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*October 2010 COTM: BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK - Appetizers, Soups and Salads

Our cookbook for October 2010 is the BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapters Appetizers, Soups and Salads. A list of each recipe contained in these chapters, along with a link to an online version if one exists, follows.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.


= = = Appetizers = = =

roasted eggplant spread pg 41

lamb sausage in puff pastry pg 42

lobster salad in endive pg 43

crab cakes pg 44

hummus pg 46

grilled lemon chicken pg 48

guacamole pg 50

pan-fried onion dip pg 53

sun-dried tomato dip pg 54

smoked salmon tea sandwiches pg 56

-- turkey tea sandwiches pg 58 --

vegetable sushi pg 61

= = = Soups = = =

parker's split pea soup pg 73

cheddar corn chowder pg 74

french onion soup pg 76

roasted-potato fennel soup pg 77

gazpacho pg 79
*the online version is a half recipe

lentil vegetable soup pg 80

rosemary white bean soup pg 83

roasted-tomato basil soup pg 84

-- parmesan croutons pg 87 --

= = = Salads = = =

beets with orange vinaigrette pg 93

curried couscous pg 94

french potato salad pg 96

provençal potato salad pg 98

grilled lemon chicken salad pg 99

-- broccoli with garlic pg 100 --

fresh corn salad pg 101

grilled salmon salad pg 102
*online version starts with cooked salmon. book version starts with raw salmon which is then grilled 5-7 minutes till rare.

sugar snap peas with sesame pg 105
*online recipe adds salt which is not in the book ingredient list

vegetable coleslaw pg 107

szechuan noodles pg 108

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  1. Curried couscous p.94

    I got the book from the library a couple of days ago so have been waiting to start posting - lots of stickies in the book already. Tonight I made this couscous salad to go with grilled Icelandic lamb chops, which I marinated in olive oil, garlic and chopped rosemary. I love that short season of Icelandic lamb - it is so sweet. All those people who think they don't like lamb should try it.

    Anyway, back to the couscous. Good recipe, Lots of good flavors and hopefully the leftovers should also be good tomorrow. For a recipe which required quite a bit of prep I found her comment odd "This dish may have a lot of ingredients, but it doesn't feel like cooking, so I love to make it.." What on earth does that mean - it wasn't heated up so it's not cooking? I love to make food that doesn't feel like cooking? Odd, but a good recipe nevertheless.

    1. Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Pg. 84

      Well this recipe may just be perfect for those, who like me have access to a whole lot of plum tomatoes. This soup calls for splitting and roasting (after being tossed in olive oil, salt and papper) 3 pounds of ripe plum tomatoes. I dutifully weighed them out in half pound ingrements and the total count came to 24. I subbed peeled fresh plums for the 28 oz. "canned plum tomaoes, with their juice." That was another 18 tomatoes. And a lot of extra work, but heck, I had 4 colanders full of the things staring me down...

      Anyway, chopped onion and garlic are sauteed until starting to brown. Then the canned tomatoes, stock, thyme, and 4 cups of packed basil leaves are added, although I only used 3 cups. In go the roasted tomatoes and all is brought to the boil and then simmered for 40 minutes. The final step is to run the soup through a food mill outfitted with the coarsest sieve-like thingy.

      42 tomatoes later, this. Was. Exquisite. I served the soup with not-your-everyday grilled cheese sandwiches made with an "artisanal" bread with roasted garlic. Everyone loved it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: clamscasino

        Great! My roasted tomato basil soup is on the stove for the final simmer, I'll post how it turned out after lunch! :)

        1. re: sarahcooks

          It turned out good, but a bit too spicy. I didn't measure the red pepper flakes or the pepper, but I didn't think I put in more than it called for. I should have held back because now it's too spicy for my baby, and the heat doesn't do much for the flavor. The basil did not want to go through my foodmill so I scraped as much out of it as I could and threw it back in the soup. I didn't have plum tomatoes, just regular ones, and even though I roasted them a bit longer to compensate for the extra water, I'm still not sure they were as good. If I'm honest, it wasn't my favorite tomato soup ever, I think I would have preferred it smoother. I'll definitely use the roasting tomato technique again though.

