All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

lemon cake with fresh berry sauce

In spite of rainy, dreary, hot and humid weather, the black raspberry bushes are loaded with those beautiful berries. Is there anything better than walking outside in your 'jamas or shorts and picking breakfast?
Here's our family favorite this time of year; a lemony butter cake topped with spoonfuls of lightly cooked berry sauce. I like to use blueberries and black raspberries. You can, of course, scoop a fluffy pillow of whipped cream on top, but I like it just the way it is.
To make:
Preheat oven to 325F.
Butter a 9x12 cake pan.
The Cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
zest of two lemons
3 extra large eggs
3 1/2 cups King Arthur flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. nutmeg
Beat butter , sugar, and lemon zest in mixer bowl until creamy.
Add the eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, lemon juice, and nutmeg to bowl and mix until creamy.
Scrape into prepared cake pan and bake for one hour. The cake should be firm on top when you gently press it with your fingertip.
Remove to cooling rack.
The glaze:
1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh
1/2 cup sugar
Mix sugar and lemon juice until the sugar has melted. Simmer a few minutes, then remove from heat.
Using a ruler, cut the cake ( still in the pan) into squares. Carefully remove cake pieces to a rack, then brush each cake piece with the lemon-sugar glaze.
The Berry Sauce:
In a small saucepan, mix:
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3/4 cup fresh or frozen black raspberries
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. shredded fresh ginger, or dried ginger
3 T. sugar
Simmer all ingredients in saucepan about 15 minutes. Serve sauce on cake, adding a few fresh berries to the plate to garnish.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

mexican chocolate scones

Now you do understand I've never been to Mexico, and have only tasted real Mexican chocolate a few times, but the marriage of chocolate and cinnamon in a chocolate tablet impressed me for life.

So it was another soggy day and I was about to visit a lovely older couple I know. They both have a hilarious sweet tooth (when I once asked their favorite food group, they said "cookies"), and I couldn't arrive empty handed. Mulling over the pantry over a strong cuppa, I decided to combine milk chocolate chips with cinnamon in a buttery scone. Perfect.

And it was. I purposely made a batch of 8 small scones, but you can double the recipe without any difficulties, making much bigger scones. They have all vanished in the space of the day, so the combination seems to be a popular one!

To make:

2 cups King Arthur flour
1 stick (4 oz) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a jellyroll sheet pan ( baking pan) with foil.

In mixer bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and cold butter.
Mix until the butter is incorporated well.
Add the milk chocolate chips and mix briefly.
Add the buttermilk and a pinch of salt and mix JUST until it comes together.
Gather the dough and pat into a circle. Roll with rolling pin so top is smooth.
Cut in circle of dough in half, then cut in half again, then two more times ( is that right?) until you have 8 triangular pieces.
Place scones on baking sheet ( you can sprinkle a few choco chips on top of each scone for a little extra chocolate) and bake for 22 minutes, or until the scones feel light when you pick one up. This is the best way of testing whether they're done. If they're still heavy, let them cook a bit more.
Remove from oven to cooling rack.
Enjoy with a strong cup of coffee or some milk.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Twelve Hour Bread: food of the gods

I never know when a new recipe will catch my eye, or where I'll find it. This delicious Pain de Campagne recipe came from a novel I was reading: Bread Alone, by Judith Ryan Hendricks. Smack in the middle of following Wynter Morrison's divorce and her new life as breadbaker in Seattle, there appeared this jewel of an authentic French bread . The recipe looked long. I went into the kitchen anyway. Twelve hours later, I ate the best bread I've ever made - chewy crust, perfect crumb, golden loaves. Warm from the oven, it was food of the gods. I found the flavor diminished when I stored it in a plastic bag for up to two days, so I think next time I'll freeze one loaf and see if that improves the longevity.
But what an accomplishment! At this point, I'm feeling fearless and ready to tackle any bread recipe that comes my way.
Recipe from Bread Alone:
First, you have to make the sponge, or poolish:
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I used King Arthur)
Dissolve yeast in water, then stir in the flour until it forms a thick batter. Beat about a hundred strokes to develop the gluten. Cover with a damp tea towel and let sit at least four hours, or up to eight, at room temperature. When poolish is ready, it will be bubbly and loose with a lovely scent.
Pain de Campagne
All of the poolish
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
between 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups unbleached King Arthur flour
1 T. kosher salt
Scrape the poolish into your mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, add the yeast and water to the poolish, beating on low until frothy.
Add the flour one cup at a time. I think I used 6 or more cups of flour plus more for kneading. Because my beloved KitchenAid was straining a bit, I scraped the sticky dough onto a floured counter and did the kneading by hand, flicking flour onto the dough and counter as needed. I realized this was a lively, dense, somewhat wet dough, so I tried not to overdo the flour. After 10 minutes of kneading, sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead it in. The dough will still be sticky, but I think that's what gives it such a nice, chewy crust. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning the dough so it's oiled all over. Cover with a damp tea towel and let sit until doubled in size - about 3 hours.
Deflate the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
Cut dough into two pieces, and gently form rounds or baguettes. I made rounds. Place the rounds on a floured baking sheet, then dust the tops with flour. Cover with a damp tea towel again and let rise for about 2 hours ( or more), until it's not quite doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Bring a teakettle to the boil, and pour 2 inches of boiling water into an ovenproof pan.
Place pan filled with water on lower oven rack.
Slash the tops of the bread with a sharp knife , or razor. Sprinkle a little flour on tops, again.
Slip the bread onto the top rack and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the loaves thump when you knock on the bottoms.
Turn off the oven, and prop the door open. Let loaves sit another 5 minutes.
Remove to cooling rack.
Do not cut bread until fully cooled. I cheated. After 20 minutes, I tore chunks ( which I think makes the bread taste better) of sweet, chewy bread off while still warm and slathered the bread with unsalted butter. Incredible.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

