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city palate C E L E B RAT I N G 2 0 D E LICI O U S Y E AR S 1 9 9 3 – 2 0 1 3

the travel issue

March April 2013

decisioni, decisioni...


Kiss “same old same old” goodbye! Thursday’s Perfect Pasta

Lemony Pasta with Kale

A light cream sauce with a fresh lemon zing, garlic and sweet peppers are the perfect match for nutrient-packed kale. This pasta dish is sure to become a new favourite.

Transform your everyday favourites easily with the magic of Real Cream. Enjoy pasta like you’ve never tasted it before.

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 8 cups (2 L) packed coarsely chopped kale leaves for about 3 min or until bright green. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove kale from water and transfer to a colander to drain well. 2. Bring water back to a boil; add 12 oz (375 g) fettuccine and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot. 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter over medium heat; sauté 1 thinly sliced small onion, 1 sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips, 2 minced cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper for about 5 min or until softened. Add kale; cook, stirring often, for about 3 min or until kale is tender. Add 2 tsp (10 mL) lemon zest.

4. Whisk 1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour into 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) 5% Light Cream or 10% Half-and-Half Cream; gradually stir into skillet. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 2 min or until slightly thickened. 5. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat. Season to taste with 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, pepper, ground nutmeg and up to 1/4 tsp (1 mL) more salt. Serve sprinkled with 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese, dividing equally. Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes Yield: 4 servings

Visit for fantastic tips on this recipe. You’ll also find The Great Cream Challenge, cream recipes and cooking tips. MARCH APRIL 2013


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contents City Palate March April 2013



30 n Eating Turkey

Two weeks of Turkish delight. Matthew Altizer

34 n All Hail Eggplant, Luscious Eggplant

Gail Norton



38 n The Best Thing I ate in 2012

Once again, we turn to some of our favourite foodies to pronounce on what perked their palates last year.

40 n The Taco Shops of Phoenix

A personal mission to uncover what is local, home made and lovingly prepared. Laura Di Lembo

44 n Starting From Scratch

Getting students to think outside the box, one recipe at a time. Dan Clapson

48 n Eating Miami

Take a hot spin around this foodie paradise. Kate Zimmerman

50 n Alchemy in the Kitchen

Lacto-fermented foods may be North America’s missing food group. Marti Webster

55 n 14 Things I Learned about Spain

City Palate’s Second Culinary Travel Grant recipient reveals the "real" Spain. Peter Swarbrick

57 n City Palate Culinary Crossword

The Solution and the winners.

58 n Not Easy Being Green

World class athletes like Kaillie choose the Main Dish “Healthy Essentials” menu of chef-created meals because they’re fast, healthy and delicious. No matter who you are, or how busy your day, eating like an athlete is always as easy as a trip to the Main Dish.

Karen Ralph

Cover artist Pierre-Paul Pariseau is a Montreal-based artist and illustrator, working for clients in North America and Europe. He also exhibits his work regularly. Find him at


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city palate editor Kathy Richardier (

T H E F L AV O U R O F C A L G A R Y ’ S F O O D S C E N E

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publisher Gail Norton ( magazine design Carol Slezak, Yellow Brick Studios ( contributing editor Kate Zimmerman

city palate

turns 20 years old this year! We want to celebrate Calgary's amazing food culture with the people who support us, read us, and advertise with us.

contributing writers Matthew Altizer Karen Anderson Dan Clapson Laura Di Lembo Tom Firth Carolyne Kauser-Abbott Ellen Kelly Geoff Last Jenni Neidhart Gail Norton Karen Ralph Allan Shewchuk Peter Swarbrick Julie Van Rosendaal Marti Webster Kate Zimmerman contributing photographer Carol Slezak for advertising enquiries, please contact account executives



for city palate will be hosting 20 culinary events over the next 12 months to celebrate our 20 years in publication! Our event proceeds will go to support Calgary food charities. Watch for full event details in the next issue of city palate, and on our website at the end of April!

Janet Henderson ( Ellen Kelly ( Liz Tompkins ( prepress/printing CentralWeb distribution Gallant Distribution Systems Inc. The Globe and Mail website management Jane Pratico ( City Palate is published 6 times per year: January-February, March-April, May-June, July-August, September-October and November-December by City Palate Inc., 722 - 11 Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2R 0E4 Fax 403-262-3322 Subscriptions are available for $35 per year within Canada and $45 per year outside Canada. Editorial Enquiries: Please email For questions or comments please contact us via our website:

contents City Palate March April 2013



13 n word of mouth

Notable culinary happenings around town

15 n eat this

What to eat in March and April Ellen Kelly

16 n drink this

What's new in Italy Tom Firth

18 n get this

Must-have kitchen stuff Karen Anderson


Butter Julie Van Rosendaal




20 n one ingredient

24 n feeding people Bouillabaisse Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Stirrings around Calgary



52 n stockpot

60 n last meal

Keep it simple and seasonal Geoff Last


CHOP CHOP! Allan Shewchuk

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62 n back burner... shewchuk on simmer

05/02/13 12:02 PM MARCH APRIL 2013 11





59 n Quick Ways with...


Made-in-heaven food and wine pairings Jenni Neidhart



28 n well matched


Now Open MARKET Cuisine | Inspired by our Region, Seasons & Community.

ers f Geoff Rog Home of Che


usive for our excl ner. in Reserve now d & g ht viewin ig n ay d .* on M March 18th Premiering of Food a trademark TWORK is permission *FOOD NE ; used with P. G. on levisi Network Te

403 474 4414 | | 718 17th Ave SW


Market Calgary


word of mouth Notable culinary happenings around town

city palate culinary travel grant: calgary’s top chef canada contenders We have THREE! Congratulations to these three Calgary chefs for being chosen to work their butts off in the Top Chef Canada competition, season three, launching March 18th on Food Network Canada: (L to R) Geoff Rogers, executive chef at MARKET, newly opened on 17th Ave. SW; Nicole Gomes, chef and owner of Nicole Gourmet Catering; and Chris Shaften, head chef at Blondes Diner and chef/ owner of Taste First, a private chef and restaurant consulting business. Be sure to tune in and cheer them on. Photos: Top Chef Canada/Food Network Canada.

lots of activities and great food at Lake Louise Inn A weekend at the Lake Louise Inn revealed it to be a great base for all the outdoor activities the area has to offer and a great place to get delicious food at the Inn’s three restaurants. Talented chef Roger van den Heuvel wows you with a braised oxtail terrine, tempura sushi, turkey meatballs with purple potato gnocchi and crunchy chocolate popcorn pudding for dessert. The Inn offers all the fun stuff too, like two hot tubs, a pool and a steam bath. The free shuttle will whisk skiers to the hill every half hour and the cross country ski trail is just a short walk away. It’s perfect for families and there are pet-friendly rooms available too.

beautiful hotel & beautiful food A media trip to Azuridge Estate Hotel in Priddis revealed the beautiful hotel that the Mogens Smed place, on a ridge overlooking the foothills, has morphed into without doing too much morphing. The kitchen of exec chef Alois Multerer fed us sumptuously on lobster and crawfish, green curry and coconut butternut squash soup and the meaty goodness of beef tenderloin and Alberta lamb loin with beet gnocchi! Lamb and beef have hardly ever tasted so good. Visit and see what you can have for your conference, retreat, wedding, or just to get out of the city. If you need a reason to get outta town, Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

stuff yourself with the best poutines on the poutine crawl You like poutine, right? Who doesn’t like a good poutine. You don’t want to miss Calgary’s 3rd Annual Poutine Crawl, Saturday, April 27. You travel on the Party Machine Bus to five restaurants with other poutine crawlers taste-testing each restaurant’s best poutine effort. Then you all decide which place serves the best poutine and who is the Top Poutine Chef. The 2011 winner was Bistro 2210’s duck confit poutine, the 2012 winner was Brava Bistro’s lobster poutine. Brava will be one of the participating restaurants this year, as will Eddie’s Burger Bar (Banff) creating poutine at Añejo. Check organizer Karen Richards’ blog site, itsrocketscience. ca for details about the past poutine crawls. Get your poutine crawl tickets and more information:

Calling all back-of-the-house restaurant cooks! City Palate can help you further your culinary education with a scholarship to help pay for your travel and expenses. For all the details on how to pitch us on where you’d like to go and what you’d like to learn... see our ad for this year’s Culinary Travel Grant on page 36 then go to to apply. And read about last year's winner, Peter Swarbrick's journey to Spain on page 55.

a celebration of the porcine Don’t miss City Palate’s 3rd annual Pig and Pinot Festival, June 20 at Hotel Arts. Teams of chefs will work their magic on local piggie parts and their creations will be matched with pinot noir and pinot blanc from around the world. Proceeds go to Meals on Wheels. Tickets are available at

Relaxed and confident with long legs. We have great wine too.

Please note – an incorrect date was published in our print magazine!

facebook winners December and January facebook winners: Bernice Hill told us about her favourite Christmas baking treat and won a Rustic Sourdough Bakery gift certificate. Sandra Hand told us about her special holiday traditions and won tickets to the Huron Carole. Wendy McElhiney Willard won the Rancho Vignola basket of goodies for January. Congrats to all!

canada’s top chefs at the fairmont banff springs The ultimate mountain culinary escape with Top Chef Canada season 1 and 2 finalists who will cook for you from April 26 to 28. Presented by the Visa Infinite Dining Series, our very own Connie DeSousa of Charcut Roast House, Season 1 finalist, will cook for you. For all the tasty weekend details, visit and reserve your place at the table at 1-888-711-9399.


Bow Valley Square #183 250 6 Ave SW 403.294.1310 Beacon Hill Shopping Centre 11668 Sarcee Tr NW




UrbAn Living

Willow Park Village 10816 Macleod Trail South | 403.278.1220 Compleat Cook Cooking Classes 3400 – 114 Avenue SE | 403.253.4831


eat this

Ellen Kelly

What to eat in March and April Illustrations by Pierre Lamielle

Even though Alberta desperately wants to burst into spring in March and April, the pickings continue to be pretty slim. More than ever, we rely on our kind neighbours to the south and west to share their burgeoning season with us. New greens, fresh herbs, radishes, scallions and, of course, asparagus begin to arrive from much closer to home… and that means more flavour and more nutrients. An exception has to be made for tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, guava, mangosteen and dragon and star fruits – they keep us sane when we tire of last year’s apples and pears. With succulent warm-weather fruits a long way off and winter still holding on, we’re grateful for the gift of tropical produce, especially ripe pineapples. Pineapple is lovely just peeled and served fresh au naturel, but as an accompaniment with meats such as lamb or pork, it’s unparalleled. Marinate half a pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks and 2 lbs. of lamb (from the leg), cut into 1-inch cubes, in 1/4 c. soy sauce, 1/4 c. liquid honey. 1/4 c. peanut oil, 3 T. Dijon mustard, 1 clove minced garlic and 3 finely chopped scallions for at least 3 hours or overnight. Skewer the meat and pineapple alternately on metal skewers and grill or broil, turning and basting often with the reserved marinade. The lamb should be crisp on the outside and medium rare inside. Serve over a bed of fluffy jasmine rice.

Spicy, crisp, colourful radishes are another sure harbinger of spring. For gardeners, radishes are the closest things to immediate gratification they have, taking only three to four weeks to mature. Add sliced or julienned radishes to salads or top grilled fish with a julienne of daikon radish, carrot and scallion. A favourite restaurant, Gaucho Brazilian BBQ, offers a simple but elegant salad comprised of nothing more than thin slices of crisp red radishes in light lemony vinaigrette. When the perfect bunch of radishes presents itself, don’t fuss. Plunge the entire bunch, greens attached, into ice water for 30 minutes. Shake off excess water and serve on a pretty plate garnished with a little pile of Maldon salt. Nothing says spring with more panache. BUY: Press the radishes firmly and disregard any that are spongy or soft; firm roots and fresh bright greens are optimal. Most are round and red, but markets often offer a variety of colourful radishes in the spring. Look for radishes that are round or elongated – red, lavender, white or purple with white, red or magenta tips. TIPS: Regardless of what you plan to do with your radishes, always let them sit in icy water for 20 to 30 minutes beforehand. This ensures the crispest experience. DID YOU KNOW? I love that the word radish is derived from the Latin radix, merely meaning “root”… a simple epithet for a simple spring pleasure.

BUY: Pineapples are picked when ripe. The best way to buy a pineapple is to smell it; it should smell of fresh pineapple, not sour or fermented. The fruit should give a little when lightly pressed, but should have no soft spots. Colour is not an indication of ripeness nor is pulling out the leaves, but leaves should be green and supple. TIPS: To trim and peel a pineapple, you will need a good sharp knife and a solid cutting board. Cut off both ends and stand the fruit upright. Cut off a thickish layer of the skin from the top to the bottom, continuing around the fruit. Use a potato peeler to remove any remaining fibrous “eyes.” Cut in half lengthwise and again into quarters. Remove the fibrous core from the wedges and cut the wedges into chunks. DID YOU KNOW? Raw pineapple contains an enzyme that will make gelling impossible. Use cooked or canned pineapple for any gelatine-related dishes.


is the quintessential herald of spring. Try to buy the freshest spears you can find from California in March, Washington in April, moving up to B.C. in May and over to our very own Edgar Farms asparagus in June. When you’ve had your fill of simply grilling or steaming – never over cook, al dente is ideal – as much asparagus as you can hold, try a silky asparagus soup. It’s an elegant way to use your trimmings, leftovers, odd sizes and broken bits. Start with about 2 lbs. of roughly chopped asparagus including trimmings. Keep back any tips for garnish. Cook the asparagus in 2 litres of good chicken or vegetable stock for about 20-30 minutes; strain, reserving the liquid, and put the solids through a fine food mill. Add the resulting purée to the liquid and set aside. In the soup pot, sauté 2 small chopped onions, 1 chopped leek, 1 clove of garlic and 2 medium-sized peeled and diced potatoes with a little salt and pepper in butter and olive oil until the leeks are soft. Sprinkle 2 T. flour over all and cook until a roux forms. Stir the stock into the onion/potato mixture and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are well cooked; purée the soup with a hand blender. Add 1/4 c. heavy cream and the asparagus tips, and cook a few minutes more, until the tips are al dente. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with small buttery croutons.

BUY: Look for spears that are smoothskinned and bright-coloured with tight, compact heads. Check the butt ends and avoid any that are dried out. Treat as you would flowers or herbs; trim the ends, put in a jar of warm water and into the refrigerator for one or two days. TIPS: If you have the room and a little patience it’s well worth the effort to grow your own asparagus. Not only will you have the luxury of picking the freshest asparagus, the spears left to go to seed develop graceful fern-like fronds with bright red berries that will grace your garden throughout the summer and fall. DID YOU KNOW? In Belgium, Germany and most of France, white asparagus is most common and preferred. The asparagus beds are hilled up to blanch the spears by keeping out the sun and inhibiting photosynthesis. MARCH APRIL 2013


drink this

Tom Firth

What’s new in Italy?

There are probably lots of new things going on in Italy, but not so much in the world of wine. Italians have almost always made great wine, in a wide range of styles, but new activity has been pretty stagnant compared to what’s been happening in the New World. Though we saw the rise of Italy’s premium “super Tuscans,” that development was nothing like the changing landscape of wines such as we’ve seen in Australia, Argentina and other parts of the wine world that don’t necessarily start with the letter “A.” Most Italian wine is steeped in tradition. Producers know what to plant where and how to work with the soil and climate of each region. Modern wine-making techniques and international markets for Italian wine have yielded consistent, high quality wines that compete with the best the world has to offer. But is there anything happening apart from the norm? Let’s take a fresh look at some of the wines now coming from two regions in the south of Italy – Sicily and Puglia.

Sicily is the island the Italian “boot” is kicking. In addition to being known for the Corleone family of the Godfather films and the famous plume of ash from the active Mt. Etna volcano that caused travel headaches for many in 2001, it’s also well known for its agriculture, especially its viticulture. For most of its viticultural history – which goes back to the ancient Greeks and Phoenicians – Sicily has produced wines of quantity rather than quality, destined for blending or bulk wine. Traditionally, Sicily’s most famous vinous export was the fortified wine, marsala. The demand for marsala has been in steady decline for several decades and is unlikely to regain its popularity, but not all was lost. In the late 1990s, producers such as Planeta started to focus on quality wine using both traditional grapes found on the island – like nero d’Avola, nerello mascalese, and catarratto – and international grape varieties most wine drinkers are familiar with, such as syrah, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon. Vineyard improvements, such as modern vine training, better management of yields, and aiming for quality, coupled with the Mediterranean climate and other natural advantages, mean Sicilian wines can be both unique and great. The nero d’Avola grape is garnering positive attention. Its wines are typically mid-weight, brambly and liquorice-y, and the grape can handle a little oak. Nerello mascalese is an uncommon grape and almost unheard of off the island. Somewhat lighter bodied, nero mascalese wines can be elegant, like pinot noir, but with some muscle and rustic characteristics. The white grape, catarratto, is just starting to emerge as a distinctly Sicilian white, and if it’s made with an eye to quality, it can be an excellent alternative to pinot grigio. The Italian region known as Puglia is the high heel of the Italian boot, and has a long history of producing wine in Italy. It was generally known for producing copious amounts of table wine – most of it of middle to low quality destined for distillation or blending. Puglia’s relatively fertile soils and its Mediterranean climate contribute to a nearly ideal place for viticulture if yields can be kept low. Subsidies from the European Union to uproot vineyards in an effort to reduce the immense quantity of wine produced in Europe (sometimes called “the wine lake”), resulted in grape growers ripping out interesting, low-yield, older vines rather than lowquality vines. Thankfully, some older vines and premium sites still exist, along with their premium wines. Today, about two percent of wines from Puglia have DOC – Denominazione di origine controllata – status, such as Salento or Salice Salentino. There are also a number of IGT – Indicazione geografica tipica, or typical of the location – designations available that are worth checking out.



The grapes we see in Puglia are generally negroamaro and primitivo. In what may “sting” Italian wine makers more than anything else, primitivo – well known in Puglia – has proven to be the same grape as zinfandel, grown with great success in California. It also appears to have come to Italy after it emerged in California, although the grape originally hails from Croatia where it is known as crljenak kastelanski (say that three times quickly). In Puglia, however, it isn’t quite as “jammy” or “brambly” as California zinfandel, but a little leaner, spicier, and more restrained. Negroamaro is a grape known for its dark colour and rounded spiciness, lending a rustic character to the wine. Blended smartly with more fruit-driven varietals, it can be deliciously drinkable.

Good Italian wine doesn’t have to come from Tuscany or Piedmont. While these regions make plenty of good wine and many great wines, the charm of wines from Sicily and Puglia can’t be denied. Puglia is a land of undeniable wine value, and the wines are well suited to our love of beef and meaty dishes. Sicily, on the other hand, is succeeding with a unique balance between celebrating indigenous, local varietals and producing some stylish international varietals suitable for drinking now or cellaring. Both regions are distinctly Italian and, above all, have great wine worth trying.

Liquor Depot presents

Sicilian and Puglian wines to look for: Look for these at your fave liquor/wine store. If you can’t find them there, you will find them at the stores where I found them, noted at the end of each description. Passopisciaro 2005 IGT, Sicily Made on the fiery slopes of Mt. Etna, this is a rare example of wine made from nerello mascalese. It’s slightly cloudy and has the style and finesse of pinot noir with a rustic edge that’s simply stunning. Drink or keep. $73 (CSN)

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2013 BANFF GRAND TASTING HALL Fazio 2011 ‘U Cantu Catarratto IGT, Sicily One of the best catarratto wines I’ve ever had. Fruity, floral, and a little spicy, it should appeal to fans of interesting whites. It should be perfect with seafood or lighter pastas. $26 (Cork north)

THE FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS Conference Centre - President’s Hall and Van Horne Ballroom Friday, May 10th: 7 -10 pm Evening Session Saturday, May 11th: 2 -5 pm Afternoon Session Saturday, May 11th: 7 -10 pm Evening Session Minors including infants/babies are not permitted.

