Author: theporkgirl

Recipe: Chicken Liver Pâté

COVID-19 is impacting how people are grocery shopping, which is having a direct impact on what ingredients are available to make meals at home. A few weeks ago we stopped in at our local Oliver/downtown Save-On Foods on a Sunday to find not only the toilet paper aisle empty, but also some extremely slim pickings in the fresh meat section. The only meat left in the fresh chicken section were three packages of chicken livers. The fact that so many people had overlooked this iron-packed ingredient made me feel sad for this tasty yet less-than-glamorous cut of meat. Staring at those lonely packages got me thinking – it had been some time since I had whipped up some homemade liver pâté. I suggested the idea to The Spanadian which he immediately supported, so I picked up one of the packages for just a few dollars. I have always loved pate. As a kid I absolutely loved spreading it on warm toast for breakfast. While other children were coming to school with peanut butter and jelly …

Devour the Rockies – Take Three

In February, I took in the third annual Devour the Rockies Food and Film Festival at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Devour the Rockies is a satellite event of Devour, the largest film and food festival in the world held annually in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Devour the Rockies gives guests the opportunity to spend a weekend at the Fairmont JPL celebrating cinema, indulging in wine (as well as beer and spirits), and getting social alongside a stellar lineup of chefs. Attendance has grown from 125 at the inaugural event in 2018 to 200 people in 2020, but the weekend still feels like I’m attending a private and intimate event in the rockies. I love the itinerary, the opportunity to socialize with chefs in a laid back environment, and of course, a weekend at the stunning Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. SAVE THE DATE: DEVOUR THE ROCKIES FEB 26 – 28, 2021 The recipe to a successful event has remained the same since 2018; here are five reasons I love Devour The Rockies. 1. A cabin crawl …

Gluten Free Eats on 124th Street

Living in Grandin, technically the Oliver neighbourhood, of Edmonton certainly has its perks. Not only is my walk to work downtown a mere 10 minutes, I’m also a quick walk or bike ride to the shops and restaurants on 124th street. I am so grateful of the revitalization of that street/neighbourhood over the last decade, including the addition of both the Thursday and Sunday 124 Grand Markets. I’ve heard Giselle Courteau share stories how people thought she was crazy to open a bake shop in 2009, but just look at how much traffic that the Duchess Bake Shop has brought to the area. Today, 124 Street has to be one of the hippest and tastiest areas of the city. While not all the wonderful shops ands restaurants cater to Celiacs, there are quite a few that I feel comfortable dining at. Last year my friend Linda Hoang asked me to guest write a gluten-free guide for dining throughout Edmonton. Here is my disclaimer; like that list – this one is not exhaustive or inclusive of all …

Three Days in Mexico City

For my 40th birthday I wanted to celebrate by traveling to somewhere I had never been before. I had been itching to check out Mexico City, and even though friends told me three days was not enough time to explore the bustling city, we decided to go for it. Yes, the travel there was a bit long for a three day weekend, (1 hour 20 minute flight from Edmonton to Vancouver then a 5.5 hour flight direct to Mexico City), but when presented with the option of 72 hours in Mexico City, or no hours, I would do the same again. We had exactly three full days in Mexico City and I think we made the most of them. It was a fabulous way to mark my 40th birthday, so if three days is all you have to explore, I say go for it. How we got around: Public transit from the airport is an option; however, our plane landed after midnight and we were back on our way to the airport at 4 a.m. …

Launching Armoire Inspiration – a sustainable fashion venture

My interest in collecting clothing can likely be traced back to my early childhood watching Mr. Dress Up on CBC. My favourite part of his show was when he would open his tickle trunk and there would magically be the perfect outfit to play any character, be it cowboy, artist, or even a sailor. I grew up in a remote part of Alberta (two hours from the closest store) to parents from farming families where hand-me-down clothes were the norm. Add in my mother’s habit of never throwing anything away, and it was easy to see how I developed an addiction, or admiration, of second hand and vintage clothing. I can recall the first day of grade nine wearing a two piece polyester skin tight bell bottom suit which had a pattern of denim patches. While other kids were wearing brand new clothes from the Gap, Club Monaco, and well the odd Nirvana t-shirt, I was wearing recycled fashions from my mother’s closet. When going to second-hand clothing stores, and the grunge era of fashion, …

