All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

poached salmon and noodle salad bowl

If you're a fish lover like me, you always make sure you have a stash of tinned sardines and mackerel in the pantry, and at least one of those packages (found at Target, of all places) of frozen salmon.  If you have leftover baked salmon, all the better. 

And so it was today, waking up with my fish craving.  I'm catching up to the bowl craze because it's so much fun to assemble from leftovers: the fettuccine was from two nights ago, the salad dressing mixed up for today's lunch (I thought I was having a romaine salad so I made it up last night).

Poached salmon and noodle salad

The dressing:
2 tablespoons mild olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium garlic, peeled and pressed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 teaspoon capers
scant teaspoon dry tarragon
Fresh dill if you have it (I didn't)

Mix together and set aside.

I-2 cup leftover noodles or fettuccine
1 cup or more flaked leftover salmon, or thawed and poached or cooked in a skillet 
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Drizzle the salmon, greens, and noodles with the dressing and toss before serving.

No politics today, just a reminder to Keep Calm and Carry On.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

soft vanilla pudding with nutmeg

When I woke up early this morning, I did the usual - make coffee, brush teeth, do my back exercises, do my knee exercises.  It was only when I poured my coffee and took a sip that I realized my stomach was in a grumpy mood.  I set aside the coffee, and stared at Mr. Rabbit, who, being made of cast iron, never has indigestion. 

I was all set up to make a vegetable chowder of sorts but even thinking about it made me feel a little green, so I gave up on that idea instantly.

I wanted something besides peppermint tea, but the only thing I thought of was a lovely vanilla flavored pudding.  Searching for a recipe, I saw a lot of recipes that used eggs, but I've never used eggs in the puddings I've made in the past.  So, ok, eggless vanilla pudding. Eggless soft vanilla pudding, with a little shower of nutmeg and cinnamon, the way I always made it , when I was in a pudding mood.  Googling, I found a perfect recipe from the New York Times, which you can find here.  I made a half a recipe, because I was low on milk, but will certainly make the full recipe once I get to the store.  

It's as I said, a soft pudding, and I only let it sit in the fridge for half an hour, to chill - not long enough to firm up much, but I couldn't wait.  I'll be making this again - it's light but creamy and the vanilla adds a richness, along with the cinnamon and nutmeg I grated over it.

Be well!

PS/  How about those Patriots!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

red chard and lentil soup with lemon

It has been super chilly the last few days in Minnesota - and perfect soup or stew weather - and a good time to look through the vegetable crisper drawer, which was stuffed to the brim.  Right on top, there was that beautiful bunch of red chard that I kept meaning to cook up, but there was so much of it!

My plan was to make a soup or stew, and use the leftover chard perhaps for a quiche or tart, and I wanted something new.  I googled chard and scrolled, and found this recipe from Martha Stewart.  I almost always follow a new recipe exactly, and then change it up the second time I make it - but this one was perfect just as it was written, though I did substitute salsa for tomato paste. I was a little dubious that it would use the whole bundle of chard, to be honest - but I used every bit of it.  You do have to do a little prep with the chard, dividing the stems (which are chopped into 1 inch pieces), from the leaves (which are simply sliced, also in 1 inch ribbons).

And it was delicious, with plenty left over to freeze for later.  

Red Chard and Lentil Soup

1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (for sauteing)
2 tablespoons good salsa (I use Green Mountain Gringo)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
kosher salt to taste, fresh pepper to taste
pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 cup lentils
5 cups water
one bunch fresh red chard, divided into stems and leaves and chopped into 1 inch pices
1/2 large lemon, squeezed in just before serving

Saute the onion and olive oil until soft.
Add the salsa, oregano, thyme, and hot pepper flakes and stir.
Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, covered.  Taste ( and make sure lentils aren't crunchy and undercooked) and add a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Add the chopped chard stems and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chopped leaves and cook for 20 minutes more.  I added the leaves in three batches - they cooked down very quickly.
Remove from heat and squeeze the lemon juice into the soup before serving.
This freezes very well.

I visited that beautiful greenhouse at Como Park again - deliciously warm and steamy in the jungle room (so steamy my camera fogged up), and this pretty 10" tree in the bonsai room.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

cheesy potato stacks

It is a gloomy, overcast day today in Minnesota - matching my mood lately.  But remembering this recipe from RecipeTin Eats got me into the tiny kitchen I have, and an hour later, eating these buttery potato stacks with a smile on my face.  

I decided to try using both the small red potatoes and the sweet potatoes I had in the cupboard - the last time I made them I think I used yellow Finns, I believe - and also to oil each cup with olive oil, the last time I made them they stuck to the tin.  On re-reading the recipe just now, I also missed the advice to put the topping cheese on after the stacks had baked, then briefly melting cheese on top, which would certainly be a little tidier:)  But it tasted as wonderful as the first time, if not quite photo-ready.

These are made in a metal muffin tin - regular size, not the Texas size I usually use.

