Monday, April 25, 2011

Fresh Pineapple Up-Side-Down Cake with Coconut Ice Cream, and Macadamia Nut Brittle

Fresh Pineapple Up-Side-Down Cake 
with Coconut Ice Cream, and Macadamia Nut Brittle
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate, by Mari (
Inspired by the dessert as served at Tyler Florence's 'Wayfare Tavern' in San Francisco.

First a word of caution, in order to make individual pineapple-up-side down cakes, you'll need to secure baking pans/dishes of the proper size and adjust the recipe according to how many cakes you want to make.   The individual cakes are fun, and make a nice presentation, but quite honestly next time I'll just make the cake in an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan.

For the Pineapple Up Side Down cake:
I've had this in my recipe box for years, (handwritten, I  believe this recipe is from one of the first editions of "The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook")

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored and cut into rings

  • Position rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 400º F  (205º C).

  • In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. With a brush, paint the butter on the interior of a 9" square or round baking pan. 
  • Stir 5 tablespoons of the butter with the brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice. Put mixture in the bottom of the cake pan. Arrange the pineapple rings on the brown sugar mixture in a pretty pattern. Set pan aside while you mix cake batter.

Stir together dry ingredients (flour, salt, white sugar, and baking powder)
Separate the eggs. In a small bowl, beat the whites until stiff (but not dry.)
In a separate bowl, beat two of the egg yolks until  well blended. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup pineapple juice, vanilla, and remainder of the melted butter. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. 
Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour batter over the top of the brown sugar and pineapple rings.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. (Use toothpick test, away from pineapple slice, pick should come out with moist crumb, but no batter adhering to it, or bake a few minutes more.)
Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes then cover pan tightly with a serving dish and invert so pineapple side is up. Serve warm, or at room temperature (and it's even good cold from the fridge!)

For the Coconut Ice Cream: 
Makes about 1 quart

1 -15 ounce can "Coco Lopez®" Real Cream of Coconut  (This is the BEST brand for this recipe)
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
Optional: 1 1/2 cup sweetened coconut shreds (toast lightly in baking pan in oven if desired.)  [I usually omit.]

Combine Cream of Coconut and milk in blender (or food processor) and mix until smooth. Stir in cream (and coconut shreds, if using.)  Freeze in ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's directions.
NOTE: If you don't want your ice cream to freeze rock solid, add 1 Tablespoon vodka during the last minute of blending.  Place in container, cover tightly and store in freezer compartment until ready to serve.

For the Macadamia Nut Brittle:
Recipe adapted from "Spago Desserts", 1994, by Mary Bergin and Judy Gethers

2 cups macadamia nuts (salted or unsalted), your choice
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
8 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
Note: 1 teaspoon salt- if using Unsalted butter otherwise a generous pinch of salt if using salted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Spread nuts on baking tray and place in preheated 350º F, bake for 8 to 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Allow to cool, then coarsely chop and set aside for later.
In a deep, medium size saucepan place sugar, corn syrup and water. Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil until a layer of bubbles appear on surface (about 3 to 4 minutes.)
Cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, continue to boil 5 minutes longer.
Remove foil, add butter, stir with a wooden spoon until butter is melted. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 300º F. This will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Immediately stir in the salt, baking soda and chopped, toasted nuts.
While syrup is cooking, coat a 12 x 17-inch half sheet pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray (or use a silicone baking liner in a larger pan). When nut mixture has reached 300º quickly spread the nut mixture in the prepared pan, spreading as thinly as possible with a long, flexible metal spatula.  Sprinkle very lightly with a few grains of coarse sea salt if desired while still warm.
When completely cool, cut or break brittle into desired chunks. Store in air tight container.
My Hint: To prevent hot brittle mixture from seizing up too quickly (before you have a chance to spread it evenly in pan), place prepared pan in a warm oven (low heat) while cooking the nut mixture, this will keep pan warm until it's time to pour the nut-mixture out. Doing this will assist in getting the mixture spread thinly.

Hope you enjoy!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fennel-Oregano Breadsticks

Fennel Breadsticks
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

Makes about 30 breadsticks

These will probably be the easiest homemade breadstick you'll ever make. The texture is not rock hard, either, it is similar to pizza dough. And no rise time involved!

This time I added about 1 tablespoon of dried Oregano to the dough and served the finished breadsticks with Dungeness Crab-Cheese Fondue, but they are great all by themselves, along with a salad or soup, or as an addition to the bread basket.

1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
3 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 scant tablespoon salt (I always use Kosher or Sea Salt for this recipe)
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Optional: additional 1 tablespoon dried herb of your choice,  I used Oregano

You can mix the dough in a large bowl, or use your food processor as follows:

Place warm water and yeast in bowl of food processor, pulse a couple of times to blend. Add olive oil, flour and salt and process 2 or 3 minutes until a ball forms. The dough should be rather sticky. (If necessary add a little more water if mixture is dry and doesn't form a ball.)

Dump out onto a well floured work surface and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel seeds and oregano, fold them into the dough with your hands. At this point you can wrap the dough air-tight and refrigerate overnight.

