In My Kitchen – September 2015

The days are getting shorter and evenings have a bit of a chill to them. There’s no denying it, the last days of summer are passing by quickly and fall will soon be upon us. I don’t really mind because summer hasn’t been too kind to our family and I really am ready for a change. This time of year I’m busy keeping the boy fed in between football practices and using as much fresh produce as I can before carrots, beets, and kale are the only local vegetables I can find at the Farmer’s Markets.

This year I’m doing quite a bit more preserving, not just the usual jams and jellies but I’m making my own passata, canning peach pie filling, and putting up some pickled beets and beans for the teens. The whole family pitched to make creamed corn when I temporarily lost my mind and bought a whole bag of corn at the Farmer’s Market. creamedcorn

We spent some time at my parent’s farm where my youngest son had the chance to be a farmhand for a while. I know it’s not really ‘In My Kitchen’ but here he is with his uncle learning how to break down a chicken. I’m also throwing in this photo of Hazel, the orphaned Bison calf that my cousin is bottle feeding. She’s so darn cute!inmykitchen2

It’s been so long since I’ve posted for In My Kitchen I thought I would include these Spicy Meat Bombs made with jalapenos, cream cheese, spicy chorizo, and bacon. After I cooked them on the barbecue I slathered them with a sweet barbecue sauce.

Meatbombs1

There were some products that I enjoyed working with as well. I made a Reese Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread Frozen Dessert and enjoyed a bottle of La Marca Prosecco with hubby for our 19th wedding anniversary.
inmykitchen1I braved the insanity at IKEA because I saw that they have a gorgeous new tableware line called Sittning and I always have my eye open for cheap, stylish props. I was told that each year IKEA has a theme and this year the theme is… FOOD. Here is most of my haul: ikeaI have to get going now because football practice is almost over and dinner is still not ready! Tonight is fried rice, Spanish style because I have left over saffron rice in the fridge and I’m going to mix it with some fried chorizo and fresh green beans.

Much thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting In My Kitchen every month. Do take a look at her lovely blog to see what’s going on in her Australian kitchen..

Everyday Extraordinary…La Marca Prosecco

I’ve had this bottle of La Marca Prosecco sitting in my refrigerator since the day it appeared on my doorstep. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the ‘right time’ to pop it open…for any type of ‘little celebration’ in our lives. It’s been a tough August, with many extra added trials and tribulations so there never seemed to be a right time to open it. It stood there in the back of the fridge kind of like a symbol of hope; a promise that our luck would turn eventually.

Summer is almost over and today is our wedding anniversary. 19 years.  They weren’t all wedded bliss (they had their own trials and tribulations) but today I am more in love with my hubby than I ever have been and that is definitely something to celebrate. We spent the last evening before school out on the deck enjoying each other’s company, reflecting on the past while at the same time looking forward to our future. I made some snacks for him and he poured the prosecco. I wouldn’t have it any other way. lamarca1
At first I paired the La Marca Prosecco with a splash of St. Germain elderflower cocktail but we both agreed that it was a bit too sweet. How I really enjoyed it was with a slice of fresh, juicy nectarine and a tiny splash of St. Germain. It was perfection.  We didn’t enjoy our La Marca Prosecco during brunch but I think it would be perfect as an aperitif with Crème de Cassis or as the base for a sparkling Sangria.



Here is a great weekend brunch recipe by Kevin Pendergrast, Executive Chef at Hilton, Toronto. In it he has reduced La Marca Prosecco, added it to ricotta, and used it to glaze figs.

La Marca infused ricotta cheese with herbs, Canadian Prosciutto, wild flower honeycomb, toasted walnuts, and figs glased in La Marca Prosecco, orange zest LaMarca RicottaHoneyGlazedFigs2Photo courtesy of PraxisPR

Ingredients

  • 500 ml (2 cups) La Marca Prosecco
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) wild flower honey
  • 2-3 fresh or dried figs
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) prosciutto
  • 3-4 pieces, toasted walnuts
  • 1 wild flower honey comb
  • Chives, edible flowers; to garnish

Method 

La Marca Prosecco Reduction

  • 500 ml (2 cups) La Marca Prosecco
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) wild flower honey

Combine both ingredients together in sauce pan over medium heat (275 F) and reduce until light golden syrupy consistency (about 1/4 cup). Cool to room temperature.

Glazed Figs

  • 2-3 fresh or dried figs
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) La Marca Prosecco reduction

Gently toss the fresh or dried figs into the La Marca Prosecco reduction and set aside to marinate.

La Marca Prosecco Spiked Ricotta with Fresh Herbs

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) ricotta cheese
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) La Marca Prosecco reduction
  • handful of chopped chives

Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside in the fridge.

To assemble: With a small spatula, spread 50 grams of La Marca infused ricotta on a plate. Artfully place prosciutto, toasted walnuts, wild flower honeycomb, and edible flower garnish on top of the ricotta. Enjoy with a crusty baguette. Serves 2 as a shared plate.

Interesting La Marca Prosecco tidbits:

  • It’s made in the Trevisio area of Northern Italy
  • It contains 100 % Glera grape varietal
  • It has an Alcohol level of 11.3%
  • Tasting notes include citrus, honey, and florals with a lively yet soft effervescence
  • It is widely available in Canada and Alberta including Sobey’s Liquor Locations
  • It retails for under $20 so you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy it!

lamarca2

***I was sent a bottle of La Marca Prosecco for review but I really enjoyed it and wanted to share it with everyone…unfortunately I drank it all!***

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

It’s interesting how a dish passed on from one generation to the next can make you feel closer to the people that made them. This Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert was my introduction to the Kyle side of my husband’s family and in a way, it made me feel like part of the family. It was the first recipe that Grandma Kyle shared with me and I immediately felt relaxed and welcomed into the family.

Our first summer vacation as a family was to the Kyle’s cabin at Falcon Lake, Manitoba. Our son was a year old and I had yet to meet a large portion of Hubby’s side of the family…needless to say I was a bundle of nerves and I really didn’t know what to expect, nor what was expected of me. We packed up all our baby gear and flew (for the first time!) from Saskatoon to Winnipeg where my father in law picked us up. The drive to Falcon Lake was short and within an hour and a half I was standing on the back lawn of the cabin. I don’t remember too much of the next couple of hours (it was 21 years ago) but I do remember the dessert we had that night. It was so rich and creamy…the perfect dessert to feed a large family at the summer cottage.

It was a Kyle family tradition to play a series of darts after dinner, first losing team takes first shift of dishes, second losing team takes second shift, and so on. I volunteered  to help clean up and put away the food with Grandma while the rest of the family played darts, mainly because I had never played darts but mostly because I wanted the recipe for the dessert. Grandma was pretty surprised because she had been making it for so long, she didn’t really think anything of it. To her it was just a dessert that fed a lot of people and that she didn’t have to turn the oven on for during those hot summers at the cabin. To me this Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert was something special. I’ve made it for many birthdays and family dinners since then but no matter what the occasion is, it always remind me of Grandma Kyle and summers at the Falcon Lake cabin.

091The original recipe was quite simple to put together and called for cool whip. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of cool whip so the first change I made to the recipe was to swap real whipped cream for the cool whip. I really wanted to make the dessert extra peanutty so I swapped out the crushed pecans used in the base for crushed peanuts. I’ve made the dessert that way for twenty years…until now. When I was sent two jars of Reese’s chocolate peanut butter spread, I knew immediately what recipe I would update. I used it to replace the peanut butter in the base and main portion of the dessert and it was delicious!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

Base Ingredients

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts

2 tbsp Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread

1/4 cup melted butter

Method

Pre heat oven to 350 F. Combine all base ingredients in a bowl and press into either a 9 x 13 pan or parchment lined 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for about 12 minutes. Let cool.

