Monday, February 7, 2011

Baked Mini Pita Chips with Roasted Red Pepper & Greek Olive Dip

Baked Mini Pita Chips_By Poonam Phatak

When it comes to nutritious snacking, I am in deep trouble every time. I mean there is always the fruit, nuts and homemade cracker and cheese option available. But what I am trying to say is that at a party or when hanging out with friends, snacking items such as chips, sauces and dips mostly come out of a store bought box. Now those who know me well, know that I have some serious friction with "packaged products" where the ingredients listed don't seem to have any relationship with the product itself. Read this to understand exactly what I mean.

Not that I don't eat such treats at all but I am forever trying to find some easy, low sodium and home made munching treats to cater my nutritious needs. These baked pita chips and dip provide a quick and stress free alternative to the typical off-the-rack nibbles. The dip is very versatile too. It can also be used as a salad dressing or as a sauce or spread.

This is also my entry to February's Monthly Mingle. Astrid of Paulchens FoodBlog is asking us to make Small Bites: Soul Food for Loved Ones. These small bites will look very elegant if served whole with a tiny dollop of the dip on top sprinkled with some finely chopped cilantro or parsley. Since, we ate them during the super bowl, they were served "sports style" as seen in the picture. But no matter how you serve them up, I will guarantee the taste! Thanks, Meeta for your wonderful event!

Roasted Red Pepper and Greek Olive Dip with Curry Powder_By Poonam Phatak

Baked Mini Pita Chips with Roasted Red Pepper & Greek Olive Dip
Serves 4

Baked Mini Pita Chips-

About 20-25 mini pita bread*, halved
2-3 TBS olive oil

Toss the halved pita bread liberally with the olive oil on a baking sheet. Bake in a 450 deg F oven for about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately with the dip.

Roasted Red Pepper & Greek Olive Dip

1 small or half a medium red bell pepper
3-4 greek olives, chopped finely
1/4 to 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup of sour cream*

Roast the red pepper on a gas stove or outdoor grill until charred. Place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 5-7 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and peel the charred skin of the pepper. Chop finely.

Mix the finely chopped pepper, olives, curry powder and salt as needed with the sour cream. OR coarsely puree the pepper, olives, curry powder and sour cream in a food processor. Serve with the warm pita chips.

*Substitute sour cream with thick greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon for a lighter option.

Edamame and Mushroom Burgers with Ginger Lime Mayo

Edamame and Mushroom Burgers with Ginger Lime Mayo_By Poonam Phatak

The past weekend was special! I went with my girl friends for a ladies night out on Friday. After a longest time we were able to relax with a few cocktails, clear some brain space of inessential gossip and make room for more. We drank,
laughed hard and
clearly had too much much that the lady at the next table asked us if we were having a bachelorette party! Now that was quite a compliment because, except for one, all of us have kids ranging from a twenty month old to a ten year old. The evening ended on a high note with all of us making plans for yet another ladies (or should I say girls?) night out!

This much needed break from my recent mundane activities brought back so much energy in me that by Sunday afternoon I had actually been able to spend time with Myra and hubby before finishing my weekend chores to watch the super bowl. And oh, how can I forget Saturday? We (including my 20 month old) binged at a local Chinese buffet......certainly not typical for my family!!

We had a good time watching the super bowl with these edamame and mushroom patties which I
managed to prepare and freeze before the big kick off.
The soy sauce gave it a nice salty bite, while the ginger lime mayo gave it the right amount of tartness.

Edamame and Mushroom Burger Patty_By Poonam Phatak

Makes 4 patties

1 cup frozen edamame beans*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped potato
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
2 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp Sriracha sauce or any hot sauce (add more if you like it extra hot)
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats**
Salt to taste

For the Ginger-Lime Mayo
Mix 1/2 cup good quality mayo, 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, zest and juice of a lime in a bowl, add salt, mix and set aside


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add salt, stir and add the edamame. Cook until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain and coarsely chop the edamame on the cutting board with a knife or pulse in a food processor.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic, shallots, pepper, potato, mushrooms until the vegetables are almost cooked. Add the edamame, soy sauce, hot sauce and stir. Turn the heat off and add the oats. Taste the mixture and add salt only if needed.

Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes. Then form into 4 patties. Cover individually in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour or until ready to use.

In a saute pan, add some olive oil and cook the patties for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.


Enjoy the patty with some lettuce and mayo on a ciabatta roll or bun.

* You can substitute edamame for any beans of choice such as kidney beans, white beans or chick peas.
** Oats can be substituted with other binders such as corn, rice flour or bread crumbs. You can even add some cooked leftover rice.