Food

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Fresh Fit Foods innovative concept provides an enjoyable new way to get healthy.

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Photography by Grant Olson

Chicken & Fruit Snack
Chicken & Fruit Snack

No time to cook, no time to eat well if this sounds like your life, Fresh Fit Foods is ready to solve your problems with a simple approach to eating and becoming healthy.

Operations Director Brian Hopkins, Executive Chef Seamus Blue, and Nutrition Manager Laura Swim, along with Business Operations Assistant Neha Kumari and other team members, take great pride in their wholesome framework that leads the way in your journey to fitness and health.

Fresh Fit Foods started as a nutritional component for clients of World Health Edmonton. World Health’s fitness and personal training facilities have been a part of the Edmonton fitness scene for almost three decades. The company, recognizing a need amongst its clients for assistance with losing weight and maintaining good nutrition practices in their daily lives, enlisted Fresh Fit Foods to fill this need.

To paraphrase Chef Seamus Blue, “most people today do not have the time and/or knowledge to design a healthy menu, source out nutritious ingredients, shop, and cook each and every breakfast, lunch and dinner in a beneficial way.” Now, Fresh Fit Foods will do it for you.

L-R: Jessica McAlpine, Sous-chef Hector Pulido, Executive Chef Seamus Blue, Shannon Mylie, Doug Clark
L-R: Jessica McAlpine, Sous-chef Hector Pulido, Executive Chef Seamus Blue, Shannon Mylie, Doug Clark

Chef Seamus, when asked about the company’s guiding principles, says the Fresh Fit Foods philosophy entails “real food and real nutrition for real people” served with “substance, integrity and honesty.”

The culinary expert and his colleagues begin with fresh, natural, and raw products, without the usual fillers and preservatives, or added salt, sugar, or soy. A full menu of meals and snacks are aimed at providing necessary, balanced nutrients, and a recommended number of calories. Sauces, salad dressings, nut butters, and the like are also made in-house. From production to delivery, ingredients are stored to maintain optimum sanitary and food-safe conditions. All product cooked in the commercial kitchen is kept in unique temperature controlled areas, except when being cooked in the state-of-the-art, environmentally-controlled, combination steamer/convection oven, which allows the chef to use a variety of low-fat cooking techniques. Meals are properly par-cooked, so they can be reheated by microwave or stovetop. The meals are fresh, high quality, and nutritious.

Tuna Salad Wrap
Tuna Salad Wrap

The Fresh Fit Foods 21 Day Challenge is a lifestyle change designed to help you lose weight and get healthy by taking over meal planning and preparation, leaving you with more time to work out and live your life. The challenge sets up a beneficial, flavourful meal plan for you, using Fresh Fit Foods’ nutrient, calorie and portion-controlled, pre-packaged meals. You pick up the tasty, fresh (not frozen) prepared meals at one of Fresh Fit Foods many locations and enjoy! Meals should be eaten within 1-3 days, although many can be frozen for your convenience.

The meals are skilfully designed to contain lean proteins, heart-healthy fats, and low glycemic index carbohydrates. Two different-sized meal plans are available for 1200 – 1500 or 1500 – 1800 calories per day diets.

Menu choices include tasty Steak and Eggs or Quinoa and Oat Porridge for breakfast and scrumptious Chicken Penne Alfredo for lunch. At dinner, enjoy an Autumn Lentil & Bean Salad or the flavourful Pesto Salmon and Cauliflower Mash. Savour two snacks each day, like the yummy Almond Butter Crunch or the Prairie Land Picnic. Meals are also packaged in environmentally friendly reusable containers that are dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe.

Once you have registered for the 21 Day Challenge in person or online, you can select your meals and pick them up at of one of the 10 convenient Fresh Fit Food/World Health locations (nine in Edmonton; one in Sherwood Park). As an alternative, you can “grab and go” at any of the World Health locations or in the full-service retail store.

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Greek Chicken Salad

In addition, Fresh Fit Foods and World Health work together to give their clients the benefits of both fitness and nutrition. Non-World Health members receive a complimentary 21 day pass with the purchase of their 21 Day Challenge, to ensure they get the most out of their Challenge. The fitness club’s existing members get a 10% discount if they take part in the 21 Day Challenge. Personal nutrition counselling is included in the bundle as well.

Operations Director Brian Hopkins, Chef Seamus, and their team are continually working on new ways to serve you, collaborating with suppliers like Sysco to find new products, creating original meals, and crafting systems to improve your customer experience.

Fresh Fit Foods brings you the convenience and luxury of having a personal nutrition coach, grocery shopper, and chef — all in one. Do yourself a favour and give it a try!

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Protein Boost Snack

FRESH FIT FOODS

10720 142 Street NW, Edmonton, AB

Tel: 587-523-7033

Email: info@freshfitfoods.ca

www.freshfitfoods.ca

Highlighting Edmonton’s Culinary Scene.

