Barefoot Contessa

It’s Here! There’s Still Time to Win!

 

Contest is closed.

It’s here! Hurray! And I’m having a giveaway! I can hardly contain my excitement (enter excited emoji). You know what never mind, enter this:

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No wait! This:

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Don’t worry, that is not the copy I’m giving away.

You might be thinking “Sadie, you haven’t posted a picture of yourself in almost a year.” (I remember because I posted me in antlers for Noah’s birthday.) “What’s with the onslaught of selfies?”

I can’t answer that… I really don’t know what got into me. Just excited about this new arrival I guess. I’m feelin’ it!

I mean, if I would have thought it out, I would have moved that high chair… or done my makeup.

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I would also like to add that at the time of creating this post my babies have had on-going high fevers and I’ve hardly slept in 3 days. It could be clouding my judgment. But really this is about Cooking for Jeffrey, and if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, click here!

Contest is closed

Loving Lately Cookbook Giveaway!

Congratulations Gingy! You won a copy of Cooking For Jeffrey!

Contest is Closed

First, let me start by saying I am overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received from family and friends recently, specifically with my Facebook page. Thank you so much! For those of you new to Sadie’s Nest, every Thursday I share what I am “Loving Lately”. It could be anything; a drink, a restaurant, …a city! Of course, I am outrageously fond of cookbooks (addicted is such a strong word). I don’t know how many I have, and they keep making more! One of my all time favorite cookbook authors is Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa. She makes everything so approachable, and even more appealing is that the results are always tasty. I read a review on B&N.com that summed it up perfectly, “I have never made a Barefoot Contessa recipe that did not turn out as promised.” And on October 25, 2016 she released a new cookbook! So in honor of my appreciation for my supporters new and old, and my excitement about the new cookbook release: I’m giving away a copy of the hot off the presses, Cooking For Jeffrey, a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook!

Entry rules are easy! Answer this question: How do you prefer to look up recipes? The Internet? Classic print and paper? Do you wing it? Just leave a comment at the end of this post or on the Sadie’s Nest Facebook Page. Only one comment per person please. (Please note I will not be replying… to not mess up the count!)

One lucky winner will be announced on SadiesNest.com on Monday, October 31, 2016!

To participate: You must live in the U.S. or Canada, and must be able to provide a valid mailing address. All eligible entries will be accepted from the time of this post on October 27, 2016 until contest closes at noon (12:00 pm EST) on October 30, 2016. The prize is a copy of “Cooking For Jeffrey, a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten. It cannot be exchanged and has no monetary value. Winner must contact Sadie’s Nest within 72 hours to claim their prize or another entry will be drawn. Good Luck!

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Amazon.com. You may also purchase a copy by clicking here!

 

 

 

Barefoot Contessa’s Greek Panzanella

I love the Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? cookbook by Ina Garten. It is loaded with great recipes. This is one of the best salad dishes I’ve ever tasted. It’s fresh, perfectly dressed and beautiful to look at! Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with bites of tangy feta cheese and toasted cubes of bread too. Not to mention it’s easy to make! If you have any vegetables left from your summer garden, this might inspire you to use them- fabulously! If you don’t, well you probably want to add the following ingredients to your shopping list. (Trust me- worth it.)

From Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?

As organic as possible (from Sadie):

1/4 cup + 1/2 cup Olive oil (divided)

1 large loaf (6 cups 1 inch diced) rustic Bread

1 Cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 Red bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 pint cherry or grape Tomatoes

1/2 small red Onion, thinly sliced in half-rounds (or 1/4 rounds)

1/4 cup good red wine Vinegar

2 tsp minced Garlic

1 tsp dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt (plus more for bread cubes)

1/2 tsp pepper (plus more for bread cubes)

8 oz. Feta cheese

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low until hot. Add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toast, tossing frequently until browned (5-10 minutes). Set aside.

Placed the diced cucumbers, yellow and red bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl. Toss.

For the vinaigrette, place vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper in measuring cup (or bowl) and whisk. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil and emulsify.

Add feta, olives, and bread to tossed vegetables. Pour over vinaigrette and gently toss. Allow to set for 30 minutes to let flavors incorporate. Season to taste and serve.

 

 

Bakin’ Bacon

Have you tried baking your bacon yet? I’m sure by now you’ve seen a chef on Food Network do it, if you haven’t tried yourself. I remember watching the Barefoot Contessa layer it across a rack fitted into a baking sheet years ago. In one of my favorite cookbooks, Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant, she has a whole paragraph in her introduction titled “Bake Yo’ Bacon”. Let me be the first to say, I am quick to stand by the old school method of frying it up in a pan. And now that I’ve said that let me also say, you are going to love baking it in the oven.

