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Julie Van Rosendaal's picnic ideas

Eyeopener food guide Julie Van Rosendaal stops by with unconventional picnic ideas including kimchi pancakes and cheesecakes in jars.

Kimchi Pancakes

Kimchi pancakes are easy to make and transport easily for a picnic - if you're planning to cook onsite, the batter can be packed along in a zip-lock bag or plastic container and cooked in a hot skillet at your picnic spot.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rice flour or potato starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
2-4 Tbsp. drained kimchi juice
1 egg
2 green onions, chopped
canola oil, for cooking

Dipping sauce (optional):
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. sugar or honey
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, rice or potato flour and salt. Add the kimchi, kimchi juice, egg and green onions (I like to save a few green onions to put in the dipping sauce) and stir just until well blended. The mixture will be a beautiful salmon colour.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and cook the mixture in large spoonfuls, flattening them out like silver dollar pancakes, or cook half the batter at a time, making two large pancakes. Cook until golden and crisp on the bottom, then flip and cook until golden on the other side. If you made large pancakes, cut them into wedges.

To make the dipping sauce, put all the ingredients into a jar, seal and shake it up. Pack along with your kimchi pancakes, for dipping.

Serves 4-6.

Cheesecakes in Jars

Individual cheesecakes jars is perfect for picnicking. Any soft, juicy stone fruit can be sliced and simmered with sugar into a chunky compote to scoop on top, and they can be lidded and transported in your cooler, or tossed into your backpack.

3 graham crackers or Digestive biscuits, bashed up

Cheesecake filling:
1 8 oz (250 g) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla

2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted (or chopped peaches or rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries...)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch

Bash the cookies in a ziplock bag and divide the coarse crumbs between the bottoms of 6 small (125 mL) ring-top jars.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cream and vanilla until smooth. Divide between the jars, spooning it over the crumbs.

To make the topping, bring your cherries, sugar and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the cherries are soft, squishing some of them against the side of the pan with your spoon. Stir the cornstarch into 1 tsp. cold water and add it to the cherries; simmer for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.

Spoon the cherries over the cheesecakes. Screw on the lids and refrigerate until you're ready to serve them. Makes 6 cheesecake jars.