Thursday, March 31, 2011

Olive Flatbread

As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Recipe yields: 48 wedges
(can divide the recipe in half)

Recipe adapted from "Christina's Kitchen" by
Christina Orchid

This is tasty when served as part of a mixed bread basket, or as a dip with hummus. Best served warm. Can be made ahead, then warmed in a 350* F oven for a few minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.

1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil, and more as needed
1 heaping teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup chopped nicoise or kalamata olives

In bowl of food processor, place 3/4 cup warm water, yeast, pulse once or twice to combine. Add oil and salt, pulse again 1 or 2 times.  Process in 1 1/2 cups of the flour. With motor running add remaining water. Add cornmeal and remaining flour until the consistency is that of a soft, pliable dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and sprinkle dough with the chopped olives; knead just enough to incorporate and distribute the olives through the dough rather evenly. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn the dough in the bowl so it is lightly coated in oil. Cover bowl with plastic film or a dinner plate and place in a warm area for about 45 minutes to rise.

After rise time, punch down dough and knead it for two minutes or so.  Allow dough to rest for another two minutes.

Form the dough into six evenly sized balls. (Optional: wrap each ball well and keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week) Or proceed with the recipe:
Preheat oven to 400*F.  With the palm of your hand flatten each ball of dough on pizza pan or baking sheet. (Oil your palm to keep dough from sticking.)  The thinner the disc of dough, the better.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough is puffed and golden on the edges.  Cut each round into 8 wedges & serve warm. Or cool the discs, and store airtight until later in the day, then reheat the flatbread (whole), while still warm cut into wedges before serving.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Arturo's 25 year old Marinara Sauce

Arturo's 25 year old Marinara Sauce
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Yield: approximately 1 quart of sauce

The sauce is not truly 25 years old ~ but learned how to make it from a renown San Francisco Bay Area chef in a cooking class he taught over 25 years ago. It's my "go-to" Marinara sauce.  One taste and you'll forget about the the store bought stuff.

To see the original post for this recipe (with step-by-step photos) click:  
Arturo's 25 year old Marinara Sauce

Canned whole tomatoes (Two 1 pound 12 ounce cans, will yield one quart of marinara sauce when prepared this way)
Olive oil
Fresh or dried herbs (scant 1 Tablespoon of dried, or a fistful of fresh)
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the contents of both cans of tomatoes into a blender or food processor (I doubt that Arturo's grandmother had access to either, but we didn't question him.)
It's a good idea to place the pureed tomatoes within easy reach of the pan, along with a ladle (one with a 4-ounce capacity is perfect) near your cook top where the cooking will take place.

In a large shallow, non-reactive pan heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add 5 or 6 whole, peeled cloves of garlic.

Stir occasionally to keep from burning, until they are a medium golden brown. At this point you can remove the garlic, as it has flavored the oil nicely, or you can leave them in the pan and proceed with the recipe, removing them later. (I usually leave them in and fish them out later.)

Add the herbs, (dried or fresh.)  If using fresh, be generous ~ their oils are not as concentrated as dried.
Stir quickly, just long enough for them to release their oils.
Dried red chili flakes could be added at this point if you prefer a spicy sauce.
Then add one ladle of pureed tomatoes to the pan. 

Stir to combine letting the tomatoes to come to a boil, stirring so the mixture won't scorch.
Allow to cook and evaporate until the spoon leaves a trail as you pull it across the bottom of the pan before adding the next ladle of tomatoes. All the while retaining a bubbling boil.  

Take your time, allowing each ladleful to evaporate until the mixture thickens, leaving a trail before adding the next.  Continue this method one ladle of the tomatoes at a time, until all of the puree is used up. Add salt and pepper, stir and taste ---add more of either if needed.

NOTES: The entire steamy process, a ladleful at a time, usually takes about 30 minutes.  Resist the idea of rushing the process (your patient effort will reward you with a deeply flavored marinara sauce if you do it slowly.)  
Caution: The hot tomato sauce may spatter and spit as you are reducing it, so be careful.

I always keep my prepared sauce in a 1-quart canning jar. It will keep one week, tightly covered, under refrigeration.  It also freezes beautifully. If you are going to freeze in canning jar, don't fill quite to the top. Leave about 3/4-inch head room to allow for expansion.

I always try to have some in the fridge or freezer ~ it's so convenient to have it on hand, and it is far superior to anything I've tasted from the market.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Super Yummy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oat Squares

Super Yummy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oat Squares
As shared from the kitchen of  Once Upon a Plate by Mari *
Makes a 10-inch x 15-inch pan (cut the portions any size you like)


3/4 cup EACH of the following:

-Brown Sugar
-Granulated Sugar
-Peanut Butter, smooth or chunky

2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups rolled oats (regular or old fashioned)
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk, (I used heavy cream)
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, can you dark chocolate if you prefer)
Position oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350* F
Spray cooking oil (or grease) a 10-inch by 15-inch rimmed baking pan, set aside.

In a medium-size bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl (can use stand mixer, or hand-held electric mixer.) 
Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture, beat until combined. Add flour in 2 additions, mix well but do not over-beat.  Stir in oats by hand until evenly distributed.
Using a silicone spatula, spread mixture evenly into prepared baking pan.  (May use wet hands to press the mixture in evenly if you prefer.) Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly firm. (Ovens vary ~ mine took 20 minutes to bake.)
Remove from oven, (and while cookie base is still piping hot), quickly place spoonfuls of the peanut butter (from Topping ingredients), all over the surface. As the peanut butter melts, spread evenly over the surface of the cookie base with a knife or spatula.  Allow to cool completely (set on a cake/baking rack to facilitate faster cooling.)
When cool, make the chocolate topping:  Bring sugar, cream (or evap. milk) and butter to a full, rolling boil. Boil for 45 seconds.  Remove pan from heat, add the chocolate chips. Whisk gently, or stir until chocolate mixture is smooth. As soon as mixture is smooth, pour evenly over the thoroughly cooled cookie and peanut butter base.  Allow chocolate to set up and harden.  When set, cut into squares or bars and enjoy!

* Recipe adapted from:   Calli @ callimakesdo

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Roasted-Garlic Soup with Cheddar and Mild Green Chili

Roasted-Garlic Soup with Cheddar and Mild Green Chili
As shared from the kitchen of Mari @ Once Upon a Plate (
Serves 8 generously (recipe is easily halved)

This is just the soup to warm you from the inside out on a cold, blustery day.
Adapted from "Christina's Cookbook" by Christina Orchid ~ A Pacific Northwest Cookbook

Note: Christina recommends using fresh garlic for this recipe, not the ready-peeled cloves or pre-roasted garlic.

4 heads garlic
1 tablespoon water
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken stock
2 russet potatoes, cooked and peeled
2 fresh pasilla or Anaheim chiles*
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish if desired
1/2 cup chopped chives or thinly sliced scallions (green stem only)

Preheat the oven to 300* (F) Trim all the extra papery skin from garlic bulbs. Place the whole garlic bulbs in a pie pan, add water and cover and seal the pie tin with foil; roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

Pour chicken stock into a stock pot or large saucepan and add onions, bring stock to a boil and cook until onions become translucent (about 30 to 35 minutes.) Cut the cooked potatoes into large pieces and add to the stock. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

To roast the Pasillas or Anaheim chilies: Preheat ove to 450*F. Place the peppers on a sheet pan and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until skin is charred (turn if necessary.) Remove pan from oven and allow chilies to cool. When cool peel off skin. Remove seeds; chop chili flesh into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside.

Once the roasted garlic has cooled, grasp the root end of the bulb and gently squeeze the tender pulp into the stock mixture (I squeeze it into a small bowl first, then add it to the stock.)

