Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Decadent Cappuccino Bars

Cappuccino Bars
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

Special equipment: 10x15-inch jelly roll pan
Makes a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan (cut into any size portions you like, they are rich tasting, so I cut them into smaller portions.)

1 cup room temperature butter (2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, pressed firmly into measuring cup
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder (I used an Italian one, most grocery stores carry it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups chocolate morsels, or chopped chocolate. Can use semi-sweet or a darker, less sweet chocolate.
2 Tablespoons whole milk, half & half, or cream
2 to 3 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Center rack in middle position of oven, preheat to 375˚(F).
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Either grease, or spray baking oil on inside of the jelly roll pan. Alternately, line with baking parchment.
With an electric mixer cream the butter, brown sugar, instant espresso powder and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and beat until just combined. It will should be very crumbly; do not over mix.
With a wooden spoon or rubber/silicone spatula stir the chocolate chips in by hand, distributing evenly.
Transfer the crumbly dough into the prepared jelly roll pan; with your hands press the dough into the pan evenly and firmly.  I find it useful to use a piece of wax paper, or plastic cling film between my hands and the surface of the cookie dough (less sticking to hands.)  You can use a little roller to even it out if you want. You're aiming for an even, flat surface so the glaze will spread evenly later.
Place pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes; rotate pan and bake for 7 to 12 minutes more. The edges should just begin to turn a golden brown.  Don't walk away from the oven during the final moments. 
When done remove to a cooling rack, the cookie base will probably have puffed up a bit so use a spatula (offset spatula works best) to gently tamp down and even the surface of the cookie base to make it level.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan.   In the meantime . . .
Make the glaze: Combine all glaze ingredients in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, whisk gently until smooth ~ allow to bubble for just a moment them pour over the warm cookie base and spread evenly to the edges of the pan with a spatula.  Allow to set up until the jelly roll pan is just barely warm to the touch, then cut into desired shapes/sizes.

Enjoy ~  And thank you for visiting!

Recipe adapted from "With Love and Butter", Holly B's Bakery cookbook.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Salted Caramel Apple Cake with Toasted Walnuts

Salted Caramel Apple Cake with Toasted Walnuts
As shared by Mari @ www.OnceUponaPlate1.com
Special equipment a 9" round cake pan

I altered this recipe from King Arthur Flour slightly.
It's not too sweet, which I like. It can be served warm or room temperature; I prefer it warmed. Don't overbake or it becomes dry. Terrific with a cup of coffee or tea, serving it with a scoop or vanilla or cinnamon ice cream puts it right over the top, or perhaps a spoonful of lightly sweetened whipped cream?
You be the judge!

1/2 cup walnuts

about 20 unwrapped soft-chewy caramel candies (Kraft or Brach for example)Or make your own.
3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


2 large apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges each

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F
My NOTES: Other reviewers mentioned it browned too quickly at 350-degrees, they baked it at 325-degrees instead. I struck a good compromise ~ 330-degrees, and began watching it at 50 minutes. Mine was done at 60 minutes, using the toothpick test, ovens vary so your "done" time may be different.

Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan at least 2" deep; or a 9" spring form pan.

Spread the walnuts in a single layer in an ungreased pan, and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Set them aside.

Beat together the sugar, butter, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and vanilla until smooth.

Add the eggs. Beat till thoroughly combined.
Stir in the sour cream or yogurt alternately with the flour, using the low speed on mixer. The batter will be stiff.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula, don't be concerned if it's not perfect, just try to spread it evenly.

Toss the apple wedges with the sugar and vanilla till apples are thoroughly coated.

Arrange the apples on top of the cake batter, pushing them into the batter gently so they're partially submerged.

Bake the cake for 65 minutes (see notes, above), till it's golden brown on top and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Don't overbake!

Remove the cake from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack, apple-side up.

Place the caramel and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat till the cream is showing bubbles, and the caramel is soft.

