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.


Pondside said...

I love Ina - and recipes like this are why.

Reva said...

I love Ina's show and her style of cooking..:) She makes everything sound and look very homely..:) You dont see any stress on her face when she is cooking ... In fact, it glows..
Loved the introduction to her life before she became well known..:)
Awesome recipe..

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Of all the celebrity cooks Ina is my favourite. You can never go wrong with any of her recipes.

Lenia said...

This is so delicious!Have a lovely weekend,dear Mary!

Vicki Bensinger said...

I love Ina Gartens style, recipes and cookbooks. In fact I have them all and when teaching culinary classes always recommend her books. Not only are they easy to follow but each recipe comes with a photo so you know what the finished product looks like. Best of all her recipes Always turn out perfect.

I've never tried this recipe but it sounds wonderful and simple.

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
I love Ina Garten and her fantastic recipes and this suggestion look so yummy and moreish!

Lynn said...

Thanks for the background, I've always enjoyed Ina and have an immense respect for her success! The dish sounds great, I'm always up for appetizers:@)

The Harried Cook said...

I love Ina Garten and have made so many of her recipes - and each one has been better than the last! All winners :) This one sounds like another yummy recipe from Ina... Loved reading about her! Very interesting :) Thanks for sharing this :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'd eat this like tuna salad!


This is very fun, Mary, as my post today is about Ina, as well. I love her philosophy on hospitality. And I really like her relationship with her husband. Oh ... and her food.


Anonymous said...

Great recipe - I LOVE Ina - I suspect you may be right - she is one smart cookie!!
Mary x

Barbara said...

I'm loving this game changer, Mary. And of the two in our group I've read this morning, I haven't made either! This looks flavorful, great presentation too.
Happy weekend, Mary!

Jeanette said...

Ina Garten is the ultimate entertaining. Nice choice for this week. Tuna tapenade would be perfect for summer entertaining.

Unknown said...

Mary, what a delicious sounding appetizer, not your run of the mill - I like that!

Susan Lindquist said...

Perfect choice, Mary! It IS an easy fix and you are so right about the lemon juice! Still ... totally tasty!

Heather S-G said...

Funny you should say that, I've been trying to add more apps and starters to my rep as well! I love the sound of these - simple, yet totally delicious!

Unknown said...

Ina is definitely a game changer in the cooking field. I had read her story about working in Washington before and thought it very interesting. I am really digging this recipe too, Mary. Love tapenade.. never had a tuna tapenade before.

Epicurea said...

so simple and great idea to expand on appetizers, one can never have enough recipes for them! happy friday!

Kathy said...

Mary, A wonderful write up on Ina! Love the Crostini with Tuna Tapenade…such a lovely dish to represent her. Elegant and easy!

Alyce said...

What I like about the tuna is that it's so versatile. It's a meal; it's a starter; it's fish for Lent; it's a picnic. I'll get to the other blogs during the day; I'm cooking for lunch company this morning. Running---- Thanks, Mary!!!

From the Kitchen said...

How bad can that be? I'm a big fan of Ina and her style.
We just enjoyed a slice of her Irish soda bread for breakfast.

Have a great weekend.


Pam said...

I love Ina's recipes. This tapenade looks tasty and so flavorful.

Happy St. Patrick's Day Mary!

Liesl said...

Ina!! I totally meant to participate in this one. Her recipes are lovely.

SImple and Serene Living said...

Does Ina make anything that doesn't taste delicious. Perfect recipe for the upcoming season.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I love it when Ina says 'How easy is that', what a sweetie, and it's so true, she makes great food seem effortless.

Joanne said...

I love a good tapenade and often just smear it on sandwiches. This looks great!

Bubbe Bites said...

I made this as a meal a couple of weeks ago. It was just hubbie and I on a Friday night. It was wonderful with a glass of wine. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

Anonymous said...

I like her recipes. Best regards, basiaP.

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

Mary, thank you for choosing this recipe. I'm also trying to build my appetizer repetoire and this sounds like a delicious addition. I've never even heard of tuna tapenade. Sounds tasty!

Martha said...

I am a huge Ina Garten fan and have all her books, although I was just mentioning to my sister that my collection is currently split between my homes in AZ and WI. I feel compelled to unite them as soon as I can. This looks like a deliciously simple recipe I can't wait to try.

I love Ina's approach to food and dependability of her recipes.

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said...

The flavors in this sound absolutely like something I would love to make. Thanks for sharing - I would never have picked this out myself!

Big Dude said...

I'm a big fan of Ina and I think it's because she cooks the same things I would - she's just a lot better at it.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Ina has some great recipes but I hadn't seen this one. Thank you for sharing, Mary. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

This is just what I need some of right now looks amazing have a great St Patricks Day!

Rosita Vargas said...

Me encanta esta receta llena de sabores ,crostines golosos y deliciosos,abrazos y bendiciones,hugs,hugs.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

This is another one of our favorites. It seems I've been saying that a lot today. We found this particular recipe is always a hit a large gathering.

annie@mostlovelythings said...

So beautiful! This is one recipe of Ina's that I have not tried, but I will. I'm so glad I joined your has been such a wonderful adventure! Thank you!

Claudia said...

Not sure how I never saw this recipe before. Tuna, mascarponew, lemon - this is all up my alley. Always looking for new crostini. She is so wonderfully accessible - I've never looked at any of her recipes and thought "oh no."

Rita said...

Love the idea of having tuna in tapenade; Ina is one chef i really enjoy.

BeetleBuggy said...

Ah, I'm so late in visiting your lovely blog, apologies, Mary! This was a lovely post to read and is literally Ina's life in a nutshell. Absolutely delightful pick for her feature. Ever since I discovered Tapenade, I've been waiting to make my own and who better to start with than Ina, eh ;) Bookmarking this one for later!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love Ina and have all of her books. Her recipes always turn out great--even when I make them extra healthy. ;-) This looks fabulous.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love Ina, mostly because of her carefree ideas of entertaining. I did not know she received an Emmy as Best Culinary Host in daytime television. That's fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous, so is your appetizer Mary. It's one I haven't tried (I have all of her books).

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