Culinaire #10.8 (January-February 2022)

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A L B E R TA / F O O D & D R I N K / R E C I P E S JA N UA RY/ F E B R UA RY 2 02 2

Food & Drinks Trends | Value Wines | Chinese New Year | Hearty Comfort Food


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contents

Volume 10 / No. 8 / Jan/Feb 2022

6

Salutes and Shout Outs

9

Book Review

13

Chefs’ Tips and Tricks

20

13

departments News from Alberta’s culinary scene

Cookies I have Loved by Julie Van Rosendaal

28

Cozying up to comfort

38 Making The Case

For Californian wine

40 Etcetera...

What’s new?

42 Open That Bottle

With Blaine Armstrong of Betty Lou’s Library

8

Tasty Tomes

10

What’s in Store for 2022:

Reignite the spark in your kitchen by Keane Straub

Food and beverage trends by Linda Garson

18

Beverages: A state of the union

…and an eye to the year ahead by Tom Firth

20 Hung’s Noodles…

a taste of local artistry by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

ON THE COVER We’ve a hankering for hearty food at this time of year, and baked ragu-stuffed crepes certainly fit that bill. Thanks very much to Chef Errin Massolin for her elegantly plated Stracci di Antrodoco, and to photographer Dong Kim for capturing it beautifully – see the recipe on page 17!

22

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Celebrating Chinese New Year by Natalie Findlay

24

Budget Friendly Top value wines by Tom Firth

25 Step by Step:

Bison and Bean Stew by Renée Kohlman

28 Cheap, Fast, AND Good! We can have all three! by Adrianne Lovric

30 A Bottle of Suds… Stalwart stouts by Tom Firth

32 The Mighty Pomelo

The giant of the citrus world by Morris Lemire

34 Winter Spirits

For stay at home days by Linda Garson and Tom Firth

36 Is Bigger Better?

Barley wines and Russian imperial stouts by David Nuttall January/February 2022 | Culinaire 3


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Ring in the new!

2022

IS FINALLY HERE – DO I HEAR A CHEER? I’m all about ‘out with the old’ and welcoming the new. There’s something exciting about a blank canvas for the year ahead and dreaming what that might look like at this time next year. In twelve short months, so many things happen to each of us that we don’t know about in advance and therefore can’t anticipate and prepare for, and I’m just hoping and sending out positive vibes that they’re all good for us all! This issue has always included our food and drinks trends for the year ahead, and it’s never been harder to try and predict what might come our way this year. Please read my first line on page 10, and you’ll see exactly what I

mean. In my head I can hear my older (and much wiser) cousin saying to me many moons ago, “life is what happens while you’re busy making plans for what you want to happen.” So what does lie in store for us this year? Well, one thing we do know is that Culinaire will be ten years old this May. Publishing years are way longer than dog years, so it's one heck of an achievement, of which we're very proud! And that means it will be our tenth Alberta Beverage Awards too this year ten years of finding and sharing the very best beverages available to Albertans! We’re still working on the celebrations and would welcome your feedback as to how you think we should celebrate

ten years of supporting our hospitality industry and everything that’s good in Alberta’s food and beverage scene. In this double issue, we’re also celebrating comfort food (what’s your idea of comfort food?). It will be different for all of us depending on how and where we grew up and what our grannies were cooking for our parents. And we’re looking for great value drinks once those credit card statements arrive. And of course we’re celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 1, a time for two weeks of over-indulging! Gong Hei Fat Choy! Cheers

Linda Garson, Editor-in-Chief

Nonna approved comfort food staples to get you through winter. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café.

italiancentre.ca

EDMONTON | CALGARY | SHERWOOD PARK


Alberta / Food & Drink / Recipes Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Linda Garson linda@culinairemagazine.ca Managing Editor Tom Firth tom@culinairemagazine.ca Multimedia Editor Keane Straub keane@culinairemagazine.ca Sales, Southern Alberta Denice Hansen 403-828-0226 denice@culinairemagazine.ca Sales, Northern Alberta James Jarvis 780-231-7511 james@culinairemagazine.ca Design Kendra Design Inc Contributors Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Natalie Findlay, Dong Kim Morris Lemire, Adrianne Lovric Renée Kohlman, David Nuttall Keane Straub

To read about our talented team of contributors, please visit us online at culinairemagazine.ca.

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804–3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403.870.9802 info@culinairemagazine.ca @culinairemag @culinairemag facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine For subscriptions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca

Our contributors Morris Lemire

Morris Lemire lives in Edmonton where he spends the summer gardening organically with no digging; it’s not that he’s lazy, rather he sees each soil profile as having its own purpose. A keen cross-country skier, Morris likes winter, in part, because citrus is plentiful. He uses citrus in everything from preserved lemons to tagines, cocktails to cookies. He was in the wine trade for 25 years and was lucky to have travelled enough to know that Alberta is a very special place.

Keane Straub

Freelance writer and photographer, Keane is based out of Calgary. They have travelled from Tofino, BC, to Charlottetown, PEI, and tried a lot of local flavour along the way. While beer is their go-to, they won’t say no to a good gin and tonic. A storyteller at heart, they find building LEGO therapeutic, and enjoy hiking, teaching photography basics, and reading about Mount Everest. Find them on instagram @keane_larsen, or their website keanestraub.com.

LIBERTÀ

AWARD WINNING! JAMES SUCKLING: 2010-91/100 2011-91/100 2012-90/100 2013-92/100 2014-90/100 2015-92/100 2016-93/100 2017-92/100 2018- 92 /100

DECANTER:

2014 91 points

2021 ALBERTA BEVERAGE AWARDS:

Best In Class Italian Red Wine Blend.

Dong Kim

A freelance photographer and consultant, Dong splits his time between Edmonton and Calgary. Although he shoots a wide range of subjects, his passion lies in photographing food and capturing stories from the food community. An avid traveller whose itineraries often revolve around learning about cultures through its culinary scene, Dong shares many of his travels and food encounters on Instagram at @therealbuntcake.

Culinaire Magazine acknowledges that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut'ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their home in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. All Trademarks presented in this magazine are owned by the registered owner. All advertisements appearing in this magazine are the sole responsibility of the person, business or corporation advertising their product or service. For more information on Culinaire Magazine’s Privacy Policy and Intention of Use, please see our website at www.culinairemagazine.ca. All content, photographs and articles appearing in this magazine are represented by the contributor as original content and the contributor will hold Culinaire Magazine harmless against any and all damages that may arise from their contribution. All public correspondence, which may include, but is not limited to letters, e-mail, images and contact information, received by Culinaire Magazine becomes the property of Culinaire Magazine and is subject to publication. Culinaire Magazine may not be held responsible for the safety or return of any unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other materials. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without written consent from Culinaire Magazine is strictly prohibited.

TASTING NOTES Very deep, it tells of the excellent quality of the grapes. Balsamic, typical of the main grape variety in the blend. Round, pervasive, with sweet tannins, perfectly balanced. Complex, long, yet not overpowering.


SA LUTE S & S H O UT O UT S Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts have added Relais & Chateaux Post Hotel & Spa, Lake Louise, to their mountain lodge portfolio in addition to Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Deer Lodge, and Emerald Lake Lodge. Brothers André and George Schwarz have handed over the baton after more than 43 years. Great news Edmonton - Pasta la Mano have now expanded their Pasta Club deliveries to you! You can receive a monthly chef's fresh pasta dish for two, and a second fresh pasta with a recipe to try at home. Or opt for the Pasta and Wine Club and receive a bottle of wine with your meal. pastalamano.com.

Chef Jong (above) started at the original location seven years ago, and he’s created a must try Bulgogi Benny, Gnocchi Carbonara, Chilaquiles, and truffley Bagel Forestière. There’s new cocktails too and a Breakfast Beermosa and Raspberry Rummosa. Seven days, 7-2:45 pm.

Calgary’s A1 Bodega and Café is now A1 Café, and they’re making changes with executive Chef James Lawson at the helm (Ex-Von Der Fels and River Café). The menu has been overhauled and Lawson’s British heritage shines through in his signature dishes – the fish & chips? Has to be tried! Seven days, 5 pm-close. Cam and Naghma Slade have opened The Curryer, a Pakistani restaurant, in the former Avec Bistro/Melo spot at 550 11 Avenue SW. The menu features halal beef, chicken, and lamb, with plenty of veggie choices, and recipes from Naghma’s mom. In the kitchen is chef Ali Tajdeen (so we already knew it would be delicious!) and his brother, cooking up tasty curries and biriyanis (the lamb just falls off the bone!), kababs, and chaat, and naan bread made in their tandoor. There are signature non-alcoholic drinks and daily features too. Before you leave, check out the Grab and Go section for jars of Curryer butter chicken sauce, garlic and ginger paste, spices and dried goods. 11:30-9 pm, Saturday from 3 pm, closed Sundays. Kensington has a new restaurant at 304 10 Street NW. Pocket Holic specialise in inari sushi – deep fried thin pouches of tofu stuffed with sushi rice and a choice of 14 different toppings! Seven days, 11:30-8:30 pm. There’s a new addition to Calgary’s Bro'kin Yolk family! Gil and Jeffrey Carlos, have opened Bro’s To Go at 6 Culinaire | January/February 2022

Tiger Sugar started four years ago in Taichung, Taiwan, and has now achieved cult status for Boba (bubble tea) worldwide, with 40 locations. Their first Alberta location is now open at 210 Riverfront Ave SW, in Calgary. Check out the tiger stripes created with syrups hand-poured into the drinks. Seven days, 12-9:30 or 10:30 pm. 820 Northland Drive NW. A small menu offers just seven breakfast sandwiches, all served with a potato bun. 7:30–3 pm, weekends from 8:30 am. And the Bro’Kin Yolk brothers have been busy, they’ve collaborated with World Bier Haus, to open Morning Brunch Co in Calgary at 722 85th Street SW. This bright and modern space is open 8-2 pm for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week. Get your fill of very affordable biscuit bennys, sandwiches, eggy dishes, and a kiddies menu too. No reservations. And while we’re talking breakfasts… OEB have just opened their sixth Alberta location in Calgary’s University District at 4132 University Avenue NW. You could put a pin anywhere in the menu and be perfectly happy with your meal – it’s all so good. There’s still delicious duck fat herbed potatoes, lots of duck confit, free-range pork, and their own eggs of course, but new menu items too!