9 Reasons Bhutan is worth the price of admission

In 2019 I booked a trip to Bhutan last minute, on a whim, or as some might describe as an impulse purchase. To be perfectly honest, it was a response to a meltdown over a disappointing birthday. I entered my 30s by celebrating my 30th birthday in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. I realized a little too late that I wanted something memorable to mark 39 – my last year before the big 4-0. So, six weeks after my birthday, I found myself with a problem that many people would love to have. I learned that I had too many vacation days that I couldn’t carry forward and I had to come up with a plan to use them. And then I found a way to burn through some vacation… a discounted G Adventures 10-day Wonders of Bhutan trip leaving in less than a month. Bhutan is not exactly easy to visit, nor is it economical.  Known as the last Shangi-La, I didn’t see my first images of the small land-locked country in between India and China …

10 Things I Learned From Chefs Anna & Michael Olson at Jasper CIN

Christmas in November (CIN) at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) celebrated 31 years last month, and chefs Anna and Michael Olson have been there for 15 of them. As a contributor to Alberta Pork’s Passion for Pork initiative, I’ve had the privilege of attending Jasper CIN for the past seven years. I, very excitedly, get to introduce chefs Anna and Michael Olson’s culinary sessions, which have most recently been sponsored by Alberta Pork. During the 10 day event I watch their sessions daily, and while I watch them teach the same recipes on repeat, I always manage to learn something new. Between Michael’s dad jokes and Anna explaining how the holidays are all about winning, the dynamic duo always share noteworthy culinary tips and tricks that have impacted how I spend time in the kitchen. Here are ten things I’ve learned from chefs Anna and Michael Olson at Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge:   1. HOW TO COOK PORK BELLY PERFECT EVERY TIME The most influential recipe that Michael Olson …

A Weekend Guide to St Louis, Missouri

For the past few years we have traveled south of the border to celebrate The Spanadian’s October 16th birthday by taking in a basketball game on the NBA’s season opening weekend. This year, the league started later, so he offered up the opportunity to check out a hockey game (for me) instead. Using a search from Edmonton on the weekend we wanted to travel, he found return flights to St Louis for $420 (Canadian). When asked if I wanted to go to St Louis I replied, “sure.” I didn’t know much about St Louis, but the prospect of watching the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the St Louis Blues, and checking out a new city sounded good to me. After a bit of research, we found more than enough things to keep us entertained. We had an absolutely amazing weekend filled with great food, fun activities, a dose of history, and a view from the top of the tallest man-made monument in the United States. From the time we left our Air BnB to start exploring …

Recap: Long Table Dinner at the Fairmont Macdonald

On Tuesday, August 20, 2019, The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald hosted their annual long-table dinner. This year, the hotel reduced the price to just $69 for a four-course menu which included a glass of wine from their signature collection (enjoyed on the patio with arguably the best view in Edmonton). I wasn’t the only one who thought $69 for a multi-course dinner at the Harvest Room at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald was a good deal. In response to the demand, The Mac oversold to accommodate 160 people  who were set up across two long tables in the Empire Ballroom. A wonderful thing about the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is their ability to accommodate just about any allergy and food intolerance you throw at them. In addition to my gluten free needs, our friends also required a lactose free dinner – no problem for Chef Mridul and his culinary team, who served up a lovely summer-inspired menu. FIRST COURSE Scallop aguachile, cucumber, cilantro, tempura prawns, paprika oil SECOND COURSE Meyer lemon ricotta & broccoli gnudi, soya steak, petite …

Cooking in Gascony, France

Life moves pretty slow in Gascony, an area of southwest France where I spent six days last summer immersed in a culinary course. Just how slow life moved was reinforced the day I tried to get back to the Gascony Cookery School’s kitchen before our French instructor Bernard delivered our first course of foie gras for lunch. I had just sat down in the restaurant for lunch with a glass of rosé when I realized I had left a tart in the oven from our morning pastry class. I was hustling back the 150 meters between buildings when our neighbor, who seemed to never be wearing a shirt, but always drinking a bottle of wine, caught sight of me. “Ca va?” he asked, concerned. In my remedial French I responded that yes, I was alright. He brought his arms to his side and swung them back and forth rapidly, laughing as he mocked my urgent speed-walking. I lacked the language skills to say my tart may already be on fire, so I just smiled and …