Partnered By: Sysco

 

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Madison’s Grill at the Union Bank Inn serves up the very best in a comfortably elegant atmosphere.

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Photography by Grant Olson

Pan Seared Halibut
Pan Seared Halibut

Edmonton’s Union Bank Inn, located on Jasper Avenue, is a classic and beautiful brick structure, originally built to house the Union Bank of Canada in the early 1900s. Many incarnations later, it was transformed into a chic boutique hotel, and one of its many high points is the exquisite dining area, Madison’s Grill & Vintage Room.

Madison’s décor is modern, but retains touches of the century-old character, such as the inviting fireplace. There is seating for 70 people. Weather permitting, eat al fresco on the adjoining terrace.

The Vintage Room, for intimate dining, seats 14, in a luxurious chamber displaying some of the restaurant’s selective wine menu items. The room is also designed for business purposes, with suitable technological needs built-in, or available, for your presentations.

The distinguished, yet cozy, spaces afford pleasurable havens from the hustle and bustle of downtown, with a unique dining experience designed by Executive Chef Jon Spanton and his team.

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Executive Chef Jon Spanton

Chef Jon calls his cuisine “Modern Canadian, with a global accent.” He features food from local producers and farmers’ markets, and partners with companies such as Sysco, all in an effort to provide patrons with an “experience they will find nowhere else.” This means serving “the very best” of all sorts of foodstuffs and borrowing from other cultures to create a “one of a kind” eating adventure.

The menu changes regularly, not just seasonally — whenever Jon has a new inspiration — with the process taking about three days from conception to table. Moreover, there are feature dishes every day.

Watermelon Caprese
Watermelon Caprese

Jon is a French-trained chef, who uses French techniques combined with “whatever catches his eye.” It usually results in meals of “rustic elegance.” Chef Jon went to culinary school in Toronto, and has a variety of experience over the past 14 years, including over six years of running kitchens. His Sous-chef Jennifer Girling, and their team produce everything possible in-house.

Madison’s Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tantalizing menu items may include Caramel Pecan Waffles to wake up your taste buds in the morning; the innovative Watermelon Caprese starter at lunch or dinner; a vegetarian Falafel Burger at midday; and savoury Roast Pork Tenderloin for your evening meal. Follow those treats with a sassy dessert such as Love at First Bite!

"Love at First Bite"
“Love at First Bite”

Of course, a fine, comfortable dining encounter at Madison’s Grill or the Vintage Room offers an equally pleasing beverage list. A discerning menu features regional and Canadian wines, and additional old and new world vintages, carefully considered to complement the cuisine.

Madison’s hosts extraordinary Winemaker’s Dinners a few times per year, with menu items and fine wine perfectly paired. The next one is tentatively planned for October 2015. In addition, Chef Jon is preparing a fall 6-course menu surprise.

  • The team at the Union Bank Inn have also devised a number of special packages for your enjoyment, such as the “Citadel Dine and Play” and the “Wine and Dine,” which includes:
  • Overnight stay in a room with a Fireplace
  • 3 Course Table D’Hôte Menu especially prepared for you using the best seasonal and local products. Each course is complimented with a Wine Pairing.

A la carte Breakfast for two in Madison’s Grill

Food & Beverage Manager Kevin Rutkowski can meet your every dining need.

Treat yourself to a marvelous encounter at Madison’s Grill & Vintage Room!

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MADISON’S GRILL &  VINTAGE ROOM

10053 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB

Tel: 780-401-2222

Email: madisons@unionbankinn.com

unionbankinn.com 

MADISON’S GRILL HOURS:

Monday – Friday 7am – 10pm

Saturday: Breakfast 8-11am & Dinner 5-10pm

(Closed for lunch)

Sunday:  Breakfast 8-11am & Dinner 5-9pm

(Closed for lunch)

Highlighting Edmonton’s Culinary Scene.

Partnered By: Sysco

 

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Packed with goodness, eggs provide a variety of benefits

eggHave you ever noticed that, come Easter, eggs seem to pop up everywhere? We dye them, we decorate them, we hide them and we hunt for them. We like to stuff them into baskets (chocolate eggs, but still), and then there’s the whole egg-rolling-race thing involving hard-boiled eggs, grass and long-handled spoons. Versatile little things, aren’t they?

“Bottom line is eat your eggs. You can’t go wrong.”

Let’s not forget what else we could be doing with eggs: actually eating them! Not only do they taste great, but they’re packed with nutrition as well.

“Eggs really are nature’s most nutrient-dense food,” explains Dietary Technician Beth Castle. “There are over 14 nutrients in an egg. If you compare that to chicken, which has eight nutrients, you can see just how healthy they are.

“Not only do they have choline, which helps with brain development and function, they also have vitamin D, folate and iron—nutrients that are hard to get from other foods.”

