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Clam Stew

3 Jun

Vintage 4 St Rose potagery: a hearty, thick riff on chowder chock full of clams, potatoes and garden vegetables.

Spinning traditional chowder into bright clam stew with fresh grassy parsley, basil, tender young carrots, celery and green beans and diced tomatoes.

The New York Times shared an interesting chowder-soaked toast recipe that asks you to place a toasted 2×2 inch slice of rustic bread in a bowl, cover with fried pieces of guanciale, and a ladleful of broth homemade chowder.

4 St. Rose Tomato Basil Soup

27 Apr

Is anything as warming on a cold spring day as soup?

We remember staying dry inside 4 St. Rose as afternoons turned stormy. Their onion soup gratinee, thick broccoli cauliflower cheese soup and clam stew (chock full of garden vegetables including diced tomato, carrot and basil) were heavenly. But the bright-tasting Tomato Basil soup was local legend.

Writes Dee Hobsbawn-Smith in the Calgary Herald Sun Apr 29 2001: “One of the successes from my days as R & D chef at 4 St. Rose in the late 1980s was this wonderful, subtle tomato and basil soup. Canned tomatoes provide better value and colour than well-travelled too-early raw tomatoes in this fresh, quick soup. Here, tomatoes are partnered with the tried and true. Add a handful of fresh basil leaves just as you serve this forth for a fresh blast of extra flavour.”


Serves six

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter

1 medium onion, minced

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

4 carrots, coarsely grated

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried basil

1/2 cup (125 mL) water

1 28-oz. (796-mL) can plum tomatoes

2 cups (500 mL) water

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey

3 green onions, minced

salt and hot chili flakes to taste

2 tbsp (30 mL) shredded fresh basil

In a large saucepan, combine butter, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf, basil and water. Simmer uncovered, over moderate heat until vegetables are tender, about seven minutes. Add tomatoes, mashing them with a wooden spoon so they are bite-sized. Stir in remaining water, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir in honey, salt, hot chili flakes and fresh basil.

And here’s the original version clipped from a newspaper back in the day. It’s interesting to see the tweaks between the two recipes.


2 tbsp butter

1 medium yellow onion

1 medium carrot

1 1/2 lbs tomatoes

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 1/2 cups water

1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp vegetable base

Rough chop the onion and carrot, puree in food processor.

In a large pot, melt the butter then add the carrot onion mix. Saute for 5 minutes on low to medium heat. Do not brown the mixture.

While the mixture is simmering, pick the fresh basil off the stems. Cut into thin strips. Cut the tomato into medium sized chunks (spoon sized).

Add the fresh tomato, pepper and vegetable base to the mix. Bring to a simmer and add all remaining ingredients except basil.

Bring soup to a simmer and taste. If the soup is too acidic, add sugar. If too sweet, add salt. Add basil and stir before serving.

For an added zing you can add roasted garlic to the soup at the same stage as the carrot and onion. Many of our staff also enjoy the soup over some white rice.

And a wee gem from Bon Appetit August 1981

Tomato and Basil Soup

4 tbsp vegetable oil (preferable cold-pressed safflower)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped,
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, unpeeled sliced
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp honey
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cornstarch or potato flour
3 cups chicken or vegetable tock
Herb or vegetable salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 medium sized ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, julienned
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil or parsley
Heat 3 tbsp oil in heavy 4-quart saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add sliced tomato and continue cooking three minutes. Stir in basil, tomato paste, honey and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low, cover an cook 10 minutes.

Transfer mix to food processor or blender in batches and puree. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds and skin. Return puree to saucepan. Combine cornstarch and remaining oil in small bowl. Stir into puree. Add stock and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Season with herb salt and pepper to taste. Stir in tomato julienne and chopped basil and serve.

Sneaking in an Ina Garten version:

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice

4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 quart chicken stock or waterPreheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

4 St. Rose Pasta Cheese Pie

26 Feb
rose onion
We just spied an elegant cacio e pepe version of our beloved Rose’s Pasta Cheese pie. We clipped this recipe from a magazine in the early 1980s from a favourite restaurant at the time, 4 St. Rose. It was our city’s first California casual resto, with then-mind-blowing fusion and healthy California cuisine. And it was the hottest spot in the city for years.
This rich, savoury pie was legend. Great for brunch, for lunch or for a summer night’s dinner. Paired with a green, puckery salad and a gorgeous glass of wine, it makes a great meal. Better if you are hearing Culture Club or The Police in the background!
It’s tempting to add something more to this dish: thyme, other veggies, trendier cheese, caramelized onions. But just try it on its own and savour its simplicity. Best served barely warmed/room temperature.

