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.

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