All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Saturday, September 27, 2008

salted peanut butter & milk chocolate chip cookies on a rainy day






It's a sleepy, foggy, rainy day here in New Hampshire, the kind of day you want to stay in your pyjamas and read, or bake cookies.
As it happens, I was thumbing through a two foot stack of old Martha Stewart Living magazines from 2002, and I came across this cookie recipe. Instantly, my brain said "get up! get up and go make these cookies!", so I, a humble servant of my blessed brain, did just that.
I did not follow the recipe to a T, of course. And next time, because I like the taste of peanuts and salt together, I would sprinkle a light pinch of salt right on top of the cookies - I think that would be delicious. (PS. Written a few days later - I didn't like the salt sprinkled on top at all! Next time I'll try finely chopped salted peanuts and see how that works.)
To start, you mix the dough and let it chill in the fridge for an hour, so the cookies stay well shaped when baking. If you skip this step, I think they'll spread in an ugly way.
To make:
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter - I used the Shaws brand organic peanut butter
1 pack milk chocolate chips - 11.5 ounces
Mix together well. Then add:
1 1/2 cups King Arthur flour
1 t baking soda
And mix well again.
Pinching up a piece of dough smaller than a golf ball, roll dough into balls and place on foil or parchment lined baking sheets. Place sheets in fridge for an hour. When you take the sheets out, gently press tops of balls, then sprinkle with fine sea salt.
Preheat oven to 350.
Place baking sheets, one sheet at a time, in oven and bake for 19 minutes.
Remove to cooling rack. They cool pretty fast.
Make a nice cup of lemon verbena tea or a wicked strong cup of good, aromatic coffee, and serve.

Monday, September 22, 2008

autumn means spicy gingerbread







The leaves are slowly turning in New Hampshire, and , although we haven't had frost yet, we have had some chilly mornings. Autumn always finds me making gingerbread - that spicy cake so beloved by our early American ancestors.


It's delicious plain, or fancied up with whipped cream and fruit: this recipe has plenty of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to stand up to the cream without being overwhelmed. I use a recipe from the New York Times cookbook that has never failed me.


To make:

Grease a round or square 8 inch pan with 2 inch sides.

Preheat oven to 350F.


You will need:

3/4 cup milk

2 T. red wine vinegar

2 cups King Arthur flour

1/4 t. baking soda

2 t. baking powder

2 t. ground ginger

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. ground cloves

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup Grandma's molasses

(1/2 cup of currants is optional)


Place the vinegar in the milk and set aside to curdle.


Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, oil, sugar, egg, and molasses in mixer bowl. Mix briefly, then pour in the curdled milk and mix until all the lumps are gone and the batter is smooth. Scrape into the greased pan and bake about 50 minutes, or until the middle of the cake bounces back when you press it gently.


Let cool on cooling rack and serve plain, with whipped cream, or with sliced fruits.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

making lemon mousse




I've been longing for this lemon mousse I used to make at Le Bocage and this morning I finally broke down and made it. There is a problem, however. There is just no way I can eat it all. I used to have no difficulty giving it away, but now everyone is lactose-intolerant, or on low-sugar, no-sugar, no carbs, or no fat diets. Some look at me in horror when they realize I've used real, free-range eggs that are uncooked. Never mind that it tingles delectably on your tongue - creamy, puckery, airy and a little rich all at the same time.
So I'm seeing what will happen if I freeze it - if it deflates, it's still bound to be delicious and a nice surprise as I rummage through the freezer late at night looking for something - anything - with sugar.
To make:
This makes a dozen or more, depending on what dishes you use.
You will need:
5 eggs
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar for the eggs/yolks plus
1/2 cup sugar for the whites
pinch of salt
1 1/2 envelopes gelatin
juice of 5 lemons
2 cups whipping or heavy cream
Place the eggs and yolks in a mixer bowl. Whip, using the whipping whisk attachment, add the 3/4 sugar slowly. Whip until the mixture is thick, creamy, and lemon yellow. Scrape into a large , clean metal bowl.
On low in a small saucepan, warm the lemon juice with the gelatin. When cooled, mix into the yolk mixture.
Beat the 5 egg whites with a pinch of salt with the whisk attachment, slowly adding the 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold the whites into the gelatin and yolk mixture.
Beat the whipping cream and fold into the egg/lemon mixture.
Scoop into small souffle dishes or glasses and chill, covered.

