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the wine issue citypalate.ca

MAY JUNE 2014


PIZZA

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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TASTE LOCAL QUALITY The snow has melted off the BBQ, the sun is out and Alberta pork is healthy, tasty and locally grown. What more reason do you need to celebrate? Join us in welcoming summer, the BBQ season and delicious Alberta pork on the grill. Throughout the month of June visit these Calgary restaurants to taste delicious feature pork dishes:

Avec Black Pig Bistro Blink Boxwood Cibo downtownfood FARM Restaurant Hotel Arts and Yellow Door Bistro Meez Cuisine and Catering Model Milk Winebar Kensington

DON’T MISS THE PIG & PINOT FESTIVAL ON JUNE 18 AND CHECK PASSIONFORPORK.COM TO SEE MORE EVENTS THAT WILL KEEP THE ALBERTA PORK PARTY GOING ALL MONTH LONG. 6

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014


CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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contents City Palate May June 2014

features

30 n Poring over Wine

Calgary wine professionals talk wine books in-between popping corks Tonya Lailey

DINE[IN] HA PPY CHICKENS go urm e t to go

32 n A Pinot Primer

All about pinot noir and its mutant children Shelley Boettcher

34 n The Iron Sommelier

2 dishes, 3 sommeliers, 3 judges, and... oh, wow! 12 wines Karen Anderson

40 n Building and Stocking Wine Cellars

Shelley Boettcher

44 n From the Farm to the Market... Meet your local farmers Don Clapson

48 n Salad Pot Gardening

Get your salad greens going early... in pots on your balcony or deck Ellen Kelly

50 n All I Really Need To Know I Learned

from the Food Network

Linda Kupecek

52 n The Bitter Truth

Goose your drinks with a shot of bitters you made yourself Karen Ralph

59 n 15 Things I Learned from my Culinary Adventure In India

G ATHER by o ur he a rt h or yo u rs

City Palate’s Third Culinary Travel Grant recipient reveals the “real” India Eden Hrabec

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

4611 BOWNESS ROAD NW 403.288.4372

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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city palate

NEW LOOK NEW MENU NEW ATTITUDE

Best Steak 2013

editor Kathy Richardier (kathy@citypalate.ca) publisher Gail Norton (gail@citypalate.ca)

Birks Silver Spoon 2013

magazine design Carol Slezak, Yellow Brick Studios (carol@citypalate.ca) contributing editor Kate Zimmerman

EXPERIENCE THE NEW RUSH

CELEBRATING OVER 10 YEARS AS CALGARY’S BEST STEAKHOUSE WWW.VINTAGECHOPHOUSE.COM

contributing photographers Carol Slezak Kathy Richardier for advertising enquiries, please contact advertising@citypalate.ca

bold, brash... evolved. 403.271.7874 www.rushoceanprime.com /RushOceanPrime @RushOceanPrime

contributing writers Karen Anderson Shelley Boettcher Kevin Brooker Dan Clapson Eden Hrabec Ellen Kelly Linda Kupecek Tonya Lailey Geoff Last Jenni Neidhart B.J. Oudman Karen Ralph Allan Shewchuk Julie Van Rosendaal

320 11 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB 403-262-7262 /vintagechophouse @vintagechop

account executives Janet Henderson (janet@citypalate.ca) Ellen Kelly (ellen@citypalate.ca) Liz Tompkins (liz@citypalate.ca) prepress/printing CentralWeb distribution Gallant Distribution Systems Inc. The Globe and Mail

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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 Subscriptions are available for $35 per year within Canada and $45 per year outside Canada.

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website management Jane Pratico (jane@citypalate.ca)

Editorial Enquiries: Please email kathy@citypalate.ca For questions or comments please contact us via our website:

citypalate.ca


contents City Palate May June 2014

CONTEST CLOSES JUNE 30, 2014

departments

13 n word of mouth

Notable culinary happenings around town

15 n eat this

What to eat in May and June Ellen Kelly

Win a year’s supply* of 16 n drink this

Redefining Chianti Geoff Last

18 n get this

Must-have kitchen stuff Karen Anderson

* Enter to win a year’s supply (up to $700) worth of Vega products at each of our Calgary Amaranth locations. No purchase necessary. Visit store for details.

20 n one ingredient

Salmon Julie Van Rosendaal

24 n feeding people

Meet the butcher B.J. Oudman

26 n the sunday project

Your own private tamalada with Kevin Brooker

28 n well matched

Made-in-heaven food and wine pairings Jenni Neidhart and Metrovino

Fresh

The opposite of fun Allan Shewchuk

LOCAL Welln

Featured Product

Local

Keep it simple and seasonal Geoff Last

62 n back burner... shewchuk on simmer

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ORGANIC

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JOIN US FOR OUR BIRTHDAY SALE!

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PROUDLY SERVING CALGARY FOR 22 YEARS!


word of mouth Notable culinary happenings around town

City Palate’s culinary travel grant winner... upcoming 20 for 20 events Chefly Screen Shots, May 7. We partner with Calgary Folk Music Festival and Calgary Underground Film Festival to present silent films featuring 14 Calgary chefs, live music and food that references the food prepared in the films. Fun! Tickets: cheflyscreenshots.eventbrite.ca and calgaryfolkfest.com (See the ad, page 14.) 20 for 20 Wrap-Up Party, June 9. Olé! City Palate wraps up our year of 20 for 20 celebrations with a sexy summer soirée at Ox & Angela – tapas, paella, porron pouring, sherry tasting and flamenco! Tickets: citypalatewrapparty.eventbrite.ca. (See the ad, page 55.)

Congratulations to Jeff Lusis, a junior sous chef at Alloy. Jeff sent us a beautifully written, detailed essay about his plans for use of the travel grant. He will do a stage (apprenticeship) with Alma restaurant in Los Angeles that does new American cuisine and sustainable farming in Venice, Ca. Then, he’ll do a stage at Aska in New York City, new Nordic-style cuisine that works well with our local ingredients. We had an avalanche of good applications and thank all of you talented chefly types for applying. Sharpen your pencils for next year!

yummy burgers every time

celebrate spring...

If you like a good burger that’s a little adventurous, head to The Main Dish in Bridgeland on May 24, noon to 4 p.m., for the annual Celebrity Burger Cook-Off. Main Dish chefs team up with local celebrities and Olympians to cook tasty burgers to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta. Vote for your fave. They’re all winners, but one will take the prize. Take your big appetite and have fun!

At the Calgary Farmers’ Market at “Taste the Market,” Friday May 23, 6-9 p.m. There will be live music, candlelight, wine poured by J. Webb Wine Merchant, beer from Wild Rose Brewery and lots of tasting of market goodies from more than 25 vendors. You can shop, too. Tickets are $10 purchased at tastethemarket.eventbrite.ca or at the market’s customer information desk. Don’t miss this party! Details at calgaryfarmersmarket.ca.

city palate’s

pig & pinot festival fourth annual

tasty, tangy and fruity Fresh and full of pulp, Oil and Vinegar’s newest vinegar, mango pulp, has a great fresh taste. It’s amazing on salads and with many other dishes, like baked white fish and smoked salmon – even gives ice-cream a tasty, fruity tang. Try it in a Bellini, a light, easy cocktail made with sparkling wine or San Pelligrino for a non-alcoholic version.

living and growing in a bubble SAIT now has an off-grid, four-season bubble greenhouse to keep plants growing through the winter. The high-tech greenhouse uses soap bubbles, solar panels and biodiesel from cooking oil waste to function year-round. The greenhouse, which supports the Highwood Dining Room and other culinary venues on campus, was developed in partnership with SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism and the Green Building Technologies team in Applied Research and Innovation Services. Built with support from Shane Homes and located in Jackson’s Garden, the walls of this modern greenhouse are lined with a unique “soap bubble” technology, providing insulation to keep the greenhouse warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The soap bubbles are delivered through ductwork and dissipated into the roof and walls. We think this is too cool for school!

nut butters from going nuts These yummy nut butters are made from dry-roasted nuts, so they aren’t oily. The hazelnuts are grown in British Columbia so they’re always fresh. The chocolate hazelnut butter is made from only hazelnuts and chocolate chips. The jars are $10 for 275g. Super flavourful and great texture. Find them at the Calgary Farmers’ and Crossroads Farmers’ Markets and Save on Foods.

Alberta cheeses were winners at the Canadian Cheese Awards: Sylvan Star won best smoked cheese with its natural smoked gouda, which also won best Alberta cheese! Noble Meadows Farm won best farmstead with its plain soft goat cheese and Crystal Springs for best feta/cheese in brine. Calgary’s own Janice Beaton of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese was one of the judges.

good wine, good price Tuesday nights at Cinquecento Cucina in Inglewood features $5 glasses all night on tasty bottles of wine. You love wine, go check it out, and you could probably eat something too – to go with the wine. What a notion! 1003 - 9th Ave. SE.

food on foot... Calgary Food Tours Inc. launches its touring season May 31 with 5 tours per week (most weeks). Tickets, calendar and detailed descriptions of each tour can be found at the newly updated calgaryfoodtours.com.

read these

tickets on sale now Don’t miss City Palate’s 4th annual Pig & Pinot Festival, Wednesday, June 18 at Hotel Arts. Teams of talented chefs will work their magic on locally raised piggies from Broek Pork Acres, while pinots from around the world are served up by some of our fine wine stores. Plus – a slient auction, live music, a wine raffle and more! Proceeds go to Meals on Wheels. Tickets are available now for this popular event: pigandpinotcalgary. eventbrite.ca. (See the ad, page 33.)

prize-winning cheese

yyc cooks maui The annual Maui AgFest gathered some of our top chefs in Hawaii to share cooking duties with local chefs – a tasty time was had by all. L to R: From CHARCUT, Connie DeSousa and John Jackson, chef Sheldon Simeon of Migrant and Top Chef Seattle fame, Jessica Pelland of Charbar (CHARCUT’s new place opening in 2015) and Pierre Lamielle, a Top Chef Canada contender. (Contributed by Jessie P. Cayabo, Immedia PR.)

Kick off your gardening season with local illustrator Carolyn Fisher’s childrens’ picture book, Weeds Find a Way (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books, hard cover, $19.99). Writer Cindy Jenson-Elliott’s poetic text celebrates the tenacity of weeds, but it’s all about the illustrations. Support your local illustrator!

Myra’s Best Soulful Helpings, Inspired cooking by Myra Stein (self-published, $32.99) tells the story of how she used cooking to keep herself clean and sober, after living with alcoholism, by sharing her love of food with family and friends. Full of simple tasty recipes, every one of which is illustrated. In addition, you’ll find Myra’s Best, biscotti and baked goods, at local coffee shops and cafés. myrasbest.com.

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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city palate 1993 – 2013

CELEBRATING 20 DELICIOUS YEARS wITh 20 DELICIOUS EvENTS

14 chefs on the big screen, live music and great food... this is going to be fun!

Starring: Jackie Cooke Kevin Kent Nathan Head Kevin Turner Aviv Fried Judy Wood Justin Leboe Rogelio Herrera Nicole Gomes Xavier Lacaze Michal Lavi Glen Manzer Matthew Altizer Steve Smee

Join us for... Chefly Screen Shots: Raw Footage wednesday, May 7th, 7 pm City Palate partners with Calgary Folk Music Festival and Calgary Underground Film Festival to present a series of black and white silent films featuring Calgary chefs doing what they do best - cooking! - captured by Calgary filmmaker Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi. At the same time, musician Chris Vail and his band play live music, composed specifically for the occasion. After the screening, the crowd will enjoy appetizers that merrily reference the food prepared in the films. An evening that celebrates the artistry of food. Location: Festival Hall, 1215 - 10 Ave. SE, in Inglewood Doors open at 6:30. Show starts at 7. Food & wine served 8-9:30 pm. Tickets: $60pp, cheflyscreenshots.eventbrite.ca and calgaryfolkfest.com

Food. Film. Music. Fun!

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20 KM WEST OF SPRUCE MEADOWS


eat this

Ellen Kelly

What to eat in May and June

Finally, time to leave winter behind in earnest. I suppose there have been springs as desperately anticipated, but I’m at a loss to say when. Although it’s now officially spring, we’re still dependent on seasonal goods from afar, at least until our own local crops have had time to ripen. Exceptions would be hardy perennial herbs like chives and, not to be sniffed at, mint. Artichokes are often available all year, but the new crop from down south will include the smaller, more delicate buds. We still crave sweet luscious fruit, and until we have peaches, plums and apricots, the tropics supply us with pineapples, papaya and, best of all, mangos.

Every garden should sport a messy corner where the MINT of your choice can gleefully threaten the rest of the garden. Or, if you can’t keep it at bay, contain its zeal in a large pot to use for everything from cucumber yogurt raita to tangy lime mojitos. Mint even goes beyond the culinary to refresh tired feet. Infuse a few sprigs in about 2 litres of boiling water and leave the water to cool slightly. Strain, or not, and soak your tired tootsies in the scented bath while sipping mint tea for the full effect.

Spring and summer is MANGO season with most of the fruit we see coming from Mexico. Weighing about a pound, with colourful red, orange and green skin and smooth firm yellow flesh, the Tommy Atkins is probably the most common mango found in the markets. Mangos are perfect for making sorbets, ice cream and milkshakes, or for just spooning over vanilla ice cream and pound cake or as part of a fruit salad. Make a purée when there are lots of inexpensive mangos and freeze to use any time you like. Simply peel and seed the fruit and purée the flesh in a food processor with a little lime juice and dark rum (optional), then pass through a sieve to remove any fibre. Toss cubed fruit in a little lime juice and gin (yes, gin!) for a simple, luscious dessert. Let the fruit macerate for 15-20 minutes and serve topped with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Make a sweet lassi (a popular chilled yogurt or buttermilk drink) by blending ice, yogurt or buttermilk and mango purée in a blender.

The California coastal region really does have the ideal climate for these huge perennial thistles, ARTICHOKES. This is the time of year we are most likely to find the small artichokes, ideally the size of a walnut. For artichoke fritters beyond compare, trim and halve or quarter 2-3 lbs. small artichokes and toss in a little fresh lemon juice. No need to remove the “choke.” Make a batter by mixing together 1 egg yolk, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 c. biscuit mix (Bisquick, stay with me!), 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. mashed garlic, 1/4 c. finely chopped onion and 1 T. chopped parsley, then beat the egg white until stiff and fold into the batter. Drain the artichoke and blot dry. Toss the artichokes in a little cornstarch and vigorously shake off the excess. Dip the pieces in the batter and fry in 2 inches of oil heated to 350°F. Fry a few at a time, don’t crowd the pan, until golden, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve hot. Heaven!

Illustrations by Pierre Lamielle

BUY: Choose mint (usually spearmint or peppermint in supermarkets) with evenly coloured leaves showing no brown spots or wilting. Trim the stems at the bottom and put in a jar of water covered with a plastic bag. Keep in the fridge for up to a week or more, changing the water every two days. Keep all fresh herbs this way; treat them as you would cut flowers. TIPS: If you have bothersome squirrels, as I do, try placing cotton balls doused with a few drops of peppermint oil in the most ravaged planters. It works quite well, at least until it rains. DID YOU KNOW? There are many varieties of mint beyond peppermint and spearmint. If you’re growing your own, look for orange (or apple mint), a round-leaf mint that is less invasive and milder in flavour. Give mint lots of water and plenty of snow cover in the winter. Renew every 3-4 years as the centre dies out and the plant gets woody.

BUY: Your sense of smell and touch will serve you well in choosing a ripe mango. A slight yielding to gentle pressure and a soft, fruity fragrance, especially at the stem end, is optimal. TIPS: Mangos have a large flat oval pit in the centre of the fruit. I find it easier to peel the fruit after the seed is removed, as the flesh is slippery and hard to hang onto while peeling. Stand the mango on its end and slice from top to bottom against either side of the flat seed. Peel the flesh on the “cheeks” and chop or purée. The juicy flesh left on the seed is the “chef’s portion,” but be prepared to get a little sticky while enjoying it! DID YOU KNOW? Throughout the tropics, mangos are considered an important staple food, not unlike apples in more temperate zones. They are prepared in both sweet and savoury dishes, used ripe and unripe in chutneys, pickles and salads and can be bought fresh, canned, dried and powdered.

BUY: Regardless of size, large or small, purchase artichokes that are heavy for their size, unblemished and tightly closed. Look for vibrant colour, whether bright or lime green or touched with purple. TIPS: It’s a bit of a production to prepare larger artichokes. Start by pulling off the tougher leaves around the base and trim the stem. If you’re stuffing large artichokes, steam until the base or “heart” is relatively easy to pierce with a skewer. Cool enough to handle and open the bud to reveal the hairy centre or “choke.” With a sharp-edged spoon, carefully dig out the choke, leaving the fleshy heart intact. Stuff the centre and in between the leaves with a stuffing of your choice – shrimp or sausage with buttery herbed bread, or whatever takes your fancy. Arrange the stuffed artichokes in a baking dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes in a 375°F oven, until the stuffing and the edges of the artichokes are brown and crisped. Serve one per person with a little tarragon or walnut oil aioli. DID YOU KNOW? If you can find them, artichokes that are left to bloom are especially stunning, creating a display of large bluish-purple thistle flowers. In the right spot in the garden, a juvenile plant can be very decorative.

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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drink this

Geoff Last

Redefining Chianti

In the wide world of wine, Tuscany, and the Chianti region in particular, has redefined itself in a manner that’s rare for old world regions. Tuscany has produced high quality wine for many decades, thanks to the efforts of pioneers like Ferrucio Biondi Santi and Giacomo Tachis (of Sassicaia fame), but their leads were not immediately followed. In Chianti, the wickerbasket plonk of yore dominated much of the region’s wine landscape for many years, both domestically and abroad, but when the shift to quality began it was fast and furious. Sangiovese is the grape that forms the backbone of Chianti, and many of the region’s best wines are now fashioned entirely from this varietal. Antiquated laws burdened the region for many years, forcing wine makers to include traditional – and now obscure – grapes like malvasia bianca (a white grape) and colorino in the blends alongside sangiovese. If you didn’t include these grapes, or if you wanted to blend in an outside varietal such as merlot (now common in Chianti and other Tuscan regions), you were forced to sell your wine under the lowly vino di tavola denomination. This law effectively begat the unofficial “super-Tuscan” category, a term that implied that these wines were far superior to lowly table wine. In classic Old World wine regions change does not come easily, but change it did. The formula for modern Chianti now embraces the charm and character of sangiovese. It must account for a minimum of 80 percent of the blend and up to 100 percent if desired. International varietals such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot are now permitted along with other red varietals that are cultivated in the region. Chianti is currently subdivided into eight geographical regions: n Classico – the most famous of the Chianti wines. Production is limited to an area between Florence and Siena n Colli Aretini – hills towards Arezzo n Colli Fiorentini – hills around Florence n Colli Senesi – hills around Siena n Colline Pisane – hills towards Pisa n Montalbano – Montalbano hills around Pistoia n Montespertoli – hills around Montespertoli n Rufina – hills near Rufina to the east of Florence

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The Classico region accounts for the vast majority of wine produced in the area and it includes designations for Chianti Classico Riserva (which must be aged longer than basic Classico) and – as of this year – a new top tier called Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. This wine must be produced entirely from estate-grown fruit and aged for at least 30 months, including three months in the bottle. The wines are also subjected to an independent tasting panel for evaluation. There are a number of producers who feel this new tier is simply unnecessary and confusing to consumers. These geographical limitations have been in place for hundreds of years, and while they serve as practical reference points on a map, they fall short in defining the various terroirs that lend individuality to the region’s wines. This is where Franco Bernabei comes into the picture. He’s a highly regarded and awarded Italian oenologist who consults for more than 30 wineries, including superstar producers like Felsina and Fontodi. He is the maestro of sangiovese and he’s made it his goal to redefine the region‘s delimitations to account for the differences in soils, micro-climates and vegetation, the key components of the concept of terroir. In addition, he’s identifying the numerous clones of sangiovese within the region and mapping their various characteristics (Brunello di Montalcino from the neighbouring


Montalcino area is produced from a specific clone of sangiovese, for example). Dubbed the Enoproject, this effort has become a lifelong endeavour that he and his team have been working on since 1993. There’s been much debate on the concept of terroir and its impact on wine, especially where soils and minerals are concerned. Minerality is a common descriptor in wine tasting notes and there’s no doubt that grapes grown in mineral-rich soils tend to display mineral characteristics in the wine, despite a lack of scientific evidence to explain how root systems can transfer those characteristics to the fruit. In fact, most of the current research to date suggests they can’t. In defense of terroir, there are examples like Burgundy where the concept seems obvious. Within a single vineyard there can be numerous plots that possess distinct soil types; the top of the hill may be heavy in calcium while the lower plots may contain a lot of clay, for example. If you take a single varietal – in this case chardonnay or pinot noir – from identical rootstock (and all planted at the same time) and expose the plants to virtually identical growing conditions in terms of sunshine and rainfall, the results should be uniform in flavour (the grapes are typically picked in blocks relative to their location and vinified as such). Yet when you taste the wines from these individual lots, the distinctions are often obvious even to the casual taster. In Bernabei’s research, he has identified key minerals – most notably calcium and potassium – that are traceable through to the finished wine. Other elements, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are negligible. Bernabei has proposed a redefinition of Chianti’s zones based on terroir and clonal identification, more akin to what you would see in Bordeaux, for example. These proposals now sit with the consortium that oversees the region and they are being taken very seriously. Of course, this is Italy and change can easily sink into the quicksand of bureaucracy, but considering the changes that have already occurred in the region, we may well see this redefinition within a few years. So there you have your wine-geek update on Chianti. But perhaps the more important question is what does modern Chianti offer the wine drinker? The case for terroir is made once again when you consider that the sangiovese grape rarely – if ever – tastes like it does when it is transplanted outside of Tuscany, and many have tried.

