Author: Rebecca

Northern Bites; Showcasing Local Producers and Talent

Northern Bites; Showcasing Local Producers and Talent

Northern Bites is the brainchild of Jacquie Fenske and Monique MacDonald.  Jacquie is part of the Fifendekel family and Monique is one of Edmonton’s social media influencers.  Monique is also on the teams for Spirits on Ice and Sherwood Park Cravings.  These two lovely ladies have partnered together to bring you unique tour experiences to meet local small businesses in Edmonton and the surrounding counties.  It was quite the tour!

After we RSVP’d to our invite, we were sent an email requesting that we meet at Fifendekel to board the limousine that would be leaving promptly at 6pm.  Limo?  Swanky!

We were treated to a bagged lunch from Fifendekel.  Wow, did that bring back memories!  They have been an Edmonton staple for 35 years.  I have had the pleasure of being able to indulge in many catered lunches through various workplaces over the years.  Quality ingredients, quality food.

During the ride to the farm, we were treated to a presentation by Chocolates by Terry.  This is a lady that started out her whole business with a batch of chocolate covered pecan bark.  It was so popular that she decided she might need to make a business out of it.  This is her retirement project so there is no retail storefront, custom orders only!  Everything is made fresh to order and has a shelf life of approximately 3 months.

Before we knew it, we were pulling up to Thiel’s Greenhouses in the Bruderheim area.   We were introduced to our lovely host family and educated on the different types of Saskatoon berries.  (I had no idea that there were different varieties!)

Malcolm also showed off his very unique titanium Morse code glyph pendants.  Super talented creator.  A beautiful way to put a message onto a piece of jewelry to gift to a loved one.

We were sent on our way with our pint sized pail to speed pick the saskatoons.  By chance, it was also the Scotford Hutterite Colony’s night to pick berries as well.  The ladies came with their berry picking belts and pails and settled down to work.  Unbeknownst to me, the Hutterites are known for singing while they work.  These ladies had beautiful voices!  I could have picked berries all night listening to them sing their hymns while they picked.  This was my favourite memory of the night.

Speed picking it was!  Fill that pail up and off we go!  The lovely Nancy made us some scrumptious Saskatoon and Rosemary Ice Cream to sample before we got back in the limo.  We were also gifted with some creeping Rosemary seedlings to plant at home.  They smelled absolutely delicious.

Sparkling conversation took place for the ride back to Fifendekel.  It was lovely to get to know our hosts and our fellow influencers.  Edmonton is so fortunate to have such a vast and diverse group of people that want to promote everything local!

When we arrived back at Fifendekel, our baking stations were all set up for us and ready to go.  I have never made a scratch pie in my life, so this was a little intimidating for me.  We washed our berries and then followed the recipe (see below).

Thankfully the pie crust was pre-mixed and rolled out for us already.  I remember many battles with that damn rolling pin and being covered head to toe in flour.  I am NOT a good baker! I have, however, watched many food television shows and was at least able to fake it.

I managed to get the berries into the bottom crust and make the top crust into a flower cutout.  I think I even managed to flute the edges so that they didn’t look too bad.

The pies went into the oven.  They needed to bake for 50 minutes so we were treated to another couple of special guests.

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Camola Sustainable Foods was first up.  I have been following them for a couple of months now doing my research on cricket flour and the sustainability factors of growing crickets versus cattle.  Due to a personal setback, I haven’t gotten that blog post up yet, but it is coming in this month’s edition of The Edmonton Muse!

Don’t let the whole “cricket” thing turn you off of the products.  They are both delicious and nutritious.  There is no “off” flavour.  If you didn’t know that there was cricket flour in these products, you would not be able to tell the difference between a normal biscotti and a bugscotti.  Be brave, try one!

Camola’s products are available for purchase on their website, or you can buy them in person at one of the farmer’s markets that they attend on a weekly basis.  They will also be growing their own crickets within the next couple of months.  It is an exciting time for them.

Rig Hand Distillery was on hand to sample about 12 different flavours of vodka, gin, brum, moonshine and whisky.  I have had a previous opportunity to get a super quick tour of the distillery and one of their tasty garlic vodka ceasars!  Clearly I need to pop back in for a complete tour soon.  Many flavours in all of the different categories.  All of them use ingredients available right here in Alberta and no added sugars.  My favourite was the raspberry vodka.  I love the “no added sugar” concept.  You actually get to taste the flavour of the raspberries in all of their natural glory.

Jacquie Fenske from Fifendekel gave us a bit of history on the business.  It is 35 years young this year.  Originally it was started out as an ice cream business.  The name comes from a family “urban legend” from one of the uncles.  When you were misbehaving, it was all because of Phillip Fifendekel, a mischievous imp.

Eventually, the ice cream business wasn’t lining up around the block any longer because people were becoming more health conscious and the popularity of ice cream was going down hill.  This is where the sandwiches took over.  The meats are all roasted in house.  Nothing is processed.  All of the ingredients are fresh and lovingly prepared.  Famously fast, friendly and flavourful.  Nothing pretentious here!

Fifendekel is most famous for those pies.  A different featured flavour every month.  When good things go into a product, deliciousness comes out.  Fifendekel pies are no exception.  Family recipes, simple and unique ingredients, tasty dessert.

