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Brown Bagging it in Banff

8 Nov

Just back from Banff Mountain Festival and days watching amazing films documenting extreme sports and hidden cultures from far away places.

It’s a great tradition… watching films back-to-back at the wonderful Banff Centre.

But each year, I forget how crummy the brown bag sandwiches are, and kick myself for not planning ahead.

We would have killed for a healthy, hearty sammich with these famous cookies from Evelyn’s Coffee Bar, recipe at bottom. Evelyn’s super yummy Health Sandwich of avocado, hummus, mayo, tomato, cucumber and sprouts on healthy bread would likely never survive the trip from town!

We were madly craving a ham, brie, tomato and Dijon on baguette. But also thinking of a pretzel bun with Gruyere and Swiss salami — a little old school mountain mouthful.

Then we started thinking about chicken salad, and not just any chicken salad. What about a GORP/trail mix-infused recipe, with raisins, dried cranberries and nuts? With celery bits and mayo/apple cider vinegar, and honey to bind it together, it would be yummy.

But we’ve been hoarding this for years, and we’re thinking a curry chicken salad would have done the trick. And it looks like it would feed a few friends!

(this looks like a lot of dressing, so we are going to add only enough to bind. Will report back!)
20 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1/2 lemon
3 pounds medium chicken tenders
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Butter for spreading
1 loaf challah or other rich egg bread, cut into 12 thick slices
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 medium tomatoes , chopped
1 bag (about 5 ounces) mesclun salad greens
Red grapes and assorted berries for garnish

In a large saucepan over high heat, add peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, lemon and 14 cups water; cover and bring to a boil. Add chicken and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through; drain. Once cool, quarter each tender crosswise.

In a large bowl, combine mustard, honey, curry powder, lemon pepper and salt; stir in chicken. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

Butter both sides of bread slices. In a heated nonstick skillet over medium-high flame, cook bread in batches 3 to 5 minutes or until browned, turning once.

Combine carrots and almonds with chicken mixture. Divide chicken curry among 6 bread slices. Top with tomatoes, mesclun and remaining bread slices. Serve with fruit.


These are Evelyn Zabloski’s cookies from her old Banff coffee shops. A classic mountain treat.

3/4 cup all purpose flour (or half whole wheat and half all purpose)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries (or blueberries)

In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, baking powder.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla Stir in flour mixture just until blended.
Stir in rolled oats and cranberries.
Shape mixture into 16 balls and flatten slightly on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are slightly browned and hold their shape. Cook on racks.