Culinaire CALGARY’S FRESHEST FOOD & BEVERAGE MAGAZINE
WHAT’S ON THE SHELF? There’s nothing dry about these storecupboard superstars: Pasta, Rice, Grains and Legumes
A GRAIN OF TRUTH ABOUT BEER | WINE WITHOUT GRAPES | THAT’S THE SPIRIT
AS NECESSARY AS YOUR MORNING CUP OF COFFEE.
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CONTENTS JUNE 2012 / ISSUE #2
46 Strictly For The Passion
For three years, Chef Robert Fedesoff has quietly, although not without acclaim, been crafting classic Italian dishes with his own worldly flair in Bridgeland’s Il Sogno. by Dan Leahul
My Month Without Wheat
If The Spirit Moves You
There’s Gold In The Grain
Feeding The Soul
Local Meisters Of The Brew
60 l’uva Principale
We heard that there was a change in ownership at Zen (formerly Zen 8), and we had opportunity to sit down with the new owners; Tetsu Mori and Hiro Inaoue. by Patricia Koyich
Breads and grains are a staple of my diet, and yet this month I found myself putting that food group aside, at least temporarily, for the sake of my overall health. by Peter Vetsch
While the exact date is unclear, the beginnings of beer brewing all started in the Middle East with the domestication of grain. by Meaghan O’Brien & David Nuttall
Most beers are made with water, malted grains, yeast and hops. It’s up to the creativity of brewers to tinker with the main ingredients and develop new flavours. by Cory Knibutat
Would it surprise you to learn that vodka, gin and whisky can all be produced from the same distilled spirit? by Andrew Ferguson
Designing Borgo Trattoria: Coming up with an interesting concept for a restaurant in a former retail space may seem like a daunting task, but not to designer Sally Healy. by Corinne Keddie
It’s nearly impossible to talk about Italian wine without talking about sangiovese. It’s the never humble grape that serves as the flagship Italian wine. by Tom Firth
Cu inaire Editor Art Director Contributors
Linda Garson Mark Bilodeau Stephanie Arsenault Leonard Brown Wendy Brownie Adrian Bryksa Dan Clapson Jeff Collins Andrew Ferguson Natalie Findlay Tom Firth Marnie Fudge Heather Hartmann Dan Hertz Brenda Holder Corinne Keddie Heather Kingston Cory Knibutat Patricia Koyich Dan Leahul Fred Malley Thierry Meret Karen Miller David Nuttall Meaghan O’Brien Vincci Tsui Julie Van Rosendaal Peter Vetsch
CONTENTS JUNE 2012 / ISSUE #2 4
Joanne Black 403-401-9463
To Contact Us Culinaire Magazine Box 28007 Cranston RPO Calgary, AB T3M 1K4 Send us email to: email@example.com Visit: www.culinairemagazine.ca Follow Us On Twitter: @culinairemag
Risotto 101 by Fred Malley, CCC
Pasta per Favore
by Wendie Brownie
Ask The Expert
by Dan Hertz
Spilling The Beans
Inside Job: Brewmaster
43 Apricot-Almond Breakfast Biscotti
by David Nuttall
Step-By-Step: Salad Rolls
by Natalie Findlay
In The Early Days
Wine Without Grapes
by Tom Firth
Open That Bottle
by Linda Garson
Cheers To 20 Years!
by Heather Kingston
Advertising Account Executive
by Dan Clapson
Glutenous Maximus by Vincci Tsui
Sourcing Gluten-Free by Fred Malley, CCC
Worth The Trip
by Stephanie Arsenault
Mussels In White Beer
by Julie Van Rosendaal
by Leonard Brown
Memory & Pease Pudding by Jeff Collins
Lesser-Known Libations by Andrew Ferguson
Soup Kitchen by Thierry Meret
That’s Using Your Noodle by Stephanie Arsenault
Sweet Treats From Sweet Trees by Brenda Holder
Just Desserts by Marnie Fudge
Melon Shiso Mojito by Linda Garson
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Issue number 2!
We’re not a one-off wonder!
Thanks so much to all of you who wrote with such kind words and compliments. You can’t begin to imagine how it feels to open your email inbox, in trepidation after working so hard to launch a new magazine, and to find there so many emails expressing your approval, and even praise and congratulations. My little heart has been singing for many days and it’s a wonderful feeling to know how well-received and accepted our inaugural issue has been. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our knowledgeable and very talented team of writers and photographers, and I’ve tried to pass on your feedback to them to share in the success, but we’ve also included some of your generous comments here too for everyone to read. All our contributors can be contacted at culinairemagazine.ca to answer your questions. Nor could we have done it without the support of our advertisers, so please search them out and patronise them to thank them personally. These people epitomize Calgary’s entrepreneurial spirit and without them, there would be no Culinaire. In complete contrast to our May issue, our June issue focuses on pasta, rice, grains and legumes, so you’ll be able to read about those unsung heroes who excel in working with these ingredients like Zen, our feature restaurant, and chef Robert Fedesoff, executive chef at Il Sogno. We all love his outstanding dishes; my Fine and Dine regional Italian food and wine events there have sold out every month for over a year now, but how many of us know the man behind such fabulous food? You can enter to win your recipe on his menu and become Calgary’s next amateur “Top Chef” too! Look for the competition at the end of the article. We also feature our baking superstars and those menu gems starring our feature ingredients in restaurants across the city, and grain-based wines, beers, and spirits. In response to your requests, we show you step-by-step how to make those daunting dishes at home using these ingredients, I hope to hear about your success in making risotto and salad rolls! In contrast, we’ve investigated the growing popularity of gluten-free foods to find out where they can be found and who are the shining lights behind them, the scientific basis for following such a regimen, and what it’s like to try it for a month after being instructed by your physician. Please let us have your feedback on this issue as well as suggestions for future stories and people you’d like to read more about. Thanks once again for your enthusiastic acceptance of our new magazine. Sincerely, Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments From Our Readers Congratulations! We picked up a copy yesterday and read it through and through lots of good ideas to get out and try the city’s food and drink. Glen B, Calgary I picked up a copy of your magazine today at North Sea Fish. Wow! It’s great. Thank you for giving Calgarians a lovely gift of food and wine. If asked to pick my favourite article it would be impossible to do. They are all wonderful. Dianne S, Calgary I just wanted to send you a quick note to say congrats on Culinaire! I actually just picked it up today at Silver Springs Wines and started reading it after dinner. I read it cover to cover and thought it was great. I loved the articles and features; it’s wonderful to have something focused on our local food and beverage scene here in Calgary. Reading the magazine inspired me to try out a few places I haven’t been to like Open Range, as well as revisit old favorites like Buchannan’s. (As well as have a sudden craving for steak and a glass of Cab) You should be very proud, well done! Cheers, Helena G, Calgary One of our customers told us about you! Congrats on your new magazine! Great name too! Wonderful to have a new voice to sing the praises of the growing culinary diversity of this fine city. Chapeau! (as the French would say...) and Bonne Chance! L&P (Pascal’s Patisserie, Calgary Take & Bake French Pastries)
Congratulations on the launch of Culinaire. I picked up a copy and read it from cover to cover but the real fan was my partner Ray, a carnivore, who described it as exceptional. He felt it was interesting, educational and entertaining but in addition he really liked the fact that it was the right amount of information, not something the size of MacLeans that requires a lot of time to read. Well done and I hope it continues to be the success we found it to be. Cheers, Paula M, Calgary Linda, the magazine is fantastic and not just because we’re in it. The quality is a knockout and the photos are gorgeous. Well done. Best Regards, Michael Buchanan
C U L I N A I R E M A G A Z I N E.C A
Taste Washington March 31st-April 1st 2012
In April, six of the city’s top restaurants filled the Art Gallery of Calgary with the opportunity to judge their dishes. Sky 360, Rush, Catch, Charcut, Home Tasting Room and Raw Bar all competed for the coveted Food Critics’ Choice, People’s Choice and Sommelier awards. The winners also go home with a giant whisk and a giant spatula! Seriously! Each of the six restaurants had an assigned section of diners who rated their dinners, course by course. This year’s judging panel was headed up by John Gilchrist, and included Montreal chef, Mark Andre Royale, event organizer Donald House, and Chef Bruce Allemeier. The evening was hosted by charming local television personality, Jill Belland. A couple days prior to the event, chefs were given two secret ingredients to work into their menu for the evening. Van Houtte Dolce Crema espresso beans and Carmen Creek bison short ribs were cleverly incorporated into various dishes by each restaurant team. I sat in the section of Rush and their executive chef David Politi. He worked the coffee into his first course, a foie gras au torchon, and featured bison short rib in a red wine tortellini as his main. In the end, it was Home Tasting Room’s executive chef, Geoff Rogers that wowed both the judges and diners alike. Highlights from Chef Rogers’ menu included his inventive Chef’s Garden Salad, which consisted of edible dirt and local organic vegetables, as well as his dessert course, Coffee with ‘Cream and Sugar’, featuring an Irish Cream orb (‘cream’) and house-made cotton candy (‘sugar’). All chefs put in a tremendous effort and I look forward to seeing how the competition unfolds next year!
Taste Washington is now 15 years old, and this year celebrated by doubling in length to a two-day festival. Washington State Wine Commission estimates 220 wineries poured more than 200,000 samples of the 800+ wines on show at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center. And I thought Seattle was the coffee capital of America! A good-natured crowd made for a very enjoyable first visit to this high-calibre festival, helped by the $75 ticket price (includes all food and wine samples) and restricted opening hours of 2:00pm-5:00pm, (1:00pm-5:00pm if you splurged on the VIP ticket at $125). It’s an area ready to show the world that it has come of age, boasting growth from a mere 19 wineries in 1981 to a staggering 730 wineries 30 years later. Washington has set its sights on the premium wine market segment, but it was perception-changing to take in two excellent seminars, “Washington State Wine: Over-delivering at every price” and “Celebrated Vintages: Highlights from a Quarter-Century of Washington State Wines”. At the first we blind-tasted three flights each of three wines, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and decided for ourselves the Washington State wine and its price. It certainly proved the point that Washington wines can compare more than favourably on quality and price! The following day we tasted two wines from each of the 1995, 1999 and 2005 vintages, again adequately proving that Washington wines can be age-worthy. In addition to wineries both familiar (Charles Smith Wines and Chateau Ste. Michelle for two) and wineries that I hope will soon be familiar to us (watch out for Buty, L’Ecole No. 41 and Boudreaux), 50 local restaurants showed off their prowess with outstanding samples to nibble and gobble. Notable dishes included a Lamb Ragu with Creamy Buckwheat Polenta from Volterra Restaurant, Chorizo-Stuffed Prawns Wrapped in Prosciutto from Chef Magaña Catering, and a garden of delights on a stick from Muckleshoot Casino. Seattle is only a short flight from Calgary, and for a very tasty and fun spring break, keep an eye out for the 2013 dates at www.tastewashington.org. Hopefully I’ll see you there!
reviewed by Dan Clapson
reviewed by Linda Garson
10th annual AGC Cooks Competition April 11th 2012
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“Titanic: The Last Dinner”
California Wine Fair
April 14th 2012 at Chef’s Table, Kensington Riverside Inn
April 20th 2012
It was first class all the way at the Kensington Riverside Inn’s second annual Titanic-themed dinner to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated cruise ship’s demise. From the moment we arrived and were handed our Titanic tickets, we knew it was going to be a very special night (I was Jacques Heath Putrelle of Massachusetts, a famous mystery writer and journalist, who forced his wife into a lifeboat and was never seen again). There was an air of anticipation as 27 black-tie and periodattired passengers sipped sparkling wine before being invited into the sparkling dining room, beautifully set for our ten-course meal. That’s the way it was served in the Titanic’s first class dining room, but Chef de Cuisine Craig Boje created his menu with a modern twist. Oysters were served first in the 1812 meal, and here Lambertini oysters from the west coast were presented on a silver spoon with Meyer lemon caviar for an appetizing glimpse of what was to come. Our second course was a very creative Rabbit Consommé Gelee with duck liver royale and porcini butter, served in an egg shell and paired with Clos de Val Chardonnay, delicious! Next we enjoyed a dish of Salmon Mousse with black sesame seeds and sorrel ice cream, followed by an inventive Marrow Infused With “Monte Cristo” Cigar Smoke and accompanied by smoked salt and pickled shallots, all paired with St. Urbanshof Piesporter. Six more stunning courses were still to come at this leisurely meal, including Chef Boje’s favourite dish – Rabbit Loin stuffed with rabbit liver foie gras, house-made mustard, elderflowermarinated blackberries and nasturtium pesto, paired with Cameron Hughes Lot 267 Cabernet Sauvignon. It comes as no surprise that Chef’s Table is one of only 7 restaurants in Alberta to be awarded a AAA 4-Star Rating, Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, and Where Magazine “Best Hotel Dining” for 2009, 2010 and 2011. They have earned them all!
With nearly 150 wineries in attendance and a stunning variety of vintages ready for sampling, it’s not surprising that the 2012 California Wine Fair at Hotel Arts was a hit. The Calgary Opera-hosted event showcased wineries from the various wine regions in the Golden State. In its 32nd year, the California Wine Fair attracted a big crowd of thirsty wine enthusiasts on a mini tour of California’s wine country in one night. While some of the attending wineries were well-known (like E&J Gallo and Francis Ford Coppola Presents), others were there to see if their product would be a hit in Canada (such as Firestone Vineyards, whose Syrah was delightful). Representatives from all the wineries were eager to share their passion for the different styles and varietals at the event. And the guests in attendance were more than happy to appreciate and imbibe. When patrons weren’t wining, they were dining on the lovely assortment of food prepared on-site by the Hotel’s chef. Hors d’oeuvres included canapés, antipasti-style bites, and freshly carved turkey with cranberry sauce. A silent auction was held outside the ballroom, allowing guests to bid on hard-to-find wines, wine tastings, and unique items such as high-end clothes and original art. It’s exciting to know that what seems like a quick trip to Sonoma or the Napa Valley is just a short drive downtown Calgary. Tickets to the 2012 California Wine Fair were $60 each, and included all wine and food samples. For more information visit www.calwine.ca.
reviewed by Linda Garson
reviewed by Stephanie Arsenault
PASTAperFavore! by Wendy Brownie
No matter how busy you are, a bowl of pasta makes any meal an occasion. We always look forward to meals that bring smiles to our faces and are easy enough to make any day of the week. A casual atmosphere with organic centrepieces, simple place settings and good wine can be put together in minutes. Italians serve pasta as the first course, referred to as ‘primi’, followed by an entrée. Here in North America, pasta is often eaten as the main course. This allows a much faster approach to preparation and cleanup, not necessarily a longer, lingering format as experienced in Europe. But hey, on one visit to Florence recently, surprise, surprise – we found microwaveable fare in the piazzas! Although there is currently a movement towards serving half portions, we (myself and my friends) still prefer huge bowls of robust pastas – mouth-watering dishes of
tagliatelle with porcini, or gnocchi with osso bucco. These two pasta possibilities require the use of forks and knives. While spoons often accompany dishes of pasta, we wholeheartedly recommend ‘no spoons’. Seriously, a spoon is really only necessary for the extra sauce left in the bowl, and for that a chewy piece of bread does the trick amazingly well. It is entirely up to you whether you choose an austere, yet beautiful, white plate or a cheerful and colourful piece of ceramica. Classic or contemporary, perhaps try a partnering of the two designs to complement the pasta. Buon Appetito!
Wendy Brownie is the owner of Inspirati Fine Linen. Check out www.inspirati.ca for her range of European and Canadian sheets, duvets, pillow cases, night wear, towels and robes.
by Dan Hertz
“A good friend of mine has suggested that I buy a bottle of wine from the same year in which I was born. In my case, that would be a wine from 1955, but I have no idea what such a wine would cost, which grape varietal would last that long, and if such a wine would ever be worth drinking after more than 50 years in the bottle? Your advice would be welcome.” ~ Jeff C.
Jeff, at this point, 1955 is probably a better collector’s vintage than a drinker’s vintage, and
although the vintage did produce some very fine wines which have appreciated and continue to sell on the secondary market, several, if not many of these wines will be past their peak. You’ll want to short-list your search to those with staying power, and to those that have been cellared well. A couple of wines to consider would be the Château La Mission Haut-Brion 1955, one of the top Bordeaux from the vintage (available on global auction markets for $1,400 to $2,200 per 750ml bottle), or Penfold’s Grange Hermitage Shiraz 1955, considered to be one of the brand’s finest efforts (Langton’s auctions, $2,400 to $3,300 per 750ml bottle). Alternatively, you may want to consider one of the rare vintage malts produced by The Macallan Distillery. The Macallan Fine and Rare 1955, bottled and released in 2002 (46 years, 45.9 % abv), was one of their darker bottlings. Expect notes of fig, dried fruits and spice. Of the 175 bottles produced, only four remain. The original release price was £1,960 for a 750ml bottle (around $3,000 CAD), but it has appreciated now to £7,071 (around $11,000 CAD). Less expensive, but with an undeclared age statement, are the Campbell, Hope & King Macallan-Glenlivet 1955s. In 2011, a few lots sold at both Bonhams and McTear’s auctioneers for approximately $1,200 to $2,400 for a 750ml bottle. Before purchasing rare wine: Make sure the wine was stored well, preferably in the producer’s own cellar, a professionally managed wine storage facility, or a climate-controlled cellar kept at around 12-16 °C and 60-70% humidity. Stains on the label, a protruding cork or low fill level may be signs of past damage or oxidation. For long-term ageability, a wine must come from a very good year, where berries ripen to maturity, but not so quickly that they loose acidity and other components. Look for red Bordeaux of 1990, 2000, 2005 and 2009; red Burgundy of 1990, 1999 and 2005; Côte-Rôtie 1998, 1999 and 2005; Barolo/Barbaresco of
Do you have a wine, spirit or collector’s question? Post it at www.culinairemagazine.ca
1996, 2001 and 2004; Brunello of 1997, 2001 and 2006; Australian Shiraz of 1998 and 2005; and California Cabernet Sauvignon of 1997, 2001 and 2007. Of the red table wines, Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux/some California), Pinot Noir (Burgundy), Syrah/Shiraz (Côte-Rôtie/Australia), Nebbiolo (Barolo/Barbaresco) and Sangiovese (Brunello di Montalcino) have historically aged well. So too, have Ports and Madeiras. For whites, look to Chardonnay (Burgundy), Riesling (Germany/Alsace), Sauternes and Champagne. Remember, don’t wait for the perfect moment to open a rarity... ... Make one!
