March 23, 2013

Chris Cosentino: NAIT's 2013 Hokanson Chef in Residence

Chris Cosentino

NAIT's Hospitality and Culinary Arts department has an amazing program, the Hokanson Chef in Residence program, where they bring some of the best chefs in the world to provide first-hand knowledge and expertise to their students. Last year, I attended Chef Massimo Capra's luncheon and the year before that NAIT had Dinner and Q&A with David Adjey.

Chris Cosentino Offal Cooking NAIT

Chris Cosentino is known internationally for his specialty in offal cooking.  Yes, offal, meaning use of the other parts of an animal that many times just gets discarded: hoofs, internal organs, blood, tail, etc.  He is also know for winning Season 4 of Top Chef Masters!  How lucky are Edmonton's NAIT students to get such an invaluable experience like this!

My fellow blogger Phil (find his blogpost on the event here) and I were given an opportunity to come in and observe Chef Chris teaching his students on the art of offal cookery.  I asked many of the students if they were "learning a lot" and so many of them responded with a huge "YES!" They excitedly explained the dishes they made and stated what a great learning experience it has been.

March 14, 2013

Edmonton Downtown Dining Week 2013 Launch

Downtown Dining Week Launch 2013

I attended the the opening reception for Edmonton's Downtown Dining Week 2013 held at the Art Gallery of Alberta.  This year marks the 10th anniversary!

Downtown Dining Week 2013 YEG

If you have attended dining week before, then you know that it is a 10 day event where participating restaurants offer multi-course meals at special prices.  Two-course lunches for $15 and/or three-course dinners for $25 or $50.

YEG Downtown Dining Week 2013 Launch

March 12, 2013

Paninis at Leva Cappucino Bar - Eating out

Pesto Chicken Panini Leva Cafe

I would wait patiently, alongside other hungry students, for my order to be ready. Standing in HUB mall at the University, I was buying a sandwich for lunch before meeting up with friends.  Correction, it wasn't an ordinary sandwich, it was a Panini. I love sandwiches but paninis are definitely a step up in the sandwich department.  Grill marks and the perfect hue of brown on the exterior, while inside the contents flavors are enhanced from toasting and the gooey cheese stretches with every bite. I salivate just thinking about it.

Panini Lunch at Leva Cafe
(While I sipped on my Americano, enjoying all the natural light from the large windows, I was also reminded that I've been wanting a Nelson lamps for my family room for quite some time.)

It has definitely been more than a couple of years since I last ate a panini at HUB mall - not even sure if you can still buy them there - but the memories came back again as I sat down to eat my panini at Leva Cappucino Bar.  Being that Leva is located near the University helps in recalling those memories too.  While I do have a panini press at home, it doesn't quite compare to what the professional cast iron panini machines can do. Maybe I just need a better machine?  In the meantime, I'll gladly indulge on toasty goodness when I am out for lunch.

March 8, 2013

Alberta Art Gallery

Art Gallery of Alberta

A couple of weeks back, we went to check out the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Art Exhibits at AGA

My kids seemed to enjoy it, but in moderation. I think they were still a little too young because 20 minutes in, the endless "are we almost done?" and "there is still more!" comments started.

AGA Architecture

I personally was enthralled by the architecture of the building.  It is a piece of art on it's own!

Happy Weekend!

March 6, 2013

Corso32 Chocolate Torta with Salty Candied Hazelnuts

Corso 32 Chocolate Torta with Candied Hazelnuts

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  I absolutely abhor that statement.  I hate every part of that meaning, that  the loudest gets the attention.  I hate that people spin it to be a positive thing or that one should work toward being such a person.

Throughout my lifetime, I have observed many squeakers.  They have taken away jobs from those who rightfully earned it.  I have seen deserving children cast aside as the squeakiest parents get their way.  Volunteers who have not been properly acknowledged and witnessed much catering to and action when in fact the customer was not right. I get a pit in my stomach when I see events when squeakers just stroke each others egos, a big clusterf*ck of self love.

I have been taught and will continue to teach my children that one must keep their head down, work hard and to simply block out all the squeaky noisemakers but also not to allow oneself to be disrespectfully cast aside when a genuine moment presents itself.  But I admit, even with humility and humble upbringing, it is hard to wade through it at times.  For every moment to a squeaker, one should commend two unsung heroes, in my honest opinion.

This recipe, Chocolate Torta with Salty Candied Hazelnuts created by Edmonton's Corso 32 restaurant, seems to resonate my reflections of late.  An unassuming recipe, with simple, no "bells and whistles", ingredients combined together to give an outcome that shines with every bite with nary a whiff of arrogance.  And it is nice to see accolades given rightfully so.

March 1, 2013

No Knead White Bread

No Knead Bread

It's a thing of beauty, isn't it?

There are plenty of variations of No Knead bread out there on the internet.  It works on the idea that when the dough has a high hydration rate, the yeast will naturally do its thing with the flour over many, many hours so your involvement is minimal.

I've tried my hand at other fancy rustic breads and there is a lot of commitment and time needed for them. Sure they taste wonderful too but I don't have time to babysit such recipes.  This recipe?  Easy and produces beautiful results. The crust comes out crunchy and the inside is soft and airy, full of holes made by the air bubbles during the rise period. I can't wait to try my hand at other variations as well and experiment with whole wheat and see what comes out of it!

No Knead White Bread

Once I pulled it out of the oven, my kids were begging for slices.  Slathered with butter, we had a hard time eating just one slice. So I forewarn you, the loaf won't last very long :)

Happy baking and eating!


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