All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Sunday, November 25, 2012

the days after






I am still enjoying all the pleasures of our leftovers, including this simple soup, another one with pasta, spinach, thyme, roasted turkey and turkey stock, and chickpeas .  The soup pot is always going, nice to share with family and friends ~

My camera got so excited by our dinner it went on the blink, but a replacement is winging its way to me.......hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  And now I hear *snow* is on the way!



Here is Mr. Turkey just before going into a 340F oven:  I stuffed him with celery, leeks, rosemary, half a lemon, and lots of thyme then dipped two pieces of cheesecloth into a melted butter/olive oil mixture,  and covered him up carefully, basting several times during the 4 hours roasting.  I'm not sure what his weight was - I threw away the wrapper the night before when I washed him and stuck him into the fridge.  I tried weighing him on my scale, but it said he was either 12 pounds - or 16:)  I learned this cheesecloth method from my Baltimore-born stepmother, and it results in a perfectly moist turkey.  I tried a Jenny-O fresh turkey this year and was very happy with it.  I would have loved a local turkey, but it was just too expensive for my budget.



And here is my daughter digging into the creamed onions!  Boy, those went fast - I think I got one:)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

roasted squash quarters with arugula, goat cheese, and pomegranate


(click on photo to see a beautiful closeup)

Ever since I saw a photo of this from Gourmande in the Kitchen on Pinterest, I've been longing to make it, or a version of it.  I was going to make it for Thanksgiving, but a birthday lunch suddenly materialized, and made it I did.  

Oh, MY.   It was delicious to look at, delicious to eat.  My recipe is a little different, adding the fresh pomegranate juice to the reduction and glowing juicy pomegranate kernels, but basically the same.  This is the prettiest, easiest vegetable side that just begs to be on your Thanksgiving table.   Amazingly, the kids (2 years and 6 years) loved it!

To make you will need:

2 acorn squashes, cut into quarters and seeded
a little olive oil
baby arugula
goat cheese
a fresh pomegranate, split
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of squeezed fresh juice from above pomegranate
1 T. honey
salt as desired

Preheat oven to 400F.

Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet.  Rub the cut edges of the squash in the oil, then arrange fairly tightly together on the baking sheet.

Roast until the squash pieces are soft, remove from oven to cool.

In a small saucepan, simmer the vinegar, pomegranate juice , and honey until it is reduced to almost a syrup.  Remove from heat.

Assemble the squash on a long platter, or on individual plates:

Drizzle about a teaspoon of the sauce in the middle of each squash quarter.
Add a small handful of the arugula on top of the sauce.
Using a fork or your fingers, place small chunks of goat cheese on top of the arugula.
Sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds.

Happy eating, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!



Thursday, November 15, 2012

a different chocolate-chip cookie



Yesterday was the first REALLY chilly day - frost on the windshield, a puffy jacket for my walk, and while it warmed up to the 40's during the day, I felt the onset of winter coming.  The first thing I did when I got home in the afternoon was march straight to the kitchen, to make chocolate chip cookies.  Maybe cranberry chocolate chip cookies?  I got out the ingredients , heaved a sigh, and went to the computer.  I was longing for a change in the cookie department, so I went to Pinterest , and then TasteSpotting to browse. 






Eureka!  I still can't remember where I found it, but this Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie from The View from the Great Island grabbed my attention.  I love the buttery flakes of shortbread cookies, and this one had peanut butter AND milk chocolate chips to boot.  And I tell you, friends, this is a fine, fine cookie.

Sue kindly gave me permission to use her recipe, but I made one very large change to her directions.  It being late at night, and me in the mood for a fat cookie, I used an ice cream scoop and made seven enormous fat cookies, instead of her small ones.  And I didn't chill it, either - the anticipation was too great.  I advise you to read both recipes and decide which to make.

Sue's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Shortbread cookies:

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with clean foil.  

1 stick unsalted, room temperature butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
chopped pecans for the tops- and next time, I'm going to try a sprinkle of Maldon salt flakes, too.

Cream the butter and peanut butter , then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Using a standard ice cream scoop ( or you can form balls of dough with your well-washed hands), press the dough gently into the scoop, then place on baking sheet.  For me, this made seven large fat cookies.  They don't spread much, so you don't need to worry about spreading.

Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the cookies, place in hot oven, and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully slide a spatula under each cookie and place on cooling rack.  They take a while to cool, because they're so fat, so don't be tempted to take a huge bite - and burn your tongue.

Enjoy, and thanks, Sue!

