Monday, September 27, 2010

Powder Puffs

Powder Puffs
As Shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Yields about 16 Powder Puffs, depending upon the size of each little cake

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup superfine (Baker's) sugar

For the filling
Raspberry jam; about 1/2 cup or more
About 3/4 cup vanilla-flavored heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Powdered/Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Arrange rack in center of oven and preheat to 425* (F)
Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and baking soda into a bowl.  Separate the eggs, whites from yolks, into two bowls.  Beat the whites to soft peaks. Add the sugar to the egg whites, 1/3 at a time--beating well after each addition. The egg white mixture should form a stiff, glossy meringue. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Sift the dry ingredients together, then sift the mixture over the egg mixture. Fold the flour very gently into the eggs with a spatula so as to lose as little egg volume as possible.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the parchment lined baking sheets, leave room between each as they will spread. Place in oven and bake until lightly golden colored, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cakes to a rack to cool. They will harden slightly as they cool.

Make sandwiches with the little cake rounds--bottoms together; spreading a bit of raspberry jam, then a layer of whipped cream in between, top with another cake round.

Allow the assembled cakes to rest about an hour or so to soften before serving. (They will not be spongy right away, and you want them to be sponge-like before serving.)  Dust tops lightly with powdered/Confectioner's sugar if desired.

Recipe adapted from Laura Calder

Please click HERE to return to Once Upon a Plate

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Favorite Fresh-Herb Rolls

Years ago these rolls were the signature bread at a wonderful organic restaurant and farm near our home. Through the years the restaurant has progressed adding a professional bakery on site, which produces mainly artisan breads. I don't think they offer the herb rolls anymore, but these remain my family's absolute, all-time favorite recipe for dinner rolls. The whole wheat flour and oat bran give them a wonderful depth of flavor, while the white flour keeps them light and tender.

Summer Jo’s Herb Rolls
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Friendly warning---This recipe makes a restaurant-size quantity  (4 dozen rolls!) 
I always half the recipe, and there are still plenty to freeze. (I freeze after baking and cooling ~ wrap them airtight.)  It would be easy to quarter the recipe if you would like.

Be generous with the fresh herbs you use, for half a recipe of dough I usually  use 2 to 3 tablespoons in total. Use any combination of fresh herbs that you like.  I usually use fresh thyme, rosemary, chives and a bit of oregano.


3 tablespoons yeast (the original recipe used old fashioned slow-rise yeast. To substitute instant see notes below)
1 cup sugar
4 cups warm water
4 each, whole eggs
1 cup olive oil (I prefer a mild flavor for this recipe)
8 cups enriched white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat bran *
2 tablespoons salt

To taste: Fresh seasonal herbs, chopped
Extra flour for kneading ; this is a soft dough and may take quite a bit more flour than expected.
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water (120-130 degrees) for 5-10 minutes.

Add the eggs and oil, mixing them into the dissolved yeast. Add all the flour and bran to the mixture 2 cups at a time, then add the salt and chopped herbs.
Note: If using instant yeast,  mix the warm water, oil and eggs until well combined. Don't bother dissolving yeast in the water-- just add the yeast and sugar to the flour.
Knead the dough into a ball and set it in a large covered bowl, storing this in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.
Butter or oil baking sheet(s).
Butter or oil your hands. Form the dough into 2-1/2-inch balls. Let rise, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the rolls for 12-20 minutes or until just golden brown and baked through. (Baking time will depend upon the size of the formed rolls.)

Delicious served warm with butter~ and even good split and toasted a day or two later.

* If oat bran is difficult for you to find, you can just whir some old-fashioned rolled oats in a blender or food processor (until slightly chopped, leaving some texture. Don't over blend to a powder)  as a substitute.

I hope you enjoy!

Please click HERE to return to Once Upon a Plate.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spinach Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, Walnuts and Maple Vinaigrette

Spinach with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, Walnuts
and Maple Vinaigrette
As Shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Notes: You can adjust the amount of ingredients according to your preference. I just eyeball the amounts. Increase the amount of dressing as needed, it keeps well, refrigerated, for a week or two. The salad is wonderful served while the squash and dressing are still warm, but it is perfectly fine at room temperature, too. Add dressing just before serving.

Ingredients for the Salad

Fresh, washed baby spinach leaves, stems removed. (Preferably organic spinach)
Butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes/dice (about 3/4-inch)
Slices of bacon, sliced crosswise into thin strips and fried until just crisp, drained
Handful of walnut pieces or halves, toasted
Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400*(F), with rack in center of oven

Place diced butternut squash on rimmed baking sheet, toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil to coat, then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast in hot oven turning pieces once or twice until just tender but not mushy. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Arrange spinach leaves on platter or individual plates, sprinkle with roasted butternut squash, crispy bacon and walnut pieces.

Drizzle with Maple Vinaigrette, and offer additional freshly ground black pepper when serving.

