Communal Table, Thanksgiving and Recent Eats

A new program has been established at the University of Calgary called The Communal Table. Every month, a group of us takes a crop from a local farmer, prepares it and eats it together. For the first event, we used locally grown potatoes, hand harvested by some of the participants in the program and made gnocchi from scratch.

The objective of the program is to bring back a sence of community and connection in terms of food. It’s rare that in the hustle-bustle of our lifestyles that anyone stops to harvest, cook, share and eat a meal together.

We baked, peeled, mashed, mixed, kneaded, rolled and sliced our way to beautiful little pillows of poatoey dumplings, enjoyed with a fresh salad with local beets and carrots (that tasted like candy) and a dessert of organic berries with honey and cinnamon.

We were also fortunate enough to be addressed by Rod from Leaf & Lyre — a family business using SPIN (small plot intensive) farming to cultivate backyard gardens in the city.

It was a real pleasure to see Rod’s clear passion for local and sustainable practises in an urban environment as well as embracing traditional practices that bring food and people together.

*Insert awkward transition here*

HI! Here’s some brand new information: It’s been busy. I keep trying to remind myself that blogging is much like cleaning my room. Take a little time to do it daily, or wait for it to pile up into a big mess that my mom eventually cleans up out of frustration. 

But some days, when you have every minute stuffed from 5:30 to 11:00, taking pictures of, editing pictures of, and posting pictures of your food just doesn’t happen. Here’s a quick update though!

A few weeks ago I had an incredible green Thai curry with yams, coconut milk and chicken. I recreated it at home with tofu, sweet potato, mushrooms, and broccoli.

Perfect protein pancakes with almond butter and grilled bananas

French toast with cinnamon spiked pumpkin, almond butter, and grilled bananas

One of my favorite combinations —  grilled carrot/ cinnamon/ almond butter wrap

We had our usual Thanksgiving dinner with the family this past weekend. It’s always a great evening of food and family, but the days leading up are nothing less than blood, sweat, tears, screaming babies and shattered glass. I love the holidays.

We are 100% incapable of taking a decent picture together.

On my plate was a heap of salad {my uncle has a secret/ AMAZING dressing recipe. There are rarely any salad left overs}, green beans, mashed potatoes n’ gravy, mac & cheese, and perfect turkey with home-made cranberry sauce. After a full day of cooking and very little eating this plate disappeared in a flash.

After a bit of digestion we dug into dessert which is always my project during the holidays. I joked that I woke up a few weeks ago in a cold sweat after dreaming up this dessert.

1st layer: Browned butter pumpkin blondie
2nd layer: Salted pecan praline
3rd layer: Village Ice cream Salted Caramel Ice cream
4th layer: Cinnamon whipped cream.

Just ridiculous and thoroughly enjoyed, but this week was back to the usual, starting with a neon green beverage.

Romaine, spinach, lemon, apple, ginger. Good news, it’s almost the weekend — aaaand I’m working every day of it. Sad Trombone.

Advertisements

Tradition with a Twist

Happy Thanksgiving Canadian friends! Happy Monday for everyone else =)


Late Saturday night I started my 24 hour cook-a-thon for Thanksgiving dinner

My parents host Thanksgiving dinner at my house every year, and have our own traditions

We defrost the Turkey last-minute using methods that go strongly against everything I learnt in my Food Safety class. We swear that we’ll defrost it properly next year. We never do.

It’s marinated in a mixture of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, cilantro, garam masala, salt and cayenne pepper. Don’t ask for amounts, my mom doesn’t roll that way.

We overcook baby potatoes, brussels sprouts and baby carrots in the turkey drippings.

We always worry about not having enough dessert. Then end up with way too much. (except there’s no such thing as too much dessert!!!)

I try to incorporate some of the more traditional Thanksgiving dishes into our dinner as well

Mashed potatoes with sharp cheddar cheese

Baked sweet potato rounds with cinnamon and coconut oil

Cranberry sauce (fresh cranberries, zest and juice of one orange, splash of maple syrup, splash of Merlot, cinnamon and vanilla, cooked in a small sauce pan until thickened)

Even though pumpkin pie is traditionally served at Thanksgiving, I find it a bit off-putting because the only encounter I’ve ever had with pumpkin pie was a mass-produced, two feet in diameter, soggy pie from Costco a couple of years ago. Overly sweet, too many spices, and I don’t even thing there was any pumpkin involved! In keeping with tradition, I made pumpkin spice meringues dipped in white-chocolate pumpkin ganache

Pumpkin Spice Meringues

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger, clove, nutmeg, salt
DIRECTIONSPreheat the oven to 275. In a glass bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar to stiff peaks. slowly incorporate powdered sugar and spices in until egg whites become stiff and glossy. Scoop the mixture into a ziplock bag and cut off a corner. Pipe the meringue mixture into circles approximately one and a half inches in diameter onto a non stick baking sheet. Bake for one hour.

 

White Chocolate – Pumpkin Ganache

INGREDIENTS

  • One cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg

DIRECTIONSHeat the cream, pumpkin and spices in a small sauce pan, pour into the white chocolate and stir to melt.

The left over ganache got swirled with more white chocolate to make a pate that was served with pear slices.

Also on the dessert table, German Chocolate Cake Brownies

The Barefoot Contessa’s Brownie Tart + Coconut Pecan Topping. The Barefoot Contessa never fails. These were GOOD.

Appetizers were marinated baby bocconcini, I tossed the little mozzarella balls with basil pesto and olives. Also a delicious baked brie with carmelized onions, apple slices and toast

Super fun! I’m spending the rest of the day lazing, cleaning, mayyyyybe gymming and I see a turkey sandwich in my near future!