Tag Archives: barefoot contessa

A rare warm sunny Easter and I wish I were a calmer hostess.

Dinner today was a feast – antipasto from Venda Ravioli , my roast turkey roulade (a little dry, truth be told), ham, spinach pie (my grandmother’s recipe), salad, broccoli and cheese casserole, pastea (another recipe from my grandmother), baked rice (recipe from Progressive dinner and orginally from my friend’s mom, Batia Gittelman) and a green salad. I forgot to put out the bread – sorry, family! Too bad, I had an interesting cranberry bread and Iggy’s rolls. We also had gorgeous cupcakes, a chocolate panetone, carmel apples, and lots of chocolate in many different shapes (bunny, egg, kisses).

I think I need to prepare more and stress less.  I ironed while watching Easter Parade but probably should have done that two days ago. Too many things were oven-dependent and luckily the timing worked but I should have split the stove top and oven prep stuff.  I need to breathe more and drink less caffeine (this is true in general, not just when we entertain).  Luckily my family is lovely and we all ended up on the patio soaking up the sun, while all the children played in the yard. Happy Holidays.

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Holiday overlap: Passover and Easter

Last night we had an amazingly delicious meal from my friend, neighbor and co-host for the recent PTO dinner. She is a lovely, generous hostess and able to cook by using her intuition and experience rather than adhering to a recipe strictly. I also try to adapt recipes but there are people who are gifted at this and she is one of them. Her daughter is also learning this lovely intuitive way to cook and is better at it than many adults (myself included).

For example, as you know, Passover is not about the bread but she wanted to make biscuits, so she adapted, tweaked, cut it in half and made better a recipe she found on-line.  If I could figure out my scanner (which I will not attempt now for as soon as  I post this I have an Easter dinner to prepare), I would show you her notes. You will have to trust me.  If she had made it as directed we would have eaten hockey pucks for dinner.  An amazing pulled turkey in a barbeque sauce  (which I will share later) was served on top of these lovely buns with a gorgeous green salad and wonderful potato salad on the side.

Great Passover buns/biscuits

 (if you are curious it is here so you can see the recipe transformation)


Makes 20 biscuits (really about 14)

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tb. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 100 grams (1 cup give or take) of matzo flour (matzo meal)
  • 3 eggs


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a pot, boil water, oil and salt. When it is boiling, remove it from heat and add matzo meal in one go. Mix well and add the eggs one at a time. Stir quickly as the water is hot and otherwise you will have scrambled eggs in water (yum).  This is evidently like making the pastry for eclairs which I have not tried – another culinary challenge awaits!

Mix well until the dough is smooth (add some meal if the dough is too sticky and create little biscuits with your (wet) hands.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Wonderful delicious biscuits (you can mix whole wheat and regular matzo meal or spelt matzo meal which I jsut discovered this year).

Now onto Easter dinner – I am going to make a roasted turkey roulade from Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics cookbook.

Roasted Turkey Roulade

– serves 6 or 7 –

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten


3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (not using – substitute chicken broth)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted * toast in pan over low heat for five minutes
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb-seasoned stuffing mix (don’t have, don’t want, will use a nice cranberry bread cut up)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (don’t have homemade – will use little concentrate from More than Gourmet that I get at Marty’s or Whole Foods)
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1. Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour over the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned.

4. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

5. Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan. Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board., Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

7. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.)

8. Starting at one end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides.

9. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

10. Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until a thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center. (I test in a few places.)

11. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.


As I have not made this, I should get moving.  Happy Easter.


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A sweet and easy garlicky supper in 15 minutes

shrimp scampi barefoot contessa
Sunday Night Supper

A fast and furious but warming dinner to chase away the gray days we have had.  Ah, Spring in New England!  

Really, this is easy (and takes about 15 minutes to cook) but I used a lot of pans because we had whole wheat pasta (for someone) and I also made sautéed spinach that next time I would just cook in the same pan as the shrimp. I also added scallops and they were lovely. Serve with a green salad and bread of choice.  Great Sunday night supper.  


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1 1/2 lbs of  linguine (1 lb white pasta, 1/2 lb whole wheat – you will need two pots)
  •  6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
  • 5  tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 2 pounds large shrimp (about 32 shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4  cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1  lemon, zest grated
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4  lemons) (I do love lemon but family prefers less so next time I will use only 2 lemons and add pasta water)
  •  1/2 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds (did not have, did not care, were not missed)
  •  1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (did not have – left out )


 Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon (I used less)  of  salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.   

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Pay close attention as the garlic burns easily.  Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.    

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.  Here is where I would throw some more butter and more (!) garlic  into the pan and add the spinach. I liked it mixed in with my pasta but some prefer it to stand-alone.  Makes about 6 servings. 

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi,2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved

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A healthy and inexpensive lunch

capability mom

delicious, easy lunch


This is a great lunch staple in our house and I recently started making it instead of buying it.  While there a good store brands (Sabra, Good Neighbor, Cedars and even Trader Joe’s house brand),  homemade always wins.  I started with Barefoot Contessa’s hummus but my family’s collective particular palate almost always requires changes. 

Two cans of chickpeas, drained – reserve the liquid (original recipe called for two cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt 

4 minced cloves of garlic (I have  used minced garlic – gasp, from a jar – and it is fine) 

1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste) 

3 tablespoons of lemon juice ( one lemon – The original recipe uses two lemons and it is glorious, light and bright but my family said “Too lemony” so I adjusted this). 

6 tablespoons of water or liquid from chickpeas (I use the chickpea liquid and if you like it more lemony – reduce this to two tablespoons and up the lemon) 

Place all in a blender or food processor and purée.  After you have put this in a bowl, you can add Tabasco (8 dashes – guess if I do this) and drizzle with olive oil and toasted pine nuts (yes, this is so pretty). Sprinkle with paprika if desired.  We like it in lunches in a wrap with lettuce or as a dip with almost any bread or cracker on hand.  Nice to send with carrot sticks in a lunch. I have served this along side a roasted eggplant spread and sliced chicken with a great green salad for a lunch. 


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