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More Gourmet Recipes  

Party Time! (September 26, 2014)

Caviar Dip
Spicy Jícama Salad with Tangerines and Fresh Coriander
Baked Virginia Ham
Pumpkin Kanafe

Everyone is home after the summer, and entertaining is on our minds. Time to invite the crowd for cocktails or throw a dinner party for best friends.

The divine Ina Garten has a boxed trio of her most popular cookbooks, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties! and Barefoot Contessa Family Style; this collection is our first choice for party recipes!

Garten turned a passion for food into a successful specialty food store in the Hamptons and is now beloved by millions for her Barefoot Contessa television show and cookbooks. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina's first book, has all of the fabulous, easy recipes that won Ina a loyal following at her retail shop, including Perfect Roast Chicken, French Potato Salad, and those irresistible Coconut Cupcakes. In Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ina shares her very best menus, divided by season, for fuss-free yet gorgeous entertaining, from a summer garden lunch for eight to an intimate fireside dinner for two. Barefoot Contessa Family Style is full of crowd-pleasers you'll make again and again, like roasted asparagus showered with freshly grated Parmesan and a French toast made with challah and just the right amount of grated orange zest and pure vanilla extract to make it sing.

Rick and Deann Bayless travelled more than thirty-five thousand miles investigating the six distinct regions of Mexico and learning to prepare what they found. The results are spectacular; the team own the perennially award-winning Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. As a chef and cookbook author, Rick has won America's highest culinary honors, including Humanitarian of the Year. If you love Mexico and Mexican foods, you must own the Bayless cookbooks, starting with Authentic Mexican. We promise, ¡El placer será tuyo! (The pleasure will be yours!)

Ben Mims grew up in rural Mississippi and says the area was isolated from many things, but great sweets were not among them! Layer cakes, pudding pies, fudge candies, fruit ice creams and rich baked goods were part of his daily life. Mims confessed that he ate them regularly and with fervor, never able to satisfy his sweet tooth. But after years of living in NYC and SF, he realized that the old-school southern levels of sweetness and richness are too intense for many people, whose tastes run to lighter, less sugary treats.

What to do but modernize many of his childhood-favorite recipes and put them in a glorious cookbook, which features desserts not as sweet and rich as the traditional versions, but still pack a mean punch. Want pecan pie to die for, but not kill you? It's in Sweet and Southern along with dozens more! Read on, y'all!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (111 KB)



Caviar Dip

Caviar Dip

This is a really popular dip at Barefoot Contessa, especially during the holidays. It's great on Rori's Potato Chips (recipe below), but also delicious served with fresh vegetables or toasts. Ina Garten suggests you use the best salmon caviar you can afford... it's worth it! From Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Makes 2 cups

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp freshly minced dill, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 scallion, minced white and green parts
  • 1 Tbsp milk, half-and-half, or cram
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • About 3¼ ounces good salmon roe

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until smooth. With the mixer on medium speed, add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, scallion, milk, salt and pepper. With a rubber spatula, fold in three quarters of the salmon roe. Spoon the dip into a bowl and garnish with the remaining salmon roe and sprigs of fresh dill.

Rori's Potato Chips

Ina Garten's friend, the food stylist Rori Spinelli, mentioned that her baked potato chips would be delicious with the dip. Garten said "Boy, were they! It was all we could do to stop eating them until the photograph was taken. And they're not even fried! How great is that?" She's absolutely right. Make a double batch...

Serves 8

  • Good olive oil
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread each of 2 baking sheets with 1 Tbsp of oil and put them in the oven to preheat for 10 minutes.

Slice the potatoes on the narrow side lengthwise on a mandoline so they are thin and flexible, about 1/16-inch thick. Place slices on the hot sheet pans, making sure that they don't overlap at all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the chips for 10 minutes; rotate the pans in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes. Flip each chip and then bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the chips to a paper towel to cool.

Repeat with the remaining potato slices.

To store the chips, cool completely and place in a plastic zipper-lock bag. They will stay crisp for several days.

Tony's wine recommendation:
non-vintage Champagne, Crémant de Bourgogne or (budget-conscious) Spanish cava



Spicy Jícama Salad with Tangerines and Fresh Coriander

Spicy Jícama Salad with Tangerines and Fresh Coriander

Rick Bayless in Authentic Mexican says this refreshing recipe is from a street vendor in Mérida, Yucatán; it goes well with other Yucatán dishes and, to our mind, that fabulous spiral-cut ham from Ina Garten. Thank you Rick Bayless... this dish will serve a hungry crowd who have just over loaded on any rich, filling dishes!