Dan Hertz is a Fine Wine Appraiser and Consultant providing bespoke wine services for collectors and the trade. His forthcoming book, The Fine Wine Report 2013, profiles the most collectable wines of the secondary auction markets. Copyright © 2012 Dan Hertz. All rights reserved.
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Our Favourite Places to Buy
Baked Goods We’re very lucky to have so many great bakeries in our area, so we asked our Culinaire team to tell us the what, where and why of their favourites.
I developed a bit of an obsession with almond croissants the last time I was in Europe. There are a couple of places that do a great job of them here in Calgary but I find myself going back to Itza Bakeshop in the Devenish on 17th Ave SW to get my fix. Couple one of these $2.50 pastries with a cup of their delicious Cafe Umbria coffee for a nice $5 breakfast. Their Pain au Chocolate is quite heavenly too.
I like the croissants from Sidewalk Citizen. Flaky, buttery, light. Even the air between the layers explodes with joy when you bite into one.
I’ve always enjoyed Chinese buns filled with beef, chicken, pork or red bean from the Chinese bakeries in Chinatown and Center Street N. For a lightly sweet treat, try a pineapple bun (Bo lo bao), which, contrary to its name, has no pineapple nor filling. It’s a good choice for tea.
Manuel Latruwe on 1st Street SE makes the flakiest croissants. And why is a real butterhorn crusted in walnuts so rare these days? Wilde Grainz Artisan Bakery in Inglewood is my favourite for toothsome breads.
Jeff Collins The best place to buy bread in Calgary for me is Cobb’s, at Aspen Glen Landing SW. Close to the ladyfriend’s place and while it is a bakery “chain” they seem to have that artisan thing down pat.
Linda Garson For me, it’s those pretzel buns from Rustic Sourdough Bakery. They’re so deliciously salty, soft and chewy that if I don’t freeze them straight away, then they’re all gone. I also have to freeze them as they’re so popular, that when I go to buy them they’re usually sold out!
Marnie Fudge My favorite is Market 17 in Casel Marché. They have a unique selection of breads from different artisan bakeries, and have the added convenience of fantastic goodies to go with. Another one-stop shop is Lina’s Italian Market. Not only do they make a great variety of Italian loaves throughout the day, but they also sell fresh pizza dough, so you can take it home and create your own pizza in the same amount of time as ordering one for delivery. For the die-hards that bake their own bread, Lina’s is one of the few places in town that sells fresh yeast by the block.
Karen Miller I love the Fig and Fennel bread at Yum at the Calgary Farmers market and Aviv’s cheese sticks at the Sidewalk Citizen Bakery are an absolute must on the weekends.
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Meaghan O’Brien Julie Van Rosendaal I’m hooked on Aviv’s freshly baked breads and pastries particularly his cheese sticks - at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery on Friday and Saturday mornings. He also has brilliant croissants, loaves and even interesting sandwiches - the team comes up with creative uses for seasonal ingredients, and if I’m going to eat a pastry, I want it to be fantastic!
Baked goods reminiscent of my grandmother’s recipes are always a win in my books, and Bumpy’s Café on 8th Street SW serves up just that. They whip up fresh, homemade baked muffins, breads, and other treats that are always packed with lots of flavourful ingredients. From fresh out of the oven banana bread to coconut muffins loaded with shaved coconut, their traditional baked goods are to die for, and really bring me back my childhood.
I am a gluten free person, so my favourite place to look for gluten free is the Calgary Farmers Market. Just when I was missing apple pie and craving a slice, I came upon Miss P’s Gluten Free. The apple pie has flaky pastry, delicious apple filling with a good bash of cinnamon www.misspsglutenfree.com
I love the blueberry pastries from La Boulangerie on 4th Street SW. And I love their cinnamon rolls too. The pastries that I have had from La Boulangerie have all been buttery, flaky and delicious!
Andrew Ferguson The Glencoe Club makes a great brown bread for making sandwiches. Obviously you have to be a member to buy, but membership has its privileges.
Vincci Tsui I have toast with nut butter and banana almost every morning for breakfast and the bread MUST be 20 Grain Train from Silver Hills Bakery, a company based in BC. All of their breads are made from whole sprouted grains (not flour!) and there is lots of fibre and protein in every slice. I like the 20 Grain Train the best because it doesn’t taste as dense and gritty as their other breads. The bread is available at many grocery stores around town, but not at the one I usually shop at, so I go out of my way to get it!
Wendy Brownie My bread choice is the French stick from Yann Haute Patisserie on 23rd Avenue SW – nothing better than pulling a piece off while still in the lovely shop – and sharing it with a friend!
Stephanie Arsenault My favourite place to buy bread is Wilde Grainz in Inglewood (specifically the Sprouted Grainz loaf). Everything is fresh and wholesome, and the bakers are dedicated to using local, in-season ingredients.
Dan Clapson My favourites are from Aviv Fried at the Sidewalk Citizen Bakery on 1A Street SW, not far from Chinook Centre. Aside from being one of the coolest foodies in the city, Aviv makes some killer scones and sticky buns!
Thierry Meret Heather Hartmann I love the pretzel buns from Rustic Sourdough Bakery on 17th Avenue SW and in Kingsland Farmers Market. It’s one of few places I can get them consistently since City Bakery closed. The best buns of all are pretzel buns.
I always liked Manuel Latruwe bread and pastry shop. Manuel is an artisan with a big heart. As a kid, I still remember my mum selecting her daily baguette by the sound it makes when pressed... Manuel’s handcrafted baked goods have always shown great craftsmanship and great flavours. The sound of Manuel’s bread and croissant always bring back memories.
Tom Firth Hands down, the Glamorgan Bakery on Richmond Road SW. The cheese buns at the Glamorgan Bakery are my version of crack. If I buy more than one package, I gorge for a few days, but if I only buy one, there is a chance none will make it home. I’m glad I don’t live closer than I do to the bakery, but it’s a worthy stop to make for great breads - not just those cheese buns.
Peter Vetsch At the risk of coming across as completely unoriginal, there is no Calgary baked good that has a more recurrent or important place in my life than Crave cupcakes. They were the cake at my wedding and have been bought or brought over on many occasions since. I’m actually eating one right now (double chocolate - natch). And a very honourable mention has to go to the cheese buns and dipped florentines from Glamorgan Bakery. There’s something about each of them that just can’t be replicated - uncomplicated and perfect.
Brenda Holder My favourite place to buy baked goods in particular would be JK Bakery on Railway Ave in Canmore. These guys cater to everyone, whether your taste is for everyday breads, or your taste buds are bent to Artisan breads. They have a different bread that is oven-fresh daily with a delicious scent that permeates the mountain air as you walk by!
Cory Knibutat Yann’s Haute Patisserie never disappoints when I’m in the mood for French pastries. Of course they’ve made their mark on Calgary with their wonderful macarons, but I can’t visit and not pick up a few chocolate croissants. How do you make a fresh, buttery croissant better? Stuff some dark chocolate in the middle of it! Perfect.
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Inside Job by David Nuttall
I don’t seem to remember that job as an option in discussions with my old high school guidance counsellor? A brewmaster’s job seems like the perfect job for the beer lover, just making and sampling beer all day. Well, yes and no, as there is much more to this occupation than meets the eye. First we should define exactly what a brewmaster is. Even the job definition can change depending on the location, type of brewery (or brewpub) and especially the size of the operation. Gigantic multi-national breweries with several locations will have several brewers, head brewers, and numerous employees to do the jobs that one brewmaster may have to do in a small craft brewery. These duties include non-brewing jobs such as managing staff and finances, supervising the total operation of the brewery, possibly even overseeing the design and construction of the brewery itself. There are also those jobs that are not exactly high on the fun scale - cleaning out tanks, working on bottling lines, and even delivering the product to the market.
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Of course, it is the actual brewing process that allows the brewmaster to be creative. It has often been said that brewmasters are the true chefs of the liquor world. Not only do they often source the raw materials (the malt, hops, yeast and whatever else they want to put in their beer), they can also be responsible for the quality of the water used. They will create and develop the recipes for each individual beer, and manage and direct each stage of the beer making process. Finally, this is where the tasting comes in, although one shouldn’t get too excited about the joys of tasting the wort. So, how does one get to this esteemed position? Well, as one can suspect, to reach this level of multi-tasking is not easy. In conversation with several brewers including Frederick Tremblay of Microbrasserie Charlevoix in BaieSaint-Paul, Quebec and Giovanni Campari of Birrificio Del Ducato in Roncole Verdi Di Busseto, Italy, a combination of work experience and education seems to work the best. There are only twelve recognized brewing programs in the world,
Brewmaster While we have all heard the title, just where did these people come from?
and only one of them is in Canada (at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario). There are, however, numerous colleges and universities who teach brewing courses. Locally, in September of 2013, Olds College, in association with Niagara College, will offer the first brewing training program available in Western Canada. Both Campari and Tremblay studied sciences in university before concentrating on the art of brewing. When one does decide to go the work route first, there are only about 300 breweries and brewpubs in Canada, and about 3,000 in the United States. The good news is that this is a growing industry, especially the craft beer segment, which is growing at a rate of 10%-15% annually in North America. Getting a start-atâ€“the-bottom job at a brewery is definitely one route to go, and it may take from five to fifteen years to make it to brewmaster (with accompanying education course on the side). While it seems like there is little chance of becoming a
brewmaster locally, the path to becoming one may begin just down the street. A not surprisingly large proportion of brewmasters began as home brewers. At about $150 for a kit, anybody can become one - a brewmaster of their house, so to speak. On-the-job training should include trying as many beers and beer styles as possible, and visiting breweries, both local and abroad. Calgary has four local breweries one can visit, Big Rock, Wild Rose, Brewsters, and the new kid on the block, Village Brewery. As Campari says â€œbe open minded and take inspiration from all the good beers of the worldâ€?. In conclusion, a combination of all the above may work best. Drink and learn about beer styles, become a home brewer, take science and finance courses at university, get a job at a local brewery, and then learn all you can from fellow brewers, other breweries, books, journals, and wherever you can get information. One thing is clear, brewmasters love beer and brewing, and that is essential to follow this career.
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The Step-by-Step to
Building Salad Rolls article and photography by Natalie Findlay
Most commonly found in the Vietnamese kitchen, rice paper is a thin, steamed rice crepe invented as a way to store rice for long periods of time, and easy to reconstitute when needed. Rice papers can be stored for several years in the cupboard once opened, simply wrap leftovers in a zip lock bag, then label and date. Finished salad rolls can be made ahead of time and can keep a few hours in the fridge, covered with a slightly damp cloth. If you stack the rolls then be sure to separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper, and don’t let the sides touch as they will stick together. To set up everything before you begin, you will need: ● Store-purchased rice papers ● Warm water and a container for it ● A surface to roll the rice papers (a cutting board works well, and a slightly damp towel will work too, but it can leave fibre particles on the rice paper and stick to it if left too long, or the towel is too wet) ● Filling ingredients - usually rice noodles, prawns, shredded carrot, lettuce, basil or mint leaves, and chives or sliced green onions You are 4 steps away from enjoying your wrap. To ensure perfection, take your time with each step and practice before the big event. 1. The water container needs to be slightly larger than the rice paper and about 75 mm deep. Fill halfway with hot water. 2. Dip a sheet of rice paper in the water, but don’t leave it to soak or it will become very soft and sticky - 15 to 20 seconds should suffice. When the consistency changes from hard and brittle to soft and pliable, place the paper on a solid work surface and let the moisture continue to soften the rice paper for another 1 to 3 minutes while it rests. 3. Mentally divide the rice paper into thirds. Centre your chosen filling ingredients in the lower third of the paper. 4. Wrap the bottom end over the ingredients, then fold the right side of the paper over it. Fold the left side of the paper over and then roll the encased ingredients until the delicious filling is wrapped snuggly inside the rice paper.
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Salad Rolls are usually dipped in Peanut Sauce, so here’s an easy and quick recipe to complete the dish. The sauce can be served warm or cold, and can keep in the fridge for about 3 days if not all polished off in one go. 5 mL chili pepper, chopped 2 cloves garlic 15 mL rice vinegar 60 mL smooth peanut butter 250 mL hoisin sauce 1. Mash the chili and garlic together with a mortar and pestle. 2. Place in a small bowl, add vinegar and peanut butter, and stir to combine. 3. Add the hoisin sauce and stir until it is fully combined. Let the sauce sit until ready to serve. Step back, admire your work, and proceed to tantalize your taste buds and impress your guests.
What happened to the “8” in Zen 8? Our investigative restaurant reviewer, Patricia Koyich, teamed up with wine list critic, Tom Firth, to uncover the transformation.
GoFish! by Patricia Koyich
photography by Mark Bilodeau
Everyone loves sushi! It’s the perfect dine-in,
take-out, date night, business meeting, fast, fun and delicious food! the kitchen, cooking for our family. I would notice that they The world quest of the sushi started from the street stalls of Tokyo after the Second World War. Those stalls were the Japanese fast food. However, that is where the comparison with fast food ends. Unlike most fast food, sushi is healthy. Over the last 40 years sushi gained tremendous popularity because of health reasons: no cholesterol, lots of Omega-6 healthy fatty acids, lots of antioxidants, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Rice is also a natural source of zinc, a mineral that boosts your immune system, keeps your hair healthy and helps your sex drive (that’s right, I said sex drive - move over Viagra). There are few things, unlike Oprah, that I know “for sure”. One thing I do know with absolute certainty, is the amount of passion, dedication and ambition it takes to own and operate a restaurant. I am a big fan of supporting ”hands on” ownership, and am always excited about an opportunity to meet the owners and listen to their stories! We heard that there was a change in ownership at Zen (formerly Zen 8), and we had opportunity to sit down with the new owners; Tetsu Mori (chef operator) and Hiro Inaoue (front of house operator). Their excitement was obvious, their pride apparent, as well as their commitment to the task at hand. “We want to be the only Japanese restaurant that offers these services to our guests, not number one, because if you are number one this year you may be number two next year. Our goal is to be the only one that offers our guest experience.” Hiro explains. People are behind his passion and love for the industry, having fun creating this experience as well as meeting so many people. Tetsu smiles as he explains his passion for food, “I have loved cooking since I was a kid, helping my mom in
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smile when they experience a great meal and that was an opportunity to make people happy.” I have been doing it for over 20 years and he’s just as passionate. Tetsu not only oversees the quality of the food, as he is often in the front of the house, but he is also the one who cuts, cleans and preps all of the fresh fish daily. Now, that’s a hands-on experience. An experience it is: originally located and opening July 2000 in Penny Lane on 8th Avenue SW, Zen 8 operated as one of the busiest and most innovative sushi restaurants in the city. We know this because that is where Tetsu and Hiro began working as chef and servers/managers. When the building was to be torn down, they relocated to 4th Avenue SW across from the Westin hotel and have been there ever since. Taking over ownership just seven months ago, their vision is to remain consistent and true to their passion for quality. “There is no need to change as the restaurant has been a great success for the past ten years, Hiro says. “We want to continue this success through our commitment to best experience because that is what our guests are familiar with.” Reminded of such success by the article hanging at the entrance with pride, they reminisce about the 1,200 lb Bluefin tuna that was purchased for $25,000. People from all over came to see the chef demonstrate his skills with this magnificent fish. The room has clean lines and an inviting bar for individual diners, and hand towels are given to every guest (“like in first class on an airplane”, Hiro adds). They use low-sodium soy sauce, all sushi is made with a brown rice blend, green tea with Matcha imported from Mt. Fuji, and there’s a monogrammed chopsticks locker for regular guests they call “Above & Beyond”.
Wine List by Tom Firth
Sometimes, what makes a wine list great is its brevity. At Zen, it would be wrong to call it a wine list, but the “list” covers everything you hope is on the list at a great Japanese restaurant. Beer is the order of the day when enjoying Japanese cuisine, and the list pulls no surprises having the sushi joint staples of Kirin, Sapporo, and Asahi beers both in larger and regular-sized formats. In fact, it must be on some sort of secret agreement that a sushi restaurant must carry these three brands or face some sort of horrible fate. Not to worry domestic beer fans, Kokanee, Alexander Keith’s, Bud Light, and the nearly ubiquitous Stella Artois will also wet that whistle. If you must drink wine while dining, the wine list is a mere 13 wines and tailored more to Albertan’s love of heavy red wine rather than matching to the cuisine at Zen. With the exception of the five strong reserve list, the four whites and four reds are available in 6 or 9 oz glasses and by the bottle. Stick with the sake list with both chilled and hot offerings, though the servers can suggest sakes that can be enjoyed warmed. Co-owner Hiro Inoue is firm in his belief that the best sakes are enjoyed chilled which allows the “detail” of the sake to come through. There is a time and place for hot sake, but if you want finer quality sake, stick to the chilled ones. Most sakes on the list are by the bottle only, and the turnaround time on the by-the-glass offerings is around 2-3 days, so you should always get fresh sake, even by the glass. Like anything else, if you have questions, ask. The servers should be able to answer your questions about what each one should taste like or what the heck “Daiginjo” means.
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The restaurant seats 110 people but operates daily with smaller, more intimate numbers: 80-90 at lunch and 50-60 at dinner. The menu is substantial in size with many different varieties to choose from; appetizers like shrimp dumplings and fried tofu, sashimi sushi, sushi rolls, tempting entrees like teriyaki salmon, and a dish called Volcano chicken - tempura chicken breast with onion and mushroom, finished in a spicy barbeque-style sauce; interesting, unique and enticing. Chef Tetsu brought us one of his favourites, Nabeyaki Udon noodles - a hot pot of Japanese noodles, shrimp tempura, scallops, Inari, poached egg, vegetables, wakame seaweed and enoki mushrooms. So beautifully presented, and the layers of flavours just kept revealing themselves, delicious. The Kamikaze roll was also delicious, filled with salmon, avocado, tobiko, and topped with spicy tuna, tempura crunch and Ao nori. Textures, richness in flavour and yet so fresh, obvious why chef recommends it is as one his unique and extremely popular creations. Enjoying this visit so much, I found myself thinking of when I could find the time to return, when I could stay longer and enjoy more of this passionate duo and the experience as I started to realize is that I was going to love sushi even more, but I was also becoming more of a sake hound! After a short conversation with Hiro, I was hooked! Who knew there was so much to learn about this rice wine and the bad rap it has been given? I am certain my first stop will be a seat at their
Iron Chef night, which happens on the first Monday of every month. A sake tasting, Iron Chef appetizer competition, sushi cone, sushi rolling and chef’s sushi for $45, or maybe it will be Chef’s Omakase experience, which in Japanese means “entrusting”, similar to a tasting menu or French degustation. Chef will personalize your five-course experience for just $65, what great value! The obvious passion of this duo is a recipe for continued success and paralleled by their compassion, as I discovered they donate a percentage of their liquor sales to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and of course they have several ways to donate, help and support their homeland, Japan, rebuild after the devastating earthquakes. So many reasons to return, healthy, innovative and fun…. you had me at Kanpai!
