Tag Archives: potato

Newfoundland Cod Fish Cakes

24 Apr

Last fall, my aunt packed up her belongings and trekked out to Newfoundland to take up a one-year teaching position at Memorial University.  She recently returned home, but the holidays were the first time I’d seen her since she moved out east.  Always an incredibly thoughtful and generous person, she brought back little pieces of Newfoundland for each of her family members.

Stunning Newfoundland photo #1, courtesy of my Aunt

Stunning Newfoundland photo #1, courtesy of my aunt

Stunning Newfoundland photo #2, courtesy of my Aunt

Stunning Newfoundland photo #2, courtesy of my aunt

My gift—surprise, surprise! – revolved around cooking.  My aunt knows me well. I received two recipe books featuring Newfie and Atlantic cuisine along with savory, an herb commonly used in Atlantic cooking.  The first word that came to my mind while flipping through the cookbooks was ‘comfort.’  Lots of stews, casseroles, and baked goods.  Amongst the homey, high-calorie, or downright bizarre recipes (Caribou Ringalls, anyone?), a picture of cod cakes caught my eye.


The recipe naturally called for salt cod, but a variation using fresh or frozen fish was listed.  The cakes were easy to prepare: poach fish fillets in salted water, flake, and add to a mash of potatoes, parsnip, onion, and egg.  The batter was on the soft side, so a delicate hand was needed when flipping the cakes within the fry pan. The end result was a cake with a mashed potato texture and just a hint of fish flavour.  A great dish for those who want to eat more fish but dislike the taste or texture.

These cod cakes take care of both your protein and starch, so all you need is a couple of colourful vegetables or a salad for a complete meal.  We paired ours with Brussels sprouts and beets, but the options are limitless.


Fish Cakes
(from Traditional Recipes of Atlantic Canada)

1 pound cod or haddock fillets*
2 small onions, chopped
6-8 potatoes, cooked and mashed (3 cups)
2-3 parsnips, cooked
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ tsp to 1 tablespoon savory (or parsley, or sage)
1 egg, well beaten
¼ cup flour (or 1 cup fine breadcrumbs)

  1. Poach fish in 1 cup salted, simmering water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain well and flake into small pieces.
  2. Cook onions in ¼ cup water, covered, until tender and soft. Remove lid and set aside.
  3. Mash together fish, potatoes, parsnips, and butter.  Add onions and water in which they were cooked. Season with savory, salt and pepper to taste. Add beaten egg and mix well. Chill until cool and firm.
  4. Form into 3-inch round patties and coat lightly with flour (or fine breadcrumbs).
  5. Coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.  Fry fish cakes 3 minutes on each side, turning once, until crisp and golden.

*If you have access to salt cod, substitute poached fresh or frozen cod for 1 pound salt cod. Cover with cold water overnight for 6-8 hours, simmer in fresh water for 5-10 minutes, then drain, remove bones, and flake the fish.

Makes 6 fish cakes. Per cake: 300 kcal, 47 g CHO, 5 g fibre, 4 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 19 g protein

Brilliantly Bright Borscht

10 Feb

My job has serious perks.  As a food lover, it hardly feels like work to sample an array of vegan products that I may eventually recommend to my patients or feast on a spread of Mardi Gras-themed dishes that may make their way onto the cafeteria’s menu.  Lucky for me, I had the pleasure of doing both this week.   Events like these are side projects that our dietetic interns are involved with over the course of their training.  As a former intern not too long ago, shopping for interesting food products and perusing the web for recipes was a nice break from the clinical work, case studies, and research projects.

In the fall, an Ontario borscht was sampled at an event that I was unable to attend.  It received such rave reviews that the recipe was sent out to all of the dietitians.  Earlier this week, I stumbled across it in my inbox so I made it my mission to cook up a pot this weekend.


Never having made borscht before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The colour is stunning (never wear white when cooking or eating borscht) and the flavour was more complex than I anticipated.  Beets can be overpowering but subtle potato and cabbage flavours shone through.  It’s a shame that I couldn’t taste all of the different vegetables in this dish (there were a lot!) but I was reassured by knowing that I was getting all of their nutrients.  Best of all was the texture.  In this particular recipe, the cabbage retained a bit of crunch and provided nice contrast to the rest of the softer vegetables.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch, since I read that borscht is supposed to taste better the next day.


Ontario Borscht
(from Foodland Ontario)

Since it’s the middle of winter, I wasn’t able to use nearly as much Ontario produce as the recipe calls for.  This is the perfect autumn dish, when everything is in season.

