Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vegetable Puffs & Egg Puffs

To begin with, sorry for the sudden absence from this space. I am so elated by the considerate inquiries from my blog buddies. It was totally an unplanned break but things are fine at my end. Thank you very much everyone for your love!
Do you remember the after-school snacks you had in your childhood. Ah! those are cherished memories aren't they? Well, anything involving food is a cherished memory or most (not all) of the cherished moments can be related with food. Coming home after a tiring day at school, wash up and dig in something to munch on with a glass of milk. Mostly it would be home-made goodies like kozhukattai, sundal, sandwich but occasionally dad would buy hot samosas and puffs from the bakery on his way back from work. I tried to reproduce the bakery flavors with this recipe.
Puff Pastry Sheet - cut into 3x5" pieces - 5
Onion - 2 cups - thinly sliced
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Dry Mango Powder/Amchur powder - a big pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp 
Milk - for brushing
For Veg Puffs filling:
Carrots - chopped fine - 2 tbsp
Frozen green peas - 2 tbsp
For Egg Puffs filling:
Egg - 1 - hard boiled - sliced in half
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Thaw the puff pastry sheet to room temperature for 45 mins and cut into pieces. Preheat the oven to 430F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the remaining oil and add the sliced onions and saute until it turns golden brown, about 15 to 20 mins in med-high heat. Add salt, chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and amchur powder. Saute until the masalas incorporate in the onions. When done remove half of the onion mixture and set aside to cool. 
For Veg Puffs:
In the remaining masala in the pan add the peas and chopped carrots with 1 tbsp of water. Saute for 2 mins until the vegetables get cooked. To assemble in one sheet place about 2 tbsp of mixture and apply water on the edges. And fold over to form a purse. Press the edges tightly so that the filling doesn't ooze out.
For Egg Puffs:
Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a pan with turmeric powder and roast the halved eggs for about 10 seconds on each side. To assemble, in one sheet place about 1 tbsp of the (reserved) onion masala and place the egg cut side down. Bring together two opposite ends and seal together by applying little water. 
To Bake:
Place the prepared puffs on the baking sheet and brush with milk on the top. Bake for 20 mins. Serve warm with tomato ketchup.
Note: Play around with the spice powders for varied flavours.
Sending this to Serve It - Savory-Baked event by me and Denny, To Vardhini's Bake Fest and also to Srivalli's Snacks Mela.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Hosting - Breakfast Club #17 - The Theme is..

Breakfast Club is a wonderful event started by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours, which I am guest hosting for the second time this year. My theme for last time was "Pancakes" and the event was a great success with 40 beautiful pancake entries. I would like to thank Helen for giving me an opportunity to host this event again.
The theme for this month's event is the most common breakfast of the world - "Bread"

Breakfast Club: Because breakfast should be more interesting

than tea & toast or coffee & cereal.

Bread is the oldest prepared food, the proof dating back to 30,000 years. Every part of the world has its own unique way of preparing bread, leavened or unleavened, baked or fried or steamed. The most common ingredients are flour, oil and water with spices, vegetables, nuts added to give different tastes and textures.
So for the next 45 days breakfast club is open for all your bread creations. Become a bread maker and send me your favorite or signature bread recipes. Do check out the rules list below before you start linking.
1. Prepare any type of bread or any dish with bread. 
2. Any type of bread from basic white bread to Focaccia, Challah, baguette, Panetone, Brioche, Italian flat bread, Irish Soda bread, Pita, Tortilla, Buns, all varieties of Indian flatbreads i.e. Naan, Chapathi, Roti, Paratha, Parotta, Puri are allowed.
3. Any dishes with bread like Sandwich, Panini, Upma, Pudding are allowed. However a simple toast with jam or muffins, pancakes, cakes, cupcakes, cookies are inappropriate to the theme and would be removed from the linky.
4. Link back to this post and Helen's original event announcement page.
5. Use of logo is mandatory as it helps spread the word
6. Any number of new entries are allowed
7. Archived entries are accepted if re-published as latest with this announcement, Helen's announcement and logo with the current date.
8. The end date is midnight of Dec 31st, 2011.
9. Do link up your entries with the below linky tool. I have added few entries to give an idea.
On a side note, If you are interested in hosting Breakfast Club for the upcoming months, email Helen at helen[at]fussfreeflavours[dot]com. 
To make the events you are hosting to be reachable to a wider audience do drop in a line to The Food Blog Diary and Events and Roundups Page.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Minestrone Soup | Soup Recipes

