Thursday, December 31, 2009

Savory & Spicy Cashew Nuts

Savory and Spicy Cashew Nuts
Yields 2 cups Spiced Cashews
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

2 cups raw cashew nuts (whole, or halves are best for this recipe)
2 Tablespoons butter (I use just a little over 1 Tablespoon)
1 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon Curry powder or garam masala (I use a combination of each)
1 teaspoon ground Cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper, or more, to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan, and saute nuts until golden brown. Stir in the seasonings and cook for a few more minutes, watch carefully while stirring so nuts and spices do not scorch.

Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper. When cool, store in a airtight container.

Recipe is from "The Country Kitchen: Gifts Homemade by Anne Chapman" (with slight adaptations from me)

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Rosemary Walnuts

Rosemary Walnuts
Yield: 2 cups

3 to 4 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons very finely minced fresh rosemary, or 1 scant Tablespoon dried & crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt, more if desired
Generous pinch ground red pepper (Cayenne, or other hot ground pepper of your choice)
Optional: A couple shakes of Garlic Powder. If using Garlic Salt, reduce the plain salt in the recipe)
2 cups walnut halves or large pieces


Position oven rack in center, preheat oven to 400* (F)
Line a shallow baking pan (jelly roll pan) with foil or parchment.
Arrange walnuts evenly in pan, set aside.

In a small saucepan melt butter, then add rosemary, salt, red pepper. Stir over medium heat for a few moments so ingredients release their flavor. Remove from heat and sprinkle in garlic powder if using.

Drizzle butter mixture over nuts, stirring to coat as evenly as possible. Place pan in oven and roast for about 6 to 10 minutes or so, until walnuts are lightly toasted, stirring every 3 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in airtight containers. These make a nice gift when packaged in a jar with a pretty bow.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fabulous Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Fabulous Blueberry Streusel Muffins
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Of all the Blueberry Muffin recipes I have tried this is my favorite. It is from the "Taste of Home" recipe site, and the only change I made was to bake the muffins in crumb cake pans. Similar to muffin top baking pans they are a bit deeper and wider. There are also paper crumbcake pans like THESE.
Of course you can use any size muffin pans you like ~ but do try them, they are seriously good.


1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Fold in blueberries.
Fill 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen regular size muffins, 24 mini-muffins or 6 extra large muffins, or 6 large individual crumb cake size muffins.

I hope you enjoy!

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 252 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 325 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins published in Taste of Home February/March 1995, p31

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Steak House-Style Creamed Spinach

Steak House-Style Creamed Spinach
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Creamy and decadent, very similar to Ruth Chris' Version

I combined a few elements from several recipes found on the internet to make this one, it's rich and delicious. Wonderful with grilled steaks, roasts, chicken, or fish. I hope you enjoy it.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow/brown onion
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove, or the tiniest pinch of ground cloves (careful, it's strongly flavored and can overpower the dish very easily)
a few grinds/shavings of fresh nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
about 20 ounces bagged ready-to-use fresh spinach,
OR use two-10 ounce boxes frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained (squeeze as dry as possible)
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade process the spinach until finely chopped/minced, set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
To the melted butter add flour, cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the finely chopped onion, minced shallot, bay leaf, clove and nutmeg, stir to slightly soften the onion but don't brown.
Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Continue stirring/whisking until mixture boils and thickens. This will take a few minutes, but be sure to keep stirring/whisking so mixture does not scorch.

Remove bay leaf (and whole clove, if using), add minced/finely chopped spinach and continue simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring to keep mixture from burning or scorching. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes longer, whisking frequently (sauce will be very thick).

Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and a little additional milk if you like your creamed spinach a little looser (less thick.) Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.*

*Alternately the creamed spinach may be portioned into small, shallow individual buttered ramekins, sprinkled with finely grated cheese (Parmesan is my favorite for this), then placed under broiler for a moment or two until the cheese is bubbling and lightly golden.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Caramel Popcorn with Fleur de Sel

Caramel Popcorn with Fleur de Sel
Makes 28 - one cup servings (it never lasts long!)

As shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

This is the easiest recipe (no candy thermometer required), and produces the most delicious Caramel Popcorn you can imagine.

