Mac & Cheese of the West

Nothing says Wild West like crispy fried mac and cheese, topped with pulled pork and BBQ Sauce! Check out this specialty from Lynnwood Ranch located near Okotoks, AB. Served from their food truck or straight from your backyard smoker, this recipe is guaranteed to keep guests coming back for more.

INGREDIENTS:
1 lbs Dry macaroni
1/4 lbs Butter
1 L Milk (Whole)
1  lb. Shredded Old Cheddar Cheese
8 Tbsp. Flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 Tsp Onion Powder
2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
¼   Cup Pickled Jalapeno’s + Juice

DIRECTIONS:
Cook macaroni al dente.
Use butter, flour and milk to make a basic white sauce. Once heated add onion powder, salt, Worcestershire sauce, Jalapeños and cheese. Melt together, once it is ready add pre-cooked macaroni and mix in thoroughly. Place in a rectangle cake pan approximately two inches in depth. Cool thoroughly in refrigerator.

FINAL STEP
Cut into cake size pieces. Heat skillet to medium heat and melt butter in pan. Place Mac & Cheese pieces into skillet. Brown nicely on both sides. If your heat is right, this process will have heated the pasta throughly. Plate ready Mac & Cheese, top with Pulled Pork & BBQ Sauce.

RECIPE FOR WILD WILLY’S RUB
1 lb. Paparika
6 oz ground pepper
9 oz sea salt
7 oz white sugar
3 oz Chile powder
3 oz granulated garlic
3 onion powder

Mix ingredients together thoroughly, store in sealed in dark dry place.

BBQ SAUCE – Our top two pick’s. Ranch BBQ’s House Sauce (contact Lynnwood Ranch) or Guy Fieri’s Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce (found at Costco).

PORK BUTT
Start with four to five pounds. Trim excess fat. Rub liberally with Wild Willy’s Rub. Place in smoker at 225 F for 12 hrs. Cook to internal temp of of 185 F. Once internal temperature is achieved, pork will pull easily. Use two forks. * Tip – If you are new to bar-be-queing pulled pork, just google it for a number of educational videos.

 

About Lynnwood Ranch – Located near Okotoks, AB, Lynnwood Ranch recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in business. The ranch boasts a pristine country setting alongside the beautiful Sheep River and offers a picturesque western-style venue. Hosting events throughout the year, Lynnwood Ranch is excited to present the third annual Smokin’ Q this year, an Alberta KCBS-sanctioned BBQ Pitmaster competition on May 13-14, 2017. They also offer one of Calgary’s most requested food trucks, featuring ranch BBQ mobile vending and catering services within the City of Calgary and surrounding area.

Macho Salad

A hearty salad worthy of a cowboy appetite.

By Ingrid Schulz

Photos By Krista Kay Photography

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Whoever said dates and goat cheese couldn’t be manly clearly hasn’t dived into this creation. At first glance, it may seem an odd mix, but trust us, this is one salad that delivers a complicated and delicious layering of taste. The cornbread croutons lend a southwestern flavor the dates add a touch of sweetness and the goat cheese, a generous tangy zip. Throw in your chicken, toss is all in the light oregano and garlic flavored homemade dressing and you’ve got a salad meal packed with protein and high on flavor.

This salad is especially great for those early still summer warm evenings, when the last thing you want on your chore list is hanging around the kitchen fixing supper. Certainly not when there might be summer’s last light and warmth to enjoy or horses to ride. You can make it all ahead and simply pull it out of the fridge and assemble a few minutes before serving.

Use the leftovers of your Sunday dinner roasted farm-raised chicken if you like, but a store-bought rotisserie chicken works just as well. Similarly, bake your own cornbread, or as a quicker alternative, buy a cornbread loaf or muffins at your local bakery. Cut the bread into bite size pieces, brush it lightly in corn oil, salt and pepper them, and toast in a 400F oven for five to ten minutes.

Cornbread and an oregano-based dressing lend to the complex flavors of the macho salad.

Cornbread and an oregano-based dressing lend to the complex flavors of the macho salad.

Macho Salad

Simply add as little or as much of each of the ingredients below in a salad bowl amply filled with a bunch of fresh greens – preferably a mix of romaine and spring greens.

