the barefoot contessa.

[photo credits: quentin bacon for the barefootcontessa.com and the foodnetwork.com]

as mentioned in a previous post, i don’t try to experiment too much with my cooking, my favourite recipes come from my collection of barefoot contessa cookbooks! i really like her recipes, as most of the ingredients she uses are accessible, and if a few items on her shopping list are too expensive/elusive, i’ve always found that anything i choose and use as a comparable substitute/swap, never changes the tasty end-product! (i think ina garten’s favourite ingredients are gruyère, salt and butter – not that i’m complaining 🙂 here are a few of my favourites (in no particular order)!

1. winter squash soup (barefoot in paris): this is a great, colourful autumn soup. warm, sweet & salty with the gruyère cheese as a garnish. i’ve made this 3 times w/out the help of a food mill or hand blender (a lot more work w/out). my sister-in-law michelle and i made it with limited kitchen tools up in our bunkhouse in bella bella, and the soup was still delicious and comforting!

2. carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing (barefoot contessa parties!): i made these cupcakes for coffee time in the biology dept. and for my friend amy’s birthday. the recipe is super simple, but a great carrot cake recipe! the cream cheese icing is AMAZing, i may or may not have saved all the extra icing and slathered it over every pastry or semi-appropriate breakfast/dessert item i had for the next week or so 🙂 again, very easy recipe, and again made by me in my tiny kitchen with no hand blender and it still turns out to be faaaantastic!

3. lime curd (barefoot contessa parties!): i made this lime curd for ryan and i’s first year anniversary and drizzled it over a vanilla pound cake (store bought), iced with above cream cheese and covered in fresh strawberries! it was soooooooo tasty!!! great lime curd recipe and again, if i can do it, it must be super easy!

4. creamy cucumber salad (barefoot contessa back to basics): i made this recipe for karyn’s potluck last year. i really should have read the instructions before making this… i read the ingredient list, but not the part where i was supposed to drain the cucumbers overnight. whoops. made perfect sense as i was making it – cucumbers contain a LOT of liquid… and the recipe involves adding MORE liquid. so the end product was a little slimy, but the flavours were good! it was tasty and fresh, a great side for bbq chicken in the summer! (oh and people generally like their cucumber salads chilled… another point i should have realized as i was about to make it 3 hours before the party – oops – for a scientist i wasn’t very prepared!)

5. summer borscht (barefoot contessa at home): this chilled, beautiful magenta soup is a contender for one of my favourite recipes to make! again, extremely simple, extremely comforting and extremely delicious!

recipes i’d like to try next: fresh raspberry gratins, avocado & grapefruit salad, warm mushroom salad with prosciutto and her pear clafouti – my mother-in-law jeri makes a killer clafouti, i should get her recipe!)

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