By Silvia Pikal
When Jenny Kang was growing up in South Korea, trick-or-treating and Halloween parties weren’t the norm. But the executive chef at Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant knows how to make a good party spread.
Kang is continuously creating new menus for the dinners, parties and other occasions held in the historic ranch house.
“I’ve been pushing to make lots of menus, which made me a strong chef,” Kang says.
After graduating from SAIT’s culinary program, the chef worked at some of Calgary’s top restaurants, including Teatro and Catch. Over the course of her career, she’s learned a lot from French chefs she’s worked with in Calgary. You can see the influence of French cooking in dishes like the Rangeland Farm Elk Tartar, a current item on the Bow Valley Ranche menu.
For Kang, there’s always more to learn. A big focus of the restaurant’s Canadian cuisine is game meats, which was a new experience for Kang when she joined Bow Valley Ranche as executive chef. “I had never worked with game meats like bison, elk, and venison,” Kang says. “That was a little bit tougher for me.
I’ve learned a lot since I started working here. Making the menu makes me happy. And when people like my food, that’s the best part. That’s why I’m a chef.”
Kang has put together a spectacular menu for a Halloween party you can host at home: “I created it my own way. It’s real food but it’s Halloween-themed.”
Beef Tartare on Bone Marrow
100 g cooked rice (optional)
2 tsp rinsed and finely chopped capers 2 Tbs finely chopped shallot
2 Tbs finely chopped gherkins
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
3 tsp (15 mL) olive oil
5 drops Tabasco sauce
3 drops Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice
To taste salt and pepper
2 large egg yolks
280 g beef tenderloin, cut into small cubes, covered, and refrigerated
Cleaned canoe-cut veal bone or crostini Broken potato chips spattered with grenadine, to garnish.
- 1. Leave cooked rice at room temperature overnight, then deep-fry until it puffs. Drain on paper towel.
- 2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and put on a veal bone or crostini. Drop some puffed rice on top of the tartare and serve with broken potato chips spattered with grenadine.
Jack-o’-Lantern Bell Peppers
Carved orange bell peppers filled with baby green salad, toasted nuts, and bloody pomegranate vinaigrette.
6 orange bell peppers carved
200 g mixed spring greens
to fill into bell peppers
Toasted nuts or dried cranberries and raisins
Bloody Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
2 cups (500 mL) pomegranate juice, reduced by half
1 Tbs (15 mL) Dijon mustard
3 Tbs (45 mL) grenadine
3 Tbs (45 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar Salt, to taste
- 1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour into the bell pepper. Garnish with the toasted walnuts on top.
Sweet and Spicy Marinated Baby Octopus with Quail Eggs
6 quail eggs
450 g baby octopus (around 8-10 pcs)
2 Tbs (30 mL) gochujang (Korean chili paste)
2 Tbs (30 mL) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) soy sauce
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1⁄2 medium carrot, julienned
1⁄2 onion, julienned
1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
Mixed green salad
- 1. Cook quail eggs in boiling water for ve minutes. Cool them down in iced water, then peel and carve scary faces into them if desired.
- 2. Place remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix well and keep in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
- 3. Cook in a frying pan on medium high heat about 8-10 minutes, until the octopus is cooked.
- 4. Serve on a bed of salad greens and garnish with quail eggs.
Bow Valley Ranche also created two cocktails for your Halloween party too!
11⁄2 oz pumpkin liqueur 1⁄2 oz apple brandy
1 oz apple juice
Drop of grenadine Cinnamon sugar
- Shake all the ingredients together and pour into a martini glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.
1⁄2 oz melon liqueur
1⁄2 oz Jack Daniel’s Honey 1 oz cranberry juice
4 drops of grenadine
- Shake all ingredients together and pour into your favourite glass.