Stir the caramel and cream till smooth.
Spoon the caramel over the cake, dripping it down into the crevices around the apples.
Scatter the walnuts on top. Sprinkle lightly with very coarse sea salt flakes if desired.
Serve warm, or at room temperature. Vanilla Ice Cream is a nice addition!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Swiss Chard (or Spinach) Parmesan Torte with Press-in Olive Oil Pastry Crust

Swiss Chard Parmesan Torte with Press-in Olive Oil Crust
As shared from Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Serves 8 to 12 appetizer servings if cut into thin slices, or 6 serving size pieces for light lunch or dinner.
1 cup all purpose flour
large pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Swiss chard leaves (or fresh spinach leaves)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (use the authentic imported Parmesan for best results)
Method: Preheat ove to 375˚F, position rack in center of oven
Mix pastry:
Combine flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Stir in the water, then the oil mixing with a wooden spoon until blended. Knead it with you hand (right in the bowl) a few times. Dough will resemble cookie dough. Press dough into a 10 1/2 inch tart pan with removable bottom (I usually use an 8-inch pan) Don't worry about bringing the dough all the way up the sides.
Prepare the filling:
Wash and dry the chard or spinach, discard tough center stems. Cut or tear leaves into smaller pieces, then cut them up into smaller pieces with a knife or in the food processor (don't cut them too finely.)
Place the cut greens in a wide, shallow frying pan; season with salt and pepper, wilt over low heat until most of the moisture has evaporated (2 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
In a medium-size bowl whisk eggs, add cheese and wilted greens, mix well. Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper (the cheese is salty so you might not need much salt.) Spoon the filling into the dough lined pan, smooth top gently if necessary. Place in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Filling should be light brown and firm to the touch. Serve warm, cut into slices or allow to cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from "Trattoria" by Patricia Wells

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
As shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Makes about 2 dozen two-inch cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (divided use)
1/2 teaspoon baking soday
1/2 cup butter, soft room temperature, plus 3 tablespoons (divided use)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, plus 1/2 cup (divided use)
1 egg yolk
1/4 u applesauce
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (sifted)
1 to 3 tablespoons milk 
In a medium bowl thoroughly whisk flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until ingredients are evenly blended and no lumps are present.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment,  beat 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar until light colored. To the mixture add egg yolk, applesauce, corn syrup & vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.  Remove paddle and bowl from mixer. With a wooden spoon or stiff spatula fold flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined. Divide dough into two equal pieces, wrap in cling film; refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. While dough is chilling combine 1 tablespoon cinnamon & 1/2 cup brown sugar in a bowl; whisk to mix evenly. Set aside.
When dough has chilled, roll out into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. The dough is sticky, so I like to either roll between two silpat/silicone baking mats, or waxed paper which has been sprayed with a little oil spray (like Pam). Place one oiled wax paper facing up, place the dough, then top with another sheet of wax paper (oil side down), then begin rolling. With a pastry brush, spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of soften butter on dough; sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon & sugar mixture evenly over the butter; gently pat into the dough.  Form log by rolling log from the long side, roll firmly and place seam side down on parchment paper or plastic cling film; wrap air-tight.  Repeat entire process with second half of dough. Place both wrapped logs in the refrigerator and chill for 45 minutes to an hour.
When chilled, remove from refrigerator and slice each log into 1/2 inch slices, place slices on parchment lined, or baking mat lined baking sheets, leaving about 1" between each slice on all sides.  Bake in a 350˚ (F) oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven, allow to cool on baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then place each cookie on a wire rack to cool.
Make Glaze:
Sift powdered sugar place in a small bowl;  drizzle in milk until desired glaze consistency is reached.  Drizzle tops of cookies with glaze. Glaze will dry completely, store cookies in an airtight container.


Adapted from several Cinnamon Roll/Bun cookie recipes

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu ( Slow Cooker Recipe)

Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu (Slow Cooker Recipe)
Recipe adapted from "The Italian Slow Cooker" by Michelle Scicolone
Shared from the kitchen of OnceUponaPlate1.com by Mari
Recipe makes 10 cups

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed (may substitute some hot Italian Sausage for part of the sweet)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 -28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, chopped, and the juice
1 -28 ounce tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the sausage; breaking up into smaller pieces as you cook it to a light brown color.  Add onion, cook until tender and translucent, add wine and scrap pan to loosen and release browned bits.
Pour mixture into slow cooker, add tomatoes, a pinch of salt, then cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Stir in cream and cook for 1 additional hour. Taste for seasonings and adjust.  This ragu is best served on chunky, substantial cooked pasta such as rigatoni or rotelle.


