Saturday, April 25, 2015

Corn & Chile Pepper Pancakes with Smoked Salmon & Horseradish Cream

Who packs canapés for their lunch when working at an industrial site? I do! Yes, this is totally over the top, but I wasn't hosting any cotillions this week, so I made these smoked salmon canapés which I packed for my lunches. I ate them in my office with the door closed so I wouldn't be judged. That said, they were spectacular little treats and when I was caught by a colleague stuffing one in my mouth he said, "That looks delicious." He was correct. 

One can adapt this recipe to cut out all cooking by replacing the savoury pancakes with pieces of rye or pumpernickel bread. Your 30-40 minute prep time will become 10-15. While you miss out on the great flavour of the pancakes, the salmon and horseradish cream combination are a treat in and of themselves.

Thanks to my mom who gave me it's source: High Plains: The Joy of Alberta Cuisine. The original recipe suggests smoked trout, but I wasn't able to find any. I'm going to have to dig a little deeper into this cookbook. It's got other locally inspired menu items that caught my eye.  

From:  Cavich, Cinda. "Corn and Chile Pepper Pancakes with Smoked Trout and Horseradish Cream" High Plains: The joy of Alberta Cuisine.  Calgary: Fifth House Ltd. A Fitzhenry & Whiteside Company. 2008. 7

Serves 8 as a starter


  • 180 g cold, smoked salmon, thinly sliced

  • 3 cobs of corn or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed and cooked
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 plain low-fat yoghurt
  • 3 T chopped, fresh cilantro
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T canola oil

Horseradish Cream

  • 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
  • 1 t prepared horseradish
  • 1 t wasabi paste/powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 green onion, minced


If using fresh corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the corn. Boil for five minutes then remove the corn from the pot and set aside. Once cooled, slice the corn kernels from the cob.

In a bowl, combine the corn kernels, jalapeños, chipotle, red/yellow pepper, garlic and green onions. 

In a food processor, combine the eggs, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, milk and yoghurt and blend until smooth. Stir in the cilantro and black pepper. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Pour in batter to make pancakes 1-2 inches in diameter for cocktails or larger if you want them as a side dish. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on either side. Drain the pancakes of any residual oil on a plate layered with paper towel. 

To serve, place a dollop of horseradish cream on each pancake. Separate the slices of salmon and cut each in half. Roll each piece into a coronet and place on top of the cream. Sprinkle with any remaining onions and/or cilantro.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chickpea Veggie Bowl

My work colleagues have a step challenge underway and it's breeding all sorts of other good behaviours, one of which is healthier eating habits. Frozen meals are being traded in for salads and home cooking is back in style. Hallelujah!

I tweaked my own diet earlier this year and a few key changes have stuck.  I cut out sweets after most meals and with the exception of holidays and a few weak moments, haven't deviated from this plan. I now crave sweets less and find that my tolerance for all things sugared has changed.  Desserts I used to love seem too sweet for me now.  I also cut back my alcohol intake, which has fattened up my bank account and trimmed my waist line.

This recipe celebrates the progress I and my colleagues have made to eat well in order to live better. Build on it or modify as required. I topped my veggie bowl with a spoonful of olive tapenade to give it a little extra dimension. Chili sauce (sambal oelek), a dollop of sour cream or humus would be nice with it as well.  Pair it with rice or noodles if you want more substance and of course, add some chorizo or chopped ham to it if meat isn't optional for you.

Adapted from:

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chick peas
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Saute the garlic for about half a minute, then add the onion, allowing it to cook for two minutes. Toss in the pepper, zucchini and asparagus and stir well to coat the vegetables with the oil. Let the vegetables sit for about two minutes. Add the mushrooms and cover the saucepan with a lid, keeping in the heat for another three minutes. Add the chickpeas, the basil and lemon juice and toss until they are combined well with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve with a spoonful of chili sauce or olive tapenade on top.