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(From Slow Food Edmonton)

We are pleased to announce a hands-on food conference April 30th, 2011: Eat Alberta, A Celebration of Our Local Food Heroes.

As we are so passionate about the local food opportunities our city provides as well as acutely aware that food expertise (in a variety of forms) lies within each of our neighbourhoods. This is our first Eat Alberta conference of what we hope to be many that will celebrate such local food heroes.

This is a DIY conference! Some of the hands on sessions include:
• Sausage making
• Cheese making demonstration
• Apple pie and pastry making
• Bread making
• Pasta making

Tasting sessions include:
• Fruit wine tasting
• Honey tasting
• Coffee tasting
• Canadian wine and cheese pairing
• Goat Cheese Tasting

We are asking everyone to sign up at out website: to receive conference updates.

There will also be an opening and closing key note session (urban gardening and urban homesteading)

What the day looks like:
8:30am to 5pm
Continental Breakfast followed by the morning Key Note
Two morning break out sessions from 8 choices
A charcuterie and cheese Tasting lunch with artisan breads
Two afternoon break out sessions from 8 choices
Closing session followed by a wine down

For more information, contact Valerie Lugonja: A Canadian Foodie

We would love to see a total BLOG OUT!

Valerie Lugonja: A Canadian Foodie
Conference Chair

Conference Members and Founders:
Sherene Khaw: Brulee Blog
Allan Suddaby: Button Soup
Sharon Yeo: Only Here for the Food
Mack D. Male: MasterMaq


dribbling down your chin and off your fingers

What more can you describe the perfect cheeseburger with?

Still on the eternal quest for the perfect cheeseburger made at home. A burger wasn’t exactly a staple at home, unless it was ground up, frozen, and shipped to your market freezer about 6months ago. Not to mention the occasional trip to the ubiquitous land of a dancing clown, talking cheeseburgers and a purple monster under those glowing golden rod arches.

I remember the occasional BBQ in the backyard, doused with the chemical char of starter fluid. The rare cookout in the park, meat cooked over an open flame, they all carry the smell of charred smoking fat sizzling on the flame. They scent is a memory trigger, and there’s no better than the smell of charcoal laced with super flammable starter infused into your fatty dripping charred slab of beef.

My latest has been a simple sirloin and chuck burger, with sauteed garlicy Cremini mushrooms, topped with swiss on a toasted bun.

A little Julia Child “American” potato salad (from
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home) on the side helps- which, I have to say, is some of the best potato salad I’ve ever tasted.


One of the earliest foods I remember from my childhood.

Rice was a given.

A staple.

But fried rice, was always a treat.

The Lap Cheong (Chinese sausage) is pre-cooked when the rice is steamed the day before. I still use the same brand that she did, Wing Wing, which has been made in Canada since the 1900s, when the founder emigrated from China to Vancouver from Canton (now Guangzhou).

This very close to my grandmother’s recipe, as far as I can remember. Instead of sausage, left over BBQ duck or pork also works very well.



2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 links Lap Cheong (Chinese sausage) (3-4 is better)
1 small knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 green onions, whites sliced thin, and greens into 4cm planks
1 small onion, sliced into half-moons
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 cups day-old rice (break up the lumps)
Soy sauce
White pepper
Cooking oil, such as peanut or good canola
Sesame oil (optional)

First the basic technique:

The day before, place the sausage on top of your rice/water before steaming. The rice will take a little bit longer to cook, but it will flavour the rice and the sausage will come out plump and juicy.

If you haven’t eaten all your rice and sausage, cool it to room temp, cover and put in the fridge.

The day of, do all your mise en place, take out the rice, slice the sausage on the bias. The amount of ingredients will vary depending on how much rice and sausage you have on hand.

Heat up your wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan when hot. (If you’re using a non-stick wok, first, for shame! Make sure you add oil to pan before heating – never heat up an empty non-stick pan) Quickly soft-scramble your eggs and reserve. (variations of egg, discussed below)

Heat another tablespoon of oil, quickly stir-fry sliced onions, the whites of the green onions, and ginger. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, apx 30 seconds and reserve.

Increase heat, add another tablespoon of oil to your wok. When hot, add rice and break up any remaining lumps and stir fry your rice until it starts to crisp a bit.

