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So simple… and so good!! I made this just as the recipe suggested.. with fresh cauliflower… That being said I think a few shortcuts to this would make it even easier .. not that its difficult at all lol! I’ll be giving it a try next time I make it…

  • Replace fresh cauliflower with frozen
  • Chop garlic into smaller pieces and just toss with cauliflower instead of pre-boiling. They may burn though… we’ll have to see…

Anyway, this was a great side dish as well as a main dish when tossed with pasta! Very easy and very filling! I made it once with the pine nuts and once without… both ways were yummy! Enjoy!   Here is the recipe from Ina’s book:

Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Bring small pot of water to a boil and add garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel, and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.
  • On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing twice until cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned.
  • Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the parsley, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss well and serve hot or warm.

It’s so good you will be picking the little bits off the pan and eating them while waiting for the rest of your meal to finish cooking lol! Enjoy!!

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I’m so behind with this blog it’s not even funny!

I have a ton of recipes lined up… and now I have to search through my thousands of archives of pictures to find them!! This recipe for Spring Green Risotto was chosen as one of the May recipes by Kimberly from Indulge and Enjoy. I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of risotto… I had only had it once at a very nice restaurant in England… however it was so bland I had to dump practically an entire container of salt on it! I should have known better… because honestly at this point I think we all know Ina doesn’t make things that don’t taste good!! That said, I did have to modify this recipe a bit… while I’m sure that the mascarpone is delish… it had like an INSANE amount of calories and fat and since I was just cooking this for the 3 of us and not any guests I took the liberty of slimming it down. I’ve posted my modifications in green. And I just have to say that even with my hip slimming modifications this dish was amazing! Creamy, flavorful, and just yummy yummy!! I made it with lemon garlic grilled chicken cutlets… it was fab!!!  Enjoy!!!


Spring Green Risotto

Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Serves: 4 servings for dinner (if you are feeding linebackers) or 6 for appetizers (normal people size 🙂 )

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil * I cut this down to 1 tablespoon and used olive oil cooking spray as needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter * I cut this out completely
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade * I used the one in a box… I think it was College Inn??
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas * ((SHUDDER)) I hate peas… so I used fresh string beans and cut them in half
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian * I used fat free cream cheese… it was delish!
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Heat the olive oil and butter (I used the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cooking spray) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.
  • Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
  • Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
  • This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends.
  • Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)   ( I blanched the string beans same as the asparagus)
  • When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas (string beans), lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
  • Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone (fat free cream cheese) together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone (cheese) mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.
  • Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

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There is a special fondness for shrimp cocktail in my family… starting from as far back as I can remember…Basically every recipe is the same .. the only difference is the  brand of cocktail sauce you used or how much ketchup you added to the chile sauce! So, when I saw Ina make this on her show one day I mentally filed it away because it amazed me how one simple step can transform such a plain jane dish!  Also, her cocktail sauce is wicked spicy on it’s own so don’t be alarmed when you taste it without the shrimp. Add the shrimp and it works together perfectly!! This picture shows the roasted shrimp cocktail and also Ina’s roasted pepper and gorgonzola bruchetta… I can’t remember if I blogged about it though… it’s awesome too….Enjoy!

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail… I’m tired so here is the link!

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So, I have to confess… I am not a huge meatloaf lover. My hubby however, is a HUGE meatloaf fan! So every once in a while I break down and make it for him. Unfortunately for him, my meatloaf recipes are mostly like my meatball recipes… (see BB: Real Spaghetti & Meatballs for details). UNTIL NOW! Mwahahahaha!

Once again, Ina has worked her magic. This meatloaf was simple and delicious and got thumbs up from all 3 of us! Try it and let me know what you think! 

Special thanks to Tonya of What’s On My Plate for choosing one of March’s Barefoot Bloggers recipe!

Here is the link to the recipe as I currently have an almost 4 year old throwing stuffed animals up in the air behind me and don’t have time to type it out….the only change I really made was subbing the meatloaf mix for the chuck… you know.. the 3 little mounds in the butcher section… beef/pork/veal. Enjoy!

