New year and new beginnings? Nah , more like everyday is a clean slate to make something out of yourself. It’s what I keep telling myself . There is joy in small things. It’s the small things that build it up for the grand finale – life . Calvin and Hobbes sum it up the best in a beautiful snippet on watching the stars and losing yourself in it its infinity.. Sometimes it’s good to be lost.
So all the while, NC gets about a few inches of snow and ice and we get snowed in at home – School is far far away in another land. Tee hee.. The joy of skipping school – even my high schooler fell prey to its charm and exhibited an uncharacteristic elation.
So while mom and kids lazed around and spent quality time and lost themselves in snowmen and hot cocoa, DH was stranded trying to make his way back amongst the sea of travelers and some 8500 canceled flights. Over night layover and a really bizarre circumnavigation apart, a welcome face pops in after nearly couple of days of journey. Home sweet home !
Welcome home – with a hot cup of tea and wonderful tandoori bites…
When fresh veggies were not exactly ruling the roost in this part of the country, I usually have a stock of fresh frozen (if I can manage the non GMO kind, then definitely ) of vegetables in my freezer. Cauliflower florets – a favorite here. I used this to make the tandoori bites. It was a full head of fairly medium – big sized cauliflower that I had cut in florets and frozen. I would say about a pound of it.
Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites:
Prep time : 5-10 min Marination time : 5 hours to over night
Baking time : 15 -20 min
Cauliflower florets – A head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets or frozen 16 oz. bag
For the Marinade:
Thick plain yogurt : 1/4 cup
Plain chili powder / Kashmiri powder : 1 tbsp. ( use your judgment for the heat)
Defrost the cauliflower florets or if using fresh ones, either nuke it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or quick blanch it. Let it come to room temperature.
Whisk all the ingredients listed under marinade. Taste test if desired so.
Pour the marinade on the cauliflower pieces and mix it to ensure all of it is coated thoroughly. Keep it covered in the refrigerator for minimum of 4-5 hours , but can be left overnight for best results as well.
Pre heat oven to 400 F.
Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray oil if desired so on them so the pieces do not stick.
Spread the cauliflower florets so they are in single layer on the sheet.
Bake for 15-20 min or so. Keep an eye after about 12 minutes of baking. A lot depends on the tenderness of the cauliflower and your oven.
HUGE TIP : In the 8- 10 min interval, flip the cauliflower florets and rotate the pans to ensure even baking. If not you run the risk of burning the smaller sized ones.
You should get crisp but tender cauliflower florets bursting with flavor.
An absolutely packed schedule just before the winter break sets in. There are days and then there is today …
So while the going gets crazy , the crazy get going ??
The breakfast was bit of a dud ..Cold winter morning , not freezing but still cold enough for you to want to pull in the blankets closer. You might want to reach out for the warm toasted bread and dab of butter. Or a warm cinnamon roll. But not a single loaf of bread was baked and we were all out bread, cinnamon rolls, hot and tasty dosa or anything nice – according to the kids.
It was the second last day of school before winter break sets them free. And the kiddos are to be out for a long time and were fed fig bars(tsk tsk ) for break fast – all natural very good ,stone ground wheat and natural fig in it .But it was not exactly a cold morning choice ! Sigh ! Even the apple oat smoothie did not soften the wounded eyes of A2 ( A1 was more preoccupied with his gazillion tests in school today ) . And mom decided to make an after school treat.( Sucker for those wounded eyes , me thinks! )
A1 and A2 are a huge fan of samosas ! I mean honestly what’s not like about it – there’s all sorts of spiced laden veggies in a pastry dough which is usually fried. And mom kind of relented( guilty of momism) and made a quick batch of – samosas . With whole wheat partially ( I cheated ) and BAKED it ! Corn and potatoes and carrots and so much more bring the burst of flavors and fresh mint/ coriander chutney – I need chai now !
Not very labor intensive. It was done pretty fast.
Time for prep : 30 min Resting time for dough : 30 min Shaping and filling : 15 – 20 min
Baking 25-30 min Yields : 12 -14 pieces
For the stuffing:
Large potatoes : 3 nos.( boiled and mashed roughly )
Onion : 1 , diced fine
Sweet corn : boiled : 1/4 cup
Mix of peas and carrots : 1/4 cup
Oil : 1 tbsp.
Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
Garam masala : 1 tsp.
Chaat masala : 1/2 tsp.
Cilantro : chopped : 1/4 cup
Salt : 1 tsp + as required
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
For the dough:
White whole wheat flour : 1 cup
All purpose flour : 1 cup
Ajwain/ Carrom seeds : 1 Tbsp.
