Disclosure: I was hosted at Christmas in November at Jasper Park Lodge by Alberta Beef. As always, all opinions are my own. Make sure to scroll all the way to the end for a great giveaway hosted by Alberta Beef for my readers!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Alberta. We’ve had snow and chilly temps that have me dreaming of a white Christmas. Last weekend I attended Christmas in November at Jasper Park Lodge and any part of me that wasn’t in the Christmas spirit is GONE. Between food demonstrations, craft classes, delicious meals and over the top decorations, it is impossible to go to Christmas in November and come home not in the mood for the holidays.
One of my favourite parts of the holidays is getting together with family and friends. With many occasions to celebrate, I’m always looking for new ideas of what to serve. I love traditional holiday food but there are only so many times you can have the same meal during the holidays. Since Christmas in November is a food and wine festival, it is the perfect place to get inspired! Here are some of the inspirations I am going to put into action this year:
Serve Carved Alberta Beef
Our first night at Christmas in November we were met with this GINORMOUS Steamship round carving station. Now, you likely wouldn’t serve this at a small gathering at your house but it does inspire me to make something that can be carved. For example, a roasted striploin serves more people than the equivalent amount of strip loin steaks (because if you have a big steak on your plate, you’re going to eat it, right?). Serve it with horseradish and maybe a pot of bearnaise over a warmer and people will be talking about your party food forevermore.
Get Creative With Your Salads
Use creative plating, flavours and textures to make something as simple as a salad amazing. This kale salad is in the shape of a wreath with pecans, dried cherries and pomegranate added for colour, texture and taste. Do a few things well and your guests will rave.
Consider Embracing a More Casual Dinner
At Christmas in November, Chef Michael Olsen hosted a tailgate session. While he was making pork, it reminded me how much we enjoy using our smoker. Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean you have to roast meat in your oven!
Instead, consider making a beef brisket on the smoker or maybe even a prime rib. You can even make a few different recipes and pair them with comfort food favourites like my baked mac and cheese for a casual and delicious holiday feast!
Feature Local Foods for Your Holiday Feast!
Chef Corbin Tomaszeski led a cooking class at Christmas in November that featured seared Alberta Beef tenderloin with gremolata. Gremolata is basically just lemon zest, garlic and parsley. It reminded me a lot of my favourite chimichurri.
In our class he made an entire dinner start to finish in an hour and 15 minutes. The tenderloins were seared in a cast-iron skillet and served with nacho polenta, roasted locally grown carrots, parsnip puree and local beets. Root veggies are a great choice because you can find them easily in the winter, they are local and delicious!
It is the perfect holiday meal for a small gathering and so delicious! It was our gala dinner for the last night at Christmas in November. Also, if you ever get a chance to meet Chef Corbin, he is the nicest!
Serve a Dessert Square Flight
Okay, this may be one of the more brilliant ideas I got at Christmas in November…a dessert square flight! I attended a session with Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards. We made 5 different squares during the class. While I often make squares during the holidays, I usually give them away as gifts. Elizabeth and Emily had a GREAT idea to serve them as your holiday dessert by cutting them small and giving your guest a “flight” of squares. Such a fun and simple idea!
Were you as inspired as I was? I am looking forward to cooking some new and different things (or favourites in new ways) this holiday season! What I know for sure is that some of our holiday dinners will be including Alberta Beef!
Why Alberta Beef?
- The #1 reason is that it is grown right here at home and tastes AMAZING.
- Animal care – Alberta Beef Producers are taking a leadership role in supporting programs to ensure animals are properly cared for during production and processing.
- Food safety – The ABP supports meat quality control programs based on internationally recognized standards, ensuring beef meets the quality and safety requirements for consumers by preventing biological, chemical or physical contamination throughout the processing chain.
- Nutrition – Today’s beef is good food for your family. Did you know that on average, beef is 50 percent leaner than it was 20 years ago? Lean beef is also an outstanding nutritional source, supplying 12 essential nutrients, including protein, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus and zinc. Although many foods are fortified with vitamin B12, the form found in beef is the most readily usable by the body.
- Learn more at AlbertaBeef.org and CanadaBeef.ca.
Alberta Beef wanted to make your holidays extra special with a great giveaway! It is open to Canadian residents and the winner will receive an Oster Stainless Steel Buffet server! Enter to win below. Giveaway closes on November 25th. Good luck!Alberta Beef Holiday Giveaway with MerryAboutTown