Spooning and Forking

Archive for August, 2011


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

This week on Spooning and Forking we learned about vegetarianism. If you missed the episode, find it on iTunes. Given its nickname of “Cowtown”, it’s no surprise that people are skeptical of the strength of this movement within our city. We spoke to two Calgarians who are dispelling this perception.

Dalia Cohn, co-owner of the Coup restaurant, and Dan Clapson, manager of Higher Ground who organizes their weekly vegetarian meal, both came into the CJSW studio to talk about eating vegetarian in Cowtown.

The most interesting information I took from these two is how easy it is bring aspects of this diet into your routine. I took two friends to the Global Vegetarian Night at Higher Ground, one is a vegetarian, and the other had asked if we could stay in and make duck confit instead. My own diet is somewhere in between tofu and duck. After the three-course meal all of us were very satisfied and impressed with the variety of treats we were fed and the creative uses for tofu (“bocconcini”, who knew!). As for the Coup, no one whose been there needs to be persuaded to the deliciousness of their foods!

Ultimately, I’ll never be converted away from my meat eating ways, but even reducing your meat intake to once a day, or once a week can have positive social consequences if that’s your concern, or just introduce you to new and surprisingly delicious foods!

To prove it, we took a recipe from the Coup cookbook (available in house and at a handful of local businesses). I chose a recipe that meat eaters and vegetarians alike will love! It’s also flexible, offering different choices of protein, grains, and vegetables based on availability. You may have noticed my pushing of seasonal vegetables. When your food is in season you can likely buy it local, like at your farmers market, and besides the moral boost, it tastes way better and is cheaper! Slow Food Calgary has a directory were you can learn what vegetables are available and where to buy them.

Are you a vegetarian in Alberta? What are your favorite places to eat, and your favorite dishes to cook?

Peanut Satay Dragon Bowl

What is involved


500 ml natural crunchy peanut butter
500 ml water
100 ml soy sauce
4 cloves garlic minced
50 ml fresh lemon juice
1 small can 400ml coconut milk
50 ml brown sugar
30 ml chili hot sauce or more if you like it spicy!

For Stir Fry

½ package 175g tofu (chickpeas, black beans, or tempeh all work)
2 litres seasonal vegetables of your choice cut into bite size pieces
4 cups favourite grain cooked (quinoa, basmati, or jasmine)
½ bunch cilantro roughly chopped
Oil for sautéing

Method of Madness

-in a pot on medium heat, mix peanut butter and water together
-continute to mix until a smooth consistency, watching that you do not burn the peanut butter
-add the rest of the sauce ingredients and continue to cook at a low heat, stirring often for about 20 minutes
-remove from heat and taste to adjust spice if necessary
-in a large pan, sauté tofu until the edges get crispy, add vegetables and sauté until tender but still crispy, you might need to a little soy sauce or water for liquid so veggies don’t stick to the pan
-add peanut satay sauce and heat until it bubbles
-portion grain out in each bowl and add vegetable mixture on top of each
-garnish with cilantro

ReggaeFest 2011

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

This week we speak with Leo from the Calgary Reggae Festival.

Listen to Leo speak about Ital, Jamaican Hot Chocolate, and other Rasta favorites. Then, head down to the Calgary Reggae Festival this weekend to taste some of these delicious morsels.

I am a big fan of all kinds of pizza but a Jamaican Jerk Chicken pizza?!?! I die. Easy to make on a hot summer day. Grill on the BBQ and wash it down with a cold, cold beer. Side note – I have made a couple edits to the original recipe.

BBQ Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

1 green bell pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half – finely chopped
1 tablespoon jerk sauce, or to taste
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 portobello mushroom, finely chopped
1 (10 ounce) package pre-baked thin pizza crust (Or you can make your own pizza dough)
1/2 cup pizza sauce (again you can make your own if you like)
1 (4 ounce) package thinly sliced salami
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Grill the green pepper, about 5 minutes on each side, until skin begins to scorch. Remove from heat, and seal in a plastic container for 15 minutes. Cut into strips, remove seeds, pulp, and skin, and dice.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken 10 minutes, until juices run clear. Mix in the roasted green pepper, jerk sauce, garlic, and portobello mushroom. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until heated through.

Place the pizza crust on a pizza pan, and spread with pizza sauce. Arrange the salami, then the chicken mixture evenly over the sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake pizza on the BBQ for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Friday, August 12th, 2011

The word “foodie” brings on a strong reaction whenever mentioned. Whether it be denial that one is a foodie, a proud declaration of being a foodie, or the glazed look of someone who doesn’t know or care.

Before I started working on Spooning and Forking, I would always deny being a foodie. It seemed too laden with pretension and eating food that I couldn’t afford (before I started working on the show I was still in school, so food I couldn’t afford included a very long grocery list of items). I also just didn’t like the idea that everything I believed in about food and eating could be summarized by one word. Every person I know loves food. My nanny may call me up to talk about a tasty bleu cheese she’s discovered, while my dad is devoted to can o’ cheese, and while I’m still not 100% certain we can count canned cheese as food, for arguments sake, let’s pretend we can and acknowledge that each loves food in their own way.