Monique gave us a bit of information on Spirits on Ice.  This is part of the Silver Skate festival that takes place each year in Hawrelak park.  Enjoy food and drink samples from local vendors inside a heated tent.  Live music, firepits and a beautiful winter atmosphere are here to enjoy.  Admission is free, you just pay for your food and drink tickets.

Special packages were available at last year’s event where $20 would get you admission to the Ice Castle and 10 tasting tickets.  What a great date night idea!

Jacquie also filled us in about #MustardDayAB which will take place on August 13.  Chicks n Chaps has a little competition going where you can win some prizes for the best recipe using mustard.

Our pies were finally done baking, the whole process smelled so good that it was making everyone’s mouth water!  It is such a delicious recipe that I thought I would share it with you below:

Fifendekel Saskatoon Pie

One of the featured flavours during the month of July.  Use fresh local ingredients. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Fifendekel

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cup saskatoons freshly picked
  • 2 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 tbsp butter cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Sprinkle over top of saskatoons and mix together gently.


  3. Line dish with one pie crust. Add saskatoons. Dot with butter.


  4. Get creative with that top crust! Cut into 1/2 inch strips and make a lattice, or place the second crust on top and make some slits for ventilation.


  5. For some added flair, you can sprinkle the top of the crust with a bit of extra sugar.


  6. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Northern Bites is a bit too new to have a website up and running just yet, but you can find them on all of the popular social media platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

They will surely have some exciting tours coming up soon!  Go and give them a follow and experience some of the delicious local producers that Edmonton and area has to offer.

Camola Sustainable Foods

Camola Sustainable Foods

Two nerds with Italian heritage tried eating a grasshopper one day and fell in love with the idea that everyone should eat insects.

Silvia and Claudio have teamed up to bring you a line of products that are not only delicious and nutritious, but better for the environment and more easily sustainable.

Silvia and Claudio are Entomologists which basically means that they study insects.  Silvia is the baker of the team. With their Italian roots they have created a “Bugscotti” that is delicious and like no other biscotti, has the added protein of the cricket powder.

What do crickets taste like you ask? Personally I don’t find a discernible taste difference in any of the Camola products.  They will apparently taste like celery in the new soup line coming out soon! The cricket flour doesn’t emulsify like regular flour.  This means the cricket flour needs to be mixed with regular flour to get the same results. Your baking will just have more protein.

I wanted to know how crickets were farmed.  Camola will have their own cricket farm soon, but for now they have an outside source.  The crickets are raised in controlled conditions until they are the right size and then they are humanely harvested by freezing.  They are then baked in an oven and ground into flour.

How do crickets contribute to sustainability? From the website:
To produce 1Kg of cricket flour requires about 4 L of water. In comparison, 1Kg of beef can require up to 48000 L of water! The difference is astonishing! Insects also have a high conversion factor (amount of feed that becomes body mass): for example, 1Kg of crickets only 3-4 kg of feed are required, compared to the 10 kg necessary to farm 1 Kg of beef.

And nutritious!  I already knew that they had a lot of vitamins and other goodness but wasn’t aware of how much until Sylvia let me know.  Again from the website so that I have the facts straight:
In terms of nutrients, they are 66% of protein in weight, rich in iron, potassium, calcium and vitamin B12. One tablespoon of cricket flour (about 10g) provides 100% of the B12 you will need in a day. Crickets have a complete aminoacidic profile, including all the 9 essential amino acids, making them a very healthy protein!

As an additional bonus, crickets are low in cholesterol and other unhealthy fatty acids (which means you can eat more protein without the guilt!). Also, farming insects does not require hormones, steroids or antibiotics, making them a healthy choice for people with specific allergies or that want to avoid food contamination.

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Camola is going to expand into many different kinds of products, they are not just a bakery anymore!  My favourite product so far is the “Bug Bites” which are basically little date balls that have the cricket powder mixed into them.

The Crick Chips and the Bugscotti are also very tasty.  No discernible “off” taste in any of the products that I have tried so far. Try them, you just might like them!

All of the products can be ordered from the website and delivered to your door.  If you visit the farmer’s markets, you will find them Camola selling there as well.

The website has just been re-vamped with all kinds of new information.  The social media accounts have all changed as well.  Find them all here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Welcome to Canada Bubba Gump!

Welcome to Canada Bubba Gump!

Today at 11am, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company opens the doors to it’s first restaurant in Canada.

I was shocked to find out that there are only 28 restaurants across the United States.  The company has a relationship with the Mall of America, so West Edmonton Mall turned out to be a logical choice.  If you haven’t been to the mall in a while, Bubba Gump is located on the upper level near the Scotiabank Theatre. (Above RAAS for those of you that shop local!)

If you haven’t seen the movie “Forrest Gump“, you really should.  This restaurant is themed around the movie.  For the preview, they had a lovely gentleman playing Forrest who was greeting all of the guests, taking selfies with everyone and generally being an incredible conversationalist.  I manipulated the conversation into:

“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.”

He didn’t quote verbatim, but he nailed it!  Forrest was such a nice touch for our preview evening.