Feudo Arancio 2009 Nero d’Avola IGT, Sicily Plenty of red fruits with a wild edge to them, and a touch of liquorice on the nose and palate. Tannins are balanced, and the wine is a great match with beefy stews or roasts. $16

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Candido 2006 Salice Salentino DOC, Puglia 2006 is the current vintage of this negroamaro blended with a touch of malvasia nera for balance. This mature wine shows earth and tea, dried fruits and herbs. It’s ready to drink and calling for beef or game meats. $15 (J. Webb)

Layer Cake 2010 Primitivo IGT, Puglia A nod to consumers’ love of fruit-driven wines, but still distinctly Italian primitivo. Look for zinfandel-like fruits with a little more spice and earth – easy drinking all around. Perfect for meaty pastas or your neighbourhood pizza joint’s pie. $25

Valle dell’Asso 2011 Nziddu IGT, Puglia A blend of fiano, trebbiano, and garganega, this is an easygoing, fresh, and wellpriced Puglian white. Destined for everyday sipping, it’s dry, crisp, and led by apple fruits. $13 (Zyn)

Tom Firth writes about wine for a number of fine publications. Follow him on twitter @cowtownwine MARCH APRIL 2013



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722-11th Avenue SW Phone 403-265-6066, ext. #1

get this molcajete magic Many of us travel to Mexico and fall in love with the complex flavours imparted by the mole seasoning pastes so popular in the cuisine. We are served tableside guacamole and salsas in the iconic heavy lava rock mortar and pestle sets that are used to mash the guacamole and grind those famous moles. That familiar three-legged mortar is called a molcajete and the pestle a tejolote. When you stroll through Mexican food markets you’ll see the molcajetes for sale and you might even be tempted to drag one home. That is, until you try to pick it up. Happily, Crate and Barrel has the real thing here, so you can spare yourself the overweight baggage fee. It might take a while to grind the ingredients for a mole in your molcajete, but you can daydream of your next Mexican vacation, so that’s a grind you won’t mind. Tip: Try Salsita, Tres Marias, UniMarket and La Tiendona for the best assortment of Mexican ingredients to help achieve that molcajete magic you seek. Molcajete, $39.95, Crate and Barrel

ruby roots and spring shoots Every spring we use up the end of winter’s root crops and look forward to the tender shoots of spring lettuces and the taste of fresh cheeses. It’s nice to squirrel away a few jars of fall’s pickled beets to marry with spring greens, arugula or spinach and a dab of soft goat’s cheese. Toss a few toasted pecans into the mix with a dressing of 1 t. Dijon mustard, 1 T. champagne vinegar, 1 T. honey and 1/3 c. of your favourite olive oil and you’ll make the transition from roots to shoots with good taste. If your larder is beet bereft, you can find a hidden treasure of Honey Pickled Beets at Chinook Honey in Okotoks.

casually elegant. uniquely vintage. distinctly canadian.

• Winter Special •

50% off select quality wines, now through April 30 Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner 403.268.8607 or

Honey Pickled Beets, $7.95/500ml, Chinook Honey in Okotoks

gotta have it… gochujang Bon Appétit listed gochujang in their 25 things to eat, drink or cook for 2013. They said it was like miso meeting everyone’s favourite hot sauce, Sriracha. This flavour marriage made in taste bud heaven comes from the mix of fermented soybeans, soy sauce and red peppers. All that soy means major umami, the fifth taste after sweet, salt, bitter and sour. The stock clerk at Arirang Oriental Food Store pointed out his favourite brand, Haechandle Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste. Haechandle claims to be the number one brand in Korea – it’s made with no preservatives or artificial colours. You’ll find many uses for gochujang and it should probably come with a warning as it’s completely addictive. Haechandle Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste, $7.99/1kg, Arirang Oriental Food Store

1900 Heritage Drive SW Calgary


Karen Anderson

Must-have kitchen stuff

fig-a-luscious Yearning for a destination trip? Bridgeland Market, just north of the Bow River is an interesting inner city destination. It’s Bridgeland’s neighbourhood market with a deli, fresh fruit and vegetables, and thoughtfully chosen dry goods. When we asked owner Yousef Traya his favourite item in the store, he walked straight to Al Dayaa Fig Jam made in his family’s native land of Lebanon. Traya likes it spread on a warm pita with a little cream cheese. Fill a ramekin and serve it as an accompaniment to cheese trays, with nuts and a few sliced pears. Cut the top rind off a round of brie, slather it with the fig jam, wrap it in puff pastry, brush with an egg white and bake it at 350°F until golden brown. Figs are luscious – that’s how they taste and look mingled in this cheesy pastry package. It’s absolutely fig-a-luscious. Tip: for the city’s best baba ganoush visit Traya’s mother at Tazza deli across the street. Al Dayaa Fig Jam, $7.99, Bridgeland Market

a new kind of tulip for spring If it takes longer to clean your muffin tins than it takes to make the muffins, you’ll be excited about these Paper Chef Culinary Parchment Tulip Cups. They’re attractively folded cups of non-stick brown parchment paper perfect for muffins or cupcakes. Use them for special occasions when you have to take baking to a friend or function. It’ll be like taking a bouquet of muffin tulips. Paper Chef Culinary Parchment Tulip Cups, $3.99/12, Blush Lane Organic Market

stoked for spring training



“Fuel the fire within” is the credo for Calgary’s Stoked Oats Company. Owners Simon Donato and Brad Slessor are ultramarathoners who love oatmeal. When they found themselves always adding goodies to make their favourite breakfast a more complete nutritional package, they realized they had stumbled on a niche that needed filling. They fill that niche and their tummies with four seriously enhanced oatmeal blends. The Bucking-Eh Oats has dried apple, mulberries, black currants and chia; Stone Age Oats has almonds, walnuts, chia and pumpkin seeds; Redline Oats has coffee, chocolate chips, chia and walnuts Aphrodisi-Oats has chocolate chips, almonds, chia and flax. All are gluten free and contain whey isolate to add protein that serious athletes-in-training need. Each container holds 22 servings and can be ready in as little as two minutes. Now, that’s something to get stoked about. Stoked Oats, $19.99/950g, Calgary Co-op stores MARCH APRIL 2013


one ingredient

Julie Van Rosendaal


There are days when I love my job more than others. The best days include such assignments as eating more butter – all in the name of research, of course. There is truly no ingredient like butter. Its marketing slogan – butter makes everything better – nailed it; it uplifts and enhances all it touches, providing texture, mouthfeel and flavour to everything from flaky pastry to a pile of freshly steamed green beans or a newly grilled steak. Margarine has never been a worthy substitute, good health considered or not.

FF13CarpColvinAd_Layout 1 2013-02-05 3:17 PM Page 1

But despite its status as a beloved Canadian kitchen staple, we have shockingly few choices when it comes to butter, compared to most anywhere else in the world. You’ll rarely find micro-creameries producing fresh local butters, nor much variation in the amount of butterfat available in different brands. The butter on Canadian grocery store shelves, made simply of cream and sometimes salt, must by law be 80 percent butterfat; in contrast, high-end and European butters range between 84 percent and 88 percent butterfat, which can make a big difference when baking croissants and pastries, and even affects the flavour of the butter you spread on your morning toast. Imported butters are hard to come by; according to a story last year in The Globe and Mail, the Dairy Commission only allows 3,274 metric tonnes into the country annually, less than four percent of what Canadians consume. Some pastry chefs and butter enthusiasts get rid of the excess moisture in their Canadian-made butter by wrapping it in cheesecloth and squeezing it out. When it comes to using butter in recipes, the most common question is: salted or unsalted? Salted butter far outsells unsalted (otherwise known as sweet) in Canada. With a longer shelf life (salt is a preservative), salted butter is less expensive and less likely to go rancid while hanging out in your butter dish. And yet the majority of recipes call for unsalted butter; the common rationale is that the cook can then have full control over the amount of salt that goes into a recipe. But since there are few dishes that don’t call for at least a pinch of salt to enhance flavours and keep them from tasting flat, you don’t necessarily need to rush out and buy a pound of unsalted butter just because a recipe calls for it. (Worthy of note: an average pound of butter contains 1.5 teaspoons of salt; adjust the salt quantities in your recipes accordingly.) On the other hand, if you’re used to keeping salted butter to spread on your freshly baked bread, give sweet butter a try; cleanertasting with a more pronounced flavour of cream, it can always be topped with a pinch of crunchy salt. If you’re after a batch of fresh, premium butter – and why not spend your fat calories the best way you possibly can? – it’s often easier to make your own than it is to find it in stores. Pour cold whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (it gets splattery) and turn the machine on. (Alternatively, pour cream into the bowl of a food processor and turn it on.) It’ll churn away, first turning into whipped cream, then into something stiffer than whipped cream, and suddenly you’ll hear it get wet and splashy as it separates into butter and thin buttermilk. (This is why plastic wrap works better than a tea towel – not only can you seal the edges, you can look through the wrap to see how the cream is changing, and hear the splash as it separates.) When cream turns into butter, it looks like butter; pick it up with your hands and squeeze out any excess moisture. If you like, put the solid mass into a bowl of ice-cold water, then take it out and knead it to remove as much moisture as possible – any lingering buttermilk will turn sour faster than the butter itself. If you like, knead in a pinch of salt. Two cups of cold cream will produce about 3/4 cup of pure butter, unless you start with Vital Green Farms’ heavy cream, available at farmers’ markets and whole foods markets. At 52 percent butterfat, it barely needs whipping to make the jump from cream to butter. Pack your butter into a ramekin or shape it into a square or log and wrap it in waxed or parchment paper. The leftover buttermilk can be used in pancakes or other baked goods – to be topped, of course, with your own freshly churned butter.


Salted Butter Break-Ups In the Poitou region of France, this broyé (crushed) cookie is traditionally set out on the table in one big piece so guests can break off chunks. It makes great use of good-quality butter, which you can hear sizzling as the cookie comes out of the oven. It’s a perfect dinner party dessert, perhaps served with a bashed-up bar of dark chocolate, ice cream or fresh fruit in season. Adapted slightly from Around my French Table, by Dorie Greenspan.

Buttery Barbecue-style Shrimp Pure butter makes an almost instant sauce for shrimp that’s been doused in a dry barbecue rub or your choice of other spices. It’s real fast food, served in a shallow bowl with crusty bread for mopping. 1/2 c. butter, salted or unsalted 1/2 lb. shrimp, raw, in their shells or tail-on

1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

2-4 T. barbecue spice rub, or your choice of other spice blends

2/3 c. sugar

coarse salt

1/2-1 t. sel gris or sea salt

chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

1/2 c. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

In a medium skillet, heat the butter until it begins to foam. As it melts, toss the shrimp in a bowl with the barbecue spice rub, and if you’re using unsalted butter, a pinch of salt.

4-5 T. cold water 1 egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine them. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse the mixture until it looks like coarse meal, with bigger pea-sized clumps of butter. With the machine running, pour in the cold water gradually, adding just enough to allow the dough to start pulling away from the side of the bowl. It will look dry and mealy until you squeeze it together. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it down to flatten it, then wrap it in plastic and chill it for about 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (It also freezes for up to 2 months.) When you’re ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment, remove the dough from the fridge, and, if it’s very hard, bash it a few times with your rolling pin to soften it. Put the dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll it into a rectangle that’s about 1/4" thick and 5 "x 11" in size, or thereabouts. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet. Beat the egg yolk with a few drops of cold water and, using a pastry brush, paint the top surface of the dough. Using the tines of a table fork, decorate the cookie in a crosshatch pattern. Bake the cookie for 30-35 minutes, or until it’s golden. It will be firm to the touch but will have a little spring when pressed in the center – the perfect break-up is crisp on the outside and still tender within. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow the cookie to cool to room temperature. Serve it whole on a platter or cutting board, set in the middle of the table. Serves 10-15.

Add the shrimp to the pan and cook them, shaking the pan to flip the shrimp as they turn opaque, just until they’re cooked through. Pour them into a shallow dish, butter and all, and scatter the top with chopped fresh parsley. Serve them with corn bread or crusty bread, for mopping up the extra butter. Serves 2-4.

Horseradish Hollandaise Smooth, buttery hollandaise sauce – essentially mayonnaise made with melted butter, rather than oil – is divine spiked with horseradish and dribbled over prime rib roast or a good steak. Or try dipping asparagus spears or artichoke leaves into it. 3 large egg yolks 1/4 t. Dijon mustard 1 T. lemon juice 1-3 t. prepared horseradish pinch salt 1/2 c. butter, salted or unsalted

Put the yolks, mustard, lemon juice, horseradish and salt into a blender; cover and pulse the mixture until it’s blended. Melt the butter on the stovetop or in the microwave until it’s melted and hot. With the blender on high speed, slowly pour the butter through the hole in the top. It should start to thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise. Once all the butter has been added, scrape the hollandaise into a bowl and keep it warm until serving time. Makes about 3/4 cup. continued on page 22

! n e i b s è r t so contemPorAry FrencH Bistro 105, 550-11th Ave. sW

PH 587.352.0964 Avec Bistro @AvecBistro MARCH APRIL 2013


Craving Something healthy?

one ingredient Butter continued from page 21

Pain au Chocolat  If you like to bake, give real laminated dough – the kind used to make croissants, Danish and pain au chocolat – a try. A simple yeasted dough is rolled, spread with a mixture of soft butter and flour, then chilled, rolled and folded repeatedly to produce flaky layers. It’s the best possible use of good-quality, high-fat butter, and one of the best ways to eat it. Danish Dough: 3/4 c. milk, warmed 1 T. active dry yeast 1/3 c. sugar

Sensational Salads

2 large eggs 1 t. vanilla

Nutritious Breakfasts

Energizing Smoothies

3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. salt 1 c. (1/2 lb.) cold unsalted butter 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/2 c. good-quality dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, or use chips or nibs

In a large bowl, stir together the milk and yeast. Stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add a cup of the flour and the salt, then add the rest of the flour gradually, stirring until it’s incorporated. Knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop for about 5 minutes, until it’s smooth. Transfer it to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap; chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

7207 Fairmount Drive SE Calgary

Ph: 403-252-2083 | @cravingsyyc

Meanwhile, beat the butter and the 1/4 c. flour with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside (don’t refrigerate it). When the dough has chilled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle that’s about 13”x18“ and 1/4” thick. Spread the butter evenly over the right two-thirds of the dough. Fold the left third of the dough over, covering half the butter, then fold the right side over, as if you were folding a letter in thirds. (The dough ends should line up.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it back into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Put the dough back on the floured surface lengthwise, with the open sides to the left and right. Roll it out into another 13"x18" rectangle, 1/4" thick. Fold the left third over the middle, then the right third over the middle. (Each of these moves is referred to as a “turn.” To keep track of each fold or turn, press your finger into the dough at the edge to make two marks – you can do this each time you roll and fold so you know how many times you’ve done it.) Chill the dough for another 30 minutes. Roll, fold and refrigerate the dough two more times, so that you’ve done it four times in total. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours, or overnight. It can also be frozen at this point for up to 4 months. To assemble the pain au chocolat, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4” thick. You can cut the dough into rectangles as large or as small as you like – we made them on the small side, cutting the dough into strips and then crosswise so that each piece was about the size of a business card. Put a little pile of chocolate, or a chunk of it, along the middle of the pastry, roll the sides up and place each one seam-side down on an ungreased baking sheet. If you have time, cover the pain au chocolat loosely with plastic or a tea towel and let them proof for an hour or two. (This is not absolutely necessary.) When you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 400°F and bake the pain au chocolat for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Makes about 3 dozen. These recipes are on our website

Missing Sylvan Star butter? Here’s the scoop (or the spread): The rules have changed for butter production in Alberta – now butter cannot be made in the same facility as cheese. This means Sylvan Star will now need to renovate to accommodate separate production. The owners are working on getting the facility back up to code... so there will be really good butter for your bread. Got to have really good butter for your bread.

(403) 229 -1302 932 - 17th Ave. S.W. wine @ 22 MARCH APRIL 2013

f o g n i l p m a s a ! e m o c o t s ’ t wha

Raspberry Browned Butter Tart This attractive tart is made with an all-butter shortbread crust that’s pressed, rather than rolled, into a tart pan. The filling makes use of nutty browned butter, which provides a rich foil to the tart fresh berries. Adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2009. Crust: 1 c. all-purpose flour 1/4 c. sugar 1/3 c. butter, cut into bits

Filling: 1/2 c. unsalted butter 1/2 c. sugar 1/4 c. all purpose flour pinch salt 2 large eggs 1 t. vanilla or almond extract 2 c. (1 pint) fresh raspberries or blackberries

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) combine the flour, sugar and butter; blend the crust mixture with a

And the gold medal goes to: Browned

wire whisk or pastry blender or pulse it until it’s well blended. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom, or a quiche dish. Bake it for 15 minutes, or until it’s pale golden around the edges. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it’s completely melted, continue to cook it, swirling the pan occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the butter turns nutty and golden. Remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, blending the mixture until it’s smooth. Whisk in the warm browned butter, ensuring that you get all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Arrange the raspberries or blackberries pointy ends up in the baked crust; gently pour the filling over top and around the berries. If the pan has a removable bottom, place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes, until it’s puffed and golden.

TABLE FOR TWO: March 1 & 16, April 5 (hands-on) Pair up and create under the guidance of one of our professional chefs— and we’ll do the dishes! Menu highlights include baked tomatoes with goat cheese, stuffed salmon fillet, and spiced pear wrapped in puff pastry. SINGLES NIGHT OUT: March 23, April 17 (hands-on) A night to yourself ? Ready for some fun? This highly interactive workshop is for you! Menu highlights include crab cake with roasted red pepper purée, squash risotto with goat cheesecrusted lamb, and basil and balsamic ice cream. TOUR DE FRANCE—Paques: March 27 (hands-off) Easter (Paques) traditions in France revolve around the sharing of beautiful food. Join us as we create and share some of of our favourite French Easter specialties during this fourcourse interactive dinner with wine pairings.

Our nextFrench Culinary Tour leaves in May - join us for the experience of a lifetime!

Cool it completely in the pan on a wire rack before serving. Serves 8.


One of the biggest culinary trends of 2012, browned butter intensifies the buttery, nutty flavour of anything from popcorn to chocolate chip cookies. To brown butter, melt it in a small saucepan on the stovetop, then continue cooking it, swirling the pan occasionally, until it turns golden and nutty; the foam on top will turn brown, too. Use it in mashed potatoes, dribble it over veggies or popcorn, or try it in chocolate chip cookies or blondies. You can even make it spreadable: whip browned butter (which is in a liquid state) into softened plain butter until it’s fluffy. The result – intensely flavoured browned butter that you can spread on fresh bread or your morning toast.

BISTRO ROUGE everyday 308 1919 Sirocco Drive SW

(403) 514-0561

Cuisine Moderne-Vin-Bière-Cocktail-Aperitif-Cuisine Traditionnelle MARCH APRIL 2013


feeding people

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott


From humble beginnings to La Charte de la Bouillabaisse Marseillaise. Bouillabaisse is a bit of an enigma. Is it a stew, or a soup? Is it a noble dish or peasant food? Was it invented by the Greeks, who once inhabited the area that is now Marseille, or by hungry French fishermen? What we do know is that bouillabaisse is an iconic dish long associated with the French port city of Marseille. Originally, local fishermen made use of unwanted fish parts and cuts of poor quality that they couldn’t sell to create a modest soup. Using water from the Mediterranean and local spices, the fish were cooked and served in salty broth. By the 19th century, the local middle class had acquired a taste for this concoction. The recipe was adapted over time; ingredients such as tomatoes, fish stock, and saffron refined the dish and increased its cost. Simple in concept, the word bouillabaisse comes from these two actions – the broth is boiled (bouillir), then the heat is lowered (abaisser). The high heat followed by simmering allows the spices to infuse the broth with flavour as it cooks the fish. Many cultures have their own versions of fish chowder; the unique tastes of bouillabaisse are created from the region's abundant herbes de Provence and local rockfish. By the 1970s, this soup, once the staple of poor fishing families, could be found on menus throughout the city of Marseille and well beyond her borders. The level of quality and sophistication of preparation were as diverse as the establishments offering the soup on their menus. In 1980, several Marseille-based restaurateurs determined that parameters should be established to maintain the superior reputation of this special dish. Chefs from nearly a dozen restaurants created la Charte de la Bouillabaisse Marseillaise or the Marseille Bouillabaisse Charter. They acknowledged that cooking is not an exact science and that chefs should be given the liberty to play with ingredients and experiment in their kitchens. However, the goal was to maintain consistency and ensure that diners received top quality ingredients and service. The Marseille Bouillabaisse Charter is clear on several things: the fish should be fresh, never frozen; it must be local, captured from the Mediterranean; and it must include at least four varieties from the following list: Scorpion fish: an unattractive bottom-feeder with a ridged head and sharp spines. Some varieties can be venomous. White scorpion fish: a variation of the above. Red mullet: rouget de roche is a goatfish that has been prized since antiquity. The Romans are believed to have reared this fish and traded it by weight for silver. Skate: a slow-growing, cartilaginous fish that’s a relative to stingrays and sharks. Conger eel: the largest member of the eel family, congers can reach up to 3 m. in length. John Dory: on a French menu, it’s generally listed as St. Pierre (Saint Peter’s fish). Olive green in colour, John Dory is recognizable by the long spines on its fins and a distinctive dark spot on its side. Restaurants will often suggest additional options such as spiny lobster (cigale de mer), a local crustacean. Tempting as they are, these supplements will most certainly add both to the cost of your meal and to the amount of bouillabaisse you consume. The meal service for Marseille bouillabaisse is somewhat regulated by the charter. The fish, once cooked, must be first presented to diners at the table. Then, it must be filleted and boned within viewing distance. This ensures that you’re getting what you ordered. As is the case for many dishes in France, bouillabaisse has prescribed rituals. The first course is the broth, served in shallow bowls. Accompanying the broth are crusty rounds of bread (croutons) and rouille (a mayonnaise mixed with red pepper, which gives it a rusty colour). Some restaurants will also serve shredded cheese. It’s tempting to fill up on this first course, but try to activate your willpower. The second course is the fish that has been prepared for you. The four or more varieties are served together with the remaining broth. Restaurant serving staff will continue refilling your bowl until the fish is gone or you indicate that you’re finished. If your table is brave enough – or in our case crazy enough – to order the supplemental homard (lobster), this will come as your third course, also served in broth. When you’re finished, you might find it necessary to take a long siesta after enjoying la vraie bouillabaisse Marseillaise. Signature restaurants in Marseille are careful to maintain these exacting standards and proudly display an emblem to indicate that they are establishments that follow the charter.


