All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year cupcakes!

These are beginning to be a tradition! A buttery batter with a tinge of lemon, and cheerful pink frosting sprinkled with whatever fancies you have, it's a lovely way to welcome the New Year.
The batter:
2 sticks ( 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
zest of one lemon
2 cups King Arthur flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c. sour cream
2 T. vanilla (yes)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease two Texas size muffin tins .
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until absorbed.
Add the lemon zest.
Mix in the flour, baking powder and baking soda, and the pinch of salt.
Add the sour cream and mix.
Add the vanilla and mix.
Using an ice cream scoop, add two scoops to each muffin cup.
Bake about 25 minutes, or until tops are somewhat firm to the touch.
Place on cooling rack. After five minutes, unmold and let cool completely, or the frosting will melt.
The frosting: ( I got this from the Magnolia Bakery in NYC)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
6-8 cups confectioner's sugar
2 t. vanilla
Whip in bowl until creamy. I started with 6 cups confectioner's sugar, but the frosting wasn't thick enough , so I kept adding more until the consistency was what I wanted.
Add food coloring until you have the shade you want. You can also divide the frosting into bowls and make several colors - just make sure you have enough pastry bags!
Scrape the frosting into a pastry bag, fitted with a star tip. Squeeze bag, beginning in a circle around the edge of the cupcake, then circling in until the tope of the cupcake is covered. Pull up tip, and make a smaller circle of frosting right in the middle of the cupcake. Decorate as you wish.
A joyous New Year to all!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

lowfat lemon drizzle muffins

Can you believe we have only three more days to 2008? I was just getting used to writing "08"! As you see, I have one of my three wall calendars out - mostly to gaze on that cute puppy and vow this year I will finally get another Golden. I was, of course, also thinking about diets, so I whipped up this lovely, tangy lowfat lemon muffin - and the best part? The sugary drizzles on the top!
This is a nice, clean, light muffin - just what is needed after many recipe try-outs, tastings, and two dinners on Christmas Eve. I hope you enjoy it.
To make:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease a Texas size muffin tin. This recipe makes six large muffins.
2 cups King Arthur flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
grated rind of one lemon
1 cup plain yogurt (lowfat or not)
1/4 c. canola oil
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
The drizzle:
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
Mix all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl. (the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda)
Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl - the lemon zest, yogurt, canola, egg, and vanilla.
Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined.
Fill the six muffin cups and bake for about 30 minutes, or until gently brown on top and slightly firm to the touch when you touch the tops.
Remove to a cooling rack. Remove from muffin tins after 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
(otherwise the icing will melt and ooze)
When completely cool, mix the lemon juice and confectioner's sugar together until it is smooth . Using a fork, dip tines into icing and drizzle all over muffin tops. I usually have about half left over - very handy ( and delicious) for dipping my muffin in as I nibble it.
Happy last few days of the year!
featured on TasteSpotting!

Friday, December 26, 2008

turkey tenderloins with leek & rosemary sauce

This was my first experience with turkey tenderloins - and it made for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner. It was succulent and flavorful from its slow cooking on a bed of leeks, rosemary, and Granny Smith apples with a sprinkling of thyme. The hour it took to roast gave me plenty of time to set the table and saute the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts we had as sides. This is definitely a keeper and I look forward to making it again.
To Make:
2 turkey tenderloins, about a pound each, rinsed and patted dry
1 cups thinly sliced white of leeks
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T. white wine or herb vinegar
a 5" sprig of fresh rosemary
1 Granny Smith apple, not peeled, sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 t. thyme
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 325F.
Sprinkle the leeks, apple slices, and rosemary in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole. Drizzle the vinegar and chicken broth on top.
Set the turkey tenderloins on top of the leeks and apples.
Sprinkle the turkey with salt and freshly cracked pepper, the olive oil, and the thyme. Cover with foil.
Bake in a 325F oven for one hour.
Uncover the turkey and remove tenderloins. Pour the juices into a blender, then scrape the leeks and apples into the blender and puree - remove the rosemary sprig before pureeing.
Put the tenderloins back in the casserole and cover with the foil, then let the turkey rest for 15 minutes.
Cut the turkey into medium thin slices and top with the leek and apple sauce.
I served this with sauteed sweet and white potatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced brussels sprouts sauteed in a little oil and water, and an arugula salad. Delicious!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant - Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. Take joy!
And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
Fra Giovanni, 1513

