Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins with Citrus Glaze

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins with Citrus Glaze
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Recipe yields 12 standard size (2 1/2-inch size) muffins

I changed the recipe slightly, as noted below.

  3 ripe bananas
  1 egg
  3/4 cup sugar
  1/4 cup vegetable oil
  2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  2 cups all-purpose flour*
  2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  2 teaspoons baking powder
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  Citrus Glaze (recipe below) 

Place oven rack in middle position; preheat oven to 375*(F) 
Grease, Butter or spray 12 muffin cups

Puree bananas in blender or food processor. (Puree should equal about 1 cup)
Add egg, sugar, oil and orange peel to banana puree and pulse until well combined.
In a large bowl combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt
Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. Distribute batter evenly into 
prepared muffin cups.
Bake 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Cool 5 minutes then remove muffins from pan. Place on wire rack (set inside in a baking sheet, or place the rack on parchment or wax paper.)
Drizzle with Citrus Glaze while warm.

* My notes:  I reduced the all-purpose flour by 1/2 cup, and added 1/4 cup wheat bran plus 1/4cup old-fashioned rolled oats, and increased the baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon
(total 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.)

Citrus Glaze: 
In a medium size bowl combine the following: 
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar 
1/4 cup orange juice 
1 teaspoon grated orange peel and 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

My notes about the glaze: You may not need the full 1/4 cup orange juice, ~ it's better that 
the glaze be slightly thick, about the consistency of thin pancake batter.  Start stirring in by 
tablespoonfuls until desired consistency is reached.) The orange I used wasn't very flavorful 
so I added 1/4 teaspoon pure Orange Extract to the glaze mixture.

Adapted from  "The International Neighbor Cookbook"

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Double Raspberry Streusel Bars

Double Raspberry Streusel Bars
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

Yields 24 2-inch Squares

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes ~ room temperature
Plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature (Divided use)
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup rolled oats (old fashioned type)
1/2 cups nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds), finely chopped
3/4 cup raspberry preserves or jam
3/4 cup fresh raspberries (may use frozen, thawed)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation:  Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375* (F).  Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, or parchment paper (interior bottom and sides) allowing some overhang to ease the baked streusel out of the pan after baking and cooling.  If using foil, spray with baking spray.

If using a stand mixer ~ Use paddle attachment. Mix flour, granulated sugar and salt at low speed until combined (about 5 seconds or so.) One piece at a time, add butter to flour mixture while beating at low speed. Continue mixing on low speed until mixture resembles damp sand (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.)

If using food processor ~ With metal blade in place, process flour, granulated sugar until combined (about 5 seconds.) Scatter 16 tablespoons of butter pieces over flour mixture, pulse until mixture resembles damp sand (usually requires 20 to 25 one-second pulses.)

Measure 1 1/4 cups of the flour mixture into a medium bowl, set aside.  Place  remaining flour mixture in prepared pan, distribute evenly and tamp down firmly with a flat bottomed measuring cup, or your hands in order to form an even bottom crust.  Bake in preheated oven until edges begin to brown (about 14 to 18 minutes, depending upon your oven.)

Meanwhile, add brown sugar, oats and nuts to reserved flour mixture, toss with a fork or your fingers to combine. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to mixture and rub between your fingers until butter is completely incorporated. Press/pinch pieces to form hazelnut or small marble size clumps. Set aside.

Mix preserves/jam, raspberries and lemon juice in a small bowl,  with a fork mash some of the berries, leaving some texture so some berry pieces remain.

Spread the filling evenly over the hot crust. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over filling (don't press streusel into the fruit.)  Place pan back into the oven and continue baking until topping is deep golden brown and filling is bubbling (about 22 to 25 minutes.)  Cool to room temperature on wire rack for 1 to 2 hours.  Remove from baking pan by gripping the parchment paper or foil overhangs. With a large sharp knife cut into squares and serve.  May be stored, air tight for up to 4 days... the bars will not be as crisp as when first baked, but will still be delicious!

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated, September 2005 issue.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Greek-Style Potato Salad

Greek Style Potato Salad
As shared from the kitchen of  Once Upon a Plate by Mari

You can eat this right away after assembling, but it's best if made ahead and refrigerated( a few hours or overnight) to allow the flavors to marry. Remove from refrigerator and allow salad to lose some of the chill for best flavor before serving.  Can be served cool or at room temperature.

Yield: Flexible,  just use this as a guideline, adjust according to how much salad you want to make. The following recipe will provide 4 to 6 servings


2 pounds small red potatoes
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 pitted kalamata olives, sliced or quartered
1/2 to 3/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained, any tough, fibrous outer leaves removed & discarded *
1 tablespoons capers in brine, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch dice (can add more feta if desired)
2 tablespoons red onion, cut into fine dice (> 1/4-inch)
Flat leaf Italian parsley, leaves pulled from stems and leaves roughly chopped

Optional: Any of the following ~  3/4 to 1 cup diced cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, 2 or 3 hard cooked eggs, chopped.