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Wine Grapes Without
by Dan Leahul
How do you know
you’re drinking good sake? You’ll be able to tell the next day, when you
wake up with a curiously absent headache. Yes, the quintessential Japanese beverage, which in its purest form is no more than water and rice, has the remarkable designation of being relatively hangover-free. How’s that for a trademark? Now don’t go rushing off to your local sushi joint for a round of sake bombs in reckless abandon to prove a magazine reporter wrong, the warmed-up stuff you’ll find there hardly qualifies. “Warm sake, which most people are familiar with, though not exclusively bad, is often served warm to mask its impurities and harsh finish,” says Patrick Ellis, owner of Vancouver-based Blue Note Wines and Spirits. “If someone is serving me hot sake, I usually ask what’s wrong with it.” As one of Canada’s pioneering sake importers, with a self-professed affinity for all things Japanese, it’s hard not to be captivated
when Ellis starts to talk sake. “Drinking wine is like a journey - it’s the same with sake,” he says. “There are thousands of producers, each with their own style, their own historical, regional and natural influences. Each one is a great discovery.” Premium sake should be treated as a fine wine. Drink it chilled in stemmed glassware, note the colouration and bouquet, but unlike wine, drink it immediately, for there is no vintage on the bottle. Common tasting notes include ripe melon, orange blossom, bananas, anise, chestnut and best of all, being essentially steamed rice, sake has exhaustive food pairing possibilities. Eat it with curries, steaks, blackened cod, and of course, sushi. Ellis discovered his passion for sake while working in Tokyo as a Canadian wine importer. He was astounded at the skill-set of the brewmasters, who wield absolute, industrious control of the sake at every level of the brewing process. “It’s in these guys’ DNA,” he says. “One brewery I visited has had 16 generations of brewmasters, passed down through birth.” Around for the better part of two millennia, sake really didn’t take off as a premium beverage until about the 1980s, when the technology for polishing the rice became widely available. The sake rice, longer and heartier than table rice, is thrown into a polisher, which nicks away at the protein and oils of the grain, not to mention the hangover-causing congeners, leaving behind the starch in the centre, or the “white heart.” Water is added and the mash is then cooked. Afterwards, a small dusting of koji mould is sprayed across the rice and allowed to ferment. Yeast is then added to create alcohol. Like wine, there are many classifications of sake. But typically, you’ll come across three different types: junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo. The different classifications refer to the amount the rice has been polished and whether distilled alcohol has been added. For the absolute beginner, Ellis recommends, ironically, the Oregon-based brewery Sake One. It’s award-winning Momokawa range is the perfect entry-level sake. With dry and sweet, well-structured aspects of cantaloupe and light honey, Sake One’s Momokawa Diamond sake won’t break the bank either, running around $20 for a 750mL bottle. Also try Vancouver’s artisan sake brewery, Osake, which makes an excellent “cloudy” sake, its Junmai Nama Nigori. Sediments are left in, giving it an opaque, creamy texture, a perfect fit for pairing with a spicy curry. “You don’t need to go to Japan to have the complete sake experience, there’s plenty of excellent sake to be found on the west coast,” he says. “And Calgary is not far behind Vancouver in terms of uptake - it’s been astonishing, the rate of embracing I’ve seen in Alberta.” And Ellis should know, with over 25 premium sakes at the last count in Blue Note’s portfolio.
Sake by Tom Firth
Osake Junmai Nama Genshu
(Granville Island, British Columbia) Melon, honeydew, toasted coconut, white bread dough, and bit of banana chip on the nose, lead into similar flavours with the addition of herb and some “hard edges” in the mouth and a slightly peppery finish. About $15 for a half bottle.
Dassai “50” Junmai Dai Ginjo
(Japan) Aromas of green apple cider, with a little alcohol heat, hints of melon, peach, and mineral as well. Finishing on the spicy side, the overall texture is silky with melon fruit, and a touch of sweetened coconut. Very enjoyable. Around $20 for a 300ml bottle.
Yoshi No Gawa Goku-Jo Ginjo
(Japan) Polished to 40 percent, the nose is very floral with melon, orange, pear, and a mild coconut tone. Softer expressions in the mouth, this sake is creamy, balanced, and quaffable with a mild anise finish. $18 for a 300ml bottle.
Momokawa Pearl Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu (Oregon) A partially filtered sake that has been polished down to about 60 percent. The nose has liquorice, Asian pear, melon, and a mild tropical candy note. Flavourful with a hint of creamy chocolate, herb, marshmallow and vanilla in addition to the tropical and melon qualities. $12 for a 300ml bottle.
Gekkeikan Horin Ultra Premium Junmai Dai Ginjo (Japan) Aromas of apple and lime, with coconut and toffee with consistent flavours, silky smooth, and with just a little spice note at the finish. Would be great with sushi or tempura. Approximately $20 for a 300ml bottle.
“G” Junmai Ginjo Genshu
(Oregon) Very pale and slightly cloudy, aromas of melon and floral tones with slight candy/confected hints. Fairly robust in the mouth, this could easily be enjoyed after dinner or with meatier fare such as ribs or lamb. About $20 for a 300ml bottle.
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BOTTLE by Linda Garson
photo by Mark Bilodeau
Alex Solano Proprietor, Salt & Pepper Mexican Restaurants
We’re discovering some wonderful untold stories of local Calgary personalities and their “special occasion wines”. Some are poignant, some thought-provoking, some sad – and some are fascinating accounts, like Alex Salano’s, proprietor of Salt and Pepper Mexican Restaurants, guaranteed to leave you grinning!
Alex was born in Mexico City, and moved to Calgary in 1970 with his parents, and his 14 year-old and 8 month-old brothers, for his father’s work as a chef at, what was then, the CP Hotel in Banff. He wasn’t doing much himself, so his father helped him get a job through his restaurant connections, and Alex started at the bottom, working at Delmonico’s on Centre Street N and 11th Avenue. They taught him how to bar tend and he loved the atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Life was looking up and he kept getting recruited and moving up in the food and beverage world, until he hit the jackpot when the Rimrock in Banff asked him to be their food and beverage manager. It was a dream job and he was provided with lodgings and a car, but it wasn’t to last and, as Alex explained, “I wasn’t capable of doing the job and got fired, but I lost everything, my home, my car and so I decided to go on my own”. His father had opened Salt and Pepper restaurant on Macleod Trail, and he set out to open another Salt and Pepper in a different location.
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So where does his special occasion wine come in? What was it and when would he open it? Alex tells us his story himself: “In 1991, I was at the restaurant at the bottom of the Calgary Tower and they had a jeroboam of 1978 Nipozzano Castello Banfi hanging up as a display. I told them that they’re wrecking the wine as it was so close to the floodlights, but when I went back two months later to celebrate the birth of my first son, the bottle was still there and hanging in the same position. So I rescued it and while my wife carried our son, I put the bottle in the car baby seat. Five years later the wine remained unopened as I thought it may need more time. I kept testing little bottles of the same vintage and while they were perfect, I wanted to push the jeroboam a little more. In 1997 I had no income, no restaurant and no business but my offer on the Bowness Road premises had just been accepted, so my best friend and I wanted to celebrate. As I had no money, I decided to open the wine. The cork came out like butter and the wine was perfect. I swear that baby number two was conceived that night.”
Cheers to 20 Years! interview by Heather Kingston
photograph by Cory Knibutat
On May 15th, 1992 the Kensington Wine Market opened its doors. For proprietor Nancy Carten it was an exciting time: the Alberta Government had been working towards a plan to privatize the liquor industry. They began with seven Alberta licenses allowing the sale of wine only. It was a great success, so another seventeen licenses were issued. From the thousands of Alberta-wide applicants, Nancy had what they were looking for and she got the call. Culinaire: That must have been an exciting day! How were your first months in business? Nancy Carten: Yes it was an exciting day. I always loved retail and after my involvement with “The Compleat Cook”, I made the move to wine. I love wine and the way its pairs with food. I was more of a cook than a wine person, but I learned quickly via “baptism by fire”. My retail experience taught me how important it is to make the consumer feel relaxed and happy in the store. We help customers choose wine that they will be pleased with. It may be a ten dollar bottle or a hundred dollar bottle. We are there to share, not to lecture! C: Did you find it a steep learning curve over the years as the industry fully privatized? NC: We learned early that a competitive edge is important. We gave up our “wine only” license and obtained a license to sell beer and spirits as well. Many of the products we sell are exclusive or semi-exclusive to the store. Products are priced all over the board to help every customer find what they are looking for. Our web site has been up for ten years. A very enjoyable portion of our business is working with charities and events. We are involved with “Wine Stage” and host an in-store wine festival twice a year. C: Do you have a motto you live by? NC: You are only as good as your second sale! We enjoy seeing a customer find something great and come back to see us repeatedly. We have excellent staff retention, with some being here between fifteen and nineteen
years. Our dedicated staff get to know our regular customers and enjoy meeting new people coming through our door. C: With such a large variety of products, how do people learn about what you have? NC: We offer educational classes in wine, beer and Scotch whisky.
of choice they did not have before. There were very few liquor stores. When the province got out of the retail business, a great opportunity opened up for entrepreneurs to own their own business. Yes the model is important. I sit on the Alberta Liquor Store Association board to help maintain the model and have the Alberta Government
The Team at Kensington Wine Market (l-r): Dave Tyler, Marty Rozen, Lisa Zinck, Nancy Carten, Hunter Sullivan, Alex Gossen
Kensington Wine Market is a Canadian member of the “Scotch Malt Whisky Society”. Our Scotch selection is some of the best in the city. Creating classes for wine, beer and spirits, with some education and sampling, in a comfortable atmosphere really promotes learning. C: Do you feel the privatized model has been good for Alberta? NC: Albertans have a great benefit
keep their promise to uphold this privatized model. C: High points? NC: I have too many high points to mention! It has been a pleasure winning many Readers Choice awards for the store. I love running the business and the challenges that come with it. I was forty five years old when I started this store! You are never too old to begin an adventure!
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Chef’sTips by Dan Clapson
Everyone has that one thing that they just can’t
seem make right. I hate rice... some people hate lentils.
Yes, there is a world of frustration out there when it comes to rice, pasta, grains… anything that needs to go in a pot, really. But, fret not! We’ve assembled some solid tips from great chefs around Calgary to help you put the best food on your plate!
Chef and owner of Anju, Roy Oh, is a master of rice and specializes in Korean-style tapas dishes. He shares his secret for cooking up a perfect batch of rice: There are 3 things you can do to ensure you have perfect rice every time: 1. Wash your rice 7 times. This will help wash away the starch and keep the rice grains individual while they cook. 2. Soak your rice in the amount of water you will be cooking it in for 30 min. The rice will absorb some of the water, which will help make it fluffy and soft. 3. Use a flat bottom pot with a tight fitting lid, the heavier the pot the better. With the lid on, bring your rice to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer for 15 minutes. Now, turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 min. Do not remove the lid until all of these steps are complete. Voila! You have perfect rice!
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Executive Chef Geoff Rogers, likes to keep his menu local and seasonal throughout the year at Home Tasting Room. For the spring and summer season he lightens up his signature ricotta gnocchi with fresh greens, heirloom tomatoes and edible flowers. Chef Rogers has one cardinal rule when it comes to gnocchi: “The key to gnocchi is to not overwork it when you’re mixing in the flour. When you do [overwork it], it develops strands of gluten. Just mix until combined. Little pockets of flour are okay.”
Chef Claire Cameron’s
Asparagus Goat Cheese Couscous 4 Servings 450 mL Israeli couscous, partially cooked 225 mL asparagus, sliced on the bias 115 mL soft goat cheese 225 mL white wine 225 mL vegetable stock 1 lemon, juice and zest 45 mL butter 15mL diced shallots 7 mL diced garlic salt and pepper to taste
Chef Claire Cameron’s eclectic menu at Vin Room offers a diner anything from Lobster Nachos and Eggplant Chips to Mediterranean-inspired Mergeuz Meatballs. Israeli couscous is a fairly uncommon ingredient when it comes to dining out in the this city, but Claire’s version served with asparagus and goats cheese is nothing short of fantastic. Here is her simple tip for cooking this unique pasta: “Always use a large pot with ample water, approximately four cups of water for one cup of dried Israeli couscous. Add salt and cook until the couscous is almost al dente. Finish cooking in your sauce for the perfect texture.”
1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add shallots and garlic, and sweat until translucent 2. Add partially cooked couscous and stir until combined, then pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer 3. Pour in the vegetable stock and add butter and goat cheese, stirring to combine 4. Once it has reduced and the goat cheese has melted, add your asparagus, lemon juice and zest 5. Stir, season, and once asparagus is bright green, plate
Chef Drew Masterman, although in charge of two of the city’s most popular brunch spots, Blue Star Diner and Dairy Lane, knows a thing or two about pasta as well. Here’s his tip for the home cook on how to find that perfect al dente! “Stay diligent and be gentle with your pasta! Set your pasta in boiling salted water, stir and keep separated, frequently test and cook until tender but firm and chewy. Strain and salt your pasta but refrain from using oil if serving immediately so as not to coat the pasta, preventing your sauce from sticking! Perfect pasta cooking is not measured by the quality, salinity and consistent temperature of the water, but the gentle, yet firm, hand stirring the noodles and the tender, correct consistency achieved when strained at the perfect time!”
Enjoy Chef Claire’s Asparagus Goat Cheese Couscous with: Bokisch Vineyards Terra Alta Vineyard Albarino 2010, Lodi, CA Signorello Seta 2008, Napa Valley Mill Street Brewery Original Organic Lager, Toronto, ON
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Glutenous Maximus by Vincci Tsui
Gluten seems to be the latest dietary “evil”,
after trans fats and sodium. While celiac disease was once
thought to only affect European populations, nowadays everybody seems to
know somebody who has gone “G-Free”, and many local restaurants are offering gluten-free options for diners. What is gluten, anyway? Gluten is a type of protein found in some grains, including wheat, rye and barley. In baking, gluten is what gives dough its elasticity and stretchiness, and helps give bread and other baked goods their distinctive chewy texture.
What is celiac disease? Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine. It is estimated to affect about 1 in 133 people in North America. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an inflammatory response that causes the microscopic, finger-like extensions (villi) on the membrane of the small intestine to flatten. This decreases the surface area available to absorb nutrients, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. It can also lead to anaemia and other nutrient deficiencies. Because celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, it has also been linked to dermatitis herpetiformis (a type of rash), type 1 diabetes, thyroid disorders and arthritis.
Wait a minute… if less than one percent of people have celiac disease, why am I seeing gluten-free products everywhere? Although only a small percentage of the population has celiac disease, there are some who experience symptoms when they eat gluten, but when tested for celiac, their intestines appear normal. These people with non-celiac gluten intolerance make up about 5% of the population. Still, that doesn’t explain the rapid growth of the multi-billion dollar gluten-free industry. Many people who choose a glutenfree diet actually don’t experience any symptoms, but are
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instead hoping that cutting it out from their diet will help them lose weight, feel more energized, or achieve better health. It’s hard not to ignore all the publicity surrounding going gluten-free – Tennis player Novak Djokovic saw himself climb the ranks after he removed gluten from his diet. Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View, who has celiac disease, states in her book The G-Free Diet that “even people with no health issues have a great deal to gain by giving up gluten.”
What’s so “bad” about gluten anyway? There are some who believe that gluten is difficult for everyone to digest and therefore causes inflammation in everyone, but only people with more sensitive immune systems display the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Others may only experience vague symptoms, like weight gain, sinus issues, skin breakouts or fatigue. It is true that gluten is difficult to digest – it contains certain amino acids that are harder for our enzymes to break down – but that does not make it harmful. Fibre is something our bodies cannot digest, yet that is the reason why we are encouraged to eat more of it – it keeps the digestive system working and help keep us regular. On the other hand, there is less evidence that gluten causes inflammation in everyone, or leads to improved energy, clearer skin, or weight loss – nearly all of the studies on gluten and the gluten-free diet have been done with subjects with an existing condition, like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), autism, etc. The results from these studies cannot be extrapolated to the general population – it’s like saying,
“Some people have nut allergies, therefore nuts are bad for everyone”, which we know is not the case. Of course, there are people who report that they do feel more energized and lose weight on a gluten-free diet. Breads, pastas and cereals are staples in our diet, and gluten finds its way in many processed and packaged products. For many, cutting out gluten means cutting out a lot of junk food, cooking more from scratch, choosing more fruits and vegetables and eating less overall. In other words, they feel better not because they have removed the gluten from their diet, but because they are generally eating healthier. There is also the potential for some placebo effect – these people feel better just because they are making a change, regardless of whether it’s because of the actual diet. There is also the small chance that they may have undiagnosed celiac disease. Despite the increasing awareness, celiac disease is still under-diagnosed – a 2007 survey among members of the Canadian Celiac Association found that it took an average of almost 12 years to be properly diagnosed. One of the main reasons is that there is no “classic” presentation of the disease – while some people have obvious GI symptoms, others may have general symptoms like dermatitis herpetiformis, migraines or fatigue. Still others experience no symptoms at all.
But it doesn’t hurt to just cut out gluten, right? Going gluten-free is becoming a lot easier, thanks to the many gluten-free products on the market and delicious gluten-free items available at our favourite restaurants! Vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, legumes and nuts are all allowed on the diet, while gluten-free grains and pseudo-grains like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are becoming more popular and accessible. While gluten-free breads and cereals do not fall under the same jurisdiction as regular breads and cereals and are often not fortified with thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and iron, it is possible to get adequate amounts of these nutrients from other foods in the diet. However, simply replacing breads, pastas and pizzas with their gluten-free counterparts can do more harm than good. Some people see the “gluten-free” label as a license to overindulge on these products when they don’t really provide any special benefit. In fact, many gluten-free products are higher in calories than the glutencontaining version. Manufacturers often add different starches, thickeners and fat to compensate for the change in texture in gluten-free baked goods. Many products are often lower in fibre, as there are few whole grain gluten-free products available. A gluten-free diet can also be harmful to your wallet – a 2008 study from Dalhousie University in
Halifax found that gluten-free foods cost almost 2.5 times that of gluten-containing items. Most importantly, if you suspect that you might have celiac disease, do not start on a gluten-free diet until you have a diagnosis; following a gluten-free diet renders the screening and diagnostic tests useless. Instead, go to your family doctor and ask to have a celiac disease screen – a simple blood test. If the results are positive, then your doctor may ask you to go to a gastroenterologist for an intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Having a confirmed diagnosis means you no longer have to run around trying to figure out what the problem is, and people with celiac disease can also get a tax break on the gluten-free foods they purchase. If the results are negative, then it doesn’t hurt to give the gluten-free diet a try for a few weeks in case you might have gluten intolerance. Unfortunately, there is no objective test to diagnose a gluten sensitivity. It is up to you to subjectively decide whether you are feeling better because you have eliminated gluten, or because you are eating healthier overall. Whether you choose to or have to go gluten-free, there are lots of resources available to help you figure out which foods contain gluten, and to make sure you have all your nutritional needs covered. The Canadian Celiac Association (www.celiac.ca) has a lot of great resources online available to browse, while The Gluten-Free Diet by Regina-based dietician Shelley Case is the book on gluten-free foods and nutrition. If you are looking for a more personal touch, make an appointment with a registered dietician who has experience working with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Going on a gluten-free diet can be difficult and timeconsuming, and may provide minimal benefit if you don’t have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. However, it doesn’t hurt to try gluten-free foods – I will often try gluten-free items just because I am curious about what they taste like! Many people with celiac disease have said that following a glutenfree diet has helped them expand their cooking and eating horizons, opening their world to lots of different foods, flours and flavours.
