Category: Comfort Food

Underground Tap & Grill Re-Visited

Underground Tap & Grill Re-Visited

Disclaimer: Although I have been to the Underground several times on my own, this particular visit was at the invitation of the business.

I can’t remember how long the Underground Tap & Grill has been around, I know it’s been a few years now.  It used to be a place that I frequented when I worked downtown because it was right across the street and the whole “craft beer” thing was relatively new.  Duck has always been the Chef’s specialty and nothing goes better with a nice cold beer than a nice salty Duck Confit poutine.  My huge dislike for the Underground was that I would go to visit with friends on the weekend and not be able to have a conversation because the music was too loud.

Fast Forward to Today…

No longer working downtown.  Let’s face it – since the new “ICE” district came in the parking is ridiculously expensive on a night where there is an event in the arena.  Most people who have a decent head on their shoulders avoid the whole downtown situation whenever possible at great detriment to the local businesses that depend on us.

Well… Underground has tackled the parking problem and oh so much more!

$3 evening parking after 4pm in the parkade located in the tower right next to Tres Carnales.  Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Underground.  Aptly named, you will be going down the stairs to the pub to enjoy some great food and now 72 different beers on tap.  72!

There is a wonderful selection of different styles of beer from different breweries.  The selection is always changing.  There is a monthly tap takeover and when the keg is gone, it’s off the menu.  They even have the lovely Brittany as the Beer Manager.  She knows her stuff and is more than happy to help you make an educated choice when you are overwhelmed by the menu. There is also a weekly rotation for the beer cocktails.  These are fun and creative mixtures that will leave you wanting more.

And huge bonus, there is no more live DJ on the weekends so that you can now have a conversation with your friends without having to yell!

Now onto the Food

The menu has also gone through some recent changes.  Duck is still Chef Lang Hsiao’s specialty.   Therefore, we had to try something with duck in it.  We had the Adobo Buffalo Duck Wings ($15) which are also available for the “Wing Wednesday” menu special for half price.  These were just the right amount of spice, moist and delicious.  We will definitely be back for more of these.

There is a new weekly “Chef Special” where Chef gets to be creative.  Of course, I had to try it.  My choice was the “Canadian Back Bacon” which was “Bourbon maple glazed local farmed pork loin, dry cured in house for 10 days.  Served with baked potato, grilled zucchini and egg plant.  Although the flavours were all really good, this was not as tender and moist as I was expecting.

My husband tried the 8 oz. striploin with the peppercorn sauce.  He says the medium rare was done perfectly; tender, moist and delicious.  These come with “all you can eat” sides which are served buffet style.  The peppercorn sauce had a bit of a kick to it that was delightful.

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The Beer…

Oh the beer!  Brittany was wonderful about explaining what a Gose was, as I had not yet had the opportunity to sample one.  The tap takeover was with Red Racer brewery and they had a delicious sounding Gose; the Lime Margarita.

“Inspired by the beaches of Mexico, the essence of a lime margarita is captured in a craft beer. This lightly salted, slightly tart beer is infused with lime juice and a splash of Tequila to give a tropical cocktail take on a German style ale.”

This beer was amazing!  Such a refreshing beer that needs to be enjoyed with some sunshine out on a patio.  I’m a new fan.  Hubby had the Beavertail Raspberry Ale by Grizzly Paw in Canmore.

  • So if you have any burning questions about a particular brew and Brittany is on shift, she has all of the knowledge to help you.
  • We had no room for dessert, however there are 6 lovely choices on the menu for you to enjoy.
  • We were also informed that there is a Saturday Brunch menu available from 11 am to 2 pm on the weekend.
  • The venue is usually accessible but during our visit the elevator was being repaired.
  • There are gluten-free and vegan options available on the menu.

Thank you Underground!  We had a wonderful evening trying the latest menu and taps.  We are looking forward to our next visit.

Website:
http://www.undergroundtapandgrill.com/

Insta:
https://www.instagram.com/undergroundtapandgrill/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/underground_edm

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/TheUndergroundTapGrill/?fref=ts

Cornerstone; Not Just for BBQ

Cornerstone; Not Just for BBQ

Personally, BBQ has always been about the community.  The absolutely deliciousness of the meat is what first attracted my attention.  When I became a certified Judge, the community is what kept me going back for more.  You always look forward to visiting with your “BBQ People”.

