Mezze platter 2

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Platters

This is the first platter I prepared for this week’s theme. We had guests with kids coming over and I thought they will like the fruits and vegetable spreads a lot. My son and his friends really love all kinds of fruits. I had the dips and pita in mind for the adults. Everyone enjoyed the dips a lot and we ended up finishing a whole packet of pita bread over this. So that was what prompted me to make one more Mezze platter later that week, which I shared yesterday.

The platter has three homemade sauces/ dips – Tzatziki, Hummus and Baba Ganoush. The last two need tahini and I have used readymade one here. Tahini is toasted sesame seeds ground into a paste with a little oil, so it can be made at home if you have sesame seeds. But I took the easy way out here. I am actually not a fan of hummus but freshly made hummus tasted so much better than the store bought ones. I have made tzatziki before and I love it, this time I used zucchini instead of cucumber for a change.

I haven’t made Baba Ganoush before. My friend recommended it to me telling how easy it is to make and thats what triggered the whole idea for this platter. Baba Ganoush an eggplant based sauce. You need to use the big eggplants (baingan bharta ones) for this. It’s a fairly straightforward recipe. All of these dips/sauces are simple recipes with very few ingredients. So this platter was really easy to make. I wanted to add some more items to this like falafel and more grilled vegetables, I might do it another time :-).

Read on for the pictures and the recipes.

The platter has

  1. Cucumber sticks
  2. Almonds
  3. Cherry plum
  4. Dates
  5. Grapes
  6. Walnuts
  7. Hummus
  8. Feta
  9. Carrot sticks
  10. Zucchini tzatziki
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Baba Ganoush
  13. Pita bread
  14. Roasted peppers
  15. Red and green olives

Hummus recipe : you need

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or a15oz can)
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil to drizzle and a pinch of paprika

In the food processor bowl, add 1/4 cup tahini and juice from a large lemon (3-4 tablespoons) and process for about a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one spoon of ground cumin, one minced garlic and salt to taste. Process for another minute, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once if needed. We need 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas for this. Add half of this to the food processor and process it. Now add the rest and process until everything is smooth. You might have to scrape the sides of the bowl for everything to mix well. You might also need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water if the hummus is too thick. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Zucchini tzatziki:

  • 1/2 of a large zucchini, grated
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, per taste
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Wash and Grate the zucchini. I didn’t peel it before grating. In a bowl, mix the minced garlic, salt and pepper , olive oil and grated zucchini. Add yogurt and mix well to combine. Taste test and add lemon juice accordingly. Refrigerate for the flavors to mingle. Serve with warm pita bread or snacks of your choice.

Baba Ganoush:

  • 1 large egg plant
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

Method : I cooked the eggplant in the microwave. Alternatively, you can roast it in the oven at 425F for about 35 minutes too. Rub a little oil between your palms and rub it all over the eggplant. Pierce it with a fork all over for both methods.

If using microwave, keep the eggplant in a microwave proof plate and cook at 100% power for about 10 minutes. Let it cool a little in the microwave itself. Take it out carefully and cut into two in the middle. Let the steam escape and slowly scoop out the flesh into a bowl, discarding the skin and the liquid released.

Add everything else to the eggplants and mix well. You can use a food processor for this too, but a fork would do. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Serve with olive oil drizzled on top.

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Muhammara – Roasted red pepper dip

BM #110 : Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Middle Eastern recipes

Muhammara is a dip made with roasted red peppers. This is an easy dip to make if you have all the ingredients. I have used readymade peppers here, but it’s not difficult to make roasted peppers at home over stovetop or oven. I have even taken the microwave method where I rub a little oil over the pepper, poke it a couple of times with a fork and then cook for 2-3 minutes until it’s cooked and soft.

Pomegranate molasses can be made at home by cooking pomegranate juice until it thickens. But you can check out these substitutes too. I have used sweet tamarind chutney as a substitute. The flavors need some time to mingle, so it’s a good idea to make it a couple of hours ahead of serving.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe Source : All recipes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon paprika/chili powder/pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. The walnuts and breadcrumbs need to be toasted. For this, Add a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Roast the walnuts first until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove to a bowl. In the same pan, add another spoonful of olive oil and toast the breadcrumbs till done. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the drained and chopped roasted pepppers, garlic cloves, cumin, lemon juice, chili flakes, pomegranate molasses, remaining olive oil, salt, roasted walnuts and breadcrumbs. Pulse to get a not too smooth paste. Refrigerate until the time of serving. Serve as a dip with chopped parsley on top.

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Strawberry Jam Butter

BM #109 : Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Dips and Spreads

During the holidays, we had been to a gourmet shop and came home with some interesting items – Jalapeño spiced honey, ginger flavored mustard which is great in salads and raspberry butter, which was absolutely delicious with bread! So when I was using the spiced honey for yesterday‘s chia jam, I remembered the raspberry butter and decided to make a strawberry version.

You can hardly call this a recipe, it is just mixing softened butter and jam of your choice with a whisk or a fork. To keep the emulsion smooth, make sure that everything is at room temperature or else the butter might harden and will look like it’s curdling. If that happens, you might have to heat the bowl for a few seconds until the butter is softened again and turns smooth.

Just like ghee, butter can survive a few days outside the fridge if the kitchen is not too hot. So if you are making a small batch of jam butter, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. But this is your personal choice, if you are not comfortable leaving this outside, it can stay in the fridge. You might have to warm it up a bit before you spread it on the toast.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup, ~50 gms), softened
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam (or per your taste), at room temperature

Method:

    Using a fork or a hand mixer, beat in the jam with the butter.
    The jam and the butter has to be at room temperature for the mixture to be smooth. If it’s straight from the fridge, the mixture might look curdled. You can heat the bowl for a couple of seconds or use a hair dryer to warm it up and then beat again to get a smooth paste.
    Serve on buttered toast.

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