All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Monday, August 20, 2012

Portuguese Kale Soup

I grew up on what's known as the Outer Cape on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  I lived on Bound Brook Island in Wellfleet with my father and first one, then another stepmother, and with my mother and stepfather in Truro, in a delightful little cottage where I spent many happy hours either on the beach, fifteen minutes away on the bay, or waiting for my stepfather's boat to come in with the rest of the Provincetown fishing fleet.  Whether Wellfleet or Provincetown, I loved sitting on the wharf, listening to the seagulls and the rumble of the boats as they came in.  I ate a lot of very fresh fish ( which made me very picky about my fish forever), and lots of Portuguese Kale Soup - a Cape Codder's version of chicken soup.  There was a large population of Portuguese in Provincetown, and my stepfather and his family were very much part of it.  Kale soup was on every menu in early Provincetown restaurants, and I have to assume all my parents were all adept at their own versions, because for me, it is home.  

Kale soup is centered around a traditional Portuguese pork sausage known as linguica.  It has hints of tomato, and spices, but it's not nearly as hot as chorizo, another Portuguese sausage, often too spicy for my taste.  The best linguica comes from Gaspar's, available, thankfully, even here in New Hampshire at Shaw's supermarkets.  It's packaged as a coil, much as kielbasa, sometimes as small sausages or crumbled, but the large coil is by far the most flavorful.  Most packets run a little over or under a pound.  if you can't find Gaspar's linguica, you can substitute a thick slice of smoked ham.

This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup, which freezes very well.

You will need:

1 medium chopped onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 T. olive oil
3 cups ( about 1 lb) linguica, uncoiled, cut into 5 inch lengths, then quartered lengthwise and cut into a large dice
4-5 medium red skinned potatoes, skin on, cut in large dice
hefty pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water, more or less
2 cups diced plum tomatoes, canned, along with their juices
6+ cups packed torn kale leaves, stems discarded
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 T. unsalted butter, stirred in at the end, optional
1 can cannellini or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed, stirred in at the end
3 T. good salsa , hot or not, stirred in at the end
salt and pepper to taste ( light on the salt, as it seems saltier as it sits)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat.  Add the onion and garlic and stir, cook for 5 minutes.
Add the linguica, the potatoes, the red pepper flakes, and the chicken stock and water and simmer until the potatoes are tender - about 25 minutes.
Add the kale and the diced tomatoes, thyme, and beans and cook another 20 minutes.
Add the red wine vinegar.
Stir in the salsa and optional butter and take off heat.  Let sit a bit before serving with good crusty bread and butter.

More kale soup recipes:

Sausage and Kale Soup
Caldo Verde:  Portuguese Potato Kale Soup

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

sticky lemon cake for Julia

Yesterday was Julia Child's 100th birthday, had she lived to share the day.  Because she meant so much to me, I wanted to make her a cake.  I settled not on a recipe from her many and wonderful, read-in-the-middle-of-the-night cookbooks, but from a recipe I adored and had made many times.  Sticky lemon cake is perky with lemon juice and zest, and just dandy any time of the day.  Divine with sliced strawberries or blueberries, raspberries sprinkled on top;  instead, I added a branch of rosemary ( for remembrance) and a tiny viola flower, in love and thanks.  I chopped up a handful of pistachio nuts, just for the color and crunch but you can use berries instead.  Happy Birthday, dearest Julia!

To make:

I used two small, 6 inch heavy wedding cake pans, greased with vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Preheat oven to 330F.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of a lemon 
2 extra large eggs
2 1/4 cups King Arthur flour, all purpose
1/2 t. baking soda
kosher salt or Vege-sal
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. chopped pistachios for garnish - or fresh berries

Cream the butter and sugar well, along with the lemon zest.  Add the eggs and mix well, then add the flour, baking soda, salt,nutmeg, buttermilk, and fresh lemon juice.

Scrape into the cake pans, dividing equally, and smooth the tops.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until tops spring back gently when softly pressed with your fingertip.

Remove cake pans to cooling rack.

The lemon glaze:

While the cakes are cooling, make a lemon glaze:

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Place in a small saucepan and stir, then heat until hot, and until sugar has melted.  Remove from heat.

Run a dull knife around the sides of the cakes, then remove, top side up, to cooling rack.  Brush with the glaze several times, then sprinkle with nuts or garnish with berries.  Let set for at least 1/2 hour before cutting.  This cake freezes well, so feel free to freeze one of the cakes for later. Just wrap firmly in double plastic wrap before setting in the freezer.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

delicious steamy summer recipes

This has been the most unusual summer I've ever known since I moved to New Hampshire in 1978.  Day after day of my outside thermometer registering 100 degrees in the sun.  Rain promised, but not delivered.  Moose Brook dwindles to a trickle - I feel sadly for those in the farmbelt who are watching their crops wither.

Eating in this kind of weather is a challenge.  Enjoying it?  Not so much.  A cold shower at 10 pm helps, and so do all those tried and true recipes I have right at my fingertips.  I've sent Maida's delectable brownies to my son in almost-chilly San Francisco,  Tuscan Bean salad for suppers with the kids and grandkids,  Finnish cucumber salad, cold, sweet and sour - always welcome at any meal.  Blueberry muffins with toasted walnuts, made early in the morning, before it gets too hot.  Yogurt and fresh fruit with honey any morning - or evening!  Composed French salads, pickled red onions, lots of lemon cucumber mint water, eggplant appetizer with tortilla chips, Italian bread salad, zesty with garlic and tomatoes.  HB eggs with mayo ( Hellman's, please) with fresh basil and arugula, and embarrassing amounts of juicy watermelon chunks, strawberries, and blueberries.  Raspberry season came and went in a day, unhappy with the lack of rain.  I hope you all are holding up as well as can be.

For some reason, I've had no desire for cold soups, but you can find lots and LOTS of recipes here;  until this summer I've cherished soup in all seasons.  

On a sad note, my beloved 15 year old pussycat died the Friday before last:  I miss her hugely.  She was a playful, loving, darling Domino, and I hope she is at last with her beloved Indiana Jones, our Golden Retriever.  That gives me comfort.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

sunday pancakes with fresh blueberry sauce

For a summer with very little rain, I'm surprised that the blueberries are so bountiful!  With days running into the 90's and up, I have very little desire to hike up the mountains and even over to the pick-your-own fields of blueberries, but how can I resist the green boxes of fresh-pick at the farmer's market?  The boxes multiply in the fridge, until I finally made my favorite blueberry sauce - good not only on buttermilk pancakes, but just as tasty in my morning yogurt.

For the sauce:

1 pint fresh blueberries
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. sugar
pinch of cinnamon
3 T. fresh orange juice
pinch of salt

Place the blueberries in a small saucepan set on medium-low.  Add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and orange juice and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and use immediately on hot pancakes, or cover and save in your fridge as a yogurt topping.
For the buttermilk pancakes:

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
3 T. melted butter or canola, coconut oil, or light olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
3 T. sugar
pinch of nutmeg
2 t. baking powder
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, melted butter or oil, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and baking powder and flour.
The mixture will puff up - simply whisk again until it becomes more liquid.
Pour a tablespoon or two of oil or butter into a skillet, heat until melted.
Adjust heat to medium-low.

Either pour or use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter into skillet.  Let cook until you see bubbles on the sides of the pancake, then flip and cook another 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate, and repeat.

When all the batter is used up, place the plate of pancakes on the table and serve with the warm blueberry sauce and a bowl of fresh watermelon chunks or?  Personally, I think whipped cream is a little over the top, but if it appeals to you, I say go for it!

Happy August!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

wordless wednesday: Lilliputian native plums

Juicy, tiny native plums from Tenney's Farmstand:  1 1/2 inches of summer bliss.