There are so many wonderful slow cooker recipes in this book ~ I highly recommend it.  It can be purchased from amazon.com:

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Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu ( Slow Cooker Recipe)

Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu (Slow Cooker Recipe)
Recipe adapted from "The Italian Slow Cooker" by Michelle Scicolone
Shared from the kitchen of OnceUponaPlate1.com by Mari
Recipe makes 10 cups

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed (may substitute some hot Italian Sausage for part of the sweet)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 -28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes and juice
1 -28 ounce tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the sausage; breaking up into smaller pieces as you cook it to a light brown color.  Add onion, cook until tender and translucent, add wine and scrap pan to loosen and release browned bits.
Pour mixture into slow cooker, add tomatoes, a pinch of salt, then cover and cook on low for 5 hours.  Stir in cream and cook for 1 additional hour. Taste for seasonings and adjust.  This ragu is best served on chunky, substantial cooked pasta such as rigatoni or rotelle.


There are so many fantastic slow cooker recipes in this book ~ I highly recommend it.  It can be purchased from amazon.com:

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rice Soubise

Rice Soubise
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
6 servings

1/2 cup rice
2 quarts water, bring to a rapid boil in a medium size pot
1 Tablespoon salt (add to water after it has come to a boil)
4 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds (6 to 7 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper (preferably white pepper)
1/4 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
1/4 cup grated Swiss-type cheese; such as Gruyere or Jarlsberg
2 Tablespoons soft butter
Minced fresh parsley, or fresh thyme leaves (for sprinkling on finished dish)
additional salt & pepper as desired

Note: You'll need a 3 quart oven-proof Dutch oven or casserole with lid
A warm vegetable dish for serving the Soubise

Position rack in center and preheat oven to 300˚ (F)
Cook the rice in the rapidly boiling, salted water.  Boil for exactly 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.
In the Dutch oven or casserole, melt the 4 Tablespoons butter. When the butter begins to foam add sliced onions, stir to coat the onions, stir in the rice and salt & white pepper. Cover and cook in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. By end of baking time both the rice and onions should be very tender, and may be a light golden color. (May be cooked in advance to this point and reheated later.)  Just before serving stir in the cream and cheese, taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to hot serving dish, sprinkle with herbs and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Julia Child's "The Art of French Cooking"

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Cherry Tomato, Cheese and Herb Pizzettas (5" to 6" mini pizzas)

Cherry Tomato, Cheese and Herb Pizzettas (5" to 6" mini pizzas)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Makes 6 to 8 pizzettas (depending upon how dough is divided)
Dough Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups (375g) 00 flour* and more as needed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Mix Dough:
Mix yeast, sugar and water in a bowl; stir to combine and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until bubbles appear on surface.
In a large bowl place flour, salt and olive oil and make a well in the center ~ add the yeast mixture and combine together with your well floured hands. Mix until a dough forms.  Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for 4 minutes or so until dough is smooth and elastic.
Divide dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces, place on lightly floured tray and cover with a clean damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until portions have doubled in size.
Form each dough ball into a round and roll/stretch/pat out on a lightly floured surface.
Pizzetta toppings:
Mozzarella, fresh or aged, or a combination
Cherry tomatoes, some whole, some split in half, (and some on trusses/vine if desired.)
Olive oil
Salt Pepper
Herbs, dried or fresh
Optional:  Capers, rinsed, sliced or chopped flavorful olives, sliced hot pepper such as serrano or jalapeno.
To assemble and bake Pizzettas: 
Preheat oven to 425˚ F
Brush baking tray with oil, place shaped pizzetta dough on oiled tray. Top dough with a thin drizzle of olive oil, mozzarella, salt and pepper place in oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove tray from oven - sprinkle cherry tomatoes (& tomatoes on trusses if using) over cheese, (and dried herbs, if using), drizzle with olive oil. Return to oven & continue baking until tomatoes are heated through and shriveling, cheese has melted and pizzetta crust is golden brown.  Remove pizzettas from oven and if using FRESH herbs, sprinkle over top,  and optional garnishes if desired.  Serve right away.

If you use tomatoes still on the vine, just pull the vine stem and the tomatoes usually release very easily. ;)
Makes 6 to 8 small pizzas.

* 00 flour is superfine flour, preferred for pizza dough ~ it's wonderful stuff!
I cannot source it locally so I buy it from amazon.com, Ten 2.2 pound bags.

