Musings: Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake

This dessert looks quick and easy, but is it delicious?

We’ll start posting Ina’s Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake on Thursday, Dec. 16.

What did you think of it? Did you make any changes to the original?

December 2010 Recipes

I hope the beginning of the holiday season finds you all well!  I think the HEIT recipes for December will fit nicely into those crazy December weeknight menus and may provide you with some ideas to bring to your holiday parties.  Enjoy!


Lemon Chicken Breast, page 120 (post on 12.2.10)

Roasted Summer Vegetables, page 169 (post on 12.9.10)

Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake, page 205 (post on 12.16.10)

Roasted Figs & Prosciutto, page 28 (post on 12.30.10)


Musings: Mixed Berry Cheesecake (Post by Aug. 31)

Doesn’t Mixed Berry Cheesecake sound like the perfect summer-to-fall transitional dessert? Maybe after we make it, the weather will take a hint.

Will you be making any substitutions or using a homemade jelly or berries you picked yourself? Go ahead, make the rest of us jealous.

August Recipes

Can you believe it’s August already??  Where has this summer gone to?!

Even if time is zipping by, we’ve still got some great Ina recipes!  The 3rd recipe is optional but you may want to join in the fun while we start trying out new recipes from Ina Garten’s 7th (!!!) cookbook,  How Easy Is That? which is set to be released on October 26, 2010.  Ina’s cookbook publicist sent me an advanced copy of the book and has encouraged us to start trying some of the recipes – how cool is that??


Vicki of My Fare Lady

has chosen Oven-Fried Chicken

which can be found in Barefoot Contessa Family Style on page 81

and should be posted by Tuesday August 31st.


Nathalie of Snowbell Jewelry

has chosen Mixed Berry Cheesecake

which should be posted by Tuesday August 31st.



Ultimate Grilled Cheese

as chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake – to be posted by August 31st.

serves 6

12 slices thick-cut bacon, such as Nodine’s applewood smoked
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 white pullman loaf or sourdough bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick (12 slices)
6 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
6 oz aged Gruyere or Comte cheese
6 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, such as Cabot or Shelburne Farms

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange the bacon on a baking rack set over a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned.  Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and cut in 1-inch pieces.

Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Lay 12 slices of bread on a board and spread each one lightly with butter.  Flip the slices and spread each one generously with the mayonnaise mixture.  Don’t neglect the corners!

Grate the cheeses in a food processor fitted with the largest grating disk and combine.  Distribute the bacon evenly on half the slices of bread.  Pile 1/3 cup grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon and top with the remaining bread slices, sauce side down.

Heat an electric panini press.  When the press is hot, cook the sandwiches for 3 to 5 minutes in batches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.  Allow to cool for 2 minutes.  Cut in half and serve warm.


June Recipe Choices + Some Small Changes

My apologies for posting June’s recipes so incredibly late!  I realize this is the day before the 2nd Thursday of the month but I’ve decided to relax the posting requirements for the summer months (through September).  I’ve also decided to close membership to new members (as of today) for the summer months (also through September).  I’d like to get the blogroll back in order and I’m going to need some time to do this…time, which seems to be escaping me these days.  If you have any questions, please let me know.


Gwenn of Cooking in Pajamas

has chosen Sour Cream Coffee Cake

which can be found in Barefoot Contessa Parties! on page 37

and should be posted by Wednesday June 30th.


Josie of Pink Parsley Catering

has chosen Scalloped Tomatoes

which should be posted by Wednesday June 30th.


Musings: Jam Thumbprint Cookies

We’ll start posting this month’s second cookie recipe, Ina’s Jam Thumbprints, on Thursday, April 22. Ina recommends raspberry or apricot jam, but I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing some experimentation here. Anyone using homemade jam? How good would that be?

Musings: Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

It’s cookie time! Our first cookie recipe this month is Ina’s Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies, which we’ll be posting Thursday, April 8. What did you think? Any baking issues with these?

Musings: Coconut Cupcakes

These cupcakes have a five-star rating on the Food Network’s site, but what did you think of them? Are any coconut-haters out there playing around with the flavor? Will these be part of your Valentine’s Day festivities?

We’ll be posting Ina’s Coconut Cupcakes on Thursday, Feb. 11. Let the discussion begin!

February Choices

February brings us another two incredible Ina recipes!  The first is an Ina classic and the second a new hit from Back to Basics.  I’m pretty positive you’ll love both of them!


Jamie of Jamie’s Green Kitchen

has chosen Coconut Cupcakes

which can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 175

and should be posted on Thursday February 11th.


Jill of Insanely Good Food

has chosen Baked Shrimp Scampi

which can be found in Back to Basics on pages 128-129

and should be posted on Thursday February 25th.


Musings: Croissant Bread Pudding

Wow, this looks like one rich, decadent dessert! Did you substitute the croissants for a different type of bread or make other changes? We’ll start posting this one Thursday, December 10.

P.S. If you follow this link to Ina’s recipe, you’ll find a video of her preparing the Croissant Bread Pudding.

December Recipes

Enter: the holidays.  Enter: two fabulous recipes that will leave you with the desire to make them for every party and brunch you’ll ever host or attend.  Happy Holidays everyone!!!


Peggy from Pantry Revisited

has chosen Croissant Bread Pudding

which can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 192

and should be posted on Thursday December 10th.


Michelle of Welcome to the Club

has chosen Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

which should be posted on Thursday December 24th.


Musings: Creme Brulee

Time to dust off the blowtorch and try Ina’s Creme Brulee! Are you making any substitutions? How does her recipe stack up to others you’ve tried? We’ll start posting these Thursday, Nov. 12.

November Recipes

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the types of food we cook and eat changes from season to season.  And if you feel the same way I do, you won’t be surprised that we’ve got a couple of fantastic recipes coming to you for November.  The first is one you’ll be proud to serve for your holiday dessert (not that you’ll need a special occasion to want to make this one!) and the second is one that will make you want to curl up on the couch with a good book while you’re waiting for it to cook.  I hope you enjoy these two recipes as we head into the hard-core holiday season!!

P.S. – If you’re participating in A Week with the Barefoot Contessa, don’t forget to send me your photos and info for the round-up post!


Suzie from Munch + Nibble

has chosen Crème Brulee

which can be found in Barefoot in Paris on page 222

and should be posted on Thursday, November 12th.


Lisa of Lime in the Coconut

has chosen Company Pot Roast

which can be found in Back to Basics on page 117

and should be posted on Thursday, November 26th.


Musings: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (A Week with the Barefoot Contessa BRC)

There’s nothing like a good PB&J to make you feel like a kid again. What’d you think of these bars? Are you making any substitutions?

BRC: A Week with the Barefoot Contessa

I realize this BRC has been a long-time coming but I think you will be pleased.  Let me explain…

In August 2008, I challenged myself to cook and post one Ina recipe everyday for a week.  I think I came pretty close to achieving my goal of posting everyday and wanted to repeat this idea this past summer by opening up the invitation to the BB group to join me.  Somehow the summer slipped away though and here we are in the second week of October…not that I really mind though because this season usually yields some of my favorite types of food so choosing these recipes wasn’t all that difficult.

I’d love for you to join me in this challenge!  Please keep reading for the instructions and recipes…

1. Choose any or all of the recipes listed below and post about them during the week of November 2 – 6.  You don’t have the make all of the recipes during that week, just post about them. (HINT: schedule your posts early if you are unable to write a post everyday).

2. There is no set posting day for any of the recipes. The idea is to post one recipe each day (if you plan to make all 5 recipes) but feel free to post multiple recipes on one day if you want to.

3. I want to do a round-up post here on the blog so after you’ve posted, please send me one photo from each of the recipes you’ve chosen to post about.  In this email, please include your first name, blog address, and the recipes for which you are sending me photos.

4. If you’re not a member of Barefoot Bloggers but have been hanging around here debating whether or not you want to join, I encourage you to join us for this challenge as well!  I think this will give you a decent idea about what the group is like and will also give you the opportunity to participate in the Musings posts that will go along with each recipe. Consider it a “trial run.” :)


A Week with the Barefoot Contessa Recipes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars – Barefoot Contessa at Home, page 170

Chicken Chili – Barefoot Contessa Parties!, page 232

Caramelized Butternut Squash – The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 151

French String Beans – Barefoot in Paris, page 160

Roasted Potato Leek Soup – Back to Basics, page 63



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