Blended to

Perfection

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

Taste the tradition Eau Claire Market On the 2nd level

403-233-7885

Doug Shafer – who makes one of California’s most illustrious cabernet sauvignons – produced a sangiovese that he sold under the name Firebreak. The wine was pricy but it sold well, yet he eventually ripped the vines out. When I asked him why his answer was simple: “Why should I make sangiovese that I have to sell for upwards of $50 a bottle when consumers can go out and buy great Chianti that is superior to mine for $20 less a bottle?” Point taken. I love Chianti for its winning combination of vibrant acidity and that gorgeous core of smoky cherry fruit. It’s highly versatile as a food mate and it’s a wine that tastes like where it comes from. In a world increasingly dominated by wines that are “internationally” styled, this is something to treasure. Cheers! In Alberta we are fortunate to have access to a good swath of top Chianti. Here are a few of my favourites: (L to R) Felsina Chianti Classico 2011, $31 If I was forced to pick but one Chianti house, Felsina would be it. It was one of the first wineries to buck the system and produce a wine made entirely from sangiovese, called Fontalloro. The Chianti Classico can be counted on to deliver in spades; it’s vibrant and slightly smoky with a core of dark cherry fruit and soft tannins – a real crowd pleaser. Fontodi Chianti Classico 2009, $38 This Chianti is a great effort, full-bodied and very ripe with notes of red berries and smoked meat backed by vibrant acidity. A delicious wine from this Tuscan gem. Poggerino Chianti Classico 2011, $29 Poggerino is a small organic/biodynamic estate in Radda in Chianti producing a delicious range of wines. This is classic Classico, with soft chewy red fruit-leather notes of wild strawberries and blueberries with some underlying minerality and a hint of cigar box. It’s not widely distributed but worth searching for. Geoff Last is the Manager at Bin 905

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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IT’S NEVEr bEEN EaSIEr TO...

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picnic in the park with ruckles

• Salt water pool, stunning gardens, gated parking and courtyards

First it was the name of an Irish immigrant family who were early settlers on Salt Spring Island. Then it became the name of a provincial park when, in 1972, that same family, the Ruckles, donated their land to preserve this spectacular strip of shoreline for public use. In honour of that family and place it is the name of Salt Spring Island Cheese Company’s latest offering. We think these little ruckles logs of soft chèvre are perfect for picnics in any park, anywhere, anytime. Pick some up at Janice Beaton Fine Cheese, spread a blanket in your park and enjoy the velvety garlic and herb flavours on your favourite crackers or baguette. Sip something soothing and sigh, if you will. Spring and summer are short. We need to drink and eat them in.

• Situated in the bustling town of Olonzac, an area surrounded by vineyards and olive groves; unsurpassed natural beauty for walking, biking and relaxing • Half hour drive to the Mediterranean sea, Narbonne and historic Carcassonne, 10 minutes to the beautiful Canal du Midi • Canadian development company with decades of experience Visit us at: jardindecharlotte.com Contact us: david.furneaux@gmail.com (Calgarian, English speaking)

Salt Spring Island Cheese Ruckles, $19.95/8oz, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese

who says water and wine don’t mix… If you were squeezed into a café on a Paris sidewalk, the waiter would plunk down a carafe and the same two stubby glasses whether you had ordered wine or water. This Spiegelau Balloon Decanter and Tumblers Set, made in Germany of lead-free crystal, elevates that café feeling with the beauty and lightness of the design and the great “handfeel.” There’s also the practicality of being able to pop them into your dishwasher since its unlikely a white-shirted, black bow-tied Parisian waiter is going to pop by to whisk them away for you. For really hot days, use this set to cool things down with a batch of G&Ts or Aperol spritzers. There’s nothing like a great decanter to inspire putting a little more than water and wine into summer’s mix. Spiegelau Balloon Decanter and Tumblers Set, $79.99, The Compleat Cook

a finishing touch for the harbingers of spring Each year we wait for Innisfail Growers’ Edgar Farm’s asparagus to poke their purple-headed tender crisp green spears from the 27 acres the Edgars now have in production. It’ll usually happen in mid-May and it’s all over just six short weeks later. During the fray of picking, this gregarious family welcomes visitors for its annual Asparagus Festival on Sundays (June 1, 8 and 15 this year). Eat your Edgar’s asparagus raw, dip it in your new lemonaise, buy the odd bits for soups, or make it our favourite way – slicked in olive oil, grilled until slightly charred and served immediately with a good grind of salt and pepper and a drizzling finish of Tartufo Nero – black truffle oil – from Italy. The taste? Peace and harmony, addictive umami, and sadness that the season is only six weeks long. Pignatelli Condimento al Tartufo Nero, $23.95/55ml or $74.95/250ml, The Cookbook Co. Cooks

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014


Karen Anderson

Must-have kitchen stuff

orange you glad... ...it’s almost summer and we can sip seasonally savvy drinks to keep our cool as the days heat up. A pot of Roiboos iced tea becomes exotic with a few jigs of DaVinci Gourmet Orange Classic Syrup or add it to club soda with lots of ice for a non-alcohol spritzer. Serve up yummy little orange brownies by melting 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1/4 c. butter in a pan, pour it into a greased 9 x 11-inch glass pan and add 2 beaten eggs, 1 t. vanilla, 1/4 c. orange syrup and 1/2 c. cocoa powder. Whisk ‘til smooth and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Slice into bars and nestle atop a bowl of Grand Marnier-drenched vanilla ice cream to create a coco-Creamsicle. Now that’s cool. DaVinci Gourmet Navel Orange syrup, $15.25/750 ml, Good Earth Cafes

a new kind of lemon-aid This is the secret agent to use in your spring and summer menus. It’s one part mayonnaise, ten parts flavour bomb, organic and made with cage-free eggs. One taste and you’ll meet the zip of lemon, goose of garlic, tang of mustard and vinegar and the fresh finish of basil and tarragon. Move over mayonnaise and dijonaise – lemonaise has arrived. Use it in your potato salad, in devilled eggs, to refresh your favourite sandwich, as a dip for shrimp, or dollop it on steaks hot off the grill. Going to open your cottage on the May long weekend? Don’t leave home without this new staple in your condiment stable. The Ojai Cook – garlic herb lemonaise, Savour Fine Foods & Kitchenware, $5.85/355ml

beer me Is this a preview of summer’s slogan or the most frequently overheard statement at the Calgary International Beerfest, May 2 and 3? Both, we’re sure. Fortunately, the beer festival is a gathering of self-professed beer nerds and geeks who crave knowledge as much as they do craft beer. For those who dream of spending the summer crooning for more liquid barley and hops from the depths of a backyard hammock, it might be time to consider stocking a cooler with Village Brewery’s growlers. Their generous size, clean draft taste and truly crafted flavours – Troubadour, Blacksmith, Wit, Monk and Blonde – should keep the summer’s slogan fresh. You can also recycle your growlers this fall when Village Brewery’s annual Community Supported Ale is released. All hops are grown in community gardens around Calgary and you’ll be drinking for a great cause since all proceeds from this project go back to growing our community.

new SummeR HouRS Brunch: Sat – Sun 10 am – 2 pm Lunch: Tues – Fri 11 am - 2 pm Dinner: Tues - Sun 5 pm -10 pm

Re-opening SummeR 2014

Sun - Wed 9 am - 6 pm Thurs - Sat 9 am – 8 pm

Fish Creek Provincial Park Assorted Growlers, $13.99/1.89L, Village Brewery’s store

15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE | 403.476.1310 www.bvrrestaurant.com

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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one ingredient

Julie Van Rosendaal

J U N E 7 , 2 0 1 4

Salmon

We have friends who spend their summers in Bamfield, a small community on the west coast of Vancouver Island where the salmon population is so plentiful, they can cast off the dock in town and catch enough to warrant building a smoker to preserve their haul through our Calgary winters. If you turn right at Port Alberni instead of left, you’ll wind up in Tofino instead of Bamfield, which is where we spend a chunk of our summers. We’ve been less successful trolling for salmon there, even after taking our friends’ advice to be patient and bring a bottle of scotch along in the boat. But according to the Globe & Mail, early signals indicate that the biggest salmon run in BC history could happen this summer, with up to 72 million sockeye returning to the Fraser River. (The previous record was set back in 2010, with about 30 million sockeye overwhelming local processing plants.) So perhaps this season we’ll get lucky. If not, our local fishmonger will – this could be the year for salmon on the grill. (And in the oven. And in your burger bun.)

Join us for a spectacular tasting that features a dazzling array of whiskies from around the world, cognacs and gourmet dinner. For tickets, please call: 403-219-6025 ext. 6290 or email: wsevents@calgarycoop.com BMO CENTRE, PALOMINO ROOM, STAMPEDE PARK To avoid disappointment, buy your tickets early. $125 for general admission

6-9 pm

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general admission

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

$175 for VIP admission which

includes a guided tasting with experts, exclusive products to sample and early entry.

4-9 pm

VIP admission

Each year, the debate over wild vs. farmed salmon continues to rage on, with arguments against farmed salmon ranging from pollution to contamination to the fact that, as carnivores, farmed salmon consume more forage fish than they generate as a final product. (On the upside, farmed salmon is available year-round, and standards are improving.) Rather than argue both sides, I’ll point out that wild salmon is in season right now, and will be until mid-fall; with a darker, richer flesh, it has a higher concentration of omega 3 fatty acids, the result of a diet of krill, plankton and algae. According to OceanWise, the Vancouver Aquarium’s sustainable seafood program, wild sockeye, Chinook, coho and pink salmon legally caught in Canada and Alaska are considered sustainable seafood options. Each member of the species varies in size, colour, and, to some extent, flavour, but all can be used interchangeably in the kitchen. When cooking fresh salmon, the most important rule is to not overcook it. Although most recipes specify fish is done when it “flakes easily with a fork,” in fact, if it flakes easily with a fork, it’s overdone and likely dried out. Fresh salmon is real fast food, generally requiring no more than 10 minutes in a hot oven or skillet. It has a built-in timer; when you notice white fat appearing on the surface, that’s a good indication that it’s done, or close to it – and it’s best to err on the side of underdone. At its simplest, a filet of salmon can be cooked in a little butter or oil in a hot ovenproof skillet, with some salt and perhaps a few snips of fresh herbs, maybe a squeeze of lemon. Getting it started in a hot pan, then sliding it into a hot (450°F) oven, will cook it quickly and evenly, requiring, altogether, only a few minutes on the stovetop and another few in the oven. Who needs frozen fish sticks? I love that wild salmon is pure Canadiana, and that most of us have a quick recipe in our repertoire that gets called into service on busy weeknights or when an occasion calls for something fancy-ish that requires little tending or oven time. Despite its delicate texture, salmon can withstand the heat in the oven or on the grill, can be smoked or poached or steamed en papillote, ground into burgers or cut into strips and fried fish & chips-style. With these half dozen new ideas, there’s no reason to resort to the usual teriyaki sauce – not that there’s anything wrong with that.


Cedar Planked Salmon

Blini

Cooking salmon on cedar planks is one of the oldest cooking methods in Canada, and one of the most common ways to prepare salmon, the plank acting as a buffer between the delicate fish and the intense direct heat of the open fire or grill. Although cedar is the most common wood used, planks are made from various types of wood, such as alder, maple and mesquite. As the plank smoulders, the wood and smoke imparts a unique flavour – just ensure you have a spray bottle of water on hand to catch flareups. (And feel free to add your favourite salmon glaze before tossing it on the grill.)

Delicate blini – silver-dollar-sized Russian pancakes – are made to hold a dollop of crème fraîche and a pile of smoked salmon.

1 food-grade cedar plank

canola or other mild vegetable oil, for cooking

1 c. all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose, half buckwheat flour) 1 t. baking powder 1/4 t. salt 1 c. milk

more than you remember!

3 T. butter, melted 1 large egg a dab of butter, for cooking

1 salmon filet photos by Julie Van Rosendaal

new stores new looks.. Whether it’s a special occasion or just

extra-virgin olive oil

crème fraîche or sour cream

getting together with family and

juice of half a lemon

thinly sliced smoked salmon

friends, why not make it easy?

salt and pepper

chopped fresh chives or dill

Soak your cedar plank in water for at least an hour – to keep it submerged, place it in the sink and set a heavy pot or skillet on top of it.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, butter and egg; add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined – don’t worry about getting all the lumps out.

Set your salmon filet on the soaked plank and drizzle it with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat the grill to high. Set the plank on the grill, close the lid and cook for about 20 minutes, until the edge of the filet flakes with a fork, but the middle is still moist. Serves 4.

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Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a dab of butter and drizzle of oil. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom, and when the foam subsides, pour the batter by the tablespoon into the pan to make 2-inch circles of batter, spacing them an inch apart. Cook until bubbles start to appear on the surface, then flip with a thin spatula and cook until golden on the other side.

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Set the blini aside on a cooling rack as you cook them, and serve topped with crème fraîche or sour cream, a pile of smoked salmon and a pinch of chopped fresh chives or dill. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen blini.

Salmon Burgers Most often, salmon burgers arrive pre-formed in frozen pucks, but the truth is, an extra five minutes is all you need to make them from scratch – and you’ll save at least as much in cooking time.

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1 lb. fresh salmon filet, without skin 1/3 c. fresh breadcrumbs 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley 1 large egg 2 T. lemon juice salt and pepper canola oil, for cooking soft white buns, mayo or tartar sauce and lettuce, for serving

Cut the salmon into chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until finely ground, but stop before you turn it into a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape the mixture into 4 patties. Set a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over mediumhigh heat and add a generous drizzle of oil. Cook the patties for about 4 minutes per side, until golden and just cooked through. Serve on soft buns with mayo or tartar sauce and lettuce. Serves 4. continued on page 22 CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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one ingredient Salmon continued from page 21

Handcrafted & Made In canada

Chile-Rubbed Salmon with Fruit Salsa Willow Park Village 10816 Macleod Trail South | 403.278.1220

Compleat Cook Cooking Classes 3400 – 114 Avenue SE | 403.253.4831 www.compleatcook.ca

Roasted salmon is the ultimate fast food – all it really needs is a shower of salt and pepper, or you could spread it with bottled pesto or teriyaki sauce before it goes into the oven. This smoky, garlicky chile rub is an easy way to spice things up – and it goes well with a fresh fruit salsa.

Maple-Soy Salmon Bites Bite-sized pieces of salmon cook even more quickly than a fresh filet, and make for easy, healthy party nibbles. To turn this dish into dinner, leave the filet whole, brush with the marinade, roast for 10 minutes and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving. 1 lb. fresh salmon filet

1 large or 2 small salmon filets

Marinade:

Chile rub:

1/4 c. soy sauce

1 T. olive oil

1/4 c. maple syrup or honey

1 T. lime juice

2 T. lime juice

1 small garlic clove, finely crushed

2 t. grated fresh ginger

1 t. canned chipotle chiles in adobo

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 t. chile powder 1 t. brown sugar

toasted sesame seeds, for sprinkling

1/2 t. oregano

bamboo picks, for serving

1/4 t. coarse salt

Cut the salmon into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl or heavy-duty zip-top bag. Add the remaining ingredients (except the sesame seeds) and stir to coat or seal the bag and massage it with your hands to blend everything well. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Salsa: 1 kiwi, peeled and finely diced 1 c. finely diced pineapple 1 mango, pitted and finely diced 1 avocado, pitted and finely diced 1/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped juice of a lime

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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Place the salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl (or in a mortar and pestle), stir or mash together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chipotle, chile powder, brown sugar, oregano and salt. Rub the mixture all over the surface of the salmon and let the salmon sit for 10 minutes or so while you preheat the oven to 400°F. (You don’t need to use all the paste – leftovers will keep in the fridge for a week or so and freeze well.) Put all the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Roast the salmon for about 10 minutes, or until the edge flakes with a fork but the fish is still moist in the middle. Serve topped with fruit salsa. Serves 4-6.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the pieces of salmon on a parchment or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing them an inch or so apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until they’re firm and the edge flakes with a fork. Place the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and dip one side of each piece of fish in them. Set the fish on a platter and serve warm or at room temperature with toothpicks or little bamboo picks. Serves 6-8.


brazilian barbecue Crispy Salmon Falafel Like a cross between fish cakes and falafel, these tasty bites make a great appetizer or snack, or serve them in a soft pita with chopped tomato, cucumber and purple onion and a dollop of tzatziki. 1 19-oz. (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained 1/4 purple onion, chopped

Feeling

2-4 garlic cloves, peeled 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley 1 t. cumin 1/4 t. salt 1 can salmon, drained 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. baking powder canola oil, for frying

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin and salt until well combined but still chunky. Add the salmon, flour and baking powder and pulse until you have a soft mixture that you can roll into balls. (Add another spoonful or so of flour, if it’s too sticky.) In a heavy saucepan or skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat. Shape the mixture into meatball-sized balls, and flatten each slightly, making a thick patty. (This will help them cook more evenly and provide maximum surface area for added crunch.) When the oil is hot – test it with a bit of falafel mixture or a crust of bread; the oil should bubble up around it – cook a few falafel at a time, without crowding the pan, for a few minutes on each side, or until deep golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Serve with tzatziki, for dipping. Makes about 2 dozen falafel.

