Happy Birthday, Ina!

Psst, here’s the big reveal~

Ina Garten confessed that she doesn’t go barefoot in the kitchen. For the record, she wears Merrills at the stove.


The Barefoot Contessa isn’t just a culinary genius. She used to be a White House nuclear policy analyst before she became a chef. Genius emeritus, in my book.

Lately, I’ve had access to the Create Channel and the Food Network. Daunting, some of these chefs. But not Ina. She has an unpretentious approach to cooking. She doesn’t treat it like some mystical and convoluted ritual. Garten approaches each dish with effortless charm. I want to be her. So does Liz Lemon.


But, in all honesty, I’d rather be Jeffrey, Ina’s husband, mellow to the marrow and a fan fave. He’s hugely supportive, lavishes her with praise, and encourages her every undertaking. He also gets to eat unequivocally fine food. A lot.


Couple crush? Guilty. I think they’re pretty much the primo couple in the kitchen. At the end of each episode, Jeffrey is over-the-moon elated (and sincerely touched) that his wife cooked his favorite foods.

NY-BA508_NYBARE_G_20110626220235Jeffrey met Ina when she was 15 and visiting Dartmouth. They exchanged letters (you remember letters?) for a year, started dating when she was 16, and got married after she started college. 


Here’s Ina’s easy version of coquilles St.Jacques that wowed me. It’s the classic French dish of scallops in a creamy wine sauce under a crust of bread crumbs and cheese. After analyzing nuclear policy, making a few scallops must be walk in the park. And, yes, anyone can totally do this ~ Ina made a believer out of me.




If you watch Ina Garten’s show, you already know every ending. After she cooks something ambrosial like Mac ‘N Cheese and whips up blissful caramel pecan sundaes, Jeffrey comes home, eats, and swoons.

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At my house, there’s always something cooking. I wasn’t surprised to find that my husband fell in love with a gorgeous pasta extruder the idea of making extruded pasta.  Ho, ho,ho, Santa delivered the Rolls-Royce of home pasta extruders.

Making pasta with the extruder attachment is surprisingly easy. (Watching the dough squeeze its way out of the die is clearly his idea of fun.)

Store-bought dried macaroni in a box?  Nevermore.  The extruded pasta is more toothsome and flavorful than anything you can buy.  Almost as good as Tony’s.


Toni 2/2/15