24 Jul 2014
in Dessert, Desserts, Pies, Recipes
Tags: dessert, desserts, food, foodie, foodporn, French, fruit, galette, nomnom, Peach, pie, pies, plum, recipes, summertime, tart, tarts, yum
Fresh Plum & Peach Galette–Tart
Sweet & luscious summertime Galette pronounced Ga-let, is a French name for “tart.” An open-faced pie of sorts which offers the full experience of pie, but in delicate delicious bites filled with rich flavors. This tart is a favorite summertime dessert at our house. You can make it with any seasonal fruit, such as rhubarb, peaches, cherries, apricots or apples. The dough is buttery, flaky and very forgiving and comes together in 10 seconds in a food processor.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, fresh fruit slices & a sprig of mint
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cop all-purpose flour
2 1/2 pounds large plums & peaches—halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges I used 2 large black plums and 2 medium sized peaches—do not peel
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1/2 cup good-quality plum, apricot or raspberry preserves, strained if chunky or seedy
Make the Pate Brisee:
Add flour, butter and salt in a food processor; process for 5 seconds; the butter should still be in pieces. Mix vinegar in ice water, add just enough water until the dough forms a ball and process for 5 seconds longer, just until dough comes together; the butter should still be visible.
Remove dough from the processor and gather it into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 16-by-18-inch oval 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a large, heavy baking sheet. Chill dough until firm, about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°.
Make the Filling:
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with the ground almonds and flour. Spread this mixture evenly over the dough to within 2 inches of the edge. Arrange the plum & peach wedges on top and dot with the butter. Sprinkle all but 1 teaspoon of the remaining 1/3 cup sugar over the fruit. Fold the edge of the dough up over the plums to create a 2-inch border. (If the dough feels cold and firm, wait for a few minutes until it softens to prevent it from cracking.) Sprinkle the border with the reserved 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Bake the galette in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour, until the fruit is very soft and the crust is richly browned. If any juices have leaked onto the baking sheet, slide a knife under the galette to release it from the sheet. Evenly brush the preserves over the hot fruit; brush some up onto the crust. Incredible, light, buttery and very satisfying!
23 Jul 2014
in Chicken, Entrees, Fish & Seafood, Uncategorized
Tags: andouille, cajun, Caribbean, chicken, food, foodie, foodporn, French, French Quarter, Jambalaya, Louisiana, main dishes, nomnom, Paella, recipes, sausage, Seafood, shrimp, Spanish, yum
Today, staying in the Creole theme, we are offering Bret Clark’s Incredible Jambalaya! I simply love the personal touches of a wonderful Chef! Read on…
For those of you not aware, Jambalaya was originally created in Louisiana and its origin is actually Spanish paella. Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts; with meat, seafood and vegetables and is finished by adding stock and rice.
There are typically 2 types of Jambalaya; Creole, Bret’s offering, which includes tomatoes and Louisiana style that does not. It’s been said “the idea is the farther away from New Orleans one gets, the less common tomatoes are in dishes.” However, both styles include the “trinity” of vegetables offered in most savory Cajun dishes; 50% onions, 25% celery, and 25% green or red bell pepper—a wonderful marriage of flavors from the get go.
Thanks again for another amazing dish, Bret! Now, get the rice simmering and bread ready and you’ll soon be singing just like a Cajun….Whoooo wee!!
¼ cup Olive oil
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
12-16 oz Andouille sausage, sliced into bite size pieces
¾ Lb Peeled and deveined shrimp
1 large Onion – diced
1 large Green pepper – diced
3 ribs Celery – diced
4-5 cloves Garlic – sliced or minced
2 15 oz cans Diced tomatoes (I use roasted tomatoes for extra flavor)
¾ cups Long grain rice
3 cups Chicken broth
Cajun seasoning (I use Emeril’s Essence or “Bayou Blast”) to taste
3-4 Green onions – chopped, including green part
¼ cup chopped Parsley
Season chicken and shrimp (separate bowls) with desired amount of Cajun seasoning, allow to marinate while chopping vegetables.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. When hot, add chicken and sauté until browned. Add sausage and continue to sauté until browned. Add onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and more Cajun seasoning, if desired, and cook until vegetables are wilted. Add tomatoes and broth and heat to a simmer, then cover the pot and let this cook for at least 20 minutes. I cook mine at least an hour, allowing all of the flavors to blend together nicely.