The menu has a very southern Louisiana feel to it; with a bit of spice and a big dash of southern hospitality!  There is a kid’s menu as well – this is a family friendly environment.

I found out that each restaurant’s “kitsch” is hand picked.  They actually search garage sales and various other places to find all of the objects that adorn the walls of each restaurant.  I noticed some signage that was local.  The attention to detail in the environment lends itself to the total experience.  If you ignore the fact that you are in WEM, you can almost smell the salty air off of the ocean when you sit.

The food is presented beautifully.  There are a LOT of ways that you can prepare shrimp.  There are chicken, ribs and steak on the menu if you are not feeling the shrimp selections.  This is a restaurant that specializes in seafood though, so be prepared.

The food and the cocktails were fantastic.  I didn’t get a chance to take a peek at the beer menu, but it does sound like there is craft beer available.  The staff were so friendly and attentive that you feel that southern hospitality.

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OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – Landry’s is excited to announce Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will open its 15th international location in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Thursday, June 28. The new restaurant will be located within West Edmonton Mall – North America’s largest indoor shopping destination.

“West Edmonton Mall presents a great opportunity for our brand. It is a unique attraction that brings a large, diverse group of tourists and locals through its doors daily,” said Jim Dufault, Chief Operating Officer of Landry’s. “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is recognized around the world for its entertaining atmosphere, family-friendly service and quality seafood. We look forward to bringing our famous charm and hospitality to the Edmonton community.”

Inspired by the Paramount Pictures’ hit film “Forrest Gump,” Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. presents a down-home, family-friendly dining experience that perfectly captures the charm and American spirit that made the film a smash hit. Each location offers a taste of southern hospitality, friendly service made efficient with its famous “Run Forrest Run” and “Stop Forrest Stop” license plate signs, as well as scenes from the film played throughout the entire restaurant. It also offers interactive movie trivia, a retail market with regionalized merchandise and the iconic ‘Box of Chocolates’ for purchase, as well as photo opportunities with the famous Shrimp Louie mascot and replica bus benches near the front entrance.

Today, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. remains the first and only theme restaurant chain based on a motion picture, serving patrons around the world including Bali, Cancun, Hong Kong, London and Tokyo among many others, as well as major destinations across the United States like Universal CityWalk – Orlando, FL and Hollywood, CA; Santa Monica Pier in California; Times Square in New York City; the Las Vegas Strip; Navy Pier in Chicago; Mall of America; Miami, FL; and San Francisco’s Pier 39.

Known for its quality seafood, the restaurant offers 19 different preparations of shrimp, as well as an exciting variety of fish entrees, steak and chicken dishes, crisp salads, fun kid’s meals, creative desserts and award-winning ribs. Signature menu items include guest favorites such as Coconut Shrimp, Dixie-style Baby Back Ribs plus appetizers like Poutine, Bubba’s Far Out Dip, Shrimper’s Net Catch and the Run Across America Sampler featuring a taste of all of the appetizer favorites. Guests can also enjoy popular entrees like the Grilled Seafood Trio, Jenny’s Catch with Lobster Butter Sauce or the Jambalaya.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will be located on Level Two of West Edmonton Mall, overlooking the famous Santa Maria – an exact replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship that sailed to the Americas in 1492. West Edmonton Mall is home to more than 800 stores and services, including nine world-class attractions, two hotels, the widest variety of one-of-a-kind retailers, and entertainment for all ages. The new location will be open SundayThursday from 11 AM – 10 PM and FridaySaturday from 11 AM – 11 PM. For more information, please call 780-244-4867 or visit www.bubbagump.com 

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Biera – The Classy Gastropub

Biera – The Classy Gastropub

Biera is a local brew pub located inside Ritchie Market.  ( 95 Street and 76 Avenue) Blind Enthusiasm is the brand name behind the brews. Biera is where you can go to enjoy the beer as well as locally sourced and crafted small plates.

Ritchie Market also houses Acme Meat Market and Transcend Coffee.  These two wonderful local producers are used in the menu for Biera.

Not your normal “gastro pub”.  This is a great date night because the menu is based around plates for sharing.   They have won awards for “best new restaurant” on their first year and continue to win accolades. The team is passionate about their beer and their food, and it shows!

The ambience is a little higher class than a normal pub.  I love the funky, minimalist, up-cycled “industrial” feel of the decor.  It is a very community based atmosphere. It has a bit of a hipster vibe. Reservations are recommended; this place is popular.

Sample flights are available if you can’t decide what you want to try, or just want to try it all!

Chef Christine Sandford is the creative force behind the menu. Culina Mill Creek and De Superette in Belgium are a couple of the places where she used to create.  You can see the European influence on the Biera menu.

Locally sourced ingredients on the menu include: Prairie Gardens, Vital Greens Organic Dairy, Acme Meat Market, Bonjour Bakery, Effing Seafoods, Meuwly’s, Galimax Trading, Mo-Na Foods, Grain Works, August Organics, Seasons Harvest, Blue Hour Tea, and Color de Vino.

Good food that is locally sourced is going to be a bit more expensive.  Be prepared to shell out about $50 per person for a couple of drinks and food.  That being said, it is worth every penny! The presentation is absolutely stunning and the food is amazing and delicious.

