taste alberta and retro redone

So I have to tell you about something new.  Although, I did say there was something retro, I really want you to know more about Taste Alberta.

It was just over year ago when Dinner with Julie, Kitchenscraps, Patent and the Pantry, Backseat Gourmet, and I, met up for a "Julie and Julia"-styled dinner. So it is only fitting that I flipped through the pages of some Julia Child recipes, and recalled why there were so many pink sticky notes, to mark the multitude of pages on which the recipe I created were found. Yes, that's right, there were multiple pages... what was I thinking?

Oddly enough, we recalled all of this yesterday evening, at the Calgary launch party of Taste Alberta. We sampled some superb Alberta products, expertly prepared by Alberta chef's...oh darn. The idea is to create awareness about the "huge variety of food grown, raised, produced and processed in the province, where to buy it and how to prepare and serve it." It will evolve in the Calgary Herald on Sundays, and in the Edmonton Journal on Wednesdays, and here.  A great opportunity for everyone to learn more about the vast amount of food and produce grown in the province.  Stay tuned!

And in honour of the pink-sticky notes still attached in  my Julia Child cookbook a year later, I made a gratin.  I have recently become completely entrenched in the knowledge of a gratin.  There is so very much to love;  it sounds so elegant, but yet it is really quite simple to throw together.  Quite literally in fact.  You just might have to dust your face with a little flour, and dirty a few more dishes, just to make it seem like you have been slaving away for hours on end; without actually having to do so.

Yes, I actually make most of this dish while carrying my five month old baby in a wrap on my chest.  Okay, not the flaming, cooking over the stove parts, but the whisking parts.  The breaking the egg parts.  He likes it, and heck, so do I.

Oh, and, there's usually leftovers.  Usually.

Did I mention that it's like a quiche without the shell?  It is quite rich, so paired with a fabulously colourful, and perhaps semi-flamboyant, red cabbage coleslaw, there isn't much to complain about.

The gratin has shrimp, curry, eggs, and a whopping cup of whipping cream.  It's heavenly in a seriously retro casserole dish.  The coleslaw?  Right. It's inspired by Nigella Lawson herself, with red cabbage, fennel, red onion, beet, garam masala, buttermilk, mayonnaise, and orange marmalade.  I know it sounds totally and completely bizarre, but just trust me that it is something that you will relish having made a large batch of.  Then, there's more time the next day, say for making cookies or other holiday deliciousness.

The retro part? Well coleslaw is always fashionable, but a dish like this? This is old school. But corning ware dishes are never out of style.

Add some cheese for the last ten to fifteen minutes.

No, it does not look like "dino-cut out chicken fingers" (thank goodness!), but it sure is colourful.

Especially when paired with this colourful festive coleslaw -

A Gratin with Shrimp & Curry

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 tsp curry powder
3 eggs
1 cup whipping/heavy cream
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp kosher salt
white pepper
1-2 tbsp grana padano

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat the butter in a skillet until foaming. Cook the onion, until soft and translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add the shrimp, and stir, stir, stir, until the shrimp is nearly cooked. Just cooked so there is not a hint of grey left, but no more. Stir in the curry powder, and turn off the heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Stir in the shrimp mixture.
4. Transfer the mix to a glass or ceramic baking dish suitable for the oven. Bake until the middle has risen as much as the edges, and jiggles just a bit. Sprinkle over a little grated grana padano, and place back in the oven with the oven off. When the cheese has melted, serve immediately.

Colourful Festive Coleslaw

If you own a food processor, this is a snap. It's a fabulously delicious way to enjoy raw vegetables in the middle of winter.

1/2 head red/purple cabbage
1 fennel bulb
1 medium beet
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup orange preserves, aka marmalade
1 tsp garam masala (delish Indian spice mix)

1. Using the food processor, chop the vegetables using the grating attachment. Just chop the pieces small enough to insert into the machine. Just trim the cores and ends of the vegetables. Include the top of the fennel bulb, beautiful fronds and all.
2. Combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, preserves, and garam masal in a mason jar. Shake! Give it all you've got. You've really got to work to get the marmalade mixed in.
3. If you have enough eaters to devour all of the coleslaw, toss the veggies with all of the dressing. Otherwise, spoon over the dressing over each individual serving, saving the remainders for the next couple days. Enjoy!

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