Judging BBQ also means that you get to meet the teams that are competing.  It is a great networking opportunity for a foodie like myself to meet some of the restaurant and food truck owners that specialize in BBQ.  This is how I met Matt from Cornerstone, and Joe from Motley Que. Add Chef Daniel Huber to the mix and you have a powerhouse hitting the local food scene.

Cornerstone doesn’t have an official store front, YET.  I expect to hear news of that coming up soon. You can get their delicious BBQ through Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats from Monday thru Friday from 11 am to 2 pm.  They are currently working out of the kitchen in the Freemason’s Hall located right downtown.

I have ordered on my own through Skip and I have been invited as a guest to the Uber Eats photo shoot of all of the food.  Someone has to eat it right? Everything I have tried from Cornerstone has been just the right amount of smoke flavour, tender, juicy and delicious!  They have large portion sizes when you order from Skip. The desserts are also mouth-watering.

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Don’t get me wrong, Cornerstone’s BBQ is really, really good. They are still young though and have so much potential, the world is their oyster!  Kelly from Smoke & Ash has a few more years of experience under his belt and still has the best brisket in town.

I was able to sample Motley Que’s Mango Habenero BBQ sauce and some smoked salsa.  Motley Que is at the Miller’s Crossing Farmer’s Market on Sundays. I highly recommend that you check out their stall if you get a chance!  Joe also puts on BBQ classes that are highly informative and hands on. The classes would also make a great gift for that BBQ enthusiast in your life.

What makes Cornerstone special you ask?  They aren’t JUST BBQ. They also have a line of ready made meals that are macro balanced..  Now that isn’t something that I am into personally so I just understand the basic concept of it; the meals are all nutritionally balanced.  They prepare with variety in mind, each week has a different menu. Nutritious doesn’t have to mean bland and boring!

The Cornerstone team also does catering and has their own line of spices that are available at a few butchers around the city.

Keep your eyes on these fellas, they are shaking things up and are going to make a great impression on the YEG food scene!

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

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Cornerstone_bbq

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

Website:
https://www.cornerstonebbq.com/

Skip the Dishes:
https://www.skipthedishes.com/cornerstone-bbq

Formosa – The Beautiful Island

Formosa – The Beautiful Island

“Formosa” is the former name for the country of Taiwan.  It means “beautiful island”. The owners of the Bistro are lovely people that make the space warm and inviting.  They are often there to answer your questions and make sure you are cared for.

Best Asian Food in Canada

Doing my research before I wrote this article was an eye-opener.  Formosa has won “Best Asian Food in Canada” from asiastar-tv.com in 2018.  I must admit, I have never been to Taiwan but have read that there is a lot of North American influence in the Taiwanese cuisine.  Oreo cookies and cornflakes crumbs are two that come to mind. If you read a review from anyone actually from Taiwan, they complain a lot about pricing and state that they could make the dishes at home.  Please don’t let them distract you from a visit, I promise the food is good!

Best Asian Food in Canada

 

I was originally introduced to Formosa through a Northern Bites experience.  We were treated to the “triangle sandwich” and a panacotta bagged lunch for the ride to the winery.  When we arrived back at the Bistro, we were able to sample the spicy won-tons, popcorn chicken, the yam fries and a Taiwanese version of kimchi.  Chef Yu-Lin Shen showed us all how to make spicy wontons. The highlight of the night was the high mountain tea and an information session on the different types of tea and how they are served.  So informative!

My “solo” journey is when I dragged my husband all the way to the other side of the city because I was craving both the popcorn chicken and the yam fries.

The menu is extensive, but not pages and pages like my favourite Chinese restaurant.  Since Formosa is a “hidden gem” it is not usually busy, although I would love to see that change.  We were promptly seated, I ordered a high mountain tea and hubby had a beer. The tea was a lovely, light flavour compared to most green teas.  They do have a loose leaf version, but unless you specifically ask for it, you will get the convenience of the bagged tea.

High Mountain Tea

I wanted to share my favourites from my preview visit with my husband, so I ordered the yam fries, popcorn chicken and the gyozas.  My husband ordered the Teppanyaki Noodles with Deep Fried Pork Chop.

The yam fries are not like our typical North American sweet potato version.  They are light yellow in color and lightly breaded. They smell like mini-donuts when they are placed on your table!  They have a slightly sweet flavour to them and just the right amount of salt. It tastes like it should be a dessert.

