Authors Posts by Jan Hostyn

Jan Hostyn

Jan Hostyn


Packed with goodness, eggs provide a variety of benefits

eggHave you ever noticed that, come Easter, eggs seem to pop up everywhere? We dye them, we decorate them, we hide them and we hunt for them. We like to stuff them into baskets (chocolate eggs, but still), and then there’s the whole egg-rolling-race thing involving hard-boiled eggs, grass and long-handled spoons. Versatile little things, aren’t they?

“Bottom line is eat your eggs. You can’t go wrong.”

Let’s not forget what else we could be doing with eggs: actually eating them! Not only do they taste great, but they’re packed with nutrition as well.

“Eggs really are nature’s most nutrient-dense food,” explains Dietary Technician Beth Castle. “There are over 14 nutrients in an egg. If you compare that to chicken, which has eight nutrients, you can see just how healthy they are.

“Not only do they have choline, which helps with brain development and function, they also have vitamin D, folate and iron—nutrients that are hard to get from other foods.”

Each large Grade A egg also contains six grams of protein. And because eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, which your body needs to build protein. They are one of the few foods that are a complete protein—all for only 70 calories each.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the white has all of that protein, though.

“If you’re throwing the yolk out, you’re missing out big time. That’s where most of the egg’s nutrients are, including almost half of the protein.”

Eggs have received some bad publicity in the past due to the amount of cholesterol they contain, but recent studies have shown eating an egg a day is perfectly okay.

“It doesn’t increase your risk of heart disease. Dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol,” says Castle. “People often tell me, ‘My grandparents ate eggs every day and they lived into their eighties or nineties.’ Be wary of fads and use common sense.

“It sounds like a broken record, but when it comes to your overall diet, it really is about moderation and going back to basics.”

Also, when you pick up a dozen eggs, whether it’s at the farmers’ market, or your local supermarket, you’re also supporting local Alberta farmers.

“Not only do our eggs come from family-run farms, but they’re super fresh. Most are just four to seven days old, and some are as little as two days old.

“Eggs are used in so many different things, everything from muffins to meatloaf to coating for fish and chicken. And at around 23 cents an egg, where else can you find such a nutrient-dense food that has so many uses?

“Really, the bottom line is eat your eggs. You can’t go wrong.”

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Mediterranean Crustless Quiche

Photo supplied by Taste Alberta
Photo supplied by Taste Alberta

Enjoy spring with healthy and delicious zucchini quiche

Serve quiche with a mesclun salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette

Preparation: 15 minutes  | Cooking: 35 to 40 minutes  | Servings: 6


1 tbsp olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced zucchini

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 ½ ounces goat cheese, crumbled

¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved (optional)

3 tbsp minced soft sun-dried tomoatoes

5 eggs

¾ cup 2% milk

½ tsp dried basic (or 1 tbsp of chopped fresh basil)

Cooking spray

Salt, pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

2. Add zucchini, onion and garlic; cook, stirring until golden brown and soft, about six minutes.

3. Transfer mixture to 9-inch glass pie plate sprayed with cooking spray.

4. Sprinkle with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.

5. Whisk together eggs, milk and basil in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Pour egg mixture over zucchini mixture.

7. Bake in preheated 350°F oven until set in centre, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Nutrients per serving:

Calories: 190

Protein: 12 g

Carbohydrate: 7 g

Dietary Fibre: 2 g

Fat: 13 g



Soups, chilies and stews are more than just comfort food

We’ve successfully made it through another holiday season. Even though some of us may be feeling a bit worse for wear (slightly more sluggish and a wee bit rounder, perhaps), my guess is that it was completely worth it: deprivation is simply not part of the celebratory spirit. Food, fun and festivities go hand in hand. But now that the celebrations are over, it’s time to get back eating or even introducing healthier beans, lentils and grains into your diet with tasty, hearty and warming soups for the cold winter weeks ahead.

Curried Split Pea Soup
Curried Split Pea Soup

“A healthy diet is about moderation, not deprivation,” reports Dr. Catherine Chan, professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Alberta and co-author of Pure Prairie Eating Plan. “If you feel like you’re deprived, any diet is hard to sustain.

“Healthy eating is about eating a variety of foods from all the food groups and trying to focus on foods that don’t include too much of things like salt, sugar, fat and calories. It’s more about food than weight loss.”

The Pure Prairie Eating Plan takes the basics of the Mediterranean diet (lots of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, plus a splash or two of olive oil) and puts a uniquely prairie twist on things by focusing on foods that are grown here on the prairies. Think beef, canola oil, beans and lentils, and a variety of grains, fruits and veggies.

