All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chopped kale salad with cranberries, breadcrumbs, and clementine juice

Busy, busy!  Several windy days in Minneapolis which found me curled up with several Brian Jacques books discovered while unpacking the last few boxes, though I did make that glorious Tuscan Tomato soup on an especially chilly day.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I tinkered with that kale salad recipe I made in July today - making it with dried cranberries, no garlic or parmesan, and freshly squeezed clementine juice, but keeping the toasted breadcrumbs and olive oil.  It's such a pretty, unmessy side, and a nice addition to the table.  Instead of mincing it by hand, I used the Cusinart for chopping very, very carefully - just a few pulses.  The kale needs to be completely dry, if it isn't you may end up with kale pesto:)

 Chopped kale salad with cranberries, breadcrumbs, and clementine juice

1 large bunch dinosaur kale, very dry
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed clementine or orange juice
  (you can also substitute lemon juice - just use a little less)
3 slices bread, toasted, cooled, then pulsed in a Cusinart to make bread crumbs (you can use gluten-free bread for this if needed)
2 cups dried cranberries
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Tear the kale leaves off the stems.
Working in batches ( I did three batches), add the kale to a very dry food processor, keeping it loose and not packed down, and pulse three times until kale is finally chopped.  Remove to a bowl and continue in batches until all the kale is shopped.

Using the same food processor bowl to pulse the bread until it makes medium-fine crumbs.

Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan, heat, then add the breadcrumbs.  With heat on medium, stir the crumbs until toasted, then scrape into the bowl with the kale.  Toss gently, then add the cranberries , salt, and lemon or clementine juice, and toss again.
Taste and correct seasonings before serving.

Looking back at my posts, they all seem to be about kale, don't they?  I do love kale, and the kale around here is fabulous, whether big or small leafed, or dinosaur kale - it's all fresh and delicious.  I did make TWO carrot cakes for Anni's birthday, two days apart because the first went so quickly - (ahem, I might have had something to do with that:)

A Happy, wonderful Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 9, 2015

my secret indulgence (sweet pastry cream)

A sunny, beautiful day again after a few very chilly mornings and finally, a freeze.  The household has been battling revolving strep for the last week or so;  today Anni, my daughter in law, has it for the second time, my daughter just succumbed, and Isadora is miserably sick.  The boys were sick last week with it - I hope lots of fresh air and keeping my bedroom door shut will keep me healthy and strep-free.

In between illnesses, they all went on a hike on Saturday, while I stayed home to cry over my computer and try to figure out how to fix the iPhoto problem - as in, finding a way to download my pictures from the camera into the second iPhoto page my daughter set up for me.  Total flop.  I went for a walk, came home, and whisked together my favorite sweet dessert - creme patissiere, straight.  No tart shell, no chocolate, no strawberries, just warm sweet pastry cream in my new little Weck pot, with my tiny spoon from Paris. 


And this morning I figured out how to find the new pictures, wonder of wonders!  

creme patissiere (sweet pastry cream)

You will need a heavy-bottomed pot to make this, and a wooden spoon and a whisk.

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon good vanilla, or a scraped vanilla bean
1/4 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat the milk in the saucepan on medium heat, adding the vanilla and the sugar and stirring constantly.  When sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from heat and set aside.

In a bowl or mixer bowl, place egg yolks and sugar and whip until the mixture is thick and a pale, pale yellow, then add the flour and whip a little longer.

Add half the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisk or stir quickly, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan, whisking all the while, and set the pan back on the heat. The mixture will become thick very quickly - make sure you continue to whisk or stir.  When it's thickened, take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter and eat immediately:)

This recipe can be doubled with no problems.

Friday, November 6, 2015

friday serendipity

Another week, another glitch in my posting format - once again iPhoto is not working, which may be the internet provider -  or gremlins cavorting around Blogger.  Many apologies and hopes it gets worked out.

In the meantime:

Today re-reading the book I gave to Isadora in 2012 about Julia Child, full of charming drawings and stories that make me chuckle all over again:  It's called Bon Appetit:  the delicious life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland, and it is grand and funny, and perfect for pretty much anyone on your Christmas list.  You can find it here.

Half the time I can't remember who I'm following anywhere, so it was a delightful surprise to start reading a blog called Dash and Bella, a vibrant, tumbling food/life/children blog with gorgeous pictures and a rollicking writing style.

And it being November, I'm fired up to start making all my favorite foods, from turkey to cranberries - you can find some drool-worthy recipes right here from Damn Delicious.

And cranberries from my home state of Massachusetts are showing up in the Minneapolis stores, leading to a flurry of baking these muffins.

I had a version of this butternut pasta dish a few weeks ago:  SO good, warming and filling and utterly delicious.

Have a wonderful weekend - and hope my glitches get fixed soonest!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

wilted kale with garlic and kidney beans

How can it be October 27th already?  Autumn in Minneapolis is mild - most days I wear a vest as I walk around the neighborhoods, and the trees are very slowly turning color.  There have been a few chilly mornings, but no frost or bitter winds - quite a change from New Hampshire, when I would be rushing out to cover my herbs and flowers with a sheet on cold nights. 

And leaves might be falling, but in Minneapolis people keep their green lawns leaf free and tidy, while giant trucks vacuum up the side streets.  Pumpkins by the front doors, and still- blooming flowers make for a very pretty walk to the stores.