Pizza dough recipe adapted from Donna Hay.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PUMPKIN-SPICE Mini Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing

(Pictured above, the opening/header image to Once Upon a Plate ~ The Recipes)
As shared by the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Perfect for autumn, I just adjust my ages- old favorite quick-bread recipe, using canned pumpkin and spices for these, then ice with an old fashioned Brown Sugar Icing.  
They are so good!!  I hope you and your family/friends love them as much as my family does. I used baby grape leaves for garnish, but mint leaves (or a birthday candle work equally well.)

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned, unflavored pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs; mix well. Stir in pumpkin and and vanilla. Combine flour cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into liquid ingredients just until moistened. Portion into greased pan, filling cups just a bit more than 1/2 full.

Bake at 325 F for about 15 to 18 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Cool on baking rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
All to cool completely before adding icing.

Before assembling cut any domed tops from little cakes using a serrated knife (Cook's treat!) so they will fit together flat side to flat side.

Brown Sugar Icing:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar (a little more if you like thicker icing)
1 tablespoon cream or half & half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Melt butter over medium heat, stir in cream, salt and sugar. Stir well until blended. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Beat with a spoon until the icing cools and thickens a bit. Spoon over bottom halves of 1/2 of the cakelettes (reserving 1/2 for assembly); place tops on each one then spoon icing over tops, and allow to drip down sides. Decorate as desired. Allow icing to firm up a little before covering loosely for storage.

Here's the pan you'll need:
(Also perfect for brownies, mini-bundts, and cupcakes, etc.)

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Baked Macaron/Macaroon Pears

Baked Macaron/Macaroon Pears
As Shared From the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
4 servings

I use a medium size melon-baller tool to neatly extract the seeds/core in a single motion.

4 Red pears (or other pear of your choice), not too ripe, halved & cored
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 cup desiccated coconut*
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg white, beaten with a fork until frothy

Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Place the prepared pears cut side up in a shallow baking dish. Brush pears with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar. Cover and bake for 12 to 25 minutes (my pears were ripe and ready to eat so they only needed to be heated through, if your pears are firm or under ripe, increase the baking time.)
While pears are baking, mix the desiccated coconut, sugar and egg white together in a medium bowl until completely combined and coconut is moistened evenly.
Remove pears from oven and press the macaroon mixture into the core cavity in each pear, distributing evenly.  Return to oven and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until macaroon is golden.  Serve with pan syrup ~ best served warm.   You can also serve with lightly whipped cream, ice cream, frozen yogurt, or a pour of cream.

* Desiccated (dried, unsweetened) Coconut is best for this recipe.  If your grocery store does not carry it,  you'll find it at your health food store, and some ethnic markets.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken ~ Helen Chen's

Kung Pao Chicken ~ Helen Chen's
As shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate (www.onceuponaplate1.com)
Serves 3 to 4, or 5 to 6 as part of a multi course meal

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 to 2 teaspoons dry sherry (not cooking sherry)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons sesame seed oil (Asian style)
2 to 4 dried red chilis, seeds removed*
3 Tablespoons canola, or peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground (omit if not available)
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 scallion, both green and white parts cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths,
Plus 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
2 slices unpeeled fresh ginger root, 1 x 1/8 inch each (don't substitute)
1/2 cup unsalted blanched peanuts, toasted or unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
Place the chicken in a bowl. Add 1 Tablespoon of the soy sauce, salt and cornstarch and mix well. Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce together along with the sherry, sugar, vinegar and sesame seed oil. Set aside.
Pour the cooking oil into a cold wok or stir-fry pan and add chilies. Heat pan over medium-high heat and stir the pepper until they turn dark brown. Add the ground peppercorn, garlic, scallion pieces, and ginger root and stir for a few moments. Stir up the chicken in the bowl to coat evenly with the seasonings, and pour it into the pan ~ Toss and stir quickly.  After stirring for about 1 minute add the soy sauce mixture, peanuts and the thinly sliced scallions.  Turn heat up to high and stir for about 45 seconds until well mixed. Remove the chilies and ginger root if desired. Serve hot.