          Roasted tomatoes:

          Brought to a simmer:

          All done:

        2. re: clamscasino

          Having picked up a food mill (finally) at a yard sale and living in New England where buckets of plum tomatoes are for sale and basil is cheap in the fall this recipe was for me! It was a piece of cake until I got to the food mill part. I was surprised at how much veggie matter remained and the final volume of soup.. but it delicious and I had a good time making it

          1. re: clamscasino

            I made this today, but did one substitution. For me, this is the end of the summer... the day I picked the final ripe tomatoes from my garden and harvested the remaining basil. So I started with roasted JetStar tomatoes instead of plums. I also made this as a half recipe.

            I like this soup, but, next time I will use fewer onions since I thought their flavor took over a bit too much. I used Farmer's Market onions though so perhaps they have a stronger flavor than onions that have been stored for several months? Since I used late season tomatoes, the acid level was a touch too high. But since the goal with this soup was to use the end of my garden foods, I can live with this!

            Next time I make this, I think I might try throwing a parmesian rind in at the same time as the stock and tomatoes to give the flavor just a little more depth. [Always looking for ways to use the large stash of rinds in the freezer.]

            A very nice soup and I expect it will make it into the rotation.

          2. pan-fried onion dip pg 53

            I haven't made this dip for this month's COTM yet, but it is amazing. I up the amount of cayenne to really make the flavors pop. It's a carmelized onion dip and when I make it, C and I can polish it off fairly quickly. We have delusions that we'll eat this with fresh vegetables, but the reality is that we eat it with wavy potato chips.

            I love this and I've made it with lowfat cream cheese and sour cream with the same excellent results. This is a once a year treat for us and I can feel the dip calling my name.

            9 Replies
            1. re: beetlebug

              "We have delusions that we'll eat this with fresh vegetables, but the reality is that we eat it with wavy potato chips." Hahahaha! I might have to try this recipe, you know, to dip our CSA veggies in. :).


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                That's what happens with the Sun-Dried Tomato Dip (p 54, a favorite for entertaining) - everybody leaves the vegetables and eats it with the chips or crackers.

              2. re: beetlebug

                I agree, this dip is amazing. I did not make it for COTM but I made it for the first time for my July 4th party. My guests raved. I didn't know onion dip could be so good! Indulgent, yes, but oh so delicious.

                I love Ina and her recipes, but she is definitely not known for her recipes being low calorie or low fat!

                1. re: valerie

                  No, it is definitely one foot in the grave cooking!

                2. re: beetlebug

                  I made this one today for football snacks and it was quite delicious. I didn't have cayenne, so subbed RPF but kept it on the light side as I had delusions that the kids might eat some. I agree with beetlebug that upping the heat would be good. I also threw in a little paprika. One substitution -- no one in my house likes mayo and I didn't feel like having the remains of the jar around, so subbed some greek yogurt instead (and my cream cheese was low-fat). Will definitely make again -- but it's way too indulgent to be a regular on the Sunday football snack rotation!

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    I made this for COTM and oddly enough, it wasn't as good as I remembered. I do know that part of that was my error and it was a big enough error that it made a difference.

                    The recipe says to slice 2 large onions and later on, it says that it should be about 3 cups. C was so excited that we were going to have this dip that he went out and bought all the ingredients plus the wavy chips. So, I just sliced the onions, without a thought in my head, and proceeded to carmelize them. Well, I had more than 3 cups so when I added the onions to the rest of the dip (cream cheese, sour cream and mayo), my onion to dip ratio was way off. It was more onion and not that much dip.

                    So, even though it wasn't as good as usual, it didn't stop us from polishing off the dip. C also bought enough sour cream, cc and mayo that we have enough for a second batch. Decadence, here we come.

