Category Archives: Cooks I know

My December @AlbertaatNoon column – @ASpicyTouch #cookbook release w #NoorbanuNimji

A_Spicy_Touch_Cookbook_Cover

I am a food columnist for Alberta at Noon and at first glance it might seem terrifically self-promoting to talk about my own book for my monthly column but this story isn’t really about me at all. It’s about my mentor, Noorbanu Nimji. She is a great Alberta immigrant, cookbook author and cross-cultural success story.

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#WasteNotWantNot this #Christmas – #recipes from one of 2015’s most important food books by @TasteReport #CindaChavich

WasteNot_cvrRecipes and photos reprinted with permission from TouchWood Editions.

Cinda Chavich is one of Canada’s foremost food and travel writers and like cream that rises to the top, her journalism school education means she delivers top notch reporting on food issues. Her latest book, The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook – Save Food, Save Money, and Save The Planet (Touchwood, 2015) is timely and empowering.

We all want to do something to help save our planet and Cinda helps us start in the heart of all of our homes – our kitchens – to do our bit to reduce the harmful effects of food waste. In this post Cinda shares a few recipes that are perfect for Christmas and she also “talks turkey” about avoiding waste in a season that can be fraught with excess.

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#Christmas (baking) in November – My November @AlbertaatNoon column with recipes from @CraveYYC & @aspicytouch

Thumbprint Cookies by Crave - photo - Karen Anderson

Thumbprint Cookies by Crave – photo – Karen Anderson

This summer I had the very pleasant task of writing a Christmas piece for Calgary’s Avenue Magazine on “How-To Entertain with Ease at the Holidays”. That piece will be in the upcoming December holiday issue. I loved writing it – even in the heat of summer – because it got me thinking about things that make a difference to an “ideal holiday experience” versus the harried and hurried one that leaves people frazzled, stressed and grumpier than Scrooge himself.

My holiday ideal is time to enjoy my family and friends. That means time to go skating or skiing or to just sit and watch movies or play board games together. At the same time, I like to share delicious festive food and treats with everyone and have my home look beautiful. To make it all happen, I’ve scaled back on the decorating, make lots of “to do” lists, buy some of the treats we enjoy and have a plan for the cooking I really like doing myself.

The key to success is to start early. So even though we haven’t even had our Remembrance Day holiday, like all my professional baker friends, I will start making batches of my signature Holiday Biscotti now. My mother-in-law is making Nanaimo Bars. My friend Annie is making her shortbreads (I’m going to share her recipe soon).

For you, I’ve gathered three great recipes of various levels of difficulty to help you should you choose to start now too.

Read on for Crave’s Thumbprint Cookie recipe, Peanut Brittle from my mentor Noorbanu Nimji and our new book A Spicy Touch – Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen and last but not least – an easy Coconut Cashew Granola Fudge Bar that’s fun to make.

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#Art Installation 15 – @offcutsyyc – the photography of @jeremyfokkens and the good humour of #Calgary #chefs – Art raising dollars for @bb4ck

Offcutsyyc - SAIT Polytechnic Culinary Instructor - Michael Allemeier - photo used with permission - Jeremy Fokkens Photography

Offcutsyyc – SAIT Polytechnic Culinary Instructor -Michael Allemeier -photo used with permission – Jeremy Fokkens Photography

What is @bb4ck?

Brown Bagging it for Calgary Kids (BB4CK) is an organization that feeds the 2500 children that go to school hungry each day in our city. It’s sad that this situation exists. It is wonderful that some people are dedicated to doing something about it. BB4CK doesn’t just give handouts. They give a hand up by working within communities to provide community development. And, they don’t let children go hungry in the meantime.

Cooks love to feed people and they hate to see anyone, especially a child, go hungry.