In a blender or food processor carefully whirl the mixture until smooth; return the stock mixture to the cook pot. Over medium-low heat add the cream and buttermilk to heat gently. While stirring, add the grated cheese. When soup is hot, stir in the roasted chilies

Best served in warmed bowls; sprinkled with chives or additional grated cheese and finely sliced scallions (green part of stem.)

*My notes:

Time saver, the potatoes: Next time I make this, I'll peel the potatoes, cut them in chunks and add to the chicken stock with the onions, cooking until potatoes are tender. Saving a step and a dirty pot!

Time saver, the chilies: If fresh green chilies are not available substitute 2 to 3 tablespoons canned, diced mild green chilies for the fresh (for example Ortega brand.)

Reheating: As with most soups this reheats very well. However, it thickens quite a bit after being chilled, so add more chicken stock, chicken broth, milk or cream to thin. Gently reheat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until hot.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chèvre (Fresh Goat Cheese) Crackers and Herb Salsa

Crackers and Herb Salsa

As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Adapted from "Christina's Cookbook" Recipes and Stories from a Northwest Island Kitchen
by Christina Orchid

These crackers are flavorful and very easy to make, the dough is a dream to work with as well. Makes 2 to 3 dozen crackers, depending upon the size

Chèvre Crackers
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
NOTE: I don't keep lard on hand, so I used 4 Tablespoons butter in place of the following:
-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
-2 Tablespoons lard
3/4 cup Chèvre cheese
about 1/2 cup ice water

Method: Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse several times to mix. Add the butter (and lard if using), and cheese; pulse several times again. The dough will be crumbly. With the motor running add the ice water in drips until the dough forms a ball. (You will likely not need the entire 1/2 cup of water.) Whirl the dough ball in the food processor for a minute or two, then turn out onto a floured work surface. You can wrap the ball in plastic and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
(Note: I divide the dough into 2 to 4 balls, as I find them more easily manageable to roll out.)*

Preheat oven to 350* (F). To form the crackers, roll the dough very thinly, (about 1/8-inch). You can cut shapes with a cookie cutter, or cut into random shapes with a knife. Place the crackers on a baking sheet, and prick several times, all over with the tines of a fork (this helps to prevent them from rising while baking.) Bake for about 20 minutes until they are barely a pale golden color around the edges. (I begin checking on them @ about 12 to 15 minutes, if the crackers are very thin they will bake in less time than 20 minutes.) Serve warm or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*The cracker dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to one month.

Herb Salsa
Makes about 2 to 3 cups (depending upon if you pack the herbs firmly or loosely in measuring cup)
Recipe can easily be halved

This is so good, fresh and flavorful. It's wonderful on grilled fish, chicken or meat, too. It doesn't matter about the type and amount of herbs you use ~ you're aiming for a fresh herb-filled flavor. I used Italian (flat leaf) parsley, cilantro, upland sorrel, thyme, scallions (instead of chives), and a section of an English "hot house" cucumber-- seeded but not peeled.

For the brightest color and flavor this is best made shortly before serving (one to three hours ahead at the most), otherwise the vinegar will "cook" the herbs and they will lose their vibrant color. It is best to use a sharp knife for cutting the herbs as the food processor tends to bruise the tender leaves, which affect the texture.

For the nicest texture and presentation I remove stems from the parsley, cilantro and cress, and of course pick the leaves from the woody stems of other herbs.

2 cups chopped fresh herbs, with at least 4 of the following:
cilantro, Italian flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint, thyme, oregano, lovage, sweet cicely, sorrel, water cress, or Upland cress.)
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch dice (as noted, I use a section of an English "hot house" cucumber-- seeded but not peeled, because I like the bright green color.)
1 tablespoon chopped chives (or finely minced scallion; green stems only)
2 tablespoons fruity, extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I use white wine vinegar)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (sometimes I omit, it's still good without)
1 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Chill about 20 minutes. Spoon over the crackers and enjoy!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Raised Overnight Waffles

