It is no secret I love The Food Network. I love it in spite of the fact that true foodies regard that particular channel with various levels of distain.
I consider myself an equal opportunity viewer. I adore Top Chef most of all but I’ll also spend a day watching Anthony Bourdain (he who hath a lot to say about the Food Network and none of it nice).
But truth be told I would honestly watch a channel that was all Ina all the time.
How do I love Ina? Let me count the ways.
1) Her voice. It has the polar opposite effect on me than Mary Hart’s voice had on that poor lady. It’s melodic - like a lullaby – except I stay awake.
2) Her look. Her hair is always perfect and shining – but not in a $400 salon type way. She’s the J. Jill poster girl. She looks every bit like a wealthy Hampton’s wife of a certain age – the kind of wife who isn’t trying to be 20 when she’s well over 50. Ina looks like she takes a bite of every thing she eats. It’s why I also love Nigella Lawson. She totally owns the fact she puts on about 25 lbs every time she films a series of shows.
3) Her love for all things Long Island. Well. The East End of Long Island. Let’s face it – she’s not traipsing around Amy Fisher’s old haunts. But I do know I never loved Long Island more than I do now that I’ve moved to New Jersey.
4) Her recipes are easy – her food looks delicious. And when I try to make it myself – my food is delicious too.
6) Which leads me to her entourage of artsy friends who get roped into play acting like they don’t know their going to be in an episode and act all surprised when she leaves jars of jam and fresh muffins on their porch.
7) Jeffrey and his roast chicken. My dad did a whole routine about Ina and Jeffrey which was not very PC (my father often liked to be not very PC in order for us to react). My niece once sang a version of “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” which features the line that is this post title followed by “Jeff-Jeff-Jeffrey I-O” as we drove past her house on the way to Sag Harbor. (don’t ask!) I also think it’s adorable they’ve known each other since she was 15.
8) She used to work in the White House and now she works and lives in her lovely house making lovely food.
In short - I want to be Ina when I grow up.
But for now I’ll settle for making her shrimp scampi over pasta.
Last night it was just me, Dave and a kid who ate the last of a jar of organic sweet potatoes. I followed the recipe exactly – except I added some asparagus that I hadn’t used yet this week. Shrimp and asparagus is one of my favorite combinations and it helped me with my goal to eat something green with each meal.
Something green sautéed in garlic, butter and oil.
All I did was chop it up and add it as a sautéed the shrimp in the garlic/butter/oil mix.
The problem I usually have with shrimp scampi is the butter. I mean, garlic and butter? What is not to love? For me it’s that the butter seems to over power the shrimp making it greasy instead of saucy. I know there is butter in shrimp scampi but to look at a plate of pink shrimp swimming in butter it becomes hard to deny that what I’m eating isn’t exactly low cal.
Ina’s recipe calls for a few tablespoons of butter plus olive oil. The fact that you serve it with pasta takes the pool of butter out of the equation. What you are left with is garlicky lemony goodness. The parsley adds a bright note and the red pepper just enough kick.
Yum. How easy is that? ;)