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Fresh Produce

Antipasti

In-store Bakery

feeding people

B.J. Oudman

Meet the butcher

Olives Deli Meats &Cheeses Gift Baskets

photo by Regan Johnson

Specialty Foods Olive Oils Balsamics Catering

John Wildenborg, Master Meats

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker... meet the butcher. There are reasons to frequent a butcher shop “where everybody knows your name.” What’s on your plate for dinner? More than likely, your meal will be meat-centric. Despite a growing number of ovos, lactos and vegans in our society, carnivores still dominate the food scene in Alberta. But with the tainted beef scare of two years ago and the sporadic recalls that have occurred since, many consumers may be lifting their heads from their barbecues and asking, “Is my meat safe?” What are your options to minimize the risk of purchasing tainted meat? a) buy precooked products b) purchase irradiated meat c) shop at a trusted butcher d) any of the above The correct answer is d, but for me, the thought of buying precooked meat from a processor’s assembly line, or meat that’s been given a dose of low-level radiation from an electron beam isn’t appetizing when I want to sink my teeth into a juicy steak. Nonetheless, Health Canada may be approving these two options, as consumers feel they cannot depend on the current food safety system.

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A more appealing option is simply to buy your meat from someone you trust – a local butcher. Returning to “the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker” mentality through Slow Food, farm to table and sustainable farming movements has led to an increasing number of consumers buying directly from the guy (or girl) who raised the animal, or at least a middle person with a store front. Building a relationship with a butcher is just one step you can take to mitigate a growing concern, not just with beef but with other animal proteins, as well.

Join us on June 5th for cake, door prizes and more throughout the day. Check in-store for details.

Thank you Calgary for your amazing ongoing support! 2202 Centre St NE • 403.277.9166

www.linasmarket.com

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

Calgary is fortunate to have a great selection of butchers from which to choose. Familiar shops that will never “steer” you wrong include Bon Ton, Second to None Meats and Sunterra. Venturing off the beaten track may get you not only the product you want, but also a new, trustworthy relationship. Don’t be scared off if a butcher advertises his or her shop as a delicatessen or a sausage house – most are able to provide you with a whole array of products. Master Meats, located at 120 - 40th Ave. NW, is my go-to place. A butcher shop since 1948, it was purchased by owner John Wildenborg in 1999 from his fatherin-law, who was an employee at the original store before taking it over in 1976. Just as the lineage of ownership is familiar to the store’s customers, so is the origin of the meat. Most of the beef comes from a farm in Picture Butte where four to six cattle per week are hand-selected, based on John’s preferences. They


are butchered at the feedlot’s slaughterhouse before being shipped as quarters of beef twice a week to the store. Master Meats also stocks naturally raised products from Spring Creek and Top Grass ranches. I grew up on a feedlot in Taber; our cattle had limited pasture time, but now I understand why my 4-H cattle, which had a name and led the good life, fetched top dollar year after year. On arrival at Master Meats, the beef is hung and dry-aged for two to four weeks to increase flavour and tenderness before being cut into primal cuts and vacuumsealed for an additional two weeks for “wet aging.” Master Meats’ staff also cuts almost everything to order, in front of the customer. They custom cut specialty products like the signature picana – a cut of beef popular in Brazil – on the menu at Gaucho Brazilian Barbecue, and pre-sell meat packs to the public. In total, the store offers about 200 different products.

Perfectly placed to make fine wine and good friends.

Another of my favourite butchers is Fat Kee Meats, located in the back corner of Lambda Market (1423 Centre St. N). Don’t be fooled by the meat shop’s tacky adornment of gold and red banners – it has the highest turnover of pork in the city and you are guaranteed a fresh cut every day. Third generation owner Fong Tran moved the store here in 1997 from its original Chinatown location, but tradition prevails as her pigs are raised locally by Hutterites before being sent to the family’s privately owned processing facility in Rockyford. You may have to argue to get your bone-in chops double-cut – most Asians prefer theirs cut thin – but the flavour and price make it worth the effort. No product is wasted, with the trim sold to the sausage shops in town. If you buy pork hocks, expect to get the hooves, too – you paid for them, you take them home! But from pork tenderloin to shank, all cuts are tender, juicy and ready for you to dress up for dinner.

www.tinhorn.com

”This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home“ is literally how Spragg’s Meat Shop started in 2002. What began as a birthday gift of three piglets evolved into full pork production for Greg and Bonnie Spragg. They raise hundreds of market pigs annually on a plant diet in an antibiotic-, hormone- and stress-free pasture near the village of Rosemary (where pigs outnumber people) before they sell the meat to consumers at the Calgary Farmers’ Market and Symons Valley Ranch. From chops to hocks, the pork is raised, processed and sold by “those pork people,” who are passionate about their quality product. One shop that toots its own horn, and justifiably so according to its customers, is The Better Butcher. Located at 377 Heritage Drive S.E., it’s a Cheers kind of place – where everybody knows your name. Owner Randy Hnatuk says key elements of beef safety include choosing cattle from smaller, antibiotic-free herds raised on pasture, processing those cattle in a small (versus commercial) abattoir, and purchasing local beef through an independent butcher. Carrying a variety of fresh and frozen products, The Better Butcher will also source cuts that are hard to find and save them for your next trip in. To round out your options, my friends swear by Silver Sage at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Launched as a full-service shop in 2011, its beef comes from a 100-year-old family farm south of Cypress Hills. Silver Sage uses primarily Anguscross cattle, naturally raised on wholesome prairie grass and then switched to a hay, silage and grain diet for the last 100 days, before being sent to the slaughterhouse. You can taste the clean living in the flavour of the meat. Dry-aged before hitting the shelves, the steaks need no more than some simple seasoning and a hot grill to make your home a five-star dining experience. A few special cuts like skirt steak (for your fajitas) and beef cheeks grace the display counter regularly; you can order other unique cuts from Silver Sage’s full-time on-call butcher. If you don’t already have a go-to place, explore and find one (or three) – Regina’s Fine Meats in Crossroads Market, Calgary Meats on Edmonton Trail, and Market Place at SAIT are just a few more of a multitude to try. Many grocery stores also have reliable meat counters, but buying from a butcher provides additional benefits. Whether you always buy the same product or are up for adventure, a smart butcher that you patronize regularly will get to know you as an individual, and you can ask such a savvy business person questions: Where does this meat come from? Who raised it? Is it hormone free? What do I do with this cut?

Beef 2014: International Livestock Conference

Meat from a butcher may be a little more expensive, but since we’re increasingly interested in knowing where our food comes from and who handles it, isn’t this peace of mind worth a few extra pennies? Not that we can use pennies – they’re a thing of the past. Good butchers, however, never go out of style.

Register at www.ilccalgary.com

This year’s conference will focus on the opportunities of marketing the whole carcass. With the trends that are taking shape today, there are many opportunities for the future. Hear an update on the local and global economies and the market opportunities that exist for the entire carcass both here in Canada and around the world. ILC Beef 2014: Wednesday July 09, 2014

Deerfoot Inn & Casino, 1000, 11500-35 Street SE, Calgary, Alberta

BJ Oudman uses writing as a foil for her food and beverage obsession. Her mission is to discover the weird, the wonderful and the “Wow – that was amazing!” A physiotherapy degree supports her noble efforts. Cattle photo courtesy of Canada Beef Inc.

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

ILC_2014_CityPalate_QuarterSq

25


the sunday project

Kevin Brooker

Your own private tamalada

Mexicans traditionally turn tamale making into a party called a tamalada. But since North American families are so much smaller – and, perhaps, more labour-averse – it’s good to know that this ancient Mesoamerican comfort food is easier to make than its reputation holds. Mexican food connoisseur, Kevin Brooker, shows us how to make this delicious, rustic food. Find your ingredients at Mexican and Latin American markets Ingredients: corn husks water

Grown by our family. Delivered to yours.

masa (the traditional dough used to make corn tortillas and tamales) stock or water filling (see recipes below)

Prepare your fillings the previous day, if possible. Soak the corn husks in water for one hour.

To assemble your tamales, take a corn husk out of the water and spread the masa over the top 2/3 of the husk, about 1/4-inch thick. Leave about 1 inch uncovered on the edges to aid rolling. Then put a generous tablespoon of your filling down the middle of the masa and roll. Resist the temptation to put too much filling in, Brooker says, then adds: “And for goodness’ sake, never put in too little!” Fold up the bottom and place it upright in a tilted steamer insert.

Mix the masa according to package directions, though instead of using water, you can substitute stock combined with a good shot of colorado sauce (see the chile colorado recipe below). Even if it’s not specified, add about 1/3 cup lard (more authentic) or shortening per cup of masa. Use your hands to mix the masa flour with the lard.

Drop the insert into a pot with a couple of inches of water and steam the tamales, covered, for 90 minutes. When the tamales are cooked, open them up and serve them with salsa fresca, muy picante. See the salsa verde recipe below.

1.Tamale ingredients.

2. Mixing the corn flour and lard to make the masa.

3. The masa dough comes together nicely.

4. Spread the masa onto the damp corn husks.

5. The Chile Colorado filling down centre of masa.

6. Roll the husk around the filling.

7. One end is folded up.

8. Tamale ready for cooking.

Tamales freeze well, so make lots. Thaw overnight in the fridge, and you have a quick snack you can either re-steam or microwave.

Grown just 70 kilometres south of Calgary, Paradise Hill Farm tomatoes are vine-ripened, handpicked and delivered to your local Co-op the very next day. This family-run farm believes in delivering the freshest produce possible, using natural predator insects, rather than pesticides, to protect their uniquely local tomatoes. Available exclusively at Calgary Co-op.

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014


9. You can also add cheese and cilantro to your Chile Colorado filling.

10. A vegetarian filling of poblanos and corn topped with cheese.

Celebration Du Canard

Duck Fest May 12-June 21

11. Tamales in the steamer ready to be cooked.

12. Tamales cooked and ready to be eaten.

13. Chile Colorado tamale.

14. Rajas Con Crema tamale.

Fillings:

Chile Colorado

Rajas Con Crema

Colorado is a generic term which simply means red chile, the colour that comes from dried Mexican peppers.

A delicious vegetarian filling for your tamales.

5 each dried guajillo, chipotle and ancho chiles 8 lbs. pork shoulder, cubed 2 medium onions, diced 8 garlic cloves, smashed

6 fresh poblano chiles 1 T. oil 1 medium white onion, diced 1 c. corn kernels 3/4 c. Mexican crema 1/2 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

1 bottle tomato passata

salt and pepper to taste

1 bottle of beer

Char, sweat, peel and seed the poblanos, then cut them into rajas (strips). In an oiled, medium skillet, cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chiles and cook another 5 minutes. Add corn, then crema and cheese. Cook another minute and cover. (In this tamale we added a sprinkle of Mexican cotija cheese – feta would work just as well – and a sprig of cilantro.)

1 T. Mexican oregano 1 T. cumin juice of 2 limes salt and pepper cilantro (garnish)

Break open the peppers and discard the seeds and stems. Toast them briefly in a pan; reconstitute by just covering in water and simmering for 10 minutes, then let them sit for another 15 minutes. Purée in a blender or food processor and reserve.

www.TribSteakhouse.ca

TASTE THE WORLD

To accompany your tamales:

Salsa Verde This tangy taqueria classic is an ideal counterpoint to the earthy chile flavours of these tamales.

Briefly brown the pork in large Dutch oven, reserve. Sauté the onion and garlic in a large pot, then add the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro, plus the pork and chile purée.

12 tomatillos

Bake the chile colorado, covered, in an oven at 300°F. for 4 hours, or until you can shred the pork easily. You might need to reduce the sauce a bit, or add more liquid if it seems a bit dry. Like all chiles, this tamale filling is better the next day, and it freezes perfectly.

juice of 8 key limes

12 de-stemmed serrano chiles 1 large white onion, quartered more salt than you think large bunch of cilantro water to thin (or light beer if you prefer).

Highly picante, this is often served in a more liquefied state than many other salsas frescas. Roast half the tomatillos and half the serrano peppers until lightly charred. Process everything (cilantro stems included) in a food processor.

Kevin Brooker is a Calgary writer with an interest in most of the world’s peasant food traditions. Just not his own.

#108 3715-51 St. SW Calgary, AB, T3E 6V2 p 403-686-1980 f 403-686-1982 Email: shiraz@richmondhillwines.com www.richmondhillwines.com

Richmond Hill Wines @rhillwines

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

27


well matched lunch dinner escape

bacon

chives

puff pastry cream chèvre

220 – 42 avenue se | 403 287 9255 alloydining.com | @alloyrestaurant

Bacon and Chèvre Pastries These savoury little bites are simple to make and great for a party. You can make them in advance, refrigerate and bake when needed.

1/2 lb. puff pastry 2/3 c. chèvre 1/4 c. whipping cream 2 egg yolks salt and pepper to taste 1/4 c. finely diced raw bacon chives, finely chopped for garnish

Pair this dish with:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry onto a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thick and, using a 1-1/2-inch-round pastry cutter, cut out rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Combine the chèvre, cream and egg yolks and season with salt and pepper. Place 1 t. of the cheese mixture in the center of each round and scatter the bacon overtop. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Garnish with chives and serve. Makes 16 pastries.

2010 Domaine Earl-Damien Laureau Savennières les petites gorgées de Damien (Loire, France) $21 Made with chenin blanc, from the Loire region, Anjou-Saumur sub-region and Savennières appellation, this is a crisp, vibrant wine from one of the most beautiful places on earth. 2012 André et Michel Quenard, Chignin-Bergeron (Savoie, France) $29 Quenard and his father André are masters of the bergeron grape, known in the Rhône Valley and elsewhere as roussanne. They argue it should be limited to the best and steepest local sites where it can ripen fully, giving wines of real texture and perfume. The sweet, candy necklace nose is deceiving as the wine is fully dry. Fresh, Alpine vibrancy makes this wine an exciting match for cheeses, charcuterie and cream-based dishes.

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recipes by Jenni Neidhart, wine pairings by Metrovino

Made-in-heaven food and wine pairings

ricottalemonbasil asparagus

pecorino

cream

parmesan

Ricotta Custard with Shaved Asparagus Salad These soufflé-like custards have a luscious texture that is enhanced by the fresh lemon and basil. While the recipe calls for asparagus, other vegetables can be used, depending on the season. 12 oz. ricotta cheese 1 large egg plus 1 yolk 1/2 c. whipping cream 2 T. finely grated parmesan cheese 1 T. finely grated pecorino cheese 1 T. lemon zest, divided 1 T. finely chopped basil, plus more for garnish 2 T. olive oil, plus more for ramekins sea salt and freshly ground pepper 8 large asparagus spears 1 T. lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the ricotta, egg, yolk, cream, parmesan, pecorino, 2 t. lemon zest, basil, 1 T. olive oil and 1 t. salt in a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients until smooth and thoroughly combined. Lightly oil four 6-oz. ramekins. Fill the ramekins about 2/3 full with the ricotta mixture. Put the ramekins in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Add enough warm water to come halfway up the sides. Bake in the oven until the mixture has puffed and is lightly golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a bit while making the salad. Meanwhile, remove the tips from the asparagus and set them aside. With a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus, discarding the first shavings. Add the rest of the shavings to a bowl with the tips. Add the lemon juice, the remaining lemon zest, the remaining oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss together. To serve, invert the ricotta custards onto 4 small plates. Top each with the aparagus salad and fresh basil and serve. Serves 4.

Pair this dish with:

Face it... Maybe you just aren’t into cooking!

Crémant du Jura Rosé Domaine Rolet (Jura, France) $25 Made from poulsard, chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. Soft bubbles, berry notes, vibrant and pleasant, drink this delicious sparkling rosé from the Jura at any time. 2010 Joseph Burrier “Memoire du Terroir” Beaujolais Villages (Burgundy, France) $18 This wine comes from the Mâconnaise and is made from the gamay grape. Light, aromatic and extremely food friendly, this elegant wine has notes of dried cherry and raspberry on the nose and the palate.

BREAKFAST • LUNCH • DINNER • CATERING FRESH • HEALTHY • CHEF PREPARED Find us in BRIDGELAND and at CALGARY FARMERS’ MARKET

www.tmdish.com

403-265-DISH (3474) CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

29


Poring over Wine

Calgary wine professionals talk wine books in-between popping corks

by Tonya Lailey

It takes wine to know wine, a fact that attracts people to the trade. It also takes book learning, countless hours nose-deep in pages, eyes dry from effort when lips would be wet with the tempting subject. I asked four of Calgary’s wine professionals to tell me about a wine book or two that did more than educate them. Each interview was a window into a character, a career and a relationship to wine. Jackie Cooke is a proprietor and certified sommelier (International Sommelier Guild) at Avec Bistro who has worked the fine dining beat in Toronto, Vancouver, Whistler and now Calgary for more than 20 years. Her concentration on wine in the late ’90s lead to a consulting business and to judging and sommelier posts at high-profile international events. I met with Cooke at Avec as the lunch rush waned. She was ready with Kermit Lynch’s Adventures on the Wine Route (1988). The book’s a classic, still in print after 25 years. Cooke recalls stumbling across it nearly two decades ago after she’d been to Europe. “It transported me to wine regions I’d known superficially from text books. Suddenly, it was as if I was there.” “The book inspired me to travel and learn about wine from its source.” Cooke explains how the book helped to clear the pretentious air that hung thick over wine appreciation at the time. She describes the value of rich wine narratives: “People want to hear a story. Lynch knew intimately the wine makers he wrote about. He knew their kids. He watched many of them grow up to become wine makers themselves. When you read the book you can’t help but feel close to these lives and to want to share them.” Marnie Harfield has wine on the brain, in the scholarly sense. Her education began beyond the field with a biochemistry degree. Relentless curiosity and a discipline for detail stand behind her numerous professional qualifications: Wine Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, International Sommelier Guild (ISG) Diploma, French Wine Society Scholar and Bordeaux Master. She is a consummate educator who has taught wine the world over. Her hospitality and retail experience is legion. I met Harfield at Wine Ink, a gem of a boutique with a charming old bookstore mien. Her book is Oberon Kant’s Big Book of Wine. Sound daunting? Try absurd. It’s a totally ridiculous book by a fictional author that deftly captures what Harfield has encountered in spades as a long-time student and educator of wine: posturing, pretense and affectation. We’ve all had a taste. She’s had bottles. The book was circulating within her wine study group a few years ago. She bought a copy and has been dipping into it for laughs ever since. Harfield says, “Everyone in the wine trade should read this book. There’s got to be laughter and whimsy to this business. As professionals, we need to remember what was fun about studying wine in the first place. We need to not take ourselves so seriously.” The book is funnier if you’ve studied wine, but like all good entertainment, it’s got something for everyone. Here’s an excerpt: “All Champagne is good to Very Fine. It is usually made from any white grape and chalk, except in Spain where white asparagus is used.” Harfield happens to love champagne. The book is available from the usual sources. As to the actual identity of the author... one can only speculate.

