Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crispy Garlic-Ginger Chicken ~ Asian Style

Crispy Garlic-Ginger Chicken
From the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
2 generous main course servings with rice, or
4 servings if part of a multi course meal.

2 chicken breast halves - slice into bite-size strips or cubes
2 tablespoons of rice wine or extra dry sherry (not cooking sherry)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (Use Tamari if you're gluten  free)
1/4 teaspoon salt beaten with 1 egg white
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons dried chili flakes (optional)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic - sliced
2- inch piece of ginger - peeled and sliced into thin matchstick size pieces,
sliced on the diagonal.
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari, verify that it is wheat-free if you avoid gluten.)
1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 or 3 scallions (green onions), white and green part thinly

Marinate the chicken with rice wine (or dry sherry), soy sauce and salt for 30 minutes. Beat egg white and cornstarch together until blended and add to the chicken & marinade. Stir to blend and coat chicken pieces completely.

In a wok or deep sided frying pan heat enough oil to deep fry the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan, drain well and set aside.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the the oil from the pan. Over medium heat stir fry garlic, ginger (and chili flakes if you are using them) for a moment until fragrant. Quickly add chicken to pan, stir gently to coat; add soy sauce, sugar and salt to taste. Stir to combine. Remove from pan and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and diagonally sliced scallions/green onions if desired. Serve hot, with steamed rice.


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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fresh Lemon Cake with (optional) Fruit Glaze

Fresh Lemon Cake with optional Strawberry Glaze
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Makes one 8-inch, single layer cake
I don't know why this cake was originally named "French Lemon Cake", perhaps because it is a single layer and doesn't rise much ~ but it I do know that it is one of the easiest cakes to make because the batter is mixed together in the bowl of a food processor. 
My mother used to make this recipe and I believe it was from "BonAppetit" magazine from the 1970's when home food processors were introduced to home cooks here in the U.S. As with many food processor cakes, it's a little sturdier (not quite as delicate) as traditionally made cakes.

The original recipe is delicious with just the sweeten lemon juice finish and maybe a dollop of whipped sweetened cream or ice cream. But to make it a little more special you can add a fruit glaze or fresh fruit.

Method: Position oven rack to center position
Preheat oven to 350*
Grease and flour an 8-inch square or round cake pan (or pan of equivalent capacity.)

1 lemon (peel zest from lemon using a vegetable peeler), and juice the lemon, reserve juice for finish
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter (4 ounces), cut into 4 pieces
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, less 2 Tablespoons
Mix 1 teaspoon baking powder into the flour

Lemon juice glaze:
Reserved juice from the lemon mixed with
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)

In the bowl of food processor process lemon zest strips with granulated sugar, process a few seconds until zest is "grated".

Add butter pieces to bowl and process until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is blended in. Scrape bowl with spatula. Mix 1/2 of the flour/baking powder mixture to the bowl and pulse (turn the machine on and off) 2 or 3 times, scrape bowl with spatula. Add remaining flour and pulse until combined.

Scrape batter from bowl into prepared pan and bake into prepared pan. Bake on center rack of oven for 18 to 25 minutes. (Oven and the shape/size of pan will affect the time it takes cake to be done.) I begin checking at 12 minutes. Bake until edges are lightly golden and a pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, with no wet batter.

While cake is still warm, mix lemon juice with confectioner's sugar and spoon mixture over cake, then repeat with any remaining mixture ~allowing lemon juice to seep into the cake slowly.

Optional Fruit Glaze:
1 to 1 1/2 cups fruit jam (I like either Strawberry, Raspberry or Apricot for this cake)

If you want a very thin glaze, melt the jam and a tablespoon or two of water ~or substitute a liqueur of your choice (such as Grand Marnier) in a pot over medium heat. Stir and cook until mixture completely melted and fairly smooth, cool just slightly then spread on top of cake while mixture is still warm (it will thicken further upon cooling.)
For a thicker glaze (as shown in picture) Make a slurry from 2 teaspoons corn starch mixed into 2 Tablespoons of water and mix into melted jam in the pot, cook and stir until mixture thickens, cool slightly then spread evenly on top of cake. Topping will thicken upon cooling.)

Serve with sweetened whipped cream, or ice cream if desired.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Baked Blueberry French Toast with Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry French Toast
As shared by Mari @ Once Upon a Plate (
1 loaf French bread, sliced and cut into 1 inch cubes
2  (8 ounce packages) cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes (I use 1 package)
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
12 large eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups milk

Grease or spray with cooking oil a 13" x 9" baking pan.  
Place half the bread cubes evenly in the pan.  Scatter cream cheese over bread and then scatter blueberries over all.  Arrange remaining bread cubes over the top.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, syrup and milk.  Pour over bread mixture.  Cover and chill overnight.
Next day, bake casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, covered with foil.  Remove foil after 30 minutes and cook for 30 more minutes, until puffy.    While casserole bakes, make Blueberry Syrup.* 
Top blueberry casserole with some of the Blueberry Syrup, and pass the rest at the table.

Blueberry Syrup
1 cup sugar (I use about 3/4 cup sugar)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water over medium heat.  Cook 5 minutes until thickened, stirring.  Add 1 cup blueberries and simmer, stirring for 10 minutes.  Add butter and blend.
*You can make the blueberry syrup one to two days ahead if you desire, refrigerate until
serving time.(Best served warm.)


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

French Bread ~ Two ways (Bread Machine Dough)

(You can have softer or crispier crust on these loaves ~see below for method).

As shared by Once Upon a Plate by Mari (

(Crispy Crust: Brush with egg wash only during last 5 minutes of bake time.)

Makes two 13 to 15" baguettes

1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons dry milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg white, whisked with 1 Tablespoon water (see below for use)

Add first 8 ingredients to bread machine.
Select the dough cycle. 
(Or use the bread setting of your machine, but remove the dough before the baking cycle begins.)  Form into 2 baguette loaves.
Spray or lightly oil a large cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper; sprinkle with cornmeal.
Form loaves: Transfer dough (it will be soft) to a lightly floured board. 
Sprinkle with a little flour; cut dough into 2 portions. Roll each portion into a rectangle about 12 to 15 inches wide (add more flour as needed). 
Starting at long end, roll up; pinch seams well. Repeat with next roll. 

-Place loaves on prepared cookie sheet; cover with clean dish towel and let rise another hour. 

Preheat oven to 400°. Place a pie plate on the lower rack of the oven; add about 1 inch of boiling water to the pie plate.  With a very sharp knife or razor blade make 
3 or 4 diagonal slashes (almost parallel to surface of bread) along the length of 
the loaves just before placing in the oven.

For softer crust: Brush loaves with egg wash/water mixture when you put the bread into the oven. 
For crispy crustAbout 5 minutes before loaves are done, brush with egg white and water mixture. 
Bake bread for 15 minutes; lower heat to 350°. Bake for another 25 minutes. 

Tent with foil if bread is browning too quickly for your liking, bake until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
You may need to adjust baking time; mine bake in a little less than 25 minutes during the 350º bake.

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