Tag Archives: Barefoot Contessa

My Writing Process: A Thesis on Blogs & Pantlessness

So, quick update on me and my fanciness: I was invited to be a part of a Blog Tour.

YEAH. I KNOW. I AM A BIG DEAL.

My amazing friend Anna of Curiouser & Curiouser invited me. Those of you who don’t read Anna’s blog should leave this blog and start reading hers.

WAIT!!!!

AFTER you’ve read this post, go read her blog. She is incredibly smart and fun and talks about just about everything. She is a one of my best friends and reading her blog feels like talking to a bestie, doing something we call lilypadding: jumping from topic to topic. (Posts on Advertising! Food! Cocktails! Nail polish! Clothes!) She’s the deal.

Now, onto the Blog Tour. A fellow blogger invites you to answer 4 questions about your blogular process and then you pass the baton on to another blogger.

Without further ado, I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

1. What are you working on?

Currently watching the first season of The Rockford Files because I’m sad about James Garner’s death. Also, doing the laundry and wearing no pants. Oh, and waiting on the Chinese food to come because I didn’t feel like cooking.

In reality, I’m a producer at an advertising agency and I write my blog as a creative outlet. In college, I was a theatre major and loved working on/being in plays. I did one show after I graduated, but found it was too tough to commit to the production schedule with the reality of #agencylife. But I still needed creativity in my life. I began to cook more and thought, hey, maybe I could turn this into a blog. So about a year ago, I did. And it’s been WILDLY successful* ever since.

*Wildly=mildly

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Well, for better or worse, I’m not an avid blog reader. There are a few I follow on the reg, but otherwise it’s more like appointment reading. So I can’t say for certain that it’s different than others in the genre. I know there are sassy, f-word laden cooking blogs out there. (I’m looking at you, Thug Kitchen.)

But, what I can say for certain is this blog is written the way that I talk. The goofy asides, the lilypadding, the good and bad jokes, the healthy dose of self-deprecation: 100% Bethany. I’ve been told by more than one reader (and by reader, I mean real life existing friend) that they can hear me when they read the posts.

This blog is me, through and through.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I love food. I love to make people happy with food. And I love to make people laugh. This is all my favorite things in one.

4. How does your writing process work?

Well, the reality of the situation is I don’t write as much as I’d like. I’d like to post one to three times a week. But because of #agencylife, I find it’s very easy to get pulled away from your extracurriculars.

Mostly, I write when I’m inspired. (I’m like Oscar Bloody Wilde over here.) When I’ve eaten somewhere fantastic or made something terrific/terrible, the inspiration will strike me and I find that the words come out just the right way.

But when I’m not inspired, I feel like the words are like lumpy gravy: heavy and wrong. (Just stir it, Una!)

The exciting part is that there’s tons of inspiration out there.

So, that’s My Fake Food Blog. Thank you for coming and be sure to come again.

And in the meantime, visit my other friend Anna’s blog, Seasoned to Taste. Anna is a real life Barefoot Contessa. Everything she does is gorgeous and beautiful and seems effortless. From the food to the presentation to the way she writes about it all. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up.

She’ll impress and inspire you. Particularly if you are like me and haven’t showered today and only put pants on when the delivery guy arrived.

Happy Blog Tour, y’all.

 

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Jam Thumbprint Cookies, or as we like to call them, “Jam Thumpers”

It’s Christmastime, which is my favorite time of the year: the time when it is socially acceptable to eat cookies for breakfast.

Now, you really could eat cookies for breakfast every day and be alright in my book. Hell, I’ll vote for you for president. But, at Christmastime, it’s encouraged. With a cup of coffee and the tree on, maybe a little Vince Guaraldi Trio on in the background, eet’s nice. (If you celebrate Hannukahtime or Noneoftheabovetime, this also applies. Just adjust for the appropriate religious or non-religious symbols.)

Our favorite cookies aren’t really Christmas cookies, but they are delicious. And I just realized I’ve been making them over 10 years, which is weird.

Sidenote. It’s strange to make realizations relative to time. I’ve been out of college for 7 years. I’ve been making these cookies for 10 years. I’ve been I’ve been driving for 13 years. I’ve been bad at driving for 13 years.

Anyways. These cookies are made of buttery shortbread, rolled in coconut with a little bit of sweet jam on top. They’re Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprints, so named because you make a thumbprint in the cookie to put the jam inside. However, for some reason, my mom forgot the name one year and started calling them “Jam Thumpers,” which I really like better.

And what’s more breakfast-y than jam?

…bacon.

 

Well, this post is ruined.

Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies, slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style and foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut | I used a bit more, probably 10 ounces
  • Raspberry and/or apricot jam | I used raspberry and blueberry. Go with your preferences, folks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. If dough is still a bit crumbly, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water so that it comes together. (I added 2.)

Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls, about the size of a golf ball. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger.

SEE. I told you.

SEE. I told you.

Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Jam Thumbprints, Jam Thumpers. Potato, Pa-tah-to.

Jam Thumbprints, Jam Thumpers. Potato, Pa-tah-to.

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I put my hand upon your hip: Weeks Later Super Bowl Dips

The Super Bowl was a couple of weeks ago, and I celebrated in the best way I knew how: by making dips.

Oh, also, watching Beyonce. And the football game.

And how does one best enjoy a fantastic dip? By singing 1996’s platinum hit by Freak Nasty, Da Dip. (That song actually went platinum. Google it.)

In case you forgot the lyrical genius, it goes a little something like this:

I put my hand upon your hip. When I dip, you dip, we dip.

THIS IS WHAT IS IN MY HEAD EVERY TIME I MAKE DIPS.

Also, sidenote, do you know the lyrics for this song? Cause I’m pretty sure it’s about sexy times. So I’m pretty surprised that I was allowed to dance at middle school dances to it. But…let’s be honest. In the scheme of sexy time song lyrics, it’s pretty mild. My future fake children will most certainly not be allowed to listen to the radio. Because songs these days are more explicit than a sex ed class. This point is perfectly illustrated by musical phenoms CDZA in this amazing video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgigpC-xAB8

Anyways. Dips. I took these two dips to my friend Emily’s Super Bowl party a few weeks back (yeah…I’m THAT behind on my blogging). I wanted to bring something football-ish, so I went for a buffalo chicken dip. And then I had to balance the supremely unhealthy buffalo chicken dip with something healthy but still delicious, so I also made roasted eggplant spread which is all vegetables.

Emily outdid herself on the spread. Her crostini selection was out of this world. (Carrot harissa crostini with crème fraiche? Yeah. That was REAL.) The best part about it all was that there were 5 people at the party and when you divided the number of snacks by the number of people, there were 1.5 snacks per person.

Seems like a perfect way to celebrate Freak Nasty. I mean the Super Bowl. I mean, what?

Buffalo Chicken Dip, from YumSugar

  • 2 8-ounce packages of reduced-fat cream cheese
  • ¾ cup cayenne pepper sauce | I used Frank’s RedHot. Also, for milder flavor, reduce the cayenne pepper sauce to 1/2 cup.
  • ½ cup ranch dressing or bleu cheese dressing | I used blue! Or rather, bleu!
  • 1 ¼  to 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped (3 to 4 chicken breast halves or about 3 cups chopped)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or mozzarella | I used cheddar.
  • Tortilla chips, crackers, or vegetables, for serving | Tortilla chips, pita chips, celery sticks and cucumber slices work great here.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 1 ½-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine cream cheese, pepper sauce, and ranch dressing in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.

Stir in chicken and about half of the cheddar cheese. Stir until combined.

Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 15 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.

Serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, or vegetables.

This dip reheats really well, or is even great cold.

Roasted Eggplant Spread from Barefoot Contessa Family Style and FoodNetwork.com

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

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Thanksgiving Recap: I did it. Burned, Bruised & Broken. But I did it.

Hi people!

(Did you read that in a Michelle Tanner voice? I hope you did, because that’s how I wrote it.)

Well, I did it. I made the foods. And they were good. And when you read through the list of casualties, they’re not nearly as bad as I expected. 

I had:

  • 2 migraines
  • 1 fight with my whole family
  • 1 fight with just my mother 
  • 1 foot burned with hot oil while frying shallots (who does that?)
  • 1 middle finger slammed in the folding door of the spice cabinet, which ripped the skin off 
  • 30-ish f-words said in front of my Gramma, due to aforementioned foot burning and middle finger slamming 

Mom made a blueberry pie, our go-to stuffing and the gravy. Gramma made the mashed potatoes, helped prep everything and washed 10,000 dishes. But other than that, I did the rest. Like a boss. 

My plan is to recount all the hilarious tales and recipes, one a day for this week. There’s some good stuff in here, especially since we’re just starting the holiday season. Maybe something to try yourself! Maybe something you can burn yourself with or slam your finger while making! Please, be as dumb as me! 

First up will be Barefoot Contessa’s Gingerbread Cupcakes.

I started so confident. And immediately fucked them up. 

Stay tuned! 

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Update: Thanksgiving Can’t Hardly Wait…to start

My dad sent me an email today about a couple Thanksgiving recipes from the Wall Street Journal that he was going to save for me. Which is pretty good, because this is what the menu looks like now:

Turkey made in some way, maybe Alton Brown’s brine?
Mac and cheese
Green beans
Another vegetable
Cranberry conserve from Barefoot Contessa
Can of cranberry sauce (back off, I love it)
Mashed potatoes and gravy (Gramma)
Some sort of Stuffing
More foodstuffs
Dessert

Sounds pretty vague to me. Good thing Thanksgiving is a good….OH HOLY HELL IT’S ONLY 5 DAYS AWAY.

Vomit vomit vomit.

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