Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Recreating dishes from Donna Mac and Sidewalk Citizen

All summer long on the Calgary Eyeopener, we’ve been taking requests to recreate popular dishes from Calgary restaurants. This week, we tackled the fried cauliflower with pimento cheese from Donna Mac and the shakshuka from Sidewalk Citizen.

Both restaurants made it easy by providing the actual recipes!

Pimento cheese is a popular appetizer in the southern US It’s a mixture of aged cheddar, jarred pimentos and mayo, but at Donna Mac, chef Kayla and her team add dill pickles!

Fresh pimentos are easier to find at this time of year, but they use roasted red peppers, a popular substitute.

(If you’d like to do your own, grill whole peppers over high heat until blistered and charred, then put them into a glass or metal bowl, cover with a plate, baking sheet or piece of foil, and let them steam as they cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skins away with your fingers. Roasted peppers can be stored in the fridge, and they take up very little space in the freezer.)

Sidewalk Citizen’s shakshuka is so popular, you can buy it (minus the eggs) frozen at the Simmons Building location.

With North African origins, it’s a perfect stew to make at this time of year, when tomatoes and peppers are abundant.

Donna Mac’s Fried Cauliflower with Pimento Cheese

This fried cauliflower with pimento cheese is served at Donna Mac on Ninth Street SW (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Thanks to Chef Kayla for sharing this recipe!

To make the cauliflower, they cut it into florets and par roast it, but you can boil or steam if it’s too hot to turn on the oven.

Then they douse it in a seasoned flour mixture (I heavily seasoned all-purpose flour with salt and pepper), then into beaten egg and then into the flour again before frying it.

I fried mine in about an inch of canola oil in a heavy pot — heat it to 350 For until a scrap of bread sizzles.

They top theirs with a pinch of Korean chili flakes!

Pimento Cheese Ingredients

Yields: About a liter (but a little extra never hurts)

Part A:

  • 128.5 g roasted red pepper (about two roasted red peppers)
  • 128.5 g dill pickles (about four medium dills)

Part B:

  • 25 g (about 2 tbsp) kewpie mayo (or any mayo)
  • 25 g (about 1 tbsp) sriracha

Part C:

  • 500 g extra-old white cheddar, grated
  • 107g cream cheese

Blend Part A until a relish like consistency forms. Combine Part B. Then combine A and B. Then in a processor or a bowl, put it all together.

Serve the fried cauliflower alongside (or on top of) the pimento cheese.

To make the fried cauliflower, douse it in a seasoned flour mixture made up of all purpose flour, salt and pepper. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Shakshuka with Sour Cream & Cilantro

You can make this dish ahead of time (it gets better after a day or two in the fridge) and it also freezes very well.

Reheat (with a bit of water if needed) when you’re ready to eat, and crack in as many eggs as you need to poach in the saucy stew.


  • eggs, at room temperature (as many as you’d like to cook)
  • 80g olive oil
  • 5g caraway seeds
  • 5 g fenugreek seeds
  • 5g dried oregano
  • 5g fennel seeds
  • 120 g white onions, cut into julienne
  • 100 g sweet mini peppers, cut into rings or julienne
  • 30 g garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 g chilli pepper, thinly sliced
  • 10g smoked paprika
  • 5g ground cumin
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes (romas, preferably), diced or one large can diced tomatoes
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • jump to taste
  • fresh coriander, to garnish
  • sour cream, to garnish
This shakshuka is served at Sidewalk Citizen on 13th Avenue SW (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Place a large cast iron or heavy sauté pan over a medium heat for a couple minutes.

Add in the olive oil and the dried oregano, fennel, fenugreek and caraway seeds.

Sauté the oregano and seeds for one minute or until they are fragrant. Add in the onions, sweet peppers, garlic and chillies.

Sauté this for a couple minutes or until nicely browned. Once browned add in the ground cumin and paprika. Cook this for one minute then add in the canned or fresh tomatoes and start to cook them down into a sauce.

You may need to add a small amount of water to help this process along if the fresh tomatoes you have are dry.

Once the sauce reduces and thickens to look like a loose pasta sauce, crack in your eggs evenly around the pan.

Place a lid or bowl over pan and cook the shakshuka until the eggs are done to your liking. Runny yolks will take around four to five minutes and a harder yolk will be closer to 10 minutes.

Once the eggs are cooked, garnish the top of the shakshuka with coriander and sour cream.

Serve the bread on the side.

You can make the shakshuka base up to three days ahead of time.

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