All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

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!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Italian salad greens with ham, apple, and roasted cranberries

Post Christmas I was suddenly ravenous for ham and raw greens, salad - anything but cookies, which seemed to have been my diet for two or three weeks.  I haunted the supermarket and came home with a fat slice of ham and Italian salad greens - baby kale, baby mizuna, baby arugula, and radicchio ( which I left out because I didn't feel it fit in)

I made a very nice little oregano salad dressing, and tested an idea for roasted cranberries.  You can use raw cranberries easily, simply sliced in half.  Nice, sour, crunchy, but I liked the idea of a sweet/sour, barely roasted berry.  I think it's a nice perky addition, but go with the raw if you prefer.

Such a nice lunch!  But..... then I discovered I had left my camera at my daughter's house on Christmas Day.  I scrambled and searched and found a 2008 Powershot and took these remarkably retro photos of that very delicious salad.  Oh, how cameras have changed!

For the greens:  
Arrange in a large salad bowl or platter

For the ham :
Slice strips of ham about 4-5 inches long, maybe 1/2 inch thick
Arrange on top of greens.

Sliced apple chunks:
Slice a Granny Smith apple into thick slices, removing the core.
Cut each slice in half and arrange on greens.

The oregano salad dressing:

3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. California olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Drizzle on top of the greens as desired.

For the roasted cranberries:
Marinate whole raw cranberries in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons sugar for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.  
Spoon the raw cranberries onto a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment.
As soon as the oven is at 350F, turn off the oven.
Slide the cranberries into the turned off oven and let sit in oven for 25 minutes.
Remove, cool, and sprinkle on salad.

A very Happy New Year to you all - hug people (and pets) you love, and believe in the goodness.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

a merry little Christmas

Wow - it's been a long time between posts, but here I am today to wish you the most wonderful Christmas and holiday!  I've been baking for friends and family, attended a delightful cookie baking and decorating party with my grandchildren, delighted in a true snowfall here in the city, made more cookies, and my Christmas biscotti, and , as always, missed my sister, especially this time of year.

Looking forward to Christmas with family, and making resolutions , which includes being a little better with posting:), taking the time to make a real meal for one or two, rather than just heating up leftovers - I tend heavily toward huge pots of soup which somehow have to be eaten.  More walks, more city exploring (though I am not a city person), some meaningful volunteering as the next year ticks closer, and political activism.  Be well, dear friends, and enjoy the day.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fresh Apple Bread puddings

It's been a while since I went food shopping, I realized last night as I searched the fridge and pantry - and the cold snap is here, further reason not to bundle up for the twenty block walk.  But - AH!  One lovely apple, some leftover rosemary bread, and eggs. I always have eggs and spices - and that meant I could make those lovely Fresh Apple Bread puddings!

You can , of course make it in a large oven-proof dish, but I usually make individual servings, using souffle cups or my little ovenproof plates. Tantalizing smells and the scent of apples and cinnamon made it really hard to wait, but wait I did, and it was well worth it.  It always makes me think of my mother, who was not a great cook, but her goulash and bread puddings were always filling and delicious.

For two servings:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl mix:

2 cups cubed bread (I used rosemary bread)  I have never used gluten-free, but I'm sure it will work just fine.
1 heaping cup peeled Granny Smith apple, cut in large dice
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted unsalted or salted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a dusting of grated nutmeg
Optional:  raisins

Distribute the pudding mixture evenly between two ovenproof dishes and bake for 40 minutes.  Let cool before serving. Top with ice cream, cream, or honey or maple syrup.

Guess who is hiding in my pantry?  Stuart the mouse, sitting in a teacup!  And a mound of gold ornaments , sitting in my casserole dish, reminding me of my stepmother's beautiful bowls of silvery and gold balls everywhere at Christmas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

turkey meatballs dijonnaise

How was your Thanksgiving?  I was invited to my daughter and family celebration on Friday - oh my, what a groaning table!

I came early to make the pumpkin roll (which I forgot to take a picture of), while Izzie (above) made a giant apple pie and my daughter tended Mr. Turkey - oh, the aromas in the kitchen were making our stomachs rumble.  And when we sat down, it was all just perfect.  What a great dinner - but I forgot to bring home leftovers!  I picked up some ground turkey yesterday and was mulling over what kind of meatball I would make, and wanted a creamy sauce.  Well, how about a dijonnaise sauce?  I found a recipe in one of the Silver Palate books and it was all that I wanted on this cold, rainy day - creamy, mustardy, not too spicy - just right.

It would be nice with some buttered noodles, if you're making it for a family dinner, and a green salad or roasted brussels sprouts, but a small plate of meatballs was just perfect for me.

Turkey meatballs dijonnaise

1 one pound package ground turkey (I always get Jennie-O)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup prepared dijon mustard (or you can use coarse-ground)
several grindings of black pepper
a few tablespoons dry vermouth or dry white wine
pinch of thyme
1/2 cup (or more) heavy cream
tiny pinch of salt after tasting the cooked meatballs (the mustard has a lot of salt in it)

Roll the ground turkey into medium meatballs.
Melt the butter in a skillet set on medium heat.
Add the mustard, pepper,thyme, and vermouth and heavy cream and whisk, then add the meatballs.  
Cook on medium-low heat, watching the meatballs carefully, and turning them with a spoon as they cook.
Remove meatballs to a serving dish, scraping the sauce over them, or, if the sauce has soaked into the meatballs, just add another 1/3 cup heavy cream to the skillet and heat.
Drizzle the hot sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with minced parsley.

I pass this enormous tree on the sidewalk everyday - now that the snow has melted, this little bouquet of green leaves nestled in the roots of the tree is a happy sight -