When potatoes are completely cool, gently stir in remaining salad ingredients.


3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled or 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2/3 cups olive oil
Optional: 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely minced.
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper 

Cut potatoes into quarters or halves depending upon their size. Steam for 7 to 10 minutes (test with the tip of a knife after 5 minutes of cooking) Potatoes should be tender throughout, but still firm enough to hold their shape without falling apart or crumbling.

Immediately transfer the hot potatoes to a bowl toss with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile,  whisk (or shake in a covered jar with tight fitting lid) the dressing ingredients until well emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Pour dressing over potato mixture and carefully toss to distribute dressing evenly. Taste and adjust seasonings.

*Note: If you like, reserve artichoke marinade and whisk into the dressing.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Asparagus-Cream Cheese Rolls in Prosciutto with Vinaigrette

Asparagus-Cream Cheese Rolls in Prosciutto with Vinaigrette
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari 

Yield: It's entirely flexible.  You'll need 3 asparagus stalks, 1 slice of prosciutto, and 1  tablespoon of cream cheese for each roll.

Instructions: Wash and trim any tough end stalks from asparagus, cutting the lengths an inch or two longer that the prosciutto is wide.

Have ready a big bowl of water with plenty of ice cubes in it.

Plunge asparagus spears into a large pot of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes (until JUST barely tender.)  Immediately remove and place in bowl of iced water.  Leave in ice water for a couple of minutes until spears are cold. Drain well on clean dish towel or paper towels.

Spread each prosciutto slice with about 1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese, leaving 1/2 inch at one of the prosciutto end bare (to help seal the roll.)  Lay 3 asparagus spears crosswise, (at the cream cheese end) on the prepared prosciutto, roll gently but firmly towards the "unfrosted" end. Place seam side down on serving platter, or individual plates.

For the vinaigrette ~ only a tablespoon or less is required to drizzle on each roll.
(Recipe easily doubled or tripled if you are making a large quantity of asparagus rolls):

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (can mix in with the vinaigrette, or reserve and sprinkle as garnish.)

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a bowl; whisk well. Stir in the chives and salt and pepper.


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Monday, May 9, 2011

Cheese Puffs filled with warm Bacon Mornay Sauce

Gruyère Puffs filled with Warm Bacon Mornay Sauce

As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari (www.onceuponaplate1.com)
Inspired by Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco

The number of Gougeres this recipe yields will depend upon the size in which you form the batter. 1-Tablespoon size generally will produce about 2 dozen pieces.  I always half this recipe for my small family. Incidentally the Cheese Puffs are delicious, served warm on their own, without the Mornay filling.

Make and bake the Gougeres. (May be made one or two days ahead, providing they are stored in a perfectly airtight container.)

Cheese Gougeres 
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (1 cup)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
       Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line 1 large or 2 smaller baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil.  Once butter is fully melted dump in all the flour at once and stir it in with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth dough. Continue to stir over low heat until it dries out and pulls away from the pan in one mass - about 2-3 minutes.  Scrape the dough into a bowl, allow to cool slightly before beating the eggs into the dough with an electric hand mixer, or stand mixer with paddle attachment, one at a time.  Add the Gruyère cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Using 2 tablespoons (dipping in warm water as you go), or use a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 to 3/4-inch tip, place tablespoon-size mounds onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.  Immediately upon removing from oven pierce a small hole in the top of each with the tip of a small paring knife tip to allow steam to escape. This will also be the hole through which you will pipe the Mornay Sauce.

The puffs can be made up to 2 days before serving, providing they are stored in an airtight container at room temperature
Just prior to serving continue with the recipe and assembly:

For the Bacon Mornay Sauce

Prepare the garnishes for the sauce:
2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh chives, finely sliced

Cook the bacon:
4 strips bacon, cut into thin pieces, crosswise.
Fry over medium heat until almost crisp; don't over cook.
Drain and set aside for garnish.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 ounces grated cheese,  Gruyere, Parmesan, etc.


In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is pale yellow and foams up a bit, about 1 minute. Do not allow it to brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. At this point it is a bechamel sauce.
Next stir in the cheese and whisk until melted. Keep warm over very low heat. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with a little milk.  If made a few minutes ahead, butter a piece of parchment paper cut the same size as the surface area of the saucepan, butter the paper on one side and place buttered size down, directly on the sauce so it does not form a skin.
The sauce with cheese is Sauce Mornay. (Great over steamed vegetables.)