Add rice to pot, stir well and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook until rice is just beyond al dente (20-30 minutes). Add shrimp, mixing carefully, and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes, or until shrimp are just pink. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving
22 Jul 2014
in Entrees, Main Course, Meats, Recipes
Tags: andouille, cajun, creole, food, foodie, foodporn, kidney beans, long grain rice, Louisiana, nomnom, recipes, red beans and rice, sausage, tomatoes, vegetables, white rice, yum
All Pretty in the Plate
While I didn’t grow up in Louisiana I simply love Cajun fare especially red beans and rice. I remember watching Creole Chef Justin Wilson as a teen—‘memba him?? He was a wonderful cooking inspiration and I looked forward to each of his programs with great anticipation. Justin’s Deep- South Cajun style and mannerisms made him one amusing cooking entertainer.
Recently, I had the opportunity to serve this dish to a good Cajun friend of mine. I asked for his honest opinion and critique and his exact words to me were, “Oooo wee dis give me frissons (goose bumps) they’re just like I remember!” I passed the test with flying colors—coulda been beans instead ;-)
This simple Cajun dish is easy to prepare, slightly spicy, very filling and brimming with Creole flavors. Made with Cajun seasonings and andouille sausage. This is a great Sunday dinner served with buttered, long grain rice and crusty bread.”
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper; red, green, yellow or orange or a combination, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried SAGE
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse beans, Stir cooked vegetables into beans and add tomatoes. Season with bay leaves, cayenne pepper, thyme, sage, parsley, and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir sausage into beans, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Serve beans over steamed white rice.
20 Jul 2014
This stunning display of “art meets food” was created as a commercial for Schwartz Flavour Shots, a pre-packaged soup and meal company out of the United Kingdom, who boasts “Flavour Shots—the little pots with big flavour.” This slow-motion video dubbed “The Sound of Taste” is a stunning arrangement of cinematography and pyrotechnics that creates what filmmaker Chris Cairns calls “an audiovisual feast.” To this day, when I see spices overflowing in canvas bags, this video always makes its way into the forefront of my mind. Breathtakingly tasty!
To create this ‘feast,’ Cairns was joined by musician MJ Cole and pyrotechnician Paul Mann. Together, the launching of this brainchild was deciding how to best put together a half-visual, half-auditory symphony that would entirely capture what it is like to truly experience “taste.”
What they settled on was a commercial that would show billows of spices exploding into the air in slow-motion, flawlessly synchronized to the music Cole had written.
“What does flavour look like? How does it sound? These are the questions that inspired herb and spice experts, Schwartz, to create what they describe as a ‘Sonic Flavourscape’.
Several tons of black peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, cumin seeds, ginger, chilli and coriander were rigged to explode in perfect sync with a bespoke musical composition. Each explosion represents an individual piano note or chord, which when filmed at high-speed, creates a surreal three-dimensional sound scape.
It’s been said “if ever a video deserved the title ‘mesmerizing,’ Adam Magyar’s Stainless videos are it.”
At the end of the BTS video, musician MJ Cole is heard saying, “I hope people just find it a satisfying, vibrant, colorful, exciting thing to watch.” If we’re anything to judge by, Mr. Cole’s wish came true with (pun forthcoming) flying colors.
19 Jul 2014
in Beef, Entrees, Lunch, Main Course, Meats, Recipes, Sandwiches
Tags: barbecue, basil, BBQ, beef, burger, burgers, cheese, Ciabatta, entrees, food, foodie, foodporn, grill, grilled, ground, hamburger, Italia, Italian, Italy, lunch, main dishes, mozzarella, nomnom, onions, portabella, provolone, recipes, Roma tomatoes, salami, sandwich, sandwiches, secret sauce, turkey, yum
Every time I develop something Sicilian inspired “The Godfather” theme rings incessantly in my mind and memories of my Sicilian father weigh heavily into the equation as well :-) Grazia, Daddy!
Obviously, this burger is an indulgence rather than every day fare, but as they say “variety is the spice of life.” And today I would like to offer just that. It combines all of the flavors of Old World Sicily: fresh mozzarella, smoky provolone, sweet Roma tomatoes, crisp, peppery basil and slightly spicy and salty Genoa salami lead the pack, but the simple secret sauce really packs the punch. The combinations of tastes in this decadent, juicy and flavorful burger are explosive! This is my idea of getting grilled by a Sicilian! :-) Bah da Bing!
On a side note: We achieved 1000 likes on our Facebook page!! I’d like to thank my amazing team at “Once Upon a Spice” for helping get us there and I wish a 1000 dreams come true to all of our friends and followers—after all, “you” are the reason for my season. God Bless each and every one of you!!
2 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
1/4 cup finely minced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 hamburger or ciabatta buns, split: toast if desired
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 large onion & 8 ounces of sliced baby portabellas sautéed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until slightly golden
6 slices fresh mozzarella
6 slices provolone
12 slices Genoa salami
2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
Sicilian Style Sauce:
1/2 cup mayo, 1/3 cup pasta sauce, 1/4 teaspoon tsp Italian herbs and 1/4 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan. Mix until combined and refrigerate until ready to assemble burger.
