All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Monday, July 30, 2012

roasted rosemary potatoes

A lovely breezy day here, and the early mornings are finally cool again.  I've been working on some magazine articles for winter, and this morning seemed like a perfect time to shoot some pictures - with the added bonus of a late breakfast for me.  

I've made these for years, but lately, instead of just using russet potatoes, I'll use red potatoes, strips of leeks, slivers of onions, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, garlic cloves, or carrots - all tossed in a warm olive oil/butter and rosemary sprigged bath before roasting.  While it goes deliciously with roasted chicken or pork, it suits a summer dinner just as well. Fresh crabmeat comes to mind, and lobster with lemon juice and more melted butter - add a green salad and watermelon slices for a feast.

I used about 3 or 4 cups of vegetables today, so adjust the basting sauce as you need to.

The baste:

2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 cup non-virgin olive oil
1-2 T. fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stems
Three or four 4" sprigs of fresh rosemary

Warm the basting mixture gently.  Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

Prepare all the vegetables.  I rarely peel potatoes, though I did peel the sweet potatoes as the skins looked tough. Cut into easily managed slices.  Place the vegetables in the bowl with the olive oil mixture, toss gently, and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Heat oven to 400F.

Arrange vegetables on a baking sheet with a lip ( also known as a jellyroll pan), pouring all the olive oil mixture onto the pan as well.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and slide into oven.  Set timer for 30 minutes.  After 20 minutes, stir the vegetables around a bit and return to oven.  Remove from oven when all vegetables are fork-tender, spoon onto a platter, and serve immediately.  I serve chunks of bread to mop up some of the juices on the platter - so good!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

tuscan bean salad with sun dried tomatoes

Steamy, hot weather calls for chilled salads, and I've been eating this delightful Italian salad, along with French potato salad with dill, all week.  Still no rain, but the heat wave is supposed to break tomorrow - none too soon for me!  Hope everyone is managing to swim through this humidity.

This recipe makes quite a lot of salad -  probably around 10 cups.  It's terrific for packing for lunches, or having around instead of chips.  It's also super healthy - fiber, protein, all that good stuff.  And it's not expensive to make, either.  

To make:
2 cups small white beans, dried
4 bay leaves
1 peeled onion, whole
1 t. oregano
Place beans, onion, bay leaves, and oregano in a large pot.  Cover with water about 6 inches above the beans, bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cover.  Cook until beans are just soft - about an hour.  Check to see if you need to add water, too - after about a half hour.  Drain and remove bay leaves and onion.

Place in a large bowl and add:

1 T. fresh lemon juice
4 T. or more red wine vinegar
4 T. or more olive oil
4 cloves pressed garlic
3/4 cup scallions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 t. basil, dry, or 2 T. fresh, sliced
1. t, oregano
1/2 t. thyme
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved, or diced tomatoes, or 6 or 7 sun dried tomatoes, snipped into slivers with scissors

Toss gently and taste, taste, taste.  Taste right away, then taste again a half hour later, since the warm beans will absorb the dressing.  Most often it needs a little more oil or salt.

Eat as is, or stuff into peppers, tortillas, wraps, omelets, pasta.  It's also great with tortilla chips ( hold the sour cream!) the way, this is great if you're on the South Beach diet, even for Phase 1!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

cold chicken plated salad with zucchini ribbons

The French call them composed salads;  those delicious cold plated salads so perfect in summer, whether for lunch or dinner.  In America, I see everything from "dinner salads" to simply spelling out the ingredients and adding the word "salad".  I call them plated salads now, simply because I plate them individually and serve with little bowls of condiments, like that bright, cheery jar of pickled red onions, or several different kinds of olives, or a basket of bread and unsalted butter.

I used a mustardy dressing for this, sadly out of anchovies, which would have been my first choice.  

Dijon salad dressing:

1 T. virgin olive oil
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. drained caper berries
1 t. prepared dijon mustard
salt and fresh pepper
Mix the ingredients with a fork until blended well, then drizzle over the plated salad.

To compose a plated salad, start by spreading the platter or plate with greens, then carefully add components that harmonize visually.  Hard boiled eggs, sliced into quarters or halves, are traditional.  Quickly cooked green beans, or flash cooked sugar snaps, are another common addition - but feel free to use what's freshest and therefore, pretty on a plate.  Instead of grated or sliced zucchini, I shaved ribbons and very, very briefly popped them into simmering water, and quickly drained them.  When they were cool, I rolled them up and drizzled dressing on them.

I used leftover cold poached rosemary chicken to anchor the plate, but fish or meats can also be used this way - and it's a more interesting way to serve leftovers than a quick sandwich.  Sliced boiled potatoes are also traditional, but it's best to drizzle the dressing on while they're still warm, then chill or let cool to room temperature.

Hope you're enjoying your summer!  The raspberries and blueberries are ripe - two or three weeks earlier than usual after that funny winter ( or non-winter) we had, so I'm hoping to find those ripe, warm, summer tomatoes soon, soon, soon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

pickled red onions

Summer is here!  Long hot days, herbs growing like crazy, and the throw-together lunches and suppers are my special joy.  If I had a Maine lobster, I would toss these perky red onion pickles into the salad bowl, along with a little olive oil, squeeze of lemon, and dig in.  Sigh.  

No, I didn't grow these red onions, but I picked through the bin at Market Basket until I found just the right juicy, unblemished little guys. Only the best for this all-around salad and sandwich pickle.

Here's how to make them:

2 juicy red onions
pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. bottled capers
fresh dill sprigs

Wash a quart jar well, and dip into boiling water.  Use tongs to lift out the jar and drain.

Peel the red onions, trimming off the ends and papery outside, then slice thinly.

Place onion slices into a small pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a minute, then drain the onion slices.

Using the same pot, measure out the red wine vinegar and white vinegar and bring to a boil for 1 minute.  Set aside for a moment, and add the red pepper flakes, the kosher salt, the capers, and the dill springs to the jar.  Add the drained and blanched red onions, then cover with the hot vinegar mixture.  Top off with a sprig of dill and let cool, then screw on the lid and place pickled onions in the fridge.

Use pickled onions on everything from pulled pork sandwiches, to salads, to breakfast omelets and mixed into cottage cheese and omelets, and divinely inspired lobster salad and rolls.

Happy summer to you all!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

arugula, basil and walnut pesto

Hooray, it's pesto time!  Yesterday I picked up the most beautiful arugula at the farmers market.  Before I ate every single delicious, peppery leaf, I remembered to replenish my pesto supply with this zesty pesto.  

I like the mix of more arugula than basil, and I like a thick texture, so it sticks to the pasta - my preferred being Barilla cellentani, pretty little corkscrews .  You can toss some of the pesto with the pasta, or serve it on top, and let your guests swirl it around.  Best of all, I use toasted walnuts, much less expensive than pine nuts, even if you can find them.  

Makes 1 cup of pesto:

1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup packed arugula
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil, with a little more for drizzling
1 T, fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper

Toast the walnuts in a toaster oven and let cool.
Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped well.
Add the garlic, parmesan, basil, arugula, olive oil and salt and pepper and pulse
until thick.  Add the lemon juice and pulse one more time.

Keep in the fridge, well covered, or freeze for winter - if you can wait!