All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

skinny fresh strawberry muffins (with a lemon glaze)

A week or so ago I had to fess up to the fact that I had gained a little weight. I don't have a scale, but I could tell by the fit of my clothes that it was time to be a little more careful about my eating.  I wasn't really eating more, but getting less exercise because of an ankle injury.  

I've been eating mostly fish, chicken, and all sorts of salads, but today longed for a nice sweet muffin ,  Most of my muffins have a lot of sweet butter, but I do make a lemon low fat muffin, that would go nicely with the last of the strawberries I got a few days ago.

It was just perfect with a last minute lemon glaze.  And they passed the "give the leftovers to the carpenters" installing a new outside door.  They were thrilled (and hungry).

Fresh strawberry muffins

Makes a dozen medium sized muffins.
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease or butter regular size muffin tins (I also did a few minis)

1 heaping cup strawberries, cut into slices or diced
2 cups King Arthur flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
zest from a lemon (about a teaspoon)
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Chobani)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 extra large egg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons water ( my batter was a little stiffer than usual, so I just added a little water)

Place the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl and mix briefly.
Add the lemon zest, yogurt, canola, egg, vanilla, and lemon juice in mixer bowl and mix slowly. Fold in strawberries.  Add the water if your batter is too stiff.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups 3/4's full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffin tops bounce back when touched.
Remove to a cooling rack.

While still warm, you can brush them with a quick glaze:

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

I'm loving making up salad bowls - this is my latest after a trip to Whole Foods where I finally found large arugula leaves!  Tossed in some water canned sardines, 1/2 piece of good bread , diced, and a strong garlic-lemon salad dressing. 

Happy February!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

poached salmon and noodle salad bowl

If you're a fish lover like me, you always make sure you have a stash of tinned sardines and mackerel in the pantry, and at least one of those packages (found at Target, of all places) of frozen salmon.  If you have leftover baked salmon, all the better. 

And so it was today, waking up with my fish craving.  I'm catching up to the bowl craze because it's so much fun to assemble from leftovers: the fettuccine was from two nights ago, the salad dressing mixed up for today's lunch (I thought I was having a romaine salad so I made it up last night).

Poached salmon and noodle salad

The dressing:
2 tablespoons mild olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium garlic, peeled and pressed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 teaspoon capers
scant teaspoon dry tarragon
Fresh dill if you have it (I didn't)

Mix together and set aside.

I-2 cup leftover noodles or fettuccine
1 cup or more flaked leftover salmon, or thawed and poached or cooked in a skillet 
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Drizzle the salmon, greens, and noodles with the dressing and toss before serving.

No politics today, just a reminder to Keep Calm and Carry On.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

soft vanilla pudding with nutmeg

When I woke up early this morning, I did the usual - make coffee, brush teeth, do my back exercises, do my knee exercises.  It was only when I poured my coffee and took a sip that I realized my stomach was in a grumpy mood.  I set aside the coffee, and stared at Mr. Rabbit, who, being made of cast iron, never has indigestion. 

I was all set up to make a vegetable chowder of sorts but even thinking about it made me feel a little green, so I gave up on that idea instantly.

I wanted something besides peppermint tea, but the only thing I thought of was a lovely vanilla flavored pudding.  Searching for a recipe, I saw a lot of recipes that used eggs, but I've never used eggs in the puddings I've made in the past.  So, ok, eggless vanilla pudding. Eggless soft vanilla pudding, with a little shower of nutmeg and cinnamon, the way I always made it , when I was in a pudding mood.  Googling, I found a perfect recipe from the New York Times, which you can find here.  I made a half a recipe, because I was low on milk, but will certainly make the full recipe once I get to the store.  

It's as I said, a soft pudding, and I only let it sit in the fridge for half an hour, to chill - not long enough to firm up much, but I couldn't wait.  I'll be making this again - it's light but creamy and the vanilla adds a richness, along with the cinnamon and nutmeg I grated over it.

Be well!

PS/  How about those Patriots!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

red chard and lentil soup with lemon

It has been super chilly the last few days in Minnesota - and perfect soup or stew weather - and a good time to look through the vegetable crisper drawer, which was stuffed to the brim.  Right on top, there was that beautiful bunch of red chard that I kept meaning to cook up, but there was so much of it!

My plan was to make a soup or stew, and use the leftover chard perhaps for a quiche or tart, and I wanted something new.  I googled chard and scrolled, and found this recipe from Martha Stewart.  I almost always follow a new recipe exactly, and then change it up the second time I make it - but this one was perfect just as it was written, though I did substitute salsa for tomato paste. I was a little dubious that it would use the whole bundle of chard, to be honest - but I used every bit of it.  You do have to do a little prep with the chard, dividing the stems (which are chopped into 1 inch pieces), from the leaves (which are simply sliced, also in 1 inch ribbons).

And it was delicious, with plenty left over to freeze for later.  

Red Chard and Lentil Soup

1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (for sauteing)
2 tablespoons good salsa (I use Green Mountain Gringo)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
kosher salt to taste, fresh pepper to taste
pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 cup lentils
5 cups water
one bunch fresh red chard, divided into stems and leaves and chopped into 1 inch pices
1/2 large lemon, squeezed in just before serving

Saute the onion and olive oil until soft.
Add the salsa, oregano, thyme, and hot pepper flakes and stir.
Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, covered.  Taste ( and make sure lentils aren't crunchy and undercooked) and add a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Add the chopped chard stems and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chopped leaves and cook for 20 minutes more.  I added the leaves in three batches - they cooked down very quickly.
Remove from heat and squeeze the lemon juice into the soup before serving.
This freezes very well.

I visited that beautiful greenhouse at Como Park again - deliciously warm and steamy in the jungle room (so steamy my camera fogged up), and this pretty 10" tree in the bonsai room.