Category Archives: Great ingredients

Bonus #Recipe for #Easter, #Spring or any old time – a fresh lemon mascarpone tart

Lemon Mascarpone Tart photo - Karen Anderson

Lemon Mascarpone Tart
photo – Karen Anderson

You are never too old for an Easter treat and this tart is my favourite spring dessert.

Lemon is a great ingredient and this tart has major star power. Whether you serve it as the finale of an Easter Brunch or after a fresh spring dinner, it will always be enjoyed and appreciated.
Read on for the recipe.

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An #Easter lamb recipe for my @AlbertaatNoon column – April

Voila - Chutney Stuffed Alberta Lamb for Easter photo - Karen Anderson

Voila – Chutney Stuffed Alberta Lamb for Easter
photo – Karen Anderson

Half the lamb we eat in Alberta is imported but, the superior taste of our local product means demand for it is on the rise. Lamb producers in the province are responding with a strategy to increase yields by 40% over the next 6 years. A recent Edmonton Journal article chronicled what life on Tangled Ridge lamb farm is like this time of year.

Taste Alberta: Local food movement fuels growing support for Tangle Ridge Ranch (with recipes and video).

Here’s a link to my visit to Ewe-nique lamb farm and a whole menu of delicious things to make for Easter, spring and beyond.

These are just two farms out of hundreds that need our support if we are to have a strong and secure local system filled with our dream farms. Supporting and finding the farms of our dreams and cravings – our Soil Mates – was the main focus of my Alberta at Noon column today. I hope you’ll help build this potential treasure trove of “local” by asking your favourite farms, farmer’s markets and wineries to register.

Spread the word, like you’d spread manure and we’ll all watch Soilmate dot com grow into a fabulous and powerful consumer and farmer resource. That will truly be something to help us savour it all.

Read on for the recipe for the delicious lamb roast pictured above.

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My @AlbertaatNoon food column podcast – #DIYCheeseMaking

Fresh cheeses are truly "alive" with flavour photo - Karen Anderson

Fresh cheeses are truly “alive” with flavour
photo – Karen Anderson

Here’s my CBC Radio One Alberta at Noon podcast about D-I-Y Cheese making. I’m at the 7 minute mark.

What a fun topic. I hope you’ll give the recipes a try.

Turns out this whole D-I-Y cheese business is very tasty business indeed.

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D-I-Y #cheesemaking – two recipes for my @AlbertaatNoon column on CBC Radio One

A few of our wonderful Albertan Cheese Makers

Are Albertans are turning into cheese heads?

Cheese head is an affectionate moniker for people who love cheese. We’ve got a growing cadre of artisanal cheese makers in the province. I’ve profiled the 15 Alberta Cheese Makers I could find, I’ve posted on issues in cheese making, I’ve profiled the Make Cheese company that sells cheese making kits and most recently I’ve posted on White Gold’s encouraging story of growth.

Other Albertans might have a beef about being called a cheese head but I guess I’d qualify. I credit several influential visits to Wisconsin, the world headquarters of cheese heads, including one of my best friends Barb Murphy Moore, for forming the cheese head curd in my brain but I never thought my fondness for the stuff would ever lead me to making cheese myself.

Last summer a visit from one of my chef friends changed all that.

This post will demystify basic fresh cheese making and provide a few recipes that I hope will encourage you to give D-I-Y cheese making a try. Many of us, live pretty far from stores that carry fresh local cheeses, but as you’ll see, if you can access fresh milk, you can make fresh cheese.

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I’m writing about Alberta cheese makers again…I can’t seem to stop myself

Paulo Campanella and Frank Fiorini, White Gold Cheese Factory photo credit - Karen Anderson

Paulo Campanella and Frank Fiorini, White Gold Cheese Factory
photo credit – Karen Anderson

cp_ma14_white-gold.pdf

Here’s the link to my latest piece for City Palate magazine where I wrote about White Gold Cheese Factory owners Frank Fiorini and Paulo Campanella. I love those two generous-hearted Italian guys and admire their dedication. Making a successful venture out of a cheese making factory in Alberta’s tightly controlled Alberta Milk dairy quota system is commendable. I hope you enjoy reading the details of how they did this and here’s a bonus video so you too can visit with Frank and Paulo in their factory.

White Gold are one of 15 Alberta cheese making companies I’ve highlighted previously. They all have such fascinating stories that they all deserve a full piece. I may have to attempt that but later this week, I’ll be posting my column for CBC radio one’s Alberta at Noon where I focus instead on D-I-Y cheese making. That’s right, after hanging out with all these cheese makers, I decided to give it a try myself.

I hope after you read this week’s CBC column you will want to give cheese making a try too. Here’s a little preview eye candy to encourage you to consider doing so.

Cheese…I definitely savour it all. I must have been a mouse in a former life.

Cindy Lazarenko's Goat Cheese Ricotta photo - Karen Anderson

Cindy Lazarenko’s Goat Cheese Ricotta
photo – Karen Anderson

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Sugar and our health – a little balance might be in order to keep your love alive for Valentine’s Day

Naturally occurring sugars found in fruits are not included in the sugar excess contributing to heart disease photo of local strawberries from The Jungle Farm - Karen Anderson

Naturally occurring sugars found in fruits are not included in the sugar excess contributing to heart disease
photo of local strawberries from The Jungle Farm – Karen Anderson

Yesterday I wrote a few blog posts about chocolate and some really sweet treats for Valentine’s Day. Chocolate and the sugar within it are great ingredients…in moderation.