We know how tough it is for small business owners to start their own stores, so hats off to UNITE by TMK who have opened a market space with more than 40 vendors in 'mini shops' throughout the 6,700 sq ft space upstairs in Edmonton’s Kingsway Mall. There are plenty of food and drink producers here – including Uproot Food Collective, Crave Cupcakes, and Oodles of Chocolate, as well as BOM (Black-Owned Market), clothes, housewares, and lots of other goodies! And talking of Edmonton collabs, JustCook Kitchens’ Jennifer Keith and Luke Butterworth have opened 5th Street Food Hall with four restaurants together under one roof, at 10344 105 Street NW. Here you’ll find Backstairs Burger from Chefs Levi Biddlecombe and Robert Wick, serving elevated burgers and sandwiches; Greg Sweeney’s HOM, for rich and flavourful, South East Asian inspired dishes; Seitan’s – vegan chickun, burgers and po


there’s live music, a dance floor, and two bars upstairs. Seven days from 3pm, weekend brunch 11-5 pm.

boys from Chef Neil Royale; and Three Foodies with Chef Kelly Burns’ unique twists on classic comfort food. Lunch and dinner from 11 am, closed Mondays. There are two new spots at one address to discover in Calgary’s Grain Exchange Building at 811 1 Street SW! Upstairs is Taqueria El Chefe, with Mexican Chef Giovanni Vazquez heading the kitchen alongside brother Alan. Their eight-hour cooked beef birria is making a stir not only as tacos, but as poutine (ooh, yes please!) and sopes too. You can also get tacos with other fillings as well as nachos, ceviche, enchiladas and burritos too – and some wicked tequila cocktails! Walk-ins and takeout for lunch and dinner, closed Sundays. Downstairs, on Fridays and Saturdays, is PDT (Please Don’t Tell) bar and nightclub with special comedy,

burlesque, and celebrity acts from 7 pm, and a DJ from 10 pm-2 am. Get your tacos upstairs and bring them down, or order sandwiches to soak up your drinks. Reservations available. Missing Stampede? You can enjoy it all year round at the new Whiskey Rose, a Western-inspired saloon in the renovated former Cibo location on 17 Avenue SW, from Chris Jamieson and Devin Peterson, of Greta Bar. The comfort-food menu has Alberta-sourced ingredients, and we’re fans of the Beer Can and Nashville Chicken plates, Louisiana Shrimp Boil, St. Louis Ribs, and Mac ‘n Cheese… on a bed of fries with fried chicken skin! Fried bologna sandwiches are served 10 pm-2 am. Try a Saloon or Solo Cup cocktail, beer and bourbon, and stomp your boots to loud country and rock music. At weekends

A couple of blocks west, Candy Shop Café is now Honey Bar and Lounge, a late-night bar with a carnival theme! For your birthdays, bachelorettes and other fun celebrations, unwind and let loose with carnival food and drinks too. Enjoy a blooming onion, popcorn chicken with waffle cone, or deep fried pickle, washed down with cotton candy, creamsicle and Ferrero Rocher cocktails, while you’re watching the carnival dancers or trying out the kissing booth. A DJ and live violin play Friday-Saturday. Desserts are a must, with deep fried oreos, apple fries, and the giant Sunday Funday with 16 scoops of ice cream (we dare you!). 1324 17 Ave SW, 5 pm-2 am, weekends from 3 pm. Edmonton’s Art Gallery of Alberta, is now home to May, a new restaurant from Jimmy Shewchuk’s Prairie Catering, named for when they started work on his family’s farm rather than the harvest. Executive chef Doreen Prei is heading up the kitchen and she’s created an 80 percent local produce, stunning shareable menu. Split into small, substantial, and dessert dishes, we want it all – from the wild mushrooms, quail, bison ribeye, and Arctic char, to the wide selection of interestingly-named artisan cocktails (who lived to 103?). 5 pm-close, Tuesday-Saturday.


Tasty Tomes BY KEANE STRAUB

T

he start of a New Year can inspire people to try new things and develop new, healthier habits. If you’re branching out in your cooking or looking for an adventure close to home that won’t break the bank, we have some light reading for you to reignite the spark in your kitchen. Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked by Raghavan Iyer With dishes from almost every continent, this book will have you rethinking the way you cater to your taters. Recipes are grouped according to meal, and we couldn’t decide where to start! Crash and Burn Potatoes with Cinnamon Malt Vinegar (p.22) are perfect when watching the game, and Persian-style Potato and Eggs (p.121) are as good at breakfast as they are at dinner. And we defy you to overlook Thick-Cut Potato Crisps with Dark Chocolate (p.225)! Workman, $23

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown “A celebration of the many delicious meals available to those on even the strictest budgets,” this book also works as a how-to guide: how to shop on a budget, how to shop for the season, how to stock your pantry, and even how to use up your leftovers to eliminate food waste. You may find yourself pausing at all the inventive ways to top your toast (p.68), the quick and easy Mexican Street Corn (p.47), and the delectable Caramelized Bananas (p.177). Perfect for students living away from home. Workman, $19 The Noodle Bowl by Louise Pickford This is a great little tome for those looking to dip their toe into Asian cuisine. A noodle glossary breaks down all the different types available, there’s also a breakdown of ingredients. As well as dishes inspired by Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese cuisine, there are gems like Stir-Fried Ginger Fish and Ginger Noodles (p.153) from Cambodia, and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Seared Duck (p.123) from Laos. Be sure to try Shio Ramen with Pork and Eggs (p.79) too! Ryland Peters, $17 8 Culinaire | January/February 2022

A Field Guide to Cheese: How to Select, Enjoy, and Pair the World’s Best Cheeses by Tristan Sicard Your crash-course on all things cheese! Opening with a brief history of cheese, a lesson in dairy breeds and the cheesemaking process, the book focuses on 11 major types of cheese. The final section is all about tasting and pairing and includes a handy visual guide on what cheeses work together on a platter. Sprinkled throughout with cheesy facts you didn’t know you wanted to know, this is a must-have for both food and wine enthusiasts, and those who love to entertain. Artisan, $34

Rustica By Theo A. Michaels The Mediterranean diet is well-known for its proven benefits of eating simple, seasonal foods; indeed ‘eating like a villager’ has allowed people to live longer than most. Dishes in this book are based on traditional recipes with a few twists on ingredients and techniques. French-inspired Smoked Haddock and Eggs ‘En Cocettes’ (p.14) fit the bill for brunch, while Chorizo and Butter Beans in Honeyed Cider Sauce (p.42) or Smoky Prawn and Chickpea Stew (p.103) make for hearty meals in the depths of a Canadian winter. Ryland Peters, $28


B O O K R E V I E W BY TO M F I RT H

Cookies I have Loved By Julie Van Rosendaal, $20

J

ULIE VAN ROSENDAAL IS A culinary legend in Alberta, a passionate advocate for good, flavourful food, a prolific cookbook writer, and a humble, down to earth person who celebrates the tasty and sometimes messy nature of the kitchen. Her latest book, “Cookies I have Loved” is in some ways, the perfect distillation of our favourite sweet treats. Bucking the online recipe trend where every recipe needs seemingly endless pages of exposition and deep dives into history, this is a how-to guide and celebration of wonderful cookies, remarkable in its brevity. Each recipe has a small paragraph putting a little context forward, perhaps a suggestion or two, and frequently a small word or two of encouragement. This is a book about

making great cookies for those that love great cookies. This isn't a book of endless variations of essentially the same sort of cookie – but not to worry, there are several variants of the chocolate chip cookie - such gems as the ‘Ginger Molasses Crinkles’ (p.37), ‘Cocoa-Swirled Meringues’ (p.22), and to continue the great debate in my household on whether oatmeal belongs in a chocolate chip cookie, there are ‘Dad’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies’ (p.37) to go up against the ‘Thin & Chewy Chocolate Chip’ (p.47). Let the great cookie challenge of 2022 begin! To be fair, in a book about cookies, there is a fair bit of space devoted to recipes that aren’t very cookie-like, but are you one to say that brownies don’t deserve some love in a book about sweet treats? There are a few other finger-friendly treats

cook ies cookies iI have loved

Julie JulieVan VanRosendaal Rosendaal

such as ‘Butter Tart Squares’ (p.67) on a shortbread base instead of a pastry. Or such lovely treats as ‘Lemon Bars’ (p.71) and the classic Canadian Favourite, ‘Nanaimo Bars’ (p.74). Photos are wonderful throughout and everything looks delicious, but also possible for the home baker or one who might have “help” from a little one or two in the kitchen. Jeremy Fokkens is the photographer and between him and Julie Van Rosendaal, the images are encouraging and a little inspiring, but also a gentle reminder than the cookie does indeed crumble.


WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2022:

Food and Beverage Trends I BY LINDA GARSON

f the last two years have taught us anything - it’s not to make predictions!

We’ve learned, as Robbie Burns so aptly put it in his poem, To a Mouse: “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley (go awry)” and as a result, many of us are just taking life one day at a time for a little while longer. We revisited our trends from last year to see how clear our crystal ball was – and I’m delighted to report that our twelve predictions for 2021 were all completely accurate. Everything from pizza and tacos to donuts, agri-tourism to vertically farmed produce, was spot on – so what’s our crystal ball showing us this year? Two topics are going to dominate the news:

Rising food costs and climate change … and in many ways, they’re linked. Last summer saw the extreme weather patterns of severe heat and drought, and fires and floods, beyond anything most of us have experienced - which means smaller crops. Everything is affected, from grapes for making wine to durum wheat to make pasta; in Canada, our durum wheat harvest was only twothirds of previous years and prices rose by 90 percent. Will there be a shortage of pasta or a rush on pasta machines as we all start making our own at home? Supply chain issues have been in the news a lot, and once they’re resolved we can expect easing of some inflationary causes, but unfortunately we’re going to have to budget for higher food costs, and expect to pay more for our groceries, our libations, as well as meals out at restaurants. 10 Culinaire | January/February 2022

Beef or Bison The cost of beef has risen enormously for many reasons: demand is up but there were processing plant shutdowns and labour shortages, the cost of grain to feed the cattle is higher, there have been increases in transport costs and packaging materials, the list goes on – so what are we doing about it? We’ve seen far more bison and yak on our menus recently (yes, there are five yak farms in Alberta!) and we’ll be talking about more plant-based products later here. Kitchen Gardens Were you lucky enough to find an indoor garden in your stocking or under your tree these holidays? Many of us had a little more time for gardening and growing our own herbs and veggies last year, and this year we think that many more of us will take it up too, but also gardening inside with our salad greens and herbs at arm’s reach.

More grocery stores will be adding their own indoor vertically farmed products too and becoming “Growcers”, for all-year round freshness, sustainability, and to do away with transport costs. Better for you or better for the planet? A divide in generations is becoming more apparent, and as our boomers (born 1965 or earlier) age, they’ll be looking for food and beverages to support wellness and healthy aging, and may be willing to pay more for them. On the other hand, our Gen Next (or Z, born 1997-2008) will be looking for food and beverages that support the health of the planet. Plant-based foods and beverages Now that plant-based foods are mainstream and our choices are increasing by the day, we’re examining how healthy they are and the ingredients


in them, far more closely. Are processed meat alternatives healthier than the meat they are replacing? We think we’ll see more nutritional value in our plant products and embracing their plant bases instead of mimicking meat or dairy. Hopefully they’ll start telling us what they are, instead of what they’re not. Is 2022 the year we see them branching out into plant-based desserts and baking too? Some things never change We still love our comfort food - that’s the food we grew up on that our grannies and parents made at home for us; we need comfort now more than ever before - and we love it now more than ever before! Whether that’s congee or curry, fish and chips or sushi, fried chicken or chicken soup, we’re reaching for it, especially in the winter months.

But...

Wherever you live in Alberta, we suspect you have more choices now for pizza, burgers, tacos, chicken wings, fried chicken, and BBQ than ever before. Midweek suppers for you and the kids have never been so easy, cheap, and tasty!

to see more fusion of cultures. While traditional pizza choices are plentiful, it no longer belongs solely to Italy - we have pizza toppings from all over the world; and while we have plenty of terrific birria and carne asada tacos, tacos no longer belong solely in the realm of Mexican food.

More Fusion But again… with the vast array and availability of these casual fast foods, restaurants will need to come up with weird and wonderful ways of differentiating their dishes, so we expect

Italian Cuisine Alberta’s love of Italian food knows no bounds, it seems! Just about every page of Salutes & Shout Outs, featuring new restaurant openings, has included at least one, if not two or three new Italian

restaurants every issue. They’re not all Italian-owned or with Italian chefs in the kitchen, but the quality and taste is all there, and we’ve been excited by many of them. Caprese Salad Talking of Italian food, is there a restaurant that doesn’t have Caprese Salad or a variation of it on the menu? Last year beet and goat cheese salad was riding high, and now we’re happy to see so much burrata on menus, and come to think of it - whipped ricotta too in salads and on crostinis.

Taste the sunshine and the warmth into your mouth with these Moroccan wines!

