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Giving Thanks

High plains Thanksgiving

Feel free to substitute smoked salmon, gravlax or lox. The savoury pancakes, made with famous Taber corn, can also be served as a light meal, topped with sour cream and fresh salsa, or as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.

6 ounces cold-smoked trout or salmon, sliced paper-thin Pancakes:
3 ears fresh corn
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 chipotle chile, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced cilantro

Horseradish cream:
cup soft cream cheese
1 tablespoon horsradish
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1 green onion, minced

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add corn. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Cool corn and cut kernels from cobs. Place corn kernels in a bowl with chopped jalapeno, chipotle, red pepper, garlic and green onions.

Combine eggs, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and milk in food processor and process until smooth. Add the vegetables and pulse just to mix. Stir in cilantro. Let stand at room temperaure for 30 minutes. Whisk together the cream cheese and horseradish until smooth. Add the wasabi and mix to combine well. Season with a little black pepper and set aside. Chill.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, make pancakes, each about 1-2 inches in diameter for cocktails (or larger if serving as a side dish). Cook, turning once, until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

Place a dollop of horseradish cream on each pancake. Top with a piece of smoked fish. Sprinkle with minced green onion or cilantro and serve. Serves 6.

This makes enough for a 15-pound turkey.

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup wild rice
½ cup wheat berries
½ cup whole grain rye
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ pound mushrooms, chopped (a mixture of domestic and wild)
1 turkey liver, minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup sherry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter with olive oil in a saucepan and sauté wild rice, wheat berries and rye over medium heat until starting to brown. Add stock, wine and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes. Cool.

Sauté onion in remaining 1 table-spoon butter until tender. Add mush-rooms and sauté a few minutes more. Add the liver and sauté until no longer pink. Combine this with cooked grains, beaten egg and sherry. Season with salt and pepper. Cool mixture and stuff into bird.

With no crust, this is a low-fat alternative to pumpkin pie.

¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup evaporated skim milk
2 tablespoons dark rum
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ginger, mace
Whipped cream

Dissolve sugar and water in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring. Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture turns golden brown, swirling pan occasionally and using a wet pastry brush to rinse sugar from sides of pot.

Pour carmelized sugar into an 8-cup round soufflé dish, swirling to coat with sugar. Set aside to harden. Bring cream, evaporated milk and rum to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in salt.

Whisk eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, and spices together in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Pour custard into prepared baking dish. Place dish in a larger baking pan filled with 2 inches of hot water. Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour, until puffed. Cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Run a knife around edge of dish and invert custard onto a rimmed plate. The caramel sauce should form a pool around the custard. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream. Serves 6.

From: High Plains: The Joy of Alberta Cuisine, by Cinda Chavich (Fifth House/Fitzhenry & Whiteside).

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