Sunday, December 21, 2008

christmas biscotti

I've been making these at Christmas for so long, I can't even remember when the tradition started. I do know I found a recipe in Biscotti that everyone loved, and it happened to be at Christmas, so I naturally kept thinking of them around December 15th. Since we had an ice storm, and I had no power, the making of the Christmas Biscotti ( cioccolato paradiso in the book) was delayed. But today it was snowing hard, so it turned out to be the perfect day for baking - especially since these take two hours to make and bake.
They are heavenly - crunchy with toasted almonds, diced orange peel, and milk chocolate - festive, dunkable, and wonderful to pack in pretty bags and attached to presents. Heaped on a plate or in a glass bowl works well, too.
To make about 3 dozen:
1 cup toasted whole almonds, then sliced into thirds
(it doesn't taste as good using slivered or flaked almonds)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 T. sugar, used in two parts in the recipe
3 eggs, extra large, separated
1 1/2 t. vanilla
zest of a large orange, finely diced ( take off as much white pith as possible)
3 cups King Arthur flour
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips or chunks
To toast the nuts, place in toaster oven until they start to smell deliciously toasty, remove to a cool plate immediately so they stop cooking.
In mixer bowl, place egg whites and beat until soft peaks form, then slowly add 1/2 cup sugar to the meringue. Beat until stiff, then scrape into a bowl. (don't forget to add it later!)
Using the same mixer bowl, add the butter and 1/2 cup sugar plus 2 T. and beat til fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla and orange zest.
Add and mix the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
The mixture will be crumbly.
Fold in the meringue very, very well, then add the almonds and chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Fit a baking pan with foil - you'll be cutting it in two later, so using foil or parchment is important.
Scoop the stiff batter into two lines about 3 inches apart diagonally. My batter logs measure about 12 inches by about 4-5 inches.
With wet hands, smooth the logs out and square the ends.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until tops of logs are golden and quite firm to the touch.
Remove baking pan to a cooling rack for ten minutes.
Cut the foil down the middle, so each log is separate.
Very, very carefully, firmly hold each end of foil and gently move log to a wooden cutting board. Roll gently over and remove foil.
Do the same with the other log.
Take a very good bread knife or serrated knife and saw the slices of biscotti into one inch pieces. Place the biscotti upright on the baking pan. Set oven to 300F.
Cut all the biscotti, filling the baking pan.
Bake biscotti a second time, at 300F for ten minutes. Turn off oven and remove biscotti.
Let cool completely, then package in bags or tins. Of course, after all that work, set aside some fresh biscotti , brew up some strong coffee or espresso, and dig in .
Having a party? These are lovely heaped on a big platter or in a glass bowl.
Featured in TasteSpotting!

Friday, December 19, 2008

a touch of the exotic - maamouls cookies

I love running into something I've never eaten, let alone heard of - so I was delighted when my sister gifted me a box of these cookies from a small bakery in NH. (Betz Baking in Chesterfield, NH)
These are traditional cookies from the MidEast : popular in Syria, Lebanon, and Armenia. The dough is ( I think) made up and pressed into traditional wooden molds, then filled and topped. The dough is delicious : made up of butter , flour, farina, sugar, rose water, and mahlab (ground sour cherry pits); the fillings range from apricot puree, pistachio, date puree with cloves and whiskey, or a date puree with walnuts, cloves, and whiskey.
Wish I could get my hands on one of those molds - I would love to make a sweet potato pastry, or...hummm....marmalade with something like ricotta.
The heavy sprinkling of confectioner's sugar brings out that great detail from the mold - and whoever thought up ground sour cherry pits for part of the dough just astounds me.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

safe and warm at last! ( the ice storm)

What a long haul it's been - almost a week to the hour since the ice coated trees began crashing down across every road and highway across New Hampshire. Even days later, when I ventured out for candles and drinking water, the huge, 3 story trees lay across the road, resting on curls of wires and transformers. To pass, you waited, eyeing the wires, then the trees. You rolled your window down so you'd hear the crack as the wires and trees went down, and then gunned the car, just barely sneaking under the fallen trees, hearing the car antenna boing when it was just too close.
It's been tough, but all I can say to the hordes of public service workers, the guest volunteers from Florida, Oregon, and other states so far away who drove up to help, to the firemen and women, the Rescue departments - all volunteers, and gracious and hardworking. - THANK YOU! Now - off to wash dishes in WARM water and finally , maybe, get a good nights sleep.
Thank you all for sending good thoughts my way.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Update for Katrina

Hi everyone, Kelci Hedrick here, posting a quick note on behalf of Katrina.  If you've heard anything about the weather in New England lately, you're probably aware that Southern New Hampshire got hit hard by a major ice storm. It's expected that many residents in this area will have no power for several days, and Katrina is unfortunately one of those. 

