Seeing this tri – colored sandwich our nation`s flag comes to mind and in turn brings me back memories of celebrating important milestones of our country India in our school. Republic day, Independence day were some of the occasions where flag was hoisted in our school grounds and we as students proudly saluted as the tri-colored flag was lifted up the flag pole. Let me say something about the Independence celebrated each year by all Indians and what significance it held to us back as kids in school.
 
 
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August 15th, 1947 saw India`s independence from the British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation. It is a day observed all over India with flag hoisting ceremonies, parades and many a cultural events strengthening the popular concept – ‘unity in diversity’.
 
At the age of 4 and 5, this day was as important as it was for all other citizens. It was a day marked as ‘holiday’ in our school calendar, a day we all enthusiastically sang our national anthem, saluted our national flag hoisted by our headmistress.
 
The icing on the cake on that day would be the laddoos or other sweets we were given! I have vivid memories of that day when my sister and I would grab a knowledge book, sit on our beds and read all about the valiant Mahatma Gandhiji or the determined Bhagat Singh. This was one of those rare moments when we would forget all the fights and bickering and celebrate the day in unity, great pomp and pride! 
 
During pre-teen years Independence Day would be a much more elaborate celebration. Having learned about our freedom struggle by our freedom fighters, the events and celebrations of this day held much more meaning and significance to me. Our classrooms would be festooned with little tri-color flags.  The stages were adorned too and we would dress up and portray the eminent people of our freedom struggle.
 

My high school and college years arrive and my patriotic spirit was elevated to a higher level. To march at the school and college grounds and to be a part of the parade was both exhilarating and an adulation. Keeping up with this patriotic spirit, I would engage myself in various contests held at college – elocution, extempore or essay writing, all with topics signifying our nation`s struggle for freedom. To revisit the pre-1947 era and to learn more and more about our great leaders and to express my sentiments about the freedom movement evoked a great sense of allegiance towards my country.

But now August 15th is not just a day that is marked as a national holiday or a day to simply rejoice. It is a day to honor and cherish the principles and struggles put forth by our freedom fighters. We the citizens are truly indebted to each one of them.

As a mark of our respect to the lives sacrificed for India`s freedom, we need to nurture and sustain the freedom handed over in our care. The cliche – ‘actions speak louder than words’ hold true here. It is imperative that we act on the principle set forth for our nation`s future. It is to be remembered that these actions are to be an on-going process and not just something to be debated about on august 15th each year….

~By Anjali Rao 

 

Those words truly awakened the patriotism in me…Thank you Anjali..

Coming to today`s recipe, it is an easy sandwich to be out together and simply delicious too! A classic example of how very few everyday ingredients can be put together into a delicious and quick snack.

 

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And there`s more – you can make just any one type of the sandwiches each time instead of all 3. It makes for a quick snack when friends drop by unexpectedly or as a soup accompaniment. Rustle up these easy sandwiches loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals for yourself and enjoy them with a glass of hot chocolate as you sit lazily in your balcony, admiring the sun set!

When served together,  these varied ingredients come together to make a wonderful and interesting blend of flavors. And at this juncture the concept – ‘unity in diversity‘ comes to mind!  The three different flavors blend in perfect harmony to create a delicious snack! Cheese is the bond that ties them all together!

 

 

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Carrot Toast

Toasted bread topped with carrot and cheese

  • Bread slices – 2 (wheat or regular)
  • Carrot – 1
  • Cheese (processed or cooking or cheddar– 1 cube + 1 tsp to garnish (~4 to 5 tbsp))
  • Chilli tomato sauce – 1 to 2 tbsp OR a mix of tomato ketchup & red chilli sauce/ powder
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
  • Dried oregano – ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Butter (softened – 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp to toast bread)

Garnish

  • tomato slices (optional)
  1. Wash, peel, grate carrot.
  2. For the topping, in a bowl mix together grated carrots, sauce, salt, pepper, grated cheese, oregano, 1 tbsp softened butter. You should get a moist, spreadable mixture.
  3. Cut bread slices into desired shape or keep as is. Spread butter on both sides of the 2 slices with remaining 1 tbsp butter. Toast both sides till bit crisp and toasted and brown.
  4. Keep the topping over one side of both toasts, sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Put under hot grill till cheese melts slightly or keep in hot pan and toast about ½ to 1 minute till cheese melts.
  5. Garnish & serve hot!

Adjust cheese and sauce proportions as per taste.
Use softened butter to make it easier to mix and spread.
Cooking cheese melts better than processed cheese.

 
 

Cheese fingers

Toasted bread topped with cheese

  • Wheat bread – 2 slices
  • Grated cheese – 2 cubes or 6 to 8 tbsps (processed or cheddar)
  • Onion – 1 small
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies – 1
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
  • Butter – to toast bread slices
  1. Chop onions finely. Wash and chop coriander leaves and green chillies.
  2. Cut bread slices into desired shapes or leave them as is. Spread butter on both sides of the 2 slices. Toast them lightly on hot pan till crisp and toasted and brown.
  3. For the topping, in a bowl mix together chopped onions, grated cheese, coriander leaves, salt, pepper powder, green chillies.
  4. Keep the topping over one side of the 2 toasted slices. Place under a hot grill till cheese melts slightly or keep on hot pan to melt the cheese.
  5. Serve hot!

You may add garlic powder or 1 small clove grated garlic for Garlic Cheese Toast.
Cheese Fingers or Cheese Garlic Fingers can also be served along with hot soups of your choice.

To make Cheese sandwich instead of fingers/ open sandwich :
Toast the buttered slices.Keep topping over 1 slice and cover it with another slice. Serve hot.
You could use a sandwich maker to make Cheese sandwich. In that case no need to toast the slices
first. Keep topping over 1 buttered slice, cover with another buttered slice. Then toast in sandwich maker.

 

Cucumber Toast

Toasted bread topped with cucumber and green chutney

  • Bread slices – 2
  • Cucumber – 1 (small to medium)
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Pepper powder – to taste
  • Cheese slices – 2
  • Butter – to toast bread slices

For green chutney

  • Coriander leaves – 1 cup
  • Green chillies – 1 to 2
  • Roasted gram dal – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste

To make the chutney

  1. grind together-coriander leaves, green chillies, roasted gram dal, salt, little water. Set aside.
  2. Wash, peel and grate cucumber. Do not grate the center/ seeds portion as they have more water content. Squeeze out the excess water from grated cucumber and put into a bowl.
  3. Add in the green chutney, salt, pepper powder to the cucumber. Mix well. You must get a moist and spreadable mixture.
  4. Butter the bread slices on both sides. Toast on a hot pan on both sides till slightly crisp, toasted and brown.
  5. Remove and keep 1 cheese slice over each toasted slice. Top it with cucumber topping. Serve immediately!

Roasted gram dal means dalia or hurikadle(in Kannada).
You could add ¼ cup mint leaves to chutney when you grind. But in that case add 1 medium onion instead of roasted gram dal. Also squeeze in ½ tsp lime juice. Mint-cucumber-cheese is a classic combo!
Roasted gram dal gives a thicker consistency to chutney suitable for cucumber which is slightly moist.

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