Category Archives: Heritage cooking skills

Christmas (baking) in November – My Alberta at Noon column with recipes from CraveYYC & A Spicy Touch

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 a 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, I make lots of “to do” lists, I buy some of the treats we enjoy and I 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, a Peanut Brittle recipe 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 Ginger Bar that’s fun to make.

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W5 – a series of questions about @cookitraw #rawAlberta @albertaculinary – Let’s start with “WHAT” is Cook it Raw?

If you have no idea WHAT Cook it Raw is, this blog post is for you.

Watching the video above is a great place to start learning about Cook it Raw. Check it out and see if, while you’re learning about WHAT Cook it Raw is, you can also find seven Alberta food products that you might be quite familiar with but that the rest of the world might know very little about. That’s a pretty big hint about the answer to WHAT this is all about, by the way.

Don’t have time to watch the gorgeous video by Edmonton cinematographer Kevin Kossowan? Nah – go back and watch it. It’ll make you want to get on a plane to Lac LaBiche, Alberta – even if you have no idea where in the world that is. Hey, wait, that’s another clue to WHAT Cook it Raw is all about! Let’s cut to the chase.

Cook it Raw is a group of local and internationally-renowned chefs who gather to discover and articulate the essence of diverse and emerging culinary locations throughout the world. They are just winding up six months of intensive work in Alberta this very week. This is only the ninth time there’s been such a gathering since the inception of the program in 2009.

To learn more, read on and as an incentive to do so, I’ll give you the answer to exactly WHAT the seven truly Albertan ingredients are at the end of this post.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Heritage cooking skills, Savour life, Time in Nature, Travel

Preserving family recipes – my July @AlbertaatNoon podcast

I love to cook with my Mom Gerri - the expert pie maker in our family. How about you? Who makes your favourite family recipe? - photo - Karen Anderson

I love to cook with my Mom Gerri – the expert pie maker in our family. How about you? Who makes your favourite family recipe? – photo – Karen Anderson

Thanks to all the CBC Radio One listeners who called, emailed and tweeted to Alberta at Noon today to join the conversation on ways of Preserving Family Recipes. Here’s the podcast from the show. I’m on at the 24 minute mark.

I hope you’ll be inspired to record your own family’s recipes while you’ve still got a mentor to share them with you. Or – maybe it’s up to you to share your own recipes with the future generations of your family. Preserving family recipes is an important way to preserve our heritage.

Besides, cooking with a great recipe comes with a built-in reward – great food to help us savour it all.

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Preserving recipes – Preserving heritage – My July column for @AlbertaatNoon

Shish Kebabs with Cucumber Raita from A Spicy Touch: Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji's Kitchen by Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson - photo - Karen Anderson

Shish Kebabs with Cucumber Raita from A Spicy Touch: Family Favourites from Noorbanu Nimji’s Kitchen by Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson photo – Karen Anderson

Summer is a time for family fun and family gatherings. Every family has a few recipes that everyone looks forward to. Whether it’s your great aunt’s hand pinched pirohy’s or your uncle’s smoked brisket – these are the foods that come loaded with great taste and great memories.

This post is about ways to preserve your family’s taste treasury. I’ll also share a bit about a big project I’ve been working on with my Indian cooking mentor – Noorbanu Nimji. Noorbanu is responsible for preserving not only her own family’s recipes but also – the recipes of a whole culture’s cuisine.

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Join some Monday baking madness with @duchessbakeshop in Calgary @cookbookcooks at 6:30pm tonight

The organizers of this lovely event tell me that Duchess Bakeshop owner, Giselle Courteau and her team, have baked lots of treats so pop by tonight on your way home from work or take a break from home and come in for some freshly made goodies and freshly shaken cocktails from Calgary’s newest cocktail bar Proof.
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#Foraging and the morel of the story – my latest @CityPalate feature article

morel mushrooms - photo - Karen Anderson

morel mushrooms – photo – Karen Anderson

I love the chance to spend time in nature and living in Alberta, Canada gives me great opportunities to do so. I love hiking in The Rocky Mountains, cycling, skiing or sometimes just getting in a raft and floating down the big wide Bow River.

Eventually, all that time in nature makes me hungry though and that’s when it’s good to spend a little of my time in the great outdoors with a cadre of culinary instructors from SAIT Polytechnic’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Once a year we go on a hike that turns into an episode of Bounty Hunter. The bounty in this case is food and the hunting is part of the gathering we do on their annual foraging day in the foothills of The Rocky Mountains.

You might be a confirmed “urban forager” but in case you’d like to take a walk on the wild side of food read on…
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Food news #Calgary #Canada – famous @BestofBridge brand has new cards up their sleeves

Shuffling the deck for new winning hand of Best of Bridge - LtoR - Mary Halpen, Sue Duncan, Val Robinson, Helen Miles, Joan Wilson, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Julie Van Rosendaal - photo - Karen Anderson

Shuffling the deck for new winning hand of Best of Bridge – LtoR – Mary Halpen, Sue Duncan, Val Robinson, Helen Miles, Joan Wilson, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Julie Van Rosendaal – photo – Karen Anderson

Publishers Robert Rose held a quiet dinner at Rouge Restaurant in Calgary last night to make the announcement that the iconic Canadian cookbook brand Best of Bridge would be shuffling their deck of authors. Calgary Herald reporter Gwendolyn Richards broke the news in an exclusive interview.

Winners of a contest that asked for favourite recipes and stories about Best of Bridge were invited to the dinner under the guise of celebrating an intimate “retro evening” with the four remaining original authors – Mary Halpen, Val Robinson, Helen Miles and Joan Wilson. I was one of the fortunate winners.

I entered the contest because I am a long-time fan of the success of the eight (now four) Calgary stay-at-home Moms and savvy entrepreneurs.  They were everything I hoped they would be – happy, passionate, completely loyal and fond of each other, funny (just like their famous one-liners) and great businesswomen.

Here’s a bit more about them and the new plans for Best of Bridge with Julie Van Rosendaal, Sue Duncan and Elizabeth Chorney-Booth.

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