*You can substitute 1 to 3 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes, or 3 fresh Thai chilies for the dried chilies ~ Add at the same time the ground pepper corns, garlic and scallions are added.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Potato Cakes with Jarlsberg Cheese and Rough Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Cakes with Jarlsberg Cheese & Rough Mustard Vinaigrette

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

Serves 6 to 8

These warm potato cakes are crispy on the outside with a creamy center. They are so good as a luncheon dish along with a salad, cup of broth based soup, or as a hearty appetizer. The green bean & vinaigrette garnish is optional and If you skip the vinaigrette - green bean garnish they become a fine side dish for any roasted or grilled meat or poultry.

Tip: If using, prepare the green beans and make the vinaigrette first, then set aside (or refrigerate) until you're ready to make the potato cakes.

Potato Cake ingredients:
About 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (6 to 8), scrubbed well
1 or 2 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (or 2 Tablespoons snipped chives)
3/4 cups grated Jarlsberg, Swiss or Emmentaler cheese
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
Oil and butter for frying (1:1 portions)

Optional Vinaigrette and Haricot Vert/Green Bean garnish:
Generous handful of slender green beans
2 Tablespoons grainy whole seed mustard (Dijon-type)
2 to 3 teaspoons mild vinegar (Sherry, Champagne or unseasoned rice vinegar)
1 to 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the potato cakes:
Preheat oven to 375˚F Using a fork, prick potatoes all over with a fork and bake directly on oven rack for about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork. You can peel the potatoes if you prefer (peel them while they are still hot). With an electric stand mixer (using paddle attachment) beat on low speed, or you may use a potato masher to break them up well. Add the scallions/chives, cheese, sour cream, salt, black and cayenne pepper, and butter, mix by machine or hand until completely combined. Loosely cover and allow mixture to cool.
To form and cook the cakes: Scoop out 1/2 cup portions and with wet hands shape them into patties about 3/4 to 1-inch thick and about 3 to 3 1/2-inches in diameter. Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium high heat and spread with out. Non-stick pan works very well for this. Cook until golden brown, turn and cook until the second side is nicely browned. (About 5 to 7 minutes for each side, depending upon how thick the patties are and the temperature of your pan.) It's better to cook them longer and slower in order to heat them though and so they have a chance to gain a nice crisp outside crust.

Optional: Rough Mustard Vinaigrette and blanched green bean garnish.
In a small bowl whisk together the grainy mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in 2 to 3 teaspoons of good olive oil. If dressing is too thick add a few dribbles of cold water to attain desired consistency. Add freshly ground black pepper and whisk again. Taste for seasonings and adjust.

For the green beans; tip and tail a large handful of slender, fresh green beans or Haricot Verts, cut beans cross-wise into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Bring a medium size (2 to 3 quart) pot of water to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt, carefully drop the green beans into the boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to blanch. Immediately scoop the beans out and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

To assemble: Place potato cakes on plate, sprinkle beans around the perimeter, drizzle beans with the mustard vinaigrette. In order to maintain crispness of potato try to keep the vinaigrette away, allowing each diner to dip potato into the vinaigrette themselves. Shower a sprinkle of snipped chives or sliced scallion over the potatoes and serve while potatoes are still warm.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Duck (or Chicken) Burgers ~ with Asian Flavors

Duck (or Chicken) Burgers ~ with Asian Flavors
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe yields 8 burgers