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Jayme MacFayden is a proprietor and wine buyer at Ox & Angela and Una Pizza + Wine. I met her at Ox in the quiet halfway of the afternoon. Her “book” is a quarterly magazine, The World of Fine Wine. Her friend Brent Roland gave her the subscription as a gift for sharing her digs while he shuffled between assistant wine maker stints at Calera in Hollister, California and Escarpment in Martinborough, New Zealand. Therein lies one secret to MacFayden’s success: surrounding herself with knowledgeable wine friends. MacFayden is a committed lover of wine and food. Her sensibility is manifest – just look at the two restaurants she’s created with business partners Kelly Black and Stephen Smee. The World of Fine Wine is beautiful and smart. MacFayden says, “It reminds me of a medical journal, except that every article is directly or indirectly about wine. And, the pictures are more appealing. A lot of weight is given to agriculture, literature, history and politics. If you’re reading about wine and Honoré de Balzac, it’s because the wine writer majored in French literature.” MacFayden likes to take her customers off the beaten path, illuminating alternate routes to wine pleasure. The World of Fine Wine is a well of enlightenment she drinks from often, this time with a glass of 2006 Lalama (Ribeira Sacra, Spain). Dewey Noordhof is managing partner of Brava Bistro. He’s earned his stripes over 23 years in the trade, the last 13 at Brava. He’s unassuming, courteous and keenly aware of the activity around him – hallmarks of the best in the business. We get into book talk, eventually, at a quiet corner of the inviting Brava bar. Noordhof didn’t bring a book, but he tells me he likes wine writer Gerald Asher’s work because it’s never immediately about wine. In Noordhof's words, “it’s more about the experiences that wine helps to cultivate.” Noordhof doesn’t venerate wines the way some wine lovers do. He appreciates wine for the places where it is grown and made, for the people who make it and for its part in the relationships at the table. “It’s only one character in a much bigger story,” he says. Somehow the topic of restaurant management finds footing in our conversational wanderings and Noordhof endorses fresh flowers as a valid restaurant expense. I catch a toe on a piece of his past: he studied landscape architecture. Ultimately he prefers people to plants. So here he is balancing the flourishing stocks of wine, food and people coming through the doors of Brava, cultivating his own garden where wine has its place. And Dewey, I’m recommending an Asher book on your behalf: A Vineyard in My Glass. ✤

Tonya Lailey is an owner of Lailey Vineyard.


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crmr.com CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

31


Apinotprimer by Shelley Boettcher

Pardon the bad pun, but I have a “grape” problem – I’m passionate about pinot noir and its mutant children. Pinot noir, you see, is the somewhat difficult dad of pinot blanc, pinot gris and grigio. And then there’s pinot meunier, the confused kid who knows who one parent is, but isn’t yet sure about the other. What is certain, however, is that these grapes all have their charms, and the resulting wines are worth seeking out. City Palate’s Fourth Annual Pig and Pinot Festival takes place on June 18th. (see adjacent ad) Here’s a brief look at the various varietals to be featured, plus tasting notes on interesting examples in our market. All prices are approximate.

Pinot Noir The dominant red wine grape of Burgundy, France, pinot noir is now found throughout the world’s wine-producing regions. More of it is grown in Champagne than in Burgundy, and outstanding examples can also be found in California, Oregon and Canada’s own Okanagan Valley. Despite its reach, pinot noir can be tough to grow – I’ve heard it called “notoriously neurotic” – and the resulting wines can be hauntingly beautiful. Or not. Let’s aim to taste only the beauties. I’ve described them according to style.

orchard

Cherry Tart by Cherry Pie, Pinot Noir 2012 Sonoma Coast-Monterey County, Santa Barbara County, California, $25 Jayson Woodbridge is a former Canadian investment banker. He’s also the wine maker behind this jammy, crowd-pleasing pinot noir, a follow-up to his successful (and pricey) Cherry Pie. New to the Alberta market, Cherry Tart has notes of cherries, of course, plus cherry jam, cinnamon and plum.

venerable

Maison Roche de Bellene, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Vieilles Vignes 2011 Burgundy, France, $23 Named after an ancient Gallic god of sun and beauty, Maison Roche de Bellene is the creation of Nicolas Potel, a hotshot young French wine maker. “Vieilles Vignes” means the grapes are from vines that are between 56 and 88 years old. Potel’s style is old-school classic Burgundian: minimal intervention, organic wherever possible.

round

Colene Clemens Vineyards, Adriane Pinot Noir 2011 Oregon, $47 New to the Alberta market, this wine comes from a tiny, family-owned winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and it’s named after the owner’s grand-daughter. The word “round” refers to the fact that this wine has great body, but also has very smooth, silky tannins.

earthy

Champ de Rêves, Pinot Noir 2011 Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, $45 This stunning cool-climate pinot noir has subtle and appealing notes of wet rock, tobacco and cranberries, plus a finish that goes on and on. Champ de Rêves focuses entirely on pinot noir, and is owned by Barbara Banke, widow of the legendary Jess Jackson.

delicate Tyler Harlton, Pinot Noir 2012 Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, $37

This light red pinot noir almost looks like a dark-pink rosé in the glass; unfined and unfiltered, it has pretty notes of fresh-picked raspberries and cherries. Born in Saskatchewan, Harlton worked as a sommelier in Montreal before finding his way to a vineyard near Summerland, B.C.

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Pinot Gris / Grigio A mutation of pinot noir, pinot gris and pinot grigio are the same grape. One just has a French name, the other Italian. Styles, however, vary dramatically. France’s Alsace region has made pinot gris famous; this style is typically rich, off-dry and spicy, with tropical fruit notes such as guava and pineapple. Italy’s pinot grigio, on the other hand, is generally pale in colour, light and crisp, with bright lemon, lime and grapefruit notes. Get away from those two countries, and you’ll find New World wine makers tend to adopt the varietal name that suits the style they’ve chosen – hence, France’s “syrah” and Australia’s “shiraz.”

crisp

5 Vineyards by Mission Hill, Pinot Grigio 2012 Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, $25 Sipping Mission Hill’s pinot grigio is like biting into a just-ripe nectarine or apricot. You immediately want more of those crisp fruity flavours and light floral aromas. Made with fruit grown near Oliver and Osoyoos, this will pair well with seafood, turkey or roast chicken.

off-dry

pig & pinot Join uS for

city palate’s fourtH AnnuAl

festival

Invivo, Pinot Gris 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand, $18

This intensely aromatic, lush pinot gris is medium-dry, with notes of bright peach, melon and poached pears. It’s a delicious complement to smoked salmon and creamy cheese pasta.

zesty

Barone Montalto, Pinot Grigio 2012 Sicily, Italy, $13 Barone Montalto was started in 2000 in southwestern Sicily, and this value-priced, pale yellow-green pinot grigio exemplifies Italy’s signature simple style – zingy, fresh and light, with mineral, crunchy green apple and grapefruit notes. Pair with seafood or antipasti on the patio.

Wednesday, June 18th

Pinot Blanc Pinot blanc is a white grape mutation of pinot gris, which is a mutation of pinot noir. Yes, a mutation of a mutation. Because of that, a pinot blanc vine will sometimes bear fruit that has dark skins, a throwback to its pinot noir origins. Like pinot gris/grigio, pinot blanc has name issues. In Austria and Germany, it’s called weissburgunder, in Italy, it’s known as pinot bianco. It can be used to make still and sparkling wines, and it’s one of the permitted grapes in France’s Champagne wine region.

fruity

Lake Breeze, Pinot Blanc 2010 Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, $35 With notes of lemon, grapefruit, peach and crunchy green apple, the Lake Breeze pinot blanc is aromatic and food-friendly. It’s one to pair with tuna, sushi, salads or lobster.

honeyed Domaine Zinck, Pinot Blanc 2012 Alsace, France, $20

Fresh and floral, this medium-bodied pinot blanc comes from a family-owned winery renowned for many of its wines. This food-friendly pinot blanc has honeyed notes of melon (yes, honeydew), plus a pleasant little hit of smoke.

Pinot Meunier Pronounced “peen-o moon-yay,” this grape has black (well, dark purple) skin and white flesh, and is one of the main grapes used in Champagne, France. (It gives bubbles a boost of acidity and aromatics.) Without getting too technical, pinot meunier is considered by many experts to be a “chimeric mutation” of pinot noir. In other words, the plant is composed of two distinct types of DNA. Parts of the plant have DNA from pinot noir. Other parts of the plant contain distinct DNA from another, as yet unidentified, DNA. In other words, it’s much easier to drink pinot meunier than it is to explain where it comes from.

119 - 12th Avenue SW 7-10 pm A fundrAiSing event in Support of 12 talented chef teams compete for the coveted “Divine Swine” trophy, sponsored by Alberta pork, as they create delicious and original pork dishes, with Berkshire pork from Broek pork Acres. And nothing pairs better with the perfect porcine than the perfect pinot! 7 boutique wine stores will pour an amazing selection of pinot wines from around the world. And you get to taste it all! plus... Enjoy a great silent auction; a fine wine raffle valued at over $2000; photos by Silly Booth; and live music by Simply Sinatra, featuring Rob Young.

food prepared by: darnell Japp, Avec Alison Bieber, Black Pig Bistro Christopher dewling, Blink Andrew Winfield, Boxwood glen manzer, Cibo darren maclean, downtownfood Jonathan Sobol, FARM Restaurant

duncan ly, Hotel Arts & Yellow Door Bistro Judy Wood, Meez Cuisine & Catering Justin leboe, Model Milk nicole gomes, Nicole Gourmet Catering Jenni neidhart, The Cookbook Co. Cooks Cam dobranski, Winebar Kensington

pinot poured by:

light

Vineland Estates Winery, Pinot Meunier 2011 Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, $20 The team at Vineland describes pinot meunier as pinot noir’s “less fussy brother.” This lightbodied red has notes of cherry, wild strawberry and spice, and is made for drinking now, not cellaring for years and years. ✤ Shelley Boettcher is a Calgary food and wine writer and co-author of Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25.

Tickets are $135, available now at pigandpinotcalgary.eventbrite.ca

city palate T H E

F L AV O U R

O F

C A L G A R Y ’ S

F O O D

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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The Iron Sommelier

2 dishes, 3 sommeliers, 3 judges, and... oh, wow! 12 wines

by Karen Anderson photos by Carol Slezak

This is City Palate’s 9th Annual Sommelier Challenge, and since it’s an Olympic year, we decided to ramp up the fun and skill requirements of our wine and food pairing competition. Here’s how our Palate Olympics went down Our chef prepared two dishes. Our three sommeliers tasted the dishes and chose wine they thought would pair well with the food. They brought the wines to Hotel Arts and the chef prepared the dishes again. Our three judges sipped, savoured and discussed until they reached a consensus on the best pairings. This year we added a few surprise elements to keep everyone on top of their taste buds.

Our Chef and his dishes In keeping with our theme, it seemed fitting to have Gold Medal Plates’ gold medal winner, chef Duncan Ly, prepare the food for our challenge. Gold Medal Plates raises money for Canada’s Olympians. Ly is executive chef at Hotel Arts and is famous for the subtly nuanced elegant food served at the hotel’s Raw Bar by Duncan Ly and Yellow Door Bistro. Chef Ly created two savoury dishes: an appetizer of Caramelized Sea Scallop with Crispy Pork Belly, Cauliflower Tapenade and Raisin Caper Purée, followed by Roasted Ewe-nique Farms Lamb Loin with Glazed Baby Carrot, Fondant Potato and Lamb Broth. The dishes were a balance of feminine and masculine flavours, with clean, astringent elements cozied up to full-on umami and surprising layers that revealed themselves in every new bite.

Our Wine Athletes and Their Mission We chose three sommeliers who qualify as “Palate Olympians.” They’ve spent years training to become elite athletes in this sipping sport. They tasted Chef Ly’s food and were challenged to choose one expensive and one less expensive wine to pair with each of the two dishes, which added up to a staggering 12 wines.

Our Judges To raise the bar for our judges, we asked that they make their decisions about which wine paired best with each dish based on taste alone. A blind tasting. These were the new rules for our Palate Olympics: • All wines were decanted so our judges couldn’t identify bottle shapes. • There were no labels to sway our judge’s opinions. • There was no access so our sommeliers could not plead the case for their picks. Our “blind” judges had six wines to sort out for each dish using only the white canes of their well-educated noses and the braille of their discerning taste buds. They used their vision to see the colour, their nose to detect bouquet and they used their discerning palates to analyze which wines paired best with the food.

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The sommeliers and their wines: Lisa Zinck, Kensington Wine Market

Dave Amadio, Richmond Hill Wines

Al Drinkle, Metrovino

Wines for the Scallop dish...

Wines for the Scallop dish...

Wines for the Scallop dish...

2011 DuMol Russian River Chardonnay, California, USA $63 This weighty wine – ripe stone fruits, edge of smoky flint, baked apple and vanilla bean – carried the scallop and pork belly in a rich, over-the-top way.

2010 Château La Garde Blanc PessacLeognan, Bordeaux, France $45 Amadio felt this wine’s acidity and minerality balanced the richness of the pork belly, while the stone fruit and citrus notes complemented the scallop.

2012 A.J. Adam Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany $49 This dish had Drinkle “salivating for an off-dry riesling” and his pick’s zesty acidity and minerality provided tension and residual sugar to deliver richness over sweetness, much like the scallops.

2011 Coca i Fito Aloja Blanc, Garnacha, Catalonia, Spain $20 Zinck found lightness and elegance, with a round mouthfeel followed by acidity and freshness to accentuate the scallop and pork belly, which in turn carried the weight of the garnacha.

2012 Corvidae Wine Company Ravenna Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA $19 Chosen for its clean, crisp acidity the wine’s varietal identity strikes a pleasing balance with the dish.

2012 Jeanne Gaillard Roussanne, Northern Rhone Valley, France $22 Drinkle regards the Gaillard family as roussanne masters. He felt the weight of this wine supported the scallops’ richness while delivering freshness to handle the bright notes the tapenade and cucumber imparted.

Wines for the Lamb dish...

Wines for the Lamb dish...

2009 Moss Wood Margaret River Pinot Noir, Western Australia $50 This pinot gives feminine strawberries and cherries balanced with masculine spice and oak notes, but the hint of berry and just-right acidity were felt to add a lift to the delicate lamb, the broth and the vegetables. 2009 Hermanos Peciña Blanco Vendemmia, Rioja Viura, Spain $20 This wine’s hint of earthy terroir stood up to the lamb but didn’t overpower the delicate broth. Going with white was a risk, but Zinck put full consideration on the overall delicacy of the dish. Lisa was winner of our “congeniality award,” because she had to spend most of her time pairing up with Drinkle to distract Amadio’s attempts to access the judges!

2008 Domaine de Ferrand Châteauneuf du Pape, France $55 With a bit of age and no oak, the tannins in this wine are supple and the dark cherry and spice notes made it a great match with lamb. 2009 Weingut Ernst Bretz Spatburgunder Auslese Troken, Rheinhessen, Germany $26 With supple tannins and developed secondary fruit notes, this wine matched perfectly with the lamb broth while still allowing the meat to take center stage.

Wines for the Lamb dish... Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso Sherry, Jeres, Spain $53 Oloroso means “fragrant.” Drinkle said that if an October sunset had a smell, it would be that of this dry wine. The 20% alcohol and concentration of glycerol gives the wine weight to pair with the lamb and provided exciting flavours that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. 2012 Clos du Gravillas Sous les Cailloux des Grillons, Languedoc, France $19 This wine nestles into the aromatics, the gamey components and the savoury textures of the dish. The Gravillas’ trifecta of fruit, earth and spice provided sufficient structure to tackle the protein of the lamb and the “broth-y” nature of the dish. (The wine was served chilled.) continued on page 36 CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014 35


The Iron Sommelier continued from page 36

Note: All wines were poured into clear decanters, labeled either Scallops or Lamb, numbered one through six and the order was randomly assigned. The judges didn’t know which wine was which except for what their eyes, noses and palates told them.

Meet the judges, L -R: KK - Karen Kho, Sommelier, Maître d’, Teatro Philosophy: I always look for alchemy. BS - Bruce Soley, Sommelier, Cellar Manager, River Café Philosophy: I look for harmony of all wine making’s elements to be expressed in the glass. AS - Andrew Stewart, Sommelier, Wine Jedi, Model Milk/Anju Philosophy: One good bottle… perfectly balanced in weight and acidity.

What the judges said... Wines for the Scallop dish... 2011 DuMol Russian River Chardonnay KK – Creamy, oak driven and tropical fruit. It would go with more masculine food and maybe needs aging. BS – Rich, buttery and complex. Heavy for the scallop with too much wood, but it works with the pork. Overall, it seems like the wrong fruit profile. AS – Big nose chardonnay here with wide palate weight and toasty notes at the back. This guy is too large for the shellfish though awesome with the pork belly. 2011 Coca i Fito Aloja Blanc KK – This wine is fresh, herbal and jasmine with crunchy green fruit and lively acidity. It carries a nice weight but needs the fat in the scallops and pork. BS – A lively nose with lean, granite mineral character, it’s a good foil for the richness of the scallops and pork belly – rock dry and lovely. Really good food wine. AS – Clean, pale with almost a green tinge, a petrol nose and less residual sugar, it heightens the acidity of the dish and comes off edgy, like white pepper. 2010 Château La Garde Blanc Pessac-Leognan KK – Tropical, mineral, perfumey, with moderate acid. I don’t like it on its own, but with the food it brings out the intense flavours. BS – Expressive and interesting with a bit of dried mushroom and funkiness. Very pretty grapefruit notes with the food and works well. It’s interesting but not quite right. An adventurous pairing. AS – Minty… that’s it. Medium to high acid, and the palate is wildly complex and intense. I have no idea what grape it is, but it’s grabbing me. With the dish it makes my mouth go schizo with all the flavours going on. It’s a real adventure and regardless of the pairing, I’m impressed with this. 2012 Corvidae Wine Company Ravenna Riesling KK – Delightful stone fruit profile of peaches and nectarines. There’s no residual sugar, but the nose promises a sweeter palate. This is solid with the dish.

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BS – Mineral and citrus notes help hold a lovely balance with this dish – it sidles right up to the scallop and makes friends. There’s no fighting. AS – This reminds me of a riesling – good acid, balanced sweetness, a harmonious pairing. 2012 A.J. Adam Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Spätlese KK – It’s certainly a riesling, with light honey and beeswax, a bright acid front and fat finish. It needed to be earthier, as it was competing with and completely muted by the dish. BS – A bright expression of apples and citrus on the nose. It matches the richness of the plate but the sweetness overwhelmed the dish. AS – Clean, pale golden yellow and likely a German riesling. Cooked apples and moderate acid on the palate. It holds up to the dish, but the sweetness is a little distracting with the richness of the scallops and pork. 2012 Jeanne Gaillard Roussanne KK – Spicy, mineral, green, rocky with muted fruit. I wonder if it just needed to open more? BS – Rich, open, buttery. A great wine but a little too complex, fat and flabby for the dish. AS – Deep colour with acid showing but calming down with a bite of the food. Ended up being quite harmonious, but we needed extra pork belly to be sure. Chef Duncan came through.

BS – It’s a cool wine, but with the food, the lamb disappears. AS – Is it a Viognier? I like it but the green component gets sour and the flavours disappear and leave acid and alcohol behind. 2008 Domaine de Ferrand Châteauneuf du Pape KK – A little too boozy for a delicate dish, but a very good wine that comes across slightly oxidized. BS – No cedar or leather, just class all the way. AS – The salt component of the food emphasizes the alcohol in the wine. It’s wickedly structured but ends up being boozy in the mouth. 2009 Weingut Ernst Bretz Spatburgunder Auslese Troken KK – I both love and hate this pairing. It’s texturally and flavour-wise on point, a seamless fit, but I want alchemy. BS – Beautiful wine, very harmonious and brings everything home in a melding moment. AS – Smells like an aged burgundy and is very good. The flavours play nicely together on well-balanced structures. It’s totally agreeable but I would compare it to a very civilized PC conversation. Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso Sherry KK – Its sherry. What an evil pairing! Whoever picked it knew we’d love it because it’s a great sherry. That said, it’s luscious and rich, entirely too much wine for the dish.

Wines for the Lamb dish...

