Caesar Club Sandwich {Barefoot Bloggers}

My Mother-in-Law tells my children that she’s 35.  Once when my children asked how old I would be on my birthday and I told them, they said “Oh, you’ll be older than Granna!”  Ummm, I don’t think so!  I had to set them straight right away.

Having your turn come around to choose a recipe for everyone to make for the Barefoot Bloggers group is kind of like having a birthday.  Having to choose from all those delicious-sounding Ina Garten recipes is like having to choose just one gift to ask for!  After seeing this Caesar Club Sandwich, however, I really didn’t have to look much further.  This recipe is full of all of my favorite things – roasted chicken, homemade caesar dressing, sun-dried tomatoes, pancetta, parmesan cheese, and arugula – piled high on crispy ciabatta bread.  It sounded just perfect for the beginning of Spring.

And it was perfect.  All the layers of flavor melded together to make one fabulous sandwich (anchovy paste and all).  I even ate some of the leftovers the next day from the fridge, and they were still tasty.  Perfect for a picnic or party, I know I will be making this again and again.

Caesar Club Sandwich

from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ingredients

  • 2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 large ciabatta bread
  • 2 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
  • 2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly, discard the skin and bones, and slice the meat thickly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)

Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom. Toast the bread in the oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the Caesar dressing. Place half the arugula on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: the sun-dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, crispy pancetta, and sliced chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with another layer of arugula. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in thirds crosswise. Serve at room temperature.

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Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf {Barefoot Bloggers}

Meatloaf.  It’s what’s for dinner.  Or so I told my family.  They weren’t thrilled at the idea, the husband having flashbacks of dry, tasteless meatloaf, and the children having flashes of television shows where meatloaf is the enemy of child-kind.

But the rule is ‘you have to taste it’ at my house, so they did.  And guess what, Mikey?  They liked it.  This Ina Garten recipe for Individual Meat Loaves for this week’s Barefoot Bloggers turned out to be surprisingly delicious.

Here’s what I think made the difference:  First, you begin with sauteed onions, cooked until soft so they melt into the meat instead of staying crunchy.  Secondly, chicken broth is mixed in along with the other ingredients which keeps it from being too dry, like meatloaf sometimes tends to be.

Want to hear your husband say “this is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had”?  Click here to get the recipe a give it a go.

Sunlight At The End Of The Tunnel Baked Shrimp Scampi {Barefoot Bloggers}

Ahhh, it’s March.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a time when people were more sick of winter.  Did you ever think there could be too much snow?  And the disastrous things going on with the Earth – I know we are all praying that they will come to an end soon.

In my area we have had a cold, wet winter, and though not nearly as bad as other areas, it’s all relative to what you’re used to, I think.  Even though March is always a tease – one warm day followed by a week of cold ones – at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel named winter.

So today I bring you some sunshine in the form of bright, lemony, and garlic-y Baked Shrimp Scampi.  This dish comes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, her most recent cookbook.  In a fun twist on traditional scampi, the shrimp is briefly marinated and then covered in a butter, herb, and breadcrumb mixture and baked.  What you find after baking is a wonderful dish of shrimp scampi with a delicate, crispy topping.  Very different and very delicious.

From the Barefoot Bloggers February selections, this recipe can be found here.

 

Snowball Coconut Cupcakes {Barefoot Bloggers}

I’m not really that outdoors-y.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy being outside – I love to sit outside in the sun, to take leisurely walks, read on the porch – you’re getting the idea, right?  When it comes to hiking through the woods or sleeping in a tent, I’m just not into it.

I have similar feelings about snow.  I think it’s beautiful and love to watch it falling and walk through it, making the first tracks afterward.  And I might throw a few snowballs and help build a snowman, or even sled down the hill a few times, but by that time I’ve had my fill and I’m done.  I’m happy to go inside and make the hot chocolate while everyone else runs around for hours on end.

When we lived in NC, it actually snowed often enough that I could get away with not going out every time, but here in SC we only get snow like this every, I don’t know, 7 or 8 years.  So I get guilt-ed into staying out longer than I’d like.  Sometimes you’ve gotta ‘take one for the team’, I guess.

I know a lot of you are really tired of looking at this:

Hopefully it’s melting, like this did the next day, and the worst is over.  If you can stay in at all from the snow, make your way to the kitchen and bake these Coconut Cupcakes from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook – they’re like little snowballs themselves, but taste way better.