To continue, fill a piping bag with the warm sauce and, pipe some of the Sauce Mornay into each puff until it barely overflows. Sprinkle tops with a few bacon pieces, sprinkle with finely sliced chives and serve immediately while still warm. 

Recipe adapted from several of my cookbooks. 

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Muffins. Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins (with a surprise inside)

  • Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins (with a surprise inside)
  • As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari  (www.onceuponaplate1.com)

  • Note: Original recipe indicates this makes 10 standard size muffins.  I made 12 standard muffins with no problem with this recipe.  They probably would have turned out taller if the batter was divided among 10 muffins cups, but they were delicious just the same. 
  • Ingredients:
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if you have the whole nutmets)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil  (such as canola)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Jam of your choice (about 1/2 cup or so)

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Position rack in center of oven, preheat oven to 350* (F)

Grease, or spray muffin pan, or line with paper cupcake liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. 

In a small bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg and milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full. Place 1 to 2 teaspoons jam on top.

Cover jam with enough batter to fill muffin cups three-fourths full. 

Bake in preheated 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Place melted butter in a small bowl; combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. 

Cool baked muffins for 5 minutes after removing from oven. 

While still quite warm dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. 

Finish cooling on baking rack; serve warm or at room temperature.


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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Garden of Eden Spring Rolls with Creamy Peanut-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Garden of Eden Spring Rolls 
with Creamy Peanut-Ginger Dipping Sauce
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

I combined a couple of spring roll recipes to arrive at this one.  It most closely resembles the one in the Whole Foods cookbook.) You'll find you can easily swap out the filling ingredients to what is available and according to your own preferences. Suggestions below.

This makes 18 spring rolls - Great party food.  Since they are best when freshly made (or served within 1 or 2 days) I reduced the ingredients by a third for a party of two.

1 - 7 ounce package rick sticks (or bean thread noodles)*
4 cups very thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 cups baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced (tough stems removed)
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves (stems removed)
1/4 cup sliced fresh mint
1/4 cup  thinly sliced fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves (stems removed)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (both white and green parts)
1 1/2 cups edible, organic flowers, stems removed
18 spring roll wrappers (Tapioca or rice flour wrappers)*

Creamy Peanut-Ginger Dipping Sauce for serving.

*Available in well stocked supermarkets, or in Asian grocery stores

Other fillings that you might like to swap for those listed above:
Fresh Bean Sprouts
Green Cabbage, very thinly sliced
Finely grated carrot

Preparation: Have ready a sealable/air tight container, bottom lined with damp paper towels. Have a couple of additional wet paper towels (or lettuce leaves) ready to place over the finished spring rolls as you assemble them (to keep them from drying out.)

In a medium size saucepan bring 2 quarts water to a boil; add noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring a few times to assure the noodles are submerged and cook evenly. Drain well, rinsing under cold water until noodles are cold. Drain well when chilled.Set up assembly area on flat work surface; place a clean kitchen towel on the surface.Prepare vegetables and flowers, toss gently in a large bowl to distribute the ingredients rather evenly.  Set aside near your assembly area.
To soften the spring roll wrappers: Fill a large pan, (wide enough to lay spring roll wrapper out flat) with a couple of inches of very hot water.  Place one spring wrapper into the water, submerging completely for about 30 seconds until it is soft and pliable. To assemble: Lay the wrapper out on the towel; place 1/2 of the filling ingredients and 1/4 cup noodles in center of wrapper; roll the edge nearest you over the top of the ingredients, then pull back slightly to secure the ingredients in the fold, bring right side over to the middle, then the left side over to the middle, then roll up tightly to form the spring roll (as if making a burrito). Place in prepared damp paper towel (or lettuce leaf) lined container; cover spring roll with another wet paper towel or lettuce leaf.  Continue with remaining spring rolls. If serving buffet display, keep spring rolls covered with wet lettuce leaves to keep them from drying out.(Tip: work with the wrappers one at a time; dip to soften then fill and roll before moving on to the next spring roll.)Serve with your favorite Peanut Dipping Sauce (as served with Sate), or try this one:

Creamy Peanut-Ginger Dipping Sauce
This makes plenty, about 3 cups. (I usually reduce the recipe by a third.)

1 cup creamy (smooth) peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce (low-sodium works fine here)
1 to 2 teaspoons red chili paste (optional; use it if you want the sauce spicy)
3 tablespoons honey, or white or brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter sauce)
juice of 1 large, or 2 small limes
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger, more if you love a pronounced ginger flavor; micro-plane works perfectly for this task. (Note: if you don't have fresh ginger, omit--dried ginger will not suffice) 

In a food processor or blender combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili paste, honey or brown sugar, and lime juice until smooth. With motor running, gradually add enough hot water to thin to desired consistancy (you don't have to use it all.) Transfer sauce to a serving bowl, or individual dipping bowls.


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