Each large Grade A egg also contains six grams of protein. And because eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, which your body needs to build protein. They are one of the few foods that are a complete protein—all for only 70 calories each.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the white has all of that protein, though.

“If you’re throwing the yolk out, you’re missing out big time. That’s where most of the egg’s nutrients are, including almost half of the protein.”

Eggs have received some bad publicity in the past due to the amount of cholesterol they contain, but recent studies have shown eating an egg a day is perfectly okay.

“It doesn’t increase your risk of heart disease. Dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol,” says Castle. “People often tell me, ‘My grandparents ate eggs every day and they lived into their eighties or nineties.’ Be wary of fads and use common sense.

“It sounds like a broken record, but when it comes to your overall diet, it really is about moderation and going back to basics.”

Also, when you pick up a dozen eggs, whether it’s at the farmers’ market, or your local supermarket, you’re also supporting local Alberta farmers.

“Not only do our eggs come from family-run farms, but they’re super fresh. Most are just four to seven days old, and some are as little as two days old.

“Eggs are used in so many different things, everything from muffins to meatloaf to coating for fish and chicken. And at around 23 cents an egg, where else can you find such a nutrient-dense food that has so many uses?

“Really, the bottom line is eat your eggs. You can’t go wrong.”

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Mediterranean Crustless Quiche

Photo supplied by Taste Alberta
Photo supplied by Taste Alberta

Enjoy spring with healthy and delicious zucchini quiche

Serve quiche with a mesclun salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette

Preparation: 15 minutes  | Cooking: 35 to 40 minutes  | Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced zucchini

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 ½ ounces goat cheese, crumbled

¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved (optional)

3 tbsp minced soft sun-dried tomoatoes

5 eggs

¾ cup 2% milk

½ tsp dried basic (or 1 tbsp of chopped fresh basil)

Cooking spray

Salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

2. Add zucchini, onion and garlic; cook, stirring until golden brown and soft, about six minutes.

3. Transfer mixture to 9-inch glass pie plate sprayed with cooking spray.

4. Sprinkle with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.

5. Whisk together eggs, milk and basil in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Pour egg mixture over zucchini mixture.

7. Bake in preheated 350°F oven until set in centre, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Nutrients per serving:

Calories: 190

Protein: 12 g

Carbohydrate: 7 g

Dietary Fibre: 2 g

Fat: 13 g

 

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Tiramisu Bistro on trendy 124 Street offers much more than just café fare

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Photography by Grant Olson

 

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Fresh and fabulous is the key ingredient to everything on the menu at trendy Tiramisu Bistro. Open for the past three years, this Italian-inspired bistro is part coffee house hangout, part upscale restaurant that offers something for everyone in terms of taste, décor and atmosphere.

“We really believe in offering everything as fresh as possible. All our breads, desserts and more are made in-house. Even all our  soups and sauces are made fresh. The owner Seble Amelga lived in Rome for many years, so a lot of the inspiration comes from here time there,” says Executive Chef Robert Paolinelli. And with a new menu just launched that includes some new and old items, with many gluten-free options, Tiramisu is taking things to next level! With seating for 115 and two patios, free wifi and delectable coffee, Tiramisu is the perfect place to enjoy good food, drinks and friends.

Tiramisu’s appetizer menu has a wide range of fare ranging from wraps to antipasti, such as the Avocado Crab Tiramisu, to various brushetta’s, such as the Salmone Bruschetta, featuring smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese spread, capers and red onion. There’s also an endless range of breakfast options from the Napoli Crepe, to a new Frittata, as well as several fresh and healthy salads. Try the popular Quinoa Salad for an even healthier option!

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For those on the go at lunch, there are six types of panini’s including the Goat Cheese Panini, the Italian Gourmet Burger Panini, the new Gorgonzola and Steak Panini, and the Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Burger. There’s also 10 Italian-style pizzas on offer, ranging from the popular Margherita Pizza and the delicious Salmone Pizza, to the Calabrese—there’s a fine Italian pizza on the menu for every taste. For even more choice for lunch or dinner, Tiramisu Bistro wouldn’t be authentic Italian if it didn’t offer real, freshly made pasta! The ever-popular Rosso Pizza is tossed in a creamy rose sauce with Italian sausages, red bell pepper, red onion and pamigano, while the Formaggio Pizza offers a creamy mozzarella asiago and pamigano sauce with grilled chicken and mushrooms!

For those with a larger appetite, Tiramisu Bistro offers the “Chef’s Creations.” These unique and exciting dishes are created by Chef Robert, inspired by Old-World Italy and made with locally sourced and fresh ingredients. One of the most popular dishes with customers is the Frutti di Mare with sautéed prawns and mussel in a pesto white wine sauce. There also two new dishes being offered on the new menu including the Rigatoni and Confied Duck Ragu and the New York Steak, served with mushroom risotto.