Unlike other coconut cupcakes I’ve tried that have coconut flavored cake and icing, these have real coconut baked into a vanilla/almond flavored butter cake with cream cheese icing.  “How good does that sound?”, as Ina would say.  Let me just say, “Soooo good!”

Barefoot Blogger Jamie, of Jamie’s Green Kitchen was responsible for encouraging us to make these ridiculously delicious cupcakes, and you can get the recipe for them on her blog, or at the Food Network.

Did I say how ridiculously good these are?  Oh yeah, I just can’t help it.

Whew! Creme Brulee

bb creme brulee

What mistake do you make in the kitchen most often?  Omitting ingredients, forgetting to preheat the oven, or maybe not setting the timer?  I’ve made all of these more than once, but I find the thing I do more than these is trying to cut a recipe in half, and forgetting by the end of the ingredient list that I’m halving the recipe and adding the whole amount of the last two or three things.  Sometimes it ends in disaster.  Sometimes not.

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Whew! Creme Brulee {Barefoot Bloggers}

 

What mistake do you make in the kitchen most often?  Omitting ingredients, forgetting to preheat the oven, or maybe not setting the timer?  I’ve made all of these more than once, but I find the thing I do more than these is trying to cut a recipe in half, and forgetting by the end of the ingredient list that I’m halving the recipe and adding the whole amount of the last two or three things.  Sometimes it ends in disaster.  Sometimes not.

I almost made the same mistake with this recipe, Creme Brulee from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.  I decided to divide it in half, since I only had a pint of cream.  So I mixed together one egg and two egg yolks with half the sugar, heated half the cream and mixed it into the eggs, and then proceeded to add a whole teaspoon of vanilla instead of a half.  Then I thought to myself, I don’t really think the family will be crazy about this if I add a whole tablespoon of Grand Marnier (the original measurement), so I’ll just add . . . a teaspoon, I guess.  Lucky me, that I didn’t go ahead a put the whole thing in, I mean, extra vanilla usually can only be better, but I have a feeling all that orange liqueur in just a half recipe would have resulted in some faces being made at the dinner table.

Instead, this turned out to be the best Creme Brulee I’ve made yet.  It was so smooth and creamy, and the flavor was just perfect.  Everyone in the family finished theirs off.  I just wish I’d had enough ingredients to make the whole recipe.

Creme Brulee is actually a fairly simple dessert to make and can be done ahead of time and burlee’d right before serving.  If you don’t have a kitchen torch, just broil the desserts in the oven.  Here’s my suggestion for the best flavor:  Take them out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving so they will be cool, but not cold.  Much tastier that way.

Thanks to Suzie of Munch + Nibble for choosing this Barefoot Bloggers recipe, which you can print here.

 

Barefoot Bloggers Curried Couscous

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If I had a million dollars, I would first hire a cleaning lady, then I would hire a personal chef to prepare healthy, flavorful meals for us every day.  I would still cook and bake at leisure, but the rest of the time I could choose recipes with my chef that he/she could prepare, like this Curried Couscous from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

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Ina’s Pork Loin And Barefoot Bloggers OUTRAGEOUS Brownies

BB Picnik collage

Once while in college, my boyfriend and I and another couple had gotten together to grill some steaks for dinner.  After my friend and I chatted and had a drink or two, the guys brought the finished steaks inside.  As I was cutting into mine, I spotted something green on the steak.  “What is this…grass?”, I asked.  After a lot of man-laughing, they told me they had dropped one of the steaks on the ground.  “Why’d you give it to me?”, I said.  Of course, the gentlemanly thing would have been for one of them to eat it.  But what did they do?  They just wiped it off and put it back on the grill and let whoever get that one.  I took my boyfriend’s steak and gave him the grassy one.

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Barefoot Bloggers Tuna Salad Ina Style

BB Tuna Salad

HELP!!  I’m drowning in parent-of-school-age-children-end-of-the-year–hectic-ness!  Field trips, dance recitals, baseball games, school carnivals….STOP!  I need to come up for air!

I’m always so glad to see the end of the school year, not just because I’ll no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to rouse children that are dead to the world, but also because after the stressful month of May I just need to decompress.

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Barefoot Bloggers Croque Monsieur

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Not the most photogenic sandwich in the world, but soooo rich and cheesy.