The menu choices are a very unique selection of textures and flavours.  The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable with the beer and the menu.

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They have the best tartare that I have had the pleasure of eating in this city.  A blend of various cuts, including the heart to add texture, and flavour. It is made even more delicious by a ring of smoked, rendered fat around the mound of meat.  If you are a fan, try it! I hope that you love it as much as I do.

We also tried the Boudin Noir with Pink Lady apple, rosehip and oxalis.  This was also beautifully plated and delicious. It is a version of blood sausage.  This paired very well with the “ZestyZee” with banana and spice notes.

Dessert was Goat Kefir Curd Tart; with Elderflower meringue & pink lady apple.  It was again beautifully plated. This was a nice, light and not overpoweringly sweet dish.  The elderflower meringue offered a nice texture change and the apples gave it a bit of tartness. It was a pretty plate to end a taste experience.

Upstairs is the “Barrel Room” dedicated to melding beer with the flavors of wine and spirit barrels next to The Community Table, a room reserved for special events, with charities being a particular focus.

Located just blocks away, “The Monolith”, a brewery and barrel house designed from the ground up to create barrel-aged sour beers via spontaneous fermentation.

If you are a beer person like myself, this is an awesome place to enjoy some very creative brews!

Website:
https://biera.ca/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/BieraRestaurant/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Biera_YEG

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/biera_yeg/

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The Beer Factory

The Beer Factory

Once upon a time there were a bunch of guys that wanted to start up the craft beer industry in Edmonton.  They all got together and opened up a small brewery in St. Alberta and called it Hogshead. They made some wicked pumpkin spice beer.

Run badly was an understatement.  The 2015 end of Hogshead was an embarrassing mess.  The unfortunate end still continues to add backlash to the new establishment “The Beer Factory”.

Patrick Spilstead was a graduate from the NAIT culinary program that was hired in 2014 to head the kitchen of Hogshead.  When the whole thing derailed, Patrick and his father Richard rescued the operation and turned it into what is now “The Beer Factory”.

They were first on my radar after an event where they were networking and my boss from the Edmonton Muse had a pamphlet on her table.  I perused it and added it to my “hit list” of places to visit. They are most certainly a hidden gem.

Patrick is cooking today because of an unfortunate accident.  He was raised in a family that had a strong culinary background but he went to pursue being a Mechanic.  The accident would plague him with knee problems, so he found himself shifting focus – to culinary.

He was with Chop for several years and disliked the corporate environment of the kitchen.  On to smaller and better things with The Beer Factory.

Everything on the menu is infused with beer or moonshine.  You have some gastropub favourites, and then there are some awesome comfort food options as well, like spicy beef stroganoff.  Note: the menu has changed from what is posted on the website. The daily specials are still the same.

My first visit was because I had to try the Friday Prime Rib Special for $9.99.  That got me in a seat to see the menu and try one of their craft brews, the “Dark and Malty”.  This has become one of my favourite local brews. Not available anywhere but in their taproom. It has the darkness of a stout, but the smoothness of a lighter ale.

They also make a Mosaic Pale Ale, a “hop oriented beer that is a bit tamed”.  I’m not an IPA girl personally. I have not tried this one.

The ambience is casual.  This is more of a pub feel.  The staff are friendly and attentive.  There is a patio area for summer time and an overhead door to let the fresh air in.  You are in the middle of an industrial area in St. Albert, so there isn’t a pretty view.

The Prime Rib was delicious.  They were also putting out information for a special Valentine’s dinner that was taking place in a couple of weeks.  I read over the menu and completely swooned, and made reservations immediately. Patrick was let loose and given full creativity!

The Valentine’s Dinner was AMAZING!

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We had the Elk Carpaccio; thinly shaved Elk tenderloin seasoned with lime and cracked black pepper.  This was absolutely delicious and delicate. What a great way to get the taste buds ready for the rest of the meal.

Ginger Peach scented pork with mango chutney; pork tenderloin rolled in ginger peach tea, served with house made mango moonshine chutney.  This dish paired so well with the wild rose mead that was suggested.

Dessert was raspberry and white chocolate creme brulee, chocolate dipped strawberries and moonshine cherry tea cookies.

Patrick knocked it out of the park!  The whole meal was culinary heaven. The price tag on this experience was $50 for two. Beverages were not included, but what a great deal! I can’t wait until they do the next special event.

I was able to have a chat with Richard.  He is Patrick’s dad and co-owner of the brewery.  Richard is also a Chef. They like to source the menu locally whenever possible.  He was also telling me that they do BBQ in the summertime and they have a huge rig to be able to do mobile BBQ catering. That will be another article in the future for sure!

We have been back a few times to enjoy food and beer.  The taps rotate with local craft favourites and the two brews that The Beer Factory produces on their own.

Fun fact; they are the smallest craft brewery in Western Canada!

Advice for your visit:

  • Ignore the ratings.  There were a lot of angry customers with the whole Hogshead disaster.
  • Be patient!  The kitchen is small and there are a lot of regular customers.  Good food takes time. It will be worth the wait!
  • Try one of their brews!  They may not be geared towards everyone’s palate, but they are definitely worth a taste.

