All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Thursday, August 27, 2015

roasted chicken with rosemary: transition

You would think by now I would be settling in here after two months, but my head stubbornly refuses to re-set my compass :  I wake up not quite sure where I am in my long life of places:  for a few seconds I am 10, sharing a bedroom with my little sister in Pascagoula, Mississippi - and next I'm looking down at one of my babies, who are now parents themselves. I hear my father's voice halloooing as he meets my car on the island:  this morning I heard a ship's bell clanging in the fog on a tiny harbor in Maine we stayed at for a few days long ago - it was the light rail just outside my window, here in Minnesota.  I know where I am physically, but the years and places tumble gently in my waking up bubble.  I think to pick some mint and thyme from the herb border beside the front door, then remember I'm on the fifth floor in a midwestern city, with no garden (yet), with a houseful of family.  

For someone who's been solitary for a long, long time, it's a transition that is taking a little too long for my patience.  But yesterday, I finally made the famous roasted -chicken- with- rosemary and thyme with 9 year old Izzie by my side, watching - and tomorrow, a birthday cake for my dearest firstborn - and let's hope it kickstarts the creative (and culinary) juices flowing.  And guess what I found just down the street yesterday morning?  A little garden center crowded with plants and herbs:  a two foot rosemary plant that now sits on the window sill, minus a few branches for this chicken.

Roasted Chicken with rosemary and thyme

Preheat oven to 350F.

1 good sized chicken to serve 6 people
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into 2 portions
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 of a lemon
1 teaspoon whole thyme leaves
several springs of fresh rosemary
freshly cracked pepper

Wipe out the inside of the chicken with a paper towel.  Squeeze the lemon over the outside of the chicken, then place the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken.   Add 1 tablespoon of the butter inside the cavity as well.  Add several sprigs of rosemary inside the chicken, then rub the outside of the chicken with the remaining butter.  Sprinkle the chicken with the thyme and kosher salt and fresh pepper.

Place chicken in preheated oven and roast for 1 and a half hours, or until chicken is golden and the chicken legs move easily when wiggled.  Remove the chicken to cool for 15 minutes, then tip the chicken and collect some of those wonderful juices to drizzle over the chicken before slicing.( P.S.:  Save the bones and trimmings and juices for an over-the-moon roasted chicken stock!)

I served this with wilted spinach and kale, and boiled quartered new potatoes with lots of butter and pepper - what a wonderful supper!  And dessert was those wonderful tiny clementines found at Trader Joe's (from Chile) - juicy, easy to peel, and the perfect size for 2 year old Noah, though I go through three at a sitting, they are so good!

Happy almost September!

Monday, August 17, 2015

fresh rosemary and red onion focaccia

Where has the summer gone?  I'm sure that's being echoed by every parent and grandparent at this moment, as they realize school starts next week.  I am still deep in boxes, rummaging through eight boxes to find one small ice cream scoop (never found) or the portrait of my Grandmother Helen (still not found), or my mandoline (found half of it), my tray of silver knives, forks, and spoons are found, at last, though!

So, that has been my summer: packing, unpacking, playing with the children, walks, swims, museum going, and a fine visit to the Irish Fair here, mainly so Izzie could finally see the young step dancers performing - which she loved!  

Too busy and hectic to bake much, though I did finish this focaccia my daughter started.  She made the dough the night before, and I finished it the next afternoon.  She found it on Bon Appetit, and I must say it was delicious.  The dough is rolled very, very, thin, proofed, assembled, and baked.  It comes out crunchy and toasty and was a hit with all three children - and me.  I was very sad to see the platter empty, but will make again:  the CSA share box always has fresh red onions to remind me.

rosemary and red onion focaccia

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided , plus more
1 3/4ths cups King Arthur all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup water plus more if needed
1/2-3/4ths cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
2-3 tablespoons chopped oregano and basil leaves
fresh pepper 

Lightly oil a bowl, set aside.  Combine the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and 3/4th a cup of water in mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.  Mix on low for 5 minutes.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, increase speed to medium and mix for 6 minutes.  Form dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.  Knead by hand, adding a tablespoon of flour at a time as necessary to prevent sticking.  Place in bowl, let stand for an hour at room temperature, then place dough in plastic bag and chill in the fridge overnight.

The next day, oil a large rimmed baking sheet with oil.  Stretch and pull dough on sheet into a rectangle slightly smaller than the sheet.  Brush or drizzle 2 tablespoons oil on dough.  
Cover with plastic wrap loosely and let rest for an hour at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500F.
Remove plastic wrap and dimple dough with fingertips.
Scatter the onions and herbs evenly over the dough, then sprinkle on salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Bake until golden - about 20 minutes in my oven.  Let cool before slicing and serving.
Recipe slightly modified from the original Bon Appetit recipe.

Let me know if you come up with some other toppings - I would love to know !  Thinking artichokes, sardines, feta, tomatoes - oh, the possibilities!

The wonderful David Leibovitz visited my hometown on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts - you can see it here.  It is beautiful!

Have a wonderful week, dear friends.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

indian spiced green beans with buttermilk raita

Oh, those green beans!  Every Thursday, the CSA box arrives loaded with them .   The first time we found them, we were thrilled, and my daughter made this delicious supper, remembering the scents and tastes of her visit to India and Nepal.  The second time, not as much enthusiasm, and the third found me trimming the beans and parboiling them to freeze for the winter.  I do wish I liked green beans a little more, but for me, a little goes a long way.  I'd much rather have a rainbow of tomatoes - but this recipe won me over.

Here, the beans are shredded in a Cuisinart using one of the slicing discs, or you can slice by hand, which is tedious, but pleasing in a way.  Two pounds of green beans were dispatched in a matter of minutes, for which we were grateful - that spicy aroma of curry was making us HUNGRY.

First, make a batch of jasmine-basmati rice (with a little chicken stock added to the water), enough to feed your friends/family - in this case, I would say it was enough for 8 servings.  Set aside when done, covered, until it's time to serve.

the green beans:

3 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
one large onion, diced
2 pounds of fresh green beans, sliced or shredded in the Cuisinart food processor.
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons good curry powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
kosher salt to taste

Shred the beans, or french them by hand.
Place a baking sheet over two burners on medium heat.  
Drizzle the oil on the sheet and spread with a spoon.
Add the diced onion and cook until golden.
Add the shredded green beans and cook 15 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and the spices and stir well.  Continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn.
Serve over the rice with a side dish of the buttermilk raita.

the buttermilk raita:

1 finely diced peeled cucumber
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
kosher salt to tast
1 cup buttermilk

Combine the cucumber, dill, parsley, buttermilk, and salt and stir well.  I used a remarkable new tan cucumber a friend had given us - but looking at the picture, it looks like a potato:)

To serve:  mound the rice on plates, add the green bean mixture on top, then spoon a few tablespoons of the raita on top of the rice and beans.  Heavenly!

Isadora showed me this lovely fountain, planted with wildflowers , one day in a large park nearby - isn't it lovely?  And isn't she lovely?