All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Broccoli rabe with sweet peppers and rosemary

I had the most wonderful birthday on Monday,  filled with a shower of birthday phone calls, two visits from my grandchildren and my daughter and daughter-in-law, flowers, and a birthday breakfast coffeecake that was sweet, sweet, sweet.  It was glorious.

And that night, I made a batch of this broccoli rabe ( also known as rapini) and sweet peppers and ate two platefuls.  I've been trying not to eat sweets, so cake-for-breakfast left me feeling like I was jumping on a trampoline.  I was surprised, and next time I'll remember not to eat quite so big a piece of cake.

Broccoli Rabe with sweet peppers

Half a bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and trimmed at the stem ends
4 large, firm orange or red peppers, washed and sliced into strips
3 large cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves (I have two huge pots of rosemary in the kitchen)
kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pour about 1 1/2 inches of water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Add the pepper slices, garlic cloves, and rosemary to the pot and simmer 5-10 minutes.
With a large knife, slice the broccoli rabe crosswise into two inch pieces.

Add the broccoli rabe to the pepper, adding more water if needed to prevent scorching, cover the pot with a lid, and cook just until wilted.

Uncover and stir in the butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Izzie made me a card - don't you love her bunny slippers?  We spent an hour looking at  pictures of Paris on Pinterest - she is crazy about Paris!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

big lemon cookies

Right in the middle of shoveling and knocking down icicles yesterday, the picture of those Archway lemon cookies floated into my mind.  Have you ever had them?  Those and the hermit cookies were weekly staples in the grocery cart when my children were young, though I admit those weren't the only fingers snitching a cookie.  They were rectangular, and a quite hefty, as I remember.  

You know how it is when you get a bee in your bonnet, as my Mum used to say, so I looked up a lemon cookie I made years ago.  It was good, but I remember thinking I wished I hadn't used lemon extract, or quite so much cornstarch.  So I tinkered with the recipe and ended up with a tangy, 4 inch handful of cookie.  I waffled on the frosting, and ended up just drizzling a little lemon juice and confectioner's sugar icing on top.

Now that's a terrific cookie !

To make 8 or 9 four inch cookies ( or more using a smaller scoop):

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with clean foil or parchment paper.

For the cookie dough:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) room temperature unsalted butter
1 and 1/4th cups confectioner's sugar 1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from a lemon - about 1-2 teaspoons

Stir together the flour, salt, cornstarch and baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Place the butter and confectioner's sugar in mixer bowl and mix on low until blended, then increase speed and mix a few minutes more.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest, then switch to low while you add the flour/cornstarch mixture.  Mix until creamy .

Using a regular ice cream scoop, scoop cookies onto baking sheet, leaving 3 inches between cookies.  (I usually fit 6 cookies on each baking sheet).

Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool briefly on a cooling rack, then use a spatula to let them cool further on another rack - important it you want the icing to set.

To make the icing, just mix a cup of confectioner's sugar and fresh lemon juice to a medium consistency and either brush on the somewhat cooled baked cookies, or drizzle from a fork.  


Remember the apple orchard?  Here it is in winter, where the trees are snoozing under a blanket of snow...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dutch Baby pancake with strawberries

I saw a picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago that reminded me of the Dutch baby pancakes I made once in a while for the kids, a long time ago.  At the time, I used a recipe from another first grade Mom, but then it went missing.  The only problem with the Pinterest picture?  The recipe was in another language, possibly Swiss or German or who knows what.

Long story short, I emailed the recipe to an esteemed neighbor who speaks five languages, including Swiss and German.  Last night she emailed the translation back, and sure enough, it was the same recipe I used to use.

So now, dear friends, you can make this Dutch Baby perhaps for a Valentine dessert tonight!

To make these, you will need one or two steel or stainless steel omelet pans (mine is an 8 inch steel one),  without a non-stick finish, as it goes into a hot oven.

This makes 4 pancakes, using an 8" metal omelet pan.

Preheat oven to 400F.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter for each pancake 2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup King Arthur all purpose flour
two pinches of kosher salt
Zest from a large lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Sliced strawberries - I used about a half cup of sliced berries for each pancake
Confectioner's sugar or maple syrup for topping

In your steel omelet pan, place a tablespoon of butter and place pan into the hot oven.

While the pan is heating mix together the eggs, milk, flour, salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon.  There is no sugar in the batter recipe - only  the confectioner's sugar on top of the berries.

When the butter has melted, use a pot holder to pull the pan out of the oven, then pour a scant 1/2 cup batter into the pan and place back into the oven quickly.

Bake for 15 or so minutes, or until the pancake puffs up and bubbles and you see a little light browning.

Using a pot holder, hold the handle and slide the pancake from the pan with a fork onto a plate.  Add the butter for the second pancake and place back in oven.  Continue until all the batter is used up and you have 4 pancakes.

Sprinkle the strawberries equally among the pancakes, then use a sieve to shake powdered sugar over the pancake.  Serve with more confectioner's sugar or maple syrup if you wish.  These are usually eaten with a fork and knife.

We got a foot of snow last night - and this was my reward for all that shoveling!

Monday, February 10, 2014

asparagus and avocado pasta with garlic and parsley

What a beautiful blue sky today!  Moving into February, the bitter cold slowly warmed, with two pretty snowstorms with light  snowflakes (as opposed to that freezing rain/snow glop we had in January)  that were a joy to shovel.  I even braved going down to Norway Pond and taking a little walk on the snow covered ice.  Looks like the tundra, doesn't it?

Then a light lunch with the new pencil-thin asparagus, farfalle (bow-tie) pasta, and avocado, sharpened with garlic and parmesan, finished with Italian parsley.  Sigh.  What a wonderful Monday!

Asparagus and avocado pasta

a small handful of very thin new asparagus (about 10 stalks)
1 1/2 cups farfalle pasta
2 T. unsalted butter
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Half an avocado, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
a few cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
1/2 t. dried basil (or fresh, if you have it, I didn't)
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
a squeeze of fresh lemon over all

Adapted from Everyday Food 2006

Gently bend the bottoms of the asparagus stalks until they snap off easily, leaving the most tender parts of the stalk.  Cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces.

Fill a medium saucepot with water, add a bit of salt and bring to a boil.  Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove asparagus to a bowl with a slotted spoon but do not drain the water off.
Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta for 10 minutes.  Remove half a cup of the pasta water, and drain off the rest.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the pasta pot, add the asparagus and garlic, and cook for about 4 minutes.  Add salt and pepper, basil, parsley, the pasta water, the parmesan, the second tablespoon of butter, and the avocado and cherry tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat..  Remove and taste for seasonings, then squeeze a little lemon juice over the pasta before serving.

Serve with extra parmesan.

A year ago:  Sweet Pink Valentine cookies

Sunday, February 2, 2014

winter breakfasts and a welcome to February

It has been so cold for so long up here in the mountains, as January always is, but this year was a doozy.  -15 day after day, and sheets of ice underfoot, so cooking inspiration suffered. But I always make a good breakfast , a fairly recent habit - me, who never had anything beyond several cups of coffee and, perhaps - a hunk of cheese as I raced the kids out the door!  Now I often make a quick soup ( I call it a warm smoothie) and add some kind of protein like cheese or turkey, cheese or eggs.  Sweet breakfasts I don't make very much, unless it's fresh fruits or Finnish fruit compote, mostly because sugar revs me up.

Welcome to February, which is usually our snowiest month - and warmer!  And tomorrow is our Izzie's 8th birthday!