She is told that she should have power to her home on Tuesday - in the meantime, she wanted her loyal readers to know why she's not creating any new posts or responding to your comments. 

I hope you are all warm and safe during this icy time of year. Sending best wishes to you all,
          - Kelci   

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

potato soup with crunchy scallions

I posted this back in summer, but this one has a slight variation for winter. As you know, I love anything potato, and with all the cookie and candy making going on for Christmas, this soup is just the right thing to be eating after "tasting" all those sweets - soothing, smooth, with a surprise of crunchy fresh scallions and the sweetness of dill.
To make:
2 cups large dice potatoes - red or white
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/1/2 T. unsalted butter
3 cups water/chicken stock - I like it half to half, but you may prefer just stock.
1 t. dried dill
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 cup light cream
salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 T. sliced, very fresh scallions, trimmed - include both green and white parts
Serves two.
Melt butter in a pot and add the chopped onions.
Turn heat to low and cook, covered, for about ten minutes, or until soft.
Uncover and add the water and chicken stock, the thyme, potatoes, and salt and pepper.
Let cook uncovered until potatoes are soft.
Turn off heat and add the dill.
Using a blender or immersion blender, puree soup.
Add the cream and stir.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with sliced scallions.

Monday, December 8, 2008

southern breakfast: silky collards and cornmeal cakes

I made a real Southern style lunch yesterday - with silky collards, cornmeal mush cakes - and even pralines - and ate it happily as I watched the snowflakes fall.
I spent several years in the South, and it remains part of my cooking ( and eating) history.
I never used to cook collards right. I'd rinse them, slice them up, and then briefly parboil them, wondering why they were a little too tough. Then I ate at Redbones BBQ in Cambridge, and tasted their silky collards flecked with hot pepper flakes and fatback and realized my mistake. You have to cook them a long time - about an hour is right, with plenty of fat - I use smoky bacon and salt pork or fatback.
My side was simply cornmeal mush cakes with fresh scallions and rosemary, cut into a disc.
To make:
A bunch of collards, rinsed and trimmed of stems ( I cut off the stems, then tear the collard leaves off the center stem on each leaf)
Up to 2 cups diced salt port and thick, smoky bacon
hot pepper flakes
Place trimmed collards in a large pot.
Add water to just below the top of the collards.
Add the salt pork and bacon. hot pepper flakes, and some salt
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about an hour, covered, checking often and stirring the collards.
Pick out the diced fatback ( or some of it) place in microwave-safe dish, and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for 2 or 3 minutes and it will brown up.
Scoop the collards into bowls or mugs, add some of the cooking liquid, and top with some of the browned fatback.
Serve with hot sauce.
For cornmeal cakes:
2 cups water
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup chopped scallions and fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring water to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add salt , pepper, and herbs to boiling water, then slowly whisk in the cornmeal ( and cheese, if using).
Turn down heat and continue to stir until cornmeal is thick.
Pour onto a plate and cool.
When cool, cut cornmeal into discs and briefly reheat in microwave.
You can also skip the herbs and make plain cornmeal mush and serve the cakes with syrup - kids love it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

