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Thursday November 28, 2013

On Thursday;s podcast:
  • Calgary Zoo director of animal care, conservation and research Dr. Jake Veasey celebrates the full reopening of the zoo. 
  •  Gingerbread house competition winner Jenna Kermos and her teacher Kelly Hobbs tell us about their winning strategy. 
  •  Food columnist Karen Anderson shares her ideas and tips for holiday party planning. CLICK READ MORE FOR RECIPES. 
  •  Retail consultant Doug Stephens discusses Black Friday sales coming to Canada.
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Punch Lines
Combine 5 items to make punch. Fizzy booze, pop or sparkling water, juice, alcohol or a second juice, spicing, and ice.
Apple Jack - 2 cups Calvados apple liqueur, 1 quart apple cider, 1 bottle sparkling wine or water, Jack Daniels bitters, an ice ring with cloves, cinnamon sticks and sliced apples in it.
Rocky Mountain Mule - make a simple ginger syrup by combining ½ c grated ginger, 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar on stove and stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and then combine in a punch bowl with 1 bottle of limeade, 2 cups of vodka, 2 litres of sparkling water, 2 teaspoons of Angostura bitters and lots of ice and lime wedges.

A dish for every party
Butter Chicken (Moghulai Style)
This recipe comes from Karen's Indian cooking mentor Mrs. Noorbanu Nimji whose three books in the A Spicy Touch series have sold over 250,000 copies. Karen is currently editing book four for release in the spring of 2014.
Note: Serves 6 and can be multiplied easily to spice things up for a large group after a cool outdoor sledding, skating or carolling party. 
Ingredients
1 ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
Marinade
3 T yogurt
1 ½ t garlic paste
1 ½ t ginger paste
2 t tomato paste
½ t chili paste
½ t paprika
1 t ground cumin
¼ t ground chili
¼ t Garam masalas (available at most grocers)
Pinch saffron
¾ t salt
Sauce
¼ c butter
¼ c onion, roughly chopped
2 - 2" X 1" pieces of bell pepper, red and green
¾ c water, divided
1 c tomato sauce (puree a large chopped tomato in a food processor to create this)
2 t dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi - look for a bright yellow box with a blue peacock on it in the international aisle of your grocer)
1 c whipping cream
Method
Cut the chicken in to bite-sized pieces
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and add the chicken.
Marinate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight (I have gotten away with 30 minutes and it still tasted great).
Put the onion, green and red bell peppers and ¼ cup of the water in a blender and puree.  Set aside.
Heat the butter in a saucepan.
Add the pureed onion and pepper mix and sauté for two to three minutes
Add the marinated chicken and any remaining marinade and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and continue cooking until the chicken is tender 
Add the fenugreek leaves and more water as required.
Turn to a low simmer and add the whipping cream.
Simmer until heated through and serve with rice and Naan.

Dressed for Success Beef Tenderloin
Roast some baby potatoes, sauté some mushrooms and steam some green beans while this roast cooks and you've got an elegant but cosy dinner party your nearest and dearest that you'd like to treat to a great Alberta ingredient.
Ingredients
3 - 4 lb filet of beef
¼ c. grainy mustard (like Alberta's own Brassica brand)
1T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
½ t each of dried rosemary, sage and thyme
¼ t salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
Method
Set the meat out one hour before cooking to bring it room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Make a paste with all the other ingredients except the beef. 
Place the beef on a rack in a roasting pan and coat it with the paste.
Put the roast in the oven on the centre rack and lower the temperature to 400F cooking exactly 35 minutes for rare meat.
Trust this timing - remove the meat from the oven and tent it with foil.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and do not touch the meat.
Carve the meat now that the juices have reabsorbed, carve the meat and serve with the sides and a good horseradish.



Karen's Smoked Trout Dip
250 g smoked trout (substitute salmon if you can't find the trout)
1 c cream cheese
½ c sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
½ t hot sauce
½ t Dijon mustard
1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
2 T green onions chopped
Combine everything but the fish in a food processor and whirl till desired texture of dip is achieved. Add the fish last and pulse to desired texture. Serve on cucumber rounds, wedges of endive or your favourite crackers.

Make ahead Salmon Gravlax (from Food and Wine magazine)
Do make this ahead - can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
1 ½ lbs centre-cut salmon fillet with skin (I've also used steelhead trout)
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ c kosher salt
3 T raw sugar, such as turbinado or demerara
1 ½ T coarsely cracked black pepper
1 c coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1 c coarsely chopped parsley leaves and stems
2 shallots, minced

Pastrami Glaze
2 T molasses
2 bay leaves, torn into large pieces
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 t caraway seeds
1 t coriander seeds
1 t sweet paprika
1 t freshly ground pepper
Rub the salmon fillet all over with the lemon juice. Place the fillet skin side down in a glass dish. In a small bowl, combine the salt, raw sugar, cracked black pepper, cilantro, parsley and shallots and rub the seasonings all over the salmon. Cover the salmon loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days.
In a small saucepan, combine the molasses, bay leaves and cayenne and bring to a simmer. Let cool to room temperature.
In a small skillet, lightly toast the caraway and coriander seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and let cool completely. Crush the seeds as finely as possible with a pestle. Stir in the paprika and ground pepper.
Gently scrape the seasonings off the gravlax. Set the gravlax on a plate, skin side down. Brush the gravlax with the molasses; pick off the bay leaves. Sprinkle the ground spices evenly over the fillet. Refrigerate the gravlax uncovered for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Using a long, sharp knife cut the gravlax crosswise into very thin slices. Arrange the slices on plates and serve.

Idea #1 - platters and dips -Look for meats, pates and cheeses that are made locally, pair them with crackers, breads and chutneys also made locally and decorate with dried and fresh fruits. 
Idea #2 - meatballs of the world - Grab a bag of inexpensive Swedish meatballs and sauce from IKEA, make some Italian meatballs with parmesan and basil, make some Greek ones with ground lamb, oregano and a package of crumbled feta, visit a Lebanese deli and ask for Kibbeh (little football shaped cracked wheat balls stuffed with meat), use some Alberta bison with Saskatoon berries, Go coastal with crab balls or try Portugese with salt cod bacalao.
Idea #3 - Talent for hire - you don't have to make everything - pick up President's Choice vegetable samosas, boil up your favourite perogies, buy some premade spanokopita
Idea #4 - Bring on the bacon - pay homage to the original bacon appetizer: Devils on Horseback - bacon wrapped smoked oysters then serve bacon-wrapped pineapple, scallops, water chestnuts etc. Play with this theme by grilling Italian prosciutto wrapped around shrimp that have been marinated briefly in hot sauce. Add diced pancetta, Gorgonzola, pears and nuts to a pizza spread with fig jam. Serve small buckets of bacon. It'll be un-bacon-ievable!
Idea #5 - Slide into the holidays - with 4 or 5 kinds of slider sized burgers that you set out on a buffet with fun mini toppings and buns or that you pile on trays and pass around - think beyond beef to mini lamb, pork, turkey, and salmon burgers.
Idea #6 - Scandinavian Smorrebrod (open-faced sandwich buffet) - ultra cool and relaxed - Serve sliced roast beef, a shrimp salad, devilled eggs, baby potatoes and dill, cucumber slices, pickled herring and these two recipes that follow.


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