Posts Tagged ‘Ina Garten’

When I made this Beef Bourguignon a few days ago it was one of those disastrous days in the kitchen. We’ve all had them: you burn yourself (in my case my right and left hands in separate incidents); you spill stuff (a canister of sugar and then water on my camera which, by the grace of God survived); and the recipe you are making just doesn’t want to cooperate. Being the klutz I am the spills and burns came as no surprise, but having one of Ina Garten’s recipes fail on me was just down right shocking.

The directions called for a few minutes on the stove top before an hour long trip into a low oven. After the requisite 75 minutes, I removed the Bourguignon from the oven, and while I knew the cooking time was on the short-side for chuck, I was expecting moist, tender, melt-in-your mouth cubes of beef. After all, this was an Ina recipe. But instead of a dish with juicy chunks of beef in a complex and flavorful wine sauce, I was met with wine soup studded with tough, chewy, pieces of meat. It tasted like it was destined for the dog bowl. Could this be? Had one of Ina’s recipes failed me? I could not resign myself to such a harsh reality so I wrangled the pot back onto the stove top (with my right hand, which wasn’t burned quite as bad) and let it simmer over ultra low heat for another three hours. After a day where everything went wrong, I thought the Bourguignon was doomed. But no, three hours later, the beef was perfectly tender and delicious.

Beef Bourguignon
Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough water to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

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I was just dying to make macaroni and cheese last week. There is something about cold weather and having to retire my flip flops and gauzy tops (ok, they should have been retired long ago) in favor of fleece hoodies and drawstring sweats that makes me crave pasta, butter, and cheese. Unfortunately for me, I had some deliciously tempting but not-as-much-craved-for shrimp and beef in the fridge. Well, I did have two delicious meals, but really, I just couldn’t plow through those perishables quick enough to get to mac and cheese.

I dug my nose into Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and some of my favorite food blogs in search of a fail-proof recipe. Well, I was a little overwhelmed and confused. Everyone seems to have their own protocol. Cold roux with warm milk; warm milk with cold roux; warm roux with warm milk; to preboil or not preboil; Velveeta as a stabilizer; American as a stabilizer; the decisions were endless. I threw up my hands in disgust and did what I always do when I am overwhelmed – turn to Ina.

I could just sing Ina’s praises all day long. Her recipes are always simple, easy to follow, and delicious. This recipe was no different.

Mac and Cheese
Adapted from

  • Kosher salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. whole-wheat elbow pasta
  • 2 c. low-fat milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 c. grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ c. Italian breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cream and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Swiss, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Top with breadcrumbs bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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The rich golden chicken stock I made yesterday was calling my name, begging me to make something wonderful with it. I have been eying Ina Garten’s recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup for a few weeks and figured this would be just the dish worthy of yesterday’s project. The result was a light yet satisfying soup with just the perfect amount spice. I didn’t simmer the tortillas in the broth as the recipe required (following directions has never been my strength). Instead, I put them in the bottom of each bowl and then also garnished the soup with the homemade chips on top (homemade as in I made the tortillas and the chips… keep reading). For added flavor, I topped the soup with chopped cilantro, and just a pinch of cheddar cheese.

Read on for photos and recipes


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This is my first post with the Barefoot Bloggers, a group that posts twice a month on their experiences with pre-selected recipes from Ina Garten. While I will always have my Ina cookbooks, I am thrilled she just signed on for another season of FN. Now amid the round-the-clock coverage of Rachel Ray, junk food, and Guy Fieri, I still will have my 30 minutes of solace M-F 5-5:30 (thank you, God).

Anyways, below is the recipe, as I made it. I did make a few changes and if you wish to see the original recipe, please click here. I basically halved the recipe. Ina and friends must be smoking some pretty good stuff if four people can polish off the original dish – four of us only finished two-thirds (of the reduced portion!). I omitted the fennel, pearl onions, saffron, and Pernod the recipe originally called for. I made up my own crust recipe as well because the original one called for shortening, and that’s where I draw the line. The crust only had 4 tablespoons of butter for over a cup of flour, but after adding Greek yogurt it came out nicely. I was actually quite surprised at how deliciously flaky the crust was despite the small portion of fat.


  • 6 Tb. unsalted butter
  • 1 md. onion, diced
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups good chicken stock
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. basil
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¾ c. large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • ¾ c. sliced asparagus
  • ¾ c. peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (1-2 carrots)
  • ¾ c. peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
  • ¼ c. minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry:

  • 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tb. unsalted butter
  • ¼ – ½ cup ice water
  • ¼ c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, basil, paprika, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
  3. For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry cutter until fat is evenly distributed. Add water, a tablespoon at a time until the dough just almost comes together. Then add in the Greek yogurt and incorporate with a fork. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Spread the vegetable mixture in a 9″ pie plate. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. Brush the outside edges of the pie platel with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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Tomorrow will be my first post with the Barefoot Bloggers, but I couldn’t resist blogging about this Ina recipe as well. I will admit, I was fairly skeptical of the dish. Unless its barbecued or slathered in hoisin sauce, I usually pass on pork (with the obvious exception the bacon/ham/prosciutto food group). However, this week pork was on sale at the market and I couldn’t stomach $5/lb chicken breasts so I figured I’d give it a whirl. I am glad I did. The result was pork with a salty and tangy mustard crust, which paired beautifully with the sweet, tender caramelized vegetables.

The recipe is originally from Barefoot Contessa Parties!, and is reproduced below as written. I did, however, make a few alterations. I just about halved the amount of vegetables to feed 4 people and still had some leftovers. If you reduce the vegetables, don’t forget to reduce the oil and butter. I also found the cooking time to be off (I have found this with several Ina recipes, I wonder if anyone else has had the same experience). The internal temperature was nowhere near 138° after 30 minutes. Furthermore, I am convinced I will be one of the .0001 percent of people who develop trichinosis so I wanted to cook the pork to 160.° I did not watch the clock as well as I should have since I was using my handy dandy Williams Sonoma digital thermometer with voice alert (cruise control for cooking), but I think it took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
  • 3 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
  • 8 carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced diagonally
  • 10 small potatoes (red or white-skinned), cut in quarters
  • 2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. With a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind together the garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and thyme leaves. Add the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulbs in thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 to 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads exactly 138 degrees. Remove the meat from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to keep cooking. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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