Represented in Alberta by Exquisite Wines and Spirits Available in Alberta at Liquor Connect / ews-wines.com


More Indian Food Well, Chicken Tikka Masala has been the British national dish for many years now, so of course it’s a fave for me, but we’re seeing more Indian restaurants popping up and Indian flavours appearing on menus of other cultures. We’re happy for it; as much as we love it, we know there’s so much more to explore than Butter Chicken! End of celebrity chefs? We know that restaurants are still suffering staff shortages, and there’s plenty of room for anyone who’d like to work front of house or back of house, but we’re hearing less about the names of the chefs in the kitchen and more about the menu, food, and drinks we can expect. We’re thinking that just maybe the crown of celebrity chef stardom might be slipping… Cocktails On the other hand, there’s more interest in cocktails both at home and dining out. More bars and restaurants than ever before are offering traditional cocktails and their own creative concoctions too, and we know some people were experimenting at home while there was nowhere ‘out’ to go. Could this be the year where we hear more about bartenders and mixologists, and could they be the next celebrities? Ups and downs of Spirits Some signs are showing that gin is no longer ‘in’, or maybe not quite as much as the last few years. Maybe we’ve reached saturation point? A quick search of liquorconnect.com showed 492 gins 12 Culinaire | January/February 2022

currently available in the Alberta market. Meanwhile, rumours are that vodka is creeping up in popularity, and maybe we’re in for a resurgence – with 746 vodkas in the Alberta market, we’re certainly well served! Coffee… Martinis… We love our coffee, and we’re drinking better quality coffee at home now too. We also love our martinis – and these two come together in the cocktail of choice for very many this year, the espresso martini! We’ve had some pretty outstanding ones recently, and now we’re mastering making them at home – shaken until we think our arms will fall off, for that frothy top!

And finally… Here to stay - gut-healthy fermented foods, such as kimchi and kombucha - tonic water was always clear and flavourless, to add a spritz to our highballs, and we’ve seen the growth of flavoured tonic waters over the last few years. They’re probably here to stay, but we’re not sure we’ll be seeing too many more new flavours. - local, local, local. We’ve talked endlessly about it, and the importance of supporting our communities, for good reason. Not only do those locally made ice creams help our local economy, they’re likely to be made with real ingredients that are probably bought locally too, and you can talk to the person that made it and hear their stories.

- restaurants have been offering far more than dine-in menus for quite some time now. First, most created takeout menus or food kits for curbside pickup or delivery. Then they were allowed to offer alcoholic beverages to take out, and then many used their downtime to create ready meals, prepackaged sauces, relishes and condiments. We don’t think these supplemental offerings are going to disappear soon – quite the reverse. We can see these value-add items becoming more upscale, more diverse with more choices, and more readily available. Why buy a big brand, mass-produced jar of pasta sauce when you can have sauce made by your favourite restaurant to use in your home cooking? On the up – spirulina and chlorella, aka microalgae: high protein, nutrient-dense, antioxidant, and easily farmed in tanks - boards. We’ve been showing off local cheese and charcuterie boards for the last two years, and they’re still in demand at home, but we think we’ll see these becoming more creative to include themed boards, appie and crostini boards, cookie and cake boards, and dessert boards. Keep those platters handy! Coming fast – who’s serving you when you’re dining out? Robots are already here in the service industry, and there’s more to come. Edmonton’s Buddy Wonton Seafood Restaurant, Calgary’s Clay Pot Rice and Happy Lamb Hot Pot restaurants all employ robotics – they’re cute; they greet you, and carry and deliver food to your table. But how much do you tip your robot server?


C H E F ’ S TI P S & TR I C KS

Cozy up to Comfort BY KEANE STRAUB

January/February 2022 | Culinaire 13


W

hen winter first arrives, we often go through a phase of denial: “Maybe it won’t be so bad this year!” we chirp as we chip away at frosty windshields and penguin-walk down driveways. But January is here again, and with it comes polar vortexes and the fact that we’re not thawing out for at least another ten weeks. Fear not: we’ve got you covered in this month’s Chef’s Tips, as four Alberta chefs share their fave dishes to warm you from the inside out, whether you’re shovelling the walkway, throwing snowballs, or hiding indoors waiting for spring.

in the oven. “Chile Verde is a great cold weather comfort food dish,” says Turner. When braising at home, Turner says to keep an eye on the heat. “If the braise cooks at too high a temperature the meat will become tough and dry. If slowly braised it will take 2½ to 3 hours until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender.” Executive Chef Kevin Turner, of Calgary’s Cannibale and Blue Star Diner, got his start in California as a graduate from the California Culinary Academy, and worked in renowned restaurants in Berkeley and San Francisco. Working in California meant a lot of exposure to Mexican culture: “The people I worked with in kitchens were from Mexico, so I learned a lot about their country and cuisine,” says Turner. “I definitely took a liking to all the great food.” In winter, Turner enjoys taking walks after a snowfall with his dog, Annabelle, but he can also be found curled up under a blanket near a fire, reading a good sci-fi novel. A family home in Canmore makes a great base for winter adventures such as skiing, skating, and hiking. Of course, there’s nothing like coming home to the scent of a slow-cooked meal 14 Culinaire | January/February 2022

Chile Verde Serves 8

2.25 kg pork shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes

Pork Rub

2 Tbs ground black pepper 2 Tbs ground cumin 2 Tbs ground coriander 2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp dried thyme 3 Tbs kosher salt 1.5 kg tomatillos, husks removed 454 g Roma tomatoes 2 onions, coarsely chopped 4 jalapeno peppers, split lengthwise and deseeded 4 poblano peppers, split lengthwise and deseeded 2 carrots, coarsely chopped 10 cloves garlic

¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil 2 limes, juiced 1 bunch cilantro To taste salt 8 cups (2 L) chicken stock 6 bay leaves ¼ cup dried oregano 3 Tbs ground cumin 1 Tbs ground coriander 1. Preheat oven to 450º F. Combine pork rub spices and coat pork pieces. Set aside. 2. Combine tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, and garlic with half the oil in a shallow baking dish and roast in oven until golden brown, around 30 minutes. 3. Remove roasted vegetables from the pan and puree in a blender with lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt to taste. 4. Sear pork in remaining canola oil until golden brown. 5. Heat stock, your vegetable purée, and remaining spices in a braising dish. Add pork, place dish in 275º F oven and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 2 – 3 hours, until meat is tender. 6. Serve with rice, beans, feta cheese, and warm tortillas.


When the co-owner of Calgary’s Gringo St., Gustavo Bolivar, moved from Bogota, Colombia, to Quebec 17 years ago, he knew neither English nor French. But the owners of a pizzeria took a chance and for the next two years Bolivar learned as much as he could about cooking. Two years later, he moved to Calgary to be closer to the mountains. He began cooking at Mercato, which set the bar for high standards, and thanks to a small team of co-workers, Bolivar had the chance to further develop his skills. The demand for quality work inspires Bolivar, especially when it comes to his own creations. “I always strive to outdo myself,” he says. “I know I can always do more.” Bolivar is still very much in love with the mountains and in winter he hits the slopes with his wife and son. The perfect end to a day of crisp, cold mountain air, is a hot, satisfying meal, and Bolivar’s Ajiaco Con Pollo (Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup) fits the bill. “This recipe is

the perfect excuse to get together and share as a family.” Cook with love, he adds, and cook because you want to, not because you have to. “And don’t forget to add the salt!”

Ajiaco Con Pollo Serves 5-6

8 cups (2 L) cold water 8 cups (2 L) chicken broth 3 Tbs kosher salt 2 (454 g) chicken breasts 3 (150 g) chicken thighs 10 chicken wings 4 cobs sweet corn, halved 3 green onions, chopped 1.5 kg Kennebec potatoes, quartered 1.5 kg red skin potatoes, quartered 250 g new rainbow potatoes ½ tsp ground black pepper ½ bunch cilantro, chopped 3 Tbs dried guasca or oregano Capers To taste whipping cream

1. Add water, chicken broth, and salt to a large pot. Add in chicken breasts, thighs, and wings, corn and green onions. Bring to a boil until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. 2. Remove chicken and corn from pot and set aside. Add potatoes, pepper, cilantro, and guasca or oregano to the pot. Cook on medium-high until tender, about 20 minutes. 3. While potatoes cook, shred one chicken breast and slice the other. 4. When potatoes are done, add the chicken and corn back in and let simmer for about 5 minutes. 5. Spoon into bowls and add capers and cream to your liking, and enjoy with rice and avocado on the side if you wish.

Note: Calgary’s Gringo St. is temporary

closed for renovations from January 1, 2022, to the first week of March, so mark your calendars and be sure to check them out when they reopen! January/February 2022 | Culinaire 15


Twenty years ago, Warren Copeland started working in kitchens and fell in love with it almost instantly. After apprenticing through SAIT, he worked on large scale projects as a banquet chef, café manager, and Executive Chef, all before joining Hotel Arts as a Chef with SAIT’s Begin Dining Centre. “I’ve always been the type of chef who enjoys making good, hearty meals,” says Copeland. “After prepping food in a banquet hall for 2,000 people, I just want to make a simple stew at home.” During the winter, a good book, board games, and some local craft beer, are Copeland’s go-to if he’s stuck indoors. But if the weather’s favourable, he and his family enjoy skiing and hiking. Risotto is something close to Copeland’s heart, as it was one of the first dishes he learned to make when he started his culinary journey. “As a 19 yearold in the kitchen I thought, ‘Wow! I can cook something like this?’” he explains. “It’s one of my favourite comfort foods, especially in the colder months. With the added items it becomes a great, hearty meal for my family.” 16 Culinaire | January/February 2022

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Grape Tomato Chutney, Roasted Broccoli and Mushroom Risotto Serves 3 - 4

6 cups (1.5 L) chicken or vegetable stock 1 pork tenderloin 1 head broccoli, chopped into large pieces 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil, divided ½ medium onion, finely diced 3 cloves garlic, chopped 250 g grape tomatoes 1 sprig thyme 1 sprig rosemary 454 g of your favourite mushrooms, chopped (chef likes to use shiitake and oyster) 1 cup arborio rice ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 7 Tbs (100 mL) whipping cream To taste salt and pepper 1. Pre heat oven to 400º F. Add stock to medium pot and heat on medium. 2. Heat 1 Tbs (15 mL) oil in a pan on medium heat. Season tenderloin with salt and pepper, sear all sides to golden brown and the meat reaches an internal

temperature of 145º F. Remove and let rest on a warm place on top of your stove. 3. Toss the broccoli with 1 Tbs (15 mL) oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out evenly on a sheet pan and roast in oven 15-20 minutes. 4. Use the pan from the pork to start the chutney. Sauté half the onion and garlic with the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the herbs and ½ cup (120 mL) of stock letting the chutney cook on low heat to reduce the liquid until almost gone. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. 5. While the chutney reduces over medium heat, use another pan to cook the remaining onion, garlic, and mushrooms 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the rice and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. 6. Add 1 cup (250 mL) of stock and stir to combine until mostly absorbed. 7. Continue adding stock ½ cup (120 mL) at a time, cooking until almost absorbed each time. Risotto will take around 10-12 minutes. 8. Once the rice is al dente remove from heat and add the cheese and cream. Adjust seasoning to taste. 9. Slice the rested pork, plate your dish and enjoy!