continued on page 26



Tasting Centre Locations

Beddington 8220 Centre Street NE, Calgary Crowfoot 39 Crowfoot Way NW, Calgary Oakridge 2570 Southland Drive SW, Calgary

For tickets email:

Celebrating Ireland

It is said we all have a bit of Irish in us on St. Patrick’s Day. Join us as we explore all things Irish. From beer and whisky to Irish music, this class is sure to have your Irish side smiling. Crowfoot: March 14, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

Beer, Bread and Cheese

Celebrate the staples of every good kitchen. We will discuss the history of a variety of artisan bread, beer and cheeses and discover the ways they can be used together to create delicious taste sensations. Oakridge: March 15, 7pm - 9pm • $35 per person

Great Grapes

Our sommelier team will wow you with some of their favourite great grapes. Find out why we call some noble, taste a few secret finds and explore a few of the finest grapes from around the world. Beddington: March 21, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

Whisky and Chocolate

What a fun way to whet your whistle! Join us in the tasting room as we show you just how magical pairing whisky and chocolate can be. This is an evening that whisky and chocolate aficionados won’t want to miss. Crowfoot: March 21, 7pm - 9pm • $45 per person

Red Wines of South America

We know you love them! Join us as we showcase the delicious red wines of South America. Beddington: March 28, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

Drinks that Pop

Celebrate all things bubbly. We will be spending the evening exploring sparkling wines from around the world and some of the heavenly cocktails they can create. Crowfoot: March 28, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

Beers of the World for Summer

Our sommelier team loves their beers and this class will showcase some of our favourite picks for the summer months from our Beers of the World selection. Oakridge: April 6, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

Wines of New Zealand

The wines of New Zealand have loyal fans all around the world. Spend the evening with us as we sample a selection of world class wines from this exciting wine country. If you think all they do is Sauvignon Blanc, be prepared to be impressed! Beddington: April 12, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

Guess the Expensive Wine

Get ready for a fun evening as we ask you to guess which wine is the most expensive wine in the room. Discover how wines of different value compare to each other, if you really can tell the difference and if most expensive always means the best. Beddington: April 13, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person

I PA Beers – The World’s Most Popular Craft Beer

Join us as we showcase craft IPA (Indian Pale Ale) beer styles that are exciting beer enthusiasts around the globe. IPA’s are currently the most popular craft beer style and we’re going to spend the evening showing you why. Crowfoot: April 27, 7pm - 9pm • $25 per person For more tasting events pick up a calendar at any Co-op Wine Spirits Beer or visit:

“Like Us” on Facebook. Get great recipes and stay up-to-date on our latest tasting events. MARCH APRIL 2013


Join us in Napa Valley for some exclusive wining and exceptional dining! Hosted by Geoff Last and Gail Norton Napa Valley is truly a playground for those who love great food and wine. To make the most of its countless charms, get squired around by two experts. Wine merchant and journalist Geoff Last has the expertise and enthusiasm to help you fully explore this California paradise, while The Cookbook Co.’s Gail Norton will conjure up culinary magic before your very eyes, using the valley’s remarkable fresh ingredients. This October, spend a week with Geoff and Gail, sampling the best of what Napa Valley has to offer. Stay at a spectacular private guesthouse overlooking a vineyard complete with swimming pool, hot tub and other enticing amenities. You’ll get the chance to visit wineries that never open their doors to the public, enjoy winery tours and tastings, dine in the area’s best restaurants, and learn enough at Gail and Geoff’s cooking classes to wow your friends when you get home. Next time you visit Napa, you’ll be the insider. Until October, though, you’ll be California dreamin’.

feeding people Bouillabaisse continued from page 24 Bouillabaisse is a gourmet experience that shouldn’t be missed. Aside from its delicious flavours, the best part about bouillabaisse is that it’s quick to prepare. Ghyslaine MartinCastellino, a chef based in the town of Salonde-Provence not far from Marseille, gave me a lesson one evening. Including our trip to the fish merchant, the meal took just two hours to prepare. The following is her recipe.

La Bouillabaisse This recipe may seem a bit complex, but if you follow the steps you’ll discover that it’s actually quite straightforward. There are, in reality, only three parts to the recipe – preparing the broth, cooking the fish and creating the rouille. Tell your fishmonger that you want to make bouillabaisse so he/she can help you with selecting the fish. You need a variety of fresh ocean fish to get the best results. Prep Time: 1 hour Cooking Time: 1 hour Servings: 10-12 large soup bowls

Prepare the fish:

Prepare la rouille:

2 baguettes

Cut the baguette into 1/2-inch slices and place on a baking sheet. Lightly grill both sides under the broiler. Put the toasts in a serving dish and reserve. Clean the crustaceans, but don’t remove their shells. Peel and cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch rounds, cover with cold water and reserve.

Put the egg yolk in a bowl, with the chile pepper flakes, 1/2 of the reserved cooked potato, and some salt. Crush the potato and mix it well with the egg until it’s relatively smooth.

1 lb. assorted raw crustaceans (small crabs, shrimp, clams), in their shells 8-10 potatoes (russet or similar variety) 4 T. olive oil 2 onions, chopped 6 garlic cloves, crushed 2 T. parsley, chopped 1 12-oz. can diced tomatoes 4 bay leaves 6-10 fennel stems, the upper part of a bulb salt and pepper to taste 2-3 t. chile pepper flakes 4 t. tomato paste 6-7 lb. assorted saltwater fish – aim for at least 2-3 whole fish (scaled and cleaned) and a few fillets (see note below about fish) 2 t. saffron

4-1/2 lb. rockfish, small and whole (see note below about fish) 1 potato (russet or similar variety) 4 T. olive oil

13 c. water salt and pepper, to taste MARCH APRIL 2013

One at a time, place each of the whole fish and filets on top of the potatoes according to thickness and the time required for each one to cook. The thinnest fish and filets, which will cook the fastest, should be near the top. Sprinkle the ingredients with saffron. Cover the pot and set it aside while you prepare the broth.

Rinse the small rockfish. Peel the potato and cut it in half. In a large stockpot, heat 4 T. of olive oil on medium heat and add the chopped onion. Allow the onion to soften slightly and add the crushed garlic, chopped parsley and the rockfish.

1 bay leaf


Strain and discard the water from the potatoes. Place the potato rounds in a layer on top of the crustaceans and spices.

Prepare the soup broth:

3 fennel stems, the upper part of a bulb

Generously add salt and pepper. Add 2-3 t. chile pepper flakes and 4 t. of tomato paste. Allow the ingredients to cook for a few minutes then remove the pot from the heat.

1 garlic clove, crushed 1 T. tomato paste

722-11th Avenue SW PH 403-265-6066, ext. 1

In a large stockpot, heat 4 T. of olive oil on medium heat and add the chopped onion. Allow the onion to soften slightly, then add the crushed garlic, chopped parsley, canned tomatoes, bay leaves, fennel stems and assorted crustaceans. Stir until the crustaceans turn pink.

1 onion, chopped 1 T. parsley, chopped


photo by Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Ingredients: Fish Course

Ingredients: Soup Broth

$2800 includes accomodation, all food and wine and transportaton within the week. For more details on our newest Culinary Escape, please visit our website.

This recipe is on our website

Ingredients: La Rouille 1 egg yolk 1 t. chile pepper flakes 1/2 of the potato cooked in the soup broth, reserved 2 c. olive or grape seed oil 2 T. soup broth salt and pepper, to taste

Stir until the fish begins to cook, then add 1 T. tomato paste, 1 c. water, fennel stems and bay leaf. Once the fish start to soften and fall apart, add 12 c. of water and the potato. Generously salt the broth and bring it to a boil. Cook the broth on medium for about 20 minutes. Retrieve the potato and reserve it for la rouille. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the broth into a large bowl. One batch at a time, spoon the fish bits and spices into the strainer, and crush them with a wooden spoon to squeeze out the liquid and capture their intense flavours for the broth. Discard the fish and spices in the strainer.

Whisk in the 2 c. of oil slowly, adding as you whisk vigorously in one direction, about 10 minutes, until you create a mayonnaise consistency. Add 2 T. of the soup broth to the mayonnaise, whisk until mixed, then put the rouille into a serving dish. Final preparation of the fish: Twenty minutes before you are ready to eat, pour the strained broth over the fish that were set aside earlier. On high heat, bring the broth to a full boil for 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat and cook the soup for about 5-7 minutes longer. Presentation: On a large serving platter, arrange the fish and crustaceans. Serve the broth in a soup terrine. Put the potato rounds in a separate dish. Your guests can enjoy the meal as they please, adding: • broth and croutons with rouille • broth and potatoes • broth and fish • or everything at once Note about fish: since traditional bouillabaisse fish are not readily available here, Blu’s and Boyd’s fishmongers suggest for the broth – pacific rock cod and fish parts, like heads and bones from rock cod, halibut and salmon. For the fish course, these are all good options – halibut, basa, rock cod, snapper, Arctic char, mussels, scallops, Alaska crab, clams and shrimp. Carolyne Kauser-Abbott writes a food and travel blog, Find her food and travel stories in Global Living, Avenue and on social media websites. Now you can view and purchase our vast selection of wines, spirits and craft beer online and have them delivered anywhere in Alberta! Visit our new website and see why the Globe and Mail called Bin 905 one of the “best places in Canada to find rare wine”.

BIN 905

Distinctive Wines and Spirits

2311-4th Street SW 403.261.1600 /


c il a nt ro FOOD& & DRINK FOOD DRINK

113 - 8th Avenue SW

15979 Bow Bottom Tr. SE


340 - 17th Avenue SW

338 - 17th Avenue SW MARCH APRIL 2013


1912Cross in SoBow puts Inglewood at your doorstep It’s loft-inspired condo living in Calgary’s most historic and unique urban neighbourhood. Inglewood is where everything comes together, with all the amenities you need.

well matched

Kale and Bread Soup with Melting Brie As spring slowly approaches in Alberta, it’s challenging to find produce until the bountiful harvest of the season arrives. Kale is a hearty winter green packed with nutrition and can be easily found throughout the year. You can also substitute other flavourful greens such as chard or cabbage. 2 bunches kale 4 c. chicken stock 1 T. olive oil 6 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 onions, finely chopped 4 anchovy filets salt and pepper 1 large loaf of ciabatta bread 1/2 lb. brie, sliced

B O W 9 Av

e SE

Cut the bread into 15 slices and toast it in a hot oven. In a wide, deep ovenproof dish, start layering the bottom of the dish with 5 slices of toast followed by a layer of half the kale mixture, followed with another layer of toast and the rest of the kale. Pour over the hot stock until just covered. Finish with the final layer of toast and slices of brie. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the soup is golden and bubbling up. Serve immediately. Serves 8.


Pair this dish with:

2 8


9 14

12 S





5 10 4 11

SoBow Sales Centre 1640 17a Street SE Open Monday to Friday, 11-7; Weekends, 10-5; or by appointment phone 587.353.8955

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves, garlic, onions and anchovy filets and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are soft and sticky, but not coloured, and the anchovies have broken down. Add the reserved kale to the pan, season well with salt and pepper and stir everything together well. Remove from the heat.



De-stem the kale and rinse it well. Roll up the kale leaves and slice them thin into chiffonade. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pan and blanch the shredded kale in the stock for 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove the kale and set aside until needed. Keep the chicken stock hot. MARCH APRIL 2013

2011 Le Cairn, Domaine Cottebrune, Pierre Gaillard (France) $24 Hand picked and hand sorted, this blend of roussane, vermentino and grenache blanc grapes offers soft acidity with notes of stone and apple. Medium bodied, versatile, pale gold. O Galarneau! Vin Rouge (France) $30 A cabernet franc the way it’s supposed to be. Earthy, slightly vegetal notes balanced with dark berries. Effortlessly elegant, this wine will elevate the humble bread soup to royal status.

Jenni Neidhart

1912Cross in SoBow puts Inglewood at your doorstep Made-in-heaven food and wine pairings


Candied Pancetta, Banyuls and Feta Salad This salad is a vibrant mix of hearty greens and refreshing grapefruit that is hard to resist with its Banyuls vinegar and grainy mustard vinaigrette topped with salty, sweet and crisp pancetta. Banyuls is a wine vinegar made from grapes grown in the French region of Banyuls-sur-Mer. Aged in oak barrels, this vinegar develops a complex nutty flavour. 1 head radicchio, thinly sliced 3 heads Belgian endive, thinly sliced 1 head green leaf lettuce, washed, dried and torn 1 basket of grape or cherry tomatoes 1 c. crumbled feta cheese 3 red grapefruits, segmented 1/4 c. Marcona almonds (find in specialty food stores) 16 thin slices pancetta

Place the radicchio, endive, lettuce, tomatoes, feta, grapefruit and Marcona almonds in a large salad bowl and gently toss to combine. Lay the pancetta on a baking sheet and drizzle with honey. Place under a hot broiler for 5 to 6 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool slightly, then crumble the pancetta over the salad. To make the dressing whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the salad, toss to combine and serve. Serves 8.

2 T. mild honey

Banyuls Vinaigrette 1/4 c. Banyuls vinegar (find in specialty food stores) 1/2 c. olive oil



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2010 Huet Haut-Lieu Sec, Vouvray (France) $35 Bitter greens always benefit from a touch of sweetness, and this rich, slightly off-dry chenin blanc has just the stuff. The caramellaced body matches the honey-glazed pancetta; the fresh acidity with subtle lemon zest steps up to the racy components of the vinegar, tomatoes and grapefruit. 2011 Domaine Sérol Les Originelles, Côte Roannaise (France) $21 This gamay works both chilled and at room temperature. The surprisingly substantial body of red fruit and berries complements the porky bacon-ness and rich acidity in the salad. Highly quaffable.



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Pair this dish with:

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/ 17 Ave SE MARCH APRIL 2013


y e k r Tu

eating Two weeks of Turkish delight

by Matthew Altizer photos by Pat Altizer and Carol Slezak

The first time I went to Turkey I was convinced that it was going to be my very first non-food-driven vacation. I’d heard that there were countless eggplant dishes, kebabs and, of course, Turkish delight. None of these rocked my foodaddled brain. I told myself that it would be okay – there would be other things to look forward to, like mosques and ruins to investigate. It doesn’t always have to be about the food, right? Little did I know that this trip would provide me with enough cooking inspiration to last me a lifetime. My first meal in Turkey was a lamb kebab from a cart near my hotel in Istanbul. A crowd surrounded the cart that gave off an incredible smoky grilled meat aroma. The food that the old vendor was making looked familiar in a backyard marinated-meat-on-a-stick kind of way, but the similarity ended there. This specific kebab was something quite different, something special – it was impeccably fresh, perfectly seasoned ground lamb, formed by hand onto the metal skewer, and grilled on a tiny charcoal grill. It was laid onto a flatbread and modestly topped with thinly sliced lettuce, onions and tomatoes, and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice, a generous sprinkling of Turkish chile flakes and sumac, a fruity, astringent dried herb. The lettuce was crisp, the tomatoes ripe, the flatbread was fresh and soft, trimmed so that it was perfectly proportioned for the fillings. Even though it was “fast food,” it quickly taught me the ethics of Turkish cooking. The Turks embrace simplicity; Turkish food is about using fresh ingredients and cooking them with respect. Two years later, my Turkish friends Damla Parkan and Luma Bellisan and I brought a group of seven avid cooks to Turkey to share our love for Turkish food. After a few days in Istanbul – where I was thrilled to find the very same kebab cart still run by the same old man on the same street corner in the Sultanahmet, the old imperial city – we headed towards the most southwestern point in Turkey to a small village called Turunç. This would be our beautiful seaside base for a week of food and cooking. In the village there is a small restaurant called Yunus Café headed by the quietly forceful matriarch, Ummühan. Her three daughters and three daughters-in-law run this restaurant tucked under several giant mulberry trees. The restaurant may be small but its reputation is huge – tourists and locals alike travel for miles to eat their delicious manti and gözleme. Manti is a Turkish version of ravioli. A square inch of thin pasta dough is stuffed with a spiced lamb mixture and the four corners are pulled up and pinched together. It is then boiled and served with a simple tomato sauce and garlicky yogurt. Although the manti in the area is typically made much bigger, Ummühan prefers the taste and texture of her smaller version.


Making manti is one of those perfect opportunities for the women in the village to gather around a big table and spend an entire day forming the little ravioli while visiting and catching up on family gossip. Ummühan was going to show our group how to make manti, so she gathered us around a table and plunked down a massive bowl of the meat filling along with several stacks of tiny pasta squares. She showed us how to hold the pasta in the palm of our hand, pinch off a tiny piece of the lamb mixture and then pull up the corners and pinch them together. After a seemingly interminable hour, there was a massive pile of manti that was swooped away, cooked, sauced and served. Fantastic. Another one of Ummühan’s specialties is gözleme, a paper-thin flatbread cooked over what looked like an upside-down wok and stuffed with various fillings like herbs and cheese, meat or banana, honey and even nutella! Gözleme is a dish that traditionally only women make. There is often just one woman in a professional kitchen and her sole purpose is to make this bread. It is a snack food, appetizer, or dessert, an “anytime” kind of food. Turkish girls start making gözleme at a very young age, and the making of it is taken very seriously. The first day of our gözleme-making lesson, we arrived at the restaurant where everything was ready for our day of instruction. It wasn’t until later that we learned that the process of gathering all the ingredients for the day was a whole other battle – the lamb came from Ummühan’s brother who lived down the street, the wild herbs were picked in the neighbouring field, the arugula came from a friend’s garden because she is known to grow the tastiest, the butter came from eastern Turkey, the yogurt was made from the family’s sheep the day before, the grapevine leaves were picked fresh that morning… and on and on. As with many of the simplest dishes, you learn that the time and energy involved to acquire the ingredients is anything but simple! The next day we piled onto a boat and headed into the Aegean Sea. After a couple hours of sailing, the boat approached a dock that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, but was a national park called Kadirga Bük. We got off the boat and, to our surprise and delight, there was a small bar stocked with ice-cold Turkish Efes beer and Fanta. Just the ticket! We spent some time snorkeling in the brilliant turquoise water, and then we hiked up the hill to visit a family goat farm. The family owns a successful touring company, but once a year they return to their ancestral goat-farm home. That way, they preserve their family’s traditions. They were so proud to be able to share a fresh cheese that they had made that morning – cheese that they’ve made for generations – along with a big round loaf of traditional village bread. We learned that you never cut the bread, you only tear off what you are going to eat. We were inspired to see this family make such an effort to share its culinary traditions. When we returned to the boat, the captain had prepared freshly grilled fish with charred peppers and tomatoes for us, and served it with a salad of fresh fava beans cooked with lemon. Damla had organized cooking demos before our meals at the local restaurants. Before our meal, the sous chefs had somehow expertly peeled piles of tomatoes with the dullest knives I have ever used. They char-roasted eggplants until they were blackened and exploding. They rolled out the bread dough and baked it in a super-hot wood-burning oven until little puffy golden “Zeppelins” appeared to float back to our table moments later. They carefully carved artichoke bottoms and cooked them in copious amounts of butter and lemon, then topped them with fresh dill fronds. We ate myriad yogurts – thin, thick, cow, sheep, goat – with so many delicious and interesting flavours! Ummühan also taught us how to make Turkish grape leaf rolls. Fresh grape leaves were blanched, stuffed with a beef and rice mixture, rolled up into tiny cigars and poached in lemon juice. We were lucky enough to have a few squash blossoms that we prepared in the same way. They were incredible.

We spent most of our time in rural Turkey and didn’t have much of a chance to try the Ottoman dishes that were introduced to Turkey in the 12th century and are more commonly eaten in the cities. But, for one of our dinners, our host Damla introduced us to an Ottoman dish called Hünkar Begendi, a béchamel sauce enriched with silky charred eggplant, topped with luscious pieces of lamb that had been stewed with tomatoes. Ottoman food is anything but simple. It’s rich and complex, with slow-cooked flavours and exotic ingredients. Turkey’s sheer size and geographical diversity have given its people an almost unlimited array of delicious ingredients. So, whether you’re having a fresh seafood lunch in a sleepy fishing village on the coast or an elaborate Ottoman feast at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, there is no shortage of good eating in Turkey.

