I am happy to report that we just received another round of signed bookplates from Ina. I love selling books that are signed by the author. It just makes them extra special. My fondness for Ina runs deep, as most of you know. To be able to sell her amazing cookbooks signed by her–even better. They make such great gifts. The colorful spines adding a hit of color to any kitchen or bookshelf they grace.
She did it again. Ina, the barefoot contessa, in her 8th cookbook, has once again captured her easy going yet elegant style of cookery. FOOLPROOF is filled with page after page of stylish yet approachable dishes. Beautifully photographed, as always, her books are easily left out on the coffee table to peruse for inspiration. Ina graciously sends signed bookplates to me, so all of the Watson Kennedy copies have a little something extra special to make this one winning gift this season. Congrats & thank you Ina!
As Summer winds down and cooking on the grill becomes less frequent, we are trying to squeeze in every chance we can to barbecue. I have seen articles in the food magazines we get about putting butter on burger patties before grilling them. But it was a segment on a Barefoot Contessa show where chef Laurent Tourondel of LT Burger in Sag Harbor showed his method that made me a convert. His basic burger is made with meat that has 20% fat, salt, pepper, and softened unsalted butter spread on the top of the burger. That was it. Nothing fancy, just basic stuff. The butter of course adds flavor, but it also caramelizes the burger a bit. We have tried it several times, and it really does create a pretty stellar burger. Add a sliced heirloom tomato and you are good to go. It is a tad indulgent, but hey, if you are going to have a burger, it might as well be as tasty as you can make it. Cheers to cooking on the grill in the sunshine!
It is always a fun thing to learn a new way to jazz up a kitchen classic. In this case, it is tuna salad. I was flicking through the channels the other evening, and made a stop at one of my favorite shows hosted by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I have had the pleasure of meeting Ina on numerous occasions, and find her easy style incredibly comfortable and approachable. This tuna tapenade is no exception. She was making it as an appetizer on crostini. I thought it looked substantial enough to make it into a sandwich–which is what I did. It is a complex mixing of flavors, which really makes for one interesting and yummy lunch. Here is what I whipped up, with just slight variations to her recipe, as I was not needing to make as much as her she was making.
Drain 1 can of the best tuna packed in olive oil that you can find, leaving just a bit of the oil in with the tuna. Ina called for Italian tuna, but my grocer did not carry any. I did, however, find a really lovely alternative. Truly, use what you can find. Flake the tuna into a food processor with the blade attachment. If you don’t have a food processor, I would think this could also be done in a large mixing bowl, and just manually mix things together. It will be chunkier in consistency, but still delicious. To the tuna add 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste, a half a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 1 minced garlic glove, and a tablespoon of fresh lemon zest. Pulse a few times to incorporate. Then add 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice from the lemon you just zested. Both the zest and the juice are a tad more than she called for, but I really like the burst of freshness the lemon adds to this. Next add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese. You can now see why this is all so tasty, with such complex flavors. Pulse again till smooth. Almost there. Now add 2 tablespoons of pitted and chopped kalamata olives, and 2 teaspoons of drained capers, along with a pinch of salt & pepper. Pulse again, till all is mixed in. Transfer to a bowl, wrap, and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour so it cools and the flavors have time to marry.
I spread it on a baguette for a simple sandwich. The flavors are out of this world. I hope you enjoy.
I have had the pleasure of meeting the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, on several occasions. She is as delightful and easy going as she appears on her cooking show. There is something about her cooking style that reminds me of Summer. Big platters of simply prepared food, stylishly presented. Easy outdoor entertaining with your friends. The use of the best ingredients you can find, and letting those flavors be the star of the dish.
Her cookbooks are some of my very favorite. They have also been best sellers at the shops & web site for me. Ina sends me signed book plates, so each copy we sell has her signature. They make stellar gifts, as well as being a great addition to your own cookbook library. As Ina would say “how easy is that?”