Posts Tagged ‘finger foods’

* Aloo Masala in Wonton Cups with Savory Granola

Posted on February 26th, 2011 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Bake, Cilantro, Cuisine, Dill, Entree, Ginger, Indian, Snack.

Aloo Masala in Wonton Cups

One can all this delicious vegan appetizer an an open-faced samosa.  Essentially, it has all the goodness of the samosa without the deep fry and work.  Crunchy eggless wonton skins, brushed with mustard oil and baked till golden brown filled with spicy potato curry and topped with a savory granola reminiscent of the South Indian snack, muruku.

The North Indian-style aloo masala curry recipe itself is originally from my friend, Sabah Akhtar, who taught me how to make the curry using the pressure cooker — apparently a lot of Indian folks do that these days!  Totally cuts down on the time one needs to whip out a good curry.  Her potato curry is full of fresh flavors as she folds in a bunch of fresh herbs at the end.  I adjusted the recipe a little to give it more spice and kick, but it’s pretty much her recipe!  You can skip the cups and granola and just make this hearty curry as an entree.

Chef’s tip:  Panch phoran is a Bengali five whole seed blend of fennel, cumin, nigella (onion seeds), fenugreek and yellow mustard in equal proportions.  You can mix them yourself or buy them pre-blended at most indian grocery stores.  Sabah also adds an eggplant to the curry (at the same time you add the tomatoes) and it gives it a richer, more complex flavor.

Wonton Cups:
24 wonton skin, eggless if vegan
1/2 cup mustard oil

1. Brush skins with mustard oil and press into mini muffin cups.
2. Bake in 360F oven till golden, about 7 minutes. Let cool.

Aloo Masala:
2 Tablespoons mustard oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons panch phoran mix
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 small yellow onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano, seeded, minced
3 large russett potatoes, half inch diced
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup water

1 cup peas
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dill, chopped

1. Heat a pressure cooker under medium heat.  When hot, add mustard oil, follwoed by panch phoran mix and red pepper flakes.  Fry till spices pop.
2. Add  onion and saute under low heat for 10 mins, add ginger, garlic and serrano.  Saute for another 5 min.
3. Add potatoes and stir to coat.  Add salt, tomatoes and water.  Bring to boil.
4. When boiling, close lid and bring pressure  to the first red ring  over medium heat.  Adjust heat to stabilize at first ring and cook for 4 minutes.  Release pressure using cold water release method.
5. Remove lid, add peas and  cook till desired doneness.
6. Remove from heat and gently fold in chopped cilantro and dill.

Savory Granola:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wheat flakes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup cashews
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup water

1. Mix all the ingredients together and bake in 325F oven till golden brown.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of aloo masala into the prepared cups, and top with savory granola.

Aloo Masala

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* Caprese Crostini

Posted on September 29th, 2009 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Basil, Burrata, Californian, Cuisine, Salads, Tomatoes.


I just can’t get enough of the dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes.  You can have it in a classic Caprese or top it on top of a good slice of crostini to make a light dinner.

Chef’s tip: To chiffonade basil, stack the leaves.  Roll tightly into a compact cylinder.  Using a sharp knife, slice thinly horizontally across the roll.  Fluff up the basil.

1 loaf sour battard, cut into 8 thick slices
The best EVOO you have
2 cloves garlic

2 lbs Early Girl tomatoes, preferably from Two Dog Farm
Your favorite sea salt
1 lb Goia burrata
16 basil leaves, chiffonade
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the crostini:
1.  Slice bread into 3/8 inch thick pieces. Place bread slices on a sheet pan, brush one side with olive oil.
2.  Bake in a 375F oven for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. Immediately rub with a piece of garlic.
To make the caprese salad:
3.  Squeeze tomatoes of excess juice.  Cut into small dice.
4. Toss with salt and some extra virgin olive oil.
5. Spoon tomatoes over the crostini.  Sprinkle on basil.  Top with a generous portion of burrata.
6. Finish with more olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serves: 4

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* Salsa and Guacomole – Deconstructed

Posted on October 24th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Cilantro, Coriander, Cuisine, Cumin, Fish, Latin, Lime.

Deconstructed or perhaps re-constructed.  Merging the guac and salsa together in one tall timbale but isolating the flavors of the cilantro so that it stands out on its own.

Chef’s tip: Zesting is done best with microplane. To make your own lime-infused olive oil, warm the olive oil to about 175F. Add in the lime zest, cool and let it sit for an hour. Strain.  To seed the tomatoes, cut a tomato into half and just gently squeeze out the seeds.

1 Tablespoon lime zest
1/3 cup lime-infused olive oil (or EVOO)
1 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 avocado, pitted, diced
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ripe tomatoes, seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted, crushed coarsely
A few turns of sea salt

1. To make the cilantro vinaigrette: Zest the lime with a microplane zester. Combine zest with the cilantro and lime-infused olive oil. Blend together till smooth.  Add salt.
2. To make the avocado mash: Dice and gently mash avocado with the lime juice and salt with a fork, leaving some chunkiness texture in it.
3. Seed the tomatoes, chop into fine dice.  Toss tomatoes with garlic, cumin, salt, lime juice and olive oil.
4. Assemble: Using a tall cake ring, fill the lower part of the ring with the avocado. Top with the tomato mix. Drizzle around the sides with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with crushed coriander seeds and a few turns of the sea salt. Serve with tortilla chips.

Serves: 4

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