Cheesy potato stacks:

A 12 hole metal muffin tin
olive oil for oiling

Several potatoes, not too large, no more than 2 inches in diameter, sliced fairly thin

The topping:
1/2 cup cream or half and half
4 tablespoons melted butter
kosher salt - about 1/2 teaspoon
freshly cracked pepper
1 + cup shredded cheddar or other melting cheese
fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem

Oil the muffin tin.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Slice the potatoes, not too thin, not too thick
Mix together the melted butter, salt, and pepper.

Stack the potato slices halfway up the muffin hole, add a hefty pinch of cheese, then stack the rest of the way up to the top. Drizzle with the cream/butter mixture.

Continue until the muffin tin is full.
Slide potato stacks into hot oven, and bake 35 minutes, or until stacks are soft when poked with a fork.
Remove stacks from oven, sprinkle with cheese and the thyme leaves, and slide back into the oven to melt the cheese - about five or so minutes.

Remove to cool, then carefully remove each stack to a platter or plate- I found a fork to work very well for this.

These are great for anytime - breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner side, or party food.

Hope you have a terrific day!

Friday, January 13, 2017

seared brussels sprouts with red onion, rosemary, and lemon

Another chilly, chilly day in Minnesota.  After a quick (very quick!) walk, I decided to clean the overloaded fridge.  Jams, jellies, soups, and a bag of brussels sprouts I had completely forgotten about.

Like Julia Child, I like my vegetables gently cooked until tender, rather than nearly raw.  After preparing them by trimming the stem and peeling off discolored leaves, I quartered them and added some slices of pretty red onion and a sprig of rosemary to the pot.  When they were just barely tender when poked with a fork, I drained them and did a quick sear in a little butter and oil - followed by a good squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.  Oh so good!

Seared Brussels Sprouts:

2 cups cleaned and quartered brussels sprouts (mine were quite large, if yours are smaller, you can cut them in half instead of quarters)
a large sprig of rosemary
several slices of red onion
water to just cover the sprouts

For the saute:
2 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch of thyme
2 pinches kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
several squeezes of fresh lemon juice - about a tablespoon

Cook the sprouts in the water until just barely fork tender, then drain. 

Add the olive oil, thyme, and butter to a frying pan, then add the drained brussels sprouts and onion. Try to let them sear a little before gently stirring them with a large spoon and continuing to sear.  Just before you turn off the burner, add the squeezes of lemon juice and salt and stir gently.

Mound on a platter and serve immediately.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January and a farro and bean soup

What a month.  What a month - can I just fill up this page with those words? It's only the 12th and I feel like burying my head under a very large pillow. So.  The election .  The freezing cold here in Minnesota.  The snow.  The post election.  The cold wind.

There were a few days when I just didn't go out - and the larder was emptying fast.  I had been scrolling for a new soup recipe and found one from Williams-Sonoma - and it called for farro, which I just happened to have on hand.  And beans, also on hand.  I had fresh tomatoes, but no canned, kale but no spinach, so it really turned into a different soup than the one pictured.  I'll make this again, but with those diced, canned tomatoes with basil and lovely juices.   I have mixed feelings about the farro, chewy and different, but not really OHMYGOSH good.  It was a little bland for my taste, so I added more dried basil and tarragon, a nice little perkiness to the soup.  I also think those nice plump chicken and herb sausages would be good - in January, any sausage is welcome, don't you think?

Stay warm and read a book - or three, or ten!  And be kind to yourself and others.

                          Take care, and enjoy winter, wherever you are!                              

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

overnight oats with fresh cherries

A bracing, cold, cold day here, 3 degrees but feels much colder because of the wind. I was going to make my usual pot of oatmeal this morning, but got distracted reading the front of the Quaker Oats box, where there was a little banner saying Try Overnight Oats! Even though many of my food blogger friends have made oats this way, I have not.  But when that beloved Quaker gentleman on the package suggests them, I thought, I really should try them. A very dim memory of seeing the oatmeal box on the kitchen counter when I was little popped up.  I double checked with my brother, and sure enough - he said we had it often through our childhood on the Cape.  So my memory of seeing the box from a child's height on the kitchen counter was right, after all.  And I, of course, bought it for my children's breakfasts, continuing the tradition.

So I did make the overnight oats, but made it in the morning with fresh cherries, so that I could have it in the afternoon.  Very different from cooked oatmeal, but good  - and it'll be fun to come up with more combinations of fruits and spices.  It also fits into my exercise and diet plans, so I encourage you to give it a try .

Overnight oats with fresh cherries

This makes one serving.

Take a clean mason jar or Weck jar that will hold 1 and a half cups.

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk (you can also use almond or coconut milk)
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
a shake of cinnamon
Stir briefly , then add:

1/2 cup or more fresh pitted cherries (or bananas, or strawberries)
a drizzle of honey
Cover and set in fridge for several hours or overnight.

Off to make some more - it was delicious!