When I first started baking, I made the assumption that watching the Food Network would help introduce me to baking techniques, recipes and tips that would get me excited about baking. Little did I know that most of the cooks on the channel would appear hokey, gimmicky, or downright unqualified to speak on any food-related matter. Quite frankly, I found most of them off-putting and nauseating.
However, two personalities did stand out: Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten. Those who have read my blog know my fondness for anything Nigella. But, my appreciation for Ina came a bit slower. This is because I always thought of French cooking as pretty inaccessible, seeing as my taste leaned more towards Italian food. My outlook changed when I was shopping in a gourmet foods store, and Ina Garten herself happened to be there signing her cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. Well, I jumped at the chance to meet her, purchased her cookbook, and immediately got in line. When it was my turn, I explained that I had never made any French food but I was excited to try. As she signed my book, Ina responded that she hoped her cookbook would help me with my task and even pointed out some recipes to try first! For the life of me, I have no idea which ones she pointed to because I was too excited to meet her. But, I did resolve to give her and French cooking a try. I’ve made several recipes from Barefoot in Paris, including coeur a la crème and profiteroles with crème anglaise.
Ever since then, I’ve loved watching her on the Food Network. Not only because she’s just so laid back when she cooks, she also sticks to what what she knows, country French and Hamptons recipes. She doesn’t have to sell herself because her cooking does that for her. Her tips are genuinely helpful and her mannerisms are natural. Ina can make bœuf bourguignon or peanut butter and jelly bars and still remain classy and effortless.
Today I made Ina’s chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter icing. This recipe was rather easy to make. The chocolate cupcakes looked so good coming out of the oven, I almost didn’t want to ice them!
I know I’m not the only one out there with an affinity for Ina! In fact, there’s a project in the works that several bloggers are working on, including myself, April at The 21st Century Housewife, Chaya at My Sweet and Savory, Faith at An Edible Mosaic, Louanne at Louanne’s Kitchen, and Mia at Bright Morning Star! All will be revealed in due course, but until then, crack open your Ina cookbooks or peruse her recipes online and make something of hers today. You’ll definitely say, “How easy was that?” when you’re done!