For me, October has been a time of reconnection, family, and LOTS of homecooked food. I have been back in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta for this entire month (to allow room for the 14-day quarantine), and I have been incredibly lucky to have become part of my parents’ bubble as well as to have seen my sister, best friend, and grandparents (socially distanced, of course).
During the first half of the month, the weather was unusually warm here in Alberta. We had what felt like summer days with 18°C temperatures. I was lucky enough to spend my quarantine learning how to crochet on the deck (thanks, Mom… I’m still learning!), harvesting veggies in the backyard for delicious meals, and biking/hiking around the nearby Glenmore Reservoir. It was honestly not a bad time at all.
As Murphy would have it, though, the MINUTE my quarantine ended—and we had plans to head out to Kananaskis for some mountain-viewing days—a fresh layer of snow fell, and winter temperatures kicked in. This is not to say that any of our plans were ruined, since we did have extremely nice and sunny weather for our visit to Little Elbow Provincial Park this week, but it did mean that some of our at-home hangout plans had to stay very, very indoors.
Luckily for me, Mom + Dad have been trying out (and supporting) a new at-home dining experience brought to Calgarians by Chef Local. The idea is an excellent one for those of us who are strictly following at-home pandemic rules and choosing not to dine out. Chef Local advertises itself as “a different kind of date night,” offering “a master cooking class and meal kit for two” (see their website). Thanks to the wonderful tutorials by “Calgary’s local chefs” and accessible videography by their content coordinators, you can follow YouTube videos and learn how to cook restaurant-quality, multiple course meals all in the comfort and safety of your home! Does it get any better?
Created by the amazing chefs at Klein / Harris, Dad ordered the “Wild Coho Salmon” meal kit online for the three of us (we only had to add one an extra salmon filet from our freezer to feed us all). Chef Local is extremely generous with the amount of ingredients they give you. The meal kit arrived at our house on Thursday late-afternoon, and we all got to watching/learning/cooking that evening (read: I was mostly taking photos).
Our course selection began with the wonderful cocktail curation by Klein / Harris partner Christina Mah.
The classic gin martinis with truffle + leek oil and a pickled carrot were visually stunning and STRONG (exactly how we like them).
Our appetizer consisted of “a pan-seared hanger steak with a ginger chilli glaze and crispy vegetables” and was created by executive chef James Waters. This was my favourite dish because I was at once stunned by how delicious it was and shocked that we had been the ones to prepare it. Mom seared the steak to rare perfection. Dad spent the remainder of the evening eating the leftover ginger chilli glaze by the literal spoonful… (mind you, there were TWO cups of sugar in this simple syrupy mixture, and he has a sweet tooth). And I got all of my aesthetic satisfaction.
We were all immensely pleased by the end of dish one. And might I add, our plating was pretty darn good for amateurs.
The main course was equally delicious: “seared Sockeye Salmon served on a fingerling potato écrassé with sautéed summer squash and a sauce beurre blanc.” I learned a lot from this dish: (1) écrassé means your potatoes essentially get smashed (and then turn out super bougie/fancy), (2) you mound butter if you don’t want a butter sauce to get too oily when you make it (meaning, you add in a chunk and melt it fully before adding in the next chunk), and (3) chefs use A LOT of pans when they are cooking!!!!
We had so much fun together, we were all incredibly full (the potatoes helped to simmer Dad’s sugar stomach), and I was impressed by how my parents do date night! Thanks, Mom + Dad. And thank you, Klein / Harris & those of you at Chef Local!
My name is Tasha Guenther. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, while I finish my Ph.D. in Cultural Studies with a concentration in digital cultures at McMaster University. I am an avid academic essay/book chapter writer, but I also enjoy writing short stories and non-fiction pieces. You can read more of my DLTKsCrafts work here!
Alongside my learning, studying, and thinking about digital platforms and critical theory, I appreciate long conversations with close friends, reading poetry, and taking photos of my cat. Learn more about me here or connect with me on my Instagram + Twitter accounts.