“We know eating at home is healthier. The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard,” explains Chan. “Start simple with time-saving dishes that you can make in big batches: things like chili, soups and stews. They’re a perfect way to get more veggies into your diet, and you’ll have a lot of leftovers.”

Chan also urges us to be creative. Beans and lentils are loaded with protein, fibre and nutrients, so try tossing chickpeas into salads and puréed lentils into muffins.

“My mom never made soup from a recipe. She just saved up every leftover veggie, threw them all into a pot and saw what happened.”

And since time is always a concern, don’t be scared to use convenience products.  Frozen veggies, pre-cooked chicken and canned beans are all good options – just read labels and be aware that you might have to make minor adjustments (like rinsing canned beans to remove extra sodium).

“Nutrition advice changes a lot over time, but everyone agrees that eating more fruits and vegetables is a good thing,” says Chan. “But we’re not saying not to eat snacks or desserts. Just think about healthier options – if you love ice cream, try frozen yogurt instead.

“We need to recognize that the food we raise is healthy when it out comes out of the ground; we just have to be mindful about how we prepare it.”

Alberta Pulses. Surprisingly Good

Pulses include dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Alberta farmers grow about 20 per cent of Canada’s dried peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

You can use pulses in salads and soups, or they can be puréed or used whole in appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and baked foods. Canned beans, lentils, and chickpeas can be drained and rinsed to add to salads, soups, and, of course, chili. 

High in protein and low in fat, pulses are a rich source of fibre, folate, iron, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals. Pulses may help control blood sugars for type 2 diabetics and help control blood cholesterol levels. Pulses are also an important meat alternative for vegetarians and can be included in a gluten-free diet.

Alberta Pulse offers easy and delicious pulse recipes that will show you that pulses aren’t just good for you; they also taste surprisingly good. Visit for recipes, cooking tips, and more.

This chili is so full of flavour, filling, and comforting you won’t even guess that this it’s vegetarian

Serves 4 – serving size  approximately 1 ½ cups (375 mL)


Photo supplied by Taste Alberta
Photo supplied by Taste Alberta

Canola oil cooking spray

¼ cup onion

1 tbsp jalapeno pepper ribs and seeds removed, chopped

¼ cup celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried mustard

1 cup no-added-salt diced tomatoes, undrained

½ cup no-added-salt tomato sauce

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 cup great northern or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned (drained)

½ cup carrots, diced

½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Pinch chipotle chili pepper

Dash freshly ground pepper

Dash Tabasco sauce (optional)


1. Lightly spray non-stick medium sauce pan with canola oil spray. Heat saucepan.

2. Cook onion, jalapeno pepper, celery and garlic for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add spices, cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, vinegar, beans, potatoes, corn, carrots and vegetable stock; bring to boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chowder has thickened. Season with pepper and chipotle chili if desired.

4. For added zing, add 1-2 mL (1/4 – 1/2 tsp) Tabasco sauce.


Per serving: 281 kcal, 2g fat, 0.2 g saturated fat, 56 g carbohydrate, 7 g fibre, 12 g protein.

Recipe courtesy of Pure Prairie Eating Plan

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Charcuterie boards make holiday entertaining easy

Photography by Sean Williams

The holidays are quickly approaching and we all know what that means: friends, family and yes, entertaining. Now, entertaining can be enjoyable and rewarding, but it can also be daunting – all that planning and organizing, and then actually pulling it off. 

It’s never going to be stress-free (for most of us, anyway), but it is possible to host a gathering that’s deliciously unique and simple – really!

“You can’t go wrong with charcuterie,” says Andrew Cowan, Executive Chef of Hart’s Table and Bar in Edmonton. “Not only does it pack a whole ton of flavour, but you can put it together in advance.”

Executive Chef Andrew Cowan
Executive Chef Andrew Cowan

Charcuterie is just a fancy term for preserved meats or the craft of preserving meats – think sausages, ham, terrines, pâtés, confits and yes, the ever-popular bacon. And while it’s all the rage these days, charcuterie is actually an age-old tradition born out of necessity: it kept meat from spoiling before refrigeration existed.

“Salt is the key to charcuterie. It draws the water out of the meat so the microbes can’t survive, and less water means more flavour,” explains Cowan, who has been making his own charcuterie for about six years now. “Salt is actually the key to cooking anything – it helps make things taste good.”

To put together a charcuterie board, it’s really anything goes. “Go for a bit of everything. Put your selections on a board, keeping the same meats together so it’s clear as to what’s what, put any accompaniments in between, and then just try to make everything look as nice as you can. Aim for two to three ounces of meat per person as an appetizer, and four to five ounces if it’s the main focus.”

