,  2 notes
 #fleur de sel caramels  #barefoot contessa  #ina garten  #how easy is that? cookbook  #buttery sugary goodness 

fleur de sel caramels

they look damn good, right? lemme tell you, they tasted really damn good!

i got a new barefoot contessa cookbook for my birthday last month. as you know, i’m a cookbook freak, so i was happy to receive this gift. as i went through it for the first time, i knew the first thing i’d make were her fleur de sel caramels. i’d seen her make them on tv and they looked pretty easy, plus homemade caramels are one of my most favorite things *ever*!

just 6 ingredients. i love this.

don’t forget the candy thermometer. i pretty much made these without one because i’m a dumb ass and didn’t realize mine was broken before i got started. yeah, the bright red line that is stuck at 240 degrees should have been my first clue, right? doh!

you basically boil the sugar, corn syrup and water until it gets a golden brown color. no stirring with a spoon, just swirl the pot now and then. watch the magic as it goes from light…

to medium…

to dark! ok, this wasn’t the darkest stage, but i forgot to take a photo of that. :p

in the meantime, bring the cream, butter and some of the salt to a low simmer.

here’s the part where you should be careful. you pour the cream mixture into the sugar mixture (vanilla goes in somewhere around here, too) and it bubbles up all crazy. it really does, so make sure you’re working with a deep enough pot. then you put the candy thermometer in and boil mixture until it reaches the firm ball stage or 248 degrees. the recipe i used said that or “about 10 minutes”. that’s when i realized my thermometer was on the fritz, so i let it go for about 12 or so and then got out my meat thermometer. now this sounds comical, but i think it worked. i just spaced out the ticks for every 10 degrees, even though they weren’t there. smart, huh?! ;)

pour the hot (and it’s fucking burned sugar that will melt your skin hot!) caramel into a pan covered with parchment and put in the fridge. it should take a few hours to firm up unless you’re like me. i checked it every 15 minutes for 2 hours, worrying that my broken thermometer was just going to give me caramel sauce. if i had just cooled my jets and kept the fridge closed, it would have set in a normal time frame. i eventually let them set overnight and they were a-ok the next day!

the last steps are to sprinkle with more fleur de sel, cut into squares and wrap in wax paper.

here’s the final product! they are kind of gooey since they don’t have preservatives in them, so you’ll need to keep them cold. this is the first time i made them and just bought more cream to make them again this week. they are burnt-sugar-buttery-salty goodness that melts in your mouth!

Recipe courtesy Ina Garten for Food Network Magazine

,  1 note
 #strawberry muffins  #strawberries  #csa  #veggie box  #barefoot contessa  #baking  #oven  #bake 

fresh strawberry muffins

do you have some extra strawberries laying around and feel like baking? that’s what happened to me recently, so i pulled out my barefoot contessa at home cookbook and got to bakin’! our csa share has been giving us strawberries all season and sometimes i buy them in between thursdays, so i end up with extra some weekends.

the recipe is really for a tri-berry muffin, but i started making it with strawberries years ago and they were so good i never looked back. they get a crunchy little shell on the tops but it’s not because you sprinkle them with sugar. the barefoot contessa explains that the woman who first made these muffins forgot to add sugar to the batter, so she added it at the end and realized they came out with crunchy outsides. turns out, some accidents are good!

,  4 notes
 #jambalaya  #barefoot contessa  #dinner  #cooking with friends  #csa  #Two Small Farms 

barefoot jambalaya

i’ve only made jambalaya starting with a box. it was good, but i’d always been curious about making it from scratch. then i was watching an episode of the barefoot contessa one saturday morning and lo and behold, she and a louisiana pal made it. i printed out the recipe and for the next week i sang a little ditty i made up on the spot, “bare-foot jam-ba-la-ya, bare-foot jam-ba-la-ya” while doing the cha cha through the house. my friend donna had asked if i wanted to cook together sometime and i thought this was a perfect occasion to bust this baby out. we both had some of the basics, so we brought them together (including donna’s homemade chicken stock!) to make one kick-ass dinner.

donna was in charge of chopping the meat and me the veggies. here’s my nice dice of the trinity in cajun cooking — onion, celery and bell pepper.

chopped green onions from the two small farms csa! they went inside both inside the jambalaya and on top as a garnish. fresh and yummy.

diced roma tomatoes. i think they were supposed to be seeded, but as you can see, a few slipped by me.

the proteins in the recipe smoked ham, andouille sausage and shrimp. sounds good to me! here’s the ham and sausage after cooking. i bought smoked ham shank, so we even threw the bone in while cooking for extra flavor. let me tell you, it worked.

sweating the veggies with tomato paste after the meat was cooked. they picked up the little brown bits left from the meat and got nice and tender.

bare-foot-jam-ba-la-ya! this recipe has a lot of ingredients, but is very simple to make. there’s a lot of chopping and prep work, but once you do that, it’s easy breezy. donna and i made the whole recipe and then split it in two. it made more than enough for dinner that night plus leftovers. we had fun cooking it and i know erik and i enjoyed eating it! it was a really flavorful and a cozy dish for a cold evening.

Recipe copyright 2010, Amelia Durand, all rights reserved.