1 baguette (1/4″ sliced)
1 bunch scallions (ends trimmed, halved)
1 bunch spinach (blanched, loosely chopped)
1 head raddichio (shredded)
1/2 cup sauerkraut (loosely chopped)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 TSP sugar
1/2 pound kielbasa sausage (tihnly sliced)
1 TBSP grainy dijon mustard
salt and pepper
So, I’ve been doing a series of events with Holt Renfrew in Calgary this month, highlighting some of the different gourmet preserves they have for the holiday season and using them in some simple, but delicious (obviously!) appetizer recipes. This past weekend, I used some of their specialty mustard with a crostini consisting of a little wilted greens salad, kielbasa sausage and roasted scallions.
I’ll admit it. When I first moved to Calgary six years ago, I thought this city was simply a meat and potatoes, oil and gas kind of a city. So, now, here we are. It’s 2012, Calgary is the cultural capital of Canada, the stampede is celebrating its 100th anniversary and I’ve turned into a cowboy. Ok, maybe one of those things aren’t true, but I definitely have come to appreciate my steak (and potatoes).
Actually, I love a good steak. Hell, I’d probably date a steak if it was legal (one day…), so you can imagine my excitement when Tourism Calgary invited myself and a few other Albertan food enthusiasts to experience some delicious steak-centric offerings around the city. To be more specific, five restaurants would dish out their ‘new take on steak’ to us over the course of two evenings. I’m not good at math, but I knew these two nights of eating would definitely equal one full stomach.
Attention Vegetarians: If you haven’t noticed yet, there will be many, many mentions of meat in this dining recollection. I apologize in advance and recommend that you close your eyes.
The beginning of this ‘New Take On Steak’ adventure started at Ox and Angela. Sister restaurant to Una Pizza, this establishment prides itself on a menu focusing on Latin American flavours.
Things started off with a simple bite of their feature pinxtos, a ‘CLT’, which was a skewer of house-made chorizo, cherry tomato and greens.
Inbetween the one bite starter and our servings of steak, we sampled some of their cocktails. Now, I don’t want to label myself as a lush, but I may of already been fairly familiar with their booze-related offerings.
My go-to here is definitely ‘The Ox’, a mix of rum, bitters-infused sugar and white grapes. Well, colour me thirst quenched!
Now, isn’t that a handsome drink?
It wasn’t long before we were presented with their grilled flat iron steak, which was served with a piquillo pepper confit and grilled lemons. On the side, there was a simple aioli for dipping as well as a mojo verde that had a predominant presence of cumin.
In regards to the verde, and somewhat similar to a five year old, I repeatedly asked ‘Is there cumin in this?’ until one of my table mates finally said ‘Yes.’. Also known as ‘Dan, please just eat your god damn dinner!’.
The steak also came with an array of sides like Ox and Angela’s signature ‘patatas bravas’ and ‘braised kale’, which were all delicious, but our dessert stole the show.
Served with a warm chocolate sauce for dipping, these little guys always remind me of being in Disney World as a child, eating a churro chasing after Snow White for a hug. Those were the days…
Once we were done fighting over the last bite of churro, we were whisked away to our second destination of the night. I was on my way to being full, but still had room for what Anju had prepared for us.
Anju is somewhat hidden in the downtown corner of 5th avenue and 10th street SW. Their Korean-fusion tapas offerings are unique and delicious. We had a few starter plates prior to the steak which included oysters with kimchi mignonette and ox tail tortellini, but the show starter/stopper was definitely the crispy tofu.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this is one of the best applications of tofu that I have ever experienced. Even tofu nay-sayers will reluctantly agree. This tofu dish strikes the perfect balance between soft, crisp, sweet and savoury. Seriously, this is a tofu dish for meat-lovers. Which reminds me, why are we still talking about tofu? Back to the steak!
We washed the bold flavours back with soju, a Korean liquor that everyone should taste at least once in their lives.
And, thus, ends the first night of my tasty Tourism Calgary ‘New Take On Steak’ experience. This Friday, I’ll be sharing my second evening of steak adventures featuring bison heart, beef tartar and short rib crusted tenderloin. Stay hungry folks.