Topping Ingredients

1 package cream cheese; softened but not warm

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread

1 1/2 cups whipping cream; whipped to stiff peaks

1 tsp vanilla extract

toppings such as extra bases crumbs, roughly chopped peanuts, melted chocolate, caramel syrup

Method

If using a spring form pan, line the sides with parchment. Mix cream cheese, icing sugar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread, and vanilla extract until well combined and smooth. Fold into whipped cream. Spread mixture evenly over the crumb base. Decorate with toppings. Freeze overnight.peanutbuttercake

**This is a paid post, sponsored by Hershey’s Canada. I have been compensated monetarily and with product.**

reeses

Veuve Clicquot RICH Launch at Azuridge

There is a reason that Veuve Clicquot has only launched two new products in the last 40 years…they are simply the best at what they do and their product has withstood the test of time. Founded in 1772 by Phillipe Clicquot, the House of Clicquot was intended to bring the finest of French Champagne to all corners of the world. Phillipe brought his champagne to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and the USA before passing away, leaving the business entirely in the hands of Madame Clicquot. Through determination and innovation she made the brand what it is today. Most notably she created the first vintage champagne within the region, registered the trademark yellow label, and invented the riddling table process which ensures a crystal clear product.

veuvelabel

Maison Fondée en 1772 – À Reims France

I was fortunate to be invited to Azuridge Estate for the Calgary launch of Rich, the newest Veuve Clicquot innovation. I had no preconceptions on what was in store for our small group of excited media people and as my guest and I entered the Carnelian Room we were slightly confused.  There, on the long table set before us, were individual place settings with small wooden cutting boards, knives, and large baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables. Were we getting a cooking lesson? In a short word, no. veuvetablesettin
We were getting a lesson in ‘Clicquology’. Rich is a ‘Doux’ champagne, slightly higher in sugar content than the traditional VC Yellow Label. It was created expressly to be enjoyed on ice and mixed with ingredients such as cucumber, sweet peppers, pineapple, grapefruit zest, and tea. These ingredients bring out the natural flavours of the Pinot Noir (45%) , Meunier (40%), and the Chardonnay (15%) ensures the signature Clicquot finishing creamy mouth feel. Truly, this was a refreshing cocktail built for a beautiful summer’s day, perfect for open air occasions.

veuvecocktailsClicquot RICH on ice with cucumbers OR sweet peppers?

veuveteaOr…RICH infused with Earl Grey Tea?

Though we tried many different combinations, cucumber and grapefruit flavours were my absolute favourite. Afterwards, my guest and I enjoyed a walk around the grounds of Azuridge Estate, once a private home, now repurposed into a breathtaking getaway just twenty minutes outside of Calgary. We found that Veronique, the Canadian brand manager and her crew had brought some of the signature Veuve Clicquot joie de vivre to Azuridge.

veuvecollageHow about a shopping cart of Veuve Clicquot RICH?

Speaking of shopping…there are a handful of places where you can enjoy Veuve Clicquot RICH. It is available at all three locations of Zyn and exclusively at Azuridge Estate.

Zyn @ Bankers Hall #145, 315 Eighth Avenue SW

Zyn @ Suncor #105, 111 Fifth Avenue SW

Zyn @ Inglewood 1543 – 17 Avenue SE

*Please note that I have received no monetary compensation for this blog post but I did enjoy the RICH launch event entirely via the courtesy of Charton-Hobbs brand agency.

Corso32

I have been wanting to visit Corso 32 for a couple of YEARS now…since chef Daniel Costa launched his Italian cooking app, Tavola. With it he provides recipes, wine pairings, and music to help Apple using Italophiles create the perfect Italian dinner at home. I don’t use Apple products so I can’t use the app but I have made the odd recipe from it which I find by scrolling through social media. The recipes are great but nothing compares to the ‘real deal’; dinner at Corso 32.

I felt really lucky to have made a very late reservation for three on a long weekend Friday during the drive to Edmonton. Little did I know then that we would have car trouble only 15 minutes later. I almost cancelled (feeling like a heel!) but hubby assured me that we would arrive on time. Through all the construction on the way into the Edmonton city centre I was sitting on pins and needles and when our reservation time arrived, we were still stuck in traffic. I suggested hubby drop me off at the restaurant and carry on to check in at the hotel a couple of blocks away. In the end I was only seated 5 minutes late and ordered an Aperol spritz right away to soothe my frazzled nerves.
AperolspritzAs I sat there, I began to relax and unwind. The modern/cozy interior was soothing while the music replaced a bit of the energy I had lost through worry. I was feeling famished but I felt bad about the boys having to unload everything and settle the dogs so I ordered a couple of starters so that there would be food on the table when they arrived. Oh, and a bottle of wine…I knew hubby would appreciate it!

First to arrive on the table was this outstanding house made goat cheese ricotta with rosemary oil. It was perfectly seasoned with Maldon and I piled it generously onto the accompanying garlic rubbed baguette slices.

rosemaryricotta

House Made Goat Ricotta

I was a bit crushed when the boys arrived before I had finished the goat cheese…sharing in restaurants is so popular now, except if you are me and you don’t like to share! Just kidding, the boys were pretty impressed with their first taste of Corso 32. Just as my son had enjoyed the last of the cheese with the last of the bread (great bread to cheese ratio Corso 32!), a bowl of snowy arancini arrived. They were smoking hot but of course we dug in right away. We couldn’t believe how much of the Norcia sausage, swiss chard, and Fontina cheese filling was packed into the little fried balls of rice. Still…the boys declared my dill, smoked salmon, and caper arancini were preferred.

corso32aranciniArancini

Though we could visit Corso 32 and just order starters (Spring pea and Fava bean crostini; Fried Short Rib, shaved  pear, & arugula salad) we would be missing out on the outstanding pasta dishes. The Stracchino Agnolotti with butter, mint, peas, and Parmigiano was pasta perfection. I’ve never had such delicate and flavourful pasta in a restaurant setting before and I love how each dish comes off the pass covered in a snowy blanket of finely grated cheese.

corso32agnolottiStracchino Agnolotti

Look at my happy boys in the spoon! They are patiently waiting for me to take a photo of this Cavatelli with Pork & fennel sausage sugo. It was so good that I forgot that it also contained broccoli rabe. More cheese on top, of course.

corso32pastaCavatelli with Pork & Fennel Sausage Sugo

Always the ever vigilant mother, I made sure to order a vegetable dish. These roasted carrots were sublime, their caramelized flavour punctuated with bursts of vin cotto and tamed with shaved Parmigiano.

corso32carrotsRoasted Carrots; vin cotto, Parmigiano

After we saw the dessert menu, there was no way were leaving without tasting all three options available. Fortunately there was something sweet for everyone. Hubby ended his dinner with an Affogato; espresso elevated with house made fior de latte gelato and a sip of honey grappa.  Our son chose this outstanding Chocolate Torta with Salted Hazelnuts. Oh my. He gave me a bite and I almost regretted ordering the Vanilla Panna Cotta. Okay…I did have regrets but I don’t think I could have handled a whole slice of the torta on my own.

corso32chocolateChocolate Torta with Salted Hazelnuts
corso32pannacotta

Vanilla Panna Cotta; Oat Florentines, Blackberries, with Honey Grappa

The quality of food, service, and atmosphere at Corso 32 were outstanding. Though I haven’t had much opportunity to dine out in Edmonton, I would certainly recommend Corso 32 to anyone inquiring about where to dine in Alberta’s capital.

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Corso 32

10345 Jasper Ave; Edmonton, AB.

780 421 4622

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Surprise

You know, it never occurred to me to ever post my mac ‘n’ cheese recipe on the blog before today. I’ve been making it for my family for so many years that it just seems like an every day dish…and it is an every day dish, but it’s oh so good! Since there are no boxed mac ‘n’ cheeses allowed in this house I’ve had to teach each kid how to make it our way.pulledporkmacncheeseIt’s pretty easy, though not as easy as the boxed stuff and it does make a bit of a mess but really who cares? It’s so cheesy and good that when the craving hits, I would dirty every pan in my house to make it.

Lucky for you, you only need one pan!

My Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Ingredients 

2 litres salted water

3 cups macaroni

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1 tbsp yellow mustard (or other as you like)

1 tsp smoked paprika salt and pepper

2 cups coarsely grated old cheddar cheese

Method

Boil the water. Add macaroni and boil until it is al dente. Drain and leave in colander. Place pot back on stove and add the butter over low heat. When butter is fully melted scatter flour over and whisk until combined. Add milk and whisk until no chunks of flour remain. Whisk occasionally until sauce starts to thicken. Add mustard, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.  Add cheese and whisk until the cheese has melted into the sauce. Return pasta to cheese sauce and stir well.macncheese

Now for the surprise…this mac ‘n’ cheese has a layer of spicy sweet pulled pork. Oh yeah.

033

I just happened to make slow cooker pulled pork yesterday and I had a tiny bit left over. Though I usually like my mac ‘n’ cheese straight up, I thought if I could combine it with pulled pork it could become something really special. Now here’s the thing. I never use a recipe for my pulled pork. I make it different every time throwing whatever suitable ingredients I have in the kitchen into the crock pot. There has been the odd time that the pulled pork wasn’t up to standards but mostly it turns out just fine. Here’s what I think I did for yesterday’s pulled pork.

Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients

4lb/2kg boneless pork shoulder

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic; minced

2 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 diced onion

3 mild banana peppers; seeded and cut into rings

1 small green chile pepper; seeded and minced

1 pickled jalepeno; cut into rings

1 peach; peeled, pitted and diced.

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup barbecue sauce (the one I used had a nice maple flavour)

Method

Make a paste out of the oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and rub it into the pork shoulder. Brown all sides in a hot frying pan then place in slow cooker. Add diced onion, peppers, and peach. Mix up the remaining ingredients (including garlic) and pour over top of the pork shoulder. Cook on high for at least six hours then remove pork from the slow cooker and shred inside a pan. Cover with foil and keep warm as you reduce the liquid in a separate pot. When you think the liquid has been reduced enough, pour over pulled pork and serve.

To make the Mac ‘n’ Cheese Surprise, spread a small layer of mac ‘n’ cheese in the bottom of a tall ramekin. Add a layer of pulled pork, then another of mac ‘n’ cheese. Top with breadcrumbs and shredded old cheddar. Bake in 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

Blueberry Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs

So far this season I have bought 4 whole cases of British Columbia grown blueberries. I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything with them as they get eaten within a couple days of purchasing. Previously it was only my husband and I that like blueberries but now that my daughter has gotten over her perceived distaste for them, I have a difficult time keeping them in the house.

It’s really an unfortunate situation because I have so many plans for them! I would like to make a Blueberry Tart or maybe a Blueberry Gin Fizz, like One Tough Cookie did (isn’t that the best Blog name ever?).

Why not just make a whole meal out of blueberries? Serve the Blueberry Gin Fizz with this Grape and Blueberry Salsa grapesalsaThen enjoy the Blueberry Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs with a Blueberry Mango Quinoa Salad from This Fox Kitchen. This outstanding Blueberry Lavender Crème Brûlée by Wanda of Baker’s Beans would be the perfect end to any summer dinner.
blueberryribs2

A summer’s dinner of blueberry perfection. What would you do with a case of blueberries?

Blueberry Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients

8 beef short ribs

2 red onions; sliced

4 garlic cloves; chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp peppercorns

2 tsp coffee bitters (optional)

2 tsp Worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar

2 cups red wine (I used Shiraz)

1 cup beef stock

2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

Method

Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Brown in a heavy braising pan, then remove. Add onions and sauté until soft. Deglaze with wine until alcohol has cooked off. Add rest of the ingredients to pan. Cover and bake in 350 F oven for 3 hours. Serve with potato mash or polenta. blueberryribs

Ravenswood Brings the Big Zins to Stampede City

I took the c-train down to the city core, heading to a place I swore I’d never go…downtown during Stampede. As I peeled myself off of the sticky train seat and stepped out into the dense city heat, I could already hear the whoops and hollers mixed with the sound of country fiddling and clapping. Stampede is not my favourite time of the year but I do appreciate that it’s a part of our history and heritage.

Many businesses rely on the influx of out of town curious Stampede virgins and experienced Stampede goers, for many it’s revenue essential for survival. As an experienced Stampede fan, Joel Peterson doesn’t like to miss the party. The co founder, general manager, and winemaker of Ravenswood Winery  brought his ‘Big Zins’ from Sonoma, California to Calgary and hosted one heck of a Zinfandel roundup at The Cellar Wine Store.

As we sat around the table, I could almost imagine being around a camp fire, listening to the stories about how Joel grew up with parents who instilled in him a love for great wines and the ability to evaluate the characteristics during tasting. He went from being a microbiologist working in a lab in 1976 to one of the most outspoken members of the California wine industry today. Known as the ‘Godfather of Zin’, Joel (who is a relatively strict vegetarian) loves this robust red variety and focusses mainly on letting this varietal shine.

The Zinfandel vines supposedly arrived in New York in 1829 and the first plantings in California occurred in 1852. Today it is the second most planted red wine grape in California after Cabernet Sauvignon. It is most often planted (and blended) with Petite Sirah, Carignane, Alichante Bouchet, Syrah, and Grenache. zinfandelWhile Joel spoke, we had the opportunity to try several of his delicious Zinfandels and none of them were ‘wimpy’. He likes to make his wines on the dry side with the alcohol content between 13.5-15 ABV. Three of the wines we tasted (2012 Ravenswood Tedeschi Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012 Ravenswood Barricia Vineyard Zinfandel, and 2012 Ravenswood Belloni Vineyard Zinfandel) contained a majority of Zinfandel grapes (over 75%) blended with Carignane, Petit Sirah, and some mixed blacks. The common factors of using the same winemaker and the same grape varietal allow each bottle to reflect the terroir of the vineyard in which the grape was produced (Tedeschi, Barricia, and Belloni Vinyards).

As a contrast we also tasted a 2012 Icon Mixed Blacks single vineyard with only 21% Zinfandel, and a 2011 Pickberry Red which is more of a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec blend. As a special treat, Joel also brought a magnum of his 1994 Pickberry Red for us to taste. It was a special year for me as that was the year I became a mom…thereby increasing my need for wine. The universe is a funny thing.

While we didn’t have any food pairings, we did have a marvellous three course lunch catered by Chef Chris Grafton from Swine and Sow. We began with a Hotchkiss beans, heirloom tomato, smoked Gouda, roasted peppers salad with a basil purée. I thought the smoked gouda was a great addition and it went really well with the Icon. Our second course was so amazing I am still thinking about it…Maple espresso braised Angus Shortrib! Absolutely wonderful! The Summer Berry Pavlova was a wonderful way to finish the event.

JoelandmeI went home with a new appreciation for Zinfandel and for the patience and enthusiasm the winemaker puts into every bottle of wine. I also went home with my very own bottle of limited release 2013 ‘Besieged’ and some great swag which included a Ravenswood limited edition Stampede cowboy hat. I’ll think of Joel every time I wear it.

Native Tongues Taqueria

Last Wednesday I got tired of drooling over everyone’s instagrammed taco platters and decided to do something about the mean taco craving I have had since Native Tongues Taqueria opened on Canada Day. Hubby and I were on 17th last week, only a short five block walk from Native Tongues Taqueria located at 235 12th Ave SW. I thought that maybe they wouldn’t be too busy on a Wednesday night but boy was I wrong! We were told the wait might be as long as 45 minutes but since we had had a few recent nibbles, hubby hadn’t yet reached the pinnacle of his ‘hangry mode’. We added our names to the wait list. Our wait outside was rather pleasant as the weather was really gorgeous and after only about 20 minutes we were called inside and seated at one of the long communal tables.

This is a serious taco stand. The chairs are not ‘stay all night’ comfortable and you get to know your neighbours quite well. That said, there is a lot going on with the space, making it a feast for the eyes. The whole space is ‘creatively distressed’ with tinny Mexican style and decorated longhorn skull wall hangings. The distressed turquoise walls make a stark contrast to the blue and white tiled portions around the kitchen and bar areas and the height adjustable Grillworks artisanal grill is definitely a show stopper.