Hünkar Begendi

(Eggplant and Béchamel Sauce with Braised Lamb) The title of this dish translates as “the Sultan liked it.” You will, too. This is a delicious dish, composed of three parts – eggplant, béchamel sauce and spicy stewed lamb with a generous drizzle of a simple tomato sauce on top. This also works equally well with chicken or pork. Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend that you can find at specialty food stores and The Silk Road Spice Merchant. Sumac is a dried fruit used as a garnish that provides an intense citrus flavour for extra zip. Eggplant Béchamel 3 medium eggplants 3 T. butter 3 T. flour 1 c. whole milk salt to taste juice of 1/2 lemon

Char the whole eggplants directly on a barbecue, as you would roasted red peppers, or bake them in a 400°F. oven until they’ve collapsed and their flesh is soft. Put them on a pan to cool and drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin and put the flesh in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. Finely chop the eggplant and set it aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two over low heat, until it’s slightly browned. In another pan, heat the milk until it’s just ready to boil. Add the hot milk to the flour mixture slowly, whisking constantly. Cook the béchamel sauce on low, whisking to prevent burning, until the flour is cooked through and the mixture is thick. Add the lemon juice and the eggplant to the béchamel and heat through. Reserve and keep warm.

Lamb Stew 2 lbs. lamb shoulder meat, cut into bitesized pieces of about 1/4-inch salt and pepper 3 T. olive oil 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped salt and pepper flour to dust the meat scant t. of cumin and ras el hanout 1 c. beef or veal stock sumac and parsley mix to decorate

Sprinkle the lamb pieces with salt and pepper. Leave them to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and then sauté the onions and garlic. Dust the stewing lamb with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Add the lamb to the onion and garlic mixture and allow it to brown slightly. Add the spices, stir to coat, then add the stock, bring the stew to a low boil and cook it until the meat is tender and the stock has reduced to a thick consistency, about an hour. Tomato Sauce 2 large tomatoes, seeds and peel removed, grated, or 2 c. passata tomatoes (available at Italian specialty stores)

Garnish: 1 T. parsley, minced 1 t. sumac

To construct the Hünkar Begendi: First, pour a large spoonful of eggplant sauce onto each plate. Then add a spoonful of the lamb stew in the middle and spread it out with the back of your spoon, leaving the eggplant to frame the meat. Gently pour a bit of the tomato sauce over the meat. Garnish with a mixture of sumac and minced parsley. Serves 6 to 8. continued on page 32 MARCH APRIL 2013


y e k r Tu

eating continued from page 31

These are a few of the most memorable dishes that we learned to make on the tour. Turkish Spoon Salad has become a must have at my dinner table – make a double batch and keep it in the fridge, covered in olive oil for up to a week. Making Manti with Ummühan was an incredible experience (as pictured). This recipe is a "speedy" version, but allows you to recreate the flavours without help from a whole village. Kebabs are a big deal in Turkey – my version is certainly not traditional but I think it captures all of the flavours of Turkey perfectly. The tart pomegranate molasses goes perfectly with the crushed pistachios and the heat of the Turkish chili flakes. Feel free to use ground beef or lamb instead of chicken. Enjoy!

Turkish Spoon Salad This is really more of a bruschetta than a salad, and it’s so saucy it’s best eaten with a spoon, hence the name. Serve this salad as part of a meze (appetizer) assortment with flatbread or with grilled meats. It’s important to make sure that all of the vegetables are very ripe and finely diced. 5 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped 4 large shallots, very finely chopped 2 red peppers and 1 green pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped 1 t. dried mint* 1/2 t. Marash chile flakes* juice of one lemon kosher salt to taste 1 t. pomegranate molasses 1 t. honey 2 T. best quality olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients except for 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix well and taste for seasoning. The salad should be intensely flavoured but well balanced. Spread the salad into a shallow serving dish and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. The salad can be made up to one day ahead of time. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer. *Dried mint: You may be wondering why dried mint is called for in this recipe, instead of fresh. It's all about the flavour profile. The Turks take their dried herbs just as seriously as their fresh herbs. And in this recipe, it is the dried version of mint that you want. *Marash chile flakes are from Turkey. They’re a touch milder than the grocery store variety. Find them at Silk Road Spice Merchant.


Manti (Turkish Ravioli) The recipe for manti differs from region to region; some villages make them as small as chickpeas, while others make them much larger. Using wonton wrappers is definitely not authentic, but the texture and size of the pasta is very similar to what is served in Manti houses in Istanbul. 1 c. best quality yogurt 2 T. milk 1 garlic clove, finely minced 1 T. olive oil 1/2 t. crushed fennel seeds

Chicken and Pistachio Meatballs with Pomegranate Without the pomegranate glaze, these meatballs could easily be skewered and grilled, or used as a stuffing for roasted vegetables. 1 small onion, finely grated 1-1/2 c. shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped in a food processor 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs 1 bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped

2 large strips of orange zest

1 small bunch tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped

1 small tin whole tomatoes

juice of one lime

salt and pepper to taste

1 t. Marash chile flakes*

1/2 c. butter, browned

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lb. ground lamb

1 T. cumin, toasted and ground

2 T. finely grated onion

2 lbs. ground chicken thigh meat

1/2 t. ground allspice

kosher salt to taste

1 t. dried mint

1 large egg

2 T. finely chopped Italian parsley

1/2 c. melted butter or ghee

2 T. water

3/4 c. pomegranate molasses

32 wonton wrappers

1/4 c. honey

1 egg yolk kosher salt, black pepper and Marash chile flakes* to taste

Whisk together the yogurt, milk and garlic. Set aside. In a small saucepan, add the olive oil, fennel seeds and orange zest and place over medium heat. Cook gently until the fennel and orange are fragrant. Add the tomatoes, crushing them into the pan with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and gently simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes until it thickens slightly. Set aside. To brown the butter, place it in a small sauté pan over low heat and simmer very gently until it browns slightly and starts to smell nutty, set aside. Combine the lamb with the onion, allspice, mint, parsley and water in a bowl and mix gently but thoroughly. To make the manti, brush two adjoining edges of a wonton wrapper with egg yolk, then place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the wrapper. Fold one corner over the filling, forming a triangle. Gently squeeze the edges together, pushing out any air from the ravioli – but make sure not to squeeze any of the filling out. Repeat with the remaining wrappers. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season generously with salt and cook the manti for 5 to 6 minutes, until the pasta is just tender and the filling is cooked. Drain the manti well and divide them among four bowls. Finish each bowl with a spoonful of tomato sauce, the yogurt garlic blend and the browned butter. Sprinkle with chile flakes, salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4 as a starter.

2 T. harissa 1/2 c. fresh pomegranate seeds 1/4 c. chopped pistachios to garnish

Preheat oven to 500°F. In a large bowl, combine the onion, pistachios, breadcrumbs, parsley, tarragon, lime juice, chile flakes, pepper, cumin, chicken meat and salt. Mix well and add the egg, kneading the mixture until it is completely combined but not over mixed. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with some of the butter. Form the meat into 30 to 45 meatballs, using about 2 teaspoons of mixture for each meatball. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and toss them around lightly to cover them in butter. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside and barely cooked. Meanwhile, make the pomegranate glaze by whisking the pomegranate molasses, honey and harissa together. Season with salt and taste the glaze for seasoning – it should be a perfect balance of spicy, sour, salty and sweet. Take the meatballs out of the oven and drizzle them with the pomegranate glaze, shaking the pan lightly to coat the meatballs. Put the meatballs back in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the glaze starts to stick to the meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios. Makes 30-45 meatballs. For more information on Luma and Damla's Turkish Cooking Tours, please visit:

Matthew Altizer is the catering chef at The Cookbook Co. Cooks Catering. MARCH APRIL 2013



ll Hail EggplanT

Luscious Eggplant

by Gail Norton

On a trip to Turkey I fell in love – again – with eggplant. How can you not be drawn to an eggplant? You can’t help but marvel at the gorgeous deep purple lustre of its skin, so cool to the touch. The heft and shape of it are sensual, and once cooked, the texture of its flesh is smoothly seductive and luscious. Yet there are few foods that set diners so squarely in opposing camps – for such a beautiful fruit, eggplant is either loved or hated. I think some people’s disdain stems from the fact that they have been served undercooked eggplant – there’s no such thing as “al dente” eggplant. Whether it’s fried, steamed, grilled or braised, eggplant must be cooked thoroughly to get rid of its bitter, tannic tendencies. When cooked thoroughly, it’s nothing less than luscious and sexy. The first thing to do to eggplant is to salt the cut side and let it drain in a colander for at least 30 minutes – this removes some of its bitter liquid. Some cooks say that when you salt pieces of eggplant, you start a drawing-out process that continues even after you put it in hot oil, preventing it from absorbing too much fat. When buying eggplant, look for ones that feel heavy and dense to the touch. The skin should be firm and perfect, with no blemishes.

Roasted Eggplant Rolls Stuffed with Chèvre on a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce When I run into people I’ve catered for in the past, their eyes usually roll in ecstasy as they reminisce about this dish. It’s luscious and full of flavours that seem to haunt everybody’s food dreams. Chèvre is crumbly, so it needs the whipping cream and olive oil to moisten it and create a creamy filling. Both the sauce and the rolls can be made in advance and reheated prior to assembly. 2 medium eggplants salt olive oil

Cheese Filling: 8 oz. chèvre 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 green onion, minced 6 leaves basil, julienned zest of one orange, minced salt and pepper, to taste 1-2 T. whipping cream 1-2 t. olive oil

Sauce: 1 T. olive oil 1 T. butter 4 red peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into small pieces 1 medium onion, chopped

Marinated Eggplant

Grilled and Marinated Eggplant

To turn this recipe into a pasta dish, simply toss the eggplant with 1 lb. of freshly cooked pasta.

1/4 c. chopped cilantro

I love this recipe. It’s simple but elegant and stores well for a couple of days in the fridge. You can grill the eggplant on a barbecue, which enhances the flavour, but just cooking it in a dry, non-stick frying pan allows for a more delicate version. This technique takes virtually no oil, almost steaming the eggplant rather than frying it. I learned how to make it from Ulisse, the owner of an organic farm called Il Casale in Pienza, Italy. I’ve made it at home, so I know it’s delicious – it wasn’t just the fantastic Tuscan setting that made it so memorable.

1/4 c. red wine vinegar

1 medium eggplant

1 t. cumin seeds, ground

kosher salt

dash hot chile sauce

1/3 c. olive oil

2 medium eggplants salt olive oil 2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes 3/4 c. finely chopped green onion 1/4 c. chopped parsley

dash salt

Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/4-inch thick. Place them in a colander set over a large bowl and generously sprinkle the rounds with salt. Allow the eggplant to drain for at least 30 minutes and as long as 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the eggplant in the oil, flipping each round so that both sides are oiled. Bake the rounds until one side is slightly crispy and brown, about 5 minutes, then flip them and brown the other side. Remove the eggplant from the oven and slice each round into thick strips. Combine the remaining ingredients while the eggplant is cooking. Add the eggplant strips to the mixture and toss to mix well. Cover the eggplant mixture and let the flavours mingle for several hours. Serve the marinated eggplant at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6 as a side.


1 garlic clove, minced juice of 2 lemons

Cut the eggplant, including the skin, lengthwise into slices no thicker than 1/3-inch. Place the slices in a colander and generously salt them. Use lots of salt – you’ll rinse it off afterward and it’s needed to draw the liquid out. Let the eggplant sit for at least one hour but not more. Stir the olive oil and garlic together and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. This mellows the garlic. Add the lemon juice. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Rinse the salt off the eggplant slices and dry their surfaces. Cook the eggplant, one slice at a time, in the hot, dry frying pan, until it’s slightly brown. Flip and brown the other side, about five minutes per side. Once each slice is brown, remove it from the pan and lay it on a serving platter. Brush the eggplant liberally on both sides with the olive oil/garlic/lemon mixture. Serve the eggplant cold or at room temperature. Serves 2 to 4.

2 garlic cloves, minced 1 c. rich chicken broth 4 tomatoes, chopped olive oil and butter whole basil leaves for garnish

Slice the eggplants lengthwise into slices about 1/4-inch thick, put them in a colander placed over a large bowl, and generously sprinkle them with salt. Allow the eggplant to drain for at least 30 minutes and for as long as 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the eggplant in the oil, flipping the slices so that both sides are oiled. Bake them until one side is slightly crispy, about 5 minutes, flip each piece, and brown the other side. Mix together the filling ingredients. Add just enough whipping cream and olive oil to bind the mixture. Place 2 generous T. of the mixture at the end of each eggplant slice and roll the slices up. The moisture from the eggplant and the olive oil should make them hold together, but if not, use a toothpick. Place the rolls on a cookie sheet, laying them horizontally. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil and the butter in a frying pan and sauté the roasted peppers, onions and garlic until they’re soft. Add the stock and reduce it to a syrupy consistency. At this point, put the rolls back in a hot oven for about 3 minutes to heat them briefly. Make sure not to heat them so much that the cheese filling begins to melt and run out. Add the tomatoes to the pan of roasted red pepper sauce and heat the mixture through. For each serving, put some of the sauce on a plate, top with 2 rolls and garnish the rolls with a whole basil leaf. Serves 4 to 6. continued on page 36

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ll Hail EggplanT Luscious Eggplant


continued from page 34

Miso-braised Mushrooms and Eggplant on a Polenta Bed


With the addition of miso, the mushrooms and eggplant take on a deep, nutty flavour. You can also serve the braised mushrooms and eggplant as an antipasto, spooned onto crostini. 1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces 2 T. lemon juice 2 t. salt 2 T. olive oil 2 + 2 T. butter 1 medium onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 lb. domestic mushrooms, chopped 1 lb. various exotic mushrooms, chopped 2 t. grated fresh ginger 3 T. mirin 1 t. soy sauce 1 T. dark miso paste 1 T. white miso paste 4 c. stock or water 1 T. kosher salt 1 1/2 c. coarse polenta

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2 T. butter 1/2 c. grated parmesan, optional salt and pepper to taste

Calling all restaurant cooks! Ever wondered what a fresh baguette tastes like from a Paris bakery? Or how tuna is prepared by the sushi chefs in Tokyo? Or why Morocco is the spice capital of the world?

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We look forward to hearing from you.


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the eggplant, lemon juice and salt to the water and boil the mixture, making sure there is enough water to cover the eggplant at all times, until the eggplant is just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain it and set it aside. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and 2 T. of butter over high heat and sauté the onions and garlic, stirring often, until the liquids from the onions are released, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, put a lid on the pot and continue to cook the mixture for another 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and ginger. Cook the mixture until the liquids from the mushrooms have been released, then cook until the liquids are reduced and the mushrooms are very soft. Add the mirin, soy sauce, and miso pastes, turn the heat down and gently simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant and continue simmering the mixture while you prepare the polenta. Make sure it doesn’t become too dry – add water or stock to ensure that the mixture remains moist. Bring the stock or water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the kosher salt. Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the polenta, stirring it constantly. Continue to simmer it, stirring periodically, until it’s thick enough that the spoon can stand in the polenta, or until the grains have softened. Add 2 T. (30 mL) butter and cheese (if desired) and mix the polenta well. Season it with salt and pepper. To serve, scoop a generous spoonful of the polenta on each plate topped with a portion of the miso-eggplant mixture. Serves 4 to 6.

Pasta alla Norma This recipe comes from The Cookbook Co. Cooks’ longtime guest cook Allan Shewchuk, who says, “In the winter, my favourite recipes are deep, rich, slow-cooked sauces with big, wide noodles such as pappardelle or rigatoni. This Sicilian recipe is fabulous because it’s vegetarian, and the combination of the tomatoes, eggplant and fresh mint makes it so delicious, you won’t care that there’s no meat. Named for an opera character, this recipe is a staple of every home in Sicily. Enjoy it with a hearty Sicilian Nero D’Avola.” 4 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 medium onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, sliced 1 t. dried chile flakes 2 medium eggplants, cut into medium dice 1 28 oz. can tomatoes 2 sprigs fresh basil 1 sprig fresh thyme salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 250 g. ricotta salata coarsely grated – reserve some for garnish 1/4 bunch fresh mint, leaves chopped – reserve some for garnish 1/4 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves chopped – reserve some for garnish fresh basil leaves (for garnish) 500 g. rigatoni or other large-tubed pasta

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil until it’s hot. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic and cook the mixture until it’s soft but not browned. Add the chile flakes. Add the eggplant – and watch as it absorbs all the oil. Let it get soft and lightly browned while you stir it regularly for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the basil and thyme sprigs and bring the sauce to a boil. Simmer it for 15 minutes, uncovered, and season it with salt and pepper. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil for the pasta. Add 2 T. salt. Cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain it thoroughly and pour the hot pasta into the pan with the sauce. Add the ricotta salata and heat it through. Just before serving the pasta, add the mint and the parsley, leaving just a bit for garnishing the top of the pasta when you serve it. You can add more basil too, or more hot chile flakes to taste. Stir the pasta well and scoop it into warm pasta bowls. Sprinkle it with a little more ricotta salata and fresh mint and parsley, top it with basil leaves and serve it hot. Drizzle a little more olive oil over it for good measure. Serves 8 as a primo course, or 4 as a main course. ✤

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The best thing I ate in 2012 Once again, we turn to some of our favourite foodies to pronounce on what perked their palates last year. Jennifer Cockrall-King,

Janet Webb, J. Webb Wine Merchant

First, at the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop in June, we ate several outstanding meals. But there was a moment when the heavens parted and angels sang. That moment was really just an “aside” by chef Stuart Klassen, executive chef at the Delta Grand Okanagan in Kelowna. We had finished dinner in one part of his hotel, and he was shepherding us to another part of the hotel for the dessert demo and tasting. To make sure no one went hungry walking from Point A to Point B, he handed out little paper bags of popcorn, which he had popped in the rendered fat of the guinea hens that were part of the main course. Everyone went wild over this “hen-fat popcorn” with salt and pepper. It was like an exquisitely roast-chicken-flavoured popcorn.

The best thing I ate in 2012 was the chicken liver salad with port reduction dressing at Cassis Bistro. I LOVE chicken liver salad and have eaten it every chance I get in any country I’m in. This one has chicken livers cooked to perfect succulence on a bed of crisp greens and topped with the chef’s sweet, tangy port dressing and crispy croutons. Owner Gilles Brassart took a picture of my plate the last time I was there, he was so happy to see it with nary a speck of food on it! Once when I was at Cassis I ordered two of these salads and happily ate nothing else, with a lovely glass of Cru Beaujolais from Fleurie... yummmmmm!

Second, though I don’t have a sweet tooth, anything at Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton is sublime. For my birthday, a friend bought me the namesake cake, The Duchess. It’s a bombe with a chartreuse-marizpan shell, a vanilla chiffon cake, vanilla whipped cream and raspberry purée inside. Much pickier eaters than I – most recently, Noah Richler, journalist and author, son of Mordecai Richler – have called this one of Canada’s best patisseries, and my mouth is too full to disagree.

Karen Anderson, Calgary Food Tours First, I got to sit on the garden terrace at Avignonessi Winery near Cortona in Tuscany, drink the wines on a warm September afternoon, and bite into fresh gnudi, a ricotta dumpling. It was like being served a fluffy pesto cloud sent straight from heaven. It was glorious. I know there was delicious food before that pasta course and food after that, but it’s that gnudi I can’t forget. Second, when I was in Kerala, India, with a tour group, we cruised Cochin harbour to watch the ancient Chinese fishing nets pull in their catch at sunset. Then we toured the fish market stalls and saw that the fish caught was so fresh the gills were still heaving. We walked straight to a nearby restaurant where the fish only travelled that same distance. I ordered the catch of the day and when it arrived I inhaled deeply as I opened a steaming hot banana leaf to reveal delicate white fish in coconut curry. I took my first bite and smiled when I tasted the freshness from land and sea enhanced so perfectly with the spices Kerala is renowned for. There was not a morsel left when I was finished.

Julie Van Rosendaal, Since I have to choose, I can narrow it down to two particularly memorable items in 2012. One was a cinnamon bun from Aviv’s Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, picked up on a Saturday morning, warm right out of the oven. As usual, we picked up our goodies and then went next door to Castle Toys. As my husband and son shopped, I lingered in the car and ate the whole thing. I didn’t mean to – it just happened. I had to go buy another one so that they could have some too! The second was the salted caramel ice cream straight from the machine at Village Ice Cream. Could. Not. Stop. Owner Billy Friley invited me and my son to check out the ice cream-making process, and he let my son help pour the caramel into the ice cream machine. When it was finished, this perfectly tempered soft ice cream came pouring out, and it could not have been more delicious. I might have eaten the whole thing had I been left alone in that room!

