Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet and Salty Mixed Nuts

Sweet and Salty Mixed Nuts
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Makes 2 cups (can half or double the recipe.) May use any assortment of the following nuts that you like: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnut halves or only one type of nut if you prefer.
2 cups raw, shelled nuts
1 quart water
3/4 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
Peanut, or other mild vegetable oil to the depth of 2 to 3 inches in a deep fryer, pot, or cast iron skillet.
1.) Place the powdered sugar in a medium large size heat resistant mixing bowl, set aside. 
2.) Place the water in a pot with the nuts and bring to a boil; remove from heat, drain and immediately toss thoroughly with the powdered sugar until each nut is well coated.
3.) Heat oil in deep fryer, pot or cast iron skillet to 375˚ (F) and fry the nuts until golden colored, don't crowd the pan. Drain them on a cookie sheet, a silicone baking mat or a colander. (Don't drain them on paper towels or a kitchen cloth because they will stick.)
4.)While still hot sprinkle with kosher or sea salt to taste.
Note: Nuts will crisp up as they cool.  Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from The Fog City Diner,  San Francisco, CA

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lavender Blossom Martini

Lavender Blossom Martini
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Cocktail Shaker
Vodka; preferably "Rain Organic" Lavender Lemonade Vodka
St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
Lavender Flower Syrup (if not available substitute Lavender Simple Syrup, recipe below)
Lavender sprigs (optional)
For one drink:
1 1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Elderberry Liqueur
1/2 ounce Lavender Syrup
Lavender sprig for garnish
Method: Place all ingredient (except lavender sprig) in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, pour into martini glass, garnish with lavender sprig and enjoy.
Lavender Simple Syrup
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms (organic, culinary lavender only.)
1/2 cup sugar (If you like a sweeter syrup, add more ~ up to a cup of sugar)
1 cup water
In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar. Add lavender to pan and remove from heat; allow to cool to room temperature then strain lavender blossoms from the syrup.
Store strained syrup in a glass or ceramic container, cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Warm Bacon Salad Dressing

This is wonderful on fresh spinach salad (or mixed greens salads.)  Because berries are in season right now I added blueberries, blackberries, extra bacon, and also some toasted pumpkin seeds and sliced celery.  You can skip the berries and add hard cooked eggs, (sliced, wedged, or crumbled), sliced scallions,  chopped green or red bell peppers, croutons (and cheese of your choice, sliced, diced or crumbled.)

Warm Bacon Salad Dressing
From the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate, by Mari
(Makes a little over 8 ounces of dressing)

1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
3 Tablespoons corn starch
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari 
Freshly ground black pepper ~ a few grinds (optional)
4 to 6 slices bacon (Applewood smoked makes an extra flavorful dressing)

Note:  The dressing is prepared in the same pot/saucepan in which the bacon is fried.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients (except  the bacon), stir well to dissolve sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

Cut bacon slices crosswise into  1/2 to 1-inch pieces, place bacon pieces in a 2 to 3 quart pot/saucepan, turn heat to medium high and cook bacon until medium crisp, stirring occasionally to cook it evenly. (Do not overcook the bacon or it will be tasteless!)  With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towel to drain. When cool enough to handle, chop or crumble into medium size pieces.
Pour out all but 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings from pot, add pineapple juice mixture and simmer until thick, stirring frequently.  If dressing is too thick, thin a bit with a little water or more pineapple juice. Stir in bacon pieces to warm through. Taste, and adjust seasonings.  Serve hot or warm over salad.


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