Errin Massolin grew up immersed in the culinary industry. Her grandfather was chef and owner of Calgary’s Romeo and Juliet Inn, and she would often accompany him to cater events, her most memorable being a Prince concert when she was just 12 years old. “I immediately fell in love with cooking and the rush that comes with it,” she says. Moving to cater indoor events eventually brought Massolin to the executive chef position at the Metropolitan. Today, she is executive chef at Calgary’s Sensei Bar. Massolin enjoys showcasing the whimsical side of things, adding, “Plating is my artform.” She also paints, and fills time during the winter with reading, cooking, and plenty of red wine. She’s also a die-hard fan of snowmobiling. “There’s nothing like hitting the peak and being surrounded by the most intense sunshine.” Massolin’s recipe for Stracci di Antrodoco is close to her heritage and her heart as her grandfather would make it every year during the holidays. “The year he taught me how to make it is something really special, and I’ll always remember it.” A simple recipe, she encourages readers to try it even if they’ve never made a crepe before. “Use a non-stick egg pan,” she suggests, “and practice! It’s not as scary as it seems.”

Stracci di Antrodoco Serves 4 - 6

2 Tbs butter 2 Tbs (30 mL) olive oil ¼ cup finely chopped carrot ¼ cup finely chopped celery ¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 454 g ground beef 2 Tbs Italian seasoning 2 bay leaves 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 8 cups (2 L) crushed tomatoes To taste salt and pepper 250 g pecorino romano 250 g mozzarella cheese

Crèpes

6 eggs ½ cup (125 mL) water ¾ cup flour 1. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan and add carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Sauté on low heat so not to brown the mixture. 2. Once the vegetables are translucent add the ground beef and herbs and cook until beef has browned. Add crushed tomatoes, cover, and leave on

low heat for about an hour. 3. After an hour, check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside part of the ragu to cool. 4. Whisk together crepe ingredients to make a thin batter. Heat a medium sized non-stick pan on medium heat. Ladle in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Allow to cook for one minute, then flip and cook for another minute. Turn the heat down if it’s browning too quickly. 5. Stack cooked crepes between sheets of parchment paper and allow to cool. 6. Preheat oven to 350º F. Lay cooled crepes on your work surface and spread 1 Tbs (15 mL) of cooled ragu down the centre of each crepe. Sprinkle both cheeses on top of ragu, and then roll into tubes. 7. Place stracci (crepe tubes) into a baking dish and cover with remaining ragu and any leftover cheese. Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove, and serve while hot.

Keane Straub has travelled from Tofino to Charlottetown, sampling the different flavours Canada offers. The passion people have for their craft and culture inspires Keane to tell their stories. January/February 2022 | Culinaire 17


Beverages:

A STATE OF THE UNION, AND AN EYE TO THE YEAR AHEAD

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t’s been exceedingly difficult to get a true, honest sense of the emerging trends when it comes to beverages this past year and what lies ahead in the near future. Covid-19 has so muddled the data and the established beverage trends that it might be nearly impossible to predict what we are going to be drinking but we might be able to foresee how we are drinking in 2022. Industry-led research is practically bleating that folks just want to get back to normal, they want to spend as much as they used to in bars and restaurants, and that they want to go as frequently and with the same enthusiasm as they used to. It might be true, but many Canadians have also been taking a slower, more measured response when it comes to how they are approaching those past habits. We are still (generally) having smaller get-togethers, with fewer households in attendance, we get out with friends less often, and most people are still more comfortable dining (or imbibing) at home. Younger adults might be heading 18 Culinaire | January/February 2022

BY TOM FIRTH out and partying like it was 2019, while other swaths of the population are returning to dine in a slightly different fashion. While hopefully, people are more aware of the need to support local businesses, in some ways this is leading to a trend towards “craft” or “localwashing”, where sometimes tenuous connections to local considerations are being made. Local is good. But what really is local or craft, and is it enough? So, you are local? So what? Are you good too? What are you doing well, and how are you when stacked up against other offerings, including international ones? Many producers are still using the craft banner, but choosing instead to focus on being independently owned and operated. Local, real people, making a quality product without corporate or foreign ownership is likely the best way to look at it. But it still has to be good, and still manage to compete in the market. After a brief break (wonder why) from some of the national level beverage competitions, it was fantastic

to be selected again to judge this past year at the Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition and once again at the National Wine Awards of Canada. At these national-level competitions, it’s heartening to see that the bar continues to be elevated year after year. Canadian wine is world class, but at the same time distinctly Canadian, so we are seeing unique expressions of classic grapes – showing off our unique terroirs. I still find prices slightly high for Canadian wine compared to international examples, but there is no doubting the quality is superb. For the Canadian Artisan Spirits Competition, it’s most exciting to see how good everything is. There are very, very few lousy examples - poorly made or poorly executed in their style. Among other things, our base ingredients like barley or corn, are capable of making top quality, but we also seem to have the right sort of expertise and skill base, to push the bar forward with fine examples. Honestly, outside of a few spirit styles specific to a country or appellation (I’m


lookin’ at you tequila), I don’t see much reason to not buy a Canadian-made bottle. On the beer front, The Establishment Brewing company is still fresh off the recent win at the Canadian Brewing Awards with the 2021 Brewery of the Year accolade. It’s incredibly refreshing to see Alberta-based producers winning national awards here within the province. No less significant, The Establishment, a few short weeks later, won the best Alberta brewery at the Alberta Brewing Awards. The big takeaway here is that our breweries are making exceptional product and stack up nicely against other provinces even those with a perhaps stronger, and longer habit of craft brewing. But more importantly to me, this brewery also winning at the provincial level means local competition is high, and the bar is set even higher. This can only mean that our quality of locally made beers will continue to get better. Direct to consumer (DTC) was a big topic of discussion with the wine judges from across the country at the National Wine Awards of Canada, and while it’s a small part of the market – a drop in the

bucket if you will - for wine purchases, it’s a big part of the picture for our national producers, of which even the largest are often quite small compared to international wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Currently, the powers that be in Alberta’s beverage alcohol system still take a dim view on Albertans ordering directly from these out of province producers (within Alberta is a-ok). And to their credit, our privately owned beverage retailers are generally locally owned businesses who rely on our support, as well as the importers or agents who find these products, bring them into Alberta, and spend a lot of effort marketing, banging the drum, and getting the word out on these products we see lining our shelves. Long story short, support our local retailers when you can, but if you really, really want to order directly from a winery…. there are ways, but I’m not going to suggest that you do. One thing to consider is that while supply chains have been disrupted around the world since Covid-19 became a household name, knock-on effects are everywhere. It isn’t just bicycle spokes and computer chips, but moving into

the winter months, shortages have been creeping up in a few spheres, such as champagne. Closer to home, it does mean that some products won’t be as easy to get, or things like hops or even new cans or bottles might be in short supply, but do use the opportunity to talk to your local liquor store and find out some recommendations. Again, as in years past, it’s worth mentioning that locally made products do support our communities, and if you can’t find something made nearby, it’s worth looking for Canadianmade options where possible too. In other, sobering drink news, it still boggles my mind how good non-alcoholic wines, beers, and spirits have become. Generally speaking, the alcohol in those drinks adds flavour, weight, and texture to them. Removing that alcohol can make the difference between a beautiful, dry gin, and a nice glass of juniper water. During the pandemic, there has been a shift in the how and why we drink. Like anything best enjoyed in moderation, some people have chosen to imbibe less, and others might have more compelling reasons to take a break or even abstain completely.


Hung’s Noodles brings a taste of local artistry to your favourite noodle bowl BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH

Thick Noodles

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any food lovers have gotten to know the smallest of details when it comes to where their food comes from. Menus often tell us where the meat we eat was raised and where the vegetables and grains were grown and keen eaters know all about local condiments, chocolate makers, and coffee roasters. But those noodles that you love to slurp up in your favourite Asian restaurant? Unless you’re going to one of the relatively rare places that specialize in hand-cut noodles, it’s probably something that customers haven’t given much thought. If you are a fan of restaurant dishes that involve fresh chow mein noodles, egg noodles, wonton wrappers, Shanghai

20 Culinaire | January/February 2022

noodles, and especially rice noodles or rice rolls, there’s a very good chance that you’ve eaten products from Hung’s Noodles without knowing it. The Calgarybased business has been serving both restaurant and retail customers since 1984, and is one of Calgary’s original purveyors of fresh, locally made noodles. The idea for Hung’s was sparked when founder Ricky Chung’s uncle, who owned a Chinese restaurant in Calgary, complained that there wasn’t a source of local noodles available. When Chung’s father immigrated to Canada, he brought a small noodle making machine with him with the intent of helping out his brother and filling a gap in the market, but it ended up sitting dormant in the basement

of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Chung himself took on a rare apprenticeship with a prestigious noodle maker in Hong Kong to learn the craft. Once he arrived in Calgary he took a job at a grocery store to better learn English and the needs of the local market. Four years later he was ready to make his move and Hung’s Noodles was born. Business was a little rocky at first, but Chung, his father, and his wife worked hard to get their little business off the ground. “It took a while to figure out how to make my noodles here,” Chung says. “The first time I went to a distributor and they asked what kind of flour I wanted, I didn’t know what to say. My English wasn’t that


A family business

good yet and there were so many different kinds. So I just tried to talk to people and learn what they wanted in their noodles and I started making samples.” Since those beginnings, as a small three-person operation with Chung doing demonstrations in grocery stores to illustrate the perks of his product, Hung’s has grown — by 1990 the company moved into a new industrial building and expanded further about a decade ago. It’s a busy facility, where a staff of about 20 work in two separate areas making rice and wheat products on specialized

Calgarians who are not of Asian descent learn to cook with noodles and dumpling wrappers (for both traditional and non-traditional recipes — the Chungs have heard of people making things like perogies with their dumpling wrappers), the demand for fresh, high-quality products has gone up. While Chung acknowledges that some of his competitors can beat him on price and that there will always be customers who simply look for the cheapest product, Hung’s distinguishes itself when it comes to quality.

Hung’s is also in the midst of expanding its market with a line of high-quality ramen noodles to cater to Alberta’s rapidly expanding fleet of Japanese restaurants. In addition to restaurant clients like Nan’s Noodle House and the Taste of Asia restaurant group (which includes favourites like Calgary Court, Sun’s BBQ, and T.Pot), Hung’s Noodles can also be found in Federated Co-op stores across Western Canada and T&T Supermarkets in Calgary and Edmonton, as well as a range of Asian specialty markets.

The Chungs have heard of people making things like perogies with their dumpling wrappers equipment. Chung figures that he has about 90 percent of the rice noodle market in Calgary’s Asian restaurants, due to the complicated process that involves making the noodles completely from scratch with actual rice. All of the noodles are made fresh to order and are shipped out to customers daily. In all, Hung’s Noodles makes about 15 different products and the company has grown, not only because of the growing population and increasing popularity of Asian restaurants in Calgary, but also because of the company’s retail business and brand recognition. As more and more

“We haven’t scaled to that large massproducer level, but what works with our plant is that we’re at that mid-level where we can produce a certain level of volume in smaller batches, so we’re really able to control the quality,” says Chung’s daughter Joanne, who is part of the third generation of Chungs working in the family business. “Ricky trained with the masters to really learn how to make those noodles. We just want to sell really good quality noodles, which means that we don’t compromise on price. That’s what will serve us in the long run and set us apart.”

Broad Rice Noodles Cookbook author and regular contributor to CBC Radio, Elizabeth is a Calgary-based freelance writer, who has been writing about music and food, and just about everything else for her entire adult life. January/February 2022 | Culinaire 21


Happy Chinese New Year! STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATALIE FINDLAY

GONG HEI FAT CHOY!

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Translates to “Wishing you happiness and prosperity”. Unlike the Gregorian calendar one night, all-out, have-to-stay-up-tomidnight, ball-dropping New Year’s celebrations, Chinese New Year is enjoyed over many days, filled with celebrations as the old year exits and the new lunar year enters. As you can imagine, there are many dishes that are consumed over the days of Chinese New Year. Try your hand at celebrating Chinese New Year at home with these simple, flavour-packed dishes.


Steamed Sticky Rice Serves 3

2 cups glutinous rice Water 1. Wash rice until the water runs clear. In a medium bowl, add rice and cover with cold water and soak for at least 2 hours. Rinse rice. 2. Using a double boiler over medium heat, add water to the base and cover with the perforated basket. Line the basket with cheese cloth to make sure the rice does not fall through. Add the rice and level out. 3. Cover and lower heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes. 4. Turn over rice with a spatula and continue cooking another 5 minutes or until rice has softened to your liking.

Shumai

Makes approximately 40 (and it still won’t be enough because they are that good!)

Notice that the wrapper will push down into the hole between your thumb and the rest of your fingers. There you can form the round shape of the shumai as you keep adding more filling. Continue packing wrappers until all the filling is gone. 5. Add a ¼ tsp of finely diced carrots to top the shumai. 6. In a double boiler with a perforated steamer insert - line with parchment paper (so the shumai do not stick). Add shumai, making sure not to overcrowd the steamer. Steam 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from steamer and serve on its own or with the following dipping sauce. Note: Most wrappers you can find are square. In order to get the round shape for shumai trim the square wrappers using a small juice glass as a guide. I recommend trying one to check for sizing before cutting all the wrappers..

250 g ground pork 150 g shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 Tbs cornstarch 1 Tbs (15 mL) soy sauce 50 g shiitake mushrooms, trimmed 1 Tbs ginger, grated 1½ Tbs scallion, finely sliced 1½ Tbs (22 mL) oyster sauce ½ tsp salt 1 Tbs (15 mL) sesame oil 40 egg or wonton wrappers 2 Tbs carrot, finely diced Note: These don’t have to be perfect to taste amazing. It does take a few attempts to get the hang of it. But don’t worry, they are worth it. 1. Rinse off the pork and pat dry. 2. Chop shrimp into small pieces so it blends easily with the pork. 3. Add all ingredients, except for the wrappers and the carrot into a medium sized bowl. Using a fork, mash everything together thoroughly. You want to make sure all ingredients are incorporated evenly. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 4. With your non-dominant hand, make a circle connecting your thumb to the rest of your fingers. Place the round wrapper on top of the circle. Using the handle end of a teaspoon, scoop up a bit of the filling and start spreading on the wrapper.

Yu Choy with Oyster Sauce

6 full stalks yu choy (or other Chinese greens) 3 Tbs (45 mL) oyster sauce 1 clove garlic, grated 1. In a large, high-sided sauté pan, fill 1/3 with water. Bring to a boil and blanche the greens for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove and pat dry. 2. Discard water, reserving a few tablespoons to thin the sauce if necessary. 3. In a small pot over medium low heat add the oyster sauce and garlic. Thin with reserved water to desired consistency and pour over top of the greens.

Dipping Sauce

¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce 1 tsp (5 mL) rice vinegar 1 tsp sugar 2 cloves garlic 1 Tbs (15 mL) sesame oil ½ tsp (2 mL) garlic chili sauce (or desired heat) Combine all ingredients together.

Char Sui Sserves 4

800 g pork butt 2 Tbs (30 mL) soy sauce 2 Tbs (30 mL) Chinese cooking wine 3 Tbs (45 mL) hoisin sauce 2 Tbs (30 mL) oyster sauce 2 tsp sugar ½ Tbs (7 mL) molasses 3 cloves garlic, grated 1½ tsp Chinese five spice powder 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper 2 Tbs (30 mL) honey 1. Rinse and dry the meat and cut in half lengthwise. 2. In a medium bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except the honey to make the marinade. Split the marinade in two. In a resealable bag, add half of the marinade plus the pieces of pork. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the pork. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 3. In a small pot, add the other half of the marinade plus the honey, and bring to a gentle boil stirring to make sure the glaze doesn’t burn. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool and refrigerate until you are cooking the pork. 4. Preheat the oven to 450º F. 5. Line a baking sheet with foil for easier clean up. Place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Remove the pork and glaze from the fridge. Place the pieces of pork on the wire rack in the middle of the oven and cook for 10 minutes. 6. Remove and baste with the glaze. Continue to do this every 10 minutes, turning the pork and glazing. The pork is cooked when a thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 145º F. Natalie is a freelance writer, photographer and pastry chef. A graduate of Cordon Bleu’s pastry program, she manages her own business too to create custom-made cakes. January/February 2022 | Culinaire 23


Budget Friendly Top Value Wines

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Escorihuela 1884 2018 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza, Argentina CSPC +740170 $19-21

Mezzacorona 2020 Dolemiti Rosé Alto Adige, Italy CSPC +848041 $17-20

BY TOM FIRTH

s we rang in the New Year, it was the close of yet another tough year for most, but hopefully we remain optimistic about the year ahead and the opportunities it brings. Albertans are no stranger to tough times, and we know how to bounce back in style. Many may have tightened their belts a little this past holiday season, and if your belt still allows a little indulgence, you might be looking for some good value in your wine choices. The wines below are drawn from the 2021 edition of our Alberta Beverage Awards which in addition to being our largest year yet, we also saw some exceptionally tight competition for wines. Our panels of leading palates from around the province spend three days in July sorting the wheat from the chaff, assessing hundreds and hundreds of wines, beers and spirits. Since our judges don’t know who makes the liquid in the glass and certainly don’t know the price either, they are focused on finding what shows the best for its grape, spirit, beer, or just even the style of product. Post competition, the editors of Culinaire identify the Judges Selection winners that also represent excellent quality for the price, and these become our Top Value winners. These are wines that over deliver, punch above their weight, or just make for wallet-friendly gems to know about. The complete results along with our judges, can be found online at culinairemagazine.ca

Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at Liquorconnect.com; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

Castillo De Almansa 2017 Reserva Piqueras Almansa, Spain CSPC +270363 $14-16

Peller Family Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Merlot Okanagan Valley, British Columbia CSPC +56564 $17-20

Casas del Bosque 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley, Chile CSPC +846163 $17-20

Wine by Joe NV Joe to Go Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley, Oregon CSPC +816139 $11-14 (375mL)

UKO 2019 Estate Malbec

Luna Argenta Prosecco

Tommasi 2017 Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo

Pyrene 2020 Cuvee Marine

Blue Moose 2017 Cabernet Shiraz

Mandorla 2019 Pinot Grigio

Mendoza, Argentina CSPC +824815 $15-18

Côtes de Gascogne, France CSPC +815396 $17-20

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Veneto, Italy CSPC +733428 $11-14

Swartland, South Africa CSPC +800634 $14-16

Tuscany, Italy CSPC +721783 $20-24

Veneto, Italy CSPC +828360 $10-11


Bison and Bean Stew STEP BY STEP:

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENÉE KOHLMAN

January/February 2022 | Culinaire 25


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old winter days cry out for cozy, comforting soups and stews. I love to have a pot bubbling on the back burner or braising away in the oven. The aroma of garlic and vegetables wafts throughout the house, steaming up the windows. Taking the time to chop vegetables and sear meat is a fine way to occupy a lazy Sunday afternoon. And you don’t have to deal with icy roads and windchill! I could have made a beef stew, but 26 Culinaire | January/February 2022

after visiting my local farmers’ market in Saskatoon, I was inspired by the bison. Nutritionally, it's a powerhouse. Lean, with less fat and fewer calories than other red meat, plus it contains more protein and iron. Bison is also super high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Because there is virtually no marbling in the meat, bison cooks faster than beef, thus you have to be a bit gentler when cooking with it. It’s the perfect choice of meat for a slow braise.

I got my hands on a small roast, as I prefer to cut the meat this way rather than buy stewing meat. The cubes of meat are dusted with flour and seared in a pot. Those brown bits that remain on the bottom are flavour bombs and you’ll want to scrape them up when the liquid is added. I used the last of the red wine lingering in the back of the fridge, but white would work just as well. The acidity in the wine will tenderize the meat and it complements the richness of


the stewed bison without overpowering the natural flavours of the meat. White beans are a natural fit in this stew as they soak up all the earthy flavours of the meat and vegetables. I like using dried beans as they hold their shape better in the stew, but you can use about 2-3 cups (500 mL - 750 mL) of canned white beans instead, just add them during the last 30 minutes of cooking time. This stew is rich and earthy, like a good stew should be. Fragrant with wine and herbs, the smell in your house will be something else, so don’t be surprised

The aroma of garlic and vegetables wafts throughout the house, steaming up the windows if you have people wandering into the kitchen, asking when dinner will be ready. The bison meat falls apart into succulent morsels and the beans bring out all their wonderful flavours, too. The root vegetables are tender, tantalizing those taste buds, and I quite enjoy the addition of chard at the end. It adds a splash of colour, and its bitterness is the balance you wouldn’t think the stew needs, but I can’t imagine it without. Served with chunks of hot buttered garlic toast, this is comfort food at its best. The stew tastes even better a day or two after the flavours have gotten to know each other a little better.

Bison and Bean Stew with Root Vegetables and Wilted Swiss Chard Serves 6

1 cup (250 mL) dried white navy beans, rinsed 3 Tbs (45 mL) canola oil, divided 900 g bison chuck roast, such as blade, cross-rib, or shoulder, cut into 1 cm cubes and patted dry 2 medium onions, chopped 3 parsnips, chopped into 1 cm chunks 3 carrots, chopped into 1 cm chunks 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine 398 mL can diced tomatoes 1½ cups (375 mL) beef, chicken or vegetable broth 6 sprigs thyme 2 sprigs rosemary 1 tsp dry mustard powder 1 tsp salt ½ tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 cups trimmed and chopped Swiss chard or spinach 1. Soak the beans overnight in a medium bowl filled with cold water. Drain and rinse. 2. Preheat the oven to 300º F. 3. In a large ovenproof pot over medium high heat, warm 2 Tbs (30 mL) of the canola oil until just about smoking. Carefully add the bison in a single layer and brown for about 3-4 minutes. You may have to do this in batches. Transfer

the meat to a plate. Add the remaining oil and add the onions, parsnip, carrots, and garlic to the pot. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the garlic is fragrant. 4. Stir in the wine, raise heat to high and boil for 3 minutes. 5. Return the bison and its juices to the pot along with tomatoes and their juices, beans, broth, herbs, mustard, salt, smoked paprika, and pepper. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bison and beans are tender, about 2½ hours. 6. Stir in the chard and cover. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. If the stew is too thick, add more broth or water. Serve with garlic toast on the side, or over hot buttered noodles.

Renée Kohlman is a busy food writer and recipe developer living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her second cookbook, Vegetables: A Love Story has just been released.