Taiwanese Sweet Potato Fries

The popcorn chicken also has a hint of sweet to it.  You can taste the 5 spice in the breading. They are crispy, not greasy and hard to stop eating!  Tender juicy morsels of deliciousness.

Popcorn Chicken Taiwanese Style

The Gyoza – not the ones you would think… No overpowering vinegar here. Perfectly fried, beautiful texture and a sauce that has a touch of vinegar, grapefruit, soy and wasabi.  The sauce was the perfect companion.

Taiwanese Gyoza

The Teppanyaki Noodles did have the frozen veggies mixed in with them but it doesn’t distract from the taste of the dish.  The noodles were tender without being mushy. This dish is served with a fried egg on top as well as the two large pieces of deep fried pork chop.  It is a very large portion size.

Teppanyaki Noodles

Speaking of portion sizes, Formosa is generous.  After we had eaten our fill, we still had food to pack up in to-go containers.  For two of us, high mountain tea and 2 beer, the bill was right around $50. Great value for your money compared to a lot of places.

The food is nicely plated and the atmosphere is cozy and homey.  The owners try to ensure that everyone feels at home when they walk in for a meal.

It truly is a “beautiful island” tucked away in a strip mall. I will look forward to my next “stay-cation” soon.

Website:  https://www.formosabistro.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BistroFormosa

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/formosa.bistro.ca/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/formosa.bistro/

Golomein – From the Streets of Brunei

Golomein – From the Streets of Brunei

Ever since I was introduced to Golomein at Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, I have been hooked.  When you get a craving for BBQ Pork Golomein, nothing else will do.

What is Golomein?

“In a traditional broth based noodle, the flavour is contained in the broth itself. With Golomein, the dry mix or “Golo” noodles are cooked separately and then blended with marinating sauce infusing the flavours of the delicious sauce directly into the noodles. The noodles are then complimented with the addition of their homemade oven roasted BBQ pork, spiced ground pork mixture and fresh bok choy.”

Once you have had a taste of these noodles, you won’t want to go anywhere else.

There is always a lovely story on how every small business started and Alex’s story is inspiring as well:

“Our Dad developed the recipe initially 52 years ago where he worked the streets of Brunei, as a hawker trying to earn enough money to support a family of 10.  Struggling against all odds, he developed the awesome recipe he would later bring to North America”.

He made his noodles only to serve his friends, family and coworkers charging them only for their gas and their time it took them to visit his home.  He even delivered packages to his mother who always looked forward to the tasty treat.

The fabulous noodles caught on and before long, everyone wanted more.  People searched for the delicious meals, but they were at the mercy of whenever Dad felt like making them and his kitchen was the only place this amazing taste could be found.

Alex, the youngest, was unable to sleep one night, so he decided to do a marathon session of watching 5 episodes of “Dragon’s Den”.  Tired of beating his head in the corporate world, he decided a change was in order.

It brought back memories of the work his Dad put into his noodle recipe that he created over 50 years ago.  The noodles were so good that Alex’s childhood friend, Paris, would ride his way-too- small bike halfway across the city just to eat the noodles.

Recognizing the incredible opportunity before him, he immediately told his 2 brothers, Albert and Allen.  Alex’s enthusiasm was infectious and it didn’t take much convincing to persuade his 2 siblings to join his quest to bring their dad’s noodle recipe to the masses.  All 3 brothers were excited about continuing their beloved Dad’s legacy and making noodles for future generations.”

For the frozen meal packs, the noodles are lovingly prepared and then packaged in a neatly folded square of butcher paper. Then they are frozen. They are sold individually ($13) or in packages of 5 ($60). You simply pop the frozen package, paper and all, in the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes and then unfold the package to open and enjoy! You don’t even need to transfer the contents to a plate or bowl. They are available with beef, pork or chicken.  I recommend the pork.

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Golomein is located just south of the south leg of the Henday on Ellwood Drive.  It is a bit of a drive for me. I was THRILLED to hear from Alex that the frozen meal packs can be delivered through Skip the Dishes now!  So if you don’t live way down in south Edmonton, you can arrange a time to have the frozen meals dropped off. Bonus, meal prep done for the week.

The restaurant hours are a bit all over the place as the Golomein family is at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, the Salisbury Farmer’s Market and the Sherwood Park Farmer’s Market.  If you look them up on Google Maps, the hours listed are very accurate. For an up to date list of markets and hours, please be sure to visit their website.