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      *Realizing this is old thread, but..*

                      I made this about 5 times and I realized my onions are too stringy/long. So, I chop them. It seems basic, but chopping them up is better for chip/dip experience.
                      yes, you can definitly "cut fat" with using Low Fat Subs and it's still great.
                      Although, it is work to make, and a few ppl at the party thought it was the "out of the packet" variety, I love it dearly. Also great as a sandwich spread. LOL!

                      1. re: stellamystar

                        Nothing wrong with continuing a COTM thread! We count on it. This isn't a dip I have made but chopping does make sense. Thanks for sharing.

                        1. re: stellamystar

                          I had the same problem when I made it, I thought the onions were too long for effective dipping. I haven't made this in years but I'm inspired to now, will have to try chopping them this time.

                      2. Rosemary White Bean Soup - p83
                        This was really simple but the timing was way off for me.
                        The recipe is linked above so I won't describe all of the steps.
                        I used Navy Beans not Cannellini (shopping list said white beans, forgot to note what type). Soaked them overnight and then made the soup the next morning.
                        The recipe calls for cooking the beans for 30-40 mins but mine took more like 2 hours to get completely soft. Would my choice have beans really made that much difference?
                        I pureed half of it but left some whole for some texture
                        It was very creamy and had a subtle rosemary flavor - not stellar - would have been better with homemade stock (I used free range organic though).
                        It makes more than 6 servings unless you are going to eat a lot - I think I have about 8.
                        I find it interesting that she adds the salt at the end as it's supposed to make the skins tough yet cooks the beans in stock which is generally pretty salty. I'm pretty sure cooks illustrated didn't find any correlation between salt and tough skins (I think they even brine them - although they seem to brine everything).
                        Easy recipe (assuming you're at home it just sits there cooking) and with some added flavorings - maybe some hot sauce it will probably make a reappearance.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ctbrit

                          The amount of time it took to cook the beans might have more to do with the relative age of the beans rather than the type.

                        2. Szechuan Noodles pg 108

                          A fresh cup or so of this should always be in my refrigerator -- it seems to go with everything / on anything. You just get your food processor (steel blade) and start adding ingredients. It's a peanut sauce, basically, but this one came out right for me the 1st time, thank you Ina Garten.
                          In past recipes I needed to up the salt, up the sugar, too much peanut, not enough rice vinegar, too much...etc.
                          So this was great--and quick as a wink.
                          You need both sherry (dry) and sherry vinegar, both tahini and peanut butter, ginger, garlic, honey, soy sauce. Thirteen ingredients in all for the sauce. I was unable to find "dark sesame oil"--used "sesame oil". Then just puree and use atop spaghetti with scallions and bell pepper. I sliced some celery and grated a little carrot too. I'd say room temperature or warm or even chilled for summer meals would be fine.
                          My SO loves it and I am delighted too.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: blue room

                            So timely to hear your report - I just made a batch of it for lunches this week, but the sauce tastes so good, I might make the noodles for dinner tonight.

                            1. re: blue room

                              Szechuan Noodles, p. 108

                              I ended up having this as a late lunch today. Agree with all the positives! I made two substitutions: Shaoxing rice wine for sherry, and rice vinegar for the sherry vinegar. A perfect balance of flavors for me as it was; the only ingredients I increased were the cayenne and chili oil since I like it spicier. A great room temperature dish (I think in one of her shows she brought it to the beach). I also tried a bite cold tonight and even though the texture had changed, it was still delicious. I made the full batch of sauce, and I'm glad I did since she says it keeps a week. This weekend I'll add coconut milk to the leftovers to make a dipping sauce for chicken satay.

                              Recipe link:

                              1. re: Rubee

                                This sounds really good and I like your substitutions.
                                It sounds like picky kids might like this too, I'll try it out on one this weekend.
                                So far it's Alton's wings and this noodle dish in my future. And it's only Wednesday...

                                1. re: Rubee

                                  The noodles are great with rotisserie chicken added, too. I really like that recipe.

                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    Glad to read your review Rubee, and Blue Room's too. This recipe is on my "to make" list so your additions are duly noted.

