Monday, June 27, 2011

Plum Strawberry Crumble

We have prepared a Plum Strawberry Crumble, from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. A crumble, usually referred to as a "crisp" in the United States, is slowly becoming one of the most popular desserts in Paris today. Often served with a scoop of ice cream, a crumble is usually serve hot or warm. A recipe for a crumble can be quite versatile. This recipe may be subject to change by substituting two other complimentary fruit which may be in season. As long as the crumbly topping is adequately composed of butter, almonds, and oats, the fruit melts together underneath, releasing sweet, tart, and flavorful juices. 

Home and Kitchen Decor

One of the reasons we enjoy episodes of The Barefoot Contessa so much is due to the immaculate and orderly kitchen she works in. Whether she is filming in the kitchen in her home, or the new addition in the "barn", the style is consistent: French-inspired, orderly, and simply chic. We recently visited a home-decor boutique which sold kitchenware, kitchen accessories, and dinning essentials. The fine detail and attention that each piece displayed added to its character. Many of the items in the boutique had multiple uses and purposes. A drinking glass has the potential to double as a cup holding a trifle or parfait. Another great idea would be placing a bunch of Ina's cheese straws in one of the cups for a cocktail party.
This boutique also displayed plates, bowls, and other colorful yet simple accessories. As Ina always mentions: the design of a room, table top, or kitchen should be simple with a few statement pieces scattered about. Here are a few photographs of some of those statement pieces:

Tall, decorative glasses:

A simple, colorful throw:

Bars of soap, wrapped in wax paper:

Lime-green statement chair:

Light fixtures made of layered cardboard:

Colorful doorknobs for an added touch of color:

Beautiful, classic, etched glasses:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farmer's Market

It's a Saturday morning. The weather is absolutely perfect and the nature around us is truly beautiful. In addition, it is one of two days a week that the local farmer's market is being held. All produce, seafood, flowers and plants, olive oils, and fresh food are provided by small farms and businesses locally. It is a great feeling to know that by purchasing all of these products, you are helping the people in your community, as opposed to a large national company. As an added bonus, the vendors are more than willing to offer you a taste of their product, which makes the experience more phenomenal. Here are some photographs that speak for themselves:

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Many people may think of a tart as a dessert item, perhaps topped with fruits, curds, or meringues. This tomato and goat cheese tart recipe is a spin on the conventional tart concept. Interestingly enough, this tart is assembled like a pizza. The simplicity of it allows the quality of the ingredients to shine through, layer by layer. The chevre, herb goat cheese is distributed evenly all over the puff pastry. Initially, we though it wasn't enough. But after it baked in the oven, it melted and was definitely sufficient and satisfying. The heaviness of the cheeses are balanced with the thick slice of heirloom tomato placed in the middle. All together, the tart was a harmonious mixture of vegetables and cheeses and is a great idea for a light dinner. It can also be offered with a light frisee salad.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shortbread Cookies

One of the most sensational scents is the aroma of butter being baked into a pastry. This scent fills the house whether you like it or not. We have prepared Ina Garten's Shortbread Cookie recipe countless times, whether it's for a package for the "friendly neighbor"or for an added item to a dinner party's dessert table. These cookies are sure to please. Don't ask how much butter went into making these basic yet delicious cookies. Leave it to your imagination. The recipe itself is comprised of five ingredients that are incorporated together in the most merry ratio: flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Once they are baked, you can drizzle with a flavorful glaze, frost them, or dip them in semisweet chocolate, which is the way we chose to top it all off. The recipe is so easy to prepare, that we had the energy to begin baking these lovelies at 9 P.M. !

Monday, June 13, 2011

Salmon and Lentil

In the past, our mother prepared salmon by placing a whole salmon on a baking sheet, dusting it with garlic powder, dill, and saffron, and then scattering pieces of butter all over it. We have consumed this dish too many times to count. So, we decided to reinvent the concept of a salmon dish in our household and prepare a wonderfully balanced meal using this versatile fish. This salmon and lentil dish is composed of nothing but fresh ingredients, all of which were not difficult to find at the local market. Flavors of leeks, carrots, celery, onion, and thyme all came together to compliment the simple flavor of the fish. Take a look at the final product:

Pear Clafouti

Nothing is better than ending a satisfying dinner than with a light and flavorful dessert. Today, we baked a pear clafouti. A clafouti is a baked french dessert with black cherries. However, the Barefoot in Paris recipe which we followed replaced those cherries with slices of pear. The fruit is then covered with a pancake-like batter and bakes into a somewhat flaky concoction, with a custard center. The dish is dusted with powdered sugar and is typically served lukewarm. Here are some photographs of the steps it took to construct this phenominal pastry:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Welcome to Barefoot on Bent Tree

Welcome to Barefoot on Bent Tree, a blog chronicling the cooking and baking lives of two sisters. Each day we will make one dish, eventually finishing each Barefoot Contessa cookbook. My sister and I came up with this idea after we watched a "Back to Basics" episode where Ina Garten prepared a meatloaf dish, with a recipe made by a restaurant in the Hamptons, named 1770 House. We were instantly inspired to prepare the dish for our family dinner that same day. It was a great success! Not only was it very simple to prepare, but the herbs in the dish added an aromatic touch, which is simply divine. Here are some photographs of our creation: