Authentic Italian....closer than you think
Open For Brunch Sundays 9AM-2PM • Fabulous Wine Features Monthly Wine and Beer Seminars Every Wednesday Afternoon Sicilian Style Steaks, Thin Crust Napoletana Style Pizzas and Gourmet Pastas
Brand New Reserve Wine List - Fresh Savoury and Sweet Cocktails Wine Sampling Every Friday Night Pacini, 123 Freeport Blvd NE, Calgary (Deerfoot North, right on Country Hills Blvd, South on Barlow Trail) Phone: 403.930.8080 Mon-Fri: 6am - 11pm Sat-Sun: 7am - 11pm www.pacini.ca/en-ab 2 • November 2012
Les Marmitons The love of food, and curiosity in the kitchen gets the better of these Calgary men.
by Cory Knibutat
Melting Pot Melding the tastes of Africa with the spicing of India. A dining adventure at Safari Grill.
by Adrian Bryksa
Fusion At Its Finest Rogelio Herrera, Executive Chef at Alloy and Candela Lounge, is the master of fusing flavours and textures.
by Fred Malley, CCC
Beer with Spice Makes Everything Nice Exotic, spicy craft beers for the chilly fall season. Some with a kick, some for your meal and some with dessert.
by Meaghan O’Brien and David Nuttall
The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts Single malt whiskies may hog all the attention, but it’s the blends that are driving the bus.
by Andrew Ferguson
culinairemagazine.ca • culinairemagazine.ca •
November 2012/Issue #6
Once Upon A Christmas
Ask The Expert
New Kids On The Block
by Heather Hartmann and Linda Garson
Fork or Finger?
Pairing With Moods
A Sprinkle for Flavour, A Dash for Health
Fusion And The Art Of The Blend: White Wines
How to Make Your Own Spice Blend
The Paprika Connection
by Jocelyn Burgener
The Silk Road
by BJ Oudman
Meals On Wheels - The Naaco Truck by Dan Clapson
Back to Basics
by Corinne Keddie
by Gabriel Hall
24 Chef’s Tips (and Tricks!) by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth 28
Art of a Plate
by Stephanie Arsenault
Soup Kitchen – Fusion Style by Thierry Meret
4 • November 2012
by Vincci Tsui
by Tom Firth
by Heather Kingston
by Natalie Findlay
by Jeff Collins
The Roots of Hakka Cuisine and The Modern Day
Inside Job - The Mixologist
by Fred Malley, CCC
by Gabriel Hall
60 One-Pot Turkey Leftovers Cook-Off by Fred Malley, CCC 62
The Humble Spud (continued)
Fusion Food Traditional Style!
Pickling, Bottling, Canning And Preserving
Not the Bitter End
by Silvia Pikal
by Brenda Holder
by Leonard Brown
by Gabriel Hall
OUR CONTRIBUTORS < LEONARD BROWN
Leonard hails from South Africa, where he was spoiled with exceptional wine, culturally diverse foods and horticultural magnificence. He became a master gardener at the Calgary Zoo in 2002 and soon realized that what was taken for granted in other countries, certainly has to be achieved with hard work, commitment, patience and passion in Calgary. Leonard grows fruits and vegetables in his garden and in a home-constructed greenhouse. He incorporates these in his food, always willing to try new varieties and experiment with combining edibles from the garden with the ingredients he is preparing.
< HEATHER KINGSTON
Heather received her International Sommelier Guild Diploma in November 2007. She has been busy ever since, sharing her passion for wine. Heather is an International Sommelier Guild instructor in Edmonton and Calgary and has her own private wine-tasting company. Heather is the Alberta Liquor Store Association’s Wine and Spirit Educator, delivering education opportunities to the membership. She has recently moved from Edmonton to Calgary and is thrilled to be here.
< GABRIEL HALL
Gabriel Hall is a freelance writer who has travelled to North America, Europe and Asia exploring the food and culture of each region. Often referring to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan as his second third and fourth homes, he spends his gastro-vacations wandering aimlessly about, eating whatever he comes across, drinking whatever bottles are set in front of him and learning about the local, and his own, culinary heritage. Gabriel writes for many publications, focusing on the interplay between food and culture. His site, levoyagegourmand.com is a living archive of his thoughts and experiences.
Cu inaire Editor Linda Garson Design Emily Vance Contributors Stephanie Arsenault Leonard Brown Adrian Bryksa Jocelyn Burgener Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Dan Clapson Jeff Collins Andrew Ferguson Natalie Findlay Tom Firth Gabriel Hall Brenda Holder Corinne Keddie Heather Kingston Cory Knibutat Ingrid Kuenzel Fred Malley Thierry Meret Karen Miller David Nuttall Meaghan O’Brien BJ Oudman Silvia Pikal Vincci Tsui Advertising Joanne Black 403-401-9463
< KAREN MILLER
Karen is a lawyer by trade, and this training gives her a knack for picking apart a recipe or a cookbook. Being a firm believer in keeping it simple, she starts everything with the best ingredients possible. She will seek out farmers markets or food purveyors wherever she goes and all her religious experiences happen there. She proclaims to have been on the “know where your food comes from” bandwagon sooner than most. Karen is always willing to go the extra mile to find a great product or skill and always willing to impart knowledge to absolutely anybody who asks. She is practical but creative, having taught many styles of cooking classes and was part of the Calgary Dishing girls, producing two cookbooks.
< ANDREW FERGUSON
Andrew Ferguson has been at Kensington Wine Market since 2003, where he is the in-house Single Malt Scotch expert and co-manager. Over the last decade Andrew has built Canada’s largest and most interesting collection of single malts and a reputation as one of the country’s most trusted whisky experts. In 2011, he was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, the first Canadian retail expert to be so honoured. In addition to buying and selling single malts, he writes a newsletter, The Malt Messenger, subscribed to by close to 5,000 people. He also conducts tastings, teaches classes and operates a whisky tourism business, fergusonswhiskytours.com. Andrew is also the President of a Calgary whisky club, The Companions of the Quaich.
< MEAGHAN O’BRIEN
Meaghan is a self-proclaimed beer enthusiast with a passion for hunting down and tasting the most unique brews out there. With an extensive background in the food and beverage industry, she can now be found in Marketing, putting her project coordinating skills to work with a talented team of graphic designers. When not at her full time gig she enjoys escaping the city and dining with friends.
For more information about some of our many other talented contributors please visit us online at www.culinairemagazine.ca.
Natalie Findlay 403-771-7757
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR This month we’re all about fusion. It’s seemingly increasingly popular as new and innovative restaurants open their doors and our minds to creative and unusual concepts. Calgary has become such a cosmopolitan city, that it is only natural for our culinary scene to reflect the diversity of its population. We welcome these influences, and in this issue we celebrate them, featuring chefs and restaurants that lead the way in taking an individual and original approach to their menus. We meet the people behind these restaurants too, to discover their driving forces and influences. We’re embracing fusion not only in food but in our beverages too, and taking a closer look at the history, whys and
wherefores of blended wines as well as blended whisky; again many breaking away from the norm to stamp their own personalities on their products. We talk to the people who spend their working days creating new concoctions – the mixologists who dream up new cocktails and drinks for our pleasure, and we learn about a staple of these drinks – bitters, what they are, where they came from and their uses today. As the weather turns colder, our thoughts turn to the warming effects of spice in our food – and drinks too. Our knowledgeable contributors explain the benefits and health-giving properties of spices, and show us step-by-step how to create our own herb and spice blends. Local chefs are on hand as well, to tell us their tips and also their tricks when working with spice, and they share their recipes for delicious spicy dishes that we can easily make at home. In colder weather we’re looking for warming drinks too and our beer specialists have
unearthed a bevy of exotic, exciting and spicy craft beers for us, to liven up a chilly evening. We go behind the scenes in the world of spice to discover the passions of the people who have worked so hard for their success, sourcing and educating us, as well as taking their spicy cuisine on the road, in the first of our new series on the ever-increasing number of food trucks around the city. And we take a peep at the people who share their expertise and those who are curious to learn from them. Thanks so much to all who support Culinaire, our contributors and our advertisers. We’re grateful to them and hope you will show your appreciation to them too. Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
Salutes and Shout Outs It’s such an exciting time for Calgary with all the new openings and talented new chefs arriving in our city. Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts welcomes a new family member with the opening of Bar C. at 340 - 17th Avenue SW. It represents a new direction for the group, known for the respected Cilantro, Divino and Ranche restaurants. We’re looking forward to innovative cocktails, share plates created by Head Chef, Lancelot Monteiro, with meats coming from CRMR’s own game ranch, and draft sparkling wine on tap! And a warm welcome to two new Executive chefs! Chef Frederic Hoffmann has arrived at the Westin Hotel to lead the vast banquet operation and Essence restaurant. Originally from Montreal and trained in classic French cuisine, Chef Hoffmann has worked at some of Toronto’s finest restaurants such as Rosewater, Fifth, and Didier, and was Executive Sous Chef at Le Meridien King Edward. Another new addition to our culinary scene is Chef Ray Bear, Head Chef at Rush Restaurant. From Nova Scotia, the aboriginal chef’s resume reads like a map of Canada. He was
6 • November 2012
Nova Scotia’s Chef and Culinarian of the Year in 2005, led Gio in Halifax to be one of the country’s top ten restaurants, and Executive Chef of Vancouver’s Sanafirn. Congratulations to Model Milk! Not only were they named one of Maclean Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants in Canada last month, they have taken second place in enRoute Magazine’s list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2012. Along with Borgo Trattoria (at ninth place), they are the only two restaurants west of Toronto to make the list! We wish every success to Mhairi O’Donnell of Mission Diner on 4th Street SW, now opening not only for breakfast and lunch, but for dinner too! We tried samples of their dinner menu – you’re going to love it. Great people and a great atmosphere too! And lastly, a shout-out to Cerezo Café and Bar, who have taken over Gardens’ Grace at 1002 Edmonton Trail. Chef Mitsuru Hara is going to be very busy running this lovely little café and still impressing us in the kitchen at Carino’s Bistro too!
Once Upon A Christmas at Heritage Park The charm of an oldfashioned Christmas awaits at Heritage Park Historical Village when Once Upon A Christmas returns on November 24th. This timehonoured tradition is the perfect way to embrace the spirit of the season for Calgarians and visitors of all ages. Start your day with a delicious Christmas breakfast buffet in the elegant Wainwright Hotel. There’s a generous selection of fresh baked goods from Heritage Park’s own bakery, farm fresh egg dishes with a variety of accompaniments, pancakes, French toast and Belgian waffles, cheese platters, and beverages, to set you up for the rest of your old-fashioned Christmas experience at the Historical Village.
Billingsgate Seafood Market Lighthouse Café
STADIUM SHOPPING CENTRE 2B - 1941 Uxbridge Drive N.W. (Corner of 16th Ave & 29 St. N.W.)
You can take a festive horse-drawn wagon ride around the village, stopping in at three historical homes, each uniquely decorated to represent different holiday traditions from 100 years ago. The Park’s roving carolers will warm your spirits, and you can sing Christmas carols in the cozy warmth of the church too. Gingerbread and hot chocolate will warm you to your toes. There’s Christmas model train displays, the holiday play in the Canmore Opera House, free skating on the all-weather rink in Heritage Town Square, and Gasoline Alley Museum to enjoy too. You can even complete your Christmas shopping with one-of-a-kind gifts on Main Street and in the unique shops in the Haskayne Mercantile Block. Children can shop for Mom and Dad in the Kids Only Store, make old-fashioned crafts and visit with Old Saint Nick and his reindeer too. Admission for Once Upon A Christmas is free for Annual Pass holders, $8 + gst for adults, $6 + gst for children aged 3 to 17, and free for children aged 2 and under. Tickets for the breakfast buffet can be pre-purchased in early November, $17.65 for adults, $11.95 for kids, and free for children aged 2 and under. Once Upon A Christmas runs Saturdays and Sundays, November 24 until December 23, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. For more information, call 403-268-8500 or visit www.HeritagePark.ca.
cm culinairemagazine.ca •
Ask Culinaire If you have a question regarding anything related to dining, beverages, events, cooking and ingredients, our experts are here with answers. Visit us at culinairemagazine.ca, click on “Contact Us” and ask away! We hope to hear from you soon!
I love spicy food but I don’t know what wines go best with it to calm the spices and so the flavours don’t clash? A: When we eat spicy food, we need to balance the heat of the spices with the flavours in the dish, and as we’re always pairing to the strongest flavour in a dish, we can choose either to complement the spices, or paradoxically and equally effective, match by contrast. Let’s consider what people would drink in a country such as Malaysia or Indonesia where the food can be very hot and spicy - but for the most part, they don’t take alcohol. What would they serve to drink with your meal? They would serve lime juice, either fresh-pressed or a cordial! The reason is because we need acidity and a little sweetness to cut the heat but leave all the flavour in our spicy dishes – and both lime juice and white wine share the same characteristics in that they are both acidic, and if the wines is chosen carefully, both can be sweet in varying degrees. Ideally, in a dry but very hot dish, such as Thai Chili Prawns, we’d choose an
8 • November 2012
aromatic white wine with a good acidity, such as riesling. As table wines, these range in style from off-dry (Kabinett) which, on the sweetness scale, would be around 02-05; Spätlese, a slightly sweeter wine around 06; and Auslese, with a sweetness level around 07 and upwards. Because these wines are sweet, they are usually lower in alcohol, as the natural fruit sugars have stayed in the juice instead of converting to alcohol. This too helps with spicy food, as alcohol creates heat in the mouth and on the throat, and high alcohol wine can make spicy food seem much hotter than it really is. A general rule of thumb is: The hotter the food, the sweeter the wine. Sparkling wine is generally a good match for spicy food too, served very cold and cleansing the palate between bites. Prosecco, from northern Italy, is a natural, if unexpected, partner to a style of food with which pairing continues to dumbfound many dining enthusiasts. Sushi! It is the ultimate match for the fresh fish and sticky rice – and perfect for when the sushi is dipped in eye-watering wasabi muddled in soy sauce, cutting right
though the heat and keeping all of the flavour. In the same way, a light beer will have exactly the same effect of refreshing and cleansing the palate, and cutting through the heat of the spice. If you’d prefer a red wine with your spicy dishes, look for wines that are low in tannin and not too high in alcohol, as these both will have the effect of amplifying the heat – the opposite to the effect you are trying to achieve. Light-bodied wines such as Beaujolais, and Pinot Noir from cooler climates, will still complement many hot dishes without turning up the heat.
Fork–or–Finger? How we eat can be as interesting as what we eat. By Jocelyn Burgener Fusion cuisine challenges more than just our taste buds. As we experiment with complementary tastes and textures, we become more aware of the cross-cultural experience that is dining. The Western challenge of selecting the right fork seems so simple when compared to learning to use chopsticks, and using your hands is not as simple as it sounds. So put mastering Asian dining etiquette on your ‘to do’ list, because whether planning a trip or checking out a new restaurant, a cursory understanding of traditions and rituals in preparation and serving will add to your dining pleasure. When you look at formal place settings today it is hard to imagine that the first spoons were shells, or bones and chips of wood, in the Paleolithic age. Forks were introduced in England in the early 1600s, and were developed to keep meat from twisting while it was being carved. Knives were also used in prehistoric times. However, as they could also be used as weapons, King Louis XIV of France banned pointed knives from the dinner table during his 17th century reign. Perhaps in anticipation of fusion cuisine, Confucius had had the same prohibition of knives, eleven centuries earlier. Chopsticks are believed to have originated in China over 5,000 years ago. Tree branches were originally used to retrieve food from cooking fires. Smaller portions cooked faster and used less fuel, eliminating the need for knives. Usually made from bamboo, the Kuaizi or “quick little fellows” were used throughout Asia by 500 A.D. Smaller than their Chinese counterparts, Japanese chopsticks are 23-25 cms (9 to 10 inches) in length. Tapered at one end and rounded at the other, the top chopstick pivots on your index finder and thumb, while the bottom one remains stationary between the thumb and middle fingers. In Japanese cuisine, one shares common serving dishes, but
eats from individual bowls. Poking or spearing (“sashi-bashi”) from the serving bowl is considered bad form. Malaysian, Indonesian, and Ethiopian cuisines share a common history in both the ancient spice trade and the tradition of eating with your hands – actually, just your right hand. Cumin, tamari, chili, and black pepper, once traded as currency, grew to become traditional staples. Over the centuries, dishes from these parts of the world were prepared to be eaten with the hands. Rice, meat and vegetables are taken by hand in small mouthfuls and torn bread or banana leaves are used instead of plates. The technique is simple, but like anything new it takes practice. Using only your fingers, scoop a small amount of rice and quickly twist your wrist. Then, bringing your hand to your mouth, just touching your lower lip, use your thumb to push it into your mouth. Take care not to stick your fingers in your mouth. It takes some practice and adds a whole new meaning to the term “finger food”. Fusion continues to influence North American cuisine. Although we can still enjoy traditional place settings, which can include over eight pieces of cutlery, an amazing array of Western appetizers, canapés and hors d’oeuvres are eaten by hand. Whether ribs or mushroom caps, gado-gado, or sushi, a simple napkin, a delicate touch and a little practice are all you need.