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Cheap, Fast, AND Good! BY ADRIANNE LOVRIC

Chef's Earth

T

he saying goes that you can only have two of the three. But when it comes to quick service dining there are plenty of local options that are not only serving up a hat-trick, but also boosting the Alberta economy. It is possible to do good, while also enjoying good food that is quick, and reasonably priced. And several locally owned businesses are finding success with this model. “We’ve seen locally sourced ingredients in the fine dining scene for two decades, but not in approachable, every day eating until more recently,” says Michael Dekker,

28 Culinaire | January/February 2022

a partner in Calgary’s Saucy Burger and culinary instructor at SAIT. “Our goal with Saucy is to bring a faster food concept to people where they can eat locally sourced food in something as approachable as a burger, at a reasonable price point.” Saucy’s price point is competitive with fast food chains, but the difference is in the suppliers. Sourcing locally has become more important than ever as food prices increase and supply chains are disrupted. Saucy sources the majority of its ingredients from at least four Alberta businesses with the goal of growing together. “It’s about making

great partnerships with local producers and supporting the local economy so that hopefully we can bring some stability to the market and affordability from our own backyard,” says Dekker. “When we shrink the whole system down to a more local system, it’s more sustainable in the long term, and we get better products — which is why highend, and now quick service restaurants, source locally.” Part of the secret to the success of quick service restaurants being able to source locally is that they are specializing in one style of food with different variations, says Koki Aihara,


Saucy Burger

owner of Shiki Menya. Since opening in 2014, Aihara has kept the concept of his restaurant consistent: the best quality food, reasonably priced, served quickly. “Ramen is meant to be fast food, but it’s a lengthy process to prepare,” he says. To achieve its signature strong flavours, ramen broth takes 20 hours to make, and meats are braised for up to five hours. “It is a hearty meal, that is meant to be enjoyed quickly. But the process can’t be cheated.” He adds that by producing a limited quantity of ramen each day, they know exact quantities of food needed, which is part of the reason they are able to source many of their ingredients locally. “For us it allows us to use the highest quality ingredients. We know where our meat and our microgreens are coming from, and we make our noodles in house.” Similarly, Hickory Street owner, Devynn Bohn, started a food truck and subsequently a restaurant with a focused approach on creating authentic southern barbecue, that is affordable and uses ingredients sourced near her Stirling, Alberta location. “We’ve always said we don’t settle for mediocrity, so making sure our food is top quality has always been a priority,” says Bohn. Hickory Street’s food truck was the perfect starting point for producing quality food, quickly, at reasonable prices. “No one likes to wait around a food truck forever,” laughs Bohn, who applied the same approach to her restaurant, which opened as the pandemic hit. To continue feeding southern Albertans’ appetite for BBQ, Hickory

Street really relied on their local suppliers. “We have purposely sourced as local as we can,” says Bohn. Chickens come from a farm 10 minutes away, and a small local bakery produces their buns, pizza crusts and seasonal pies. “We try to help people understand that locally sourced ingredients produce not just better ingredients but also support and create your own little economy, which is super important as we’ve learned during the pandemic.” Both The Butchery by RGE RD owner, Blair Lebsack and Chef’s Earth Inc. owner, Kevin Birch, can attest to the importance of local supply chains to meet the demand for good, fast, affordable food. “The best thing about us purchasing the way we have for the last nine years is that we have our supply chain in place with our local farms growing our vegetables, and raising our meat,” says Lebsack. Although Lebsack’s

at home.“People are being very savvy about where they are spending their money right now. We hear the word value a lot,” says Lebsack who adds that his customers are willing to pay a little more for a better, locally sourced product that enables them to eat properly. Similarly, Chef’s Earth draws on local suppliers, many of which share Birch’s Calgary Farmer’s Market location, to create chef-crafted fast but naturally true food in the form of bowls and wraps, as well as custom designed takeand-make, and frozen meals, filled with wholesome ingredients. “We’re offering foods that would take you a long time to purchase and prepare, served in a familiar way. It’s real food,” says Birch, adding that he saw a 67 percent increase in his business when COVID hit as the pandemic increased people’s need for and awareness of good nutrition and good food. Although the speed and price of food is important, Birch says people are also more conscious of what they are putting into their bodies. “The younger generation is eating more consciously and are more environmentally aware. They want to know about the preparation and quality of the ingredients — where they are coming from and how the meat is being raised.”

Shiki Menya

higher end restaurant RGE RD is only now slowly returning to normal, its offshoot, The Butchery, which opened in Edmonton just over 13 months ago, has flourished during the pandemic. The Butchery showcases whole animal butchery in a market-style setting and features the highest quality products from their kitchen and community. Although The Butchery's offerings include fast food items like hotdogs, sausage rolls and made-to-order sandwiches, they are also enabling their customers to dine at home with onthe-spot custom meat cuts, homemade soups and stocks, and pre-cooked items such as meatloaf that can be reheated

Hickory St

Adrianne Lovric is a communications professional who has spent the last 20 years creating content for print media, non-profits, creative agencies, start-ups and publicly-traded companies. Adrianne lives in Calgary with her husband, Miroslav, and their two daughters. January/February 2022 | Culinaire 29


A B OT TLE O F S U DS …

Stalwart Stouts BY TOM FIRTH PHOTOS BY JASON DZIVER

I

’ll freely admit, stouts aren’t my go-to beer for most of the year. Though when the fancy strikes, they certainly hit the spot in a way that many other styles simply can’t. In many ways, the ales known as stouts are the anti-pilsner. A robust, dark beer that takes advantage of roasted barley, to bring to the table - as it were - a toasty, nutty, roasted coffee or chocolate, and at times, a smoky flavour. In many ways, these are the perfect beers to enjoy after a full day outside – whether shoveling snow, a day on the slopes, or just chilling with friends around a bonfire. A year-round treat, that I think tastes best in winter.

Hawk Tail Brewery Rye Milk Stout, Alberta, I’ve actually been to Rimby more than once, but much to my dismay, the brewery opened up since my last visit. I’ll have to get back there soon and see if I can try this from the tap. A big, chewy, spicy/creamy stout full of big flavours but also a wonderful mellowness that stands out from the crowd. On it’s own is fine, but with some beer nuts or a salty snack? Delicious. CSPC +830291 (4 pack cans) $17-19 High River Muddy Tail Stout, Alberta A strong stout coming from High River, there must be something good in the water down there, since this is a fine example of a crushable stout. With about 6 percent ABV, it’s got all the smoky, roasted flavours and aromas you’d want, but carrying with it a fairly light, easy finish. The sort of beer that hits the spot after some sort of snowy excursion. CSPC +825182 (6 pack cans) $15-17 Dark Woods Brewing Burnt Timber Stout, Alberta Hailing from Innisfail, Dark Woods Burnt Timber has all those word represented in this glass, deep and dark with smoky, charred wood aromas, while on the palate, a little woody with a mild, almost resinous note. With a great mouthfeel and a tight finish, it’s a perfect fireside beer, in a mitten-friendly bottle too. CSPC +803512 $16-18

30 Culinaire | January/February 2022


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Stronghold Brewing Interstellar Stout, Alberta Fort Macleod might be a little far for a day trip, but thankfully it’s available at some finer beer shops and one could always order online… Rich and dark (darker than my coffee) with toffee, smoky, malty characters, the stand out is how smooth and mouth filling this stout is. A fine example that is a shame to rush through, but sip, savour, and enjoy every taste. CSPC +846115 (4 pack cans) $16-18 CR*FT Non-Alcoholic Velvety Stout, Alberta Once known as Village’s Local Non-Alcoholic Stout, CR*FT, is only missing the alcohol but working hard to keep the stout experience. Nice and dark with all those roasted, chocolatey aromas, it manages to bring the goods with a nice, chewy palate. You might notice the lack of alcohol in regards to the body or mouthfeel, but the flavours are bang on. CSPC +852407 (4 pack cans) $13-14 Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout, Japan Got to admit, was a little surprised to find a cool little stout coming from Japan, but is it surprising – really! Aptly described as espresso, this beer pulls out all sorts of robust coffee/espresso tones with an almost crema-style mouthfeel and a big, bitter finish. Big, chewy, and really good, this oddity is worth trying. CSPC +740190 330mL bottle $5-6

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The Mighty Pomelo BY MORRIS LEMIRE

a revelation. It has a firm texture that makes it easy to eat with your fingers; you won’t have juice running out all over the place. This is also why pomelo works so well in a salad, or on a fruit plate. Variations of the recipe below, can be found throughout Southeast Asia, which isn’t surprising, because what grows together gets cooked together. Not fussy about shrimp? Go up-market with crab. Pork and chicken also work well. Like home cooking everywhere, the idea is versatility, and the results, attractive and very tasty.

I

n Western cultures, the pomelo is a bit like the odd one out of the citrus family. It’s only in Southeast Asia that it is made to feel at home – well, because it is home. In some ways, it’s a wonder that the citrus industry even bothers to market it in places like Canada. But thankfully it is here. I urge you to discover just how wonderful this big beauty is. The Latin name for pomelo is the rather appropriate, Citrus maximus, the giant of the citrus world. Some varieties are as big as a soccer ball. Its size makes it just a little harder to ship, package, and price. Do you sell it by weight, or as a unit? If you sell it by weight, the consumer is sure to ask, how much did I pay for the peel? Because 30 percent of the total weight, or 50 percent by volume,

32 Culinaire | January/February 2022

is peel, but you can use the zest for marmalade and shrubs. To better understand the pomelo, we have to meet it on its own terms. The pomelo is not a grapefruit! The grapefruit is a hybrid off-spring of a sweet orange and the pomelo. If we compare it to a grapefruit, you risk missing its own distinct flavour, subtle, floral, and its own unique physical features. More importantly we might miss what it brings to the kitchen and the cocktail bar. Try it in a next level Pomelo Greyhound! The best way to start is to just dive in – buy one and eat it. Peeling this large citrus requires a knife and therefore an adult in attendance. It’s fun and if you have kids around, they love the process. It’s large size and thick rind amuses the kids, and the less bitter, sweeter fruit is

Pomelo & Shrimp Salad Serves 4

1 pomelo, about 3 or 4 wedges per plate (in summer, you can use grapefruit) 500 g shrimp, or about 10 medium shrimp per plate (or use chicken) 1. Slice the top 2 cm off the pomelo, then score the rind about 1 cm deep, top to bottom into 8 strips. Peel off strips, banana style. Pull the ball apart into halves and separate into individual wedges. 2. Using a paring knife, slit open the wedges, cutting along the top seam. Carefully pull away the membrane. Break the wedges into bite size pieces, place in a bowl, keep cool. 3. If frozen, thaw and peel shrimp, rinse and store in fridge.


Dressing

1 hot red Thai pepper, fine diced *Note: wear rubber gloves when cutting 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 4 tsp (20 mL) light soy sauce 1 lime, juiced 4 tsp (20 mL) Thai fish sauce 1 Tbs (15 mL) sesame oil 2 tsp (10 mL) sugar (optional) Combine ½ tsp hot pepper (or more if preferred), garlic, soya sauce, the juice of half a lime, fish sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, if using. Set aside.

Sauce

4 tsp (20 mL) light soy sauce 4 tsp (20 mL) Thai fish sauce 1 lime, juiced 2 tsp (10 mL) sugar (optional) Combine soy sauce, fish sauce, 1 Tbs (15 mL) lime juice, and sugar if using.

Salad

1 cup (30 g) mint, cut into thin slices 2 cups of salad greens, chopped, loosely packed (cilantro or mild lettuce) 1 medium carrot, julienned ½ cup cucumber, sliced thin 1 red or yellow pepper, julienned 4 tsp (20 mL) sesame oil 1 shallot, finely diced 30 g peanuts or cashews, roasted

1. Add mint to a salad bowl. Add in salad greens, carrot, cucumber, and peppers. 2. Heat 4 tsp (20 mL) sesame oil in a wok to medium. Quickly sauté the shallots until they turn bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 3. Turn the heat to medium high, and using tongs add shrimp. Cook on one side for about one minute and turn them over for another minute. 4. Add in the sauce, toss well, when the sauce just sizzles, quickly remove the shrimp and place in a bowl.

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5. Add the salad dressing to the greens and toss well. 6. Place the cool pomelo pieces on the plates and cover with the dressed salad greens. Place the warm shrimp on top of the greens, and garnish with nuts.

Morris Lemire lives in Edmonton where he spends the summer gardening and winter skiing. He likes winter, in part, because citrus is plentiful. He uses citrus in everything from marmalade to preserved lemons, cocktails to meringues.