Oil : 3 Tbsp.
Water : as required
Baking powder : 1/4 tsp.
Salt : 1/2 tsp.
For the dough :
In a wide bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients first and whisk well to ensure even distribution of salt and baking powder.
Add the oil and mix thoroughly so the dough now resembles fine crumbs.
Now sprinkle water ( DO NOT ADD EXCESS WATER. SPRINKLE LITTLE BY LITTLE ) and bring the dough together to form a very tight dough. It has to be tight dough. Do not knead it excessively. We do not want to form gluten in the dough and then you will have stretchy outer covering instead of a flaky one.
As soon as the dough comes together to form a ball, keep it covered for about 30 min. It is important to rest the dough.
For the filling:
In a wide skillet or fry pan, add the oil and add the cumin / jeera seeds and let it sputter. Add the onions and fry well. Subsequently add the boiled and mashed potatoes, boiled corn and peas and carrots . I microwaved the frozen peas and carrots and then corn for a couple of min each to aid the cooking process.
Add the salt and then spice powders listed and mix well. Do not mash it too much
Add the fresh chopped cilantro, stir once and take it out to cool.
After cooling divide it into 12 – 14 portions depending on the number of dough pieces.
If you have excess left , then it makes a great sandwich filler.
Making the samosa:
Pre heat the oven to 350 deg F
Fill a small cup with water and keep aside.
After the dough has rested for 30 min, knead it once to get a smoother one. Divide it into about 6-7 portions.
Roll out each portion into a big circle. Try to keep it on the thinner side.
Slice it in the middle to form 2 semi circles.
Now using the tips of your finger wet the edges of the semi-circle.
Bring the edges together so it overlaps to form an open cone and seal the edges .
Fill the cone with your stuffing and seal the third side as well by wetting the line edge of the dough.
Repeat for the rest.
Baking the samosa:
Arrange the triangular pastries on a single layer on parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush with a dab of cooking oil on the surface.
Bake for about 15 minutes in the pre heated oven.
The increase the heat to 375 F and bake another 10-12 minutes.
You will have flaky and crisp shell with spiced filling inside.
Cheese and Herbs stuffed Crescent Rolls – Quick fix from your pantry for the hungry child!
NC has been blessed with rain and more rain. SO much that the sun played it safe and decided to have a day off…Wanting to cheer up the kids bit for the after school munchies as much to indulge them just for today….10 min to prepare and 12 to bake, 5 to clean up and satisfaction – priceless! Ala .. Mastercard!
This is a quick and easy post and is an easy way out . No, I am not claiming it to be the scratch from the bake kind. I have done it in the past, but with our weather today, I think it is a safer bet to rely on the back up’s I normally have – Pillsbury Crescent Rolls to the rescue . And hence here we go an easy post for those one-off days where you remove those supermom cape …Atleast for me:-)
Cheese and Herbs stuffed Crescent Rolls – Quick fix from your pantry for the hungry child!
Prep time : 10 min
Bake time 12-15 min /350degF
Makes : 8
Serves : 2-3
Pillsbury Crescent rolls : 1 tube
Shredded Cheese mix of your choice : 1/2 -3/4 cup
Dried Italian herbs : 1.5 Tsp.
Dried Parsley Flakes : 1.5 Tsp.
Red chili flakes : 1/2 – 1 Tsp.
Oil/softened butter/ Oil spray : 1 Tsp.
Dried Parsley flakes : 1 Tsp.
Preparation, Stuffing and Baking:
In a small bowl mix all that is listed in the stuffing mix gently.
Unwrap the dough from the tube and separate the perforated triangles properly.
Place a tsp or more of the stuffing in the center of the wide section of the triangle and roll it to form a crescent. Too much stuffing will ooze out from the sides , so use your best judgement.
Repeat this step until you have all 8 prepped out and lay in on a flat sheet for baking. Now since there were only 8, I used the small baking tray for the toaster oven.
Lay them out gently with enough space to expand during baking.
Brush them with the melted butter, oil or spray mist with your oil of choice.
Toss in some parsley flakes on the surface , so you have a rich texture and visual appeal to the baking.
Bake as per the instructions on the tube. I did mine for 350degF for about 12 minutes or so.
Note : the second batch I made, I added some dried garlic flakes to the seasoning and added some dried black pepper as well to the parsley flakes for top seasoning.
Note 2 : Have some sautéed vegetables ? Mix it with the cheese for a healthier option for stuffing?
Note 3 : Let your creative juices run as this is a veritable black canvas to unleash your wild side!