In the meantime, here are a few more pictures from dining at Ox And Angela and Anju to
drool enjoy looking at…
Patatas Bravas at Ox and Angela. Starchy goodness with just the right touch of lemon.
Ox and Angela’s grilled scallions with romesco sauce.
Ox tail tortellini topped with truffle oil at Anju.
Anju’s fresh oysters with a kimchi mignonette.
Who the hell stole my camera?
Let’s face it, Halloween is so last week. I love costumes (i.e. dressing up as a Spice Girl) as much as the next guy, but come the beginning of November I’m solely focused on my Christmas wish list…and perhaps my moustache too, but I digress…
If you have to buy a present for the ‘foodie’ in your life, don’t just settle for a steak and potatoes kind of a gift. Pardon the pun, but think outside of the box a little bit. I know cookbooks aren’t generally part of my aforementioned ‘outside of the box’ category, but these two picks I found at Indigo are anything but standard issue..
Odd Bits: How To Cook The Rest Of The Animal by Jennifer McLagan will transform any leftover brains, hooves, or eyeballs you may have hands into surprisingly delicious dishes. True lovers of all things culinary definitely have a sense of adventure!
The second book to is Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Pasta of Italy. Flip through the pages (Warning: food porn quality photos. NSFW) and there will be types of pasta that you’ve probably never heard of before. All the more reason to try them out!
Since you know a true foodie loves to host dinner parties, it’s impossible to go wrong with this Scrabble: Cooking edition board game. I found it in the seasonal Calendar Club Shop while searching for a Buffy The Vampire Slayer calendar. They don’t make those anymore apparently, but at least I got excited about the culinary-centric game!
Definitely boasting some of the best pizza in the downtown core, a gift card to Double Zero would definitely win the heart of any foodie. If you’re thinking of buying me this one, be sure to find me a date too. Hey! A guy’s got to try, right?
Sticking with the dining out present inspiration, nothing says ‘Let’s go for some charcuterie and cocktails at Charcut’ quite like a sharp Michael Kors sweater. Actually, just any nice article of clothing found in Harry Rosen would be welcomed under a foodie’s tree. I mean, we spend all our money on food, right?
No foodie’s life is complete without a camera. More specifically, an SLR. You should probably buy a witty food blog domain name to go with it. Everyone’s a critic, er, food blogger these days, and this Nikon D3100 on sale at Black’s Photogrsphy is a great one to get started with.
Ok Santa, let’s do this.
If YOU would like to get a kick start on your Christmas shopping, The CORE is giving away a $100 CORE gift card! All you have to do is tweet a link to this blog post to your followers. Be sure to tag @COREshopping in your tweet with the #TwasTheNight hashtag to be entered in the draw to win!
One final plug…The CORE is throwing a massive holiday shopping benefit called ‘T’was The Night’ on November 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. that will feature late night shopping and a performance by rad Canadian musician Chantal Kreviazuk! The tickets are just $15 and all of the proceeds to go to the BeCause Initiative of the United Way and the National Music Centre Project, two great Calgary charities. You can buy your tickets at www.coreshopping.ca to join me there!
I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the KTKD program. I hope you have gotten the sense from my blog posts that I am grateful to Dan for his vision and inclusion of me in this experience. I started the course with some cooking knowledge and am leaving with the confidence and creativity to put it to use. I hope that my fellow participants who had less skill going in than me realize that all that it takes to start cooking is finding what you like, learning to read a recipe, and the ability to chop . The rest we learn as we go along.
One of the most surprising things I learned in this course was that following food blogs can be fun! I really thought this would be my least favourite part, however, I have learned that food bloggers don’t just post recipes, they post life experiences too. For example, my food blogger Ethan shared with his readers his personal story of love and loss of his ‘Bubbie’ and her love of food.
Additionally, things I could never dream up on my own are revealed by those who have a talent with the culinary arts. Yelp community manager Wendy shared her molecular gastronomy project which inspired me to plan to create my own ‘caviar’ and I have found many other exciting projects simply by paying more attention to the immense amount of information available by friends and contacts (i.e. on Facebook, Twitter, etc). I might wager that food bloggers use Twitter more than any other group of collective hobbyists.
