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city palate T H E



C A L G A R Y ’ S



the entertaining issue














It means ham in Spain! At Ox and Angela we serve two of Spain’s best Jamón: Jamón Serrano and Jamón Iberico de Bellota. Jamón Serrano gets its name from the white pig of the Sierra mountains and is cured for a minimum of 12 months. Jamón Iberico de Bellota comes from the rare Iberian black pig, a breed indigenous to the southern territories of the Iberian Peninsula. The rich, nutty flavours of the meat come from their extensive diet of acorns on which they feast in the fall. Aged for 48 months and marbled unlike any other pork, our ‘Fermin’ brand Jamón Iberico de Bellota is a delicacy in the gastronomy world and considered to be the Belluga Caviar of cured meats.

Market Seafood Check out our great selection of fresh fish, seafood, crab cakes, salmon burgers and lots more! CALGARY’S TOP CHOICE FOR SEAFOOD

On the Table. Under the Tree. J.WEBB MARKET WINES


Specialists in all manner of spices, herbs and seasonings from around the world.


Thursday – Sunday 9am – 5pm Holiday Events & Hours at calgaryfarmersmarket.ca



Thanks to irrigation Gourmet Hot Dogs Lil’ Russ’ Jacket Potatoes Frozen Treats Gelato Milkshakes and other Goodies!.._

The natural choice.

FREE RANGE PORK Pasture raised & naturally fed.

• family owned and operated • focused on quality and taste

Learn more about irrigation at the Calgary Farmers’ Market or visit: thankstoirrigation.ca



Visit us in Rosemary, Alberta www.spraggsmeatshop.com




30 n Have Yourself a Retro Little Christmas

Gifts foodies love to give and receive Karen Anderson

34 n An Entertaining Menu

This year we celebrate a traditional Ukrainian feast with Glen Manzer

Easy is a beautiful thing.

38 n Cookies!

A collection of Christmas favourites Georgia Annis

40 n My Favourite Ingredient

10 of Calgary’s great chefs tell us what they love working with, why they love it and what they do with it Shelley Boettcher

44 n Fondue is Fun

A bubbling pot, friends and family, and dip-able delights Janice Beaton

46 n Jail Junk

How an incarcerated Calgary woman made jail food more palatable Susan Scott

48 n Mexico City Will Steal Your Heart

B. J. Oudman

50 n Cook it Raw

Chefs collaborate on creating Alberta-inspired dishes Shelley Boettcher

Cover artist Mark Cromwell has been “drawing” on the Calgary area as an artist/

illustrator since 1991. Mark is best known for his chalk work or murals... no, his performance art – no! his caricatures. His studio is called “Color Club” and you can see more of his work at colorclub.ca.

#stepintoitaly Willow Park 9919 Fairmount Drive SE italiancentre.ca | @italianctrYYC | 403-238-4869



city palate editor Kathy Richardier (kathy@citypalate.ca) publisher Gail Norton (gail@citypalate.ca) magazine design Carol Slezak, Yellow Brick Studios (carol@citypalate.ca) contributing editor Kate Zimmerman contributors Karen Anderson Georgia Annis Janice Beaton Shelley Boettcher Tom Firth Pam Fortier Chris Halpin Regan Johnson Ellen Kelly Pierre Lamielle Geoff Last B. J. Oudman Susan Scott Allan Shewchuk Julie Van Rosendaal contributing photographers Karen Anderson Regan Johnson for advertising enquiries, please contact advertising@citypalate.ca account executives Janet Henderson (janet@citypalate.ca)

The best presents have best before dates. The best holidays start with great food. The kind of eats, treats, dishes, drinks, nosh and nibblers that everyone wants a taste of. These are the kind of things you can find at Bridgeland Market. Stop in or call us today for a better tasting holiday.

• Handpicked Gift Baskets • Made-to-Order Meat & Cheese Trays • Fresh Daily Baking • Christmas Trees

Ellen Kelly (ellen@citypalate.ca) Liz Tompkins (liz@citypalate.ca) prepress/printing CentralWeb distribution Gallant Distribution Systems Inc. The Globe and Mail website management Jane Pratico (jane@citypalate.ca) 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 $48 per year within Canada and $68 per year outside Canada. Editorial Enquiries: Please email kathy@citypalate.ca

1st Ave & 10th St N.E. BridgelandMarket.com 403.269.2381



For questions or comments please contact us via our website:





13 n word of mouth

Notable culinary happenings around town

15 n eat this

What to eat in November and December Ellen Kelly


16 n drink this

Great gifts for the boozers on your list Tom Firth

355 10th AVE SW 403.460.0026

20 n great finds

Pigeonhole and Savour Fine Foods Regan Johnson


22 n one ingredient

Butter Julie Van Rosendaal

26 n well matched

Made-in-heaven food and wine pairings Geoff Last

28 n the sunday project

Salted Caramel Sauce with Pam Fortier

52 n stockpot

Stirrings around Calgary

55 n kids can cook

Pepperminty Fresh Yeti Treats With Icy Cool Icing Pierre Lamielle

56 n 6 quick ways with...

Dried plums Chris Halpin

58 n back burner... shewchuk on simmer

Fermenting fear Allan Shewchuk


city palate




Alberta pork producers work hard to bring you the safest, healthiest and best tasting pork in the world. For us, that’s a promise; for you, it’s peace of mind. Because if we wouldn’t serve it to our family, we won’t serve it to yours. It’s healthy, affordable and local.



For great recipes visit passionforpork.com

word of mouth  city palate’s chef and the farmer dinner series

Join us on November 9 at Gaucho Brazilian Barbecue for an authentic churrasco – Brazilian barbecue – dinner accompanied by the excellent wines of the Okanagan’s Tinhorn Creek plus Grizzly Paw’s exclusive beers. Tickets $135 at eventbrite.ca.

congratulations to... Two young Calgary chefs were finalists in the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Competition: Ian MacDougall from Model Milk and Sean MacDonald from MARKET. Launched by chef David Hawksworth, Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver, to help young Canadian chefs get a head start in their careers, the winner gets $10,000 and a stage at a top international restaurant. And the winner is Ian MacDougall, Model Milk. Just goes to show that Calgary is right up there at the top.

fresh-made gelato Scarpone’s Italian Store is now making its own luscious gelato, Gelato 55, using fresh, local ingredients. It’s the real deal! Made fresh in very small batches, this is a treat not to be missed. We’re always impressed with what this longtime (over 50 years!) Calgary treasure provides us with – the gelato is just one more thing to love. Grazie, Gio!

take and bake croissants Calgary appears to have a croissant “underground” devoted to baking the tasty, buttery croissants made by Pascal’s Patisserie on Christmas morning. So easy and delicious and so very Christmas celebration! Not to mention the seductive odour of freshly baking pastries that gets everyone gathered around the kitchen in anticipation of a warm, buttery croissant with morning coffee. Great to have a pastry chef from France dedicated to bringing something that expresses some of what is the best of France into your kitchen – any morning of the week! It’s easy – take, bake, eat... eat more.

perfect for the holidays


gold medal plates culinary championship Every year chefs across Canada compete in Gold Medal Plates to raise money to support Canadian Olympic athletes. Calgary, November 3, Telus Convention Centre, a combo cocktail party for guests and the high-stakes culinary competition. Competing chefs: Christopher Dewling, Blink; Jamie Harling, Rouge; Jinhee Lee, Raw Bar; J.W. Foster, Banff Springs Hotel; Kenny Kaechele, Workshop; Matthew Batey, The Nash; Nick Dobberthien, Black Pig Bistro; Rogelio Herrera, Alloy; Shaun Desaulniers, ChefBar; Zavier Lacaze, BRIGGS. Wooooo-hooooo, lots of great talent in Calgary. The winner heads to Kelowna in February for an intense showdown against the winners from across the country. Very exciting! For all the tasty details visit goldmedalplates.com.

gooooooood pizza! The new Italian Centre Shop on Southland and Fairmont SE makes traditional Neapolitanstyle pizza, with a thin, crispy crust and a choice of seven tasty toppings, that are ready to go in 15 minutes. And you can get them pretty much all day, from 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Our families love them!

the little potato co. little chefs Alberta’s Little Potato Company has launched a web site featuring The Little Chef Program, with recipes and tips to help parents and kids spend time together cooking. The program includes Little Chef Approved recipes, for kids 5 to 7, 8 to 10 and 11 to 13. Recipes include Smashed Potato Pizza and Bacon-Wrapped Creamer Potatoes. Visit littlepotatoes. com/en/littlechefs to learn how your little chef, age 8 to 13, can compete for a chance to win a family adventure in Paris including a culinary experience. Fun!

help kids read Calgary Reads in collaboration with the Calgary Food Bank is helping get books into the hands of children in our community who have few or none of their own. You can donate new and “like-new” books for children up to age 8 to Calgary Reads. Call Calgary Reads at 403-777-8254 and arrange to drop off books or visit calgaryreads.com to learn more.

read this ‘Tis the season for this. In fact, the perfect gift for the boozers on your list: The Hungoevr Coobkook, by Milton Crawford (Clarkson Potter, $11, hard cover), very small and very fun. For some who might feel the same as P.G. Wodehouse who said: “I was left in no doubt about the severity of the hangover when a cat STAMPED into the room.” The author says, “A hangover is an opportunity,” then proves it with recipes to get you back on your feet, one way or another. First, you take a test to determine your hung over state, then you go to the section of recipes that are best suited to that state, such as The Cement Mixer. Fun! There are good recipes, great recipes and Genius Recipes – 100 recipes that will change the way you cook, by Kristen Miglore (Ten Speed Press, $41, hard cover). This is a collection of the most talked about, just-crazyenough-towork recipes of our time, like Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, Nigella Lawson’s dense chocolate loaf cake, Alice Waters’ ratatouille and Deborah Madison’s Currant Cottage Cheese Pancakes.

A Cococo yule log – chocolate, of course – filled with a selection of succulent chocolates. You can’t go wrong with giving or receiving one of these, or just getting yourself one, because you love chocolate and you can. And should!

move over firemen... the chefs are in town!       Get your Offcuts 2016 YYC Food Crew Stripped Down charity calendar that features Calgary’s food scene men who have devoted their lives to the best food and drink the world has to offer... with their shirts off! The calendars are $20 with proceeds going to Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids. The calendar team: Aviv Fried, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery; Phil and Sebastian, Phil and Sebastian Coffee; Jean François Beeroo, CHARCUT/ charbar; Pierre Lamielle, Food On Your Shirt; Jesse Willis, Vine Arts; Michael Allemeier, chef/SAIT instructor; Cam Dobranski, Brasserie Kensington; Kevin Kent, Knifewear; Graham Sherman, Tool Shed Brewing; Duncan Ly, chef Raw Bar; Rogelio Herrera, chef Alloy; Dwayne Ennest, chef Big Fish. Calendars available at the calendar men locations and the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Nov. 14/15/28/29. (No calendars at Raw Bar, Hotel Arts, since chef Ly is now culinary director for Vintage Group) Photography by Jeremy Fokkens, jeremyfokkens.com




Chef Judy Wood

Chef-prepared heat-and-serve meals

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 403.264.6336 w w w.meezcuisine.com

www.CococoChocolatiers.com www.bernardcallebaut.com



eat this

Ellen Kelly


It’s time to trade in that white wine spritzer for a drink with some heft. Make some boozy eggnog and put out snacks – I’m pretty sure people will be arriving soon. Feed them food that’s hot and hearty; cook a big bird or a chunk of beef with bones sticking out. Revel in the nostalgia of familiar family favourites and dazzle them with something new, a tradition in the making. Whatever you do, celebrate the season. It’s time to rejoice in our incredible good fortune and share it with our friends and family. Cheers!

Whether NUTS appear in brandy-drenched fruitcakes, seasonal salads or sweet-spicy cocktail snacks, they provide big flavour and lots of interest. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, dissolve 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. honey in 1/2 c. blood orange juice. Add the zest from the orange and 2 T. ground Szechuan peppercorns, 1/2 t. Chinese 5-spice powder and 1/2 t. salt. Toss in 4 c. pecans and cook, stirring constantly, until the nuts are coated and golden. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a 300°F. oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool the nuts completely before breaking them up. I like pecans, but you can use pretty much any tree nut or a mixture of several. Try it with almonds, cashews or walnuts.

Illustrations by Pierre Lamielle

BUY: If you’re buying shelled, look for nuts that are clean, plump and uniform in size. Unshelled, buy nuts that are heavy for their size, with clean shells. Avoid any that are moldy or have holes or cracks. A nut that rattles in the shell usually means a dried specimen or one that hasn’t grown to fill the shell. TIPS: All nuts have a very high fat content and can easily become stale, or even rancid, if left too long at room temperature, especially pecans. Store them in the fridge or freezer. DID YOU KNOW? Pecans are native to the southcentral and southeastern U.S. and Mexico. The pecan is the state tree of Texas.

BUY: Parsnips should be firm with an even unblemished surface. Avoid any that are soft or shriveled. Choose medium-sized parsnips that are neither too big nor too small; too big and they can be woody, too small and you’re likely to peel away the best part. The PARSNIP is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. This naturally sweet root, cousin of carrot, parsley and dill, is easily enhanced by oven roasting, and the addition of maple syrup will guarantee converts. Cut 1/2 - 3/4 lb. each of peeled carrots and parsnips into 3-inch batons. Toss them in 2-3 T. olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast in a 375°F. preheated oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, mix 3 T. maple syrup, 1 T. grainy mustard and a pinch of cayenne with the juice and zest of one small orange. Pour this mixture over the partially cooked veg and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until caramelized and sticky.

TIPS: Add 2-3 peeled parsnips and a clove of garlic to the water when boiling potatoes for mashed. Drain and mash it all up together with butter and milk, salt and pepper. DID YOU KNOW? I’ve wondered why parsnips are always more expensive than carrots until I learned that they spend much more time in the ground. They take up a farmer’s valuable real estate when a succession of crops could be planted instead.

WINTER SQUASH rules this time of the year. To my mind, the queen is the butternut. Thin, easily peeled skin; dense, smooth-textured flesh; robust flavour; deep orange colour; more flesh per pound than any other… the butternut has it all. A risotto is a great crowd-pleaser and not nearly as difficult as you think. Start by roasting 1-1/2 lb. butternut squash with olive oil, cut side down, with fresh sage leaves tucked underneath, until soft. Mash the cooked flesh and set aside. Heat 6 c. good chicken stock; add the sage leaves from the roasted squash. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, sauté 8 oz. chopped pancetta in a little olive oil. Reserve the pancetta and drain off the fat. Add 1 T. olive oil to the pan and sauté a small finely chopped onion until soft. Stir in 1 c. arborio rice and continue to stir until coated with oil and starting to toast a little. Deglaze with a generous splash of white wine – whatever you’re drinking – and stir until absorbed. Ladle in the hot stock every few minutes, as the liquid gets absorbed, stirring often. After about 10-15 minutes, mix in the squash. The entire process should take about 25 minutes, at which time the risotto will be creamy, but still firm to the tooth. Toss in a couple of generous handfuls of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, stir in the reserved pancetta and a knob of butter. Serve immediately.

BUY: Buy squash that’s heavy for its size and is free of cracks, soft spots and blemishes. Kept whole, a winter squash will keep for weeks, even months, in a cool dry place. TIPS: Bake oiled squash pieces cut side down. That way it won’t dry out and the oil will more easily infuse the flesh. Cut up and cook the whole squash. Use what you need and freeze the rest of the mashed flesh for a future soup or risotto. DID YOU KNOW? The seeds from winter squash can be roasted. Rinse the seeds and soak in salted water for a few hours before cleaning off the fibres. Spread the cleaned seeds on a cloth to dry. Toss with a little oil and soy sauce, spread them on a baking sheet, bake at 300°F. until golden, about 15 minutes. They crisp as they cool.

Ellen Kelly is a chef and regular contributor to City Palate.



drink this

Tom Firth



About gift-giving – either you’re the rare bird who knows the perfect gift for that special someone, or you (like me) struggle to find the right gift for the person who has everything or wants nothing (so they say!). Most beverage products listed below are identified with a CSPC number, which helps you find which stores carry them at liquorconnect.com or helps your local store order them for you.

LAGUIOLE CHAMPAGNE SABRE For some people, it isn’t enough to just open a bottle of champagne – they want to do it with panache. This marvelous sabre is a headturner, and looks as good in your hand as it does on the shelf or displayed in the wine cellar. Laguiole knives aren’t cheap. In recent years a number of inferior imitators have appeared, but the genuine article is worth every penny for quality and appearance. The Laguiole champagne sabre is a showstopper or showpiece for the show-off in your life.Typically priced around $300, it’s absolutely awesome.

