Quintessential #Summer Foods #AlbertaEvents and a #recipe that might surprise you – my @AlbertaatNoon column for July

gelato - photo credit - Karen Anderson
Cool and creamy gelato from Pulcinella Ristorante – photo credit – Karen Anderson

I’ll be on CBC Radio’s Alberta at Noon tomorrow (July 28, 2016 – 99.1 FM) between 1230 and 1 p.m. talking about quintessential summer foods. What’s your must-have summer food? If you’re anything like me, it changes by the week because there’s something new to savour with each seven day growing unit in our brief Northern summer.

I hope this post of fun food photos and events (including Food Day Canada this weekend) inspires you to hit the giant tasting trail that is Alberta or to search for your own favourites wherever you savour it all

As the song says, here are a few of my favourite things:

bright shiny blueberries and warm fuzzy peaches

strawberries still warm from the sun or cooled down with shortcakes and cream

hodge-podge of vegetables fresh from the garden, vine ripened tomatoes that taste like a dream

thick juicy burgers and frosty cold beers, salty lime margaritas and chips with plenty of dips

lemonade in the garden and icy cold popsicles to keep you alive, honey comb dripping with nectar straight from my hive

lobster rolls and salads fresh from the surf

or a new recipe for Alberta beef fresh from the turf.

Alberta Beef - Karen Anderson
Cedar Plank Prime Roast of Alberta Beef – photo credit – Karen Anderson

These are a few of my quintessential summer foods. If only I had a picture of corn on the cob; it would be here too. Now here’s the recipe for that tasty take on prime rib roast above. All my guests love it when I make it. It’s a bit like your beef spent the day in a cedar sauna (that’s a good thing).

Cedar Planked Prime Rib Roast of Alberta Beef
(Adapted from Planking Secrets: How to Grill with Wooden Planks for Unbeatable Barbecue Flavour by Ron Shewchuk)

Tip: An instant read meat thermometer guarantees you’ll get this right.

1 – 5 lb prime rib roast with bones attached
1 cedar plank – soaked overnight
4 – 5 (5 inch) whole rosemary branches
½ cup of grainy mustard (I use Brassica Mustard)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon finely cut fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely cut fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Maldon salt

Remove the roast from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature (this takes about an hour and results in more even cooking)
Preheat the grill on medium-high until the temperature is about 500°F.
Remove the cedar plank from its soaking water and pat it dry with a cloth.
Lay the rosemary branches across it and set the roast on them.
Mix the coating ingredients – mustard, olive oil, rosemary, dill, garlic, pepper and salt – in a bowl and then coat the surface of the roast with it.
Walk the plank (get it?) to your grill and place it on one side.
Turn the burner off on that side and cook with the indirect heat of the other burner. Tip – You may need to turn the plank halfway through cooking so that the roast cooks evenly.
Cook covered for about 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the internal temperature reads 125°F.
Remove, tent loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 – 30 minutes before cutting.
Enjoy with your favourite sides.

Innisfail Growers - Karen Anderson
Innisfail Growers Customer Appreciation Days are a chance to visit farmers who are outstanding in their fields – photo credit – Karen Anderson

Here are my picks for discovering Alberta’s quintessential summer food offerings:

July 21 – 30 – Taste Edmonton – catch the last few days of Canada’s largest food festival with tastings from Edmonton’s great restaurant scene, music, wine, beer, fun for kids; this has been a summer tradition in the provincial capital for 32 years running.

July 30 – Food Day Canada – invite your friends over – have everyone bring their quintessential summer food, take photos and post them @FoodDayCanada

Don’t feel like cooking then make a reservation at one of the restaurants representing Alberta on Food Day Canada

August 7 – Innisfail Growers Customer Appreciation Days – here’s the map and info. This group of five family farms use a collaborative cooperative plan to produce, process, distribute and market what they grow. In a province where most farmers are over 55 years of age, this group has been able to recruit the next generation back to farm life.

August 13 – Rootstock: A Field to Table Event – at Fallen Timber Meadery in Water Valley. This fundraiser includes a Farmers’ Market, an elaborate field to table dinner, a celebration of drink with mead, craft brewing and Eau Claire Distillery cocktails, a silent auction and a musical spectacle under the stars. Chef David Cousineau from The Bison Restaurant and Terrace in Banff is the chef headliner for this dinner. Bands include Reuben and the Dark, Gabrielle Papillon, Folk Road Show and Beyries.

What are they fundraising for? Only a complete paradigm shift for farming in Alberta! This group of young farmers wants to set up a website portal for sharing knowledge of best practices for regenerative farming and for connecting farmers with consumers. Watch the video. This is powerful – groundbreaking – stuff.

August 20 – 21 – Alberta Open Farm Days – there are over 90 farms you can visit in Alberta during these two days and dozens of culinary events. My picks include: the BABAS & BORSHCH UKRAINIAN FESTIVAL in Andrew for Northern Alberta, The Jungle Farm Feast in the Field (with all proceeds going to local 4H clubs) on August 19 for Central Alberta and for the South, I’d pick Barbecue in the Badlands with celebrity chef Judy Wood on August 20 or Aspen Crossing’s Meals in the Field Train Excursion.

Tip: Use the Plan your Route feature on the website and enjoy and get to know our rural roots/routes.

September 3 – 4 – Barbecue on the Bow – if summer means real barbecue to you then don’t miss the 24th annual. It’s Canada’s oldest Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned barbecue event. Hmm – add ribs to my quintessential summer food list!

September 16 – Harvest Moon Long Table Experience– The CPR pedestrian bridge in Red Deer is the setting for this long table dinner for 200 with an emphasis on art in action, artful fare and soft artful tunes throughout the night. Sounds dreamy.

Let me know if your favourite food event of summer and I’d also love to hear about your quintessential summer food. Enjoy it while it lasts.

long table dinners have become a great Alberta summer tradition – photo – Karen Anderson


    1. Karen Anderson

      Fantastic Catherine – Summer foods are truly inspirational. I’m off now to buy a cream pie to take to the CBC. I forgot to put PIES on that list. A terrible oversight which I’m going to correct right now. Cheers, Karen

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