Mary's Big Kitchen Party

Mary's Big Kitchen Party - Poster

Mary's Big Kitchen Party

Year: 2017
Duration: 20 minutes
Photography: Mary’s Big Kitchen Party & Eugen Sakhnenko
Starring: Mary Berg
Genre: Food
Host: Mary Berg

Christmas Cornish Hens
Serves 5 

5 Cornish hens

8 sprigs fresh thyme, divided

½ lemon, cut into 5 wedges

½ orange, cut into 5 wedges

10 sage leaves

5 cloves garlic, smashed

¼ cup unsalted butter

½ lemon, zested

½ orange, zested

1 cup white wine

2 – 3 cups low or no sodium chicken broth

1 yellow onion, cut into rough chunks

1 head of garlic, cut in half

Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 450F and prepare your Cornish hens by drying them off using paper towel.  Place a wedge of lemon and orange inside the cavity of each hen as well as a sprig of thyme, 2 sage leaves, and a smashed garlic clove.  Place the hens on a baking rack set inside of a roasting pan and set aside.

In a small saucepot, melt the butter over low heat and add in the lemon zest, orange zest, and the leaves of three sprigs of thyme.  When melted, use a basting brush to coat each of the hens with the citrus thyme butter.  Pour the wine and 2 cups of the chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan, add in the onions and halved garlic head and pop into the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Baste the hens with the juices, add in more stock if needed, reduce the heat to 350F, and continue roasting for around 25 more minutes or until the hens are golden and the juices run clear.  If using a meat thermometer, the hens should register at 155-160F when you remove them from the oven.

Allow the hens to rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes and serve with all of the fixings!

Cornbread Cranberry Stuffing
Serves 8

6 – 7 cups roughly crumbled cornbread

¼ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup diced celery

½ cup diced onion

½ cup dried cranberries, chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

½ cup chopped pecans

1 – 1 ½ cups low or no sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 egg, lightly beaten

Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly grease a deep 9” square ovenproof serving dish.

Roughly crumble your cornbread into a large bowl and set aside.

In a large, deep pot over medium low heat, melt the butter and sauté the celery and onion until tender and slightly translucent.  Season with salt and pepper and add in the dried cranberries, sage, rosemary, and pecans.   Remove your pot from the heat and pour over the crumbled cornbread.  Gently mix to evenly combine, taste and adjust seasonings to your preference, and allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the chicken or vegetable stock with the egg and add to the cooled cornbread mixture.  If the mixture looks a little dry, add a splash more stock.

Spoon your stuffing mixture into your prepared serving dish and bake in your preheated oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.


Goat Cheese Potatoes
Serves 8

2 kg Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

4 large cloves roasted garlic, optional

1 cup whole milk

½- ¾ cup cream (I like whipping cream but if you’d prefer to go a little lighter, half and half would work perfectly!)

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

250 – 300g goat cheese, room temperature

Salt and pepper, to taste


Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with cool water.  Season the water with salt and place over high heat to bring to a boil.

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, drain, and pour back into the pot.  Cover your potatoes to keep them hot until you are ready to mash.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and butter over low heat.

When the potatoes are done and drained, add in the roasted garlic and mash using a hand masher.  Add in the warmed dairy and dot in the goat cheese.  Using a hand mixer, whip the potatoes just until creamy but be careful not to over mix. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm until ready to serve.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Serves 8

6 strips thick-cut bacon, diced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat your oven to 400F and set out a large rimmed baking sheet.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just under crisp.  When done, remove the bacon from the pan and add the butter and oil to the bacon fat.  Toss in the Brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat with the fats. 

Transfer the sprouts to the baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Add in the cooked bacon, stir to combine, and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Remove the sprouts from the oven, add the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, and serve immediately.


Orange Cranberry Spice Cake
Makes 1 bundt cake

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup full fat sour cream

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons orange zest, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups fresh cranberries

1 ½ cups icing sugar, plus more if needed

¼ cup orange juice, plus more if needed


Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a bundt pan by greasing it with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until slightly pale and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the vanilla, sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of orange zest.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir just to combine then fold in the cranberries.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in your preheated oven for 40 – 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cook for 15 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a cooling rack.