The bistro also caters to private meetings and events, such as New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, as well as corporate meetings and specialized catering. On Friday nights, the place is buzzing with great local musicians filling the atmosphere with sweet sounds, and the patio is always busy in the summer.

So come on down to Tiramisu Bistro!

Tiramisu Bistro

10750 124 Street

Tel: 780-252-3393

Email: info@tiramisubistro.ca

tiramisubistro.ca

Hours of Operation:

Mon & Tues 9am-9pm

Wed & Thurs 9am-10pm

Friday 9am-11pm

Saturday 9am-10pm |Brunch until 2pm|

Sunday 10am-5pm |Brunch until 2 pm|

For all Major Holidays, please inquire.

Highlighting Edmonton’s Culinary Scene.

Partnered By: Sysco

 

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mothers_cover

 

ONE STOP SHOPPING FOR ALL YOUR FOOD & GIFTS.

10am to 5pm Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday

SENIORS DAY EVERY FRIDAY

10251 – 109 street  |  www.edmontonfarmersmarket.com

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MOTHER’S CAFE

New at Mothers Market! Come and have a healthy home cooked meal with fresh local products from our market. Grab a coffee and relax on our 2,000 sq. ft. patio or indoors in the winter. Take home a variety of frozen meals from quiche and meat pies to home made baked bean soups.

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 T. 780 385 5111

E. feddrite@syban.net

Specialty Products Sold:  Roasted dandelion root coffee substitutes & herbal teas. Along with rhodiola rosea and echinacea root.

Pre-Orders can be made on bulk orders.

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T. 780 716 6220

E. allefive@hotmail.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Traditional French and English pastries all created with a trendy twist.  A variety of sweet and savoury delights.  Delicious Trendz has a wide selection of frozen meals to go such as tourtiere, bison pies and pizza pockets.

Pre-Orders can be made with all products that are available.

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E. FMMnatural@gmail.com

Specialty Products Sold:  All natural beef, pork, poultry, bison, lamb, boar, veal & smokehouse products.  Brant Lake Wagyu beef, Heritage Angus beef, Maple Hill chicken, locally sourced pork & lamb, Wildrose bison, Hog Wild Boar and sourced veal.  All products are locally sourced with no hormones, steroids or antibiotics.

Pre-Orders are welcome.

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E. goingnuts04@gmail.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Flavored nuts, fresh granola, granola bars, date bars & nut butters.  Flavored nuts include spicy, sweet, pecans, almonds and peanuts.  Nut butter flavors include almond & peanut butter.

Pre-Orders are welcome.

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www.joriginals.ca

Specialty Products Sold: Where Art and INNOVATION meet. “WOW” is a common reaction to Jori’s contempary, realism artwork. Joriginals can be found in homes, offices, hotels, and resturants. Jori’s Plan B Collection includes, limited edition giclee prints, Jr. Joriginals, her “Off the Wall” decor line, and look for her outdoor line this spring.

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E. info@lundsorganic.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Certified organic Alberta vegetables & organic fruit.  Pickled vegetables & fruit.  Alberta grown organic root vegetables are available year round.

Pre-Order at info@lundsorganic.com

IMG_7968T. 780 916 9032

E. bob@strawmanfarm.com

Specialty Products Sold:  This All-Natural Bison farm uses NO antibiotics, NO growth hormones, NO steroids, No vaccines or grains, raising ONLY GRASS FED animals. StrawMan Farm is committed to excellence, bringing only the finest meat products to their customers so that they may enjoy ìCanadaís Original Red Meatî and all of its healthy benefits.

Pre-Order at www.strawmanfarm.com

IMG_8047T. 780 878 4007

E. Sheila@sunworksfarm.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Certified organic, certified humane by S.P.C.A. free range chicken, eggs, 100% grass fed beef, pork and lamb. Certified organic deli meats & sausages that are certified organic humane free range with no preservatives, binders or fillings.  All of Sunworks Farm products are exceptional because they are completely natural.  Sausages are gluten free in a vegetable cellulose casing. Turkeyís are raised for special seasons.

Pre-Order at 1-877-393-3133

IMG_7807T. 780 819 5874

E. kimgarbiz@gmail.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Teaz Pleaz General Store specializes in organic teas & accessories.  Earthing products for grounding.  Earthsun all natural sunblock, detox, moisturizers.  Watkins products.  Collidal Silver ìGreen Eightî protection from cell phone radiation.  Custom made aprons and tutuís.

Pre-Order aprons, tutuís and gift baskets.

Check us out on twitter: teazpleaz@twitter

IMG_7973T. 780 986 8680

E. greenseggsham@xplornet.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Greens, Sprouts, Vegetables, Potatoes ñless starch than newer varieties. Duck, Goose, Guinea Fowl ñ all alkaline. Turkey & Cornish Game Hens, Sausages and charcuterie. No corn, soy or wheat in birds diet. All lactose, gluten and pork free. Duck Eggs  alkaline usually tolerated by those allergic or sensitive to acidic chicken eggs.