THE SILK ROAD 10 • November 2012
Kelci Hind is passionate about spices. “It’s intoxicating, exciting” is how she described her current favourite spice, green cardamom, using its fresh citrus note in both curries and baking. Excitement sparked, she pulled containers of whole pods, seeds and powder to educate me about her world - The Silk Road Spice Merchant. Story and photographs by BJ Oudman Kelci and husband, Colin Leach, are owners of this unique specialty shop in Inglewood. It all began in 2007 with a Christmas gift – an Indian cookbook that encouraged them to source out whole spices, roasting and grinding at home for best flavour. Tired of traversing the city in search of ingredients, Kelci’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. “Beyond the fact that good spices are critical to great food, they looked pretty in the jar - why not a store offering all products in one location, with knowledgeable staff to educate about usage”? And so began their journey down The Silk Road. Kelci’s job as registered nurse and Colin’s in online marketing (with a Masters in English literature – a good asset for the detailed spice descriptions online) gave them security while they spent two years researching and establishing trade relationships. In 2009, the business started in their garage, packaging spices sold through their own comprehensive website. They applied to the Calgary Farmers’ Market and were offered a temporary booth for December 2009 – with two week’s notice to prepare! There was no question of success - they passed the trial with flying colours and continue to operate both at CFM and online. But the dream did not end there.
The vision was always a stand-alone location, and in September 2010 they opened in a quirky space in Ramsay, a stepping-stone to the dream of a full retail store - their current location at 1403a 9th Avenue SE. “We have always wanted to be in this spot; there is a great sense of community among the businesses in Inglewood; everyone works together and supports each other. And all of the great restaurants and food-related shops like ours have made Ninth Avenue a real food-lovers destination; and we live here”! Character and mystique are evident as you pass through the doors.
straight out onto hot food, steam and moisture enter the jar and destroy the spice. No more shaking over a hot pot in my kitchen! Before the spices hit the shelf, they have to be sourced. A few come directly from producer (their saffron comes from a fifth generation, familyrun farm in Spain), but the majority are obtained through a network of carefully sourced spice brokers and specialty wholesalers, imported following guidelines of the Spice
The public area of the store is just the surface of the spice business. To keep spices fresh and turnover quick, only a week’s supply of product is found on the shelf, sold in standard half cup measures (more or less if you need), enough to last generally six to twelve months. “Spices should be used; when you look at what you spend on good food and good wine, they really are the least expensive ingredient, so splurge – don’t hoard them” Kelci advises. And just like wine, she recommends some rules for storage – avoid light, heat, air and moisture. I always wondered why their ground spices have no shaker top Kelci did not hesitate to explain that when spices are shaken culinairemagazine.ca •
as well, but home grinding is strongly encouraged for maximum freshness.
Trade Association and Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure clean, safe spices. The spices are trucked in burlap sacks or boxes and stored in the basement before being prepared for sale. For an idea of volume, most are purchased in fifty pound boxes; in perspective, they sell one hundred pounds of cinnamon every month, but at Christmas this triples. By the way, they stock four types of cinnamon – and all really do taste different! They grind onsite
The Silk Road currently carries over two hundred spices, salts and chiles as well as over seventy hand-made blends. “There really are not many new spices out there for us to source; most of our new products come from blending” Kelci explains. While she runs the business, Colin is the alchemist, using customer requests as well as his own experiments to create a combination of their versions of popular mixes and 100% exclusively Silk Road blends. Staff called to the “lab” give feedback, followed by sampling in cooking before anything hits the shelf. Currently Colin is working on a cocoa chile powder. They also carry a variety of bitters and botanicals to satisfy the growing trend of cocktail lovers. What does the future hold for this duo? When asked about expansion,
Kelci emphasises that core values to The Silk Road’s success are quality and consistent products, customer service and family run/owner managed. She admits people have requested franchises, but is hesitant that will happen - “maybe in the future with very strict guidelines.” But as for their dream, check out www. silkroadspices.ca to follow along on their amazing spice journey. And just maybe learn about Colin’s favourite spice: “Mace is sweet, mild, reminiscent of nutmeg but more subtle. In its whole form, mace is a very unusual shape, sort of like a dried net with patches of red and orange that grinds to a lovely rust-orange. I love its uniqueness and uncommonness.” Calgarians’ demand for inventive and quality food continues to grow and we are fortunate to have merchants who deliver. Me? I’ll be making another trip down The Silk Road soon.
REVIEWS The Flavour Thesaurus Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook by Niki Segnit Bloomsbury $30 This book is for both the uninitiated and the seasoned (pun intended) cook. When I taught cooking classes the most commonly asked question was “how do you know what goes with what”? Some of us are born with, or acquire through a multitude of experiences, an innate sense of flavour combinations, those who are not can use this book! Flavours such as citrusy or spicy, 99 in total, are divided into categories, and pairings within each category are explored. The author recognizes classic pairings but brazenly challenges some (rightfully so in my mind when it comes to chocolate covered strawberries). There are many fascinating historical, social (including favourite selections from restaurants around the world) and literary references throughout, providing insight to the pairing discussions. This is not a traditional cookbook but there are some recipes included to demonstrate successful combinations. Segnit comes to the conclusion there are no set patterns to flavour pairings, no higher authority. Instead we should rely on our experiences and instincts. The Flavour Thesaurus provides not only guidelines but also inspires challenges (chicken and rose anyone?). This book is full of beautiful prose and flavour!
By Karen Miller
12 • November 2012
Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala Douglas & McIntyre $40 There is a reason why people are willing to stand in line outside to get to his food. Vikram Vij. From the very beginning of his now famous restaurant in Vancouver, he has made everyone’s visit special from the start. He realized early on he was to be talking to his customers making sure everyone has something to drink and to nibble on while waiting. Vikram and his wife Meeru are guided by their own interpretation and do not keep to one region of India in particular. Although they started with family recipes eventually they adapted to using locally available meats, including pork, not usually found in Indian cuisine. They were one of the first restaurants to realize the necessity of supporting sustainable fish and seafood programmes. The cookbook approaches it all in the same way, with attention to every detail of cooking and serving Indian cuisine. It provides an introduction to the different essential spices with great cooking directions and variations for the home cook. Meeru encourages us to cook by smell and not to rely heavily on exact measurements of spices. The smells emanating from your kitchen the first time you try a recipe will entice you to do so. The Tomato, Coriander and Ginger soup is as warm and comforting as the version most of you may have grown up with. The infamous lamb popsicles will impress the most exacting guests. This is cooking from the heart and soul of Vij’s.
Meals On Wheels - The Naaco Truck
Story and photographs by Dan Clapson with additional photography by Bryce Meyer
With all of the food that’s available on wheels these days, it’s hard to decipher the uniquely delicious from the plain and average. From pizza, to hotdogs, to waffles, to pho, you can find just about anything on a food truck in Calgary. If you’re craving lunch and looking for something truly one of a kind, then I say hunt down The Naaco Truck for a bite of something out of the ordinary. sought after trucks around town. With competition like Perogy Boyz, Cheezy Bizness and Alley Burger, it’s not an easy task to break ahead of the rest of the crowd and make your mark (there are over forty active food trucks in Calgary right now). Owner/operator Aman Adatia came up with the idea for Naaco while he was spending time in Europe and living in Paris. “We wanted to do something that was unique, innovative and showcased Indian flavours in a way that hadn’t been touched in the past.” Adatia elaborates, “[Naaco] was based on our whole concept of ‘reinventing the Indian wheel’ and that is a mantra we are trying hard to promote. Early on, we made the decision to not stay stagnant, so we removed Butter Chicken from our menu - at the time our most popular dish.” Aman’s ‘mantra’ of keeping things fresh seems to be working well, as Naaco, since its debut in late spring, has quickly become one of the most
What it all comes down to, though, is the complexity of Naaco’s flavours. Aman and his team are able to stay true to traditional Indian flavours while layering upon these classic tastes with modern twists. Yes, you’ll find chickpea fritters and beef vindaloo on the menu, but not exactly in the manner you’d expect them. All of the neo-Indian style dishes served out of this truck are worthy of attention (and tasting). For example, one of the main crowdpleasers, ‘The Panchy Pig’ ($8.50), comes to your hand in the form of a warm naan, filled with pulled pork, saffron glazed onions, fresh sprouts, topped with apricot tarragon chutney and a date tamarind dressing. If that’s not the perfect lunch to enjoy on a brisk autumn day, then I don’t know what is.
“[We’ve] really put a lot of thought into the complete food truck package. Not only have we sourced some of the provinces’ premier products to create some of the best Indian-inspired naacos, but have also managed to keep our staff constantly smiling, and kept an incredibly high level of branding and marketing. Next year, we will take dining on the streets to a whole new level and start to create what we think defines street food culture.” If Naaco continues to evolve and offer our tastebuds something new to experience throughout the year, I expect nothing but success and smooth sailing driving for Aman and his team. Aman and The Naaco Truck will be featured on the new season of Food Network Canada’s popular series, Eat St., airing this spring. For more information about Naaco, complete menu listings and private event bookings, head to thenaacotruck.com or send them a tweet @TheNaacoTruck. culinairemagazine.ca •
Back To Basics
Sharing Knowledge And Passion
By Corinne Keddie
14 â€˘ November 2012
Ok, so I have to admit that I am obsessed with cooking competition shows. Iron Chef, Masterchef, and my favourite, Top Chef, all inspire me to want to be a better cook. I travel far and wide to try the incredible food from many of these star-chefs. I return home even more motivated to make these dishes myself. And I try...but somehow they just do not turn out the same, and I think, will I ever make a perfect risotto? It’s not that I am a bad cook; I just realize that I just do not have all the skills and knowledge that allow me to really flourish as a home cook. Enter the cooking class. Not a new concept certainly, but one that is gaining greater momentum amongst food enthusiasts. What happens when you combine the skills and background of two skilled professional chefs? Cuisine et Chateau is the brainchild of Chefs Thierry Meret and Marnie Fudge, “We believe in the fundamentals of cooking. Understanding food chemistry and discovering the basics leads to a million possibilities with every dish, every day.” Many may know French classically trained Thierry from his days as Executive Chef at La Chaumière or for his own booked-solid restaurant La P’tite Table in
Okotoks. Marnie, a veteran in the food business, having launched a fresh local produce business that supplied to restaurants long before it was in vogue, as well as a line of gourmet food products, is a skilled Pastry Chef. Both Meret and Fudge have spent a number of years teaching culinary students at SAIT. They started Cuisine et Chateau in 2010 as a way, they describe, “to share an infectious passion and knowledge of great food.” Their primary goal has always been educational, whether it is on a culinary tour of France, a corporate team-building event or a private cooking class at your home. Now with their brand new Interactive Culinary Centre finally opening on 10th Avenue NW in Kensington, they are able to offer a wide range of classes and seminars to the public. The space itself, while not large, is carefully designed to be able to allow for many different types of classes and layouts. There is a cooking stage at the front of the room and carefully placed TV screens allow for perfect viewing of the demonstration, even from the street front, where passersby will catch culinairemagazine.ca •
“The idea is to change the way that you look at food and food preparation,
says Fudge. a glimpse of the action. A series of modular counter-height tables with locking castors can be moved around the room as required. There are four full cooking stations with state-of-the-art Wolfe appliances, including convection ovens and induction cook tops. “We wanted to make sure that all of the appliances were residential appliances,” says Meret, “so that participants can take what they have learned and replicate it at home.” While induction cooking dates back to the 1970s, many may not be familiar with the technology. When a stainless steel or iron based cooking vessel is placed in the magnetic field that the cook top element is generating, energy is transferred or “induced” into the metal, thus causing the cookware itself rather than the cooking surface to become hot. And while not everyone may have an induction cook top at home, portable countertop models are readily available for those that are interested. So with quicker cooking times, participants can spend more time cooking and less time waiting for the water to boil. “The idea is to change the way that you look at food and food preparation,” says Fudge. Each class begins with an educational component that presents topics such as cooking techniques and theory, the foundation of food chemistry and where to source the food locally. Each participant also leaves with a recipe book of what they prepared that day and are invited to call or email the chefs if
16 • November 2012
they have questions later on. The goal is to have people excel at home cooking by teaching the fundamentals; to inspire people to be able to go home and experiment and build up on the knowledge that they have learned in the class. Fudge describes how she even has people now sending her the great recipes that they have come up with themselves. Classes are kept small and range from 16 for their handson and demonstration classes to 34 people for some of their tasting events. All classes regardless of topic or type include at least a light meal and a glass of wine. And to make things easier, registration is available on-line. For the hands-on classes, each participant or group prepares all of the courses themselves, rather than each preparing only one course to share with the group, so that there is the opportunity to learn all of the recipes and techniques. The Cuisine et Chateau Interactive Culinary Centre has familiar types of course offerings, such as the Cook and Dine series, which is a hand-on class, while their Learn and Dine series is a demonstration, hands-off class. The Tasting Classes, involve food and wine pairing workshops and there is a series of specialized classes, called Focus On... that highlight a particular product, technique or cooking fundamental. A meat-cutting workshop that features fresh Albert lamb is first on the list, along with Stocks and Sauces, Artisan Breads and Gluten-free Baking, to name a few. And something that is right up my alley, and for those who are not willing to commit to an evening out, there is Lunch in a Rush. This 50 minute themed demonstration class, includes lunch and a glass of wine and still plenty of time to get back to the office! I mention my risotto dilemma to the Chefs, and Thierry talks about a recent dinner party with some friends, where although he had never made risotto out of black Thai rice, understanding the nature of that type of grain allowed him to determine the proper cooking technique to create a wonderful new dish. And this is exactly the type of knowledge they hope to impart to their participants. So you know I will be there and I am certain my perfect risotto is just around the corner.
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A surgeon. A geologist. A dentist. A realtor. Very different men are on these career paths and would seemingly have little else in common other than their ability to be employed - if not for their love of food and curiosity in the kitchen as members of the Calgary chapter of Les Marmitons.
Les Marmitons Story and photography by Cory Knibutat
The men’s organization, founded 35 years ago in Montreal and based on a Swiss-style of cooking club, began as a way for food lovers to learn recipes and techniques from professionally trained chefs invited to impart their wisdom to the group. Les Marmitons, by the way, loosely translates to kitchen boys or chef’s helpers.
“Chefs don’t actually cook, what they do is prepare a menu,” said President of Les Marmitons Calgary, Terry Carr. “The chef may bring a sous chef or a pastry chef or somebody to help or they’ll do it on their own.” “The chef is there to instruct on how to do that,” Carr added. “Perhaps he’ll do a demo
18 • November 2012
on something but he’s not the one to be doing the cooking. We’re to be doing the cooking.”
Every event has four courses and a lot to do, so group members break off into teams to tackle the multiple courses of food for the evening. Either the chef, or his or her sous chefs, instructs each group as they go, but each team will also have a captain. The captain will lead people and organize things to get that course done. If he needs help, the captain will go see the chef or the sous assigned to that team and they will try to answer any questions.
“So when we serve the first course, everyone stops in the kitchen, comes out, sits and eats their course before going back in the kitchen to finish off the next course until we’re all done,” Carr said. “At the end, the captain of the team will get up, explain how we’ve done what we’ve done, and the tricks or the secrets to it.” Carr added. “At the end of the evening, the chef will address the group and he’ll sort of critique each course but they’re generally very friendly. The chefs love doing this.” Italian chefs, French chefs, Canadian chefs, or even pizza chefs have been
Despite the swelling numbers, careful management, and the use of waitlists has meant that the Calgary chapter hasn’t had to turn away new members. There isn’t an elite circle you need to know of, or a secret handshake to master; new members are often invited by friends or coworkers. “You talk with your friends, they find out you belong to a cooking club, and they go ‘Wow, that’s what I like to do,’” Carr said. “They come out as a guest, they sort of take us out for a test drive and if they find it to be something they want to do, then we allow them to be a member.”
invited to teach. The more varied it is, the better. Some notable chefs invited this year include Calgary Petroleum Club Chef Liana Robberecht, Chef Robert Fedosoff of Il Sogno and Chef Shaun Desaulnier from Belgo Brasserie. “It’s about the experience and our passion to cook and to improve our skills,” Carr said. “Friendship through gastronomy is our motto and that’s what we do. They’re (the members) here because they want to learn a new technique, learn a new recipe, interact with professional chefs and enjoy the friendship.” 10 years ago, membership hovered near 20 for the city’s chapter but after a local newspaper article, Les Marmitons saw membership jump over the years to nearly 100 current members, making Calgary the largest chapter in North America. In the past, the group was able to use the SAIT kitchens which could hold up to 50 members at a time, but in recent years the group calls Heritage Park home, using the wonderful facilities at Selkirk Grille, while hosting smaller group of members at a time. From September to May, up to 30 members and 3 guests meet twice a month on the first and third Mondays of the month. Mondays being when Chefs are usually away from their restaurants to begin with. “If you go to one, you’re supposed to go on a waitlist to go on to the second one,” Carr said. “If we don’t get enough people, then you can come.” “The majority of the membership are still working and we get people that travel,” Carr added. “We’ve got members that maybe only come out to two or three events per year because they’re so busy.”
