RSS Feed
  1. Summertime Cherries

    July 30, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    A couple of us from Start From Scratch have been visiting the Okanagan and have been indulging in the fresh food and wines that this region is known for. Whenever I visit Kelowna, I eat copious amounts of cherries (in fact, I’m munching through a bowl right now). There is just something about big, juicy B.C. cherries that I can’t get enough of. I’ll be grabbing an extra bag to get me through the road trip home. Here’s a fancy yet simple recipe from Dan that uses cherries and another great summer food, pork!

    But before you head to the fruit stand, we’d like to let you know that application for the Fall 2013 session of Start From Scratch opens August 11! This year in Calgary, we’ll be accepting application from students at the U of C, MRU and now, SAIT!

    Plus, VANCOUVER get ready! You’re getting your very own SFS too!


    Roast Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Fig Reduction and Pickled Cherries (from

    What you’ll need…

    Roast Pork:

    1 pork tenderloin (approx. 2 lb)
    salt and pepper
    olive oil

    Balsamic Fig Reduction:

    2 shallots (thinly sliced)
    1 garlic clove (minced)
    3 mission figs (ends trimmed, loosely chopped)
    1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
    2 TSP white sugar
    salt and pepper
    olive oil

    Pickled Cherries:

    1 1/2 cup white vinegar
    3 TSP salt
    2 TSP sugar
    1 TSP pickling spice
    1 cup fresh cherries (pitted and halved)

    Start off by pre-heating your oven to 250 degrees. Rub the pork tenderloin with some olive oil and season all sides with salt and pepper. Pop it into a prepared baking dish and let cook in the oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

    While that’s cooking, move onto the reduction. Place the shallots and garlic in a small pot with some olive oil and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the figs to the pot and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, pour in the vinegar and sugar. Once the pot comes to a bubble, reduce to low heat and let the liquid simmer until it reduces by two thirds. Season with salt and pepper to taste and leave warm on the stove until ready to serve the pork.

    The pork is still cooking, right? Ok, time to quick pickle cherries! Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small pot, bring to a boil and pour over sliced cherries. Strain liquid while pouring to catch the small bits of pickling spice. Let sit for 15 minutes, drain and set aside until ready to serve.

    Remove pork loin from oven. Finish by searing on all sides in a large, hot pan to form a crust. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing. To plate, serve sliced pork over a bed of wilted greens (like spinach or swiss chard), top with balsamic fig reduction and a small spoonful of pickled cherries.

    That’s it, that’s all!

    Serves 5-6

    Total cook time…1 hour, 25 minutes

  2. Dinner for Dad: Pulled Chicken Tacos

    June 10, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Treat your dad to pulled chicken tacos this Father’s Day. This recipe from Julie van Rosendaal, uses a slow cooker aka. it’s super easy! Add a selection of toppings and you’ve got yourself the perfect meal for the whole family.

    Pulled Chicken Tacos (from

    Adapted from Sweet Potato Chronicles

    Photo courtesy

    8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    5-6 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
    1 – 1 1/2 cups salsa
    1 Tbsp. chili powder (this sounds hotter than it actually is)
    a pinch of salt
    soft flour tortillas or hard taco shells
    grated cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream – whatever you like

    Put the chicken, garlic, salsa, chili powder and salt in the bowl of a slow cooker and toss with tongs to combine everything; set it on low for 6-8 hours.

    Pull the chicken apart with two forks and serve with flour tortillas or taco shells and your choice of additions. Serves 6.

  3. Picnic Season

    June 5, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    The grass is finally green, the skies are blue and the sun is shining, so why not pack yourself a picnic and take it to a park in your neighbourhood or even Prince’s Island Park? All you need is a loaf of bread, some cheese, veggies, this potato and artichoke salad and a jug of lemonade. I would even suggest having a picnic for one since a day outside on a blanket with a book sounds soul-soothing.

     ‘Rock Your World’ Potato & Artichoke Salad (from

    Photo courtesy

    3 red potatoes
    1 cucumber
    1 carrot
    3 radishes
    1 jar marinated artichokes (6 oz)
    1 cup sour cream
    1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    Salt & Pepper

    Start by filling a pot 2/3 full with water, then add some salt, how much you ask? Here is a great line from one of my favorite Food Network guys, Anthony Sedlak: ‘It should taste like the sea!’ So salt away! Rinse, then chop the potatoes into 1″ cubes and place in the pot. Bring to a boil, and let them bubble away for about 8 minutes. You still want a bit of a bite to the potatoes, so don’t let them get too tender! Strain and set aside to cool.

    Next, slice up your carrot, cucumber, and radishes. Personally, I think the thinner the better, but as long as their ‘bite-size’ you should be alright. Take the (now cool) potatoes and combine all off the veggies into a bowl. Add in the jar of marinated artichokes (liquid too!), sour cream, & white wine vinegar. Combine until everything is evenly coated, then salt & pepper to taste! Now enjoy that picnic!

    Serves 3-4

    Total cook time…25 min

  4. Flavour in the Village

    May 31, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Here’s a fun event for you to celebrate June 1st with: Flavour in the Village. Head down to Village Ice Cream and check out their amazing scoops along with the food trucks Cheezy Bizness, Without Papers Pizza, The Family Fry Guy, Perogy Boys, Phil & Sebastian Coffee, The House of Cream Puffs and more. It’s a pop-up food festival!


  5. Check out

    May 26, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Nicole Gomes and Julie Van Rosendaal (Photo from

    Start From Scratch’s good friend Julie Van Rosendaal along with Calgary writer Elizabeth Chorney-Booth have launched a brand new website called Matching food with music, will bring you insights into what their favourite musicians are eating and such! Sounds like fun to me!