BS – Cheating! All sommeliers love sherry and with the broth of the plate this is classic and delicious. I love this pairing.

2009 Moss Wood Margaret River Pinot Noir

AS – This sherry is lovely, but with the protein the alcohol becomes prevalent. The booze lingers and overpowers the dish.

KK – It’s brilliantly juicy with refreshing spice notes, herbs and tobacco. Draws out the perfumed lamb notes and protein elegance. BS – Soft and elegant, old and aged. It’s a classic. AS – Smells like a Spanish rioja – it shows something with the addition of the food. 2009 Hermanos Peciña Blanco Vendemmia KK – A deliciously quaffable wine that commands food. While not a match made in heaven, it’s an adventurous attempt to match the weight and texture of the dish with the wine.

2012 Clos du Gravillas Sous les Cailloux des Grillons KK – This is a delicious wine with bright floral notes, a juicy nose, light spice and lively red berry fruit. Overall, it’s too fruit forward for the dish. BS – Lovely, pretty and fresh. Gamay? It’s gorgeous. AS – Smells a little Italian, and with a bite of the lamb it sings. Gamay for sure. I like the wine but with the dish it gets a bit sharp. continued on page 38


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Roasted Ewe-nique Farms Lamb Loin with Glazed Baby Carrot, Fondant Potato and Lamb Broth

The Iron Sommelier continued from page 36

Lamb Broth:

The recipes, from chef Duncan Ly Caramelized Sea Scallop with Crispy Pork Belly, Cauliflower Tapenade and Raisin Caper Purée Crispy Pork Belly:

1 lb. pork belly, skin off 4 c. chicken stock 1 each carrot, onion, celery stalk, medium dice

3 garlic cloves 1 c. cauliflower florets 1/4 c. Italian parsley, minced 2 T. each capers, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste

Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until it’s minced. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the tapenade is finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper and reserve. Raisin and Caper Purée: 1 c. apple juice 1/2 c. sultana raisins 1/4 c. capers

1 garlic head, halved

Roast the lamb bones at 350°F for 1 hour until the bones are evenly roasted and dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool. Roast the onion, carrot and celery until caramelized, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool.

1 T. fennel seed

Cauliflower Tapenade:

Heat a large, oven-safe pan to medium heat and add 2 T. canola oil. Brown both sides of the potato rounds, add the butter, rosemary and thyme. Season the top of each potato with salt and pepper. Add 2 c. chicken stock and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and put in a 350°F. oven for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and tender. Keep the pan moist, adding more chicken stock as required. The potatoes should be soft and luscious. Keep warm for serving.

2 each carrots and celery stalks, medium dice

salt to taste

1 T. coriander seed

Remove from the oven and cool in the liquid for 30 minutes. Carefully drain the liquid and discard it, then place a dish on top of the pork belly and weigh it down with several heavy cans of food. Allow the pork to fully cool in the fridge overnight with weights on top. The next day, portion the pork belly into 8 square 2x2-inch cubes. Set aside.

1 onion, medium dice

1 c. red wine

1 c. brown sugar

Heat the chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Place the belly in a large roasting pan, cover with the diced vegetables and add the hot stock. Braise for 3 hours at 350°F or until the pork belly is fork tender.

Slice the potatoes lengthwise 2 inches thick, then punch out 8 rounds of potato using a 3-inch-round metal cutter.

1 sprig each of rosemary and thyme

1 c. kosher salt

Combine salt, brown sugar, coriander and fennel seeds and bury the pork belly in the mixture for 12 hours, refrigerated. The next day, remove the belly from the cure and rinse with cold water.

Save the bones from the 2 lamb loins you will need for this recipe (see below) or buy 2 lb. lamb bones from the butcher.

Bring the apple juice to a boil, remove from the heat and add the sultana raisins and soak for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. Add the capers, hydrated raisins and half the reserved apple juice to a blender and purée until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender to make sure the raisins and capers are thoroughly puréed. The consistency should be that of runny jam. If it’s too thick, add more apple juice until you get the right consistency.

Put the lamb bones and vegetables, garlic, rosemary, thyme and red wine into a large stockpot. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 4-5 hours. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Discard the solids. Place the stock in the fridge overnight until the fat settles to the top and solidifies. Remove the layer of fat, place in a large pan and reduce to 4 c., then season with salt to taste. Reserve. Fondant Potatoes: 4 - 6 large russet potatoes

Plating the dish:

2 T. each canola oil and unsalted butter

2 T. canola oil

1 sprig each of rosemary and thyme

2 t. kosher salt

salt and pepper to taste

8 large scallops

2-3 c. chicken stock

Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high, add 1 T. canola oil and sear the 8 pork belly cubes on all sides until golden brown. Heat a second pan to high heat. Season the 8 scallops with salt and add 1 T. canola oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the scallops and sear on one side until golden brown. Turn the scallops over and remove the pan from the heat. Let the scallops sit in the hot pan for 30 seconds, then remove them to a paper towellined plate to rest. While the scallops are resting, put a generous tablespoon of the raisin caper purée in the middle of 8 appetizer-size plates and spread the purée out on the plate. Put 1 T. of the cauliflower tapenade in the middle of the raisin purée, then place a crispy pork belly and a scallop on either side of the tapenade for each of the 8 plates. Serves 8.

And the winners are...

Lamb Loin: 2 lamb loins, rolled and tied (we use Ewe-nique Farms lamb, available at Blush Lane Organic Markets) salt and pepper 2 T. each canola oil and unsalted butter, melted salt and pepper to taste

You can roll and tie the lamb loins with butcher's twine yourself, or ask your friendly butcher to do it for you, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 T. canola oil over medium-high heat and sear the loins on all sides until browned. Baste with 2 T. of melted unsalted butter, then transfer the loins to an oven-safe pan and roast until the loins are rare (110 F.). Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Keep warm for serving. Glazed Baby Carrots: 3 T. unsalted butter 24 baby carrots salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauté pan, heat the butter and cook the baby carrots in the butter until tender and well glazed. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm for serving. Plating the dish: In a saucepan, heat the lamb broth to boiling. Place one fondant potato in the corner of each of 8 large, flat bowls and place three carrots next to each potato. Cut the string off the lamb and thinly slice the loins. Drape 3 - 4 slices of lamb over the carrots. Pour 1/4 c. of hot lamb broth over the lamb and serve. The hot broth will gently finish cooking the lamb. Serves 8. Karen Anderson is owner of Calgary Food Tours Inc. and says that while she understands – intellectually – the importance of “spitting” at a 12-wine tasting, she found herself incapable of doing so.

Caramelized Sea Scallop with Crispy Pork Belly, Cauliflower Tapenade and Raisin Caper Purée: #1 - Dave Amadio’s 2012 Corvidae Wine Company Ravenna Riesling, $19 #2 - Dave Amadio’s 2010 Château La Garde Blanc Pessac-Leognan, $45 Roasted Ewe-nique Farms Lamb Loin with Glazed Baby Carrot, Fondant Potato and Lamb Broth: #1 - Dave Amadio’s (again! honestly, there were no bribes) 2009 Weingut Ernst Bretz Spatburgunder Auslese Troken, $26 #2 - Lisa Zinck’s 2009 Moss Wood Margaret River Pinot Noir, $50 Palate Olympics Standings for the 2014 Iron Sommelier Challenge: Gold – Dave Amadio, Richmond Hill Wines Silver – Lisa Zinck, Kensington Wine Market Bronze – Al Drinkle, Metrovino

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If you like cheering for the underdog at the Olympics we’re sure that both you and your wallet will be impressed that it was the less expensive wines that took the medals in this palate-pleasing Olympics. Here’s to the fun spirit of our sommeliers and our annual wine challenge. ✤


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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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Building and Stocking Wine Cellars

Shane Watt, Original Wine Cellars photo

by Shelley Boettcher

I have a confession to make: I may be a wine writer but my wine “cellar” isn’t at all fancy. It’s an uninsulated room in our basement, lined with metal IKEA shelving units and sturdy wooden racks built by my dad, which can fit up to 400 bottles.

fitness rooms into cellars. “People realize they need more space for their wine, so they expand,” he says. “Most cellars I build are 700 to 1,200 bottles.”

For now, it fits my budget and my lifestyle; I don’t have many expensive wines to protect.

But if you only have about 300 bottles or fewer, and each bottle is worth $20-$25, Marchand suggests something more modest. Prefabricated California redwood shelving is popular. “It costs about a buck a bottle,” he says. “You can’t beat that.”

Still, I dream of one day creating the cellar of my dreams. I’m not alone. Google “how to build a wine cellar,” and you’ll get about five million results, which suggests many of my fellow wine enthusiasts are also on this search. The advice ranges from ground-up building advice – where to put it, flooring, ventilation units – to how to purchase a wine-cooling unit (a.k.a. a wine fridge.) In other words, there’s a cellar for every drinker. The trick is figuring out what you need and what you want to spend. That’s where the city’s cellar-building experts come in handy. Calgarian Arnel Marchand has been building wine cellars since 1999, when a friend of a friend at a local restaurant asked if he’d try his hand at constructing one. It was a success, and Marchand quickly found himself with a full-time gig, which turned into Koolspace Wine Cellars. These days, he builds cellars across Western Canada, and is bidding on projects in Las Vegas and Macau. Many of his clients are repeats, getting him to build cellars in second and third homes, and many times, money is no object. What matters is creating a secure, temperature-controlled space for their special collections.

The biggest cellar that Marchand has built holds 16,000 bottles; its square footage is in the thousands. More common are 6,000- to 9,000-bottle cellars, with an installation cost of at least $10,000, more if you decide to add LED lighting, water-cooled climate control and security systems.

Marchand mentions a client in BC who requested a 300-bottle cellar for a second home, a place where the man spends three weeks or less each year. “I suggested a good-quality wine fridge, but he wanted the look, something that would match the rest of the house,” he says. “So he spent $150,000 on the cellar.” Good value? Not to Marchand, but the wine is stored in top condition and the space looks beautiful, he says. Yet a cellar that’s too pretty can be a problem. Sometimes cellars are so beautiful, people want to show them off, not hide them in the basement. “For the past 15 years, all we have thought about is what is best for the wine – what part of the house has the least amount of light and no vibrations,” he says. “But now people want their cellars on the main floors where there’s lots of activity and direct sunlight.” It can be done, but Marchand warns that controlling humidity and temperature is trickier on a main floor. Plus, he notes, many purists believe metal racking isn’t great for fine vintages, because it conducts cold differently from wood.

“The investment in the wine for these people is much bigger than the cost of building the cellar,” he says. “They probably have close to a million dollars in wine in some cases. I can see some level of concern.”

And many clients want sleek, contemporary restaurant styles – lots of seamless glass and metal – for their home cellars, instead of traditional wood. (This is especially true in Vancouver, notes Watt.)

Me, too, I think, although it’s a problem I can only dream of having.

“People see that modern look and they say, ‘I’ve got to have it,’” Marchand says.

“We try to go with the best dollar per bottle value,” Marchand continues. In other words, if your collection is valued at, say, a million bucks, you’ll probably want to put in something with a security feature, top-of-the-line shelving and the best ventilation system on the market. (And yes, Marchand will make room for your canning, too. But not your potatoes. “They can create mold,” he says.)

“But if you’re laying something down for 15 to 20 years, this is not the way to do it. It’s terrible for the wine.”

Shane Watt, co-owner of Original Wine Cellars, says when he started his company on Vancouver Island five years ago, most people were looking for closet conversions for their collections, usually 150 to 200 bottles or so. He’s moving his business to Calgary this year, however, and he says cellar size has grown along with his business. In fact, he’s even converted a couple of

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Marchand knows restaurants; he started his career working at some of the top spots in Calgary and Vancouver, and he’s installed wine cellars and refrigeration systems in many local eateries, including Model Milk, Sky 360, Osteria de Medici, and West, as well as Earls and Joeys locations. He understands a wine collector’s pursuit of new vintages, at every budget. “We’re so lucky here. People who love wine and who have access to it and the funds – how can they ever stop buying?” he asks with a laugh. “There’s always something new and exciting to try.” continued on page 42


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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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Building and Stocking Wine Cellars continued from page 40

Stocking your cellar... Figure out how much you drink. Do you drink a bottle or less a week? And you seldom entertain? Then you probably don’t need anything too big or elaborate. If you entertain often, and open a few bottles a week, you will probably want a fairly expansive space. Do you mostly drink white wines? A wine fridge may be best for your needs, as many whites don’t age well, plus they are generally served chilled.

Perfect steaks. Every time.

How much do you typically spend on a bottle of wine? If you rarely buy anything that costs more than $20, you may not want to invest a lot in your cellar. Think of your friends. A good cellar will have something for everyone, and every occasion: steak, impromptu pizza parties, sushi, Chinese takeout, engagement announcements. I even keep a couple bottles of moscato (sweet, slightly fizzy Italian white wine) for a friend who prefers it to every other kind of wine. Divide and conquer. About a third of my cellar contains investment wines, special stuff (champagnes, a schwack of Barolos, a few vintage ports, high-end Canadian reds) that I’d like to keep for a while. Another third houses everyday reds, as that’s what we mostly drink in winter, and open most often with our friends. Much of the final third is devoted to whites, rosés, sweet wines and sparkling wines. Then there’s the corner reserved for cognac, rare vodka and a few whiskeys. But that’s another story.

What collectors collect... A few suggestions for your cellar from some of the city’s wine lovers: Calgary Herald wine columnist Darren Oleksyn has been tucking away bottles of the 2010 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape from France’s Rhône Valley. “I have a vertical going back to 2003. I’ll probably open the first bottle in 2020,” he says. “I love Rhone wines. They deliver a lot of bang for the buck, with high-quality wines that you can age for over a decade at not too crazy a price.” Peggy Perry, Vice President, Purchasing & Marketing at Willow Park Wines & Spirits, just bought 24 bottles of Taittinger Brut Réserve non-vintage champagne for her cellar. “I have to buy 24 bottles at a time in hopes that a few are still around to gather some dust!” Phoebe Fung, proprietor at Vin Room West and Vin Room Mission, says her current cellar obsession is large formats. “My latest is a magnum of the 2006 Cakebread Cellars Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. I bought it to remind myself that I opened Vin Room over a bottle of Cakebread.”

The better the beef, the better the barbeque.

Sommelier Andrew Paulsen, who works at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, Crowfoot location, says every year, he buys a few bottles of Tenuta di Capezzana’s Villa di Capezzana from Contini Bonacossi. Capezzana is a beautiful old estate located near Florence, Italy, and Paulsen is a big fan of the winery’s blend of 80 percent sangiovese, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon. “These wines can last 15 to 20 years, and I have a small vertical now,” he says. “The cabernet helps to cut the acidity and bolster it a bit, and give it a bit of longevity.”

Co-op Perfect Beef is 100% Alberta Angus range fed beef that is raised without added antibiotics or growth hormones. This AA grade or better beef is 14-day aged, halal approved and a perfect way to start the grilling season. Available exclusively at Calgary Co-op. calgarycoop.com 42

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

Contact an expert builder... Shane Watt, Original Wine Cellars 403-390-0473, originalwinecellars.com Arnel Marchand, Koolspace Wine Cellars 403-283-7575, koolspace.ca Mastermyr Millwork and Design Corp (Korkroom is a division of Mastermyr) 587-777-2477, korkroom.com Steve Trutenko, Tru Woodcraft 403-671-0037, truwoodcraft.ca ✤

Shelley Boettcher is a Calgary food and wine writer and co-author of Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25.


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From the Farm to the Market... M e e t y o u r l o c a l fa r m e r s story and photos by Dan Clapson

There are two types of carrots in the world. First, the ones you find on the shelves of a neighbourhood grocery store, shipped from somewhere in the United States looking less than spectacular. Still orange? Yes. Still crisp? Yes. Lacking that homegrown taste? Absolutely. Then, there are the carrots that offer us that fresh-out-of-the-garden taste because they are fresh out of the garden. Nowadays, it’s a no-brainer that checking off your grocery list at one of our farmers’ markets is an excellent way to ensure a delicious meal at home. While many markets are teeming with the whole spectrum of edibles, some stands are not as local as you’d think (tip: check the small print on most produce signs).

While the asparagus is growing, neighbouring Beck Farms is just seeding its rows of produce, like carrots and cabbage, which will end up being harvested in late July and sent to the markets or placed in cold storage to last the year. The Bradshaw family established the farm in 1986.

Innisfail Growers is an Alberta cooperative made up of family-run opera-

“I get huge pride and satisfaction from growing our family farm from an idea to the success it is today, and being able to pass our knowledge on to our two boys now working with us,” says Shelley Bradshaw.

tions, including Beck Farms, Edgar Farms, Hillside Greenhouses, The Jungle Farm and Uppergreen Farms. This group of growers spends the year prepping soil, tending and harvesting crops to fill our farmers’ markets with quality produce. While Innisfail Growers only operates in the colder months at two markets, Calgary Farmers’ Market and the Red Deer Market, its harvests are readily available throughout the summer at more than 20 farmers’ markets across Southern Alberta. From July to September, the most plentiful months, you’ll find anything from mountains of Beck’s cauliflower to tomatoes and strawberries. Walking through the grounds at Edgar Farms in mid-May, you’ll find it hard to believe that there’s a crop that’s almost ready to be harvested. I mean, has the ground even thawed out yet? But, an early riser in the produce world, asparagus begins popping out of the ground in mid-May. Workers will soon scoot along the plots of Alberta’s largest asparagus-growing operation in low-tothe-ground pedaled vehicles that allow them to snap the asparagus easily without straining their backs. The crop is only available from mid-May to mid-June. “The consumer now is starting to understand the seasonality of locally grown produce. Some customers buy local asparagus and gorge themselves for the few short weeks that it’s available, then go without the rest of the year,” says Elna Edgar. Edgar is pleased about Alberta consumers’ growing appreciation of food purchased at its seasonal peak. “It’s very rewarding to see more and more people realizing that local food is a totally different – and better – product than what can be purchased in a big box store. The flavour, freshness and nutrition are all superior.” Nevertheless, some “big box” stores, like Calgary Co-op, champion local growers and sell locally grown produce.

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

The Bradshaw’s main crop is carrots, and although you will indeed find a bag of Beck Farms’ carrots at the market in mid-winter, their natural growing practices, coupled with our chilly Alberta evenings – cooler nights stop the sugar from turning into starch, thus helping to keep carrots sweet – means they still maintain a crisp snap that is unparalleled by varieties brought in from elsewhere. “Connecting with our customers who appreciate what we do is so gratifying,” says Bradshaw. “Over the past few years, people have become very aware of where their food comes from. They want to connect with the grower and learn how their food is produced.”

Hillside Greenhouses boasts a gigantic greenhouse where tomatoes are the main crop. The vines grow by twisting around long pieces of rope attached to hooks that are about eight feet off the ground. By late May, tomatoes have started to ripen on the vine and they are picked regularly and shipped to the markets for the whole summer. Over at Uppergreen Farms, potatoes of all shapes and sizes are the main focus, including purple, red, russet, and fingerlings. The Buyks family handpicks the baby potatoes – no easy task. Once late spring rolls around, they plant sprouted potatoes in their vast field, resulting in a harvest that keeps the Innisfail farmers’ market stands chock full of potatoes year-round. It’s no secret that the term “local” is a baseline these days when it comes to what restaurants are serving their diners. Elna Edgar is happy to mention one restaurant in particular that embraced the direct farmer-to-restaurant relationship early on. continued on page 46


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TASTING

EVENTS

Tasting Centre Locations Beddington 8220 Centre Street NE Crowfoot

39 Crowfoot Way NW

Oakridge

2570 Southland Drive SW

Shawnessy 80, 250 Shawville Blvd SE For tickets or to view more great tasting events visit:

From the Farm to the Market... continued from page 44

“River Café has been a great supporter of our farm for many years, even before local and seasonal were the ‘in’ things to support. River encouraged us to continue in the direct-to-consumer direction we were going. There are now many other restaurants and food lovers that are avid supporters.”