Add reserved eggs, onions, lap cheong, and peas. Cook until peas are done and sausage is juicy and hot. Season with white pepper, soy sauce, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Variations, egg theory

“Golden” Fried Rice:
Beat 3 eggs, mix into the day old rice – ensuring every kernel of rice is coated with egg before stir frying.

“Chunky” Eggy Fried Rice:
Instead of soft scrambling your eggs first, before adding back all the onions back to the wok with the rice, make a well exposing the bottom of the wok, add the eggs to the wok and scramble the eggs

When everything comes together.


The crunch of the still warm toast, the cool soft crunch of the lettuce, and the juices of ripe tomatoes getting squeezed out with every bite.

The perfect combination of smokey, salty, crisy, meaty, fatty bacon

The little dab of mayo that always seems to find it’s way down your lips.

I don’t remember having my first B.L.T. but I was pretty young. Maybe around 6 or so. Not much has changed except my sister doesn’t cook it for me anymore and I’ve added a few grinds of fresh pepper over the tomatoes.


“How many peppers would you like?

How many can I have?

A little quiz show before dinner when you order the order the “Hunan” Kung Pao at Earl’s Tin Palace.

After going back and forth with the waitress, I went for the “7 peppers out of 10” level.

Spicy? A mild kick. Flavours? The only thing I could really taste was soy and an overwhelming taste of ginger. Chicken, actually quite well prepared. Noodles, rather limp and flaccid tho. Which is fine I suppose, if that’s all you’re looking for.

Personally, I think I’ll stick to the scotch:
(neat, water back)






It really was a dark and stormy night when we walked into Sage at the River Cree Resort and Casino. The first big storm of the summer had just hit, and we needed refuge and nourishment after being run off the course.

After being seated promptly by the fireplace, we started with drink, a nice cold pint of Rickard’s white, followed by some very lovely wine. A Cedar Creek Reserve 2004 (for a very respectable $39)

Snacks were up next, we decided on the fresh oysters on the half shell with a “trio of accoutrements”. The first two mystery “accoutrements” were just tabasco and the other seafood sauce.

The last was actually the most interesting. A mild sweet vinegar (sherry I think) with a tiny bit of sauteed shallots. Very good.

The oysters were indeed fresh, and did actually seem to have come in the previous night.

The perfect ingredients were letdown by the sloppy shucking job, leaving tiny shards of shell in every oyster I had. Sad.

The other appetizer we had was the Charred Tuna Tower, with mango, avocado, and citrus. The “tower” was just the standard short stubby O-ring, so it didn’t really tower much. Very good though.

A Glendronach 12yr old scotch was ordered, and then onto dinner.

I broke down and went with the night’s feature, the Surf n Turf. A filet mignon stuffed with crab, topped with a lobster tail, and served with roasted vegetables and truffle mashed potatoes.

THe steak was cooked very well, but you might as well stuff it with gold, since the stuffing was so bland and lost. The lobster tail was sweet, fresh, if rather small.

The truffle mashed potatoes were more of a literal smear across the plate. Disappointing, when it was built up so much.

Overall, I felt pretty disappointed with the entree. Especially when the dish was $55!

The funniest moment came when a friend, who had ordered Steak Frites, had the waitress come over and offer him “red sauce”.

I could tell the waitress was gritting her teeth, and you would too if your manager made you offer people “red sauce” instead of “ketchup”!

Hilarious. (and really pretentious)

All in all, the entire meal was quite a let down. Maybe it would have been better if the original chef David Cruz hadn’t left.


Early morning.

The house is quiet.

I rub the sleep from my eyes and hit the ground running.

The sun is blaring through the white and green paisely covered picture window.

A gnarly *thunk* goes the ancient 13 channel tube lurching to a phosphorent blaring life, more than ready to burn its blurry images into young eyes.

Lost in that heady mix of sugar powered cartoons, poorly written and acted voices, and classic coyote fare, one smell eventually fills the air.

A combination of Maxwell House coffee, Coffee Mate, and toasting bread.

My grandmother is up and making herself breakfast, but I’m too lost in my own world of sugar frosted commercials and mutant turtles to take much notice. That same smell every morning before she tends to all of her chores.

They say the sense of smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers.

I believe it.

My grandmother is long gone now, but I will always remember that smell, and I can still picture her at our table, her mug of coffee, a slice of buttered toasted bread, maybe with a slice of ham, and always folded in half so she could dip into her coffee. Sometimes she’d also have a soft boiled egg, and more times than naught, I’d have one too.