Michael Noble, NOtaBLE restaurant Two “best of” for me. First, the breakfast dumplings and/or the croque monsieur at OEB Breakfast Co. Mauro does such a fantastic job in his restaurant and his success proves it. He is almost always there and it shows in the “chef’s touch” that he puts on the food and in the execution and clean plating of everything. He has brought those little ingredients into his dishes, which create great depth of flavour, and the base preparations, like the hollandaise, are always perfectly executed. My chef Justin Labossiere and I often go for a breakfast meeting and we have never been disappointed. And – to blow our own horn a bit – NOtaBLE has this crazy rotisserie roast chicken that – after eating lots of it for 2-1/2 years – I just can’t get enough of. I like to pair it with our risotto, which is ever-changing, and the smokiness and succulence of the chicken slathered with the risotto is HEAVEN!


Pierre Lamielle, The best thing for me was a ham and cheese sandwich from Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. This was no ordinary ham and cheese. Chef Colin uses sandwichcraft to make this magically delicious medley of slightly sweet pulled pork hock, sharp white cheddar and black magic nigella seeds smooshed inside bread made by local baking wizard Aviv Fried. It was spellbinding, and I return weekly for the newest sandwich concoction.

Sal Howell, River Café Chef Blaine Wetzel Of Willow's Inn on Lummi Island, Washington, creates brilliant compositions from treasures at his doorstep. I was wowed by the freshest sockeye salmon barely smoking inside its individual wooden serving box. Lifting the lid released a fragrant alder smoke from the still-smoldering chips inside. Along with a perfectly chilled glass of champagne. Also, the delicate melt-in-your-mouth perrico (parrot fish) sashimi and spicy watermelon at the Four Season's Resort in Punta de Mita, Mexico.

Jason Zaran, The Main Dish OK here are my two favourite things of 2012: Healthy – edamame dumplings served with daikon radish and white truffle oil from True Food Kitchen in Phoenix. Guilty Pleasure – parmesan tempura, that is aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in a tempura batter topped with a balsamic reduction and served on a bed of arugula, from Pulcinella here in Calgary. Mmmmmmm good!!

Leslie Echino, Blink I have three “best of 2012.” First, Pascal Marchand wines, when I was in Burgundy in the early summer with my mom and sister. We sat in his cellar for four hours tasting out of every barrel. He is an uber-successful French Canadian in Burgundy and I love to support Canadian entrepreneurs. Second, in San Francisco I went to Locanda, sister restaurant to Delfina, and ordered the fried castelverde olives – they are stuffed with mozzarella, then breaded and fried. I ate three orders of these, then went back for more a month later. Incredible! Third, In Calgary, one of my favourite restaurants is Cassis Bistro. I have huge respect for chef Dominique Moussu. He and owner Gilles Brassart have done a fantastic job with the restaurant and menu. Chef Andrew Richardson and I went for dinner the week before Christmas and we ordered the foie gras torchon with fig. It was so fantastic we ordered another one for our second course! I love the simplicity and elegance of Moussu’s food and his flavours are always bang on.

Kelly Black, Una Pizza & Wine, Ox & Angela I’d love to say the best thing I ate in 2012 was the ground-breaking cuisine of Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago, or the mind-blowingly great Spanish tapas at Jaleo in Las Vegas. But truly, the best meal of 2012 was an “orphan’s” thanksgiving dinner celebrated at my apartment. By “orphan” I mean a bunch of staff and friends, including me, that don’t have family in Calgary. We all got together and ate and drank our way through about 20 bottles of wine and about a dozen dishes of turkey, Brussels sprouts, crab, potatoes, biscuits, salads and more... well into the early morning hours. There is truly nothing better than a great meal with friends, and there was nothing, for me, that topped that in 2012.✤


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x i n e Pho

The Taco Shops of

A personal mission to uncover what is local, home made and lovingly prepared. story and photos by Laura Di Lembo

Wherever I find myself on this planet, I ask the same question: “What can I eat here that’s really special?” Finding fresh, natural, home-made food is essential, especially when I’m on the road. In Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, where I have a second home, I find the answer to my question in the taquerias (taco shops) of Phoenix. Their sunshineinfused meals sing of Mexican warmth and vibrancy. Not any old taco shop will do. I’m looking for food made with love, where someone in the kitchen is passionate about cooking and where this devotion shines through. Attention must be paid to quality, freshness and flavour. Décor and ambience don’t count for much. It’s all about the food and the love it exudes. I expected to enjoy the groove at  La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop after an Italian chef in Phoenix said that’s where he and his Mexican staff go to eat after work. La Condesa’s claim to fame is a self-serve bar of 12 feisty, hand-crafted salsas to be enjoyed freely as a boost to your meal. They range from boldly simple to intoxicatingly complex. There’s truly nothing more exquisite than pico de gallo, the trusted trinity of tomatoes, onion and jalapeños. But my husband and I also swoon over its antithesis, a sevenchile condiment with jammy nuances from an assortment of fire-roasted chiles that are melded together into a fruity, smoky mass. Tomatillo salsa is vividly green and tangy, its acidity a welcome foil for the rich roasted pork in our tacos. We fortuitously find a crisp and crunchy palate-cleansing jicama salsa and then a Cabo salsa with the fire and texture of ground chiles, a speckled brick red purée that punches us in the face, in a good way. We sample pastel green cilantro salsa infused with garlic and lime juice, tempered by crema (Mexican sour cream). In counterpoint, there’s salsa Mexicana, chunky with charred tomatoes, and salsa chipotle, a smoky, thick, roughly hewn mix of tomatoes and smoked jalapeños. Every drizzle of salsa sits in contrast with the one before and after it, enabling much conversation about each and every taste sensation. La Condesa’s menu promises and delivers freshness and excitement, and any meal there is a celebration of tradition, quality and inspiration. The word “love” even appears on the menu, which says: “We love this food and believe that you will too.” Indeed, my happy husband and I do. The restaurant’s selection of burritos, tacos and quesadillas features an assortment of Mexican specialties: Oaxacan cheese, poblano peppers, legendary chicken mole (a chocolate-and-chile based sauce), lime-marinated onions, mesquite-grilled steaks, fresh avocado. These dishes are packed with plenty of personality on their own, but the salsas add both flavour enhancement and entertainment. On another warm evening, we set out for America’s Taco Shop on a busy, noisy downtown street corner in metro Phoenix. Family-owned and run, it’s housed in a mustard yellow bungalow where succulent aromas and cheerful customers spill out onto the roadside patio. The food is made from scratch in-house and it seduces us with perky freshness. There’s a small menu from which you pick the building block of your meal – carne asada (citrus-scented slow-roasted beef), tender, juicy and gently spiced, or pork al pastor, marinated and spit-roasted in a melange of pineapple juice and chiles, cumin and cloves – and the delivery system, whether it’s taco, burrito or quesadilla. We’re given a number for our order at the counter and go have a margarita at the picnic tables outside while we wait. Traffic flows and horns honk but we’re in our own merry little oasis, watching two three-year-olds discover, in a cascade of giggles, that they’re both wearing arm casts. On my plate is Carne Asada Vampiro – a grilled corn tortilla strewn with soft, aromatic chunks of lean beef and fire-roasted tomato salsa. More love sits atop in the form of caramelized onions, smooth and verdant guacamole, Monterey Jack cheese and chopped lettuce. Our next food-finding mission takes us off the beaten path, to a commercial Hispanic part of Phoenix that’s located amidst train tracks, girly bars and pawn shops. Los Reyes de la Torta’s brightly painted exterior flashes like a beacon. Inside, the hospitality and warmth are immediately apparent. Walls are plastered in thick strokes of ochre and bronze glaze. A basket of crisp, warm tortilla chips arrives at our table accompanied by a zippy salsa of bright tomatillos kicked up with a double dose of liveliness – flecks of jalapeño and the bite of Spanish onion.


continued on page 42

a l b e e g l s n . a r o e h t r o f k o o L rown

Alberta G

Alberta O




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BRUNCH | LUNCH | DINNER | LATE NIGHT SELECTION OF 120 PREMIUM TEQUILAS AND GROWING open daily at 11am...until late... 587.353.2656 | #2,2116 – 4th Street SW Calgary, AB |





Fresh Produce


In-store Bakery

x i n e Pho

The Taco Shops of

continued from page 40

Specialty Foods Olive Oils Balsamics Catering

Olives Deli Meats &Cheeses Gift Baskets

Los Reyes de la Torta is packed with Latino families enjoying the staples of Mexican home cooking at unbeatable prices. Most people come for the tortas, monstrous Mexican grilled sandwiches. Buttery, fluffy rolls are laden with grilled steak, onions, salsa, shredded cabbage, jalapeño, avocado, tomatoes and cheese. But we’re still on a tacos kick so we have the corn tortillas with moist slices of steak, topped with charred jalapeño and smoky grilled onion. They sit without fuss on a plate beside a wedge of lime, the perfection of simplicity. When we told the owner we were first timers to his restaurant, he generously sent over a complementary plate of Hawaiian tacos for us to enjoy – too much food to finish, but a pleasure to sample. These tacos were a feast of meat: chopped beef, crisp bacon and sweet ham, garnished with bell peppers, onions and melted cheese, and drizzled with a punchy tomato salsa. On offer also at Los Reyes de la Torta, and a brilliant antidote to the food’s cacophony of flavours, are fresh fruit drinks called aguas frescas. There’s a tantalizing array of options – watermelon, mango, banana, melon, pineapple, papaya, apple, cucumber, lemon and orange – any one of these, and any

combination, gets buzzed in a blender into a cool and frothy beverage. My quest for a sublime food experience in the Phoenix area is an obsessive goal that I pursue wherever I go. The food I really want to eat is made by people who really care, people who follow this golden rule: Make Good Food. My lust is for the simple, the cheap, the intimate places where there’s a grandma cooking her heart out in the kitchen. Armed with a good map and a sense of adventure, I found the love I was looking for in the taco shops of Phoenix. La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop 1919 North 16th Street America’s Taco Shop 2041 N. 7th Street Los Reyes de la Torta 4333 West Indian School Road These recipes are adapted from recipes on the website of the Mexican food maestro, chef Rick Bayless (rickbayless. com). They’re virtually identical to the ones we ate in the taco shops of Phoenix.

Jicama Cranberry Salsa Best when served within one hour of making it. 3/4 c. finely diced red onion 1-1/2 c. finely diced peeled jicama 1/2 c. coarsely chopped dried cranberries 3 T. fresh lime juice 1 T. agave nectar salt and pepper 6 T. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

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Combine the onion, jicama, dried cranberries, lime juice and agave nectar in a medium bowl. Season the salsa with salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste. Stir in the cilantro. Makes about 3 cups.

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12 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped 2 T. fresh lime juice 1/2 t. salt or to taste

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Roast the tomatillos, chiles and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until they’re black in spots and softened, about 5 minutes. The tomatillos will turn from lime green to olive green. Flip everything over and roast them on the other side until they’re lightly charred. Cool the vegetables, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the juices. Add the cilantro and lime juice and blend the salsa until you have a coarse purée. Thin it with a spoonful of water if you like it looser. Transfer the salsa into a serving bowl. Rinse the chopped onion under cold water and drain it well. Pat it with paper towels to dry it. Stir the onions into the salsa and season with salt. Makes about 2 cups. ✤

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4 large garlic cloves, peeled

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2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Laura Di Lembo lives by the mantra "Make Good Food," and wishes everybody else would too. MARCH APRIL 2013


Starting from


I began to map out a loose course outline for the 10-week cooking program I had in mind to offer post secondary students for free. We’d cover everything from pasta sauces and soups to basic baking and how to cook different cuts of meat. The classes were designed to be hands-on, interactive and fun. Surely, I thought, a grocery store would like to be my partner and it might have a cooking space I could use. After explaining my idea to Calgary Co-op, the store signed on to sponsor the initiative, providing the majority of the ingredients for the classes and the cooking classroom at their downtown Midtown Market location. “Calgary Co-op was very pleased to sponsor the Start From Scratch initiative. The program is a really good fit for us,” says Cindy Drummond, communications manager. “We like that the program is committed to teaching students how to prepare healthy meals, especially those who are living on their own for the first time and are unsure of where to start.”

Getting students to think outside the box, one recipe at a time by Dan Clapson

Even if you grew up in a household where your parents made quality, home-cooked meals every night, you may not have learned how to cook. Then, you moved away from home, walked into your own kitchen for the first time, and realized you didn’t know how to prepare yourself a meal. For many young people, not knowing how to cook can result in a lifetime of poor eating habits.

Good ideas always seem to spring from other good ideas (typically, someone else’s, not your own), so I credit chef and culinary activist, Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution, for the “light bulb moment” that grew into the Start From Scratch program. The idea is that we need to be aware of what we’re eating. We also need to embrace our kitchens, so we’ll use them rather than sidestepping them in favour of fast food and one-package meals. Aside from minor legal woes over the program’s original name, Kick The KD (Kraft Foods said it was a no-no, KD being copyrighted and all), the first set of classes went off without a hitch. Calgary Co-op went above and beyond as a classroom host and sponsor., Steam Whistle Pilsner and Knifewear also signed on to contribute to the cause. Culinary professionals around the city – Julie Van Rosendaal (author of the Dinner With Julie blog), Connie DeSousa and John Jackson (chefs and co-owners of CHARCUT), Geoff Rogers (exec chef at MARKET restaurant), and Pierre Lamielle (author of the cheeky cookbook, Kitchen Scraps) – all lent a hand. Support from many people in this city helped elevate the program to something special. As is the case in any classroom, some students really embraced the weekly cooking classes, while not attending as frequently as I’d hoped. Now I know how my high school English teacher felt when I skipped class! In any learning environment, there’s a mixed bag of personalities, but the majority of the participants seem to love the experience. Alyssa Athanasopoulos was one of the first students to take Start From Scratch classes. “The way I cook at home has completely changed”, she says. “Before, I was eating toast and jam all the time. Now, I’m not afraid to take chances in the kitchen. There’s hardly anything I don’t feel comfortable making from scratch now.”

It was November, 2010. I was managing the busy Higher Ground café in Kensington, volunteering for a local film festival and writing a fledging food blog that I wondered if anyone, besides my mother, read. One day, while grocery shopping, I walked by a couple of early twenty-somethings pushing a shopping cart full of stuff that would make an avid home cook cringe: boxes of macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas, bags of frozen perogies, Hamburger Helper and more. This gave me flashbacks, not to mention shivers, because seeing them reminded me of the way I used to eat. Somewhere in between moving out from under my parents’ roof and turning into an “adult,” I had actually learned how to cook. I was lucky. I don’t know exactly how I learned to cook. Mostly I was self taught. I attribute a lot of my initial culinary experimentation to watching the Food Network religiously. I’ve always had a “how hard can it be?” philosophy about life, so my kitchen education was many years of trial and error. I started with basics, learned what ingredients worked together, which ones did not, and grew from there. But I believe that everything is okay in moderation, and I will succumb to a bowl of sodium-ridden Kraft Dinner every now and again. But eating like that every, single day – those days are long gone. I thought, “What if I could somehow help these people eat better?” Not those two people in particular, but a younger generation that lacked a major life skill – cooking from scratch. Over the following week, an idea slowly formed: I would teach 15 university students how to cook. It’s funny what can happen when you have a spark and a little extra time on your hands.


One of the most rewarding parts of the program is hearing from past participants. I’ve received all sorts of pictures of home-cooked meals based on recipes they learned to cook in Start From Scratch. Seeing that people actually use what they learned in their home kitchens, even months after taking the program, makes me realize that the program accomplishes what it set out to do. Since its inception in the late fall of 2010, Start from Scratch has seen both change and growth. After a successful initial run, Jacinthe Koddo, a private culinary instructor and now the program’s co-director, joined me, and we were able to expand to a second set of classes starting in September, 2011. This allowed us to accept 30 students (15 from the University of Calgary and 15 from Mount Royal University) each semester. In September, 2012, a new Calgary-based instructor, dietician Vincci Tsui, joined our team, and a new chapter was opened in my hometown of Saskatoon. The course there is being taught by local chef and caterer, Tom Brown, and hosted by the University of Saskatchewan. The prairie city welcomed the initiative with open arms, so I have no doubt it will be a success. Last summer, Koddo moved to Vancouver. We are now in the planning stages of beginning a branch there in the new year. “Honestly, I was sad to move away from Calgary and leave my instructor position at Start From Scratch,” says Koddo. “But now I’m able to start growing roots here and help bring the program to a new city. There are young people all over Canada who can benefit from these classes and I want to get to them!”

A typical Start From Scratch recipe:

Linguine with Lemon Basil Tomato Sauce 1 T. butter or olive oil 1 yellow onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped 1/2 c. water 1 T. tomato paste 1 T. red wine vinegar 2 t. lemon juice 2 t. white sugar salt and pepper 1 T. lemon zest 1/2 c. fresh basil, leaves only, chopped 5 cups cooked linguine* 1 can artichoke hearts (drained, quartered) 1 c. cooked chickpeas (canned, drained) 2 c. fresh spinach leaves, torn fresh basil leaf garnish

Total cooking time: 40 minutes. Melt the butter or heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and water, and let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and a chunky sauce forms, about 15 minutes. Stir in the next 4 ingredients and let the sauce continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Put the contents of the pan into a blender and purée until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan. Taste it and season it with salt and pepper, then stir in the lemon zest and basil. Place the last 4 ingredients in a large serving bowl, pour the tomato sauce on top and mix everything together with tongs until the linguine is evenly coated. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf and serve immediately. Serves 4. (* When cooking the linguine, add a good splash of oil to the water before putting the pasta in. The oil will keep the pasta from sticking together when it’s drained. Don’t rinse the pasta.) continued on page 46



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Monday, March 18th River Café Prince’s Island Park Cocktails at 6, Dinner at 6:30

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Slow Food’s annual celebration of spring’s return is once again hosted by River Café’s Executive Chef Andrew Winfield. He will welcome three guest chefs into his kitchen: JP Comte, Banff Springs Hotel; Chris Dewling, Blink Restaurant; and Darren MacLean, downtownfood; to create an impressive seasonal menu, accompanied by stellar Canadian wines from the River Café cellar. Welcome cocktails from Victoria Spirits. 1235 - 26 Avenue SE • 403-291-5208

Join us

Meet Food Network’s James Cunningham, author of Eat Street: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest and Most Irresistible Food Trucks.

6 courses with wine pairings Members $115 Non-Members $145

Tickets available on Learn more about the Slow Food Movement at

Published by Penguin Books

For more information on Start From Scratch visit

Slow Food Calgary presents...

The expansion of this volunteer-fueled, culinary labour of love is both exciting and scary. Am I 100 percent positive that I can handle Start From Scratch running four different programs in three western Canadian cities? No. What I do know is that, if the Vancouver food community is as excited to participate in the program as has been the case in Calgary and Saskatoon, it will continue to flourish all across Canada, I hope!

This special event includes a demo cooking class, food, wine and a copy of James’ book! Chefs and their food from Calgary’s food trucks will be there too– Perogy Boyz, Alley Burger, and Fries & Dolls.

JAMES CUNNINGHAM Friday, April 12th at 6:30 pm, $115

The Cookbook Co. Cooks 722 - 11th Ave. SW 403-265-6066, ext 1 CAll to rEGIStEr Now! MARCH APRIL 2013



from Scratch continued from page 45

Q & A with recent Start From Scratch grads, from the SFS web site. What have you changed about your cooking habits since SFS? Lydia Dickenson: Everything! I cook healthy food, I cook for fun sometimes, and I try new recipes. I am unafraid of spices and adding more, more, and more of them to recipes (thanks, Jacinthe!). I have also learned to enjoy making some spicy food – a big step for me! Kim Mikalson: I now put a lot more thought into the meals I’m having and try and plan out what I’m going to make for the week. SFS also taught me how to take ingredients left over in the fridge and turn them into something delicious.

What has SFS done to change your perception of food and cooking? Lydia Dickenson: I always thought that cooking was a gift that people either had or didn’t. It’s not true. You can learn to cook. I learned to be more adventurous in the kitchen thanks to SFS and it has paid off. Kim Mikalson: After participating in SFS, I am more confident in my cooking abilities and am excited and eager to try new ingredients and new types of food. I think the biggest change in my perception was realizing that food and cooking can be easy and fun! It was also great to meet some local food bloggers/chefs through the program, and now I have a list of restaurants I want to try!

Tell us about your most memorable SFS moment. Lydia Dickenson: Hands down, the moment the mushroom risotto touched my taste buds. Oh my god. Kim Mikalson: There are so many memorable moments in SFS! I know that for myself, and a lot of the other participants, cooking class was the highlight of the week. If I had to pick a moment it would be when Christina had to butcher a chicken in our class. Her facial expression was priceless! Another great moment was when we made the meatloaf snake! There are really just too many great moments. Every class was filled with so much laughter, good food, and great times!

What are your favourite recipes to cook/bake now and why? Lydia Dickenson: I love the roasted chicken and veggies because of its simplicity. I also love the quinoa chocolate cake because it’s ridiculously delicious. Kim Mikalson: My favourite recipes to cook/bake are roast chicken with vegetables because it is so easy but so delicious! I also like to make soup from scratch because it is perfect on chilly days and makes great leftovers. I also love how versatile soup is – you start with the same basics, but by changing it a little you can come up with some delicious and interesting soups.