chicken pot pie & how to roast a chicken





Today I made my chicken pot pie the wrong way - I used several different cuts of chicken - the thigh, the breast, and a leg, simmered in broth with herbs and fresh vegetables. While it was good, it was not five star. So I'm going back to my previous recipe of using only roasted chicken for the chicken pot pie. Please read through this posting before you begin!
I buy a 2-3 pounder usually. I rinse it with lots of fresh water then pat it dry with paper towels. Then I squeeze a half a lemon over the chicken, put the lemon half inside the chicken, and drizzle said chick with olive oil or smear it with unsalted butter. I have preheated the oven to 400F, by the way, before I begin. I scatter salt, thyme, and freshly cracked pepper over the chicken, and put it in the oven for one hour. As soon as the chicken goes in, I turn the heat down to 350F.
After an hour, the chicken should be done. To make sure, just wriggle the leg to see if it moves freely, and/or pierce it with a knife right at the thigh - the juices should run clear.
Proceed to devouring half the chicken, and save the other half for the chicken pot pie.
The crust:
As you're drizzling olive oil on the chicken, make this crust and pop it in the fridge.
Pate Brisee:
1 1/4 cups King Arthur flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 t. salt, more or less
a few tablespoons cold water with ice cubes
Place flour, salt, and butter in food processor and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal. Drip iced water, a tablespoon at a time, with mixture until it forms a ball. Mold pastry into an oval shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in fridge for a half an hour.
The chicken:
Take the half of your roasted chicken and cut into small pieces. I usually use about 1-2 cups chicken meat, cut up, for my chicken pot pie. Skim off the fat from the drippings from the roasted chicken, and set aside the skimmed juices.
The vegetables:
I peel and cut up to 4 cups assorted vegetables - carrots, onions, scallions, parsnips, winter squash, green beans, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn just off the cob.
My favorite herbs are dill and thyme, so add about one tablespoon at this point of either, or both.
Briefly par-boil the vegetables until just tender. Drain and hold.
To assemble:
Place de-fatted drippings and juices, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a skillet.
Bring to a boil. Let boil for a minute, then add a few tablespoons flour, whisking with a whisk all the while.
Add the drippings, and some water or chicken stock, then some cream. The sauce should be smooth and tasty. Add a cup of chicken stock or water, some thyme, salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables and chicken in until blended well. Taste and add more seasonings, if necessary.
Scrape chicken and vegetable mix into a casserole pot.
Roll out your pastry into a circle, and cut to fit your casserole. I use a plate, the same size as the casserole, as a template.
Cut slits in your pastry circle, or use a tiny cookie cutter to cut out a shape - a heart, a star, whatever.
Carefully place pastry on top and brush with a beaten egg mix.
Place in 350F oven for about 45 minutes, or until top is browned.
Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the dancing meringues




A friend was looking at these pictures I took of meringues and thought they looked like a chorus line. Will I ever look at another meringue without exploding in laughter?

creamy chunky corn chowder with dill


A few miles down the road is a wonderful, family-owned farmstand, Tenney Farm, famous far and wide for their corn. In August and September, most of the markets around here have bushel baskets overflowing with corn, with a handmade sign "Tenney's corn". I eat it raw, it's so fresh and sweet. I make corn salsa , too, but mostly I make this delicious corn chowder, fragrant with lots of fresh dill.
To make:
4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
3 large white or red boiling potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced or sliced thinly
1 t. thyme
2 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob ( or frozen, if you must)
1 cup chicken stock
3 T. fresh dill, chopped
medium cream
salt and lots of fresh pepper
Cook the bacon until brown. Drain the fat off, and add the onion and potatoes to the bacon. Cover with the chicken stock and enough water to cover the potatoes by about an inch or two. Cook until potatoes are tender, then add the thyme, the corn, the salt and pepper, and the dill. Add a little more water if you need it - but not too much, since you'll be adding cream later. Cook about 10 minutes longer, until the corn is cooked. Add cream, a little at a time, until the chowder looks creamy and pale, with those delicious flecks of dill, bacon, and corn.
Adjust seasonings, add more pepper, salt and dill as needed.
New! On Twitter? You can find me there by clicking "tweeting on twitter" under the blog links here................

Monday, September 8, 2008

too many pears



I was gifted with a shopping bag full of these delightful half-wild pears the other day, and now find myself puzzling over what to do with this....plethora of pears. Poached in wine, chutney, or maybe a sweet jar of pear butter? And then, I could simply spend all day photographing their elegant and curvaceous lines, remembering all those Dutch Masters paintings at the Met. And then there was that tart that looked sooooo delicious, with almond cream.
But for now, I'll just sit and enjoy their gorgeousness. If you have any amazing pear recipes, I would love to hear from you!
PS. You can now join me on Twitter by clicking on the "tweeting on twitter" under blog links.
Twitter is a sort of "pop-in, pop out" site, where you can write tiny little blips about just about anything. Hopefully, it will be about photography, food, foodie books, poetry, postings, and Q&A's to She's in the Kitchen, in case you can't log on to Blogger ( not so unusual!). Spammers will be blocked, as well as any inappropriate bloggers and blogger content.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

double chocolate chile cookies


My stepmother was a wonderful artist. She made marvelous collages out of thick, chunky pieces of colored glass , backlit with tiny lights. She made stunning collages of reverse image black and white copies of her knee x-rays when she had her knee replaced. And, boy, did she have a sweet tooth! This is her favorite of all my recipes - a double chocolate and chile cookie, about 5 inches across. Rich, fragile, and delicious. You can skip the chile if you want, but I think it brings a nice little tingle to your tongue.
As I said, these are fragile cookies, at least until they're totally cool. Even then, handle them with care, especially if you're moving them elsewhere, like a picnic.
To make:
Preheat oven to 335F.
Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
In a mixing bowl, add:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted, room temperature butter, cut up
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar, plus 1 T. more
1 t. good vanilla
1 egg
Mix well for a few minutes.
Then add:
1 1/3 cups King Arthur flour
1/3 cup good powdered, unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t. baking soda
pinch cayenne pepper(optional)
1 grind of pepper from a peppermill(optional)
pinch cinnamon (optional)
Mix well. Then add:
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix briefly.
Taking an ice cream scoop, scoop out a ball of firmly packed batter and place on baking sheets, 6 to a sheet. This recipe makes about 10 giant cookies.
Baking one sheet at a time, place in upper third of oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove hot baking sheet to a cooling rack. Do not remove cookies. Cool 10 minutes.
Carefully remove cookies to another cooling rack, and let cool another 15 minutes, at least.
Bake second batch the same way.
I know you'll love these!