Since April, I’ve been doing a biweekly column, ‘Behind The Line’ for Swerve Magazine. In addition to getting to sit down and chat candidly with some of the Calgary’s amazing chefs, they share a tasty home cook-friendly with me each week to accompany their interviews. The best part, aside from procuring tasty chef quality recipes, I’m also learning more and more about the city’s history, which is vast and dynamic, to say the least.
From Michael Allemeier and Shawn Greenwood to Top Chef Canada’s lovely lady of season three, Nicole Gomes, here are some great recipes from fantastic Calgarian chefs that you can whip up in your home kitchen this week!
When the sun hits, it’s time for something refreshing. I fell in love with granitas a while back. They are stupid easy to make and always impress people. From wine and vodka, to prosecco and beer, there is a whole mix of things you can throw into a granita. Since I am in love with cold beer on a hot summer day, I decided to turn on into a dessert.
The fresh rosemary and lemon zest add a nice brightness to this chilly dessert, tasting somewhat like a boozy iced tea…not to be confused with a Long Island Iced Tea…I think only 18 year olds drink those things, right?
If there’s one dessert I can’t have just one piece of, it’s definitely baklava. Typically, I only indulge in this honey-soaked goodness of a pastry while I’m picking up some late night eats at a shawarma place after the bar. I mean, clearly, six pieces of baklava is definitely the correct thing to eat at 3 a.m. right? Right!
My Start From Scratch program wrapped up for the spring a couple weeks ago and our final class is always, always desserts! After ten weeks of learning in the kitchen, it’s only appropriate to end on a sweet note. Aside from making some chocolate souffles, which kicked ass, I decided to make baklava with my class.
This rendition is by no means traditional, but was a hit with the entire group.
1 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 TSP vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 TBSP earl grey tea (finely crushed)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP salt
Well, leave it to me to try putting tea into just about everything…I’ve put it in soup and on fish before, so why not try it in a cake, right? On a mildly unrelated note, my iPhone (4!) took this photo. How crazy is that? Oh technology, you’ll never be as delicious as this pound cake, but you’re pretty damn cool.
I baked several batches of mini pound cakes for the Calgary Food Blogger Bake Sale that just happened this past weekend at Casel Marché. Due to my forceful salesperson technics, I sold them all! Score!
*Note: Since I am not much of a baker, I used this recipe from Canadian Living as a guideline.
2 cups flour
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts (loosely chopped)
1 TBSP orange zest
2 TSP cinnamon
3 TSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
1/2 cup butter (chilled, 1/2″ cubed)
1 cup milk
2 TSP vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (for egg wash, optional)
I’m not much of a baker. So, when I ‘bake’, I make biscuits. They’re simple and consistently delicious no matter what you decide to fold into them. Since I’m not much of a baker, I don’t often excel in the dessert category of awesomeness. These orange biscuits are just sweet enough and can pass as a delicious dessert if you slice them in half, add a dollop of whipped cream and some orange slices (from the orange you zested for the recipe, peel to pulp cooking, right?). One day I’ll learn to make a one-of-a-kind cake or something…I promise…Until then, enjoy this biscuit-y goodness I guess?
So, this recipe will be easier to make than your bed. Unless you have a really complicated linens system…Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Place the first 7 ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the chunks of butter and loosely mix in with your hands.
Next, mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in a separate bowl, stir until sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon, or by hand, until a dough forms. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a circle-esque shape, 2″ thick. Slice into 12 pieces and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of each piece of dough with the egg wash and let bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the biscuits start to brown.
Let cool slightly before eating, however hard that may be…
As previously mentioned, slice in half, add a spoonful of whipped cream, some orange slices, and you have yourself a simple, ‘rustic’ if you will, dessert. Happy eating!
Yields 12 biscuits
Total cook time…20 min
1 TBSP organic earl grey tea
1 TBSP organic rooibos tea
1 TBSP organic honey
2 TSP organic cane sugar
1 organic lime (zest and juice)
1 vintage jar or bottle (approx 1L, as vintage as possible)
lemon or lime slices for garnish (not optional)
1 pair Ray-Bans (not optional)
(Disclaimer: Slight sarcasm in the following sentences) In a world that has become so ingrained with a ‘the faster, the better’ mentality, it’s sometimes nice to just plain take your time. Whether that means riding a one speed bicycle through a hilly area of the city, or using a vintage typewriter to make some labels for your spice collection (Rob Waye), or just steeping some tea in the sun…Ok, with the exception of the tea steeping, maybe sometimes faster can be better…I’m surprised hipster culture has not yet embraced the refreshing drink that is sun tea, or maybe they have, but I just wouldn’t of heard about it…Regardless, it’s time to embrace your inner hipster. I strongly encourage a trip to your local antiques shop (with that faithful one speed, of course!) to find a totally awesome vintage jar. Then toss it in your bicycle basket, and head home to make the sun tea of your dreams.
This is pretty much as simple as it gets. Place all ingredients in jar (please tell me you did take a field trip to the antiques shop?), then fill with water. Stir until the sugar and honey have dissolved. Place on a window ledge in direct sunlight (placing jar outside in sun will work as well). Let stand for an hour and a half. Well the tea is steeping in the sun, feel free to pop in that new Bon Iver vinyl and just relax. You deserve it!
When it’s time, take the jar out of the sunlight and place in the refrigerator to cool. Once chilled, strain, serve over ice and garnish with a lemon or lime slice. Earl grey + rooibos tea = the best home-made iced tea ever. Trust me, I wouldn’t lie! Now pop on those Ray-Bans and get outside!
Yields 4 cups sun tea
Total tea time…1 1/2 hours (not including chill time)
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