Website:
https://www.beerfactory.rocks/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Beerfactoryinc/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/beerfactoryinc/

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Stump Kitchen Collaboration

Stump Kitchen Collaboration

When I was messaged by Alexis Hillyard of Stump Kitchen on Twitter proposing a collaboration, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed.  This is a good thing!

I love people that are able to just let loose and have fun.  Admittedly, that is not always me.  I am very introverted, so making an ass of myself does not come easily.  Alexis is one of these people.  She is awesomely comfortable in her own skin and just an all-around beautiful human being.

Alexis really likes to work with kids, and it shows!  Stump Kitchen is her career, and besides making the Youtube videos, she also does cooking classes with adults and children alike.

Youtube recently went through a whole monetizing shit-storm with all of its makers.  People that were previously monetized channels are having to figure out other ways to get viewers and subscribers.  YouTube completely changed their platform and their algorithms. This is where Patreon comes in.

A lot of YouTubers have started using Patreon to make money on their videos.  You can become a patron by donating a few dollars a month and get rewards from the artist in return.  Rewards will vary according to the artist and the amount that you are subscribing with.  This also enables them to get things that they need to produce the art (cameras, video recorders, editing equipment, etc.) Alexis has all of this set up on her Patreon page.

The Stump Kitchen channel is vegan and gluten free.  Being a meatatarian myself, it was an adventure looking for a recipe that we could make together.  I have tried doing the whole vegetarian diet, but my health started to decline as I am unable to digest most raw vegetables.

My latest obsession is the Instant Pot.  It is the cooking gadget that everyone is raving about.  It is a pressure cooker, or a slow cooker depending on what you want to do with it.  It can make meals super quickly and saves a bunch of space in your kitchen. They are also better for the environment because they use less electricity and less water for cleanup. I bought one with Christmas loot and very impatiently waited for it to arrive. Sno-maggeddon stopped parcel delivery for several days in early January.  I researched the hell out of it while I waited for it to arrive, so I already had a reference book and a recipe book compiled for the arrival.

Alexis had also received an Instant Pot for Christmas and had been too afraid to open it and try it. A lot of people are too afraid to open it and try it.  The very first recipe I tried was actually the one that Alexis and I used as well.  “The Butter Chicken Lady” came up with the recipe and published a vegan version as well as one with chicken.

So I packed up my Instant Pot and dragged my butt through an insane blizzard to record my episode with Stump Kitchen: Vegan and Gluten Free Butter Chicken

SUPER EASY INSTANT POT BUTTER CHICKEN

For the rice:

1 cup aged basmati rice, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter chicken:

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced ginger (minced and jarred is easiest)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (minced and jarred is easiest)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoons cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons good-quality garam masala, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, left whole (We used vegan “mutton” from Orii Vegan Market)
4 ounces butter, cut into cubes (use coconut oil, if dairy free)
4 ounces heavy cream (use full-fat coconut milk, if dairy free)
1/4-1/2 cups chopped cilantro

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients for the rice, place in a 6 or 7-inch heat-safe pan, and set aside.

Place tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chicken, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, salt, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, and cumin into the inner liner of your Instant Pot.

Mix the sauce a bit, then place the chicken.

You are putting in everything except the butter, cream, cilantro, and 1 remaining teaspoon of garam masala. Mix well.

Place a tall steamer rack/trivet on top of the chicken mixture, and place the uncovered bowl of uncooked rice on the rack.

Press the Manual or Pressure cook button, set the timer to 10 mins, and cook. Once it is done cooking, allow the pot to cool for 10 minutes, undisturbed. Then, release all remaining pressure and open the pot.

Remove and set the cooked rice aside. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Using an immersion blender, blend together the sauce until it is smooth. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the cut-up butter, cream, cilantro, and garam masala.

Remove half the sauce and freeze or refrigerate for later.

Break up the chicken into bite-size pieces, add it to the sauce.

Serve with rice.


As you can see from the video, it was super easy to make and a lot of fun being in Stump Kitchen.  The recipe is a good one, it is also super tasty.  There is usually enough sauce left over to coat a second batch of rice.

It is super important to rinse the rice, it will turn out crunchy if you miss this step.  If you don’t have a trivet with handles, construct yourself a “sling” made from tinfoil so that you can take the rice pot out easily. My rice pot was purchased from a local Asian market.  It was a stainless spice container with a lid.  It is actually 8 inches in diameter and it will fit the Instant Pot.

I hope that you enjoy the recipe, I look forward to giving you some more recipes, Instant Pot and more!  Please “like” and “subscribe” to Stump Kitchen for more vegan hilarity.

I am also hoping to work again with Stump Kitchen in the future!

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Be a Patron on PATREON

Please take a moment and rate the recipe if you have tried it!

Native Delights

Native Delights

Here is a little sharing about me…

I am at least ¼ Cree on my father’s side.  My family always told us not to tell anyone about our Aboriginal roots because we would be looked at differently.  I never met my Kookum and that fact makes me sad. I was too young when she passed to know any different.

My father was adopted by his Aunt.  This is the lady that I grew up to call Grandmother.  She was a wonderful lady that raised my Dad and his brother as her own.  She had a huge heart and did a lot of charity work throughout her lifetime.  I really looked up to her. Out of respect, I waited until I was an adult and she had passed to do any kind of searching on my family history.  The first search I did came to a dead end because my Dad’s adoption records were sealed, even though I could identify myself as his daughter.

It struck me really hard as a kid in elementary school.  My brother looks very Aboriginal, looks very much like my father. I got the German looks from my Mom’s side; blonde hair and blue eyes.  Chief Dan George was coming to our school to do a presentation and a healing circle. All the Aboriginal children were allowed to attend and take time off of their regular classes to go.  I asked my teacher but was denied because I “wasn’t aboriginal”. My brother got to enjoy meeting a man that I had looked up to my whole life. I never did get to meet him before he passed a short time later.

That struggle continued for me my whole life.  Wanting to learn, wanting to belong but never fitting in.

Fast forward to meeting Ian and discovering Native Delights

It wasn’t just a restaurant and it is not just a kiosk.  It is an experience.

Ian was born in Treaty 8 territory.  When all the other kids wanted to grow up and play hockey or become doctors or scientists, Ian wanted to cook.  It spoke to him. He did go out and work in the oil patch like just about every Albertan does at some point in their life.  His dream was always to cook, to open that restaurant and he never swayed from that path. Ian overcame a lot of adversity to be where he is today, and I have nothing but love and respect for him and his family.  They are amazing human beings.

When I first experienced one of his bannock burgers, I was hooked from the delicious tastes and textures that hit me.  I am also one of those people that quietly observes (introverted) and you can see the people enjoying themselves and friends going up to talk to Ian.  It was good energy all around.

When Ian got to open a brick and mortar restaurant, I was thrilled!  Now there was flavoured bannock and locally made medicinal teas, stew and more.  I liked how there was no liquor on the menu and it wasn’t even something that Ian was considering.  The atmosphere here was one of family. When you stepped into the restaurant for dinner, many of the people there knew each other.  It was relaxing to be able to enjoy a meal with my family in a space filled with such positive energy.

The restaurant closed its doors a couple of years ago.  I miss it. Native Delights went back on the road with the trailers to different events.  I enjoyed the bannock when I could.

2017 brought back the Native Delights kiosk and “Pânsâwân”.  “Pânsâwân” is traditional dry meat. (Elder Approved!) Thin strips of Buffalo meat that are smoke to dry them.  No salt, no added preservatives. If you like a nice smoky flavour without all the crap that is in commercial jerky, then you really need to get yourself some Pânsâwân.  It is available at both kiosks. The smaller size is $20 and there is a lot of jerky for your money, and much healthier for you!

The kiosk in the Super Flea Market in Edmonton has a separate store area with the Pânsâwân, some products from local makers and Mother Earth Essentials.  I do need to give praise to Mother Earth Essentials. I first discovered their products on a trip to Ft McMurray. The hotel I was staying in uses their shampoo and conditioner in the rooms.  I looked them up and found out that they were Edmonton based and immediately went and bought items for home. Her products are AMAZING. I can see why Ian supports her. Give the store a visit.  The Peppermint and Sage line makes your scalp feel so good.

2018 brought the first franchise for Ian and family.  The Super Flea Market location is now owned by the lovely Melissa, who will be sure to uphold the same quality as Ian would himself.  I attended the grand opening of the kiosk on February 24th.  They know how to put on a party!  It all opens with a prayer… There was free bannock and stew, face painting for the kids, singers and drummers and so much more.  I was sad that I couldn’t stay longer. The place was super busy and the energy was amazing! The drummers overflowed my heart with pride and brought tears to my eyes.

I got to congratulate Ian briefly as he was very busy and also got to meet Melissa.

The menu at the Super Flea kiosk is a little different.  They took over a kiosk that had been there for years churning out breakfast, pub type foods and ice cream. They decided to keep all of these flea market favourites and add the Native Delights menu to it as well.  From what I can see, it works for this space!

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The Bison Bannock Burger is my favourite and the Indian Taco is a close second.  If you follow the Facebook Page, they are very good about getting the daily specials out there for the Athletic Club kiosk.  If you haven’t experienced bannock yet, this is a great place to get started. Their bannock is pretty damn good.

If you see Native Delights out and about on the streets of Edmonton this summer, be sure to stop and grab a burger.  A great local business that supports other great local businesses.

Thank you Ian for all that you do for the Aboriginal community here in Alberta.  Âyihây!

Website:
http://admin5005.wixsite.com/nativedelights

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/nativedelightsfnc

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/NativeDelights

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/nativedelights/

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The Northern Chicken Ultra Hot Sandwich Challenge

The Northern Chicken Ultra Hot Sandwich Challenge

Northern Chicken.  A favourite in both my family and my workplace.  Soul food brought to a whole new level by Chefs Matt Phillips and Andrew Cowan.  The food amazing, but they also have a great selection of craft beers, local spirits and whisky for you to enjoy.  Not only do they make my tastebuds sing, but they are also wonderful human beings that generously support a lot of local community initiatives.

When I saw the “Ultra Hot Sandwich Challenge” come up on my Facebook feed, it was too late to get my husband in. The sandwiches are limited and labour intensive.  I really wanted to see for myself though, so asked if I could tag along and watch the action.

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Smoke & Ash; My BBQ Obsession!

Smoke & Ash; My BBQ Obsession!

For those of you that are not regular followers, BBQ is life.  I am a certified Kansas City BBQ Society Judge as well as a judge for the Canadian BBQ Society.  I love the smell and the taste of smoked meats. I was hooked the first time my bestie gifted me with a smoked rainbow trout as a child.

Smoke and Ash Canadian BBQ has been on my hit list for quite some time.  They were running a food truck out in front of the Peavy Mart in Spruce Grove for most of the last summer.  I did make it out once to see them, but it was just before closing time and they were unfortunately sold out.  I did get a chance to chat briefly with Kelly (one of the owners) and the chat just stuck in my head. You can tell with just a brief chat that he is “good people”.

Last summer was plagued with vehicle difficulties for me.  It was rough to try and make it much of anywhere, so food truck season ended and I did not get a chance to sample Smoke and Ash.   “Next Summer”, I thought.

Summer ends and haunt season begins.  I put my head down in September and it doesn’t come back up until November.  Extra busy season this year though as we moved Deadmonton to a new building. When Smoke and Ash came up in my Facebook feed advertising smoked turkeys for Christmas,  SOLD! My mom-in-law doesn’t like all the work that comes with cooking for all of us ungratefuls, so I thought I would make her life just a little easier and pick up the turkey.  I am SO glad that I did.

In October, Smoke and Ash made 106 Fulton Drive out in the Acheson Industrial area their new restaurant’s home.  It is a bit of a drive, but worth the effort.

I made a point to make sure that I had enough time to have a meal while we were there doing the pick- up.  Brisket is always my standard of judging a new BBQ place because it is the hardest meat to smoke properly so that it is tender and juicy. They did not disappoint!

This was actually the first place that had asked me if I wanted fatty or lean brisket.  The favourite part of the brisket for me is the burnt ends. It is a beautiful heart attack on a bun! Slight smoky flavour, so tender and juicy.  Some very good BBQ!

Of course I hauled my husband along with me because he loves good BBQ as well and he has been lucky enough to taste competition grade along with me. Hubby doesn’t normally like Potato Salad.  I have no idea what Shirley does to her potato salad, but it is amazing and my husband loves it. Shirley is a little shy (especially compared to Kelly) but she is the creative force behind all of the salads and the sides.  It is all delicious. She makes one of my childhood favourites, Ambrosia Salad (Fluff Salad).

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After the amazing meal and the equally amazing smoked turkey that we enjoyed over the Christmas holiday, I had to find out more about these two lovely people.

RR First off; what is your Muse?

KK I have always liked cooking since I was 8 years old. I grew up on a farm. One night I looked in my mom’s cookbook and found a cake pudding recipe. So I made it, and it turned out exactly how it was supposed to. From that day on I liked cooking. Even though my mom insisted I became a chef, I went into the trades. I started enjoying the flavor of smoke at around the same time as my uncle was a commercial fisherman. He supplied us with smoked salmon all the time. So when I was about 17, I started cooking jerky and very much enjoyed it.

RR What inspired you to start a BBQ food truck?

KK I have always wanted a restaurant. A couple years ago I became unemployed, so I was doing body and paint on hotrods but it was barely paying the bills. Our kids were over one sunny sunday afternoon enjoying some ribs, and I had mentioned that I had to find a job as I was not making enough money. Our oldest daughter spoke up and said

“You should make and sell sausage because whenever I get some to take home, my friends go nuts over it and it’s gone in one sitting.”

So we looked into what we would need to do. The renovations required in our house were out of the question, so we decided to start a food truck with beef or pork on a bun. It just took off like crazy, so we have just been having fun with it.

RR Tell me about the other half of Smoke & Ash, Shirley

KK Shirley is a very compassionate loving person. She has a very strong love for everyone in her family. Her youngest daughter was born with congenital heart disease and she was a stay at home mom so she could love and care for her daughter Britany, who lived a short but awesome life. Britany passed away in  2013 at the age of 17. Shirley then faced the task of caring for both of her elderly parents who were in their 80’s whom both passed away in 2016 during the infant stages of Smoke & Ash. Her Mom passed in August, and her Father on Jan 3 2017. With all the children gone from home, she now channels her energies into Smoke & Ash making all the sides and the baking and of course keeping Kelly in line.

RR I hear that you have a new restaurant located out in the Acheson Industrial area.  What can a guest expect when they walk through your doors?

KK The first thing to expect when you walk through our doors, would be the awesome aroma of BBQ. You would also expect a warm, welcoming greeting from our staff. Depending on the time of day, you may hear people laughing and talking and having a great time in our family friendly environment.

RR What kind of hardwood do you use for smoking?

KK We generally keep to 2 different hardwoods  pecan for when we are smoking light meats like pork chicken or sausage.

Meats such as brisket, prime rib, or rib eye we use a blend of mesquite, oak, and hickory.

