Category Archives: Heritage cooking skills

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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Ode to @JoyRoadCatering – coming soon to @CookbookCooks in Calgary

Dappled sunlight at day's end signals time for a Joy Road Al Fresco dinner  photo - Karen Anderson

Dappled sunlight at day’s end signals time for a Joy Road Al Fresco dinner
photo – Karen Anderson

Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Foodies, Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith of Joy Road Catering are coming to Calgary March 15 and 16, 2014 for a weekend of sharing not only their cooking but their cooking skills.

Joy Road’s Al Fresco Winemaker’s dinner series – held on the clay banks escarpment high above Lake Skaha in Penticton, B.C. each summer – has been listed in the top ten dining events to experience in Canada. Tickets for each season sell out as quickly as they are announced. Patrons eagerly await the chance to return to the bucolic setting and taste of place this team serves up with deceiving ease. A multi-course dinner for 40, paired with local winemaker’s bounty, served outside on crisp white linens – complete with elegant flowers, candles and a touch of whimsy – are carried out with the panache that only comes with mastery of the culinary arts. The vibe is French or Italian countryside without the pricey plane ticket and jet lag but with all the subtle pride in a region’s produce and terroir.

The Joy Road Catering Calgary events at The Cookbook Co. Cooks are as follows:

March 15 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – whole hog butchery – $135/person.
March 15 – 6:30 to 9 p.m. – Joy Road Catering’s wine paired feast – $100/person.
March 16 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hands on charcuterie-making – $100/person.
All tickets are available through The Cookbook Co. Cooks by calling (403) 265-6066.

Want to know a little more about what makes Joy Road’s Ewart and Smith so special? Read on for a cozy peek into life lived on Joy Road…

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Full steam ahead – notes on cooking with a pressure cooker

This is a very basic pressure cooker with a red button that rises to let you know pressure has been reached and you can start timing your recipe photo - Karen Anderson

This is a very basic pressure cooker with a red button that rises to let you know pressure has been reached and you can start timing your recipe
photo – Karen Anderson

This week on Alberta at Noon I talked about Rajasthan and the warm and spicy food I found there. I shared a recipe for Lal Moss which is a simple red meat stew that you will see on every menu throughout this Northern Indian State. You can either leave it to simmer or braise in a slow oven or crock pot for a day or you can prepare it in a pressure cooker in about 15 to 20 minutes time. Watching the chefs in Rajasthan do so inspired me to get over my pressure cooker prejudices and demystify them once and for all.

This post will delve a little deeper into the question of whether there’s a place for a pressure cooker in your kitchen and whether or not you, like me, are ready to get to know them a bit better and maybe even buy one.

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Recipes from Rajasthan to warm up our Canadian January – my @AlbertaatNoon column this month

Lal Moss and complementary vegetables and chapati  A lovely lunch at Rohet Garh in Rajasthan, India photo - Karen Anderson

Lal Moss and complementary vegetables and chapati
A lovely lunch at Rohet Garh in Rajasthan, India
photo – Karen Anderson

This week on Alberta at Noon I’m going to talk about my most recent culinary expedition to India. In November I took 21 guests to explore the food and culture of the capital region of Delhi and two of India’s Northern States: Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

I especially loved Rajasthan which is renowned as the land of colours.

The colours dazzle against the backdrop of landscape’s sandy hues. The tropically hued fuchsia and tangerine saris of the women flow like nectar giving our eyes, like hummingbirds to the flower, a little relief from the neutral tones which though soothing do not tend to be as life-giving. The colours of Rajasthan light up like match tips in the equally bright turbans of the men which change from village to village, occupation to occupation, and perhaps signal that molds that castes were made of are hard to shatter. You see a rainbow of colour in the food markets that materialize on street corners just as the evening meal must be shopped for and of course those were my favourite colours of all: the aubergine and bright green of indigenous eggplants, the scarlet of tomatoes and the muted tones of neatly bundles onions, herbs and India’s own culinary gems; her spices.

The people of Rajasthan truly manifest their culture’s belief that “Guests are Gods”. My business partners at Indus Travels and Hi Tours of India live and breathe this philosophy in every action they take for me and my guests on my annual odyssey to their homeland. They have become my second family and even though we are half a world away for 50 weeks each year I hold them dear and look forward to our yearly fortnight reunion.

This post will share a few of the many recipes that the expert cooks I met in Rajasthan so generously shared with me. I thought they might be just the thing to help us savour it all on cold Canadian January days when we might not otherwise feel quite up to the task.