Update!  I've now made 5 or 6 batches of these cookies and found that if you use a 1 1/2 inch cookie dough/ice cream scoop, it will make 12 or 13 cookies.  Bake for 20 minutes, then cool.  I top half the cookies with Maldon flaked salt, the other half with chopped pecans.  Such a winner of a recipe, everyone loves them!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

tiny ginger scones




It's been chilly the last several days - woodstove and hot coffee weather, but also perfect for  walks.  I almost stepped on these beautiful, tiny Princess Pines, not even six inches tall,  but stepped aside just in time.  When I first moved here, I used to dig them up and arrange them in pots with paperwhite bulbs, but they always yellowed and faded away, so now I just admire them where I find them growing naturally, leaving them untouched.

Of course, I needed a little something to go with that lovely cup of coffee, so I made a batch of tiny ginger scones, sprinkled inside and out with diced crystallized ginger.  Not much bigger than 2 inches by 4 inches ( though you can make them even smaller, if you want) they were just the right size for a nibble, and very easy to whip up. Because ginger is such a warming spice, it's perfect for these autumn days.

Tiny Ginger Scones

Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a baking sheet with clean foil, shiny side up.

2 cups King Arthur flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into dice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
good pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, snipped into small dice with scissors, plus a little more for the scone tops
a little bit of beaten egg for an egg wash

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in food processor.  Mix briefly.

Add the cubes of cold butter and process just until the butter is incorporated into the dry mixture, making coarse crumbs.  

Scrape mixture into mixing bowl, and add the buttermilk, the egg, and the snipped ginger, making sure you have some of the diced ginger for the scone tops.  Mix just until the dough comes together.

Pat the dough out on a slightly floured counter into a log shape.  Mine was about 2 inches by I don't remember, maybe 14" or more.  Square it off with your palms, then cut the dough into squares, which you then cut diagonally into triangles.  It just seemed to be easier that way to get nicely shaped scones.  This made 14 little scones.

Remove scones to baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with the diced ginger.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until slightly browned on top.

Remove to a cooling rack then enjoy with unsalted butter.  I just realized these would be wonderful for Thanksgiving Day breakfast or tea time with family and friends!  




Sunday, November 4, 2012

fresh carrot and gingerroot soup (with parmesan crisps)






It is suddenly mitten and hat weather, to go along with wear-a-red-jacket weather, since I'm never sure if it's hunting season.  Hurricane Sandy brought a sleepless night, lots of rain, trees falling, and power failures everywhere.  Happily, we were back up and running in 24 hours with no damage aside from a little flooding.  Nothing, nothing like the scenes I see in New York and New Jersey, and I know we were very lucky.  

The election is looming, and with NH a battleground state, the phone has been ringing - A LOT.  Most of us in New Hampshire love our politics, and get intensely involved, but also avoid political conversation with friends who are on a different side - an oddity I never saw in my home state of Massachusetts.  I suppose when you live in the country, you do your best to get along with your neighbor, since you might need him in mud season.

And it is finally, really, soup weather.  A robust, colorful, warming soup is what I wanted, and I think this gorgeously orange carrot soup simmered with fresh gingerroot was just right.  The ginger leaves a warm tingle long after you've finished, softer than hot sauce.
I also made some crispy parmesan crisps, as light as feathers and very fragile, just for fun, to crumble into the soup.  The carrot soup couldn't be easier - just simmer all the ingredients in a pot, puree, and serve with a sprinkle of dill and parsley, or a sliver of parmesan cheese.  

Carrot and gingerroot soup:

2 cups water
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 t. thyme
1 1/2 cups peeled, sliced carrots
1 stalk celery, washed and sliced (include leaves if they have them)
1 heaping tablespoon fresh peeled ginger, sliced or diced
salt and pepper to taste
fresh dill and parsley for garnish
shaving of parmesan for garnish

In a saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a simmer, and cook 20-30 minutes, or until carrots are soft.  Remove from heat.  Puree with an immersion blender or a regular blender.  Garnish and serve.





Parmesan crisps:
I used a microplane to shred the parmesan.  I tried both coarsely grated parmesan and the fluffier microplaned and liked the microplaned better.  

Parmesan cheese, microplaned
Dried basil to sprinkle on top of the mounds

Line a baking sheet with clean foil.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Use a soup spoon or a very small ice cream scoop to scoop up the fluffy cheese and make mounds, 6 or 8 to a sheet.  Leave two inches between the mounds.  Sprinkle a pinch of basil on each mound.
Bake for 6 minutes in hot oven, remove, cool briefly, and using a spatula, remove the crisps from the foil, placing directly on a flat plate before serving.  They are very delicate and lacy - and delicious.


Happy November!