While the cake cools, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar, orange juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons of orange zest in a bowl.  If the glaze looks a little thin, add some more icing sugar.  If it looks too thick, add in some more orange juice.  When the cake is completely cool, place it on a serving dish and pour the glaze the top so that it drips down the sides and serve garnished with a few more fresh cranberries!


Mulled Wine
Serves a crowd

1.5 L bottle dry red wine

2 oranges, sliced in half then into half-rounds

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish

5 star anise, plus more for garnish

10 cardamom pods

½ - 1 cup brandy


Pour the wine into a large stockpot over low/medium-low heat and add in the orange slices, sugar, honey, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom pods.

Heat until just under a simmer, stirring occasionally, and hold at that temperature for at least 15 minutes to dissolve the sugar and infuse the wine with all of those lovely flavours.

When about to serve, pour about a shot of brandy into each mug and top with mulled wine.  For garnish, throw in an extra cinnamon stick and some of those mulled orange slices.



Episode 1: Halloween

MasterChef Canada season 3 winner Mary Berg hosts a themed party in her favourite room of the house - the kitchen! Episode 1: Halloween. Menu: blackberry burning sage mojito, togarashi/noi/fish roe devilled eggs, blackened chicken wings, orange & black cheese and charcuterie board. Special guests: Liam Lewis (15 year old Canadian culinary sensation featured in Macleans Magazine), Mary's BFF Alysha McGregor, and surprise guest, Masterchef Canada judge Claudio Aprile. 

Episode 2: Southern

Southern menu: boubon sour with a Canadian twist, quick pickled slaw, Andouille bites with arugula jalapeno pesto, mini catfish and shrimp po' boys, peach & pecan cake with bourbon caramel. Special guests include Jason Skrobar (food stylist and frequent Marilyn expert), Mary's husband Aaron Mariash and surprise guest Traci Melchor!

Episode 3: Hawaii

The theme is Hawaii! Menu: Poke crisps, Hawaiin musubi, coconut cream pie and Tiki punch. Guests include Emmanuel Belliveau (design expert and TV personality), Laura Bilotta (dating guru) and surprise guest Chloe Wilde (Etalk reporter)! 

Episode 4: Seafood

A splash of seafood! Mary is joined by celebrity chef Christine Tizzard, fish cookbook author Matt Dean Pettit and food stylist Jason Skrobar to prepare a maritime feast: Halibut Ceviche with Mango and Avocado, Seared Scallops with Crisp Pancetta and Green Pea Puree, and Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema all washed down with a classic Paloma cocktail, followed with Churros for dessert!

Episode 5: NYC

The Big Apple experience! TV chef Christine Cushing surprises Your Morning’s Lindsey Deluce, Masterchef Canada competitors Veronica Cham and Matt Vanderhelm, and Mary herself, while they throw a kitchen party-style ode to New York City. Dishes include: 21st Century Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters on the Half Shell with Classic Mignonette, Waldorf-ish Crostini, a No Bake New York Cheesecake, and traditional Manhattan cocktails.

Episode 6: Italy

Benvenuto! Mary gets help from charismatic TV personality Debbie Travis, the Bite Me Sisters, and BFF Sarah, to create an Italian getaway in her kitchen. After a round of Aperol Spritzes, they enjoy Stone Fruit and Sage Bruschetta, homemade Ricotta cheese, an Aperitivo Platter, Roasted Caprese Salad, and a quick and speedy Tiramisu.

Episode 7: Christmas Treats

The holidays are around the corner! The Social’s Jess Allen, Foodism Toronto publisher Krista Faist and renowned crooner Matt Dusk pitch in at Mary’s Christmas-themed kitchen party and indulge in Candy Cane Chocolate Doughnuts, Cranberry White Chocolate Hand Pies, Sweet Potato Latkes with Sour Cream and Ginger Pear Jam, Pesto Palmiers, and homemade Hot Chocolate. Yum!

Episode 8: Christmas Feast

The Christmas feast to end Christmas feasts! The one and only Rex Harrington joins Mary’s intimate family holiday kitchen party with husband Aaron, mom Myra and brother Michael. Your mouth will water as Mary pairs Mulled Wine with Christmas Cornish Hens and Cornbread Cranberry Stuffing, with a side of Goat Cheese Potatoes and Bacon Brussels Sprouts. Save room for Orange Cranberry Spice Cake for dessert!

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