Minestrone (pronounced min-NESS-throw-nay) is a hearty Italian Soup made with vegetables, beans and pasta (or rice). There is no set recipe for this soup but the basic recipe has vegetables (and/or meat), vegetables in season and different types of beans. I have used the vegetables I had at hand with a combination of black-eyed beans and garbanzo beans. It calls for a very simple preparation with a variety of flavoring. This makes a whole meal in itself and we enjoyed it for Saturday night dinner to keep ourselves warm when it was snowing outside. Yes it was snowing in October here!!
Serves - 4-5
Onion - Chopped fine - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves - chopped fine
Carrots - 2 - cubed - 1/2 cup
Cauliflower florets - 1 cup
Potato - 1 small - cubed - 1/2 cup
Baby Spinach - 1/2 cup - packed tightly
Tomato - 1 - cubed
For flavoring:
Vegetable Stock - 4 cups (I used 2 Knorr Bouillon cubes with 4 cups of water) 
Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Butter - 1 tbsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
For the texture:
Pasta - any short cut variety - 1/2 cup (I used Mini Penne)
Blackeye peas / Cowpeas - cooked - 1 cup 
Garbanzo beans / White Sundal - cooked - 1 cup
Heat butter and olive oil in a wide saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until it is transparent. Add cauliflower, carrot and potatoes in the said order frying for 2 mins after each addition. Add baby spinach and stir until it wilts. Add the red pepper flakes, pepper, beans and the vegetable stock. Check for salt and add if needed, note that the stock would already contain salt. Add the tomatoes and cook covered until it boils. Add the pasta and cook in medium heat until the pasta is cooked and soft. Simmer for about 5 minutes and serve hot with your favorite bread. 
Note: You can add any vegetables of your choice. Feel free to add seasonal vegetables. Red kidney beans is also an excellent addition. I mashed about a tablespoon of cooked garbanzo beans and cowpeas and added it to the soup for thickness. I used canned beans.
Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela and to Radhika's Winter Carnival.
Winter Carnival

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cranberry Savory Scones

I am trying to make maximum use of the pumpkin season. After the Pumpkin Kootu, I made these pumpkin savory scones. Still have plans for pumpkin soup. But not sure if the plans will change - to another dish of course. When I planned to bake something savory for this month's Serve It event, I wanted to keep it simple. Something which I can munch on for breakfast. The track-record of scone-making for me is in the reverse. People generally start with all-purpose flour when they bake something for the first time and then going forward make substitutions and experiment. But I used wheat flour in the first trial and used flaxmeal. The first time I made scones - Eggless Wholewheat Blueberry Scones, I loved it being the fact that it was eggless and wholewheat. But I still wanted to bake the original scones with all-purpose flour and egg. So here it is, the original version  Couldn't stop the goody girl in me who slipped half a cup of wheat flour though. She actually was screaming in me "AP flour - empty calories??, after all the diwali snacks you munched in just a week ago??". Never mind, here is the recipe.