Or continue immediately:  When ready to bake preheat oven to 450* (F). Flatten dough on floured surface and roll to a thickness of about 1/2-inch.  With a sharp knife cut dough into thin sticks (about 1/4" wide.) Place strips on an oiled shallow baking pan, with CUT side up.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so, then bake in hot oven 7 to 10 minutes  until they puff slightly and become barely golden colored around the edges.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Hope you enjoy!

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

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Angel Eggs with Crème Fraîche

Angel (not Deviled) Eggs with Crème fraîche
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe yields 24 egg halves
This is my take on deviled eggs as served in Tyler Forence's Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco.  At the restaurant they are named Jidori Eggs (Jidori is the breed of Japanese hens which provide the eggs.)  I simply use eggs from our chickens ~ since I've never tasted a Jidori hen egg, I cannot tell you if there is any difference in flavor ~ but I rather doubt it.

At the tavern the egg yolks are whipped and seasoned with mustard and crème fraîche  then garnished with radish, celery & bottarga* crumbled over as a garnish. Evidently the Wayfare Tavern deviled eggs  have had a bit of an evolution since the opening (perhaps change according to the season) as I've seen different versions served, so I took some liberties when I made them this time;  I omitted some of the stronger flavors to make them more 'kid friendly'.
I like anchovies,  however they are not popular with everyone at my house, so this time I omitted both the capers and the anchovies, as well as the bacon.  (If you omit one or all of the salty ingredients, you'll need to salt the yolk mixture to taste to compensate.) 

Cannot find Crème fraîche (or if it is outragously expensive?) See below.
Here's Tyler's recipe:
2 strips bacon
12 eggs
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons 
Crème fraîche
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard (can use less)
Kosher salt to taste (remember, you'll need more than 1 teaspoon if omitting the other salty ingredients.)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimentón) plus more for sprinkling, or substitute paprika
3 anchovy fillets, minced
4 Tablespoon. well drained capers
1/2 cup vegetable oil (for frying 2 Tablespoons of the capers for garnish)

Garnish:Celery leaves (I used tiny alfalfa sprouts), you can also use grated or finely julienned radish (or radish sprouts)

Smoked paprika or freshly cracked black pepper
Directions: If using, fry the bacon until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and, when cool, chop or crumble coarsely.To cook the eggs: I always use Julia Child's simple method to make perfect hard-boiled eggs.  With a needle or push-pin, puncture the large end of the eggshell once (to break the air sack.) Place the eggs in a saucepan of cold water  (have the water cover the eggs by at least 2 inches) and bring the water to a boil over high heat. I stir with a wooden spoon for the first few minutes to assure the yolk will be centered in the white. Once the water boils, immediately  remove pan from the heat, cover pot and let the eggs sit in the water for exactly 14 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl filled with ice and cold water to cool, crack all over gently, and then peel, beginning at the large end of the egg.
Halve the eggs lengthwise and gently remove the the yolks from the egg white into the bowl of a food processor. Set the egg whites aside. Add the mayonnaise, Crème fraîche, the mustard, Pimentón, salt. (And  2 Tablespoons of the capers, and anchovies if using.)  Pulse until smooth. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag with a small of the corner cut off at an angle. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves.  Or if you don't want to pipe the mixture, just scoop it neatly into the egg whites with a teaspoon.
For the caper garnish: In a small saucepan heat the vegetable oil to about 375*, add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of capers and fry until crispy, (it will take about 4 minutes.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the capers to a paper towel–lined plate. Garnish the eggs with the crispy capers, crumbled bacon, celery leaves and a bit of smoked paprika.
*Silver Mullet roe; bottarga originates around the Mediterranean region
Crème fraîche:
Into a clean glass container pour 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (preferably not 'ultra-pasturized) stir in 1 or 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk. cover loosely and allow to sit at room temperature until mixture thickens to the consistancy you like (usually 24 to 36 hours). 
Sprouts:  I use this  Easy Sprout Sprouter ~ it's so simple to use and if you buy two you get free shipping.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's "Cupcakes"
Yields 18 standard size cupcakes
My Notes: If making cupcakes from scratch seems too time consuming, you can use a boxed cake mix white or yellow cake mix instead.*  (But shh! I'm sure Martha would shudder if she knew. :))
For the coffee-syrup, Martha's recipe suggests using Marsala wine ~ however you can use brandy, rum, or a liqueur (Kahlua, for example.) I chose Frangelico (Hazelnut liqueur.) Ummm!
If using a liqueur, I suggest you reduce, or eliminate the sugar in the syrup as they are already plenty sweet.

1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup sugar

>Flavored Coffee-Syrup (see recipe below)
>Mascarpone Frosting (see recipe below)
>Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Position rack in center of oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place paper liners in standard size cupcake/muffin tins.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

Mix together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar in an electric mixer. Place mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk by hand until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture becomes warm warm, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
Gently fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches, until it is thoroughly mixed; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
Fill the paper-lined tins evenly with the batter, making each three-quarters full. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly-golden brown. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes and proceeding with recipe.