The Jungle Farm is popular with many Alberta families in the fall for its

pumpkin patch, but also works regularly with local restaurants, like Charcut and River Café, seeding specific produce solely for certain establishments. Leona and Blaine Staples, who are fourth generation farmers on these grounds, seed an array of produce like kale, lettuces and strawberries in March and bring them up in a small, heated greenhouse, transferring the seedlings outside once the summer arrives.

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The growers all seem to agree that the average consumer has become increasingly interested in discovering the stories behind what he or she chooses to cook with at home. Is that also evident from a farmers’ market’s point of view?

Alsatian Adventure

“Well, nobody has groupies quite like the groupies for fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, those who have been deprived of their sweet taste over the long winter months!” explains Calgary Farmers’ Market’s head of marketing, Amanda Langbroek, laughing. “I really didn’t know the power of produce like B.C. cherries, Innisfail Growers’ garden peas or Okanagan peaches before witnessing it here at the market, first hand. It’s amazing to see people swarm the market the minute we announce that a certain item is in season. People arrive in droves like they are coming to see the Beatles, or One Direction!”

Wines from Alsace can easily be described as the most exotic in France. These wines, from a region of France near the German border that almost exclusively produces white wine, are worth exploring by any enthusiast. Bavarian and French culture combine to create a style that still cannot be matched anywhere in the world. From light and delicate, round and luscious, to full-bodied and rich, there is something here for everyone. Finally, a French wine region that labels by grape variety! Shawnessy: May 24, 7-9pm • $25 per person Beddington: June 19, 7-9pm • $25 per person Oakridge: June 21, 7-9pm • $25 per person

BBQ and Wine with Boreal Cuisine

The days grow longer and the patio chairs have been pulled out of storage. Summer’s on its way. Chef Wade Paterson of Boreal Cuisine will prepare smoky, sticky BBQ for us as we explore fantastic wine options for warm-weather entertaining. Get ready for a great summer with some outstanding BBQ recipes and wine-pairing tips for eating under the summer sun! Shawnessy: May 10, 7-9pm • $60 per person Beddington: May 22, 7-9pm • $60 per person Crowfoot: June 6, 7-9pm • $60 per person

An Evening with Chef Nicole Gomes

Join us for an unforgettable evening with one of Canada’s most highly-touted culinary talents, Chef Nicole Gomes. Participating in Top Chef Canada on Food Network is only the tip of the iceberg – she has a reputation for creating elegant, fresh dishes. Our in-house sommeliers will draw from decades of fine dining experience to choose unforgettable pairings for Chef Nicole’s culinary creations. Join us for a food and wine pairing dream come true! Crowfoot: May 8, 7-9pm • $95 per person Shawnessy: June 12, 7-9pm • $95 per person

Interesting Italy – The Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) Flight

Most geographically designated wines have legal requirements that must be strictly adhered to. This unique category allows winemakers creativity and expression in their winemaking and representation of the region they reside in. We’ll focus on some of Italy’s most interesting wine styles, which often use international grape varieties rather than the homeland’s indigenous varieties. Join us as we find some robust and generous wine styles that will undoubtedly deliver as we tour the land of the trained vine! Shawnessy: May 1, 7-9pm • $35 per person Beddington: June 21, 7-9pm • $35 per person

Life in the Dirt – An Exploration of Terroir

Terroir is the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics, express in agricultural products such as wine. We’ll delve deep into some special vineyard areas considered high-fidelity terroirs and find out if you can, in fact, taste a place. We’ll take a journey via wine glass from the volcanic ashes of Mount Etna to the high-altitude vines of Gualtallary, Argentina; on to the schist terraces of the Douro in Portugal, the Devonian blue slate of Mosel, Germany and more. Join us for what’s sure to be an insightful event and a flavour-filled lesson in geology! Oakridge: May 3, 7-9pm • $25 per person Shawnessy: May 31, 7-9pm $25 per person Crowfoot: June 21, 7-9pm • $25 per person

Edgar believes that her customers are getting much more health-conscious – they care about what they put into their bodies. “They want to meet the growers of their food and ask questions about how it was grown, when it was picked, how it was handled. We’re not out there to compete with the big box stores, but rather, experience has shown that if we grow a premium product, people will support us and keep supporting us.” Every year, the five farms host a customer appreciation day, when people can visit each of the operations, walk through the fields and get a feel for how the produce is proudly grown. Since it’s just an hour’s drive out of the city, it’s a great Brussels Sprouts Chips way for us to gain a bit more insight into how hard these producers work to with Fresh Lemon supply us with delicious, fresh ingrediFrom Connie DeSousa and John ents for our dinner tables. Jackson, Charcut. Amanda Langbroek loves such opThis is a super way to eat Brussels sprouts portunities. “These days, when it’s – especially if you never liked them as a so easy to scarf down a meal and kid. When you fry them, they become very think nothing of it, it’s the connection crispy, and frying also brings out their natuto these producers that makes me ral sweetness. We toss them with lemon savour and appreciate every bite of a juice, chile flakes, and salt – the lemon meal that’s made from the products of cuts through the richness, the chile adds their hard work.” spice, and –suddenly – they’re like the best For more information on Innisfail Growers and a complete list of farmers’ markets where you can find their products, head to innisfailgrowers.com.

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

1 lb. Jungle Farm’s Brussels sprouts

salt

In a large pot, heat the duck fat and vegetable oil to 375°F, leaving at least 8 inches of clearance between the oil and the top of the pot. Wash the Brussels sprouts well and trim the cores. Gently peel the leaves back from the cores to remove them and place them in a large bowl. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels.

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4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 t. chile flakes

Cabernet Sauvignon is unanimously considered the most revered and magnanimous of grape varieties in the wine world. Join us as we sample a tantalizing flight of super-premium wines, with dark concentration, deep berry-fruit expression, and a complementing structure like no other. We’ll taste excellent examples of Cabernet Sauvignonbased wines from throughout the world including, but not limited to: Argentina, Australia, Bolgheri, Bordeaux, Canada and Chile. There will also be gourmet tapas to complement this rare, memorable tasting. Oakridge: May 30, 7-9pm • $125 per person

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4 c. duck fat

1 lemon

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Fry the leaves in batches in the hot fat until the edges turn golden brown. Drain the leaves well on paper towels, shake off any excess fat, and place them in a large bowl. Toss with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and the chile flakes and salt. Repeat until all the leaves are fried. Serves 8. ✤


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Salad Pot

Gardening

Get your salad greens going early... in pots on your balcony or deck. by Ellen Kelly

Start with seed catalogues for lettuces, radishes and nasturtiums. These are some things you can easily plant from seed after the last frost and supplement with additional seed plantings or bedding-out plants as the season progresses. Lettuces and radishes have fairly short growing seasons, so you might be able to harvest more than one or two crops if you’re keen. In addition to providing better-than-average mail, seed catalogues are the only true tonic for the winter-weary gardener. Two of my favourites are The Whole Seed Catalog and Seed Savers Exchange. Seeds of Change, Renee’s Garden, Thompson & Morgan, W. Atlee Burpee, Salt Spring Seeds, Dominion Seed House and West Coast Seeds are all delightful as well. In my opinion you can’t have too many catalogues. Whether you order them or pick them up at a nursery, choose a selection of lettuces, radicchios and endives that appeal to you for colour, texture and flavour and toss the seeds together to create your own salad mix. Buy bags of good compost and potting soil, then mix them together before filling your pots. Sprinkle the seeds over the prepared soil in a pot or planter that’s wider than it is tall. Don’t worry about rows. Cover with a little more dirt and gently pat it down. Water gently so as not to disturb the seeds and keep moist, but not muddy. Instead of thinning the seedlings as they germinate, start harvesting your greens with scissors once they are three to four inches high. Voila! Micro-greens! You can thin the seedlings to help encourage larger individual plants later on. Prepare radishes in much the same way, but thin them early to make sure you end up with something big enough to eat. Deposit a nasturtium seed here and there along the edges. Tasting bright and peppery, nasturtium flowers and lily-like round leaves are intriguing in salads. Nasturtiums will continue to flower well into the fall, long past your lettuces. Don’t forget the herbs and other intriguing greens. Sweet basil is a natural for the salad pot garden. Handy for all manner of culinary endeavours or simply torn up into a leafy salad, basil is the workhorse of the herb garden. Parsley, flat-leaf and curly, chives, dill, cilantro and mint are also must-haves. Consider as well arugula, salad burnet, Swiss chard, spinach, mache, lemon verbena and sorrel, just for the fun of it. A smattering of herbaceous leaves mixed with milder greens will take your salad to another level. Tuck a few hardy pansy plants amongst the greenery for a bit of early-season colour. Pansies are edible and look charming in a tossed salad. As for garnish for your I-grew-all-this-myself salad, plant bright red, gold and yellow cherry tomatoes in large hanging baskets or deeper pots, along with two or three fast-maturing cucumber plants and a few tiny scallions stuffed into any open spaces, and let them have their way. Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is to have fun. Be bold. Experiment with anything that takes your fancy. If a plant doesn’t work, pull it up and put in something else. Visit favourite nurseries – Plantation on 4th St. NW and Garden Retreat in the southeast are two of mine – several times throughout the season for substitute hitters and encouraging gardening conversation. Remember the gardener’s dictum – there’s always next year and you can’t be ready too soon.

It’s never too early to begin plotting your plot and don’t be discouraged if all you have are pots and planters on a deck or balcony. Many delectable edibles flourish outside of conventional gardens. Most herbs, edible flowers and greens have shallow root systems and are perfectly happy even in small-ish containers. The only challenge is to keep everything well watered, especially in hot weather. If you have the room, a couple of deeper pots or hanging baskets will make it possible to successfully grow cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. And when you mix them all together, flowers, herbs and vegetables, the result is as lovely and striking as any composed floral arrangement. It’s beginning to sound a lot like a salad, isn’t it? 48

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014


Every great salad should be well dressed; save the bottles of Kraft for camping. Bitter greens want something sweet, delicate greens require something light, and hearty late season lettuces and endives handle creamy dressings best. Lemon Caper Vinaigrette This is my favourite all-purpose vinaigrette, I’ve been making it for years. It’s perfect for any kind of tossed salad. Double the recipe; it keeps well in the fridge.

Creamy Walnut/Sherry Dressing I love walnut oil combined with sherry vinegar for dressing slightly bitter greens like endive, radicchio and peppery arugula.

2 - 3 garlic cloves

1 t. finely chopped shallot

1 t. capers

1/2 t. Dijon mustard

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. salt

1 t. Dijon mustard

freshly ground black pepper

1 t. honey

1 T. maple syrup

1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 t. fresh lemon juice

1/4 c. walnut oil

dash of Tabasco

1/4 c. buttermilk

dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 T. toasted walnuts, chopped fine

1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar

Combine all the ingredients except the nuts and pulse with a hand-held blender until smooth. Stir in the nuts. Always keep nut oils (and nuts too, for that matter) in the refrigerator and use them up fairly soon after opening the bottles. They go rancid quite quickly if you don’t.

1/2 c. good olive oil

Finely mince the garlic and capers with the salt, then dump into a small bowl. Add the mustard, honey, pepper, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire and vinegar and whisk together. Gradually whisk in olive oil until emulsified.

Three-Citrus Vinaigrette One of the most versatile salad dressings I’ve come across is Dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s citrus vinaigrette from her book Quick Cuisine. Change it up with soy sauce, cilantro and sesame oil for an Asian flair, or stir in 1/2 c. of puréed mango for a fruit-based vinaigrette. 1 T. smooth Dijon mustard 3/4 c. lemon, lime and orange juice salt and hot chile flakes to taste 1/4 c. good olive oil 2 T. liquid honey, or to taste 1 T. minced chives (throw in a few of the lilac-coloured flowers if it’s the right time of year)

Whisk together the mustard, citrus juice, salt and chile flakes. Slowly add the oil, whisking to form an emulsion. Add the honey and chives last. Store in the fridge for up to a week. ✤ Ellen Kelly is a chef and regular contributor to City Palate.

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All I really need to know I learned from the Food Network by Linda Kupecek

I’m addicted to the Food Network. After an hour of watching shows rich with sizzling butter, melted cheese and steaming pans, everything goes black. When I come to, I’m in my kitchen, sautéing 10 cloves of garlic in butter, then drizzling the heavenly mess over toast and adding melted cheese. What’s not to love? The Food Network has a lot to offer, other than tips on cooking and raising your cholesterol. Deep examination of the myriad cooking shows (which I watch with rapt attention from my bed pillows, gourmet snacks in hand, crumbs flaking over my Winnie the Pooh jammies) leads to contemplation of mortality (all that fat) and morality (all those awful people). MasterChef, Chopped, Top Chef, and Worst Cooks in America are a peephole into how badly, or how well, people can behave under pressure, while being skewered by the lens of the camera. When an amateur cook on MasterChef gives a clove of garlic to a competitor, we applaud her generosity and sense of fair play. When another contestant refuses an egg or cup of sugar to a desperate home cook, we form an opinion of his character. When contestants dish to the camera on their opponents, we decide whether we like them or not. Sure, it’s entertainment. But it’s also an interesting test of our insights and our values. Do we really want that mean-spirited person with the potty mouth to win? Most of us want to believe that nice guys finish first. When tenderhearted, quiet Italian Luca was chosen over the ferocious Natasha on MasterChef, one could almost hear the cheers across the continent. (According to some food blogs, Natasha was edited to look mean all the time.) Even as we veg out in front of the television, we’re engaging in internal debate and decision-making about the cooks we watch. This is what I’ve culled from the zillion hours I’ve logged in front of this channel, with thanks to Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.

1.

Share everything. Sharing is good karma, whether it’s giving somebody a clove of garlic on Chopped, or spreading credit for a meal well cooked and well served. Seeing the chefs on the Food Network share their expertise, wisdom and maybe a slice of onion here and there, reminds one that life is about being on the path together.

2.

Wash your hands. After seeing judges scream at would-be cooks who neglect to observe basic sanitation rules – e.g. wash your hands, don’t drink out of the sauce or booze bottle, don’t wipe your sweaty face with the towel you use to wipe the plates, don’t let your dog drool into the frying pans – I think that’s obvious. Scrubbing those paws prevents spreading bad germs to all and sundry, and prevents you from being responsible for anybody’s death. I’m just saying.

3.

Eat, drink, cook with wild abandon, then clean up after yourself. Love what you do. Express yourself with abandon. But don’t leave a big mess for others to deal with, whether it’s the onion skin and chicken fat from your latest culinary efforts, or the junk in your back alley.

4.

No matter how bad you feel, put on a happy plate. Whatever disasters have occurred in the kitchen or in life, pull yourself together and put on a happy plate. Present what meagre fare you have with respect and joy. No matter where you go or what you do, almost everybody is heartened if you wear a warm smile and an optimistic outlook. Plus, you’ll feel better for doing so. (I’m not making this up. Self-help gurus say this all the time.) Every time I serve a disastrous and potentially inedible meal on a pretty plate, I comfort myself with the thought that I managed to do something right. And if a guest is carted off to emergency, as they lie groaning in the ambulance, they can at least give me points for presentation.

5.

Nice people come in first. They really do. Even if they don’t always win the big prize, they win the ultimate one – self-esteem and the respect of others.

6.

Be adventurous. Take risks. Don’t measure out your life in coffee spoons. Dare to be different. Make wild choices in the kitchen and in the workplace. Mix up stuff that you think just might work. If it doesn’t, okay, no harm done, just a little bit of lost time and a few Tums down the hatch. And perhaps some mainlining of Pepto Bismol.

7.

Experience every colour of the rainbow. My days of blandness in the kitchen are over, after watching the Food Network. Now I create plates of wild colour. Purple cabbage! Red beets! Green kale! Orange carrots! Bright strawberries! Golden yams! Colourful food is as good as a shot of lutein.

8.

Style is great, but substance trumps style. Even though I, as a famed lousy cook, adhere to the belief that style can overcome almost all difficulties, I know that to true gourmets, substance trumps all. So if you don’t have a lot of style in your cooking, if what you put on the plate is truly delicious and guests moan dreamily with the first bite, all is forgiven. The same can be said of conversation. Authenticity trumps glibness.

9.

Do what must be done (like de-boning a chicken) and don’t be a big crybaby. In the kitchen, as in life, there are tough jobs to be done. The measure of your mettle is whether you dissolve into tears and admit failure, or rise to the challenge. Whether it’s filleting a fish or making tough financial decisions, falling apart doesn’t do anybody any good, except maybe the manufacturers of the most popular tranquilizers.

10.

Don’t open a restaurant if you don’t love feeding people. Do you want to open a restaurant because you love to see your name on the door, or because you love making people happy with your cooking? The same is true of almost all professions. Whatever you do, you should love it. Not to be grim, but how many years do we have to fiddle around being unhappy?

11.

Savour every bite of food and of life. And while we’re musing on the meaning of life, it won’t hurt to mention what we all know and often forget – life is so much more pleasurable when we savour every morsel of it, from a sip of coffee to a wedge of brie, from a swallow of chardonnay to a fine chocolate mousse. Take the moment and enjoy it. I confess I have found joy in the most miserable of dried crackers when presented on a beautiful plate with a dab of butter and a decent chardonnay.

12.

Don’t cry over spilled milk. If there is anything one learns repeatedly from the Food Network, it is to move forward and make the most of the present moment. The chefs on Chopped don’t throw off their aprons and start blubbering because they forgot to add eggs to the custard. They just keep going and make the best of a bad situation. I remind myself of this, when I am staggering around the kitchen, throwing my apron over my head, and wailing and mewling because of a forgotten ingredient. Hey, if people on television can get past it, so can I. (I know this for a fact, since I was once a regular on national television, and suffered more public indignities than any person could expect to experience, including a small dab of public nudity, and I survived.)

13. “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” I love this great quote from Auntie Mame, from the book of the same name by Patrick Dennis, even though it implies a sort of snobbery toward those who don’t have the cojones to jump headfirst into the smoked salmon and cream cheese in the buffet of life. What the heck, let’s eat!

The Food Network, at its best, teaches us to celebrate life and the joys of eating and cooking, while maintaining a sense of responsibility to society. Isn’t that pretty basic? Isn’t that what most of us learned in kindergarten? ✤ Linda Kupecek is the author of four books, including Deadly Dues, the first in the series of Lulu Malone mystery novels. Sometimes she takes time off from watching the Food Network to work on her next three books.

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The Bitter Truth Goose your drinks with a shot of bitters you made yourself by Karen Ralph

I searched online for bitters recipes and bought books on botanicals and herbal blending. Bitters consist of bittering agents and aromatic flavours infused in alcohol that has to be at least 150 proof to extract maximum flavour from the botanicals. Only a dash of bitters is required, so the over-proof alcohol isn’t noticeable. Making bitters isn’t difficult; anyone can add dried or fresh herbs, flowers, bitter roots or bark and spices to overproof spirits and infuse them for days, weeks or months before straining and blending to create a custom blend. I couldn’t resist. Plus, I knew bitters were healthy! Fizzy water with a dash of light pink, licorice-y scented bitters and the comforting, slightly sweet flavours of star anise, fennel, cardamom and caraway had eased my headaches and upset stomach many a time. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.

