Recipe post: Family Dinner FTW!

2014-11-09 18.23.46 -crop

Since I’ve been spending some extra time up at the family home in Eastern Ontario lately, we’ve been enjoying some pretty awesome Sunday evening Family Dinners! My stepfather, K, is an amazing chef-level cook, and he is a huge fan of celebrity chef The Barefoot Contessa, AKA Ina Garten (or as he calls her, The Butter Lady), so many of his most favourite recipes are directly from her cookbooks.

This past weekend was no exception. While I was originally intending to make our homemade pasta with my delicious tomato sauce and homemade meatballs, but K and I both realized we had done that only the month prior for that Family Dinner, and he wanted to do something else instead.

So, he went to his cookbook collection, and ambitiously put together three of Ina Garten’s recipes from her “Barefoot Contessa: Family Style” cookbook. With a big salad and some delicious mashed “taters” made with potatoes from his father’s own garden, we had an amazing Family Dinner!

Our dinner consisted of Oven Fried Chicken, Provencal Tomatoes, Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots, Mashed Potatoes, and a huge Garden Salad.

2014-11-09 18.23.52Oven-Fried Chicken

Marinating these chicken pieces in buttermilk is a not-to-be-skipped step; this chicken was incredibly tender and moist, and even held up beautifully when reheating the leftovers!

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, (c) 2002 Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Yield: 6 servings

  • 2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening
  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
  4. Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don’t crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

2014-11-09 18.23.58Provençal Tomatoes

These meaty, flavourful tomatoes are a delicious vegetable accompaniment to pretty much any meat dish due to their perfect serving size. We recommend beefsteak tomatoes as they are hearty and strong enough to keep their shape during baking.

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, (c) 2002 Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Yield: 8 servings

  • 6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • Good olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and, with your fingers, remove the seeds and juice. Place the tomato halves in a baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the tomato halves generously with salt and pepper. With your hands, fill the cavities and cover the tops of the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture. Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until they’re tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 seconds more. Serve hot or at room temperature.

2014-11-09 18.23.46 - cropMashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots

Most people turn up their nose at turnips (ha, see what I did there?), but this recipe is ridiculously delicious!  If you’re still unsure about having that much turnip/rutanaga in your life, you could always do what we did and use a ratio of 1:1 rutabaga to butternut squash. I cannot describe how creamy and tasty this recipe is! Try it. you’ll love it!

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten; (c) 1994 The Union Square Cafe cookbook

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups light olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  • 2 large yellow turnips (rutabagas), about 4 pounds total
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil and unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees F. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, and cook until they are a rich golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. The temperature should stay below 260 degrees F. Stir the shallots occasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well, and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.
  2. Peel the turnips to remove the waxy skins and cut them into generous 1-inch chunks. Place them in a saucepan with water to cover and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until easily pierced by a paring knife, about 35 minutes. Drain.
  3. In a separate saucepan, heat the milk and salted butter over low heat until the butter has melted and the milk just begins to simmer.
  4. Puree the turnips in several batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. With the motor running, add the melted butter and milk in a steady stream. The turnips should be smooth.
  5. Return the puree to the saucepan, season with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and reheat, stirring, over medium heat. Serve piping hot, sprinkled generously with crispy shallots.

These recipes are melt-in-your-mouth awesome, and worth the time to make them. Thanks to Ms. Garten, the family dinner was a great success!




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