7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups nuts (I use roasted pecans, but you can use peanuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (or margarine)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To finish:
Fleur de Sel (Coarse sea salt) for sprinkling

Directions :

Preheat oven to 250* (F), 120* (C)

Divide the popped popcorn between two shallow, lightly greased baking pans. (Such as roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans.) If using, add the nuts to the popped corn. Set aside while you make the caramel.

In a medium-large pot combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to blend. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the while.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will bubble up and become light and foamy. Immediately pour/drizzle over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Try to distribute the syrup evenly, but don't worry it will even out in the next steps.

Bake for 1 hour, giving each pan a good complete stir every 15 minutes. (Remove from the oven to stir).

Line a large work surface ( the counter top works perfectly) with waxed paper, or aluminum foil sprayed lightly with cooking oil. Immediately dump the corn out onto the wax paper or foil and separate the pieces into chunks, or smaller pieces if you desire. Sprinkle lightly and evenly with Fleur de Sel.

Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags to keep it fresh.

This recipe is adapted from "All Recipes".
My friend Em, on her blog "The Repressed Pastry Chef" recommended the recipe as originally posted on All Recipes. However, I took the liberty of adding the Fleur de Sel, I hope you like it!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Silky Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup

Silky Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup
4 servings

As shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate


1 medium head cauliflower, washed, trimmed and cut into florets
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into medium dice
Homemade chicken stock, or 3 (14.5 ounce) cans of chicken broth/stock
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk
6 to 8 ounces Cheddar cheese (mild, medium, or sharp)
1 to 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Additional grated cheese for garnish
* I like to stir a teaspoon or two of freshly squeezed lemon juice into the soup at the end of cooking time, it piques the flavor of the soup very nicely.


Cook cauliflower and diced potato in (2 cans of the ) chicken broth/stock until tender, do not drain. Allow to cool slightly in the pan. Puree mixture in blender until as smooth or chunky as you like. I use a stick blender to blend right in the cooking pot.

Melt butter in medium-large saucepan. Add onion, red bell pepper and minced garlic; saute until translucent, but not browned.

Stir flour, salt and pepper into the sauteed onions. Add milk, stir until mixture boils and thickens.

Add cheese and cauliflower mixture. Stir to heat and melt cheese. Add more chicken broth if too thick, and allow to heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding cayenne pepper if you like the soup a bit spicier.

Garnish as desired and serve hot.


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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bite-Size Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese & Coconut Frosting

Bite Size Vanilla Cupcakes
Yields 24 mini cupcakes

This recipe is identical to Nigella Lawson's recipe for Fairy Cakes, and could not be simpler as the batter is made in the food processor.

Preheat oven to 375* (F)

24 cup mini-cupcake pan, with mini-baking cups placed in each cup
OR for regular size cupcakes:
12-cup muffin pan lined with 12 paper baking cups

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour (or 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with a scant 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder sifted in)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons milk or cream

Place all ingredients except milk into food processor bowl. Process until smooth. Add the milk or cream and pulse until soft consistency is reached; soft enough to drop from a spoon.

This amount looks very sparse, but it will be enough to fill each cup. Fill each cup equally. I use a very small food portion scoop to make the job easier.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cupcakes are baked and golden on top, a toothpick inserted in the center should reveal moist crumbs.
When baked, remove from oven, allow to cool a few minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and cool completely on a cake rack.

Sometimes this recipe tends to produce mounded peaks, you can either frost over the mound or trim flat with a small, serrated knife, then decorate.


Cream Cheese Frosting

I use Ina Garten's recipe for Cream Cheese frosting for these cupcakes, but I divide her recipe in half. The proportions for half a recipe are as follows:

Note: This will make plenty of frosting. I frost very generously but always have some frosting left over. It can be refrigerated for several days.

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 pounds (12 ounces) confectioners' sugar, sifted
Sweetened, moist shredded coconut to finish

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost cupcakes, then sprinkle generously with the coconut.

For the leaves I used tiny organic mint leaves, the "berries" are 'Red Hots' (tm) , cinnamon candies.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dutch Babies (Puff Pancakes)

This recipe serves 2, however, you can easily multiply this recipe to make any size Dutch Baby you like. For 4 to 6 eggs I usually use my largest cast iron skillet, but you can use a rectangular roasting pan or any oven-proof container with 3 to 4-inch sides.

