Friday, November 12, 2010

Ginger Beef or Chicken Patties with Lime Noodle Salad

Ginger Beef or Chicken Patties with Lime Noodle Salad
As shared from the Kitchen of Mari's Once Upon a Plate

Yields 2 very generous meal size servings


4 ounces thin rice "cellophane" noodles* (for alternatives see note below)

Fresh mint leaves, and/or cilantro leaves, a few or up to 1/2 cup
Handful snow peas, sliced and blanched
Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
One or all of the following:
2 or 3 thinly sliced scallions (green onions) (plus extra for patties, see below)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red or other color bell pepper, thinly sliced

For the Gingered Meat Patties:

8 to 10 ounces ground meat: (one of the following: beef, buffalo, chicken, turkey or pork)
¼ cup Chinese oyster sauce, Use Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce if at all possible
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 green onions (scallions) finely chopped 1 or 2 cloves garlic minced

Optional (for more flavorful patties):
3 teaspoons very dry sherry (not cooking sherry)
1 or 2 teaspoons soy sauce

For frying the patties:
1 tablespoon  vegetable oil


2 tablespoons fish sauce (May omit and use 1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, instead.)
2 ½ to 3 tablespoons lime juice
1 ½ tablespoon sugar (more if you like) 
Optional If you like it spicy: Add a few drops or more of your favorite hot sauce (such as Sambal Oelek, or Sriracha, etc.)

If using rice noodles: Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain and run under cold water until cold. Set aside.
If using traditional egg pasta noodles:  Cook until al dente (don't overcook), drain and run under cold water until chilled. Set aside.

Chop half the mint and/or cilantro leaves, and two finely chopped scallions, place in a bowl with the ground meat, oyster sauce and ginger (and sherry and soy sauce if using.) Mix well to combine. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Divide the ground meat mixture into small patties and cook for 2–3 minutes each side or until cooked through. (I make the patties about the size of a half-dollar, or just a bit larger.)

Place the noodles in a bowl with the snow pea, tomato, onion and remaining mint and/or cilantro leaves and toss to combine. Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar (plus hot sauce if using) and stir well to dissolve sugar; pour over the noodles. .Add the patties to the salad to serve.

* Alternately:  Use angel hair pasta or very thin spaghetti (cooked until al dente), and rinsed with cold water until chilled.  I usually use Barilla brand whole grain very "Thin Spaghetti".

Note about the oyster sauce: Of all the brands I've tried  Lee Kum Kee brand is by far the best. And don't worry if you detest oysters ~ this really doesn't taste like oysters at all, it just adds a deeply rich savory and slightly sweet balance to the meat.

Recipe loosely inspired from a Donna Hay recipe

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pan Seared Halibut with Huckleberry Reduction and Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce

Pan Seared Halibut with Huckleberry Reduction and Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

With fresh halibut season coming to a close (the season runs from March through November), we wanted to enjoy it one more time until it becomes available again next March.

I happened to have some fresh, slightly tart huckleberries on hand, and I always keep Oregon Hazelnuts in the freezer, so I devised this recipe (actually a non-recipe), which we thoroughly enjoyed.

My apologies in advance... for those who know me or follow my blog, you know as many times as not, I'll just line up my ingredients and begin cooking without a recipe, just an idea in my head. That TRULY is the pleasure of cooking for me ~ the creative aspect of using what I have on hand, and not being tied to a recipe. 

That is the case with this dish... I can describe how I made it, but there are no exact measurements ~ have fun and prepare it to taste, and in the proportions to fit your family.Feel free to substitute another kind of berry, or other nuts for the Hazelnuts.

Here is how I arrived at this dish ( a serving for two):

Step 1. Make the Huckleberry -or other berry- reduction.
A generous 1/4 cup of fresh huckleberries with a couple of tablespoons of water and a little agave syrup (or sugar), to ease some the the tartness of the berries ~ not to make the sauce sweet. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low to reduce amount by nearly half. Stir occasionally. Keep warm.

Step 2. Rinse halibut, blot excess moisture off ~ salt and pepper, and dust with all-purpose flour. Tap off excess flour. Heat equal amounts of oil and butter in a frying pan over medium - high heat until melted and almost sizzling. Add halibut to the pan (don't crowd), allow to cook on one side for a few minutes (about 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon the thickness of fish.) Turn once and cook other side until fish is just firm when you press down upon it. (Again about 3 to 5 minutes.) Remove fish to warm serving plates or a platter. Cover loosely with foil and keep warm.

Step 3. Add another tablespoon or two of butter to the same pan, allowing it to melt, stirring to scrape up any bits from interior bottom of pan. Add chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.)and allow to cook, stirring frequently to avoid scorching either the nuts or the butter. When butter is golden in color but not burned, remove pan from heat and keep warm.

Step 4. Drizzle the warm berry reduction on warm plates, arrange seared halibut on top. Spoon the warm hazelnut brown butter over all, garnish with additional fresh berries, and serve right away.

I hope you enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apple-Cinnamon Custard Spoons with Crackle Topping

Apple-Cinnamon Custard Spoons with Crackle Topping
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Makes approximately 15 porcelain spoon size portions
Recipe is easily multiplied and may be made in Creme Brulee ramekins, too

Special equipment:  (See original post HERE for sources)
Asian-style porcelain soup spoons, or Creme Brulee ramekins
Butane kitchen torch

Ingredients (for 15 spoon-sized portions):

1/2 cup peeled and chopped apple (1/4"  chunks or smaller)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar (superfine, if possible)
1/3 cup half & half cream
1 tablespoon sugar for crackle topping (superfine, if possible)

Preheat oven to 250* (F)  Arrange oven rack in center position

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook apple, 1 tablespoon sugar and water together until apple pieces are tender (about 5 to 7 minutes or so), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a small bowl whisk egg yolk, 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar together, whisk in cream until thoroughly mixed.

Place porcelain spoons on a shallow- rimmed baking sheet(s). Divide cooked apple evenly between the 15 spoons, smooth tops. Pour egg-cream mixture evenly over apple mixture in each spoon. (I find it easiest to transfer the egg-mixture to a small pitcher or Pyrex-type  liquid measuring cup to facilitate pouring.)  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until custard is slightly firm.  Remove from oven, allow to cool.

When cool, refrigerate for 30 minutes. (If chilling for longer than 30 minutes, cover with cling film so the filling doesn't dry out.)

Shortly before serving sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over filling in each spoon, caramelize sugar in each spoon with small butane torch.  For easy eating, serve with demitasse or espresso spoons.  Enjoy!

 Recipe adapted from a similar fruit dessert I enjoyed  at a restaurant's dessert tasting tray years ago, made with plums.

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