Pantzarosalata / Beetroot Yogurt Salad

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One of my recent endeavours is to try and eat more salads. As a rule, I hate salads and I am always trying to avoid them. But as a food blogger, if I can’t make tasty salads then what is the point? So I wanted one salad recipe from Greece. As always, I was looking for something easy and that can be made with ingredients easily available at home. I came across this easy and gorgeous beetroot salad and I am sure this is going to be a regular feature at home now on.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Beetroot, medium                      3

Greek yogurt                               300 gms

Walnuts                                        10-12

Garlic cloves                                 3

Olive oil                                         2 tbsp

Vinegar                                          1 tsp

Salt & pepper
WHAT TO DO

  • Boil the betteroots for 30-40 minutes till they are cooked
  • Peel the beetroots and cut them into small pieces and set aside
  • In a blender / mixer take the garlic cloves, walnuts, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Add the yoghurt to the mixture and stir well to combine
  • Pour the dressing over the beetroot and mix well
  • Chill the salad in the refrigerator for a couple of hours
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. Ensure that you use only Greek yogurt else the salad will turn watery.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Greek dishes.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Bruschetta

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I made Bruschetta as part of my Italian Lunch Spread. It is quick and easy to put together and will serve well as a snack or starter of choice for unplanned guests. It is an almost no cook dish and the ingredients are usually available at home and this can help brighten up a meal by giving it that probably missing zing. Bruschetta is usually made with a baguette but I used the regular sandwich bread and topped it with tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and it turned out lip smacking if I may say so myself.

WHAT WE NEED

Sandwich Bread                                        5-6 slices

Tomatoes, medium                                 3-4

Garlic cloves, large                                 2

Vinegar                                                      1 tbsp

Butter (optional)                                    to toast the bread

Salt & Pepper

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Make a small ‘x’ shaped insertion to the tomatoes with a knife
  • Immerse the tomatoes in hot water for 5-7 minutes
  • When the skin has loosened up, peel the skin off, deseed and chop the tomatoes finely
  • Mince the garlic and mix it with the tomatoes
  • Add vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well and set aside
  • The bread slices need to be toasted to a crisp. It can either be toasted in a pop up toaster or on a pan
  • If you are toasting it on a pan, apply little butter and toast till each side turns golden brown
  • Then turn the gas to simmer and let the bread slices remain for a couple of minutes on the pan. This will make the slices very crisp
  • Just before serving, top the bread slices with the tomato mixture and serve
  • Enjoy!

 

Ajo Blanco

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There are many types of cooks. Some are slow, other fast. Some follow the recipe to the T while others go with the flavour. Some measure diligently while others go with their estimate. I always wanted to be the latter but my estimates are so off the actual number that it is not funny. I keep trying to improve my estimation skills but there is a long way to go.

For this recipe, I picked a handful of almonds and estimated (nay, assumed) it to be 100 gms. It was 50. True story. Then I had to blanch another set of almonds and then make the soup but the extra time and effort to blanch the almonds is extremely worth it. The wonderful medley of almonds, bread and garlic chilled is a perfect meal for the evening.

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Almonds                            100 gms

Slightly stale bread        75 gms

Milk                                     1/2 cup

Cold water                         500 ml

Garlic cloves                     4-5

Cucumber, medium       1/2

Extra virgin olive oil      2 tbsp

Vinegar                               2 tbsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Blanch and peel almonds
  • Roast the almonds on low heat till it just starts browning. It is an optional step but totally recommended
  • Remove the crust and soak the bread in milk for 10 minutes
  • Blend the almonds and bread in a blender to a near smooth paste
  • Chop and add garlic, cucumber, olive oil and vinegar
  • Add the water and blend well
  • Chill for around 2 hours
  • Garnish with olive oil and serve chilled
  • Enjoy!

 

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This post is part of the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Another way to bake potatoes

 

My two and half year old daughter has been pretty involved in bake-a-thon with me. Her eyes sparkle when I switch on the oven to preheat it and she runs around screaming -‘Amma, cake, bread’ irrespective of what is being baked.

The best part was the husband asking her – ‘what is Amma doing?’ She replies ‘cooking’.

The husband exclaims – ‘That’s nice. I am hungry and I want to eat.’ That’s when the daughter calmly explains to her father – ‘No Appa. Amma cooking, take photo and eating is only after photo. Please wait.’ The husband’s expression was priceless. 

  

This easy version of baked potato is a must try. It’s a lot crisper than hassle back potatoes and less effort than au gratin and hash browns.

I happened to comes across this recipe just as I was wondering what to come up with for today’s post.

So here goes –

Makes 9 stacks

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes, medium size       3

Olive oil                                    1 1/2 tbsp

Parmesan, grated                  2-3 tbsp

Thyme, dried                          2 tsp

Salt & pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Grease a muffin tray
  • Slice the potatoes into thin roundels.
  • In a bowl, take olive oil, 2 tbsp of Parmesan and 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Add the potatoes and mix well to coat all the slices
  • Add salt and pepper and mix
  • Arrange in stacks in a muffin tray
  • Bake for 35-40 mins till the edges and top are golden brown.
  • Take it out from the oven and garnish with the remaining Parmesan and thyme.
  • Enjoy!

  
  

NOTES

  1. You can stack the potatoes as high as possible in the muffin tray. The potato slices will shrink on baking and the stacks will appear smaller than when you put them in the oven.
  2. Preferably put the larger slices in the bottom so that they hold the stack well.
  3. Grease the muffin tray liberally else the potatoes will stick.