    Check out this post on Top Chef Canada contestant (and AMAZING Calgarian) Nicole Gomes and find out what music she listens to when she’s cooking up a storm!


  6. Treat your Mom

    May 6, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    This Sunday, May 12 is Mother’s Day and a perfect opportunity for you to show off your skills! Cook your Mom a brunch, dinner, dessert or snack and make her proud. Here are a few easy recipe ideas for you:

    For every Mom who deserves to be over-indulged:

    Blueberry Cheesecake Overnight French Toast by Julie Van Rosendaal (

    For the Mom who would love for someone else to cook dinner (more than just on Mother’s Day):

    Linguine with Lemon Basil Tomato Sauce by Dan Clapson (

    For the Mom who loves a (healthy) treat:

    Raw, Vegan Nanaimo Bars by Jacinthe Koddo (

    For the working Mom:

    Soy Chai Latte “Larabars” by Vincci Tsui (

  7. Quite possibly the world’s oldest hamburger

    April 23, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Here at Start From Scratch, we obviously advocate for fresh (and a lot of homemade) food because A) it’s delicious, B) good for you and C) not as hard to make as you think. But, we know that everyone gets a craving for fast food every once in awhile and that’s ok! So, here’s a little video for you on world’s (alleged) oldest hamburger. It’s kinda mind blowing…

    Source: Huffington Post

  8. Get yourself some Tutti Frutti!

    March 31, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Tutti Frutti is a new frozen yogurt shop that just opened on 17th Ave. Start From Scratch got a sneak peek at Tutti Frutti’s delicious concoctions and we were anything but disappointed. From the soy flavours (the black sesame is divine) to the sugar-free chocolate and creamy peanut butter, there is something for everyone.  Plus the myriad of toppings including Ghiradelli chocolate sauce and the absolutely perfect brownie bites make this a great dessert or snack option after a stroll on 17th. My suggestion: mix a few flavours and top with skor bits! Follow Tutti Frutti at @TFFroyoYYC


  9. Beignets from Julie

    March 25, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Julie van Rosendaal is a very good friend of Start From Scratch and I luckily now work only a few blocks away from her house. We always thought that she was joking when she said she would pop in with some delicious just baked goods, but last week it actually happened. Holy. Cow. One of my co-workers walked in with a little movie theatre-like popcorn box filled to the brim with tiny little fresh out of the deep-fryer donuts. After tasting Julie’s heavenly creation, I knew I had to share it with you.

    Cafe du Monde-style Sugared Beignets (courtesy

    1 1/2 cups warm water
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 tsp. (1 pkg.) active dry yeast
    1 cup milk
    2 large eggs
    2 tsp. vanilla
    7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1 tsp. salt
    canola oil, for frying
    plenty of icing sugar

    In a large bowl, stir together the water, a spoonful of the sugar and the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes. If it’s not foamy, toss it and buy new yeast.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Add to the yeast mixture along with 3 cups of the flour, the remaining sugar, the butter and salt and stir to combine. Gradually add another 4 cups of flour, stirring (or letting your dough hook do the work) until you have a sticky dough. If it’s not too sticky to knead, knead it on a floured surface or with the dough hook; if it’s still pretty sticky, add another 1/2 cup flour. Knead until it’s smooth and elastic, yet still tacky.

    Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours.

    When you’re ready to cook, heat a couple inches of oil in a deep-fryer or heavy saucepan until hot, but not smoking (about 350F).

    Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick and cut into 1-2 inch squares with a knife. Carefully drop a few at a time into the hot oil, without crowding it (cooking too many at a time will bring the temperature of the oil down) and cook until golden on both sides, carefully flipping with tongs as necessary. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool, then douse in powdered sugar.

    Makes about 4 dozen beignets.

  10. We’re famous! Start From Scratch in The Weal

    March 22, 2013 by Start From Scratch

    Start From Scratch was lucky enough to have Giselle Wedemire, lifestyle editor at SAIT’s The Weal, sit down with our very own Vincci Tsui for a Q&A. Here’s a sneak peek but click through for the rest of the juicy article (tee hee!) on how students can cook on a budget.

    NGO helps students start from scratch

    by Giselle Wedemire

    (Left to right). Nina Rojkovskaia, Josie Ryan and Maeghan Archbald expand their culinary knowledge in weekly Start From Scratch cooking clases. The free cooking classes teach basic cooking skills to Mount Royal and University of Calgary students. Photo courtesy Jenn Sieppert/The Weal

    Ramen noodles and boxes of KD are common staples of the stereotypical college student’s diet, despite their lack of nutritional value.

    To help reverse this carb-centred life, one non-profit organization has been making an effort to improve both the culinary skills and the health of university students.

    Founded in Nov. 2010, Start From Scratch is a local, semester-long program that aims to give students a basic education in the kitchen and kick culinary qualms to the curb.

    Held every Tuesday in the community room of Co-op Midtown Market, the free classes give students hands-on experience with three to four recipes each week, with many classes following a theme of some sort. While the classes are currently open to University of Calgary and Mount Royal University students, Start From Scratch instructor and registered dietitian Vincci Tsui hopes that the program will be expanded to include SAIT students in the future because, “cooking is such an important life skill to have, and everyone should be able to learn how to do it.”

    In the meantime, The Weal sat down with Tsui and got the lowdown on how SAIT students can make the most of cooking on a student budget.

    Click here to read the rest!