The first time I tasted “baked” bacon was at a brunch party. The hostess had cut the bacon pieces in half lengthwise and baked them into a chewy crispy combination of perfection. The first time I tried doing it myself, I was responsible for bring 5 pounds of cooked bacon to a breakfast bar themed menu for my son’s school party. I didn’t have time to stand in front of the stove and get dressed before having to make and serve my bacon obligation. And that was it, I gave it a try. And then it was: “why haven’t I done this sooner?”

So here is my first entertaining tip: If you need to make a surplus of bacon for a crowd, or your stove top is loaded with pots and pans and you still need to make that bacon, or your just not in the mood to stand in front of a burner because you’d rather be sitting down and drinking your coffee… Bake it!

Barefoot Contessa suggests placing it on a rack first, Jessica Merchant suggests lining your baking sheet with aluminum foil. I just jam it on there… a method for everyone. The rest of the instructions are about the same. Preheat the oven to 375° and bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon. And save your fat! Pour it into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. (Great for biscuits, cornbread…)

Not a Soufflé Kind of Girl

It’s kind of a culinary feat to master the soufflé, right? So, it’s important to me to say I’ve made a soufflé- successfully. (According to my own irrelevant technical standards.) Because I set these random unnecessary goals for myself. And boom. I can check that off of the list.

Here’s the thing; I’m not really against any specific food. That said, I’m not really into soufflé. Unless it’s chocolate. But that’s kind of in a different category- of chocolate. If I’m going to take the time to separate my eggs and beat the whites until they’re stiff peaked, I want them to show up like meringue. And if I’m going to bake my eggs in the oven, I want it to, well quite frankly, to taste like quiche, cheesy with onion and bacon or ham.

I appreciate the light and airy texture thing. I get the satisfaction of a puffy rise. But you’ve got like only a couple minutes of the wow factor (so I hope you’ve timed it right and your guests are punctual). Then you’re left with light and airy eggs to serve. And you’re going to wish you had beaten those egg whites into a creamy mousse. At least that’s how I think about it. Because that’s an accomplishment I can endorse.

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So long puffy top…

However, I also like the idea of adding bold flavors to some subtle dishes, so if you would like the recipe for the Barefoot Contessa’s Blue Cheese Soufflé, as shown, there you go!

Parmesan Kale Chips

I don’t know what you may or may not be thinking, so let me just clarify… These are Delicious! They are crispy and salty, with more depth in flavor than you can get from a potato chip. I think they would be a great side dish for any meal. But they are so good on their own, that my favorite way to serve them is as an appetizer or starter. They are perfect little finger foods to accompany aperitifs. Only four ingredients and completely guilt free, because it is kale after all!

As found in Barefoot Contessa’s Make it Ahead:

1 Large bunch of flat-leaf kale

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

With a sharp knife, remove and discard the hard rib from the center of each leaf, leaving the leaves as intact as possible. Place them on the sheet pans, drizzle or brush them with olive oil, and toss to coat lightly. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake for 10 minutes, until crispy. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool and serve.

* I like to brush them with the oil for even coverage. And yes baking kale gives off a strange green leaf vegetable aroma, but it is so worth it in the end!

Barefoot Contessa’s Popovers

Let me tell you why I think popovers are amazing; because I want to be the type of person who makes fresh loaves of bread. But I’m not, yet. I love the idea of freshly baked rolls with pats of butter to go along with dinner (ok, maybe not every dinner), but admittedly I am intimidated by the whole active yeast, proofing, not over kneading process. I have on more than one attempt tried without success. But what little basket of baked starchy goodness is there to save the day? The popover! If you can bake a muffin, you can make a popover. It’s a quick easy batter with ordinary ingredients that results in a tasty buttery bread soufflé that perfectly accompanies any roast, sour cream and chive mashed potato with buttery peas. (At leasts that’s how I served them.)

From Barefoot Contessa’s Parties!:

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

3/4 tsp kosher salt

3 extra-large eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Generously grease aluminum popover pans or custard cups with softened butter. You’ll need enough pans to make 12 popovers. Place the pans in the oven for 2 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.

Serve hot.

*I used a large popover pan with 6 cups and they turned out beautifully. And to my blogging friend at Culinary Jumble, I will be getting to your roll recipe very soon!