What skill from SFS has come in most handy? Lydia Dickenson: Chopping vegetables properly, seasoning abundantly, and “DON’T SCRAPE THE KNIFE ON THE CUTTING BOARD”! Kim Mikalson: The skill that has been the most handy for me is learning different cutting techniques. I never knew how to properly cut things before the program, and it’s amazing what a difference that can make! I don’t dread cutting peppers any more!
✤ Dan Clapson blogs on (the good side of food) and runs Start From Scratch.


The 2013 City Palate

foodie tootles

Join us for three fabulous farm-to-fork bus tour forays in this, our 15th season of tootling! city palat e to otle

Karen Anderson and Tilly Sanchez of Calgary Food Tours along with Matthew Altizer from The Cookbook Co. Cooks host these day-long bus tours in comfort and style. Each Foodie Tootle includes stops at Alberta farms, specialty producers and processors. Guests enjoy a ploughman’s lunch, snacks, tastings, beverages, shopping opportunities and site tours, before the finale – a fabulous home-cooked dinner prepared with fresh ingredients we have gathered throughout the day.


Sunday, June 9th – The Food in the City Tour

You’ll be surprised to see how much is “growing on” in Calgary. First we’ll meet the Leaf Ninjas and see the bounty this new generation of permaculture gurus can produce on their Urban Farm in Inglewood. We’ll visit SAIT Polytechnic’s culinary garden and hear about the seeds of chef education it sews. River Café has taken sourcing local to new heights with the SPIN (Small Plot Intensive) farms they work with and their own garden boxes they continuously harvest from. They make it look like a walk in the park, which is what we’ll enjoy when we visit them. Next we’ll moo-ve on up to the East side to meet the cheese artisans at White Gold Cheese Factory. We’ll toast our day with a long-table feast of inner-city bounty back at The Cookbook Co. Cooks on this light-filled and very tasty June day.


Saturday, July 27th – The South by Southwest Tour

Each year we like to change the direction our bus heads. This year we are going south to Fort Macleod to meet Anita and Ben Oudshoorn and their hard-working family at Fairwinds Farm certified organic goat’s milk and cheese operation. “Fresher than ever” will be the theme of our al fresco picnic frolic with these happy goats and the flavours will not mellow as we pop up to Claresholm to Jackie Chalmers’ New Oxley Garlic Farm. We’ll come almost full circle in distance as we follow the Cowboy Trail to examples of Albertan foods at Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch in Millarville. Ranch manager and veterinarian Terry Church and owners Brad and Wendy O’Connor will give us a tour of the bison and elk herds and we’ll enjoy a barbecue feast before heading back to Calgary and into the sunset.


Sunday, October 6th – Our Classic Turkey Tootle

We’ll fill our Thanksgiving cornucopias this year with help from our old Turkey Tootle friends Rosemary Wotske and Cam Beard at Poplar Bluff Organic Farm in Strathmore and Darrel Winter and Corrine Dahm of Winter’s Turkeys in Dalemead. For baking supplies we’ll head to Highwood Crossing Farm’s new processing plant in High River to tour the facility with owners Tony and Penny Marshall, and stock up on freshly milled flours, cooking oils and oats. We’ll get our fresh berry fix at The Saskatoon Farm where Karen and Paul Hamer and their staff will cook up a meal that will surely induce thanks and inspire you for the Thanksgiving weekend. Refreshment Sponsors: Wild Rose Brewery and The Organic Wine Connection Book your seats at: The Cookbook Co. Cooks, 403-265-6066, ext. 1 Ticket price: $125 per person, per tootle. Pre-registration is mandatory. All Tootles depart from: The Cookbook Co. Cooks, 722 - 11 Ave. SW, at 10 a.m. SHARP. The bus will be available for boarding at 9:30 a.m., rain or shine. Transportation: Sahalla Coach Lines (air conditioned and bathroom-equipped bus) Shop local: Bring cash for making on-farm purchases, coolers, hat, sunscreen, water bottle, farm-appropriate footwear and layered clothing to ensure personal comfort. Book early as our Foodie Tootles always sell out quickly!

Let’s celebrate Alberta’s farms and food artisans.

a touch of italy



delicious gluten-free pastas & biscuits, olive oils, san Marzano toMato products & Much More!

You owe it to Yourself to stop bY. 606 Meredith road Ne • 403 229 1066 MARCH APRIL 2013


i m Mia


Take a hot spin around this foodie paradise.

story and photos by Kate Zimmerman Once upon a time, Miami’s South Beach was known as “God’s waiting room” because of its over-abundance of leathery retirees roasting themselves in the sun. That was the 1970s. Beyond that spectacle and its attendant air of decrepitude, drug-related crime was rampant, and even the city’s most attractive early 20th century buildings were fading fast. Then a farsighted woman called Barbara Capitman helped form the Miami Design Preservation League, which got almost a square mile of South Beach placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now nobody messes with the Miami Beach Architectural District’s Art Deco, Nautical Moderne and Streamline Moderne buildings. The chic, graphic outline of their low, pale rooftops dazzles against the bright blueness of the south Florida sky.

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

There’s still a slightly edgy vibe, in part because the late designer Gianni Versace’s flamboyant mansion is located on Ocean Drive, fronting the long swath of public beach. He was famously murdered one morning in 1997 as he opened its gates.

i M

The nearby beach’s lifeguard stations are now as brightly coloured as old-time circus tents. Architect William Lane re-designed them after the devastating impact of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. So retro style, opulence, a hint of naughtiness and a smidge of carnival atmosphere welcome the visitor to South Beach.

“SoBe” is the most southerly neighbourhood in Miami Beach, a barrier island that runs along the coast of downtown Miami. By night, dance enthusiasts hit its restaurants and clubs in boldly abbreviated outfits after the “disco naps” that divide their daily and nightly activities. By day, smart visitors invest in a foodie tour, getting an insider’s lowdown on what’s cool to eat and where to find it. This is definitely not a WASP-y white bread scene. According to Wikipedia, as of 2000, some 55 percent of Miami Beach residents spoke Spanish as their first language, 33 percent spoke English, with French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew adding their own spices to the hotpot. As a result of this intriguing melange, enterprising chefs have plenty of stimulation.

They also have a crazy number of ingredients from which to choose, including tasty sea creatures. The region’s sub-tropical climate nurtures an array of fruits and vegetables that would make a Canadian cook weep.

I hooked up with Miami Culinary Tours ( for two brilliant strolls. The first took place in South Beach, where our Australian guide pointed out various Art Deco architectural styles between refreshing beverages and delicious bites. She started us off on the balmy outdoor lounge of 660 at The Angler’s Boutique Resort, which was apparently Ernest Hemingway’s preferred Miami hotel. There we were each presented with a scallop tiradito, a silken tango of tender raw shellfish and a sauce made of passion fruit, aji amarillo chile, red onion and lemon, garnished with garlic chip and avocado.

Our guide had a firm grasp on the flavours that make South Beach special, from the coffee called colada, a 4-oz. cup of sweetened espresso served with several tiny cups for sharing, found at Cuban cafes like David’s, to the Argentinean empanadas stuffed with shredded chicken at Charlotte Bakery. Our nine stops on this particular tour took us to the vivacious South American fusion restaurant Bolivar for a Colombian drink called refajo, a refreshing blend of aguila beer and Columbiana “kola-flavored soda,” and to the ultra-chic white-on-white Miami Beach Caffe & Restaurant, where, before our eyes, the chef made us strawberry ice cream using liquid nitrogen. We sashayed into singer Gloria Estefan’s Larios on the Beach, a handsome 20-year-old Cuban eatery, for fried green plantains formed into cups and stuffed with picadillo – minced beef, Creole spice, raisins and olives – and Cuban Creole shrimp. The tour wound up with award-winning gelato at Milani Gelateria on restaurant-studded Espanola Way. My second tour was of rough-and-tumble Little Havana, where Argentinean guide and food critic Grace Della warned me away from approaching the base of a particular tree because that’s where locals who practice Santeria sometimes leave


continued on page 59

If you go...

Other stuff to do...

Trying to choose a place to stay in Miami? South Beach is one of the more expensive choices but it’s plenty lively. If you’re looking for action and excitement – the Kardashians’ DASH boutique is in the nabe, as is a party palace called The Clevelander – South Beach is ideal.

Take a golf cart tour of the 37-acre Fruit & Spice Park, which grows more than 500 varieties of tropical fruits, spices and vegetables, most of which will be new to Canadians. Did you know that the niceberry, for example, tastes like a brown sugar pear and was once used in the manufacture of Chiclets, ice cream beans actually do grow on trees, the African sausage tree is quite a sight, and every part of the horseradish tree is edible? The park is 35 miles south of Miami and is open daily.

Check out the 1939 Nautical Moderne boite called Essex House, which bears the distinctive round windows and corner entryway that denote this architectural style. Henry Hohauser, whose architectural firm has been called “the originator of modernism in Miami Beach,” designed and built Essex House, and Al Capone used to play cards there. Its chic Art Deco vibe and airy rooms are distinctive and thoroughly memorable, and Zen Sai, its outdoor Japanese-style izakaya, offers terrific small plates of pub-style food.

In 2009, Miami developer Tony Goldman invited such international graffiti and street artists as Shepard Fairey (creator of the iconic poster of Barack Obama) to cover the exterior walls of the Wynwood district’s warehouses with fresh designs. You can actually go on a Vespa tour of this sprawling, ever-changing openair museum called the Wynwood Walls and the Wynwood Doors with Roam Rides. There are some 50 galleries, four museums, restaurants and artists’ studios here, as well. The Wynwood Kitchen & Bar features gorgeous “graffiti” art by Fairey.

i m a i If you crave more peace and quiet than you’ll find in South Beach, try the Coconut Grove neighbourhood’s Grove Island Hotel & Spa. Equipped with a view of Biscayne Bay, it’s a 10-minute ride to the shops and restaurants of downtown Coconut Grove, but feels like a quiet, secluded modern resort. Its pool area, with all kinds of inviting nooks for sundrenched reading, is splendid. The on-site Gibraltar Restaurant’s executive chef is Gerd Richter, who knows a thing or two about pleasing sophisticated palates (his truffled eggs benedict is divine). Essex House: 1001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Grove Island Hotel & Spa: Four Grove Isle Drive, Miami,

403 261 9003 • 230, 11 TH Ave S.e. • grumAnS.cA

Dine at Tuyo, the Miami Culinary Institute’s downtown penthouse restaurant, which boasts a stunning skyline and bay view. Celebrated chef Norman Van Aken uses such local treats as caviar from farm-raised Sarasota sturgeon and enlivens his elegant cracked conch chowder with saffron, coconut, orange and star anise. Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, no slouch himself, once described Van Aken as “the Walt Whitman of American cuisine.”

Old Country Sausage Shop MARCH APRIL 2013


Alchemy in the Kitchen

Lacto-fermented foods may be North America’s missing food group. by Marti Webster

as a side dish to your grandma’s bangers and mash. And, if you’re really adventurous, you could ferment your own sausage, Ethiopian style. Sauerkraut livens up a salad and makes a tangy addition to burritos. That’s just the krauts! What about fermenting your own tomato juice and adding it to your next Bloody Mary? Or, you can transform the standard North American meal of grilled cheese and soda pop by making your sandwich with home-made sourdough bread, organic raw cheese (teeming with beneficial bacteria) and lacto-fermented pickles, and drinking a glass of kombucha, a fermented, effervescent tea. According to Claude Aubert, author of Les Ailments Ferments Traditionnels, serving pickles with sausages and preserved meats can help dissolve uric acid and prevent kidney stones. And the next time you decide to make Indian food, with a little advance planning you can include your own fermented chutney on the side – it takes about two days to ferment using whey, a by-product of yogurt that drips through a cloth for a few hours, leaving you with cream cheese on the top. I couldn’t keep up with my family’s penchant for sauerkraut, so a friend and I got together to see how many jars we could knock off in a few hours. I was desperate to stock up so I wouldn’t be chopping cabbage at midnight while watching True Blood. We bought two cases of organic cabbage at the Calgary Farmers’ Market for

When I made my first jar of lacto-fermented pickles, I felt like I was tapping into some ancient secret knowledge.


I had decided to delve into the world of fermented foods after taking an online course with Winnipeg's Domestic Divas (, two earthy mothers who do sauerkraut, pickles and ketchup the Old World way. There is important work to be done in the kitchen, they explained in video clips where they chopped and grated veggies like mad, sprinkled them with salt, massaged them and, finally, stuffed them into Mason jars to ferment on the counter for a week or two. Fermented foods are so important, say the Divas, that we think they’re a missing food group. The beneficial organisms and enzymes in lacto-fermented foods promote healthy digestive flora, improve elimination, contain anti-carcinogenic substances, help the body resist infections... and the list goes on.

1 large organic cabbage, cored and shredded

1 T. mustard seeds

1 c. grated carrot 2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise and finely sliced

2 T. Himalaya or Celtic sea salt (purchase at a health food store, like Community Natural Foods, in the bulk section)

1 T. dried oregano

1 c. filtered water

1/4 to 1/2 t. red pepper flakes

Optional seasonings: red pepper flakes, hot chiles, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, celery leaves, bay leaves, fresh herbs, onion, cinnamon stick, cloves.

So, biting into my first pickle, after it bubbled on the counter for a few days, was a revelation. Just like actress Jessica Biel, who carries fermented veg and cultured coconut water wherever she travels, I couldn’t leave home without mine. On a trip to North Carolina, I packed as much sauerkraut as I could strong-arm into a Mason jar and stuffed it into one of my husband’s socks. I was worried U.S. border security would pick it up on the Superman screen and haul me off to some room where I’d be charged with smuggling contraband. Eating healthy on the road isn’t always easy and it made me feel just a little bit invincible having a scoop of sauerkraut with each meal. I mean, if the Koreans shot kimchi – their national fermented cabbage dish – into space with the astronauts, there must be something to fermented vegetables, right? Just about every culture in the world uses lacto-fermentation in one form or another. India ferments fruits with spices to make chutneys; the Chinese eat fermented fish sauce and fermented bean curd. And, of course, the Europeans are famous for pickles, sauerkraut and other cultured-veggie-family recipes. You can ferment so many foods – condiments like mayo, ketchup and salsa are all transformed in a few days into enzyme- rich foods, thriving with beneficial bacteria. It’s so simple, it’s criminal. You’ll feel like a homespun hero eating home-made soups topped with cortido, a Latin American-style sauerkraut that also contains oregano, chiles and sliced onions. Fermented vegetables are great with lentils or


(Latin American sauerkraut)

2 T. of salt (Add a few cloves of crushed garlic as well as cumin seeds for variety)

In a large bowl, mix the cabbage with the remaining ingredients. Using your hands, massage the cabbage until the liquid is released, about 10 minutes. Press firmly into 2 wide-mouth quartsized jars until the mixture is below the brine, leaving a 1-inch air space below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks before transferring to cold storage or the fridge. Makes 2 quarts.

Lacto-Fermented Pickles 4-5 organic pickling cucumbers 2 T. fresh dill

Add a couple of oak, grape or horseradish leaves (they supply tannins to keep the pickles crunchy; purchase grape leaves at Kalamata grocery) Wash the cucumbers well, soak them in ice-cold water for a couple of hours (to help keep them crisp), then place them in a quart-sized jar. Cut one cucumber in half and set it horizontally on top of the others – this will keep them from floating up above the water in the jar when they shrink a little during the pickling process. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the cucumbers, adding more water if necessary to cover, leaving a 1-inch air space below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks before transferring to cold storage or the fridge. You can adapt this recipe to other cut veggies like beets or carrots. (Another way to keep pickles crisp is to slice off the blossom end, which has an enzyme in it that can make them mushy. The blossom end is the larger, darker green end of the cuke.) Makes 1 quart.

about $50. We used a food processor to chop the veg even though we usually wield a sharp knife. I sort of felt like I was cheating, but it was immeasurably faster. After a while, we fell into a rhythm. I quartered and cored the cabbage, she shredded it in the processor. We transferred it into large bowels, sometimes adding herbs or beets, carrots, onions and ginger. Then, we massaged Himalaya sea salt into the veg for about 10 minutes until they released water, creating the brine. Finally, we firmly pushed the mixture into Mason jars, making sure the brine covered the vegetables. By the time we were finished, cabbage leaves were strewn all over the kitchen, our hands were stained with beets, and some of the fermenting vegetables looked like a California sunset – the beets impart a deep purple colour to the ferments, and as we continued mixing bits of leftover beets and sauerkraut that wouldn’t fit in the jar with the newly shredded cabbage and carrots for the next jar, the veggies turned a lovely shade of orange and pink. It was incredible. A note about salt: you don’t want to add too much or the lactobacilli can’t thrive. A good rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs. of cabbage, though some recipes will suggest more or simply salt to taste. If you’re using the salt-to-taste method, sprinkle a little salt, mix and keep tasting. It should taste salty, but not too salty. The salty taste dissipates the longer it ferments and the longer it sits in cold storage.

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Here’s where you can get expert help in your lactofermented food adventures: Valerie Andrews is a canning and fermenting pro. She teaches classes at The Cookbook Co. Cooks' cooking school if you’re interested in pursuing the subject in a classroom. Find her classes at

Asako’s Kimchi This recipe is an incredibly addictive, spicy, Korean-style kimchi created by my friend Asako. 1 large organic Napa cabbage chopped into 1-inch pieces 2 T. salt 2 c. shredded carrots 1 daikon radish (or kohlrabi), shredded (about 2 cups) 2 c. Chinese chives, cut into 3-inch pieces. (found at Asian grocery stores) 3 t. kelp powder 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, powdered in a food processor 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 T. Braggs soy sauce (purchase this glutenfree soy sauce at a health food store) 1 c. Korean red chile powder, or less for a milder taste (this is a much milder chile powder than cayenne – it’s full of flavour – found at Asian grocery stores)

Put the cabbage into a large bowl, add the salt and massage about 10 minutes until the juices are released. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Using a sturdy kitchen implement (so you don’t burn your hands with the spices) press the cabbage firmly into a wide-mouth quart jar until the mixture is below the brine, leaving a 1-inch air space below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks before transferring to cold storage or the fridge. Makes 1 quart.

The Light Cellar, 6326 Bowness Rd. NW,, offers “Friendly Ferments,” an enlightening, educational two-part series that exposes participants to a variety of fermented foods and beverages and teaches techniques to successfully prepare these nutrient-rich and beneficial foods at home:

fine French pastries you bake Pascal's Patisserie

Friendly Ferments: Cultured Foods and Condiments – this class teaches the art of fermentation and how to craft probiotic and enzyme-rich cultured vegetables and foods. Recipes include raw sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and relish, the Light Cellar’s Cashew Nut Cheeze, fermented hot sauce and yogurt. Upcoming class dates are March 14 and April 14, check their web site for details.

