Posts Tagged ‘The Barefoot Contessa’

Happy St. Patrick’s Day



Anjali and I made Ina Garten’s version of Irish Soda Bread yesterday at work to accompany the traditional Irish dinner we cooked for our clients. Dense but very moist, lightly sweet from the currants and just a hint of orange zest. Slathered with salty Kerrygold butter it spoke to my inner heritage, satisfying a deep longing for home made rustic bread.

vintage Kerrygold Ad

Skip the green beer this year but whip up a loaf of Irish soda bread to eat cold with afternoon tea or toasted in the morning with coffee.

Irish Soda Bread

Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wishing you the luck of the Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day.


Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins


I have a mind to develop a recipe for a muffin that is actually healthy. I love muffins and their compact shape makes them perfect for the busy gal-on-the-go, however eating a puff of cake first thing in the morning makes makes said gal feel terrible. So I’ve decided to embark on my mission and document the process. First up are Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins.

WW Blueberry Muffins and paper liners

I used a Barefoot Contessa Recipe, I know her recipes aren’t known for their health benefits, but I wanted to start with a great muffin recipe and see what can be cut out in the future. I used all organic ingredients and substituted 1 cup of organic whole wheat flour for 1 of the 2 1/4 cups of white flour called for by Ina’s recipe. I was inspired by Sarah and this whole wheat zucchini bread recipe. The muffins were delicious, laced with a sweet nuttiness from the whole wheat flour! Next time I will try using more of the wheat flour as I really enjoyed the flavor.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

To make the version photographed above use all organic ingredients and substitute 1 cup of wheat flour for one cup of white flour in the recipe below.

Ina Garten’s Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

makes 16 muffins


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.



Individual Lobster Pot Pies


Our clients got engaged over the holiday! Sarah and I are giddy with joy and excitement for them. We wanted to make them a special romantic dinner to share with a glass of champagne as they look over wedding magazines and start the fun planning process.

Lobster pot pie filling

ready for thier pastry lids

Nothing says decadance, celebration and romance like individual lobster pot pies. A cozy homey dish elevated by the rich lobster and chic white Le Creuset bowls we bake them in. Served with a fresh green salad with a tart vinaigrette to cut through the richness of the pot pies, this makes a lovely winter meal for any special occasion.

Lobster pot pies with pastry tops

pastry lids draped over the pots

These would be fantastic for a January birthday dinner or a Valentine’s day meal for two.

Lobster pot pie

brushed with egg wash and a sprinkle of Maldon salt

Our recipe is based off of Ina Garten’s Lobster Pot Pie recipe which we have adapted to be slightly easier to execute and slightly healthier.

Individual Lobster Pot Pies

makes 4 individual pot pies


1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)

3/4 cup chopped fennel (1 fennel bulb)

1/4 pound unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2  cups fish stock or clam juice

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons 1/2 & 1/2

3/4 pound cooked fresh lobster meat

1 1/2 cups frozen peas (not “baby” peas)

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions

1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed


Saute the onions and fennel with the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour and cook on low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, wine, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the 1/2 & 1/2.

Cut the lobster meat into medium-sized cubes. Place the lobster, frozen peas, frozen onions, and parsley in a bowl (there is no need to defrost the vegetables). Pour the sauce over the mixture and check the seasonings. Place the filling into individual sized oven safe bakeware pots or bowls (our Le Creuset soup bowls hold 16 oz.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the thawed puff pastry dough on a floured surface and slightly roll out to flatten and stretch the dough to make 2 rounds that will fit your pots. I like to trace around the pot or bowl leaving 1/2 inch of extra crust to drape over the edge of the pot. Cut 2 slits in your pastry round for steam to escape during baking. Brush the rim of your pots with egg wash and then drape the crusts over your pots, molding it to fit tightly along the sides. Repeat with the remaining dough and then brush all 4 pots with egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Bake on a covered baking sheet for 30-40 minutes until the tops are golden brown and puffed and the filling is bubbling hot.


In praise of Ina Garten


You guys! I can’t believe how jealous I am of Gwyneth Paltrow today. Not because she is married to a rock star, is tall and blond and stunning, is best friends with fashion royalty and Tracey Anderson, has a widely read and informative blog and even not because she has her pick of any good movie role in Hollywood. I am jealous because she got to go over to Ina Garten’s house and cook with her!!!!!! Yes, Ina Garten better known as the Barefoot Contessa!

Gwyn and Ina

Photo courtesy of Barbara Liberman

All the details and recipes of the homemade ricotta with fresh herbs they made together over at GOOP. They cooked and ate a recipe from Ina’s new book How Easy is That? which just dropped on Tuesday. I’m going to pick up a copy to devour on my honeymoon. Yes that is correct, I read cookbooks, all the way through. Sarah and I highly recommend thoroughly reading Ina’s cookbooks, she has TONS of valuable cooking and entertaining advice hidden on the chapter headings and recipe introductions.

Top 3 entertaining rules I’ve learned form Ina’s books…

1. Organize your grocery list by department of the grocery store. List all the dairy you need together, then all the produce together, all the dry goods, meats and so on. Then when shopping you glance down at your list and grab all the items in that one area of the store and move onto the next section. No racing back and forth, forgetting items and loosing your mind and motivation to cook.

2. Have all of your meal prepped and ready before your guests come so you can visit with them. No one feels comfortable to relax and have a good time when the hostess is in the stressing out in the kitchen, just getting started on dinner. Prep in advance so you can enjoy the evening too.

3. Only make a few dishes but make them really good. Make 3 dishes perfectly and but buy the rest from the store or have a friend bring a dish. I often buy a spread of store bought appetizers, make 3 yummy dinner dishes and then have a guest bring dessert. This way you can enjoy the cooking process and put energy into making those cooked dishes spectacular instead of feeling overwhelmed by the 6 items you have to make in one afternoon.

Ina’s cookbooks make fantastic gifts as the recipes are simple and the instructions are very thorough. Her recipes are so well tested that literally every single recipe is delicious and you can execute it perfectly the first time making the dish (though Ina’ advises not to make a new recipe for important occasions with out doing a trail run first.) I so look forward to the day when Sarah and I are lounging in her squashy arm chairs, draped in cashmere blankets and nibbling on gougeres and toasting Veuve Clicquot with Jeffery and Ina in the Hamptons. Yes, Gwyneth can come over too. Sigh.

The Weekend Dish: Anticipation


Happy October, my dears!

What are you up to this weekend?

Lydia is hunkering down at home to finish her wedding details.  Only a month to go!

I’m heading north to celebrate friends getting married among the Redwoods of Mendocino County. How romantic is that?

Speaking of Ina, did you see Liz Lemon loving her on 30 Rock?  So happy Ina has hit primetime!  I’ve already pre-ordered her new book.

Any thoughts on Top Chef Just Desserts?  I’m loving the challenges—every step is so high stakes with pastry!  I’ll bake last night’s winning cookie as soon as I get back.  Sylvia Weinstock was raving about it.

Any Angelenos want to join me for Artisanal LA?  It would be fun to get a group together and support our local food culture.  Plus…

They’re having a wooly pocket herb garden workshop!  Who can resist that?

Mario has a vegetable butcher! Can’t wait to check it out next time I’m in NYC.


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