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Shame on me… I had the pleasure of choosing one of February’s recipes and I am soooo far behind! In my defense, I did have an oven incident which returned me to being “Queen of Microwave Cooking” for about 2 weeks….. more on that later when I post about Indonesian Chicken.

So what to say about this Baked Shrimp Scampi recipe except that it’s freaking awesome!! I’ve actually made it twice now, and will be making it again tonight. It is so easy to make and tastes so absolutely delish!  Shrimp scampi has always been one of my family’s favorite meals ever since I was a kid! My dad had some creative ways to making it (including a microwave version which sounds gross but is actually really yummy!) This is by far the best one I’ve come across, and it’s better than in the restaurants because you can choose to use the monster size shrimp and not be limited to just 4-5 measly little ones on your plate for $25+.

I served this a few different ways, once with rice and once over egg noodles. Both times, I made broccoli as a side dish. Just steaming it worked well because you can then just toss it into the scampi sauce! A few changes I made to the recipe was that I didn’t use the wine and I omitted the egg yolk. Wine doesn’t seem to last long in our house and every time I go to make this recipe I never seem to have any lol! And… egg tends to skeeve me out, so if I don’t think it’s needed I skip it.  I subbed lemon juice for the wine and it was great. Another time I didn’t have lemons, but I did have lime so I used lime for all the lemon and cilantro for the parsley… very yummy twist on the recipe!

It was so good, even my almost 4 year old little chicky ate it! She’s becoming very adventuresome lately with her food choices even branching out to her new favorite “sushi”.. or as she pronounces it “soooshi”… more on that in a later post!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, by Ina Garten

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.
  • In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.
  • Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

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butternut squash

So, I’ve had this dish before as my mom has made it. And it has always been yummy. I’ve just never made it because I was under the mistaken impression that my husband doesn’t eat butternut squash. Eight years of marriage and I just discover this.. geesh! So, I made this as a side with beef stroganoff (recipe coming). Perhaps not the best side for the dish but I’m way behind in my BB recipes and I don’t want Tara to yell at me! (just kidding Tara!) I think I may have ‘caramalized’ this a bit more than my mom does but I liked it.. crunchy and caramelly, with an interesting mix of sweet and salty/peppery. It will be made again although perhaps not so caramalized as my 3 year old wouldn’t touch it, but she will eat her Granny’s…. whatever kid!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash.
  •  Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.
  •  Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.
  •  Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands(as opposed to your nasty, dirty hands ;o) ), toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on  baking sheet.
  •  Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize.
  • While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

FYI: I halved this recipe. Also, butternut squash is a real pain in the butt to peel and cut up. Next time I’ll used the frozen already chopped up ones from the freezer case…..

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peanut butter jelly bars2

peanut butter jelly timeIt’s peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time…”

I love that episode of Family Guy… Brian is trying to cheer Peter up by singing and dancing dressed as this banana… singing peanut butter jelly time… Even my 3 year old

sings it!

So, when I saw this recipe posted as part of the Barefoot Bloggers “A Week with the Barefoot Contessa”, I immediately started singing that song and I’ve been having it run

through my head ever since! AGH!!!

Anyway, I decided to make this dessert to bring over to our friend’s house.  It was so easy to make… pretty much fool proof. And it was awesome! It was however, very, very rich and filling. I almost would have made it into bite size pieces… that’s how rich it was.  I used Skippy peanut butter (that was recommended and that was what I had.. gotta love Costco) and I used Polaner’s All Fruit Spread Strawberry Jam (You know.. in an effort to be healthy!) I also used the whole jar of jam which was @ 2 ounces more than the recipe called for since past comments suggested it was a bit dry. It turned out great… By the way, I halved the recipe and still got a ton of bars…. the recipe below is the full recipe. Enjoy your “peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time”!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home

Serves: 24 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
  • 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  • In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
  • Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula.
  • Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.
  • Don’t worry if all the jam isn’t covered; it will spread in the oven.
  •  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool and cut into squares.

