food fanatic.bookaholic.mommy

Posts tagged ‘Barefoot Bloggers’

Pappa Al Pomidoro

Week 2 of me being left home alone by Mr. Mango– loneliness is setting in (poor me), but the house is close to sparkling clean (oh, the joy of not having to pick up after an extra person 😉 ) We both like to cook and usually split the cooking duties, although I usually end up doing the cleaning.

The day after Christmas, as I was sitting home alone, I decided to cook up one of the recipes on this month’s to-cook list: Barefoot Contessa’s Pappa Al Pomidoro. Pappa Al Pomidoro is a country Tuscan bread soup. I was mega-excited to try out this recipe since I’ve been on a bit of a soup kick the past few months as evidenced by the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Mexican Chicken Soup, Turkey and White Bean Chili, Ranchero Beef Stew, and Hungarian Beef & Potato Soup that I’ve made and posted about. I figured a soup would keep me warm & cozy in my husband’s absence. I won’t go so far as to say that I cuddled with the soup though. that would just be crazy.

pappa1

The Pappa Al Pomidoro is comprised mostly of veggies, tomatoes, and bread. The bread dissolves as the soup cooks and the result is a broth that is thickened by the bread bits. (maybe not the most low-carb diet friendly soup!) I made the Pappa Al Pomidoro recipe without the pancetta in the topping and it was still super delicious and the perfect soup for a cold December evening. I loved the touch of the toasted bread and basil on top, it added a different texture and more intense basil flavor.

This delish recipe was selected by Natalie at Burned Bits, who has a wicked cute blog so be sure to stop by and check it out. Check out the recipe after the jump.

(more…)

Advertisements

Savory Palmiers

Ina Garten’s Savory Palmiers from her Back to Basics cookbook were easy to make and were a big hit at my Christmas party. Even my super fussy brother ate them and believe me, he rarely eats any of the dishes I bring to holiday parties. *cough* It’s more a comment on his finicky eating habits than it is on my cooking, really…

Palmiers (sometimes called Palm leaves) are puff pastry dough sprinkled with fillings that is then folded several times and then cut into slices before baking.  Palmiers are traditionally of the sweet variety. These savory palmiers from Ina’s recipe are filled with pesto, goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes.  With their red, white, and green fillings, these little bites were spilling over with festive Xmas colors.

Another winner to go in my permanent recipe repetoire!  Big thanks to Becky of Random Musings of a Deco Lady for selecting this as a Barefoot Bloggers bonus recipe this month!

palmiers2

Savory Palmiers

  • 1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Kosher salt
  1. Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it’s 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.
  2. Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place them faceup 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

bb_avatar_2-1028081

Coq au Vin

Snowy December Sundays are the perfect days for stews and their ilk, so I was glad that Bethany from this little piggy went to market selected Ina Garten’s coq au vin recipe for one of this month’s Barefoot Bloggers selections.

coq1

I’ve made coq au vin one or two times before.  Traditional coq au vin (and Ina’s recipe) contains bacon…since we don’t eat bacon, I simply opted not to include it.  The end result still tasted good.  I wish I had some crusty French bread to sop up the sauce.

Coq Au Vin: the bacon-free edition (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil

  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
  • 1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2.  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  
  3. Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
  4. Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
  5. Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

bb_avatar_2-1028081

Mexican Chicken Soup

Another winning recipe from the Barefoot Contessa: Mexican Chicken Soup. This recipe was originally published in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home.  Its the perfect soup for a cold late November day, where here in the southern ‘burbs of Boston we had icy rain most of the day. Since there are only 2 of us, I opted to cut her recipe in half and also used a bit more of some of the spices.  We still have a ton left over. But, we loved this soup and it will make a great lunch tomorrow.

mexchicksoup

The soup is mildly spicy with juicy shreds of chicken and chunks of veggies mingled amongst bits of white corn tortilla. I topped each bowl off with chopped cilantro and some avocado. The soup was very easy to make and will be part of the MangoHouse’s dinner rotation from now on.

A big thank you to Judy from Judy’s Gross Eats for selecting this recipe for Barefoot Bloggers. Stop by her blog to read about her experiences making this fabulous soup.

Mexican Chicken Soup (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)

yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 split (1 whole) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cups chopped onions (1 onions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  • 3 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

Directions

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1/2 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

bb_avatar_2-1028081

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes

There were two bonus recipes this month for Barefoot Bloggers this month. The first were the super yummy Chive Risotto Cakes that I posted earlier this week. The second bonus recipe is Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes and it was selected by Lisa from Lime in the Coconut

These little bundt cakes were bursting with fresh orange flavor. My husband said he could’ve done without the chocolate ganache, yet he still ate it. 😉  He wanted pure unadulterated orange cake. He loves his citrus!  The cakes were really cute and they gave me a reason to use my mini bundt pans. I love to justify the existence of my plethora of kitchen stuff.

miniorange1

These cakes would be a great dessert for a Christmas dinner. I really liked the combo of semi-sweet chocolate and orange. They complement each other well.

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes(from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup grated orange zest (2 large oranges)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 ounces buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup good semisweet chocolate chunks

For the syrup:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

For the ganache:
  • 4 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 6 individual serving baking molds, such as the flexible non stick 100 percent silicone molds.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pans, put them on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cakes

bb_avatar_2-1028081

Chive Risotto Cakes

  It’s been a very risotto-y couple of weeks…first with the Abrorio rice pudding last week and now with the Barefoot Contessa’s Chive Risotto Cakes which were selected by Deb of Kahakai Kitchenas one of this month’s bonus recipes for Barefoot Bloggers.

chiveris2

This is a good recipe to prepare partially ahead of time since the risotto and cheese mixture needs to chill for a few hours to firm up. I left mine in the fridge for about 8 hours before forming it into patties and covering them with panko and frying them up. They were still a bit fragile so I very delicately placed them in the skillet and was careful when I flipped them.

I served them with some garlic & balsamic broiled steak & onions and a simple salad. The entire meal was a hit. The risotto cakes were full of cheesey goodness. They were a great option for a starchy side to go with dinner instead of standard rice or potatoes. I will definitely make these again. They would also be great as a brunch dish.

chiveris3

Chive Risotto Cakes  (Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, page 174-175) Serves 6

” I used to have to wait until I made risotto in order to make risotto cakes from the leftovers. So I decided to do a recipe for risotto cakes that I make from scratch. Most of this can be assembled early in the day and then sautéed just before dinner. The yogurt, chives, and Italian Fontina give these a delicious creamy interior, and the panko gives them a wonderful crunchy crust.”

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 ½ cup cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (5 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Good olive oil

Bring a large (4 quart) pot of water to a boil and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, Fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 1/4 –inch) ice cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Place 4-6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Serve hot.

Note from Ina: “Panko, or Japanese bread flakes, have a crisper, lighter texture than regular bread crumbs.”

bb_avatar_2-1028081

Chicken Piccata

Ina Garten is a genius!  Ina’s  Herb Roasted Onions were selected as the Barefoot Bloggers recipe earlier this month.  I decided to make a couple of the other dishes that were featured on the same Barefoot Contessa episode as the onions (“It’s Friday Night Again“).  I made the Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and the Chicken Piccata. Ohmigawd…the chicken piccata totally stole the show. The chicken was so tender, juicy and flavorful. This recipe is definitely going into my regular dinner rotation.

chickpicc1

Chicken Piccata (from Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients

  • 2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Sliced lemon, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.