Winter Spirits

I

BY TOM FIRTH AND LINDA GARSON

T’S LIKELY THAT THE ONLY CERTAINTY FOR THE FIRST TWO MONTHS of 2022 in Alberta is that we are going to be ringing in the new year with some colder, wintery weather. You don’t need to consult with Punxsutawney Phil to know that (Groundhog Day is February 2nd), but we’ve looked both far and local to find some recommended spirits more than suitable for taking off the chill of a winter day spent on outdoor activities, or a fine day spent indoors watching the snow fly and thinking… “nah, I’ll go out tomorrow”. The Gnu Normal London Dry Gin Calgary Possibly the newest (‘Gnu-est’) Alberta distillery, Gnu Normal is a true London Dry Gin: unsweetened, juniper forward, and flavoured by vapour-infused botanicals with nothing added after distillation. It’s clean, fresh, and bright, with notes of grapefruit and mandarin peel - and we’re fans! It’s particularly delicious in a martini, with maybe an orange slice garnish, but the flavour profile also points us to a terrific gimlet and bee’s knees! CSPC +856433 $46-50

Still Austin “The Musician” Straight Bourbon Whiskey While I’m far more likely to use a bourbon in my eggnog than rum, it’s enjoyed neat where bourbon is a rockstar. Nosing the glass, sweet caramel and sponge toffee lead off with honey and cereal in hot pursuit. In the mouth, it manages the fine balance between hotter alcohol notes, but also all those promised flavours the nose gave us. The exact sort of spirit that nearly demands to be enjoyed by a bonfire... or in that eggnog. CSPC +842439 $80-85

Don’t Call Me Sweet Pea, Garden Amaro Alberta Amari are considered a digestif, generally made from botanicals infused into a neutralbased spirit, and sweetened – and… well, here’s a thing! This amaro is Alberta through and through, distilled from Carstairs field peas (!) with Alberta botanicals such as dandelions, wormwood, chamomile and elderflower – and sweetened with Alberta honey. It’s luscious, mouth filling, and a complex sipper for after any meal, with a huge, local feel-good factor! CSPC +854694 500 mL $32-36

Peat’s Beast Single Malt Whisky Scotland Not for the faint-hearted, this Single Malt is built around a “beastly” amount of peat characters. Rich and oily on the nose and palate with smoke, iodine, and tar leading the way, but also lemons, brine, and a fine leather note on both the nose and on the palate, and a touch of black liquorice on the finish. Certainly, it’s a peat-forward expression, but still balanced and with less peat than some other examples. CSPC +843950 $68-72

Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky 2021 Release, Canada It’s pretty exciting to be a rye drinker these days with newfound interest in special releases, cask strength editions, and limited runs. A hearty cask release at almost 64 percent ABV but still expressive with loads of spice, vanilla tones, and fruit characters. Best with a splash of water to bring out the milder cocoa and cereal notes and let the spirit roll around on the palate. CSPC +857573 $72-80

The Ileach Islay Single Malt Whisky Islay, Scotland Nothing beats a nice and smokey Islay whisky when the mercury dips or a little precipitation is in the forecast. Rife with saline and iodine, vinyl, and peat on the nose, the palate shows off a little citrus and honey, but still all that warming earthy peat character too. Manages that fine balance between too much – and not enough peat for that difficult to please Islay enthusiast. CSPC +703776 $50-55

34 Culinaire | January/February 2022


Second Location: This Year in Greenwich

A new year – and we’re delighted to announce new dates, new pairing dinners, and new menus for you to safely enjoy an evening of good food and drink where you don’t have to do the washing up afterwards. Your safety is still is a priority at our pairing dinners, and we have a clean slate from our dinners last year. Our promise is that we’ll only offer events where it’s completely safe, and you can relax and enjoy the evenings; you’ll only be sitting with the people you booked with. The restaurants we work with not only meet AHS regulations, but try to exceed them. Check culinairemagazine.ca/events regularly, and email if you’d like to be included in our bi-monthly updates to hear about events before the rest of the city. They do sell out rather quickly!

Vine & Dine Pairing Dinners at Vero Bistro Thursday January 13, Wednesday January 19, and Thursday January 27 We're coming back for our twelfth series of 6-course pairing meals at Vero Bistro in January! We missed two years - our last series was 2019, and as usual here all three nights sold out then. Vine & Dine Pairing Dinners at Soleil Bistro Friday January 21 and Tuesday January 25 Soleil Bistro has a new chef, Brenton Edwards, and we're excited for his really delicious 6-course pairing menu using classic and traditional French techniques. We're coming for two nights in January, and we know we're going to be impressed! One-Off Romantic Italy at Bonterra Trattoria Thursday February 10 Our pairing dinners at Bonterra sell out fast every time, and now we’re coming back for our fifth Romantic Italy at Bonterra! It’s special upstairs in the wine room, savouring this elegant Italian cuisine.

Vine & Dine Pairing Dinners at Queens Friday February 11, Thursday February 17 and Friday February 25 Queens only opens for breakfasts, brunches, and lunches, not in the evenings other than for special events (like us!), so we’re thrilled to be able to offer two Thursdays and a Friday night for our 6-course pairing dinners here in February! One-Off A celebration of Great Big Nature with Brian Keating! International speaker, Brian Keating, is off on new adventures and will have hilarious new videos and stories that no one else has heard when we join him for a Corks & Talks evening celebrating Great Big Nature with a 6-course pairing meal at Safari Grill in March. Always such a great night! Menus are added regularly, so check out our paired dinners and email linda@culinairemagazine.ca to reserve yours. We try to cater for all allergies.


Is Bigger Better? The Joys of Barley Wines and Russian Imperial Stouts BY DAVID NUTTALL

W

hen you first pour a beer, you may initially notice the colour and aroma. Upon tasting, the many nuances of flavour will come into play. Except in rare cases, alcohol content isn’t really a consideration. Alcohol by volume (ABV) is calculated from a formula that involves original and final gravities. Original gravity (OG) represents the amount of sugars present in the wort measured as a relative density compared to water, which has a specific gravity of 1.000. Most beers begin with an original gravity of 1.030 to 1.070 with certain beers exceeding 1.100. These beers are called “big” because their body, mouthfeel, and flavour are much more prominent than “regular”

36 Culinaire | January/February 2022

beers. Barleywine (or Barley Wine) and Russian Imperial Stout (or simply Imperial Stout) are two varieties that define this group. While born a couple of hundred years ago in Great Britain, they have recently become popular within the craft beer community. Both beers arrived during a period of technological advancements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that allowed brewmasters to diversify and expand their recipes. As commerce and colonial expansion increased, beer became involved in intercontinental trade and recipes needed to be tweaked to allow for the sometimes monthslong journeys to distant ports. During this period we saw the debut of strong and old ales, India Pale Ales, and others. Barley wine made its appearance under

the guise of old ales in the early 18th century when brewers tried to create a beer that reflected an alcohol level similar to wine (approximately 12% ABV), hence the name. To achieve this, massive amounts of malt and an intensive and long boil were employed to generate a lofty original gravity, sometimes as high as 1.120. The first named barley wine marketed was Bass No. 1 Ale from Burton-upon-Trent, England, in 1870. Since then, breweries making British-style ale around the world have periodically made barley wines as their strongest ale, and usually release them in early winter around the holiday season. The Russian Imperial Stout, despite its appellation, is also native to


Britain. When Peter the Great began expanding Russia’s trade circle, he became enamoured of the local beer during a visit to London in early 1698. This affection for ales trickled down through the generations of Romanovs to Catherine the Great, whose love of the new stout porter variety prompted the Anchor (later Courage) Brewery to brew a high alcohol stout that became known as the Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) in the late 1700s. These beers had their heyday during the 19th century but dropped out of favour (with only a couple of exceptions) as big breweries began to eschew variety and concentrated on lagers throughout the 20th century. They only returned when craft breweries, born in the 1980s and after, began producing long-forgotten varieties. In Alberta, these beers were largely ignored during the days of the Alberta Liquor Control Board (ALCB) but came to life in the 1990s when Brewsters introduced Blue Monk Barley Wine in 1991 and Alley Kat released Old Deuteronomy Barley Wine in 1998. Brewsters brewed their Russian Imperial Stout in 2017 but have yet to reproduce it. A few Alberta craft breweries now make their own interpretations; however, they are usually only brewed once a year (if even that frequently) and tend to be conditioned for about a year before release. Some are also barrel aged, adding further depth to their profiles.

These are also excellent beers for bottle aging and will survive a couple of decades if you have that much patience. The RIS and barley wine are brewed in a similar fashion and have original gravities well over 1.100 resulting in ABVs which range from 8% to around 13%, with most being at the higher end of the scale. The main difference between the two is the use of chocolate and/or roasted malt in the RIS that provides its opaque black colour and resulting aromas and flavours that suggest dark chocolate, coffee, dried fruit, and/or licorice notes. Barley wine’s use of pale and caramel malts produces an amber colour with hints of biscuit, dark caramel, nuts, and/or molasses. Both can be velvety smooth but are intense, complex, and multilayered with an underlying sweetness. These beers often have high IBUs (usually 60-80), but don’t showcase the bitterness you would find in an IPA, for example, due to that noticeable sweetness. At right is a selection of Alberta brewers who make these beers on a semi-regular basis. Some are only available at the brewery. There are also a few imported versions in liquor stores as well.

David has worked in liquor since the late 1980s. He is a freelance writer, beer judge, speaker, and since 2014, has run Brew Ed monthly beer education classes in Calgary. Follow @abfbrewed.

Imperial Stout

Blindman Icharous CSPC +787823 $19-21, 4x355 mL cans, 11% ABV Old’s College Babrewska CSPC +857688, $8-9, 473 mL can 10.4% ABV Town Square Liquid Lullaby, $20 4x355 mL cans, 9.6% ABV Dandy Dead Moon Night CSPC +842130 $6-7 473 mL can, 10% ABV New Level Leviathan, CSPC +811406 $6-7, 473 mL can, 8.5% ABV Born Brewing Mount Massive $10, 650 mL bottle, 9.7% ABV

Barleywine

Blindman Perepllut CSPC +814668 $19-20, 4x355 mL cans, 10.35% ABV Brewsters Blue Monk 11.8% ABV Bow River Big Bull, $24 650 mL bottle, 9% ABV Cabin Now and Then, 11.3% ABV

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MAKING THE CASE

For Californian Wine By TOM FIRTH

Since the “Judgement of Paris” in 1976, where in a famous blind tasting (in Paris!), wine from the newfangled wine region of California outperformed the wines of Bordeaux – long held as the paragon of quality wine around the world, California has been continuing to produce stellar wine after stellar wine. There are many reasons why California can manage this, a near perfect climate for winemaking, that can-do American dream, access to capital. There’s that old joke you’ve likely heard? …..How do you make a small fortune in the Napa Valley? Take a large fortune and start a winery! This month, it’s all about California’s wine with plenty of Napa cabernets, Sonoma zinfandels, and much more worth trying and bringing to the table! Find these wines by searching the CSPC code at Liquorconnect.com; your local liquor store can also use this code to order it for you. Prices are approximate.

Merryvale 2018 Silhouette Chardonnay Napa Valley, California

Drinking this chardonnay was a pretty spectacular way to start a day. After that revelation, there isn’t too much else to say about it. So many ripe and balanced fruits of nectarines, peaches, and tropical fruits, but also spicy and creamy notes too. My notes also called this wine sexy and sassy, but what it really is, is a fine, world-class chardonnay for a special occasion. CSPC +711024 $95-110

Sequoia Grove 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California

Such a remarkable, and quality-driven expression of cabernet sauvignon. Deep cherry and cassis fruits, with graphite, cola, spice, and cedar/capsicum aromas, but the list doesn’t stop there – it goes on like this! Firm tannins, but not too heavy – perhaps in small part due to 20 months in barrel, with zippy acids and an almost silken texture on the palate. Big and chewy, this is the right sort of wine for a big, beef-centric meal. CSPC +740382 $62-65

Robert Biale 2019 “Party Line” Zinfandel North Coast, California

One of the masters of zinfandel, Robert Biale knows how to bring out the best from this grape. For those old enough to remember a “party line” - an open phone line, which wasn’t very private. The Biales provided wine during prohibition, often over these lines using some select code words. Party Line is all about brambly fruit, loads of spices, a bit of jamminess and also about being delicious. A fine match for pork or spicier dishes with a little bit of fat. CSPC +810883 $35-39 Tom is a freelance wine writer, wine consultant, and wine judge. He is the Managing Editor for Culinaire Magazine, and the Competition Director for the Alberta Beverage Awards. Follow him on twitter @cowtownwine, email tom@culinairemagazine.ca.

