All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Italian turkey meatballs

Settling in finally, though I still look at that tiny gas stove warily.  But yesterday I was so hungry I finally made those turkey meatballs I love so much - perfect for snacks and/or an actual sit down supper.  They're super simple to make, quick to cook, and loaded with freshly chopped herbs.

To make you will need:

1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons sliced scallion tops (the green part)
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1 extra-large egg (the egg makes the meatballs very tender)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
lots of black pepper (lost my pepper grinder in the move) - I used boxed pepper
1 or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (for the cooking)

First, wash your hands.
Place the turkey, parsley, egg, thyme, salt, pepper, and scallions in a medium bowl.
Stir the mixture until it is well combined.
Pinch off tablespoon sized pieces of the mixture and roll carefully into balls, setting the balls on a platter.  The mixture is quite sticky.

Wash your hands again, then pour the olive oil into a medium sized frying pan and heat on medium.
Using a large spoon, move all the meatballs into the frying pan, cover, and cook for ten minutes.  Uncover the pan, and use the spoon to roll the meatballs over, then cover again.  Cook another ten minutes.  Take a meatball out and cut in half to make sure the ground turkey is cooked and not pink.  Remove from heat and serve - or set aside to cool before placing in the fridge.  I like to serve it with salsa, but you can also use guacamole or hummus as a side.

This usually makes about 25 meatballs, depending on size.


A year ago : kale salad with breadcrumbs and garlic
2 years ago:  fresh cherry scones with lemon zest

Sunday, June 26, 2016

a new apartment

Ah, here I am - in a different city (Saint Paul, MN) and a new little apartment .  Moving again so soon meant lots and lots of naps, packing and unpacking, walking in a brand new neighborhood - and getting used to my very tiny (but cute!) city kitchen.  The stove is propane, which I'm very, very wary of, especially as the only smoke detector is entirely too close to the stove.  I have been making quick picnic food - grilling and sauteing will have to wait.  Ah, you noticed there is no counter?  I didn't realize it for THREE days:)  But all is well, and I look forward to slowly getting back to some new recipes.

                                                             the kitchen
                            kale with onions, peppers, blistered tomatoes, basil  
lovely June strawberries almost every day

sardines in olive oil and hot pepper sauce & lemon

Happy almost end of June!

Monday, May 9, 2016

rainbow chard, baby tomatoes and sorrel with red wine vinaigrette

Oh, my, life has been busy!  For months I've been searching for a place back in beloved New Hampshire, then, when that turned up nothing affordable, the Minneapolis area.  I move at the end of the month , yet again rooms filled with boxes.  But plenty of walks to take in the beauty of the season here, the flowering trees are truly stunningly beautiful.  A visit to Lake Nokomis, to watch the ducks and ducklings.  A visit to a community garden, picking rhubarb for stewing and sorrel for this light supper one night.  Oh, the colors and tastes of May!  Many walks with the new puppy, Maisie, take me outside more than usual - she has yet to get the whole potty training down pat. It reminds me of those days with my then-toddler children:)  And all those new friends I've made out here have made my days busier and full of good conversation and rambles - and good food.

Rainbow chard, tomatoes, and sorrel with red wine vinaigrette :

5 leaves (stems included) rainbow chard, roughly cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1-2 heaping cups baby yellow and red tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh sorrel, thinly sliced
about 1/2 cup water - more if needed
kosher salt and lots of freshly ground pepper

Place the olive oil and water in a stainless steel frying pan and heat.
Add the chard and tomatoes and cook, covered, until wilted.
Uncover and add the sorrel, cook until the chard stems are a little soft, and the tomatoes are just about to burst.
Drain, if necessary (I had no water left, but you might)

The vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon good olive oil

Mix well and pour over the vegetables, toss gently.  Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, then the sorrel leaves and serve.
Serves two.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

leek greens and sweet potato frittata

After making that creamy, oh-so-delicious vichyssoise the other day, the leftover leek greens greeted me every time I opened the fridge door.  Yes, I am one of those people who tries not to waste food and feels guilty every time I throw away yet another icky bag of old arugula or fresh spinach.

Wait a minute - what about a frittata? I poked through the fridge to see what might go with sauteed leek greens and found the fresh chives and a sweet potato.  The light green middle part of the leeks I washed carefully, then cut into 2 inch pieces and tossed in the food processor for a quick blitz - just enough to mince them - then did a quick saute in olive oil to soften them before adding them to the egg mixture.  It was so good I'm sorry there are no leftovers today  - it was last night's supper and it went very quickly!

Leek and sweet potato frittata

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut off the light green leaves from the leftover leek greens and wash well. 
Cut into 2 inch pieces and briefly pulse in the food processor.  I ended up with 1 1/2 cups - if you have more, you can keep it in a container in the freezer to add to soups.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter in a skillet and add the leek greens.  Saute on medium-low until the greens are soft.  Take off heat and scrape into a bowl.  

The frittata:

Oil a 9 or 10 inch glass pie plate and set aside.

