Because he has been excited about experimenting with his meat grinder, my husband wanted to make his own burger blend for dinner. (This time, he used a combination of beef brisket and chuck steak. It was a success!) I made curly fries, corn on the cob, and a green salad with ice box buttermilk dressing to serve on the side. I think that he really wanted me to have time to focus on this incredible dessert!
This bread pudding recipe was adapted from Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks- a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. The “pro tip” in this recipe was to use melted vanilla bean ice cream as a shortcut crème anglaise to drizzle over the top. It was rich, indulgent, and absolutely fabulous.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
8 to 9 ounces brioche (I used 6 slices of Trader Joe’s brioche)
1 1/2 extra-large whole eggs (I divide an egg in half by weight)
4 extra-large egg yolks
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
7 ounces (1/2 pint) vanilla bean ice cream, melted, for serving (I used Häagen-Dazs)
Place the ice cream in a pitcher in the refrigerator to melt.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection, with a rack in the center.
Cut six 3/4-inch slices of brioche. (Trader Joe’s brioche is pre-sliced.) Keep 3 1/2 slices whole. Trim the crusts from the remaining 2 1/2 slices; cut into 1-inch dice.
In a single layer, spread the whole slices and cut pieces of brioche on a rimmed sheet pan. Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, to lightly toast the bread.
Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds in a large bowl, preferably with a spout. Set aside.
Line a 2-inch deep baking dish with the whole slices of brioche, cutting them to fit in a single layer. (I used a 9 1/2-inch round, ceramic baking dish. An 8×8-inch square dish, or equivalent, could be substituted.)
Distribute the diced brioche on top.
Pour the custard over the top of the bread and press down lightly so that the bread is soaked with custard. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Place the baking dish in a roasting pan large enough to allow the baking dish to sit flat. (I used a large roasting pan with handles. I also placed a silicone mat underneath the baking dish to prevent it from moving within the pan.)
Pour about 1 inch of the hottest tap water into the roasting pan, being sure not to get any water into the custard.
Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting the foil to make sure that it doesn’t touch the custard. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Uncover and continue to bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and set. Test by inserting a knife in the center- it should come out clean.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm, drizzled with melted ice cream.
I already have a couple easy fall apple desserts that I make every year- French apple cake and apple pie bars. I had to add this one onto the list this year. I love fruit desserts! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten, via epicurious.com. I used the puff pastry shortcut, reduced the amount of jam in the glaze, and modified the baking method.
The apple juices, sugar, and butter collect on the edges of the tart (and become quite dark!) but can be trimmed prior to serving. We ate it with vanilla ice cream which was completely unnecessary but delicious.
For the Pastry:
(Alternatively, use one sheet of store-bought puff pastry- I used Trader Joe’s)
1/4 to 1/3 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water
For the Puff Pastry Crust:
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for 2 hours at room temperature.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; remove from the pan.
On the parchment, roll the thawed crust into a 10×14-inch rectangle. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges.
Place dough (on parchment) on the rimmed baking sheet and keep in the refrigerator to chill while the apples are prepared.
To Make the Pastry Crust:
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas.
With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.
Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the dough slightly larger than 10×14 inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. (I would roll it out on the parchment paper.)
Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while the apples are prepared.
To Prepare the Apples and Finish the Tart:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller.
Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices. (I used a mandoline.)
Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.)
Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, preferably on convection, and continue to bake 15 to 30 minutes more, until the pastry is browned, the edges of the apples start to brown, and the apples are tender. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. *Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!
When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the water or Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. (I used apricot jam and used a whisk to break up large chunks. It could also be strained.)
Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
One of my friends frequently serves these tarts when entertaining with rave reviews. She describes them as “flavor bombs!” 🙂 I loved them so much, I have also served them on more than one occasion myself.
The tarts can be formed into rectangles on sheet pans, or into rounds on pizza tins. Square pieces are perfect appetizer portions. As they are a bit time consuming to prepare, the tarts can be assembled a day prior to baking and serving. To limit the amount of moisture on the crust, it is important to not to incorporate too many tomatoes.
The recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, via Food Network.com, contributed by Ina Garten. I doubled the recipe, modified the proportions, and made large tarts rather than individual tarts.
8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (about 3 large onions)
6 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons dry white wine
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
6 to 8 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (I used Trader Joe’s herb-goat cheese)
1 pound Campari or small “on-the-vine” tomatoes (about 3 per tart), or 2 large tomatoes, cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
6 tablespoons julienned basil leaves, divided
Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 12 by 12-inch square. Fold the corners in to form a circle. Repeat with the second pastry sheet. (Alternatively, the pastry can be kept in a rectangle, lightly rolled until smooth.)
Place the pastry circles on 2 pizza pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use. (If using rectangles, place the pastry on 2 rimmed sheet pans lined with parchment paper.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, preferably on convection.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry.
Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place 1/2 of the onion mixture on each tart, again staying within the scored edge.
On each tart, crumble 3 to 4 ounces of goat cheese on top of the onions.
Place tomato slices over each tart. Brush the tomatoes lightly with olive oil and sprinkle each with 2 T basil, salt, and pepper.
Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 25 minutes on convection, or until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven.
After removing from the oven, garnish each tart with the remaining tablespoon of basil and more grated Parmesan.
