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Video: Save time with Ina Garten’s make-ahead snacks

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    >>> this morning in "today's holiday kitchen," foolproof entertaining recipes are the holidays officially under way, throwing a party or just attending one, got some great hors d'oeuvres sure to be a hit. ina gartner is out with her new cook book , " barefoot contessa foolproof." . i'm guessing you had a wonderful thanksgiving. must be fun.

    >> it was great.

    >> hors d'oeuvres you can save and maybe make ahead of time.

    >> make them ahead of time and when they show up they are ready.

    >> first one jalapeno cheddar crackry.

    >> it's a shortbread, savory instead of sweet. pulse the butter a -- the flour for just a second and then add the butter.

    >> you're a cook.

    >> sure.

    >> and just pulse is until it's the size of peas, and then i'll add lots of cheddar, sharp grated cheddar.

    >> does it matter what kind?

    >> the sharpest, the better and hall -- jalopenass, no seeds, and then three tablespoons down the feed tube.

    >> and what's the deal with the ice water ?

    >> brings it together, like any kind of pastry, brings it all together. dump it all out and make a big roll out of it.

    >> i'm just going to cut them. i started. i cut them and they each need to be covered with a little bit of egg wash and sea salt .

    >> this comes out in a ball and you fridge rate for a while until it's firm or fridge rate it for like three days or freeze it for weeks.

    >> okay. it's a great thing to have around. all you have to do is slice and bake. slice and back cookies except it's jalapeno cheddar crackers.

    >> egg wash these.

    >> sea salt on top.

    >> and this is what you end up with, jalapeno cheddar crackers.

    >> absolutely. that's why i'm here.

    >> those are delicious.

    >> flaky.

    >> you can freeze the roll here.

    >> for months, just great.

    >> what's our next one here.

    >> this is tapenade, what i did is sauteed onions and fennel together just for about seven to nine minute until they are really tender and lots of great things. i have sliced garlic, three cloves of sliced garlic. cook that for a minute. you don't want it to burn but cook a little bit, and it has complex flavors. cherry vinegar, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes from a can. figs which is unusual in a tampenade, brown sugar .

    >> a sweet dish.

    >> between the onions.

    >> and then capers to give it a little vinegary flavor.

    >> and lots of green olives which are great.

    >> this looks so good.

    >> cooks together eight to ten minutes until all the flavors blend together.

    >> beautiful colors in there.

    >> and orange zest , salt and pepper , just right in, and after that cooks for a little while what happens is all the flavors, it gets very tender.

    >> smells wonderful.

    >> doesn't take very long and then i'm going -- just as it's done i'm going to add orange juice , doesn't that sound great?

    >> smells beautiful.

    >> what where does it end up?

    >> right here on a little bit of toasted bread.

    >> may i.

    >> please, i want to tell people first, the cook book is " barefoot contessa foolproof." ina, so good to see you.

TODAY recipes
updated 11/21/2012 12:05:37 PM ET 2012-11-21T17:05:37

Recipe: Jalapeño cheddar crackers

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¹⁄8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 tablespoons (13/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, 1/2-inch-diced
  • 5 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt

Place the flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheddar, jalapeño, and chipotle chili powder and pulse again. With the food processor running, add the ice water all at once. Continue pulsing until the mixture begins to form a ball. Dump the dough onto a floured board and roll it into a 14-inch log. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Cut the dough in 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place the crackers on the prepared sheet pan, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle with the fleur de sel. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Serving Size

Makes 32 to 34 crackers

Recipe: Fig and fennel caponata

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced red onion
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) diced fennel (1 large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup good sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in pureé, such as Redpack
  • 8 dried Calmyrna figs, stems removed and 1/4-inch-diced
  • 21/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, such as Cerignola
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Grilled bread for serving

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan. Add the onions and fennel and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, figs, and brown sugar, stirring to coat everything with the tomatoes. Stir in the capers, olives, orange zest, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the orange juice and parsley. Taste for seasonings; the caponata should be highly seasoned.

Serve the caponata warm or at room temperature with slices of the grilled bread.

Serving Size

Serves 6 to 8

Recipe: Mustard and gruyère batons

  • Flour for dusting the board
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed and very cold (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
  • 3 ounces gruyère cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

Unfold the sheet of puff pastry on a well-floured board, and roll it to an 11x13-inch rectangle with a floured rolling pin. (Diagonal strokes keep the pastry rectangular.) With a shorter end closest to you, brush the lower half of the pastry evenly with the mustard, leaving a ½ -inch border around the edges. Brush the border of the pastry with the egg wash and fold the top half over the bottom half, lining up the edges. Place the pastry on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill for 15 minutes.

Place the pastry on a board and trim the three irregular edges with a sharp knife. With the folded edge away from you, cut the pastry in 1x6-inch strips. You will have 10 to 12 batons. Spread the batons out on the sheet pan so they're not touching. Brush the tops lightly with the egg wash (don't allow the egg wash to drip down the sides) and sprinkle evenly with the gruyère, parmesan, and 1- teaspoons sea salt. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the batons for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown and puffed. Allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes and serve warm.

Note: I use Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator.

Serving Size

Makes 10 to 12 batons

Recipe: Thyme-roasted marcona almonds

  • 1 pound roasted, salted marcona almonds
  • 2 teaspoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the almonds, olive oil, thyme, and kosher salt on a sheet pan and toss them together. Roast the almonds for 10 to 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes with a metal spatula, until they're lightly browned. Watch them carefully; they go from underbaked to burnt very quickly.

Sprinkle with the fleur de sel, toss, and set aside to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving Size

Serves 6 to 8

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