“My friend kind of told me what to expect,” said first-time member Asela Peiris. “I’m into food and I love cooking at home but coming into a setting like this is more about technique and pairing and the prep behind it.” Peiris added: “Usually at home, it’s more of a mish-mash or homestyle cooking, where everything is on one plate. You come here, you appreciate and experience every course on its own.” While the group was established as a place for food enthusiasts to learn about cooking and enjoying each other’s company, in recent years, they’ve become more involved in the community by using their culinary skills to give back to those in need. “We started working with the Calgary Drop-in Centre and chose the last Sunday in January, which is statistically the coldest day of the year, and we raise the money amongst ourselves to purchase all the food for one day at the Calgary Drop-in Centre,” Carr said. “We do all the prep, chopping and cooking of anything and getting everything ready to go,” Carr added. “On the Sunday of our event we start at about 4:30 in the morning. We prepare breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a snack for mid-afternoon and dinner. The meals that we provide are high-end meals like prime rib, and Spanish omelets.” “What we hope is to be their best meal of the year.” Top: Chef Ashish Damle of Belgo Brasserie demonstrates how to debone a duck. Left: Longest-serving Calgary member Sonny Olasker prepares potato gnocchi. Center: Chef Shaun Desaulniers of Belgo Brasserie instructs the group. culinairemagazine.ca •
20 â€˘ November 2012
Melting Pot Safari Grill’s Fusion Of Flavours
Story and photography by Adrian Bryksa Tucked up in the corner of the strangely named Short Pants Plaza in Calgary’s NE, lies a little know gem, a restaurant that melds the tastes of Africa with the spicing of India. Since 2005, Safari Grill has amassed a following of diners hungry for its unique and delicious fusion. Owners Ali and Salima Moledina have combined their respective influences, Africa (more specifically Tanzania) and India, to create dishes representative of the food’s origins. Before coming to Canada in 1988, Ali and his family owned a hotel, where he gained first-hand experience creating home-style Tanzanian dishes. After working for a period of time with his brother, he decided to branch out and start Safari Grill in partnership with his wife. Genuine fusion cuisine is the result of this partnership.
Spicing is a critical component in Tanzanian and Indian dishes, so for Ali and Salima, finding the right spices is crucial. The culinary team at Safari Grill weren’t satisfied with the ones available in North America, so they import the raw materials and roast the spices in-house for that extra layer of authenticity in their food. Additionally, their recently expanded menu includes items named “Kababu ya Libya Street” and “Forodhani Platter” to help diners who have eaten at these places relive the experience of being there. It took the restaurant over seven months to ensure that the menu item names were authentic and representative of food found there. To start, we sampled the “Zanzibar Mix,” or Bhel, as it is known in Tanzania. The dish is a mildly spiced vegetarian
chickpea soup accentuated by an unusual mix of chevdo, a topping consisting of potato chips, crisped rice, peanuts and raisins. The texture contrasts of the chickpeas and the crisps works well, and I would peg the spicing at ‘medium’ in terms of intensity. This is a soup for a cold day, as it will warm you from the inside out. A nice introduction to Safari Grill at $5.00 per serving. After the Bhel came the “Tanzania Bite,” a salad presentation consisting of shredded cabbage, tomato chutney, fried cassava and bite-sized pieces of marinated grilled beef. The texture of the cassava and the spice of the tender beef are contrasted by the crispness of the cabbage and the fresh acidity of the chutney. This dish, priced at $14.50, is one to be shared. culinairemagazine.ca •
We then selected the “Forodhani Platter.” In the evening, the Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town, Tanzania, become a popular street market, where locals and tourists can sample true street cuisine. The platter pays homage to that night market and consists of half a chicken, half a pound of Safari Grill’s famous short ribs, and skewers of chicken, beef and prawn Mishkaki. The ribs are thinly sliced with the bone intact and provide a symphony of African spice. Guests can choose from a variety of spicing levels and flavours, including teriyaki, honey garlic and salt ‘n’ pepper. We ordered the mediumspiced ribs, which had the perfect amount of heat for our palates. These ribs are famous, and Ali and Salima have had guests travel from as far as Toronto to sample them on their reputation alone. Try them with a $7.00 bottle of Kenyan Tusker beer for a new take on a pub favourite. The “Masala Mogo,” fried cassava coated in the restaurant’s signature masala sauce, is a must, and Ali suggested combining it with an order of Bhajya. Bhajya is a large, battered potato chip that sings when slathered with one or all of the four chutneys that accompany it, and it puts North American French fries and gravy and European chips and mayonnaise to shame. The four-chutney mixture also complements the medium-spiced ribs. Experiment and have some fun figuring out what sensations and spice levels suit you. Just be sure to have some water on hand. After gorging ourselves on appetizer platters, we jumped into the main course — Chicken Karai Masala. I have experienced other masala several times in Calgary restaurants, but
22 • November 2012
Safari Grill’s delicate spicing and wonderful flavour is theirs alone. This dish alone is worth the trip. We finished the course with an order of Samaki, a deep-fried tilapia fish coated with house spices and served with Ugali (cornmeal cooked to an oatmeal-like consistency) and curry. This spicy, rustic dish, priced at $20.50 is popular with Calgary’s Somali community and is the type that you just have to roll up your sleeves and get into. No meal at Safari Grill is complete without an order of Kulfi, and I must admit that this was my first time trying the popular Indian ice cream dessert. Safari Grill has several options flavour-wise, however we were encouraged to try the Paan and the Pistachio. Paan is a post meal digestif that consists of betel nut, lime paste, rose petal essence and other spices. The combination of Paan and Kulfi was like an herbal ice cream breath freshener that gave the sensation of one’s breath smelling of roses and coconut. A unique and delicious experience for $5.50. The wine list at Safari Grill is 100 percent South African and represents excellent value at more than fair prices. Six-ounce glass pours are priced at $6.00 across the board, and full bottles range from $26 to $35. We sipped on a 2009 Boschendal Chardonnay from one of South Africa’s oldest wineries, which was a great foil to the Bhel and the Tanzania Bite. The beverage list is also worth perusing, with its compelling Masala Chai tea presentation and a selection of beers, cocktails and spirits. Safari Grill can be a dining adventure, especially with the right dining companion and mindset. Our only concern was how potentially daunting the menu might be for firsttime guests. The food names and spice levels require a level of service that the friendly staff is more than happy to provide. All in all, though, the positives outweigh any concerns. Safari Grill offers seating for 70 and lots of free parking along with a thoughtful interior complete with Bollywood videos and artifacts that beckon guests to the wonders of Africa and India. The restaurant is open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner until 10:00 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday until 10:00 p.m. for dinner service. For more information, visit their website at www. safarigrillcalgary.com or find their page on Facebook. Safari Grill is at #100, 255 28th Street SE, Calgary, AB T2A 5K4 403 235-6655
Con-fusion! The F-Word Story and photography by Gabriel Hall Hearing the F-bomb dropped in the kitchen during the middle of a busy service isn’t uncommon. Talk to chefs after service over a beer, and the four-letter epitaph becomes a six-letter one: fusion. Fusion has become a dirty word in the industry over the last decade. Once meant to express the joining of ingredients, techniques and flavours from vastly different culinary traditions, it has now been misappropriated to define overly complex dishes with muddled direction, cover up weak techniques or in the worst case, re-write an entire culture’s culinary history. Original fusion cuisine is the natural combination of traditions, techniques, flavours and ingredients from separate and often vastly divergent culinary regions. The proliferation of fusion cuisine in medieval times was best done through war. Along with the obligatory nonconsensual intermingling, invading armies brought foreign techniques, styles and tastes which were combined with local ingredients creating new flavours and eventually new dishes, while the exotic spices of the conquered regions were shipped home to be enjoyed as the spoils of war. World War II and the latter half of the 20th century changed the scope of fusion cuisine. Global travel became easily attainable, allowing for a cultural war to be waged instead of a physical one. People came, ate, and brought home the core essence of the foreign flavours they liked, or thought would appeal in their country of origin, and infused them with local sensibilities, creating the most honest form of fusion.
Hamburgers were traded for sushi, pasta was traded for rice and soon after, Spam Musubi became ubiquitous in Hawaii while Spaghetti Alla Bottarga migrated east and morphed into Mentaiko Spaghetti, utilizing the locally available Japanese style marinated Pollock roe instead of the cured eggs from the Mediterranean grey mullet. The novelty of introducing something foreign to the masses was quickly overshadowed by hubris. Creating without the benefit of cultural reference, chefs began to experiment with centuries, sometimes millennia, of cultural expression. Dishes with seventeen components using ingredients from every possible corner of the world were touted as the new great culinary leap forward. Tastes melded together in an indistinguishable, chaotic mélange devoid of the quintessential features that had distinctly defined a cuisine as the property of a people and a region. It was no surprise when support for fusion started to fall away as dishes became convoluted and difficult to produce. Customers’ palates were confused as they tried to figure out what the dish was supposed to represent. Fusion became as lost as a four-year-old in a Costco. One might argue that fusion is the inevitable future. The global movement of people will remove the boundaries of culture, skin colour and lifestyle. It would be folly to think that local cuisines would remain distinctly segregated in a world where individuals would come from a mix of cultural identities. While dishes will continue developing in order to reflect an increasingly shrinking planet, the essence of our cultural histories should nonetheless be preserved to pay homage to the past as we look to the future. After all, the future is built in the foundation of history and it is ideal when we can hold on to the comfort of our historical food and reach for the wonderful potential beyond.
(and Tricks!) By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
Salt and Pepper Wendy Durán is the Administrative Head Chef at the Salt and Pepper Mexican Group in Calgary. Durán studied Culinary Arts at the Niagara Culinary Institute in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, and completed her apprenticeship and Red Seal Certification in 2009 with the Niagara Parks Commission. Salt and Pepper has two locations in Calgary, one in Main Street Bowness and another in Historic Inglewood.
Chef’s Tip: “The trick to working with spices and ingredients with “heat” is to use them moderately. Adding too much chili pepper or green curry will destroy the flavour of the food. Spices should be a complement to your main ingredient, not something that completely takes over. When working with items like chilies, it’s important to remember that it’s the oil in the pepper that has that kick we all crave. It’s important to not to overcook the chili so that the oil is not “burned out.” Spicy food has a lot of great benefits - it can help you stay cool in the summer by making your body sweat and can actually help boost your metabolism.”
24 • November 2012
Rasoi [kitchen] Rupi Sandhu has been cooking with, and for, her family since she was a young child. Although she has no formal training as a chef, Sandhu has lived in several locations throughout the world and has picked up culinary tricks at every stop along the way. Sandhu is the executive chef at Rasoi [kitchen], which is owned by her son Jash. She also teaches Indian cooking classes at Rasoi and the Cookbook Company.
Chef’s Tip: “Garam masala, a combination of different spices, can be used for any kind of soup, meat or vegetable dish. You can blend your own spices by roasting one tablespoon of cumin seeds, one tablespoon of coriander seeds, five to six cloves, and a half inch cinnamon stick in a skillet. Cool them and grind them in a coffee grinder.”
Allu Chaat (Spicy Sweet Potato Salad) 4 medium sweet potatoes boiled, peeled and cubed 10 mL (2 tsp) olive oil 5g (1 tsp) roasted cumin seeds 1g (¼ tsp) red chilli powder (optional) 2 green chillies chopped (optional) 2.5g (½ tsp) salt 2.5g (½ tsp) mango powder
Chorizo Fundido Dip Enjoy as a hot appetizer with tortilla chips
2.5g (½ tsp) pomegranate powder (or use fresh pomegranate seeds) 15g (1 Tbp) fresh lemon juice 4 green onions, chopped 1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces Chopped cilantro to garnish 1. Place the diced sweet potatoes, green onions and red bell pepper in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle over the roasted cumin seeds, mango powder, pomegranate powder (or fresh
453g extra lean ground pork 1 stalk celery ¼ small white onion 1 small jalapeño pepper ¼ red pepper ½ small carrot 15 mL (1 Tbs) canola oil 414 mL (1 can) crushed tomatoes 30g (2 Tbs) salt 5g (1 tsp) black pepper 15g (1 Tbs) paprika 10g (2 tsp) garlic powder 15g (1 Tbs) Mexican chili powder 5g (1 tsp) cayenne pepper 2.5g (½ tsp) oregano Pinch cumin 120 mL (½ cup) white vinegar Generous portion Jack cheese, Mozzarella and queso fresco
pomegranate seeds) chili powder and salt. 2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and mix the salad. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chill the salad in the fridge for couple of hours. Tip: Mint chutney or tamarind chutney can also be added for more flavour.
1. Finely chop celery, onion, jalapeño, red pepper and carrot. (You can also process in food processor until pulplike consistency is reached) 2. In a large skillet, heat canola oil until just below smoking point then add vegetable pulp and quickly sauté for 3 minutes. 3. Add pork and cook until brown, stirring and mashing occasionally to loosen meat and remove any large chunks. Cook until very little liquid is left and meat is dry. 4. Add crushed tomatoes, all the spices and vinegar, and simmer for 20 minutes. 5. In a shallow baking dish, place 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep layer of chorizo mixture, then cover with a mixture of Jack, Mozzarella and queso fresco. Broil for 2 minutes until cheese is melted.
culinairemagazine.ca culinairemagazine.ca ••
Braizen Food Truck Photography by Kenneth Locke Photography Steve Glavicich learned how to cook as a child from his grandmother. He studied Culinary Arts formally at SAIT and has worked as a chef at many hotels and restaurants in and around Calgary in the 1990s and early 2000s. After taking a hiatus from the food industry, Glavicich helped set up the Blamwich food truck and now operates the Braizen food truck where he prepares flavourful restaurant-quality dishes like jerk chicken sliders and cumin-rubbed lamb.
Chef’s Tip: “Variety is the spice of life, and creative spice usage can add great variety to your favourite dishes. By simply trying some new spices, your everyday meals can take on exciting new vibrancy. A good rule of thumb is not to exceed three or four spices per dish, unless you are creating a spice blend like a garam masala or Cajun seasoning, since it’s almost impossible to “un-spice” a dish. When using herbs and spices to season your food, your ultimate cooking goal is to complement the flavour of the food, not overpower it. To truly enjoy the full flavour of quality herbs and spices, grind whole herbs or spices prior to using them in your recipes. Toast whole spices in a skillet over medium heat before grinding to experience an even stronger flavour of the spice. The best part of cooking is experimenting. It’s your dish, make it yours!”
Cuisine et Château Born in Orléans, in the Loire Valley of France, and with nearly 30 years working as a professional chef, Thierry Meret’s passion for combining food and gastronomy with history and culture makes him an outstanding chef, teacher and guide. Before establishing Cuisine et Château Interactive Culinary Centre here in Calgary (see page 14 for article), Thierry spent five years sharing his passion with students as a culinary instructor in the Professional Cooking Program at SAIT polytechnic, where he inspired budding new talent.
Find the full recipe for Thierry Meret’s pressed goat’s milk ricotta with orange and soy glaze at culinairemagazine.ca
26 • November 2012
Cumin Rubbed Lamb with Olives 1.8 - 2.25 kg boned leg of Alberta lamb 125 mL (1/2 cup) mixed green and black olives, pitted 500 mL (2 cups) vegetable stock 60 mL (¼ cup) cumin powder 30g (2 Tbs) ground coriander 15g (1 Tbs) cracked black pepper To taste kosher salt NOTE: Whole spices can be substituted, simply grind after toasting and cooling 1. Preheat oven to 400° F 2. In a small skillet, add cumin powder, coriander, and pepper. Heat over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the aroma rises. Let cool. 3. Open lamb and place on a work surface so that it remains flat. Sprinkle lamb with half the spice blend and kosher salt to taste. 4. Place drained olives in a long, overlapping row, lengthwise down the center of the lamb. Roll lamb tightly around the olive filling. Using heavy string, tie the roast at 2.5 cm (1 inch) intervals. 5. Rub roast with remaining spice mixture, season the exterior to taste. 6. Place roast in an oiled shallow roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 135° F, (58°C) for medium rare. Remove roast from oven and place on a large cutting board, let rest for 10 minutes. 7. Pour off almost all the fat from the roasting pan. Over heat, add 500 mL (2 cups) vegetable stock, scraping up browned bits. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into saucepan and reduce by half. 8. Carve lamb into thick slices. Add any juices from cutting board to saucepan and pour over lamb. Serve with seasonal vegetables, couscous, or rice. culinairemagazine.ca •
Of course it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But it never hurts to look good, does it? Food is no exception to this rule; after all, you look at your food before tasting it, so it should be as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the palate. Plating food beautifully can be an intimidating task, but thankfully you don’t have to be an accomplished chef to make a good-looking meal. Just make an effort to bring out the best part of the meal, create balance in its appearance, and enjoy!
Art of a
Story and photographs by Stephanie Arsenault
28 • November 2012
Here are 10 tips to a beautifully plated meal: First, make sure you choose the right dinnerware. It’s a good idea to avoid heavy patterns and bold colours because they can distract from the food. Certain colours can be complementary, depending on what you’re serving (think fresh colours with a mixed green salad; terracotta with tomato-based pasta dishes; or light, feminine colours with desserts), but for the most part, white or off-white plates are ideal. Dishes should also be an appropriate size for what is being served, and shouldn’t crowd the food or look too sparse. When placing the food on the dish, stack, don’t separate. There’s a reason that restaurants don’t mimic the plating of TV dinners, giving each part of the meal its own section. The flavours in a meal are supposed to complement each other, so layer them and allow the flavours to meld as they should. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule; namely when the flavours or textures should be separate (think mashed potatoes and salad), or to create a dramatic look. Food is more exciting to look at when it’s not bland; it’s all about contrast. Try to place opposite or contrasting colours near one another, rather than keeping the entire dish monotone. If the meal is mostly one colour, add a pop of colour in the form of a garnish or accent ingredient. Pasta with a simple tomato sauce, for example, can be topped with some chopped parsley and curls of parmesan cheese for contrast. Chili can look unappealing on its own, but if you sprinkle it with some with queso fresco, chopped green onions, and crumbled bacon, you’ve added not only a contrast in colour, but in texture as well. Like a good photo, a well-plated meal requires balance (think of the rule of threes). If the food is going to be divided up, have each portion – such as salad, meat, and roasted vegetables – occupy a third of the dish. If there are multiples of an item, such as the three prawns pictured, always opt for an odd number. Make sure there is a focal point; what is the highlight of the meal? Ensure it is out on full display and not hidden by other parts of the dish. The prawns in the photo, for example, are best displayed on top of the pasta, which is secondary.
If you’re using a dressing or a sauce, drizzle and dollop instead of pouring. You want the dressing or sauce to add flavour, not to take over the dish. It can also make the meal look sloppy if hastily applied, so be light-handed. Also, a few dots of sauce dropped on the plate can add a nice bit of contrast to a dish, but don’t overdo it. No one wants to look at a messy plate, so clean it up before serving. Any spill of dressing, smudges of oil or juice, or anything else that doesn’t belong, should be cleaned off the plate with a damp cloth or paper towel before bringing it to the table. Add a finishing touch of garnish, but tastefully. You don’t have to go overboard with the toppings, just add a pop of colour or texture to bring out the colours and flavours of the meal. Make sure the flavour of the garnish is complementary, and is edible; assume it will be consumed, so don’t use something that needs to be picked off. Chopped fresh herbs, fresh ground pepper, and grated or crumbled cheese are often good options. When all else fails, go family style. Some meals just look better before they’re dished up, so instead, serve them out of large serving dishes or even the dish in which it was cooked (think casserole dishes, attractive roasting pans, and tagines). Another great option is to serve the food on a wooden or bamboo board; it gives a warm, rustic look and makes for easy clean up. Think first, and act quickly. Take all of the above factors into consideration and think about what sort of presentation you want to make before actually plating the food. The last thing you’ll want to do is serve an attractive, but cold, meal. Artfully plating your food is a perfect way to make a meal more enjoyable, by including more of your senses in the experience of eating. Don’t seek perfection; instead, make an effort to ensure your meals are as attractive as they are delicious. They don’t need to be prepared by a professional to look mouth-watering; just do your best to highlight the ingredients, and present them in a pleasing way. After all, the eyes are the window to the…. stomach. culinairemagazine.ca •
Soup Kitchen – Fusion Style Recipes and photographs by Chef Thierry Meret
Chicken Coconut Broth with Ponzu Shrimp Ball Lemongrass Skewer
Serves 4 Back home from a busy day and looking for something tasty and quick to prepare? This very flavourful soup is such an easy fix and a great opportunity to get the whole family cooking. Kids will love it! For the soup: 8 chicken thighs, boned, skinned and sliced 30 mL (2 Tbs) peanut oil ½ red onion, peeled and sliced ½ fennel bulb, cored and sliced 2 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced on a bias 1 red pepper, seeded and finely sliced 1 garlic clove, peeled 50 g ginger, peeled 30 mL (2 Tbs) fish sauce 1L (4 cups) chicken stock 350 mL (1½ cups) coconut milk 1 stock of lemongrass, roughly crushed 1 kaffir lime leaf, torn (or 1 bay leaf for milder flavour) 10 mL (2 tsp) cilantro leaves, chopped 10 mL (2 tsp) mint leaves, chopped
2. 3. 4. 5.
Shrimp balls skewers: 10 prawns, peeled (21/30 size) 40 g shallots or spring onions, peeled and roughly sliced 60 mL (1/4 cup) ponzu (citrus-flavoured soy sauce, widely available) 10 mL (2 tsp) cornstarch 30 mL (2 Tbs) mirin (Japanese cooking seasoning, widely available) 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 10 mL (2 tsp) mint leaves, chopped 4 pinch sesame seeds 1. 2. 3. 4.
30 • November 2012
Heat the peanut oil in a soup pot on medium heat and add the sliced chicken. Using a wooden spoon, stir the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes or until the meat has firmed up without browning. Add the red onion, fennel and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the red pepper and, using a fine grater, grate the garlic and the ginger over and mix thoroughly. Add the fish sauce and mix well. Add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a simmer. When the soup is simmering, add the coconut milk, crushed lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped fresh herbs and turn off the heat. Transfer into a serving bowl and garnish with 2 skewers of shrimp balls.
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend into a fine paste. Using two spoons, make some little balls and place on a greased baking tray. Skewer the ball all the way through with a stick of lemongrass. Sprinkle the shrimp ball with sesame seeds and bake into a pre-heated oven at 375° F for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp ball is firm and bounces back when pressed.
Chef’s tip: Ponzu is widely used in Japanese cuisine as a dipping sauce. It is salty, tangy, a bit sweet with a little heat and is very simple to make at home from scratch. It mainly contains citrus juices such as lemon, lime or yuzu infused with some rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, cayenne and some algae such as Kelp, also known as Konbu. Add some chopped green onion and you will get a great dipping sauce for seafood or a marinade for grilling chicken. Mix with some oil et voila, your salad dressing is done!
Cinnamon Scented Miso Soup with Poached Egg and Tamarind-candied Bacon Serves 4 I experienced the versatility of Vietnamese cinnamon while taking part in a culinary activity in Ho Chin Minh city last year. This rather thick aromatic bark of an indigenous evergreen tree has a delicate sweet flavour and a more pronounced, complex aroma. Saigon cinnamon is a key ingredient in Vietnamese phở. For the soup: 1.25 L water 10 g Konbu seaweed (widely available in specialty stores) 30 g Bonito flakes (widely available in specialty stores) 1 small piece Vietnamese cinnamon (widely available in specialty stores) 20 mL (4 tsp) miso paste (fermented soybean paste) 100 g firm tofu, diced 2 green onions For the candied bacon: 200 g bacon slab, diced in 1 cm cubes 10 mL (2 tsp) tamarind juice (widely available in specialty stores) 15 mL (1 Tsp) maple syrup For poaching the eggs: 4 eggs 30 mL (2 Tbs) rice vinegar
1. 2. 3.
Toss the diced bacon with the tamarind and the maple syrup. Reserve in the fridge for 1 hour. To start the soup, combine the water with the Konbu seaweed and bring to a light simmer. Add the bonito flakes and the cinnamon, then turn off the heat. Infuse for 5 minutes and strain through a sieve. Discard the strained ingredients. On medium heat, bring the broth back to a simmer and add the miso paste. Mix thoroughly to dissolve the paste. Turn off the heat and reserve. Place the marinated bacon on a tray lined with parchment paper and cook in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes at 350° F. Flip the bacon pieces once after 10 minutes for an even colour on both sides. Remove from the oven and reserve. For poaching the eggs, bring 1½ L water to a boil, turn down the heat and add the rice vinegar. Crack one egg into a small cup. Bring the cup near the surface of the hot water (not boiling but just simmering) and gently tilt the cup so the egg can slide down in the water bath, leading the egg white to wrap itself naturally around the yolk. You can use a small spoon to help the wrapping process. Repeat the process immediately for the remaining eggs. Turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit for 4-5 minutes
or until the egg whites are completely set. Remove from the water and, using a small knife, trim any excess coagulated egg white around the poached egg. Reserve on a paper towel. Toss the candied bacon and diced tofu together and place a small pile in the centre of the bowl. Top with one poached egg and gently pour some miso soup around it. Season the egg with some freshly ground black pepper and garnish with sliced green onions. Serve immediately.
Chefs tip: You can use an egg poacher for cooking the eggs to save time and help control the doneness of all the eggs at once. culinairemagazine.ca •
New Kids On The Block “Japalian” at Carino’s Bistro By Linda Garson Toshi Karino hails from the “beer city” of Sapporo in Japan, where his university was twinned with Lethbridge. He spent some time in Alberta as part of his economics degree exchange program, so on graduating he chose to come to Calgary, taking a job as a sushi chef at Sukiyaki House on 9th Avenue SW. He learnt how to cook there and how to speak Chinese - even before he could speak English! A few years later he was back in Japan, first as a sushi chef and later in a wine boutique, only to return to Calgary and Sukiyaki House in 2000. From there Karino moved to Teatro, working as a chef while he studied for his ISG qualification to further his passion for wine. A brief stint at Chicago Chop House in 2005 helped him on his way as a “wine guy” before moving back to Teatro and dividing his time between wine and the kitchen. He was 4th in the pecking order, but by 2007 his three superiors had all moved on, and he was promoted to Wine Director.
Karino had always wanted to open a restaurant serving tapas and sushi, but working at Teatro had sparked a love for Italian ingredients too. In the kitchens there, he met Chefs Kazu Kawashima and Mitsuru Hara, and together they dreamed of opening their own Japanese/Italian restaurant. When the opportunity arose to take over AKA Wine Bar in Bridgeland, they jumped at it, opening in March this year. Fusion cuisine was carefully introduced a little at a time, and when people liked a dish, it went on the menu. By August, the new menu was set and the time was right to re-launch as Carino’s. The Geisha on a Vespa logo was Karino’s own idea, and perfectly sums up the unique and fun approach to delicious fusion food that is Carino’s Bistro. You’ll find them at 709 Edmonton Trail NE. www.carinobistro.ca
Pairing With Moods Stephanie Arsenault Cool late-autumn evenings evoke a feeling of cosiness like no other; I love to sit by a fire with a blanket, a good book, and a glass (or two) of full-bodied red wine.
Leonard Brown When I’m at home on a hot summer’s day, gardening or relaxing on my deck with a good book, I want something refreshing so I’ll make spiked iced tea by brewing a herbal tea, such as mint, and adding just a splash of vermouth or liqueur. I find hot teas refreshing too and my favourite is to add a drop of Grand Marnier to blueberry tea. When I’m
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cooking in the evening, a gin and tonic, or with soda and maybe eve a splash of lemon syrup, is my ‘go to’ aperitif.
Wendy Brownie The Côtes du Rhône with a hearty beef or lamb stew at Cassis warms the soul – whether a glass on one’s own or a bottle shared with a friend, it’s so comforting – autumn memories, autumn’s divine flavours.
Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel
Melding global influences with local ingredients: Chef Darren MacLean of downtownfood By Heather Hartmann Chef Darren MacLean likes mixing things up. He’s a native Albertan who went to Stratford Chef’s School in Ontario, and then returned to Calgary to open downtownfood this past summer. Though he describes his food as using “Asian flavours to accent contemporary North American and French cuisine,” he’s quick to reinforce the culinary maxim “there’s a fine line between fusion and confusion.” When explaining how he came up with his culinary trademark, MacLean explains how both rural and urban experiences influenced him. Born in Innisfail, MacLean is as enthusiastic a proponent of local, sustainable producers, and the farm-to-table movement as you’ll find. After moving to an ethnically diverse Calgary community as a child, he spent so much time in the Asian kitchens of his friends’ parents that he earned himself a Chinese Tom Firth After a long day where everything seems to have gone wrong, the perfect wine to unwind with for me would have to be Madeira, a long time fan of the style; it’s a wine that simply has to be savoured and sipped rather than quaffed. They range from dry to sweet, and I prefer a verdelho or a bual for afternoon to evening sipping. It’s a great alternative to a scotch or bourbon - no ice or water required, and the bottle will last a lot longer than a regular wine once open. Heather Kingston When I walk into my home after teaching an ISG class, I am wound up and exhausted all at the same time. After settling in, I enjoy a glass of red wine in a syrah Riedel glass. The glass is luxurious and made to hold red wine to show its best qualities. The syrah glass is a decent glass for most red wines, except a Pinot Noir, which should be in its proper stemware. I am a Rhône girl right now, so anything from Chapoutier is always welcome.
nickname. Indeed, he credits the time in Asian kitchens with his nose-to-tail cooking philosophy, vividly describing the first time he ate an eyeball in fish head soup. His time in Stratford, he says, “helped him develop a style of cuisine that was balanced,” giving his mentor there, Aaron Linley, the chef/owner of Bijoux, “100 percent credit.” Now back home in Alberta, MacLean is “more concerned with how the flavours come together than where they came from.” To that end, the menu at downtownfood on any given night might range from kimchi stew to coq au vin. Those looking to sample MacLean’s melange will be pleased to know that in addition to lunch and dinner service, downtownfood lives up to its urban moniker, offering a weeknight happy hour from 3:00 – 6:00 pm, featuring half price pints as well as a good selection of sustainable local tapas. downtownfood is located at 628 8th Avenue SW. www.downtownfood.ca
Fred Malley I like to settle in with a Glenmorangie Double Wood or Oban to unwind at the end of the day. Linda Garson I have a drink for just about every mood! Most of them are wine, but a gin martini is a great way to signal that the work is over and I can start to relax. When it’s cold and I’m miserable? Then all I want is a hot toddy: Scotch with some hot water, a spoon of honey and a slice of lemon. When it’s cold and I’m happy then I still enjoy a good Scotch but mulled wine (Gluhwein) also does the job, as well as “Hot Port” which evokes memories of driving round Ireland on those ‘soft’ days when it’s misty and damp. They stud a slice of lemon with cloves, pop it in a glass with some Port and top up with some hot water. Instant gratification! culinairemagazine.ca •
Story and photographs by Vincci Tsui, RD
As a dietitian, I often recommend using herbs and spices as an alternative to salt, sugar and fat for adding flavour to cooking. A point that frequently gets overlooked, however, is that spices themselves are good for your health as well. Traditional medicine has long harnessed the healing power of spices, and now science is finally catching up. Gram for gram, spices generally have higher antioxidant activity than better-known antioxidants like blueberries and pomegranates. Many also have compounds that have been shown to fight inflammation or cancer. Don’t empty out your medicine cabinets just yet! Most of the studies on spices have been done using in vitro (read: petri dish) or in animals, and the jury’s still out on how effective they would be in practice. Still, it doesn’t hurt to spice up your cooking, even if it just means an extra dash of flavour! Here are some of the trendiest spices in the research world:
Turmeric Turmeric, known for its distinctive orange-yellow colour, is widely used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, occasionally as an inexpensive substitute for saffron. The spice and its active ingredient, curcumin, are garnering attention as a “superfood”, partially due to their prominence in the Foods That Fight Cancer books by Canadian researchers and authors Richard Béliveau and Denis Gingras. Turmeric has antioxidative and antiinflammatory properties, and many
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studies have looked at its potential impact on a variety of diseases, including cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Crohn’s, to name a few. Although results in in vitro and animal studies are promising, researchers are still waiting for larger, placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized controlled trials – the gold standard for evidence – in humans before making concrete recommendations for medical use.
Cinnamon While we generally associate cinnamon with sweet foods such as cinnamon buns, gingerbread cookies, apple pie and mini doughnuts, some cultures use the spice in savoury dishes, like curries.
Here’s a reason to try using cinnamon in your main course instead of dessert - there is evidence that cinnamon may help lower blood sugar and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. A study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine published in August of this year found that subjects who took three grams of cinnamon (about 1½ teaspoons) every day for eight weeks had a significant decrease in fasting blood sugar, triglycerides (a type of lipid, or fat, in our bloodstream) and HbA1c (a measure of average blood sugars over three months), while the placebo group did not. However, a recent systematic review of all the literature available found contradicting results, and that more research is needed
to conclusively say whether cinnamon can help in the treatment of diabetes. Aside from diabetes, there is also ongoing research on the potential antimicrobial and anti-tumour properties of cinnamon.
Ginger There may be some truth to sipping ginger ale for an upset tummy! Studies have shown that ginger is effective in preventing nausea and vomiting in motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy, but given the minimal amount of ginger that is in ginger ale, your best bet may be sucking on ginger candies or taking ginger pills instead. Ginger has a few active compounds - gingerol, which gives ginger its distinctive pungent, spicy flavour, has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis. When ginger is cooked, some of the gingerol becomes zingerone, which is less pungent and slightly sweet. Zingerone might be helpful in the treatment of diarrhea. Both gingerol and zingerone, as well as other compounds in ginger, may have a role in the prevention and treatment of cancer also.
Cloves Cloves certainly make it to the table more often this time of year, what with the pumpkin pies, gingerbread and orange pomanders. Of all the spices, cloves actually have the highest antioxidant activity, with an ORAC score of over 290,000 (nearly triple that of the açai berry, which has a score of 103,000), though it should be noted that the ORAC score is an in vitro measurement, so it’s unknown whether the effects are the same in the body. The active ingredient in cloves and clove oil is eugenol, which gives the spice its distinctive aroma. (There is also some eugenol in cinnamon, which is why it goes so well with cloves!) Eugenol is actually used quite often in dentistry as a filling material because of its numbing and antiseptic qualities. Like many other spices, cloves may also have cancer-fighting properties as well. Bottom Line: There is lots of promising evidence about the potential health benefits of spices, but many of the studies use extracts of the active compounds (as opposed to the spices themselves) and very few are conducted on human subjects. Spices add flavour and variety to your cooking, and if there just happens to be the benefit of taking in some extra antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, that’s certainly a bonus! culinairemagazine.ca •
Fusion And The Art Of The Blend: WhiteWines By Tom Firth Some grapes go together like “stink on a monkey”, and some grapes just don’t really play well with others. A skilful winemaker can adjust the final make up of his or her wines by adding small portions of other grapes into the wines, and they don’t always have to mention it on the label. If the juice isn’t quite right, it can be fixed by adding a portion of something else to tweak the final flavour. In some areas of the world winemakers might be limited to a certain number of grapes, or be working with a number of permitted grapes, but in many countries the label may say one thing, but behind the label there might be up to 25 percent of different grapes in the wine you just picked up at the store. That’s right, your California chardonnay might be one quarter
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muscat, sauvignon blanc, riesling, or anything else the cat might drag in. Most winemakers will have more than the minimum 75 percent of the grape stated on the label, but it’s an awful lot of wiggle room (wines with two or more varieties on the label will either have less than the minimum 75 percent or choose to include other included varieties on the label). I’m not just picking on California, Australia has a minimum of 85 percent for a grape to appear by itself on the label, and Canada is the same. The winemaker’s goal is to produce the best wine that will sell with what they have available and blending is one way to do this. A field blend is one where the vineyard is planted with a number of different grape varieties, the blending happens in the field. The exact proportion of grapevines or even which vines are which, might not be known. These field blends
occur all over the wine producing world, more so in the old world, and are very likely in places that haven’t seen a lot of modernizing influences in viticulture. Most modern vineyards are devoted to one type of grape, or are planted in “blocks” where each block within a vineyard may be planted with a certain variety. The reasoning for these field blends is that different grape varieties ripen at different times, are more or less resistant to disease than others, and also have different flavour profiles associated with them. By planting a vineyard with different grapes, the farmer could “hedge his bets” if the harvest proved difficult, wet, or late, or if disease or weather was a factor. In time, the ideal grapes suitable for a particular vineyard narrow, and the resultant blend of grapes and their wines became synonymous with a certain expected flavour that worked for consumers.
