One interesting thing about having the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook, the one that the current season of the Food Network show is based on, is that I get to see Ina prepare the recipes. And to be honest, there were some recipes in the book that didn’t get me too excited, but when I saw her make it on the show, I couldn’t stop drooling over them. Case in point, the Easy Sticky Buns.
After watching her transform simple puff pastry, butter, sugar, raisins, and nuts into a sinfully delicious looking breakfast, I was relieved that I didn’t have any of the ingredients in the house. Otherwise, I would have immediately set about making them, which isn’t so bad, but then I would have had one dozen sticky buns to get rid of. That would be a problem.
Then there are recipes that aren’t in the book but that are on the show. Like the Mustard Chicken Salad. Why would Ina do that to us? And why would she put broccoli and cherry tomatoes in a chicken salad? Who can say for sure? I can say that this will be showing up as lunch very soon at our house.
Last are the recipes from the book that may or may not be on the show. I’ll have to keep watching to see if she makes the Beef Stew I made for dinner last night. I hope she does because I have a feeling that mine came out very differently from hers. But more on that later.
For now, feel free to breakfast and lunch with Ina. As soon as I come up with a plan to get rid of one dozen sticky buns, I know I will be.
Easy Sticky Buns
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
- 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful – they’re hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.
Mustard Chicken Salad
- 2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken in large bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, add the broccoli florets to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 1 minute, until crisp tender, drain, and place into a bowl of ice water until cool. This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.
For the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, wine, mustards, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add enough sauce to the warm chicken to moisten well. Add the tarragon, broccoli, and tomatoes and mix gently to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.