Tag Archives: Ina Garten

Berry Scones

Slightly sweet.  Moist.  Rich with cream and butter.  Scones are so versatile and scrumptious.  I enjoy them with all sorts of additions – blueberries, raspberries, cinnamon chips.  They can be lightly glazed or like mine, which have a delightfully crunchy sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

Berry Scones

I’ve done a bit of baking in the past week for Memorial Day and weekend breakfasts, and while I’ve enjoyed the brown sugar pound cake and buttermilk biscuits, I must say these scones came out on top.  My husband (we’ll refer to him as Mr. D) and I had some nice, simple scones at the bed & breakfast we stayed at on our Savannah honeymoon; this tweaked Ina Garten recipe blows them out of the water.  Theirs were a bit dry and just didn’t have the flaky, rich texture of these.

Ina’s original recipe is for “cranberry-orange” scones, but I didn’t have any citrus fruit on hand, so I made them with dried mixed berries (a trio of cranberries, cherries, and blueberries).  Her basic recipe is going to be my go-to from now on because it’s so easy and perfect.  I did cut it in half, as her dishes often yield large amounts.

Scones are wonderful for breakfast, brunch, or a snack, and they can be savory or sweet.  I’ve enjoyed cheddar-dill scones and versions with salty bacon.  I look forward to using this recipe with savory ingredients, too.

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Berry Scones

Berry Scones

Berry Scones

Berry Scones

Berry Scones (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup dried fruit

*1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

*Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on the egg-washed tops before baking

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 2 cups of flour, 1/8 cup sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the eggs and heavy cream and with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy. Combine the dried fruit bits and 1/8 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick circle (or just pat it out with your hands). You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes.

Berry Scones

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Lemon Chicken Breasts

I wish you could smell our house right now. If I could capture the aroma and turn it into a candle, I absolutely would. (We actually do enjoy food-smelling candles; White Barn by Bath & Body Works made a “French Baguette” scent around the holidays that makes our whole home smell like fresh bread. Heavenly!) Chicken, baked with fresh lemons, garlic, thyme, oregano, and white wine? Simplicity meets scrumptious.

This recipe for Lemon Chicken Breasts comes from Ina Garten’s cookbook How Easy Is That? and utilizes many ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. We typically stick with chicken legs or boneless, skinless breasts, so we opted for the latter in this dish. Ina actually uses “boneless chicken breasts, skin on” which are unheard of around our area. When it comes to breasts, we have the options of bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts or the ever-so-lean boneless, skinless cut.

Lemon Chicken Breasts

The brightness of lemons adds such a fresh flavor.

Preparation is a breeze. It’s as simple as measuring a few ingredients, chopping garlic and thyme leaves, and zesting fragrant lemon rind. For the wine, I used a crisp, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand by Whitehaven.  As all great chefs will tell you – never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t enjoy drinking.

Served over angel hair pasta, this turned out to be a flavorful, healthy meal. The lemony, garlicky olive oil provided a nice, light sauce for the pasta. This would also be delicious served with roasted potatoes. Enjoy!

Lemon Chicken Breasts

A splash of chicken stock in the last 10 minutes helps extend the delicious pan juices.

Ingredients
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Lemon Chicken Breasts

Tender herbed chicken paired with lightly-buttered angel hair pasta.

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Grown-Up Mac & & Cheese

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I have a small obsession with Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa. Her cookbooks feature stunning photography, practical entertaining advice on menus and table settings, and her recipes are delicious and fail-proof. When I get off work in the afternoons, I always try to catch her back-to-back episodes on The Food Network, even though I’ve seen every episode; if I’m working out at the gym, I’m still watching Barefoot Contessa. You get the point. I. love. Ina.

Today I’m featuring her “Grown-Up Mac & Cheese” recipe, which is like the Aston Martin of macaroni & cheese. First of all, the cheeses in her recipe are more flavorful than your basic Velveeta or American cheese. Ina uses extra-sharp Cheddar, bleu cheese, and Gruyere. Then, the woman takes it to another level by adding savory, salty bacon and a crisp, basil-laden crumb topping. It’s incredible.

I do make a couple of slight alterations that simplify and reduce cost of the recipe. Instead of processing my own bread for crumbs, I simply use store-bought Panko crumbs, which are readily available here in our Asian section of the grocery store. When I first made this recipe, I was a penny-pinching college student so I substituted grated Swiss cheese for the Gruyere. It turned out delicious, so I opt for that even now when I make this dish.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (or 2 cups Panko bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves (or 1 tablespoon of dried)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven – there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

[I use store-bought Panko crumbs instead of processing bread for crumbs.]
Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs.
Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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Orange Marmalade

Anna's Orange Marmalade, Barefoot Contessa at Home.

Anna’s Orange Marmalade, Barefoot Contessa at Home.

Happy Monday! Not much brings me more excitement than churning out a successful, delicious recipe. This weekend, I tried out Ina Garten’s “Anna’s Orange Marmalade” recipe. Not only was this my first marmalade attempt, it was also my first canning experience. If you’ve shied away from making your own jam, jelly, preserves, etc. – fear not! This marmalade – while time-consuming – requires no advanced cooking skills, and produces scrumptious results.

Since I knew I’d be utilizing the outer portion of zest and pith (the white portion between the zest and flesh), I chose a particularly thin-skinned, sweet, seedless orange. The flesh of the CaraCaras has a deeper hue than navels, which yields a gorgeous burnt orange-colored marmalade. Although not instructed in the recipe, I suggest peeling two of the four oranges, removing the pith from the rind, and then julienning the rind to add to the fruit. If you choose to use the pith of all of the oranges, your results may be unpleasantly bitter.

The recipe is a two-day process. On the first day, you thinly slice your oranges and lemons, combine with water and sugar, and bring to a boil. This mixture sits at room temperature overnight. The next day, the marmalade is brought back up to a boil, simmered for a couple hours, and cooked until it reaches 220 degrees. Really, a very simple process! After it reaches the proper consistency and temperature, you can then ladle it into your sanitized, hot jars. (The glass jars MUST be hot, as cool glass will crack when the hot marmalade is poured into them.)

I found Ball brand wide-mouth pint jars at Target, and they’re the perfect size for gift-giving. They’re squat, little jars that would look perfect finished off with some rafia. After you’ve sealed the jars, unless you’re planning to eat the marmalade in a short period of time, you will need to submerge them into a canner (or large pot) of boiling water and boil them for about 15 minutes.  If using a pot, make sure that it’s large enough for water to cover the jars by two inches.  When you remove them, some of the lids may be loosened by the boiling action. Simply grip the jar with a towel and tighten the rim.

This recipe made enough marmalade for four pints. I’ll probably double the recipe next time since it’s a lengthy process, and canning allows for extended pantry storage. If you’re a marmalade fan, I highly recommend Ina’s recipe. My household will no longer be buying ours!

Ingredients

  • 4 large seedless oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 8 cups sugar

Directions

Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

-T

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