All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

dense, dark fresh raspberry brownies



I might have fibbed a little last night when I promised TWO brownie recipes. I meant to, but the second recipe needs some fine tuning - which means yet another batch of brownies. It's one of those "give away those things as fast as possible before you gain ten pounds" situations- which delighted Janet at the Post Office and David at the store. And I sent a care package to my Mom.

Note to my daughter, Gree: Don't worry - I stuck some in the freezer for you! While my chocolate desires waft to and fro, that can't be said about her. You dare have a crumb of chocolate hanging around and she'll find it.


Anyhow, this is a great brownie. I beat a cup of fresh raspberries into the batter, then popped raspberries on top for a pretty garnish . The brownie is dense, dark, and moist - and it's even better chilled in the fridge a bit , at least on a hot day like today.


To make:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan, then press in waxed paper and grease and flour the paper. ( much easier to remove)

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2 sticks unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate ( I might try bittersweet sometime)

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups King Arthur all purpose flour

2 t. vanilla

1 cup fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish

pinch of kosher salt



Melt the butter and chocolate in a heavy-bottomed pan set on medium-low heat until completely melted, stirring often. Set aside to cool.


In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick , then add the vanilla and salt.


Add the cooled chocolate/butter mixture to the eggs and sugar mixture and mix well.


Add the flour and gently fold in, then add the raspberries and mix gently until well incorporated.


Pour into the prepared baking pan, and space fresh raspberries across the top. Keep in mind how you want to cut them when baked - tiny rectangles, or big squares.


Bake about 25-35 minutes, or until the center is just set. Let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

chocolate brownies with fresh raspberries- two ways



Recipes tomorrow, I promise!

Friday, July 23, 2010

sunny cranberry orange muffins


Apologies for the delay between posts - I was a bit under the weather with summer flu and holytoledo joint pain . Ever since getting Lyme disease in 2001 I get this kick out of nowhere once in a while, that reminds me all too much where my joints are:)
But today? It may be sprinkling rain outside, but making these muffins always makes me smile. I came across the last bag of frozen cranberries and realized it had been much too long a time since I made these cheerful and colorful cranberry -orange zested sweeties. If you don't have cranberries, I'm wondering : what about fresh raspberries? Definitely a possibility!
This recipe makes about 6 Texas size muffins, or close to a dozen smaller muffins.
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To make:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease muffin tins.
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3 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 t. baking powder
5 T. canola oil
1/4 t. nutmeg
3/4 cup orange juice
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 eggs
zest from one orange ( about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and nutmeg into the mixing bowl.
Add the canola oil , orange zest, orange juice, and eggs and mix.
Stir in cranberries.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups, using two scoops for Texas size, or one scoop for regular muffins.
Bake for approximately 25-35 minutes: if using frozen cranberries, your baking time will be a little longer. The tops should be somewhat firm when gently pressed.
Remove to cooling rack. Remove from tins after about 15 minutes.
Enjoy the day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

how fresh are your eggs?





New England has been frozen ( wrong word!) in this relentless, sizzling heat for three weeks. The humidity has been between 97 and 100% - not baking weather, or, for that matter, eating weather. It's also a time to change into your cape and become the Kitchen Policelady. No more leaving the quiche out for an hour; extra handwashing while handling sliced turkey or ham from the deli; no leaving the milk out - and time to test your eggs.
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My eggs come from two local farms, so I trust the sources. The egg cartons are not stamped with a "use before" date, because the farmers reuse the cartons. While I often leave eggs at room temperature in the fall and winter, in summer weather they go straight into the fridge. But then I often find two half used cartons. How do I know if any of the eggs are too old?
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The old fashioned way still works best for me - place the eggs in a large bowl of cool water. If any of the eggs float or bobble, they get thrown straight into the trash. If the ends tip up, but don't float, I put those into one carton labelled "baking" - I know they're still safe, but they aren't as fresh as the ones lying on the bottom of the bowl.
I know - you want to know why, right? Each egg comes with a tiny bubble of air in an air sac located at the fatter end of the egg. As the egg matures, the air sac gets bigger and bigger and the egg floats. You can find out everything you ever wanted to know about eggs here. So happy ( and safe) sizzling summer, everyone - and enjoy the beauty of the daylilies!
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What I'm reading:
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett, my favorite fiction writer!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

