All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Saturday, September 25, 2010

devil's food chocolate espresso muffins

I remember my first encounter with cocoa powder as a child. Thinking it was sweetened chocolate powder, I dipped a spoon into the tin, drew it out heaping, and popped it into my mouth. ACK! Never again would I get cocoa mix and unsweetened cocoa powder confused.
Devil's food (also known as red velvet) muffins are light, airy, and not overly rich. Perfect for a library tea, yes? But as I stirred the batter I was thinking how perfect a touch of espresso flavoring might be, so I added both a little espresso instant, and some double-strong French Roast coffee, as well as semi sweet mini chocolate chips. And here they are: moist, flavorful muffins with a hint of coffee and chocolate and not a bit of butter. I used my heart tins, since my mini-muffin tin went missing - this made 10 muffins plus one muffin made in a ramekin .
Adapted from Muffins by Marie Simmons
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. instant coffee or espresso powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup double strong French Roast coffee
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking soda
pinch kosher salt
1 cup mini- chocolate chips, divided
Preheat oven to 350F,
Grease medium muffin tins.
In a mixer bowl, mix in the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and espresso or coffee powder.
In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, milk, coffee, canola oil, vanilla briefly, then add to the flour mix, mixing well.
Add half the mini chips to the batter and mix again.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with the rest of the mini chips.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the center of the muffin is slightly firm to the touch.
Let cool, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Serve with milk, soymilk, or, why not? More coffee!

What I'm making:
Beautiful slow-roasted cherry tomatoes from Pinch My Salt!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

fresh spinach-arugula soup and a magical garden

This morning was 39 degrees here, and after I puttered around in the kitchen making a beautiful soup from the green, green arugula and spinach I got at the farmers market Saturday I decided to visit a friend's very private garden before the frost arrives. Oh, what a delight! Meandering paths under orchards of trees I couldn't identify, comfy cabbages nestled in their nests of leaves, brilliant yellow globes of tiny quinces, and flowering arches of flowers and vines. On the way home, I looked out at Crotched Mountain, which was already showing signs of Autumn color.
It was now way past lunchtime, so I was happy to have soup waiting and a handful of seedy crackers and a chunk of cheese to sip and munch on. A perfect Fall afternoon!
To make about 3 servings of soup:
2 cups semi-packed arugula
2 cups semi-packed spinach
2 1/2 cups of water, or half stock, half water
1/2 cup diced potato
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 t. thyme
2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
a few scrapings of nutmeg
pinch of hot pepper flakes
freshly cracked pepper
kosher salt
1 T. unsalted butter, or olive oil ( but butter is better)
Place potatoes, garlic, and onion in the stock or water and simmer until potatoes are just tender.
Add the nutmeg, thyme, red pepper flakes, butter or oil, and black pepper and stir.
Add the spinach and arugula, stir, turn off heat, and cover .
Let sit for five or ten minutes then, using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste and carefully add salt to your liking.
I like to eat this soup with crackers and a bottle of Tabasco handy.
Enjoy these beautiful days!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

saturday farmers market, hancock, nh

What a delight to have our local farmers market a half a mile away! I started this market in 1990, and it's still going strong, I'm happy to say - if anything, it's even better than it was in the old days. The vegetable selection is broad , clean, and lush. I spent a happy hour or so chatting with Robin from Red Maple Farm, and Susan from Moose Brook Farm, and collecting a breathtaking two-bags-full of fresh, tasty veggies, some of which were blanched and in the freezer within the hour. My fourteen dollars bought me:
a huge bunch of green swiss chard
a bag of beet greens
a bag of arugula
a sugar pumpkin
two patty pan squashes
fresh green cabbage
hot peppers
fresh onions and garlic
a bag of gorgeous spinach
and a free jaw dropping look at Robin's 8 inch yellow dahlia.
(no charge for the conversation)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

shaved fennel salad with parsley

Fresh fennel is just showing up in the markets, and a lovely vegetable it is. Fennel is in the same family as parsnips and dill, and you can taste the similarity (parsnip) as well as mistake the fronds for a very large dill plant.
Because the fennel bulb has such a delicate taste, I like it best raw, shaved very thinly, and tossed with parsley and a zingy citrus dressing. The rest of the plant, the long branches and the fronds, can be used to make an outstanding poached fish chowder, with that subtle hint of fennel. Just slice the branches into small pieces , along with some sliced new potatoes and a nice piece of pollock, and simmer until just tender.
This is an elegant side that goes well with anything from roasted chicken or fresh fish, to shepherd's pie, or simply served with rustic bread or focaccia and warmed goat cheese.
Shaved Fennel Salad with parsley
Serves about 4 people
one medium to large fennel bulb ( no need to peel)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, shave the fennel bulb into paper thin strips.
Toss the shaved fennel and parsley in the dressing.
2 T. olive oil
2 T. orange juice or lemon juice
1 T. buttermilk
1/4 t. sugar
kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper
Whisk ingredients together briefly. Using two forks or tongs ( or your clean fingers!) mound a small handful onto individual plates.

