blade,

chuck or eye of round)

The zest and juice of 2 limes


For crafting the tacos

16 small soft flour or corn tortillas

A heaping cup or two (275 to 500 mL)

of shredded Cheddar, spicy Jack or

taco-blend cheese

2 cups (500 mL) or so of finely

shredded green cabbage (or iceberg

lettuce in a pinch)

A cup (250 mL) or so of sour cream

Your favorite hot sauce

A few handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves

and tender stems


Preheat your slow cooker to its lowest setting.

Spoon the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, chipotle peppers, onions, garlic

and tomatoes into the slow cooker and give everything a stir. Cut the beef

into 4 even pieces and fit them into the slow cooker, flipping the works once or

twice to evenly distribute the saucy flavors. Cover and walk away for the day.

Flip the meat once or twice if you can, but don't worry if you can't.

When you're ready to open your taco bar, with the meat still in the slow cooker,

tug and pull it into small shreds with a pair of tongs or forks. Splash in the lime

zest and juice and stir the works together evenly.

Heap your tortillas with the delicious meaty filling, cheese and cabbage. Top

with dollops of sour cream, splashes of hot sauce and a scattering of cilantro.

Roll up or fold. Serve and share!

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Cooking Club:

Michael Smith's Caramel Chip Blondies Recipe

Caramel Chip Blondies

1 cup (250 mL) of butter,at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) of brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) of white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500 mL) of all-purpose flour
2 cups (500 mL) of caramel chips
or your favorite candy bits, divided in half

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Turn on your convection fan if you have one.
Line a 13- × 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan with parchment paper, extending the paper over the long sides to act as handles.
Lightly spray the paper with cooking spray.
Toss the butter into the bowl of your stand mixer. Measure in the brown and white sugar.
Beat on high speed until thick and smooth, scraping down the sides now and then.
Add the eggs and vanilla, then beat until thick and creamy.
Add the flour.
Stir on low speed just until combined. Too much mixing will toughen the bars.
Stir in half the caramel chips.
With a lightly oiled spatula, carefully spread the batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining chips.
Bake until firm, lightly browned and aromatic, 30 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely in the pan.
Using the paper handles, carefully lift the blondies from the pan.
Cut as you wish, serve and share!

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Cooking Club:

Michael Smith's Quinoa Greek Salad Recipe

Quinoa Greek Salad

For the quinoa
1 cup (250 mL) of any quinoa
2 cups (500 mL) of water
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt

For the dressing
The zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of yellow mustard
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of honey
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of your favorite hot sauce

For the salad
1 large English cucumber (unpeeled), diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
8 to 12 ounces (225 to 340 g) of feta cheese, drained and cubed or crumbled
1 cup (250 mL) of pistachios
Leaves from a large bunch of fresh mint

Rinse the quinoa under cold running water, then drain. Pour into a small saucepan along with the water and salt. Bring to a steady simmer, then reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover tightly and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes before removing the lid.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until emulsified. Add the cucumber, red pepper, red onion, feta and pistachios. Tear in the mint. Spoon in the steaming quinoa. Toss the works together, evenly mixing the flavors, textures and colors. Serve and share!