Indian Summer, Rockies style

13 May

banff springs hotel indian summer, vikram vij Summer lounge alert: Vancouver chef Vikram Vij has come back to the Banff Springs to create a menu for its new seasonal restaurant, Indian Summer, which is taking over the upper Rundle Lounge.

This is a great partnership with an authentic connection: Vij worked in the Banff Springs’ kitchen in the early 1990s (wish our paths had crossed, but alas). Here’s his family chicken curry recipe.

Since we are a wee bit obsessed with the Colonial curry buffet at the Empress’ Bengal Lounge, it’s rather thrilling to see something similar in Banff.

Springs chefs are intended to start travelling to Vij’s every spring to develop summer menus.

We can hardly wait to play Colonial castle. Whether it’s a hot summer night or a rainy day, we’re keen on sinking back and enjoying the heady aroma of Indian spices. Give us a chilled glass of bubbles or fizzy lime-ginger soda and we are ready for Indian Summer, Rockies style.

To tide us over, we’ll try to create this fun cocktail hour soon: Vij’s ginger lime cocktail, spiced cashews and pate.

Hy’s Cheese Toast

6 May

Hooray for this!


31 Mar

Found this Seventeen recipe gem circa 1978 just in time for Easter:

Seventeen page courtesy

Seventeen page courtesy

Check out The Recipe Wench for a sweet story — and recipe — for this braided Easter bread. It will make your day!

And if you are in the Easter baking mood, check out our darling bread birdies post and the very prim supper post.

Retro pottery…

26 Feb

alberta pottery, connie and bob pike, retro potterymugs2We’ve been using this set of 1970s pottery in the office. And we have to say we’re pretty charmed.

We are not fans of pottery per se, but we do have a fondness for retro mugs, platters, casseroles and bowls we’ve grown up seeing adorn ranch house/ski chalet/lake cabin shelves.

This red Alberta clay is especially lovely as is its prairie landscape theme.

They were created in Lavoy, AB in the late ’70s.

Should there come a day when we clumsily lose (read: break) these, we will at least have a photo to remind us!

Lunar New Year

19 Feb


A quick Chinese New Year feast, courtesy of T&T supermarket:

Chinese soy chicken, hacked before our eyes by a kindly, cleaver-wielding butcher

Ha Gow, shui mai

$8 soy sauce because we’ve been curious (it is worth the extra $$ for its viscous consistency: perfect for dumplings. Would be a waste using in larger recipes, I think.

We are a wee bit obsessed with five-spice roasted chicken.

And, really, all things Chinese New Year!

Dynamite shrimp copycat

26 Jan

dynamite shrimp

Further along in the P.F. Chang’s project:

Menu says: Dynamite Shrimp. Tempura-battered, tossed in a light, spicy sriracha aioli.

Their twitter account says:  The perfect mix of sweet and spicy.4516_107753535574_5652992_n

Old recipe forum comment says this: “I have worked for PF Changs at several locations for many years, and although similar in a few ingredients the dynamite shrimp differs from the crispy green bean sauce. Perhaps they have the dynamite shrimp sauce confused with the sichuan flatbread sauce, which includes the green bean sauce in its dipping sauce. dont waste your time making the dynamite shrimp, its a mayo-chipotle sauce…where the green bean dip is a sriracha mayo…good luck!”

Some online copy cat versions we found are calling for Kewpie mayo, sriracha, honey, chipotle powder and green onion for the top. But keen on either chipotle powder or a shake of chipotle hot sauce.

How lazy is this: we purchased popcorn shrimp from a local take out joint and tumbled it in this P.F. Chang’s sauce clone at home.

First time out, we blended some mayo with sriracha, sesame oil and a dash of rice wine vinegar. It was fantastic. But so rich!

Next time: We’ll ditch the oil and vinegar and go for sweet/rice wine tasting Kewpie with a shake of chipotle hot sauce and sriracha.

PF Chang’s Spicy Chicken

17 Jan

spicy chic 2A winner. How fun this copycat recipe project has been. There is a common clone version of P.F. Chang’s Spicy Chicken floating around the web. You can spot it when you see the pineapple juice listed among the ingredients. It’s wrong.

The menu says: Lightly dusted and stir-fried in a sweet Sichuan sauce. Our version of General Tso’s and always a favorite.

Seeing is believing. Theirs looks amazing:


This clone version is a delight. You’ll feel the tingle on your lips long after you’ve eaten. We like that the sauce isn’t too saucy: just enough to cling to the chicken. And we like how clean the flavours are: no overly-salty soy here. We served with rice and steamed carrots and broccoli and it was heavenly.

Plus, we love the insider feel of the “house white sauce” and “Chang’s sauce” we found in recipe forums. Enjoy!

Adapted from LladyRusty “from P.F. Chang’s, Roseville, California – Executive Chef D. J. Cheeks”

10 oz chicken breasts or a regular package of thighs, cut into big bite sized chunks
potato starch
canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup green onion
2 teaspoons sriracha or sambel olek
2 tbsp Chang’s house white sauce (chicken stock with a touch of oyster sauce)
Chang’s sauce: 2 tbsp sugar with 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Lightly coat chicken with potato starch.
Mix sauce and stir to melt sugar.
Brown chicken on both sides in batches.
Remove from pan, pour in sauce, stir, add chicken back to pan. Sauce should cling to chicken.


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