Cowan suggests starting with your favourite mortadella and salami, adding a prosciutto and a creamy terrine and then just taking it from there. And although the meat is the focus, he also likes to add pickles, olives, jam or preserved berries, some good sourdough bread, a really good cheese or two… anything that will complement the meat.

“Charcuterie is actually an age-old tradition born out of necessity.”

“A nice gorgonzola or Gruyère would work really well. Whatever you do, though, avoid those big blocks of orange cheese from the supermarket.meat002

“That’s the key to a good charcuterie board: quality. It makes a huge difference. Stay away from prepackaged low-grade luncheon meats and go local whenever possible. I shop at The Italian Centre, and I also use Valbella Meats from Canmore.”

As for drinks, Cowan is partial to whiskey or beer, “but everything from wine to sweet champagne goes. There are so many different flavours and meats and seasonings involved that it’s very open-ended.”

So enjoy your holiday season and entertain with ease!

A Cornucopia of Taste

Add this corn relish as a side to your charcuterie board for complementary pairing.meat003

4 1/2 cups corn

4 cups cucumbers (small dice)

4 cups white onion (small dice)

2 cups red pepper (small dice)

4 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 Tbsp celery seeds

4 cups cider vinegar

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp salt

1. Combine vinegar, spices, and sugar in a large pot. Slowly bring pot to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

2. Add vegetables and continue to simmer until they start to soften.

3. Whisk in flour.

4. Remove from heat and pack into sterilized jars.

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Top tips from Executive Chef Christopher Chafe at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

TASTE ABTURKEYLet’s face it – most of us don’t get overly excited at the thought of cooking a turkey. Not that it’s hard, exactly. It’s just that it’s a task we tend to tackle only a few times a year and, since practice makes perfect, well…

Christopher Chafe, Executive Chef at Jasper Park Lodge, is not like most of us. He enjoys roasting turkey. In fact, he often roasts more turkeys in a single day than most of us will tackle in a lifetime (up to 72 birds during the Christmas in November event alone). “I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience roasting a turkey, not even my first one. My mum, however, would always cook it a bit too much. Don’t tell her I said that, though!”

His advice?

“Go slow. That’s the key to keeping it moist and juicy.”

By slow, Chafe means cooking it at 3250F for roughly 20 minutes a pound.

“Really, there’s no rushing a turkey. If you put your temperature up any more, you’ll dry it out.”

It’s not just about temperature, though. The ingredients you start with matter as well. “Here at the Lodge we use as much local product as we can get. That’s actually one of the reasons I came to Jasper.”

There’s also a bit of prep work involved. Chafe starts by brining the turkey overnight (submerging it in a salt and water mixture – it helps keep the meat moist). Then, the next morning, he gives the bird a quick rinse and pats it dry.

“Before it goes into the oven, I massage some olive oil into the skin and finish it off with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. It gives you that crispy skin you’re looking for.”

Make sure you have your temperature probe ready – Chafe recommends you cook the turkey until its internal temperature (and that of the stuffing) reaches between 165 and 1700C. 

“I like to do a sourdough stuffing and yes, I put it right in the bird. Once the turkey is done, though, I take the stuffing out and pop it back in the oven to give it an extra blast of heat.”

Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes while you finish off your sides (Chafe, who comes from England, likes to roast potatoes and root veggies). There you have it: a perfectly cooked turkey, ready to carve.

If you want to sample one of Chef Chafe’s slow-cooked creations, check out Christmas in November at Jasper Park Lodge. There are three sessions between November 7 and 16, and turkey will definitely be on the menu. Local turkey, of course.

Oh, and one last piece of turkey-cooking advice from Chafe: “Remember, it’s all about having fun.”



Follow this recipe from Executive Chef Chafe at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for the perfect stuffing



1 Whole onion, diced

4 Sticks of celery, diced

2 Carrots, diced

3 Cloves of garlic, chopped

1 Loaf of sourdough bread, diced

5 oz of dried cranberries

6 oz of butter

2 Tbsp of sage, chopped

2 Tbsp of parsley, chopped

1/2 Tbsp of thyme, chopped

1/2 Tbsp of rosemary, chopped

3 Cups of chicken stock, hot


Sauté onion, celery and carrots in butter. Add garlic to sweat. Add the bread and chopped herbs and stir continuously and tilt the skillet to prevent burning. Slowly add the chicken stock a little bit at a time as you may not need to use it all.

Once the stuffing is finished, lay it out onto a baking sheet with parchment. Place it in the oven at 350ºF for 30 to 40 minutes.

You can also add two diced apples and a few pieces of diced chicken sausage at the diced vegetable stage for variety.



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