It's Blog Party time again (my 10th since I have been blogging!), and time to get a bit "spicy" for this month's theme, "Spice It Up". Hosted by my friend Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness, Blog Party is my favorite virtual party, where all manner of creative appetizers and drinks show up in celebration of whatever wonderful theme Stephanie has dreamed up for us.
This month, India was my inspiration and I was madly trying to decide what to make when, like magic, the perfect appetizer recipe appeared. I took a really wonderful class this weekend on healthy, vegetarian Indian cooking (I'll share more on it later) and we made these delicious Baked Samosas and also sampled and learned the recipe for a delicious Mint Chutney to go with them. I trucked home my allotment of food, including the samosas we made, and whipped up a batch of the chutney as well as concocted a fabulous Rose-Pomegranate Martini to serve with it. Blog Party dilemma solved!
Chef Alyssa Moreau
1 cup unbleached white flour*
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup light oil (walnut oil preferred)
1/2 tsp vinegar (rice vinegar preferred)
1/2 cup water
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients and then stir into the dry mix until just moistened. (If it's too dry, add in some water 1 Tbsp at a time). Pat into a flat disk, cover, and refrigerate 1/2 hour. *You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour for white flour.
2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 Tbsp ghee, butter or oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
cayenne to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
Boil potatoes in water (to cover) until soft (approx 15 minutes). Drain and lightly mash. Set aside. Melt the butter, add cumin seeds and cook a couple minutes, add the rest of the spices and cook a couple minutes more, making sure not to burn. Add to mashed potato mixture, along with remaining ingredients.
To assemble samosas:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or oil well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Divide dough into 8 pieces; form into balls. Roll out each ball into a thin round and cut with a biscuit/pastry cutter.* Place a spoonful of samosa filling over 1/2 of circle and fold over to match edges. Use a fork to press edges together. Brush with melted butter or ghee. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned. *Depending on the size of your pastry cutter, you may have extra dough and more samosas to make. Serve with chutney.
Chef Alyssa Moreau
8 sprigs mint, leaves pulled off
1/2 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
1 tsp garlic , minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 green chili, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together and adjust flavors to taste.
Notes/Results: These were nicely flavored and spicy little samosas. Using part whole-wheat flour and baking instead of deep frying makes these little treats much healthier than your average samosa but just as tasty. The dough was easy to work with and the combination of the white flour and whole wheat pastry flour was tender when baked up. The mint chutney (shh...don't tell Stephanie there was cilantro in it and maybe she won't notice with all the spices!) is good but I would suggest at least doubling the recipe, as it just makes a small quantity. I would make both recipes again.
My beverage this month is a delicious Rose-Pomegranate Martini. Not particularly spicy but delicious with spicy foods. A few years ago I traveled frequently to Puerto Rico on business and ate often at a restaurant called Tantra, a sort of fusion Indian and Latin restaurant. Tantra had an extensive martini menu, including one with fruit juice and rose water that was delicious and really complimented the food. Their martinis always had rose petals floating on top, a decadent and festive touch, so this martini is inspired by Tantra.
4 oz pomegranate juice
1 1/2 oz fruit-infused vodka
dash of rose water
rose petals for garnish
Mix pomegranate juice, vodka, rosewater and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and drain into a martini glass (or margarita glass, or whatever glass you prefer). Garnish with fresh, clean, pesticide-free, rose petals and enjoy.
If you want to join the party, RSVP to Stephanie no later than Friday the 20th. You'll be able to check out who else came to Blog Party and how they "spiced it up" at the round up which should be up on her site after Sunday the 22nd. Cheers!