Posts Tagged ‘4-star’

It’s a cool, rainy day here on the East End and to me there’s nothing cozier than sitting down at our long farmhouse dining table and enjoying a splendid mid-afternoon family lunch. Inspired by the French influence of the tarts, I picked up some of those glamorous glass bottles of sparkling French lemonade and even made a special Hotel Costes playlist to add to the ambience. I don’t want to make you jealous or anything, but this was, quite simply, the finest lunch of the summer!

It was also the most time-consuming Barefoot recipe I’ve made all summer. Nothing remotely complicated, but a bunch of steps. But let me be quick to add: it was more than worth…

I now have two experts in making stock-based creamy veggie soups! Matt learned just how easy it is to put a bunch of chopped veggies in a pot with chicken stock, puré it, and voilÃ!

Matt hearts zucchini. He learned to love it, of all places, at the local hibachi joint, where they slice it up and sautè it with carrots and the onions they use to make that crazy volcano. So when he saw this recipe ““ even though he didn’t know what vichyssoise was ““ he was instantly enchanted. He chunked up the zucchini, potatoes and what turned out to be the cleanest leeks in existence (I was a little bummed I didn’t get to do…

Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!

But first, I have to back up and tell you a new culinary rule I made up the other night: “do not sip cocktails and then have a soup course before you serve grilled tuna.” Because while you’re slurping soup, the tuna is sitting on a platter on the kitchen counter cooking way beyond an appetizing degree of doneness. (Without the preliminary cocktails, you may possibly have a shot at remembering to slice the tuna before you eat the soup, thereby suspending further cooking and preserving the perfectly seared outside and raw interior.)

The tuna wasn’t horribly inedible or anything, but after a filling bowl of

Barefoot Contessa Tabbouleh

I’m considering renaming this “Pavlovian Tabbouleh.”

I always, always, always make this grain-and-veggie salad whenever I make a summer dinner of grilled leg of lamb, tzatziki and pita. Except for this time…I made it to bring to a cookout where we enjoyed delicious burgers, dogs, chicken and swordfish. And my regular tabbouleh eaters, who are so used to tasting Mediterranean flavors when they eat the dish, were actually slightly less enthused this time.

Was it awful? Hardly! It’s one of the freshest, coolest side dishes you can imagine. You soften up the bulgur wheat in water, lemon juice and olive oil, then toss it with diced English cukes, scallions, parsley, mint and halved cherry tomatoes. That’s all…

Barefoot Contessa Lemon Bars

I love lemonade, lemon sorbet, lemon chicken, lemon pound cake and I’ve been known to suck on raw lemons since I was a little girl, but I’m not a big fan of lemon bars. There’s something just too sickeningly sweet and oozy about them that doesn’t appeal to me. However, I know other peeps don’t share my turn-off, and I thought they would be a tangy contrast to a platter of rich brownies I was bringing to a get-together, so I made a batch.

To truly make them correctly, you need more than a couple of hours, since you have to:

1. chill the dough for a while after you press it into the pan,

Pasta, pesto, and peas is a perfect party pleaser. (A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!)

I swear the toughest thing about this recipe is waiting for the pasta to cool so you can toss it with the pesto puree.

First of all…pesto? Yum! And as easy as it is to whip up (Ina includes a recipe for homemade), I chose to save some time by buying fresh store-bought, since it was going to be blended up with chopped spinach, lemon juice and mayo anyway. Toasted pine nuts add a rich crunch to the dish, and what’s easier than using frozen peas? (I’m not a big fan of frozen veggies—save for peas, chopped spinach and…

If you’re lucky enough to have a bounty of zucchini in your garden or from the farmer’s market, this is a quick and tasty way to enjoy a bunch of it. Fresh zucchini is satisfyingly sweet, and Ina cautions not to crowd the pan here because you really want to sautè the veggies rather than have them steam. The onions add an extra burst of sweetness, and when you toss everything with grated parm, the result is a delicious, succulent side dish.

We ate this alongside one of the best entrés we’ve had all summer…but you’ll just have to wait til tomorrow to hear about that!

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Striped bass is a family favorite, so when we went to the funky aquaculture fish market at Cranberry Hole and found fresh stripers that had been caught that morning, we bit ““ hook, line and sinker.

Normally we grill it, and I make a topping I created a few years back out of a bounty of ripe tomatoes, onions, mint, parsley and a few other fresh ingredients. But this recipe, with shrimp and mussels, all roasted with a bouillabasse-like sauce in the oven, looked delish. When we found enormous Peruvian heads-on prawns at the store, we knew this recipe was meant to be. And it was also quite befitting that we finally saw Julie & Julia…

Barefoot Contessa Provencal Tomatoes

Two nights ago I had an unfortunate tomato incident. Seduced by all the gorgeous heirloom varieties popping up at roadside farmstands, Dave took the plunge and bought a dazzling variety: green zebras, brandywines, purple cherokees, some yellow babies too. With the early corn tiny, sweet and tender, we had our hearts set on whipping up our debut Corn and Tomato Salad of the season.

If Chocolate Chunk is my signature cookie, Corn and Tomato is my signature salad. The recipe is from “Cucina Simpatica,” the cookbook by Johanne Killeen and George Germon of AlForno in my old hometown, Providence, and we eagerly await the dog days of August when the corn is…

Jake had a lot of happy brothers when this Croissant Bread Pudding came out of the oven. He had been wanting to make this recipe all week, but with the hour-and-a-half baking time, we couldn’t seem to pull it off for dessert. We finally got to it for brunch, since it’s just croissants baked in a sweet custard. The flavor was reminiscent of my family’s sweet, vanilla-y kugel recipe, although the texture of this, baked in a water bath, was smoother and creamier.

The recipe is deceptively easy, until you get to that bain marie. I had nothing in this house other than a half sheet pan for the water bath, and it’s not like the…