But why the blend? And why do certain blends appear together no matter where they are from? Blending grapes is about trying to produce a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Sauvignon blanc, good as it is, often shows green fruits, citrus, herbaceous flavours and can be quite acidic. Semillon, a different grape, in bad years can seem waxy and lifeless but is often able to gain complexity from oak aging, and in good years brings a richness not found in sauvignon blanc. You put the wines together, and you have white Bordeaux including the sweet wines of Sauternes. Together, the varieties cover each other’s shortcomings and complement their individual strengths. In white Bordeaux, the blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc tends to include about 80 percent semillon, these wines are great with seafood, shellfish, and lighter poultry dishes and so on. Most European wine countries will have an accepted or recognized white wine that is a blend, Alsace, the Côtes du Rhône’s Chateauneuf du Pape, Portugal’s Vinho Verde and Douro blends, Italy has a number from Piedmont to Sicily, and the list goes on and on. Here in North America we seem to like experimenting with our wine and aren’t restricted to a short list of varieties to work with. There are both serious and fun blends, but many such as Sokol Blosser’s Evolution from Oregon and the famous Conundrum (formerly under the Caymus label, but now a separate brand) have set the bar high. Evolution is one of those wines that just consistently a crowd pleaser, a little on the sweet side. It’s non-vintage, but now on its 15th edition (which changes slightly from year to year). This sort of wine pairs well against a variety of food such as seafood, Thai cuisine, or even a little fusion. Conundrum, which used to be the only white wine from the Caymus Winery, is another famous white blend from the states. So called because it was produced from “left over grapes”, served at a dinner party and guests were asked to name what they thought the wine was. Obviously it proved a conundrum, since that’s the name we have. The exact blend is closely kept secret but the grapes involved include chardonnay, viognier, sauvignon blanc, semilllon, and muscat. It’s a dry, complex, and very well made wine that again is versatile on the table. Poultry, seafood, and even grilled meats work very well here. Canada makes a number of interesting and versatile blends that are always a pleasure to enjoy from both Ontario and British Columbia, but really worth looking for are the wines from the new Tidal Bay appellation in Nova Scotia. Usually a blend of L’acadie Blanc with a number of other varieties, these wines are crisp, typically quite dry, and brilliant with seafood. White blends range from sweet, to spicy, simple to complex, and from everyday wines to once in a lifetime wines. One of the great things about these wines is that they are often extremely versatile when it comes to pairing with food. One
rule of thumb would be to try and match these wines with cuisine similar to the area they come from. Seafood, poultry, game, spice, and pork or beef can all work very well with these wines. They are also easy choices when it comes to matching wine with Asian or fusion-style cuisine. Give them a try the next time you are stumped picking a wine, I’ll bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Our pick of white blends: Masi Masianco Venezia, Italy $13-$15 (pinot grigio, verduzzo) Vila Real Colheita White Douro, Portugal $13-$15 (malvasia fina, and many others) Red Rooster Bantam (viognier, chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer) $14-$15 Planeta La Segreta Bianco Sicily, Italy $15-$17 (greciano, chardonnay, viognier, fiano) Chateau de Montfaucon, Comtesse Madelaine, Cotes du Rhone (viognier, marsanne, clairette, picpoul and bourboulenc) $23$25 Sokol Blosser Evolution, Oregon $23$25 (Pinot Gris, MullerThurgau, Semillon and six other white grapes) Conundrum Napa Valley, California $27-$29 (chardonnay, viognier, sauvignon blanc, semilllon, muscat) Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape White France $78-$82 (roussanne, grenache blanc and others) culinairemagazine.ca •
By Heather Kingston
Quite a few wine-loving Calgarians have had the pleasure of travelling to France for a visit to the great wine regions of the world. I include myself in that fortunate group of travellers. There is no better education than to walk the vineyard, pick a ripening grape and understand the climate. All these sensory experiences create a much more practical understanding of wine being made. My thirst is not only for good wine, but also for knowledge of terroir, wine making philosophy and the personal connection I make with the people at the winery I am visiting. Although I’ve had various wine producers show photos, draw pictures and explain the vineyards, it was not until I travelled to these places that
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I got the entire picture. Bordeaux intrigued me because the best wines come from land that the Dutch had drained in order to increase farmland. I wanted to take a look at this for myself. It turns out the soil in the Haut-Medoc, if you can call it soil, looks like the bottom of the Elbow River. Smooth round stones of various sizes with some sandy spots made up the vineyards. Grape vines love this type of soil. It drains well, retains heat and provides essential minerals and elements. Here is where the world’s most prized red blended wines come from. Although cabernet sauvignon reigns supreme, there are four other important grapes used: cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and petit verdot.
The reason for blending is very clever. The climate can be variable; therefore some grapes will thrive while other varietals may have a tough growing season. The blending is a sort of insurance program set up to make sure, by blending, the wine is consistently admirable every vintage. The varietals are fermented individually and then what is known as the “assemblage”, or blending occurs. After the wines have been fermented and aged in tanks or barrels, they are then blended. The winemaker and colleagues, through a number of samplings and observations, will undertake the careful construction of the final blend. Finding great Bordeaux that hopefully over-performs rather than under-
performs for their classification is a complex exploration. I wondered how the local, regular shopper managed to wade through the hundreds of choices given to them. I waited in the wine section of a large grocery store and saw that the fine working citizens of Bordeaux held up the sale flyer and choose according to the deal of the week! The finest wines in the premier grand cru classe, or first growth, command prices usually over $1,000.00 per bottle and are purchased by collectors and the purveyors of fine wines. The classification systems are vast and extensive. Once I had visited the area it made sense to me why these systems have been developed. Wine is everywhere, so how can you differentiate better or lesser wine? These systems do help consumers and wine exporters make purchasing choices. After leaving the riverbed of the right bank, I headed over to St. Emilion and Pomerol. The land changes from stony loose soils to more compacted gravel, sand and clay. The land tends to be rolling hills in St. Emilion and a plateau in the Appelation Controlee of Pomerol. Here merlot and cabernet franc do best. Once again there are bottles of wine sold at enormous prices. Chateau Petrus and Le Pin, in Pomeral, are the most famous wines. The closest I got to Le Pin was to stare longingly in the gate with a busload of tourists all snapping photos of this iconic destination. St. Emilion has a reputation for turning out “Garagiste” wines. These are wines made in very small quantities, perhaps in a garage, using innovative techniques and receiving lavish attention. The top wines carry exorbitant price tags and are picked up by a cult following. Valandraud is a prime example of a top wine from this region. Now our wine touring turns away from the west coast of France and heads east to the Southern Rhone Valley. This appellation is another noted for its famous blends. There are thirteen grapes allowed in the red blends. The top three varieties are grenache, syrah and mourvedre. One winemaker I spoke to gave me the following analogy. Creating a blend is like making a savoury casserole. Top ingredients, the correct spices and a long slow cooking time make a delicious dish. This can be said of Southern Rhone wine. Although Chateauneuf-du-Pape is famous as a top wine that should be aged, there are some remarkable wines from other appellations close by. Using the same thirteen grape rule, but slightly different growing areas, Vacqueyras and Gigondas are spicy, earthy heady wines that are approachable sooner than Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Outside of these renowned regions are wines we have plenty of in our market and all are easy to buy and enjoy. Almost any wine with the title “Rhone” on the front label will be a solid choice for you.
Wines from these regions available in Calgary: Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 2009, Pauillac, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux $340-$350. Clearly this is a wine for collectors and should be kept protected in proper cellar conditions and not opened for at least ten years. Ideally the wine should be aged for more than twenty years. Chateau Cantenac, Grand Cru, 2008, St. Emilion, Bordeaux $35-$37 In this region, Grand Cru means “big wine”. There are hundreds of wines with this designation. The “Grand Cru” from Burgundy is a completely different local classification system. This wine is made to enjoy now. It is at least 75% merlot, with the balance being cabernet franc, so a softer and fruitier choice. Château Méric, Graves, Bordeaux $20-$22 An easy drinking and harmonic blend from Bordeaux. 65% merlot, 20% cabernet-franc and 15% cabernet sauvignon combine to give a powerful yet silky wine with flavours of mature red berries. Certified Organic. Chateau Pesque Quintessence 2009 $27-29 80% syrah and 20% grenache from 40-50 year old Rhone Valley Vineyards. Highly awarded wine with 93 points from Robert Parker. Fresh and fruity, yet round and rich. Ready to drink and very enjoyably now but will cellar for several years. Would pair beautifully with terrines, game (venison, rabbit or wild boar stew), Charcuterie and soft cheeses. M. Chapoutier Cotes du Roussillon BilaHaute $15-$17 Bila-Haute is a juicy blend of syrah, grenache and carignan from an old plot of land, on rough, almost hostile, hillside vineyards. Aromas of black cherry lead to lively but supple red fruit flavours in this ready-to-drink 90 point wine. culinairemagazine.ca •
Spice - its heady fragrance soothes us, the right mix satiates our taste buds and too much can bring us to tears. Whether you are a salt and pepper person or searching out new spices from the far reaches of the world, a judicious use of spice will enhance all our cooking and baking. There are many spice blends available to purchase, however, have you thought about making your own? Spices come from seeds, fruit, barks and roots. They have been used from ancient times as a form of currency, for medicinal purposes, to mask the smell of rotting foods, and to add aroma and flavour to meals. There are many different spices from across the world available both at specialty food stores and grocery stores, and in many different forms. This opens up the opportunity to make different spice blends tailoring to taste and needs. Freshness is the key variable in the outcome of the taste. Make sure to go to a reliable spice market/store to gather your spices. This means turnover needs to be frequent so spices don’t get stale and lose their flavour. The rest is
really up to you. The best place to start is to write down the spices that you use most frequently. If the list is salt and pepper then the fun begins now. There is no right and wrong when creating your own blend. It depends on your taste and what you will be using it for. Looking through other recipes will help you decipher what spices you might want to include and potential quantities. Use this as a guide to establish your own favourite combinations and intensity of flavours. Fennel and anise, for example, have a licorice flavour. If you’re not a fan of licorice then add only a small quantity to your blend, but don’t leave out spices and herbs altogether that you are not fond of, from your recipe. Their subtle nuances can enhance the dish without overpowering, so try spices before making a complete judgment. They can run the range from very subtle to intense. Smell is a good guide to the intensity but scent can lead you astray, especially with heat.
Step By Step How to Make Your Own Spice Blend
Story and photographs by Natalie Findlay
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A benefit of spice blends is that you can make them ahead of time, so if you are rushed to make dinner you can still add delicious flavour without the hassle of rummaging through your spice cabinet. And it will be consistent each time you make the dish, so you aren’t hearing the words “I liked it better last time”. Once you find your perfect blend make sure to jot down the recipe and keep it in your spice cabinet or tape it directly to your canister. Some ideas of spice blends that you can make ahead of time are barbeque rubs, spiced chili blend, Italian herb mix, a blend for fish, chicken, lamb, beef and even a winter blend that brings comfort on these cold days. Don’t make too much, as you want to use up the batch within six to eight months or it will start to lose its flavours. I created two spice blends, chai and mulling, that will warm your stomach, and one classic all-purpose Herbs de Provence. All the ingredients are easy to gather, fairly inexpensive, flavourful, and easy and quick to make. You can also create spice packages to give as gifts. The chai tea pack would be completed by adding black tea and honey to the gift package. The mulled wine blend can be tied around the neck of a red wine or cider bottle, and the Herbs de Provence would make a lovely gift with a set of napkins and your favourite recipe. Fight off the cold winter season by adding a little spice to your life.
This is a wonderful combination of spices to make: The classic Herbs de Provence has many different variations. 3g dried marjoram 3g dried basil 2g dried rosemary 2g dried fennel 2g culinary lavender buds 3g dried sage 4g dried thyme 3 dried bay leaves Gather all ingredients into a spice grinder and process until it turns into a fine powder. Place in a mason jar and store.
This mix of ingredients can be added to wine or cider. The fragrance that permeates through your house is warm and comforting. 4 whole cinnamon sticks 3 whole allspice berries 10 whole cloves 3 whole mace berries 6 whole green cardamom pods 3 pieces candied ginger 4 star anise pods 1g coriander seeds Gather ingredients in a muslin bag or wrap in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Gently heat with wine or cider until warm and the flavours have mingled.
Chai Tea 1 star anise pod 1g fennel seeds 6 whole green cardamom pods 6 whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 3 pieces candied ginger 1g whole black peppercorns 2 bay leaves Gather ingredients in a muslin bag or wrap in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Steep in hot water to make chai tea. culinairemagazine.ca •
Fusion At Its Finest Story and photography by Fred Malley, CCC
here is a touch of shyness in Rogelio Herrera as we
sit down on a sunny afternoon in the ready-to-open Candela Lounge in Mission. Opening a
Hailing from Colombia, Rogelio had the travel bug at a young age and he charted course for Europe without a clear idea of what he would do. He parachuted into a job as a dishwasher in France, where the restaurant chef took a liking to him and his work ethic. When offered the opportunity to cook, he seized it. “I fell in love with it while doing it and now I am hooked. It’s a love and hate affair,” he says with a smile. “I got all my training on the job - hands on,” but he strongly recommends and encourages some formal training these days. He climbed the ladder through passion and skill.
There is a myriad of small details
Europe occupied him for several years as he moved around, mostly working in mom and pop operations. He worked in the Tio Pepe chain in Spain before heading to Israel. Working in a sports club/cruise ship service taught him about spices and Mediterranean flavours. The travel bug bites continuously and Asia beckoned. Rogelio loves Vietnamese cooking with its fusion influence from the French. “It’s also a less touristy country,” he remarks. Thai food strikes a chord with him as well.
to finalize for the opening.
Rogelio landed in Canada 20 years ago, where he met his
second restaurant is keeping him hopping between Alloy and here, and time is at a premium.
Alloy: n - a mixture of different materials 42 • November 2012
wife, Tracy. He comments, “She is a very understanding wife, who has allowed me to pursue my dreams.” His work involves many long days, not surprising for one with so much ambition. They recently added two children to their life and he smiles when talking about them. One wonders where they found the time. The most important time of day in their home is the morning meal. Says Rogelio, “I make breakfast for everyone; it’s a family gathering, which is important to me. Our 1 ½ and 3 ½ year olds love smoothies. Tracy looks after the rest of the day because I work late.” Before Alloy, Rogelio was a familiar face in a number of Calgary restaurants. He became involved in menu development while working for the Latin Corner on 8th Avenue. There was a stint at Vintage Chop House before joining WildWood and Bonterra with Josef Wiewer. As part of Creative Restaurants Inc., he had the opportunity to be a part of the opening of Catch. It was while at WildWood, during the Catch opening, that Rogelio met Uri Heilik, a recent SAIT culinary graduate. After a week of interacting, they determined to open a restaurant one day. “Alloy was the result. Uri works the front, where he is the eyes of the business. And he is very personable. I prefer the back and working with the food.” Further commenting on their symbiotic relationship, he says, “it is great having a business partner who is a chef because he understands the importance of the kitchen”. He credits Danny Lamote and Michael Allemeier, along with Josef, as his mentors over the years. When I asked about his philosophy on food, the response was straightforward, much like the man. “Respect ingredients, use fresh and use spices”. He describes Alloy as a “globally fused menu utilizing local produce in season”. The menu is “a trip around the world with smells and tastes”. The influences of Latin America, the Mediterranean and
Asia are skillfully blended in a truly outstanding example of fusion cuisine done superbly. You must “respect the integrity of the restaurant and carefully utilize spices”. Chiles are one of Rogelio”s favourite ingredients. He eats lots of it, but as the food illustrates so aptly, he uses it cautiously with customers. You will find blended flavours such as yuzu aioli, marash chilli cream, chimichurri soy and smoked paprika chilli sauce. Even the dessert menu features chillies as evidenced by ‘lemon grass panna cotta with lulo jalepeno’ and ‘mango habanero and guava chilli’. And there are touches of the classics, such as potato gnocchi with truffle oil. Asked what his favourite meal is, the response is not surprising. “Seafood and wild caught fish, especially in combination. Ceviche with the raw, the fruit and spices.” We ventured to Candela Lounge to experience the vibe and cuisine. It is lively and there is a constant stream of food from the kitchen. Your order is delivered one plate at a time to allow savouring and hot consumption, encouraging conversation. The international menu features small plates and tapas. There is a global influence with a predominance of Latin, Asian and Mediterranean. The menu features 48 items meant for sharing. Plan on ordering two or three plates per person, and leave room for dessert. There are grills, fried, braises, ceviche (of course and Rogelio is sharing a recipe for a tuna version that is bright and vibrant), vegetables, dulce and snack categories. Offerings vary from carrot hummus to chicharron (spiced pork belly) with edamame and quince. Or try grilled flank steak with chimichurri (the accompanying chips are crisp slices of fingerling potato); perhaps bok choy with thai chilies or Iberico ham, the quintessence of Spain, along with paella (his version is a crisp patty with delicate saffron cream). There are spiced nuts, calamari and red curry short ribs - braised short ribs are a mainstay at Alloy. And bunuelos (fritters) with dulce
Win a fourcourse dinner for two at Alloy or Candela! Win a four-course dinner for two by telling us your best fusion dining experience! Was it here in Calgary? Was it overseas? Which cuisines were fused? Why was it the best? You can choose the quiet elegance of Alloy or the lively atmosphere of Candela. Beverages are your responsibility, but they can make great recommendations. Whichever location you choose, it will be a night to remember. Forward your story to
and click on ‘contests’ to enter.
de latte for dessert. The airy yuzu yoghurt with roasted rhubarb is delicious. Overall, the menu offerings are not rich, leaving you wanting more of the artfully blended flavours and textures that go so well with a glass of wine. Oh, and do try the grilled Japanese eggplant with honey gastrique. The décor of Candela Lounge is striking and simple at the same time. Clean lines are dominated by a huge, u-shaped, concrete and acrylic bar for standing and sharing. Beneath a massive skylight (that presented interesting challenges during building) it defines the room. You’ll notice the vibrant graphic design of the hand-painted Moroccan floor tiles while your eye wanders to the private dining room, dominated by a punched tin light fixture, zinc table, and the window into the kitchen. Perimeter table seating is comfortable in the convivial atmosphere. It is
very different to Alloy. There, you are taken with the fresh, clean lines, cream leather banquettes and coral walls. Masterful lighting, with stone and medium-toned woods create an atmosphere that is both understated elegance and relaxing. Situated in an industrial area, you are transported by the zen-like garden dominating the east side and providing summer al fresco dining. I asked Rogelio which local restaurants are his favourites. “My friends places - Rouge, Charcut, Divino, Borgo, among others. I will feel bad if I forgot someone”. On the international scene, he recounts a visit not so long ago to the three Michelin star “The Eel” in Alsace. With three generations of excellence and a waiting list months long,
Serves 4 generously as an appetizer or 2 as part of a light lunch This recipe emphasizes the myth that ceviche is about lime juice only. Indeed, a combination of citrus is common in Latin cuisine.
So, from the master: 225 g Tuna steak, fresh 2 Oranges 2 Lemons 1 Lime 1 Roma tomato, diced 1 Shallot, minced 5 mL (1 tsp) Chili pepper, fresh, chopped 30 mL (2 Tbs) Cilantro, chopped 15 mL (1 Tbs) Sugar
44 • November 2012
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Cube the tuna. Peel and segment the fruit with a paring knife. Drain the citrus juice into a mixing bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients and toss with the tuna and citrus segments. Reserve in the fridge for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass or on a salad plate.
he took a chance and emailed for a reservation. He got in and was told they had checked him out and knew who he was, as they toured him through the place. Nice! When asked to comment on upcoming trends, he reflects on how much better the Calgary food scene is compared to 20 years ago. Rogelio notes that diners are more knowledgeable and informed today. He believes we will see more small and sharing plates and family-style dining in the future. What bugs him on menus? “Overly descriptive, like reading a novel. Let servers describe the detail.” Mind you, that means he is a proponent of welltrained, professional service staff, much like his kitchen brigade.
There was something that struck me, other than his unassuming sincerity, when coordinating some photos of Rogelio and the restaurants. He insisted that the team be in the pictures with him. A man willing to share the limelight and one who recognizes the contributions dedicated staffs make. I also noted that they make their own sausages in-house. You can enjoy a taste of the restaurants’ menus by preparing the recipes Rogelio is sharing below. Of course, he would prefer you drop by Alloy, at 220 - 42nd Avenue SE, Calgary or Candela Lounge, at 1919 - 4th Street SW, in the Mission district. Both locations have ample on-site parking. Or try your hand at entering the contest. The winner will enjoy a four-course tasting menu for two at their choice of location. Beverages extra.
Alloy’s Lobster Tempura You can substitute 21/25 peeled shrimp or better yet, do both. 4 each Lobster tails, meat removed from shell and refrigerated
until reduced by half. Cool and reserve until needed.
Tempura batter: 175 mL (3/4 cup) Flour 60 mL (1/4 cup) Cornstarch 15 mL (1Tbs) Baking powder 5 mL (1 tsp) Sugar 225 mL (1 cup) Ice cold water
Lobster tempura: 1. Heat a small deep fryer to 350°F or use a saucepot with 5 cm oil. 2. Split each tail in half lengthwise and season the lobster/shrimp with salt and pepper. 3. Bring the cold batter and lobster from the fridge dip each piece in batter to coat. Use a skewer to keep your fingers out of the batter and hot oil. 4. Cook two pieces at a time until golden brown. Place on absorbent paper and keep hot until all pieces are cooked. Serve with ponzu glaze and garnish with mixed greens and sesame seeds.
Whisk batter ingredients together and place in fridge until needed. Ponzu glaze: 225 mL (1 cup) Orange juice 60 mL (1/4 cup) Ponzu 15 mL (1Tbs) Red chilies 5 mL (1 tsp) Salt 225 mL (1 cup) Sugar 60 mL (1/4 cup) Water In a saucepan bring all ingredients to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or
*Chefs note: the secret to excellent tempura is having the ingredients and batter ice cold. culinairemagazine.ca •
Beer with Spice Makes Everything Nice By Meaghan O’Brien and David Nuttall
The chilly fall season is upon us in Calgary, and without warming craft libations there’s no telling how dull the nights could be. Crisp pilsners and light lagers just won’t suffice, so it’s time to reach for something with some kick. Open up your mind and your taste buds for some punchy, spicy, and exotic beer.
46 • November 2012
Warm, spicy comfort food on a cold evening is perfect when curled up on the couch in front of the fireplace. The only thing missing is the beer to accompany it. When picking great cold weather craft beer, there are spicy, exotic beers very different from the usual stouts and porters. To be clear, there are two kinds of spicy beers: those with actual added spices or herbs, and those that taste spicy due to the nature of their regular ingredients. Various yeasts, hops or malts can all provide distinct characteristics which smell and taste like spices, much the way wine often tastes like various kind of fruit far beyond the grape. In the spicy and exotic category, the Belgians rule. Their many beer styles are a result of centuries of experimentation. Their use of multiple ingredients contributes to this variety. Hops themselves can be floral, herbal, citrusy or spicy. Malts can be roasted to varying degrees resulting in flavours from toast to caramel to chocolate to coffee. And yeasts! They can produce esters that replicate almost anything. Add to this their use of wheat and maize, the addition of honey, sugar, herbs and spices, and well, you can see why Belgium beers are renowned and imitated all over the world. From farmhouse ales to the Witbiers mentioned in the June issue of Culinaire, Belgian beers may be the epitome of spicy but there are so many styles, it is far beyond the scope of this article. We will, ultimately, look at more Belgian beers in future articles. Styles such as Bière de Garde, Geuze, Lambics and several Belgian Specialty Ales all have a unique spiciness brought about by the use of distinctive ingredients. The problem is, you really have to search them out, not only in Alberta, but anywhere, as they are not made in large amounts or distributed everywhere. There are, fortunately, many we can get in Alberta. Most Belgian Pale Ales, such as De Konnick, have soft malt and hop characteristics, yet a spiciness that comes from the distinct yeasts used in the brewing process. Saisons are made with multiple malts and hops combined with other grains and adjuncts such as sugar and honey, all enlivened with numerous herbs and spices to complete a potpourri of ingredients, and producing a combination of fruity, sour, citrusy, and spicy goodness. Look for Saison Dupont, De Ranke Saison De Dottignies from
Belgium, 8 Wired Saison Sauvin from New Zealand, and Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Saison and Wild Rose 16th Anniversary Rye Saison, from Canada. Spice beer is often just a “regular” lager or ale that incorporates ingredients used in cooking and baking, and can vary from medium to full-bodied, dependent on the base beer. Again, the breadth of this style of beer is limited only by the imagination of brewmasters. Not only have the Europeans been making these beers for centuries, the nouveau breweries on this side of the Atlantic have a particular propensity for making beers with non-traditional additives such as chili peppers, garlic or other vegetables, ginger, vanilla, juniper, coffee, licorice, chocolate, nuts, herbs, or any number of spices - either singularly or in combination. Even classifying these beers is more than guidelines can handle. Where applicable, they are either filed under the Spice/Herb/ Vegetable Beer category or assigned the all-encompassing Specialty Beer category. Here is where brewmasters can get truly creative by utilizing techniques, fermentables, adjuncts, and additives they would otherwise never use in a “standard” beer. The end result is a vast array of beers. Breweries such as Deiu du Ciel from Quebec, Phillips of Victoria, B.C. and Rogue of Oregon have been leaders in this category. A common beer with spice incorporated is ginger beer. The touch of ginger added in the brewing process gives a subtle spicy kick to the taste of the beer. The key is to find one that is naturally spiced with fresh ginger rather than artificial flavouring. Royal Jamaican Ginger Beer is a perfect alcoholic ginger beer to try as it has real ginger with an enjoyable spicy finish. There is also Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, made from a secret recipe, with four top-secret ingredients combined with steeped ginger shipped from the Far East to the brewery in Scotland. Phillips Ginger Beer is a less sweet version of this style. Ginger beer pairs well with a ginger noodle dish or a warm ginger snap cookie to add a touch of sweetness to an otherwise bitter beer. In lieu of all the favourite fall spices that are sprinkled on butternut squash and baked in pumpkin and apple pie, there is Rickard’s Cardigan, which incorporates delicate culinairemagazine.ca •
cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and brown sugar notes. Pair with maple glazed chicken, glazed carrots and sweet potatoes with a hint of cinnamon. Cardigan is a medium bodied ‘Autumn Spiced Lager’. For dessert lovers, nothing goes better than a chocolate stout. While most stouts of this variety are made with chocolate malt (malt roasted to the point where it impersonates chocolate in colour and flavour), there are some, like Rogue’s Chocolate Stout that use natural chocolate flavouring. Traquair Jacobite Ale is brewed, in very small amounts, to celebrate the anniversary of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, and is based on an 18th century recipe where the ale is spiced with coriander. This beer has a hint of chocolate and spice in its finish. For a more indulgent chocolaty brew, try double chocolate stouts, which are brewed with real dark chocolate and/ or chocolate essence. Rogue’s Double Chocolate Stout and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout are two outstanding examples. Even more decadent is an exotic spiced beer that is full-bodied, very complex and exudes sugar and spice and everything nice. The Schmaltz Brewing Company teamed up with Terrapin Brewing Co. for the second time to brew Reunion ’12 in memory of their friend and partner in their venture-Virginia MacLean.
48 • November 2012
This year’s rendition is brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Vanilla notes balance beautifully with the bitterness of cocoa, and the spice from cinnamon. Those that like a slightly nutty flavour in their beer should try Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar, made with hazelnut extract. The meat and potatoes of spiced beer are still to come and are easily paired with just that: meatballs, beef sirloin and roasted potatoes. Rogue Chipotle Ale is brewed with actual smoked jalapeno (chipotle) peppers. The peppers create the perfect amount of heat, and compete nicely with the Cascade hops. Black Mountain Brewing Company in Cave Creek, Arizona, brews Cave Creek Chili Beer, where chili pepper is used to flavour a pale lager and a serrano chili pepper is dropped into every bottle. Crave pizza? There’s a beer for that! Pizza Beer Company brews Mamma Mia! with tomato, garlic, oregano and basil, and tastes, well, exactly like pizza. Pair this one with Italian food, spicy dishes or with a slice of pizza. This account can go on and on, as does the list of ingredients. These beers may seem exotic, but they are no less enjoyable than more common beers. As you will be shopping at this time of year anyway, pick up a couple of beers outside the norm.
In her Calgary kitchen, Rebeca Bohan is making guacamole. The rock hard avocados she bought days ago have finally ripened. They are peeled, pitted and mashed. She adds a mediumspicy commercial salsa, then peers into her pantry looking for her secret ingredient. A red bag with bright white lettering that disgorges an inner plastic bag with bright red powder. Genuine “Noble Sweet” (Édesnemes) Hungarian paprika. Rebeca was born and raised in Southern California, so guacamole is one of her favourite treats. She has a Hungarian father and a Romanian mother, neither of whom lives close by. When Rebeca uses a pinch of that powder in her guacamole, she feels closer to them. On the other side of the city, 74 year old retired Chef, Otto Daniels, is making goulash. Otto was born in Hungary. He left the country when he was fourteen years old but carries its imprint on his own cooking and the techniques he taught at The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for thirty years. How paprika became the dominant spice in Hungary is a bit of a tale. Chef Otto says, “When the Turks invaded Hungary (in 1541) they brought the paprika (the pepper) with them.
cooking. It got really noticed in the late 19th century when they used it in classical cooking. Escoffier really liked the ‘Hongroise’, which is Hungarian ‘Chicken Paprika’ and the goulash”. Seventy-seven years after his death, and the shadow of Auguste Escoffier still looms large. He was the celebrity chef of his day, and an early food writer. He is credited for raising paprika from “peasant food” to “haute cuisine”. His enthusiastic acceptance of paprika as a spice for the upper classes, lead to it becoming Hungary’s national spice, and made goulash the national dish. In my local supermarket I spotted only two kinds of paprika, regular and smoked. In Hungary, paprikas are subject to a rigorous 7 step classification system. They range from “Special Quality” (Különleges), the mildest, to “Strong” (Erős), the hottest. But you won’t find Hungarian “smoked” paprika. “Smoked paprika you don’t find in Hungary”, says Daniels. “Smoked paprika, somehow, is not the custom. It’s basically the Spanish...., they smoke it for some reason but if you look at Hungarian cooking, it has the bacon in it, smoked bacon. That gives you that smoked flavour”. Using paprika can be tricky. You can burn it, and that bitter taste can ruin
any dish. “A lot of people burn paprika.” warns Daniels “There are a lot of sugars in paprika. So you have to be very careful because it burns very easily. You have to infuse it at very low heat and always protect it with some kind of liquid, whether some kind of tomato juice, or stock, or something like that.” The Chef advises the home cook to sweat or sauté the onions, the other staple in Hungarian cuisine, then take the pan off the heat and let it cool before gently adding the paprika. In her southwest kitchen, Rebeca Bohan reaches for her secret stash of Hungarian paprika and thinks of her Dad. In his northwest kitchen, Chef Otto Daniels thinks of his Hungarian heritage. Although they’ve never met, the two are linked through the pungent smell of paprika.
For many years it was for peasant
The Paprika Connection By Jeff Collins
The Roots of Hakka Cuisine and The Modern Day
Written and photographed by Fred Malley CCC
50 â€˘ November 2012
Hakka, a fusion cuisine, is alive and well in Calgary. It was created by Chinese people emigrating to India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Europe, and the Caribbean, among others. Some of you will know Singapore Fried Noodles - its Hakka. Hakka people have a long history of agriculture and leadership in the military, politics and commerce. Perhaps the first fusion cuisine, the Hakka readily adapted to their new countries and ingredients; the best dishes come from assimilation into an established cuisine. Hakka settlers in eastern India are a prime example and Calgary has an excellent Hakka restaurant with roots in Punjab. Preet, the owner of La Jawab, arrived in Canada in 1996, is Indian and his menu has many Hakka dishes along with traditional Indian fare. We sampled a range of dishes one afternoon in the sleek, modern space, surrounded by dark wood. The Chili Chicken/tofu is reminiscent of a sweet and sour, but with less sugar and just the right amount of heat. They will customize the heat for you. Vegetable Chow Mein is excellent as is the Shanghai Fish, with its thin, crisp batter and a nice warm after-burn. Order the naan, straight from the tandoor; it is thin and crisp with a sweet, savoury, smoky flavour enhanced with fresh garlic and fenugreek leaves. You can taste the prawns in the Chili Garlic Prawns with understated heat. The Butter Chicken is to die for - rich, savoury and with depth of flavour from garam masala, fenugreek, tomato and pepper. Preet uses mild deji mirch pepper from Kashmir in it. Order Lacha Paratha, a whole wheat flatbread to accompany, and you won’t want to waste any of the sauce. Manchurian Chicken is good too and they will make any dish on the menu for vegetarians. Everything on the menu is made from scratch. Preet is self-taught and he proudly toured us through the kitchen. They were preparing for a small wedding for 400 in the adjacent hall – just fourteen courses. It’s clean and organized, with a large staff. We were greeted with the aroma of fragrant spices frying to flavour black lentils, a naan demonstration in the clay tandoor (one very hot oven – he explained how true naan always has a hole in the centre from the hook used to retrieve and crisp it), the pastry shop and a special gas fired cooking pot with scrapers used to cook milk to a concentrate, creating a cheese-like consistency. The condensed milk is shaped, soaked in syrup and is the basis for many desserts including Rasgula. Although La Jawab is licensed, do try the mango shake. It is flavourful and refreshing as it soothes some of the spicier dishes. The Sweet Shop is off the entrance, with lots of traditional Indian desserts to take home. They’ll make up superb fresh samosas, with a tantalizing dipping sauce, to take home. La Jawab is located at #900, 5075 Falconridge Boulevard NE. Reserve for lunch or dinner at 403 293-2555. Well worth the trip to experience Hakka food at its best. For those who like to cook, Preet shares the following recipe with us.
