My Love/Hate Relationship with the Barefoot Contessa

Have y’all ever read an Ina Garten cookbook? Bitch is a NAME DROPPER!

(photo by Ben Fink)

I was reading through Barefoot Contessa Parties! and it was Secretary of State this, and my good bosom buddy Martha Stewart that. Between the books and watching her show, I was always repulsed at the idea of her white bread parties and gentle mannerisms and yet I WANTED TO BE HER.

Only in her world could she purchase someone else’s business (specialty food shop Barefoot Contessa), make it HER THANG, and then cater for 40 people without breaking a sweat right off the bat. But that is besides the point. This post is really about how I picked up two of her cookbooks from the library, had them for weeks and only made one thing. My excuse? She seems to think that one ‘splurge’ ingredient per recipe doesn’t make for an expensive dinner. One splurge per course means an expensive menu.

Griping aside, I’ve got Ina to thank for these baked sweet potato fries. They’re a cross between a steak fry and a wedge. Unlike any other sweet potato fry recipe I’ve made, these bad boys actually turned out nice, plump and caramelized, not deflated, limp versions of their former selves.

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”
from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients
serves 4

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

P1020450

When paired with cherry tomatoes tossed in a light vinagrette and a chicken apple sausage topped with sauerkraut, it makes for a tasty meal and a happy boyfriend. Perhaps a little heavy but for this cool weather, a very comforting plate of goods.

(Two more CSA veggies bite the dust? CHECK!)

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