Since I'm home, I've been making more meals for the family:  hasty lunch box meals for the three grandchildren (2, 5, and 9) and healthy supper menus.  Izzie follows a mostly gluten-free diet, Frankie is picky, and Noah, the baby, tastes everything.  He's the one that chooses stinky French cheeses at the Co-op:)   When I made this kale last night, he ate some, then promptly finished off the rest on the platter.  I love it because it cooks so quickly but still retains its kale flavor, unlike spinach.  I added a handful or two of cooked kidney beans, because they pair so well together in my Portuguese kale soup.  

wilted kale with garlic and kidney beans

4 cups kale, torn from stems
1/2 cup water (more if needed)
1 peeled garlic clove
3/4 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes or hot sauce

Place the water in the pot, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and cook on high heat just until wilted, stirring constantly.

Drain if needed, sprinkle with kosher salt,  and serve at once.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

beet salad with oregano and lemon

Early this morning I found the bag of beets that came in the CSA box - deep, rich ruby red skins that reminded me of how good beet soup can be -I wanted to make a velvety smooth, deeply colored soup.  I tended to the simmering beets while packing the school lunches , drained then, cooled them and began to rub off the soft skins.  What a surprise!  Not red at all, but the pale colors of a sunrise!  

Ok, plan B it will be.  Gently diced and drizzled with a light citrus dressing, a sprinkle of oregano leaves from a pot on the windowsill, perfect for an early lunch.

Beet salad with lemon juice dressing

About two handfuls of beets - I had some very small and some medium ones.
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tiny oregano leaves, or slivered large leaves
2 small handfuls arugula

Simmer the beets in a saucepan of water until tender, then drain and cool until they are easy to handle.
Rub off the skins very gently, then dice into 1 inch pieces.  I had just under 2 cups of diced beets - just enough for two.
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and most of the oregano in a small bowl.
Arrange the arugula leaves on two plates, then spoon on the beets.  
Top with the dressing and a few more oregano leaves

Serves 2.

Very early this morning I was sitting in the courtyard here, when I sensed some movement in the hosta plantings - a tiny little brown bunny sat and stared right back at me, then calmly hopped away.   Rabbits are a terrible pest here, which is why I see so much hosta - it's about the only thing rabbits will not eat!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

roasted delicata squash with quinoa and cranberries

Our last farm share was a bonanza, with three delicata squashes, one of our favorite squashes lately.  One night I simply washed two of them, sliced them into 1 1/2 inch rounds (seeds and all), brushed them with melted butter, and roasted for 45 minutes.  Leaving the seeds intact lends a slightly richer flavor, but it was tedious to scrape away all the seeds after serving, especially for the children present.  They had no problem eating the soft peel, with a certain delight, though.

For lunch today I settled on a whole squash, split and deseeded, roasted again for 45 minutes, and filled with a quinoa and dried cranberry filling, then drizzled with a light citrus sauce, topped with fresh sage leaves. Really, really lovely  and light, and a pleasure to still see green plants here in Minneapolis, which has not yet had a frost.

Delicata squash with quinoa and dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375F.

one medium Delicata squash, split lengthwise and deseeded
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter 

Arrange the squash halves on a baking sheet, drizzle with butter, then roast for 45 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, make the quinoa:

Place in a heavy bottomed sauce pan:

1/2 cup white quinoa
1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
2 pinches kosher salt
1 pinch dried thyme leaves
a few grindings of black pepper

1 cup dried cranberries (stirred in after cooking)

Bring the quinoa to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring every now and then.  I kept the pot covered for a half an hour, then uncovered it.  If there is still a lot of liquid, simmer until it is absorbed.  Remove pot from heat and add the cranberries.

Orange juice and olive oil dressing:

4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Slice off the ends of the squash (only if you want to, and I did), cut each squash in half, and place on 4 plates.  Drizzle with orange dressing , top with whole or slivered sage leaves, and serve. 

Wasn't that easy?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

chilled radish soup

As I was scrubbing the garden dirt off the radishes this morning, I suddenly remembered a soup in one of Lee Bailey's cookbooks (which did not move to Minnesota with me) - a light lunch or supper soup.  I made it once years ago, but thought it was very bland, I think in part because you simmered the fresh radishes until soft, along with potatoes.  This morning I thought, why not skip the cooking?  Perfect!  The peppery zing of the radishes was intact so this recipe will be a keeper during fresh radish season - and such a pretty pink!

Fresh Radish Soup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped white onions
3/4 cup sliced white potatoes
water to just cover the potatoes for boiling
1 cup hot chicken stock
1 1/2 cups washed and sliced radishes
kosher salt to taste

Cook the onions until soft in the butter and set aside.
Simmer the potatoes until soft and drain.
Place the hot bouillon in a blender, add the potatoes and onions and blend until 
smooth, then add the radishes and blend again. It will be a very pretty pink.  Taste and add a little kosher salt if you think it needs it.  

Serve room temperature or chilled a bit, with some bread and butter sandwiches.


Sunday we went to a wonderful open house at the Holz Farm - a farm that was worked from the 1860's until 1993 - it is now protected in a sea of houses and condominiums nearby, and open to the public for special events - this was one of them.  Geared to children, there were farm animals to pet, ponies to ride.  A virtual cow (really!) to teach the kids how to milk a cow.  A country band, and an accordion group kept the children whirling and hopping.  In the kitchen they were making butter in a jar, and the old farm trucks and shucking machines were proudly displayed in a field, along with pumpkins and corn shucks.  They even had an old washboard and tub for the kids to try out, doing laundry.  I wandered around, falling in love with the old truck and the charming milk house next to the barn - and grateful that this wonderful old farm has been saved.