A full event calendar, along with expert advice and mouthwatering recipes can be found in the latest issue of Sips. Now available in store or online. HIGH & MIGHT Y – Napa Valley’s Mountain Vineyards – Premium Event If it’s truly premium California wine you’re after, then join us as we explore the high and mighty vineyards of Napa’s Mountain Districts. Taste the difference elevation makes on these Napa Valley grapes and discover why the vineyards that are high on the hills produce Napa’s top wines. Beddington: November 13th, 7 - 9pm • $65 Shawnessy: December 4th, 7 - 9pm • $65 Crowfoot: December 12th, 7 - 9pm • $65 W I N T E R W H I S K Y: C A S K S T R E N G T H B O T T L I N G S – Get to Know Cask Strength Whisky is the perfect winter warmer. These fine drams go from barrel to bottle without any dilution and could possibly be the purest form of whisky. We have a wide selection of these unaltered bottlings and would love to share them with you and your favourite whisky companions. Crowfoot: November 21st, 7 - 9pm • $45 Oakridge: December 5th, 7 - 9pm $45 B U B B L E S I N T H E A F T E R N O O N – Signature Get to Know There is always a reason to celebrate! Join us for an afternoon tasting of our favourite sparkling wine styles leading up to the Holiday Season. From Prosecco to Champagne and everywhere in between – we will be “tasting the stars.” Beddington: November 28th, 3 - 5pm • $30 Crowfoot: December 5th, 3 - 5pm • $30 Shawnessy: December 12th, 3 - 5pm • $30

Tickets are available online at coopwinespiritsbeer.com/events 16


FLOR DE CAÑA 25-YEAR-OLD RUM Good rum turned into this beautiful, sip-worthy treasure – far too good to mix with cola. Flor de Caña 25 Year Old Tradicion Artisanal is a perfect fireside sipper after a long, cold day. It’s a little hot on the nose with fiery alcohol notes, but has plenty of honey and caramel aromas and a surprising amount of citrus, along with clove and cinnamon spices leading into a long and slightly bitter finish. Delicious! $175-$190 (CSPC 764903)

GLENGOYNE 21-YEAR-OLD SCOTCH Maybe you need something special for a whisky lover on your list. Personally, I enjoy Highland malts, as I don’t usually like my whisky too smokey, and Highland malts tick all my boxes. The Glengoyne 21 is rife with salted caramel, orange peel, mahogany, honey, spice and tea tree oil, with complex flavours worth savouring. Aged exclusively in sherry casks for those who care about such things. Retails for about $190$200. (CSPC 718232)

TORRES 2010 MAS LA PLANA Cabernet sauvignon is king, and the Torres Mas La Plana is a regal treat for the palate. Made from 100 percent cabernet sauvignon from the Penedès region of Spain, the 2010 vintage is the 40th anniversary of Mas La Plana. Sure, it’s big, like cab should be, but it’s also ripe, lush and elegant, which is a little unusual for cab. Spain’s hot growing climate minimizes any rough-edged tannin. Good for both drinking and keeping. A steal at around $52-$55 (CSPC 315838)

L’ I n s t a n t C h a m p a g n e , w i t h Vi t a l i e Ta i t t i n g e r.

TRAPICHE SINGLEVINEYARD MALBEC TRIO Malbec is a grape that showcases terroir easily, though we often overlook single-vineyard malbec by drinking overtly commercial or inexpensive versions at barbecues and the like. Trapiche is a solid producer and its malbec trio has three different vineyards represented, so you can seem like a true terroir-iste! All of the wines are 90+ points and, most importantly, delicious. About $130-$140. (CSPC 741143)

NORMAN HARDIE MAGNUMS Ontario’s Norman Hardie is a man on the leading edge of what’s possible in Canadian wine. He was one of the first to see the potential for wine in Prince Edward County and makes some of the finest chardonnay and pinot noir you can buy. Plus, he’s an awesome guy. In highly limited quantities, a few magnums (1.5L bottles) of his 2012 chardonnay and 2013 pinot noir are here – a perfect way to enjoy the best of Canadian wine, and something fun for the cellar, or maybe a big holiday gathering. About $85-$90 (CSPC 773436)

Reims, Place Royale. taittinger.com

To Find a Retailer Visit liquorconnect.com/40873

20% off Le Creuset (Promotion valid November thru December , 2015)

Located in historic Inglewood 1331 - 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB 403.532.8222 savourfinefoods.com

continued on page 18



drink this GREAT GIFTS FOR THE BOOZERS ON YOUR LIST continued from page 17

CELLAR DIRECT WINE CLUB The great thing about a good wine club is trying different wines outside your comfort zone. Cellar Direct is an online-only wine program focusing on high-quality, sustainable or organic, smaller producers from around the world. Notably, the wines all have an “audit” trail of sorts ensuring proper handling and temperature control from winery to you. Subscribers pay about $80 per month with delivery included. Shipments take place six times a year, avoiding the hottest and coldest months. And the wine is fantastic, too. cellardirect.ca

POCKET BREATHALYZER One thing about being a grown-up is that you don’t get many excuses if you make a dumb choice. A personal breathalyzer will help if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should drive home after you’ve been drinking. I have one – a BACtrack – that I take on outings occasionally. It isn’t about being irresponsible, it’s about having an opportunity to be responsible and get yourself home safely every night. It’s a perfect gift for hosts and hostesses, parents with drinking-age children, or those who want to be certain about whether to drive themselves home. Widely available online from about $35-$150, but most are under $100. Go to bactrack.com/breathalyzers to order.

CUISIPRO MAGNETIC DECANTER CLEANER Need a stocking stuffer for the wine lover in your life? Decanters are wonderful tools for wine drinkers, allowing young wines to aerate, and older wines to be served without sediment, but they can be a pain to clean the next morning. The Cuisipro magnetic decanter cleaner is an innovative solution to this problem, allowing you to easily clean up even stubborn decanter spots by controlling the scrubbing brush inside with the handle on the outside. Available at The Cookbook Co. for about $15.

THE MAN CAN Who doesn’t love a good tailgate party or enjoy fresh beer on tap? With growlers all the craze for craft beer lovers, the Man Can – a keg-style vessel – is a step up for the serious connoisseur. Made of stainless steel with a CO2 regulator and dispenser, it lets you enjoy up to a gallon of brewed goodness without worrying about flat beer. It’s perfect for growler fans or the home brewer looking for a better way to enjoy his or her work. Go to mancan.beer to order, as this new product is just starting to ship. It will fit in the fridge, too. About $200. Tom Firth is @cowtownwine, cowtownwine.com



Celebrate the Savings 14th Anniversary MEGA Sale

wine - spirits - beer

November 19 & 20

Save Up To 25 % off Wines 15 % off Spirits & Beer

www.cellarwinestore.com #100, 137 8 Ave SW Calgary





Own a Luxurious Home in the South of France In the heart of the Languedoc, the world’s largest wine-growing region, Jardin de Charlotte is now ready for occupancy

• Three new luxury home units available in a gated community • Salt water pool, stunning gardens, gated parking and courtyards

great finds


Justin Leboe’s latest venture, Pigeonhole, is housed in the same historic dairy building as his cow-crowned Model Milk, and it’s living up to the hype that surrounded its opening last May.

• 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, two 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)

The interior of the restaurant is an exploration in contrasts – white walls juxtaposed with exposed brick and riotous wallpaper. The large windows set into the façade invite natural light over the dining area during the day, while the marble-topped bar and open kitchen recede deeper into the building. At night, a vintage chandelier, left over from the space’s previous life as Victoria’s, takes centre stage. Leboe has become well-known in Calgary for his flagship venture, Model Milk, which remains one of Calgary’s top restaurants. For this veteran chef – and Avenue magazine’s Chef of the Year 2014 - Pigeonhole represents a shift in his focus towards being a true restaurateur. Pigeonhole represented the best way for him to utilize the space neighbouring Model Milk, which Leboe and his team have had “for a long time.” With such close proximity to his other restaurant, Pigeonhole had to “complement Model without taking away from it.” Leboe has accomplished this with a menu of small snack plates and a focus on wine. The way he talks about wine, it’s clear that it’s a passion. He believes that restaurants are beginning to curate wines in the same way that cafés curate coffees – preferring small-batch, with a true sense of terroir, and produced with integrity. For Leboe, it’s become important to approach how wine is purchased with the same attention his kitchen uses when choosing local ingredients, and so it’s no surprise that Pigeonhole’s wine list is rife with novel choices – young wines, largely organic, and low-intervention. The chef’s favourite dish on the menu right now is eggs on toast – soft scrambled eggs with crème fraîche and matsutake mushrooms, which he describes as piney and reminiscent of the forest floor. “They’re almost as strong as truffles this year,” he says. With a quickly-rotating menu, though, there’s always something new to love. My own experience on the narrow streetside patio was on a glorious sunny day, parked with a friend at one of the neat, round, bistro-style tables up against the brick exterior. With glasses of rosé in hand, we sampled several of the small-plate selections, sharing and chatting as we went. We both were struck by how easily one could spend several hours there, relaxing and enjoying glass after glass and plate after plate. Highlights included the Romanesco Cauliflower with ‘nduja (spicy Italian pork sausage spread), parsley and almonds, and the locally produced grilled halloumi cheese with pickled grapes, walnuts and olives. Nothing we sampled was short of delicious. This afternoon in the sun seems to truly embody Leboe’s intent for Pigeonhole, which he describes as “user-friendly” and “choose your own adventure.” Whether for a quick bite at the start of the night, or a laid-back exploration of the whole menu, Pigeonhole truly has something for everyone.






Pigeonhole 306 - 17th Ave SW, 403-452-4694

Regan Johnson


Savour Fine Foods and Kitchenware is a narrow shop in one of Inglewood’s historic heritage buildings. Inside, however, owner Michelle Barby has managed to gather a treasure trove of modern kitchen tools, beautiful accessories and classic, gourmet ingredients. In 2008, Barby and her colleague Jane Hammink were thinking of leaving behind their 13 years of teaching English as a second language at Mount Royal University in favour of entrepreneurship, but a kitchen shop was not their first idea. Since both are women of above-average height, they thought about opening a boutique for tall women, for whom, Barby says, shopping can truly be a struggle. After some deliberation, however, and with a few small business courses under their belts, Barby and Hammink decided that their original concept was too niche. Then, inspiration struck. “Everybody eats,” Barby says, with a smile. This departure from their original idea was no real struggle for Barby, now the sole owner of Savour, who confesses she has always loved food and cooking. She fondly recalls hosting potluck parties with her ESL students as an activity to strengthen their English skills, and was exposed to home-cooked ethnic cuisine from all corners of the globe. Barby now knows a thing or two more about food than she did at those potlucks – truly, she is an excellent example of a culinary concierge. The intimate shop space allows her to provide her customers with personal care, and if there’s something on your list that isn’t housed in her shop, she can source it, or point you in the right direction. “Customer service is key,” she says. Savour is one of the stops on the “Inglewood’s Edible Enticements” installment of Calgary Food Tours, a guided walking tour of the culinary highlights in this historic neighbourhood. On the tours, visitors and native Calgarians alike visit Barby’s shop for a sample of something delicious and a chance to peruse the wares. Bestsellers include colourful fish-shaped Gurgle Pots (which really do gurgle) and a variety of handy devices designed to make everyday kitchen chores a little easier, from chopping garlic to storing cut avocados so they won’t turn brown. Beautiful enameled French ovens and serving pieces crowd the window display. Barby says she’s proud to carry as many Canadian-made products as she can, emphasizing the importance of quality and of selling items she can personally endorse. Small businesses like Savour embody the tight-knit Inglewood sense of community – which, as we know, recently led to Inglewood being named Canada’s greatest neighbourhood. For Barby, this came as no surprise. “Inglewood’s a particular community,” she says, one in which Savour Fine Foods is right at home. Savour Fine Foods 1331 - 9th Ave SE, 403-532-8222 Regan Johnson works at The Cookbook Co. Cooks



Join us The Cookbook Co. Cooks welcomes

Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson

to celebrate the launch of their new cookbook! A SPICY TOUCH

Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen by Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson

d teacher and

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

one ingredient

Julie Van Rosendaal


I consider myself a butter enthusiast. As a kid, I ate it straight up. My mom would discover finger marks swiped through the butter dish, and I remember scheming to make friends with a neighbour who once told me her mom made butter balls for her kids – pats of butter rolled into balls with a paddle, then poked with a chopstick to hide a pinch of sugar inside. Despite our collective love of butter, Canadians have few options compared to just about anywhere else in the world. You won’t find micro-creameries churning out slabs of parchment-wrapped butter to be sold at farmers’ markets, and pounds of imported butter are rare and pricey – the Dairy Commission allows only about four percent of the butter Canadians consume to be imported. Here, by law, butter must be 80 percent butterfat; the average blocks you find at the grocery store are just that, and European-style butters range from 84-88 percent. That slightly higher fat content can make a difference when baking, particularly for those who make flaky pastries from scratch.

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Noorbanu Nimji is the author of the three volume A Spicy Touch cookbook series that has sold over 250,000 copies since first publication in 1986. She has taught Indian cooking for 40 years and cooked for her family for over 60 years. This book is filled with 225 of their favourite recipes. Calgary Food Tours Inc. owner, City Palate and CBC Columnist Karen Anderson has worked at Noorbanu Nimji’s side since 2006, recipe testing and teaching Indian cooking classes. She leads annual cuisine and culture trips to India and joins Noorbanu as co-author in the joyful task of bringing her recipes to a new generation of home cooks wanting to learn the art of Indian cooking.

For most home cooks, a common question is: salted or unsalted? Most chefs and cookbook authors call for unsalted in their baking simply so that they can control the amount of salt that goes into their recipes. But most baked goods require some salt, so generally there’s no need to run to the store for unsalted if salted is what you have in the house. Sweet butter (another name for unsalted) tends to be more expensive and doesn’t last as long, since salt acts as a natural preservative. Although butter is an ingredient most often purchased, it takes about five minutes to make your own. Because it’s a product of heavy cream, the better the cream you start with, the better the butter.

To make your own butter, beat heavy cream – grocery store whipping cream is about 35 percent butterfat, but Vital Greens makes cream that’s 52 percent – until it separates into butter and thin buttermilk – and that’s about it. (Save the buttermilk to use in your pancakes.) Room temperature cream and a stand mixer makes it easier, and if you cover the top with plastic wrap while mixing, you’ll avoid splatters while being able to peek through and keep track of the process. It’ll churn away, first turning into whipped cream, then something stiffer than whipped cream, and then suddenly you’ll hear it get wet and splashy as it separates into butter and thin buttermilk. If you want salted butter, add a bit of salt as you go – fine salt will dissolve into the butter, and flaky will deliver itself in crunchy bursts. Eventually you’ll wind up with pure butter that looks like a wad of moulding clay. Simply pull it out and put it in a crock, dish or jar – it will already be a perfect spreading texture. If you like, rinse your chunk of butter in cool water to get rid of any excess buttermilk, which will go rancid more more quickly than the butter itself; squeezing the wad of butter will extract even more, producing butter with an even higher fat content that will last even longer. (Some bakers even do this with store-bought butter in order to increase its density.) Wherever you source your butter, it’s invaluable in the kitchen. Nothing makes better pastry – even when using lard, combining it with cold butter adds flakiness and flavour – biscuits or scones.Try freezing it, then grating it into the dry ingredients using the coarse side of your box grater. In cooking, butter is often combined with oil in order to prevent it from burning, but even browned butter elevates everything from cookies to kale with a nutty, buttery flavour. To make it more heat-stable, cooks around the world use clarified butter or ghee – clarifying removes the milk solids, which is what burns at high temperatures, leaving a golden liquid with all the flavour of butter.

To make clarified butter, melt any quantity of butter, skimming the foam off the

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surface, then pour it through a sieve lined with a coffee filter to remove any remaining milk solids. Clarified butter can be kept in the fridge for months, and used as you may use olive oil – for sautéing, frying eggs or rice, and starting soups and stews. Keep it going and let it brown to make browned butter, or what the French call beurre noisette. Butter really does make everything better.



