Friday, March 16, 2012
50 Women Game Changers in Food - #39 Ina Garten - Crostini with Tuna Tapenade
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...There is, of course, the famous smile and the throaty laugh you'd recognize wherever you heard it, but the best identifier of all is the string of rhetorical questions that are threaded through her conversation and writing. This week, Ina Garten is the subject of our ongoing feature that highlights the lives and careers of those who made the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game Changers in food. That really comes as no surprise. After all, what's not to like? She is one of two children born to a mother who was an intellectual and a father who was a successful surgeon. As a child and young woman, she was kept from the kitchen and encouraged, instead, to excel in her studies. She began dating Jeffrey, her future husband, when she was 16 years old. She married him when she was 20 and followed him to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he completed his military service. Following his discharge, they traveled to France for an extended vacation and it was here that she became seriously interested in food and cooking. On their return, they moved to Washington, D.C. where she completed an M.B.A. and worked as a budget analyst, creating nuclear energy budgets and policy papers for Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. As a sideline, she began to flip and sell real estate and used her free time to entertain and cook for friends. The profits from her real estate ventures made it possible to buy The Barefoot Contessa, a specialty food store in Westhampton Beach, New York. She did much of the cooking herself but she employed local chefs and bakers to supplement her efforts as the business grew. The store was immediately successful and it was twice moved to larger facilities, eventually ending up in the wealthy community of East Hampton, Long Island. She sold the store in 1996 and explored other outlets for her talents. She began to write and in 1999 her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook became a sleeper best seller. It was rapidly followed by Barefoot Contessa Parties! and Barefoot Contessa Family Style. She has since written four other books and combined revenue from the sales of all the books is now 6 million dollars. In 1992, she began her own series on the Food Network. It's estimated that her show draws about 1 million viewers per episode. Viewers are drawn to her quiet style and steadiness. She seems to be more approachable than Martha Stewart or Nigella Lawson whose shows target the same audience and her fan base is extremely loyal. In 2009, she was awarded an Emmy as Best Culinary Host in daytime television. She has also created a company that sells specialty foods and that line will be expanded as the market grows. Her career is amazing for a woman with no culinary training, but I suspect Ina would be successful at anything she chose to do. Who knew?
There is no shortage of recipes developed by Ina Garten. I've chosen one that's super simple to prepare. I've been trying to add more appetizers and snacks to my repertoire, so I very selfishly picked a recipe that would help fill in the gaps. I have lots of fussy and time consuming starters, but I wanted something really easy to make. Her recipe for Crostini with Tuna Tapenade was perfect for my purposes. Those of you who makes this will be really pleased, though I want to caution against the use of too much lemon juice. It can be overpowering, even in a dish as strongly flavored as this. I used a single tablespoon of lemon and was quite pleased with the results. If you'd like to see Ina make this tapenade, you can find a short clip, here. Ina's recipe follows. How easy is that?
Crostini with Tuna Tapenade...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Ina Garten
10 to 12 ounces canned or jarred Italian tuna packed in olive oil
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
1/3 cup Italian mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
36 slices French bread, cut diagonally
1) Drain all but a tablespoon of olive oil from the tuna and then flake the fish into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the anchovy paste, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic and pulse a few times. Add the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the mascarpone and process until almost smooth. Add the olives, capers, salt, and pepper and pulse just to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2) Meanwhile, heat a gas or charcoal grill or preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the bread lightly on one side with olive oil. Grill the crostini on both sides until lightly browned or arrange the bread on a sheet pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
3) Mound the tapenade on each toast, sprinkle with parsley, and serve. Alternatively, mound tapenadae in center of a serving plate and surround with crostini.
The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Ina Garten today. I hope you'll pay them all a visit. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.
Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite, 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, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me
Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Elena Arzak. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Monday, March 19th.