(This was our contribution to the awesome 2nd annual Pieathalon (thanks Yinzerella from Dinner is Served 1972 and the talented

 We like to think the recipe was inspired by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse or some wonderful California hot spot, as Rose’s owner made frequent reconnaissance trips there.
Image 1 - Cheese & Onion Pie

Rose-Coloured Glasses

12 Mar

We dutifully clipped half a dozen 4 St. Rose recipes over the years whenever they were shared in lifestyle magazines or newspaper food sections (we’re talking pre-blog days, people: 1980s to mid-90s).

No matter what dessert from 4 St. Rose we remember sharing – Brownie Blackout, No Fat Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Chocolate Bailey Mousse Cake, Warm Berry Crisp, California Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries, Thelma’s Apple Pie, Turtle Pie, Chocolate Pepper Pate with mango and raspberry sauces, Chocolate Mango Cake – only one recipe circulates around the web: 4 St. Rose Rhubarb Pie.

Sure it’s a dodgy web version, but we were willing to give it a whirl with this spring’s rhubarb crop. And maybe one time we’ll substitute puff pastry and make a rustic dessert, like this killer blueberry galette/crostada. Pardon the ghetto photo. It was for intel purposes (berry pie to struessel topping ratio)


*dodgy web recipe – unattributed. We used a deep dish pie shell and the streusel topping fused together like a giant cookie
, which was delicious and a nice crisp, sweet buttery foil to the soft and sour rhubarb filling. I think I remember this is the glass cooler looking like a deep dish/springform tall, straight-sided pie with struessel topping. Or was that a bumbleberry pie? I expected the topping to be more crumble than cookie. Will try this next: 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2/3 cup sugar (brown or white or a combination) and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, Would also like to try a shortcrust version.

We followed the recipe and froze fresh spring fruit which seems dumb when its fresh. So next time, no freezing. The two-egg/flour/sugar batter really keeps the wet fruit filling together. Crumble topping fuses together like a big cookie. Tasted and looked great but was greasy. Unsure why it needs both sugar and honey. After 40 minutes at 350F, middle crumble was still pale and raw. Added another 15+ minutes in five and three minute increments.

2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
2 c frozen strawberries (need to try fresh)
2 c frozen rhubarb (also need to try fresh)

1 pie shell (web recipe does not specify but we used a standard 9-inch deep dish)

1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 pinch of salt
3 tbsp liquid honey
¾ cups flour

Pre heat oven 425F. Whisk eggs in large bowl. Mix in sugar, flour until smooth like batter. Fold fruit into mixture. Pour into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes, remove and reduce heat to 350F. Add crumble topping to cover and bake for 40 minutes. (took longer for us and suspect when using fresh fruit it will be more accurate.)

This recipe comes from one of the early Harrowsmith Cookbooks. It combines the best features of pie and crumble, with a flaky pastry crust and a crunchy buttery topping.

pastry for 9-10-inch pie plate

3 cups chopped rhubarb

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup sour cream


1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soft butter

Arrange rhubarb and strawberries in unbaked pie shell. Mix sugar and 1/3 cup flour with sour cream and pour evenly over fruit. Combine 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar and butter until crumbly and sprinkle over top. Bake at 450F/230C for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350F/180C and bake another 30 minutes, until fruit is tender. Chill before serving. Good as is or with whipped or ice cream.

Think pink

16 Mar

Spring is coming and we’re already thinking pink.


We are looking forward to barbecued pizza, and earls’ pesto shrimp and lemon is our inspiration. It was created by an earls chef who previously worked at 4 St. Rose.


California Shrimp Pizza

2 12-inch pizza dough portions
2 Tbs pesto
2 tbsp confit garlic oil
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta
6 oz (170 grams) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup pesto
2 lemon wedges

Preheat grill and pizza stone on high. (500F)
Stretch the dough into rounds. Place on a floured or cornmeal dusted sheet. Brush with garlic oil to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with one-quarter of mozzarella.
Sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes and top with another quarter of mozzarella and half of the feta to keep them from burning.
Coat shrimp in vegetable oil and top them on pizza. Repeat steps with second pizza.
Grill or bake for 10 or 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.
Garnish with a drizzle of pesto and service with lemon wedges.

Chili Con Midway Carney

13 Jul

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 St. 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 shows 2,117 recipes for chili. If you haven’t mastered your own house speciality yet, chili is an easy work in progress.



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 [I would try to mop a bit of oil away and add spices to fry in a bit of the fat at this stage]. Add all ingredients to a deep roasting pan, cover with foil and bake in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.