Jill Chen

Jill Chen, photographer, graphic designer, and urban farmer resides in Toronto, Canada with her chickens and mini pet pig named Henry. After running a design studio for twenty years, Jill gave it all up for a simpler way of living. When she's not making food or photographing food, she's growing food with the goal of being self-sustaining with year-round organic produce, despite the harsh Canadian winter. Charcuterie, wine-making, mushroom cultivation, aquaponics and shrimp farming are just a few of the projects on her plate right now. You can follow Jill's blog, Freestyle Farm, for beautiful photos that will inspire you to cook or grow something.

Latest posts by Jill Chen (see all)


Roast Breadcrumb Potatoes

by Jill Chen
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Occasionally I’m completely into the idea of making a complicated, technically-difficult, watch-it-or-its-ruined dish for company. But most of the time I want to enjoy myself. These breadcrumb potatoes are the perfect dish for entertaining, because they’re quick, the work is all in the prep, and they’re still a crowd-pleaser.  Also, they’re potatoes crusted with breadcrumbs.

S’mores Pizza

by Jill Chen
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Jill and I talked summer campfire food recently. When she mentioned this quickly-assembled recipe for a S’mores Pizza, I knew it would be a lovely adieu to the season. It can be made with the fanciest ingredients or with the everyday stuff from the local grocery store, and either way, I have a feeling it

Chocolate and Cheese Panini

by Jill Chen
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Love means never having to apologize for needing a bit of chocolate every single afternoon. Dark or milk chocolate will do, and it’s even better paired with cheese or fruit or both. Jill satisfies my craving with this perfect pairing of a mild soft cheese with chocolate and strawberries. I know it would impress at

Rustic Apple Custard Pies

by Jill Chen
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I make no secret that I’m a true fan of canning. But there are some other things in jars that I also love, like desserts. Jill took this book we love, got inspired, and served up very pretty apple custard pies. You can too by entering the giveaway below. Skip dinner and invite friends over

Bacon Cheddar Cornbread

by Jill Chen
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Every time I look at this beautiful cornbread recipe, I get excited for Thanksgiving. That holiday is all about the side dishes for me and this is one side dish that will be at my dinner table. What’s your favorite cornbread recipe? -Maggie For our Canadian thanksgiving at the cottage this year, I opted to

Grilled Turkey

by Jill Chen
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Cooking turkeys has long been fodder for sitcoms, with the overachieving first-time-holiday-hostess haplessly serving a frozen bird or salvaging a charred turkey from the depths of the oven. Even for a seasoned cook (in real life), the turkey plus all the sides can be a daunting task. With magazine after magazine saying just grill that

Tomato Basil Jam

by Jill Chen
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Sometimes I dream of having a house situated right next door to Jill Chen. I’d bring her jam or infused spirits, she’d give me some chicken eggs or perhaps a pound of shrimp. We’d laze away the afternoon cooking all sorts of stuff in her handmade outdoor earth oven or roll up fresh chicken spring

Blackberry Peach Pie

by Jill Chen
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I promised fruity crisp-like concoctions and Jill does not disappoint. Before the chills begins to stick and sweaters feel far more familiar than flip flops, gather up some peaches and blackberries and make this beautiful Blackberry Peach pastry – it’s not quite a pie, not quite a galette – but original and quite special for

Family Style Salad

by Jill Chen
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We all love a one pot dinner, but usually think of a slow cooker in winter or hearty stew on the stove, right?  What about a one platter dinner for summer?  We think a family style salad would be just right.  The added bonus is Jill’s recipe makes it easy for me to clean out

Summer Appetizer Plate with Honey

by Jill Chen
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Today, we officially welcome the first day of summer (hooray!).  According to the trusted Old Farmer’s Almanac, summer begins at 7:09 p.m. (EST) today. To celebrate the summer solstice, Jill has crafted a stunning summer appetizer plate where each morsel is drizzled or dipped or accented by some local honey we love.  Honey. Summer. Chic

Strawberries and Balsamic

by Jill Chen
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Our strawberry infatuation continues! Jill’s strawberry post today reminds us that so much of what tastes great can come from our own backyard and it’s time to get planting. And I love that strawberries don’t need much to be transformed into a sophisticated dish. -Maggie This year I am obsessed with turning our backyard into

Shrimp Toast

by Jill Chen
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We’re quickly approaching a favorite time of year:   farmers market season.  But more and more, eating local means grabbing vegetables and herbs sprouting just outside our own kitchen windows.   Jill shares with us her adventure raising prawns, which makes me wonder, what are other people growing in their backyards and is it enough

Lion’s Head Meatballs

by Jill Chen
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I’m back from Paris and all I want is comfort food. This bowl of Chinese amazement will be perfect this week. Denise shared her Asian-style Meatballs and Spaghetti recipe a few weeks back, and thanks to Jill for sharing a special and easy version of her Lion’s Head Meatballs today. Is it lunch time yet?

Preserving Citrus

by Jill Chen
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If you make citrus marmalade, cordials and baked goods all season long, I hope you don’t tragically toss some of the most flavorful parts of the fruit into the trash. I used to years ago but now I save my zest and any extra juice. Just in time and quite beautifully, Jill shares several techniques

Chicken Spring Rolls {a movie}

by Jill Chen
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Superbowl Sunday is imminent and if your menu needs a little something crunchy and fun, these Chicken Spring Rolls from Jill will hit the spot. She even created a quick dipping sauce and a wonderful how to motion photograph to take you through each step. Thank you, Jill and Jill’s hubby, for showing us the

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