Side note: Contrary to the specific instructions you might want to check (using your oven light) for done-ness, puffed and lightly browned, at around 25 minutes. Thank you Sableyes;)

Entertaining the Kids with English Chocolate Crisps

By now we have established that I am a stay at home mom of four. So it fair to presume that most of my entertaining is for my children. Keeping them active in the kitchen is important to me. (Okay, to be completely honest sometimes I want them away from the kitchen). But mostly I want to teach them about food and preparing it. I want them to see ingredients and learn where they come from. I often talk to them about eating organic and try to explain (age appropriate) reasons why. For convenience sake we do buy packaged food (I don’t know the first thing about making chocolate), but we try to make good choices.

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The Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Make It Ahead, has a great recipe to try with your children. There is no baking involved (only melting some chocolate on the stove top, done by mom). There are only for ingredients: milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet, pictured), cornflakes and cranberries, and the whole process is basically stirring and dropping spoonfuls of the mix onto paper. Perfect for my two and four year old!

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They like being a part of the creating process and they l-o-v-e taking ownership of the final product! Such an accomplishment! Since there were no eggs involved, eating the batter was an option… and that’s always a good reward along the way.

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The result was quality time with mom, happy kids and fun treats to eat. I encourage you to spend some time with the kids in your life, “it’s the best investment you’ll ever make!”

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It’s also a rule of mine to try a recipe as it is written for the first time, before I tweak it. And these cookies were delicious. But I think next time we will make them a little more kid-friendly and fun (and subsequently less healthy) by substituting the cranberries with mini-marshmallows!

Cookbook Crazy

I have a serious problem, a legitimate weakness for collecting cookbooks. I read them like people read mystery novels or classic literature. I thoroughly enjoy them. I love the pictures and the recipes and the shared techniques and the background stories. I like imagining on what occasion I can make the prospective recipes and with what company I would enjoy them. I have even gone as far as cataloging many recipes in a computer database to be able to quickly retrieve recipes by ingredient. For example, let’s say I got a great deal on some sweet, juicy, organic blackberries. Well, then I would go through my database and pull up my file on fruit. I would then proceed to blackberries, and sift through every pie, cobbler, muffin and scone, etc recipe until I found one that sounded interesting. I would then see which of my books it was from, what page I can find it on, if it has a picture, if I made it before and, if so, what I thought of it. I realize this is totally nerdy of me.

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Do they have cookbook reading clubs? We should start one. I just read Three Sisters Bake. It almost brought me to tears (not kidding, I should get out more). I can completely relate to the desire of starting a café with a sister. I’m not sure about the black pudding, but I’m not Scottish either. I’d try it though. Their rustic baking pictures are just my style, and I can’t wait to make their soups.

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Currently I am reading Simply Delish by Jessica Merchant. Her food sounds fun and flavorful. I need to get some whole wheat pastry flour. And she makes toast with toppings look like a whole new cuisine. Her excitement is contagious; I should drink a kale smoothie and go to the gym.

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My at present favorites are: Pioneer Woman, I am waiting with anticipation for her new book to come out this fall; Barefoot Contessa, and Better Homes and Gardens. All of them are easy for a home cook like me to follow, and I am almost always happy with the results I get from them. Pioneer Woman cooks with a practicality that I can relate to. She almost always cooks with ingredients I have on hand. Her food, I find, in general is simple and scrumptious just like she claims it is. And she takes pictures every step of the way, which is perfect for me, because I know what it’s supposed to look like as I go along! I’m a fan. Barefoot Contessa is great for me. She measures everything. When I make her roasted chicken or leg of lamb, I feel fancy and triumphant. Just follow the instructions! I refer to her recipes and entertaining tips often. She has this simple sophistication. Maybe I’m persuaded by the pictures of her Hampton’s home and garden? And lastly, whenever, I am unhappy with a particular dish and variations there of, I go back to Better Homes and Gardens. It’s like going back to the basics of tried and true. For example, meatloaf, all the sudden it’s too spicy, or oozing cheese, or wrapped in soggy bacon. Wha? Let’s remember why I do or do not like this dish in the first place. Oh yeah, that’s more like how mom made it! Classic red and white checkered, perfect for novices like me, cookbook.

I have a few stashed under my coffee table, a couple on some side tables, probably at any given time one on my nightstand and a whole bookcase full of fun, colorful, black and white, fancy, low country, healthy, not-so-healthy, local, exotic, soul, old and new cookbooks. Ahhh, life is good.