Friday, May 28, 2010

Turkish Breakfast

It's my first day in Turkey, I've only eaten breakfast and it was so delicious that I just couldn't help but share. We're staying with a friend who has a house on top of a mountain just outside of Marmaris, a very small village -- only 200 people. A friend of a Damla named Iman owns the most charming little restaurant, very modest but she sure knows what she's doing. The people here are so wonderful -- very hospitable, everybody knows each other, it's a completely different lifestyle than I'm accustomed to, but I'm loving it.

Gozleme is a traditional breakfast food in turkey, it's made by rolling out a soft dough until it's paper thin, then it gets a layer of wild mountain herbs and is finished with another layer of dough. It's cooked in the wood burning oven, girls start practicing gozleme at the age of six, and it takes them at least 7 years to perfect it. Delicious.

We also had the most incredible yogurt cheese, made by churning yogurt until it separates, the curds are slightly dried and seasoned with wild thyme, and the butter...don't even get me started, it's cultured, sweet, salty, impossible not to eat an entire plate with flatbread and honey. The olives are from Iman's garden, she cures them herself. Everything is so fresh, so simple, and ever so delicious. Iman, the restaurant owner, has invited us to learn how to make manti tomorrow morning -- they're impossibly tiny ravioli stuffed with lamb, served with yogurt, dried mint and paprika oil on top. Can't wait.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Perfect Brunch

I used to be one of those people that just didn't "do" brunch, or anything that requires waking up before noon on a Sunday for that matter, but this past Mother's day my mom asked me to make brunch for her and seeing as it was her special day, I was left with no choice. One of my favourite things to eat whenever I'm up early enough is a spanish tortilla. A traditional Spanish tortilla is more of an omelette than what us North Americans know as a tortilla, it's a bit more dense and usually contains cubes of potato that has been slowly cooked in olive oil. If you've got potatoes, lots of olive oil and a few eggs, you can make a delicious spanish tortilla. I served my tortilla with some thinly sliced chorizo sauteed with roasted red peppers and a baby mache salad dressed ever so lightly with a little big of walnut or argan oil and some Maldon salt.

Peel and dice 4 medium yellow fleshed potatoes, preheat 1 cup of olive oil in an 8 inch cast-iron or non-stick saute pan. Add the potatoes to the warm olive oil, season with salt and cook slowly until the potatoes are just tender. You don't want to brown the potatoes, just poach them lightly in the olive oil. When the potatoes are cooked, pour off any extra olive oil and discard. Whisk together 6 eggs with lots of salt and pepper and a tablespoon of water. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and shake the pan so that they don't stick. Cook the egg until you can just see a shallow pool of uncooked egg in the middle of the pan. If necessary, scrape down the sides of the pan so that the tortilla doesnt stick. Slide the tortilla out onto a plate, invert the pan on top and flip the tortilla back into the pan, cooked side up. Cook on medium low for another 10 minutes or until the egg has cooked all the way through. Flip the Tortilla back onto a plate, slice into wedges and serve either hot or at room temperature.

One thing I refuse to do is cook dessert on a Sunday morning, so rather than buying pastries I just peeled and sliced some oranges and finished them with honey, orange blossom water and chopped pistachios, simple and oh so delicious.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fresh Chickpeas

Chickpeas are one of those ingredients, they're what I reach for when my pantry is looking a little bare, you can put them in almost anything and because of their mild flavour, they just seem to know how to get along with all kinds of flavours. Fresh chickpeas on the other hand, are the star of the show. As with most peas, they require a small amount of work, plucking them from their little shells, but in my opinion, their sweet, almost nutty flavour is well worth the effort! Try them steamed in their shells finished with chili and lime just like mexican edamame, sauteed with onions and garlic, they're even delicious raw, tossed into a grain based salad. We've just received our first shipment of fresh chickpeas, they're available in the store, so come and get 'em!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stick it to the Man!

Looking for something to do - and chew - this May long weekend? Enjoy a class with owner of Manna Catering, and Cookbook Co. regular, Chris Halpin, as he takes you through the world of Potstickin' Dumplings!

An incredibly versatile form of cuisine, these little treasures satisfy from soup to dessert with style and flavour!

Here's what's on the menu this Sunday -

cilantro pork potstickers with roasted garlic marmalade
chipotle scallop steamed dumplings with thai sweet chili dip
vegetable potstickers with chestnut hoisin
shrimp & shitake dumplings in lemongrass broth
sour cherry & dark chocolate rangoon with silky kirsch tofu dip

Call The Cookbook Co. Cooks at 403-265-6066 to register for this class which takes place Sunday, May 23 from 11 am – 1:30 pm, and become a member of our Little Dumpling Gang!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Love Macarons!

Macarons are little almond meringues filled with buttercream, jam, or any number of fillings, they were invented hundreds of years ago but fell out of vogue until just recently. These crispy, gooey, creamy, delicious little desserts have become very popular the past few years, and they're known for being extremely difficult to make. Macarons are made from 3 basic ingredients: powdered sugar, egg whites and ground almonds, although the ingredients are quite simple, the methodology isn't for the faint of heart. I'll admit, I've unsuccessfully attempted macarons a few times before, but I'm not blaming myself for my failure, its the dodgy recipes I've been using. At only 80 pages, I heart Macarons is clear, to the point, and almost make macaron-ing a simple task.

The only piece of advice I can give, if at first you don't succeed, try try again. Also, the third time's a charm, at least for me. My last batch of macarons were a little flat and slightly gnarly, but had nice smooth tops and a little food or "pied", soft in the centre and crispy on the outside. Yum!

The book is available at the shop for $17.95, and now that i've had some success, I see lots more macarons the near future.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Knifewear in Inglewood specializes in High Performance Japanese Knives. Owner and Knife Nerd, Kevin Kent, is launching Masakage Knives this Tuesday, May 4th at 6 pm. Designed by Kevin (Calgary) & Shibata san (Japan) and handmade in Japan by four incredible blacksmiths, you can check out all 7 lines of these unique culinary blades exclusively at the shop - 1316 9 Avenue SE.

Combining performance, sex appeal and sharpness, these are the "Blue Steel" of the kitchen knife world!

The launch party features beer from Wild Rose Brewery and food from Sugo.

Visit for more information.

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