Archive | July, 2009

Detox

15 Jul

Uncle. We give in. With so many late nights, beer and beef, we feel like we have one foot in the grave. Here are two tried and true vegetarian soups packed with vitamins. You remember those, don’t you?

ELIXIR CLEANSE SOUP
 From Oprah…weight_wyn_elixir_120
Cathy Lewis: This elixir—a liquid I believe cures all ills—is something I give to Wynonna Judd after she has been on the road. The cleansing properties of the ginger, garlic and habanero have a great effect on the liver, the main filter in our bodies. It’s very important to detox your system if you have had a period of stress, poor eating habits or too much sugar. It is a very pleasing and flavorful broth that should be consumed at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The broth and healing properties of the ingredients will better assimilate into your system. This is also a good broth to curb your appetite.

1 piece (thumb-sized) fresh ginger root , peeled
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 habanero pepper
Juice of 2 limes, in a separate bowl
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
1/2 carrot diced
1/2 cup jicama, diced
1 bunch cilantro , leaves picked and minced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/4 yellow pepper, diced
1/4 orange pepper, diced
Put the garlic, ginger and habanero in a food processor, or blender, and grind to a fine puree, adding a few drops of the lime juice to loosen it up a bit.

Place this in a 1 1/2- or two-quart sauce/soup pan, over medium high heat. Sauté for 10 seconds and removed from heat.

Pour in the broth, return pan to heat, let it come to a slow simmer. Cook for 15 minutes to incorporate all the flavors.

Divide the garnish vegetables between four soup bowls and pour the broth over.

MINESTRONE
Kelly Ripa’s kids call this Tiger Soup because of the shredded cabbage “stripes.” She uses Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but substitutes chick peas for pasta. This low-fat soup tastes wonderful, and is perfect for snacking on throughout the day to keep you full.

10 large ripe plum tomatoes (or two 14 oz cans of tomatoes, drained)
3 medium carrots
2 medium leeks
5 ribs of celery
2 red onions
1 cabbage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 heaped Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups ham, chicken, or vegetable stock
3 good handfuls of fresh basil, torn
6 oz spaghetti
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated
Directions
Score the tomatoes and place briefly in boiling water. Then skin, seed and roughly dice. Peel or scrape the carrots, quarter lengthwise and chop. Remove the outer leaves of the leeks, quarter lengthwise, wash well and chop. Peel the celery with peeler to remove the stringy bits, then cut in half lengthwise and chop. Peel and chop the onions. When you are chopping all these vegetables, try to make them more or less the same size (around inch dice. Wash and roughly chop the cabbage.

Put the olive oil into a warmed thick-bottomed pan and cook the carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic and rosemary over medium heat until just tender (about 15 minutes). Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming if necessary. Add the cabbage, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the basil and the pasta, which will absorb the flavors of the soup. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or more. Taste and season. The soup should be quite thick, full in flavor, and the cabbage shouldn’t be overcooked–you want to retain its deep color.

Hot Diggity Dogs

15 Jul

Stampede may be over, but we’re finding it hard to cease and desist entertaining on a hot summer night. Enter White Trash Theatre. Think drive-in movie meets backyardecue. We like to wheel a large screen television up to the sliding glass patio door and have everybody seated outside on lawnchairs to watch movies. Of course, we’re talking  about a dusk-til-dawn affair, a la the Corral 4 better dancing hot dogDrive-In circa 1978. Summer staples can include, but are not limited to: Jaws, Grease, American Graffiti, Animal House, Dazed and Confused etc. Our friend swears that any Matthew McConaughey movie simply must be featured, as he embodies all that is white trash. But we know it’s your call.

We have been tempted to set out a popcorn and candy bar buffet, but it remains a dream unfufilled. Microwave popcorn, Smarties, and ice cream are as far as we’ve bothered. Still the fantasy lingers. 

Barbecued hot dogs, of course, are a must. The bar for accoutrement is set high, with Le Chien Chaud and Tubby Dog  in our near vicinity. Set out a tub of chilled beverages (cream soda, orange, and cola really should share priority with beer and wine), pop the corn, and hit play. Don’t forget blankies and mosquito repellent.

We originally enjoyed these saucy numbers at Stampede time. The spicy sweet sauce is also a good meatball bath for tailgate or Christmas parties. Try this cool spiral technique:

Diggity Dogs
Recipe from Blue Flame Kitchen
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) ketchup
1/2 cup (125 mL) medium salsa
1/3 cup (75 mL) sieved raspberry jam
1 – 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
12 jumbo wieners
12 large hotdog buns

Cook onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add next 6 ingredients (ketchup through mustard). Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Score wieners corkscrew fashion. Grill wieners over medium heat on natural gas barbecue until browned on all sides. Add wieners to sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Place wieners in buns and top with sauce.

