Porcini Salt Minute Steaks with Rosti

When I first saw this recipe in Donna Hay's
most recently published book
"Fast, Fresh, Simple"
I was quite intrigued by the concept.

Thinly sliced Sirloin beef steak, (or beef
filet, sliced into thin steaks) are brushed with oil*, 
then sprinkled with porcini mushroom salt ~ a unique twist
on steak and mushrooms.

* I love this tip from Donna: When ready to sear
the meat, heat skillet over high heat, while skillet is heating
brush the meat with oil (rather than putting the oil in the
pan), This saves clean-up, and there is much less spattering ~

Use a spice grinder, small food processor or blender to
grind the dried porcini and sea salt into a fine
powder. (if you don't grind it finely enough it will taste gritty.)

Because the steaks are so thin they pan sear
in just a couple of minutes, then served with
 the delicious rosemary rosti. I love the
contrast in textures; tender, juicy steak and
crunchy, flavorful potato!

The crisp and lacy
potato discs can be made a short time
ahead and held until ready
on a rack in a warm oven until you're ready to plate.

Serve additional Porcini Salt on the side for those who
prefer a more pronounced mushroom flavor.

It's flavorful and is quick to put together;
perfect for a weeknight supper. I'll definitely make
this one again.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe,
you'll find it here on my recipe blog.

If you try it, I hope you like it too!

~mari xo


Drawing winners announced!


We have two winners for the drawing/giveaway
for the OXO Julienne slicers!

Congratulations to:

Amy (U Try It)


Joycelyn (Happy Cottage Quilter)

Ladies, if you would be so kind as to email
me your mailing addresses I'll make
sure Amazon sends your slicers right away.

onceuponaplate [at] gmail
(dot) com

Thank you everyone for entering,
and for your very kind comments!!


Hope everyone on the East Coast stays
safe ~ my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Blessings to all, Mari


Spicy Smokey Chicken Sandwiches & Flavorful Give Away!


Recently I was given the opportunity to sample
a set of natural herb seasoning blends offered
by  the Ariosto Spa Buccinasco company in Italy.

And the exciting news is that the kind people from this fine
company have invited me to have a drawing
for the same gift pack to two of my followers!

Here is the generous gift two winners will receive ~
full size containers of a variety of
herb seasonings, specially blended, using
all natural herbs and sea salt, sent to you
directly from Italy!

I've been having fun in the kitchen using the
seasonings ~ they are perfect for adding
unique and delicious flavors to grilled, roasted, or
sauteed meats, poultry, vegetables as well
as eggs and stews.

Most recently I made these 
Smokey-Spicy grilled chicken breast sandwiches.

Just brush or spoon the marinade ~ (recipe below)
over boneless/skinless chicken breasts, (sliced
in half lengthwise, to make them thinner.)
Allow to marinate while your grill is heating up. 

You can grill them outdoors, or inside on a stove-top
grill.  They only take a few minutes to cook ~ and
during that time you can mix up the simple
Lemon-Aioli for the sandwiches.

Ingredients for Sandwich:

For two servings:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise 
to make 4 thin cutlets.


In a container large enough to hold the sliced chicken,
 mix together:
1 teaspoon Aristo meat poultry seasoning 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Spread/brush mixture on both sides of chicken slices.

2 Sandwich Rolls
Lettuce, washed and chilled 
Tomatoes, sliced

Lemon Aioli:

Blend together 1/4 cup good mayonnaise,
plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice until thoroughly blended.

Grill the chicken, mix aioli, toast sandwich rolls if desired.
(While chicken is on the grill mix aioli.) 
Spread 1/2 of the aioli on the base of 
each sandwich bun, top with 2 chicken slices, lettuce,
sliced tomatoes ~ and enjoy! 

These received high praise here ~ and that always
makes me happy.

This recipe was adapted from Donna Hay ~ I must
say, the additional herb blend from Ariosto Spa Buccinasco
truly put the flavor over-the-top!