Raised Overnight Waffles
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe adapted from Barbara and Marion Cunningham
Number of waffles produced will depend upon the size of your waffle iron
(The recipe yielded 5 waffles using the Waring WMK300A Pro Waffle Maker which holds 3/4 cups of batter)

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm milk
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
vegetable oil for the waffle iron (You may not find this necessary)
2 large eggs

The night before:  Combine the dry ingredients. Stir butter and vanilla into the slightly warm milk (milk should be about 100* (F).  Stir the dry ingredients to the milk mixture (will be of a thin consistency.) Cover with cling film, and drape a dish towel over.  I leave the bowl in the oven overnight, the oven light provides just enough warmth to encourage the yeast action.  The next morning you'll notice  the batter has risen, but then fallen ~ this is perfectly normal.

In the morning:  Lightly oil the waffle iron and preheat it.  Separate the eggs (whites from yolks), gently beat the yolks and stir them into the batter. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; gently stir and fold them into the batter.

Ladle the proper amount of batter onto the hot waffle iron and close immediately. Bake until the waffle maker stops steaming (usually about 4 to 5 minutes, but this will depend upon your waffle maker.) Enjoy right away ~ or no more than 10 minutes in a warm oven, as Marion recommends.

Wrap any leftovers and freeze. To reheat, preheat oven to 400*(F), and place directly on oven rack for about 10 minutes.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Enchiladas Verdes (Mild, Cali-Mex Version)

Enchiladas Verdes (Mild, Cali-Mex Version)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Makes 12 Enchiladas

I've adapted this recipe from an old Sunset Magazine "Food Processor Cook Book", 1978.  In spite of its name, it is not an authentic Mexican recipe but it tastes very good ~ and is perfect if you have family members or friends who cannot tolerate spicy food.  When I make these I usually add cooked, shredded chicken along with the cheese to half of the batch to satisfy the meat-eaters at the table.

The original recipe called for 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted.  I prefer to make a quick Cream/Chicken flavored Bechamel (white) sauce instead. Directions below the main recipe.  I usually make the Bechamel first, keeping it warm while proceeding with the the recipe.

To make the recipe vegetarian friendly; omit the chicken both in the tortillas, and in the Bechamel sauce (stir in a little green taco sauce, or salsa to the finished sauce to boost the flavor a bit.)

12 ounces jack cheese
2 large onions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Additional vegetable oil for frying tortillas
1 dozen corn tortillas
2 or 3 green onions, white and green parts
1/2 package (10 or 12 ounce size) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1/2 cup fresh spinach, lightly blanched, squeezed dry
1 can (4 oz.) whole California green chilies (seeds removed)
1 recipe Chicken- Bechamel sauce (see below)
1 can 10 3/4 oz. condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup sour cream
Optional additional filling: cooked, shredded chicken
Optional for garnish:  
Cilantro springs, tomato and/or avocado wedges, black olives, salsa of your choice

Food Processor Method:
Insert shredding disc into work bowl of food processor; shred cheese and set aside. With a knife, cut onions in chunks. Switch to metal blade and process onion with on-off burst until coarsely chopped. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in the salt.
In a small frying pan heat 1/2 inch oil over medium heat. One at a time, dip tortillas in oil for a few seconds on each side until just soft. Drain on paper towels. 
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons each cooked onion and cheese across the middle of each tortilla (add chicken if you wish), roll tortilla to enclose the filling. Please filled tortillas, seam side down in a shallow, greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

Cut green onions into 1-inch lengths. Process until chopped. Add spinach, chiles, bechamel (or the undiluted soup) and sour cream and process until pureed.  Spoon sauce over tortillas and sprinkle remaining cheese over all.

To serve bake in 350*(F) oven, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.

Chicken flavored Bechamel Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cups milk or half & half, heated
3/4 cups richly flavored chicken stock, or broth, heated
Freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk and chicken stock/broth, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Keep warm over very low heat until tortillas are assembled.

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