The menu is one long sheet of paper with ordering spaces on the end of each dish listing. You are meant to indicate how many of each dish you would like, bearing in mind that since the tacos range from $3.75-$4, this price should reflect that they are single tacos. Don’t be like the people next to us and order one of each and then wonder why you only get a small platter of tacos. There are also larger dishes, like the Barbacoa de Cordero (slow roasted lamb neck) and Chorizo Verde (house made herb and green chile sausage) that are meant more for sharing with a group. These larger dishes come with a stack of non-GMO corn tortillas made in the traditional way by chefs Cody Willis (founder and co owner), Ryan McNamara, Scott Beaton and JM Mailloux. Every day they take 20 kg of corn and soak it in an alkaline solution to remove the outer hull. The resulting kernels are dried, then ground into masa which is the traditional corn flour used for making tortillas. The freshness and authenticity are evident in the finished product because these tacos are indeed, outstanding.

We chose to ease into our feast by ordering the Chips y Guacamole, Elotes, and Esquites. I am awfully picky about my guacamole and this one was the stuff of legends, being deliciously creamy with a slight flavour of onion and lime; all topped with fresh jalapeños AND enough tortilla chips to finish the dip. Absolutely perfect.

guacamole2Chips y guacamole

I’m glad we tried both the Elotes and Esquites even though they seem to be essentially the same dish; the largest difference was that the corn kernels were left on the cob for the Elotes. They both had a similar crema/mayo sauce and were topped with queso, chile, cilantro, and lime.

corncollageEsquites y Elotes

Then came the tacos. We ordered one of each except for the Frijoles (next time…I promise!).  They came with salsa verde and salsa rojo and each had a substantial amount of filling for the size of the tortilla.

tacoplatterCrappy cell phone taco shot. Top left to bottom right: Hongos (mushroom), Lengua (beef tongue), Chorizo con Papas, and Carnitas (confit pork)

After those dishes, hubby declared himself full and I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to try more dishes, especially the grilled octopus (Pulpo). I guess that leaves some new dishes for the next time we visit and we will go again because I can’t stop thinking about their perfect margaritas, made with mezcal instead of tequila.

Native Tongues Taqueria

 235 12 Ave SW, Calgary

(403) 263-9444

No reservations

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Dinosaur Eggs AKA Spicy Meat Bombs

Sometimes you just find the best thing on the internet. Whether you’re into cat videos or ‘Hey Girl’ memes there always seems to be something for everyone. Want to waste an hour looking at Food Porn? No problem there’s always Tastespotting. Want to learn how to frost a cake in 5 easy steps? Pinterest is your friend. One of my favourite ways to kill time (if I have any to spare) is to check out blogs that are recommended by other blogs. It’s always a great way to pick up writing, cooking, and eating trends from across the country or around the world.

One of the most recent blogs that I found through a friend’s blog is Tony Meets Meat. Highlighting a no nonsense/no frills love of barbecue, this blog was really a refreshing change for me. With all my recent attention focussed on getting great vegan related recipes and in eating more healthy in general it was a refreshing change of pace. Our son’s birthday allowed me a little more freedom to go ‘hog wild’ and when I saw Tony’s post on Armadillo Eggs I knew that I just had to give them a try. I’m not one of those people that has to make tried and true recipes for company…if a dish sounds good to me I just make it. So far I’ve had pretty good luck with this philosophy.

I didn’t really follow much of a recipe, more like a ‘how to’ guide.

meatbombsThe Ingredients

Basically you buy fresh jalapeños, cut the stem end off and scrape the innards (including seeds) out. I used cream cheese in mine because I just couldn’t bring myself to buy velveeta. To stuff the jalapeños, I cut a strip off a block of Philadelphia cream cheese and inserted it into the jalapeño. Then I wrapped the jalapeño in fresh chorizo sausage. As an estimate I used approximately one chorizo sausage per jalapeño but I guess it depends on the size of your jalapeños. Try to make sure there are no cracks and the jalapeño is completely sealed by the chorizo. Then wrap a piece of bacon around the whole thing. dragoneggsI put my meat bombs on Aluminium trays and barbecued them for about an hour, maybe a bit longer. dinosaureggsThen I brushed barbecue sauce all over them and left them on the heat for another 10 minutes. Meatbombs1

I was a bit worried they might be too spicy for our guests but they turned out to have just the right amount of spice…except for the one the birthday boy had. He claims I gave him the spiciest one but I secretly think he was ‘more delicate’ than usual as he was hurting a bit from going out with his buddies the night before.

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