                                2. Sun-dried tomato dip, page 54.

                                  This was simple to make and good, but not outstanding. Somehow I wasn't really thrilled with it. It is so rich, and of course many dips are, but I just didn't get the flavor payoff that I do with other dips, such as Michael Field's hot mushroom dip or my mom's blue cheese & black olive dip. I will probably not make it again, or if I do I will alter it.

                                  I used my mini-blender to puree together 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (she suggests the ones in oil, drained -- it's about 8 tomatoes), 8 ounces cream cheese at room temp, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup "good" mayonnaise, 10 dashes Tabasco sauce, a teaspoon kosher salt, and 3/4 tsp black pepper. Recipe calls for 2 scallions, but I think I used five because I wanted another flavor in the mix with the richness and the tomatoes. I added a bit more heat -- I had Frank's Hot Sauce (original), so that's what I used. I probably tossed in five extra dashes, tasting as I went along.

                                  I think I would enjoy this more with some fresh basil, maybe lightening up on the mayo/cream cheese/ sour cream.

                                  That lighten-up statement being made, let me admit that I do keep going back to it with ripply chips! No crudites here!

                                  It's fast to make with items already in the pantry. It does need to sit and chill for several hours or it will taste mayo-y.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: twilight goddess

                                    Served some of the sundried tomato dip to a guest (after it had chilled and the flavors had mingled) and he shrugged, and also said "Meh." Not a keeper.

                                    I do like sundried tomato spreads though. So this makes me think that I could -- and will -- easily make my own whipped sundried tomato & scallion cream cheese. Same idea, just get rid of the mayo and sour cream. I'll try it.

                                    1. re: twilight goddess

                                      I love making a sun-dried tomato pesto, and then serving with bread and nice spreadable cheeses. Then my guests can decide how they want to mix and match. Also wonderful is a sun-dried tomato tapenade. I have imitated one I bought at a market from the Yellow Olive Oil family. Makes for a lovely variation on a crudite platter.

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        can I get a rough recipe of you do the tapenade?

                                  2. Parker's Split Pea Soup - p73
                                    Made a 1/2 recipe from the book (full recipe serves 12-14) - the online recipe is already halved and splits the peas into 1/2 whereas the book puts 3/4 in first
                                    Sauteed onions with oregano and garlic, then added carrots, potatoes, stock and 3/4lb of the split peas, simmered for 40 mins then added the rest of the peas. Simmer for another 40 mins.
                                    Timing worked out this time (unlike the white bean soup, the peas must have been fresher)
                                    I didn't eat it immediately but reheated a couple of days later.
                                    Simple, comfort food, tasty - next time I would probably try adding a parmesan rind and saute the carrots for while for some more depth of flavor.
                                    I liked the idea of adding the split peas in two batches - the first batch break down to form the base of the soup and the second batch add some texture

                                    1. Crab Cakes, pg 44

                                      It's not often I see lump crabmeat at our small local grocery, and it's usually prohibitively expensive, but (YEAH!) it's on sale this week for $6.99 for 6 oz.

                                      This recipe has lots of ingredients chopped up into little tiny pieces, and in Ina's style (which I love for it's specificity) uses very exact measurements. So having a printed out copy of the recipe was very useful for checking off the ingredients as I went. Also pulled out the calculator to adjust those measurements as the recipe calls for 8 oz of crab, and I had 6.

                                      So, this has lots of veggies: red onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, and capers. That is all sauteed in butter and olive oil along with some salt, pepper, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and Old Bay Seasoning. I considered buying that, but the ingredient list said it MAY have black pepper, so I opted out. However the first ingredient was celery salt, so I just put in a pinch of celery seed. Once cooked, the mixture is set aside to cool.

                                      Meanwhile, the crab is combined with breadcrumbs, mayonaise, a bit of Dijon mustard and 2 lightly beaten eggs. She calls for 2 extra large ones of course, but I used 2 large. Then one adds the veggie mixture. The mixture is chilled for 30 minutes in the fridge.