When Kevin Kent, the owner of Knifewear stores across Canada, found out that a team of Edmonton chefs had posed partially clothed to raise money for food charities last year he was inspired to bring that idea to Calgary and to raise money for BB4CK. Kent put up the money to pay for the printing costs for a Calgary project and enlisted the talents of his friend, the photographer, Jeremy Fokkens (I’ve written about Jeremy’s abilities with Human Connections previously). Fokkens volunteered his time. Twelve male chefs from Calgary were enlisted to pose shirts off (for better or worse). With costs absorbed, all proceeds from sales will go to the charity.

The calendar is called The Offcuts and starting next week it’s time for THE OFFCUTS REVEALED. Click the link and find out more about these “hot” commodities that are nine parts generosity and perhaps one part oddity.

Click here for more “talented” subjects allowing themselves to be objects for a good cause.

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W5 – a series of questions about @cookitraw @albertaculinary – the WHY and HOW to cook with #rawAlberta inspired recipes for my October @AlbertaatNoon food column

Great Plains Bison - photo - Karen Anderson

Great Plains Bison – photo – Karen Anderson

I love to ask the people I meet, What is Alberta’s food? Inevitably the answer is, Beef – of course. I bring this up because I think it illuminates our lack of knowledge of our food heritage.

Beef is not an original Alberta species. It is an exotic import. It was brought to Alberta from Scotland via Montana before there were fences – about 150 plus years ago. The Great Plains Bison, Elk and White Tail deer evolved with this land and are perfectly suited for it. They are Alberta’s indigenous species. They have been here for tens of thousands of years.

Alberta also grows great grains. Red Fife Wheat is one of them. We are one of the world’s largest honey producers. We have really sweet root vegetables and Prairie hardy fruits like Saskatoon berries. Our Canola oil is as luscious gold as its flowers when it is cold-pressed and organic. And, yes, we really do grow the world’s biggest and tastiest beef.

We’ve discussed the WHAT, WHO, WHERE and WHEN of Cook it Raw, this post will explore the WHY> If Cook it Raw were only the chance to have more people at home, and around the globe, realize the bounty of wonderful products in Alberta, that would be enough of a WHY for me. Still, I asked Alessandro Porcelli of Cook it Raw for his answer to WHY and I asked Fraser Abbott of Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance as well. This post gives their answers as well as a few recipes inspired by the world-class produce of Alberta.

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W5 -a series of questions about @cookitraw @albertaculinary – WHERE and WHEN is #rawAlberta? @mountengadine

Mount Engadine Lodge - photo courtesy of Karen Fitzgerald at Mount Engadine Lodge

Mount Engadine Lodge – photo courtesy of Karen Fitzgerald at Mount Engadine Lodge

Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis Country near Canmore, Alberta is WHERE the 22 chefs of Cook it Raw’s #rawAlberta are gathering.

I spent a few days there this summer. The Lodge holds exactly 22 guests and sits perched over a meadow where a moose comes each evening to a natural saltlik. He’s not exactly like clockwork but he shows up and is nonplussed by the fuss he creates as the lodge guests watch in fascination as he lowers his heavy rack of horns between sprawled knobbly knees to taste the earth. He is vulnerable to be sure. I hope 22 hungry chefs don’t take on a moose hunt as part of their “raw” experience. Right now they actually have a lot in common. They’re putting themselves out there and they are bringing us a taste of this place.

This post will share some photos of WHERE the #rawAlberta chefs are sequestered. And, it will also share the details of a Public event WHERE you can meet all the #rawAlberta chefs and taste the dishes they’re creating using 7 great Alberta ingredients.

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W5 – a series of questions about @cookitraw @albertaculinary – WHO are the chefs for #rawAlberta ?

Alessandro Porcelli, the founder of Cook It Raw in the garden at Rouge Calgary - photo - Karen Anderson

Alessandro Porcelli, the founder of Cook It Raw in the garden at Rouge Calgary – photo – Karen Anderson

In the previous post I answered the question, WHAT is Cook it Raw? This post looks at WHO is involved in Cook it Raw. Future posts will answer the other W’s in W5.

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