Makes about 1/2 cup dressing

1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup (no substitutes)
1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar)*
1/2 cup Olive or Grapeseed oil (I use less; adjust to your own taste)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place Maple syrup in a small pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow syrup to reduce by about half.

In a small bowl, whisk together the reduced maple syrup with the vinegar, whisk in the Dijon mustard, then whisk in the oil until mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Don't be stingy with the salt.

Alternately, shake ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid, in the order indicated above. Or, blend in a small food processor or blender.

*Note Apple Cider Vinegar is generally stronger, so adjust amount accordingly.


Please click HERE to return to Once Upon a Plate

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Not Quite Brandade Cakes (Salmon)

Not Quite Brandade Cakes (Salmon Cakes) with Caramelized Tomatoes, Peppers and Garlic
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Recipe as shown here makes 20 small cakes
Note: I quartered the following recipe
, exact measurements are not necessary just try to keep the ratio of fish to potatoes at about 50/50, then season as you wish.
Brandade is a French dish using dried cod, reconstituted then pounded and seasoned, with cream or milk added. These cakes are loosely based on that method of preparing fish, except I used freshly poached salmon, then shaped portions into cakes and coated with coarse Panko crumbs and sauteed until deeply browned and crispy.

For the caramelized tomatoes and peppers:
4 sweet (Bell) peppers, assorted colors
1 big handfuls cherry or tiny pear tomatoes
1 head of garlic, separated, cloves peeled and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salmon cakes:
1 and 1/4 pounds salmon (I use boneless, skinless filets for this recipe)
2 large potatoes such as Russets/Bakers (to equal the weight of fish you use),
peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
For the cooking water:
5 or 6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 bay leaf
sprig fresh thyme
a few sprigs fresh parsley
For the cake mixture:
1/4 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon espelette pepper or hot paprika
Nice handful of chopped, fresh parsley leaves
Nice handful of snipped fresh chives
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Grape seed or Peanut Oil, for frying
Flour or Panko (Japanese) to bread crumbs to coat cakes

For the Peppers
Preheat oven to 300* (F)
Seed pepper and cut into thin strips, toss with the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and arrange on a rimmed baking pan. Drizzle the olive oil over all, tossing vegetables with your hands to coat.
Bake until as caramelized as you like, 30 to 90 minutes. Turning once or twice.

For the cakes
Place the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme sprig and parsley in a pot and add cold water to cover by about 1-inch. Cover pot and bring to a boil, poach until the potatoes are just barely tender (about 10 to 15 minutes), then add salmon filet pieces and continue poaching until fish flakes easily.
Drain liquid and discard herbs. Separate potatoes from the fish. In a bowl mash potatoes with the cream. In a separate bowl finely flake the salmon. Combine the potatoes with the salmon and stir in the espelette pepper, chopped parsley and chives. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper and more hot pepper if desired.

To fry the cakes:
Pour a generous inch of cooking oil into a frying pan/skillet and heat until sizzling. Form the salmon-potato mixture into 20 small cakes. Just before frying dip them into a shallow dish of flour or Panko crumbs, pressing lightly to coat. Fry each cake on both sides until very brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels or brown paper to rid of excess oil.

To plate:
Arrange cakes on warm plates and top with a bit of the caramelized tomato-pepper mixture and enjoy!

Recipe very loosely adapted from Laura Caulder

Click HERE to return to Once Upon a Plate

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer Harvest Salad

Summer Harvest Salad
As shared by the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Note: Adjust the amount of ingredients to make the salad any size you would like.

You can make this recipe almost any time of year but it is the best in the summer when tomatoes are the sweetest, and the basil and corn are garden fresh. Feel free to play around with the ingredients, marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, roasted red pepper slivers, your favorite croutons, etc. are all wonderful additions.

This time I used the following:Fresh grilled corn on the cob (cut from the cob after grilling), you can also roast the corn in the oven. Remove husks and silk, rub the ears with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Tiny fresh mozzarella balls, or a larger fresh mozzarella ball, cut into chunks
  • Sweet cherry or pear tomatoes, cut in half if desired
  • Perfectly ripe avocado cut into slices or chunks
  • As many leaves of fresh basil as desired; left whole or torn into pieces
  • Fresh baby arugula, baby spinach, or mixed tender salad greens
  • Any optional additions as mentioned earlier
2 options for the Herb Dressing:

The EASY way ~ Just splash some Nakano Italian Herb flavored Vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small lemon (or 1/2 large); both grated zest and juice
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
Scant 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (no stems) chopped (omit if you don't have fresh)
1 heaping Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
3 to 4 basil leaves torn into small pieces or sliced into thin strips
1/2 or a bit more extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Place all ingredients except olive oil and salt & pepper in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper to season as desired.
Alternately~ place all ingredients except oil and salt and pepper in a small jar with lid. Shake vigorously, then add oil and shake vigorously for a minute or two until mixture is blended. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.


Please click HERE to return to Once Upon a Plate.