Recipe of the month | 3 starters your guests will devour

Mini Buckwheat Pancakes with Smoked Salmon | Spicy Candied Walnuts | Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Hummus

Mini Buckwheat Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

These hors d’oeuvres are a cinch to put together. If you really want to impress your guests, top the smoked salmon with a sprinkle of your favourite caviar.

Makes 12

3/4 cup (175 ml) 2% milk
1 large egg
1 cup (250 ml) whole grain buckwheat flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1 tsp (5 ml) sea salt
Olive or avocado oil, to grill
¼ cup (50 ml) whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely chopped chives
12 thin slices of cucumber
3.5 ounces (100 g) smoked salmon

Whisk milk and egg together in a small bowl.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Add wet ingredients to flour, whisking until smooth.

Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat then brush with a little olive or avocado oil. Drop level tablespoonfuls of batter onto the pan and cook for half a minute or until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and cook for an additional minute or until golden brown. Let cool.

Fold finely chopped chives into cream cheese.

Spread each toonie-sized pancake with a teaspoon of cream cheese. Top with a cucumber slice and a rosette of smoked salmon.

Nutrition (per 2): 137 calories, 8 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g fibre, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 345 mg sodium.

Spicy Candied Walnuts

Sweet, salty, and spicy—these walnuts have it all. Although this recipe makes an addictive snack year round, it’s also a special treat for holiday cocktail parties.

1.5 cups walnut halves
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
pinch salt, or to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

In a medium bowl, combine walnuts, coconut, honey, cayenne pepper, and salt.

Spread walnut mixture onto a baking sheet and bake, turning once, for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown and slightly crispy.

Transfer walnut mixture to a bowl to cool. Toss with cranberries. Store in an airtight container.

Serves 6.

Per 1/4 cup (50 ml) serving: 251 calories, 8 g protein, 19 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 0 mg cholesterol, 59 mg sodium

Source: Foods that Fight Disease

Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Hummus

This delicious variation on hummus combines sweet potato with harissa, a North African and Middle Eastern spicy and aromatic chile paste.

2 cups (500 ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (125 ml) tahini
1/4 cup (50 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 large sweet potato, roasted (skin removed after roasting)
2 to 3 tablespoons (25 to 45 ml) harissa paste, to taste
Juice of 1 large lemon, or more to taste
¼ cup (50 ml) ice cold water, more if needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients, except water, to a food processor bowl and process.  Add iced water as needed to produce a smooth puree. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika or cumin before serving. Serve with your favourite raw vegetables and whole wheat pita chips or mini pitas.

Tip: Serve leftover hummus the next morning on a slice of whole grain artisan toast with sliced cucumber, sliced hardboiled boiled egg, sliced avocado, radish sprouts and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Delicious.

Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons): 43 calories, 1 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g fibre, 3 g fat (0.4 g saturated fat), 26 mg sodium

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