Delicious, juicy burgers, something a little out of the ordinary!
Tip: If you cannot find store bought Garlic Chili Sauce, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of dried chili flakes and 1 garlic clove, pressed.
Burger ingredients:
1 1/2 pound Duck Breasts, or Chicken Breasts (about 3 large breasts)
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tablespoons shallots, minced
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Slaw ingredients:
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Asian Fish sauce (or 1 Tablespoon soy sauce)
1 3/4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 (or up to 1 teaspoon) chili garlic sauce (depending upon how spicy you like it)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1Tablespoon chopped cilantro
4 cups finely shredded red and green cabbage
8 Brioche Buns, or store bought
Mayonnaise, homemade or store bought
To make Burgers:
Cut the duck (or chicken) and pork into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Chill them until they are very cold. Grind the duck/chicken with pork in a meat grinder with a medium grind blade. (Your butcher may do this for you if you place your request in advance.
Place the ground meat in a bowl, add garlic, shallots, 5 Spice Powder and salt. Mix well to combine thoroughly. To test for seasonings make a small patty and cook in a saute pan with a little oil, taste and add more salt if necessary.
Divide the meat evenly into 8 balls (about 1/3 pound each), flatten each into patties 1/2 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to cook.  Note: The patties may be made in advance and frozen (thaw wrapped patties overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.)
To make the dressing and slaw: Whisk together lime juice, fish or soy sauce, sugar and chili sauce in a small bowl.  Allow to sit for a short time, then add the green onions and cilantro. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and toss with the dressing allow to sit for 10 minutes or so before serving. I prefer to make the slaw as the burgers are cooking so it remains crisp and vibrant, however you can be made up to one day in advance.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat add a teaspoon or two of neutral cooking oil and swirl around in the hot pan. Cook the burgers for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until cooked through, and crisp on the outside but still pink in the center. Burgers may also be grilled over medium high heat for the same amount of time.
To assemble, slice the brioche buns in half (like a hamburger bun), slightly hollow out each half. Spread 1/2 of the bun with mayonnaise, add the burger patty, top with slaw and finally the other brioche half and serve.

Recipe adapted from Maria H. Sinskey

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Brioche Buns ~ No special pan needed

Brioche Buns ~ No special pan needed
As shared from Once Upon a Plate by Mari
     Recipe yields 12 buns (approx. 3-inches in diameter)
     These make great breakfast, dinner and sandwich buns !
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I use a scant 1/4 cup sugar)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
Egg wash- 1 large egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons water
Optional: 1/4 cup poppy seeds for sprinkling tops
Method: (I do all the kneading with stand mixer & dough hook)
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper
Dissolve yeast in warm water, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the flour in order to form a loose paste. Allow to rise in a warm place until the batter has risen and fallen (this usually takes about 1 hour.)
Add eggs, sugar, salt and remaining flour to the fallen yeast mixture. Knead the dough until it is smooth. (I use the stand mixer with dough hook inserted.)  Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. Add the soft butter and knead until it is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic. Allow dough to rise in a bowl in a warm place until doubled; 1 to 2 hours. Cover bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls, place on the prepared sheet pan. Allow to rise until almost doubled. Brush tops of the buns with egg wash (and sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.)
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until deep golden on the top and golden on the bottom of the buns.

Recipe adapted from Maria Sinskey

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Korean Vegetable Pancakes (Pajeon)

Korean Vegetable Pancakes (Pajeon)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Yields 4 pancakes (8 to 9 inches in diameter)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
1 1/2 cups water (may need a little more)
5 scallions (green tops cut into 3-inch lengths, then julienned. White ends thinly sliced.
20 chive blades, thinly sliced (or 5 more scallions thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 small yellow or green summer squash, trimmed and julienned
Additional canola oil for frying the pancakes
For the dipping sauce (recipe is easily doubled):
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice or white vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot pepper oil (or 1/4 teaspoon Asian hot sauce)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Mix all together in a small bowl and set aside while making the pancakes.
For the pancakes:
Place the flour in a medium bowl. In a small bowl mix the beaten eggs and  water. Add the egg/water mixture, along with the 1 tablespoon oil, blend thoroughly until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in the scallion greens, the sliced scallions, chives, carrots, and squash.
Heat the oil in a 8 to 9 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Ladle about 1/4 of the batter, spreading over bottom of pan to make an even disc. Reduce heat to medium and cook until bottom of pancake is browned (about 3 to 4 minutes), flip and cook the other side for another couple of minutes.  Repeat with the remaining batter. As you remove pancakes from the pan you may drain on paper towels if necessary, keep warm in warm oven until all are cooked. (Or you may allow them to cool and serve at room temperature.)  To serve cut each pancake (pizza style) into 6 to 8 wedges, serve with the bowl of dipping sauce.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, New York Times

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Daeji Bulgogi (Korean-Style Grilled Pork)

Daeji Bulgogi (Korean-Style Grilled Pork)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