Adapted from here
Makes 8 scones
AP flour - 1 1/2 cups
Wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Light Brown sugar - 1/3 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Ground ginger - 1 1/2 tsp - 2 tsp (as desired)
Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cold Butter - 1/2 cup - Cut into chunks
Dried Cranberries - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1
Pumpkin puree - 1/2 cup (fresh or canned)
Butter milk - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Whisk together the egg, pumpkin puree, butter milk, vanilla extract in a small bowl until the egg is mixed well. In another big bowl sieve/whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add the cold butter chunks and mix in the flour with pastry blender or two forks. Alternatively you could add the flour mixture to a food processor with the butter and pulse it for a couple of times until the butter is well incorporated. Add the cranberries to the flour mixture and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until it comes together as a dough. If the dough is sticky sprinkle some flour. Transfer to a floured board and press to form a round disc to about 1 inch thickness. Cut into 8 wedges (like a pie). Preheat the oven to 400F. When it is preheating, place the wedges in a plate and store in the freezer. After oven is preheated place the wedges in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with 1 inch distance between them. Brush the top with milk. Bake for 20-22 mins or until the top is golden brown and the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with jam/butter or just plain.
1. To make pumpkin puree at home, cook about 1 cup of cut pumpkin in microwave with a tsp of water for 1 minute. Mash well with a fork and measure the required puree.
2. Next time I would add about a 1/2 tsp of pepper for a more pronounced savory taste.
3. This is the first time I am baking with ground ginger so was playing safe with 1 1/2 tsp. Next time I would increase it by 1/2 tsp for more ginger flavor.
4. One egg equals 1/4 cup of liquid ingredient. It can be substituted with butter milk or pumpkin puree to make it eggless.
Sending these scones to Serve It - Savory Baked event by me and Denny and to Bake Fest event by Vardhini.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Parangikkai Paruppu Kootu / Pumpkin Coconut Curry with Indian flavours | Indian Curry Recipes

Pumpkin kootu is an easy to make earthy curry which has the consistency of a stew. This is a medley of sweetness from the pumpkin, earthiness from the moong dhal and spiciness from the chillis. Coconut gives a balance between the flavors and brings it together. 
If you want to make maximum use of the pumpkin season and want to try something simple with Indian spices, this is for you.

Pumpkin - cubed - 2 cups
Split Moong bean / Pasi paruppu - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Milk - 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt - to taste
For Grinding
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green Chilli - 2
For Tempering
Oil - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2-3
Heat split moong dhal with 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt. Cook in a medium-high flame covered partially until it cooks through but still holds its shape (al-dente). Add the cubed pumpkin (with more water if needed) and cook half covered until the pumpkin is almost done but doesn't fall apart. Meanwhile grind the ingredients to grind adding water to make a smooth paste. Add the ground coconut paste to the simmering pumpkin-dhal mixture and allow it to boil in medium heat until the raw smell disappears and desired thickness is achieved. At this stage you could add milk if desired. Check for the salt and add if desired. Transfer to a serving bowl. Heat oil in a separate small pan and splutter the mustard seeds and add urad dhal and curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the kootu and serve with rice or roti. Makes an excellent pair for Puli kulambu, Masala rice and curd rice.
Sending this earthy and hearty kootu to 'Only' - Curries event by Pari; Halloween Fiesta at Zesty Palette; CWS-Moong beans event of Priya and to Cooking without Onion & Garlic event.

Also to Healthy Cooking Challenge event by Smita.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Announcing Serve It Series - Serve It - Savory Baked

After a fantabulous success of last month's event, Serve It - Festival Potluck with 171 entries, here we are with this month's theme. Come end of the year and winter we all wish to bake, bake and bake. So we are dedicating two months to this theme. But we would want to categorize the baking theme across November and December. So this month's theme is "Savory Baked". Incidentally November is Thanksgiving month and we believe this is a perfect time to bake Savory dishes. So friends link up your Savory Baked dishes to the Serve It event this month.
To get an idea of Savory baking check out Ragi Kaara Biscuits, Baked Banana Blossom Vadai, Paneer Spinach PinwheelsCarrot Basil BruschettaOven roasted Baby potatoes, Kebab Vegetables with Paneer

Here are the guidelines for the event:
1. You may send in any entry that is only baked in the conventional oven and is savory. No sweet entries allowed like cakes/cookies. No Microwave baked recipes are allowed.
2. Both Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian entries are allowed. Although no beef/pork/alcohol entries please. 
3. Please link back to this announcement page and also to Denny's page.
4. New entries are appreciated, however if you are sending archived entries, please re-post as latest (with a date in November 2011) and update with both the links to the announcement page and logo.
5. Usage of links and logo is mandatory.
6. Last date for submission of your entries is November 30, 2011
7. To send in your entries, just link your entries using the below linky tool. 
8. Non-bloggers also can send their entries with a picture to the below email-id.
9. If you have a problem in linking email us your problem to serveit[dot]series[at]gmail[dot]com. We will try to resolve it. 
Please note that if the entries are inappropriate to the theme we would have to remove the entries from the linky sans notification. If there are other issues like link or logo missing we would definitely notify through email.