In a medium sized bowl, combine ground meat, minced onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well, and form into 6 patties.
Grill patties on BBQ; 7 minutes on each side or until spongy in the middle.
Place slices of cheese on top of each patty, cover grill and grill until cheese melts.
Spread mayo equally on bottom of each bun, place 2 slices of salami on each. Top equally with sliced tomatoes, basil leaves and burger. Top with sautéed veggies. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and top of bun. Serve while hot! This is one tasty Sicilian!
18 Jul 2014
in Beef, Chicken, Fish & Seafood, Fun Facts, Meats, Tips & Tricks
Tags: brine, brining, chicken, food, foodie, fun facts, marinade, marinades, marinating, meat, meats, poultry, recipes, Seafood
Thanksgiving in July…The Divine Brine “Roasted Turkey with Potatoes & Herbs”
No worries, today is not a Science lesson, but I want you to understand the full benefits and differences between brining and marinades. So, why brine? Today we have a visual crash course. I’m allowing the charts to tell the story because they are thorough and all inclusive. So make room on your frig for some new cooking art!
Comprehensive Chart…What Kind & How Long
When Brine Borders Marinade
Yesterday’s blog offers one simple brining recipe. However, in the future, I will be sure to suggest many brine and marinade recipes to enhance each of your cooking experiences. People will ask for your recipes time and time again after you serve them your “brined.” Marinades and brines offer an impact and tremendous flavor experiences so let’s get prepared!
17 Jul 2014
in Bacon, Chicken, Entrees, Main Course, Recipes
Tags: bacon, best, brine, brining, chicken, Copy, copycat, Country, down home, easy, food, foodie, Fried, fried chicken, gravy, KFC, main dishes, Maryland, pan gravy, poultry, quick, recipes, Southern, the best, yum
Down home country fare at it’s finest! This crispy, moist, tender, scrumptious chicken is unbelievably juicy and bursting with country flavors! I’ve tried many fried chicken recipes during my cooking tour, but always gravitate back to this one for “fried with a crust.” There are 2 ingredients in this recipe that make the flavors “pop!” I’ll let you guess which 2 they are ;-)
MFC (Maryland Fried Chicken) is perfect for Sunday dinners or when you’re entertaining guests. Serve with whipped buttered potatoes, green beans or fresh ears of corn with butter. Fresh dinner rolls are an excellent addition as well—ever try 7-Up rolls? You may need to google them for now, but the recipe is forthcoming. Enjoy Y’all!
4-8 oz boneless or bone in chicken breasts
¼ cup, kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 (or more) cups water
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp granulated chicken powder (base)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tsp poultry seasoning
6-8 oz bacon, sliced thin, fried and crumbled
Canola oil for frying
*Brining: this step is optional, but recommended. Brining adds flavor, tenderness and makes the chicken very moist. If you choose not to brine, move onto the next step.
In large plastic container, dissolve ¼ cup salt and 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar in 4 cups of water. Remove skin from chicken pieces (optional) and place in container. Add more water if necessary to cover chicken. Place lid on container and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Remove from brine and drain. Continue on to next step or place in the refrigerator for 2-8 hours to “cold dry” the pieces (optional).
Pour milk into medium-sized bowl. Add egg and beat with fork until combined; set aside. In a medium shallow bowl add flour, seasonings, baking powder, baking soda and chicken powder, mix well with fork. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, dip in milk and egg mixture and again, roll in flour mixture. If you have the time let coated pieces sit 15-30 minutes before frying, dust with additional flour if pieces become too moist. This step makes the crust extra crispy.
In a large deep cast iron skillet fry bacon until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon; drain on paper towel—set aside. Add oil to bacon drippings until about 1″ deep. Heat oil to about 375 degrees and add chicken pieces—don not crowd pieces. Cook chicken on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes per side or until juices run clear.
Transfer chicken to serving platter and top with gravy and crumbled bacon if desired.
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup whole milk or half and half
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon, chopped (optional, but recommended)
Make a roux by melting butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and continue to stir until roux is golden. Slowly stir in broth then milk, chopped parsley and tarragon, if using. Continue to whisk to keep gravy smooth. Simmer on low heat until gravy thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over fried chicken and top with additional chopped herbs and fresh cracked pepper if desired. If you really want to get bold, you can also top with crumbled bacon…AMAZING!!