Shanghai Fish Serves 4 to 6 450 g Basa fillet 30 mL (2 Tbs) cornstarch To taste salt & pepper 30 mL (2 Tbs) chili garlic sauce 30 mL (2 Tbs) tomato, crushed 10 mL (2 tsp) oyster sauce 5 mL (1 tsp) chilli oil 3 green onions, fine chopped 30 mL (2 Tbs) carrot, cut into fine strips ¼ red onion, fine chopped
1. Cut the basa fillet in 1 cm strips 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
across the fillet. Beat the egg and cornstarch together with some salt and pepper and coat the fish. Let the fish marinate in the fridge while you start the sauce. Have the deep fryer heating. In a hot pan, fry the chilli garlic sauce and crushed tomato for 1 minute. Add the oyster sauce and chilli oil and stir. Add the carrots, green onion and red onion. Reserve this sauce. Deep fry the fish quickly to golden brown. Do in batches. Add the fish to the sauce and toss to coat and heat it through.
The Mixologist: The Other Celebrity Chef Story and photography by Gabriel Hall
The classic notion of the bartender is someone who will serve you copious amounts of alcohol to drown your sorrows while they listen to your story of how you came home and found your significant other in bed with your brother’s wife’s best friend’s hairdresser’s dog walker. If you head to your favourite restaurant bar or lounge these days, the person standing behind the counter would not only listen to your story, but also tailor a drink that personally reflected your despondent mood. Their combination of knowledge, techniques, service and passion facilitates a unique connection between patron and establishment, enhancing the experience of a night out on the town.
Darren Fabian Alloy People often use the terms “mixologist”, “bartender” and “flair bartender” interchangeably. Unbeknownst to many, they refer to specific skills. Darren Fabian of Alloy clarifies, “Mixologists, bartenders and flair bartenders are all important components of a team. The flair bartender is an engaging personality who puts on a great show. The mixologist is the bar chef. Their knowledge of spirits, wine and beer
52 • November 2012
goes outside of the norm. The bartender is the true hospitality professional; they take all the components, create the reputation and entice customers.” Having just returned from a conference in Ireland alongside professional bartenders all around the world, Darren noticed a marked different in how each individual approaches the art, “The Japanese style of bartending is all about efficiencies and technique. The Italian bartender lets the ingredients speak for themselves. In Turkey they utilize a lot of herbs and spices.” It is natural for each culture to draw upon their own indigenous ingredients and techniques in order to showcase a product that is representative of the terroir and experiences. Alcohol has existed in the history of almost every race on earth and like food, is subject to local variation and is just as diverse as food.
Christina Mah NOtaBLE We often think the duty of the people behind the bar is to pour drinks. Being a successful mixologist requires more than just knowing how to pull on a beer spigot or stir a drink, “Mixologists should be interested in the science behind it” Christina Mah of NOtaBLE explains, “Just like a chef in the kitchen, there’s a lot of chemistry and research which needs to be done. Unpasteurized ingredients, caffeine, herbal tinctures can have an effect on your customers.” Creating something new requires more than just science, a dose of creativity is mandatory. Christina looks at history in order to revive forgotten ingredients, “Looking back to the classics, to what was lost during prohibition; Bitters were used heavily back then but somewhere they got lost in translation. They’re making a comeback now.” Shows like Mad Men have rekindled our interests in cocktails and vintage drinks like the Old Fashioned and Manhattans. Serving as the Alberta chapter president of the Canadian Professional Bartender’s Association, Christina believes that supporting the burgeoning cocktail culture through public events, and developing the next generation of bartenders by creating a network of mentors and
ongoing education programs, is key to enhancing the profile of bartenders and mixologists everywhere.
Rebecca Davis Charcut Many mixologists seem to share a common muse, “My inspiration starts in the kitchen, which is why I’m very happy here since Charcut is chef driven. I’m always going to the kitchen, talking to the sous chef, seeing what they have” said Rebecca Davis of Charcut. She often references culinary books to build flavour foundations when researching drinks. Combining them with various techniques, she is able to build complex tastes, “One technique I’m into right now is throwing. It aerates the liquor and brings out the flavours but doesn’t bruise the ingredients.” In addition to the kitchen connection, the community gains support and inspiration from each other, “Everyone is so passionate, it makes going to work a breeze” Rebecca continues, “At competitions, I secretly want to beat everyone, but I’m excited to see what people bring to the table. There are so many styles and they bring their own strengths to show.”
Colin Tait Raw Bar As with most restaurants, hotels and other service-oriented venues, patrons will always frequent an establishment where they connect with the staff and have a positive experience. Creating that experience is the primary focus of the person behind the bar. Colin Tait of Raw Bar reinforces the customer and relationship-centric view, “This is the service industry, not the cocktail industry. (Customers) sit at the bar and leave having had a great night, learned something and tried something new. It shouldn’t be ‘here’s your drink, give me your money, see you later’ it should be an experience rather than a necessity.” When asked to look back on his career and give some advice on how aspiring “star-tenders” can find success, Colin offers the following, “Remaining humble is a necessity; treating the customer well and successfully educating yourself. You’ll stay at the top of your game if you remain aware of current trends, speak to chefs and get as much information as you can from others.” Restaurants are no longer just a stop to “fuel-up” before a night out on the town. Many dates now revolve around spending all night at the hottest new restaurant enjoying the food, drink and ambiance. Mixologists and bartenders are stepping up to ensure that your night out is memorable and unique, by ensuring you have a great drink that matches your meal and your mood. culinairemagazine.ca •
The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts By Andrew Ferguson
54 • November 2012
You could be in Edinburgh, Paris, London, Berlin or Calgary, and if you’re visiting one of the world’s finest whisky shops you’ll see a similar picture: a selection of hundreds of single malt Scotch whiskies and if you’re lucky, a dozen blends. The casual observer might be tempted to infer that most of the Scotch whisky sold must therefore be single malt, and not blended. In fact 90% of the Scotch whisky sold in the world today is blended. Scotch whisky sales are exploding around the globe, and while single malt whiskies like Macallan, Dalmore, Bowmore and Glenfiddich are hogging all the attention, it is the blends like Johnnie Walker, Famous Grouse and Chivas Regal that are driving the bus.
You cannot talk about blended whiskies without talking about John Walker and his descendants. Johnnie Walker entered business as a grocer in 1820 in Ayrshire, the same region of Scotland that gave birth to Robbie Burns. Over the years he brought his son into the business and they launched their first own label whisky: Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky. Johnnie Walker died in 1857 passing on his business to his son and grandson both named Alexander. Three years after his passing the laws governing whisky were relaxed allowing for the sale of bottled blended whisky. The doors swung wide open for Alexander Walker and his son, as well as other whisky mongers to bottle, market and sell blended whisky. In 1865 they launched their first blend, Walker’s Old Highland, the forbearer of Johnny Walker. The origin of Blended Scotch Whisky owes to three distinct developments: the invention of the column still; changes in law allowing for the bottling of blended whisky; and the devastation of Europe’s vineyards by phylloxera. The first two advances made
blended whisky possible and the emergence of phylloxera gave it the opportunity to take on the world. Without these conditions Scotch whisky may never have become the drinks industry juggernaut that it is today. The latter two would have mattered little without the invention of the column still. It enabled distillers to produce spirit in greater quantities, more cheaply and to higher degrees of purity than that of traditional pot stills. Column stills, could be run continuously, did not need to be cleaned as frequently, and produced greater quantities of spirit at a lower cost. The first column still was patented by Sir Anthony Perrier at Spring Lane Distillery in Cork Ireland, 1806. By 1824 a column still was in use at Haig Distillery, aka Cameron Bridge Grain Distillery, in Fife. In 1828 the Scotsman Robert Stein created the “patent still’, improving on Perrier’s design by introducing partitions to the columns. Within just two years an Irish exciseman (tax collector) by the name of Aeneas Coffey advanced the design yet again, introducing a single column or ‘Coffey Still’ which could produce even purer spirits more quickly. The design didn’t catch on in Ireland (to that industry’s detriment), but it was rapidly adopted in Scotland to make whisky, and throughout Europe and around the world to produce other spirits. The Coffey Still allowed for the production of softer, lighter whiskies which will become important later on. The second major development which paved the way for the growth of blends was a change in British law. Prior to 1860 most Scotch whisky was consumed as single malt and mainly drunk in the Highlands. Like the rest of Britain, the elite of Edinburgh and Glasgow drank imported wine and brandy. In those days wine, brandy and whisky
was shipped to, and stored at, grocers in casks, and then bottled to order for their customers. Often smoky, rough and full-flavoured the Highlanders drink was too strong for many of the southerners who preferred the more delicate Cognacs and other brandies. But the introduction of column stills allowed for the production of lighter whiskies, usually produced in the Lowlands by massive grain distilleries like Cameron Bridge. These two components could be blended together, diluting the potency of the fiery Highland whiskies and adding depth to the blander cheaper Lowland ones. In 1860 British laws where changed allowing for the sale of bottled whisky, and the industry was in a position to take advantage of an opening in world markets. In the 1860s phylloxera began its sweep of Europe vineyards, destroying decades old vines most devastatingly in France. This was a cataclysmic disaster for the French wine and brandy industries, and it left a gaping hole to be filled in the appetites of the middle and upper classes. Many Scottish and other British grocers were already bottling and selling whisky and they leapt at the opportunity to expand their reach. Johnnie Walker & Sons emerged from a small shop in Kilmarnock, to be the world’s largest player in blended whisky. Today the parent company of Johnnie Walker can boast the two best selling blends in the world, and 28 single malt distilleries in Scotland (nearly ¼ of the total). Famous Grouse, Scotland’s best selling whisky was introduced by Matthew Gloag, a Perth wine and spirits merchant. The Chivas Brothers got their start in Aberdeen, selling groceries; their legacy today is the fastest growing brand in China, Chivas Regal, and the second largest stable of Scottish distillers. And this is to name just a few. culinairemagazine.ca •
Today Blended Scotch whisky is a luxury good enjoyed around the world both for its character and as a status symbol. Some brands like Johnnie Walker are super massive, producing more than 130 million bottles a year. These blends are put together with consistency in mind, can consist of multiple grains and malts from 20 to 50 or even more distilleries. For Johnnie Walker’s top of the line Blue Label blend, only 1 out of every 10,000 of the company’s casks is considered worthy enough to be used in its creation. And the Scots aren’t the only ones to blend their whisky, much Canadian whisky is blended, as is most Irish Whiskey, and some of the world’s finest blends are produced in Japan. The concept behind blending whiskies is that the end product is superior to its constituent parts. I have long struggled with this concept, finding most blends blander and less interesting than the average single malt. But this trend may be changing, smaller players
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like Compass Box have entered the fray creating boutique blends, and the bigger players are doing a better job of creating interesting smaller batch and premium releases. Jim Murray named Ballantine 17 Year the finest whisky in the world in his 2012 Whisky Bible. It is a pleasant enough whisky, but the finest in the world? I am a malt man, a devotee of single malt whiskies. I’ve tasted whiskies from every operating malt distillery in Scotland and most of the closed ones, further I’ve paid homage at more than 70 of them. For the longest time I had written off blends as being less interesting, plainer and uninspired. In the last year however, a couple of blends have turned my head and given me cause to reconsider my past bias. Whiskies like the Cutty Sark Tam O’Shanter, Nikka Tsuru 17 Year, Compass Box’s Great King Street and even Johnnie Walker’s Gold Reserve and Platinum bottlings have given this malt man new hope, and a reason to take another look at blended whisky.
Andrew's Blended Whisky Picks Scottish Blends:
Johnnie Walker Red One cannot talk about Blended Scotch Whisky without mention Red Label, the world’s bestselling Scotch whisky and the workhorse of the Johnnie Walker range. Best used in cocktails on its own it is fruity, malty and grainy with peppery spices. $29.99 Johnnie Walker Platinum The newest edition to the stable is an 18 year old blend relying more heavily on west coast malts, giving it more smoke and peat than most of the range. Notes of Scottish tablet, toffee chews, whipped topping and clean smoke with spices, creamy oak and oily grains. $152.49 Chivas Regal 12 Year Johnnie Walker’s biggest competition in the blended market is Chivas. Chivas Regal, a 12 year old blend is a status symbol in China where it is served with green tea. This one is all about balance, and is priced to mix or sip. Nutty, creamy and floral with soft fruits. $42.99 Chivas Royal Salute 21 Year Royal Salute was first released in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The whisky is a blend of malt and grain whiskies aged no less than 21 years, and comes in a ceramic flagon. Hard candies, creamy oak and chocolate with oily grains. $119.99 Compass Box Asyla A new breed of blender, Compass Box is all about flavour, small batches and a boutique approach. John Glaser got his start at Johnnie Walker and found an opportunity on the fringe. Matured only in 1st fill American oak it is malty with lots of vanilla, toasted oak and subtle fruit. $46.99 Whyte & MacKay 30 Year This is a heavier more full flavoured blend than most of those on the market, and a testament to “The Nose” Richard Paterson, Whyte & MacKay’s larger than life Master Blender. Heavy on the oak, sherry notes and packed with flavour, this is a malt drinker’s blend. $179.49 Ballantine’s 17 Year Jim Murray’s “World Whisky of the Year” 2011, is an attempt to attract single malt drinkers to the blended stable. The palate is malty and chocolaty with loads of vanilla,
creamy oak and hints of smoke. I wouldn’t rate this the top whisky in the world, but it is very good and complex. $87.99 Famous Grouse “Low Flyer” can trace its origins to 1860, is the bestselling whisky in Scotland, and an iconic blend. The whisky’s spiritual home is Glenturret Distillery, Scotland, and it is the heart of the blend. Honeyed and smoky with lots of orange citrus, toffee and subtle spices. $29.99 Black Bull 40 Year 40 year old whiskies are increasingly rare and expensive making this one an outlier. An extraordinarily high 90% malt and just10% grain makes this blend very multilayered and complex. Sweet, herbaceous and oaky, the palate has notes of coconut, butterscotch and candied fruits. $243.49 Antiquary 12 Year Just released in Alberta, it has a storied history stretching back more than 130 years. High in malt content, Antiquary relies heavily on its home distillery of Tomatin. Very creamy and light, yet blanced and layered at the same time. The malt shines through along with oily grain. $44.49
Nikka Tsuru 17 Year Proof not only that the Japanese make whisky just as well as anyone, but that blended whiskies can be just as interesting as single malts. Hands down my favourite blend, silky, soft and fruity with endless waves of depth and complexity; a master stroke in the art of subtlety. $132.49
Middleton Very Rare The flagship blend of Irish Distillers, Middleton Very Rare is released once a year in very small batches. Its exact profile and flavour can vary from batch to batch, but it is usually smooth, honeyed and orangey with its signature firm unmalted barley. $160.99 Kilbeggan 18 Year Named for the world’s oldest distillery, which is in the process of being resurrected, this small batch blend is produced from the best of Cooleys mature whiskies. Thick with caramel, white orchard fruits and spice, it finishes heavy on the oak with coffee notes and spice. $154.99 culinairemagazine.ca •
Menu Gems Our contributors are sharing their “must try” fusion and spicy dishes at local restaurants!
Wendy Brownie I love the spicy carrots and beets tapas at Candela – they’re both beautifully presented by the staff.
Fred Malley I recently enjoyed the calamari stir-fry with piri piri at Wurst. It is a refreshing change from battered and deepfried. There is just the right amount of heat to accompany a flight of beer and it’s large enough as a light lunch or a shared appie.
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Gabriel Hall Two bites are all it took to bring forth an uncontrollable stream of tears. Phall curry, the spiciest curry in the world, at Glory of India downtown isn’t an authentic Indian dish but will satisfy any masochist who wants to incinerate their taste buds. It isn’t on the normal menu, but ask nicely, be prepared to sign a waiver and look forward to a painful morning on the thunder bucket.
Heather Kingston Globefish Sushi has a very inventive and imaginative menu. The photography alone is mouth-watering. One of my favourite fusion choices has to be Tuna Tacos. The Mexican avocado, tomato and green onion with Japanese styled tuna all wrapped in a tortilla is a savoury combination. Burning Love, my other favourite, is not only a great name for sushi, but the seafood rolled with avocado and mango has strawberry sauce drizzled over the top! I did love it!
Cory Knibutat When I’m craving spicy food that rattles my molars, yet savouring each bite, it has to be Nando’s piri-piri chicken. The spicy sauce is balanced by just enough herbs and lemon for you to enjoy each taste. While the European franchise is know for bringing the heat, you are more than welcome to order your food dialed down to whatever spicelevel you can handle. For me, it’s extra-hot or nothing. If my forehead’s not sweating when I’m done, it’s not worth it.
BJ Oudman The hot and sour chicken soup at White Elephant Thai Restaurant has the most authentic flavours and spices I have tasted outside of Thailand. It is perfectly balanced between the heat of the chili peppers, the sourness of the vinegar and the sweetness of the coconut. Get there by 1:00 pm for their weekday lunch special - they close when they run out of food! Peter Vetsch I don’t think it can be doubted that Alloy Restaurant is the king of fusion cuisine in the city, and everything on their menu highlights a modern and often surprising blend of Asian, Mediterranean and Latin flavours. However, when I think of a single spice-laden dish that has blown me away, it has to be the Gosht (Lamb) Masala at Maurya Indian restaurant in Kensington. The lamb is melt-away tender, the spice mixture mesmerizing, and the amount of heat just right to leave a tingle on your tongue without making you constantly reach for your water glass. When I lived in the area I got this dish more times than I can count.