Wow. I absolutely loved this earthy, rich, and full-flavored soup. I doubled the recipe to freeze a batch to serve for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. (I trusted Ina Garten enough to double the recipe the first time I made it!) 🙂
This recipe is from Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, via thekitchn.com. I increased the amount of garlic and incorporated homemade turkey stock. I served it with sliced sourdough baguette and green salad dressed with mustard vinaigrette. Wonderful.
Yield: Serves 6
1 1/2 oz dried wild mushrooms, such as morels or porcini
3 T good olive oil
4 oz pancetta, diced
3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups (1/4-inch-diced) peeled carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
2 cups (1/4-inch-diced) celery (3 to 5 stalks)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup pearled farro (5 ounces)
12 oz fresh cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems discarded, 1/4-inch-sliced
1/2 cup plus 2 T dry Marsala wine, divided
1 quart chicken, turkey, or beef stock
3 large sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T all-purpose flour
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz crème fraîche
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place the dried mushrooms and 6 cups of water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
Add the garlic and farro and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the cremini mushrooms and the 1/2 cup Marsala and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms have released some of their liquid.
Meanwhile, strain the dried mushrooms through cheesecloth, reserving the liquid.
Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them to the pot, along with the strained soaking liquid, beef broth, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes, until the farro is tender. Discard the thyme bundle.
In a small bowl, mash together the flour and butter and stir into the hot soup. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the crème fraîche and remaining 2 tablespoons of Marsala, and taste for seasonings.
Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.
Note: Be sure to buy “pearled” farro; regular farro takes much longer to cook.
Make ahead: Prepare the soup completely. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat before serving.
I typically enjoy our amazing Long Island summer corn simply on the cob after boiling it for two minutes in salted water. No butter, no extra salt. It’s perfect. 🙂 But, I must admit that both of these dishes brought sweet corn to another level and were absolute crowd-pleasers.
The first dish, pictured above, is Ina Garten’s Chipotle Parmesan Sweet Corn. It was buttery and indulgent. We ate it as a side with grilled chicken. The second dish, photo below, is Mexican-Style Corn with Citrus Cream. I served it on a separate occasion as an appetizer with tortilla chips.
The Chipotle Parmesan Sweet Corn Recipe is from Ina Garten’s Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks via barefoot contessa.com. The Mexican-Style Corn with Citrus Cream recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. The street corn had more of a spicy kick compared to the buttery chipotle corn.
Ina Garten’s Chipotle Parmesan Sweet Corn
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, halved lengthwise, peeled, and thinly sliced crosswise (3 large shallots)
8 cups white or yellow corn kernels (8 to 12 ears) (I used 9)
1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 lime (about 2 T)
1 T freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Standing the cob upright inside the center of a medium to large shallow bowl, cut the corn kernels off of the cobs. (This prevents the kernels from scattering all over the counter.)
Heat the butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender and fragrant.
Add the corn, chipotle powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Raise the heat to medium high and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the corn to brown lightly, until the corn is tender but still firm.
Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and Parmesan.
Taste for seasonings and transfer to a large shallow serving bowl. Serve hot.
Martha Stewart’s Mexican-Style Corn with Citrus Cream
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
8 ears corn, husked and silks removed
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 T fresh lime juice
pinch or two cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup minced cilantro, or more, to taste
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled cotija or goat cheese
tortilla chips, for serving
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil the hot grill.
Grill the husked corn cobs, turning occasionally, until kernels are tender and charred in spots, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine sour cream, lime juice, cayenne, chili powder, and cilantro in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cut off the tips of the grilled corn cobs and stand in a wide, shallow bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cobs.
Combine the corn kernels with the sour cream mixture.
To serve, top with the crumbled goat cheese. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping, as desired.
Note: This dish can be served warm or at room temperature
This second breaded chicken dish is one of Ina Garten’s favorite weeknight meals, second only to roasted chicken. It has a wonderful balance between the crispy meat and lemony greens. We loved it!
The recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten, via Barefoot Contessa.com. I substituted a combination of boneless chicken thighs and legs for chicken breasts, of course. 😉 I also used large eggs and modified the proportions in the dressing as well as the presentation. We ate it with roasted asparagus and rice. It was an absolute crowd-pleaser.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yield: Makes 3/4 Cup
4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Reserve.
For the Parmesan Chicken & To Serve:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 7 boneless skinless chicken legs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
2 T unsalted butter, divided (I used 1 T per batch)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I used 1 T per batch)
lemon vinaigrette (recipe above)
Pound the chicken meat between 2 layers of plastic wrap, to 1/4 inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate or in a glass pie dish.
On a second plate or dish, beat the eggs and egg white with 1 tablespoon of water.
On a third plate or dish, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Coat the chicken on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread crumb and cheese mixture, pressing lightly.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan (I used a 14-inch skillet) and cook 3 to 6 pieces of chicken, depending on size, on medium-low heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and cooked through, 165 degrees in the center.
Lightly salt the hot chicken after removing it from the pan. Place in a warm oven or warming drawer while cooking the next batch.
Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken as above. (I cooked the chicken in 2 batches.)
Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette.
Place a mound of salad on the center of each individual plate and top with extra Parmesan and hot chicken. (I used shaved Parmesan as topping and sliced the chicken.) Serve.