WithoutWheat by Peter Vetsch
I am not your typical candidate for a wheat-alternative, gluten-free lifestyle. I do not suffer from Celiac disease and have no known food allergies or digestive problems. I have no moral or culinary predisposition against eating wheat; to the contrary, I have eaten a sandwich for lunch almost every day for 20 years and look forward to freshly-made toast on the weekend with a yearning so strong that it borders on compulsion. Breads and grains are a staple of my diet, so much so that it is hard for me to list a regular meal that doesn’t involve them in some capacity. And yet this month I found myself putting that food group aside, at least temporarily, for the sake of my overall health. I have had chronic problems with sinus congestion, breathing and muscle stiffness for the past few years, issues mild enough that I never paid much attention to them until it became clear that they weren’t going away. After loading up on inhalers, nasal sprays and other mainstream medicines to little effect, and after a glowing referral from a family member, I booked an appointment with a naturopath to look into a fresh approach. Instead of a prescription, he gave me an edict: no gluten, no dairy, and no raw fruits or vegetables for a month. His theory was that my body’s half-decade of acting older than it was stemmed from a sensitivity to some common food type, and gluten has been one of the most likely culprits behind similar symptoms in a surprising portion of the population.
Rates of diagnosed gluten intolerance have skyrocketed in the past few years, not because people have become suddenly incapable of processing gluten, but because we are only now starting to notice that we have never been as good as we thought at doing so. Despite this radical shift in my diet, I didn’t think that the challenge set out for me would be all that difficult. I could still eat meat and potatoes whenever I wanted? I could still have wine with dinner? Sold! Then I made my first trip to the grocery store and realized just how many things contain gluten, or ingredients derived from gluten. Campbell’s Tomato Soup? There’s wheat flour in it to improve the texture. Soy sauce? Actually contains more wheat than soy. Even a simple box of
chicken broth usually contains yeast extract (a potential gluten source), and, of course, MSG. I spent more time reading ingredient lists in that initial grocery trip than in my previous year of food shopping, frantically doing Google searches on my phone to discover what actually went into processed food staples like soy lecithin, caramel colour, modified corn starch and malt extract. It was a terrifying and educational experience – how could I be that unaware about what goes into my breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day? Thankfully, most grocery stores now have ever-expanding aisles of gluten- and dairy-free product alternatives that provide some reprieve from the stress of being a label detective. There are also numerous websites that provide instant advice to those whose wellbeing depends on their ability to delve behind a list of ingredients. I would have been hopelessly lost without two of them:
Gluten Free Living’s Basic Diet: www.glutenfreeliving.com/basic-diet.php If you want a one-stop shop for the main items on the gluten naughty and nice list, there is no better, easier to read reference to help you distinguish between maltodextrin (glutenfree) and hydrolyzed yeast protein (not).
Celiac.com’s Safe Food List: www.celiac.com/articles/181/1/Safe-Gluten-Free-Food-ListSafe-Ingredients/Page1.html An alphabetical list of dozens of items, from Acesulfame Potassium to Zinc Sulfate, that are safe from gluten’s extended reach. Since most food chemicals are basically Latin to me, this was an invaluable reference guide. With the help of these online resources, I loaded up a shopping cart full of gluten alternatives and created a carefully pre-planned weekly set of lunches and dinners. The heavy lifting was out of the way, and my transition away from wheat wasn’t as hard as I initially expected during mealtimes.
Alternative grains, from rice (sushi, wild grain, basmati, jasmine) to potatoes, to quinoa (great with stir-fry!), to lentils, added a new dimension to what had been a pretty bland and unimaginative set of bread group representatives on my plate. Cooked veggies and lean meats filled the rest of the void, and it was easy to forget that my dinner menu was missing a longtime stalwart. However, where I almost immediately started to struggle was in between my heavily strategized three meals a day, when I had to improvise a quick bite. My pantry was full of Triscuits and granola bars and mini-cookies that were useless to me, and so many of the grab-and-go snack options at the grocery store were either wheat-based or so heavily processed that I could barely decipher what was in them. This is where Calgary’s ever-growing specialty food scene really came through. After some careful searching and a few trips around town, I uncovered a lineup of tasty and satisfying gluten-free snack foods that will quell your hunger without straining your system. If you are looking for alterative options to your favourite between-meal nibble, here’s my Hall of Fame:
Best Gluten-Free Cookie: Ginger Zippers from People Food. The People Food bake shop in Southwest Calgary specializes in scratch-made gluten-free products, including bread, perogies, pies and a multitude of take-and-bake cookies. Their ginger snaps are also dairy-free and yet somehow cook up to be moist and chewy, with zingy spice and just enough resistance when you bite in to give you that satisfaction of cookie substance. They also make a mean gluten- and dairy-free pizza dough (which is featured at Without Papers pizzeria in Inglewood). Be warned, though: this is not your typical storefront open during regular business hours. People Food’s location at 8 Spruce Centre SW in Spruce Cliff is mostly just a huge kitchen which is open only if somebody happens to be cooking inside; if you want to ensure access to their gluten-free goodness, your best bet is to visit their website at www.peoplefood.ca and order via e-mail.
Best Gluten-Free Cracker: RiceWorks Sweet Chili Rice Crisps (available at Superstore). Superstore surprisingly offers one of the largest selections of gluten-free items in the city, showcasing both major brands and smaller niche offerings, and giving wheat-sensitive shoppers actual choices in a price-competitive, non-specialty setting. RiceWorks Sweet Chili Crisps are like the anti-Dorito: made primarily from whole grain brown rice and seasoned in part using dehydrated vegetables, they pack a huge flavour punch and leave a pleasant but lingering burn on the tongue that keep you reaching into the bag for more. I won’t pretend that they are the height of nutrition, but in terms of snacking intrigue, they are miles beyond your grandmother’s rice cake.
Best Gluten-Free Granola Bar: Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco Snack Bars (available at Community Natural Foods). These are about the safest snacks out there for people with food sensitivities: they contain no wheat, dairy, peanuts, egg, soy, sulfites, or any of the other top 10 most common food allergens, and they are made in a dedicated bakery free from any cross-contamination. Taste-wise they combine the toothiness of rice crisps, the richness of (milk-free) chocolate and the sweetness and fruitiness of fig and date; this may sound like a strange combination on paper, but trust me, it works. Even if I’m allowed to go back to gluten again in the
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future, I’m still going to keep chowing these down. I am now nearing the end of my month-long anti-gluten experiment and have fully settled into my new diet. Healthwise, results have been mixed. I have noticed a slight decrease in my congestion issues and I find myself less sluggish waking up in the morning, free of the need for a pick-me-up coffee to get my engines running. The change in my overall wellbeing has not been as radical and immediate as it was for some of my friends and family members who went gluten-free, but the fact that I have noticed a discernable difference based solely on what I am putting into my body makes me realize how valuable a new approach to food can be. This process has given me a wakeup call about how little we know about what is in what we eat and how difficult it can be to find simple, wholesome food options with recognizable ingredients in the grocery store. Whether I stay off of gluten or not, I will be reading many more labels and ingredient lists in the future and aiming to fuel my body in a way that lets it function most effectively. The challenge for me, and for everyone, is to try and figure out how best to go about doing this, but based on my past few weeks, I’m convinced that gaining some awareness about common food sensitivities and committing to stop taking something as primary as food for granted, is a crucial first step.
Gluten-Free by Fred Malley, CCC
What a difference 20 years makes! I recall the
frustration of trying to find edible gluten-free (GF) baking for a young son.
Thankfully, consumer choices in Calgary have expanded and blossomed, with quality products that anyone can enjoy. Kerry Bennett is a bubbly entrepreneur with infectious enthusiasm. A graduate of SAIT’s cooking program, she discovered eating wheat made her feel ill and sapped her energy, despite a healthy lifestyle. With celiac sprue on both sides of her family, she cut out wheat and embarked on a mission to create tasty GF breads, building most of the bakery herself. Inspired by her mom’s baking, she produces 5 breads and a great pizza crust, distributing to over 50 restaurants and health food stores. Product development is #1 and religious consistency ensures a top quality product that bears her trademark baked in the bottom. She still does her own deliveries and calls herself Care Bakery. See www.carebakery.com for a list of eateries serving her delicious breads. Earth’s Oven reopened in the southeast after an expansion, and produces an array of baked GF products including items that are lactose-, dairy- and egg-free, available at retail health food stores. Their website, www.earthsoven.com contains details of where Earth’s Oven’s products can be found. Gluten Free Marketplace in Country Hills carries over 1,400 products and is a one-stop shop. Lots of baking available plus just about everything you can think of to prepare wheat-free dishes. See www.glutenfreemarketplace.ca to read more from owner, Sheena McFarlane. The aroma at 8:00 AM is heady and comforting at Lakeview Bakery, synonymous in Calgary with quality GF and regular baking, specialty goods featuring organic ancient grains (kamut, teff and spelt), low carb Trimcea products and diabetic cakes. Started 22 years ago by Brian Hinton, son Darren is at the helm now. The GF baking is done at “Slice”, the Oakridge location, to guarantee an uncontaminated product. Calgary Co-op carries many of the items, as do most health food stores. www.organicbaking.com has details of products, recipes and reports. A recently diagnosed celiac colleague finds Udi’s
brand at Safeway both tasty and reasonably priced. Their website, www.udisglutenfree.com has some great tasting recipes. Edmonton’s Kinnikinnick Foods (www.kinnikinnick.com) is widely distributed and bakes certified Health Check®GF breads and buns. Rich and Liam at Big Star Bake House in Calgary (www.bigstarbakehouse.com) are making decadent muffins and squares, and a baguette that is everything a baguette should be. To close, I am sharing my Yogurt Pancake recipe from On Cooking, Canadian Edition, ideal for breakfast or a tasty dessert and suitable for both celiac and diabetic diets. To make 12 small pancakes, beat 4 large eggs well and blend in 250 mL yogurt and 50 mL water. Sift together 175 g rice flour, 15 g potato starch flour, 3 mL baking soda and a pinch of salt; add to the liquid ingredients and beat until smooth. Spoon 50 mL portions of batter on a lightly greased, heated non-stick griddle, and turn when puffed and bubbly. Brown again and serve with warm fruit compote or syrup.
Worth The Trip
The Iron Goat Pub & Grill
Aroma Authentic Mexican Cuisine
“40 percent of the people in Canmore eat gluten-free”, said Michael Leslie of the Iron Goat, on our first visit to this mountain dining spot. Why? Is it catching? “They don’t all have to”, he continued, “they choose to, so we offer all our dishes as gluten-free too. We tell our guests to look at the menu, decide what you want and we’ll make it happen to cater for any allergy”. This piqued our interest, so we deliberately ordered dishes that would normally contain wheat flour to see how they translated. Wow, we were not disappointed! Our shared appetizer of Bruschetta ($10.50) came half with smoked Brie and wild mushroom (creamy, smoky, cheesy and crunchy all at the same time) and half with balsamic tomatoes and feta (an explosion of flavours). Both were at the high end of comfort food. Our Smoked Wings ($12.95) were enough for a meal, with 9 giant finger-licking pieces and a zingy, creamy lemon pepper ranch dip, all dished up in a mini cast-iron skillet. We hardly had room for our mains, but gobbled them up anyway, Chef Adam Janisse would be proud! Blackened Chicken Carbonara ($18.25) was very generous, with tons of flavourful chicken and smoky house-cured bacon. Who would have guessed it was gluten-free? The Kobe ‘Oscar’ Burger ($16.75) is topped with lobster, blue crab and provolone: decadent and delicious, and came with the best fries! With food as good as this, superb service and attention to detail (even the candles are little miners’ lamps) - and did I mention the views? The Iron Goat Pub & Grill certainly deserves its title, “destination dining”.
When José Castillo, executive chef/owner of Aroma, opened his restaurant four years ago, it wasn’t his intention to cater to gluten-free diners. While it’s increasingly popular here, it’s a natural part of Mexican cuisine; in turn, Aroma has become a prominent venue for those excluding gluten from their diet. “In Mexico, we don’t eat flour – we don’t eat bread,” Castillo said, “we eat corn, it’s cheaper and available.” The lack of gluten certainly doesn’t translate to a lack of flavour. Perhaps it’s because nearly everything in the restaurant is house-made. “We don’t use canned beans or premade food, and we get almost everything locally,” Castillo said. Certain sauces, like the habanero-based ones used liberally at Aroma, are difficult to find and costly here, so Castillo imports them from Mexico. The menu has a great selection for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; including vegetarian options. Castillo’s, and his customers’, favourite is Charro Negro: a robust dish of fried eggs on a crisp corn tortilla, topped with black bean sauce, sour cream, and feta cheese. Paired with a side of hash browns and homemade chile seco (chiles roasted in oil), it is the epitome of hearty breakfast food. For a snack, try Ceviche Mazatlan, or the Aroma Apertivo: homemade tortilla chips, with black bean dip, spicy housemade salsa topped with chile seco, and creamy guacamole. Staying for dinner? Try Cochinita Pibil, pork tenderloin in achiote sauce with tortillas, rice, and vegetables. For an extra special experience, pair it with a shot of tequila as recommended by Castillo. There are twenty-two kinds of tequila on the bar shelf here. With an extensive cocktail list and a selection of Mexican beers, it is also the ideal venue for a street-side patio drink.