                                      Even after the 30 minute chill, this mixture is very "loose" and I can't imagine trying to shape it into bite-sized cakes. We were having it as a main dish for dinner, not as an app, so I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup and from that scooped the "cakes" directly into the frying oil. This resulted in 7 crab cakes. We each got two, and a fight erupted over who got the last one. The Chowpup won.

                                      These were terrific! The Chowpup declared them even better than the ones served at the 2 restaurants she worked at over the summer. I am seriously thinking of going to the store and buying 10 packages for the freezer. This recipe is definately going into "rotation."

                                      Served these with a homemade tarter sauce, to which I added a squeeze of tomato sauce. The picture shows these being served with some sort of sauce, but my print-out from the Food Network doesn't specify, much less give a recipe. Also served those Jill Dupleix "Crash-hot potatoes."

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: clamscasino

                                        Ina's TV show comes on at 5:00 here on weekdays and that's when I sit down to review the menu and recpes for our evening meal. Yesterday she made those crab cakes... and I thought they looked fab. She served a celeriac slaw as the side dish and lemon curd tart for dessert. In retrospect I think I should have traded my planned Bittman's Cassoulet with Plenty of Vegetables for Ina's delicious but obviously more calorific dinner. (Although, the cassoulet Was very good...)

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Well there's always tonight....

                                          How ironic that she made that on last night's (assuming repeat) show. And they were "fab" and worth every single calorie.

                                        2. re: clamscasino

                                          Oh I wish I had a little plateful of crabcakes right here right now, these sound especially nice. The capers didn't distract? I have a love-hate relationship with capers. Oh, in the book, the sauce pictured is remoulade sauce. She describes it as more flavorful than tartar, but who needs champagne vinegar with crab cakes? All I need is a paper towel!
                                          Old Bay is nice to have around, although I may just be used to that red and yellow can being there year in year out.

                                          1. re: blue room

                                            The recipe indicates that the capers go in whole, but I did chop them up, cause I was a bit worried they would "distract." (Like that phrase!) But no, they didn't.

                                            Thanks for the remoulade sauce tip. Had a feeling the book itself would suggest the appropriate accompaniment.

                                        3. Lobster Salad w Endive - p. 43

                                          Our market had lobster claws on sale so it seemed like a good time to put this dish to the test. I made as directed except I replaced the 1/2 cup of celery with 1/4 cup of thinly sliced scallions since I'm not a fan of celery. I served the salad in endive cups and it was perfect pre-dinner "finger-food" for my hungry guests. I did spritz the apps w some lemon juice before serving and would definitely do this again as it definitely brightened the flavours. Next time I make this, I'm going to sub fresh tarragon for the dill as I think that would be delicious as well.

                                          Hummus - p. 46

                                          What could be easier than this dish? Just toss all ingredients in the food processor,, puree and, you're done!! My "go-to" hummus dish uses roasted garlic so I was keen to see how the inclusion of fresh played out and have to say, we loved the results. This recipe also called for more hot sauce than I normally use and we really liked the kick the 8 drops of Tabasco provided. I served this with veggie sticks and, water crackers and it quickly disappeared. For its ease of preparation alone, I'll be adding this to my "go-to" list going forward. I'm going to make another batch today as I plan to put it in our lunch bags w carrot sticks this week. (Though I may ease up on the garlic for the sake of our co-workers!!)

                                          Parmesan Croutons - p. 87

                                          Made these as they looked like the perfect cocktail nibble in the book's photo and guess what...they were!! The only problem I had with this recipe was that I wished I'm made a double batch as we all gobbled these up pretty quickly.

                                          I purchased a thin baguette so the slices were almost like potato chips in size and someone commented "bet you can't eat just one" !! I did notice that in the photo, the toasts have some sort of herb sprinkled on top. I didn't add anything but next time would consider using basil or chives. The other thing that I'll try another time is subbing chilli oil for plain evoo, I think that would be yummy too!

