Thursday, November 12, 2009

Barefooting again!

Today, we, the Barefoot Bloggers, are supposed to blog about making the Barefoot Contessa's Creme Brulee, but you see I have my mother coming to visit on Sunday.  We both adore Creme Brulee, so I just have to wait until Sunday to make it for her.  I've never attempted it on my own, but have ordered it plenty of times in resturants.  The first time I had Creme Brulee was in Paris when I was about 25 years old.  We were in a small cafe on a rainy afternoon during Easter week.  I didn't think that the cafe was all that wonderful, but I had know idea how special simple French cooking could be!  Needless to say, I had never tasted anything quite like Creme Brulee before and even the sensation of cracking that amber shell of sugar on top melted my heart!  I've been in love ever since!  Come back on Sunday and I'll post how they turned out!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Oh my! Oh my! How I love butternut squash.  I know I shouldn't have such affection for a squash, but I do.  Now, the Barefoot Contessa loves to add all the rich stuff that just takes the simple to the sublime!  Her Caramelized Butternut Squash was so so good.  I offered it to a table full of teenagers and asked if they liked butternut squash.  Silence.  Then, they confessed that they had never had it before.  After tasting, one guy said that it was one of the best things he had ever tasted and that it tasted like Thanksgiving!  I made the recipe just as written this time but I think when I make it again I might reduce the amount of butter and sugar just a bit to make it a bit.  Not because it wasn't perfect they way Ina designed it but because my hips would be grateful!

I might just bring these beauties along on our Thanksgiving tailgate!  They would be so much easier to reheat on the grill than whipped sweet potatoes.  And besides don't you just love the name butternut squash!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Continuing the week of Barefoot Contessa recipes, I tried the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.  Really,what's not to like about a bake PB & J!!!! These were super yummy.  Very dense peanut butter batter with a jelly layer to add some more sweetness.  The cookie batter almost didn't make it to the pan!!  I used strawberry jelly and some jam too because I never really know when to use jam, preserves or jelly.  I thought that I would just use a little of both and see how it turned out! I think that you could actually use a little more jelly in the recipe and definitely use the parchment paper.  Wherever the jam oozed over the paper, it stuck really hard to the pan.  My daughter really likes honey roasted peanuts so I sprinkled some unchopped over the top instead of the chopped salted peanuts that Ina used in her recipe!

Are these a good choice for tailgating?  Heck yea!  They are dense and firm so they would pack and travel well.  Everyone tends to love the peanut butter and jelly combo so it's got to be a crowd pleaser!

Come to mama!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

French Green Beans

I made French Green Beans as part of the Barefoot Bloggers "A Week of Barefoot Contessa Recipes".  I love, love, love green beans and was excited to have a new recipe with them as the star.  The recipe also uses one of my other very favorite things - roasted veggies!!  I liked that I could cook and blanch the beans and roast the veggies ahead of time.  Then when my family was actually ready to eat, I could just heat and serve.  I will admit a good amount of the green beans did get munched on while they were waiting on the counter to be reheated! It's quite possible that this could be on our Thanksgiving tailgate menu!  The beans and veggies could be cooked at home and then given a quick reheat in a pan on the grill.  Everyone would love them along with all the heavier Thanksgiving dishes!


Bright green after blanching!

Love the flavor that developed in these roasted veggies!  I did use the whole peppers.  Why just use half like the recipe called for?  The more peppers the better!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So Sweet Giveaways!!

Here's a great blog to check out  So Sweet Giveaways!!  I'm hoping to win the beautiful dishes from!! 

Dishes that are designed to help with portion control without sacrificing beauty!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

Next week, we have another home game and along with that comes another fun time tailgating.  We haven't done cajun food for a few years so we think it's high time to "let the good times roll"!  To spark menu ideas, I've gotten several books from the local library.  What's fun about these books is the storytelling that comes with the recipes.  Cajun country breeds great food and also great storytellers!

Eula Mae's Cajun Kitchen  - lovely stories of life on Avery Island, the home of Tabasco sauce.  I would like to make her Shrimp and Sausage gumbo but I'm not sure that's the right one for the tailgate.

Louisiana Real and Rustic - much simpler recipes than I expected from the master chef, Emeril.  Plenty of ideas to work with here.

Brennan's of Houston in Your Kitchen - Oh, how I miss Brennan's of Houston.  It burned down last year during Hurrican Ike.  This was the place we loved to go for special occasions because the old world atmosphere mixed with perfect service and beautiful food was not like anywhere else.  The crab cakes that my mother had at lunch one day were memorable!!  I haven't had crab that tasted like that since I was a child and we went crabbing on the Gulf Coast.  I enjoyed reading the cookbook, but the recipes were more geared to fine dining than the more rustic food I need for the tailgate.

Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook - This was the most elegant looking cookbook from a historic New Orleans restuarant but I think it has some real gems in the recipes.  Red Beans and Rice that "serves a crowd" sounds perfect!!  A 2 gallon recipe for Sausage and Turkey Gumbo!  The recipe for Creole Jambalaya is straight forward but does add the use of fish stock which might give this dish an added depth of flavor.  Creamy Pralines is definitely one I am going to try out.  I've made pralines plenty of times but this recipe gives more tips and insights on getting the sugar mixture cooked just right  so that your pralines turn out perfect!

Next week, I'll let you know how the recipes turned out!  Until then, Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blue Cheese Souffle – not recommended tailgate food :)

This is a blog for the Barefoot Bloggers and definitely not a dish I can translate for tailgating!!
Okay, I'm going to admit it. I didn't want to make the soufflé. I didn't think I liked soufflé (unless it involved a lot of chocolate!). I didn't think the blue cheese sounded good. I didn't think I had the right dish to make it in. I heard it was hard to do and I didn't know if I could make it work out.
Tonight, I was making dinner for my husband and my daughter who is home from college on fall break. We were grilling some salmon that my husband had caught in Alaska back in August. As a side dish, I was jumping ahead to one of the dishes on the "A Week of Barefoot Contessa Recipes" – French String Beans. THEN, I remembered that today was October 22nd and the Blue Cheese Soufle posting was due today! Oh dear, I had to face it but I was still looking for a way out.
But, I had the dish, had the cheese, had the time and so I gave it a shot. Guess what? It tasted really wonderful with the grilled salmon and Green Beans!! It wasn't hard to do and turned out really well. I think that having to do some recipes that I don't want to will really push me to try some new things! I asked my husband for a quote for the blog regarding the soufflé and he said, "It tastes good." Yep, that's it. That's all. He's a man of few words, but he ate a man-sized portion of soufflé! Can you say man-sized and soufflé in the same thought??

Right out of the oven!

Two minutes later!

A few more minutes later!!

"I'm shrinkinnngggg!!!" but I still taste great!