Monday, January 26, 2015

Cheesy Tricolor Braided Whole Wheat Bread

Back in 1950 on this day in January India became a Republic. In celebration of the Republic Day I present the tricolor braided cheese bread.



I used vegetables as dye to color the bread. I used carrots and cherry tomatoes for the orange layer, broccoli for the green and left the white uncolored. Though the colors are not visible on the finished bread under the melted cheese they are clearly visible on the slices.


I used the same recipe for this bread as I had for the zopf. The bread turned out soft with a lightly crunchy but very thin crust. It was great on its own but tasted even better with a dab of boursin cheese.


In my house I have never had to sneak in vegetables into anything. Everyone loves vegetables, most of all my daughter. But if you have picky eaters this might be a good way to get the vegetables in.

You will need (for two loaves)
280 gm white whole flour
200 gm all purpose flour
8 gm yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp butter, melted

For the green color
1 small floret broccoli
1/4 cup milk

For the orange color
4 cherry tomatoes
1/4 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup milk

For the white color
1/4 white onion, sliced (optional)
1/3 cup milk

For the wash
1 egg wash
1 1/2 tsp. water

For the topping
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

Blend the broccoli with milk and keep aside. Saute the shredded carrot under tender. Cool completely. Blend with cherry tomatoes and milk. Keep aside. Saute the onion until tender and allow to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl sift the flours. Add the salt and yeast and mix well. Next add the egg yolk and melted butter. Mix well and divide into three bowls by weight. To the first bowl add the ground broccoli. To the second bowl add the ground carrots and tomatoes. To the third add the onions. You could skip the onions if you choose.


Form a soft dough. You should have equal sized dough in green, orange and natural colors. Cover and allow them to rise until double in volume, about an hour.


Divide each of the balls of dough into two by weight. Take one half of the orange on a floured working surface. Flatten with the heel of your palm. Fold over like an envelop and seal with the heel of your palm. Now roll it on the board until you get a long rope. Keep aside and repeat with one green and one natural portion.


Keep the three ropes side by side. Pinch the top and start braiding. Place a piece of cheese between the braid as you go. When done tuck both ends under the braid for a neat finish. Push a piece of cheese over the curves of the braid. Keep aside covered for 20 minutes. Repeat for the remaining three portions.


As the braided dough rises preheat the oven to 425 F. Brush the top with the egg white and water mixture. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F and bake another 20-25 minutes. Tent with foil if the top browns too quickly.


Cool on a cooling rack before slicing.




Enjoy its own or with a dab of boursin.



This is my entry for week four, day three of BM #48 for the theme Say Cheese. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#48.

Sending this to Kid's Delight, an event by Srivalli hosted this month by PJ.










Sunday, January 25, 2015

Spinach Feta Tomato Mushroom Pasta

The pasta sauce in this recipe is a dream for any child who loves their vegetables like mine does. The aroma in the house was amazing. My daughter waltzed in to find out what was cooking and could not resist tasting the simmering sauce. Then she could not wait for dinner to be ready. She tried to hurry it along taking charge of cooking the pasta.


This recipe was something I just threw together. I had a bunch of leftover ingredients that needed to be used up. I got them all out and put together this recipe as I went along. I did not really have a plan of action. I started with the little pieces of red onion and then added in the tomatoes and red pepper. As that was cooking I figured I should puree it to a chunky paste to make the base. The mushrooms, spinach and grape tomatoes I added later to the pureed sauce. Then a little milk for flavor and feta cheese to bring it all together. Needless to say the pan was wiped clean.

You will need (for 3 servings)
2 cups pasta of your choice
1/4 red onion, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, diced
3/4 - 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
2 tbsp. milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 tsp. dried basil
a big handful grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 cups spinach, chopped
5-6 skitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Prepare all the vegetables and keep aside until needed. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta.

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion. Saute until tender then add the chopped tomatoes and red bell pepper.


Cook until they begin to soften. Do not cook until mushy.


