March 28, 2009

What IS it about Ina Garten?

I've spoken of my love of Nigella Lawson earlier. And it's true - she was THE one who sparked my interest in all things food related.

But, I ADORE Ina Garten. Otherwise known as "The Barefoot Contessa", she is the author of several books (yes, I own them all) and has her own show on the Food Network. Actually - she hosts two shows: "Barefoot Contessa" and "Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics". Her recipes WORK, people. They work. Every time. I have yet to have one recipe that didn't turn out exactly as Ina said it would. And, they are easy. Really, really easy. With ingredients you can find in nearly any grocery store in the US.

Ina is unpretentious, warm and the kind of person you'd think you could be friends with, if only she'd let you hang out with her and her fabulous friends at her fabulous house in the Hamptons. Someone once said that Ina is like Martha Stewart on Xanax washed down with a martini. So true. If you have any interest in cooking - I recommend you pick up one of her books. You won't regret it.

I'm sharing one of my go-to Ina recipes here. Give it a shot - you won't regret it!

Ina Garten's Pan Fried Onion Dip

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

January 4, 2009

Hi, I'm Deb and I'm a Cookbook Addict. (Hi, Deb!!)

I collect cookbooks.  And I use every single one of them. Some more than others, true, but I DO use ALL of them (shut. up. I do.).

And, get this, I also keep my laptop on my kitchen counter so that I can look up a recipe whenever I want. I also read news and food blogs incessantly. So, one would ask - why do you keep buying books if nearly every recipe known to man can be found on the great world wide internet????

I don't know. I love to actually READ cookbooks. The descriptions of the whys and whatfors behind a recipe. The authors love of one thing or another. As I wrote in my earlier post, Nigella Lawson has a way of writing her cookbooks that makes them seem like novels. A food writer, Nigella can make the process of opening a can of soup seem sumptuous and sexy and something you-have-to-do-right-this-very-minute!! It's one of the things I love about her.

My favorite section of the bookstore: the cookbook section. I will go through the section and pick up a stack of books and sit down and read through them. Sigh. I don't know why it is. And to people who don't share my love of food or the cooking process, I'm CERTAIN it seems strange that I go and buy a book on the day it's released (hello, Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics. I'm looking at you). I simply cannot wait.

So - what IS it that has me doing this?