Over the last summer, long-time friends Leanne Brown and Sarah Chan would explore the city’s culinary nooks on two wheels, and then pedal home to cook meals based on the treasures they found. Their adventures resulted in 30 recipes, collected and self-published late last year in a new cookbook, Velo Fare.
The two friends documented their journey in images, while Brown, a food studies graduate student at New York University and author of the vegetarian cookbook, From Scratch, wrote most of the recipes. Chan, whose award-winning Girls and Bicycles blog stays active year-round, acted as the sous-chef and let Brown tweak her own family recipes. For example, her mother’s red bean popsicles, originally a simple mix of red beans, water and sugar, was upgraded with Brown’s additions of coconut milk, vanilla and lemon zest.
Most dishes, however, were inspired by the city itself, such as the Farmers’ Market Salad, made with Gull Valley’s zebra tomatoes, and especially green onion cakes. “They are a uniquely Edmonton treat and not nearly so popular anywhere else I’ve travelled,” says Brown.
The cookbook isn’t just about the pleasures of food, it’s about togetherness, friendship and “getting out of your pod and being in your city,” she says. “It’s about sharing experiences with people that you care about, and the whole experience of making this cookbook was absolutely delightful.” She says the best part was spending entire weekends working on it with her friend. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” ($25, 81 pages; available on lulu.com)
Cake Couture: Modern Sugar-Craft for the Stylish Baker by Annie Dam
The owner of the dessert boutique, Cake Couture, creates elaborate edible works of art for couples and corporate clients daily. Now, she shares the tricks of her trade. With advice on baking and decorative techniques, ingredients and tools, as well as vibrant photography by food stylist and blogger Maki Blazevski, the book is as informative as it is eye-catching. (Firefly Books, 144 pages, $19.95) Click here to order.
How to Cook Bouillabaisse in 37 Easy Steps: Culinary Adventures in Paris & Provence by Mark Craft and Diane Shaskin
The founders of Planet Organic and several culinary travel companies chronicle their journey through France, sharing recipes and techniques discovered along the way. And, of course, the former Edmontonians teach you how to make the ultimate bouillabaisse, a complicated fish dish. But it’s more than just a cookbook; it’s a cooking journal, with personal stories and interviews with French foodies. (Voconces Culinary, 308 pages, $19.95) Click here to order.
OK, be honest, have you taken your Christmas decorations down, yet?