Back in the halcyon days of TV’s “Kids In The Hall,”there was a skit called “Girl Drink Drunk” in which actor Dave Foley goes from being a mildmannered non-drinker to a connoisseur of fruity cocktails. He sneaks a pineapple, coconut-meat shredder and blender into the paper room at work, gets caught, and his macho, scotch-drinking boss derogatorily calls him a “girl drink drunk” and fires him. Twenty years later, meat-infused “carnivore cocktails” are an actuality; meat has made its way from the kitchen to the cocktail and given us chorizo-infused gin, bacon vodka, and the revolting “Ham Daiquiri,” to name just a few. This pork-powered trend for artisan spirits featuring house-made, unique flavour combinations means you can quaff as many sweet, powerful cocktails as you like without fear of being labeled a Girl Drink Drunk. Replacing pineapple and maraschino cherry skewers with sausage garnishes that could take out an eye was par for the maple syrup, muddled mint, limezested, bacon-bourbon-soaked course. Thanks to dedicated cocktail enthusiasts who search for original, authentic drink ingredients, the classic, aromatic, botanical infusion known as “bitters” are making a comeback. Like a cool hand on our fevered, meat-sweat-covered brow, a dash of cooling, healing bitters will return us to cocktailing sanity, elegance and taste. Used for flavouring food – add dashes of bitters to give a boost to soups and stews – and cocktails, a bottle of bitters was always part of a well stocked bar and pantry. Found in the company of pickled eggs and draught lager as well as fine wines and spirits, it was indispensible. Considered to be medicinal, bitters were also used for stimulating the liver and stomach, expelling worms, and increasing circulation. Bitters blends were closely guarded and the recipe for Angostura Bitters is a secret to this day. Encouraged after successfully making seckel pear eau-de-vie in a gewürztraminer grappa base, making my own homemade bitters didn’t seem like much of a stretch. The pears had been labour intensive: I picked them, peeled them, poached them in spice-infused simple syrup and stored them, sealed, in a 50-50 mix of their poaching liquid and alcohol base.

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(Remember that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. Don’t use bitters if you’re pregnant, and keep children and pets away from your home tincturing.) Community Natural Foods seemed like the obvious place to buy bittering and flavouring ingredients, and I wasn’t disappointed. Deciding on a mixture of three tablespoons of botanical to four ounces of clear, unflavoured, over-proof alcohol, boyfriend Ribsy and I measured out small bags of wormwood, burdock root, dandelion root, licorice bark and milk thistle. I labeled them, then marked them with a B for bittering agents. Flavouring agents can be any combination of spices, flowers, herbs, beans and nuts. I narrowed down our selection to lavender flowers and hibiscus blooms for the floral component, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon bark, whole crushed cloves, star anise, cumin seeds, fenugreek, juniper berries, powdered mace, green cardamom pods for the spices, and orange peel for fruit. All of the botanicals came to less than $20. continued on page 54


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we are all things culinary... A KiTCHEn And fOOd SPECiAlTy STOrE exclusive, hard-to-find ingredients, cookbooks and gourmet kitchen wares

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cookbookcooks.com

The Bitter Truth continued from page 52

Feeling like we were on a roll, we headed to the downtown Co-op Liquor Store for over-proof alcohol. The choices were limited, so I picked Everclear. Made in St. Louis, Missouri, Everclear has been banned in 14 states. I bought three bottles, which seemed to concern the clerk, but at about $37 for a 750 ml (26 ounce) bottle, it wasn’t the cheapest thing in the store by a long shot. Eight-ounce sealer jars were easy to find. I bought a flat of them at the Co-op, and most grocery stores carry a selection of sizes. Small brown glass tincture bottles were harder to find, but The Apothecary in Inglewood had them for about $22 per dozen. Finally ready, I sterilized the tincture bottles and the eight-ounce sealers and set the tincture bottles aside to be used when the infusions were complete. I measured four ounces of Everclear into each sealer and added two tablespoons of botanical. I kept the infusions to one herb, spice or bittering agent per jar to better control the final flavour profile, labeling each one to make sure there would be no confusion. For the larger spices like cardamom, a mortar and pestle was helpful to slightly crush them, facilitating the release of oils and aromas. Boyfriend Ribsy said I looked like a witch, mixing potions, surrounded by sealers and herbs, the cats lurking, wanting in on the action. It was a satisfying session. Some of the herbs released their colours and aromas right away; hibiscus stained the alcohol bright, clear, ruby red; the orange rind released an oily, electric dash of colour. Every day I shook the bottles, watching the deepening and varying shades of green: juniper seeds were almost blue while fennel and cumin were a fresh, spring mint. Lavender flowers, dandelion root and wormwood turned the alcohol a dark, night-time green while fenugreek stayed mostly neutral, pale yellow, like a winter sun. After about a week, I rubbed a little liquid from each bottle on my palms to tell by scent whether the infusions were strong enough to strain and use. Some were, but most needed more time. I strained the rind and petals from the hibiscus and orange, put the infused, strained alcohol in a clean sealer and added distilled water to the dregs of the orange rind and hibiscus petals. The dregs-infused water could be used to cut the alcohol infusion but I had decided to make some without the addition of water. After another week I checked the infusions again, and this time they were almost all ready to use. I wanted to keep the flavour profiles simple. The first blend was orange flavoured with hibiscus for colour and vibrancy, and star anise for warmth; I’d used burdock root and wormwood as the bittering agents. I called this concoction The Pink Faery. The orange flavour was appealing and fresh and the intense colour of the hibiscus mellowed into a velvety pink when mixed with the other ingredients. I named the second blend The Green Hobbit; it was a classic licorice-flavoured mixture. I used dandelion root, licorice root, and wormwood as the bittering agents and flavoured it with cumin, fennel and cardamom. Without the addition of distilled water it was strong and pleasant but both Ribsy and I agreed that the The Green Hobbit was no match for the light, zesty Pink Faery. The bitters experiment was well worth the effort. It was relatively inexpensive, everything I needed cost less then $120 and the result was impressive. I have almost 80 ounces of individually infused botanicals waiting to be blended into various combinations. It was fun to try to replicate authentic bitters recipes. It was satisfying seeing jars of botanicals at various stages of infusion, even if they are now taking over the kitchen. Bitters made with over-proof alcohol can last for years, as long as they are stored in a blue or brown glass bottle to protect them from UV light and kept cool and dark. If you sweeten them with sugar, honey, agave or anything else I would recommend using them within a couple of months. Bitters can last for years if they are stored in a cool, dark place, but it’s more fun to give them away as presents and try them out in various drinks. I recommend the experiment, and the experience. Embrace your inner botanist and give these recipes a try. continued on page 58

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014


city palate 1993 – 2013

CELEBRATING 20 DELICIOUS YEARS wITh 20 DELICIOUS EvENTS

Join us

for our 20 for 20 wrap-up Party! Monday, June 9th, 6-10 pm

’ We

re w

ing r ap p

up o u r 20t h a n

niv

er

sa

ry

Olé! City Palate wraps it all up with a sexy summer soirée, and Calgary is invited! Ox & Angela will be transformed into a grand tapas bar, complete with a giant paella station on the patio. Your ticket to this night of divine, Mediterranean revelry includes 2 drinks, tapas, paella, porron pouring demos, a sherry tasting and flamenco entertainment – the perfect finish to an exciting year!

ce

le

br

at

io n

s wit

h a f a n t a st i c f e s t a !

Location: Ox & Angela, 528 - 17 Avenue SW Tickets: $95pp, citypalatewrapparty.eventbrite.ca

Sweet child o’ wine. Featuring an extensive wine list, best served with friends & food.

doublezeropizza.ca

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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Calgary’s Best Artisan Soups & Sandwiches

stockpot Stirrings around Calgary

touring the farms n Take a spring Country Drive, June 7 and 8, countrydrive.ca; Seasoned Solutions Culinary Tours, June 21 and 22, to Kitscoty and Lloydminster, seasonedsolutions.ca; find your Soil Mates if you’re traveling around North America at soilmate.com. More farm activity coming up in July and August.

restaurant ramblings

locally sourced ingredients, gluten free. Available at Kinglsand Farmers’ Market 7711 Macleod Trail

SatiSFy your

SummEr CravingS! JuSt minutES From Chinook CEntrE!

n A very cute little place has sprung up in the east village at the Orange Lofts – Hear’s My Soul Café. Don’t blink or you might miss it at #107, 535 - 8th Ave. SE, and you don’t want to miss it. Owned by Nina Saini and Ken Hebert, this tasty coffee shop is a memorial to Saini’s best friend who was killed in a car accident. Find coffee, beer, wine, panini, live music, art events and charming people. hearsmysoul.com. n Bistro Rouge has added Aydrian Kalin to the team as general manager. Cocktail guru and mixologist extraordinaire Andy Britton mans the wood in the lounge. Look for a new lunch menu and extended hours of operation, 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. n Treat mom to great eating at the Mother’s Day brunch at Yellow Door Bistro, May 11, buffet style, bubbles for mom. Three seatings, details at hotelarts.ca. n Oh, my, some awfully tasty dishes will be featured on the summer Catch menu. For rhubarb lovers, Catch will change how we view this “ornamental vegetable.” The new menu features Spicy Rhubarb Ceviche: an appetizer made with humpback shrimp, scallop, heart of palm, and chiles. And rhubarb! Other summer features include Atlantic Black Bass served with shrimp and cabbage dumplings, coconut lime sauce and tempura as well as Naked Lobster served with tarragon creamed corn, candied bacon, fennel tart tatin and nasturtium. This summer at Hyatt Regency and Catch & the Oyster Bar, beehives will find a home on the rooftop garden as part of their core belief in sustainable food sources. n Wine-Ohs has a new menu for lunch and dinner in the Bistro, and a new Cellar menu. The food has some modern Bistro items and French classics. The music programming focuses on roots, folk, and alt country with some occasional pop and rock. Details at wine-ohs.com. n The Coup, a tasty, vegetarian restaurant, is expanding the kitchen, installing a takeout bar, and increasing seating capacity. Once upgrades are complete, The Coup will be open daily, serving great vegetarian cuisine in Calgary. Look for a mid- to endMay opening.

7207 Fairmount Drive SE Calgary Open for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 403-252-2083 | www.cravingsmarketrestaurant.com cravingsyyc cravingsmarketrestaurant 56

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

n Tavern 1883 is Canmore’s newest restaurant and bar, at 709 - 9th St. The mountain style tavern specializes in “proper food and drinks” in a casual, comfortable environment. Tavern 1883 is built around a century-old home, with log walls, a stone fireplace and a sunny patio. Tavern 1883 makes everything in-house, including grinding the meat for burgers. Check out the live music and DJs Thursday through Sunday.

n Diners at Smuggler’s Group of Restaurants have helped provide 5,143 meals through the Mealshare Program. Enjoy free corkage on Mondays. Tango Mondays are buck-a-shuck for oyster fans, 3-6 p.m. is Tapa Hour. Henry of Pelham wine dinner at Tango, May 1. May 5 is Comunity Night with artist Michelle MacDonald and DJ Hombre. July 2 is the 3rd Annual Community Cook-Off with different restaurants competing for prizes, live entertainment, family fun. n Have your spring celebration and Mother’s Day at River Café. Picnic baskets are available from June to September. Freshly baked canola seed baguette sandwich, artisan cheese, candied wild Keta salmon, local spring crudité and decadent sweets from the bakery are all you need to linger over a delicious picnic on Prince’s Island. To order visit river-cafe.com or call 403-261-7670. The arrival of Edgar Farm asparagus marks the beginning of local spring produce. Take a farm tour, and taste the just-picked asparagus prepared by River Café’s chef Andrew Winfield at Edgar Farm’s Annual Asparagus Festival on June 7. n Rush Ocean Prime presents the electrojazz stylings of Soundsidy, featuring Johanna Sillanpaa and Kyemara, live in the lounge every Tuesday to Friday, 5-8 p.m. Rush Hour offers sushi, fresh shucked oysters, appetizers and select wines and cocktails, 3-6 p.m. weekdays in the lounge. n It’s Cocktail Hour at Vintage Chophouse every weekday with select appetizers, wines, and cocktails from 3:30-6:30 p.m. in the Tavern, as well as live local jazz, blues, and rock bands every Friday and Saturday starting at 10 pm. Details at vintagechophouse.com/features. n Redwater Grille offers $20 Wine Tuesdays on select bottles of premium wines at all locations. Happy Hour at Redwater Bow Valley is 3-6 p.m. with daily drink features and $1 off drink specials in the lounge. Sunday brunch is served at Redwater Aspen from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Modern brunch favourites for the whole family. n At Bookers BBQ + Crab Shack, Sunday and Monday are All-You-Can-Eat crab or ribs, starting at 4 p.m. Wing Wednesday has the only smoked wings in town with your choice of BBQ sauce for just $39 each. Live music at Bookers every Saturday and Sunday – local blues and rock bands starting at 10 p.m. n Chachi’s opens a newly designed location featuring a new menu at South Centre Mall, May 1. Recommended sandwiches include the Bahn Mi, BBQ Pulled Pork topped with Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and the new Spanish-inspired Torta.

wine and beer wanderings n Escape to Banff, May 30 and 31, for the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival at The Fairmont Banff Springs. Guests will indulge in delectable cuisine from Banff’s most popular restaurants, as well as a wide selection of local and international wines, premium spirits, single malt and blended scotches, specialty liqueurs, and import and micro-brewed beer. Tickets, hotel packages, other weekend events and more at rockymountainwine.com.


n VR Wine, a wine store started by Phoebe Fung of Vin Room, offers more than 60 different kinds of artisan spirits and beer at 8561- 8 Ave. SW (West Springs area). VR Wine is the only wine store in Alberta to offer aeroplan miles. Check out vrwine.com for a $10 flat rate next-day Calgary delivery. n Metrovino tastings: Bacchus for Beginners (Wine Basics), May 1/June 19; France in Your Pants, May 8; Going Back to Cali, May 15; Much Depends on Dinner, Food + Wine, May 22; A Vertical Tasting, Lamarche La Grande Rue, May 29; Buyers’ Tasting, June 5; Women & Wine, Sisters are Doing it for Themselves, June 12; Think Pink, A Rose-tinted World, June 26. Details and registration at 403-205-2256 or online at metrovino.com. n Have you ever been on a guided wine tour with a SAIT & Cordon Bleu-trained chef? Chef Patrick Dunn of InterCourse Chef Services will be your host during an all-inclusive food and wine tour of the Okanagan’s best wineries, June 19 in the Naramata Bench region. Check out the various tastings and tours planned for 2014 by visiting okanaganfwt.com. n 10th Annual Calgary International Beerfest, May 2 and 3, BMO Centre Stampede Park, features brew master seminars with brew masters from around the world, cooking-with-beer seminars with Calgary chefs, more than 750 beers to sample, food from Calgary’s restaurants, live music and special beer brewed by the Brew Master Program at Olds College. Tickets at albertabeerfestivals.com.

cooking classes n Poppy Innovations’ Edible Education offers parent and child classes to create delicious and nutritious meals with your kids, for parents and kids aged 9+, a six-week class. Or have a fun-filled afternoon at Cook with Your Kids in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Adult classes for canning and preserving start in June. poppyinnovations.ca. n Cuisine et Château Interactive Culinary Centre: Best of Brunch, in the kitchen with mom, May 10, hands-on class; Mother’s Day Brunch, No Cooking Required, a 4-course demo event, May 11.

n At The Cookbook Co. Cooks: A Night Out: A Couples Cooking Class; Italian Farmhouse Menu; Hot Sun, Hot Food: Grilling with Latin Flavours; An Entertaining Menu from Yellow Door Bistro; All Things Fermented: Kimchi, Sauerkraut and More; A Night of Pizza and Rosé; Grilling 101; Secrets of Championship Barbecue Workshop; Jamaican Reggae Party. Full schedule at cookbookcooks.com.

n Le Creuset’s Tea Mug, Teapot and Egg Cups collection is perfect for serving mom breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. The set of six rainbow egg cups is a beautiful collection made from premium stoneware and available in rich colours. Serve mom’s favourite tea in Le Creuset’s elegant teapot with stainless steel infuser and tea mug. Available in signature Le Creuset shades, mix and match or choose mom’s favourite colour.

continued on page 58

general stirrings n Help raise money for the Calgary Humane Society by taking part in the Dog Jog, June 8, at South Glenmore Park. A great family run/walk – details at calgaryhumane.ca or call 403-723-6004. n Dont’ miss the 25th Annual Lilac Festival May 25 along 4 St. SW from 13 Ave. to Elbow Drive. Enjoy the kick-off parade at 10 a.m. and hang around with 500 vendors and community organizations and 50 performances by local and international artists. This year, the festival works with Green Event Services to provide a complete waste, recycling and composting program. lilacfestival.net. n ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen’s new From the Grill cookbook is now available. Tasty recipes inside: Braised Pork Tacos are a perfect match for Flour Tortillas on the Barbecue; Barbecued Clams and Chorizo or Citrus and Vodka Marinated Planked Salmon; Golden Beet and Fennel Salad; Kale and Mango Slaw; Prairie Barbecue Sauce and Bacon Pineapple Jam. Find it at the online shop at atcoblueflamekitchen.com/shop at the Calgary Blue Flame Kitchen office, or by calling the order desk at 1-800-840-3393. It is also available in Calgary Co-op, Save-OnFoods, Safeway and Chapters/Indigo stores. n Joy Road Catering presents its “Cuisine du Terroir” Okanagan Al Fresco Vineyard Dining Series for the 2014 Season. Sourcing and showcasing the bounty of the Okanagan continues to be a way of life for Joy Road. This summer’s Sunday Al Fresco Vineyard Dinners will be hosted on the grounds of God’s Mountain Estate B&B located just south of Penticton. This Okanagan dining experience begins June 1 and runs through to Thanksgiving. A Celebration of Sparkle takes place July 18 and features sparkling wine. All the tasty details at joyroadcatering.com.

I found a taste of Paris at Ratatouille Bistro

n Back country cooking lessons with Marianne Abraham from the Whitewater Cooks book series by Shelley Adams at Shadow Lake Lodge, Banff, July 6/7 and September 7/8. Phone 1-866-762-0114 to book your back country culinary adventure. n Join The Compleat Cook for small-group classes featuring Calgary chefs. Upcoming classes include: Small Bites, Friday Night Date Night – Pizza, Spring Soups & Seasonal Salads, Chocolate, Pasta & Fresh Sauces, Pastries & Edible Flowers, Asian Soups & Street Food, Saucery, Cruise the Mediterranean, Thai Noodles & Salads, Southern BBQ. To register 403-253-4831; for more info visit compleatcook.ca. n The Light Cellar Superfood & Superherb Teaching Kitchen features an abundance of classes, good opportunities to easily upgrade and positively change your life with classes that include Fermented Foods & Drinks, Cheese, Raw Chocolate Making, Aromatherapy, Sprouting, Kids’ Class, Medicinal Mushrooms, Wildcrafting Walks, Herbal Pharmacy, Amazonian Plants, Elixir Crafting, Raw Ice Creams & Pies and more. To register online and visit: 403-453-1343, thelightcellar.ca, 6326 Bowness Road NW.

Classic French fare with a touch of Morocco at Elbow Drive and 49th Avenue SW in Britannia Plaza. You’ll love our patio — opening soon!

