All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

the herb garden and a product review (hummus)






Oh, holy allergies!  I had hoped to be taking some long walks, but it's a wicked allergy season for me, not sure who the culprit is.  The best I can do is check on the new herb plants and keep them watered when we had those hot, dry days.  And Mr. Rabbit is very interested in the new calendula plants - I read up on rabbit problems, and apparently rabbits hate strong-smelling plants, which is why he hasn't eaten any of my new herbs - most of them are mints, rosemary and basils.  I'll be using a peppermint spray on the plants on dry days, and hope it keeps him away.

As I was rummaging through the pantry, making up a shopping list, I came across this hummus add-garbanzo-beans-and-blend packet I bought several months ago, and, being out of tahini, decided to try it. (this is not a sponsored post, by the way).  I guessed it would probably need more lemon, but it was surprisingly tangy.  A little too much salt for me, and I added half a clove of garlic, though it already had garlic in the ingredients.  It was a perfect texture , not soupy, and not too thick.  So, though I usually make my own, this was very good.  I would buy this again.  I really hate messing with a large container of tahini.  It always separates into an oily glop.

Hope you have a grand weekend!  


Saturday, May 13, 2017

on turnip greens



You know how I love any kind of greens - I found the most beautiful bunch of turnip greens yesterday, then realized I wasn't quite sure how to cook them.  I cook collards for at least an hour, but turnip greens are more like kale - a modest cooking time keeps the peppery flavor intact.

It was a good try, but definitely needed more fat (I only had lean ham and a few tablespoons of bacon grease) while cooking, and a cup or so of chicken stock, instead of 3 cups of water.  Live and learn.  Next time I'm going to try fatback and maybe chicken sausages, and follow this recipe, or this one.  I ended up dressing the greens with lemon, olive oil, and hot sauce .

The most important prep is to slice the greens, then wash throughly in a big bowl of water.  Mine looked clean, but after two rinses, there was a lot of sand and dirt in the bottom of the bowl.  Second is not to overcook the turnip greens - no more than 20 minutes for the entire bowl of chopped greens. (Collards are a different story - at least an hour with fatback).






Thursday, May 11, 2017

interlude





Dear friends -  it has become clear in the last several months that a thoughtful break is in order for me and the blog.

Just as I was thinking about it two months ago, my camera agreed with a slight meltdown, and a month after that, a computer malfunction. Even though I get 10,000 views a month, I wasn't making money, so not enough to consider it a successful situation. I stubbornly plodded on, but the thought of a break after 10 years of blogging felt more and more comfortable.  I wanted to write more, though what , I wasn't sure.

True, the tiny oven didn't help, or the heat detector going off when I was baking.  But really, I missed cooking for people, feeding people, messing about in the kitchen.

So I'll call it a recharging of creative energy and hope to be back.  In the meantime, I'm starting another book of poetry, at least, I think that's what's been prodding my thoughts:)
and finding my food muse again.  If I feel inspired, I'll certainly post.

Thank you for reading, you wonderful people! - and look forward to coming back refreshed.

lots of love -

Katrina

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

fresh banana muffins with oats & lemon zest

You know how New Englanders always say "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute"?  It's been like that here in Minnesota.  Rain, gloom, sun - and heavy snowflakes late afternoon yesterday.  This morning is windy and overcast and a perfect morning to make muffins and stay inside.






I settled on my old recipe for banana muffins with oats and buttermilk, cinnamon and  - wait!  Why do I have both white and brown sugar?  Forget that!  So I erased the 1/3 cup white sugar (keeping the 1/2 cup brown sugar) and really, there really wasn't a big difference.  Recipe corrected.  

These are moist (especially hot from the oven), and have lots of fiber from the oats, not too much sugar (now, anyway:), and canola oil instead of butter.  The muffins are slightly sweet, spongy and I'm sure they must be healthy - right?  I think you'll like them.



Fresh Banana muffins with oats and lemon zest

This makes 6 Texas size muffins.

Grease the muffin tins and set aside. (I used a Texas size muffin tin) 
Preheat oven to 350F.

In mixing bowl place:

2 medium ripe bananas, peeled, broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 extra-large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup buttermilk

Using your mixing paddle on your mixer, stir on low until the mixture is fairly blended.  It will be a little lumpy.

Add:

2 cups King Arthur flour (unbleached)
1/2 cup rolled oats -I use Quaker oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ( or more, if you wish)

Using an ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups to 3/4ths full.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until muffin tops are springy when gently touched.
Remove to a cooling rack , let cool, then dig in!



The first of the spring baskets on the railings!

Friday, April 28, 2017

eat your veggies soup ( and using up your veggies)

Spring is here, but a little too cold to put out new herb plants - though I found my fresh parsley and dill in a very overcrowded vegetable drawer, eureka!  My New England background scolded me to "use it up",  - and so this soup was born.  I had kale, parsley, baby potatoes, broccoli, celery, and onions, which always seem to get soft too fast in the dark cupboard.  All of the veggies were nice and fresh.

To my great surprise, it was really delicious, so this off-the-cuff recipe stays in my files - it's definitely a keeper!





This is a beautiful rhubarb plant - but did you know the leaves are poisonous? Trim the leaves off from the red stems and throw the leaves in the trash - I never even put them in the compost bin.  I caught Izzie about to pick some because she thought it was kale!



Eat your veggies soup

2-3 baby potatoes. halved
1 cup firmly packed kale, leaves only, torn
1/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup chopped broccoli, no stems
1/2 cup sliced celery
a few sprigs of dill
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon roasted chicken base or bouillon cube.  

Place the vegetables, thyme, dill, and bouillon paste in a large saucepan.  Add water halfway up the pot.  Bring water to a boil, turn down, and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium.

Remove from heat and blend in blender, adding small amounts of water if needed.
Taste and add salt and pepper before serving.  

Let me know about your veggie drawer clean out recipes!





Tuesday, April 25, 2017

orange avocado breakfast salad






Isn't this the prettiest breakfast?  Avocado, fresh oranges, a few sprinkles of dill and scallions - and a few sugar snap peas for the delightful crunch.  

I was sorting through the newspapers for recycle, and it caught my eye, even though the picture was black and white.  I've been thinking much more about what I eat, and it should include far more fruits and vegetables.  I also think I crave chicken, bacon, and ham when I'm feeling any stress or when I'm worried, so back to my normal eating pattern I go.  The original recipe credited to Deborah Madison had a lime-cumin sauce, quite a bit of shredded radicchio, or napa cabbage, garlic, a chile, cilantro (you know how I feel about cilantro!) paprika, mustard.  I went with a very simple lemon-olive oil, sea salt flake and pepper dressing, a little sprinkle of fresh dill and sliced scallions.

Orange Avocado Breakfast salad

For two servings:

2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 ripe avocado, cut in half lengthwise and peeled, sliced thickly and cut in two
1 or 2 sliced scallions
a few springs of fresh dill
a small handful of sugar snap peas, raw

Dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (next time I'm trying orange juice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
a few pinches of sea salt
freshly ground pepper
a pinch of dried dill

I'm digging a little garden for my soon to be bought herbs !  I use a lot of herbs, and they often seem to wilt in the fridge, even in packaging, so it's been frustrating. Much better to have them close by (and I hope the wild rabbits leave them alone!).





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!