The Iron Goat Restaurant & Pub, 703 Benchlands Trail, Canmore, 403 609-0222 www.irongoat.ca reviewed by Linda Garson
Aroma Authentic Mexican Cuisine, 837 Main Street, Canmore (403) 675-9913 www.aromamexicanrestaurant.com reviewed by Stephanie Arsenault
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THERE’S GOLD IN THE
Grain by Meaghan O’Brien & David Nuttall
The history of beer is as old as civilization and dates back as far as 10,000 BC. While the exact date is unclear, the beginnings of beer brewing (and baking, and wine-making, for that matter) coincided with man deciding that the cultivation of crops would be a primary occupation rather than his previous nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle. And it all began in the Middle East with the domestication of grain. Some of the same ingredients used then are used in the brewing process today. The great invention of concocting starch, hops, and water began during this agricultural revolution with the barley grain, while yeast was not identified as an ingredient in beer until the 1850s. Grain is the starch source in all beer, and is the determinant of its flavour, body, and texture. Barley is the most commonly used grain for brewing beer, but over time and with experimentation of brewers, other grains have been introduced to produce different flavours and strength. These other grains have created a wide variety of beers; rye, wheat, oat, rice, corn and sorghum, and any number of these grains can show up in many beers, but in small quantities. Many of the most popular beers in the world use rice and/or corn, not only because it lowers the cost for the product, but they are also adjunct grains which provide that lighter, slicker taste that is most easily marketed to the thirsty masses. In addition, many Oriental beers have a large rice bill, many African beers use grains other than barley (most likely sorghum), and most Latin American (and many American) beers use corn as a base grain because they are the cheapest and most prevalent
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grains in each location. While we should be aware of these beers, this article will not be looking into them, but rather to beer styles which specifically call for non-barley grains in their mash. Here we will review some of these grains used in the brewing process as a substitution for barley or in addition to this grain. We will take a look at some dishes to pair with each of the styles of beer, and reccomended beers available on the market. By far the most common grain used for specific beer styles is wheat, as well as grains from the wheat family, such as Spelt or ‘poor man’s wheat’. While the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity law of 1516, originally stated that the only ingredients to be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops, wheat was the one foreign grain allowed for the production of weizens. Thus, beers such as Weizen (wheat beer)/Hefeweizen (wheat beer with the yeast sediment stirred in), Weissbier (white beer), Weizenbock (strong wheat) and Dunkelweizen (dark wheat beer) all originated in Germany. The addition of wheat to the brewing process, gives these wheat style beers a crisp and refreshing profile. It is present as an ingredient in about 15 styles of beer today according to the
Beer Judge Certification Program Guidelines (BJCP 2008); Lambic beer (which will be reviewed in September’s issue), Belgian Pale Ale, Berliner Weisse Sour Ale to name just a few, are amongst the variety of beers that include wheat as an adjunct in small portions. American Wheat Beer consists of 20% to 30% wheat, contradictory to German Wheat Beer, which by law must consist of at least 50% but can be up to 70% wheat. The hop creates a low-to-moderate bitterness with sometimes a citrusy characteristic, and slight sweetness. Different variations, such as dark wheat beers, have a portion of toasted or roasted malts to give them a dark coffee colour, and provide a richer flavour. German wheat beers possess low to moderately-strong fruit notes and a slight sweetness, which can be compared to that of banana or vanilla, created from the strain of yeast used in the brewing process. The dark wheat version of this category is called Dunkelweizen (dark wheat beer), its colour attributed to roasted malts. The roasting creates chocolate, nutmeg and coffee notes with, again, banana and vanilla. German Weizenbock is the strong version of the unfiltered Weissbier. The rich full body includes notes of cloves and dark fruits, and is between 6.5% and 8% alcohol by volume. The world’s oldest top-fermented wheat doppelbock, Aventinus, was created in 1907 at the Weisse Brauhaus in Munich. Belgian wheat beer is medium-light bodied and consists of about 50% wheat and 50% barley, with zesty orange notes that persist with a gentle tart finish. Witbier (white beer), a Belgian style wheat beer, had been around since the middle ages, but died out after World War II, only to be revived by Pierre Celis at Hoegaarden Brewery in 1965. These wheat beers are characterized by the addition of spices, usually a
combination of coriander, orange peel, chamomile, cinnamon, grains of paradise, cumin and more. This style has exploded in popularity, especially in North America, including Village Wit White Wheat Ale of Calgary’s new Village Brewery. In order to truly enjoy and appreciate the delicate fruit notes in these wheat-styled beers they should be paired with light dishes that are either vegetarian, seafood or chicken based. Wheat beer works very nicely with mussels in a light sauce as it allows for the flavours in the beer to really break through. Of course, the lightness and thirst-quenching properties of these beers make them the quintessential patio beer too. The other popular grain used with barley is rye, which creates a low-to-moderate spice or bitterness in both the aroma and flavour of beer, and substitutes a portion of the barley used when brewing. American Rye beer is one of the most rare styles, due to the complicated brewing process with this grain. Rye provides more assertive and bitter notes than any other cereal grain, and is the reason why the brewing process can be more challenging, producing potential overlybitter batches. This style of beer provides the perfect blend of crispness (ideal on a hot day) and body, with low-to-moderate bitterness that comes from the hops; freshness without lacking flavour. The percentage of rye grain in American Rye beer is important to keep in mind, as it is up to 25%, which makes this style very different to its German counterpart Roggenbier (German Rye Beer), that typically constitutes 50% or more. The structure of the head with most rye beer is very pronounced and thick, leaving a creamy cloud-like formation around the glass to the very last drop. A glass of American Rye beer can be paired with a variety of dishes without diminishing that bite most commonly found in the finish of this style. A great
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accompaniment with a nice cold pint of rye beer is a mile-high pastrami sandwich on dark rye bread with a grainy Dijon. Another pairing to try is a dish with some heat, such as a medium-spiced curry dish or jambalaya. Try this with a glass of Routes des épices (French for “Spice Route”) by Dieu du Ciel microbrewery in St-Jérôme, Quebec or Magpie from Big Rock Brewery. Rice has been used in the production of many large commercial beers for years as an inexpensive means to lighten it without lowering the alcohol content or adding flavour. This has created a negative stigma for rice beer, though there are some deliciously unique craft labels made with rice in the market today. Though rice beer is not considered a category or style of beer, there are some beers that include rice as one of the ingredients, and not intended just to lighten the flavour of the beer. The characteristics of rice beer are often dry and crisp, with soft round notes. These beers are dominant in Asia for obvious reasons, and a perfect accompaniment with clam and fish dishes, sushi or spicy noodle entrées. A few great rice beers to try are Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Kiuchi Brewery in Japan, Asahi Super Dry from Japan, and Efes Pilsner from Turkey. The most unique grain beers are those with no barley or wheat at all. These are the gluten-free beers. While some of these beers exist in countries in which those grains are almost non-existent or too expensive for brewing, in the rest of the world these beers are made for people who have a gluten intolerance (i.e. celiacs) or for those who are on gluten-reduced diets. Glycoproteins in grains such as wheat, barley and rye are harmful to those with a gluten intolerance, so these kinds of beers are usually made with sorghum, buckwheat, millet, corn, or rice. Sorghum is the most
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popular grain in gluten-free beers, since malted sorghum behaves very similarly to malted barley. Sorghum is a grass that grows in parts of the Americas, but is especially prevalant in Africa and Asia, and consequently, is common in many beers from those continents. The normal worldwide standard of 20 parts per million gluten (20 ppm) usually allows a product to be named “gluten-free”. However, in Canada, this may be under revision for beer, with that standard only being allowed to be called “low gluten”, and the “gluten-free” tag reserved for beers that contain absolutely no gluten at all. With celiac disease affecting 1 in 133 people in North America, and millions adopting glutenfree or gluten-reduced diets, many breweries are taking notice and crafting gluten-free beers to target this market who, until around 2003, could not consume beer. In 2011, Toronto opened its first gluten-free brewery, Snowman Brewing, and with more gluten-free beers popping up on the North American market, an even larger variety will soon be available. In the Calgary market, beers such as Bard’s Tale from New York (made by celiacs), Green’s of Belgium, and New Grist from Lakefront Brewery all qualify as gluten-free. A perfect pairing for pale lager or pilsner style gluten-free beer is Cajan grilled scallop and shrimp kabobs topped on a crisp salad, just in time for the barbeque season. For darker lager, pair with a more bold meat such as a Spolumbo’s sausage (they’re gluten free!) topped with sauerkraut on a toasted gluten-free sourdough bun. So the world of beer is more than just “barley sandwiches”, and there are numerous grain beers out there for you to try. Consider them for after you have mown that lawn, weeded that garden or played that ball game. Summer is perfect for them.
Moules à la Blanche (Mussels in White Beer)
I K mussels butter 1 large onion, coarsely diced 2 leeks, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 1 375 mL bottle white beer pepper and salt to taste Serves 2-4 people, depending whether served as an appetizer or entrée.
1. Clean the mussels well under cold water. (For wild mussels, scrub the mollusks and remove their ‘beards’, for cultivated mussles, simply wash well.) Discard any cracked mussels or open ones that will not close upon being lightly tapped - these should not be consumed. 2. Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of a large, deep pot and sauté the vegetables until they become golden brown. 3. Add 10 ml of water to the pot (no more than this amount!) followed by the mussels and beer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and steam the mussels until they all open, about 10-15 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels and enjoy with fresh bread and butter.
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BREW story and photos by Cory Knibutat
Water, malted grains, yeast and hops. That’s about it. Most beers you’ve ever consumed are made with these ingredients. It’s up to the vision and creativity of brewers to tinker with different permutations of the main ingredients and develop wonderful new beers for you to enjoy.
In the past it was common for beer choices to reflect on an individual much like partisan politics. Your parents drank what their parents drank and the beer you stocked your fridge with reflected on you as a person. In the last decade, the most recent rise in popularity of craft beers and the craft beer industry has arguably mirrored the emergence of the foodie scene. Drinkers are more apt to try new styles of beer as a way to express their individuality or to pair with food. Knowing the difference in flavour between Irish Ales and Pilsners could make or break your meal, much like choosing the wrong wine. Recently, drinkers seem to have gone out of their way to seek out the wild and wonderful beers from around the world, no longer content with what Mom and Dad raised them on. Nearly 27 years ago, Big Rock Brewery were one of the original craft breweries in the area, launching in September of
1985 and driving a firm wedge into the lager-dominated beer market. Although they’re sometimes overlooked as trendsetters now, their boldness in introducing unique ales laid the foundation for craft beer to take hold in the area. “When we first came into the industry, there wasn’t a lot of breweries making brown ales or wheat beers,” said Big Rock Brewmaster, Paul Gautreau. “People are now adapting to the styles and flavours out there. People are really now developing an educated palate.” After the initial success of Traditional, Big Rock was able to experiment with more styles of beer, encountering road bumps along the way, but also balancing those misfires with huge successes such as the fan-favourite Grasshopper Wheat Ale, McNally’s Extra or the new kids on the block, the Scottish Heavy Ale and the India Pale Ale. “What we’re trying to do is re-establish our reputation as an innovator,” Gautreau said. “That’s why we’re going to continue
Big Rock Brewmaster, Paul Gautreau
to churn out these different beers because frankly I don’t think we had been doing that as much as we should in the last ten years.” For an established brewery such as Big Rock to introduce new beers, they must surrender the use of one of their tanks to create enough beer to sell on the market. If the beer doesn’t sell, they’ve wasted a lot of time and money that could have been used on a beer the public already loved, therefore Big Rock’s willingness, in the past, to attempt bolder beers had fallen off. “I don’t want to say it was stagnant, but there was a number of beers around 10 years ago to satisfy people’s curiosity but it was missing that next level,” said Big Rock Rep Alastair Smart. Five years ago Big Rock purchased a German-built 20 hectolitre brewery from a brewpub in Japan. 20 hectoliters will churn out roughly 30 kegs or 60 vertical kegs, which is miniscule in comparison to the 300 hectoliter tanks used to brew Big Rock’s favourites. The smaller tank, though, sat in
pieces for over a year before Gautreau figured out how to best use it. “We could see the market going for more and more different styles of beers, and Paul said ‘We’ve got the equipment, we’re going to do that,’” Smart said. “We call it the Brewmaster’s Edition. And it’s a series of specialty test products.” Gautreau Added: “We decided it was time to step it up and show the craft beer market that we’re still as innovative as we used to be.” In full-swing for nearly two years, the Brewmaster’s Edition is trying to stay ahead of, or at least competitive with the rest of the local craft beer market. A prime example being another homegrown success story, Wildrose Brewery. Established nearly 16 years ago, Wildrose has steadily made its beers a fixture in the local craft beer industry, gaining much of it’s success after 2002 when they began to sell their flagship beers WRaspberry Ale, Velvet Fog, Wild Rose Brown Ale, and IPA beers in eye-catching one litre bottles.
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“The brown ale was our most popular and the IPA was far and away our least popular,” said Wildrose Brewer Brian Smith. “Now hops have really become popular. I think what we’ve seen more than anything is that the IPA has jumped up in sales.” Smith added: “A lot of people had never been exposed to something like that and they weren’t really sure how it was supposed to taste. Sometimes your first sip of that can be a little intimidating. Then you give it a chance and once you get on that hop bandwagon, that’s all you crave after that.” An educated palate also has a wandering eye. Never content with what it had yesterday, but always seeking out what’s next. To keep beer enthusiasts happy and somewhat loyal, brewers get to flex their creative muscles to come up with their interpretations of styles from around the world or something new entirely. “I think it’s great, I think it’s more than a trend,” Smith said. “I
bubblegum, spice, clove, and banana from the yeast.“ Sticking with the German style beers, Wildroses’ second seasonal beer, “Hoodoo Hefe”, is a Hefeweizen, typically known to have a full-bodied, sweet, fruity flavour that should not disappoint the summer beer season when it’s released on June 14th. “It’s a wheat beer but it’s gonna have all the neat flavours from the yeast as well, primarily banana and clove,” Smith said. “That’ll be the big two. The difference is the yeast. We’ve imported a special German yeast to give it the banana, clove, kind of spicy and fruit in it. “ Fresh off its tryouts in the Brewmaster’s Edition, Big Rock is hoping Calgarians will respond well to one of their boldest beers in recent memory - the Rye & Ginger Ale. “I would rather take an existing style and put our fingerprint on it or my version of what I think that style should taste like,” Gautreau said. “There are guidelines on every style and you
Wild Rose Brewmaster, Brian Smith
think brand loyalty is a bit of a thing of the past as well.” Now, much like fashion, beers change along with the seasons, and beer drinkers walk into liquor stores expecting to find something new and sexy to show off to their friends. “Seasonal drinkers, they’ll drink heavier beers in the winter and a lighter beer in the summer,” Smith said. “It’s like a gateway. You’re seeking more and more.” Wildrose has their seasonal schedule laid out for the year, then a few months ahead of release they try test batches to hone in on exactly what they want the beer to taste like. As for the summer, a couple of exciting additions are on their way. First, a Belgian-style IPA, called “Hops Smashed In” and later on, a Hefeweizen. “We’ve got a Belgian IPA that’s again, a very hoppy beer,” Smith said. “It has some funky characteristics from the yeast but it’s also an IPA, so it’s got a nice smooth maltiness to it, a little bit of sweet caramel notes and then a nice grapefruit, citrus bitterness from the hops and a little bit of funky
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have to respect that. Something like rye and ginger is not a style of beer; it’s a unique combination of flavours. It turned out quite well, I’m really proud of it.” Try not to think of the Rye & Ginger Ale as a gimmick beer like the lime beers that popped up everywhere in the past few years and that knock you over the head with citrus to begin with. Gautreau believes you should let the beer speak for itself first and have the accompanying flavours play a supporting role. “It’s a nice spicy aroma, that comes from the rye malt but you do get the ginger,” Gautreau said. “It’s there, it’s subtle, mixed in with the spiciness of the rye but it’s there. So you get that spiciness from the rye up-front and then the sweet ginger at the end, and barely any hops.” Gautreau added: “It’s got enough body, it’s going to work in the winter as well but it’s a nice thirst quencher and you can have more than one. A nice patio beer.”
Attention is required when making risotto, so plan the rest of your meal to not be too last minute or better yet, make risotto the meal. Choosing the correct rice is essential. Pick up Arborio or Carnaroli for a creamier texture. Some light, dry white wine, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana
25 mL 25 g 60 g 225 g 225 mL 1 L 25 g 30 g
Padano cheese and chicken stock or broth (vegetable stock works too), will get you started. Bring the stock to a simmer while you start preparing the risotto in a heavy bottomed pot.
For 4 portions: olive oil butter onion, fine diced Carnaroli or Arborio rice white wine, dry chicken stock kosher salt fresh ground black pepper butter, soft Parmesan, fresh grated, more if you like
by Fred Malley, CCC
1. Preheat the pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the onion and stir with a wooden spoon while cooking, until it is translucent about 2 to 3 minutes (donâ€™t brown it). 2. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated. Pour in the wine (it should sizzle) and boil until it has been absorbed by the rice, stirring as it dries and begins to smell slightly toasted. 3. Turn the heat down and add 125 mL of hot stock, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Continue to add stock until most of it is used, about 15 minutes. Taste the rice for doneness; it should be slightly al dente in the centre, individually grained but with a creamy texture. If the rice is too chewy, add more
stock and continue to stir. 4. Add in some salt, pepper, butter and cheese, and stir quickly to blend. Some chefs add a small amount of cream. The secret is not to overcook the rice and to serve it immediately.
Variations are many; you can add a pinch of saffron at the beginning for Risotto Milanese, sautĂŠed mushrooms or other vegetables, cooked meats, try diced ham and green peas or some truffle oil. Match the type of stock to a meat accompaniment. It can be finished with good quality Parmesan cheese or try St. Agur, Gorgonzola or Grizzly Gouda.
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Menu Gems Thank you for all of your feedback, letting us know how much you enjoyed the meat dish recommendations from our contributors in May. This month, they’ve been chomping their way through pasta, noodles, rice and bean dishes to bring us their menu favourites.
~ Brenda Holder ~ My choice of pasta/noodle dishes would be LunaBlue in Canmore, not only are they inventive, but the food is very fresh and they cater to appetite with a choice of small or large portions. In Calgary I’m a little stumped, but I still love the Old Spaghetti Factory :)
~ Marnie Fudge ~ The Saffron Rice Pilau and the Biryanis at Maurya in Kensington are my favourites. Along with a few different types of naan, they also have a tandoori bread made with whole wheat flour called Lacha Pratha. I prefer it to naan.
~ Fred Malley ~
~ Meaghan O’Brien ~
I like Jenny’s Mac and Cheese at Vero Bistro in Kensington and the Ramen at Shikiji on Centre Street North.
It’s no wonder Bonterra Trattoria was voted number one on Breakfast TV’s ‘Best of Italian Series’ in January 2012, and was runner up for Calgary’s Best Italian Restaurant 2012 in Avenue Magazine. My favourite dish currently on the menu is Linguine Carbonara with wild boar bacon, an innovative twist on traditional Carbonara. The dish is big on flavour with a creamy homemade sauce from fresh egg and Grana Padano cheese. This dish, and all other pasta dishes are available gluten-free.
~ Dan Clapson ~ There are a lot of pasta dishes that I love around the city, but when I want something authentically Italian, I generally go to Abruzzo Ristorante for their carbonara.
~ Karen Miller ~ Any risotto dish at Teatro will do for me. ~
~ Peter Vetsch ~ My favourite pasta dish in the city has to be the beef short rib ravioli from Centini on Stephen Avenue. Made from scratch and served with a sage butter sauce, it’s completely ridiculous. I could eat 4 or 5 in a row.
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Stephanie ~ Arsenault
The Vietnamese Noodle House in Cochrane, otherwise known as Pho Anh Huyen, has the best stir-fried beef with lemongrass on rice vermicelli (#37). While everything on the menu is delicious, I’ve become addicted to that particular dish over the years.
~ Julie ~ Van Rosendaal I love the mixed bean salad at Without Papers upstairs at 1216, 9th Ave SE in Inglewood - it’s not always on the menu, sometimes you have to ask! It’s a simple plate of marinated legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans and the like) on a bed of greens. Perfect for the table to share along with our pizzas!
~ Dan Hertz ~ For years I’ve been going to the Pho Hoai Vietnamese Noodle House, across the street from the Harry Hays building downtown for a decent, plentiful, inexpensive and tasty bowl of Pho. My favourite is the Sate.
Heather ~ Hartmann
Lasagna from Odyssey Pizza and Steakhouse on Bow Trail is my choice. I’ve been eating this since I was a little girl, and it hasn’t changed. In this case that’s an exceptionally good thing. The portion is huge, the sauce is a little bit sweet (sounds weird, but is actually addictive) and the cheese carmelizes over the top. Oh yes, and it’s incredibly affordable.
~ Cory Knibutat ~ If I’m craving a noodle dish, my mind never thinks of any European incantation, it dreams of Chinese. Perhaps it’s because I was raised on the stuff but the Shanghai noodle dish at Oriental Palace is simply the best in the city in my opinion. It’s the benchmark I compare all other versions to and my mouth is watering a bit as I write this.
~ Adrian Bryksa ~
~ Jeff Collins ~
Tagliatelle Paglia e Fieno from Centini - this rustic “Straw and Hay” pasta with lamb ragu bolognese always commands my attention while it begs for a pairing with Tuscan Merlot or Syrah. The Arancini Balls from Borgo Trattoria too $12 for 3 deep-fried balls of risotto served with 3 cheese fondue? Crispy outside with creamy risotto goodness centre; Genius!
Best pasta dishes are at Centini’s. When Fabio gets his hands on real truffles, he produces truffle oil and from that he does a truffle rissotto that is to die for! If I ever have to order a “last meal”, it will be “Truffle Risotto” from Centini’s. However, it is not “in season” right now, so my substitute is Fabio’s Mushroom Agnolotti in Porcini mushroom sauce with Parmigano Reggiano cheese on top. Yum. Shoot me now. I’m ready!
~ Thierry Meret ~ With authentic cuisine from the Bengal region of India and a unique savoir faire in balancing spices in every dish, Puspa restaurant unlocks the full flavour of their legume concoctions. I love their crisp fried wafers made of ground lentils as much as their Tarka Dhal - simmered moong beans topped with fried onions and garlic. Bean there and loved dhal!
Heather ~ Kingston
Gluten-free noodle dishes are easily had at Peking Garden on Varsity Drive NW, where they are exceptional at catering to gluten-free customers. Not only the noodles are glutenfree, but all the ingredients are as well.
~ Wendy Brownie ~
~ Andrew Ferguson ~
I love “Mamma Cathy’s Canneline Beans” from Mercato and Mercato West - fabulous on their own or dressed up with fresh sage leaves and Parmiggiano Regiano.