The Drawing Details 

Open to the continental USA and CANADA! :)

1.) Be a Google Follower of my blog (upper right column) and 
leave a comment here just saying you want to be a part of
this drawing.

2. Another chance to win ~ if you are a member
of facebook click "like" on

Ariosto Spa Buccinasco's page

and mention it in your comment here on my blog.

3. One MORE chance to win ~ spread the word on
your blog and/or facebook about this give-away,
and mention it in your comment here for another
chance to win.

Entries will be accepted from Tuesday, October 23rd until
October 30th, 2012 @ 9PM (Pacific Time).

Winner will be announced here on November 1, 2012.


It was a pleasure to be given the Herb Sampler Library
 and the opportunity to review these products from Ariosto Spa Buccinasco.

Thank you for stopping by and best of luck to all who enter!  

~ Mari 


Veggie Rolls with Dipping Sauces ~ & a GIVE-AWAY!!

(For Give Away details, scroll to bottom of post)

Spring or Summer Rolls are a delicious treat any time
of year ~ easy to put together, and the fillings
are limited only by your imagination. I like to
serve them as a light meal, or appetizer.

The dipping sauces are really easy to 
stir together ~ each one adds it's own
character to the rolls.
I LOVE variety!

I like to think of these as a salad in a roll ~
and if you are eating gluten-free, you will
be happy to know the wrappers are made of
rice flour, not wheat. 

You'll want to have your filling ingredients
ready, because once you soak the rice wrappers
briefly in a shallow dish of water, you're ready
to roll.

I usually use whatever I have on hand for the
filling; this time it was baby spinach (cut into 1/4-inch ribbons)
julienne carrots (I used them raw, but you can steam them),
julienne English cucumber, slivered scallions, steamed
shrimp (sliced in half, lengthwise for easy rolling),
and slices of avocado.

My new favorite kitchen gadget ~ it makes perfect julienne
cuts; great for wraps, sandwiches, garnishes, salads and soups,
etc.  You can win one in my give away! (see below)

If you've ever struggled with rolling rice wrappers
tearing, or falling apart as you assemble them, here's a helpful hint:

 Double the wrappers for each roll ~ Working with
a pair of wrappers, dip each one in a shallow dish of
water one at a time. Lay the first one you dip
flat on your work surface upon a clean, 
damp kitchen towel (or damp paper towel.)
Then dip the second wrapper until pliable and place
it directly upon the first wrapper, gently pressing out
any air bubbles or excess water, then fill and
roll. You'll find the roll won't be as likely to tear.

Need directions for rolling?
Here's a good, short youtube video that you
may find helpful:

Once assembled, the rolls can be placed in the
refrigerator (covered with a damp cloth or paper towel)
for a couple of hours. The wrappers become tougher
if stored much longer than a few hours.

Serve with your choice of dipping sauces;
usually I just make one dipping sauce, but
this time I wanted to try two others
besides my favorite Lime, Garlic & Red Chili
(Spicy-Sweet Red or Green Chili):
Offering a couple of dipping sauces completely
changes the flavors of the rolls ~ 
Incidentally these are
really good with pot stickers, as well as 
drizzled over grilled or poached chicken,
fish, prawns or crab.

From top ~ clockwise;
Sesame-Lime, Hoisin-Peanut,
Spicy-Sweet Red or Green Chili

You can find printable recipes for these three sauces over on
'Once Upon a Plate ~ Recipes'.
G I V E   A W A Y!

What? A chance to win one of two
OXO Julienne Slicers, my new favorite kitchen gadget.

When? Entries will be accepted until October 26, 2012
at 9:00PM Pacific Time.
Winners will be announced October 28th. 

How to enter:

#1. Be a registered follower of my blog
(see top, upper right column) and mention
it in your comment

#2. And leave a comment on this post 
naming one of your favorite condiments/sauces. 
(It doesn't have to be an Asian sauce ~anything goes!)

Double your chances!

