All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Monday, December 28, 2015

waiting for snow (and chunky apples and oats)

I have no idea where the time has gone, but keeping up with three small (grand) children on their Christmas breaks might have a little something to do with it.  And the scourge of strep, which my daughter has had five times now, the children several times .  I'd forgotten how exhausting it can be to have most of the family in bed, with the covers over their heads.

One thing 9 year old Isadora wanted asap was the chunky apples and oats for breakfast, as soon as her appetite came back.   I've now made it almost every morning for someone, but mostly for me.  And I've clarified a few directions from the original recipe ages ago, so that soon Izzie can make it herself, with adult supervision.  You will have to copy and paste, but I hope soon to have a clickable print and pin button from some talented blogger person:  that is NOT me, alas.

This oatmeal is so far from instant or gloppy oatmeal they are just barely related:  I simmer it for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, cover it, and let it slowly plump up the oats and gently cook the apple chunks.  It has definition and is delicious to savor with drizzles of honey or maple syrup, then topped with cream.  If you don't have fresh apples, you can use raisins or dried cranberries, which will plump up as the oats cook. SO good.

Chunky apples and oatmeal:

Makes about 4 servings.

2 medium apples, peeled and cut into dice or chunks
2  1/2 cups water 
1  1/2 cups rolled oats ( I use Quaker oats)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, place the apples, oats, water, cinnamon, and butter.

Bring the water to a simmer and let cook on medium low for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Remove from heat and cover.  Let sit for at least another 10 minutes, stirring gently once or twice, before serving with cream, syrup, or honey.  The oats will be delightfully chunky, not sticky.

Snow expected here tonight - up to 9 inches!  It's been comfortable weather, a little cold, a dusting of snow, so this is my very first storm in Minnesota.  Below is the street our 5th floor apartment looks down on, with the trolley/train tracks in the middle, and the little hobbit houses looking over the green where my friend Mark plays bocce in the summer - so different a view from the forests and mountains of New Hampshire I was used to.  Be well, and onward to the New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2015

winter detox soup

Colds and strep have been cycling around the family for weeks, and today when my daughter asked for a spicy green soup for her third bout with strep, I reached for all those familiar herbs and spices we use so often in winter:  fresh ginger root, garlic, thyme (but then, I put thyme in EVERYTHING), sea salt, and dill.  Sometimes a few splashes of hot sauce find their way into a soup, but not today.

We always have bags and bunches of kale and arugula, scallions and potatoes, onions and frozen stocks, but lacking a vegetarian stock, I used the seasoned vegetable base she had from Better than Bouillon, then added a little chicken stock after I ladled out her portion.

SO good!  On my second cup as I look out the window at the freezing sleet blanketing the sidewalk, happy to be warm and inside today, then a smile as I see Stuart Little at the top of the Christmas tree in his wee little canoe - and far from the reaches of two year old Noah.  

winter detox soup

2 heaping cups of russet or red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 large peeled garlic clove, cut in half
several sliced scallions, greens included
a small chunk (about an inch) of fresh ginger, unpeeled

Place the potatoes, onion, thyme, garlic, scallions, and ginger in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a low boil and cook until the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork.

When potatoes are soft, remove pot from heat and add:

a large tablespoon Better than Bouillon vegetable paste or chicken base
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt to taste- I added two little pinches
2 handfuls of arugula.  If they have stiff stems, remove them before tossing into the pot.
2 large handfuls of packaged kale - mine was already de-stemmed and torn
1 teaspoon dried dill

Cook until the greens are soft, then puree in a blender, adding more stock or water if it seems too thick.  Taste carefully before serving.  
Enjoy - and stay healthy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving - and welcome, December!

My first Thanksgiving in Minnesota was a joyously delicious one : I used Ina's recipe for her make-ahead turkey (don't ask why, because it was completely spontaneous) - it was perfectly cooked, tender, and moist , though my daughter missed the traditional stuffed turkey.  My daughter made those beautiful apple flowers, which I would love to learn how to make, AND a cranberry pie.  Mashed potatoes, and I'm quite sure we had salad and a green vegetable, but I've forgotten.   Almost as soon as we had cleaned up after Thanksgiving, we woke up to five inches of beautiful fluffy snow - the first snow I've seen out here.  I hope your Thanksgiving was delicious and warming, with friends and family, or thoughts of family.  And now - onto getting supplies to make these reindeer cookies with the grandchildren- and looking for a few sleds and a hill to race down!  Happy December 1st!