16 Jul 2014
in Entrees, Fish & Seafood, Main Course, Recipes
Tags: aglio olio, best, clams, food, foodie, fun facts, garlic, Italia, Italian, Italy, main dishes, marinated, mussels, pasta, recipes, Seafood, spaghetti, tomatoes, Wine, yum
Are you a fan of the sea? Food that is! Today’s gorgeous offering, by talented self-taught Chef and honorary Sicilian Bret Clark, is a stunning display of culinary, ocean treasures that Poseidon would enthusiastically approve. This buttery sea presentation is paired with simple, yet extremely flavorful, garlicky Pasta Aglio Olio and the appropriately named “Killer Marinated Tomatoes.” Remember the crusty bread so you can sop up every delicious savory bite! Simple, luscious and beautiful! Molto Grazia for another winning combination, Bret!! Buon Appetito!!
Steamed Mussels & Clams with Pasta Aglio Olio and Marinated Killer Tomatoes!
Fresh Clams & Mussels
2-3 Dozen Fresh Clams (depending on size)
2 Dozen Fresh Mussels
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
4-5 Sliced Garlic Cloves
½ Cup White Wine
2-3 Lemons – Quartered
Pasta Aglio & Olio
1 Package Spaghetti
½ Stick Butter
¼-1/2 Cup Good Olive Oil
2-4 Minced Garlic Cloves
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1/3 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Directions for Clams & Mussels:
Heat a pot large enough to cook the clams and mussels melt butter and heat until bubbly. Add garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant. Add white wine and bring to a boil. When boiling add the clams and mussels. Squeeze the quartered lemons over the clams and but the rinds in the pot to cook along with the shellfish. Heat/steam until all of the clams and mussels have opened; remove shellfish from pot to a large serving bowl.
Meanwhile cook pasta al dente. When it’s cooked, drain. Pour olive oil into the pot and heat until hot. Add garlic and cook until translucent and fragrant. Add butter and melt. Add pasta back to the pot and stir to mix all together. Once pasta is coated with the oil/garlic/butter and heated through turn off the heat and add parsley and parmesan tossing to thoroughly mix ingredients.
Serve pasta in a bowl/plate along with the desired amount of shellfish. Spoon liquid from the shellfish over pasta. Garnish with additional parsley and/or parmesan cheese if desired.
“Killer” Marinated Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1-½ teaspoon Garlic Salt
1-½ teaspoon Seasoned Salt
¾ teaspoons Dried Thyme
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
¾ cups Extra virgin olive oil
½ cups Red Wine Vinegar
3 whole Scallions, Sliced
6 whole Tomatoes Cut Into Wedges
Whisk together all the ingredients except the tomato wedges. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for a couple of hours, stirring every now and then. Serve with lots of bread to soak up all the yummy marinade. Enjoy!
15 Jul 2014
in Cakes, Dessert, Desserts, Fruit
Tags: baked, breakfast, dessert, desserts, dolce, donut, donuts, doughnut, doughnuts, food, foodie, fruit, low fat, low sugar, natural, snack, snacks, strawberries, strawberry, treat, treats, yum
Even though strawberries are plentiful much of the year, the sweet season for our beloved succulent berry is coming to a close. I wanted to offer these luscious sweet treats while berries are still sweet on their vines. While there is far less fat and reduced sugar in this recipe, please don’t let that scare you away—these ruby gems pack a flavor punch! Since there is no frying, there isn’t much prep work and far less heat in the kitchen. All of the intense flavors are provided by Mother Nature’s berries themselves—filled with natural fresh goodness and sweetness!
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup finely chopped strawberries
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup finely chopped strawberries
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed to powder (place in a Ziploc bag, crush with rolling pin or zip in food processor)
Preheat oven 375* Spray pans with Baker’s Joy or good quality baking spray with flour. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour and all remaining dry ingredients; set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, vanilla and eggs; mix in flour mixture just until combined, fold in 2/3 cup finely chopped strawberries.
Spoon 2 1/2 Tbsp batter evenly into each well of the donut pans—I use a small cookie scoop for evenness. Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes until springy to the touch or toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes in pan then invert onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, dip top halves into glaze and allow some excess to run off, then return to wire rack, glazed side upward. Transfer donuts to freezer to allow glaze to set, about 5 minutes.
Prepare glaze just before dipping cooled donuts. In a mixing bowl, combine the other 2/3 cup of finely chopped strawberries and half of powdered sugar. Stir until mixture starts to become moist, allow to rest 1 minute. Add in remaining powdered sugar and freeze dried strawberry powder, stir until well combined. By now, mixture should have the consistency of a dip able thick glaze, if not allow to rest another minute or two until some of the liquid has been extracted from the strawberries then stir again. Do not thin with water, simply allow to rest if needed until strawberries begin to break down. Use glaze immediately, dip tops 2-3 times to get thicker top coating of glaze. Let sit on wire racks until glaze has slightly hardened. Want more sweetness? After glaze has slightly set, swirl in extra powder sugar, add some sprinkles and top off with whipped cream. Transfer to airtight container, they will keep for 2-3 days if stored in frig.
Makes a Baker’s dozen.