CELEBRATE WITH US! Butter Crackers  Although most of us have made a batch or two of cookies in our lifetime, homemade crackers aren’t as common. These simple, buttery crackers are plain but delicious – perfect for piling on a cheese board or nibbling with tea. Adapted from Epicurious. 1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour 2 T. oat bran (optional) 1 T. sugar 1 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt, plus extra for sprinkling 3 T. chilled butter

Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears Warm butter tames kale, mellowing it and making it more pliable in a salad. Leaving the butter over the heat to brown adds an irresistible nuttiness that’s perfect with sliced pear, chopped hazelnuts and parmesan. 1/2 bunch kale, leaves removed and thinly sliced

1 T. olive or canola oil

4-5 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shaved (discard stem ends) – optional

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. butter

1 egg

1-2 T. lemon juice

2 T. butter, melted

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder and 1/2 t. salt. Add the butter and oil and blend with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers, until the mixture is crumbly. Add the water and stir until the dough forms a ball. Let it rest on the countertop for 15 minutes, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes (a fluted round cutter mimics Ritz crackers) or squares with a knife and transfer to a parchmentlined baking sheet.

1 ripe but firm pear, chopped

Poke the crackers with a fork. In a small dish, stir the egg with a spoonful of water and brush the crackers with egg wash. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until golden. Brush the crackers with melted butter and top with a pinch of salt while still warm. Makes 2-3 dozen crackers.



1/2 c. roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts 1/4-1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese or aged Grizzly Gouda

Put the kale and Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts turning golden and nuttysmelling. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Pour over the kale, scraping out the bottom of the pan to get any browned bits, and toss to coat well. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add the pear, hazelnuts and cheese, then toss and serve. Serves 4. 

continued on page 24 CITY PALATE.ca NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2015


1 ingredient BUTTER continued from page 23

Browned Butter Spoon Cake

Nourishing food, straight from your farmer.

2-3 apples, pears or peaches, cored and sliced

Beef: Grass-fed & finished Pork: Pasture-raised, soy-free Chicken & Turkey: Pasture-raised, soy-free

2 plums, sliced, or 1 c. berries, cherries or chopped rhubarb (optional) 3/4 c. + 3 T. sugar

Wholesale, meat packages, special products available Set up a ‘meat account’ & make it easy on your budget





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finedinercalgary.com 24


1/2 c. butter 1 c. all-purpose flour



pinch cinnamon 2 large eggs

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Makin’ Bacon

This is one of those recipes that can be called into service no matter what type of fruit is in season (or stashed away in the freezer) – in winter, apples and pears are delicious; in summer and fall, try thickly sliced stone fruits, and in spring, chopped rhubarb.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a pie plate.Toss the fruit in the pie plate with about 2 T. of the sugar and the cinnamon; spread out on the plate. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and keep it over the heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it foams and turns nutty and golden. Pour into a medium mixing bowl. Stir the 3/4 cup of sugar into the butter, then the eggs, then the flour. Pour over the fruit and sprinkle with the last tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and crusty, with the juices bubbling around the edges. Spoon onto plates and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or, for breakfast, with thick vanilla yogurt. Serves 8. 

 Banoffee Tarts with Rough

Puff Pastry

This shortcut to real puff pastry has been around for a while – it’s as easy to mix together as a traditional pie crust, but a few extra folds give it delicate layers and lift. Baked squares of pastry topped with caramelized bananas and whipped cream make a delicious winter dessert. Rough puff: 1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/4 t. salt 1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks 1/3 c. ice water

Caramelized bananas: 3 T. butter 3 T. dark brown sugar 2 bananas, sliced 1 T. maple syrup sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche, for serving

Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your hands, smearing each piece between your thumb and forefinger to make large flakes. You want to see bits of butter in the mixture. Make a well in the middle and pour in most of the water; stir until the dough comes together, adding more water, if needed. Pat into a rough square or rectangle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap it and roll it out into about an 8 x 12-inch rectangle. Fold the top down toward the middle, then the bottom up over it, as if you were folding a letter. Give the dough a quarter turn (turn it to the left or right) and roll it out again to the same size, folding it the same way once more. Turn, roll and fold two or three more times, then wrap and chill for 30 minutes before using. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the rough puff to a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into six squares and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, brush the tops with some beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the butter and brown sugar until bubbling. Add the sliced bananas and maple syrup and stir until the bananas start to brown and soften, and the caramel is bubbly and smooth. Pour some caramelized banana over each square of puff pastry – or open it up and put the bananas inside – and top with whipped cream or crème fraîche. Serves 6.

Julie Van Rosendaal is a cookbook author and blogs at dinnerwithjulie.com



Janine Deanna Photography

Make another memory at the Calgary Zoo.

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blueberry buttermilk cinnamon whole wheat banana maple syrup Blueberry Banana Pancakes There are few breakfast foods more comforting than pancakes and real maple syrup. I often make a double batch, as they make great leftovers for weekday breakfasts, especially if you have kids. Pop one in the toaster on a low setting and you’re good to go. 1/2 c. unbleached white flour 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

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1 T. baking powder 1/2 t. baking soda 1/2 t. ground cinnamon pinch of salt



1 c. buttermilk


2 T. melted unsalted butter

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1 large (or 2 small) ripe to overripe bananas 1 t. vanilla 2 T. maple syrup 1 c. blueberries butter for cooking

A spoonful a day keeps the shivers away!

maple syrup for eating

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. Place the remaining ingredients, except the blueberries, in a blender and purée until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Cover the mixture with a kitchen

towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes and up to an hour (this will give slightly fluffier pancakes). Preheat the oven to 150°F. and place a heatproof platter inside. To cook the pancakes, I prefer a good non-stick skillet, but there are those who swear by cast iron. Your call. Preheat the skillet to medium and add a small pat of butter to the pan. Using a large spoon drop roughly 1/3 cup of batter into the pan for each pancake, then drop about 8 blueberries on top of each one – too many will make them soggy – and cook for a few minutes per side. You can often tell when they are ready to flip when small holes start to form on the surface. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven until all the batter is used. As the pan heats up, you may have to drop the heat to medium-low to avoid burning them. Serve the pancakes with warm maple syrup. If you want to kick up the decadence level, you can top them with mascarpone cheese and toasted pecans, then warm maple syrup. I suggest going for a long run after this combo – after you’ve digested. Makes about 10 5-inch pancakes.

Pair this dish with... Wine with pancakes sounds

like the domaine of the problem drinker, but there’s a wine that is near-perfect as a brunch mate – a frothy moscato d’Asti from northern Italy. The moscato – or muscat – grapes are so high in natural sugar that the juice is difficult to ferment fully dry. As such, the Italian way is to leave a good portion of the natural sugar in the wine and then induce a tank fermentation, with the end result a delightful, fizzy, low-alcohol (typically about five percent) wine that has brunch written all over it. There are a number of excellent examples in our market, but my current favourite is: G.D.Vajra Moscato D’Asti 2013, $24

Available at:



Vajra is a highly respected Barolo producer, and like many Barolo producers the family also makes moscato. One gets the impression that, in Piedmont, wine makers make moscato because they like to drink it; the commercial value seems almost negligible. Despite moscato’s sweetness, the wines rarely taste cloying because the bubbles and acidity balance the equation. The Vajra hits the palate with a big core of melon and citrus; one glass of this is never enough.

Geoff Last




ground beef parmesan

celery carrot


Ragù with Polenta Ragu is a versatile meat sauce that is the base for lasagna, but it’s also great on pasta and polenta. Make extra, freeze it, and you have a rich meat sauce that can be warmed and ready to go in the time it takes to boil a pot of pasta. 1/4 c. olive oil 1 small yellow onion, chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped 1 celery rib, peeled and chopped 3 slices prosciutto or pancetta, chopped 2 lbs. lean ground beef, preferably free range (or equal parts ground beef, lamb and pork) 1/2 c. dry white wine 1 c. whole milk, hot

evaporated, about 5 minutes. While the milk is cooking off, purée the beef stock with the tomatoes and warm in a small pot. Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste and add the tomato/broth mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. The ragù can be used in lasagna or served over pasta (such as rigatoni, penne or spaghetti) or polenta. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese. Serves 4-6. Creamy Polenta:

1 c. beef or chicken stock

4 c. water

1 28-oz. can tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

1 t. salt

salt and pepper

1 c. yellow cornmeal (not quick-cooking style)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot, add the onions and sauté for several minutes, then add the celery and carrot and cook for about 5 minutes more over medium-low until the vegetables have softened. Increase the heat slightly, add the prosciutto and cook for several minutes more. Add the ground meat(s), breaking them up, and cook until the meats are no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add the milk and cook until

2 T. unsalted butter 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan (optional)

This recipe requires less stirring than the traditional versions. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan and add the cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking. Cook, over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, cook at a bare simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon once every 10 minutes for 1-minute intervals, about 45 minutes in total. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and cheese. Serve warm topped with the rich, meaty ragù.


Pair this dish with... When eating foods that are

associated with specific regions, I like to drink the wines from that region since they often provide the perfect match. In the case of the ragù, however, the region in question is Emilia Romagna and, while there are some good wines produced there, not much of it makes it to our market (with the exception of Lambrusco, which is not the best match for this dish). The richness of the dish requires a wine with enough body to stand up to it, so I’ve moved north to Piedmont. Conterno Fantino Barbera d’Alba 2013 - $37 Conterno Fantino is a highly respected Barolo producer who happens to make a terrific barbera. Black fruits dominate, along with subtle notes of licorice and tobacco. The lively acidity in the wine balances the acid from the tomatoes in the dish, while the fruit is a good foil to the meat, especially if you opted for the addition of ground lamb in the ragù.

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the sunday project

with Pam Fortier


JOIN US FOR A COOKING CLASS... Sit back and relax at a demo class, or get your hands dirty with a hands-on class! Either way, you’ll enjoy a 4 course meal, wine pairings, and inspired instruction.

Salted Caramel Sauce 1-3/4 c. granulated sugar 1/2 c. water 1 c. whipping cream


5 T. unsalted butter

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1/8 t. salt 1 t. vanilla 2 T. scotch or whisky, instead of, or in addition to, the vanilla, if you like

Start by measuring all the ingredients. Place the cream in a pot and warm it over low heat. Pour the sugar into an 8- to 12-cup heavy stainless steel pot. Add the water and swirl gently to combine. No stirring. Turn the heat to high and place a white heat-proof plate beside the stove. Also, have ready a wooden spoon and oven mitts. Swirl the pan gently again if needed. It is important not to stir to avoid possible crystallization. The mixture will be cloudy at first, then gradually clear and start to bubble.

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The Caramel Queen, Pam

Despite research that dates back to the 1700s, even scientists don’t completely understand the process of caramelization. What they do know is that it’s the result of hundreds of chemical reactions, some known, some unknown, when sugar is melted and heated above 380°F/190°C. These reactions, as the sugar breaks down, are what give caramel its characteristic flavours, aromas and colour. This is a caramel lover’s caramel sauce. It has a deep caramel flavour, and is un-sweet. You want it to taste like caramel, not like a sweet butter sauce. The secret is to push the caramelization past the point where you think it’s ready; it will start to smell almost burnt. The sweetness of the sugar is diminished the longer it’s caramelized. Don’t be intimidated. Making caramel is a quick and fun process, but avoid any skin contact with the molten sugar. If your sugar crystallizes – one chance in a hundred, in my experience – stop, wash the pan out and start again. Sugar is one of the least expensive ingredients in this recipe, so don’t be afraid to try this.

Don’t leave the stove at this point. The caramelization will start slowly, but can quickly go too far. Gently swirl the pan if the browning is uneven. When it starts to look sufficiently brown, dip the spoon in and place a drop on the plate. This will allow you to see the colour. Keep checking with more dots as the colour deepens. You want to take it just shy of being burnt. When the caramel is a deep amber and the smell is slightly acidic, remove from the heat and immediately add some of the cream carefully. It will bubble up fiercely, so protect your hands with oven mitts, if necessary. Add the remaining cream and then the butter and salt and stir. When the caramel has cooled a bit, add the vanilla. Although you may want to, don’t be tempted to taste the sauce – it’s incredibly hot and will burn. Allow the sauce to cool and thicken a bit before using. When the sauce is cool, pour it into a jar and refrigerate it, where it will keep for months. Re-warm the sauce to liquify it for serving over apple or pear desserts, dark chocolate or nut desserts – or even on vanilla ice cream. Imagine that! (Or spoon it out of the jar directly into your mouth...) Makes 2 cups.

1. Ingredients

2. Sugar and water starting to burble

3. The caramelization begins nicely, sugar and water changing colour

4. A really good caramel colour happening

5.Testing the progress of the caramel colour, left to right

6. Adding the cream

7. Adding the butter

8. Adding the salt

9. Caramel sauce ready to go


Pam Fortier is the owner of Decadent Desserts. Photos by Regan Johnson.



HAVE YOURSELF A GIF by Karen Anderson









Mason Cash has been making master-potter works since 1800. The company has made its iconic cane-coloured clay mixing bowl with its built-in tilting base since 1901. Its white pudding basins are filled with figgy pudding and bestowed upon the Royal Family’s servants each year for Christmas. Nostalgia aside, this pottery is far too practical to end as a mere collector’s item. They should inspire you to “keep calm and bake on” using inspiring British recipe standards like Plum Duff and Sussex Pond Puddings, or fresh modern treats like Lime Drizzle Cake and Caramel Shortbread Bars. Find the recipes at masoncash.co.uk.

Le Creuset knows a bit about great colours. Starting with Julia Child’s familiar “volcanic flame” through to Caribbean blue, earthy truffle and the cheeriest cherry, this 85-year-old company blends hand-made heritage skill with modern colour trends to remain relevant. This year the company proclaimed licorice as the new black. They added it to all sorts of cast iron pots and pans but the standout was a sleek, low edge crêpe pan complete with a wooden spreader and folding knife. Crêpes will be your new house specialty for holiday breakfasts, lunches or dinners. Leftover turkey curry suddenly becomes the filling of your crêpe dreams.

There’s vintage and then there’s ancient. Linen is a textile made from flax, believed to be among the oldest of woven fabrics, dating back to 8000 B.C. It’s labour intensive to make but highly prized for its absorptive capacity. The English language was affected by linen (related to the German word for flax) because a single strand of linen thread was used to determine a straight line. Thus line was born of linen. In ancient Egypt, mummies were wrapped in linen and it was highly valued as currency. Buy these gorgeous linen napkins, sewn in Calgary for Inspirati, enjoy their bold palette of colours, and don’t take them with you when you go. Leave your linens to be folded and enjoyed for generations to come.

Licorice Le Creuset crêpe pan with utensils, $170, Le Creuset Chinook Boutique

Inspired by Inspirati linen napkins, 21”x21”, $32, Inspirati Fine Linens for Everyday

Mason Cash Cane Mixing Bowls and White Pudding Basins, $23 & up, The Compleat Cook






This machine works, it’s inexpensive, it doesn’t take up much room. That’s probably why the Imperia Company has been making these pasta machines in Italy since 1932 and they are the number one seller in the world for home use. You might wonder, with so much great pasta available, why would you invest in this blast from the past? It all boils down in the pasta water to TASTE. First, last and always home-made pasta tastes best. Besides, maybe David Rocco or Mario Batali will show up to help. Put that on your wish list.

Julia Child’s recipe for baguettes goes on for pages and pages in her Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook. That’s likely because she never had an Emile Henry baguette baker in her well-stocked kitchen. Now, home cooks can easily achieve the right humidity to create the thin and crispy crust of these much-lauded French loaves in their home ovens. The Henry family has been confidently making its highly resistant, chip proof ceramics since 1850 from the same limestone clay that grows Burgundy’s wines, and it offers a 10-year warranty. Seems like baking baguettes at home might require great butter, cheese and some of those fine Burgundy wines. So much for totally loafing around.

Macarons have been the best-selling cookie in France since the 1600s. They are delightfully simple to eat – just one or two bites of sweet or savoury filling tucked between light pillows of almond meringue. But simple to eat doesn’t translate to simple to make. Macaron mentors are needed and you’ll find them at Ollia Macarons and Tea. Owners David and Lindsay Rousseau offer three-hour-long macaron-making classes with tips, tricks, tea and tasty macarons to eat in class and take home, too. Book your cookie exchange group of eight or more for a private lesson and mess up someone else’s kitchen instead of your own. Candy cane, peppermint, rum and butter – the flavour inspirations are endless.