Pre order when you join our unique, year round, self- directed CSA or Slow Money Plans. www.greenseggsandham.ca

IMG_8785T. 780 474 8392

E. Santos_villalta@hotmail.com

Specialty Products Sold:  The perfect cup of coffee will make your day.  Deli Coffee specializes in coffee beans of the finest quality from El Savador.  Enjoy a flavourful cup of coffee when you visit the Motherís Market.  Enjoy our handcrafted special coffees:  caffe latte, cappuccino, expresso, mocha, chai latte, and iced coffee to name a few.  Purchase  a wide variety of coffee beans for your home & office.

Special Orders are accepted.

IMG_8025T. 780 672 2787

E. info@irvingsfarmfresh.com

Specialty Products Sold:  Free range Berkshire pork cuts.  Fresh & Frozen selection of fresh sausages, bacon & hams.  British style products, dry cured bacon & hams and gluten free products are available.  Products are free from nuts, dairy, eggs, soy & msg.

Pre-Orders are welcome.

 

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Soups, chilies and stews are more than just comfort food

We’ve successfully made it through another holiday season. Even though some of us may be feeling a bit worse for wear (slightly more sluggish and a wee bit rounder, perhaps), my guess is that it was completely worth it: deprivation is simply not part of the celebratory spirit. Food, fun and festivities go hand in hand. But now that the celebrations are over, it’s time to get back eating or even introducing healthier beans, lentils and grains into your diet with tasty, hearty and warming soups for the cold winter weeks ahead.

Curried Split Pea Soup
Curried Split Pea Soup

“A healthy diet is about moderation, not deprivation,” reports Dr. Catherine Chan, professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Alberta and co-author of Pure Prairie Eating Plan. “If you feel like you’re deprived, any diet is hard to sustain.

“Healthy eating is about eating a variety of foods from all the food groups and trying to focus on foods that don’t include too much of things like salt, sugar, fat and calories. It’s more about food than weight loss.”

The Pure Prairie Eating Plan takes the basics of the Mediterranean diet (lots of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, plus a splash or two of olive oil) and puts a uniquely prairie twist on things by focusing on foods that are grown here on the prairies. Think beef, canola oil, beans and lentils, and a variety of grains, fruits and veggies.

“We know eating at home is healthier. The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard,” explains Chan. “Start simple with time-saving dishes that you can make in big batches: things like chili, soups and stews. They’re a perfect way to get more veggies into your diet, and you’ll have a lot of leftovers.”

Chan also urges us to be creative. Beans and lentils are loaded with protein, fibre and nutrients, so try tossing chickpeas into salads and puréed lentils into muffins.

“My mom never made soup from a recipe. She just saved up every leftover veggie, threw them all into a pot and saw what happened.”

And since time is always a concern, don’t be scared to use convenience products.  Frozen veggies, pre-cooked chicken and canned beans are all good options – just read labels and be aware that you might have to make minor adjustments (like rinsing canned beans to remove extra sodium).

“Nutrition advice changes a lot over time, but everyone agrees that eating more fruits and vegetables is a good thing,” says Chan. “But we’re not saying not to eat snacks or desserts. Just think about healthier options – if you love ice cream, try frozen yogurt instead.

“We need to recognize that the food we raise is healthy when it out comes out of the ground; we just have to be mindful about how we prepare it.”

Alberta Pulses. Surprisingly Good

Pulses include dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Alberta farmers grow about 20 per cent of Canada’s dried peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

You can use pulses in salads and soups, or they can be puréed or used whole in appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and baked foods. Canned beans, lentils, and chickpeas can be drained and rinsed to add to salads, soups, and, of course, chili. 

High in protein and low in fat, pulses are a rich source of fibre, folate, iron, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals. Pulses may help control blood sugars for type 2 diabetics and help control blood cholesterol levels. Pulses are also an important meat alternative for vegetarians and can be included in a gluten-free diet.

Alberta Pulse offers easy and delicious pulse recipes that will show you that pulses aren’t just good for you; they also taste surprisingly good. Visit pulse.ab.ca for recipes, cooking tips, and more.

This chili is so full of flavour, filling, and comforting you won’t even guess that this it’s vegetarian

Serves 4 – serving size  approximately 1 ½ cups (375 mL)

Ingredients:

Photo supplied by Taste Alberta
Photo supplied by Taste Alberta

Canola oil cooking spray

¼ cup onion

1 tbsp jalapeno pepper ribs and seeds removed, chopped

¼ cup celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried mustard

1 cup no-added-salt diced tomatoes, undrained

½ cup no-added-salt tomato sauce

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 cup great northern or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned (drained)

½ cup carrots, diced

½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Pinch chipotle chili pepper

Dash freshly ground pepper

Dash Tabasco sauce (optional)

Directions:

1. Lightly spray non-stick medium sauce pan with canola oil spray. Heat saucepan.

2. Cook onion, jalapeno pepper, celery and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add spices, cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, vinegar, beans, potatoes, corn, carrots and vegetable stock; bring to boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chowder has thickened. Season with pepper and chipotle chili if desired.