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Recipes for two D-I-Y delectable gifts for food lovers – my December @AlbertaatNoon column

Spiced Apples and Holiday Biscotti photo - Karen Anderson

Spiced Apples and Holiday Biscotti
photo – Karen Anderson

For my December Alberta at Noon column on CBC Radio One today, I’ll share two recipes for those that would like to add a homemade touch to their gift giving this season. I’ll post some fun gift ideas you can buy in other posts this week.

The first D-I-Y gift is called Spiced Apples and you can find that recipe and step-by-step instructions here.

The second recipe is for something I consider truly scrumptious – my Holiday Biscotti – and you’ll find all the information you need to make them in this post.

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Savour food – @bctreefruits Spiced Apples – your DIY food gift to make for the holidays

I learned to make these Spiced Apples from Darcell Markgraf of the BC Tree Fruit Growers photo - Karen Anderson

I learned to make these Spiced Apples from Darcell Markgraf of the BC Tree Fruit Growers
photo – Karen Anderson


This post is all about a wonderful DIY gift you can make for the food lovers on your gift list this holiday season. I’m giving you the recipe now because it needs to sit at least six weeks before being opened.

Read on for the recipe and photos. I hope you’ll try it. It only took me about 90 minutes to produce nine of these pretty jars. Now to decide which of my friends and family to gift them to….

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Savour food – a lesson in Swedish flatbread – Hulvchuck or Mjukkaka – with my mother-in-law

the honest goodness of bread and butter - in this case a heritage recipe for Swedish Hulvchuck

the honest goodness of bread and butter – in this case a heritage recipe for Swedish Hulvchuck

Indian naan, chapati, roti, puri, paratha and parotta; Italian Focaccia and pizza, Greek pita; Egyptian balady, Armenian Lavash, Turkish bazlama, Mexican tortillas, Ethiopian injera; cuisines the world over have a flatbread. Some are leavened and some not. Most are circular and flat and typically made of a combination of flour and water. They are used as an eating utensil or plate, for sopping up gravy, dipping in olive oil, as a medium for toppings or stuffings, or for just enjoying with cold creamy butter. They are all delicious and I am sad for people who cannot for whatever reason enjoy them – wheat belly; real or imagined.

I had not heard of a Swedish flatbread until I met my husband and got to try his grandmother’s fabulous bread recipe. Her name was Esther Ingejerd (nee Swenson) Anderson Richtik. She was twice widowed but with the help of her mother raised two children on her own on the windswept marshy tundra that is Northern Manitoba, Canada. It was a harsh life but this bread which she called “Hulvchuck” was a comfort food for her family and she made bread a few times a week her whole life.

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Savour food – my @AlbertaatNoon podcast on @DirtCraftNaturalBuilding

Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon I talked about Dirt Craft Natural Building. You can listen to the podcast here. I start at the 45 minute mark. The recipes are here or on the CBC site here.

I went into much greater detail about Dirt Craft Natural Building here. I love the video series below because it shows the “how to” of cooking in a wood-fired cob oven. Of course my favourite video is the second one where Ashley Lubyk and Heather Noakes of Dirt Craft Natural Building demonstrate their cooking skills and all the yummy things that go into and come out of their oven.

Noakes asked me to say that they learned a great deal about cooking from their dear friend, chef Val Andrews. Andrews is a long time cook and instructor around Alberta and B.C. and she recently moved to Ontario (We all miss you Val!) but I’m sure she’d be thrilled to see how successful an influence she has been on the next generation of healthy Albertan cooks. Andrews will occasionally pop back to teach heritage cooking skills like canning at The Cookbook Co Cooks so check their cooking school schedule for an opportunity to work with this quietly competent expert mentor and chef.

My goals in life are to savour food and savour life and this is a style of cooking that would certainly lend itself to both of those. The food will taste great and be savoured along with the company that comes to share a little of their host’s life around a simple but elegant cooking vessel – a wood fired cob oven in a back yard in Alberta.

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Savour Food – @AlbertaatNoon – Karen Anderson’s food column – recipes from a wood-fired cob oven

Wood Fired Bread Baking with Sidewalk Citizen Bakery owner  and  world-famous baker Aviv Fried Photo courtesy of Dirt Craft Natural Builders

Wood Fired Bread Baking with Sidewalk Citizen Bakery owner and world famous baker Aviv Fried
Photo courtesy of Dirt Craft Natural Builders

Here are the recipes for my monthly food column on CBC Radio One’s Alberta@Noon. Thanks to my dear friend and dedicated Calgary Food Tours Inc. associate Tilly Sanchez for her beautiful galette recipe and thanks to Dirt Craft Natural Building’s Heather Noakes and Ashley Lubyk for the recipes and photos of their eggplant and flat breads. Remember you can still make these recipes in a conventional oven or even on your barbecue unit. I hope they help you savour your food and savour your life. Cheers, Karen

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