Take & Bake French Pastries

101, 5240 - 1A Street SE, Calgary 403-968-6156 •

Friendly Ferments: Cultured Brews and Drinks – explore the world of eclectic bubbly brews and beverages from around the world. Learn how to craft honey wine (mead), cider, vinegar, nourishing root beer and other oldfashioned sodas, as well as water and dairy kefirs. Recipe booklet included. Upcoming Class dates are March 17 and April 28, check the web site for details. ✤ Marti Webster is a mother, writer and folk singer and is crazy about fermented foods.



stockpot Stirrings around Calgary

restaurant ramblings n The King & I Thai Cuisine celebrates 25 years of serving up some of the best Thai food in Calgary. The restaurant was one of the first to bring the exotic tastes of Thailand to our happy palates and does it in beautiful, classy surroundings. King & I will soon run a contest offering dinner for 10 in one of the private rooms, complete with tasty paired beverages. Check for details. n The new restaurant, MARKET, is open at 718 - 17th Ave. SW, featuring house-made everything that can be made in house – such as bread and cheese, butchering and curing, and growing greens and herbs – and, otherwise, sourced locally from ethical and sustainable partners including, to name a few, Highwood Crossing Farm, Bles-Wold Dairy, Kayben Farms, Ewe-Nique Lamb and Blue Mountain Biodynamic Farm. At the MARKET helm are owner Vanessa Salopek and chef Geoff Rogers, who was most recently at the excellent Home Tasting Room. Find out more about MARKET at


35 BLOCKS 400 shops and services

26- 61 Streets on 17 Avenue SE The location for speciality food shops and restaurants Book now for our $25 food tour (est.1997) 403 248 -7288

n CRAFT Beer Market has become the largest restaurant in Canada to receive its Level 1 Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) Certification. The journey to becoming a LEAF Certified establishment is not an easy task. The restaurant underwent an extensive audit by LEAF, a national third-party certifier of sustainability for foodservice establishments. Established in Calgary in 2009, LEAF helps restaurants reduce their environmental impact, and makes it easy for diners to identify green restaurants. The organization provides a benchmark to measure the environmental sustainability of foodservice establishments in Canada, and fosters sustainability by working with the community to support the local economy. CRAFT joins many other Calgary eateries that are LEAF certified or working to get their certification. Go to to find out who else in Calgary is certified. n With the NHL season back on track, Gruman’s will be open until the puck drops on home game nights, 230 - 11th Ave. SE. Swing by, enjoy a great pre-game meal, then walk to the game. How easy is that! n Monday night is free corkage night at Gaucho Brazilian BBQ, 5920 Macleod Tr. SW, so bring your fave bottle of wine and have a fabulous,


filling, meaty meal rodizio-style – the real deal. Check the web site at for all the tasty details. But any night’s a good night to eat at Gaucho, especially if you start with a caipirinha, the original Brazilian cocktail with lots of flavour and kick. n Check out Cornerstone Music Cafe, 139-14919 Deer Ridge Dr. SE, for chef Sylvia Johnston’s comfort food from soup to spicy curries and gluten-free sweets. Musician Jim Johnston can help you enrol in a music lesson taught by one of 19 professional instructors. Relax with live music Saturdays 3:305:30 p.m. n You’ll find food, friends and family at the newly opened 500 Cucina restaurant in Inglewood. 500 Cucina brings you old classics with a contemporary twist using fresh, organic, hormone-free and local ingredients and turning them into pizza, pasta, panini and exciting grilled foods. In the Esker Foundation building at 1003 - 9th Ave. SE (403-617-8007). n On a sad note, a message from Newport Grill on Lake Bonavista: “It is with deep sadness that we have closed our doors as a restaurant after more then 40 years of serving this wonderful city. All of our staff would like to express our deepest and most sincere thanks to each and every person that dined with, celebrated and supported us over the years. We appreciated the opportunity to share anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, holiday functions and family gatherings with you, and hope that you will continue to carry the memory of us.” n At Boxwood: Downtown’s The Big Taste, March 1-10, offers special prices so you can try out the whole tasty menu. Don’t miss “You Gotta Eat Here” airing April 19 featuring Boxwood; share your story or favourite dish on Boxwood’s Facebook page for a chance to win a free Sunday Supper for two – visit for details. On March 31, Boxwood’s Sunday Supper celebrates Easter with spring lamb from Driview Farm, fresh greens, sides and dessert served family-style, $35. n Locate, locate, LOC8. LOC8 Restaurant Properties finds buyers and sellers for the creation, expansion, or sale of a business, offering in-depth advice for the food and beverage industry. LOC8 assists in avoiding time-consuming pitfalls in relation to sale, purchase, lease negotiations, concept development, construction, interior design, project management and restaurant operations. For existing businesses, LOC8 also provides

re-structuring expertise, including consultation on improving sales while minimizing operational costs. For more information call 722-600-3933 or visit n Reserve now for an evening of unparalleled culinary ingenuity at River Café with the fabulous chef Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s in Vancouver, April 16. Details and emerging menu collaboration with chef Andrew Winfield at March 18, Slow Food’s Roots ‘n’ Shoots, the annual celebration of our slowly emerging spring, takes place at River with a local and seasonal menu. (See ad on page 45) Tickets and details at The Big Taste, March 1-10, presents a special $15 lunch and $35 dinner, or the signature fish and game tasting menu for $85. Menus and reservations at You can also enjoy the fish and game tasting menu throughout the whole month of March at the special friends and family price of $85.

wine wanderings n Food and wine lovers are invited to escape to Banff for the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival at the Fairmont Banff Springs, May 10 and 11. Enjoy a weekend indulging in the delicious food of Banff’s most popular restaurants along with a wide selection of local and international wines, spirits, single malt and blended scotches, specialty liqueurs, and import and micro-brewed beer. A gourmet’s getaway with special hotel packages, events at Banff hotels and restaurants. Visit for details and tickets. n Raise a glass of sunshine at Calgary Opera’s annual California Wine Tour, April 10, at Hotel Arts. This is your chance to be a part of the largest tasting tour of California wines in Canada with more than 900 wines. Enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and bid on a unique array of silent auction items. California Wine Fair is a fundraiser benefitting Calgary Opera. Phone 403-262-7286 or visit to book your ticket. n Cork & Canvas Wine and Art Festival, now in its 16th year, takes place March 5 - April 6 with six events, including wine, beer and whisky tastings, high tea, French cuisine luncheon and the annual wine-maker’s dinner. Guests will enjoy a wide variety of events from hors d’oeuvres and tastings to sit down dinners and prestigious pairings, all while bidding on unique silent and live auction packages. Proceeds go towards supporting the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Details at n Britannia Wine Merchants has served Calgary’s thirst for great wine and spirits for more than 20 years

and now there’s a dedicated tasting room. Equipped with a bar, smart TV, and an intimate ambiance, the tasting room can be booked for your next special event by calling manager Steve Goldsworthy at 403-287-3833. Event details at n Metrovino Tastings/Classes: March 5, Riesling Fruchtig Style; March 7, Special Buyers’ tasting; March 12, Bacchus for Beginners (wine basics); March 13, Loire Lounging; March 14, Comte Armand’s Clos des Epeneaux, a vertical tasting; March 20, Uniquely rare; March 21, Sherry, Baby. Details at, register at 403-205-3356 or n Don’t miss Wine Tasting Wednesday before Alberta Theatre Projects’ showing of Red on May 8th. Wine by Willow Park and nibblies by River Café, followed by the play, 6:30 p.m. n Tastings at J. Webb Wine Merchant: March 14, Beer O’Clock, $30; March 21, Back to Basics, $40; April 11, Around The Boot in 2 Hours, $50; April 18, Champagne Farmers, $60; April 20, The Rhone Less Travelled, $59; April 25, War of the Worlds: Old Vs. New (blind tasting), $50. Details at, or 403-253-9463. n Celebrate Malbec World Day and the diversity and quality of wines from Argentina. The country’s flagship red grape, malbec, currently has the fastestgrowing sales of any varietal. The evening will highlight malbec along with a large selection of other outstanding white and red varietals. Malbec World Day is celebrated around the globe, and Calgary’s participation in this year’s festivities is further evidence of the city’s growing status as a centre for wine lovers. April 17, 7 p.m., Willow Park Wines & Spirits.

n Cuisine et Chateau’s Interactive Culinary Centre: Hands-on classes for March and April include: Table for Two, a date night class with a brand new menu, Moroccan Flair, Made in France, Herbs and Spices of the World, Vegetarian Kingdom, Tapas, Simply Italian, Singles Night Out. Hone your skills with Stocks and Sauces, Cakes!, A Cut Above Meat Cutting, and Everything Chocolate. Our tasting events include: Say Fromage Cheese and Wine Pairing, Flavours of the Eastern Slopes - A Menu from Alsace, Franche-Comté and Burgundy, Paques (Easter) in France - A four-course dinner... and much more. Visit or call 403-764-COOK(2665).

Don't miss our special event! Meet James Cunningham, author of Eat Street: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest and Most Irresistible Food Trucks, at The Cookbook Co. Cooks, April 12, 6:30. Chefs and their food from Calgary's food trucks will be there – come meet James and the Calgary people he writes about – Perogy Boyz, Alley Burger, Fries and Dolls. Phone 403-265-6066, ext 1 to register. $115 includes a cooking class, food, wine and a copy of James’ book.

general stirrings n Well, bravo! Sidewalk Citizen’s great breads and other baked goods are now sold at Sunnyside Market, which – to accommodate some of Sidewalk’s baking being done onsite – has expanded itself to include an increased variety of foods as well as the full line of Sidewalk products. This is very good news. Sunnyside Market/ Sidewalk Citizen is located just off 10th St. NW opposite the Safeway store.

n The Cookbook Co. Cooks: classes include Seafood 101, Everyone can cook Everything, Girls Night Out: Cocktails & Hors d’Oeuvres, BreadMaking workshop, Perogies Sweet and Savoury, Pasta Making for Kids, Cooking with Ancient Grains – A Gluten-Free Class, Ribs, Chops and Killer Wings, Nose to Tail Butchering, Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate, Tiny Bubbles with Big Flavours, Fresh Handmade Italian Cheese, Essential Knife Skills, All-Day Preserving Workshop, All Things Fermented – A Workshop. Find the whole calendar at or phone 403-265-6066, ext. 1 for more information or to book.

n We all love a good pizza, most of us love the vibrant flavours of East Indian food. If this sounds like you and you haven’t discovered Pizza Master tucked into Suri Plaza on the corner of 68th St. NE and Coral Springs Blvd. – it’s time you did. Though tucked snugly away in the northeast, continued on page 54

Do you know where your wine comes from?

n Cork Fine Wine, Liquor & Ale has arrived in Bow Valley Square offering the vibrant clientele of downtown Calgary an excellent selection of wine, sprits and ale in a convenient location. Cork has also launched a new web site,, that offers an innovative online shopping experience – free delivery on all web orders over $150, and pick up is available at either the Bow Valley Square or Beacon Hill location. Visit the web site for details and subscribe to the mailing list for exclusive invites on featured products.

look for this symbol in our stores to find family-run wineries

cooking classes n The Compleat Cook: Elegant Liqueur Desserts, Fast & Easy Italian Cuisine, Gluten-Free Gourmet, Friday Night Date Night (Mar 15 & April 12), Flavours of India, At The Portuguese Table, Opa!, Oodles of Noodles, A Spicy Affair, Comfort Food – Canadian Style, Cake Pops, Homemade Pizza, Soups & Salads. Details at or 403-253-4831.

We do! Meet Dominique Cornin. Call him old fashioned but

Dominique still prefers working with his hands to working with machines. From the tiny village of Chaintré, this 3rd generation winemaker with his son Romain and their horse Coccinelle, continue to work their family’s land - and J. Webb is proud to have them on our shelves. Discover why smaller is better at J. Webb Wine Merchant. Glenmore Landing: 90th Ave. and 14th St. SW


w w w. j w e b b . n e t

Casel Marché: 24th St. and 17th Ave. SW MARCH APRIL 2013


Stockpot continued from page 53 it’s easy to find, and you will want to do that. The pizza is very good, available on three thicknesses of crust, including gluten-free, and topped with all manner of tasty ingredients, like tikka masala paneer for vegetarians, or tandoori chicken for the meatatarians, plus toppings you’d expect on “regular” pizzas. A different take on pizza, and worth every bite, Pizza Master is mostly take-out, but you can sit by the window and eat in. n Still made in small batches, using 100% Canadian cream, the MacKay family celebrates 65 years of ice cream history. Watch for details of the anniversary celebration. Visit MacKay’s Cochrane Ice Cream in Historic Downtown Cochrane or online at You can taste the tradition. n Dine in Bragg Creek kicks off March 1 at the Bragg Creek Community Centre. Taste what Bragg Creek eateries have to offer from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can also get a “passport” to be used at participating food establishments throughout the month of March. Get your “passport” stamped to be able to participate in a prize draw. n At Casel Marché: Interactive Monday Tastings with food from Market 17, wine from J. Webb: March 11, Cheese Please $29.95; April 22, Monday Night Fever $29.95. Details and tickets at or


n The 2013 Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop takes place at the Delta Grand Okanagan hotel in downtown Kelowna, April 28 - May 1. Join Canada’s top food and wine writers, editors, and cookbook authors for three-and-a-half days of professional development and incredible gastronomic experiences. Open to writers of all levels. Instructors include Amy Rosen, Shelley Boettcher, Curtis Gillespie, Jennifer Schell, and Jennifer Cockrall-King. There’s a special preconference opportunity to include Eat. Drink. Tweet., a social media strategy session for communicators and marketers in food and wine tourism. For pricing and schedule, visit n Spring is just around the corner, and you will be thinking of Easter hams soon. Old Country Sausage Shop will be preparing delicious bone-in hams made with sea salt (no nitrites added) soon. Place your orders by March 1 as quantities are limited. Delivery to Calgary will be March 22. Order forms are available at, or phone 403-752-3006.

119 12th Avenue SW | 403.206.9565 reservations |


n AGCcooks is an annual celebration showcasing Calgary’s top chefs in a friendly culinary competition. On May

8, six of Calgary’s hottest restaurants gather at The Art Gallery of Calgary to compete against one another for the hearts and taste buds of Calgary’s foodies. Each chef creates a fourcourse feast designed around a secret ingredient disclosed to them only days before the event. Guests dine on the meals, each course paired with fine wine, then rate the courses based on taste, creativity and presentation. A panel of foodies, media and celebrity judges awards prizes to the chefs. Reserve at 403-770-1350. Tickets are $300 ($150 tax receiptable). n The Rainbow Society of Alberta – a charity dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of Alberta children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses – invites you to the 9th Annual Wine & Wishes event held at Halo steak and seafood restaurant, 13226 Macleod Trail S., May 2. A night of delicious food – a four-course dinner paired with wine – silent auction, travel raffle, and fun. Champagne reception starts at 5:30 pm. Contact Sharon for tickets 403-561-4820. Details at n COBS Bread believes in timehonoured baking traditions and hot cross buns are no exception! The hot cross buns are authentic and are made from scratch every day with nothing but the freshest ingredients. Try the traditional fruit and chocolate chip hot cross buns this Easter. For more information visit Each spring, COBS develops a new gourmet scone with the help of its customers. It debuts on April 4. During the scone campaign, feed your belly and your soul at the same time – when you buy any scone at COBS Bread on May 4 and 5, 50 cents is donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. Mark your calendar and help meet the goal of raising more than $50,000. n You have your phone with you all the time. Why not get paid to use your phone when you visit restaurants and retail stores? All you have to do is download the Field Agent app to your iPhone and watch for jobs to pop up at stores and restaurants near you. Field Agent is the first app that pays you to use your iPhone. The Field Agent app works with both iPhone and iPad (3G connection required). Find out more about this exciting new app at and earn extra cash. n Cuisine et Chateau is booking for its “French Culinary Journey” – a one week, all inclusive, luxury experience in the heart of the Périgord, France. The trip combines cooking classes, visits to local producers and wineries, cycling, and fantastic food, while staying in a 17th century château. A gastronomical experience like no other. For details and to download the itinerary and brochure for May 12-18 and May 19-25, go to continued on page 57

City Palate’s SECOND Culinary Travel Grant recipient reveals the "real" Spain.

A Baker’s Dozen +1 Things I Learned about Spain by Peter Swarbrick


2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7.




11. City Palate supports local up-and-coming great chefs. Each spring, we call for back-ofthe-house restaurant cooks to apply for our Culinary Travel Grant to help them further their culinary passion through travel. Last year, our winner was Peter Swarbrick, of Cucina, who chose Spain as his destination. Peter came back both inspired and enlightened, and shares some of his experiences with us. If you’re a back-of-the-house restaurant cook, there's still time to apply. See our ad on page 36.

I never thought I’d crave a salad quite so much as I did after eating in Spanish restaurants for three weeks. You don’t see many light vegetable dishes in too many of the restaurants or tapas bars. Lots of meat, potatoes and amazing seafood. Spain is certainly not an eating destination for vegetarians. Eating in the markets is the best! Here you’ll definitely see the best that Spain has to offer, from cured meats and cheeses to incredibly fresh and diverse seafood. Also you’ll find amazing produce that, curiously, doesn’t show up on a lot of the restaurant menus – foraged mushrooms, vine-ripe tomatoes, fresh figs. All for cheap, cheap, cheap! The Spanish eat incredibly late, by our standards. Many restaurants don’t even open for dinner until 9 p.m. for the early seating. Figuring out restaurant hours – and most other businesses for that matter – is kind of like doing a Sudoku puzzle. You’re never quite sure what will be open when. How much chorizo can one person possibly eat? The answer... a lot! Foie gras was omnipresent on menus all over the country. I certainly didn’t travel to Spain looking for foie gras, but it found me! (I’m not complaining.) I was surprised by the quantity and quality of foie gras produced in Spain. In fact, one of the best things I ate in Spain was beef tenderloin topped with seared foie gras. Not a far cry from something you’d find on menus here. The story is that at a table near us were two American women who ordered it. I guess they didn’t realize the tenderloin had the foie gras on top, because when it arrived at the table, they sent it back. Rather than let it go to waste, I told our server we’d take the “discarded” dish – one of the best decisions of my life. It was absolutely divine. Never bet on the bull at a bullfight. There’s no “last call” at a lot of establishments in Spain. After starting your evening with dinner at 10 p.m., and then going for a few drinks after, it’s not unusual to find yourself wandering home at 5 or 6 in the morning. God bless the siesta! The Spanish take their gin and tonics very seriously. It’s not uncommon to find eight varieties of gin and several types of tonic at any given restaurant. Often done tableside, our server would bring the bottle to the table and splosh gin into large goblets packed with ice without measuring. Coincidentally, the pours would become larger if you tipped – tipping isn’t quite the norm as it is in North America. Every tapas bar has a language of its own. Especially the pintxo bars in San Sebastian. It can be a thoroughly daunting experience fighting your way through a crowd to the bar only to find a slightly apathetic bartender, a huge array of tapas and no Spanish language skills to convey your needs. Only bravado, crude gesturing and broken Spanish will get you through. (A pintxo, pronounced pincho, is a bar snack.) The consistency of service is quite different from what we’ve come to expect in North America. This is not to say you can’t get attentive, charming service in Spain. It just means in most places you have to be more forward to get what you want. Getting your bill often involves chasing your waiter down...


I learned a new appreciation for fat, especially pork fat. In some of the finer Iberian hams you can truly taste the difference between the pigs’ diets. For example, if the pig was allowed to graze on acorns, that flavour comes clearly through in the meat.


It was fantastic to taste things I had only read about, like cecina, salted and air-cured beef that’s sliced thin. It can also be made from horse, goat, rabbit, but is most commonly made from beef. It was also great to taste fresh products – Valencia oranges in Valencia, almonds in Seville, anchovies, sardines, octopus. And when I say fresh fish, I mean taken out of the ocean that morning and served for lunch. Unfortunately, these are things you just can’t experience in Calgary. You’ll just have to go to Spain.


You haven’t had paella until you’ve had it in Valencia. You’ll know what I mean when you try it. ✤ MARCH APRIL 2013


Not easy being Green by Karen Ralph

Moving to the West Coast in the early 1990s at the height of grunge rock meant that everyone looked like they were trying to get back to the land: toques, long hair, oversized jeans, plaid shirts and jackets, and Air Walk runners. I was working in a restaurant and we strove to impress a group of people who called themselves “foodies.” I thought it was an odd term, more about exclusion than inclusion – everyone eats, but not everyone is a “foodie.” To say they were serious about their food was an understatement, and their enthusiasm for local produce, ethical farming practices and slow food made me appreciate my farm girl roots. For the first time I really understood what my parents were trying to achieve: their own expression of the terroir of the Peace Country. That is, everything they grew and raised was a true expression of the essence of their land, water and specific place. In the late ‘70s, being called a “farmer” was considered an insult and I was not only a farmer’s daughter, I was a surly, teenaged, sheep farmer’s daughter. I didn’t want home-made, rustic foods. I wanted sandwiches on soft, white bread, and I resisted my parents’ efforts to instill satisfaction in eating what we ourselves had raised and produced. My parents believed in hands-on, and, in my case, hands in. I was often put to work gutting chickens or pulling on shoulder-length rubber gloves to help a sheep during a difficult birth. Raising animals to kill and eat seemed cruel and I became a vegetarian at 14, enjoying four years of self-righteously informing our guests that they were eating Snowball the orphaned lamb or the little red hen. As a graduation present, I received a suitcase and moved to the comforts and endless hot water of city life. What I saw in supermarkets repulsed me – slimy white chickens and artificially red meat. Everything was pumped up, shiny and fake, right down to the flavours. The meat in stores bore zero resemblance to what we had raised and butchered ourselves. This had escaped my attention when I still lived at home because even though I had helped with the cooking, I hadn’t done the shopping. The revulsion I felt reaffirmed my belief that avoiding meat was a good idea, until I met a cute Kiwi who showed up for a second date with a leg of lamb under one arm and a bottle of Retsina under the other. After a diet consisting mainly of spaghetti squash served like actual spaghetti, I found the garlic-studded leg of lamb irresistible and 14 years of vegetarianism and a couple of squash gourds flew out the window that night. It was time to re-assess my previous beliefs. Nowadays, the issues are more complex. I feel trapped in the hypocrisy of being an urban dweller/ foodie. It’s time for another re-assessment. Most of us believe in and support the 100-mile diet, the 10-mile diet, being a locavore, shopping at farmers’ markets, and embracing the slogan, “Shopping locally, thinking globally” – at least in theory. But if we really want to reduce our carbon footprint, develop sustainable and eco-friendly modes of living and food production, we can’t continue to develop viable farmland into new suburbs that require longer commutes for those who work downtown but want to live close to nature. We need balance, and real-life farming balances the delight of watching frolicking lambs with slaughtering and butchering animals that you’ve raised; planting and later on digging two acres of potatoes in the cold wind; walking through fields behind a truck picking rocks to ready the land for seeding, followed by a summer of stressing about the weather and finally harvesting, fixing equipment, swathing, combining, drying and hauling grain; waiting as prices rise and fall and watching for the best time to sell. My parents diversified their crops to meet global demand. In addition to canola, barley and rye, they now grow high-quality, certified organic lentils and peas, which are sold and shipped to India for human consumption. They are a contributing link in the global food chain. Thanks to foodies, the Slow Food and Green movements and the proliferation of food shows, there’s a wider recognition of everyone involved in food production. Extending beyond the gloss of super-star TV chefs, farmers are now appreciated, butchers are suddenly sexy and artisanal bakers and cheese-makers are hot. Vegetarians and vegans have taken a convincing stand on the health and global benefits of going meatless. Big multi-national farms are genetically modifying seeds that are disease and drought resistant, and although there is a well-founded concern about GMO foods, if they can be used to combat global food shortages in areas that are traditionally hard to farm, maybe it’s time to rethink our opposition to them. We can all take pleasure in learning about the impact that food and cooking have on shaping culture. I don’t need foodie accoutrements to be a better cook, but I appreciate the beauty, history and design of Samurai-quality knives, copper pots and ergonomic pepper grinders. I believe that buying local, using car shares and planting neighbourhood gardens in empty lots make a difference, but as I sip my delicious Austrian grüner veltliner from German stemware, I don’t feel guilty about it: I’m supporting the global community, and that’s a balanced decision I can live with. At some point I might even revisit spaghetti squash. ✤ Karen Ralph is Red Wine Tongue “pop-up” (of the moment) celebrations and wine adventures.