My favourite is the Penne with bacon and mushrooms in a creamy vodka tomato sauce from Niko’s Bistro on Kensington Road NW.
~ Linda Garson ~ I have come across too many favourites while running Vine and Dine in restaurants all over the city, so I’ll list just a few memorable dishes: Stone Rice Bowl with Salmon and the Fried Tofu at Anju, Pad Thai at Chilli Club Thai House, Dragon Pearl’s Szechuan Noodles, Sunomono at Koiji, Mango Shiva’s crab and lentil cakes and their fresh naan bread that they make while you watch, Yater Kik Alicha (split peas with onion, curry, ginger and garlic) at Marathon Ethiopian Restaurant, the Tortellini at Vero, Kachori (pastries stuffed with lentils, coconut and spices) at Safari Grill, Braised Bison Ravioli at Escoba and any of Centini’s and Il Sogno’s home-made pasta dishes, they’re all so good!
~ Vincci Tsui ~ My favourite noodle dish is the Szechuan Spicy Cold Grass Jelly (I know it better by its Chinese name, Chuan Bei Liang Fen), at Szechuan Restaurant on 16th Ave & 4 St NW. The thick, slippery noodles are dressed in chili oil and soy sauce and topped with peanuts and green onions. It’s simply bursting with flavour, but cold noodles make it very light and whets your appetite for the rest of the meal.
~ Tom Firth ~ At Matador Pizza and Steakhouse in the northwest community of Varsity, I think they have the best baked lasagna in the city. Piping hot, and full of meaty, cheesy, pasta goodness. It’s quite the distance for me to get to now, but once or twice a year we make the trek ... and with $15 a bottle corkage, it’s worth bringing a fun bottle too.
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e SpillingthBeans by Julie Van Rosendaal
Having grown up the daughter of a gastroenterologist,
as a kid I had an unusual appreciation for fibre. My dad would add oat bran to everything from chili to cookies, and I dreamed about gummy white Wonder Bread as I ate my multi-grain bio bread that crumbled as you sliced it. Low-fibre, sugary cereals were banned in lieu of Shreddies and All-Bran, and burgers were made with (almost) equal amounts extra lean beef, cut with that ever-present bag of dry bran from the health food store. It’s no surprise I also grew up eating beans on a regular basis, and understanding their nutritional value - not only are they packed with fibre, but with protein, vitamins and minerals, and it’s always better to get those from a food source than a supplement. In recent years, I’ve wondered why beans aren’t as big a part of our daily diets as they are in most other countries; beans are a huge Canadian crop, good for the soil and thus the farmers (legumes fix the nitrates in soil, making it healthier and ideal for crop rotation), and don’t have to travel far from field to plate. I wondered this aloud one weekend when visiting my best friend since Junior High, Sue Duncan, with whom I’ve shared a lifelong passion for cooking, and who now lives on the top of a mountain in BC. She agreed. We discussed - with the same enthusiasm our husbands had for the speed skiing they were watching on TV in the next room - how we’d like to boost the beans in our own daily meals. How between their versatility, price point, convenience (canned or dried, they sit on your shelf until you’re ready for them) and environmental and nutritional benefits, they could be considered the world’s most perfect food. And how crazy it was that with our increasingly fancy and technology-driven kitchens, we’re still intimidated - and inconvenienced - by the idea of soaking a bean. And how most of the legume-friendly cookbooks out there were very dated, written in the seventies, and generally vegetarian. (While we love our beans, we also love our meat - and the two go very well together.)
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It occurred to us that others might appreciate knowing what to do with a lowly bean besides turn it into chili or baked beans, and so we pitched the idea to Whitecap Books in Vancouver. Within weeks we had a contract - the topic was timely, it seemed, and would appeal to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, as well as those concerned with the environmental impact of our daily dinners. Canadians are paying attention to what grows locally, and are making an effort to boost nutrients and fibre. The first printing sold out in under 2 weeks, and at the time this magazine went to press, it had already gone to its fourth printing. Canadians, it seems, want to be full of beans too.
Apricot-Almond Breakfast Biscotti This biscotti is crisp, but not hard on the teeth; if you prefer it soft, bake the log of dough only once, then slice and serve it without the second baking. (It is, after all, baked through at that point.) Use this as a basic canvas for any type of biscotti you want to make - grate orange or lemon zest into the bean mixture to flavour the dough, or add cinnamon or other spices to the dry ingredients. Additions could be nuts, seeds, chopped chocolate, dried fruit - use your imagination. Regardless of what else goes in, you’ll know they already have beans. 435 mL all-purpose flour (or any combination of all-purpose and whole wheat) 250 mL oats 185 mL sugar, white or brown 5 mL baking powder 1 mL salt 60 mL butter 250 mL canned white beans, rinsed and drained (half a 540 mL can) 60 mL orange juice or milk 60 mL canola oil 1 large egg 10 mL vanilla (or any flavoured extract) 125-250 mL sliced or slivered almonds 125 mL chopped dried apricots coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the
flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt; pulse until the oats are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse to blend. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. 2. Put the beans, juice, oil, egg and vanilla into the food processor and pulse until smooth; add to the dry ingredients along with the almonds and apricots, or whatever additions you would like to add. Stir just until the dough comes together. 3. Shape the dough into a log on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (the dough will be a bit sticky, dampening your hands helps), flattening it so that it’s about 15” long and 4” wide. (Divide the dough into two if it doesn’t fit on your cookie sheet, or make longer, thinner logs for smaller biscotti.) If you like, sprinkle the top with coarse sugar. 4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then cut on a slight diagonal into 1/2” thick slices using a serrated knife. Stand the biscotti upright on the baking sheet, spacing them about 1/2” apart, and bake for another 30 minutes, until crisp and dry. Makes about 2 dozen biscotti.
Reprinted with permission from Spilling the Beans, by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan (Whitecap Books)
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Homemade Falafel Hummus has been a bit of a staple in both our houses - it’s so easy to blitz together in the food processor with a can of chickpeas. Turns out, the process is almost the same to make falafel - you just don’t want to go quite as far and turn your ingredients into a dip. Feel free to adjust ingredients here, or try adding new stuff, just as you would with hummus. If there are leftovers, use them to stuff your next roasted chicken.
500 mL canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 x 540 mL can) 1 small onion, chopped 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled 30 mL chopped fresh parsley 30 mL chopped fresh cilantro 5 mL cumin 1 mL salt pinch dried chili flakes 60 mL all-purpose or whole wheat flour (plus extra, if needed) 5 mL baking powder canola oil, for frying
1. Put the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt and chili flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined but still chunky. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse until you have a soft mixture that you can roll into balls without sticking to your hands. (Add another spoonful or so of flour, if you need to.) 2. Roll the dough into meatball-sized balls, and if you like, flatten each into a little patty. I like doing this for maximum surface area, which equals more crunch. (They also cook through more quickly as the distance between the middle to the exterior is shorter.) 3. In a shallow pot or skillet, heat about 1/2-inch of canola oil until it’s hot but not smoking. Test it with a bit of falafel mixture or a scrap of bread – the oil should bubble up around it. Cook the falafel for a few minutes per side, without crowding the pan (which will cool down the oil), until they’re nicely golden. (You could get away with using just a skiff of oil – if you do this, best to leave the falafels round, so that you can roll them around in the pan to brown all sides.) Transfer to paper towels. Serve in pitas with tzatziki, chopped cucumber, purple onion and tomato. Makes about 20 falafel balls or patties.
Adapted from The Foods of Israel Today. Reprinted with permission from Spilling the Beans, by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan (Whitecap Books)
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by Leonard Brown
Early Days June is a month of maturity
in the garden from the germination to the new growth.
Vegetables and herbs that have been started inside or bought, should be well on their way to thriving, whether in pots on balconies or in gardens, hopefully well-nourished with good compost. Your eventual produce yield can be enhanced by ensuring healthy crop growth. When you first plant seeds, the mind focuses on quantity. However, thinning out of germinated seedlings is vital to ensure that each plant has ample room for root and plant growth. This will avoid overcrowding, which would result in smaller, immature crops. It is difficult to picture a mature plant when you see first growth and the available soil size. Pest control is important too. Fruit and vegetables are susceptible to infestation by insects, beetles, worms, spider mites and aphids, and also to predators such as rabbits, squirrels and birds. To avoid the use of insecticides and chemicals, try to select resistant plant varieties, and spray with insecticidal soaps. Use physical restraints such as fences, netting and wire mesh to ward off animals and birds. It is always a great idea to re-seed greens throughout the growing season, especially if young shoots are used. This ensures an ongoing supply of fresh produce at different stages of maturity, especially quickly-maturing vegetables. During the pre-harvest months, it is a good idea to prepare for the abundance of fresh produce which will be. If you enjoy bottling and canning, then ensure you have the equipment needed.
Search out recipes and ideas, and clean out pantries and freezers to make room for what will arrive, seemingly all at once. Microgreens are the shoots of salad vegetables such as arugula, Swiss chard, mustard, beetroot, amaranthus etc., picked just after the first leaves have developed. They are nutritious, easy to grow outside, on the balcony or even inside by the window, and can be used as attractive additions to salads and other dishes – it’s all up to your imagination. Try a combination of microgreens and sprouts, which are young shoots eaten as a vegetable, especially the shoots of alfalfa, mung beans, or soybeans, and remember that these can be grown inside through the year, adding a touch of “fresh greenery” even in the dullest winter months. Young herbs can still be minimally harvested for culinary use by snipping off growing shoots, and encouraging side shoot development. Dill shoots are great for fish dishes. Different genus’ of mint grow prolifically as bounding perennials. Mint leaves can be harvested anytime and used in so many ways, either fresh or dried, in teas, sauces and purees. I enjoy making mint sauce by combining with either vinegar or syrup, and bottling as a preserve for use with lamb dishes. I like to make herb ice cubes, which can be added as needed when cooking various dishes. Water well, mulch with organic matter and enjoy!
Strictly for the
Passion by Dan Leahul photography by Mark Bilodeau & Cory knibutat
It’s an unusually raucous crowd in the café and I’m craning my
neck over the table to hear Chef Robert Fedosoff, straining my ears to follow
his every word. What he’s saying is captivating in the most literal sense: stories of worldly travel, of swearing and sweating in chaotic kitchens, philosophies of food, flavour and human nature. And surprisingly, the soft-spoken chef is a bit hesitant to toot his own horn. For three years Robert has, quietly, although not without acclaim, been crafting classic Italian dishes with his own worldly flair in Bridgeland’s Il Sogno. But in an era of the celebrity chef, where splashy menus and slick marketing campaigns can trump classic culinary skills, Robert is a chef who sticks by the refreshingly old-school canon: speak softly and carry a sharp knife. “Fame as a chef has never been a driving force with me,” he says. “It crosses every chef’s mind when you watch the Food Network and see $120 cookbooks for sale, but for myself, I would rather concentrate on loving what I do. “I don’t choose to fly under the radar, but I do choose not to change the fact.” With a culinary career spanning nearly a dozen restaurants across three continents, from Britain to Brittany, Robert, quite unwittingly, hasn’t a boastful bone is his body. And like every great chef before him, he attributes his success to those from whom he had learned: mentors, masters
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and friends. Le tournage de legumes has become a slight act of contention among chefs today. The practice, quite literally the turning of the vegetables, describes a classic French technique, requiring hours upon hours of practice with a curved paring knife. To tourne a vegetable, usually a potato or carrot, is to pare it down to a football-like shape, with seven sides and blunt ends. The technique ensures uniform cooking and is aesthetically pleasing, but for some, plainly antiquated, with a sole purpose of torturing trainee chefs. For others, however, to tourne is a ticket that can take you around the world. “In some restaurants, you don’t give your resume, instead, they’ll give you a knife,” says Chef Thierry Meret, Robert’s personal mentor. The two met at La Chaumiere, where Thierry was the restaurant’s executive chef and Robert, a recent graduate. After working together for a couple of years, Thierry decided to open his own restaurant in Okotoks, La P’tite Table. He
Papperdelle Carbonara Serves 2
150–200 g dry pasta - or 200–250 g fresh pasta 2 egg yolks Pinch chopped parsley 9 turns on a black pepper grinder (more or less to taste) Juice of ¼ of a lemon 35 g fine grated parmesan cheese (reserve two good pinches for garnish) 45 g pancetta or slab bacon, fine diced 1 shallot and 1 garlic clove fine diced 400 mL vegetable stock 50mL white wine Salt to taste
remembers fondly when Robert approached him to apprentice at the new restaurant. “He didn’t hesitate for a second. As soon as I announced my intentions, he was asking if he could come,” he says. “I told him that I’m taking a huge chance with it, I’m sinking my own boat. But that didn’t matter. For two years he came down everyday from northwest Calgary, in stormy weather, in fine weather, for days long and days short. He never failed me. I can say with certainty that the success of the restaurant was due to his daily contributions.” After two years, Robert was awarded a plane ticket to Paris, to stay with Thierry’s family and to revel in the throbbing heart of French cuisine. When he returned, Thierry says, Robert was a changed man. It was his introduction to another world of flavours and ingredients, and he would never forget it. “That’s when I told him it’s time to move on. There’s nothing more I can teach you. You need to learn from other chefs. It’s time you put your neck out there,” he says. Before he sent him packing, however, Thierry decided to teach Robert one last thing, how to tourne. “It’s an important skill. Most chefs going into school today only want to be on Iron Chef and want to skip the hard work and practice. They don’t know the basic skills,” he says. “I told Robert that this is a skill for life, this can take you anywhere.” After mastering the technique, Robert, armed with only
1. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon or pancetta until it begins to crisp up. Add chopped garlic and shallots and reduce the heat to low, cook until translucent. 2. When translucent, deglaze the pan with white wine and bring back to a boil. Once the alcohol has cooked off, add 200 mL of the vegetable stock and remove from heat. 3. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, and add to the bacon in the pan. 4. With the pan off the heat, add the cheese, pepper, and egg yolk to the pasta and mix. 5. Heat on low-to-medium and stir continuously until the liquid thickens. It is very important not to allow the sauce to boil or the egg yolks will scramble. If the sauce becomes too thick, add the remaining vegetable stock a little at a time, until a sauce consistency is reached. 6. Remove the pasta from the heat and add the chopped parsley, lemon juice and additional salt to taste. Toss again and serve immediately.
Try pairing with Papperdelle Carbonara: Volpaia ‘Prelius’ Vermentino, Tuscany, $16.25 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina, Campania, $20.00 Birrificio Via Emilia Emilia-Romagna, 330mL, $5.75
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a backpack, upped and moved to Rotorua, New Zealand, a small lakeside city on the north island. During a trial for a chef’s position in the Royal Lakeside Novotel Restaurant, the applicants were given a knife and asked to cut some vegetables. Out of the group, Robert was the only one who had learned the finicky art of tournage, and in turn, was the only one offered a job. “That’s the kind of person Robert is, it’s all about respect. He’s always willing to learn, to improve his skills. Humble chefs are the most skillful chefs,” Thierry adds. “You don’t find his type anymore.” The six-month stint in New Zealand had instilled in Robert a sense of wanderlust. Luckily, after returning to Calgary he was placed under the wing of Vince Parkinson, executive chef at the Calgary Golf and Country Club. “Vince was another personal mentor of mine,” says Robert. “His career was that of a great chef: Bocuse d’Or, the Culinary Olympics, member of la Chaine de Rotisseurs. He has always in my mind been the godfather of the Calgary chef scene, with so many great chefs working for him or with him throughout the years.” Vince apprenticed such local star chefs as Michael Dekker, and would not only help Robert hone his skills, but would send him, gracefully, packing as well. He arranged a chef’s position in the prestigious private dining club Mosimann’s in London, UK for Robert. After a year, Mosimann’s executive sous chef, James Newtown-Brown, invited Robert to follow him to London’s Green’s Restaurant, where he spent the next three years. From there, Robert was to spend a further nine months in Vannes, France, at Terriors Restaurant, brought over by sommelier Emmanuel Defever of Fat Duck fame. “The years in London certainly had the greatest impact on my culinary career,” he says. “It was my first introduction to the intensity of the culinary world in a major centre. There were many great chefs and many great egos. Playing the game was as much part of the daily grind as was peeling the onions and potatoes.” In London, Robert was granted an exclusive audience to different cooking techniques from around the world. “London was such a mixture of people with completely different backgrounds, experiences and knowledge all coming together in one place,” he says. “You would learn just by association. Personally, however, it was the existence of a world beyond myself. The realization of insignificance was powerful.” After nearly five years away from home, Robert returned to native soil, where he was warmly ushered into the ranks at Il Sogno, in Bridgeland’s historic de Waal block. The restaurant is one of Calgary’s foremost upscale Italian institutions, recently honoured with a consumer’s choice award for best Italian dining, and has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence four times. Handling the executive chef duties for the past three years, Il Sogno seems to be a natural fit for Robert, where he uses simple ingredients to deliver robust dishes with a contemporary twist. Think braised bison with oxtail ravioli or lamb meatballs with creamy barley. “I like food that is honest. The flavours that last generations are just that, those that have been together
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Ricotta Gnocchi with Sausage and Smoked Paprika Serves 2
Gnocchi: 1 tub full fat ricotta 1 egg 225 mL flour 1. In a food processor combine the ricotta and egg, and blend until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl, add the flour and mix until just incorporated. It should be just dry enough to roll around the bowl without sticking. If more flour is needed add a little at a time being careful not to over mix. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 2. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 6 and roll each piece with both hands to a 1.5 cm diameter log. Cut into 1 cm pieces and gently transfer to a floured tray. Leave in the fridge or freeze. 1-2 spicy Italian style sausage 1 shallot finely diced 1 clove of garlic finely diced 6 cherry tomatoes, halved 2 basil leaves, finely chopped 5 mL smoked paprika 50 g butter, diced 100 mL vegetable stock 20 g parmesan or other hard cheese, finely grated 30 mL white wine salt lemon juice 1. Remove the casings from the sausage and sauté in a large pan over medium heat. As the fat renders, break apart the meat and cook through but don’t brown. When cooked, drain away excess fat leaving enough to sauté the garlic and shallots. 2. Once the garlic and shallots are translucent add tomatoes and smoked paprika. Sauté 1 minute over medium heat, taking care not to scorch the paprika. 3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and vegetable stock and bring back to a boil. Add the basil and remove from the heat. 4. In a large pot, bring salted water to a strong boil and add the gnocchi. Once they float, cook for 2 minutes. Drain and add to the sauté pan. 5. Return the pan to a high heat and bring to a simmer. Toss, remove from the heat, add the butter and toss until melted. Add the cheese, and lemon juice and salt to taste. This dish would pair beautifully with: Adalia Valpolicella, Veneto, $18.50 Foradori Teroldego, Trentino-Alto Adige, $30.99 Birrificio Del Ducato Nuova Mattinam, from Emilia-Romagna, 330 mL, $5.90
for ages,” he says. “Embedded in us are things that are passed down from people we love, mothers, fathers, grandparents. “Food is the easiest of things to share and therefore the one we accept first in life.” Take Il Sogno’s exquisite pappardelle carbonara for example (recipe on Pg.47). Broad fettuccine is slathered in a rich, creamy sauce, made, ironically, without cream. Instead, the sauce is thickened with cheese and egg yolk, brought to just the right temperature to thicken without scrambling the yolks. Simple. Italian. Delicious. “It isn’t always the prettiest and flashiest food that gets us really excited, it’s sometimes the basic and everyday,” he says. “There is nothing simpler than that. Respect the flavours.” For someone who values respect, it’s no surprise that Robert is still improving himself as a chef by learning from others. Twice a week, he is given first-hand experience in pasta making with a tutor most chefs can only dream of: a “surly,” southern-Italian grandmother. Assunta, from Calabria, Italy, has been with Il Sogno since the beginning, and makes all the pasta for the restaurant’s menu. “She is our work horse,” says Robert. “She’s such a gift, like everyone’s little Italian grandma - hard as nails and a harder worker than someone a third of her age. Most importantly, she’ll never hesitate to tell you if something ‘just isn’t good enough.’ If your stuffing’s not up to snuff, she’ll let you know.” “That just Robert’s way,” says Thierry Meret. “He’s got a lot of skill, but when he walks into a new kitchen, he doesn’t want to show off. Instead, he asks ‘how do you want me to do this?’ He’s always willing to adapt himself.”