Chili Con Midway Carney

13 Jul

doug

During Stampede, bubbling vats of chili are always a welcome warmup after a rainy night at the chucks. We love biting into velvety chunks of brisket and tomato. Cocoa, oregano, and smoky chipotle always mingle with black beans in ours. We’ve been known to simmer the meat with beer and top our bowls with lime-scented sour cream. We also have dreams about green chicken chili thickened with crushed corn tortilla chips. Yum.

Still riding the wave of nostalgia from yesterday’s 4 Street Rose theme, here is another Stampede-themed recipe scooped from the now defunct cafe. Their beanless chili is from the 1980s, so it’s chipotle-free. But for a straight up beef and tomato chili to feed a crowd, it’s basic and tasty. A quick search of foodnetwork.com shows 2,117 recipes for chili. If you haven’t mastered your own house speciality yet, chili is an easy work in progress.

UPDATE: Chasen’s chili recipe follows at bottom:

4 Street Rose Chili

2 kg lean ground beef

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) coarsely chopped white onions

2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes, chopped (with liquid)

1 7 oz can tomato paste

340 ml tomato juice

1 1/2 tsp Tabasco

2 1/2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp each cayenne, salt and pepper

Brown beef well in 1 tbsp oil. Drain fat and set meat aside. Add oil to pan and cook onions until transparent. Drain and set aside. Add all ingredients to a deep roasting pan, cover with foil and bake in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.

“The chili is so good. All gone now. Please send me ten quarts of your wonderful chili in dry ice to 448 Via Appia pignatelli. – Love and kisses, Elizabeth Taylor.”  – Elizabeth Taylor, on location in Rome, 1962, writing to Dave Chasen, owner of Chasen’s Restaurant.

CHASEN’S CHILI

1/2 pound dry pinto beans

5 cups chopped tomatoes

1 pound green peppers, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck
1 pound lean ground pork
1/3 cup chili powder (add a smidge of cloves)
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Soak beans in water to cover overnight. Drain, cover with cold water and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Saute green peppers in hot oil until tender. Add onions and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic and parsley.
In another skillet melt butter and add beef and pork. Cook, stirring, 15 minutes or until crumbly and browned. Add meat to onion mixture and stir in chili powder. Cook 10 minutes.
Add meat mixture to beans along with salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Simmer, covered, 1 hour. Remove cover and simmer 30 minutes longer. Skim fat from top. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Doing Time in Rose’s Line

6 Jul

It’s Day 4 of Stampede, and if you’re like us, you’ve been treating yourself to beef and beer for the last 96 hours.

Time to take a breather. These low-fat turkey burger patties come from 4 Street Rose, our favourite hangout from junior high to our mid-20s. We can’t believe how many recipes we scooped from that place — worth a future post.

Our dearest friend Bebe, an zen master with the barbecue — for reals — knows the secret for scrumptious turkey burgers. Thick patties flame broiled at a medium low temperature ensures moist results. She is a goddess with tongs. Observe:

turkey burger 2

Sweet onion mustard was a sensational topper. But as we sipped our French syrah, we began dreaming of topping these with a caramelized onion/pear/thyme compote.

Or we could top our turkey burgers with apples, onions, gruyere, and sage mayo:
2 T mayo
2 t stone ground or spicy mustard
3-4 sage leaves, minced
_____________________________
You can follow these Stampede-themed burgers with your pick of two Prairie-themed desserts from 4 Street Rose. Zucchini and rhubarb — how much more Alberta can you get? Recipes below.

Rose’s Turkey Black Bean Burger
3 pounds coarsely ground turkey
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, dry
1/2  bunch parsley, minced
1 cup black beans, cooked
4 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloved garlic, minced
pinch of thyme
2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (Asian hot sauce)

Soak the beans overnight and cook in plenty of boiling water until soft but not mushy. Drain.
Combine beans with remaining ingredients and mix well.
Divide into 12 6-ounce burgers and grill until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
Serve on whole wheat buns with lettuce, tomato, cheese and barbecue sauce.
Makes 12 large patties. Turkey burgers can be frozen.

4 Street Rose No Fat Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake is wonderfully fudgy. We topped last year’s with a silken drizzle of chocolate sauce and Bernard Callebaut chocolate shavings. Divine. cake_

1 cup prune puree*
1 2/3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup cocoa
1 egg white
1 pound, 2 ounces grated zucchini
3/4 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups cake/pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Sift flours and baking soda. Combine with remaining ingredients and place in a bundt pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

*combine 1 1/3 cups of pitted prunes with 6 tablespoons of water and process in a food processor for 1 cup of puree.

 

Shanghai Noon at Midnight

5 Jul

When weary, bleary-eyed Stampede-goers leave the chuckwagons, midway, beer and bars behind in the early morning hours, they make way for a post-midnight snack at Singapore Sam’s on 11th Avenue and 5th Street S.W.

