Friday, July 4, 2014

A Visit to Alberta Ranch Land

As you may have discerned by now, we are not really "city people". We find them quite overwhelming and difficult to explore on a budget. As a result, we pick the cities we visit carefully and usually go to specific sites within the city. There was nothing we really wanted to see there so I can't tell you much about Calgary. Except that is is obviously very wealthy and interestingly, very colourful. Its skyline is spectacular, in an unassuming, Canadian kind of way:
note the different colours of the buildings
The Children's Hospital was interesting and beautiful:
But we were really there to visit Arch's nephew, Fraser and his wife, Norma. They live in High River, a town about 25 kms south of Calgary. And take in some of Alberta's ranch country.  It was a lovely and educational visit.

In the spring of 2013 High River and surrounding area were drowned in flood waters from a fierce spring rain storm. Calgary and other towns around the area were also badly effected but High River took the brunt of the floods and is still rebuilding. I cannot begin to tell you the devastation we saw and won't even try. But what was impressive was the ability of the town to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding. They have a very long way to go and a lot of tough decisions to make regarding dike building and flood plain lands but one can see that they are getting there quickly.

This is a photo from Fraser and Norma's deck:

This entire area was completely flooded and most homes had their first floor full of flood water. Today it is so serene and beautiful with flower beds, walking trails and duck ponds that it is hard to imagine the devastation caused by the flood.

Because of the floods the campgrounds in High River were closed so we stayed in Okotoks, a town just north of there. And enjoyed several meals with Fraser and Norma. One at their home where Fraser planked and barbequed a salmon he caught on his annual British Columbia fishing trip:
On go the secret spices

Ready to serve
It was delicious and Fraser agreed to share his "secret" recipe with you. Unfortunately, as I had no internet access for a while I tucked the recipe away where I would not loose it and you know what? Now, I can't remember where I put it. *sigh* Getting old is not for the faint of heart. Anyway, I think I remember most of it and, Fraser, if I missed anything please email the corrections.

Planked Salmon

cedar boards - 3/4" thick, soaked in water overnight. (as you can see above they will still burn so watch them while cooking)
salmon fillets
olive oil
fresh dill
maple syrup
seafood seasoning (I think Fraser used Club House seafood seasoning but Old Bay would work well also)
salt and pepper

Rub the salmon with olive oil and drizzle on maple syrup. sprinkle with dill, seafood seasoning and salt and pepper.

Place on wet cedar planks and set directly on barbeque grill. Set heat to medium, close lid and cook until salmon flakes easily. About 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Serve at the table from the boards.

Fraser used cedar fencing (not hard to find in Alberta) for the planks. If you do this be sure it has not been treated with anything.

Another night they joined us for s steak barbeque at our campsite:
We bought good Alberta beef steaks so no need for a recipe here. Just put on the barbeque and grill to desired level of done-ness. Do you know how to tell how well meat is cooked? It is easy using the touch system. Stretch out your arm full length and touch your muscle. What you feel is rare when you touch a cooking steak. Then bend your arm half way and touch the muscle. This is what medium feels like. Now, bend your arm all the way and show off that hard muscle. This is well done.

And to end, our impression of Alberta ranch land:
It is a land of wide open spaces
And big farm equipment
overseen by the Rocky Mountains
To enlarge the pictures simply click on them.
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1 comment:

  1. We plan to visit Calary for a quick stop. My husband's mother was born there. We don't care much for cities either. They all seem very similar.

    The salmon looks wonderful...fresh caught...drool!


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