chunky broccoli soup with rosemary and dill flowers

I've been missing broccoli lately. The farmer's markets are loaded with so many glories of the season, especially berries and fruits, that greens have taken a back seat. Lots of swiss chard and my own homegrown kale, but broccoli has gone missing. So today I made a chunky broccoli soup, loaded with garlic, rosemary, and dill flowers - just what I was wanting for a light lunch. I also drifted through the garden, picking herbs and flowers for bouquets and garnishes. The bouquet above has a little of everything - I didn't even notice that the pea shoots had mature peapods until I made the bouquet! Good enough - I popped one in the first cup of soup and nibbled it as I dawdled over lunch.
This soup cooks up quickly and is meant to be served at room temperature, leaving you lots of time for naps and the Sunday paper.
To make enough for 3-4:
2 T. olive oil ( or half butter, half oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 3-4 cups broccoli, chopped, stems separate
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 T. fresh rosemary, picked off stem
1 T. fresh dill and dill flowers
freshly cracked pepper
In pot, heat olive oil until hot.
Add the garlic and onions and turn down heat to medium.
Stir gently, then add the broccoli stems and cook 15 minutes.
Add the stock, broccoli florets, rosemary and dill.
Cook covered until the broccoli is just tender.
Using an immersion blender, blend soup a bit at a time, stopping when the soup has a thick, chunky texture.
Taste and add salt and pepper.
Serve with a smile and a daylily!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

blueberry pie with vegetable oil crust

I am so pleased to see the blueberry season in full swing here - there is simply nothing like picking, cooking, and freezing heaps and heaps of blueberries for the winter. Yesterday, I was intrigued to read an article in The Boston Globe comparing five different pie crusts ( lard, butter. butter and shortening, shortening, and vegetable oil) with the firm decision that the oil crust outranked the butter crust! Does anything get a cook going than questioning die hard pie making? I didn't think so either.

So I tried it. I tossed the blueberries with sugar, flour, lemon, and cinnamon, made the crust, and divided the berries between a smallish pie and a few ramekins topped with a sugared disc of crust. I'm just not much of a pie crust on the bottom person, preferring the almost-cobbler method of biscuit or pastry on top of fruit. I do have to say the vegetable oil crust is a breeze, and it stays nice and flakey. I'm sure you will make a tidier pie than I did, but I was feeling rustic today:)

How to make:

Preheat oven to 400F.

The crust:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

2 cups King Arthur flour

1/2 t. salt

Mix together well and squish with your hands to make a ball of dough.

Lay out wax paper on a wet counter, and roll the dough as wished.

The filling:

5 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 t. grated lemon zest

1 t. cinnamon

a little salt

Mix well. Heap berries into ramekins or bottom pie crust, roll out dough as wished for the tops, making sure you cut a steam vent or use a tiny cookie cutter to cut out a star or heart as a vent for the pie. Sprinkle the crust with a little sugar.

I baked the ramekins for 30 minutes - they were bubbling away like crazy after a half an hour.

I baked the pie for 40 minutes - the berries were cooked well, but still retaining their shapes.

Served with good vanilla bean ice cream would be heaven!


Featured on TasteSpotting!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

even better sandwich flats

Last night I tinkered with the original sandwich flat recipe and I think the new recipe is a winner!
I'd picked up some of Bob's Red Mill High Fiber Cereal, since I couldn't find any 12 grain flour, and substituted much of the whole wheat flour with it. It's a nice semi-ground coarse flour, with oat groats, flax, oat bran, and wheat bran. It gave the sandwich flats a better texture, without the bitterness that I noticed in the all-whole-wheat recipe.
3/4 cup cereal flour mix ( or 5, 7, or 12 grain flour)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I used King Arthur)
1 packet dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
Mix together in mixer bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
3 T. canola oil
3 T. honey
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. salt
1 cup King Arthur all purpose flour
1 cup King Arthur whole wheat flour
Mix well. If too sticky, add more of the cereal mixture flour - I added almost another half cup.
Knead with a dough hook for a few minutes.
Sprinkle two cookie pans with some of the cereal flour.
Pull off knobs of dough and roll into sandwich flat size discs.
Place six flats to a sheet.
Place flats into UNHEATED oven for about 20 minutes to slightly rise.
Remove pans and preheat oven to 350F.
When oven is heated, place one pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove to cooling rack and bake the second pan.
If you plan on freezing these, let cool completely before placing in freezer zipbags.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