Calgary’s Top “Amateur” Chef We’re offering you the chance to have your recipe included on Il Sogno’s menu! Send us your best Italian recipe for a chance to win the opportunity of having your dish featured and accredited to you on Il Sogno’s new menu! Wow, talk about bragging rights! Go to www.culinairemagazine.ca now, and click on Contests for full details and to enter your recipe for this special competition with Il Sogno and Chef Robert Fedosoff.
We can’t wait to hear from you!
Memory Pease Pudding by Jeff Collins, retired Calgary broadcaster and Pease Pudding proselytizer
“Pease Pudding hot...”
For this ex-pat Newfoundlander, Pease Pudding was the mark of a festive occasion. Pease Pudding was Christmas or New Year’s, or at the very least, an indication that Jigg’s Dinner was on the menu for Sunday supper. My mom made great Pease Pudding. Note the past tense. She’s still around, hale and hearty, in her mid-eighties. However, she confessed to me over the phone recently, that she no longer makes Pease Pudding from scratch. Who could blame her? Pease Pudding takes very little work, but lots and lots of time. To turn dry yellow split peas into that smooth, delectable putty, takes ages. Most recipes call for filling a pudding bag with split peas, then submerging it in boiling water for at least two hours before even thinking of turning it out of the bag into a bowl and mixing in the mandatory salt, pepper and butter. Lots and lots of butter.
“Pease Pudding cold...” In Newfoundland, Pease Pudding came in tandem with a Jigg’s Dinner, what you may know as “Corned Beef and Cabbage”. The salt-cured naval beef went into the pot first, often after days of soaking in cold fresh water to take away a wee bit of that salty tang. Then in went the bag of split peas. The two bubbled along merrily for a couple of hours, before the cook added wedges of cabbage, carrots, potatoes and turnip, filling the kitchen with a savoury smell that’s hard to describe but will bring any Newfoundlander, exiled in Calgary, to tears, if he hasn’t been “home” for a while. Leftovers, in the rare circumstance that there were any, would be rendered into a delicacy from a neighbour. The best pea soup is not to be found in Quebec, but in a Newfoundland kitchen after leftovers from a Jigg’s Diner provide a resourceful Mom with the makings for it. If you were lucky, or just enterprising enough to raid the fridge the morning after, you might find a few morsels of cold Pease Pudding. No microwave necessary.
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“Pease Pudding in the pot...” Mom’s voice on the phone was filled with laughter. I had called asking for advice on how to make Pease Pudding. My two previous attempts had ended badly. In the first, the yellow split peas stubbornly refused to soften, in the second, I had forgotten them on the stove, and burned the bottom of the pudding bag. “Oh honey”, she said, “don’t go to all that bother. These days when I want a bit of Pease Pudding, I buy a tin of Habitant Pea Soup. I open it, drain it, rinse with a bit of cold water, and put it in a bowl in the microwave for a few minutes. Mash it up with a bit of butter and pepper. And there you go! Pease Pudding!”
“...nine days old.” We live in a too-busy world. A world where the hours needed to boil a bag of yellow split peas are hard to find. Now, in the sad little graveyard of childhood memory lays Pease Pudding. My mother’s son. My brother. The one who showed up only at Christmas, but just in time for dinner. Mom’s trick doesn’t work. I’ve tried it twice and wound up with goop that was more like thick pea soup than simply thin Pease Pudding. I did salvage one morsel of wisdom from the experiment. Perhaps a few tablespoons of condensed pea soup would help restore a bit of Pease Pudding that’s been “in the pot, nine days old.” I hope so. It would restore my somewhat tarnished faith in Mom’s advice.
If The Spirit by Andrew Ferguson
What do vodka, gin and whisky have in common?
They are all spirits distilled from fermented grains. Would it surprise you to learn that all three can be produced from the same distilled spirit?
It surprised me too, even though I hadn’t even considered the question until the answer was staring me in the face. A few years back a colleague and I visited a large Canadian distillery. Having visited more than 50 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland (today that total is closer to 70), I was curious to see what distinguished Canadian distilleries from those of the old country. I must admit I was going into the tour of this Canadian distillery with a rather myopic preconception of what it would be. I was not expecting a well-kept traditional stone building with gleaming copper pot stills and pagoda roofs like the malt distilleries of Scotland, but it hadn’t even occurred to me that the distillery would be so massive and might produce something other than just whisky. Our guide was the distillery’s chief chemist, not Brand Ambassador or Master Distiller as one would expect at Macallan, Glenfarclas or any other of Scotland’s iconic distilleries. The grain was brought in not by truck, but by rail on the distillery’s own rail line. The fermentation tanks were four to five stories high and the column stills just as tall. These differences were striking but not entirely unexpected as most Canadian whisky is produced by a handful of distilleries in very large quantities. The moment of epiphany came when we reached the bottling hall, and noticed that it wasn’t just whisky bottles coming off the line. Vodka, gin, coolers and even tequila were all being bottled. The distillery principally distilled one type of alcohol from corn and used it to produce the base spirit for whiskies, vodkas and gins as well as a base for coolers and
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filler for inexpensive tequilas (the agave spirit only needs to account for 51% by volume). This one enormous distillery only produced one type of spirit, but it was the base component of many different products. Distilled spirits consist of ethyl alcohol, water and impurities. It is these subtle impurities that give individual spirits distinct character: flavour, texture and aroma. Ethanol is produced by fermenting sugars into alcohol, and then distilling that alcohol to refine it. The more the spirit is refined the purer it becomes, shedding water and impurities. The more you refine the spirit, the less flavourful it becomes. Pure ethanol is colourless, tasteless and highly flammable. Bottle your ethyl alcohol straight, or dilute it with water and you have vodka. Add botanicals to your neutral grain spirit and you have gin. Age the spirit in oak, and you have whisk(e)y. What all three of these spirits have in common is that they can be produced from the same grain spirit. Although for our purposes vodka is made from grain, it is also commonly created from potatoes and occasionally fruit. Vodka has been produced for at least the last thousand years in Poland and Russia, with the first documented distillery established in 1174. The name vodka is derived from the Slavic “voda” or low water. Traditional vodkas are full of impurities that give different products their unique flavour profiles. It took until the industrial revolution, and the advent of better equipment and distillation techniques, for purer and more modern styles of vodka to emerge. Traditional vodkas are usually drunk
Moves You neat while the more modern ones, which are less flavourful, are principally used in mixed drinks and cocktails. These more pure, yet blander, vodkas also serve as a good base for creating flavoured vodkas. Gin takes its name from the Dutch or French word for the juniper berry, the spirit’s principal flavouring ingredient, called a botanical. The first gins were essentially vodkas flavoured with juniper and other botanicals and produced for medicinal purposes, mainly to treat stomach ailments and gout by using juniper berries to flavour crude grain spirits. The oldest documentation referring to gin is from the start of the 17th century, though its origins can be traced back further to the Middle Ages. The first recognizable gins emerged in the Netherlands in the mid 1600’s where they became very popular with British sailors and soldiers serving on the continent: the soldiers were drawn to the benefits of taking “Dutch Courage” before going to battle. Its popularity really took off in the England of the 1700’s, when the government, hoping to discourage the importation of spirit, unlicensed gin production and began imposing heavy duties on other imported spirits. By mid-century, six times as much gin was being produced in England as beer. There are a number of different styles of gin produced today, and every brand will have its own recipe calling for specific plants, herbs and fruits in various amounts. The most common botanicals include juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, orange peel and licorice root. How these botanicals are
added to the gin will define the style, which is regulated by European Union law. Basic or Compound Gin is produced by adding flavouring to neutral grain spirit; these gins are not well regarded. London Gin, sometimes called London Dry Gin, is produced by redistilling the neutral grain spirit in the presence of the botanicals. Distilled Gin is very similar to London Gin, save for some technical details involving the distillation. More traditional gins, Juniper-Flavoured Spirit Drinks, also redistill the neutral grain spirit, but in copper pot stills that distill the alcohol at much lower levels of strength and leave behind more impurities. This last style of gin is sometimes matured in oak casks like whisky. The third and final distilled grain spirit, whisk(e)y, is the most diverse and complicated of the three. It is a grain spirit matured in oak barrels that can be made from corn, wheat, rye, barley, or a mix of any of the four. Curiously, wheat and corn lack the enzymes to convert their starches to sugar, and so corn and wheat mashes require a small amount of rye or barley to spark the fermentation. Whisk(e)y, spelt with an “e” in Ireland and America and without in Canada, Scotland and the rest of the world, is a category with more range than any other spirit. There are many different styles produced in countries all over the world: Pot Still, Single Malt, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Rye Whisk(e)y, Blended and on and on. This is in itself a topic for another time, but important to note, that the base spirit is always made from grain!
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Lesser Known Libations
Nearly everyone has heard of Smirnoff, Crown Royal and Bombay, so Andrew Ferguson takes a look at some lesser-known grain spirits. Tito’s Handmade Vodka
No. 3 London Dry Gin
First distilled illicitly for his friends, Tito got tired of the dayto-day grind and, using photos of prohibition-era distilleries, set out to create a premium vodka with a “how hard can it be attitude” on a wish and a prayer. Distilled six times in copper pot stills, Tito’s is made from corn and has a rich, sweet, smooth palate. 750 mL $38 - $42
The proprietary gin of Berry Brothers & Rudd is produced with three fruits (juniper, orange peel and grapefruit peel), three spices (angelica, coriander and cardamom), and makes reference to the firm’s address at 3 St. James Street, London. The palate is citric with dry spicyearthy notes. 750 mL $50 - $53
Victoria Spirits Oaken Gin
This is a clean, smooth and creamy vodka produced from wheat grown in the North of the Netherlands, distilled continuously at a low temperature to prevent caramelizing the sugars, and filtered 5 times in a patented process. I love the sticky rubber grip, which is perfect for practicing your bartending tricks! 750 mL $39 - $42
Pot still gin is rare enough, but this one is matured in oak barrels! The nose is a treat with the rich botanicals reined in by sweet oak. The palate is balanced and rich with mint and vanilla. A mixologist could do wonders with this, but it’s brilliant neat. 375 mL $31 - $35
Left Coast Hemp Vodka Is hemp seed technically a grain? Does it matter? Not a bit, this is fabulous vodka with a soft, sweet slightly oily/nutty palate and a pleasant finish. The hemp seed is left to steep overnight before it is distilled, to allow the oils to come out. 375 mL $27 - $30
Alberta Premium Canadian Rye Whisky
Bernheim Kentucky Wheat Whiskey
Would it surprise you to learn this is the only true rye whisky in Canada, made from 100% unmalted rye? Most other Canadian whiskies are made mostly from corn. The rye grain imparts a powerful oily, sweet, spicy character with dark fruits. This whisky may be inexpensive, but it is very drinkable and so strong it will overpower any intruding Coke! 750 mL $23- $25
This five year old is one of the only straight wheat whiskies in the world, made from soft winter wheat to give it a delicate character. The body is soft but oily like some ryes, but without the dark spice and fruit. It is more toasty, floral and sweet. 750 mL $80 - $83
High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey Curiously there are many more rye whiskies made in the US than Canada, even though Canadian whisky is colloquially called “Rye”. This American rye, distilled in the unlikely state of Utah, is a blend of old (16 Year) and young (6 Year) rye whiskies. The result is a balanced but complex whisky, nutty and chewy with white chocolate sauce and tamed wild spices. 750 mL $62- $70
Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky This soft honeyed single malt is an excellent ambassador for the island of Arran, where it is the sole distillery. The malt is unpeated, meaning there is not a whiff of smoke on the nose or palate, which also shows grassy, citric elements. 700 mL $53 - $55
Cadenhead’s Old Raj Gin Not for the faint of heart, this powerful gin is 55% and has a distinct yellow/green hue from the addition of saffron. The notes of pine and spice make this one of the most interesting and powerful gins around. 700 mL $51 - $55
The Soup Kitchen French Chef, Thierry Meret let us have two of his favourite soup recipes including pasta and lentils. Easy to make and very tasty!
Tomato & Orzo Soup Serves 6-8
Spicy Green Lentil & Chicken Soup Serves 4-6
If tomato is the queen of soups, then orzo is the queen’s “lady in waiting”. Here she elevates her majesty to a higher level by uniting all the flavours in this soup.
This soup is similar to East Indian Dal but with a different spiciness and a stew type of consistency. Great comfort soup on a cool day!
45mL olive oil 2 small onions, finely diced 1 small leek, thoroughly washed and diced (white part only) 2 carrots, diced 15 mL garlic, chopped 30 mL tomato paste 225 mL fresh tomato, diced (or canned diced tomato, drained) 5 mL fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 10 mL fresh basil leaves, finely sliced 2 L vegetable stock 5 mL coarse sea salt A few grinds black pepper 110 mL orzo pasta
45 mL canola oil 2 small chicken breasts (boneless and skinless, thinly sliced) 1 small yellow onion, diced 10 mL green curry powder (or 5 mL of paste) 5 mL Chinese five spice 2 mL ground cardamom A pinch cayenne pepper 10 mL ground cumin 15 mL garlic, peeled and chopped 5 mL ginger, peeled and chopped 450 mL green lentils 1 small red pepper, seeded and finely diced 1 bay leaf 1.25 L chicken stock 10 mL sea salt 5 mL crushed black pepper 15 mL chopped fresh cilantro
1. Gently heat the olive oil in a large pot and cook the onion with salt and pepper without browning, for 5 minutes. 2. Add the leek, garlic and carrot and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft. 3. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes, thyme and basil. 4. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer (avoid boiling!). Gently simmer for 30 minutes until the flavours are fully developed. 5. Add the orzo pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until al dente. Serve immediately.
Chef’s Tip: If you plan to make the soup ahead, cook the orzo in boiling salted water rather than in the soup, mix with a little olive oil and set aside. This prevents the orzo from absorbing too much liquid, which makes the soup thicker and difficult to reheat.
1. Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. When hot, add the sliced chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove the chicken and leave to cool, then refrigerate. 2. Add the diced onion to the pot and cook gently, without browning, for 2 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. 3. Add the green lentils and all the spices (except the bay leaf) and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes on very low heat, and then add the diced red pepper, bay leaf and stock. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. 4. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes until the lentils are soft. 5. Add the cooked chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes. Pour into serving bowls and top with chopped cilantro.
Note: This soup can be served with grilled naan bread and topped with a dollop of sour cream.
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Designing BORGO TRATTORIA by Corinne Keddie
photography by Mark Bilodeau
Coming up with an interesting concept for a restaurant
in a square-box former retail space may seem like a daunting task, but not to designer Sally Healy, “As soon as I walked into the space, I knew 100% what it was going to look like. The concept was ‘family-style trattoria’ and I wanted it to look authentic and permanent, without feeling overly finished.”
The existing space was completely open with blank walls and a low ceiling that opens up to a sunlit two-storey area at the front of the building. The street-level front windows were replaced with Nanowall, a system of doors that fold up along one wall allowing for the interior to open completely to the sidewalk. The top of the windows acts as a datum that runs through the restaurant and aligns other design elements, such as the patterned wood laminate wall paneling that backs several of the seating areas. The bar was placed in the middle, to help divide the cavernous space into more intimate seating areas. There are round heavy turned-wood tables on one side and booth seating on the other. In the front, the seating is open and flexible with oversized steel polyhedral pendants anchoring the voluminous space; while behind it, adjacent to the open kitchen, are long narrow
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communal tables. Each of these areas is unique in design, but all have a warm and cozy feel. “My favourite place to sit is at the back,” says Healy, “even though you might be sharing a table with other people, it feels more intimate. It is dimly lit by these vintage industrial cage lights, which were hard to find.” Indeed sourcing turn-of-thecentury vintage lights was not the only difficulty (they come from New York), getting them to pass Code also proved to be a challenge. The solution was that every light had to be plugged in on the ceiling, so each one is hung at a different length, which adds to the overlying industrial detailing of the space. And while they do not look it, the glossy white tiled columns, complete with old-school coved tile base, along the bar and matching pilasters on the side walls are entirely new, as is the dark coffered ceiling. These types of details create a sense of permanence and provide an air of authenticity. They are used to define the seating areas and to add dimension and architectural interest to the space. The bar itself has thick open wood shelving overhead, suspended from the ceiling by threaded industrial pipes. All the millwork and most of the furniture was designed by
Healy and her partner, Peter Feenstra of Tank Design Studio, who also built all the pieces. The leather banquettes are placed on legs to look more like pieces of furniture and several of the tables and service counters, including the front kitchen line, are all on castors. The attention to detail is remarkable and it was only when I touched the rusted metal legs that I realized that it was actually a paint finish on wood. The choice to use tile, laminate wall paneling, painted concrete floors, and plastic chairs made from recycled pop bottles, recognizes the need for durability in a restaurant setting. This is why an antiqued white Carrara marble (a porous material that can stain) might seem like an odd choice for the bar counter top, but Sally “wanted it to patina and develop a well-used quality over time; it makes people more comfortable when everything is not perfect.” The juxtaposition of finishes, textures and styles is something that can be found in many of Healy’s and Feenstra’s projects and often makes them unique, sometimes even quirky. “Calgary lacks character in much of its building,” says Healy, “but I feel that we need to design things to feed the soul.”