While I don’t drink Maxwell house coffee, nor do I use Coffee Mate, I do love coffee, hot buttered toast, and soft boiled eggs sprinkled with salt. I don’t think anyone needs a recipe for that, but I do have another favourite eggs recipe (taken from Gordon Ramsay’s ‘sublime scrambled eggs’ recipe):

Scrambled Eggs

2 large eggs (organic please)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon crème fraîche or sour cream
fresh dill or chives, finely chopped
salt, pepper

Break eggs into a cold pan, add butter, and place over medium-low heat.

Whisk. Off heat. Whisk. On Heat. Whisk. Repeat ad nauseam until they become creamy and start to solidify.

Stir in crème fraîche.

Add dill or chives and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with coffee, and a slice of hot buttered toast, and early morning cartoons.

That ubiquitous bright bleeding red colour. That sickening cloying sweetness. The gelatinous glossy goo that sits in the bowl, ready to be scooped out onto to unsuspecting plates.

Every bite leaving that cloying saccharine film in your mouth.

Cranberry sauce.

That condiment that always gets served with turkey dinners. That condiment that you always end up having piles of left over that gets scraped into the bin.

The best part of it has been the ironic laughter if you dump it out of a can and the jelly still has the ridges from the can.

This year, under the influence of Elle, I decided to find and make cranberry sauce worth making.

I ended up with this:

Cranberry Sauce with Port and Cinnamon

* 1 cup ruby Port
* 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
* 1 cup dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
* 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
* 3/4 cup water
* 1/4 cup sugar (or less)
* Fresh Rosemary sprig
* Orange zest

Bring ruby Port and broken cinnamon sticks to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer mixture 5 minutes.

Add dried cranberries to saucepan; simmer until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup water, and sugar; bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low; add rosemary; cover and simmer until cranberry sauce thickens and is darker in color and berries collapse, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Transfer sauce to bowl; cool; add orange zest. Discard cinnamon sticks.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Modified from an Epicurious recipe

The result?

Pretty spectacular actually. The cinnamon and the rosemary really perfume the sauce. The dried cranberries give the sauce a bit of fruity texture.  It wasn’t too sweet or cloying.  I was really impressed, and I don’t even like Cranberry Sauce.

(Thank you to Elle for the inspiration, even if I didn’t get any pine nuts)

What is it about bread that is so irresistible to the senses? A warm crusty loaf soaked and dripping from grassy, sweet, pungent olive oil and basamic. Still carrying that lingering scent of the oven.

The crunch when your teeth breaks through the crust into the soft warm inner crumb. The creamy combination of butter and bread that spreads across your palate as you chew each bite.

The tang of fresh sour dough. The hearty texture of a rye. The perfect crisp crust of a baguette. That heel of bread soaking up the last drops from your plate as you swirl it around finishing a perfect meal.

Which leads me to one simple goal. One simple mission.

Learn to make bread.

And to make it well.

I’m laying in bed still thinking about posting about Sunday night.

After finally crawling out of bed Sunday afternoon, and finally making outside, I was greeted by the perfect fall day.




The air was ripe of autumn. The sky blazed blue. The wind had finally died down. Everyone was out and about like proverbial ants, running around doing their Sunday chores before winter came and be damned the days of the grasshopper.

The plan was to get everything I needed for Stout Braised Short Ribs.

I made my way to the local grocery mini-mega-mart. It takes talent to always be out of something that I need.

After getting through that mess, I made my way to my other local grocery mega-mart and picked up the rest of my provisions and I realized I was dead famished.

A little 12.5oz “small” burrito from the burrito joint and to home I went with my booty and to scarf down my pulled pork burrito.

The ribs:

The rib recipe turned out to be pretty easy. A lot of prep work with chopping and rubbing the ribs with the spice rub.

Let them marinate for an hour before browning.

You do have to be very careful with browning the ribs in the pan due to the high sugar content of the rub. The end product ended up being very food. Cutting it with a bit of honey would have rounded everything out nicely. I used St Ambroise Oatmeal stout from McAuslan, and I imagine Guinness would have been even more bitter.

Served over a big pile of colcannon with some crusty bread.

Absolutely perfect on a cool autumn night.