Turn off the heat and allow it to cool. Puree in a blender. You want it to be chunky not smooth. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as per instructions.

Transfer the puree to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow it to simmer. Add the milk, pepper and cayenne pepper. Add salt keeping in mind the feta cheese has salt too. Simmer for another minute. Do not bring to a boil.


Add the chopped vegetables and mix together. Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes.



Turn off heat. Add the crumbled feta cheese and combine. The pasta should be cooked by this time. Drain the water. Serve the pasta sauce on a bed of pasta.


Enjoy!

This is my entry for week four, day two of BM #48 for the theme Say Cheese. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#48.

Sending this to Kid's Delight, an event by Srivalli hosted this month by PJ.










Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cheese and Carrot Paratha

Cheese and carrots along with a few spices makes one delicious savory paratha. I have made carrot paratha before but this time I took it a step further and stuffed it with a combination of feta and cheddar cheese. I had a little leftover feta cheese that needed to be used up and this was a great way to use it up.


The shredded carrots are sauted until tender and added to the flour. The cheese mix is stuffing while rolling out the paratha.

You will need (for 5 parathas)
For the dough
1 cup whole wheat chapati flour + extra for rolling
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 carrot, shredded
1 tsp. kalonji (onion seeds)
1 tsp. ajwain or ova (carom seeds)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
water to form a dough

Stuffing
2 tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or dice fine

oil to roast the parathas

Heat oil in a pan and saute the shredded carrot until tender. Let it cool completely before transferring to a mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients for the dough except the water.


Using as much water as needed form a soft dough. Knead and keep aside for 15 minutes. Divide the rested dough into five portions.


Heat a griddle pan. Take a portion of dough and using flour as needed roll into a small disc.


Place a fifth of the stuffing mixture on it.


Fold the right and left sides. Fold the bottom.


Fold the top. You will have a square stuffed piece of dough.


Roll it out using flour to keep it from sticking.


Place it on the hot griddle pan with a few drops of oil. Flip it over when one side is done.


Flip over when the other side is done and remove from heat. Repeat for the remaining parathas.


Enjoy with yogurt and pickle.

Sending this to Kid's Delight, an event by Srivalli hosted this month by PJ.











This is my entry for week four, day one of BM #48 for the theme Say Cheese. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#48.

Monday, January 19, 2015

French Style Cheesecake

Cheesecake or a cake baked with cheese is usually rich and dense. It is delicious and not overtly sweet. My daughter is fond of cheesecakes and I have always wanted to try one at home. She likes the New York style cheesecake but that is truly rich. I wanted something light and so decided to bake this French style cheesecake. French cheesecakes are light and fluffy though they may be very rich too.


This cheesecake is made with a cream cheese called neufchatel. This cheese is from the Normandy region of France and is under EU protection. The version of neufchatel sold in the US is lighter than regular cream cheese. That got me interested in it and I went looking for it in my neighborhood Whole Foods. I was surprised to find it in the Whole Foods brand. I guess it is really popular here in the US.


The cream cheese was easy to work with and combined with the sour cream gave the cheesecake a lovely flavor. Using sour cream instead of whipping cream helped lighten the cake too. I debated whether to use fresh fruit compote to garnish the top but in the end settled for some kiwi slices. I baked the cheesecake in individual serving bowls. When the cake came out of the oven the aroma spread through the whole house.

You will need
For the crust
6 Digestive biscuits or graham crackers
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. butter, melted

For the filling
1 8 oz. packet Neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Break the digestive biscuits or graham crackers in small pieces and place them in a plastic sealed bag. Using a rolling pin roll over the bag to crush the biscuits. In a mixing bowl combine the crushed biscuits with the sugar and melted butter. Place the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish or bowls. Press down such that it rises up about an 1/2 inch on the side.


Let the cold ingredients sit on the kitchen counter until they reach room temperature. It is a lot easier to work with. Beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer for half a minute. Add the other ingredients and beat again for another half minute. Ladle the mixture over the crumb crust. Place the bowls on a baking sheet.


Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is jiggly but set. Let the cake cool slightly before placing the bowls in the refrigerator. Cool completely for about an hour or two. Garnish with fruit or chocolate.


Enjoy!



This is my entry for week three, day three of BM #48 for the theme French Cuisine. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#48.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cheese, Thyme, Basil and Onion Fourgasse

Fourgasse is French flat bread shaped lie a leaf with cuts made to resemble the veins of a leaf. It is perfect for tea time though it would work as a side with soup. I worked the thyme, basil and onion into the dough while I added the cheese on the top.


I have always loved the shape of this leaf shaped bread. My family loves the combination of herbs and onion in the dough. It makes a filling after school snack. My daughter loves the aroma of the herbs when it is cooked. In fact she loves the aroma even before I put the bread in the oven.


I used onions with fresh thyme and dried basil. You can use rosemary or sage or any other herb of your choice. I also sprinkled some cayenne pepper for some heat.

You will need
For the dough
125 gm whole wheat flour
150 all purpose flour
4 gm instant dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil

For the filling and topping
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 medium onion
3-4 twigs thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper powder

1 tbsp. milk for brushing

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl and form a soft dough. Knead for a few minutes until it is soft and elastic. Cover and keep aside until doubled in volume, about an hour and a half.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Remove the thyme leaves from the stick and add them to the onions with a little salt. Saute the onions until they are tender. Turn off the heat and keep aside to cool completely.


Preheat oven to 350 F. Transfer the dough to a floured working surface. Flatten a little with your palms and add the onion, basil and cayenne pepper. Fold the dough over and flatten it gently with your palms. Repeat until the onion and herbs and mixed in. Using a rolling pin gently roll to form a rough rectangle.


Using a sharp blade or knife cut the dough to form the veins of a leaf.


Press down pieces of cheese into the dough. Brush the top with a little milk.


Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the dough is cooked through.



Enjoy!

This is my entry for week three, day two of BM #48 for the theme French Cuisine. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#48.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Herbed Tomato and Olive Pissaladiere

Pissaladiere is a French savory pastry. The dough is rolled flat and thin like puff pastry and then topped with a variety of toppings. I used tomato, olives and onion with fresh thyme and cilantro. The crust is thin and has an edge. Passaadiere makes a filling meal especially if you use whole wheat flour for the dough and vegetables for the topping.


I made this on a super cold day and it tasted great hot out of the oven. We like pizza without sauce and cheese and this was no exception. The crust was crisp and topping toasted just right. Everyone loved it.


I think rosemary would taste great with the onion but my daughter does not like rosemary so I do not use it. You could also use vegetables of your choice for the topping. I used what I thought my family would love.

You will need
For the dough
155 gm white whole wheat flour
100 gm all purpose flour
3.5 gm instant dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

For the topping
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 medium onion
3-4 twigs thyme
1 medium tomato
10-12 black olives
a small handful cilantro
1 tbsp. sharp cheddar cheese

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl and form a soft dough. Knead for a few minutes until soft and elastic. Cover and keep aside to double in volume about an hour.

In the meantime heat oil in a pan and saute the onions. Pull the thyme leaves from the stick and add them to the pan with a little salt. Turn off heat when the onions are tender. If you like you could go on to caramelize the onions. Keep aside to cool completely.


Preheat oven to 425 F. When the dough doubles transfer it to a work surface. Roll it out to the size of your baking sheet. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the rolled dough on to it. Using the tines of a fork prick the dough in several places to prevent it from puffing up. Cover and keep aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cut the tomato in half and remove the seeds. Slice and place on a paper towel to soak the moisture. Chop the olives into thirds and keep aside. Chop the cilantro and keep aside. After the dough has rested add the topping. Place the tomatoes first.


Next add the onion mixture and sprinkle the cheese. Place the chopped black olives. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro.


Bake for 15-20 minutes. Tastes best the day it is baked and hot out of the oven.



Enjoy!

This is my entry for week three, day one of BM #48 for the theme French Cuisine. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#48.