Green Cuisine – Our St. Patrick’s Day Bites

“I may not be Irish
But green I can eat,
And any excuse really
To enjoy another feast!
Little boats of cucumber
Floating my appetite,
And bites of deep dish
Going out of sight.
While the couscous and
Chicken, talk into the night,
I devour the brownie pops
With all my might.
The shamrock’s by my side
Time flies in beer,
Wearing green for luck
And a look oh-so-dear.
Now if you’ll excuse me
I need to finish my meal,
Before the leprechauns have
Another trick up their sleeve!”
1. Spinach Corn Deep Dish Pizza Bites
1 cup curried spinach corn (substitute chicken with 1 cup corn kernels)
8 slices of brown bread, centers cut out and made into cups.
(Don’t pre-bake the cups, just butter, press them into the muffin pan and keep aside. You could also use mini tortilla wraps or pizza dough, homemade of store bought)
½ cup grated Gruyere (or Parmesan)
Line the cups in a mini muffin pan. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the spinach corn curry, followed by a generous amount of cheese (yum!) and bake at 350 F till the cheese is just melted and begins to brown around the edges (around 10-15 minutes).
Serve hot.

2. Cous Cous & Mint Chicken Tikka Cups
12 pieces of chicken tikka
½ cup couscous
1 tablespoon salted butter or margarine
½ cup mixed vegetables- I used red/green peppers, carrots & onions
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper
Prepare the chicken tikkas as per my previous recipe.
Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the vegetables & dry spices and sauté for a few minutes. Don’t over cook as we do not want them to lose their crunch. Stir in the couscous and roast for a minute. Now add 1 cup boiling water, turn off the heat and cover for 4-5 minutes. The cous cous will soak in the water and cook slowly. Fluff with a fork, add the butter and mix well. Adjust seasoning if required.
Serve hot with the chicken tikka skewers.

3. Cucumber Boats 
1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds and a bit of the centre removed
1 egg, boiled
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fresh herbs- I used a mix of mint & cilantro. You can also use dill/basil
½ red pepper
1 teaspoon red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon jalapeno, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Mash the egg and mix with mayonnaise, paprika, herbs, salt & pepper and keep aside.
Grill the red pepper in a 375 F oven for 10-15 minutes, till it’s soft and the edges begin to brown. Cool, finely chop it and mix with the onion, coriander, jalapeno, lemon juice, salt & pepper to make the salsa.
Put a layer of this red pepper salsa inside the scooped out cucumbers. Top with a layer of the egg salad. Cut into 1 inch pieces and serve immediately.

4. Brownie Pops 
Freshly baked chocolate brownies
50 gm dark chocolate
4 lollipop sticks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Colorful sprinkles
Cut out small round pieces (or any shape you fancy) from the brownies
Melt the chocolate and butter over a water bath (simmering water). Once melted, dip the lollipop stick in it and insert into one end of the cut out brownies (the chocolate will act as the glue to hold the stick). Dip the brownies halfway into the melted chocolate, and immediately into the sprinkles. Keep on a non-stick surface or stand and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before they’re ready to be served. 

.......And of course, a few pints of beer!