Imperia Pasta maker, $69.99, Lina’s Italian Market

Emile Henry Baguette Baker, $150, Savour Fine Foods and Kitchenware

Macaron Baking Class, $100/person, Ollia Macarons and Tea

Tip: look for baking classes on Madeleines, Crème Brûlée and Florentines coming soon.

continued on page 32



HAVE YOURSELF A continued from page 31










A few years ago, Jonathan Kane, The Naked Leaf tea shop owner, was visiting relatives in Germany when he happened upon a lovely tea shop in Hamburg. He ordered this blend of dried fruits and beets as he was curious about their dusting of real gold. The berry taste was delightful and the swirl of gold in the cup suddenly made the world look brighter and feel warmer. Kane now imports this Winter Gold from Germany annually just in time for the holidays. The infusion is caffeine free so forget your tea of old and steep instead with this luscious burgundy and gold.

…to your pre-holiday weight by eating more vegetables. Make it fun with all the different shapes and textures produced by this Tri-Blade Spiral Slicer from Excaliber Nourish Life. Salads just got interesting again. Wheat-free, gluten-free and paleo eaters won’t miss pasta. They can top the vegetable pastas they make with this machine with the same great sauces and toppings. Another bonus? Getting the kids to help cook might not be such a chore after all. Zucchini will be zoodles, potatoes will be poodles and yams – yoodles. It’s always fun to get a new toy at Christmas.

Classic holiday colours become instant classic holiday flavours with this Sriracha Kaffir Lime Rub from Williams-Sonoma. Rub some oil on prawns, sprinkle them with the rub and grill for a zippy start to holiday parties, refreshed with a squeeze of lime. Or, if you’re feeling really generous, splurge and add the Spiral Slicer and a Phillips Air Fryer. You’ll be able to sprinkle a little of the rub over spiralized vegetables and cook them in your air fryer for zippy red hot spicy fries that’ll have your guests green with envy.

I was curious about this little Philips Air Fryer gizmo, so I got up early one Sunday and went to a demo at Calgary’s William-Sonoma store. I found out that this little air-fryer is like a convection oven on steroids. The cooking chamber air circulates hot and fast and leaves food as crispy as a deep fryer would. Chicken wings were marinated and cooked crispy without the skin. A basket of fries required only a teaspoon of oil. This version of fried stays true to the taste you seek while also helping you stay true to your current waist size. As much as we love Santa – we don’t want to fill out his big red suit.

Excalibur Nourish Life - 3 in 1 Food Slicer, $39.99, Community Natural Foods

Sriracha Kaffir Lime Rub, $14.95/ 85g, Williams-Sonoma

Philips Air fryer, $139, Williams Sonoma

Winter Gold Tea, $28/150 g, The Naked Leaf






When I researched the origins of this favourite vodka drink, The Moscow Mule, I thought there would be a great story of cold war diplomats trying to melt the “ice” between countries with vodka shots, ginger beer chasers and lime wedge sucking, but no, the story is far more prosaic. A 1950s marketing “mad man” was charged with promoting a ginger beer company while also trying to get people to like Smirnoff vodka and his girlfriend had copper mugs she’d made and wanted to promote. No wonder James Bond went for martinis over mules. Regardless of its lack of a romantic story, stir together 2 oz. vodka, 4 oz. ginger beer and the juice of 2 lime wedges and serve it impressively in this “bright copper kettle” from Crate and Barrel. You’ll be glad that necessity (to promote the ingredients and container) was the mother of invention that gave birth to this cocktail.

Sure, chestnuts are great roasting by an open fire, but Fiasco Gelato’s S’mores Kits will be much more popular. They’re built for nights you want to curl up with your special somebody. The kit contains freshly baked graham crackers, Cococo Chocolatiers’ milk chocolate and Fiasco’s own house-made vanilla bean marshmallows. There’s also a gluten-free option. The holidays can be tense, but now you can let your cares melt away with each marshmallow.

These hand-painted Polish pickling pots are perfect for the fermented foods trend that’s brewing. If you’re crazy for the boost of healthy bacteria that sauerkraut or kimchi can deliver, then why not preserve your cabbage in style? If you’re not sure of the difference between getting into a pickle and making them, then check out the fermentation classes at preservefoodskills.com or thelightcellar.ca

Fiasco Gelato S’mores Kits, $20, Meez Fast Home Cuisine

Polish Pickling Jar, 7 L capacity, $129.99, Edelweiss Village ✤

Moscow Mule Mugs, 16 oz. copper, $29.95, Crate and Barrel

Karen Anderson is the owner of Calgary Food Tours and a regular contributor to City Palate.



An Entertaining Menu Each year at this time, we check in with one of our talented chefs or foodie friends for entertaining food to celebrate the holiday season. This year, we turn to Glen Manzer, executive chef for the French and Italian restaurants in the Creative Restaurants Group.

The Menu: Many of these dishes require pre-preparation, so read the recipes carefully before launching into making them. All five savoury dishes can be put out together to be enjoyed while people are seated or up visiting and enjoying themselves. This menu will serve 12 to 14, with leftovers.

Erin Vrba and I host this party at least once a year in honour of our Ukrainian heritage. We serve all these dishes on big platters and everyone just helps themselves. I would like to tell you that these are our grandmother’s cherished recipes, but they never quite worked out for us, so we’ve changed and adapted them so now they do! Although the pierogi dough is my grandmothers, I could never figure out how she made everything – for example, her cabbage roll filling was 1/2 bacon, 1/2 onion, 1/2 kasha…. and I would say, “Grandma, that’s three halves,” and she would just sigh. When I moved to Calgary I had 36 jars of her borscht in the car but I could never quite re-create her recipe for borscht. I really do miss our loud, delicious and dysfunctional family dinners at my grandmother’s house.


Oxtail Borscht Soup Oxtail Preparation:


10 to 12 large oxtail pieces (generally available)

4 T. butter

salt and pepper

8 garlic cloves, minced

2 T. unsalted butter

2 medium onions, peeled, small diced

2 each, onions and carrots, peeled and diced

4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

2 celery stalks, rinsed and diced

2 medium celery roots (celeriac), peeled, small diced

small can of tomato paste 2 c. red wine 1 orange, sliced into rounds 1 garlic bulb, sliced in half fresh herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley 5 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 2 star anise 8 c. good quality meat stock sea salt black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°F. Pat oxtails dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large oven-proof pot, heat the butter and start to caramelize the oxtails, working in batches – don’t crowd them. Remove them to a plate as they brown and caramelize, then continue on to the next batch. When the oxtails are finished, add the vegetables to the saucepan and cook until slightly coloured, then add the tomato paste and cook until slightly browned and reduced to an even thicker paste. Add the red wine and reduce by half, then add the reserved oxtails, orange, garlic, herbs, bay leaves, cinnamon and star anise. Then add the stock, bring to a simmer and cover. Put into the oven and cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the oxtails are very tender but not falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and cool them in the liquid overnight. The next day, take the pan and heat slightly; remove oxtails to a big bowl. Strain the braising liquid and reserve it in a large bowl for use in the soup – discard the solids. Clean the meat off the oxtails and reserve for the soup. Discard bones.



1/4 head savoy cabbage, julienned 2 c. white wine 6 large red beets, peeled and shredded 12 c. good quality meat stock 10 juniper berries, crushed 2 star anise sage, rosemary, thyme sea salt cracked black pepper 1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped

Heat the butter in a large stockpot and sauté the garlic, onion, and carrot until just tender. Add the celery root and cabbage and cook for 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine, reduce by half, add the beets and reserved braising liquid and bring to a simmer. Add the reserved oxtail meat and enough of the meat stock, until a soup-like stew consistency is achieved. Make a sachet of juniper, star anise and herbs, and add it to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook at a simmer for 45 minutes and add more stock if needed to keep a soupy consistency. Add the dill, cook briefly and check seasoning. Horseradish cream: Whisk together 2 T. fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated, 1-1/2 c. crème fraîche or good quality sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, 1 juniper berry, crushed and minced. Taste and add more horseradish, if desired. To serve: put finished soup in a large serving vessel, and serve with horseradish cream.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Sablefish, Crème Fraîche, Pickled Red Onion and Caviar Potato Pancakes: 1/2 medium red onion, minced 4 large russet potatoes, washed, grated and rinsed under cold water till the water runs clear


2 eggs 2 lemons, zested and juiced

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3 T. flour salt and pepper canola oil unsalted butter smoked sablefish for serving


Combine onion, potato and eggs and mix well. Add lemon juice and zest and mix well. Stir in flour and salt and pepper, to taste, and let sit for 1/2 hour or longer. Heat a heavy-bottomed fry pan – cast iron works best – and add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan, then add 1 T. butter and heat over high heat until the butter has just stopped sizzling. Stir the potato mixture, scoop out a small handful and squeeze tight to release most of the moisture, then place in the hot pan and flatten a little with the back of a spoon. Cook until crispy, then flip and crisp the other side – about three minutes per side, then drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the potato mixture, wiping the pan clean after each batch, adding more canola and butter as required. Keep the pancakes warm. Simple Pickled Red Onion: 1 red onion, thinly sliced sea salt


1 c. water

Small batch true Italian Gelato!

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar



2 T. brown sugar

Combine onion and a generous sprinkling of salt in a non-reactive bowl and let sit 30 minutes. Rinse onions well under cold water and drain. Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to a simmer, then pour it over onions and cool. Refrigerate overnight.

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Homemade Crème Fraîche: 1 c. whipping cream 3 T. buttermilk 2 T. lemon juice

Whisk ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl, cover with cheesecloth and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours, or until thickened. Refrigerate for 24 hours and pour off any whey. Whisk before using. This can be made ahead, as it can stay in the fridge for at least a week. To serve: on a large platter, arrange the warm potato pancakes and a pile of smoked fish. On the side, have small jars of the two condiments for your guests to make their own small plate. When we serve this we also serve it with chilled Northern Divine Canadian Caviar and a bottle of very cold vodka.

continued on page 36

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Sauerkraut Pierogi

1 lb. raw roasted buckwheat

I like to have my pierogis with a sauté of wild mushrooms, how I ate them as a child with my grandfather. Your choice, but put sour cream out for everyone. Again, never, ever ketchup!

sea salt

1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour


1-1/2 c. crème fraîche or sour cream

2 onions, minced, divided

pinch of salt

1 carrot, minced


1 lb. wild black trumpet mushrooms (or your favourite), cleaned and chopped, divided

1 medium onion, minced

sea salt and black pepper

2 c. sauerkraut, well-drained

2 confit duck legs, shredded*

fresh thyme leaves

splash of extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 eggs

1 c. red wine


1 large can of whole tomatoes

unsalted butter

2 T. fresh oregano

1 medium onion, sliced

From the sour cabbage heads, remove the intact ‘nice’ looking leaves, slice out the thick rib.

1 lb. good quality sliced bacon, julienned

2 heads sour cabbage (save the unusable leaves for pierogis)*

Put the buckwheat in a pot and cover it with twice as much water, a sprinkle of salt and a touch of butter. Bring to a boil, cover, simmer on low for 20 minutes until cooked. To make the filling: in a hot skillet add butter, half the onion, carrot, half the mushrooms and sauté. Season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly caramelized, then fold in the duck confit. Cool, then stir the cooked buckwheat and duck mixture together.

Hosted by Judy Wood and Gail Norton

Photos by Regan Johnson.

continued from page 35

To make the sauce: put some olive oil, the rest of the onion and the garlic into a pot and sauté until just cooked. Add the rest of the mushrooms and continue cooking at a slow simmer. Turn the heat up, deglaze with the red wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and break them up while stirring. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Simmer for fifteen minutes, or until somewhat thickened. Take one of the sour cabbage leaves, place some filling at the bottom of the leaf – as much or as little as you like, but my grandmother made them quite small. Fold in the side edges and roll up over the filling. Continue with the rest of the cabbage leaves and filling. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with some of the sauce, place the cabbage rolls on top and cover with more sauce. Bake for 1 hour. To serve: serve the cabbage rolls with a fresh herb of your choice – dill was my family favourite – and sour cream or crème fraîche. But never, ever ketchup! * Find sour cabbage at the Superstores in the produce section. Find duck confit at Bite, Mercato, The Cookbook Co. and Save-On-Foods.

3 garlic cloves, minced

Mix together the flour, crème fraîche or sour cream and salt until it forms a ball. Turn onto a floured board and knead for 6 minutes. If the dough is a little sticky, add a touch of flour, until it forms a smooth ball. Set aside to rest for at least an hour, or wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night, which is better. Put a touch of butter in a hot skillet and sauté the onions and garlic until slightly caramelized. Add the sauerkraut, season with thyme, salt and pepper, and allow to cool. Whisk the eggs with a touch of water to make an egg wash. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and roll each half 1/4-inch-thick. Cut the dough into circles, at least 3 inches in diameter. Place a small mound of filling in the centre of each circle, brush the dough edges with a small amount of egg wash, then fold over to make a half moon. Pinch the edges of each pierogi closed, making sure they are completely sealed. Place them on the parchment, making sure they don’t overlap or touch each other. At this point, you can freeze the finished pierogi, and when completely frozen, transfer them to an acceptable freezer container. To cook the pierogi, first put some butter in a large, hot skillet along with the sliced onions and bacon and sauté until slightly caramelized. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt and the pierogi – don’t crowd the pot. When the pierogi float to the top of the water, cook for another 2 minutes, then drain the pierogi well and transfer them to the skillet with the onion mixture. Adjust the seasoning, toss to coat, then transfer to a platter and serve with generous grindings of pepper.

Dried Fruit and Nuts 1 c. 35% whipping cream 1 T. icing sugar 1 envelope vanilla sugar 1 c. each, dried pears, apricots, cherries, cranberries and blueberries 1-1/4 c. dates 1-1/4 c. each, walnuts and whole, natural almonds

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then add the sugars and whip until just stiff. Arrange the fruit and nuts on a large platter or board and serve the whipped cream on the side. You can use any nut or fruit of your choice. Of course, you also need a box of mandarin oranges to eat with this! Serve the nuts and fruits with a dollop of whipped cream.

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1/2 c. lukewarm water 1 t. + 5 T. + 3/4 c. sugar


1 package yeast 6-8 c. unbleached flour 8 T. unsalted butter, softened 2 eggs zest of 1 lemon 2-1/2 c. lukewarm milk 1 t. almond extract 1/2 c. lightly toasted walnuts, chopped 1/2 c. evaporated milk

Place the poppyseeds in a bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour over the poppy seeds so they’re completely covered. Let the poppy seeds settle and pour off the water. Repeat once more, but this time don’t drain for 35 minutes. Drain the seeds through cheesecloth and allow to dry for 3 hours. In a stand mixer, with the dough hook, combine the water, 1 t. sugar and yeast. Let the yeast start to foam, then add 6 c. of the flour, 4 T. softened butter, 5 T. sugar, 1 egg (beaten), lemon zest and 1 c. milk. Mix together well and knead for 7 minutes – add more flour a little at a time if necessary. Let sit, covered, for 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Punch down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Cook the rinsed poppy seeds in the remaining 1-1/2 c. milk for 5 minutes (until slightly dry), then add 4 T. butter, 3/4 c. sugar, almond extract, walnuts, 1 egg and mix until cool. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Roll the dough into 2 rectangles and spread the poppyseed filling over the rectangles. Then, roll them up, one end to the other, pinching the seam well. Place them on the baking sheet, seam side down, and let them rise until just doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush with evaporated milk and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Some people like to slash the rolls on top – we don’t, but my grandmother did and Erin’s grandmother doesn’t. To serve: we slice some rolls and arrange them with the unsliced roll on a platter along with a knife, in case people want to slice more. ✤

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by Georgia Annis

I have many fond memories of my mom baking cookies. The wonderful aroma was enough to bring all 12 of us from all reaches of our sprawling house into the kitchen. Sometimes it was all she could do to get them off the pan before we devoured them. A good cookie is always a treat – sweet, chewy, crisp. Comfort food at its best. Here’s a collection of my favourite cookie recipes. They’re all easy to make. Even though I’ve made them many times, I still crave them, as do all of my friends and family! A tin full of these makes for a heartfelt Christmas present.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT FOR BAKING COOKIES: Baking sheets Parchment paper Measuring cups and spoons Rubber spatulas Cooling racks Flexible cookie spatula Spring-loaded cookie scoop (it’s what I use; it’s really handy but not required)

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR BAKING COOKIES: Read the recipe at least once before baking. Make sure you understand all the techniques and have the right equipment and ingredients before starting. Prepare the baking sheets and equipment, as needed. Take the time to measure properly. This can make a big difference in the outcome of a recipe. I recommend that you take the time to test one cookie in the oven before continuing. Liquid ingredients should be measured on a flat surface and in a glass measuring cup or container. Dry ingredients should be measured in a cup with straight edges to level off. I always tap my cup on the edge of something to make sure the ingredients are well packed with no air pockets. Always tightly pack brown sugar, unless specified. Carefully note how measurements are worded in a recipe. 1 cup of sifted icing sugar means 1 cup of sugar that has already been sifted. When you’re creaming butter and sugar, the purpose of this step is for sugar to trap air that becomes suspended in the butter’s fat molecules. This air serves to aid in leavening. The butter that is creamed with sugar must be at room temperature, unless noted otherwise. Butter that is overly soft is oily and will not retain much air, as its structure has already begun to break down. The resulting product will be a cookie that is dense and heavy and, due to poorly distributed fat molecules, likely to have a greasy feel. Butter that is too cold will not be able to trap air. When preparing your cookies on a baking sheet, allow a half-inch to one-inch, sometimes more, of space around the dough for cookies to spread. Preheat the oven so that it’s at the correct baking temperature before the cookies go in. Use a timer and check cookies at the suggested minimum bake-time requirement. A spring-loaded cookie scoop ensures all your cookies are a uniform size. When baking cookies, I usually bake one tray at a time on a rack in the middle of the oven. Always place baked cookies on a cooling rack to cool and set. If you leave them on the pan to cool, their bottoms will be soggy.


Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies Toasting the oatmeal until slightly brown, about 5-6 minutes, will intensify the nuttiness. 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature 1 c. packed brown sugar 2 large eggs, room temperature 2 c. old fashioned rolled oats 2 c. all-purpose flour 1/2 t. sea salt 1 t. baking soda 1-1/2 c. dried cranberries 1-1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together on high speed for about 3 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk together well and add to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate chips. Spoon the dough in about 1-tablespoonsized scoops onto the baking sheets, making sure to leave a 1-1/2-inch space around each cookie to allow for spreading. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Remove the cookies from oven and, using a flexible spatula, transfer them to a rack to cool and set. Makes 3 dozen.

Chewy Butterscotch Almond Bars This recipe reminds me of a chewy, nutty chocolate bar! Cookie Base: 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour 2 t. baking powder 1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Toffee and Dried Bing Cherries This is an intensely rich, soft, chewy cookie that always reminds me of holidays! For toffee bits, you can use Hershey’s Chipits Skor Toffee Bits.

Hermit Cookies

2 c. packed brown sugar

The wonderful blend of spices intensifies as time goes on – not that they last long!

2 large eggs

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature 1 c. packed brown sugar 2 large eggs, room temperature 1/2 t. vanilla 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. baking soda

Georgia’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

1-1/2 t. vanilla extract

These cookies are “famous” because I’ve been making them since elementary school – yikes! Fifty years, now. Everyone loves receiving them and asks for Georgia’s chocolate chip cookies. They are a perfect combination of soft and crispy.

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

4-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. sea salt 1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. cocoa

1/2 t. each ground ginger and allspice

1/3 c. old-fashioned oatmeal flakes 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. each ground nutmeg and cloves

1/4 t. sea salt 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c. each dried currants or raisins and pitted dates, coarsely chopped

1 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1 c. packed brown sugar

3/4 c. sugar


4 large eggs, room temperature

2 large eggs

1/2 c. icing sugar

4 t. vanilla extract

1-1/2 t. vanilla extract

2 to 3 T. cream or milk

1 c. dried bing cherries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2 c. dark chocolate chips (can substitute milk or white chocolate chips)

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips 1 c. toffee bits

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugars together for three minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined, then add the vanilla. Don’t over-mix. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients, then the dried cherries, chocolate chips and toffee bits. Spoon the dough into 1 tablespoon-size portions and place them on the baking sheets, making sure to leave a 1-1/2-inch space around each cookie to allow for spread. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, using a flexible spatula, transfer them to a rack to cool and set. Makes 3 dozen.

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and scrape down the bowl as needed. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Add to the butter mixture. Fold in the currants or raisins, dates and nuts. Spoon the dough in 1-tablespoon-sized scoops onto the baking sheets. Bake them about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, using a flexible spatula, transfer them to a rack to cool and set. While the cookies are baking, mix together the glaze ingredients, adding more milk or icing sugar to create a thin glaze. Once the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle them with glaze. Makes 3 dozen.

2/3 c. each sugar and dark corn syrup 4 T. water 1/2 t. sea salt 2-1/2 c. sliced almonds (not toasted) 2 oz. each white chocolate and dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted

2 t. each baking soda and sea salt

2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Nutty Topping:

1 c. vegetable shortening 2 c. sugar

1 c. toasted pecan or walnut pieces, coarsely chopped 1 c. dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal flakes. Set aside. In a standing mixer that is fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, nuts and cranberries, if using them. Spoon the dough in about 1 tablespoon-sized scoops onto the baking sheets, making sure to leave a 1-1/2 -inch space around each cookie to allow for spreading. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, using a flexible spatula, transfer them to a rack to cool and set. Makes 6 dozen.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 13 x 9-inch cake pan by cutting a length of parchment paper long enough to line the bottom of the pan with extra hanging over the sides. Press the parchment into the pan so it fits snugly into the bottom, then remove it. Spray non-stick cooking spray directly onto the bottom and sides of the pan and set the parchment paper on top. This will help the parchment stick to the pan and keep it from moving as you prepare your cookie base. To prepare the cookie base: whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside. Melt the butter in a large pot; remove it from the heat and whisk in the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture until combined well, then spread the batter evenly onto the parchment in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes. The base will sometimes puff slightly, so gently pat it down with a spatula, if needed. To make the nutty topping: combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, water and salt together in a small saucepan over mediumlow heat. Bring to a slight boil and cook for about 4 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture looks like a thick caramel. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the almonds. Pour this mixture over the prepared cookie base and continue to bake another 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on a rack. Drizzle with the melted white and dark chocolate, let the chocolate set, remove from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Makes 2 dozen. ✤

Georgia Annis is a chef, cooking instructor and Cooking School Coordinator for The Cookbook Co. Cooks. Photos by Regan Johnson. CITY PALATE.ca NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2015 39

MY favourite INGREDIENT 10 of Calgary’s great chefs tell us what they love cooking with, why they love it and what they do with it. story and photos by Shelley Boettcher

Maybe you love watermelon. Or chocolate. Or bacon. You’re not alone. Turns out that even chefs – who have all kinds of ingredients at their fingertips – also love some foods more than others. Their choices may vary from season to season, and year to year. But they – like the rest of us – have favourite ingredients, foods they love to talk about and share with others. Here, Calgary chefs talk about their current favourite ingredient. Read on; maybe you’ll find a new one of your own.

Andrea Harling 

Matthew Batey 



Andrea Harling, Chris Dobson and Blake Ducharme are the creators of Made Foods, a new chain that offers healthy homestyle takeaway dishes. Look for Calgary’s locations in Crowfoot Crossing, Garrison Gate, Willow Park Village and West 85th, followed by Vancouver locations in early 2016. Before Made Foods, Harling worked at Dobson’s and Brava Bistro.

Before starting The Nash with Michael Noble, Matthew Batey worked at Calgary’s Catch and at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery’s Terrace restaurant in the Okanagan Valley.

Her favourite ingredient? “Beets. I can talk forever about beets. I think they’re really versatile. They’re local. They grow well here, and you can eat them so many ways. You can use all parts of them. You can pickle them, roast them, eat them raw, make chips from them, and put them into purées and smoothies. You can put the greens in soups and salads, too.

“I just love the butter from Farm House Natural Cheeses in Agassiz, B.C. They make a small amount of butter and they send me a couple of pounds every couple of weeks. I love it at home, you can really taste the difference.

His favourite ingredient? “Butter. I’m not kidding. French technique is the foundation of my cooking, and butter is a big part of that. It’s butter for the sake of flavour, not gluttony.

“Beets have a really interesting history. They’re where a lot of processed sugar comes from, but they’re one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. They’re just packed full of good stuff.”

“We make our own butter every two days at The Nash. We churn it and then hang it in cheesecloth. We finish each piece of fish with butter. Our duck breast gets finished with butter. We glaze our vegetables in butter emulsified with chicken stock. And could there be a better way to experience fresh butter than with our daily bread?”

Paul Rogalski 

 Kevin Bell



Paul Rogalski has competed on Iron Chef America. In 2010, Rouge Restaurant made the S. Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurants list. His favourite ingredient? Chanterelle mushrooms. “They signify that it’s fall and that means harvest, when we get the best produce and ingredients from our region. There isn’t much that grows in our mountains, but chanterelles do. They make me think of fresh air and trees and being outside. “And chanterelles are just so versatile. I do everything from pickling them to serving them with red meats, poultry and duck. And they’re good just on their own, sautéed.”



Kevin Bell has been with The Living Room team since the early days. This year, the team is opening Blanco, a Tex-Mexstyle place in the former Brava location on 17th Avenue S.W. Turns out kale rocks his culinary world. “We grew a bunch in our garden this year, so I’ve been eating a lot of it. People either like it or don’t like it, but I tried it a few years ago and fell in love with it. It’s a very hearty, full-flavoured vegetable, and it’s so good for you. I like it sautéed quickly in a frying pan with organic butter, salt and pepper, and a splash of sherry vinegar or white wine. Black kale’s my favourite. It has a finer leaf but it’s prone to bugs.” continued on page 42



MY favourite INGREDIENT continued from page 40

Jenny Kang

Dwayne Ennest



Jenny Kang graduated from SAIT’s culinary program, then worked at Teatro, the Fairmont Palliser and Downtown Food before landing the head chef position at Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant.


Jessica Pelland worked at CHARCUT Roast House before moving to charbar, in the historic Simmons building. In 2010, she was one of the star chefs on the hit TV show, “Chopped Canada.” Her favourite ingredient? “The Aji Panca chile pepper. Aji Panca is a fruity, Peruvian/Mexican chile that fulfills many roles in the kitchen. It has a low burning heat that is nice and smoky, with a hint of citrus flavour. I put the paste in sauces and soups and use whole chiles in stews and chili. I use the flakes as seasoning and for condiments. It’s incredibly versatile and we use it so many different ways in the restaurant.”

Her favourite ingredient? Mushrooms, all mushrooms. “I used to pick them when I was young with my mom in Korea,” she says. Now, she says, she appreciates their versatility. “You can grill, sauté or braise them. Turn them into soup. Make a mushroom risotto. You can pickle the shimeji mushrooms. They’re beautiful. I love their white colour. I grill the king oyster mushrooms like a steak for vegetarians. The portobellos, too.”

A long-time favourite on the Calgary food scene, Dwayne Ennest and his wife/business partner Alberta are opening two new restaurants this fall: the White Rose Kitchen, a vegetarian restaurant in Bowness, as well as The Coal Shed, a converted shipping container that will feature take-home smoked meat. His favourite ingredient? Condimento Bianco Dodi from Antica Acetaia Dodi, a barrel-aged white wine vinegar from Italy. “It’s the best vinegar. The best! It’s subtle, but with tons of flavour, and it has a sweetness to it that I’ve never had before in a vinegar, although there isn’t any sugar added. I use it on salads with a beautiful olive oil and people always want to know what’s in it because it tastes so fantastic. I use it in salads. I make mignonettes with it for oysters. And I drizzle it on pork at the very end of cooking. It’s just so good.”

Ede Rodriguez

Yoshi Chubachi

Keith Luce




Ede (pronounced “Eddie”) Rodriguez and his wife Rosina started a catering business, specializing in Brazilian cuisine, in 2005. It was so successful, they opened a restaurant. Then another. They now operate two locations, one in Calgary and one in Canmore.

As a member of Team Canada, Yoshi Chubachi holds 10 gold medals from International Culinary Competitions. Before moving to Azuridge, he was the executive chef at Eden at the Rimrock Resort in Banff. Born and raised in Japan, he has worked around the world, including France and Montreal.

James Beard award-winning chef, Keith Luce, hails from the U.S., where he was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s top chefs in America in 1997. He was also head chef at the White House during the Bill Clinton years. Last year, he moved to Canada to head the culinary team at Corbeaux.

His favourite ingredient? “Alberta beef – AAA, not AA. Especially the picanha, one particular part of the rump steak, a spot where the muscle doesn’t move much. Sometimes it’s called the coulotte. When you cook it, it’s so tender. It just melts in your mouth. I only use sea salt on that stuff. No marinades. It was very hard to find this cut at first in Canada; here, it is mostly used for hamburger. But it’s the best, just excellent.”

His favourite ingredient? “Seafood! I have always loved cooking with seafood. You can cook it many ways; you can pan-sear it, grill it, you name it. You can be very creative. I like to put different types of seafood together. For one main course, you can taste maybe three different varieties of seafood. I like to pan-sear scallops and prawns, I like to marinate them with lemongrass, maybe some herbs and white wine. But don’t overcook them or they’ll become rubbery.” Azuridge photo.

What he’s loving these days: red fife wheat. “There’s something really incredible about the haunting sweet spice note it has. It’s a cinnamon-like sweetness that’s inherent to the grain. You can just cook it as you would any grain for porridge. We’re starting to make a porridge with red fife wheat and wild rice at Corbeaux, and I use the breadcrumbs on stuffed pasta at home.” ✤

Shelley Boettcher is a Calgary-based writer and national morning weekend wine columnist for CBC Radio. If she’s not drinking wine, she’s probably drinking coffee.



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Fondue F O R



by Janice Beaton

Fondue… just hearing the word makes us salivate. A bubbling pot, friends and family gathered around the table laden with dip-able delights, reminding us to slow down, savour and enjoy each other’s company. What’s the rush, anyway!

photo by Danielle Nicholls

The classic fondue, dating back to the 1700s, is melted cheese. Both the

HERE ARE THE BASIC TENETS FOR A DELISH FONDUE: Always use good-quality cheese. A fondue pot, though not essential, is recommended. Keeping the cheese over a heat source at the table is what keeps it silky and homogeneous and a fondue pot has all the right equipment. A key element is to combine the grated cheese with the cornstarch. Even if the cheeses you’re using do not grate easily – for example, brie – keep the cheese really cold until you’re about to make the fondue, then cut it into cubes or slices and toss it with the cornstarch. Tossing cheese and cornstarch together helps create the essential emulsion between the wine and cheese. Wine is the best-known choice as the liquid ingredient in a fondue. Yet, if you have a favourite beer you love with cheese, go for it! Sparkling wine or cider (see below) has its place, too. Fondue is worthy of experimentation, and generally quite forgiving.

French and Italians have versions, but the Swiss take credit as the founders. In the early 1900s, cheese fondue hit its stride, in part due to the importation of cornstarch to Switzerland – the key ingredient in creating the silken emulsion we know and love. In the ‘50s, a Swiss restaurateur in New York City introduced the beef bourguignonne version and chocolate fondue in the ‘60s. Our focus here is the original version – cheese. How can something so delicious be so simple with so few ingredients? Fondue is the ultimate in quick and easy.

METHOD: The method is the same for all the cheesy fondues. Toss the grated cheese with cornstarch. In a 10” skillet or large saucepan, begin heating the wine/beer/cider, to just below boiling point. Start whisking in the cheese in small amounts, adding more as each addition melts. Stir until the mixture is homogeneous and silken. Pour the cheese mixture into the fondue pot (which has been heating over a flame for five minutes) and regulate the heat accordingly. Dip the suggested accompaniments (see below) into the fondue cheese mixture. These fondues serve 4 as dinner and 6 to 8 as a starter. CLASSIC SWISS: Celebrates the quality of a triumvirate of Swiss cheeses. 1-1/2 c. gruyère, grated 1-1/2 c. appenzeller, grated 1-1/3 c. emmenthal, grated 2 T. cornstarch 1-1/2 c. white wine

Note: If the cheese mixture appears to be getting too thick, add another 1/4 c. of warmed wine and stir until well incorporated. Generally, the fondue burner should provide sufficient heat for this, but if it’s not occurring with ease, transfer back to the saucepan briefly.

HAUTE GOAT: Soft and “feminine.” Satiny, silky smooth with a pristine white sheen. A lighter alternative to more traditional fondue recipes.

SMOKIN’ BLUE: Rich and “masculine,” think bearded lumberjacks.

1-1/3 c. chèvre noir, grated

1-1/4 c. smoked cheddar, grated

1-1/3 c. goat gouda, grated

1 c. Dragon’s Breath, crumbled (a blue without the blue!)