But take heed, late night revellers: If you’re not here before midnight, you’ll be waiting in a lineup that snakes out the door and down the sidewalk.

For these 10 days of excess, locals and visitors alike will line up until 3 a.m., largely for the ginger fried beef and its storied reputation as preventative medicine for hangovers.

More than a hundred patrons drum their chopsticks at once on tabletops and glasses in time to Queen’s We Will Rock You or whatever is blaring over the speakers. The chopstick cacophony is part of the party.
The mahogany slivers of crunchy, deep-fried meat in a pool of sweet, spicy sauce is said to have first surfaced in Calgary at the Silver Inn restaurant at 2702 Centre St. N.E. during the 1970s.

K.W. Cheung started serving the dish shortly after the Peking restaurant opened in 1974. The dish was introduced by George Wong, who had been a cook in England.

In a research project on Chinese-Canadian cuisine and cultural identity a few years ago, University of Calgary anthropologist Josephine Smart discovered most people in Eastern Canada and the United States had never heard of ginger beef.

We love the charm of regional specialties. North American inventions blending Hunan and Szechuan styles are as firmly rooted on takeout menus now as they ever were. New York claims General Tso’s chicken, Phoenix, Arizona-based P.F. Chang’s orange peel beef  (chicken or shrimp also) has the same devoted following. A legion of loyal fans in Springfield, Missouri swoon for cashew chicken.

We recently a Pacific Northwest take on ginger beef at Victoria, B.C.’s J & J Wonton Noodle House. Thin, square slabs of marinated flank steak were deep fried, but not battered in an eggy coating. The sauce was sticky and sweet and brightly flavoured with ginger. Not a candied carrot sliver in sight. Dare we say it rivals our homegrown ginger beef? It’s a worthy contender and one we’ll take for a spin.

Calgary’s beloved dish has become a phenomonen. Be careful when ordering ginger beef outside of the city. Deep-fried shredded ginger beef is what you’re after. Ask for ginger beef, and you’re taking a gamble. You might get a very different dish. Or a blank stare.

GINGER FRIED BEEF
Recipe from The Best of Bridge: Grand Slam
These Calgary moms say this is “a ‘must’ for out-of-towners.'” If you love real Calgary-style ginger beef, do give this version a try. Be patient, and cook it in batches, otherwise you’ll end up with a mess. Take the time to have the ingredients chopped and ready to go. Try it once to get the technique down, and make note of any tweaks to suite your tastes if you like things spicier, or an extra punch of ginger. This could be your new famous dish!

1 lb. flank steak
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
vegetable oil
2/3 cup grated carrots
2 Tbsp. chopped green onion (or more to taste)
4 Tbsp.(1/4 cup) minced ginger root (or more)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cooking wine – Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp hot chili oil or crushed red chili flakes
Slice steak while partially frozen into narrow strips. Mix beef and eggs. Dissolve cornstarch in water and mix with beef. Pour ample oil in wok. Heat to boiling hot, but not smoking. Add beef to oil, 1/4 at a time. Separate with a fork (or chopsticks if you’re talented) and cook, stirring frequently until crispy. Remove, drain and set aside. (This much can be done in advance)
Put 1 Tbsp. oil in wok. Add carrots, onion, ginger and garlic and stir fry over high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Add beef, mix well and serve. If your steak is over one pound, cook it all anyway.

Serve with steamed rice.
Serves 4

Ay Ay, Red Eye

3 Jul

IMG00302The Caesar may have been created here 30 years ago by Westin Hotel bar manager Walter Chell, but you can bet we’ll be enjoying a few Red Eyes while watching the chucks.

Just add clamato juice to beer (up to half and half, but we prefer a 1:4 ratio) and there you have a Calgary Red Eye.

This year, after reading the New York Times piece about the comeback of the beer cocktail, we took the Red Eye to a new level. We enhanced our beer with a Caesar: half beer, half vodka-spiked Clamato. Beesar? Be careful, they pack a wallop.

Another Stampede libation making the rounds in backyards everywhere is the Beergarita. Somewhat vile sounding, it’s undeniably refreshing on a scorching day. A good welcome wagon drink, also.

In Chicago, the beergarita — a margarita amplified by Flemish sour ale and framboise — is popular at Small Bar.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/dining/01cocktail.html?ref=dining

Beergarita is a cousin to our favourite Victoria Day long weekend staple, Skip and Go Naked (pink lemonade, gin, and beer).

Beergarita
1 (12 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
6 ounces tequila (half the limeade can)
3 (12 ounce) cans lager beer
Lots of ice

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. If you’re ambitious, you could put the whole works into a blender for frozen margaritas. But. Honestly. It’s Stampede and we don’t have a minute to spare. Old school ice cubes work wonders, especially for watering down too-sweet limeade.

And don’t feel guilty about using pedestrian canned limeade for this rather than concocting juice with fresh (key!) limes. Save your money for the casino and get off your high horse.