Flavored Coffee-Syrup:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce marsala, or other liquor, or liqueur (see note in introduction.)
1/4 cup sugar (omit or reduce if using a sweet liqueur)
Mix above ingredients until combined and sugar dissolves (if using sugar)
>Martha's recipe indicates to brush the tops of the cupcakes with this syrup. Instead of brushing ; I deeply poked the tops of the cupcakes several times with a wooden skewer, then drizzled the coffee-mixture over with a teaspoon, allow it to soak in. Use all of the coffee syrup (some reviewers did not use it all, and regretted that the cupcakes didn't have enough flavor.) Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop (or pipe) frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to 24-hours in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

Mascarpone Frosting
Note: Here is where I deviated from Martha's recipe (A couple of reviewers complained that Martha's version was a little grainy.) To avoid this I blended the ingredients as follows:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
In a small bowl, beat 1/2 of the heavy cream until soft peaks barely form (don't over beat), gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar until medium peaks form. It's better to under-whip this mixture, than over whip.
In a separate medium-size bowl, blend 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the remaining 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar into the mascarpone with an electric mixer until very creamy and smooth.    
Add the sweetened whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and blend until creamy and smooth. Use immediately.

Alternative for Mascarpone
(This will make a little more than you need for the Mascarpone Frosting, (but I'm sure you'll find a use if there is any left over.)
In my area Mascarpone can sometimes be difficult to find ~ A top notch substitute:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
In a medium-size bowl, beat all ingredient together until well combined and creamy.
Use as a substitute in recipes requiring Mascarpone Cheese
Important: Do NOT substitute low fat cream cheese or sour cream.

* Using a box-cake mix:
Martha's recipes makes 18 regular sized cupcakes, whereas a box mix usually makes 24 cupcakes. You may want to make a little more Mascarpone Frosting if using a mix (or simply make 18 of the 24 into the Tiramisu cupcakes, and frost the remaining 6 with another frosting.)


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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce, Thin or Thick

Salmon with Thick Teriyaki Sauce, Roasted Peanuts & Lime

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce, Thick or Thin
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate, by Mari

There are many versions of  Teriyaki sauce recipes, some are a little simpler than this one but this is my favorite. It is one I learned years ago from a Japanese friend from Hawaii ~ here's just the way he gave it to me ~ and you'll notice there are no proportions because it depends upon how much sauce you want to make.  Over the years I've changed it just a bit, see my notes beneath the recipe.
For the basic Teriyaki Sauce, 5 ingredients.
No measurements given because the amounts depend upon how much you want to make.
Soy Sauce and Dry Sherry  (Or Dry Vermouth or Sake) in 1 to 1 ratio.
(So, equal amounts of Soy Sauce to vermouth, or sake, or dry sherry)
Brown Sugar ~to make it as sweet as you like  (I use nearly a 1:1:1 ration~ equal amount of soy sauce, vermouth, etc. to sugar)  If you don't like it so sweet, use less sugar.
minced garlic cloves *
minced fresh ginger root *
Mix ingredients in saucepan, warm and stir just until sugar dissolves, cool and use as marinade, or store in a glass jar or bottle in refrigerator until ready to use. Will last several weeks.
My notes:
1.) I always use "Dry/Very Dry" Sherry, sometimes called "Cocktail Sherry" (not Sweet Sherry, and not Cooking Sherry")  
* I like the flavors of garlic and ginger, so I add lots!
2.) My family prefers Teriyaki sauce on the sweet side, so I tend to use nearly the same proportion of sugar as sherry & soy sauce. For example, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup Sherry, 1/3 cup Brown Sugar. Experiment to see how sweet you like it, start with less then add more until you like the taste.
3.)  For THIN sauce:  I bring the sauce ingredients to a quick boil, then turn off heat and allow the garlic & ginger to steep in the liquid as it cools.  For a smooth sauce (without the bits of garlic & ginger) pour the contents of the saucepan through a fine strainer, into a jar or bowl, leaving the garlic & ginger bits behind. (Optional step ~ if you don't mind the bits in your sauce, then don't bother straining.)
4.) For THICK Sauce ~ to be brushed on during the last minute or so of cooking, or served warm as a drizzle or dipping sauce.  (It is not the thin, liquid type used for marinating foods.) Bring ingredients to a boil, as directed above, reduce heat (strain at this point if desired, then return liquid to pan), continue simmering until desired consistency is reached. 
Note: This produces a sauce which is very concentrated in flavor, be cautious not to "over-reduce" the sauce, or it will be unpleasant in taste. The sauce will thicken even further upon cooling.

5.) Some prefer to use white sugar or honey instead of the brown sugar.  For additional flavor you might want to add a drizzle of toasted sesame oil to the finished sauce. For spicy teriyaki add a pinch of dried, crushed red chili along with the garlic. Some like to add minced scallion to the sauce after it has cooled.

I hope you enjoy!

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