Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dear Ina Garten

Dear Ina,

You are Ina. And you are fabulous. Your fabulosity radiates from the TV into my living room and, if I'm lucky, into my kitchen and onto my plate.

We don't really know what "Barefoot Contessa" means, but we don't really care. We don't ask questions. We just watch and do as you say.
You live a life of luxury in the Hamptons that most of us could never even dream of, but we are glad for you and love you anyway. Though maybe we could visit....?

Giada De Laurentiis is great, but you... you don't mess around with fancy. And it's OK with us.

You can make something out of nothing. You can whip up a party out of thin air. You have more friends in real life than I have on Facebook. You can entertain 100 people without breaking a sweat with just one quick trip to the local market.

Your husband likes EVERYTHING you make. You never serve raw chicken, overcook the pasta, or burn the garlic in the pan and have to start all over. (Not like I do either, of course, I'm just saying...)

You say things like, "Oh... give me just a moment... I'm going to go snip some fresh hydrangeas from my garden." Um... yeah, too.

You can pop the collar of a button down denim shirt and still look classy.

How do you do it, Ina? We'll never know, but we're glad that you do.

With admiration,
Ina Garten taught us once and for all how to make steak. We will never ever make it differently.
Steakhouse Steaks

2 (10-ounce) filet mignon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. Combine the kosher salt and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.

When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.

Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you're actually testing the middle of the steak.)

Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
This was a featured recipe on Ina's "Back to Basics" series. It is so simple and utterly DELICIOUS. I now make this once a week.

Lemon Pasta With Roasted Shrimp

2 pounds (17 to 21 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Good olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper
1 pound angel hair pasta
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the shrimp on a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.Toss well, spread them in one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until they're pink and cooked through.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Quickly toss the spaghetti with the melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add a generous handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add the shrimp and serve hot.



Erin said...

Ha! I was watching her show the other day while rocking Addie. I love Ina!

Jeff and Liz Mazzolini said...

Your salad was definitely "Ina" quality last night! Need the recipe :)

Tatum-LeTard said...

So I know nothing about Ina, but thanks to your post, I am now a fan :) haha! That steak looks amazing! My finace and I just registered and got all Giada stuff - gotta love her too! :)

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