Sliced chicken meat

Chopped tomatoes or grape or cherry tomatoes halved

Diced avocado

Corn, either off the cob, or canned

Chopped dates

Chunks of goat cheese

Sliced, and if preferred, toasted almonds

Cornbread croutons

Salt and pepper

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Dressing

2 tbsp spicy brown mustard

1/4 cup lemon juice

1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 tsp brown sugar

1-2 cloves minced fresh garlic

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/3 tsp dried oregano

1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

Mix together all the ingredients.

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Wild West Cocktail – Pear Stagecoach

pearsc2When I bartended at a Calgary lounge in the late 90’s, and at the tail-end of an epic oil boom, it was all about the cocktail hour. Mixing up a precise combination of a whiskey sour, old-fashioned, fizz or martini – which, whether shaken or stirred, was always made with gin, never vodka – was a bit of an art form to those of us who proudly considered ourselves classic drink masters. The regulars who seated themselves at the smooth dark leather barstools of our horseshoe-shaped bar had discerning palettes and we prided ourselves on fixing a cocktail with deliberate perfection. The citrus fruit combination of a lemon, lime and orange, as well as maraschino cherries and a bottle of bitters was never far from hand, and it should be said, though the bar menu featured a half dozen pages of unique combinations, we would have rather walked barefoot on the contents of the evening’s broken glass pail, than be caught having to look up the ingredients of any cocktail ordered out of the well-worn, leather-bound menus.

I thought that sort of bartending artistry had long been forsaken in the mundane flavored-bottle offerings of today’s establishments, which have all but lost the classic Western cowtown vibe of those idyllic lounges. That is, until I travelled to Seattle to meet a friend with the sole intention of catching up on each other’s lives, whilst working our way through two full days of exceptional restaurants and drinking establishments along the wharf. There, what I had long considered to be a lost art in cowboy town was a thriving ingredient of the Seattle dining scene. Bartenders were mixing their own house bitters, creating amazing tinctures and fusing these ingredients all into a new generation of vintage-like cocktails, serving it all up behind the sort of white aproned and black tie pride I remembered from another place and time.bittersThe entire experience filled me with a nostalgic longing and inspired me to envision a return to the idea of a classic cocktail with a western twist. Hence, the Wild West Cocktail column, and my starter spring cocktail, the pear stagecoach. In another world, this might be referred to as a “sidecar,” but I’m striving for a western rift here, so I’ve taken a few liberties. Of note, no matter how precisely I’ve poured this recipe, it doesn’t take kindly to doubling. If you’re serving more than two, be patient, and revel in the art of the creation of each set.

Pear Stagecoach

Serves two.

Four ounces (120 ml) pear brandy

Two ounces (60 ml) triple sec (such as Cointreau)

One ounce (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice

Lime zest to garnish

Combine all into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into two chilled martini glasses. You may want to sugar rim them if you decide the drink is too puckery on its own. Garnish with twisted lime zest.

Granola Bar Pie

The ultimate pie in a pinch interpretation.

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Photo by Krista Kay Photography

Admittedly, there may be those high couture ranch chefs who will turn their noses at the thought of crushing up a package of granola bars, tossing the contents in with a fine selection of other pantry and fridge staples, scraping it all into a store-bought frozen pie crust and turning it out as if it were the latest Julia Child creation. Then again, those women aren’t likely driven to ride one, or any number of horses in a day, muck stalls, have little ones tripping around their legs, hold down a full time job, manage the place, or even – all of the above. Not to mention, live 40 minutes from the nearest grocery store. Or, have spouses who think nothing of inviting the half dozen arena hangers-on in for an impromptu dinner. For those of us who find ourselves in these scenarios on a regular basis, last minute inceptions we can whip up from a half-laden pantry are life-savers. This simple pie handily accomplishes just that, while giving a grand nod to the resourcefulness of our great-grandmothers who produced similar delicious creations with nothing more than a bit of flour, lard and molasses (think the ubiquitous prairie staple- shoofly pie).

Please, do us a favor, and don’t set this on the table with a demure whiff of “didn’t have enough time” and “this will have to do” murmuring, but rather, present it in your fanciest pie plate with a flourish of unapologetic pioneer pride, and know that, despite its non-descriptive ingredients, this is one of the tastiest pies your family and guests will ever have the luxury of biting into.

With its gorgeous texture and luxurious flavor, your guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen.

