Sunday, December 19, 2010

Veggie Snack Bites

I'm sure you all are getting ready for the upcoming Holidays. I'm looking forward to some downtime so I can relax for a bit with family.... Things have been rather hectic lately so I haven't had time to blog hop or post as much but wanted to squeeze in this recipe... These are great when you are entertaining because they don't need any advance preparation, can be baked (not fried) so it's easy to make large quantities, a crowd pleaser and a great way to get kids to eat their veggies....


Ingredients:Celery - 2 to 3 stalks, chopped finely
Carrots - 2, medium, peeled & chopped
Bell pepper (Red/Green) - 1 small, chopped finely
Frozen corn kernels - 1/4 to 1/3 cup
Peas - about half cup
Bread Crumbs - 2 to 3 cups (I had an old loaf of bread that i ground into crumbs
Pepper jack cheese - about 1 cup, shredded (keep abt half cup extra to help bind)
Walnuts (or Almonds) - 1/3 cup, chopped into small pieeces
Dried Italian herbs - 1 tsp
Red Chilli flakes - 1 to 2 tsp
Garlic powder - 1 tsp (or use a few cloves of chopped garlic)
Ground black pepper - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves / Parsley - 1/4 cup, chopped
Salt - to taste
Olive oil - 2 tbsp

Method:1) Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the finely chopped celery, carrots, bell peppers and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes before adding the frozen corn and peas.

2) Add some salt (go easy because we are adding cheese later), garlic powder, dried herbs, pepper and red chilli flakes and cook the veggies until crisp tender.

3) Switch off the stove, stir in the bread crumbs, cheese, walnuts (or almonds) & coriander leaves. The cheese will now melt and combine with the bread crumbs and that will help bind the veggies together.

4) Preheat oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with foil and spray/spread with some oil. Make small balls of the veggie mixture (adjust the cheese/bread crumbs amount to help them hold their shape) and arrange on the baking sheet.

5) Spray with a bit more oil and bake for about 20 minutes, turning them over once in between & cook till golden brown.

6) After removing from the oven, I fried them for a bit in a wide pan with a tbsp of oil until evenly crisp on all sides - this step is optional though.

Serve with ketchup or Maggi hot and sweet sauce. The next day, I made a sandwich with the leftovers and was extremely pleased with that combination too.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year ahead.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Soft Garlic Bread Sticks

With the weather being what it is, a comforting bowl of hot soup paired with some soft garlic rolls makes a perfect meal. This was a hit with everyone at home and was gone in no time. Store bought pizza dough would work just as well and it could save a lot of time especially when making this on a weeknight. Just spread it out, slather on the garlic topping and bake.


For Crust:

All purpose Flour - 3 cups + a bit more
Active Dry Yeast - 1 packet (2 and 1/4 tsp)
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Warm water - 1.5 cups (not too hot or cold)

Salt - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Dried Italian herbs - half tsp

For Garlicky Topping:
Butter (melted) - 1.5 tbsp

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Minced fresh garlic - 1.5 tbsp
Garlic powder - half tsp (optional)
Red Chilli flakes - half tsp to 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Mix all of the above in a small bowl.

1) For the dough: In half cup of warm water, mix in the brown sugar and yeast, cover and allow to proof for about 5 minutes. If the yeast is active, it will become foamy and rise up.

2) Stir in the italian herbs, salt and olive oil along with the proofed yeast and first add about 2.5 cups of flour. Slowly add the remaining warm water and knead to make a soft dough, adding flour as needed.

3) Place it in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm place (the oven with the light switched on always works for me) for about 1 hour.

4) Once doubled in size, punch down the dough and knead lightly again to make a ball. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, and put in a pan greased lightly (and dusted with some corn meal if you prefer). Allow the dough to rest for 15 to 20 minutes during which time you can preheat the oven to 425F.

5) Now spread the garlic topping on the dough as evenly as possible and allow to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or till light golden. Remove, slice and serve and warm with some soup or as is.