Mix together:

6 extra-large eggs
1 heaping cup of the cooked leek greens
kosher salt or Spike vegetable salt to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 cup grated, peeled sweet potato (I used a box grater - it was surprisingly easy)
lots of freshly grated pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Scrape mixture into the prepared pie pan and bake 20-25 minutes, or until the frittata is firm and golden on top.  Remove to cool before cutting into slices.

Monday, April 25, 2016

vichyssoise with fresh chives and thyme

What a wonderful way to celebrate my blog getting fixed (thank you, Kelci) - four distressing days I never want to go through again, when my account was suspended due to a questionable email I had gotten.  I was out for a walk two days ago, worrying and hyperventilating, when I saw my neighbor's two enormous chive plants and admired them.  She handed me some scissors and a plastic bag and told me to help myself, which I did -  then promptly celebrated with a pot of delicious vichyssoise.

This is the classic vichyssoise that you can also find in Julia's books:  when it's cold, it's vichyssoise, when it's served warm, it's potage parmentier - a smooth, creamy soup (though it only has 3 tablespoons of cream) that I sprinkle with fresh chives and thyme leaves - thyme being my favorite herb of all.  Served with a fresh green salad, it's a fine welcome to Spring.

To make:

3 cups sliced leeks (white only)
3 cups diced potatoes (I used small yellow potatoes)
3 cups light chicken broth
1 teaspoon or more kosher salt
a few thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream

Simmer the leeks, potatoes, broth, salt and thyme sprigs in a large pot for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
Remove thyme twigs from pot and toss.
Puree soup in blender or Cuisinart and return to cooking pot.
Swirl in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 4 tablespoons heavy cream and stir well.
Serve cold in mugs or bowls, sprinkled with minced chives and a few thyme leaves picked from their stems.

Happy Spring to you all!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

chocolate-chip snack muffins on a blustery day

 What a blustery, chilly, few days!  I should be grateful it's not snow - which I see on my Facebook feed from my New England friends, but something about the gusty winds sends me straight to the kitchen to make something a little sweet, a little chocolatey, a little nibble to brighten up the day.  These chocolate chip snack muffins came to mind - perfect when you want a little something, but not overwhelmingly sweet or complicated.  I found the recipe years ago on Two Peas and their Pod, and loved it instantly.

Chocolate Chip Snack Muffins

2 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar ( I used dark brown)
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch or two of kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (8 tablespoons)
2 extra large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk (you can also use plain yogurt)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  
Line a regular (not Texas size) 12 muffin tin with paper liners.
Place the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl:  the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt in mixer bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla, stir well, then add to the flour mixture, then add in the chocolate chips.  Mix briefly but thoroughly, then use an ice cream scoop to fill the paper liners.  I had just enough batter to make one more bigish muffin, so I buttered a souffle cup for the 13th muffin.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes (ovens do vary, so touch a muffin gently on the top to make sure it's slightly firm to touch - if it isn't ,just bake a few more minutes)

Voila!  Perfect after-school snack for the kids - and for you!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

chunky ratatouille with rainbow peppers (and a little salsa)

When I was young, ratatouille was not an unknown - I ate it, but it often was made with too much olive oil, and the vegetables were limp and , to my eye, overcooked.  And then came Nouvelle Cuisine.  Somewhere I read a recipe for ratatouille during that time -  the vegetables were cooked quickly, and they stayed beautifully colorful.  From that time on I tinkered with the recipe, depending on the season.  Which brings me to my delight with those cello bags of small, colorful sweet peppers, which are almost always on hand.  Instead of using one large pepper , I thought it would be even prettier with a rainbow of color - orange, reds, yellows - the green of zucchini, the dusky skin of the eggplant.

And you see, I was right:

In under 45 minutes from start to finish I had at least 5 or 6 cups of ratatouille  - some into containers for the fridge, and some to give away to my neighbors, who are always interested in what I'm cooking.

The recipe:

Note:  I taste raw eggplant and usually can tell if it's going to be bitter.  Bitter eggplant is a disaster because there's no way to save it, you have to toss it.  That said, it's wise to slice the eggplant, sprinkle with kosher salt, and let sit 15 minutes.  Wash and pat dry before proceeding with the recipe.

1 medium firm eggplant, sliced (see above), cut into large dice
4 tablespoons good olive oil (I use California)
1 large white onion, chopped
4 smashed peeled garlic cloves
2 medium green zucchinis, washed, sliced into large dice
1/2 lb (which is half a bag) of rainbow mini peppers, trimmed of stems and seeded and sliced into fourths
1 medium can of diced tomatoes, include juices
1 cup small cherry tomatoes, whole
3 tablespoons Green Mountain Gringo salsa, medium heat
salt and pepper to taste
dried basil and oregano, or you can use fresh as well - I prefer dried.

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil until sizzling.  Add the onions and garlic and stir for a few minutes, then add the chopped peppers.  Let the peppers sear a little before stirring them - I like the little bit of charring they pick up.

Add the canned tomatoes, salsa, herbs, eggplant, and zucchini and stir well. Then add the whole cherry tomatoes and gently stir in.  Let cook, half covered, on medium heat 15-20 minutes, then stir and taste the ratatouille.  There should be no undercooked pieces in the pot.  Take the pot off the burner, cover, and let sit half an hour before eating.  You can plate it or just put it in a bowl or serving dish.