Monday, September 13, 2010

a call to arms for One Pie pumpkin!

Update: Today, the 3 of November, I found both One Pie Pumpkin and Squash at Shaw's supermarket! I left some for you, I promise.

You know how much I looove pumpkin everything, right? Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cake, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, yup, bring it on. So I've been somewhat anxious lately when I could not find a single can of my preferred brand, One Pie Pumpkin puree.
The last three days I've spent searching an hour to the west, and the south, where all the big supermarkets are, the local supermarket, and the local Mom and Pop stores, hoping a few dusty cans might be found on their shelves. Nothing.
I finally Googled it today and found it's a nationwide shortage. ( see here) That was just after I'd met with the manager of Shaw's supermarket, and found that One Pie had been delegated to a seasonal product: ie: Halloween, Thanksgiving. So we're dealing with two bad years, weatherwise, for pumpkins in Maine ( where One Pie comes from), and also a marketing decision by large supermarkets to supply One Pie only in that short window of time in the Fall. I'm hoping that all you cooks and bakers out there will talk with their supermarket managers and insist that One Pie ( and other pumpkin puree companies) be available year round. Can I count on you? Rah! Bring back my beloved One Pie! Merci a bunch!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

sunday soup day

A welcome chill in the air means one thing to me: Portuguese Kale Soup! I'm heading out for the Sunday papers and a long walk and then my favorite soup for lunch. Enjoy your Sunday ♥

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

turkeyball soup with green cabbage and thyme

Now that we're starting to see the first fresh green cabbages at the farmer's markets, I thought this would be a good time to revist and update one of my most popular posts: turkeyball soup with fresh cabbage and thyme. Why it's been in the top ten recipes since I first published it in January of 2009, I have no idea, except it's a wonderful soup!
This is a modest update of the recipe. It's still a delightful herby broth with a little rice, thyme, parsley, and rosemary and tender meatballs of turkey - now with a little minced onion and mushroom. You can slice the fresh cabbage either thinly (bottom photo) or thicker (top). You can make huge meatballs, or little teeny ones, but the result will always be one delicious soup, perfect for the chilly evenings of September.
Makes 4 servings.

For the turkeyballs:
1 pound ground turkey
2 mushrooms, finely minced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. minced parsley
2 T. minced onion
1 1/2 t. thyme, fresh or dried
pinch kosher salt
Mix the ingredients well in a bowl, then form into small meatballs. Set aside.
For the soup:
3 cups water
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 t. thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 T. uncooked rice ( any kind)
half a green cabbage, cored and cut into thin or thick ribbons.
( about 3-4 handfuls of cabbage)
the turkey meatballs
Heat the water, chicken broth, rice, and rosemary sprigs in a large saucepan. Turn the heat to medium low and add the thyme and cabbage. Simmer for five minutes, then carefully place the turkeyballs on top of the cabbage. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for ten minutes, then take off heat and let sit, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Uncover soup and gently stir, tasting to see if it needs more salt, pepper, or thyme.
Serve with a nice crusty sourdough bread and enjoy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

buttermilk souffle with white peach sauce

When I dropped by Tenney's farmstand yesterday, I almost missed the white peaches. Which would have been a shame, because these native New Hampshire peaches are amazing. Sweet, juicy, heady with peach perfume. So what if they aren't pretty? They're so juicy they tend to fall apart at that perfect ripeness moment - so grab a napkin and forgive the mess.
I didn't want to cook the peaches, so I made a simple buttermilk souffle, pureed the peaches with a little nutmeg and honey, then made a delicious, pale pink pool of perfect peach puree, and spooned the souffle on top. Mmmmm, so good!
Buttermilk Souffle
serves six
Preheat oven to 350F.
1/4 cup King Arthur all purpose flour
pinch kosher salt
1 1/3 cups lowfat buttermilk
4 T. melted unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cups sugar, divided in half
1/4 t. nutmeg
Butter a souffle dish. Set aside.
Place egg whites in mixer bowl and whip til frothy, then slowly add 1/3 cup sugar and whip until it forms stiff peaks.
Scrape the egg whites onto a plate and set aside.
Without washing the bowl, Add the buttermilk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 t. nutmeg, the pinch of salt, and the egg yolks and melted butter, and beat until thoroughly mixed.
Using a sieve, sprinkle the flour into the egg yolk/buttermilk mix.
Fold the stiff egg whites into the egg yolk mixture slowly.
Scrape into buttered souffle dish and back for about 40 minutes.
It should be golden and quite firm, and a little puffy.
Remove to cooling rack.
The Peach puree:
5 peaches, perfectly ripe, peeled and cut up
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
about 1 T. honey
Puree peaches in blender or food processor. Pour a few tablespoons onto a dessert plate or a wine glass, and top with a spoonful of the souffle. If you have some amaretti cookies , put a few in a plastic bag, zip shut, and roll with a rolling pin. Sprinkle on top of the souffle and peach sauce.
Have a safe and happy Labor Day!