Website: https://www.golomeinrestaurant.ca/

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

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

Skip the Dishes: https://www.golomein.ca/

 

Amore Pasta – New Downtown Location NOW OPEN!

Amore Pasta – New Downtown Location NOW OPEN!

From the makers of Cafe Amore Bistro and the Black Pearl Seafood comes the new and improved downtown location of Amore Pasta.

Family recipes passed down from Italy will tantalize your tastebuds on this budget-friendly, build-your-own menu.  Yes, there is an Amore Pasta on the south side, but that location is just pasta and pales in comparison to the new downtown location.  They are open at 8 am for breakfast – yes, breakfast!

There is a lovely cappuccino bar to serve up some espresso and baked goods in the morning.  If you need something heartier, they have some signature omelettes available as well as the build-your-own versions.  Choose how many eggs you would like, add your choice of veggies, protein and cheese.  You can even choose to have a side of Amore hash (crumbled Italian sausage, cheddar cheese, green onions, mushrooms and peppers).  Can’t decide?  There are five signature Baked Eggs al Forno and omelettes to choose from.

Franchise? No!

The Crudo Family will have none of that!  They would love to have Amore Pasta all over the countryside, but they want to ensure quality over quantity.  They have a central “warehouse” location where the sauces etc. are made lovingly called “Papa Giuseppe’s”.   They are hoping to have more “in-house” made fresh pastas in the future.

Lunch and dinner will knock your socks off!

You can order a beer or wine to go with your dinner creation.  Make sure you try the fried lasagne bites with Papa Joe’s red sauce to start off with, they are very tasty!

This is similar to a Subway concept where you go up and order your food and bring it back to your table to enjoy.  Lunch can be quick, delicious and painless.

The “Return of the Mac” shall be triumphant.  They have 5 signature choices and the macaroni is made fresh daily.  “Pizza Me” is pictured in my slideshow; red onion, mixed peppers, crumbled Italian sausage, cheddar and mozza cheese.  This rib-sticking delight will surely satisfy.

Create Your Own Pasta starts out with the pasta and sauce, you add your choice of veggies, your protein and cheese.  Again, there are five signature pastas to choose from if you can’t decide or are in a hurry.  I couldn’t get enough of the “Sicilian”; made with homemade Strozzapreti, marsala cream sauce, green onions.  All of the flavours blend together beautifully.   It was a delight to eat.

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Where is it?

10235 101 Street, right in the Ice District.  There is a surface Impark parking lot located across the street but that can get pretty pricey during a game night.  There is also parking available in the tower which is much more reasonable.  Open at 8 am for breakfast and closes normally at 9 pm on weekdays.  Open at 11 am and close at 9 pm on weekends.  They will be adjusting hours to the crowd and are wanting to be open for food and drink after the games.

Gluten Free options available.

Since you are building your own meal, you have the option to pick items that are gluten free.  Your food is cooked right in front of you. Ask your server for details.

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Otto Food and Drink

Otto Food and Drink

Anyone that knows me, knows I am not a fan of what Christmas has become…  To me it is not about all of the commercialism and who buys what for whom.  It should be about celebrating with family and friends, spending time with loved ones and enjoying wonderful food and drink together.

Otto was started on that premise.  It was meant to be a gathering place for families and friends where you can enjoy some great Alberta craft beer and some great company.  The food was not the focus, but is still a wonderful part of the celebration that is Otto.

Owner Ed Donszelmann (previously of Culina Mill Creek) is the creative force behind this little neighbourhood Gem tucked away in the Norwood community.  The decor is simple and warm. There is an overhead garage door that can be opened for the summer months. Ed ads to the warmth of the space by being present and making his rounds.  He makes sure each guest is well taken care of.

The liquor menu has a lot to choose from.  The focus is on the beer, but there is a full bar and a wine list available as well.  There is something to quench everyone’s thirst, or to pair with the simply delicious food.

The food… You can clearly see Ed’s Dutch influence on the menu.  Otto’s specialty is Fuge Fine Meats which are now exclusively available only at Otto.  You may have experienced some of Steve’s sausage at one of the local markets. The sausages are flavourful, tender and delicious – even the vegan option!

For our visit we tried the “Otto Dog” and the vegan “Smoked Apple Sage” sausage.  Monday night is a great time to visit with $6 pints of beer and $6 sausages. The sausage is served naked with a small serving of sauerkraut and a home made pickle. If you want a bun for that bad boy, it’s only an extra $2.  The mustards that you have to choose from are also amazing. If I remember correctly, Red Head Condiments supplies them.

