Tea time snack platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 6
Theme : Platters

I had a teatime platter with Indian snacks in my mind for this theme. But I decided against it since most of it involves deep frying, which I am not very fond of. I have improved enough to do deep fry decently, but the desire to do it is just not there. Deep frying is a hazard for someone like me who washes their hands 150 times a minute and then goes back straight to hot oil with water dripping from hands :D…

I have consciously cut down this hand washing habit when I am cooking, it has also weaned because of the cold weather that remains for a good portion of the year here. Still it happens often that I catch myself dripping water into pans while cooking – Never a good idea when handling hot oil ! So I have never been a good fan of deep frying – it’s hazardous for me :-D

Anyway for the platter here, I shelved the Indian snacks idea for another day and decided to use all the snacks I have at home. I added a couple of sandwiches too as a more filling meal. For the eggplant sandwiches, I used leftover sautéed eggplant from lunch. I would have made a couple more sandwiches, but I was out of bread. I just realized that the tea time platter has coffee instead of tea :-)), well my husband prefers coffee, so this works better for us.

Scroll down for the recipes and more pictures.

The platter has

  1. Roasted peanuts
  2. Paneer sandwich
  3. Roasted makhana
  4. Crackers
  5. Sev
  6. Eggplant sandwiches
  7. Tortilla chips
  8. Salsa
  9. Coffee
  10. Tea biscuits
  11. Mixed cheese
  12. Apples
  13. Cashews
  14. Cauliflower crackers
  15. Raisins
  16. Cucumbers
  17. Mint chutney

Paneer sandwich

  • Crumble two tablespoons of paneer in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons each of very finely chopped carrots and cucumber. Add one chopped green chili. Carefully add 1 teaspoon of sriracha or any hot sauce of your choice. Stir everything together and use as filling on toasted bread.

Eggplant sandwich:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Sauté one small onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add one small chopped tomato along with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as needed. Once the tomatoes are cooked and soft, add two medium diced eggplants. Cover and cook, stirring in between, until the eggplants are done. Serve as a filling inside toasted bread.

You can find the recipe for roasted makhana here but the one on the platter is readymade.

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Breakfast platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 4
Theme : Platters

Arranging platters for this week had been fun. I never realized it before that toast and pancakes can be served in a much better manner than what we were doing. We just bring a jar of peanut butter or maple syrup to the table and serve ourselves and that was it. But when we had this platter, all the choices were right in front of us…so we had each pancake with a different topping. Nutella and strawberries pair well. So does banana and peanut butter. I didn’t add bananas to the platter even though I had it at home.

My son loves overnight chia seeds. It’s very handy to have especially when is back from his classes and needs something quick and filling. For this platter, I left the sweetener out since there was so many to choose from. Overnight oats are also easy to make and again, for this platter, you can add peanut butter or jam or both or Nutella to flavor it if you prefer.

Even though this is a breakfast platter, we had it as an early dinner. I know…pancakes for dinner!! I had some leftover hot chocolate pancakes that I used up for one of the pancakes. The second one was a banana and oats based pancake from the King Arthur Flour Whole grain book. Both recipes are keepers i might try the hot chocolate ones later during Christmastime.

Scroll down for pictures and the recipes.

The breakfast platter has

  1. Hot cocoa pancakes
  2. Apples
  3. Blueberries
  4. Overnight chia seeds
  5. Oranges
  6. Bread
  7. Oats banana pancakes
  8. Strawberries
  9. Overnight oats with chia seeds
  10. Walnuts and almonds
  11. Chocolate chips
  12. Butter
  13. Maple syrup
  14. Strawberry jam
  15. Peanut butter
  16. Nutella

Overnight chia seeds:

Add 1/4 cup chia seeds with 1 cup milk of your choice. I have used coconut milk here. Cover with a lid and Refrigerate overnight. Use any of the options above for sweetener and toppings at the time of breakfast. My son had it with maple syrup and strawberries. I prefer liquid sweetener like maple syrup, honey or agave. It’s easier to mix it in than sugar as everything will be cold.

Overnight oats with chia seeds :

Mix 3 tablespoons oats, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, 3/4 cup milk in a container. Cover and refrigeration overnight. Next morning add plain or flavored yogurt to bring it to the texture you prefer. At breakfast time, mix in the sweetener of your choice and top with whatever you like from the spread.

Banana Oats pancake:

  • In a mixing bowl, mash 3 small ripe bananas. Add two tablespoons melted butter or oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir in 2 eggs.
  • In a different bowl, whisk 1 cup oat flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the mashed banana mix. If the mix is too dry, add water in tablespoons until you get a pancake batter consistency.
  • Wait for ten minutes and prepare pancakes. Serve with any of the toppings from above.

Hot cocoa pancakes:

  • Whisk together 1.5 cups of flour, 4 packets of Swiss miss hot chocolate packets and 2 teaspoons baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter or oil.
  • Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Add a few more tablespoons of milk, if needed to bring it to the pancake batter consistency.
  • Prepare pancakes with the batter and serve with syrup or Nutella or anything of your choice.

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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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Guava empanada

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There are many times when I spend a good amount of thought and time looking up recipes and cooking elaborate meals. But there are other times, when cooking is all about putting together a couple of things and coming up with an enjoyable treat. This one belongs to the latter category. The recipe was inspired from the book The Cuban Table by Ana Pelaez and Ellen Silverman. I had the guava paste and the frozen empanada discs. I skipped the cream cheese and overcame my fear of deep frying to make this treat.

I wasn’t sure whether its actually a recipe, given how simple it is. I am glad I took pictures despite my hesitation because sometimesI feel that life is complex as it is. We really need to remind ourselves of the simple enjoyments in life in as many ways as possible. So enjoy a good evening with a sweet jam in a salty pastry served with a hot cup of tea!

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Ingredients:

  • ready made Empanada discos
  • ready made guava paste
  • oil to deep fry

Method:

  • Defrost the empanada discs by taking them out about 20 minutes from the freezer. Once they are defrosted, stretch it a little by rolling them out using a rolling pin.
  • Cut a piece of guava paste to fit comfortably inside the disc. Fold the empanada in half and seal the edges with a fork. Repeat with the rest of the discs.
  • Deep fry in hot oil without crowding the pan or bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.

1guava_empanada

This recipe goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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