38 Culinaire | January/February 2022

Racines 2017 Santa Rita Hills Cuvée Pinot Noir, California

It can be rather hard to find out a lot of information about the winemaking philosophy at Racines, but what becomes apparent every step of the way is that this is a place where no decisions are made lightly, and every decision seems to be focused around “what will make the best wine”. Deep and complex with a fine, pure expression of the grape – it’s almost staggering. Long story short, if you are a fan of great pinot, this should be on your radar. CSPC +847297 $85-90


Seghesio 2019 Zinfandel, Sonoma California

Cakebread Cellars 2019 Chardonnay Napa Valley, California

Wente 2020 “Louis Mel” Sauvignon Blanc, Livermore Valley, California

Dancing Crow Vineyards 2018 Zinfandel Lake Country, California

Lapis Luna 2018 Pinot Noir, North Coast California

Starmont Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, California

St. Francis 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma County, California

Stag’s Leap 2017 Hands of Time Red Blend, Napa Valley, California

Bonny Doon 2019 Le Cigare Volant Central Coast, California

For a long time, one of my favourite wineries in California, owned by some wonderful people, who among other things, loved zinfandel. The original family sold it a few years back, but the quality never suffered – which is awesome! Rather floral for a zinfandel with deep plummy notes, wild berry fruits, and a zesty acid to tie it all together. Big, seriously good zin for the enthusiast! CSPC +710681 $30-32

I love California zinfandel, it’s big and brassy, completely unapologetic, and delivers exactly what it promises. From California’s Lake Country comes this juicy, brambly zin, packed with all those wild fruits, spice, and a little blueberry too. On the palate, chewy tannins and a mild chocolate note towards the finish should make this a hit with grilled meats, a charcuterie board, or my favourite with zinfandel – pepperoni pizza. CSPC +806473 $32-34

Zinfandel is having a bit of a recalibration. Almost long-gone are those plush, over the top alcohol levels, fruit bomb-esque zins, and in their place are these almost restrained big reds. Significant oak characters hold back fruits that are a little jammy, but still present is a spicy, earthy core and clean, brambly fruits. Made with 50-100 year old vines, for pizza (my favourite match), or when you are firing up the grill for some nice burgers or flank steaks. CSPC +421974 $32-35

A clean, stylish, and very modern style of chardonnay from the Napa Valley with plenty of room on both the nose and palate for classic fruits and the right amount of those bready, yeasty, and oak characters. The best thing about this chardonnay is that it is so easy to start thinking about pairing at the table (grilled veggies or a roast bird comes to mind) or even just enjoying a fine bottle of chardonnay. CSPC +1070336 $68-72

A fresh and very modern take on pinot noir sure to impress, but also make for a fine quaffer in the evening. Plusher, riper fruits leaning towards blackberry over cherry, and on the palate it’s also a little bit of a fruit bomb with good juiciness, but also spice, earthy notes, and some chewy tannins too. Would be a real stunner with duck confit, but also grilled sausage, smoked meats, or a nice cheese plate. A well-made versatile wine for the table. CSPC +834062 $20-22

A blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot with about ten percent of cabernet franc and a smidge of petit verdot and petit syrah, this wine shows why Napa is a world-class region. Each variety is showing its best, with black fruits, spice box, and dark chocolate and bright, flowery characters. On the palate rich and exceptionally smooth with silky tannins, a big mid-palate and a long, lingering finish. Try pairing with the best burger you can manage. CSPC +741942 $55-57

Sauvignon blanc – especially outside of New Zealand examples - is criminally underrated. Wente, well known to many Albertans, is serving up a bright and crisp sauvignon blanc with zesty citrus notes, a bit of tropical fruits and peach, but also clean zippy acids with none of that cut grass or gooseberry. A great wine that is priced right for a weeknight, and should rock some lighter seafoods or grilled poultry. CSPC +47993 $18-20

A blend of vineyard sites from Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino, this is the sort of cabernet sauvignon that is impeccably balanced showing off all the very best from the variety. Clean and classic, with cocoa, herb, spice, good berry fruits, and still, somehow, big but richly smoothed tannins. In a good spot right now for drinking, it’s also going to be in a fine place with a few more years in the cellar – around 20252028, plan on some nice steaks too. CSPC +333336 $50-55

A blend of grenache, cinsault, and syrah, this is an American expression of France’s Châteauneuf du Pape, (which has an ordinance prohibiting flying saucers from landing in the vineyards - luck favours the prepared). The 2019 edition has dropped the traditional mourvèdre and bumped up the cinsault for a zesty and spicy wine with plumper, blueberry fruits and a prominent wild berry expression. Match with bigger beef dishes, rich stews, or charcuterie. CSPC +838054 $25-29 January/February 2022 | Culinaire 39


E TC E TE R A . . . How to Sous Vide

Ninja SS351 Foodi Power Blender & Processor System

Centini Sauces and Dressings

Ninja are the masters of multi-function appliances and they’ve done it again! The Power Pitcher System is a heavyweight blender in a lightweight body, with one base and three different containers and lids, that acts as a food processor, dough maker, smoothie bowl maker, and crusher. We’ve put it through its paces, and it made the quickest and smoothest hummus, meatballs, cookies, as well as muffins and sesame seed buns – and margaritas! $250 Canadian Tire and good housewares stores. The Food Crayon

It’s true, this ‘crayon’, complete with sharpener, is really a flavour seasoning. Made up of infusions and extracts, plus purées and oils in an agar medium, preservative-free and fridge-stable for up to a year, and in 24 different flavours. On testing, the flavours are balanced, correct, and tasty too, and each are around 120 shavings - perfect for seasoning soups, sauces, and cocktails. Fun, convenient, and a little weird too. Singles ($12), Duos, and 6-crayon format ($65) at specialty food and kitchen shops.

Sapfire Spicy Maple Syrup

Here’s a twist on something truly Canadian! The folks at Ontario’s Dript Gourmet have created a line of maple syrups that go beyond waffles and pancakes. With maple syrup and chili peppers, Sapfire is sure to set your tastebuds tingling. Perfect with salty-topped flatbreads (think pear and gorgonzola, prosciutto and peppers) or drizzled on ice cream. And with fried chicken, you might as well get the waffles, too. You’ll be saying “That’s spicy in a good way, eh?” 236 g $17 driptgourmet.com 40 Culinaire | January/February 2022

Photo courtesy Hungry Couple YYC

Cooking sous vide is one of the big mysteries in the home kitchen. It’s the technique of cooking food very slowly, at low, very precise temperatures in a water bath (often around 68-70º C. If you’re wondering where to start with your new Sous Vide circulator, this might be the best place to find some recipes and answer your questions. From Sous Vide Salmon (p.121) to asparagus (p.179), and even Daylong Duck Leg Confit (p.117), there are plenty of dishes here! Workman Publishing, $25

We know how tough 2020/2021has been for restaurants and we’re always impressed with the resilience and creativity we’ve seen as a result – and Centini is right up there with their Centini Foods range of four superb pasta sauces, six dressings, pizza sauces and antipastos, so you can enjoy the same quality at home as in the restaurant! Bravo proprietor Chevonne Miller-Centini, we’ll find them at Calgary Co-op stores and The Italian Centre Shops. They’re in Central Alberta Co-op stores too! Various prices.

Wilfred’s Bittersweet Orange & Rosemary Aperitif

As the quest for nonalcoholic spirits and mixers continues, a product like this comes along and changes up the whole field. A low sugar, alcohol-free aperitif that is rife with balanced botanicals and a bright citrus flavour. A fine way to make a dry spritz with a little tonic water and ice, or in a virgin cocktail. A rare product that is better in a mixed drink, but still tasty neat. $40



O PE N TH AT B OT TLE

...with Blaine Armstrong BY LINDA GARSON PHOTO BY DONG KIM

B

laine Armstrong’s first job, at 15 years old, was working the graveyard shift at Denny's in Victoria, B.C. He had no idea then that this would lead to his future career. Studies in radio and television arts at Ryerson University took him to Toronto, but after graduating he realized that there was no room for writers - it was all reality television. He became a dad, and when he moved to Calgary to be close to his daughter, worked at three of Calgary’s great restaurants, Wildwood, Catch, and Mercato, before completely changing tack. “I noticed when I was working at Catch, how much organic (waste) was being thrown in the dumpster, and I thought there has to be a business here somewhere,” he explains. “So in ’09, from the back of my car, I started recycling coffee grounds and then bought a little truck.” Working with the city’s highend restaurants, hotels and cafés, his reputation grew fast: “So from a little cube van, within seven years we had seven or eight garbage trucks. I was driving around in garbage trucks picking up compost, and had a warehouse for recycling Styrofoam.” Armstrong missed the hospitality business though, and a visit to Bourbon and Branch speakeasy in San Francisco, which he absolutely loved, decided him, ‘Calgary needs one of these.’ It took a year and a half to convince the property manager to lease the premises to him, but eventually, in 2015, he succeeded. With a friend, they completely renovated, and late 2016 Betty Lou’s Library opened, named after his mom, a single mother who raised three kids on her own, and who’d fought to become a bartender in Victoria. “I had to borrow money to meet payroll for the first two weeks,” Armstrong says, “and then all of a sudden it started - within eight weeks, we'd have a hundred people on the waiting list. It

42 Culinaire | January/February 2022

was just word of mouth, I didn't do any social media.” Driving a garbage truck in the day and changing out of his Carhartts into a suit to bartend at night soon took its toll however, and he sold the recycling company. Armstrong had walked up and down Calgary’s 17th Avenue SW, every night of the week for a month, looking to see who was underserved. “And it was professional women,” he says. “So our whole aesthetic and 70 percent of our clientele are professional women.” Part homage to his mom, and part to women, Armstrong is proud that Betty Lou’s is a safe place for guests and a safe place to work. “We’re the only place in town to tell you to put on more (clothes) than less, and we have a code of conduct, strictly to keep patrons and staff safe. We have the best guests, every week somebody pulls me aside and tells me how much the place means to them, and makes me cry. We get so much love from our guests. We just do our own thing here,” he adds. “It's every guest, every time.”

So what is Armstrong’s special occasion wine? “I'm straw testing here 24/7, and we're doing micro-adjustments on the cocktails,” he says. “So I don't want to mix anything when I get home, I want it already in the bottle. I want to open it up and I want it to reveal itself to me.” “When my favourite chefs go home, they make themselves a grilled cheese sandwich or macaroni and cheese, they don't get fancy. They want a beautiful cheese and beautiful sourdough,” explains Armstrong. “And when I get home, I want a beautiful bottle of pinot.” His bottle is Ken Wright Cellars McCrone Vineyard Pinot Noir. “It's at its best when you’re down to your last glass and a half and you've let it open up. Oregon pinot - that's my weakness.” And when will he open the bottle? “You know what? Honestly, I just drank my last bottle of McCrone,” he says. “I had a friend over and we’d both been through a lot. So we opened it up - life is short, let's treat ourselves.”


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