4. For added zing, add 1-2 mL (1/4 – 1/2 tsp) Tabasco sauce.

Notes:

Per serving: 281 kcal, 2g fat, 0.2 g saturated fat, 56 g carbohydrate, 7 g fibre, 12 g protein.

Recipe courtesy of Pure Prairie Eating Plan

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Common_1

With a new comfort-style winter menu and funky atmosphere, The Common has something for everyone

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Open since 2009, The Common began as a small lounge on 124th street and then grew into the new 109th street location. Seen by regular patrons as a warm and welcoming space where vintage meets modern décor, customers will regularly find DJs playing music to add to the mood  from vinyl funk, to soul and classics.  The Common is a comfortable space for adults looking for a great downtown location for after work drinks, first dates, dinner with parents or even some great downtown nightlife and people watching.

With a new winter menu recently launched, The Common provides warming and comforting food that utilizes local ingredients from harvest to plate.

“As it gets cold outside I cook foods that bring about feelings of warmth through the senses. Be it the steam that rolls off the salmon dish, or the smell of warm apples and cinnamon for dessert, I cook my menu like how you remember foods as a child. I also took a different approach to the plating and sought out old vintage china—something that grandma would break out for special occasions,” says Executive Chef Jesse Morrison-Gauthier.

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In seeking inspiration for the new winter menu, Chef Morrison-Gauthier looked to his culinary roots and a recent get together with family.

“I made supper for everyone and what I cooked was a family meal. Nothing pretentious or overly impressive, I just wanted things to taste amazing and comforting. Food brings people together and more than ever this experience gave me a genuine inspiration,” says Morrison-Gauthier.

Described as a twist on classic and contemporary dishes and food pairings while in a modern gastro pub setting, The Common has entrees for under $20 but has the same quality and attention to detail as you would find at any fine dining establishment.

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Some new items on the menu include Earth Chips with Roasted Onion Dip; a Roasted Salmon with Pears, Root Vegetables and Lentils; a Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Brussel Sprout Leaves, Pine Nuts and Feta and a new favorite; the Earl Grey Crème Brulee with Shortbread and Persimmon Marmalade.

Some of the favourites for customers include their Chicken and Waffles; Braised Beef Short Rib and Risotto; and the Jackson Steak Salad, which includes a grilled head of romaine lettuce with roasted hanger steak, artichokes and blue cheese.

A graduate of the Baking Program at NAIT and the Art Institute of Vancouver Culinary Program, Chef Morrison-Gauthier describes his style of cooking as creative but forwardly flavourful, and he is often inspired by organic, raw foods, and sees the menu as part of a larger culinary collection aimed to delight palates of all kinds.

Check out The Common and it’s new Winter Menu to be sure of a great night out in a great environment!

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The Common

9910 109 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 1H5

(780) 452-7333

Hours:

Monday to Thursday: 11:30 am to Late

Friday: 11:30 to 2 am

Saturday: 5 pm to 2 am

Closed most Sundays and Holidays

www.thecommon.ca

 

 

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Charcuterie boards make holiday entertaining easy

meat001
Photography by Sean Williams

The holidays are quickly approaching and we all know what that means: friends, family and yes, entertaining. Now, entertaining can be enjoyable and rewarding, but it can also be daunting – all that planning and organizing, and then actually pulling it off. 

It’s never going to be stress-free (for most of us, anyway), but it is possible to host a gathering that’s deliciously unique and simple – really!

“You can’t go wrong with charcuterie,” says Andrew Cowan, Executive Chef of Hart’s Table and Bar in Edmonton. “Not only does it pack a whole ton of flavour, but you can put it together in advance.”

Executive Chef Andrew Cowan
Executive Chef Andrew Cowan

Charcuterie is just a fancy term for preserved meats or the craft of preserving meats – think sausages, ham, terrines, pâtés, confits and yes, the ever-popular bacon. And while it’s all the rage these days, charcuterie is actually an age-old tradition born out of necessity: it kept meat from spoiling before refrigeration existed.

“Salt is the key to charcuterie. It draws the water out of the meat so the microbes can’t survive, and less water means more flavour,” explains Cowan, who has been making his own charcuterie for about six years now. “Salt is actually the key to cooking anything – it helps make things taste good.”

To put together a charcuterie board, it’s really anything goes. “Go for a bit of everything. Put your selections on a board, keeping the same meats together so it’s clear as to what’s what, put any accompaniments in between, and then just try to make everything look as nice as you can. Aim for two to three ounces of meat per person as an appetizer, and four to five ounces if it’s the main focus.”