 


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015 


 

Crispy Garlic Pita Toasts

  

I couldn’t finish all my pita bread in those sandwiches I made and the ominous warning on the packet of using the bread within 24 hours  had me worried. What to do? What to do? That’s when, coincidentally, I chanced upon this recipe – the perfect solution to all my pita problems. Crispy pita toasts with garlic flavour. I was in bread heaven.

  

The lovely part was that it was quick and easy and made with all the ingredients I had readily available, not to mention the daughter loved it. Blissful day!

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

Pita Bread                               2

Olive oil                                    1 tbsp

Salt

Pepper                      

Garlic cloves                           2-3

Cheddar cheese, grated      1-2 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Cut pita bread into quarters
  • Brush them with olive oil
  • Finely chop the garlic and top the pita bread 
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese on top
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes till the pitas are crispy and golden brown
  • Enjoy with any dip of your choice!


  

NOTES

  1. The cheese is optional but I used it because that would make it easier to give it to my daughter.
  2. You can also add paprika with salt and pepper


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015 


 

Baked Mushroom Parmesan

   

If you have read more than three posts in my blog, you will know I simply love Parmesan. It lends itself beautifully to grating unlike cheddar which has to be frozen or mozzarella which sticks to the grater and makes cleaning a mess. It’s not just the ease but it’s perfectly salty and creamy and cheesy to taste and it goes with almost anything.

  

So my Google-ing template is – ‘what I have in excess in the fridge/pantry’ + Parmesan + bake. And it works most of the time!

This recipe is inspired from two sources – this one here and a recipe by Venkatesh Bhat in a TV show few months ago. I brought them together and came up with this gorgeously cheesy baked mushroom. Do try.

So here goes – 

WHAT WE NEED

Button mushrooms, 

quartered                                15

Olive oil                                   1-2 tbsp

Garlic, minced                       3 cloves

Mixed Italian seasoning     2 tsp

Grated Parmesan                  3 tbsp

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat oven to 220C
  • Lightly grease a baking tray
  • Take oil in a bowl. (See notes)
  • Add the seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Add the mushrooms and gently toss to combine.
  • Transfer the mushrooms to the baking tray.
  • Sprinkle the Parmesan on top
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until browned and tender, tossing occasionally.
  • Serve immediately.


 

NOTES

  1. There is no such thing as too much Parmesan. So feel free to add more.
  2. If you are not a huge Parmesan fan like moi, replace it with cheddar.
  3. If you want the mushrooms to be roasted to a near crisp then use 2 tbsp oil and bake for 20 minutes. Else 1 tbsp oil and 15 minutes baking should be a good deal for tender roasted mushrooms.
  4. I set aside some cheese to sprinkle after the baking. That’s optional.


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015 


 

Baked Potato Wedges

  

  

Having a toddler at home means making more potatoes. It is one thing that they eat without much of a fuss. So I am always trying out different recipes with potatoes to keep the variety and health aspects intact. But once in a way, a little indulgence is allowed, right?
  

I found this amazing recipe here and these wedges turned out so awesome! I wanted to make some kind of dip to go with it but the husband and kiddo just grabbed it from the oven and I had to sacrifice the dip in order to fight for my share of the fries.

It’s a simple and less guilt version of fries since they are baked and not fried. 

So here goes –

WHAT WE NEED

Russet potatoes                         3, medium to large

Olive oil                                        3 tbsp

Salt                                                 2 tsp

Onion / garlic powder               2 tsp

Mixed dried herbs                      3 tsp

Parmesan cheese, grated         1/3 cup

Fresh herbs, optional                3 tsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Grease a baking tray lightly
  • Mix salt, seasoning and onion powder together and set aside
  • Wash and cut the potatoes into wedges
  • Place them in a large bowl, add olive oil and toss them well so that the oil coats all the wedges
  • Sprinkle the cheese and toss well to coat
  • Sprinkle the seasoning mixture and fresh herbs and toss to coat
  • Place the wedges in a single layer on the baking tray with the skin side down
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes till the wedges are golden brown in colour
  • Enjoy!

  

This is my entry for tea time snacks for the Blogging Marathon.

 
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.
  

Sprouts with Beetroot

   

I picked this lovely book – The Accidental Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer. The title intrigued me to an extent and I could relate to it because I consider myself a default vegetarian. 

One issue I have is that I don’t get all ingredients here and so I keep trying to make a best case substitutions but this recipe did not need any substitutions and it turned out quite wonderful. I never thought of combining beetroot with sprouts before but it does seem to be a good idea.
  

So here goes –

Serves 2-3

WHAT WE NEED

2 medium sized beetroots

250g cooked sprouts 

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch of chilli flakes 

1 garlic clove

crushed salt and freshly ground black pepper 
WHAT TO DO

  • Wash and peel the beetroots. Dice them into bite sized pieces and steam till they are cooked but not soft.
  • Cook the sprouts in a pressure cooker till they are cooked but not mushy.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Simply chuck in the sprouts, let them fry for a minute to begin browning, then give them a shake. 
  • Now add the beetroot, chilli and garlic into the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then season really well with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

  

NOTES

  1. As per the original recipe, the beetroots had to be wrapped in foil and roasted in the oven at 200C for 40 minutes till soft. I didn’t have the time and so I simply steamed it and it still turned out very well.

 

This is my entry for the Cooking from the Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.