Marinated and cooked on the grill, these thin slices of pork tenderloin are irresistible.  You can serve them with steamed rice, or wrapped in a lettuce leaf.  Traditionally kimchi and pickled vegetables are served along with this dish.
1 pound pork tenderloin, (remove any silver skin)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mirin or sherry (not cooking sherry)
2 tablespoons gochujang*
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (Asian style)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon dry red pepper flakes (more or less depending upon the degree of heat you enjoy)  I use about 1/4 teaspoon.
2 to 3 green onions, both green and white parts, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
For serving: 
Leaf lettuce of your choice
Pickled vegetables**
•For easier slicing, put the raw pork tenderloin in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour. In the meantime in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, mirin (or sherry), gochujang, sesame oil,  grated ginger root, pepper flakes and green onion. Stir to combine.
•Slice the pork into thin slices (approximately 1/8-inch).  The most effective way of marinating is in a plastic zipper-style freezer bag. Place the sliced pork and onions in the plastic bag, then pour the marinade in.  Massage bag gently to distribute the marinade on all of the meat. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or up to 24 hours.
•When ready to grill the meat, take the bag from the refrigerator and set aside while you light a charcoal grill.  When the charcoal is ready, clean and oil the grill grate. Place the slices of meat on the grill in a single layer, grill quickly (about a minute per side.) Serve immediately; tuck a few slices of meat in the lettuce leaf along with some kimchi and pickled vegetables, if desired.
* One of the key ingredients in the marinade is gochujan (fermented hot red pepper paste), which provides a majority of the flavor. Available in well stocked Asian grocery stores, it's worth searching out if you want to make bulgogi.  If, like me, you cannot find it locally you can order it through amazon.com as I did:
It comes in different levels of 'heat' ~ I purchased level 3 (medium hot), and found it to be very palatable). I don't like to feel as if my mouth is on fire, and this one tastes just right to me. (If you would like the dish to have more spice, increase the amount of red pepper flakes.)
** Easy recipe for Quick Asian-style pickled vegetables can be found HERE at the Whole Foods recipe site.

I hope you enjoy!
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde

Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings
This is substantial enough to be served as a main dish, but also makes a wonderful side dish with something from the grill. Feel free to substitute the Gruyere with Jarlsberg or another cheese that melts well.
Salsa Verde: (this is tasty on grilled chicken or fish, too.)
1 teaspoon fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) oregano or marjoram.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint (optional)
1 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1 anchovy (it won't make the sauce taste 'fishy', it just adds a lovely layer of flavor)
1 Tablespoon capers, drained (rinse them and drain if they are packed in salt)
1 fresh lemon
freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds summer squash (all one type, or a mix)
1 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (dried will not work well)
3 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cups sliced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon thyme leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 chile, seeded and finely chopped (jalapeno, serrano, or New Mexico)
1 cup grated Gruyere Cheese, or any good melting cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
First make the salsa verde: I use a mortar and pestle to make this, but you can use a food processor if you prefer. Pound the garlic and anchovy, then add the herbs and pound them with a couple of tablespoons of the oil into a thick paste. Add capers and lightly crush, stir in the remaining oil, a few grinds of freshly ground pepper and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, add more lemon juice if desired. (I always add more)
To assemble the gratin:  
•Heat oven to 400˚F. Slice the squash into 1/4-inch slices. Toss slices in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes (this will release some of the water from the squash)

•Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Place the butter in the hot pan and swirl around; allow butter to cook for a few minutes until it is nicely browned and smells nutty. Pour the brown butter (including the brown bits from the bottom of the butter pan) over the bread crumbs, toss with a fork or silicone spatula to coat the crumbs evenly with the butter. Set aside to cool.
•Drain the squash and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the shallots, thyme, minced garlic, chile, 1/2 of the salsa verde and some freshly ground black pepper. Toss ingredients to combine, add the grated cheese and half of the butter-coated bread crumbs. Toss again and taste for seasoning (the garlic will be pungent at this point, but mellows out as the gratin bakes.)
•Place the squash mixture in a 9x9-inch (or equivalent) gratin dish, (or divide mixture evenly into 4 individual gratin dishes.) Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the top. Bake large gratin for 35 to 40 minutes, the individual gratins for 15 to 20 minutes (or so, until squash is just tender, cheese is bubbling, and bread crumb topping is nicely golden brown.) Tent with foil if crumbs begin browning too quickly. Remove from oven, allow to sit for a couple of minutes, then enjoy!
Any extra salsa verde can be passed at the table to drizzle over the gratin, it also makes a delightful sauce, spooned over grilled chicken or fish.

Recipe adapted from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Susan Goin.

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