Cowan suggests starting with your favourite mortadella and salami, adding a prosciutto and a creamy terrine and then just taking it from there. And although the meat is the focus, he also likes to add pickles, olives, jam or preserved berries, some good sourdough bread, a really good cheese or two… anything that will complement the meat.

“Charcuterie is actually an age-old tradition born out of necessity.”

“A nice gorgonzola or Gruyère would work really well. Whatever you do, though, avoid those big blocks of orange cheese from the supermarket.meat002

“That’s the key to a good charcuterie board: quality. It makes a huge difference. Stay away from prepackaged low-grade luncheon meats and go local whenever possible. I shop at The Italian Centre, and I also use Valbella Meats from Canmore.”

As for drinks, Cowan is partial to whiskey or beer, “but everything from wine to sweet champagne goes. There are so many different flavours and meats and seasonings involved that it’s very open-ended.”

So enjoy your holiday season and entertain with ease!

A Cornucopia of Taste

Add this corn relish as a side to your charcuterie board for complementary pairing.meat003

4 1/2 cups corn

4 cups cucumbers (small dice)

4 cups white onion (small dice)

2 cups red pepper (small dice)

4 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 Tbsp celery seeds

4 cups cider vinegar

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp salt

1. Combine vinegar, spices, and sugar in a large pot. Slowly bring pot to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

2. Add vegetables and continue to simmer until they start to soften.

3. Whisk in flour.

4. Remove from heat and pack into sterilized jars.

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MarkMurphy
Photography credit: Cedric Angeles

Celebrity Chef Marc Murphy takes his lessons from life to educate Edmontonians on real food and the dangers of convenience

Marc Murphy thinks Canadians can do better. That’s not to say he doesn’t like Canadians. In fact, he thinks we are better (but not much) than his fellow U.S. citizens when it comes to his biggest pet peeves: processed foods and the absence of balanced, healthy diets in North America. And now he is on a crusade to fix that.

As a regular judge on the Food Network’s Chopped, guest on Iron Chef America, Martha Stewart and more, this executive chef, restaurateur and television personality knows a few things about food and what we should is or should not be eating. But his desire for healthier masses comes from a love of food, good health, and general well-being: he aims to educate, not berate. 

EARLY DAYS

Murphy, the son of a globetrotting diplomat, has lived all over the world as a boy in cities such as Milan, Paris, Rome, Genoa and Washington DC, all before the age of 12, which he says served as an excellent education in French and Italian cooking. Murphy has also attributed his cooking influences to his mother and grandparents, as he has recounted experiences of enjoying leg of lamb and ratatouille in the south of France. He has also credited renowned French chef Jean-Louis Palladin’s first cookbook for having the biggest impact on him.

While Murphy always loved eating and preparing food at home with his family, he never really desired to become a chef like his older brother, who had enrolled in culinary school. After a few odd jobs, such as residential and commercial painting, Murphy finally saw the light and worked towards a career in culinary arts. Shortly after, he attended school at The Institute of Culinary Education and started as a line cook at Prix Fixe in New York.

But his love and talent for food grew and by the mid 1990s, he was a sous-chef at Layla in New York and in 1996 became the executive chef at Cellar in the Sky, also in New York. After reaching executive status, Murphy began to set his sights on more personal entrepreneurial ventures.

From 1997 to 2000, he was the co-owner and executive chef of La Fourchette. In 2000, he also became the executive chef at Chinoiserie as well as the partner and co-owner of Le Couteau, both of which are in New York.

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THE RISE OF BENCHMARC

Word of Murphy’s talents reached far and wide in New York very quickly and in March 2004, he opened Landmarc Restaurant to great success with his wife Pamela Schein in TriBeCa, New York, where he is also the executive chef. In 2005, he also helped open another restaurant, Ditch Plains. By 2006, he opened his second Landmarc restaurant at the Time Warner Center in New York City, with almost three times the seating capacity of his original Landmarc, with 280 seats.

TRANSITION TO TV

For those who have never watched the Food Network, Chopped is an American reality based cooking television series hosted by Ted Allen that pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win $10,000. In each episode, four chefs are challenged to take a mystery basket of ingredients and turn them into a dish that is judged on their creativity, presentation, and taste with minimal time to plan and execute. Murphy was part of the original season in 2006 and has continued to be a regular judge on the popular show, which has also spun-off into a northern version with Chopped Canada. The popularity of the reality show has helped launch Murphy from a restaurateur into a bona fide celebrity chef, easily recognizable to droves of fans.

During the show, the chefs must cook their dishes and complete four platings (one for each judge plus one “beauty plate”) before time runs out. After each round, the judges critique the dishes based on presentation, taste, and creativity. The judges then decide which chef is “chopped,” that is, eliminated from the competition. Thus, by the dessert round, only two chefs remain. When deciding the winner, the judges consider not only the dessert course, but the entire meal presented by each chef as a whole. Murphy says the biggest mistakes he routinely sees on the show is when chefs panic and change directions too often. His success on Chopped has made him a regular or guest on many other popular shows, including Iron Chef America, another popular reality show.