#3. Follow me on Facebook and
'like' or comment on my post about these rolls.
After you've done so, come back here and
enter a separate comment and your name
will be entered into the drawing twice.


The sticky details ~

Due to shipping restrictions this contest is open
to the continental US only.
My apologies to my friends and followers outside of
the continental US.

Full Disclosure: This drawing is sponsored
and funded by OnceUponaPlate. I have
received no reimbursement whatsoever
from the folks at OXO.
Not feeling so lucky?
Don't fret! 
You can learn more (and order one if you want)
over at amazon.com, just click the image above.
There is no obligation to order.
Have a wonderful week everyone!
Blessings! ~m.

A Twist on Moussaka ~ Greece Meets France!

Greece meets France in this twist I devised as a shortcut for
the Greek dish Moussaka, using what I had on hand 
(most noticeably not enough eggplant to make the traditional Greek version!)

Instead, with some odds and ends of fresh vegetables from the 
late harvest I made a batch of oven roasted Ratatouille, then proceeded
with an adaptation of Moussaka.

Ratatouille ~ deliciously French!

I don't really use an exact recipe for ratatouille and that's just 
what I love about dishes like this ~the option of adapting it to 
suit ones own taste (or according to what combinations 
of vegetables you happen to have.)

You see in the photo from back to front:
Red and Green Bell Peppers, Onion, whole garlic cloves and Zucchini,
Slender purple eggplant and ripe tomato chunks.

That being said, I prepare oven roasted Ratatouille 
much like this as found on about.com/French Food.

It's wonderful to have a bowl of this savory treat
in the fridge; good on toasted baguette slices, as a topping 
or base for scrambled or fried eggs, as a side
dish with fowl or meats, or main dish with grains, rice, or pasta.

 If it's not served warm, it's really best at room temperature
so take it out of the refrigerator about 45 minutes
to an hour before serving.

Moussaka ~ Delightfully Greek!

This time when making moussaka, instead of the usual eggplant 
(or combination of eggplant and potatoes) as the vegetable layers 
I used the ratatouille as the base layer, then a layer of spiced, sauteed minced lamb (you can use ground beef, or a mix of lamb and beef). I've seen
versions omitting the meat altogether.

Right out of the oven. 
(It serves more neatly if allowed to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.)

Over the meat another layer of the ratatouille, 
and finally topped with a layer Bechamel sauce 
( medium-thick white sauce) and a dusting of grated 
Parmesan cheese. The Parmesan cheese sprinkle on the 
Bechamel sauce develops an appetizing golden brown
while baking.

Keeper!! This can be assembled ahead and refrigerated
until baking time; and it reheats well, too.

Using the ratatouille for the veggie(s) may not be
"real" moussaka, but it is very, very good!

If you would like a recipe for authentic
Greek Moussaka, this one is a favorite. 
(I'm not sure I'll go back though!)

Thank you for stopping by today!

Blessings ~ m. xo

Warm Savory Mini-Cheesecakes with Dressed Baby Greens

Another brilliant recipe from Jacques Pepin ~ he 
explains he tasted something very similar to
this in a restaurant while vacationing in the Alsace 
region of France. Though there it was served
in a pastry crust. 

He used the same idea, but
baked the cheesecake mixture in small ramekins,
the insides buttered and sprinkled with fresh
bread crumbs to facilitate easy removal from
the molds.

I adore the contrast in flavors and textures here;
the warm, creamy little cheesecakes liven up
the simply dressed, crispy greens.

Rich, yet light and tender it was love at 
first bite ~ the delicate cheesecake
practically melts in your mouth. 

Whipped cream cheese, a little sour cream, 
eggs and a few crumbles of blue cheese are the key

Merci beaucoup to Chef Pepin for another winner!

I'll definitely be making this recipe again. 
And if you try it, I hope you love it as well. :)

A printable copy 
can be found on my recipe blog.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Blessings, Mari xo

A Sampling of my food . . .


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