Linda Garson I love spice, and as usual I have too many favourites! You’ll see many of my “go to” restaurants and their food featured in Culinaire, but if I have to pick individual dishes then some of my choices would be Candela’s “the devils” egg and their Japanese eggplant with honey, pistachios and local ricotta; Downtownfood’s Kimchi Stew; the Bison Short Rib braised with Ancho Chile at Open Range, Carino’s Miso Chicken Supreme with carbonara corn and edamame risotto and their Mozzarella Agedashi with umi paste and basil tempura; Boxwood’s Warm Lemon Lentil Dahl with Spinach, Cumin and Coriander; the Persian Pizza at Shiraz, Mango Shiva’s Coconut Curried Calamari, and Rasoi’s Cumin Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Garam Masala Roasted Potatoes – and that’s just to name a few!
Vincci Tsui I’ve mentioned before that Szechuan Restaurant is my favourite restaurant in Calgary. It’s certainly not fine dining and because the food can be so spicy it’s certainly not a place that I recommend to everyone, but if you like authentic northern Chinese food with bold and spicy flavours, it is your best bet (and cheap to boot!). But my favourite fusion/ spicy dish actually comes from a restaurant just a few blocks down 16th Ave - Delhi Darbar. Their ‘Pride of Goa’ is a vegetarian dish with earthy, sweet roasted eggplant and butternut squash in a smooth, creamy coconut sauce with warm, comforting spices.
Thierry Meret I like the Orchid Room Fusion Cuisine located by the +15 on the second floor in Banker’s hall downtown. It is a small and quaint dining room and Chef Njuyen’s culinary art is fusioning Thai, Vietnamese and French flavour into elegant, yet distinctive and clean flavour. Try Njuyen wrapped beef tenderloin in grilled vine leaves, the delicate scallop skewers with coconut and hoisin sauce or the green curry poached tofu... no confusion there!
One-Pot Turkey Leftovers Cook-off Story and photographs by Fred Malley, CCC A convivial gathering of fourteen chefs, oenophiles and foodies recently witnessed family feud turkey style. Creating a dish from leftovers that doesnâ€™t taste like leftovers is a good thing. Cassis Bistro and Casel Marche on 17th Avenue SW partnered with J. Webb Wines and Culinaire magazine to find the best tasting Thanksgiving clean up. Imagine our surprise to learn that the two finalists were aunt and nephew; they were surprised too. So what does an IT specialist named Rosita Burnside, hailing from Sumatra, create to face off against her security consultant, former paramedic nephew, Terry Lo?
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The Indonesian influence came through in spades as Rosita built a curry that had me pining for amah’s cooking. The fragrance was subtle, like the flavours she masterfully blended to give the dish depth of flavour. The coconut milk was no surprise, but the applesauce ingredient was brilliant. Especially when paired with Janet Webb’s recommended 2009 Castel Sallegg Gewurztraminer ($27.95). This Alsatian-style Italian wine has rich aromas and perfume to complement a curry with some sweetness, and the oily mouth-feel balanced the spiciness of the curry. The dish was colourful with red peppers, edamame and potatoes in a golden sauce to enhance the turkey. She finished her presentation with one of the lightest, most tender and flaky puff dough crusts I have ever eaten. There couldn’t have been any calories either, at least I hope so; I ate two pastries. Terry took an Italian approach to his dish, presenting an inside-out cannelloni. The pasta was tender yet firm with a creamy jack cheese and earthy mushroom filling, rounded out with generous chunks of turkey and crisps of Woodstone Farms Black Forest ham. The saltiness, smoke and
texture of the ham contrasted the cheese and turkey beautifully. A second Italian wine was paired here, a 2011 Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Rosato Campania ($23.95). The round balanced acidity of the wine was a nice foil to the richness of the cheese and sauce. I have yet to find out how he kept the turkey so moist; it melted in your mouth. Before the verdict was announced, Terry kept us entertained relating stories of his past and present exploits. Very much an extrovert who loves to cook, he traded the stress of a front line paramedic for the excitement of helping clients nail down their adversaries or being a bodyguard. He got to practice his French (Montreal) with Dominique Moussu, Cassis’ young chef from Provence, France. You will occasionally find Rosita helping to feed the hungry at St. Mary’s Cathedral. She is a bit more shy than her nephew, but exudes a warm charm and grace. And she certainly learned from her family the art of building a curry. She recommends using a crab applesauce
as it is more tart. The bottle of champagne from J. Webb and gift basket from Casel Marché went home with Rosita, but I have a feeling Terry will join in the celebration, even if aunty has the bragging rights. Check with Casel Marché about participating in one of their Interactive Mondays, and you can pop next door to the market to plan your next meal. caselmarche. com.
Curry Turkey Pot Pie Serves 6
960 mL (4 cups) cooked turkey, cut into large cubes 480 mL (2 cups) sweet red pepper, chopped 480 mL (2 cups) frozen edamame, without pod 480 mL (2 cups) cubed potatoes 3 carrots, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 leek, finely chopped (including the green part) 15 mL (1 Tbs) grated ginger 15 mL (1 Tbs) minced garlic 6 green cardamom pods, toasted 15 mL (1 Tbs) coriander seeds, toasted 15 mL (1 Tbs) curry powder
pinch red chilli flakes 480 mL (2 cups) chicken or turkey stock 80 mL (1/3 cup) unsweetened applesauce 1 can coconut milk To taste salt and pepper 30 mL (2 Tbs) oil Method: 1. Grind toasted green cardamom and coriander, set aside. 2. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, brown onion, leek, ginger and garlic. Add curry powder, cardamom, coriander, and chilli flakes, and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken or turkey stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree the broth until smooth
and return to the same pot. 3. Add potatoes, applesauce, all vegetables except the sweet red pepper, and cook until vegetables are tender; add coconut milk and simmer for 1 minute. 4. Add cubed turkey and sweet red pepper; add more stock if it is too thick; stir to combine and boil for 2 minutes. 5. Ladle into individual bowls and top each with baked puff pastry that has been cut to the shape of the bowl prior to baking. Serve with naan bread on the side and Gewurztraminer wine.
Go to culinairemagazine.ca for Terry Lo’s Turkey-Bacon Cannelloni recipe culinairemagazine.ca •
The Humble Spud Recipes and photography by Silvia Pikal
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Now that it’s fall, soups, curries and stews are the main meals in my house. Potatoes are healthy additions to any hearty meal, and help to bulk up lighter fare by providing fibre and protein. Fusion Potato Miso Soup
Spicy Potato Curry
The base of this potato soup recipe has been passed down in my Croatian family for generations. By using miso as the primary seasoning, this Eastern European soup is given a Japanese twist. The fusion results in a satisfying richness.
The blend of spices paired with coconut milk help create a fiery yet sweet potato curry. If you like your curry really hot, feel free to amp up the cayenne pepper. Serve this dish with fish, or make it a complete meal with brown rice or naan bread.
45 mL (3 Tbs) olive oil 45 mL (3 Tbs) all purpose flour 4 Yukon Gold or Red potatoes, peeled and chopped 700 mL (3 cups) water 3 bay leaves 30 mL (2 Tbs) white miso 5 mL (1 tsp) seasoning salt To taste salt and pepper Handful fresh chives
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed 15 mL (1 Tbs) olive oil 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 7.5 mL (1 1/2 tsp) salt 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper 5 mL (1 tsp) ground ginger 5 mL (1 tsp) coriander 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) cumin 1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) turmeric 10 mL (2 tsp) garam masala 1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper (Increase for more heat) 540 mL (1 can) chick peas, rinsed and drained 398 mL (1 can) coconut milk 60 mL (1/4 cup) tomato sauce 30 mL (2 Tbs) fresh lemon juice
1. To make a roux, the basic thickening agent, heat oil on high in a large pot. When oil is hot, turn heat down to medium. Add the flour gradually and stir constantly. It should be smooth with no lumps. Keep stirring until the flour is light brown. Make sure it doesn’t burn. 2. Remove from heat and add the water. Be very careful not to splash yourself as the roux will be extremely hot. 3. Add potatoes and bay leaves to pot. Cover the potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. 4. Remove soup from heat. Take out the bay leaves and discard. Add miso and use a potato masher to combine with the potatoes. Mash until soup is thick and creamy. 5. Add seasoning salt, salt and pepper. Taste soup and add more seasoning if required. 6. Sprinkle each serving of soup with fresh chives.
1. Place peeled and chopped potatoes into a medium-sized pot. Cover potatoes with salted water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain. 2. While potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions in oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. 3. Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. 4. Add the salt, pepper, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 5. Add the potatoes and chickpeas. Sir in the tomato sauce and fresh lemon juice. 6. Add coconut milk and allow curry to simmer for 10 minutes. 7. Taste curry and add more garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt or black pepper if desired. culinairemagazine.ca •
Fusion Food Traditional Style! By Brenda Holder
For this Métis, thinking about fusion food is what we are all about! Mixed heritage and mixed food seems to tell the story of my lineage. I thought long and hard about this one, and of course the obvious item to write about is bannock. Yes, I realize that those reading this will not think of bannock as fusion food, but bear with me as I take you through the history of this delightful treat, and of course we’ll take it even further in a more modern take on fusion food. When we think of bannock in Canada, we immediately think of it as Aboriginal, but it has its roots in Scotland as well as in this country. The Scots brought this food over and their methods for making it were slightly different than the Aboriginal people’s, though typically it wasn’t what was called bannock, it was called pahkwêsikan. Early history of Scottish bannock was made from either oats or barley and was a very heavy and unleavened cake, formed into a round shape and then cooked on a griddle. Aboriginal people used different flour. Depending on the region, it could have been corn flour, wild grasses and roots, or other plants that would give a flour base. As time went on, this staple food morphed into using flour, baking powder, salt, fat and sometimes berries or even a savoury. And there are many different ways of cooking it from oven baked to wrapping the dough on a stick and setting it by a fire. In our family, using bannock to make “pizza” was always a popular treat, and there are many folks who still love
to make it. Other fusion ideas with a traditional twist? Buffalo burgers, Elk stew with bannock style dumplings, Caribou chili in a bannock bowl… Well that’s about as fusion as I can get sticking with tradition. But perhaps a bannock recipe will help stimulate your own creativity.
Bannock 720 mL (3 cups) all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour) 30 mL (2 Tbs) baking powder 15 mL (1 Tbs) sugar 2.5 mL (½ tsp) salt 120 mL (½ cup) butter or shortening 180-240 mL (¾-1 cup) milk or water 1. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. 2. Work in the butter using your hands, until you make a nice crumble. 3. Gradually mix in enough milk to make a soft dough but not sticky. Knead. 4. Shape into a ball, place on a greased baking sheet, then flatten into a circle about 2 cm thick. Bake at 425° F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. 5. You can also make a stiffer dough by adding less milk, and then you can roll it into a long snake, and wrap it around a green willow stick and slowly cook it over a fire or coals. Sometimes we like to cook bratwurst or smokies, then wrap the bannock around them, and cook until the bannock is brown. How’s that for fusion?!
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Pickling, Bottling, Canning And Preserving By Leonard Brown
These four methods are ways of an age-old tradition, in which the fresh produce of summer has been saved for use in the coming winter months and in years to come. Typically the process involves the specific preparation of fruit and vegetables in sealed bottles, jars and cans.
Pickling preserves food in a brine of salt and water producing lactic acid, or marinating in a vinegar or acid solution. The resulting salty or sour-tasting foods are called pickles. Characteristically the pH is below 4.6, which is sufficient to kill most bacteria, so foods do not have to be sterile if pickled. Dill cucumbers, carrots, peppers, onions and beets are examples of vegetables that are frequently preserved using the pickling process. It is important though that the jars or bottles used are clean and sterile, so as to minimize risk of contamination. Whether pickling, preserving or bottling, it is safe practice to proceed as follows: • Wash jars, lids and lid sealing caps very well. • Bottles, jars and lids can then be placed on a rack in a hot oven about 200º F for 10 mins until hot. Alternately they can be boiled in a deep pot of water for 10 minutes. • Use rubber-tipped tongs to remove jars individually for careful filling with hot prepared foods and liquid, and make sure that solid foods are covered by the appropriate liquid or brine, a few millimeters short of full, before placing sealing cap and lids, which are then tightened. • The jars can be placed in a pot of boiling water which is allowed to cool, or they can be cooled on the countertop. With either method it’s important to ensure that the sealing caps, which expand and bulge upwards from heat vapor within, depress inwards producing a popping sound once the jar and contents cool. This ensures a secure tight seal. • These jars can be stored on shelves but must be refrigerated immediately when opened. When opening bottles for use, check to see that the seal is tight, and once opened, that the food looks good and unspoiled. If in doubt THROW OUT. * As mentioned above, foods preserved in an acidic brine do not have to be pre-sterilized, but foods preserved in their own juices or in other liquids, must be boiled prior to bottling. Preserves, jams, spreads and fruit butters are commonly defined as individual fruits or vegetables, or combinations of both, that are boiled together with recipe-defined amounts of sugar and pectin, needed for the gelling process. The differentiation between jam, jelly and butter depends on the ratio of fruit to sugar. A fruit butter has the highest proportion of fruit and lowest amount of sugar compared to a jam, while a jelly is a preparation where the fruit, pulp and skins are strained or skimmed off, resulting in a clear, smooth, sweet jelly spread. Infusions are items such as oils and vinegars in which herbs (for example rosemary, lavender or thyme), vegetables (such as roasted garlic, jalapenos or onion) or spices (like peppercorns or cinnamon) are allowed to infuse slowly over time to impart their delicate flavours. Use in salads or in food preparation uniquely adds flavour. It is wise to label and date bottles, to prevent guessing as to their contents at a later date. Displaying jars and bottles on shelves is visually attractive, and makes for interesting conversation, they are also welcomed as gifts at any time. Best of all, it’s great to use foods later when you have none of the fresh equivalents in your refrigerator. Just pop the lid and enjoy!! culinairemagazine.ca •
Not The Bitter End Story and photograph by Gabriel Hall the alcohol through maceration. Liquors made in this method with a predominately bitter flavour are considered a “bitter”.
“It’s good for you.” That’s the line I was given with a broad smile and a thumbs up the last time I had a bottle of Jägermeister set before me. After seeing an expression of fear and revulsion flash across my face, my German friend proceeded to relate the old wives tale of how the vile concoction uses a blend of herbs, roots, spices to produce a constitutionstrengthening cough remedy and digestive aid. While it makes for a great marketing story, there is a modicum of truth embedded in the tale as this method of alcohol production has existed for a very long time. While most aperitifs and digestifs got their start in life as a way to purify water or to store grains for the rest of the year, a select few were created as remedies for aliments. These brews were often made from tree bark, the rinds from fruit, or other items that are believed or proven to have natural medicinal properties. They were ground or mashed up in combination with high proof alcohol and released their qualities into
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Digestive bitters such as Fernet Branca, Campari, even Pimm’s No. 1 are made by throwing the ingredients into a vat or barrel with high test alcohol and allowing them to soak for varying amounts of time in order to effectively infuse flavours in a process called maceration. Traditionally, digestive bitters are poured neat or over ice and drunk after a meal in order to aid in digestion. Occasionally, they are mixed with other alcohol, as in the case of a Negroni, to create a wellbalanced drink. (A Negroni cocktail is made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso (red, semi-sweet), and one part bitters). Cocktail bitters are small bottles of highly concentrated mixtures of bitter flavours that are used to enhance mixed drinks. A few splashes of Angostura into a mixture of rye whiskey and vermouth and you have a Manhattan. Pink gin was popularized by English sailors as Angostura bitters were often used as cure for sea sickness in the 1800’s. Modern cocktail bitters are made using a variety of herbs, spices, fruit, and other commonly enjoyed flavours to create intense flavourings that can then be used to enhance cocktails. The creation of bitters is a delicate
process. Flowers or herbs like gentian, which provide the bitter component, and blends of herbs, fruit, or spices are macerated separately for varying lengths of time, depending on how long it takes to disperse their essences into the liquid. Each solution is then carefully filtered and then proportionally combined to create flavour profiles in the same method one would use when cooking a dish or baking a cake. This allows bitters to be perfectly balanced, enhancing the existing flavours in cocktails instead of overpowering or masking them. Somewhere in the middle of the last century, bitters waned in popularity as the simplicity and abundance of beer and wine pushed their way on to dinner tables and bars across the nation. The taste factor might have also accounted for some of the reduction in popularity. However, as time has progressed and people’s palates have grown increasingly complex, there has been a desire to revisit forgotten aromas and create new essences to satisfy that craving. Bitters’ return to prominence will give amateur and professional bartenders the ability to create subtle or overt sensations in almost any cocktail that one can dream of making today, as well as integration into food, lending more vibrancy to the varied culinary landscape.
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That which makes Hendrick’s ODD is precisely what makes it WONDROUS. It is distilled in absurdly SMALL batches by a single CRAFTSMAN working a duo of anachronistic copper stills. It is then finished with SUBLIME infusions of CUCUMBER and Bulgarian ROSE. To join our most unusual world, visit us at HENDRICKSGIN.COM PLEASE ENJOY THE UNUSUAL RESPONSIBLY HENDRICK’S GIN, 44% ALC./VOL. ©2012 REPRESENTED BY PMA CANADA LTD.
68 â€˘ November 2012