With its gorgeous texture and luxurious flavor, your guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen.

Granola Bar Pie

Tenderflake deep dish or other similar frozen pie crust

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

1/8 tsp salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs, lightly beaten

4 Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey crunchy granola bars (2 pouches, about 3/4 cup), crushed*

1/4 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup milk chocolate baking chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

– Place pie crust in nine-inch pie plate, and follow the box directions for prepping the pie.

– In large bowl, microwave butter until melted.

– Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup until blended.

– Beat in salt, vanilla and eggs.

– Stir crushed granola bars, oats, baking chips and walnuts (if using) into mixture.

– Pour into crust-lined pie plate and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown.

– Cool for a bit, and serve warm, at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream or ice cream.

* To easily crush granola bars, use a rolling pin to crush bars prior to unwrapping.

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Photo by Krista Kay Photography

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Photo by Krista Kay Photography

Alberta Whisky Cake

It’s becoming increasingly prevalent to consider source (local) and company (niche) in our world. In a sense, our western culture has perhaps always leaned more towards a high standard of craftsmanship, than an overload of cheap trappings. We cherish one well-made bit crafted from a local artisan, over 10 made overseas. A pair of chaps so beautifully constructed they must be passed on from mother to daughter. And so on.

I’ve as much as possible refined and practiced the same criteria in my kitchen and lifestyle. I’d rather have less, and enjoy quality than stack up on bulk buys of ridiculously processed foods.

awckamlaAll part of why I never grow tired of this friend, and her consistently positive mind and joy of life.

It took baker Kamla McGonigal of Calgary, Alberta, four years to perfect her recipe. Determination, baby, that’s what it took. The fourth generation Calgary native wanted to use whisky, locally distilled at Highwood Distiller’s, from grain at nearby farms as one of the main ingredients in her delectable cakes. Finally after countless hours over an oven, McGonigal developed one of the best tasting and most unique baked-goods available to those with discerning palates – the Alberta Whisky Cake.

awcwhiskeycakeboxUsing only the finest locally-sourced ingredients, Alberta Whisky Cakes offer a seductive flavor. You will be able to smell it’s sweet, distinct goodness before you will ever taste it, but as whisky advocates know – this is a desirable trait.

awcradioSo, as I’m working through my Christmas list of gift-giving and thank-you’s – both personal and corporate, Alberta Whisky Cakes in their delightful western-styled packaging are a top pick. The beautiful bundts are simple to order, and because of the dense, whisky intinction, keep well through shipping and into the Christmas season.

Find Alberta Whisky Cake on Facebook or, here.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

rhubarbcakeA couple of years ago, I purchased a rhubarb plant. I set it temporarily by the compost pile, while I deliberated where to plant it. It was spring. It rained for a long time. Spring turned into summer. Horses, shows and other priorities prevailed. When autumn rolled around, I guiltily pushed the dried up stalk, still in its pot, to the back of the compost pile, out of sight. Finally, sometime before winter I threw the entire plant into the compost pile, on its side, still in its pot. I was fairly certain I’d missed the successful transplanting window by a month, or season, or two.

There may be some truth to the theory that you really can’t kill rhubarb. The following spring, as I was tidying up the compost pile, there it was, on its side, bright green leaves and red stalks pushing out from the dried plant.

This time I didn’t miss the window, and since then we’ve re-discovered rhubarb as one of our favourite springtime treats.

So, good, I decided to make a rhubarb upside-down cake for Wee’s birthday. So simple. The streusel ends up on the bottom of the cake in this case, but it’s still a beautiful thing. I have trouble with upside-down cakes flipping out intact. In this case, it’s appropriate to cool the cake about 10 minutes and then flip it. Too long, and the rhubarb will get sticky.

Streusel 

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

bit of salt

Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups (or more if desired) of cut up rhubarb, tossed in enough sugar to coat it.

1 cup sugar (in addition to the sugar used for coating the rhubarb)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt

1-2 tablespoons orange juice

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

a bit of orange zest, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Butter a 9 or 10 inch round cake or pie pan (2-3 inches deep)

3. Spread the rhubarb and sugar mixture into the pan.

4. Make the streusel by crumbling together the ingredients.

5. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in zest and juice. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour in three batches and equal halves of the sour cream in between, beating until smooth. Your batter should be spreadable, add the second tablespoon of orange juice here if necessary.