lamb navarin with summer vegetables



This is an off-the-cuff version of French lamb stew, usually made with tiny turnips and potatoes and the first peas of Spring. Don't be put off by the steps - it actually doesn't take much time at all. You saute, pop in the oven with herbs and broth ( wine or beer optional), sieve, and briefly cook again before serving. What you get is a heady, herby broth with chunks of tender lamb and slightly crunchy sugar snap peas and carrots. Mine is a version of Julia Child's from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Preheat oven to 350F.
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1 pound of lamb ( I used a center leg slice, which had almost no fat )
2 T. olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
kosher salt
fresh pepper
a three or four inch sprig of rosemary
1/2 t. thyme
1 T. flour
2 cups beef stock
1 cup beer ( I used Corona, which was all I had) Or wine.
1 cup canned plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smushed gently
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, peeled, halved, and cut into slices
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet. Cut the lamb into 1 inch chunks and pat dry with paper towels.
Saute the lamb in small batches, browning on two sides. Remove lamb to a casserole as you saute, continue until all the lamb is sauteed.
Sprinkle the lamb with salt, pepper, thyme, and flour and toss.
Add the beef stock, optional beer, rosemary, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, and onion.
Cover and slide into the oven.
Cook for one hour.
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Set a sieve over a large bowl and drain the Navarin. Cool, and pick out the lamb chunks.
Pour the broth into a saucepan, add the lamb chunks again and add:
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1 1/2 cups peeled, cut carrots
another sprig of rosemary
another 1/2 t. thyme
salt and pepper
1 T. unsalted butter
Simmer until carrots are barely tender, then add:
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas
Cook a few minutes then serve with a nice crusty bread ( and maybe a cool Corona).

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What I'm reading?
Beach book time - lots of mysteries!
Hope you're enjoying your summer ♥
Featured in TasteSpotting!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

chilled vichyssoise: leek and potato soup on a sweltering day



110 degrees in the sun; that's what my thermometer says. It's so hot nipping outside to pick peas I could swear I got a sunburn in six minutes flat . Definitely a good day to make chilled leek and potato soup!
Soothing, rich, creamy, and cold, vichyssoise is the perfect lunch or dinner for those hot days when you'd rather just suck on popsicles, or drink sweet tea and lemonade.
This recipe uses more herbs than Julia Child's original recipe, but this is the way I've always made it. Thyme and dill have a special affinity for the mildness of leek and potato braised in butter that is always delicious. And today? I'm headed to a fiercely air-conditioned supermarket.
Makes about 5 servings:
1 T. unsalted butter
2 cups chopped white of leeks
1/1/2 cups diced white potatoes
2 cups light chicken stock
1 t. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. thyme
1 t. minced fresh dill
3/4 cup whipping cream
Melt butter in saucepan, then add the leeks and braise on low, covered, for about 10 minutes. Remove cover and add the chicken stock and potatoes, salt, thyme, pepper, and dill. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on medium, or until potatoes are soft.
Remove from heat and, using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup, then stir in the cream. Allow at least an hour in the fridge and serve chilled.
Stay cool!
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You might also enjoy this cooling dessert that whips up in minutes:
Fresh fruits with creme patissiere ( French vanilla suace)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

tabouli salad with chopped mint and crispy veggies




This is such a delicious salad to eat on a hot day - loaded with crispy chopped vegetables and lots of fresh herbs, fluffed bulgar, and simply dressed with lime or lemon juice and olive oil. How easy is that? If you're new to the nutty grain, you can learn more about bulgar here.
This recipe comes from my old herb group, now sadly discontinued. We were a large group of mad herb gardeners who spent most of the gardening months swapping plants and sprigs, and plotting thefts of roadside sightings of antique daylilies and trilliums - in the dark.
To make:
1 cup bulgar
1 cup boiling water
Cover bulgar with boiling water, fluff with a fork, then cover and leave to absorb the water completely for a half an hour.
Place fluffed bulgar in a large bowl and add:
3 diced Roma tomatoes
1 peeled and diced cucumber
4 or 5 diced radishes
1/2 cup chopped Italian or curly parsley
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/3 cup snipped chives
Toss well then add:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Keep chilled in fridge until ready to serve.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!