I went into each class with the goal of learning at least one new thing each time. As a result I have built a rich collection of memories and tools that I hope will impress my dinner guests who have all been jealous of this opportunity and keen to hear about it.
I hope Dan’s program will continue to expand and be successful; University students are smart when it comes to a lot of things, but we are often too complacent when it comes to the necessities of life. All too easily we settle for KD (or something like it) because it uses one pot and is ready in 15 minutes. Dan has showed us that making just a little extra time for proper cooking is easy and rewarding. Thank you
This week we took a look at using local ingredients for every day recipes. We made a roast chicken from Spragg’s Meat Shop, ‘smashed’ potatoes using King’s Orchard purple potatoes and honey apple tarts using apples also from King’s Orchard (grown in Strathmore, AB) and honey from Golden Acres Honey (Three Hills, AB).
Dan’s hope for us was to develop a ‘feel good’ connection with our food by supporting local, sustainable and natural ingredients. My response is that I did feel good supporting farms from around the city since you can almost see your money put to work. You are not paying some bureaucratic chain; you are supporting your neighbours. Additionally, I think food that is almost ‘fresh off the vine’, as it were, just tastes better. It’s like picking carrots from your backyard.
Our special guest this week was Dan’s grandma, Evelyn. I think it is a rare privilege to get to share something like KTKD with your grandma and having her there for us to display our new cooking knowledge too was a real treat! She wasn’t so sure about the purple potatoes or the chili powder in the apple tarts, but she was very proud of Dan! (and rightly so!)
With ‘local’ in mind, this week’s homework was to recreate a meal from a recipe already seen in class this time with local ingredients and then reflect on if being aware of where the ingredients came from helped us give pride in what we had cooked. I think I already knew the answer to that, but was excited to treat it as homework nonetheless.
Unfortunately, I did not get myself together in time to make it to the Farmer’s Market where I could have found the onions, garlic, chicken, butter and cream from farmers near the city so I instead settled on finding ingredients that were at least from Canada. Going to the grocery store and being conscious of the producer made me feel savvy and I noted that the prices were comparable to the imported products.
The alfredo sauce garnered excellent reviews however I am getting a little worried that my family is catching on to my one trick pony (I always choose the pasta sauce recipes!)…but it doesn’t seem like they are complaining
I would like to try this again (once exams are over) but instead make it to the Farmer’s Market as I do believe there is strong merit in being food conscious and supporting local businesses. It’s all a part of Kicking the KD!
Well, apparently something quite substantial…
If you checked out the press release that we put up on the site yesterday, then you’ll know that the name of my cooking initiative has got to go. Yesterday morning, I was presented with a letter from a representative of Kraft Canada requesting the removal of the ‘KD‘ mark (which I was unaware was trademarked) from the program title, as well as all marketing materials (i.e. images) using the letters ‘KD‘. As my current legal team is comprised of google’s search engine, I will comply with their request by the suggested deadline of May 2nd, 2011. Speaking of google, I did search ‘KD logo’ prior to the program launch and got these image results. Just saying…
I do appreciate the fighting spirit of my KTKD-ers (can I still call them that?), and I am as let down as they are that a small, fifteen person cooking class can’t use a name with ‘KD’ in the title. Using a nickname like ‘KD’ (again, not knowing it was trademarked), for me, encompassed any semblance of mac ‘n’ cheese (is that trademarked?) coming out of a cardboard box. The idea of this program was never to say: ‘Stop eating that right now, or else!’, it is meant to give students exposure to hands-on cooking, where they can see different dishes and think: ‘Ok, that was surprisingly easy and just as convenient as making a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese!’
So, now what? It’s time for a change…
We are looking for a new name. This initial run of the program ends this Thursday, but is returning in the fall with two sets of classes, which will be offered to both University of Calgary and Mount Royal University Students!
If you have a name suggestion, then myself and the Kick The ____ team want to hear it!
(I do generally err on the side of humour, so your suggestion has to make at least one of us smile!)
Post your program title idea(s) as a comment on this post, or…
you can email them to us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re really excited to hear what you’ll come up with! The new name will be announced at our KTKD graduation event being held in mid-May. Stay tuned for details on that!
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