how easy is that?

Ina’s Roasted Shrimp with Feta from her 2010 book,  How Easy is That? served with salad.

  If I’m home in the afternoon, no one has to ask where I’ve disappeared to around 3.  I’m watching Ina, of course.  I’ll admit that portions of the Food Network are not for me; I switch them off or tune them out.  But if Ina’s on (or Tyler Florence), I’m probably watching.  It says a lot.  I’m not a tv person, with the exception of early morning political shows (love “Morning Joe”), a few minutes of TODAY, and the occasional film on the old-movie channel.  I have better fish to fry, literally.  Or I’m at the piano.  Or I’m walking Gabby and Tucker.  Loving Dave.

courtesy Clarkson-Potter

But Ina and I go way back–sorta.  In fact, we could  have been friends.  Well!  Back in the seventies, my bus stop was right in front of the building where she worked in Washington, D.C.  (I didn’t know that then.)  I cooked; she cooked.  I gave dinner parties; she did, too.  Right around the corner from one another almost.  Until she moved to New York to open the Barefoot Contessa, a specialty food store, in 1978.   Between then and now, she ran that store and catered for twenty years, wrote seven books and countless magazine columns, and made more segments of The Barefoot Contessa  on Foot Network than I know what to with.   There’s also a product line, Barefoot Contessa Pantry, available in specialty stores where you can buy everything from coffee to cupcake mixes.  In fact, I noticed our local Macy’s carries Ina’s products.  I freely admit I have never bought any of these boxes goods.  Hey!  I make Ina’s stuff from scratch.  But if you try them, let me know; I’d love a review.  

Ina, you’ve got to stop, but why not an app for my ipad?!

Somehow we missed meeting and cooking together.  Sigh.  Later I moved all over the country until I stopped in one  place where a new friend talked me into borrowing The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook from the library.   That was it.   Now I have my own copy and six more of Ina’s books plus an index.
 
Trying to decide which recipe to blog for Ina, who is number 39 in the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food, was like trying to decide whether to go to Italy or France for two months next summer.  How could I decide?  I’ve made tons of them.  Some of them are very, very much favorites–including a lemon pound cake I just made last week for the Friends of the St. Paul Library board:

One of the perfectly perfect things about Ina’s recipes is that you can do all kinds of things with them.  I added homemade strawberry ice cream and a blueberry drizzle to this cake  and here’s how it looked:

Ina’s a great starting point.

After much dithering and mithering, I did the only sane thing:  I made something of Ina’s I hadn’t yet made.  A great excuse to try a new recipe, which turned out to be Roasted Shrimp with Feta.  I have always made a summer pasta that is this fast:  spaghetti topped with lots of chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked shrimp, chopped feta and a good, heavy dose of dried oregano and black pepper.  But Ina’s recipe is great in the winter….  Run, don’t walk to the store to make this.  It’s beautiful, tasty–tasty, easy, not too expensive, cuts in half easily, and is healthy. (Is this a Friday in Lent?)  Including chopping ingredients, it probably takes about 45 minutes to make–much of which is taken up with  cooking stove-top or in the oven.  I served it with a simple green salad and we needed nothing more except a bit of Chardonnay.  Fancy enough for company, I made it for just Dave and me and we ate on the front porch for the first time this winter.  (Like the rest of the country, St. Paul is experiencing May in March–no complaints.)  I’m not going to print the recipe as Food Network is clear about “all rights reserved,” but the link is just below.  The recipe is in Ina’s Newest book, How Easy is That? (2010/Clarkson-Potter) so you can buy it if you like!

Ina’s Roasted Shrimp with Feta Recipe... click here.

Cook’s Note:  I changed almost nothing in the recipe, though I did add a pinch of crushed red pepper–a bit of heat enhances the lemony shrimp.  Get the best feta you can find; you’ll be glad you did.  Use peeled shrimp.

You don’t need more than this.

 Thanks, Ina Garten and that doesn’t begin to say it.  Blessings on your life and work.  Keep on!  (And about that app…)

Ina’s Biography from Food Network

Read the Epicurious interview with Ina.

Barefoot Contessa Website

Watch Ina on youtube.
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Want to read other bloggers who are following the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food story? There are a lot of good blogs out there; read on!

Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living  Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades

If you liked this, you might like:

Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

 or

My Breakfast Reuben in a Cup for St. Patrick’s Day on my Dinner Place (Cooking for One) Blog.

Sing a new song and join me on my daily Lenten blog,
Alyce