The Sneaker-Clad Contessa

10 Jan

If you could smush the lives of Julia Child and Ina “Barefoot Contessa” Garten together, basically you would have my ideal life.  Boy was I estatic/reallreallyreally gleeful when I found shelves and shelves of their cookbooks at the local library for FREE.  If the library security guard hadn’t been there, I probably would have done a nice little jig, maybe even belted out into a celebratory song. Narrowing my initial selection of about 20 cookbooks to just 2, I brought home Barefoot Contessa at Home and Barefoot in Paris. Today, I tried out two of Garten’s recipes that I’ve been wanting to try for a while– the granola for the Breakfast Fruit Crunch and Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing.

Granola is one of those things that you can try to perfect in your kitchen– or just buy a box of it from the supermarket/bakery.  Sick of the boring low-fat granola in my cabinet, I wanted something super crunchy and sweet, something that I could dig my hands into over and over again.  So following Ina’s directions, I dumped in the ingredients, swirled them around with a spoon, spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet, and popped it into the oven. Only later did I notice the smoke billowing out of the oven door.  Apparently, according to my mom whom I told this story to later, the curling wisps of smoke that were fleeing the oven were caused by grease from pizza on the bottom of the oven.  Needless to say, the granola had a “smoky” taste that was somewhat abated by an additional handful of coconut and a couple of squirts of honey.  Voila!

The cupcakes/icing on the other hand, were pretty much on par with the recipe, aside from improvised buttermilk (1 tbs vinegar and milk) and using whipping cream instead of heavy cream.  In theory, this should be the deconstructed cupcake form of a Reese.  If this actually lives up to that ideal, then they should be gone pretty quickly! I’ve always had an aversion to chocolate cupcakes (blame elementary school cupcake birthdays) so I’m hoping the addition of one of my favorite foods (peanut butter) will quell my dislike…


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