Note: if you find yourself short of sour cream, you can substitute plain yogurt. Just let it sit in a strainer for 15 minutes mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This will give it the same consistency as the thicker sour cream.

6. Spread the batter over the rhubarb and top it off with the crumbled streusel.

7. Bake about 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge, and invert onto a pretty cake plate.

rhubarbsliced

 

 

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

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If you want to fix a special summer snack that is as healthy as it is fresh, this fruit salsa on cinnamon chips is to die for! A seriously easy recipe that works great at home or from the living quarters of your trailer at a show.

And the best part? Not counting the fruit, there are only 140 calories per every 7 chips!

Ingredients:

1 mango

6-8 strawberries

10 cherries

1/8 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Bag of Stacy’s Cinnamon Chips

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Instructions
Wash all produce. Pit the cherries. Prepare your mango and cut into small pieces. Chop the tops off your strawberries and cut in half. Chop the cilantro up slightly. Throw the cherries, strawberries, mango and cilantro in a food processor and add in the lemon juice. Not a lot of processing is necessary because you want the salsa to be somewhat chunky. Once you have a blend you’re happy with, put the salsa into the fridge and allow it to marinade for at least 15 minutes.

Serve the salsa with Stacy’s Cinnamon Chips.

Sooooo good!

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The Art, Cake & Whisky Contest

It took Alberta baker Kamla McGonigal four years to perfect her recipe. The fourth generation Calgary native wanted to use whisky, locally distilled from grain at nearby farms as one of the main ingredients in her delectable cakes. Finally after countless hours over an oven, McGonigal developed one of the best tasting and most unique baked-goods available to those with discerning palates – the Alberta Whisky Cake (AWC).

Which is exactly why we picked her as one of our Artisans of the West (in the food category) in the March issue.

But on June 20, disaster struck Alberta Whisky Cake when High River flooded.

This is a picture Kamla sent me on June 24. The shot is of 3rd Ave. The Cakery Bakery, which had been producing Kamla’s cakes, is located on the far left of the photo – it is completely ruined and will have to be refurbished, replaced with new equipment etc. Most of AWC’s  inventory of packaging/printing/labels were stored at the bakery and also destroyed. In addition, Highwood Distillery, which supplied the all-important whisky ingredient, also incurred flood damage.

At that time, Kamla didn’t know when she would be able to supply AWCs again. She had a few dozen in storage, most of which she later donated to a flood fundraising effort. It seemed Alberta was completely out of stock of the unique Alberta Whisky Cakes.

But Kamla is a passionate soul – and determined to get the cakes back into production.

On July 13th, she posted on Alberta Whisky Cakes Facebook page:

“Good morning. I’m headed to the Millarville Farmers Market for the last time this season, with the last of my inventory (until Cakery Bakery is back up & Highwood Distillers rye whisky available again). The kindest thing I can do right now is get AWC bigger & better than ever before – people REALLY want JOBS, not handouts.” ~ Kam

Her farm, west of High River, has a healthy beautiful crop of canola (an important ingredient in the cake) nearly ready to be harvested, and it turns out the Cakery Bakery was covered by insurance, and a rebuilding is in process. It will take 2 to 3 months, and in the meantime, Kamla is using the time to tweak the current product and invent new versions of it. Look for perhaps a fruitcake version, or even, gluten-free in the future of AWC.

One of the unique aspects of the Alberta Whisky Cake is that each comes with an exclusive AWC Unbridled Spirits certificate. This certificate can be presented directly to a select list of AWC artists to receive $35 off of your purchase price, on an individual piece of art valued at $100 or more. These artists are local people who are involved heavily in the arts, and have not yet become renowned or rewarded for their exceptional dedication to their creative work.

Past recipients have included such artists such as Whitney Wilkie – Whittie Girl Leathers (www.whittiegirlleathers.com)

Or, Jane Romanishko – Jane Romanishko (www.janeromanishko.com)

And Neville Palmer – Reflective Eye Photography (www.reflectiveeye.com)

Now the Whisky Baker and Western Horse Review have knotted their tendrils of love for western art and culture together to come up with the Art, Whisky and Cake Contest.

Kamla needs an emerging western artist to showcase when her new set of post-flood AWC’s begin rolling off the production line in a few months and she’s inviting Screen Doors & Saddles and Western Horse Review readers to put forth nominations of your choice.