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
6 Ontario Beets, peeled and shredded
4 Ontario Leeks, chopped
2 cups (500 mL) sliced Ontario Mushrooms
2 Ontario Carrots, shredded
2 cloves Ontario Garlic, minced
1 Ontario Onion, chopped
1 Ontario White Turnip, peeled and shredded
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 Ontario Potato, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
7 cups (1.75 L) beef or vegetable broth
2 tbsp (25 mL) tomato paste
2 cups (500 mL) shredded Ontario Cabbage
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp (50 mL) red wine vinegar – I used 4 tbsp
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
Salt and pepper
Sour cream and snipped chives or green onion tops

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add beets, leeks, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onion, white turnip, celery, potato and bay leaves; cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in broth and tomato paste. Bring to simmer and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in cabbage and beans; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Season with vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste, adding more vinegar and sugar if needed (there should be a nice sweet and sour balance).  Discard bay leaves. Place dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chives on each serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings. Per serving (based on 10 servings): 157 kcal, 3 g fat, 25 g CHO, 7 g protein.

Autumn Root Vegetable Mash

19 Sep

Autumn is in the air.  Although it’s still officially summer, the days are getting cooler and I no longer live a life of leisure (tear!).  While I’m sad to part with the joys of summer, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Autumn that I love.  New beginnings, leaves changing colours, warm vests, Thanksgiving.  And the food!  Pumpkin, squash, apples, root vegetables…  the list goes on.

To pay homage to the beginnings of autumn, I thought I would stray from my typical dinnertime starches (rice, quinoa, pasta) and make a root vegetable mash.  The trio of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips alone would have been tasty but the recipe called for the addition of roasted garlic cloves and caramelized onions.  You can never go wrong with a combination like that.

Root Vegetables: Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Potato

Preparing this dish required a bit more effort than ordinary mashed potatoes but it helped dress up an otherwise simple meal of steamed broccoli and Cajun salmon (more on that another day).  As a bonus, the dish can be made in advance and re-heated gently on the stovetop just before serving.  I’d say the results were well worth the effort!

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic


Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic  (adapted from Rose Reisman’s Family Favorites)

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion (about half of a large onion)
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Individually wrap the garlic cloves in foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Allow to cool, remove the skin and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips in 3 separate large pots with enough cold water to cover them.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender, and the parsnips for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in 1 large pot, cover and set aside.  Alternatively, if you have time you can cook in batches using one pot, e.g. first cook potatoes then drain and set aside, next cook sweet potatoes, etc.  This saves on dishwashing!
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray, add the oil, and set over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes or until softened and browned.  Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Partially mash the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and roasted garlic using a potato masher.  Add the sauteed onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately.  Can be prepared up to one day in advance.  Reheat gently on the stove until warm.

Makes 4 generous servings.  Per serving: 240 kcal, 6.5 g fat, 5.1 g fibre, 100 mg sodium

“Butter” Chickpea Curry (in a Hurry)

13 Sep

Do you love Indian food? Are you too intimidated to cook it at home?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, I have just the dish for you.

I first stumbled across this recipe a few years ago.  It was a Friday afternoon and I had no idea what to make for dinner. I was convinced there was no food in the house.  My search terms included chickpeas and potatoes, an unlikely combination I thought.  Little did I know that the recipe I would stumble across would soon become a favourite.  Onion and garlic?  Check.   Can of tomato soup? Check.  Indian spices? Check.  I had found a recipe that was healthy, looked tasty, and didn’t require me to go to the grocery store.  Success!

This curry is just like your classic butter chicken dish, minus the butter and with chickpeas instead of chicken.  It’s so simple (and tasty!) that a couple of my “no-fuss” friends have asked for the recipe.  To give you an idea of what I mean by no-fuss, one of my friends refuses to cook with onions because they make her cry.  I bought her a pair of onion goggles for her birthday to remedy this problem.  Yes, these things actually exist!

An "artsy" (and blurry) Butter Chickpea Curry shot. Artistic director and photographer: LS; Hand model: JC

One such no-fuss kind of gal is my good friend Erin who decided to make this dish for our potluck on Saturday evening.  It was her first attempt at making curry and it was a roaring success.

I love love LOVE potlucks! (and great friends, and good wine)

The sweetness from the condensed tomato soup and sweet potatoes contrasts so nicely with the mild spice from the curry powder in this hearty dish.  The cauliflower, while not in the original recipe, adds great texture and soaks up the curry sauce beautifully.  Good luck keeping leftovers around for long: I’ve been known to sneak a “bite” from the fridge and usually end up polishing off whatever is left…  in one sitting (er, standing).

Butter Chickpea Curry

Butter Chickpea Curry  (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

This is a very mild curry, perfect for those who can’t handle a lot of spice.  Add chili flakes or cayenne pepper to up the heat to your liking.

2 medium sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes), cubed
2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup milk
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (preferably no salt added)
salt, to taste

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.  Add cauliflower at the last minute and cook until tender-crisp, about 1 minute.  Drain, and set aside.
  2. Warm oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Stir in onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ground ginger, cumin, and salt.  Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Add soup, milk, and chickpeas.  Stir in sweet potatoes and cauliflower.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Serve alone, over rice, or with toasted naan.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 300 kcal, 4.7 g fat, 8.8 g fibre, 495 mg sodium