                                          1. Grilled Salmon Salad, p. 102 I subbed sherry vinegar for the raspberry, but everything else the same. I will say, though, that living here in Kansas, we used frozen salmon, so I'm not sure we gave this a proper go round. We both thought it was "fishy" and I put the salmon back under the broiler and added more vinegar. It was simply too raw tasting for us at rare in a salad. Don't get me wrong, I eat sushi, but we liked the salad better once the fish was barely opaque.

                                            1. Roasted Eggplant Spread – p. 41

                                              I’m really surprised we haven’t seen a review for this yet. I’ve been making the recipe for years now and we always love it. If you’re finding yourself with an abundance of eggplants and peppers, this is the recipe for you!

                                              smtucker was good enough to provide a link to this recipe at the top of the page so I’ll skip how this comes together. Suffice to say, prep is super-simple. Ina calls for minced garlic, I often toss in some whole cloves as well. We prefer this a little smoother and I always add an extra tbsp of tomato paste to my mixture. If you have any eggplant-haters in your crowd, this is a dish that just may convert them as the eggplant flavour and texture blends with the other ingredients. Sweet and rustic we love this atop grilled Crostini or pita. Highly recommend this one.

                                              1. Broccoli with Garlic, Pg. 100

                                                Although this is in the salad chapter I served the broccoli hot off the stove as a side dish for roasted salmon and leeks. V Delicious combination.

                                                A head of garlic, up to 16 peeled cloves (I used 10 large cloves) is cooked for 15 minutes in a cup of extra virgin olive oil, taken off heat, and cooled. Broccoli spears are blanched (I steamed them till crisp tender), then tossed with some of the oil and most of the garlic...the ratio is to your liking. Season well with S & P and serve.

                                                Simmering the garlic for that long time really gets the cloves sweet and that adds to the overall flavor of the broccoli. I didn't use all the oil but used it to flavor the roasted salmon . This recipe is easy and definitely worth having for those times when you need a speedy veggie dish.

                                                1. Vegetable Cole Slaw, Pg. 107

                                                  A worthy recipe addition to the cole slaw repertoire, of which I have many. Shedded red & white cabbage and carrots make up the principle components with a savory mayo based dressing.

                                                  The dressing is: mayo, Dijon, cider vinegar, sugar, celery salt and seeds (didn't have either so chopped several celery stalks with leaves), S & P. Whisk it all together and toss with the cabbage and carrots. Really simple and virtually like all the other slaws I've ever made. The nice thing about Ina's recipes, though, is that she carefully explains the whys and wherefores so that anyone is able to recreate the recipes without any stress.

                                                  1. Lentil Vegetable Soup, Pg. 80

                                                    We Loved this soup! Full of flavor and comfort from vegetables and spices that was very welcome on a chilly Spring night. The entire recipe is in the link so I'll just give the highlights of our recreation of it.

                                                    Lentilles du Puy were used, and lots of onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, celery. I liked the direction to have the lentils sit in hot boiling water for 15 minutes. It seemed to lessen the cooking time by at least 15 minutes and gave time to prep all those vegetables. The cooking method is very simple and straight forward. The cumin was a terrific addition as was the turmeric and tomato paste. They bumped up the umami considerably.

                                                    The key here is to dice all the vegetables as close to the same size as one can. Once all that is ready and softened chicken stock is added and the soup bubbles away for about an hour. We checked at the 45 minutes mark and found the carrots and lentils soft and ready to serve. Drizzle a bit of EVOO on each plate then sprinkle Parmigiano over top. I served warm pita triangles along side and we all had a very nice meal..

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      This sounds wonderful Gio. I was convinced I made this before but there aren't any notes in my book so perhaps not. Rest assured it's on the list now though. Thanks for pointing us to this!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        You probably have made a similar lentil soup, BC. Apart from the leeks, cumin, turmeric, and tomato paste this recipe is quite like many other lentil soups, or salads for that matter, I've made in the past. But the addition of those ingredients sent the lentils in another direction...

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          I think you're right Gio, I've likely made something similar but not seasoned in this manner. Lentil soup has to be one of my favourites...Melissa Clark's lemony version still stands out as one of the best. I look forward to trying this one too.