RR How long does it take to make a brisket?

KK The actual smoking of a brisket takes about 12 hours.  Normally, we rest it for another 12 hours or more, so I generally start the brisket by 8 am for the next day.

RR Where did you learn to BBQ?

KK I have always had a love for BBQ.  I was in my mid-teens when I first started. I have also loved entertaining on the patio. So many, many years of trial and error until I got to the point where I am now. I seem to be getting a handle on it!

RR What menu item would you say is unique to Smoke & Ash?

KK Originally, I would have to say the garlic fries. Since there so many other restaurants making them now, I think I would go with Potato salad. It may not be unique, but the level of flavor Shirley gets to go with it makes it unique.

RR What exciting things can we expect from Smoke & Ash in 2018?

KK We have just struck a deal with a big food supplier that promises to bring superior cuts of meat to our house at an affordable price. We will be able to put these meats on your plate at very reasonable savings. We have been talking about Prime Rib. Ribeye and Strip loin. If you have never tried BBQ Strip loin roast, you are missing out.

RR We are also planning, and you heard it here first, to continue our “all you can eat” buffet special on through February.

KK We are also working on becoming licensed so y’all can enjoy a beer or wine with your BBQ. We are working with Steam Whistle who, by the way,  have been very supportive so we have decided to carry only their beer on tap.

RR Where do you want Smoke & Ash to be in five years?

KK That’s a very interesting question, one which we ponder on quite a bit. We have thought of the possibilities of opening multiple locations, but are more apt to think that we will either be doing a small scale franchise, or just being humble and keeping it to one location. The problem is Kelly is a shaker and a mover and can’t seem to keep still!

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the month of February, there is an “All You Can Eat” BBQ buffet for only $20!  This includes your beverage and unlimited sides. On Saturday, you can add a 6oz portion of smoked Prime Rib for an extra $5. They are open from 11am to 8pm on each of the buffet nights. The buffet special is eat in only.

They also have take-out specials if you don’t eat that much meat.  $10 for one meat and two sides or $15 for 3 meats and 2 sides. Follow them on Social Media to keep in the loop about the specials.

Smoke and Ash is a little slice of home.  Kelly and Shirley will take great care of you when you visit, you will not walk out of their restaurant hungry. Go and get yourself some meat sweats!

Website: http://www.bbqfood.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Smoke-Ash-174453822999337/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SmokeNAsh_
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smokeandash_/
Yelp: https://www.yelp.ca/biz/smoke-and-ash-acheson

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Coldest Night of the Year 2018

Coldest Night of the Year 2018

This will be my fifth year leading a team of wonderful human beings to raise money for the homeless, hungry and hurting in our community.  The charity may have changed, but the sentiment is still the same.  (That is me in the fuzzy blue monster hat in the video above.)

On February 24th, 2018 we will walk 10 km to raise much needed funds for Bissell Centre, right here in Edmonton. Out of all of the charities that help the less fortunate, Bissell is my favourite.  It is all about inclusiveness.  When a person is made to feel like they don’t belong, or forced to participate in religious practices that are not their own, we cannot expect them to want to embrace a new life, or have hope for a brighter future.

Why “Halloweenies for Hope”?

The original name has carried on all these years… I love the horror genre and most of my closest friends are Halloween addicts.  We love to dress up in costume and entertain (or scare) the masses.  Underneath all of those scary personas lay hearts of pure gold.  We want to give back to the community, we want to give hope for a better tomorrow.

Philosophy

Bissell Centre philosophy is one of hope for human potential and social justice; of trust in the power of community through relationships and inclusiveness; and of resourcefulness with strength and capacity. They respect that people can make their own choices and that they take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

This is the one big fundraising event that I do every year.  The rest of the year I am volunteering my time, or picking up goods to donate to those that need them, or feeding people in front of Hope Mission…  This one is important though; $200 can help 63 people.  That is amazing my friends.  If my team raises $2000, we can help Bissell Centre help 630 people!

The Walk

Especially during the winter, when you are homeless, you need to keep moving to stay warm.  A good pair of shoes is one of the most important clothing items. They wear out quickly when you are walking 10 km or more per day.

“Coldest Night of the Year” has the option to walk 2 km, 5 km, or 10 km.  I have always chosen the 10 km option because I want to be reminded why I am walking and how many kilometers these people need to cover in a single day.  How exhausting it must be to be stiff and cold and tired all the time.  Then add hungry on top of all of that.

We are fortunate enough to have a warm place to sleep at night that is safe, where we don’t have to be on guard all the time to watch our meager possessions.  We have warm running water so we can take regular baths and showers.  We don’t have to think about where our next meal is coming from.  Everyone should have access to all of these basic needs.  No one should have to go hungry.  Ever.

How can you help?

  1. Sponsor “Halloweenies for Hope
  2. Walk with us!
  3. Volunteer to support the event
  4. Have your own fundraising event
  5. Give goods to Bissell Centre
  6. Volunteer at Bissell Centre at one of the many events throughout the year
  7. Share on social media!

If you have taken time to read this far, thank you very much.  Your support means the world to myself and my team. Watch on my social media channels for video clips and photo updates on walk day!