In the comment section below simply state your nomination of a Canadian emerging western artist. Include the name and if possible, website url, of the artist and a simple line or two detailing why you’d like to nominate this individual. From all of the nominations, Kamla will make a selection of three finalists. These three finalists will be profiled here on Screen Doors & Saddles and on Western Horse Review Facebook and viewers will have the opportunity to vote and ultimately, choose the next AWC Artist!

In addition, we’ll do a random draw from all of the nominations, and the winner will receive an Alberta Whisky Cake, compliments of Kam. I’m sure it will be one of the first cakes to be pulled from the Cakery Bakery’s ovens once they are up and running again.

It’s possible we might be dubbing the first few as “celebration cakes.” For in a small way, we hope this contest symbolizes the hope we extend toward the people of High River and surrounding areas, many of whom have lost so much and are still struggling, and foster feelings of a brighter future!

As Kamla says, “out of hope comes clarity, energy, focus & optimism!” So, go ahead and nominate your favorite up-and-coming western artist in the comment section below. We’re counting on your support and feedback for this contest.

Wild Rose Petal Ice Cream

Credit: Priscilla Unger

I have a big announcement to make… Drum roll please!! My Stable Life is extremely proud to collaborate with a new guest blogger – Priscilla Unger, creator of Memories of Home. In her own words Priscilla is a homemaker, a homebuilder, a homesteader, and a homeschooler. And in her spare time, she is a hobby food creator. Priscilla has agreed to come on board with My Stable Life and share a few how-to recipes of her own that truly represent the country lifestyle. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Memories of Home’s first entry. Wild Rose Petal Ice Cream. Nothing screams Alberta summer better than this…!

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BY GUEST BLOGGER – Memories of Home

I could pretend that I’m knowledgeable in the ways and palette of edible flowers, but that would be… well… complete barnacle.  All I know is that upon discovery of every beautiful and fragrant flower this year, much Googling ensues in a quest to find out if it’s edible, and how it tastes.

I know – I should have discovered Wild Roses sooner.  Having lived in Alberta for most of my life, its symbol is proudly powder-coated on provincial license plates… I see it every day.  (I read recently that it became Alberta’s official floral emblem in 1930).

Maybe because of the recent historic flooding in my home province, (or maybe just because often pretty things I look at become food-i-fied), the Wild Rose has compelled me to pick and gather the brilliant and fragrant petals from the bushes in our yard this summer.

Credit: Priscilla Unger

RoseWater is easily made at home by pouring one part boiling water over four parts loosely packed rose petals and letting it steep for a couple of hours.  Look how beautiful the colour is.  And the smell…

Credit: Priscilla Unger

I wonder why the ingredient has not become more popular here in North America…  Many people from around the globe use it as a common ingredient – as we would use fresh herbs. And as is the case with all plant organisms, claims of medicinal benefits are also well documented about the consumption of rose petals.

Rose petals inspire me to make gorgeous jelly preserves, chic marshmallows, and perhaps tea infusions in little sachets for gifts. But since is summer, Rose Petal Ice Cream seems like a fitting idea, and an elegant addition to any sweet menu.

If you do not have an ice cream machine, you can either buy one here, or use David Lebovitz’s no-machine method as explained here.  Both options work well with this recipe.

Credit: Priscilla Unger.

WILD ROSE PETAL ICE CREAM
(makes approximately 1.5 L)

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together, and bring just to a slight boil:
2 cups of Whole Milk
2 cups of Heavy Cream
1/2 cup of Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 whole Vanilla Bean, halved and seeds scraped or 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Powder

In the bowl of an electric mixer, on low speed, combine:
6 large Egg Yolks
1/2 cup of Sugar

As the mixer is running, very slowly pour about half of the barely boiling milk mixture into the yolk mixture.  Return the combined mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon (about 170˚-175˚ F).  Pour the custard through a mesh strainer into a clean bowl or storage container.  Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.

When you are ready to churn the ice cream, add the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Five minutes before the end of the mixing cycle, add:
2 Tbsp. homemade RoseWater  *optional  (see above for method)

Gently fold in:

1 – 2 cups of loosely packed, un-sprayed Wild Rose Petals

Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze to store.

Credit: Priscilla Unger

 

Enjoy!