Stockpot continued from page 54 n Sunshine Village Ski/Snowboard Resort invites you to a Taste of Sunshine. On Friday nights, guests ride up the gondola to the Eagle’s Nest Dining Room at Sunshine Mountain Lodge. A different, internationally inspired evening each month features a four-course dinner with wine pairings every Friday night until the end of ski season in May. Don’t miss it! The dinner is $59 for the food alone, $89 with the wine pairing. Check it out – reserve at 403-762-1109. n Decidedly Jazz Danceworks presents Turn Up the Get Down, Theatre Junction GRAND, 608 - 1st St. SW, April 5-14. Enjoy the many grooves of funk with dancers and a seven-piece band. Tickets at DJD, 403-245-3533 or at n Vastu Chai is an ethically sourced tea line blended from a family recipe that is generations old. The best-loved Traditional Masala blend is made of loose-leaf black tea and eight different spices creating a rich and perfectly balanced Chai Masala. Vastu Chai has built relationships with dedicated Organic and Fair Trade farmer cooperatives in India and Sri Lanka. Find Vastu Chai at Community Natural Foods and Planet Organic in Calgary. ‘make chai, not war’ n In Canmore, Farm Box is a community-supported agriculture-style program that provides sustainably sourced food from local, organic producers to Farm Box customers. Folks invest in a share of a farmer’s harvest for the season, then enjoy a weekly box of fresh fruits and veggies, eggs and grains. Farm Box works within local bio-regions to stimulate the flow of local food from small Alberta and BC producers. Visit for details. n The Eat Canada app names the top 10 Canadian restaurants for the business traveller. The list identifies prime spots to take a client for lunch, to hold a private dinner or to simply enjoy a good meal in an unfamiliar city. In Calgary, Centini is on top. Full information and reviews, plus 200 more fine places for the business traveller, can be found on the Eat Canada app, available at the App Store for $9.99. The Eat Canada website is eatcanada and the link to Eat Canada on the App Store n The AREA Inglewood is a multifaceted venue at 119 - 10th Ave. SE that offers arts, recreation, education and agriculture where people of all ages, abilities and interests can share their talents within the community. AREA offers accessible rental rates for events and workshops, an educational community garden, a local farmers’ market and gatherings for members and friends. Save the date for these upcoming AREA events:

March 23, Membership Gala; May 12, Urban Aggie Day; May 28th, Farmer’s Market Opening. Visit or find us on Facebook for more information! n Culinary & Wine Tour of AlsaceGermany-Austria, October 5-18, with tourmeister Peter Blattmann. Take part in hand’s-on cooking classes with celebrity chefs preparing regional delicacies at historic restaurants. Taste the world’s most acclaimed rieslings and unique grüner veltliners with wine makers at centuries-old estates. Cruise scenic rivers, lined with the world’s steepest vineyards. Indulge in the world-renowned pastries, concerts and operas of Vienna. For details, visit or call 1-403-230-5375 or e-mail blattman@ n Sunny Boy, famous for Sunny Boy Hot Cereal, launched Spelt Pancake & Waffle Mix (available at Planet Organic, Blush Lane Organic Market and Amaranth Whole Foods Market) made from locally grown spelt – a member of the ancient grain family – with a toasty taste and velvety texture. Also, look for Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Steel Cut Multigrain Hot Cereal coming soon to a store near you. A high source of fibre and omega-3 with a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon. n Seasoned Solutions Culinary Tour of Portugal, October 18 to 29, with food maven and culinary tour expert Gail Hall. Port, fabulous fish, seafood, custard tarts, markets, cooking classes and exquisite restaurants are a part of the experience. Participants are guaranteed to be immersed in food culture experiences that are not available to tourists on their own. For a detailed itinerary go to or contact Gail at 780-437-0761 or gail@

PREGO’S cucina italiana lunch • dinner • before theatre • after theatre

Taste the tradition Eau Claire Market On the 2nd level


n Easter at Cococo Chocolatiers (the Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut company) brings you Honey Bunny of milk chocolate, Animal Farm – 12 milk chocolate animals, Molded Bunnies and Mini Eggs, Chocolate Bunny Lollipops, Traditional Chocolate Filled Egg filled with an assortment of chocolates and new Easter Chocolate Bars. Make your kids smile – available at all Cococo locations in Calgary. Valentine’s Day can be fraught with expectations. Expensive dinners in fancy restaurants, for one. n Valentine’s Day can be fraught with expectations. Sometimes, low key is best, like joining the friendly people at The Main Dish where there are no expectations beyond being well fed in casual comfort. Exec chef Bourquin served up a 4-course menu – soup, salad, choice of entrée and dessert with a bottle of good wine – For $120 per couple. Low key, casual, tasty... Done right! MARCH APRIL 2013


quick ways with




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Bitters that we fire into our cocktails are ubiquitous these days. You can even make your own if you feel so inspired. There’s even a book by Brad Thomas Parsons called Bitters. Bitters are most commonly shaken into cocktails to add that intriguing je ne sais quoi that works so nicely to add an edge to the cocktail or to round out its flavour. Why wouldn’t bitters work the same way in your food? In fact, that’s exactly how they work in food – like salt, bitters can help accentuate the other flavours in a dish. After all, we eat bitter food all the time, like salad greens and chocolate.









Kyle Groves, chef of Catch Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Restaurant of the Year 2011

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2/4/11 4:10 PM

But before we get started on what we can do with bitters in our cooking, here’s a rundown on many of the Fee Brothers bitters flavours and how they taste right out of the bottle. Always give bitters a good shake before using. (There’s no alcohol in Fee Brothers bitters.)

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Rhubarb – super true fruit flavour. Add it to your next batch of rhubarb jam or chutney and into your rhubarb pie. Cranberry – the colour is a bit scary red, but good cranberry flavour. A shot or two of this in a cosmo makes your mouth wake up and go “WOW!” Peach – no fruit flavour at all. Tastes like it might be “essence of cyanide,” from the bitter almond oil it’s made from. West Indian Orange – reminds us of the skin of Seville oranges that makes a slightly bitter marmalade. Add a jolt to your marmalade. Since chocolate and orange marry well, a splash would add intriguing intensity to chocolate cake or icing. Lemon – tartly lemony, exactly as you’d expect. Really brings out the lemon juice in a cocktail. Grapefruit – a bit artificial tasting, with none of the zing of the orange and lemon bitters. Cherry – very pale cherry flavour, a bit artificial tasting. Plum – just awful, tastes way too much of the spices that are added rather than plum. Like spices that don’t get cooked enough and taste raw. Celery – tastes exactly as you imagine alien food would taste. Maybe a shake in an herbbased cocktail, like a basil grapefruit or basil drop, would work. Or not. Mint – the colour is grotesquely green, tastes like candy canes. Add it to chocolate icing or cake if you like chocolate mint cookies and candies. Add a splodge of this to a drink along with the red cranberry bitters and call it Christmas. Aztec Chocolate – pretty good, this tastes like an alcoholic chocolate drink without the alcohol. It’s just super in a coffee-based martini. We can imagine a splodge of this in chocolate pudding or chocolate icing to take the edge off the sweet.


Cooking with Bitters... The Parsons’ book Bitters offers this: You don’t need a recipe to take advantage of the concentrated flavour of bitters, just add a dash to stews, soups, sauces and gravies. Frostings and icings too. And chocolate dishes such as fondue or hot fudge would welcome a few dashes of orange bitters. Shake Angostura bitters over roasted veg that you toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. A tasty recipe from Bitters: Sweet & Spicy Bitter Bar Nuts. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread 4 c. mixed unsalted raw nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. While the nuts are toasting, combine in a large bowl 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar, 2 T. melted butter, 2 T. minced fresh rosemary, 1 t. cayenne, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1 T. liquid honey and 1 T. Angostura or other aromatic bitters. Add the warm nuts and mix them to thoroughly coat. Add 1 T. Maldon salt (crumbled) or coarse sea salt and mix again. (We added this step) Spread on the baking sheet and dry in the oven about 10 minutes, heat off, then allow the nuts to air dry a while before pouring into a bowl to serve. Great with drinks tarted up with bitters. 1. Add citrus or Angostura bitters to your meat marinades 2. Try shots of chocolate and/or orange bitters in your chocolate chip cookies. 3. A shot of cranberry or rhubarb bitters adds an interesting note to banana or pumpkin bread or muffins. 4. Use citrus or rhubarb bitters to excite your vinaigrettes. 5. Chocolate bitters drizzled overtop vanilla ice cream... mmmmmmm. 6. Make compound butters with bitters and slick them on grilled steaks, pork or salmon. 7. Google “cooking with bitters” for lots of good ideas.

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animal sacrifices. This neighbourhood was clearly a different kettle of conch soup from chi-chi South Beach. Della pointed out that the Spanish people who colonized Cuba after Columbus landed there in 1492 imported African slaves and then Chinese workers to the island. Whatever other effects these newcomers may have had on the existing population of Caribbean Indian peoples, the rich mix of influences on Cuba’s culture and cuisine means that African taro root, plantains and bananas, and the classic Chinese juxtaposition of sweet with sour, are as much a part of the culinary heritage of Cuba as Spain’s arroz con pollo. But that was Cuba, and we were in the United States. In the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Cubans immigrated to the Miami region, fleeing the rule of Communist leader Fidel Castro. Many of them settled in a neighbourhood just west of downtown Miami that soon became known as Little Havana. Over the years, some of these ex-pats moved on to chicer addresses and immigrants from Central and South America diluted the Cuban demographic. Della’s tour took us along the main street, Calle Ocho, from galleries glowing with vibrant Cuban-American paintings to The Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company, where cigar-makers puff on their wares while rolling new ones. There was time for a quick ham croquette at hoppin’ local hangout El Pub, its walls festooned with CubanAmerican baseball memorabilia. We gulped down freshly pressed sugar cane juice (called guarapo) amidst heaps of huge Florida avocados, bonito, and papayas at the open-air fruit market called Los Pinareneos Fruteria, whose roosters wandered around its back alley. Finally, we sat down at Exquisito for a lip-smacking medianoche (midnight sandwich), a favourite of hardworking Cuban factory workers whose companies moved to Key West in the 1920s and ’30s. They’d get home late and make these sandwiches with egg bread, ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, garlic pickles, mustard, and matchstick potatoes on the side. They’re as delectable in their own way as SoBe’s scallop tiraditos. Evidently, Miami’s culinary adventure never quits. It’s one delicious town. ✤

Kate Zimmerman admits she only spent seven minutes at a hip Miami rooftop bar and the rest of her time joyfully pigging out.

city palate crossword solution

i m a Mi


Congrats to everyone who completed the crossword

puzzle published in the last issue of City Palate! There were more entries than ever before but in the end there were only two people that got everything correct. We decided to give away two sets of tickets instead of just one:

Congratulations to Jean Rawling and Jim & Susan Stein who won two tickets to ATP's Wine Tasting Fundraiser, Flavours of BC’s Naramata Bench.





















catering beyond delicious...

last meal Winter and “spring” are tough times for the intrepid foodie in Calgary. We must adapt to make the best of what we can find, hence a celery salad followed by curried chicken.


There are excellent chickens available to us – my favourite is Maple Hill Farms’ chicken from BC’s Fraser Valley that I get at Second to None Meats. For the ricotta cake I suggest searching for the fresh cheese from White Gold, a local producer who is doing a fantastic job with soft ripened Italian cheeses such as burrata, mozzarella and ricotta, I get mine at the factory at #6, 1319 - 45th Ave. NE, open daily except Sunday. You can also find it at Say Cheese Fromagerie, Mercato and The Cookbook Co. Cooks. So often with food it’s the small details that allow simple foods to shine. Good olive oil, salt and cheese, for example, transform something as plain as celery into a thing of beauty and these ingredients, happily, are available all year round.


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722-11th Avenue SW Phone 403-265-6066, ext. #2

Celery Salad Curried Butter-Glazed Chicken with Cucumber Raita

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Almond Citrus Ricotta Cake Wine recommedation: despite the intensity of the curry butter, most of it cooks off on the grill so the curry flavours are quite mild. If you want to serve red wine I recommend a pinot noir, but I prefer white with this dish. A nice option is the Tablas Creek 2010 Cotes de Tablas Blanc ($35). It is a delicious blend of white Rhône varietals produced by the illustrious Château de Beaucastel from its California operation.

Celery Salad

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Celery is overlooked as a stand-alone ingredient, but dress it up with some parmesan and good olive oil and you have a simple, refreshing salad. It’s high in fiber and current research indicates it helps lower blood pressure as well. The root (celeriac) makes a great addition to mashed potatoes. Just peel it and cut it into the same size pieces as your potatoes. I like to use 2 parts spuds to 1 part celeriac. Boil them all together and then mash as usual. I often add thinly sliced fennel to this salad for a fresh variation. 5 stalks fresh celery, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal, 1/8-inch thick good olive oil

Cucumber Mint Raita 1 c. plain Greek yogurt

balsamic vinegar

1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped fine

Maldon salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

1/2 c. (packed) fresh mint, finely chopped

1 wedge parmesan cheese

juice of 2 limes

Place celery (and fennel slices from 1 bulb, if using) on a small serving platter and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Use a sharp potato peeler to strip parmesan curls from the wedge and sprinkle them liberally over the celery. Serves 4.

1/2 t. salt pinch of cumin pinch of turmeric

Mix all the ingredient together in a small bowl and serve.

Geoff Last

Keep it simple and seasonal

Curried Butter-Glazed Chicken

Almond Citrus Ricotta Cake

I created this recipe as a cross of sorts between two of my favourite Indian dishes, butter chicken and tandoori chicken. You could roast the chicken pieces in a 400°F. oven (place them on a rack in a baking dish with steep sides and roast for about 1/2 hour) but the recipe works best on the barbecue. Besides, as Canadians, it’s our patriotic duty to barbecue all year round, regardless of the weather. It’s imperative that you use the top rack of the barbecue (or indirect heat on your grill) or the butter and chicken fat will create flames and char the chicken. I often double this recipe even when cooking for four since it makes great leftovers.

10 oz. fresh ricotta (I recommend White Gold ricotta, made locally)

1 large free-range roasting chicken, cut into pieces 4 oz. (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 t. each ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric and salt 1 t. finely grated fresh ginger 1/2 t. each hot paprika and ground black pepper 1/4 t. cinnamon

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Place the butter in a small mixing bowl and add all the spices. Mix well with a fork and then rub the spiced butter vigorously into the chicken pieces with your hands, spreading the mixture as evenly as possible. Refrigerate the chicken pieces, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Light the grill and let it heat for about 1/2 hour. Remove the chicken from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature for about 1/2 hour. Grill the pieces until done, about 15 minutes for the wings, 20 or so for the larger pieces. A lot of the butter cooks off but enough remains to add great flavour and turn the skin wonderfully crisp and golden brown. Serve with cucumber/mint raita. Serves 4.

zest from 4 lemons, juice of 2 lemons zest from 3 oranges, juice from 1 orange (blood oranges work best when you can get them) 1 c. coarsely ground blanched almonds 1/4 c. plus 1 T. unbleached white flour 2 sticks (8 oz). unsalted butter, room temperature 3/4 c. white sugar 6 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 320°F. Line the bottom of a 10” spring form pan with parchment paper and butter the pan and paper.

Lunch | Dinner | Late Night 1919 4th Street SW | | @CandelaCalgary

Place the ricotta in a small bowl, add the citrus juices and mix well. Combine the ground nuts with flour and citrus zests in a medium bowl and mix. Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl until it is pale and smooth. Add the egg yolks to butter/ sugar mixture one at a time, beating after each addition, and then stir in the almond mixture. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture then stir in the ricotta. Spoon the mixture into a prepared pan and place it on a baking sheet (some of the butter will leak out) and bake for about 70 minutes until the top is golden and a tester comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for about 20 minutes, run a small sharp knife around the side of the pan and release. Serve warm with a dollop of lemon gelato or fruit compote (both are optional; the cake stands very well all on its own). The cake can be served cool or at room temperature but it loses some of its light texture once it cools. It keeps well for up to a week, covered, in the fridge. Serves 8.  MARCH APRIL 2013


back burner

Allan Shewchuk

S h e w c h u k on s i mme r


If you had to describe my relationship with television, you would probably end up using the word “estranged.” Over the years I have drifted away from watching the tube at night, as I prefer to pretend to do an extended scrub-down of the kitchen after dinner to allow for a further couple of nips from the open wine bottle as I “tidy up” before bed. Also, like most people, I now find surfing the internet more compelling than the endless reruns of syndicated shows or the same tired movies that seem to just loop over and over (I can now do the entire script of Hunt for Red October complete with Sean Connery’s voice). And, more importantly, given that my bride feels that my time in front of the television is a rejection of our love, I’ve fallen out of the habit of drifting downstairs to see what’s on so I don’t nightly break her heart. However, I recently found myself out of town on business in a hotel on a night where it was minus 35° with the wind howling down the streets. I decided to stay warm and dry in my room and watch some telly. What struck me after the first 15 minutes of remote control flicking was that the Bruce Springsteen tune “57 Channels and Nothing On” was pretty damned accurate. Go figure – television is, in fact, a vast wasteland. After nearly getting a blister on my channel changer thumb trying to find something to watch, I finally ended up on the Food Network where, on Tuesdays, there’s a double episode of the series Chopped. For those of you who don’t know, Chopped is another of those “elimination competition” style cooking shows where chefs are each given the same set of ingredients and have a time limit to create a dish that is then judged by a panel. The losing chef on each course is “chopped” and does a slow motion walk of shame out of the kitchen. The twist in the Chopped contest is that the basket of ingredients given for each dish is always so bizarre that one has to wonder if mental patients are let off the ward to do the grocery shopping. On the night I tuned in the poor cooks were asked to create a dish out of sardines, Limburger cheese, goat kidneys and pink marshmallows. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but not by much. From what I saw, it would not be a stretch to see a basket with four random things you would find in your fridge or pantry on any given day that you’d picked out blindfolded. And, although I admit it makes for a few intriguing moments of television viewing, I found the whole thing off-putting. In the first place, it was ultra-stressful, as I think you would have to be a mental patient yourself to figure out how to prepare and plate the weird mélange in those baskets with the clock ticking down. I found it even more gut-wrenching to listen to the panel of chef judges absolutely savage the dishes being presented, as if it should be simple for someone to concoct a three-star dish out of stuff that would normally only be combined to slop the hogs. Some judges were positively bitchy about the fact that the pink marshmallows were not used “creatively” enough with the sardines. Gimme a break! I would be lucky to turn out a plate that didn’t look like landfill under those circumstances. In the real world, I find the food biz to be the direct opposite of the Chopped scenario. It’s the simple things that seem to get botched the most. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone to a restaurant only to find that the kitchen couldn’t even prepare a decent green salad. No bizarre ingredients here, folks – just lettuce and a vinaigrette, and yet, more often than not, it gets screwed up. I think it’s actually harder to make good food with a few simple ingredients than it is if you get to run wild in your pantry. The best examples come from my beloved Italy, where something like a basic tomato basil sauce, made with just three ingredients, is pure culinary bliss. I would point out to the judges on Chopped that the last time I was in Rome, I didn’t find one pasta dish that creatively used pink marshmallows. I think if you even suggested that to an Italian chef you would end up with something chopped. And, I assure you, it wouldn’t be a salad. Allan Shewchuk is a lawyer by day, and an Italian ”chef,” wine taster and food writer by night. Sometimes he tastes wine before nightfall.




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City Palate March April 2013  

The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene The Travel Issue

City Palate March April 2013  

The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene The Travel Issue