If you want to make individually sized pancakes, divide the following recipe in half (but don't reduce/divide the amount of butter--each individual pan will still need 1 Tablespoon of butter)

Dutch Babies
(Oven Baked Puffy Pancake)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Serves 2

1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon butter

Center oven rack in middle to lower position. Preheat the oven to 450-500 degrees for at least 15 minutes.

In a blender mix the milk and eggs until completely combined. With machine running, spoon in the flour until a smooth batter forms (scrape down sides of blender bowl if necessary.)

Place a cast iron skillet(s), pie pan, or other suitable, oven-proof baking container in oven to heat. When pan is hot add butter to the pan(s).

As soon as butter sizzles; swirl pan to distribute butter evenly. Immediately pour batter into pan (or divide evenly between pans), and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, depending upon size of pan(s). The batter will bake, then puff up dramatically. Bake until it is as light and eggy, or browned and crispy as you like.

Top with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice, or cinnamon apples, fresh fruit, yogurt, syrup or honey.

For another of my posts about Dutch Babies, click HERE.

I hope you enjoy!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Frozen Hot Buttered Rum

Frozen Hot Buttered Rum

As shared by the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
4 servings

Notes: Way better than spiked eggnog!!

1 pint good quality vanilla ice cream
½ cup crushed ice
¼ cup Myers's (Dark Jamaican) rum
¼ cup Buttershots Liqueur (sometimes called Butterscotch Liqueur)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a blender, crush the ice, add remaining ingredients and blend until mixture is the consistency of a slushy, icy milkshake.

Add more Myers's Rum and Buttershots as desired.

Cheers & Enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lamb Chops/Cutlets with Herbs, Lemon and Vine Leaves

Lamb Chops with Herbs, Lemon and Vine Leaves
Serves 4

As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

12 lamb cutlets, trimmed of extra fat
sea salt and coarse ground black pepepr
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)
grated zest from one lemon
Fresh oregano leaves (about 1 tablespoon), or a teaspoon or so rosemary needles, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons bright green grape seed oil, or extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle both sides of chops with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Ad oil, lemon zest and herbs; stir for 30 seconds then add lamb cutlets without crowding. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (or longer, to your preference.) Remove from pan to a platter, tent with foil and keep them warm.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in the same pan and cook vine leaves 2 minutes per side or until crisp ~ watch carefully, they can burn quickly. Drain.

Plate the cutlets with mashed potatoes. Drizzle flavorful oil over the potatoes and season with coarse salt and coarse pepper. Place a vine leaf or two on each plate and serve.

Tips for vine leaves: Use organically grown, un-sprayed fresh grape leaves, or grape leaves in brine from the jar. Rinse, drain and blot the jarred leaves until dry before frying.

Recipe is adapted from Donna Hay


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Friday, December 4, 2009

Black Cod with Sage on Crispy Potato Cakes

Black Cod with Lime and Sage
2 servings

1 Tablespoon oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 lime sliced into 1/4-inch slices
10 to 12 fresh, whole sage leaves
3/4 to 1 pound Black Cod filets or steaks

Heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter is melted and a drop of water sprinkled in the pan sizzles and bounces.

Add lime slices and cook until tender about 1 minute on each side. Remove from pan and allow to drain. Add sage to pan and fry for about 1 minute. Remove from pan and place on towel to absorb excess oil and butter. (Sage should be crispy.)

Add Black Cod to pan and fry a couple of minutes per side. Fish should still be slightly opaque in the center. If you like your fish more well done, cook a few minutes longer.

Place one portion of fish on each plate, or one piece of fish on top of individual potato cakes. Garnish with fried sage and lime slices.

Black cod recipe adapted from Donna Hay

For Crispy Potato Cakes:

You can either make one larger potato cake; and cut it after cooking or use two very small frying pans to make two individual cakes if you prefer.

Peel two medium size russet potatoes, slice very thinly (a mandolin makes quick work of slicing.)

For individual cakes:
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in small frying pan (non-stick is best for this recipe), add 1 teaspoon butter until melted. Layer potato slices evenly in pan, sprinkle very lightly with salt between every other layer. Press down with a spatual and allow to cook until lightly browned. Flip once, reduce heat slightly and cover pan and continue to cook until potato layers are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife and the bottom is golden brown and crisp.

