Swiss Chard or Spinach Focaccia

One of my weaknesses is bread! I enjoy looking for different types of bread recipes. Somewhere along the way I came across the idea of adding swiss chard to focaccia. I just don’t feel as guilty consuming so much bread when I am having something healthy along with it!

This focaccia recipe is great as an appetizer and also perfect for lunch with a bowl of soup. It freezes well – it’s a handy side to have on hand since it is so versatile with meals.

Best of all, the “No Knead Focaccia” recipe from the King Arthur Flour website is the simplest recipe I’ve come across since it doesn’t require kneading! I’ve adapted the recipe slightly below.

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Ingredients

Dough:

1 1/2 cup warm water

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast.

Topping:

2 bunches swiss chard , ( remove the thick stem) and  coarsely chopped ( 6-8 cups)  OR

6-8 cups coarsely chopped spinach

1-2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( preferably)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 green chillies ( hot ) finely minced or ground (optional)

1/3 cup olive oil

Preparation

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoon oil.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer or 1 minute.

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The dough will be sticky. Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread with a spatula or greased hands.

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Let rise for about 45 – 60 minutes till the dough doubles.

In the meantime, combine all the ingredients for the topping .

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When the dough is risen, add the swiss chard to the dough and spread to cover the dough.

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Bake at 375  for about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool. Cut in squares.

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Chilli Cheese Toast

Growing up in India, Chilli Cheese Toast was served often at “tea time”, when we would have a snack along with a cup of hot tea at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  Cheese toasts originally were deep-fried – needless to say they were delicious!  No one thought about calories back then or about all that fat we were consuming!

As time went by, a healthier version was created – lighter but as flavorful and quick to prepare. The toasts are perfect for lunch on a cold day along with a salad or soup, or served as an appetizer.

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 Ingredients

4 slices of firm whole wheat bread

2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons finely cut onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1-2 finely chopped green chillies

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder (or a mustard spread)

 

Preparation

Place the bread in the oven, on broil, to brown one side of the bread.

Mix the remaining ingredients to a smooth paste.

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Apply the cheese spread to the side of the bread which was not toasted.

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Place under the broiler until light brown.

Cut into quarters or in half.

Serve immediately.

Whole Wheat Naan

Many years ago I came across a recipe for whole wheat bread rolls and the ingredients seemed similar to a Naan recipe I had also discovered.  This recipe seemed so simple that I adapted it to making an easy and quick version of Naan which so many of my friends have asked me for over the years.

I have used this simple recipe to teach my 12 year old grand daughter to measure out the ingredients- both dry and liquid- as this recipe does not have to be very precise. In fact she was home early from school today and I asked her to help me make the Naan – it was a good way to teach her to roll out the balls and roll them into rounds.

A healthy variation to the naan is to add chopped spinach to the ingredients.

 

Whole Wheat Naan

1 tablespoon yeast, added to 3 tablespoon warm water, set aside for 5 minutes

2 tablespoon sugar

3 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups whole wheat flour ( I use King Arthur white whole wheat flour )

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2  cup oil

2 cups buttermilk

Preparation

Note: If you do not have buttermilk on hand a good substitution is adding 2 tablespoon white vinegar to the 2 cups milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven under broil placing the rack one shelf below the top.  I use a pizza stone so it can be preheated in the oven, but feel free to use a baking sheet.

Mix all the above ingredients to a large bowl and mix with a spoon. If the dough is too soft and sticky add about a little of both flours till you get a soft dough. Set aside for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon. If the dough is too soft and sticky add a little of both flours until you get a soft dough. Set aside for 15 minutes.

 

Make into small balls (the size of a lemon) and roll into 1/8 thick  rounds.

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Place rounds on the pizza stone or baking sheet and place under the broiler.

Check after 1-2 minutes, when starting to puff up, turn the Naan around and let the other side start to brown.

Remove and cover with a kitchen towel, and repeat with the remaining rounds.

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This naan freezes well and it is so convenient to have.  To reheat, sprinkle with a little water and place in hot oven for a minute.

Variation:  Add 2 cups of chopped spinach to the dry ingredients , and follow the same method as above.  You may need to add more flour to the dough as the spinach gives out a little water after it is chopped.  To make the chopping easier, I pulse the spinach in the food processor till it is coarsely chopped.

Starting with Broccoli Bread

Broccoli Bread

Cooking in America was quite an experience for me 40 odd years ago. I did not grow up learning to cook but I had some basic cooking lessons when I got my degree in a BSc in Home Economics . It certainly did not prepare me for everyday cooking! I had a lot of mishaps and trial and errors, and with the help of family and friends I became more confident and found cooking challenging. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking but I realized then that I did not want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen as there were so many other interests I could explore.

Finding quick, simple and short cuts to recipes became a challenge. I collected and tried out and adapted ingredients to  Indian recipes.  Broccoli Bread is one of them as it reminded me of  Dokhla (a savory snack from the Gujarat region of India). I also came up with a variation, using cabbage (see note below).

Broccoli Bread

Ingredients:

Ingredients

1  10 ounce box  frozen chopped broccoli

6 ounces of  fat free or regular Cottage cheese

1 small onion diced ( about 1/2 cup)

2 small green chillies, chopped

cilantro chopped ( about 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 Box Jiffy Corn mix ( or any other brand )

Broccoli Bread

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 ” x 13″ pan .

Set aside the corn mix.

Add all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Stir in  the corn mix and stir till well blended.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or till light brown.

Cool and cut into squares .

Variation:  Substitute 1 cup of finely shredded cabbage and add 1 -2 teaspoons of pickle masala instead of the green chilli .

Baked

Fresh out of the oven!

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