Testing My Limits Barefoot Contessa-Style

Out of boredom, I challenged myself a few weeks ago to try some new recipes.  I had just purchased the newest Ina Garten cookbook in hopes of gaining some inspiration but to be honest, the first time I flipped through it I kinda thought, “hmm.”  Clearly I wasn’t in the mood to be inspired.

So last week before assembling my weekly shopping list and heading off to the farmers market, I flipped through it again and this time I was in the mood for inspiration.  (That, or I was just really, really, really hungry which is always a possibility too.)  Anyway, I decided to try three new dinner recipes: Roasted Shrimp with Feta, Chicken with Shallots and Bangers & Mustard Mash.

Now before I’m accused of relying too heavily on one celebrechef for inspiration, first let me explain that I don’t think I’ve ever made any of Ina’s recipes EXACTLY as written.  I don’t have access to quite as diverse a pantry as the Barefoot Contessa does, nor do I have a “good quality specialty food store” right down the street.  So for the five years or so I’ve been cooking from her cookbooks, I’ve always improvised a little.  I like to think that its made me a better cook and somehow I think Ina would approve.

For dinner Tuesday night, I made the Roasted Shrimp with Feta.  And I actually used almost all of the ingredients the recipe called for, (I omitted the Pernod.  Someday it will have a permanent place in my pantry AND I ran out of parsley but substituted diced fennel greens.)

The result? A deliciously Mediterranean-style dish that had us all picking shrimp out of the pan.  Dinner Experiment #1=Success!  (Oh, and I served it with artichokes which Madison LOVES.)

4 comments on “Testing My Limits Barefoot Contessa-Style

  1. This Italian Family
    February 15, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    I’ve never tried any of her recipes. Rachael Ray, Paula Dean and the Pioneer Woman are my favorites. I just healthify their recipes a bit and VIOLA! Such tasty meals! 🙂

    • Heather
      February 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

      I made a lot of Paula Deen recipes during the holidays and I keep hearing about this “Pioneer Woman” 🙂 (I’m actually following her on Twitter but maybe I should actually check out her site.) Thanks as always for the comments!

  2. Harry Weisberger
    February 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    ??? Does the “Barefoot Contessa” moniker arise from a play on words: Ina Garten from Ava Gardner?


    • Heather
      February 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      umm, doubt it. But only you would ask that question. Ha Ha! That’s what Google is for….

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