1-3/4 c. juliette, a camembert-style goat cheese, cubed or sliced (including rind) 2 T. cornstarch 1-1/2 c. white wine

1-1/3 c. smoked gouda, grated (rind removed)

1 c. Bleu d’Auvergne, crumbled 2 T. cornstarch 1-1/2 c. dry cider (preferably French)

Note: the cornstarch can be easily tossed with the grated cheese before adding the crumbled blue cheeses.

WHAT TO DIP? Oh my – what not to dip! Be creative (as long as the dipping element holds up in the hot cheese). Some of my favourites include bread cubes (of course), lightly steamed veg – sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus – chunks of cured ham or sausage, bündnerfleisch (seasoned, dried meat), pickles, dried apple slices, dates, dried figs.

NOTE: some recipes call for rubbing the pot with garlic beforehand or adding Kirsch and/or nutmeg at the end. I don’t, I prefer to let fine cheese sing. Here are three cheese fondues that are delicious for very different reasons.

And, now, for dessert: CHOCOLATE FONDUE 3/4 c. heavy cream 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, broken 1 T. butter 3 T. liqueur, such as Frangelico, Cointreau, Amaretto, or Kahlua (optional)

Warm the cream in a saucepan. Add the chocolate and swirl until melted. Add the liqueur, if desired. Transfer to a fondue pot and dip fresh fruit such as strawberries, figs, oranges, pears and apples. Also dip biscotti, pound cake and Leslie Stowe Raincoast Crisps. Serves 6 to 8. ✤

Janice Beaton is the owner of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and FARM restaurant.


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Jail Junk How an incarcerated Calgary woman made jail food more palatable.

The drinks range from different coffees, to smoothies, a cold remedy, a hot lemony tea and “Root Beer Bandits” – floats made with ice cream and root beer. Water is kept warm on the cell radiators which are also used to bake some of the confections. More of a savoury tooth? No problem. Belanger has recipes for soup, burritos and sweet and spicy Cheddar Sticks, among other things. “You can make anything out of nothing. As long as you put love into what you are making, it will always taste good,” she says, her hair gelled into place by the concoction she devised inside – half conditioner and half pancake syrup. She still prefers it to commercial products now that she’s home again. Cosmetics in the canteen are expensive, says Belanger, so the book offers instructions on how to make mascara out of toothpaste and ink from a black ballpoint pen; it’s applied with a toothbrush, of course. Want your hair to shine? Jail Junk has the answer, but you will need jam and honey, plus conditioner. Juice crystals and Vaseline make a fine lip balm. As for hair dye, Belanger first lightened hers with peroxide provided for zits. Then she mixed up the contents of four red pens with hair conditioner. The CRC wouldn’t allow it to be included in the book, however, on the grounds that it changed people’s appearance too drastically. Otherwise, says Belanger, CRC staff was very supportive. She’s not sure whether life imitated art or vice-versa, but with the prevalence of athlete’s foot, she and her roommate made disposable shower sandals from Maxi Pads. Later she heard that an episode of TV’s “Orange Is The New Black,” set in a woman’s prison, depicted the same trick. When the book was ready, she made several copies and began to circulate them among the other appreciative inmates. The guards liked it too – one was even overheard saying, “Now I can actually eat jail food.” Belanger has nothing but good words for the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, which supports and advocates for women affected by systemic social issues contributing to their criminalization. According to the society, over 80 percent of women’s criminal activity is related to poverty.

by Susan Scott Every cook worth her wooden spoon wants to make the most of her ingredients and that’s precisely what Raylene Belanger did when confronted with culinary circumstances that would defeat most of us. In fact, when it comes to cookbooks, she got the inside scoop.

When Belanger heard the society was preparing its annual display of clients’ art, crafts and writing, she submitted Jail Junk. The society’s staff typed it out and asked her if she would like it to be “a real book” so it was printed and spiral bound.

Belanger was recently incarcerated at the Calgary Remand Centre (CRC) for seven months while awaiting trial for white collar crimes related to her crystal meth addiction. Thanks to a judge who looked at the root cause of her problems, she’s been out on probation since the middle of June.

“It was really awesome, interesting, rich and very creative,” says Elizabeth Fry’s executive director Katelyn Lucas, who firmly believes in giving people opportunities. “I hope it will encourage other women to go for their dream.”

When Belanger arrived at the CRC, where people either await trial, like her, or do time to pay off bylaw fines, she took stock and realized the food on the trays was uninspiring, to say the least. But she also realized it could be better, so she set out to write a cookbook that aimed to improve life on the inside.

Jail Junk sells for $15. Fifty percent of the proceeds goes to programs for women, forty percent goes to Belanger and ten percent covers production costs.

Belanger’s resources consisted of such things as hotel-sized containers of honey and peanut butter and packets of hot chocolate. Undaunted, she collected some recipes already in circulation and began to create more using only what came on the food trays or was available for purchase at the canteen.

“I’m happy someone noticed me, although I didn’t do it to be noticed,” says Belanger. She adds with a self-deprecating smile, “I feel warm and fuzzy.”

The result – her book Jail Junk – is a triumph of the human spirit in all its ingenuity and resilience. It’s also an inspiration for any cook who finds herself on the poverty line.

Now that she’s an author, Belanger wants to concentrate on caring for her fouryear-old son, Jaden, who, she says, “gave me the drive to change my life.” She also wants to pursue her art rather than an office job, which, with her history, would be hard to land. Currently she decorates coffee tables to customers’ specifications. A children’s book is also on the must-do list.

Belanger, 31, now seven months clean, was what she calls a “functional addict,” using crystal meth to self-medicate untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “I was an addict for 15 years. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t function without it (crystal meth),” she says. On entering the remand centre, her stress peaked. As a result, she saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed ADHD and prescribed the drug, Concerta. Ironically, says Belanger, Concerta is a kissing cousin to crystal meth. But for the first time in 15 years, or half her life, her mind slowed down, her anxiety decreased and she was able to focus. Inmates at the Remand Centre are locked down 22 hours a day, so between discovering Buddhism, yoga, reading and meditation, Belanger had a lot of time on her hands. At the CRC, the main staple is bread, she says, causing many women to develop paunches known as “bread babies.” The trays of food that make up each meal can be supplemented by weekly orders from the canteen. It carries a limited stock of items, but enough to stimulate Belanger’s home-making skills. Jail Junk features such recipes as Crookie Cookie, which includes a pack of vanilla protein, three peanut butter packets, two butter packets, a packet of coffee whitener, syrup, water and three crushed cookies. The mixing bowl is a rice cake bag. For Fruity Fraud Salad, you have to save up your fruit ration for a week and combine it with vanilla pudding and a yogurt, but it does produce four servings.



“I feel we should do what our passion is. If it makes money for us, that’s awesome,” says Belanger, who now realizes that “anything is possible if you put time and inspiration into it.”

Two of Raylene Belanger’s favourite Jail Junk recipes. Jail Droppings Ingredients: 1 bowl of cornflakes 2 packets of honey 1 packet of peanut butter 1 Aero chocolate bar

You will need: 1 bottle of hot water 1 spoon 1 cereal bowl 1 cup 2 cereal lids or kimchi lids

Directions: Pour hot water into the cup and let unopened Aero bar sit in it until melted. Open cereal bowl and pour in honey, stirring lightly. Add peanut butter, melted chocolate and stir. Scoop out spoonsized lumps and place on cookie sheet. Let stand for 10 minutes before eating. Makes 10 bite-sized droppings.

Thai Noodles Jail Style Ingredients: 1 kimchi beef noodle bowl 1 packet hot sauce, more if you like it really hot 1 packet of honey 1 packet of peanut butter hot water

You will need: A fork to enjoy these noodles

To order Jail Junk, call the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary: 403-294-0737; toll free: 1-877-398-3656. ✤

Directions: Open kimchi noodle bowl. Add enough hot water to cover noodles and let sit for three minutes. Drain water and add the kimchi seasoning packet, hot sauce, honey and peanut butter. Mix well and eat! Serves 1.

Susan Scott is a Calgary writer who has eaten her share of junk food one way or another.

Remember to save the lid from the noodle package to use as a cookie sheet.

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“Mexico City is not for the faint-hearted traveler. The air is polluted, the traffic is beyond belief, it’s in an earthquake zone and within range of a smoking volcano. You don’t come to relax or get away from it all. You come to be seduced by a flourishing 700-year-old culture, by people whose hearts are easily opened and by the sheer audacity of it all.” Jim Johnston, author of “An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler.”

When I mentioned plans to holiday in Mexico last November, the usual question was “Puerto Vallarta or Cancun?” No beach for me – the sprawling pavement of Mexico City, third most populous in the world with 21 million inhabitants, was on my radar. The anticipation of culture, architecture and food were a given, but the unexpected green space, spontaneous physical activity and genuinely friendly people should make this a must-go destination for the adventurous and the discriminating traveler. Despite its size, Mexico City is approachable due to its network of neighbourhoods. Distrito Federal, or el DF (pronounced de-feh), encompasses all of the areas that are key to explore. But even within el DF, where to begin? Every visitor’s starting point should be the Historical District, where cobblestone streets make it seem more like Europe than the stereotypical vision of Mexico. The heart of the community is Zocalo, a large square surrounded by key buildings, including the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. The only true cathedral in all of Mexico, it’s stunning both inside and out. Spend about 200 pesos for a guide outside the entrance to get a private education on the, literally, sinking city – built on an old lake bed, it has sunk 29-36 ft. in the 20th century – and the building itself. The surrounding area is resplendent with architectural wonders, from the inner-city Mayan ruins of Templo Mayor to countless churches and historical buildings towering over small shops and street vendors peddling their goods. Pedestrian-only streets lead to other gems, including the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Plaza de la Revolucion and the famous Paseo de la Reforma. The Reforma is a 12-mile-long, six-lane-wide, European-inspired boulevard dotted with monuments, including the landmark 21-foot-tall gold-covered Angel of Independence standing atop its 118-foot tower that gleams both in daylight and the night’s illumination. The Reforma was commissioned by Emperor Maximilian in the 1860s to connect his office at the National Palace to his castle residence in the Bosque de Chapultepec. On Sundays, the road is blocked to vehicles from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. when it turns into a mecca for cyclists, runners, spontaneous pop-up zumba and cross-fit classes and people out to enjoy a smog-free outdoor activity zone. Line up like a local to get a free city bicycle for three hours or sign up for Ecobici, a bike-share program, to have unlimited use of bikes for the whole day.

Metropolitan Cathedral

The Bosque is a 22-acre green space in the heart of the city, home to the castle, the zoo, botanical gardens, and a man-made lake bordered by museums, such as the world’s largest National Museum of Anthropology and two museums of modern art. Running and cycling pathways zigzag throughout, lined with booths selling colourful fried snacks.

Cleaning nopales cactus pads at the Merced

Coyocoan tostadas at the Merced

Not far away is Condesa, a favourite expat residential neighborhood. Developed around an old race track turned into a Nike-sponsored running path, its leafy streets, trendy restaurants and cafés create an environment like Calgary’s Kensington. But the rustic charm of Mexico City still exists with everyone from corporate types to children chowing down at curbside taquerias. Roma, the ‘hood next door, is undergoing transition, demonstrated best by its diverse markets. Vendors at the new Mercado Roma sell coffee and packaged beans. Walk a few blocks to drool over mountains of fresh produce.

A little further from the centre are two additional neighbourhoods worth the detour. In Coyoacan, visit the local market specializing in tostadas topped with everything from ceviche to the famous al pastor (meat cooked on a vertical spit) and the museum La Casa Azul, former home of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. On Saturdays, San Angel hosts a large art bazaar amongst quaint historical buildings. Both are stops on the hop-on/hop-off bus, the upper level of which makes for great photo ops. Street food is core to Mexican culture, but in the city, it goes far beyond fish tacos. Individual stands typically serve one specialty, from tamales to elotes (corn on the cob); expect all to be authentic, delicious and cheap. Food is generally safe, but choose where there is a line-up and someone other than the cook handles the money. Vendors typically do not speak English, making a little Spanish useful. If all else fails, watch what others order, point and have a surprise!

Sunday alley barbacoa

Plaza de la Revolucion on Sunday cycling on the Paseo de la Reforma


Another must-do is to visit some markets. There are two types – large permanent structures such as Merced, whose covered space is the size of four football fields, as is its open air space, open every day. Meanwhile, smaller neighbourhood tianguis pop up one or two days a week. Expect to find everything from fruit and vegetables to meat,

When visiting Mexico City, don’t pack your bag for the beach. This is a cosmopolitan city, where most locals and tourists sport chic style. At an altitude of 7,200 feet, daytime temperatures are in the 22°C. range almost year-round, but cooler evenings often require a light jacket.

brazilian barbecue

cheese (try Oaxacan cheese, Mexican “mozzarella”) and taco stands. Tlayudas are oval, tlacoyos are square and gorditas are stuffed. Organized food tours, like those offered by Eat Mexico, explain everything from different types of peppers and moles to pre-Hispanic ingredients, such as huitlacoche (corn fungus) and chapulines (grasshoppers), while washing them down with a cup of pulque (fermented sap of the agave plant).

A valid question about Mexico City is safety, primarily centered around transportation. Hotel and sitio taxis are regulated, walking in tourist-oriented areas, even in the evening, is comfortable, and the metro is efficient, if hot and crowded. As in any big city, common sense works.

Mexico City – gritty, energetic, real. Give it a chance and it may just steal your heart. WHERE TO STAY: Eurostar Suites Reforma – offering great access to sites and street food; eurostarssuitesreforma.com. The Red Tree House – invite friends and book the penthouse apartment; theredtreehouse.com. WHERE TO EAT:

we hardly look our age.

Eat Mexico – book a culinary tour with eatmexico.com.

Ten years, two restaurants, countless pounds of picanha,

Any taqueria – no such thing as too many tacos!

and we don’t feel a day over nine and a half. Thank you,

Maximot Bistrot for a modern Mexican tasting menu.

Calgary and Canmore, for a decade of support.

Azul Condesa for authentic regional Mexican. El Hidalguense – if you can’t find authentic alleyway barbacoa on a Sunday, it’s available all weekend here. Barbacoa is found all over the city. La Bella Lula for Oaxacan mole. For a taste of authentic Mexico in Calgary, visit Molcajete at the Crossroads Farmers’ Market. Armando makes everything himself, from cilantro sauce to knock-yoursocks-off salsas. ✤ Embrace adventure @bjoudman, freelance contributor with a passion for travel and gastronomy.


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IT RAW story and photos by Shelley Boettcher

FROM THE OCTOBER 10 EVENT AT SAIT: TEAM HONEY The dish: honey and dill-pollen-cured trout with spruce-smoked leek emulsion, rhubarb and cranberry gel, salted honey sponge taffy and hopped mead bannock. The chefs: Connie DeSousa (CHARCUT Roast House); Magnus Ek (Stockholm, Sweden); Duncan Ly (culinary director, The Vintage Group) TEAM ROOT VEGETABLES

A few years ago, an Italian food entrepreneur named Allesandro Porcelli came up with a very big idea. He was the communications officer for Copenhagen’s renowned Noma restaurant and he wanted to bring together the world’s top chefs, but not to compete against each other. Instead, he wanted them to leave their Michelin stars and stress behind to explore different countries’ indigenous ingredients and cooking techniques in a spirit of cooperation and creativity, remembering why they love to cook.

COOK IT RAW WAS BORN. Gatherings have taken place in Denmark, Japan, Mexico and Finland. This year, Porcelli headed to Alberta where he worked with seven international chefs and 14 of Alberta’s finest to create Cook It Raw Alberta. In May, some of them spent a week bonding over communally prepared meals in the wilderness near Lac La Biche. Then, October 4 to 11, the full group assembled in Canmore and Calgary, along with a coterie of international media. Exploring the theme “Shaping of a Culinary Frontier,” they learned more about First Nations’ traditions as well as early pioneer and cowboy cooking and the indigenous ingredients that would have been commonly used during that time – ingredients such as saskatoons, mushrooms, trout, honey, bison and wild herbs. The chefs formed groups consisting of two Alberta-based chefs and at least one international chef. Each group was given the task of creating food for two Cook It Raw events – an invitation-only dinner on October 10 in the kitchen at SAIT Polytechnic’s John Ware building, while an October 11 event, the only public gathering, was held at Rouge restaurant in Inglewood. While few Calgarians may have had the opportunity to attend the events, the result, organizers hope, will be far-reaching, stretching across the culinary scene both in the province and beyond. “This is such a young and vibrant community, both here and in Edmonton,” said Porcelli. “What these gentlemen and ladies have come up with is absolutely mind-blowing.”



