Urban Picnic

August 25, 2021

Written & Developed by Chef Liana 

It’s STILL summertime and the sun is shining! Alberta’s bounty is ideal for sharing with your family and friends—and late summer is a perfect time for picnics with the best crisp cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and delicious peppers. Admittedly, I’m a hardcore city slicker. Camping and sitting around a fire is something that happens in movies, much like hanging out with The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. When I think of heading out of town for a picnic, the song of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic comes to mind:

“If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise!
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise!
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic...”

I LOVE picnics! Pass the delicious food in baskets, but hold the bear experience! Yes, I realize the chances of the bears having a picnic are low, but there’s still a chance! Hold tight—the solution is all around us for those who love picnics but don’t have the time to drive out to the mountains. Urban picnics are where the city slicker thrives and comes alive, where an entire picnic world happens in the landscape of the beautiful city of Calgary. Gorgeous city parks, amazing little spots in the Beltline, and Olympic Plaza are perfect for a blanket and a basket. Take a look in your neighbourhood, you’ll be inspired! I recently had the best urban picnic with my pal Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist at ATB Financial, and my visiting parents. I created two easy recipes perfect for picnics. All ingredients can be found at my favourite Calgary Co-op.

The first is a Corn & Sweet Pepper Chutney: local fresh corn off the cob, Founder & Farmers peppers, and Founder & Farmers canned tomatoes are the stars of this recipe. You’ll love the sweet tang and the slight heat, and it pairs perfectly with the Founders and Farmers Brie & Camembert cheese.

The next recipe I created is a Vegetable Ceviche. This recipe is the definition of summer. Fresh and crisp, it’ll make you dance with happiness. Welcome to your new obsession (...you’re welcome!)  Made with local tomatoes,  jalapeño, Founders & Farmers peppers, cucumbers, heart of palm, water chestnuts, lots of fresh herbs, lime and of course lots of love. The vegetable ceviche is perfectly served on these wonderful, locally-made Samosas chips, made in Airdrie. This is what I love about Calgary Co-op—all the locally found, delicious gems.

To round out our urban picnic basket experience, I was thrilled to add in Cal & Gary’s brand of curated dry cuppa, salami Milano, antipasto Italiano and a couple of fresh baguettes from the Co-op bakery.

Summer is here. Let’s embrace it with our friends and family. Picnics are a great way to enjoy Alberta’s wonderful farmers and producers—and urban picnics are a wonderful way to enjoy Calgary’s urban beauty. 

Vegetable Ceviche

  • 1 cup Founders & Farmers pepper, core & remove seeds and then dice in small pieces
  • 1 cup heart of palm sliced into coins ¼ size
  • 1 cup sliced water chestnuts, cut into halves
  • 1cup  tomato (2 tomatoes), seeds removed, dice into small pieces
  • 1cup Founders & Farmers mini cucumbers, peeled cut in half length wise sliced into coins, size ¼
  • 1 cup red onion, dice into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 whole fresh jalapeño, seeds removed, dice into small pieces
  • 1 cup pickled banana peppers, dice into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp (juice from the pickled banana peppers)
  • 2 whole limes, zested & juiced 
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Highwood Crossing Canola Oil
  • 2 tbsp chipotle Tabasco
  • 2 tbsp sake (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients together – let sit in fridge for 40 minutes – enjoy. 
    *Enjoy on fresh Founders & Farmers cucumber slices, Samosa crisps  or greens. 

Summer Corn & Sweet Bell Pepper Chutney  

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corns, husked and kernels removed
  • 1 cup Founder & Farmers peppers seeds & core removed small diced
  • 1 cup white onion, small diced
  • 1 jalapeño fresh, stem removed, diced
  • 1 can (796ml) Founders & Farmers diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Truly Turmeric whole root turmeric paste     
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup Demerara brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Tabasco
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Add the corn and red bell, onion, pepper to a non-stick pan over medium-high heat with no oil.  Stir occasionally until all of the liquid cooks off and a brown “film” will form at the bottom of the pan.
  2. Deglaze the pan with small amount of water. 
  3. After corn starts to turn golden add, garlic, turmeric paste, jalapeño, brown sugar and diced tomatoes and rest of ingredients. Stir
  4. Sift in corn starch, stir, turn down heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Reduce heat until liquid is slightly thickened. 
  5. Allow to cool completely, serve cold
    *Pairs perfectly with Founders & Farmers Brie & Camembert cheese
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