Rue the day — my man has fallen for another woman! A Contessa. A barefoot one. It’s wretchedly disgusting to witness him drooling over that dame. (I’m reasonably certain her name is Ina.) Perched in her beautifully appointed kitchen, Ina smiles and speaks every so gently to him as she whisks a glistening champagne vinaigrette, or delicately spoons a tantalizing sauce of shallots, lemons, white wine and cream onto pan-seared chicken breasts, all the while enticing MY love with HER romantic memoirs of frolicking in Paris. I’ve often heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but this whole lusty fling is, well … half-baked. The countdown to Valentine’s Day is upon us, and my heart has been tossed aside for another. Alas, I’ve no choice other than entering into battle with the seductive Contessa. After diligent research and strategizing, I confidently enter the kitchen combat zone.
The Barefoot Contessa apparently feels that Salad with Warm Goat Cheese needs nothing more than some of her “glistening” champagne vinaigrette — I happen to believe a proper salad needs a nice little crunch to it, so I sprinkled a few toasted hazelnuts onto my version. Top that, Ina!
I can’t imagine much of anything actually needing preposterous amounts garlic for flavoring, but that Barefoot Contessa has my man wrapped right around her finger, and I need to unwrap him as quickly as possible. Ina seems to think it’s perfectly reasonable to toss in over three dozen (!!!) cloves of garlic when roasting chicken.
Alright, I’ll make that Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, and boost the flavors of MY bird with a hint of dijon mustard in the white wine-cream sauce, thank you very much.
I’m rather confident that Ina’s recipe of String Beans With Shallots will suitably complement my menu. However, I really need to take this thing to the next level and win the battle for my beau, so I tossed about 3 ounces of crispy pancetta into my side dish of green beans. Yes, please!
Finally, the Coups de Grace — the Barefoot Contessa could have no possible way of knowing that my man is a sucker for any dessert involving lemons. Can’t you just imagine how that sweet yet tangy citrus flavor would soothe the lingering taste of garlic? Well then, Ms. Garten, I intend to claim victory in this culinary battle by whipping up a tray of your Lemon Bars. Easy enough, however I simply could not resist the temptation to crown them with a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Quietus at last.
Dinner is served with a bottle of 2012 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, of course. By all indications I’ve won my love back from that seductive baroness, but my God — the man has just consumed 40 cloves of garlic — I can’t possibly kiss him now!
Author’s note: Many thanks to Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, for her amazing recipes which I thoroughly enjoy creating, and my friends and loved ones equally enjoy consuming. Recipes for this post were retrieved courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa’s personal website, and the the Food Network website. For more inspiration, check out The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks. Each edition is brimming with fantastic recipes, imaginative menus and appetizing photos purposefully designed to inspire, create, and entertain.