Calgary Eats: A Cookbook Review

A few weeks back, I ordered Calgary Eats because a number of signs told me to.

My favourite food photographer & YouTuber Joanie Simon was working on Phoenix Cooks – another Figure 1 Publishing book.

I’d seen the stunning cover and layout of Vancouver Eats. Given my aversion to shellfish, Calgary Eats, a farmland-locked town, made more sense to me.

I’d been following Figure 1 publishing online for quiet some time, and I was dying to get my hands on any of their cookbooks.

For this review, I wanted to give you, my cooking cohort, a good sense of what’s inside Calgary Eats. So I set up coloured sticky notes, blue for “must make” and yellow for “would love to make, but…” And the number of sticky notes were plenty.

I was delighted when I opened the book. The layout is gorgeous. Each chef is honoured with a portrait of themselves, with some donning the traditional buttoned-down whites and others in street wear. And below that image, there is a paragraph or two on each chef’s philosophies or history. A born and bred in Calgary status gives reason to some recipes, while others are informed by a much different life, like work in a chemistry lab or life on a South Korean farm.

In this documentation of Calgary’s current food scene, you will find, long-time chefs, famous chefs and popular-with-their-customers chefs. There are self taught chefs, highly trained chefs and highly trained train-the-trainer type chefs. I suppose if you’re heading east to Calgary you might take this as a restaurant guide to help you pick local must-tries – but a warning to weary, it ain’t light. It’s a hard cover.

On my list of “would love to make, but…” dishes, you’ll find things like:

“Eat to the Beet” Salad

Without a doubt, I know this salad would taste divine with its beets prepared 3 ways. But, I’m left to wonder, who has time for an elaborate salad?

Whiskey-Glazed Elk Ribs with Pickled Cucumber Salad

This is something that our household would devour with its beautiful barbecue sauce made of molasses, ginger, apple cider vinegar and whiskey. But these will have to be beef or pork ribs. Elk just isn’t something we have access to.

On my “must make” list of dishes, you’ll find things like:

Tomato-Gin Jam

When I saw this recipe my mouth began to water. It looks easy to make and features the brightness of sherry vinegar and the punchy evergreen-ness of gin. The recipe calls for pairing it with a Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich, and I was excited to notice the image presents a brie style goat cheese. This is on my list for next year when cherry tomatoes are in their prime. I’ll try to remember to keep you updated.

Ricotta-Stuffed Pasta with a Preserved Lemon-Thyme Butter Sauce

While this recipe would take much longer than beets 3-ways, I’d be willing to go the distance with this one. The recipe comes in pieces: preserved lemon compound butter, homemade ricotta and a good-for-stuffing pasta dough. And it seems you could divvy up each piece of this recipe to create new recipes. In fact, I might even put the compound butter on toast.

So far, I’ve made a few recipes.

Falafel with Yogurt Dip

I make falafel all the time. But I wing it from various internet recipes with tons of substitutions. Since making this recipe, I’ve sworn that I’m done with winging falafel. This recipe is exactly as promised: fluffy and flavourful falafel [that] will change your life. In fact, I dare you to make it.

BTW: I’ll be doubling this recipe next time. UPDATE: I doubled the recipe and it was enough for leftovers after serving with the recipe below. I added a couple of images, so that you can see the falafel.

Falafel frying

Dukkah-Fried Cauliflower with Green Olive and Harissa Aioli

I made this as a side dish to the falafel. I am also done with the internet on a recipe like this. This page is already filled with fingerprints, I can’t even image what it will look like 6 months from now – it’ll probably be the messiest page in the book, a true sign of a great recipe.

BTW: This recipe contains a lot of steps, but if you have a spice grinder and food processor, you are all set. It’s quick and easy.

Falafel cooked

Although, Calgary is farmland-locked, there are a number of shellfish recipes in here. So, for seafood lovers, don’t despair, you have a may options with this cookbook (even a few that aren’t listed in the table of contents).

My neighbour shared some frozen self-caught halibut with us, so I might try Roasted Halibut with Chilies, Dungeness Crab, Bean Ragout and Grapefruit sans crab, next.

Happy cooking, friends.