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 small (1 pound) jicama, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup bitter orange juice (see below)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 red-skinned apple, cored and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (optional)
  • 1/2 small cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (optional)
  • 3 tangerines, peeled, broken into sections, and if you wish, seeds cut out
  • About 2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • Powdered dried chile, about 1 tsp
  • 2 or 3 small leaves romaine lettuce, for garnish

Marinate the jicama. Place the jicama in a large non-corrosive bowl, pour in the bitter orange juice and sprinkle with salt. Toss well, cover and let stand at room temperature for an hour or so.

Finishing the salad: About 15 minutes before serving, add the apple, cantaloupe, tangerines and fresh coriander to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Toss the mixture every few minutes until time to serve. Season with powdered chile and add more salt and fresh coriander if desired. Toss one final time and scoop the salad into a serving dish lines with romaine leaves.

Mock Bitter Orange Juice

Yield: 1 generous cup

  • 6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 12 Tbsp freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 tsp fine minced orange zest (colored part only)

Mix all the ingredients in a noncorrosive bowl and let stand 2 to 3 hours, strain to remove the zest. Use within 24 hours.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Pouilly-Fumé, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc



Baked Virginia Ham

Baked Virginia Ham

Ina Garten says, "This is the ultimate holiday party dish. The glaze takes only a minute to make and the ham tastes like you worked for hours. We ordered a 'spiral-cut' smoked ham from the butcher, so we don't' even have to slice it!" Ina goes on to say that they like to serve it for cocktails with mini corn muffins or for dinner with extra mustard and chutney. Good thing it's a huge ham! Enjoy.

Serves 35 for dinner, 50 for cocktails

  • 1 (14- to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 8½ ounces mango chutney (Ina and we use Major Grey's chutney!)
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.

Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chutney, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Beaujolais or Alsace Pinot Gris or Riesling Kabinett



Pumpkin Kanafe

Pumpkin Kanafe

Hey, it's Fall. The frost may not quite be on the pumpkin, but the dessert needs to be on the table! Ben Mims, in Sweet and Southern, tells us that he lived in ethnically diverse Astoria, Queens, which houses (among everyone else) large Greek and Middle Eastern Communities. In one area, called Little Cairo, he discovered kanafe, a traditional pastry whose syrup reminded him of pumpkin pie spices. What to do now? Create your own version using pumpkin, this making the perfect holiday dessert!

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 nutmeg pod, crushed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/2 orange, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 10 ounces frozen shredded phyllo dough, defrosted and roughly chopped*
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound cooked and pureed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp ground toasted pecans for garnish

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, allspice orange, and 3¾ cup water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is fragrant, about five minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool while you make the Kanafe.

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the phyllo dough and 1/4 cup of the melted butter in a food processor and pulse until just combined, about 30 seconds. Grease a 9-inch pie pan with 2 Tbsp of the remaining butter, then transfer half of the phyllo to the pan and flatten it evenly over the bottom. Stir together the pumpkin and cream cheese until smooth, then spread it evenly over the phyllo. Cover with the remaining phyllo and flatten it into an even layer. Drizzle the top with the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then bake until golden brown, about 1 hour. Right before the kanafe comes out of the oven, pour the spiced syrup through a sieve into a bowl, and discard the spices.

Transfer the kanafe in the pie pan to a wire rack and slowly drizzle the top and sides with the syrup. Let the kanafe sit to allow the syrup time to soak into it, about 5 minutes, then slice the kanafe into large wedges and serve topped with dollops of sour cream and sprinkled with the pecans.

*Phyllo dough: also called kataifi, is finely shredded phyllo dough, used to lend a crunchy, haystack-like texture to pastries. Usually sold frozen in Middle Eastern grocery stores or ethnic markets, it can also be baked on its own and crumbled on top of fruit desserts or used as a coating for breaded-and-fried food.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Sauternes, Beaumes-de-Venise, Riesling Auslese



We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and photographs:

Clarkson Potter, Publishers, New York, Member of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. for:

  • Barefoot Contessa Family Style, by Ina Garten. © 2002 Ina Garten. Photographs © 2002 Maura McEvoy.
  • Barefoot Contess Parties! by Ina Garten. © 2001 Ina Garten. Photographs © 2001 James Merrell.
  • The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten. © 1999 by Ina Garten. Photographs © Melanie Acevedo.


Random House Canada and Rizzoli International Publications Inc., NY for Sweet and Southern by Ben Mims. © Ben Mims. Photographs © Noah Fecks.


HarperCollins New York and Toronto for Authentic Mexican, Twentieth-Anniversary Edition by Rick Bayless. © 1987, 2007 Rich Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless. Color photographs © 2007 Christopher Hirsheimer.


Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (111 KB)

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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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