The dish: An “amuse juice” of smoked carrot juice and Eau Claire Distillery gin, accompanied by smoked candy cane beets, salt-roasted red and golden beets, a beet “ravioli” stuffed with horseradish chèvre, plus pickled beet greens with a pickled chokecherry mustard and a canola oil vinaigrette. The chefs: Blair Lebsack (Edmonton); Elizabeth Falkner (New York, USA); Cam Dobranski (Brasserie Kensington); Amanda Cohen (New York, USA) TEAM CANOLA The dish: compressed turnips with Highwood Crossing canola oil and apple cider vinegar, shaved radishes, Brussels sprouts leaves, kale ash (roasted kale passed through a sieve with salt), crispy kale, smoked egg aioli, sprouted pickled canola seeds, parsnip crumble, mustard flowers, powdered greens and vaporized gin. The chefs: Darren MacLean (Shokunin); JP McMahon (Galway, Ireland); Liana Robberecht (Winsport) TEAM RED FIFE WHEAT The dish: red fife flatbread, hay-glazed wild boar jowl, red fife-encrusted and compressed Asian pear, juniper aioli with popped red fife wheat berries and crispy deep-fried red cabbage garnish, served with a red fife ale from Last Best Brewing and Distilling. The chefs: Shane Chartrand (Edmonton); Preeti Mistry (Oakland, Ca., USA); Andrew Winfield (SAIT culinary instructor) (far left photo) TEAM BEEF The dish: Beef bavette (a type of cut, sometimes called steak tips), beef heart, smoked beef fat hollandaise, locally grown mustard greens, foraged juniper vinaigrette and crispy foraged yarrow. The chefs: Eden Hrabec (Canmore); Syrco Bakker (Cadzand, Netherlands); Justin Leboe (Model Milk) TEAM BISON The dish: bison “stew” – braised bison cheek seasoned with pemmican, topped with fermented celery root, accompanied by “dirt tea,” cold-pressed dirt with mushrooms. It tasted much better than it sounds. The chefs: Brayden Kozak (Edmonton); Brandon Baltzley (East Falmouth, Mass., USA); Paul Rogalski (Rouge) TEAM SASKATOON The dish: a Garden Viola Tisane of Eau Claire Distillery gin infused with saskatoons and a crumbled almond sponge cake soaked in bourbon with saskatoon berry purée, preserved saskatoons, home-made yogurt, roasted pumpkin seeds, birch syrup, served in a birch log covered by a gingerbread tuile. The chefs: Scott Pohorelic (SAIT culinary instructor); Albert Adrià (Girona, Spain); John Michael MacNeil (formerly Black Pig Bistro) Shelley Boettcher is a local wine, food and travel writer. Contact her on Twitter @shelley_wine or drinkwithme.com

Crafted in our kitchen. To use in yours.



Made in small batches by our Chefs at Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts.

Check out our wall of great wines under $30


Temperature controlled fine wine room and tasting area. We specialize in California, Italy, Spain and France and we offer the finest selection of premium German Rieslings in Canada.

Visit bin905.com for upcoming tastings and events. Available at Second to None Meats in Mission, Willow Park Village and Stadium Shopping Centre.

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Yes Virginia, there will be fresh croissants Christmas morning. www.pascals.ca Get your frozen croissants early to avoid the rush or reserve ahead. Extended December hours: Monday to Friday: 10 to 5 Saturday: 10 to 3, Sunday: Closed December 24: Open 9 to noon December 25 to January 4: Closed (403) 968-6156 pastries@pascals.ca

P Pasca l's Patisserie P Take & Bake French Pastries


■ Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro has launched a happy hour program of a new red and white wine glass-pour selection chosen from more than 500 bottles in the wine cellar each Monday and featured all week accompanied by a feature cheese plate and sharing plate. All wine pours during happy hour are $9 – an opportunity to try a unique wine you might never otherwise consider – the small plates and cheese plates range from $5 to $9. Good deal! Keep tabs on what’s happening during happy hour, 3-6 p.m., at #divinohappyhour ■ WORKSHOP Kitchen + Culture has expanded to include a cocktail bar, as well as a happy hour. Enter WORKSHOP Bar from 6th Ave., Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m., for DJ music, crafted cocktails and late-night dining. WORKSHOP welcomes chef de cuisine Derek Wilkins, a former sous chef at Rouge, to lead chef/ owner Kenny Kaechele’s kitchen at night. ■ Woot! Woot! One of our favourite chefs, Duncan Ly, formerly with the Hotel Arts’ Raw Bar restaurant, is going to open his own place, but he has ALSO joined up with those tasty folks, the Vintage Group, as its culinary director. What a busy man chef Ly will be! We all love this man’s food, and the creativity and flavours we expect from chef Ly will be infused into the first menu revision at Township Bar & Grill. Ly loves new challenges, so it’s off to Township we will go! townshipbarandgrill.com ■ Heritage Park’s Selkirk Grille has launched a new winter menu featuring new takes on old classics. Highlights to the menu – focused on locally sourced ingredients – include a new charcuterie platter of house-made pâtés, salamis and sausages, a bison Reuben with housesmoked bison brisket and pumpernickel bread from Heritage Park’s bakery and a luscious pork belly and split-pea cassoulet ... mmmmmmmm. Three-course prix-fixe dinners launch November 19 with chef-selected menus available Tuesday – Thursday nights for $42.

Two weekends of Christmas Fun! Free Admission

Christmas in the Country

Art Sale

8th & 7th 15th r e b h& vem 14t o N

restaurant ramblings



Hundreds of unframed artworks by local Albertan artists & artisans. Open 10am - 4pm . Closed Monday

leightoncentre.org 403-931-3633

■ The Lake House on Lake Bonavista offers tasty new items on its cool-weather menu, such as Warm Beet & Heirloom Carrot Salad, Smoked Tomato Bisque and Pancetta Wrapped Albacore Tuna. Time to book holiday parties now, even a winter wedding. A beautiful spot for dining, entertaining, getting married! Visit crmr. com or email lakehouse.events@crmr.com . Part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts family of companies that include Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Cilantro, Bar C and Emerald Lake Lodge. ■ Stop by Tango Bistro on November 30 to check out Community Night featuring the work of feature artist Darren McKeage and the tunes of a DJ complimented with a special tapas menu from chef Trevor Hopper. ■ Check in with Catch & The Oyster Bar to see what exec chef Daniel Norcott and dining room chef Bryan Michaels have lined for the new fall menu, including a five-course, chef-curated tasting menu showcasing 100 percent Ocean Wise Seafood. The new menu highlights the warm and luxurious flavours of fall in such dishes as Naked Lobster with Sweet Corn Fritter. Details and menus at catchrestaurant.ca ■ The Teatro Group of Restaurants now includes a bakery: Alforno Bakery in Eau Claire is both



a retail bakery and brunch spot that offers lunch and dinner choices as well as take-home meal options. Vendome Cafe offers its regular Thursday live music, looking for musicians to feature. If you know an artist that would be interested in performing, call 403-453-1140. EAT – Eighth Avenue Trattoria – offers a breakfast buffet that you can take to go if you’re on a tight schedule. Cucina offers a new three-course dinner every week, Monday to Friday, for $35! Teatro offers a delish $25 three-course express menu for important business lunch meetings. ■ If you haven’t been to Rodney’s Oyster House yet, you’re missing some of the best oysters and seafood in town. Anchoring the corner of 10th Ave. and 4th St. SW, this bright, new, modern but rustic “cathedral for oysters” offers lunch, dinner and quick snacks to grab at the Bait & Tackle take-out counter. ■ November at River Café features a special friends and family-priced fall season tasting menu to everyone.  On Sundays take your own wine, no corkage. At Christmas, get a fully prepared ready-to-roast local, organic turkey, specially brined, trussed and seasoned in a pan ready for the oven with all the accompaniments. Book early, this is always a sellout. Celebrate New Year’s eve with a seasonal tasting menu and wine pairing. Reservations at 403-261-7670. Electronic gift certificates can be purchased online. Details at river-cafe.com ■ Chef J.P. Comte, formerly at the Banffshire Club, is the new chef at Boxwood, so look for new menu items and a revived fave, Sunday Supper, three-courses of seasonal fall dishes for $35. BYOW, no corkage on Sundays. No reservations. Following the Remembrance Day Ceremonies at Central Memorial Park, enjoy cookies, coffee and hot cocoa, with proceeds going to the Calgary Poppy Fund and the Veterans Food Bank. Book the community table for a smaller family-style dinner celebration, or book a Kitchen Party for a festive cocktail affair. Details at boxwoodcafe.ca ■ Check out the newly renovated Sugo in Inglewood, featuring a menu that is more pasta focused, made fresh in-house. Also, Sugo now has a professional cheese maker making fresh burrata, fiore and ricotta cheeses in-house every day! Happy hour, 2-6 p.m., Monday to Friday, halfprice house wine and half-price beer. ■ Visa Infinite Dining Series: November 1, a sparkling French brunch at Suzette, 2210, 4 St. SW, $85; November 21, pasta perfection at Pigeonhole, 306-17 Ave. SW, $160. Phone 1-888-711-9399 to reserve, visainfinite.ca

wine wanderings ■ Alberta Beer Festivals presents Beer School, a four-part “course” November 5, 12, 19, 26. Learn all about beer, taste beer varieties with food and tour a Calgary brewery. Become eligible to steward or judge at Calgary International Beerfest in May 2016. Cost is $150 for the four classes. For details, visit albertabeerfestivals.com/eventsservices/beer-school, @abfbeerschool. ■ World of Whisky Festival brought to you by Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, November 7, BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Tickets at 403-219-6025, ext. 6290 or email wsevents@calgarycoop.com. Don’t miss The Grape Escape, November 13 and 14, wine, spirits and beer festival, BMO

Centre, Stampede Park. Sip all manner of tasty beverages accompanied by food samples. Tickets at Co-op Wine Spirits Beer locations. Details for both events at coopwinespiritsbeer.com/events ■ Join Cuisine et Château on November 14 to celebrate the harvest season in Beaujolais with a six-course wine pairing dinner at the Interactive Culinary Centre. Visit cuisineandchateau.com for details and tickets. Celebrate a traditional French Christmas December 18 or 19. ■ Cocktails for Critters is a night that supports the Calgary Humane Society celebrating a year of healthy endings while raising much-needed funds to save thousands of lives. November 6 at Hotel Arts, details and tickets at calgaryhumane.ca/getinvoved and click on “events.” ■ Willow Park Wine events: Moulin Rouge Gala, 22nd Charity Wine Auction in support of the Vintage Fund, November 7; Women & Wine, Bubbly Brunch, November 22; Popcorn with Bubbles class, November 24; Champagne Festival, November 27; Rum & Cookies, November 29; Couples Retreat, Cheese Fondue for 2, December 2; Customer Appreciation, December 13. Visit willowparkwines.com for all the good stuff happening in the fall. ■ For your entertaining, a small Canadian company, Aware Beverages, using the premium vodka from Stillwaters Distillery in Ontario, makes health-inspired SoCIAL Lite, a “sin-free” vodka that’s a sparkling beverage with 4% alcohol and the clean flavours of lime ginger and lemon cucumber mint, no added sugar. It’s light and refreshing for people looking for a “healthier” drink. Generally available in Calgary. ■ Celebrate Big Rock Brewery’s 30th birthday this year with the 1985 collection, the year Big Rock was born. This six-pack celebrates with

the original three beers and throwback pricing – Traditional Ale, Cock o’ the Rock Porter and Bitter – all for under $10. And pick up the 12-pack Barn Burner Variety Pack, signature series fave beers: Fowl Mouth ESB, Dunkelweizen, Hibernation Ale and Smoked Roggenbier. Available for a limited time, get it now! ■ The Banff Beer Festival takes place November 27 and 28 at Banff’s Cave and Basin, tickets at banffbeerfest.eventswoop.com ■ TV personality and entrepreneur, Giuliana Rancic, has brought her wine brand, Love, G, to Canadian shelves. Though designed for outdoor dining and parties, Love, G’s tear-apart wine glass “bottle” is a novelty – spring it on your holiday party guests and see what they think. Each 750 mL“bottle” consists of four pre-filled, individually sealed, shatterproof, stemless wine “glasses” that snap together, made from Vinoware that emulates the look and feel of a wine glass with the durability of plastic. Available in Italian pinot grigio, French pinot noir and a mixed pack. Available at Country Hills Liquor Store and Rocky Mountain Liquor. lovegwine.com ■ Aerating red wine before drinking helps provide it with enhanced flavour and a smoother finish. You can instantly aerate your wine with a Vinturi Essential Red Wine Aerator, available online at vinturi.com or at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Williams-Sonoma. Also, check with your fave wine store.

cooking classes ■ At SAIT’s Downtown Culinary Campus: Date Night, Nov. 6, $75; Thailand, Nov. 12, $90; Introduction to Cooking, Nov. 16-Dec. 14, $400; Soups and Stocks, Nov. 18, $90; Desserts, Nov. 24, $90; Holiday Hors D’oeuvres, Dec. 2, $90; Christmas Cookie Exchange, Dec. 5, $100. At SAIT’s Main Campus: Pasta, Nov. 10, $90; Gluten Free Sweet, Nov. 16, $110; Baking Cakes, Nov. 21, $120; Knife Skills, Nov. 17, $60; Chocolate, Nov. 28, $120; Intermediate Cooking, Nov. 28-Dec. 5, $450; Indian, Dec. 4, $90. Visit culinarycampus.ca for details and more courses. ■ At Salsita, 777 Northmount Dr. NW, learn to cook Mexican: Nov. 20, mole; Dec. 11, chiles rellenos. Visit salsita.ca for all the juicy information or call 403-289-2202. ■ Kristyn Hall, a consulting dietitian, registered nutritionist, and a food, nutrition and culinary coach, offers these classes: Hands-on Health Cooking, Nov. 4; Culinary Bootcamp, Gluten-Free Baking, Nov.17; Nutrient-Rich Entertaining for the Holidays (Gluten-Free), Nov. 30. Details and registration at nutritionandculinarysolutions.ca ■ Poppy Innovations launches a new Gate to Plate class for adults and teens to learn how to cook with local, seasonal ingredients. Culinary programs for parents and their children, visit poppyinnovations.ca. The Edible Education program offers nutrition-based activities for students in grades K to 6, details at hello@ poppyinnovations.ca. Reserve your garden plot at the De Winton Community Garden. Book online at poppyinnovations.ca ■ Cuisine et Château: Cocina Mexicana, Nov. 3; Table for Two, Nov. 7 & 20; Simply Italian, Nov. 13 & Dec. 2; Best of Brunch, Nov. 28 & Dec. 20;

Flaky Viennoisserie, Nov. 15 & Dec. 13; Classic French Bistro, Nov. 22 & Dec. 5; Gluten-free Baking, Nov. 22; Chocolatey Christmas, Dec. 6. Special Events: The Wines of Beaujolais, Nov. 14; 4th Annual “French Christmas” Dec. 18 & 19, sixcourse demonstration dinner with wine pairings. Details at cuisineandchateau.com. ■ At The Cookbook Co. Cooks: Vietnamese Cooking; A Chef’s Table, Duncay Ly; Food by FARM, Wine by Metrovino; A Night Out, Couples Class; Sausage Making; Cooking with Ancient Grains, a Gluten-Free Class; Sushi Making; Kids’ Christmas Baking; Perfecting Paella; Christmas Baking; and much more. Visit cookbookcooks. com/cookingclasses for all the tasty details.

general stirrings ■ Don’t miss the launch of A Spicy Touch: Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen by Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson. At The Cookbook Co., December 7. Attendance gets you food, beverage and a copy of the book, so you need to register in advance at 403-265-6066. On December 12 at Inspirati Fine Linens, Karen Anderson will talk about Indian spices and sign books, Noorbanu Nimji will also be present. ■ Don’t miss this year’s fund raiser, Chowder Chowdown, hosted by Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, held at Calgary’s Hyatt Regency on November 10. Thirteen top Calgary chefs compete to have their original, sustainable chowder creation crowned champ by a panel of judges and by Chowdown attendees. Details and tickets at vanaqua.org/chowder

continued on page 54



stockpot continued from page 53 ■ It’s a Sausage Party at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Meat up at the Market on Saturday November 14 for samples of more than 100 different sausages, cooking demos, music, and more. It will be the best wurst party ever! Details at calgaryfarmersmarket.ca ■ Hungry for some real tacos at a reasonable price? Salsita, 777 Northmount Dr. NW, offers taco Saturdays from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Enjoy cochinita pibil, carnitas, barbacoa, and much more! Visit salsita.ca for details. ■ Rocky Mountain Soap Co. has launched its new seasonal holiday scent, a delicious combination of the warmth and sweetness of vanilla with a hint of ginger spice. Look for liquid hand soap, bath salts, bar soap, lip butter, sugar

scrub, body wash, bubble bath, shimmer lotion, body lotion and body butter. Find it in Canmore and Banff, and in Calgary at Market Mall, TD Square, Southcentre and Chinook. It’s everywhere... yay!

■ Ollia Macarons & Tea, newish on the scene, is a French patisserie specializing in classic macarons with a modern touch and organic, small-batch blended loose leaf teas. Ollia also offers macaron baking classes at the store, 810C 16 Ave. SW. Visit byollia.com for details.

■ Every time of year is a great time to eat well, but the holiday season seems to bring out the foodie in all of us. Amaranth Whole Foods Markets are stocked with the finest ingredients for baking and entertaining, and the food blog is loaded with interesting ideas and healthy tips. Visit amaranthfoodsblog.wordpress.com or stop by the stores for inspiration!

■ The newly renovated Italian Supermarket is bursting with unique and traditional Italian goodies for Christmas! You’ll find panettone, a sweet bread loaf, toronne, a pistachio and honey nougat, panforte, an Italian fruit cake, chocolates, and gift baskets, plus fresh meats and cheeses from the deli to treat your friends and family. Stop in Wednesday to Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and enjoy a delicious, well-priced, woodfired, thin-crust pizza. These charming people have been serving Calgarians for more than 50 years – if you haven’t paid them a visit, what are you waiting for!

■ The United Nations has declared 2016 as International Year of Pulses – IYOP – launching on November 19, with the big rollout on January 6 with events taking place around the world. Check with us in the January February 2016 issue for more about events.

■ Join chef Gail Hall on these culinary tours in 2016: South India, February 28-March 9; blues and jazz in Chicago, May 19-23; Nova Scotia, September 22-29; Turkey and Greece, fall 2016. Visit seasonedsolutions.ca for details.

Home of AUTHENTIC Italian sausage, in the heart of INGLEWOOD

■ Chocolatier Coppeneur, an award-winning tree-to-bar, direct-trade chocolate maker located

at 105-8 Ave. SW, has a Christmas collection that includes advent calendars, authentic German marzipan and single-origin hot chocolate on a stick. The store also features a selection of other world-class chocolate including Soma, Pacari, Dandelion and Akesson’s. Chocolate flavours include chile whisky, red curry coconut and maple bacon. Yum! ■ November 7 & 8, 14 & 15 is the Leighton Art Centre’s annual Christmas in the Country Art Sale. Look for new art and craft from local Alberta artists and artisans – paintings, drawings and fine crafts, along with gorgeous foothills scenery. Get your holiday shopping done in one unique place! Free admission. Visit leightoncentre.org for details. ■ October saw the launch of the first four Made Foods locations in Calgary, providing us with the option of well-rounded, freshly prepared meals from snacks to dinner. Made Foods partners with local farmers and suppliers to create a seasonal menu which uses nutrient-rich ingredients that elevate “on the go” meals to an exceptional experience. With chef Andrea Harling leading the charge creating “food with integrity,” Made also stocks gluten-friendly, vegetarian-friendly, veganfriendly and dairy-friendly meal options. ■ Just launched, an Alberta family-run company, Empower International, makes an agri-food line of skincare products based on aloe vera and including indigenous plants, extracts and seeds, such as apple, wild blueberries, lemon and orange extracts and strawberries. Visit empowercosmetics.com, where you can order these products.

Quality meats, natural spices and Old-World recipes. That’s authentic Italian. wholesale & Retail • 1308 9th ave. se • 403.264.6452 Affordable Christmas Catering for Corporate or Personal Functions

Janice Beaton

Keeping Calgarians healthy since 1995

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Since we opened our first store in Arbour Lake, our goal has been to support each customer’s unique wellness journey — to meet you wherever you are and help you get to wherever you want to go.

amaranthfoods.ca Three Calgary locations to serve you including our original store at 7 Arbour Lake Dr NW





We are proud to be part of Calgary’s food family.




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Celebrating 25 years of the very best coffee, customers and conversation.

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■ Monplaisir Delicacies has launched a pastry laboratory in the northeast so that it can supply a wide range of deliciously flavoured French macarons to its store in The Core downtown. The macarons can be ordered for corporate events and parties in custom sizes, colours and flavours, even in macaron towers, pyramids and cakes. Visit monplaisir.ca. Find them at Kawa Espresso Bar, Euphoria Café and Lakeview Bakery.

kids can cook

Pierre Lamielle


■ Freshii – the fast-casual, fresh-food franchise – has opened its doors to keep visitors to the city’s Plus 15 energized with its location at 444 5th Ave. downtown. Also find Freshii on 17th Ave SW, Southand Crossing, Sunpark Plaza and Kensington on 10th St. NW. Find a menu of healthy options with high-quality ingredients, nutritious meal choices that energize people on the go. With its diverse and completely customizable menu of breakfast, soups, salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, frozen yogurt, juices and smoothies, Freshii caters to every dietary and taste preference. freshii.com ■ If you attended Brewery and the Beast , you enjoyed delicious meats produced by our great restaurants and supplied by Community Foods, that showed how well it supports local ranchers and farms for hotels and restaurants. Its products are now available to the home cook with the opening of a new kiosk at Market on MacLeod – look for the Brant Lake Wagyu sign, and find the other great meat products Community Foods carries. ■ Get inspired and have fun with hands-on cooking classes at Meez Cuisine hosted by chef Judy Wood using seasonal local ingredients to show you the secrets of a professional kitchen. Looking for a unique gift or party idea? Book a private cooking class. It’s never too early to think about holiday catering. Work with chef Judy to decide on your menu, Meez does the rest. Call 403-640-3663 or email catering@meezcuisine.com ■ For your Christmas baking, turn to Cococo for its new line of couverture quality baking chocolate available in all stores in November. There are six new products, including Daily Dark Extra Dark 10 g wafers; Natural Cocoa Powder; Chocolate Shavings – both milk and semi-sweet – for hot chocolate and delicious decorating; Morsels, in semi-sweet, milk and mixed (white, semi-sweet, milk) perfect for munching or measuring. Up to you. ■ Actor, singer, activist Tom Jackson brings a new twist to his nationwide tour The Huron Carole with a gala performance at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino, December 3. The show is a stateof-the-art, multi-media magical journey featuring Christmas songs and plenty of TomFoolery. Tickets at huroncarole.ca. Proceeds benefit the Calgary Food Bank. ■ Join Cuisine et Château’s professional chefs in the Perigord region of France for an allinclusive, luxury gastronomic experience. Stay in a private château, meet farmers, purveyors, wine makers in a unique and authentic setting that will change how you think about food. Choose from May 29-June 4 and June 5-June 11. For more information visit cuisineandchateau.com/ culinary-tours or call 403-764-2665. ■ ZenTboutique has rebranded and is now doing business under the banner Tea Monde. Find a new web site and product lines at teamonde.ca. To celebrate the occasion, you can get 10% off all purchases until November 30. Take this opportunity to do your Christmas shopping. Use this coupon code to get the discount: R3GXK7W ■ One O Culinary Wine Events can host your company’s party with a menu crafted and executed by Le Cordon Bleu Paris- and SAITtrained chef Patrick Dunn. Experience dining in an intimate and exclusive setting with an uninterrupted view of the rockies. Corporate team-building through cooking options available. Call 403-880-4207 or visit OneO.ca/2015



Fresh Produce


In-store Bakery

6 quick ways with...

Chris Halpin


Prunes need a facelift! There is a certain cachet to dried mangos, cherries and even apricots, but the prune has been given a bad rap – the brunt of jokes and subjected to derision for too long. But, all they are is dried plums, delicious and great to cook with. These recipes will make you a believer.

Specialty Foods Olive Oils Balsamics Catering

Olives Deli Meats &Cheeses Gift Baskets

bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed prunes These lovely bites freeze very well. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Stuff 12 pitted prunes with 12 blanched almonds. Take 6 bacon strips, cut them in half and wrap around each stuffed prune; secure with a bamboo skewer. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. If you’re going to freeze them, arrange the uncooked morsels on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze them uncovered for 24 hours before storing them in a container. This will ensure that they don’t stick to each other. Bake from frozen following the above instructions. When the bacon is crisp, they will be thawed and hot in the centre. Makes 1 dozen.

veal scaloppini stuffed with prunes and green peppercorns and wrapped in vine leaves

Hot &Cold Lunches

Cappuccino Dessert Bar

The veal wrapped in vine leaves makes it so juicy and wonderful. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a bowl put 1 c. pitted prunes, chopped, 1 T. green peppercorns, lightly crushed, 1 t. ground coriander and a pinch of salt. Mix with your hands and work into a ball. On a work surface, lay out 3 large veal scaloppini, slightly overlapped, and arrange it so that the overlap is vertical to you, then lightly salt. Work the prune filling into a coil so that it goes the full width of the veal and place it across the bottom part of the veal. Roll the veal up. Remove the stems from about 6 vine leaves in brine to be able to wrap the veal. Wrap the veal snugly, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vine leaves are crisp and the meat is done to your liking. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing into medallions. Serves 4.

savoy cabbage braised with prunes and chestnuts

To all our cusTomers:

Wishing you another year filled with good food & company!

2202 Centre St NE • 403.277.9166 • linasmarket.com



I like using savoy cabbage because it has a fine texture. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté 2 T. butter and 1 small onion, sliced, for 5 minutes. Add 9 chestnuts, quartered, and sauté a minute more, then add 1 c. chicken or vegetable stock and 1 small head of savoy cabbage, finely sliced, 3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, and salt to taste. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add 9 pitted prunes, quartered and 1/4 c. cider vinegar. Increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring from time to time, until the liquid is almost gone, but still saucy. Serves 6.

sautéed chicken livers with prunes and poblano chiles I just love the combination of the mild spiciness of the poblano and sweet of the prunes, just perfect with the chicken livers. In a large pan over medium-high heat put 1/4 c. olive oil and 1 shallot, diced, and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Rinse, blot and halve 12 chicken livers, add them to the pan with 1 t. salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add 1 fresh poblano chile (I’ve found them at Co-op, Superstore and Safeway), cored and sliced, and 6 pitted prunes, quartered, and sauté another 5 minutes, or until the livers are cooked through. To finish, add 2 T. sherry vinegar and 1 T. fresh thyme leaves, and sauté a minute more before serving. I like to serve this as a starter with crostini. Serves 4.

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pan-seared pork tenderloin with prunes and armagnac Prunes and armagnac are pretty much as traditional as you can get in France. Salt and pepper 1 large pork tenderloin. In a heavy skillet, over high heat, put 2 T. butter. When the butter sizzles, add the pork and brown on all sides. Once the pork is evenly browned, remove from the skillet and set aside. Turn the heat off; add 4 garlic cloves, minced, 1 t. crushed fennel seeds and sauté a minute. Then add 1/2 c. armagnac and, with a wooden spoon, rub the bottom of your skillet to deglaze. Add 1 c. water, bring to a boil, and return the pork to the skillet. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, turning from time to time. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add 8 pitted prunes, cut in half, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, remove the pork from the skillet to rest while you finish the sauce. Make a paste with 1 T. cornstarch and 2 T. water, and stir into the sauce to thicken. Slice the pork into medallions, arrange on plates and spoon sauce over. Serves 4.


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recipe photos by Chris Halpin

sugarplums These are the kind that “dance in your head.” So easy and delicious, with no baking required. In a food processor put 1 c. hazelnuts and process into a medium-fine consistency, then put into a bowl. Add 2 t. orange zest, 2 t. cinnamon, 1 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t. allspice and mix well. Into the food processor, put 1 c. dried apricots and 1 c. pitted prunes and process to a medium-fine consistency. Add to the bowl with the hazelnuts and add 1/4 c. liquid honey. Mix well with your hands and work into a ball. Take a generous tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a small ball. Repeat until you’ve used all the mixture. In a small bowl, put 1 c. coloured sugar. I get extra-fancy coloured sugar at Brûlée Patisserie. Roll each ball in the coloured sugar, place in an airtight container and store at room temperature. These are best if you allow the flavours to meld for a couple of days before serving. They will keep fresh for up to 4 weeks. Makes 24. Chris Halpin has been teaching Calgarians to make fast, fun urban food since 1997 and is the owner of Manna Catering Service.




Allan Shewchuk


I was intrigued and somewhat aroused when my wife burst through the front door the other day and chirped “Baby, do you want to see my growler?” Alas, it turned out that there was nothing erotic or exotic to see; rather, the growler was just a large glass jug. Adjusting my expectations, I again got somewhat excited, but this time at the prospect that the jug was full of A & W root beer, and I could relive my childhood by getting out the ice cream and making a float. But no such luck. It turned out her enthusiasm was for the murky concoction in the jug, which is known as kombucha. “If we drink this every day it will change our lives,” she declared, “and we can make it ourselves!” Oh, joy. Here was another health trend I would have to suffer through, just like the Wheat Belly diet, kale smoothies and essential oils. I was still in the difficult process of recovering from the oiling fad, which included having her slather herself nightly with peppermint oil to aid sleep. It sure didn’t aid my sleep, since for six months I had to share a bed with a human candy cane. This kombucha slop didn’t sound like it was going to be any fun, either.

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In fact, the kombucha fad might turn out to be a worse experience. It turns out that it isn’t just any health drink – it’s a “living” health drink, full of active cultures of bacteria. That, in itself, should have had me running for the hills, since I don’t think humans are meant to eat anything that’s still alive. In this case, the living part of the drink is the kombucha culture, which is added to tea and sugar, causing it to ferment. The culture is often called a “SCOBY,” which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.” Getting more delicious-sounding all the time, isn’t it? Well, hold onto your hat, because the actual culture sits in the tea mixture and forms what looks like a beige or white pancake made of rubber. Imagine one of those plastic fake vomits you buy in a hobby shop sitting in a growler in your kitchen, fermenting away. The first brewing kombucha I saw actually looked like a large urine sample with a jellyfish floating on top of it. Why do healthy things have to be so gross? After experiencing disgust at the festering kombucha, I then went through the usual emotional stages when presented with a new health kick by my darling. It commences with curiosity, and I was surprised to learn that, despite kombucha’s newfound popularity, the jury is out on whether there are any health benefits from it at all. From what I’ve read, it’s probably healthy for you, although experts can’t agree on exactly why that is. Proponents argue that one of the potential benefits of kombucha is, because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, it’s a probiotic beverage. That means kombucha is full of live microscopic bacteria that get into your digestive tract and may destroy bad bacteria, help digestion and boost the immune system. Sort of like self-inflicted germ warfare for your gut. I was starting to come around to the stuff when the next emotion overtook me, as it always does: fear. Fear of where the hell this new trend is leading. I should be afraid. Turns out kombucha is just the start of a movement to ferment stuff at home. That includes not only yogurt and kefir, but the deadly cabbage bombshells of sauerkraut and kimchi. The process for the latter involves leaving cabbage, spices, water and salt on your counter until the mixture hisses and pops and makes your house smell like sulfuric sewer water. When I thought about this, floods of bad memories enveloped me. I grew up in a Ukrainian-Canadian home where there was always a sauerkraut crock in the pantry. It permeated the house, and after every long, closed-in winter night, my brother and I would head off to school, only to be shunned by our classmates. They all smelled like Downey fabric softener and we reeked like fermented insoles. No wonder nary a girl would dance with me in Grade 8. Well, that and the way I looked, truth be told. Fearing the smell of fermenting food had me longing for fads gone by – those essential oil nights when I tucked into bed with my human candy cane. I just pray there’s no such thing as cabbage oil.

Allan Shewchuk is a food writer and sought-after Italian food and wine guru. He currently has kitchens in both Calgary and Florence, Italy, but will drink wine pretty much anywhere.





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Profile for City Palate

City Palate November December 2015  

The Flavour of Calgary's Scene - The Entertaining Issue

City Palate November December 2015  

The Flavour of Calgary's Scene - The Entertaining Issue


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