breadmaking: sandwich flats

I have fallen in love with those new somewhat-flatbreads known as sandwich thins or sandwich flats. When I saw Two Peas and their Pod's honey-wheat bread, I decided that might make a delicious first try. After the first batch, I'm excited - the sandwich flats were just the right size, and I only have to get the seedy top and fork holes worked out .
Above, you see how I love to make those super-sandwiches! This one has a little mayonnaise, sliced basil leaves, grape tomatoes, usually smoked turkey or cheese ( or both!), and some fresh pepper -plus a nasturtium blossom, which is deliciously spicy.Obviously, the options are endless, including mini-pizzas the perfect size for children.
I cut the recipe in half, and that made 13 sandwich flats.
Two Peas and Their Pod Honey-Wheat Bread:
In mixer bowl, mix:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet of dry yeast ( rapid rise)
1 1/4 cups warm water
Let mixture sit for 15 minutes.
Then add:
3 T. canola oil
3 T. honey
1 t. lemon juice, fresh
good pinch of salt ( actually, several pinches, first batch needed more salt)
2 cups whole wheat flour
Mix well, switch to dough hook, and knead for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle 2 cookie sheets with oats. Set aside.
Taking a small ball of dough, roll into a perfect ( or imperfect), circle. Place on baking sheets as you roll them out.
Continue making circles until dough is gone.
Place sheets in an unheated oven for about 20-30 minutes. They will not rise very much at all.
Remove sheets from unheated oven.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of honey in a small cup, brush flats with mixture.
Sprinkle with some sesame seeds, oats, and/or sunflower seeds, or whatever you prefer.
Prick flats well all over.
Slide first sheet into oven, bake approximately 20-25 minutes, then bake the second sheet.
Remove from sheets to cooling rack. Let cool completely before packaging in zip bags and freezing.
Enjoy !
Featured on TasteSpotting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

polenta cakes with rosemary and chives

Things are looking up here in New Hampshire - we actually had almost two days without rain! Today the rain is back with thunderstorms , but it has to stop sometime, right?
Yesterday I was experimenting with these cornmeal cakes, longing for the day when ( if?) my tomatoes are ripe. Can you imagine what a polenta cake with fresh diced tomatoes and basil would taste like? Add a nice green salad and some roasted or grilled chicken and it's a well rounded lunch or dinner. They are also perfect picnic fare, since they hold up well without having to pack in ice. Until the tomatoes are ready, I think I'll also try a green chile version - not only tasty, but pretty!
To make:
4 cups water
1 cup yellow or white cornmeal
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup minced chives
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary
(1/2 cup or so parmesan cheese, grated, optional) If you decide to add the cheese, hold off on the salt)
Oil several ramekins or souffle dishes with canola or olive oil. If you prefer, you can oil an 8x8 inch cake pan and cut the cakes out with a glass or cookie cutter once cooled.
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
Mix the one cup of cornmeal into one cup cold water and mix briskly with a fork.
When the water comes to a boil, pour the water and cornmeal into the boiling water.
Stir, then whisk until the cornmeal is thick and blops as it cooks.
Take off heat and stir in the herbs, salt and pepper, and parmesan if desired.
Spoon into the ramekins or scrape into the cake pan.
Let cool at least 1/2 hour.
Unmold the ramekins by turning upside down - the cakes should pop right out.
If using the cake pan, cut out circles with a cookie cutter.
Serve at room temperature.
PS/ Izzie the 3 year old liked the few plain polenta cakes I'd made - just in case. So if you're serving company that includes very small ones, make a few plain ones for them. ( She also tried to dip them in the coconut cream dip for the strawberries:)

Friday, July 3, 2009

creamy coconut-almond dip for fresh fruits

Does anything spell summer more than a platter or bowl of fresh strawberries and watermelon? But then you think, hummm, how to dress this up beyond the usual shower of mint or basil? I came up with a fast, easy-peezy sour cream sauce, and a dairy-free coconut-almond sauce that fancies up that quick, refreshing bowl or glass of fresh fruit. I think you're going to love it - I sure did!
Sour Cream Sauce:
1 cup sour cream, fat free or not
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/8-1/4 t. almond extract
Mix together well and drizzle over glasses of fresh fruits and berries. Garnish with edible flowers , mint, lemon balm, or rosemary.
Cream of Coconut Sauce with almond:
1/2 cup cream of coconut ( the sweetened,very thick kind)
5 T. coconut milk ( unsweetened, somewhat thick from a can)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
a few drops almond extract
This sauce doesn't need any extra sugar. Just mix well, and drizzle over fruits and berries.
Garnish with herb leaves or edible flowers.
Hope you enjoy - and it's great to be back after 8 days without my computer!