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POSITIVE INFLUENCE

And while he may seem incredibly busy with running several restaurants, numerous television appearances and more, Murphy is also on a crusade to bring healthier eating to the plates of everyone he meets.

In May, Edmontonians were treated to Murphy’s wisdom as one of the key note speakers at Host Edmonton, an event aimed at the hospitality industry in Edmonton. Murphy spoke about the dangers of processed foods, especially sugar, and how poor government policies and convenient meals full of chemicals are slowing ruining the health of the masses and he warned about the health risks and costs associated with those choices. He also spoke about the growing problem of childhood obesity and how children are bombarded with junk food commercials on TV and lamented the fact that there is twice as many junk food ads on TV as there was six years ago. Murphy also spoke about how we are all responsible for our individual food choices, but decried the lack of support by U.S. and Canadian government and their move towards larger industrial farming as opposed to smaller, organic farming. But rather than complain, he suggested that North American governments could look to other European countries, such as Switzerland, where there is a big push to promote local farming.

As he spoke at length about the dangers of convenient foods, junk food, the lack of grass-fed beef and the dangers of corn-syrup and its encroachment into many foods, you could tell that he was passionate about his crusade for a healthier population. “If I change the minds of a few people here today to change the way they look at food, or change what they give their children, then I consider that a victory,” said Murphy. 

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Top tips from Executive Chef Christopher Chafe at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

TASTE ABTURKEYLet’s face it – most of us don’t get overly excited at the thought of cooking a turkey. Not that it’s hard, exactly. It’s just that it’s a task we tend to tackle only a few times a year and, since practice makes perfect, well…

Christopher Chafe, Executive Chef at Jasper Park Lodge, is not like most of us. He enjoys roasting turkey. In fact, he often roasts more turkeys in a single day than most of us will tackle in a lifetime (up to 72 birds during the Christmas in November event alone). “I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience roasting a turkey, not even my first one. My mum, however, would always cook it a bit too much. Don’t tell her I said that, though!”

His advice?

“Go slow. That’s the key to keeping it moist and juicy.”

By slow, Chafe means cooking it at 3250F for roughly 20 minutes a pound.

“Really, there’s no rushing a turkey. If you put your temperature up any more, you’ll dry it out.”

It’s not just about temperature, though. The ingredients you start with matter as well. “Here at the Lodge we use as much local product as we can get. That’s actually one of the reasons I came to Jasper.”

There’s also a bit of prep work involved. Chafe starts by brining the turkey overnight (submerging it in a salt and water mixture – it helps keep the meat moist). Then, the next morning, he gives the bird a quick rinse and pats it dry.

“Before it goes into the oven, I massage some olive oil into the skin and finish it off with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. It gives you that crispy skin you’re looking for.”

Make sure you have your temperature probe ready – Chafe recommends you cook the turkey until its internal temperature (and that of the stuffing) reaches between 165 and 1700C. 

“I like to do a sourdough stuffing and yes, I put it right in the bird. Once the turkey is done, though, I take the stuffing out and pop it back in the oven to give it an extra blast of heat.”

Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes while you finish off your sides (Chafe, who comes from England, likes to roast potatoes and root veggies). There you have it: a perfectly cooked turkey, ready to carve.

If you want to sample one of Chef Chafe’s slow-cooked creations, check out Christmas in November at Jasper Park Lodge. There are three sessions between November 7 and 16, and turkey will definitely be on the menu. Local turkey, of course.

Oh, and one last piece of turkey-cooking advice from Chafe: “Remember, it’s all about having fun.”

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CRAN-TASTIC!

Follow this recipe from Executive Chef Chafe at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for the perfect stuffing

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CHEF CHAFE’s CRANBERRY STUFFING 

1 Whole onion, diced

4 Sticks of celery, diced

2 Carrots, diced

3 Cloves of garlic, chopped

1 Loaf of sourdough bread, diced

5 oz of dried cranberries

6 oz of butter

2 Tbsp of sage, chopped

2 Tbsp of parsley, chopped

1/2 Tbsp of thyme, chopped

1/2 Tbsp of rosemary, chopped

3 Cups of chicken stock, hot

Method:

Sauté onion, celery and carrots in butter. Add garlic to sweat. Add the bread and chopped herbs and stir continuously and tilt the skillet to prevent burning. Slowly add the chicken stock a little bit at a time as you may not need to use it all.

Once the stuffing is finished, lay it out onto a baking sheet with parchment. Place it in the oven at 350ºF for 30 to 40 minutes.

You can also add two diced apples and a few pieces of diced chicken sausage at the diced vegetable stage for variety.

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