Ahhh…. Sunday brunch at the Banff Springs Hotel. An institution in Banff. I have partaken a few times over the years, the last being several years ago. The first time was memorable. It was held upstairs in Rundle Hall, not in the Bow Valley Grill as it is today. I also remember at least six types of smoked salmon. I’ve also seen the price start at twenty eight dollars and grow to it’s current fifty something per person. The last time I visited, there was a noticeable decrease in food quality.
Today, reminded me of my early visits. The food is exceptional and so is the variety. I really enjoyed the cooked vegetables, especially the asparagus wrapped with bacon. I dislike brussels sprouts, but these roasted ones were delicious. I also sampled some roast lamb and veal. The baked brie with accompanying compote was a delight. Also loved the large dessert selection. For a buffet, everything was presented on family style platters and arranged beautifully. For a special occasion, well worth a visit.
We stayed at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge this weekend. That is one of my favorite places to stay in Banff and the Sleeping Buffalo one of my favorite places to eat. We had the breakfast buffet before our ski. I certainly ate nineteen dollars worth of food. There was eggs benny, thick cut french toast, bacon, pork sausage, fried keilbasa, roaated potatoes and all sorts of other delights. We went back for dinner. The portions were just right, not oversized. Even for a couple of hungry skiers. I love Rocky Mountain cuisine, especially with wild game. CRMR also owns properties and restaurants in Emerald Lake, Lake Louise, and of course The Ranche in Calgary, where we had our wedding reception.
They were booked full for dinner, so we went early to the lounge. It was not crowded at all, and ordered from the restaurant menu.
This would be the second time that I’ve visited Coyotes. Their food is really good. We got into Banff late and I was looking for lighter dinner options. I started with the sweet potato and corn chowder. It reminded me of butternut squash soup. I like the way it was served; with the sauce in a pattern. Hubby had the Southwest smoked salmon sushi roll. I ordered an appetizer for my main, the oven baked quesadilla. It was delicious. Hubby had the grilled AAA Alberta beef tenderloin. He enjoyed his dish, but thought they were a little heavy handed with the bearnaise sauce. I really like their food; it tastes fresh and healthy.
The only downside was that we’re pretty sure the diners a table away from us had body odour problems. It became apparent, the change in the air quality when they left. Fortunately, the nice aromas from our meals masked it.
I should use my crock pot more often. Ir’s over 10 years old, holds 2.5 quarts, and is perfect for doing a couple of meals. Having some leftover beets, purple potatoes, carrots and frozen celery on hand, I decided to toss this together. For the spices, I absentmindedly threw in tumeric, chili powder, paprika, ground coriandor, bay leaf, chili pepper flakes , salt and basil. Oh and of course, green lentils.
My next thing might be making my own salad dressing. I do tire of the store bought variety, many I find too acidic. Raiding the fridge, I threw together, arugula, mixed greens, sliced white mushrooms, grated parmesan, bacon bits, fresh basil, EVO and salt and pepper. I had forgotten how the simplest of dressings brings out the flavor of the other ingredients. I should do this more often.
In my quest for something different, I decided to try making daal makhani. I ordered delivery the other night from Taj Curry and Pizza. Thought it was pretty good and have something to compare my cooking to. I usually cook Bengali daal, it’s a bombproof recipe. I think this one takes more time and finesse, especially when I don’t have a pressure cooker. Thank goodness for immersion blenders!
I’ve finally found a use for the urad daal that I bought a while ago. Now to find recipes for the toor daal, mung daal and chana daal. I love lentils, Indian style. Oh, and it goes really well with my sister’s pulao rice. It tastes much better the next day.
Fresh. Local. Farm. Second time here and it was just as good as the first. Service was a tad slow to start, but we dawdled over the menu. We had a lot of questions about the food and our server seemed to know the menu. They have quite the variety in their daily specials. I really liked my pork duo. The crispy and fatty pork belly was a nice contrast to the meatiness of the medallion. The crispness of the carrot went really well with the flavor of the creamed cabbage.
I found the atmosphere to be quite loud, seeing that it was a full house. No matter, enjoyed the food. I love the house pickles.
I’m going on a ski trip tomorrow, so I was thinking about going to the Chinese bakery to pick up some bao. Scratch that. Let’s have a Chinese Italian fusion bao. Pizza buns. Gigantic ones. Well, I had some problems with portioning the dough so one came out a little small. Great for sampling. Oh I ran out of tomato paste and improvised a second batch with ketchup instead.
I still have that leftover pie crust from last week. I got bored of coconut cream so I tried making a peanut butter cream pie. I substituted the regular crust for the peanut butter graham cracker crust. Still need to work on my crust technique, but this one fell apart less than the previous one. I used all natural peanut butter, nothing but peanuts. It gives a less sweet taste to the filling which I like. I love my new Zwilling saucepan. It holds the heat perfectly for the chocolate ganache. Dessert anyone?
Another successful creation courtesy of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. That has to be my favorite pie book.
Last night I decided to make pizza for my NYE party. I made two batches, enough for six pies. I usually let the dough proof in the oven set to 110F with a small bowl of water. This time, I tried something different.
I put with a warm dish of water, wrapped securely in saran wrap and left it on the counter. The temperature of the water when I added it to the yeast was about 130F, a little high. I added about 1/4 C more flour than what the recipe called for as it was sticking a little. When it finished proofing an hour later, the dough was at least double the size. I didn’t put too much flower on to prevent sticking, but it didn’t stick at all when I removed it from the wrap. Usually it sticks like crazy. The dough was very pliable and stretchy, no problem with getting a thin crust.
I did not use a dish of warm water, just securely wrapped it and left it on the counter. The temperature of the water when I added it to the yeast was definitely more than room temp but less then 100F as it was still warm. I also added half cup more flour as the previous batch was a little wet. When it finished proofing an hour later, the dough increased in size, but not double. It seemed a little dried out. It was hard to handle and I couldn’t get it as thin as the last batch.
Lesson learned. Proof with some warm water under saran wrap. Have the temp of the water for the yeast a little higher then recommended as it goes immediately into the mixer. No sitting for 10 minutes like my other bread recipe. Oh, and watch how much additional flour is added.
A shout out to my two “Sous” chef sisters who helped me last night.