Monday, June 29, 2009


Another super summery Barefoot Bloggers post! Thanks this week to Maryl of My Bit of Earth for making me step out of my box again. This cold soup was a really great accompaniment to our fancy chili dog dinner last night. I added sliced avocado as a garnish, because it improves everything it touches. Phillip would have preferred this dish without the red pepper, but he would prefer his entire life without them so he isn't the one to ask!



1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Source: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 79

Monday, June 15, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Happy Birthday Ric!! These were a special request for his birthday, and they were a huge hit at school. The "jelly" filling and topping was actually the homemade strawberry jam that I made a few weeks ago with the lovely Morgan women.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Insert 24 liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well. Mix in the vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.


I filled the cupcakes with the strawberry jam using the cone technique and topped with peanut butter frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp. milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

In large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix well, adding more milk as needed to make a fluffy spreadable frosting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Curried Couscous

I'll be honest. I was not excited about making this recipe this week. We're not big curry fans at our house, but I kept telling myself that this is the reason that I joined Barefoot Bloggers. I wanted to make myself try recipes that I wouldn't on my own. I succeeded this week in trying something new, but did I succeed in finding a new recipe for our file? Not exactly. Phillip & I both said "Eh (shrug)" about this recipe. I thought that it was kind of dry (more dressing would help) and since we aren't big curry fans, the flavor wasn't my favorite. It wasn't as bad as I feared, and I will definitely make my own version of a couscous salad. I've never made it myself before, and it is great for a fast weeknight meal. Thanks Ellyn for making me step outside my comfort zone! The only substitute I made was exchanging feta cheese for raisins (I was out and didn't know it).


1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins (I substituted feta cheese)
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion


Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook