Tag Archives: Alberta at Noon

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 @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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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Travel

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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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Restaurants, Travel

A visit to the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence and my @AlbertaatNoon podcast for September

The Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence - photo courtesy of the centre

The Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence – photo courtesy of the centre

Last week, while researching my monthly Alberta at Noon column, I had the opportunity to visit The Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence. Beef prices have hit a record high this year. They are up by 36% and drought is a big factor. Ranchers across the Prairies are having to buy feed instead of it growing in abundance. With favourite beef cuts like steaks and prime rib roasts at such high prices, it’s a very good time to explore lesser known cuts of meat.

Necessity is a great incentive program but that doesn’t mean that when the going gets tough, your meat has to as well. In today’s Alberta at Noon podcast I talked about the The Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence staff’s emphasis on teaching consumers to use the whole animal in a nose to tail (everything is delicious if you just know how to cook it) fashion. Read on for a more about the centre and its role in the beef industry.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Recipes

beefing up for my @AlbertaatNoon food column with a little help from @GauchoBBQ

This post is a roundup of inspiration to utilize more than just expensive cuts of beef. The Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence and Organic Alberta have the perfect workshop to get you thinking outside the burger box. The “beef connoisseurs” workshop will be Saturday, September 26, 2015. Attendees will learn lots of tips and recipes and have a chance to ask true experts for advice.

Since not all of us can make it to the workshop, this post shares some inspiring recipes from a couple of my favourite cooks – Ede Rogrigues of Gaucho Brazilian Barbecue and Noorbanu Nimji of A Spicy Touch cookbooks. While Canadian cooks are still learning about using more affordable cuts of meat, industry chefs and other cultures have made it their practice to be frugal.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Recipes, Restaurants

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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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Heritage cooking skills