Happy Monday!

by Cate on April 12, 2005

No new recipes to report tonight … it was a takeout kinda night, with Chinese food from one of our favorite joints in the area.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a little background on a popular celebrity chef, and a recipe from her new cookbook.

Ina Garten, of Barefoot Contessa fame, studied business and economics in college and was a nuclear policy analyst for the White House Office of Management and Budget. Quite a switch to entertaining her closest friends at her house in the Hamptons, huh?

Her fourth cookbook, Barefoot in Paris, recently came out, following The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties! and Barefoot Contessa Family Style. When Ina bought the Barefoot Contessa restaurant in the East Hamptons, she knew nothing about running a business, let alone a food-related one. She happened to see an ad in the paper, listing the store for sale, and took the plunge.

Eighteen years later, she sold the successful store to two of her employees, and started writing her popular cookbooks. It was only 3 years ago that Food Network approached her and started talks about her show, Barefoot Contessa. The show is actually taped from her very own kitchen, and Ina uses all her own china, pots and pans, and even her friends to help the realism of the show.

Ina wrote her newest cookbook as a way to show her followers how to prepare simple French food. She takes hard, challenging dishes and makes them reachable for the average home cook. If you haven’t checked out the book yet, put it on your list.

Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
serves 4

3-4 fresh mall goat cheese crottins
8 slices of country white bread
olive oil
salad greens for 4 salads
vinaigrette (see below recipe)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450. Cut each crottin horizontally into 2 or 3 half-inch slices. Place the bread on a baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil and place a slice of goat cheese on each piece of bread. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is warm. Place the salad greens in a large bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Divide the salad among 4 lunch plates. Place 2 slices of toasted bread on each salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 extra large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie April 12, 2005 at 4:49 pm

I really like Ina. I see her as a sort of more approachable Martha! She seems to put together, so ‘with it’, yet fairly down to earth (if you can forget the fabulous house, garden, kitchen, china, etc…). I usually miss her back-to-back eps on Mondays, but when I do, Alex looks up at the opening scene (the house with the show’s name) and yells “INA!”. It’s amazing how well he knows the Food TV chefs; he even recognizes Emeril from the toothpaste commercials, and we almost never watch his shows…

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Cate April 13, 2005 at 1:31 am

Your Alex sounds like my Nicholas. He can easily identify Rachael Ray and Paula Deen. Funny, isn’t it? He is very anti-TV and virtually never watches it. When he does, it’s a cooking show he wants to see. He loves to “help” me in the kitchen, and I would guess it stems from that. There are certainly worse things that a toddler who disdains TV — let’s hope it lasts! :)

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