This is the case for everyone. Food is literally life sustaining and as such we all have a relationship with it, so for me to call myself a foodie, seemed like saying I had a more important relationship with it than others did. While some may say this is true, like my dry cleaner who sees my pants go up in size on very regular intervals, I still have to eat three meals a day like any other person. To say I appreciate it more would be impossible to determine (but I do think that my liberal use of butter does make some of my food taste better than say something made with margarine…).

However, a recent article suggested that there is a level of elitism associated with food that should be addressed. This past Spring, The Atlantic ran an article called “The Moral Crusade Against Foodies”. I thought it may be funny, but instead found it had incredible generalizations and was insulting. Apparently I was not the only one, as Eric Schlosser quickly wrote a retort in the Washington Post called “Why Being a Foodie Isn’t ‘Elitist’”.

Even after reading Eric Schlosser’s piece, I still wasn’t sure I wanted to be known as a “foodie”, rather than just someone who really really really loves cooking and eating. I gained some interesting insight from my interview with the University of Calgary professors Dr. Dawn Johnston and Lisa Stowe. To hear the interview and the rest of the episode, check out our iTunes page.

What’s your take on the issue? Are you a foodie?

For this week’s recipe I choose something that I think perfectly represents fancy foodie food at it’s best, and is also an incredibly accessible and easy dish to make and enjoy.

Caprese Salad
4 large tomatoes
1 package fresh mozzarella
Handful of basil
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes and the mozza and arrange with basil. I like it all fanned out, but you could stack it or toss it. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and finish with salt and pepper. Simple and delicious.

Coffee : Part 2

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Today is the second in a two part series on coffee. Even after 6 interviews, a tour of a roasting plant, and endless cups of coffee prepared from clovers, pour over bars, French presses, and any other possible way of extracting caffeine and flavour from beans, there still seems to be more to know! But, eventually I had to rein myself in and remember that despite my best efforts, there are still many people who don’t drink coffee.

(As an aside, a friend of mine pointed out that I was unfairly discriminating on last week’s blog and some people simply don’t like the taste of coffee. I tried to convince him that good coffee knows no taste preferences, and maybe people who don’t like coffee have only had the unfortunate experience of drinking bad coffee? But, I let it go, I’m here to teach, not preach.)

If you missed the episode, listen on iTunes!

Last week we learned all about third wave coffee, a movement that is being promoted by the organization YYC Coffee Disloyalty. In addition to creating awareness, through their card program, of all the amazing cafes we have in town, they are launching a new initiative today! Check out their website for more information http://www.yycdisloyalty.com/p/develop-photography-project.html

We were so interested by what happens to the beans in the cafes that we wanted to know where these beans came from! By now Fair Trade regulation is recognizable to many consumers, however if you’re interested in learning about what this means go to http://www.fairtrade.net/

For those familiar with the label, it can signify a level of consumer responsibility to a better product and ideally better quality of life for those producing it. However, two Calgary roasters are going further by embracing direct trade policies. Phil and Sebestian, as well as Fratello, source their coffee beans directly from farmers and roast the beans themselves. At the moment, direct trade is not regulated, so what it means is different for everyone. To learn more about how these local companies work with farmers to produce the best possible coffee in Calgary, go to https://www.philsebastian.com/ and http://www.fratellocoffee.com/ .

As Ken pointed out in last week’s episode, a sticker on a bag only signifies so much. Thankfully, every business we spoke to in Calgary and Vancouer was more than eager to outline every step of their buying, roasting and brewing process. If you’re curious about how your beans get in the bag, just ask! Many baristas at third wave cafes know just as much as the owners about every step of the process, and are happy to share.

Thanks for joining us to learn all about coffee! Anything we didn’t cover? Email us!

We’d love to hear all about your coffee drinking experiences in the city and abroad.

Now, for this week’s recipe pick I was inspired by something Brieanne and Chelsea said during their interview for YYC Coffee Disloyalty. Their excitement for Calgary’s food scene was based on it’s malleability, with such a new community we have the power to shape it into whatever we want it to be! I thought a desert that perfectly embodies this is a crumble. A classic dish that showcases whatever fruit is in season and has liberal use of all things delicious, such as butter and cinnamon. But, you’re only limited by your creativity! Anything can be used in a crumble, and because of the basic butter to fruit ratio, it’s always going to be amazing. It’s also the perfect companion a cup of coffee.

This is for a strawberry-rhubarb crumble, but you can crumble anything. Apples in the fall with extra extra extra cinnamon and some nutmeg, blueberries with lavender whipped cream, bananas with chocolate ice cream… see how that works? Everything would be delicious crumbled.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (Taken from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver)

3 cups strawberries halved
3 cups rhubarb chopped
½ cup honey
Mix together thoroughly and place in an 8-by-8-inch ungreased pan
½ cup flour
½ cup rolled outs
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ cup butter
Mix until crumbly, sprinkle over fruit mixture, and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until golden (I use ramekins to make individual servings for guests and find 30 minutes to be the right amount of time for this smaller portion.)