829 49 AvE SW • 403.719.1942 • CloSED SunDAyS

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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Stockpot continued from page 57 n Ripe Tomato Pizza brings you restaurant quality without the wait or the cost. Your pizza is made-to-order using fresh ingredients cooked in a traditional-style stone oven, in front of your eyes! #429, 751 - 3 St. SW in the food court beside the Devonian Gardens. ripetomatopizza.com. n During YYC Burger Week, May 2-11, you can eat burgers for charity and vote for your faves. All talent is local, an Alberta- or Calgary-based company, and burgers will be priced at $10, $15 and $20 with 10% going to one of three charities. New competitors include Model Milk, Selkirk Grille, Diner Deluxe, Fine Diner, Eats of Asia, Clive Burger and Sky 360. Also look for Wurst, Libertine, Mango Shiva, Trib, Vintage and Buchanan’s to join in the fun. Eat lotsa burgers.

n YYC Hot Chocolate Fest 2014 had 16 vendors and 31 hot chocolate drinks to try in support of Calgary Meals on Wheels. The winners are posted online at YYCHotChocolate.com. Best Hot Chocolate went to Cornerstone Music Café’s Hot Mayan; Best Spirited Hot Chocoate went to Cibo’s Vino Cioccolato; The Cup that Runneth Over: Most Funds Raised for Calgary Meals on Wheels went to Euphoria Café. n De Winton Community Garden, south of Calgary, provides vegetable garden plots that are fully managed and include education and support so you can cultivate your potential! They also help set up or maintain your own garden. Details at poppyinnovations.ca. n The Post Hotel & Spa hosts Wine Summit Lake Louise at the Hotel May 29June 1. This is the 10th Anniversary of this culinary celebration highlighted by great

CREATIVITY EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENT SIDES OF CHEF DUNCAN LY, GOLD MEDALIST, AWARD WINNING CHEF

HOTEL ARTS | KENSINGTON RIVERSIDE INN

wines, food and parties. This year’s line-up includes Marchesi de’Frescobaldi (Italy), Hamilton Russell Vineyards (South Africa), Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina), Château d’Esclans (France), Château Rauzan–Ségla (France), Kistler Vineyards (USA) and Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery (USA). The Wine Summit contributes each year to the Kids' Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. Book well in advance for this popular event, details at winesummitlakelouise.com.

The Bitter Truth

n 2015 France Southwestern Culinary Tours with Cuisine et Château, information sessions August 24 and September 28. cuisineandchateau.com.

2 drops of wormwood

n The Lakeview Plaza location of Meez Fast Home Cuisine is under new ownership and is no longer a Meez store. The Willow Park Village location is still owned by chef Judy Wood and continues to offer all the Meez menu options and gourmet ingredients. Select Meez menu items will still be available at Lakeview Plaza and Market 17. Try delish chef-prepared meals, like Thai Prawns and Alberta Beef Chili, meezcuisine.com.

1/2 dropper of star anise

n Playful Aprons combines modern styles with a perfect fit. The women’s aprons are perfect to help today’s woman keep sher clothes clean in style and feel beautiful. The spring and summer styles make a perfect Mother’s Day gift! Enjoy shopping with a glass of wine at playfulaprons.com.

The Pink Queen Put a dash of Pink Faery into a glass of dry sparkling wine and garnish with a syrup-preserved hibiscus flower. Preserved hibiscus flowers are available at specialty food stores. Serve in a flute glass.

n Elevate Auctions is a team of people who find ways to help organizations raise money. To ensure that success, they are on the lookout for unique items and experiences for the numerous auctions they service. They look for local businesses and organizations to partner with to make this become a reality. For more information – elevateauctions.com.

Spanish Faery Fly Ice cubes, 2 ounces of bourbon, soda water, stir in 1 T. of agave or simple syrup and add a dash of Pink Faery bitters for colour and kick. Serve in a rocks glass garnished with an orange slice.

n Professional photographer Shallon Cunningham, Salt Food Photography, specializes in food photography and making the best plates in the city come alive in photos. She works with chefs, restaurant owners, local food providers and ad agencies to capture images that inspire the taste buds. Visit saltfoodphoto.com or call 403-998-1447.

4 droppers of licorice root

n [Pre]serve foodskills launches YYC Preservers Club! Club membership offers access to kitchen parties, canning bees, an equipment rental library, discounts on classes at [pre]serve foodskills, networking opportunities, a yearly preserve swap, and more. A portion of every membership goes towards sustaining educational opportunities at local non-profits and for low-income Calgarians. Basic membership begins at $50/year. More information at preservefoodskills.ca/yycpreservers. n EZ Squeezees is a refillable and reusable pouch with a large zippered side for easy, mess-free filling. Just fill, zip, eat, then wash and reuse. BPA and phthalate free, dishwasher and freezer safe. Perfect for kids and adults. EZ Squeezees holds 6.5 oz. of food and can be reused about 15 times per pouch. Save big bucks and help the environment! Get them online at ezsqueezees.com.

SAY CHEESE FROMAGERIE & REGINA’S FINE MEATS... Entertaining heaven – at the Crossroads Farmers’ Market!

patio time is just around the corner... we’ve got what you need for a sumptuous al fresco dining experience!

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CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

n There’s still room on the Gail Hall’s Seasoned Solutions Piedmont and Burgundy culinary tour, October 11 to 22. Add on the option of attending Slow Food’s Terra Madre in Turin from October 23 to 27. The tour is limited to 16 participants. To register contact kerry@worldwidequest.com or call 1-800-387-1483. Alberta culinary tour.
Kitscoty and Vermilion, July 19/20. Contact Gail at gail@seasonedsolutions.ca or check seasonedsolutions.ca.

continued from page 54

continued from pa

Note: coffee filters work well for filtering your herbal infusions, but Britta water filters are the best.

The Pink Faery Bitters 2 droppers of burdock root 3 droppers of orange infusion 2 droppers of hibiscus

This will make about 1 T. of infusion, which will half fill a tincture bottle. You can leave it full strength, or top up the bottle with the distilled hibiscus-infused water. The orange and hibiscus are refreshing and tangy, making The Pink Faery perfect for rethinking classic cocktails. Impress your friends with these drinks:

The Green Hobbit Bitters 3 droppers of dandelion root 2 drops of wormwood 2 droppers of cumin infusion 2 droppers of fennel seed infusion 2 droppers of cardamom infusion

Put all ingredients into a tincture bottle, then impress your friends with these drinks: Hobbit in Manhattan Put ice cubes, 2 oz. of bourbon, a squeeze of fresh lime, 1 T. of agave or simple syrup, dash of The Green Hobbit bitters into a shaker and shake vigorously. Serve in a rocks or martini glass. Hobbit and Hounds Put 1 large egg white, ice, dash of Green Hobbit bitters, squeeze of lemon juice, 1 T. simple syrup into a shaker and give about 10 good shakes, until the mixture is frothy and thick. Pour into a rocks glass and sip away. For lots of information about bitters, with good recipes and how to use them in your cooking, look for Bitters, A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All by Brad Thomas Parsons (10-Speed Press, $27.99, hard cover). ✤

Karen Ralph works at Metrovino and is occasionally known as Red Wine Tongue.


City Palate's 2013 Culinary Travel Grant recipient reveals...

15 things I learned from my culinary adventure in India

by Eden Hrabec

1. Last year, our winner was Eden Hrabec, Crazyweed Kitchen in Canmore. Eden was Calgary’s 2012 Gold Medal Plates winner, with a dish excited by Indian masala spices, and India was where she wanted to explore, especially its extraordinary street food. She came back both inspired and enlightened, and shares her experiences with us.

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City Palate supports local up-and-coming chefs with a travel grant to help them further their culinary passion through travel.

I learned to thrive in chaos. It’s dirty and uncontrolled and everything that was second nature to me here seemed to be an insurmountable challenge there. While visiting Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, there were an almost overwhelming number of annoyances I hoped to escape at the train station. However, the station proved to be just the opposite, from large rats and families who set up camp to wandering cows – and one who went to the bathroom, which cleared an entire platform – and monkeys swinging from the rafters, stealing fruit from the food trolleys. It was quite the circus. By the end of a three-hour wait I was really excited to get on the train – if I could only find the right platform, the right train, the right seat… but that’s another story! In India, traffic laws seem to be irrelevant. At any given moment you might see an under-age child driving a tractor, and many vehicles didn’t obey stop lights. Crossing the road was possibly the biggest challenge, and almost impossible to master. What I learned is that you must keep a steady pace through the madness on the road. As long as you can predict the next move of the people beside you and move slowly enough for the others to predict yours, you might make it out alive! Cooking methods are influenced by both the lifestyle of the people and the availability of ingredients in the isolated regions of Rajasthan in the northwest of India. I developed a real gratitude for their ability to accomplish culinary excellence from the poorest ingredients in this desert. How easy it was to become an avid tea drinker. I was only 20 minutes out of the airport when I was welcomed with my first cup of chai at a late night tourist bureau in New Delhi. A cup of sweet and spicy chai is easily available from humble roadside tea stalls to railway platforms and everywhere in between. I was sold, first sip! Immersing myself into the street food scene seemed risky at first since there aren’t food-handling regulations and hand washing was next to impossible. But when I gathered the courage, it was some of the best food I’ve ever had. From the vada pav (spicy potato fritter with garlic chutney), veg samosas, bhel puri (chickpea noodles, puffed rice, chile, tomatoes, onion... lots of combinations), aloo tikki and gol gappe (crisp fried pockets with cracked tops filled with things like tamarind, chutney, onions and fresh cilantro), it was hard to pick a favourite. What it came down to was distinguishing the quality differences from stall to stall. What I found best was... eat where the locals eat. Always a hit! I couldn’t deny the unforgettable flavours of Northern India! From the street stall hidden in the ‘Medieval City’ of Jaipur, the rooftop cafés in the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur to the unique food trolleys in the ‘Golden City’ of Jaisalmer, the citizens of Rajasthan truly have a way to extract the most flavour from their ingredients and create wondrous food absolutely everywhere. The true value of a cow, considered to be sacred. The worship of cows is a common practice and their owners hold them in high regard as one of the main family providers. Dried cow dung is burned and used as a fuel source in many households. I was surprised to learn that some of the locals find that the smoke from the dung inserts a certain desirable quality to the food they cook! Four things you may not like but have to get used to in India as a solo female traveler: 1) You are stared at constantly. While I was in the north, no man would address me directly. 2) You are restricted in what you can wear. I found that adhering to the unwritten dress code won the respect of the local women and made me feel more comfortable. I was always covered up, with sleeves or a scarf to cover my arms. 3) You have to fight for your place in line. Everywhere I went, if I didn’t stand my ground I risked getting trampled. 4) You have to say “no” and mean it. Sometimes more than once, to shop keepers. If you suggested you’d be back to browse, they wouldn’t let it go. Monkeys… as cute as they are, are not your friends! Monkeys are thieves. The lip-smacking taste and flavours of the gatte ki sabzi (curried gram-flour dumplings) I had when arriving in Bikaner, in Rajasthan. They are creamy, spicy and punched full of flavour, served in a rich yogurt curry warmed with fenugreek. I tried this elsewhere, but it wasn’t the same. Unless you have the Bikaner dish, you wouldn’t understand how this dish can change your life. You’ll just have to make the trip! As a chef I’ve always found it hard to create a dish without a protein. India helped me develop a new appreciation for vegetarian cuisine. Can’t say it’s completely changed me, though – I did come home craving some Alberta beef! Family is truly where the heart is. Family is everything to the people of India. For many, family is all they have.

13.

The unique flavours of kair sangria served with spicy mango pickles became an undeniable favourite food. This delicious delicacy has the touch of dried dates, turmeric powder, red chiles, salt, shredded dried mango, cumin seeds and coriander... mmmmmmm.

14.

What a copious amount of patience you must have! In India, simple tasks like booking a train ticket, finding a local market and getting decent Wi-Fi were a challenge. I learned to appreciate these common, everyday tasks because I now know how long it takes to do these things in India.

but far from least, I learned what a lifelong obsession feels like. As soon as I stepped off the plane in 15. Last, Calgary, I was reliving my experiences realizing how incredibly beautiful the country is and how much I still would like to learn and explore. I can’t wait to return. ✤

CITY PALATE.ca MAY JUNE 2014

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last meal There was a time when the thought of meatloaf would bring back not-so-good childhood memories. I’d recall a dried-out brick of ground beef smothered in ketchup and chased with milk to help it down. Years ago, I discovered a version made from ground turkey that tastes like Christmas dinner in loaf form – a modern miracle! I have made a few improvements on it over the years and it’s a crowd pleaser to be sure, best served with some creamy mashed potatoes and crisp green beans. I’ve included a warm radicchio salad that is almost a meal in itself, and for “afters,” molten chocolate cakes. Comfort food rules!

Warm Radicchio Salad This salad is substantial enough to be served as a main course, simply increase the portions. If you can find the long Treviso heads of radicchio it will be even better. 4 medium/large yellow potatoes 1 head radicchio, trimmed and quartered 1/3 c. olive oil 100 g pancetta, cut thick and chopped into 1/4-inch dice 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped fine 2 t. balsamic vinegar 1-1/4 t. lemon juice 1 large ball fresh burrata or buffalo mozzarella – coarsely torn

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recipe photos by Geoff Last

WIN ERI ES

Trim the potatoes (skins can be left on if in good condition) and cut into wedges, about 8 per spud. Boil in a large pot of salted water until just tender – they should be on the al dente side. Drain and run under cold water to halt cooking. Drain well and set aside. Place radicchio in a large salad bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the pancetta and cook for 3 minutes, until it begins to turn crispy, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the shallots and potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes more, stirring gently to avoid breaking up the potatoes. Add the vinegar and lemon juice and cook for another minute to incorporate. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Quickly pour the warm potato mixture over the radicchio and toss. Scatter the burrata or mozzarella over top of the warm salad and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Wine recommendation: Pinot noir is my first choice with this dish. The lighter body and abundant fruit/acid components make it ideal with the meatloaf. You don’t have to pour Grand Cru Burgundy, just a nice, friendly bottle of pinot. Jovino Pinot Noir 2010, $27 Oregon has emerged as one of the few places on the globe that can produce high-end pinot noir. This has become increasingly evident with each passing year. A sideline project of sorts for wine maker Joe Dobbes, this wine is a soft, silky pinot that focuses on a core of bright raspberry fruit with a touch of spice box.


Geoff Last

Keep it simple and seasonal

Turkey Meatloaf

Molten Chocolate Cakes

This makes great leftovers as well, especially in sandwich form. Don’t think about omitting the sun-dried tomatoes, they lift this up to something special. Feel free to pass some cranberry sauce around as well.

These were all the rage for a while and with good reason – they are simple and delicious. I have tried about a dozen molten cake recipes over the years, this one proved to be the simplest and tastiest.

1 1/2 t. olive oil

5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 large onion, chopped 3 celery stalks, chopped

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey

1 T. bourbon

1-1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs

2 large eggs

2/3 c. drained, chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

2 large egg yolks

1/2 c. milk

1 t. vanilla extract

2 eggs 2 T. fresh sage, finely chopped

1 t. instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder (optional)

2 t. fresh thyme, finely chopped

large pinch of salt

2 t. salt

Generously butter four 3/4-cup soufflé dishes or ramekins. Arrange on a baking sheet. Stir the chocolate and butter in a heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

1 t. ground pepper

Glaze: 2 T. ketchup 1 T. hot sauce, such as Frank’s 1 T. balsamic vinegar black pepper

www.unimarket.ca

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla, espresso powder and salt in a medium bowl, until a very thick ribbon falls when the beaters are lifted, about 6 minutes. Sift the flour over the batter and fold it in. Fold in the chocolate mixture. Divide the batter among the dishes, filling completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.)

OT HE R’ S Y DA

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the cakes until the tops are puffed and dry and a tester inserted into the center comes out with moist batter still attached, about 15 minutes. Cool the cakes 5 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or crème fraîche. And, perhaps with a glass of port for good measure. Serves 4.

BR UN CH TI CK ET S NO W ON SA LE !

Add the remaining ingredients (except the glaze!) to the vegetable mixture. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour. In a small bowl, mix the ketchup, hot sauce and vinegar and season with a little black pepper. Brush it over the meatloaf and bake for an additional 15 minutes longer. Cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

4 T. sugar

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Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, sauté 5 minutes. Add the celery and sauté until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

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back burner

Allan Shewchuk

S h e w c huk on s i mm e r

The opposite of fun

I was recently traumatized by something that no adult should ever have to go through. No, it was not a second puberty, nor was it having to sit through the Ice Capades again. It was the horror of having a dish placed before me that I could not bear the thought of eating without engaging my gag reflex. This is the torture that children often have to experience – you know, that fried calf’s liver, or boiled broccoli, or whatever your mom told you that you must eat or you were never going to leave that table. Surely to God, by the time you’re a grown-up, this shouldn’t happen to you any more. In adult life, I believe that hosts are obliged to ask if you are gluten intolerant, have any allergies, and, most of all, whether there’s anything that you cannot (a polite way of saying “will not”) eat. So I’d thought my days of having a staring contest with a meal were over by the time I’d turned eight. But no. There I was, a guest at a private function in a restaurant that was proud of its lofty cuisine, where my host had lauded me as an expert cook to his friends. Much fussing preceded my attendance, although in retrospect there weren’t any of the usual questions about what I could not (or would not) be able to stomach. So I arrived to much fanfare and, after many fizzy wines, was plunked at the table to face a specialty of the house. Faces full of anticipation surrounded me as I was presented with an enormous bowl of brown-flecked risotto. “Buon appetito!” shouted my host. I diplomatically asked what the poopy looking things in my arborio rice were, only to be met with an Italian chorus of “Riccio di mare!” Oh no, I cringed: sea urchin. Not sea urchin…. For those of you unfamiliar with sea urchins, they are those spiny things you can step on and potentially ruin a seaside holiday. In my view, you can with certainty ruin a seaside holiday by actually eating the insides of one. Sea urchin is one of the few things on earth that I cannot get down my throat. Perhaps it’s because the core of an urchin is made up of gonads (yes, gonads!) that are brown and look like tongues. Their texture is slimy and their taste is often described as being like a “dirty sponge” or a “urinal cake in a men’s room.” Yum yum. More polite people describe them as being “an acquired taste” and say that it takes three tries at urchin to lose the urge to throw up when it’s in your mouth. Suffice it to say, I have never made it to the third round of this game. And there I was with sea urchin floating in my risotto as all eyes were on me.

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If I were a kid at a family dinner table, I could have used many tried and true solutions: feeding it to the dog, pretending to eat it and stowing it in a napkin, or paying a younger sibling to eat it for me. But I was stuck, and so I suffered through it, nearly losing it the whole time. Then came the even harder part, where the proud cook asked me what I thought of the dish. This is where being in the diplomatic corps would have come in handy. Words failed me.

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I considered my options. In today’s world, there are words whose meanings have morphed over the years. For example, if I were to say the dish was “interesting,” most people would now understand that I was insulting the chef. Similarly, saying it was “different” would be a gut-punch of the highest order. Perhaps the ultimate backhanded insult in our language today is to say that something was “fun.” The minute someone says to me “Well, that was fun!” I know that in fact, what he or she is saying is that what has just occurred was the opposite of fun. Fun is now the worst thing you can politely say to someone about a situation. What to do? I knew that if I said it was excellent, more of it was bound to appear. I summoned up all my kindness and said “Well, that was an experience!” It was a nice try, but they knew what I was saying and were crestfallen. I guess I got what I deserved because when I was leaving, the host said, “Thanks for coming, that was fun.” Touché.... Allan Shewchuk is currently living in Florence, Italy, where he spends his time equally between his Tuscan kitchen and the local wine store. The Italian economy may just rebound.


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City Palate May June 2014