nick's christmas eve focaccia

This is Nick Malgieri's Christmas Eve focaccia - with a few changes, of course. I'll have to post the recipe later, since I'm running late and the computer is running sloooooow. Isn't it gorgeous?! Enjoy your day!
OK, I'm back. I found this post of Nick's here, and instantly went into the kitchen to try it out.
The dough was incredibly easy to make, and got to say, it's the best focaccia dough I've ever tasted. It's a keeper, for sure.
The topping was another matter. The recipe is based on an old Italian recipe from Bari, in Italy, and called for anchovies, onions, and olives. The anchovies I had were not those sweet little curls of little fishies, but more a mush when I turned them into the onion topping. Next time, I would not add the anchovies at all.
As I sauteed and tasted, I kept adding things that I felt honored the earthy taste of the topping - mushrooms ( not sauteed, but sliced in raw), then some scallions, then a little oil, then some rosemary and fresh pepper. Next time I might even add some bits of tomato and cheese - just a little.
I think this would be wonderful party food, as well as a brunch - or, well, breakfast? You make it in a jellyroll pan, so, cut up, that's lots of apps!
To make:
The dough:
4 cups King Arthur flour
a little salt
1 envelope dry yeast ( I use Rapid Rise)
1 2/3 cups warm water
3 T. olive oil
More olive oil for the jellyroll pan
One jellyroll pan or similar 11x17 inch pan, oiled with olive oil
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large onions, peeled, halved, and sliced thinly from stem to root end
fresh pepper
a little salt
1/2 cup oil or brine cured black olives, in halves or pieces
3 scallions, sliced thinly
6 or so raw white mushrooms, sliced medium
1 T. fresh rosemary
(1 tomato, diced - optional)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella - optional)
1 t. basil, dry, sprinkled over all
To make the dough:
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir.
Measure water into a small bowl.
Using a fork, mix yeast in warm water and olive oil and briskly whisk.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add the water/oil/yeast mixture.
Using a rubber spatula, scoop the flour into the wet mix until incorporated.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in barely warm oven ( I do this by turning on the oven for a minute, then turning off. Feel the rack to make sure it isn't too hot.)
Let dough rise to double - about an hour or so, depending on temperature.
Oil the baking pan, if you haven't yet.
Scoop dough into pan and spread out with your hands, until the dough covers the pan. This is a soft, easy to press, dough.
Place dough in turned off oven and let rise about a half hour.
While it's rising, prepare the topping.
Pour half the olive oil into a large skillet and heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, but turn often. They should look golden to slightly charred, about 20 minutes or more.
Add the mushrooms and cook five minutes. Add the olives.
Add the scallions, rosemary, and pepper and turn off heat.
Take out the risen dough and dimple with your fingers. Spoon the topping over the dough and spread out evenly. Add the tomatoes, if using, and the cheese, if using. Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the basil and a little salt.
Place in preheated 425F oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Absolutely the best! Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

fresh apple pancakes - dairy free!

These pancakes have always been our special breakfast - or even sometimes dinner on a snowy evening. They're loaded with fresh, diced apples, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and are deliciously thick and fairly small, just the way we like them. I usually serve them with a blueberry sauce ( for my son, who didn't like maple syrup) and warm maple syrup for the rest of us. So when I started to make them this morning, a little bell started banging in my head. Why not try soymilk instead of milk? The same son recently discovered he had painful reactions to dairy suddenly - I had never tried an alternative, but what the heck. So I did. Imagine my surprise when they tasted exactly the same!
So here you go - a fantastic pancake recipe that will work both ways.
To make:
about 3 apples, peeled and diced small
1 egg
1 cup milk or soymilk ( I used Silk Plain)
3 T. unsalted butter, melted in skillet ( or vegetable oil or butter substitute)
1 1/2 cups King Arthur flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
2 T. sugar
Beat the egg, butter or oil, and milk or soymilk together in a bowl.
Add the diced apples.
Add the flour, sugar, spices, and baking powder and stir well.
In skillet or griddle set on medium low, add a teaspoon of butter or oil to pan.
Let pan heat evenly, then scoop out batter with a ladle - mine holds about 3/4 cup of batter - and make two medium pancakes.
Allow pancakes to cook for about 4 minutes, or until you see little bubbles on the sides and top of the pancakes, then flip and let cook another 4 minutes. Because of the apple, they need to cook at a lower temperature than regular pancakes. Check to make sure they're not charring.
Remove pancakes to a platter, then add a little more butter or oil, then more batter - and so on.
This should be enough for 8 fat pancakes.
If you have a griddle that will cook more pancakes than two at a time evenly, by all means try.
Serve with warm maple syrup, honey, jam, or blueberry sauce.
Blueberry Sauce:
1 cup frozen blueberries
squeeze lemon juice
2 T. orange juice
1 T. honey or sugar
Simmer until it makes a thin, fruity sauce.
Enjoy the snow!
Featured in TasteSpotting!