Bridge City Business

It seems I’ll have lots to keep me busy over the next few weeks here in Lethbridge. The following are a few highlights of the brewing world I’m particularly looking forward to:

1. Coulee Brew Co. is finally opening its doors in Lethbridge. After a long wait, this city will be home to a brew pub, complete with a restaurant, meeting space, and a growler bar. I had the opportunity to attend the soft opening, and was impressed with the stunning facility, trimmed to the nines with reclaimed wood.

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Shipping pallet chic.

The menu was innovative with just enough classic dishes to satisfy the most traditional eaters. While I was disappointed that Coulee Brew’s beer was not yet ready, they do offer a few great pics from other local breweries (Tool Shed, Bench Creek). I’ll be patient. Good beer takes time.

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Duck tacos with cherry salsa and goat cheese and some beer cheese soup off of Coulee Brew Co.’s new menu.

2. Theoretically Brewing – a lesser-known (but locally acclaimed) microbrewery that somehow flew under my beer-dar and opened earlier in December. More to come on this topic.

3. And of course, the aforementioned home-brewing adventures. While I haven’t yet started brewing, I have devoted a substantial amount of time to choosing a name for the first brew (soon to be revealed). That counts, right?

I’ve also had a bit more time at home and in the kitchen. As much as I enjoy meals cooked by others, there is a certain satisfaction I get from completing a demanding recipe, especially one I can eat when I’m finished.

I tend to use truffle oil in everything I add mushrooms to. While both the black and white truffle have strong, unmistakable flavors of their own, it’s especially good with other fungus-y foods. I liken it to  – sure they’re expensive, but you really don’t need much to get the job done. If you don’t have truffle oil…that’s really too bad. There is no substitute. You can either shell out the $25 for a bottle of half-decent infused oil, or make a less-delicious version of the recipe below.

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They’re delicious, I promise.

Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. Cottage pie is made with beef. What then, do you call a turkey dish topped with vegetables and mashed potatoes? Suggestions, please.

WARNING: The following recipe makes a great deal of food – make sure to invite a few friends and use the absolute biggest pan you have. Likewise, you could easily divide the recipe in half or prepare and serve it in individual ramekins.

Turkey Mushroom Cottage Pie

with truffle, parsnip, and beer gravy

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Obligatory decorative vegetables.

4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

3 medium parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup milk

4 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp. truffle oil

2 tbsp. flour

3/4 cup dark beer

2 cups diced carrots (fresh or frozen), steamed

2 cups frozen cut green peas or beans, thawed

2 pounds (900g ground turkey)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp dried sage

1 egg

1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs, divided

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine potatoes and parsnips in a large pot of boiling water. Cook tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes and parsnips and add butter and milk. Season with 2 tbsp. of the minced fresh rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Heat olive oil and minced onion in a skillet over medium heat with a pinch of salt. Once the onions begin to release moisture and turn translucent (about 5 minutes), add mushrooms and truffle oil.
  5. Whisk together beer and flour. Add to mushroom and onion mixture, stirring gently. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid begins to thicken.
  6. While the mushroom gravy begins to thicken, combine ground turkey, garlic cloves, sage, egg, 1/2 cup of Panko or breadcrumbs and remaining fresh rosemary in a large bowl. Combine well to form a thick meat-dough (almost like you were to make a meatloaf).
  7. Transfer meat mixture to a deep, greased casserole dish and press firmly into the pan.
  8. Cover meat layer with mushroom gravy, followed by steamed carrots and green beans.
  9. Finally, top casserole with potato/parsnip mixture and sprinkle remaining Panko and parmesan overtop.
  10. Bake in preheated oven until tops of mashed potatoes are lightly browned and the edges are bubbling, about 30 minutes.

 

Serves 8

Taco the Town

For the last week or two I’ve working on a compendium of Alberta’s craft breweries. Unfortunately though, breweries in Alberta are like weeds – as soon as you think you’ve got them all, another one bursts through the cracks of the sidewalk.

I figured I’d start in the fawild-craft-logor South. Partially because I live there, but also because I’m too lazy to start on researching the Calgary ones. There isn’t too much to talk about here in Lethbridge. Yet.

Wild Craft Brewery was set to open in Lethbridge in Spring 2015. For a while I could find the Wild Hops IPA and Pilsner varieties in most liquor stores, though they were brewed in BC. But days and months went by with no opening date set.

Then they were gone. Nothing to be found bearing the brand but a lone six pack at the bottom of the shelf.

Turns out this brewery is currently undergoing a name change to Coulee Brew Co. Named after the  carved by glaciers that line the Oldman River, Coulee Craft will be the first brewery in Lethbridge in 25 years since the Molson-owned House of Lethbridge Brewery closed its doors. However, the countdown on Coulee Craft’s website still reads 102 days left to go – I’ve circled December 6th on my calendar.

I’m disappointed I have to wait a while longer for a brew-pub in my town of residence. I’ll have to explore the myriad of available brews from Calgary in the meantime. But you can’t always get what you want. Fortunately, you can always get tacos.

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Marinated Steak Tacos with Tequila Guacamole

2lb (600g) lean top sirloin steak

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprikaIMG_20150804_194208

1/2 cup beer

2-3 tbsp hot sauce (I use Valentina*)

2-3 ripe tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded white cheddar

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce or cabbage

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

10 small corn tortillas

Tequila Guacamole

3 ripe avocados

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp tequila (1 oz. shot)

½ cup diced fresh tomato

½ tsp salt

  1. Pre-heat your BBQ to medium-high for cooking over direct heat.
  2. Prepare the top sirloin for marinating using a meat tenderizer or by stabbing it repeaatedly with a fork. The latter is far more satisfying. Transfer to a bowl or zipper-seal bag.
  3. Combine hot sauce, beer and spices in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and pour over meat.
  4. Marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day, turning occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the tequila guac. Scoop the avocado pulp into a large bowl and toss with lime juice, tequila and salt. Mash avocado pulp with a fork or potato-masher. Fold in diced tomato. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Remove the steak from the marinade (discard the marinade) and grill, turning halfway through cooking, for a total of about 10 minutes or until medium-rare.
  7. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Toss the tortillas over the grill for a few seconds to warm them. Serve with tequila guac, sliced steak, lettuce, cheese, diced tomato and fresh cilantro.Valentina

Serves 4

*P.S. If you’ve never tried Valentina, you’re missing out. Smoky, spicy and slightly vinegar-y. You won’t regret it. Plus it’s $2 a bottle at Wal-Mart. I go through about 4 in a month.

References

Global News http://globalnews.ca/news/1520718/southern-albertas-first-craft-brewery-opening-this-spring/