The Barefoot Bloggers pick this week comes from Kathy of All Food Considered.  This French sandwich recipe appears in Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook.  It’s basically a seriously over-the-top grilled cheese.  Dijon, ham, Gruyere, and a white sauce with more cheese makes ONE SERIOUS SANDWICH.  Not necessarily something you would just throw together everyday, but after you make it once, you know it won’t be the last.

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Barefoot Bloggers Chinese Chicken Salad

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Today I received an email from my best friend/college roommate saying she joined Facebook and that I should “get my butt on there, girl!”  Apparently, she has recently joined and reunited with all our sorority sisters, her high school graduating class, her first boyfriend in kindergarten – well, maybe not him (yet).

I have other friends who are on it, too, but I just can’t bring myself to put it all out there like that.  I know, I know, you can choose who can see your page, and refuse to be “friends”, but this is a Southern girl you’re talking to and we don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings, you know?

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Barefoot Bloggers Tomato And Goat Cheese Tarts

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Let’s just get something out of the way right now, before going any further.  I have a serious love for food, and I don’t discriminate.  If you read through all these posts, you would definitely notice the words I LOVE in probably every one.

My kids have been into this game lately where they say, “If you had to choose between chocolate and cake, which would you choose?”, “How about cake or ice cream?”, or “If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?”.  They can’t seem to understand when I say I don’t know, that for Mommy, this is the hardest question in the world.  I just can’t choose favorites when it comes to food. It would be like choosing between my children.

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Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe Brownie Pudding

brownie pudding

It really just blows my mind when I think about the number of books in the world.  I feel like I’m in a race to read as many as I can before I die.  There’s just not enough time.

That’s how I feel about recipes, too.  I have tons of cookbooks (and keep buying them!), piles of recipes I have clipped or printed out, a computer file of saved recipes, and a list of my own recipe ideas.  JUST NOT ENOUGH TIME!  I think I need some kind of a plan of action to help me tackle some of these recipes and gain a little sense of control in my kitchen.

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Barefoot Bloggers Meringues Chantilly

meringues chatilly 3

I can’t remember my mother or grandmothers ever making any kind of meringue when I was growing up.  They didn’t put meringue on top of their banana pudding, or make divinity.  In my foggy memory I think I might have made some kind of meringue dessert since I have been married, but it doesn’t stand out in my mind.

That should have been a hint…

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Barefoot Bloggers Real Meatballs And Spaghetti

meatballs and spaghetti

When I was a new bride, I already had a few dishes in my cooking repertoire, but I wanted to learn to make some of my husband’s favorite dishes, too.  So I asked his mother to teach me to make these recipes, and one of them was spaghetti.

Here’s what she puts in:  onion, ground beef, tomato sauce (sounds pretty ordinary so far, right?), ketchup, tomato soup, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/3 cup of sugar.  Not that it tastes bad or anything, I mean I had eaten it a few times before and it tasted fine, but not only is it way different than what I learned to make from my mother, but it’s almost like sacrilege to even call it spaghetti sauce, what with all the crazy things it contains.  My brain just can’t seem to accept it as spaghetti sauce.

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Barefoot Bloggers Cheese, Cheese And More Cheese

cheese platter

The summer my husband and I got married, we went on a trip to Paris.  I was in food heaven.  Crusty bread with every meal, wine all the time, and cheese, cheese, and more cheese.  At restaurants the waiters would come around with the cheese tray so you could pick which cheeses you wanted and they would just slice some onto your plate to eat with your crusty bread.  It was cheese bliss.

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Barefoot Bloggers Easy Sticky Buns

Sticky Bun

You know how it goes.  You’ve made something really yummy and the last one is waiting at home for you after you’ve say, taken the kids to school in the wee hours of the morning, or worked all day, or worked out extra hard, etc.  Then when you finally get to the kitchen to sit down and enjoy your treat, all you find is AN EMPTY PLATE. Continue reading

Barefoot Bloggers Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

*There was no entry yesterday since high winds and rain caused a loss of cable and internet service and a tree to fall on my vehicle.  No kidding.  More on that subject tomorrow.

Today is about pancakes, one of my cooking obsessions.  I’m not sure when my obsession started, possibly when I got married and realized I would be making them every weekend forever.  Or it could have to do with my perfectionist tendencies and the fact that I can’t be satisfied with good or even great.  I need to hear “these are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten!” Continue reading