All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

the last of the brussels sprouts




I'm always a little sad when the brussels sprout season is over - I do love them!  But on that sunny, warm day, I blanched them for barely 10 minutes (they were very small), drained them, and made a summery marinade:

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
oregano - a pinch or two
a pinch of so of caraway seed
a generous sprinkling of crisp bacon

Makes two servings.

Happy Spring!





Thursday, April 13, 2017

lemon shortbread cookies

Inspired by the first wildflowers of spring, I headed to the kitchen to make these intensely lemony , flaky shortbread cookies.  I know most people crave chocolate, but lemon is my very favorite flavor of all .  I never use lemon extract, because it doesn't have the same tang that freshly squeezed lemon juice has, though I do add vanilla to balance these cookies.  A little sweet, a little puckery.





You make the dough ahead of time and stick in the fridge or freezer.  It thaws fairly quickly if you freeze it, thanks to the unsalted butter, then just roll it out fairly thickly, cut out the cookies and bake.  I tend to use my round fluted cookie cutters  - perfect for a sturdy cookie that shows just the tiniest amount of toasty edges.  Yummers!


This made about 40 cookies for me today - I forgot to count!


Lemon Shortbread cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar (plus more for sprinkling on top, if you'd like)
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 and 3/4's cups King Arthur flour
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt

Cream the butter in the mixer bowl, add the sugar and mix.
Add the lemon zest and juice and mix.
Add the flour and mix.
Add the vanilla and pinch of salt and mix.
Gather the dough into a ball, pat it down into an oval, and wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer.  I left it in the freezer for two days before I was ready to make the cookies.

Later:  take the dough out of the freezer to thaw a bit.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
As soon as the dough is pliable, mold into an oval with your hands, roll, and proceed to cut out your cookies.  If you'd like, sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top of the cookies.
Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 20 minutes .  I like a little toasty browning on the edge, but that's up to you.  Remove cookies to a cooling rack and continue rolling and cutting out cookies - but make sure the cookie sheet has cooled in between batches.

That's it!

Happy Easter to you all!







Saturday, April 8, 2017

spring is spronging!




A long delay in posts, my apologies.  My ankle is slowly getting better, making it a little easier to get to the supermarket - but often I get there and realize I forgot my shopping list.  I do make a list and email it to myself on the cellphone, but just as often "forget" my cellphone, which I have a love/don't love relationship with - I had a landline in NH all those years because of the mountains, and definitely prefer it.   My camera is acting up (I love, love those Canon PowerShot cameras, lightweight and small enough to stick in my pocket) but a trip to Target turned up empty - the only Canon on the shelf was the the Rebel, much too big to cart around, and much more expensive.

Spring comes earlier here in Minnesota, and I discovered these pretty wildflowers suddenly blooming all along the back yards in my neighborhood - it gives a lift to the soul!

I think cookies are in my future, a request from the almost 4-year old, so stay tuned!

Happy Spring!






Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pantry cannellini bean and tomato salad with artichokes

Once again, I've been sidelined by that ankle injury several months ago.  Which meant no long walks to the supermarket, but on the happy side, reading and re-reading books from my library, everything from Buddhist philosophy to cookbooks to mysteries.  It's been lovely, but I'm impatient for the ankle to heal a little faster.








I've also browsed more on Pinterest, which is where I found this salad-from-the-pantry, made very simply with cans of diced tomatoes, beans, and artichoke hearts from my pantry shelves. I had green olives, but no black olives - I think I would prefer the black olives next time. And I did drain the diced tomatoes, but they were still juicy, next time I'll drain them a little longer. I also cut the artichoke hearts in half, instead of quarters.  But still, it was a wonderful filling salad for lunch.

Do check out the link for full directions  - her salad is lovely!

What I used:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 fat garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons bottled capers
a handful of olives
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
2 cans dried tomatoes, drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
My parmesan cheese was very dry and hard, so I skipped the 1/4 cup parmesan shavings.








Friday, March 24, 2017

ginger and strawberry jam







A chilly, damp day today.  When I opened the fridge, I could smell those Florida strawberries, fragrant and sweet.  So, of course , I made a fresh little pot of jam.  And just for fun, I added a spicy slice of fresh ginger root -  mmmmm, smells wonderful!



The directions are here:  http://shesinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2015/01/winter-strawberry-jam.html


Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 20, 2017

stove top chicken thighs in spicy tomato sauce



What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been - mostly political, which often sends me instantly to my bed for a nap.  I tinkered with the Paleo diet after noticing the poundage was creeping up, but I missed too many foods .  Sensible eating seems to be the best way for me to go. I was delighted , however, with the thumbs up for chicken thighs , which I have always preferred over the chicken breasts.

This is one of the Paleo-friendly recipes I came up with and have now made 3 times in the last month:


Stove top chicken thighs :

3 or 4 good sized chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 sliced onion
1 sliced red or yellow sweet pepper
1 cup diced canned tomatoes (I used the one with basil and oregano)
1 cup pitted black kalamata olives
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon thyme
kosher salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium.
Add the chicken thighs.
Add the sliced onion, peppers, tomatoes, olives, water, and thyme and salt and pepper.

Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook another 20 minutes, covered.  Cut into the chicken to make sure there is no pink - if it is, cook another 15 minutes, covered.  I served with very fresh skinny asparagus topped with lemon juice and olive oil.

Yummers!




This is a Paleo treat I nibbled on whenever I wanted something sweet - homemade Paleo peanut butter cups.  I found it on Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/260927372142296396/



Be well - and carry on:)





Friday, March 10, 2017

poached eggs with asparagus



I woke up at 5 am, hungry and as always, happy to see a new day.  There's always a thrill to rummage through the fridge, wondering just what might be perfect for this beautiful new day.  A fresh bunch of new skinny asparagus winked at me through the thin plastic bag. And?   Gently simmered in a little water until it was just tender.  Drained and set aside.      And what else?

Those marvelous eggs from Locally Laid, somewhere in Minnesota.  Ah, here it is - PO Box, Wrenshall, MN, also gently poached until the whites were opaque and the yolks a little firm when I pressed a fingertip to them after draining off the water, and set them on a plate.  A little cheese sauce, I think.

Add a little cheese, as always, here a half cup shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella, salt and pepper, a little cream, in a small saucepan and set on very low heat until melty, and DONE.  Even though it melted, there was a milky residue in the saucepan, which I drained off.  It was too early to forage through the cookbooks for a proper creamy sauce.  A sprinkle of Italian parsley topped it off.

Note:  I tested a proper white cheese sauce later :
  3 T. butter
1.5 T. flour
Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk in the flour on low heat.
Add 1/4 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup cheddar, and 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper.
Whisk until the sauce is smooth.  Drizzle over the eggs and asparagus.


All in all, a perfect breakfast on a very cold morning (8 degrees) . Here's to a beautiful new day!