To make one larger potato cake use the same method, increasing oil and butter by a teaspoon or two, then cut in half before plating, placing one half on each plate.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Softly Poached Eggs on Crispy Sweet Potato Hash Browns, Asparagus with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Softly Poached Egg on Crispy Sweet Potato Hash Browns, Asparagus with Horseradish Cream Sauce
4 servings

As Shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

2 medium-size sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
6 large eggs
sea salt and cracked black pepper
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
8 to 12 spears asparagus, trimmed and blanched

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

1 tablespoon very finely grated horseradish
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
sea salt and cracked black pepper

First, make the Creamy Horseradish Sauce:
In a small bowl, stir the horseradish, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a until well combined. Set aside.

For the Sweet Potato Hash Browns:
In a medium bowl mix the shredded sweet potato, 2 eggs, salt and pepper until combined evenly.

Heat 1/4-inch oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Divide sweet potato mixture into fourths and place the portions into the hot oil, cook until golden and crispy (for about 3 minutes) on each side. Drain on absorbent paper and keep warm. If your pan is not large enough to cook all hash brown portions at once, cook in batches, and keep warm until all are cooked.

To poach the eggs:
Heat a few inches of water in a deep frying pan over low heat until just simmering. Add the vinegar and use a wooden spoon to create a whirlpool. Crack each egg into a small shallow bowl or saucer~ gently and carefully slip the egg into the water. Poach the eggs for 3−4 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Alternately, you may use an egg poaching pan, or electric egg poacher to cook the eggs.

To assemble:

Top the hash browns with the asparagus and eggs and spoon over the creamy horseradish sauce, serve right away.


Recipe adapted from Donna Hay

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Petite & Moist Banana Cake with Creamy Orange Frosting and Toasted Coconut

Petite & Moist Banana Cake ~ with Essence of Orange Icing
Yields: Two 5-inch layers, or one 8-inch or 9-inch layer
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
(Recipe may be doubled for a two layer 8 or 9-inch cake, or one 9 x 14-inch cake)

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup flour, sifted twice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 (scant) teaspoon baking soda; stir into the pureed bananas
1 ½ or 2 smallish very ripe pureed bananas


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 5-inch x 3-inch Round Cheesecake Pans with Removable Bottoms , or one 8 x 8-inch square baking pan, or one 9" layer cake pan.

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Sift flour, then add the salt and baking powder to the flour.
To the creamed butter mixture, add the milk and flour (alternating, beginning and ending with flour).
Add vanilla and mashed bananas (with the baking soda added to the bananas) to this mixture.
Depending upon size of the pans you choose bake layer cakes for 20-35 minutes, or so, until a toothpick inserted into center of cake shows moist crumbs (no wet batter.) I begin watching the cakes at 15 minutes to judge baking time.

Remove pans from oven to cooling racks, allow to cool for 15 minutes then remove cake(s) from pans and continue cooling on racks until completely cool.

Apply frosting or icing as desired. I like to frost this cake with a cream cheese icing.


Here is a favorite that goes perfectly with the banana cake:

Creamy Essence of Orange Frosting

This makes enough to completely frost a 5-inch diameter layer cake (very generously) including filling layer.

1/4 stick butter, softened
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
8 ounces powdered (confectioners) sugar; 1/2 of a 16-ounce bag or box
Finely grated zest of an orange (or less if you want a milder orange flavor)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract (depending upon how pronounced you want the orange flavor)


In a medium bowl cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth and fluffy. Blend the confectioners sugar into the creamed mixture 1/3 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add zest and extracts and beat thoroughly, until well combined.
Taste to determine if more orange extract or zest is needed to suit your taste.


Toasted Coconut Decoration

One and a half cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut (I use Baker's Brand, from the bag.)

Preheat oven to 350*(F)

Arrange coconut in a single layer in a large, shallow baking pan. Place in oven and toast, stirring every couple of minutes. The coconut on the edges of the pan will brown first, so every couple of minutes bring the coconut on the edges of the pan to the middle and rearrange to toast evenly. Watch carefully (don't walk away) as this will turn from lightly golden to burned in a matter of moments. Remove from oven when it is just golden and allow to cool in the pan. As the coconut cools it will become delectibly crisp.

Sprinkle over entire cake, pressing in gently or just decorate the sides as I usually do.

I hope you enjoy!

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