Today, the first thing I read on the CBC news is that sugar has become an independent risk factor for Cardiovascular Death. It’s long been established that increased sugar consumption contributes empty calories to our diet and is a direct cause in the obesity and diabetes epidemic sweeping North America. Now sugar has been shown to contribute independent of obesity and diabetes to deaths from coronary artery disease.

National Geographic featured this phenomenon in the summer of 2013.

Fat vs. Sugar: Which Do We Crave More?.

Sugar–Photo Gallery.

It’s not just because excess sugar consumption causes obesity and diabetes, there’s something about the effect of excess sugar alone causing the increase in these deaths.

Seems like perfect timing for a short but sweet (couldn’t hep the pun, I mean, this is serious but I refuse to lose my sense of humour) note on balancing what we eat. After all we want to live long and savour it all – as goes the credo of my blog.

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Chocolate recipes for Valentine’s Day (and my February @AlbertaatNoon column on @CBCradio One)

done cherry

Chocolate is a great ingredient. You can eat it on its own and savour every morsel or you can add it to your baking for a loving touch everyone will appreciate.

For my Alberta at Noon Column this month I talked about bean to bar chocolate-made-from-scratch and a company called Choklat. Their’s is the kind of chocolate I eat straight up oe in the over 1000 kinds of truffles they make on site or melted in the cascading bliss of a chocolate fountain fondue for two. I want to savour every last gram of this expensive but exquisite chocolate.

This post will highlight a few recipes that do not call for such expensive and distinct chocolate. Single estate chocolate would be wasted in baking that calls for the alchemy of many ingredients combining to create something new and fabulous as a whole. I hope you’ll read on and see what treats I have in store for you.

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Bean to Bar Chocolate by @Choklatyyc for Valentine’s Day – my @AlbertaAtNoon column for February

Valentine's is the kind of special occasion that I get my little chocolate fountain out and actually use Choklat's chocolate to lavish the love of my life with his favourite treat photo - Karen Anderson

Valentine’s is the kind of special occasion that I get my little chocolate fountain out and actually use Choklat’s chocolate to lavish the love of my life with his favourite treat
photo – Karen Anderson

Chocolate is a great ingredient and some say it is its own food group. In the history of chocolate, we’ve gone from small family run firms concerned with ethical practices and the purity of their product – to big multinational corporations infamous for their exploitive monopolies and ruthless quest to increase bottom lines – to a new trend back called the “bean to bar” movement which appears to once again be focusing on purity and ethics.

This post will talk about what it means to be a bean to bar chocolate maker and the history of how we’ve arrived at this trend. To close we’ll focus on Alberta’s one and only bean to bar operation, a company called Choklat and its three Alberta stores.

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Vietnamese Pork Salad Rolls – recipe fr @Chefdly of @RawBarYYC @HotelArtsYYC

Chef Duncan Ly's Vietnamese Pork Salad Rolls made with Spragg's pork photo - Karen Anderson

Chef Duncan Ly’s Vietnamese Pork Salad Rolls made with Spragg’s pork
photo – Karen Anderson

Humanely raised pork is a great ingredient. Yesterday, I wrote about a few Alberta Pork Producers that are raising their animals humanely. Today, I’d like to share the recipe for the beautiful pork salad rolls pictured above. Consider them an added incentive to go out and find some of these products. You can nourish a new direction for the pork industry as you nourish yourself.

This recipe was created by a wonderful cook that I know; chef Duncan Ly of the Hotel Arts in Calgary. Ly shared this recipe for a PBS television show called Off the Beaten Palate. I was the production assistant for that show when they visited Alberta and one of my jobs was to line up chefs and farms to highlight Alberta’s culture and cuisine. Ly’s food is so beautiful in both taste and style that I was thrilled when he agreed to participate. I had previously guided chef Ly on a visit to Spragg’s Meats pork farm and I knew he loved the taste of their product. We were all thrilled with the beauty of the dish he presented.

This post will share chef Ly’s recipe in both a written and video format.

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Lobster in a Crusty Shell – luscious appetizers for a Happy New Year

Lobster in a Crusty Shell makes a nice addition to any party photo - Karen Anderson

Lobster in a Crusty Shell makes a nice addition to any party
photo – Karen Anderson

I hope my recent story about my love affair with lobster will inspire you to try making these Lobster in a Crusty Shell appetizers. I came up with this recipe a few years ago when I was charged with bringing the appetizers to a very intimate New Year’s party at a dear friend’s home.

My friend LouLou is an elegant hostess. It’s not just because of the expensive wines her husband pulls from his cellar (that surely is a treat – don’t get me wrong) but rather it’s because of the care she takes in planning her menu and in choosing the finest ingredients. Further refinement comes in the table she sets, the pace she orchestrates and the ease her guests feel as company in her home.

I was very pleased to be included on the rare occasion that all of her grown and far-flung family were present for New Year’s Eve. I wanted to create something memorable for this lovely family and on par with the special treats I knew I would be receiving that evening.

I remembered a friend from Halifax who used to stuff toasted bread croustades with Coquilles St. Jacques on special occasions and how rich and creamy they were. I got to thinking about how lobster might taste given a similar treatment. I played with the recipe and these luscious bites were born.

The evening of the party my new creations disappeared as quickly as the years seem to. I savoured each bite with the mineral notes of the tres elegant Puligny-Montrachet our host chose to pair with my lobster offering. It was an auspicious start to the evening, which led to the elegant end of one year and the beautiful beginning of the next.

As this year comes to an end I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. I hope we are blessed with the gift of being able to Savour it All together.

The recipe follows

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