Two Fresh Ways To Transform A Classic Family Recipe

Many of us have treasured family recipes that we’ve grown up with; often, they’re ingrained as part of favourite childhood memories and, even today, serve as a comforting connection between our adult selves and the loved ones with whom we’ve prepared and shared the dish over the years. 
These inherited recipes — time-tested, well-loved, and more often than not reflective of each family’s unique ethnic and cultural roots — can also be a great source of inspiration for our contemporary kitchens. 
To create the new, savoury dishes below, we asked two home cooks in Ontario to get creative with a classic family recipe. The result? Elevated, versatile dishes that you’ll want to keep on regular rotation.     
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Here are two perfect-for-everyday recipes, made with fresh Ontario dairy products, and the remarkable stories behind them.

Jamaican Curry Chicken With A Twist 

by Cherelle Mukoko
Jamaican curry chicken is a favourite family recipe for model Cherelle Mukoko, who grew up “in a Jamaican home” in London. “It was one of the signature dishes that my grandma used to make for us,” says the former Miss Jamaica, who moved to Toronto earlier this year.
It’s also probably the most complex Jamaican dish Mukoko knows how to prepare, at least for now. “Growing up, I saw my grandma cooking a lot of Jamaican dishes; but when it was just me and my mom at home, she kind of transitioned into making very healthy, light things like salmon and salads,” says Mukoko. (Fun fact: Grandma’s curry chicken is so amazing, it was one of the first dishes that Mukoko prepared for her now-husband when they first started dating.)
For her recipe update, Mukoko adapts the classic dish by adding Greek yogurt and swapping out coconut creme for heavy cream, resulting in a thicker consistency and creamier taste. (For vegetarians, she suggests replacing the chicken in the recipe with tofu, or even potatoes.)
At the table, Mukoko proposes balancing out the rich, nourishing curry by serving it alongside a light and refreshing, Caribbean-inspired mango salad. 

Ingredients

Chicken Curry
4 Diced chicken fillets
¼ Cup of Olive Oil
1 Tomato chopped
1 Garlic clove, diced
1 Onion chopped
4 Tbsp Jamaican curry powder
1 Tsp red chilli powder
¼ Tsp paprika
1 Tsp Turmeric
¼ Tsp Ground thyme
2 Cups of water
½ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Grounded black pepper
½ Cup Heavy cream
1 Tbsp of Greek Yoghurt
Rice
2 Cups of basmati rice
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp salt
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Steps

1. In a large bowl combine the diced chicken fillets along with tomatoes, garlic, onion, curry powder, chilli powder, paprika, turmeric, ground thyme, salt and ground pepper (for best results leave to marinate over night).In a large pan pop in your olive oil and leave to heat on a low fire.
2. Once pan is heated, empty large bowl contents into pan and allow chicken to get brown.
3. Add 2 cups of water to chicken and leave to simmer for 45 minutes on a low fire, this will allow meat to get super soft and for all the ingredients to make a thick gravy
4. Whilst the meat is simmering, fill a small saucepan half way with water and a tablespoon of salt, heat on stove until water is boiling hot
5. Wash the 2 cups of rice thoroughly before adding it to the boiling water and add tablespoon of butter, allow rice to cook until water has dispersed and rice is soft, (add water to get your desired softness).
6. Once your meat has been simmering for 45 minutes, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes until creamy is thoroughly infused, this is going to give it a rich creamy texture and taste.
7. Add rice to plate along with chicken and top chicken with a tablespoon of greek yoghurt for a twist.
8. Add salad of your choice for colour and taste.
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Rosemary, Black Olive & Parmesan Shortbread 
by Audrianna Martin Del Campo
Professional baker Audrianna Martin Del Campo, who lives in Ajax, ON, will often reference her English grandmother’s foolproof recipe for traditional shortbread cookies, especially around the holiday season. “It is a very simple recipe that’s been passed down for generations,” says Martin Del Campo — it features just five ingredients, starting with butter and two types of sugar.  
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It’s also a recipe that brings up many fond memories for Martin Del Campo, who says shortbread is the first thing she can remember baking as a child. “My grandmother lived in Alberta when I was younger, and we would always make these cookies when she came to visit us,” she recalls. “It's our staple Christmas cookie. It's easy, and everybody loves shortbread.”
To put a modern spin on grandma’s festive treat, Martin Del Campo took inspiration from her favourite rosemary-and-black-olive bread to create a novel savoury snack — topped with freshly-grated parmesan — that can be enjoyed year-round. She suggests, too, that you can swap out the rosemary for other seasonal herbs, or add different spices to adapt the base recipe for different times of year. 
This new shortbread has even inspired Martin Del Campo, who loves experimenting with different flavour combinations and often tweaks recipes to work with food intolerances on her website, to look back at other family recipes for more fresh inspiration. “There are so many things in my grandmother’s old cookbook that I have never had the chance to look through, or the time to make,” she says. The possibilities are endless. 

Ingredients

1 Cup Unsalted butter, softened
¾ Cup Freshly grated parmesan
1 ½ Cups All purpose flour
⅓ Cup Rice flour
½ Tsp Kosher salt
⅓ Cup Black olives (pitted and finely chopped)
2 Tsps Fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
½ Tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
In a large bowl, cream butter with a mixing spoon until smooth. Add in grated parmesan, spices, rosemary and olives.
2. Slowly sift in flour to combine until large chunks begin to form. 3. Use hands to knead mixture together to create one formed ball.
4. Place dough onto parchment paper and wrap into a compact form.
5. Place in the fridge to chill for approx 30 mins.
6. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment, cut out shapes with your cookie cutter and place on a silpat, parchment or greased baking sheet and bake for 25-27 mins (or until edges are golden brown)
7. Cool.
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