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I don’t normally like many versions of vegan/plant-based “meat”.  It is usually an awful texture and not that tasty. Fuge has managed to make a plant-based sausage that is the same texture you would expect from a normal, every-day meat sausage.  The flavours were nicely balanced, slightly smoky and delicious. I enjoyed a side order of the deep fried cauliflower.

My handsome dinner companion was nice enough to give me a taste of the Otto Dog; Sylvan Star smoked Gouda, caraway and fresh garlic are the standouts in this undeniably rich, flavourful sausage.  They are not joking with that description. Juicy, tender and delicious. He had the garlic herb fries with spicy mayo as his side.

I thought that between two of us we would be able to try a few options, but we tapped out after the single sausage and side.  Not even room for dessert! (I hear good things about dessert too though!)

Otto does focus on local suppliers and ingredients, you can see the loving detail that went into the menu with each item that is shared.  You can taste the difference.

Children are welcome at Otto.  Sundays they have a kids meal for only $5.  You won’t break the bank with a visit to Otto, the prices are very reasonable.

Grab a couple of friends and enjoy some great beer, food and sparkling conversation at Otto.

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/otto_yeg/

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ottofoodanddrink/

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/OTTO_YEG

Swiss 2 Go

Swiss 2 Go

Swiss 2 Go is one of those places in Edmonton that you kind of take for granted.  They have been in Edmonton serving Swiss style sandwiches and desserts since 2012.  I have had the pleasure of attending a couple of events catered by Swiss 2 Go but had never stopped by the storefront.  Their specialty is soup, sandwiches and dessert.

Narcity made photos of their teacup cheesecakes go viral and my dessert loving friend Brenna insisted that we make a girl date of it.

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I wanted to pop in and see what the rest of the menu was like before I invited all my ladies out.

My husband and I stopped by one evening for a sandwich and dessert.  Plenty of free parking available out front. When you walk into the café it is like walking in off the street into a grandmother’s kitchen.  Very cute knick knacks everywhere. It is an environment that feels very comforting. The menus are all handwritten chalkboards and selections rotate regularly.  There is a coffee bar, a selection of teas and always some citrus infused water available.

The sandwiches run around $10 – $12 for the smaller size.  Since we were there primarily to try the cheesecake, we opted for the smaller sized sandwich.  They are big!

The sandwiches are served on a bun that is a combination of brioche and pretzel.  It has a beautifully soft inside and that nice chewy crust with the kosher salt. You could almost put anything on that bun and call it delicious!  The sandwiches are made with such care and attention to detail, presented with a Swiss flag skewer to keep it all together. The fillings are made with quality ingredients and piled high.  I don’t know how anyone could finish one of the larger versions.

The teacup cheesecakes will run you $13.  Pricey? Not for what you get. They were almost too pretty to eat.  Once you get over the artistry and dig in, they are just as delicious as they are beautiful.  Hand made with quality ingredients. No artificial flavours or preservatives. We got to try one of the green tea versions and a fresh fig version.

When I spoke with the lovely Drita about bringing my group of ladies in, she was telling me that they have 150 different varieties of cheesecake.  She is always willing to create something new with the caveat that if it is popular, it goes on the menu! Drita was lovely enough to print me off the list of flavours so that I could let the ladies choose and order ahead.

It was exciting being able to see all of the flavours to choose from, but also a bit overwhelming because it may take me a couple of years to try them all!

We got our favourites picked and ordered in advance.  All of my ladies dressed up and wore their fancy hats.  We arrived – the place was PACKED! (this was Saturday afternoon)

PRO-TIP:  Swiss 2 Go does not take reservations!  We had no idea.

We finally managed to sweet talk another table into trading so that we could get two tables together which would be enough space to fit our large group.  Mission accomplished.

We enjoyed our mochas and lattes, and caught up on each other’s lives.  We had a delightfully lovely afternoon. The cheesecakes were heavenly. My flavour was honey lavender.  It was garnished with a sprig of dry lavender. So pretty.

Hicks on Six gave Swiss 2 Go a pretty amazing review and he can be a bit of a hard ass.  Budget and epicurean friendly. Go support local and give them a visit!

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Swiss2Go

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/swiss2go

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/swiss2go/

 

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

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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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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