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That’s Using Your
Noodle! by Stephanie Arsenault
While talking all things pasta and many things Italian in this issue, we stumbled upon Arthur Schwartz and his Pasta Lovers Diet. It’s not often those words are found together in the same sentence, so Stephanie Arsenault delved deeper to find out more.
For Arthur Schwartz, a New York City-based radio host,
restaurant critic, writer, editor, teacher, and cookbook author, food is more than just sustenance; it’s a way of life. In fact, the New York Times Magazine once referred to him as “a walking Google of food and restaurant knowledge.” So what does someone considered to be an authority on food do when he thinks a new regimen is in order? He looks to Italy for inspiration. He found it in Erminia Alita (a kitchen assistant in his culinary program in Seliano, near Naples in Southern Italy), and her sister, Annetta. Both girls lost a total of 70 pounds in just seven months by partaking in the “Pasta Lover’s Diet” – a program, developed by a local nutritionist, that involves eating pasta every day. Looking to lose some weight, Schwartz gave it a shot. “I am a fat guy. I have always been fat, except for a period in my 20s, then again in my 30s and then again in my 40s. I am now 65.” Upon first glance, the diet resembles a bit of a fad – with an ‘eat this at that time’ type of schedule. The plan, however, is essentially the same as the Mediterranean diet, with emphasis on a high intake of green vegetables, fatty fish (such as mackerel, sardines, and anchovies), whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruit, and cold-pressed extravirgin olive oil. So far, Schwartz has nothing but positive things to say about the diet, “I like this diet because it is culturally Southern Italian - the Mediterranean diet - and it allows all the foods I love to eat, the way I love to eat them.” He says it’s easy to follow because he eats at home most of the time, but can go out a couple times a week for meals like sushi and Neapolitan-style pizza. Since starting the diet, Schwartz has seen results, but not dramatic ones. He’s well aware that there’s no quick fix or magic solution to weight loss. “Balance, moderation, exercise - that’s what’s sane.” As for his cooking school in Italy, he’s taking a little hiatus. “I used to run the program three or four times a year, for the last 10 years. I am taking this year off. I needed a break,” Schwartz said, “plus I needed to see some other parts of the world.” During this time off, he is also writing a book on the Pasta Lover’s Diet. For more information on Schwartz’s Pasta Lovers Diet, his books, cooking programs, and his cooking school in Italy, visit his website: www.thefoodmaven.com Be sure to visit www.culinairemagazine.ca for two delectable recipes from the Pasta Lovers Diet.
My Pizza Jim Lahey Clarkson Potter/Publishers 2012
reviewed by Karen Miller
Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC fame is known for his no knead bread recipe copied and adapted by many. His no knead pizza dough recipe is the same easy straightforward approach to something many find daunting. The recipe produces a great tangy tasting dough that lives up to the promised ease. Taking innovation one step further, his method of cooking pizza also takes a new approach. The cooking requires a little more attention, but if instructions are followed and you have a good smoke detector, produces an excellent result. His toppings have creative license (“Birds Nest pie”) but are well founded in the basics of Italian food and cooking. He believes that Italian cuisine is good at taking ordinary ingredients and making them extraordinary. He is well-informed and a great teacher, inspiring us to explore the freedom pizza allows us. After reading this book I want to have pizza every day!
Sweet Treats from
Sweet Trees story and photo by Brenda Holder
The weather is improving
and we’re still in time to find a few special trees to create some delightful treats!
My grandparents used to collect poplar tree sap to boil into syrup. It has a similar scent to early summer mornings after a rain, when balsam poplar trees give off their beautiful scent. I remember the winter festivals in Jasper as a child, there was maple taffy but my relatives made poplar taffy as well. So this time of year reminds me of festivals and fun, and the smell of the poplar trees brings me right back there. Less well known than maple, the syrup of the poplar tree has a distinct flavour that is amazing on pancakes and as a base to make taffy. These sweet treats were very popular after a long winter and kept spirits up in anticipation of a celebration! March is the ideal time to tap trees, but you can tap into June too. You can make syrup from birch (and many other trees), but I always think of birch beer! The non-alcoholic variety is sweet and similar to root beer, the alcoholic version is drier with an earthier taste. Before you start tapping tress, there are a few important things to know: ● If the tree has buds or is beginning to bud, then it is ● a bit too late and the sap may be bitter. ● It takes a lot of sap to make just a tiny bit of syrup ● When you tap a tree, though you are not harming ● it, you should plug the hole you made. Once you ● have finished, insert a cork or small twig from the ● tree to fill the hole. ● (sometimes these grow into branches – pretty cool!) ● Poplar sap seems easy to make into syrup for me, ● but birch sap can make a pretty hideous concoction ● if you don’t get it quite right. Time, when you tap and ● how long you boil the sap, and temperature, when ● tapping as well as not overheating the sap when ● reducing it, are critical.
Although these can seem daunting, the recipe itself couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is tap a tree, collect the sap, boil, then simmer slowly to reduce the liquid to about 1/100th its original volume. This can take a lot of time and a lot of sap to get even half a litre, but it is fun, healthy and definitely worth it! And tapping the tree? With a knife, puncture the tree and place a hollow tube into the hole to drain the sap into a collecting bucket. It helps to use a screen to prevent insects and debris from falling into the bucket as well. Leave it overnight and check how much sap you have collected in the morning. Usually it will be several days before you have enough to work with. These trees are super diverse in the different types of food we can collect from them as well as ingredients for making beer and pancakes. We can even get baking powder and yeast, which we’ll save for a later discussion! If it’s too late and the sap is becoming bitter, the catkins of the poplar tree are high in protein and make a unique cereal to eat. Indian ice cream is made by adding them to buffalo berries along with a little sweet sap, and shaken into a frothy drink. The inner bark of these trees, known as “cotton woods” for their fluffy catkins, is very sweet to eat and even in June it’s still obtainable and packed with nutrition. It helps relives pain because of the salicins it contains. My word of caution though, if you are allergic to aspirin, then these trees, their barks, saps and medicines must be avoided (that includes willow).
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photograph used with kind thanks to Barone Ricasoli S.p.A, Tuscany, Italy
And while we’re talking pasta.....
by Tom Firth
It is nearly impossible
to talk about Italian wine without talking about sangiovese.
Sure, we could mention primitivo, moscato, nebbiolo, but it’s the never humble sangiovese serving as the flagship wine grape of Italy. Think about it, the stereotypical Italian restaurant of TV and film. Red and white checkered tablecloth, mustachioed chef, and the flickering white candle in the straw covered bottle. Perhaps your mind is holding an image of the spaghetti scene in Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” too. That once common straw-covered bottle (fittingly called a fiasco, by the way) held the fine Italian wine from Chianti. Chianti is part of Tuscany, which has a strong and proud tradition of sangiovese-based wines. Many European wine-producing regions until very recently didn’t bother to put the grapes on the label, meaning
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that most North American consumers of wine were either expected to know the grapes comprising the wine inside the bottle or just be content in knowing that the wine came from a specific region. So, you may be a fan of sangiovese, and not even know it. Sangiovese (which is pronounced as San-gee-oh-VAY-zee) was first mentioned in the Italian wine scene around the early 1700’s in Tuscany as a cross between two other grape types that you will probably never be quizzed about nor ever hear mentioned in conversation. As early as the 1730’s it was noted
Tom’s Recommendations Sandhill Small Lots 2009 Sangiovese
(Canada) The Small Lot program is used at Sandhill to experiment with some unusual varieties in the Okanagan, such as barbera, petit verdot, and sangiovese. Dried berry fruit, expressive acids and some firm tannins pair very well with game meats, homemade meatballs, and cheese. Around $30
Frescobaldi 2009 Rèmole
(Italy) This excellent value is easy drinking and a good example of a fruitdriven Italian red. Cherry fruit, a little spice, and some food-friendly acid and tannins make this a nice house wine or everyday bottle to have on hand. Around $11
Seghesio 2008 Sangiovese
(United States) The Seghesio family is well known for their zinfandel, but this is a top quality sangiovese coming out of the States. Great, slightly lean fruit, some generous spice, and some zingy acids. Drink with tomato-based sauces, bison burgers, or a hearty lasagna. Around $31
that by itself, sangiovese could make a wine with a lot of acid and a lot of tannin. Blending was the answer for winemakers dealing with some of the drawbacks of sangiovese and for centuries, sangiovese was blended with other grapes such as canaiolo. The standards were set for the proportions of grapes typically found in Chianti in the 1870’s by Bettino Ricasoli (the Ricasoli wine estate is one of the oldest family-run companies in the world, established in 1141). Sangiovese, while still frequently blended, it is commonly blended these days with the more “international” grapes such as merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It’s hard to talk about sangiovese without mentioning the “Super Tuscan”. These wines appeared not that long ago, and defied conventional winemaking practices in Tuscany. They contained higher proportions of grapes other than sangiovese and as a result, weren’t eligible to be labeled as Chianti, or be labeled under the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) classifications. These rule-breaking wines were essentially classified as the lowest tier of Italian wine (vino da tavola) despite the high prices and rave reviews, and were changing the face of Tuscan wines on the international scene as consumers sought out these “Super Tuscans” such as Sassicaia and Tignanello. After a few years of looking foolish, the classifications were changed with the addition of a new classification, Indicazione Geographica Tipica (IGT) being created in 1992. This “Indication of Geographic Typicity” means that the wine is representative of its geographical origin and is in general used for wines using non-traditional blends such as
Isole E Olena Chianti Classico
(Italy) A beautiful expression of modern Chianti Classico, clean cherry fruit, a bit of tarriness and a good amount of spice. An excellent match with meat sauces or even a prime rib. Around $31
San Felice 2005 Brunello di Montalcino Campogiovanni
(Italy) Made from 100% sangiovese, many consider Brunello di Montalcino to be the finest expression of the grape. Powerful, ageworthy, and delicious. Cellar a further 10 years if desired, or decant and drink with a robust dish. Around $57
the now-famous Super Tuscan moniker. Sangiovese is a thin-skinned grape that tends to ripen late, making it a tricky grape to grow well in less than optimal conditions such as damp harvests or early frosts. This hasn’t stopped producers around the world from experimenting with sangiovese and a number of good examples can be found from Australia to the USA and some are even produced right in our backyard wine region, the sunny Okanagan. Most sangiovesebased wines available in Alberta are released ready to drink, but many (especially the finer, more expensive offerings) can be cellared with good results. If you are investing in bottles of sangiovese for the future, the best thing is to talk to the staff where you buy your wine to get recommendations for how long to cellar or the ideal time to start thinking about consuming your wine. Pairing sangiovese with food is surprisingly easy, its high acids and generally tannic nature is simple to pair with higher acid and protein rich foods. If you are still stuck, start thinking about tomato-based pasta sauces, with great parmesan or ricotta cheese, meatballs, game or cured meats, or even a nice t-bone steak. Sangiovese is a natural match with Italian cuisine from a no-fuss Tuesday night spaghetti dinner at home to a romantic evening at one of Calgary’s many excellent Italian restaurants. Sangiovese does tend to prefer those red or rosé sauces rather than white sauces though, and can be a poor choice with lighter seafood or shellfish dishes, and if pasta isn’t your thing, it goes well with a variety of game meats or barbecue options.
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Just Desserts by Chef Marnie Fudge
photos by Chef Thierry Meret
Our feature ingredients of pasta, rice, grains and legumes
aren’t solely for use in savoury dishes. Dessert and pastry chef, Marnie Fudge, shows us that they can happily be used to create delicious and innovative dishes for after a meal.
Black Bean Brownies
Crackle-Top Peanut Butter Cookies
Not all gluten-free baking is out of necessity. The texture of the starch from the beans gives these brownies a velvety smoothness that regular wheat flour cannot achieve. Wait until you’re asked for thirds before you reveal the magic ingredient!
The peanut is in many ways the kingpin of legumes. It grows in the ground just like its sister “soy bean”. I have prepared and sampled many peanut butter cookies, but none of them have ever come close to the ones my mom used to make. I had always assumed that it was the flavour of nostalgia I could taste, but on studying the ingredients, it is the saltiness of these cookies that makes them so perfect.
Makes one 9x9 inch pan
225 mL 65 g 120 mL 2 3 mL 150 mL 1-2 mL 15 mL
canned black beans, drained dark chocolate, bittersweet 65% or higher butter, unsalted eggs at room temperature salt sugar vanilla strong coffee
1. Purée black beans into a fine paste with a potato ricer or in a food processor. 2. Combine the butter with the chocolate and heat, stirring regularly, until chocolate is just melted. 3. Remove from heat, add the bean purée and remaining ingredients, stirring until smoothly incorporated. 4. Pour into a 9x9 Pyrex baking dish, and place this dish into a larger ovenproof pan, then fill halfway up the sides with hot water. This insulates the edges of the brownie from the heat so it doesn’t overbake while waiting for the middle to cook. 5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 325º F for 55 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.
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Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies
175 mL 175 mL 175 mL 1 175 mL 5 mL 400 mL 3 mL 3 mL 3 mL
salted butter sugar brown sugar, packed egg, slightly beaten peanut butter, crunchy or smooth vanilla all-purpose flour baking soda salt granulated sugar
1. Mix all ingredients together to form a dough and chill for 20 to 30 minutes. 2. Form rounded teaspoons of the dough into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Using a fork, criss cross the tops of the cookies by pressing down at 90 degrees, to make a grid pattern. 3. Bake in a 375º F oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 - 12 minutes, until brown.
Cinnamon Maple Wild Rice Pudding
Chocolate Pasta with Spiced Strawberry Compote
Serve this versatile recipe warm in cool weather or chilled in the summer. Dried fruit such as cranberries or slivers of apricots can be added for extra flavour and colour.
To cook the wild rice: 75 mL wild rice 450 mL water 3 mL nutmeg cinnamon stick, 1 per serving star anise, 1 per serving Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes. Add more water if needed. The grains will be split open and tender to the bite. Drain, remove the whole spices and set aside. To cook the arborio rice: 75 mL arborio rice 550 mL whole milk Place the rice and milk in a heavy 2 L pot and bring to a simmer. Stir regularly to develop a creamy texture and to prevent sticking. When the rice is tender (about 20 mins), remove from the heat and reserve. To finish: 5 75 mL 3 mL 3 mL 100 mL
large egg yolks maple syrup vanilla extract, ½ scraped vanilla bean cinnamon, ground almonds, toasted and chopped
1. Whisk the yolks, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon together. Beat the mixture into the hot arborio rice and stir in the wild rice. 2. Put the mixture back on the stove on low heat; stir constantly until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Do not boil. 3. Divide the mixture between 8 bowls and serve hot or cold topped with almonds.
This really isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Chocolate pasta is regularly seen in Italy and in Germany (“Schokonudeln”). It’s very simple to make and an interesting twist on dessert. Pasta Dough: 330 mL flour, all purpose 60 mL semolina 30 mL icing sugar 15 mL cocoa powder 5 mL salt 2 eggs 40 g dark chocolate (finely chopped) 30–40 mL water
Spiced Strawberry Compote: 450 mL fresh strawberries (halved or quartered) 30 mL sugar 10 mL balsamic vinegar 3 mL orange zest Pinch of white pepper
1. Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended. 2. In a medium sized bowl, heat the chocolate with the water in a microwave, at 15-second intervals, until melted. 3. With the food processor running, add the eggs one at a time, and then the chocolate mixture. Stop as soon as a ball of dough has formed. 4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes. 5. Mix strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, pepper and orange zest together in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside. 6. If you have a pasta machine, roll out lemon-size portions of dough, and cut as either spaghetti or linguine. The noodles should be lightly floured, or spread out and hung on a pasta drying rack so that they don’t stick to each other. You can also roll the dough by hand using a rolling pin on a floured work surface. Start from the middle, flipping occasionally, and flouring as necessary to prevent sticking. Keep on rolling until you have a sheet that’s almost transparent, then using a sharp knife, cut into thin strips. Pasta will double in thickness when cooked, so the thinner the better! 7. To cook the pasta, place it in boiling water and let simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and serve immediately with warm strawberry compote.
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Melon Shiso Mojito From Cuba to Calgary – via Japan
by Linda Garson
Helen Wong has been creating and concocting
cocktails with sake and soshu since opening Blowfish Sushi Lounge five years ago, on 11th Avenue SW. One of her favourite pastimes is to infuse a Japanese influence into a classic drink to come up with her own new twist. Now the weather is warming up, Helen is preparing for summer and tinkering with a very popular cocktail that never tires - the Mojito. Originating in Cuba, Mojitos were originally made from a primitive predecessor of rum, with mint, lime and sugar added to hide the taste, but this harsh spirit was replaced by rum when it became widely available, around 1650. The name probably comes from the Spanish “mojado“ meaning “wet”, or “mojadito” - “a little wet”. Helen’s “Melon Shiso Mojito” (try saying that again after drinking one!) is a refreshing, lip-smacking cocktail, using melon-infused sake (or regular sake and Midori melon liqueur) instead of rum, and shiso leaf to replace the mint. Shiso is a Japanese herb that has a slightly citrus and minty flavour, but also has a distinctive and inviting fragrance. It pairs well with sashimi, and was traditionally utilized by sushi chefs because of its anti-inflammatory properties that counteract any harmful bacteria in the raw fish. It would sit between the rice base and raw fish topping of nigiri sushi, but that’s old school and now, with more civilized and safe ways to prepare raw fish, shiso leaf is no longer necessary. Helen’s version of Mojito is fast reviving shiso’s popularity, even though it can be replaced with either basil or mint, and you can buy it in Asian supermarkets around town - definitely worth searching out to enjoy this delicious cocktail on your patio this summer! To make 1 cocktail: 1 oz Midori Melon Liqueur 2 oz Gekkeikan sake - or 3 oz melon-flavoured sake 1/8 honeydew melon 1 oz fresh lime juice Soda water Shiso leaves or basil or mint leaves
1. Puree the honeydew melon to make about 110 mL 2. In a cocktail glass, add the Midori and sake, or melon-flavoured sake if available, and Shiso leaves, or basil/mint leaves 3. Muddle together to bruise the leaves and release their essential oils 4. Add puréed melon to taste, lime juice, ice cubes (optional) and top up with soda water 5. Decorate with more herb leaves, a slice of lime or lemon, and any other fruits you choose
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