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cheddar corn chowderNothing warms you up like a good bowl of soup… or in this case chowder.  Even though the weather is being a bit wacky here on Long Island, (meaning it was freezing 2 days a go and now its going up to 70) this chowder was a perfect fit. Seasoned perfectly, creamy without being too heavy, and yummy sweet corn and chunks of potato… and of course bacon because bacon (like cheese) makes everything better!  Was it completely carbohydrate laden? Yes… but it was worth every spoonful!  FYI: It makes a TON of soup… so if your aren’t planning on eating it all or freezing it maybe half the recipe.

Also, let me know what you think after you make it, but wouldn’t this be good with chunks of shrimp or lobster???

Many thanks to Jill of My Next Life for choosing this as one of October’s recipes.  Check us out at Barefoot Bloggers… see what we’re cooking!

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onion (4 large onion)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 6 cups medium diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
  • 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds) * I used frozen Birds Eye sweet corn
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

How to pull it all together:

  • In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, @ 5 minutes.
  • Remove bacon with slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
  • Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  • If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step).
  • Add the corn to the soup, then add the half and half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

 

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Beatty's Chocolate CakeCoffee or no Coffee?…. That is the question. 

Let me say that this cake was awesome. Moist, chocolatey, firm enough to hold the icing, and just really, really, yummy!

The only thing I would probably change about it was the icing.  It wasn’t sweet enough for me… it’s not that I’m opposed to the coffee flavoring in the chocolate icing, it just needed more sugar to please my palate. However, if you’re not into super sweet icing than you should have no complaints about this.

Try it… it’s worth the extra bit of effort rather than opening the box of Betty Crocker…. (although that Betty makes some pretty good cakes too! ) Enjoy!

 Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

From Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows  

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • How to pull it all together:

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.  (I used the disposable ones, as I don’t have them for some reason! They worked out great… and I got to throw them out and not wash them!)
    • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
    •  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
    •  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
    • With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
    •  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
    • Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

    Chocolate Frosting:

    • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
    •  1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    •  1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
    • Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    • Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
    • Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
    • Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.  ( I didn’t have coffee powder, so I used 2 tsp of hot coffee instead. Maybe that is why it was to coffee flavored for me? I don’t know…)

    Many thanks to Mary of Passionate Perseverance for choosing this recipe! Please check us out at Barefoot Bloggers to see what we’re cooking!

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    daquiri 2Note to self:  Never let darling hubby go to the store by himself to buy mango… Good, got that down now.  Too bad it was too late for my poor daiquiris!!

    I had decided to make these as a little drinky poo for when we had some company over last weekend.  When we went grocery shopping the store didn’t have any mango!  What is that about?!?! So the next day, (a few hours before guests are expected) hubby runs to another store to get mango and a few other bits.  The mango was hard as a rock… completely unripe!  That didn’t stop me though!  I had an assignment to complete!  So, since the mango was not very juicy the drink came out very banana flavored as the banana was super ripe… and the lime… slurp! Tart and yummy!  All in all they were good and I have 2 more mangoes ripening to try again this weekend!  Also, a very special thank you to Veronica of Supermarket Serenade for choosing this recipe for the August selection.  If you haven’t checked out Barefoot Bloggers please do!

    Here is the recipe:

    Mango Banana Daiquiris

    Source: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

    Serves 4 (although mine made @ 6 as I used these glasses above)

    • 2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mango, peeled and seeded)
    • 1 ripe banana, chopped
    • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
    • 1/4 cup sugar syrup*
    • 1 1/4 cups dark rum, such as Mount Gay (I didn’t have dark rum so I used Bacardi Puerto Rican Rum)
    • Mango slices, for serving
    • Place the mango, banana,  lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth.  Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick.  Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices. ( I embellished glass with papaya…. because it was ripe!)

    *To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.  Chill.

    daquiri 1

     

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