Friday, January 15, 2010

Ina’s Test Run For A Magazine Plus Roasted Soup AND Roasted Shrimp

Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten

Feature Flavor

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp

Maple-Oatmeal Scones

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Curry Condiments

Ina is writing an article for Food Network Magazine. It’s about flavor. Her first recipe is a ROASTED butternut squash soup with curry condiments.

I LOVE this idea. I’ve been making curried butternut soup for decades, but I never thought to ROAST the butternut and I never thought to serve it with traditional curry garnishes. Not revolutionary, but these are fabulous ideas that will be fun to try.

Ina adds 1 quart of chicken stock to a pan. Then she gets butternut squash, apples and onions ready for roasting. (Oh, I put apples in MY soup too!) She cuts 3 or 4 pounds of butternut squash into 1 inch cubes and puts them on a sheet pan with 2 cubed yellow onions, 2 chopped Macintosh apples and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Ina divides the mixture into 2 sheet pans so the vegetables are in a single layer and cook evenly. She roasts them at 425°F for 35 to 40 minutes.

(Those ingredients are identical to the ones in my soup, but the method is sooo different.) Ina purées the cooked vegetables in a food processor with a bit of the chicken stock and then adds them back to the pan. She likes to roast the vegetables because it gives so much flavor. I love that Ina smiles at the mixture as she purées it. I think it’s important to treat your ingredients courteously.

There IS a problem brewing here, however. I’m concerned that the curry powder will just be thrown into the soup without having been cooked in a bit of oil…with onions is always good. Oy, I was right. Ina adds a ½ teaspoon curry powder without so much as a by-your-leave.

When I use curry powder, onions are usually involved, so I after I’ve softened the onions, I stir in the curry powder and cook it on the lowest heat there is for 2 to 3 minutes and then proceed with the recipe.

Another problem, I like to purée the soup in a blender, because nothing else will get the soup as smooth. Ina is just stirring the stock into the slightly chunky purée.

Ina starts on the condiments. She slices a banana. She chops scallions - she likes the color with the soup. Next Ina sautés cashews for 5 minutes in a dry pan and then rough chops them. She also dry sautés coconut for 5 minutes over low heat. This is sounding good.

Ina tells us there’s a whole team in New York waiting for the recipe to be finished. The team includes photographer Quentin Bacon, food stylist Cyd McDowell, and prop stylist Philippa Braithwaite. Ina says her soup better be good enough for them to photograph. She puts together a bowl with all the condiments. She takes a picture and sends it to the team. Her soup is MUCH chunkier than mine. I like it much smoother.

Ooh, this IS fun. We see the whole team in NY styling the shoot for the Food Network Magazine. We see them receive Ina’s photograph and then making the soup. They’re styling it. I think THEIR soup is smoother than Ina’s.

Next Ina is making oatmeal scones for her article. She measures 3½ cups of flour in a bowl, while remembering that her mother added maple syrup to oatmeal when she was little, so she’s doing that for the scones. She adds 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1 cup “good“ Irish oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of baking powder and the same of sugar plus 2 teaspoons of salt. (That’s A LOT.)

Ina adds FOUR sticks of butter on low speed with 1/2 cup of buttermilk, ½ cup of GOOD maple syrup and 4 beaten eggs. Ina likes to use a measuring cup as a mixing bowl, because it has a handle and a spout.

The Barefoot One adds all the wet ingredients on low speed JUST until mixed. She says it’s a really wet dough. She dumps it out onto a floured board and it IS really sticky. GOSH, she could make 200 scones!

Ina rolls the dough out to a three-quarter inch thickness. She likes 2½ to 3 inch wide scones. She says to remember to flour the cutter first.

Ina tells us that when she was running The Barefoot Contessa shop, a New York Times reporter asked her about the different flavors of scones she carried. Ina lied and said she made lots of flavors and so she had to quickly come up with many more varieties.

This is interesting. She would cut them out and cover them and then bake them the next day. Before baking, Ina mixes an egg wash with water, milk or cream and brushes the scones (JUST on the top) before baking them at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes. They’re huge.

For a glaze (yum), Ina mixes 1¼ cups of confectioner’s sugar, ½ cup of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. After the scones have cooled for 5 minutes, Ina spoons the glaze over and then sprinkles just a bit of oatmeal on top. That’s smart, it makes them LOOK healthy. Oh, we’re at the shoot again…They place the scones in a red napkin-lined basket.

The last recipe is definitely a redo of an old Ina recipe. She takes 2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp and tosses them with olive oil, salt and pepper. She roasts them at 400°F for 6 to 8 minutes and says that roasting results in perfectly cooked shrimp.

Ina adds lots of salt to a big pot of water and then 1 lb of capellini goes in for 3 minutes. She heats 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of butter and the zest and juice of two lemons in a big pan with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Ina adds the drained pasta to the pan. She likes making the sauce in a BIG pan so she can add all the pasta at once. Hey, Ina, how’s about some parsley? Ina adds the shrimp and its juices to the pasta. It REALLY needs parsley. She zests a little extra lemon and takes a picture. The magazine folks take pictures of their rendition of the pasta and they really want to eat what’s left. They ALSO added no parsley. Shows what I know…

Ina takes questions from viewers. The first is from Marcy. She wants to know how to prevent Parmesan from going bad. Ina says to cut it into 2 pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap. She says to put one piece in the fridge and store one in the freezer. The next question better be more riveting.

Janice King, the next questioner, says she doesn’t care for cilantro. Ina says she doesn’t either and that there are two kinds of people – people who like it and people who hate it. Ina says to just leave it out or use parsley.

Tom wants a marinade. Ina suggests one that is like a vinaigrette. She says to mix ½ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons Dijon and 1 cup of olive oil. Then add herbs and some kosher salt and pepper.

This is the mini recipe, Ina gives him. Sprinkle chicken with salt and then pour over half the marinade for an hour or overnight. Then bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Pour the other half of the marinade over the warm chicken. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Good answer.

The photo shoot folks say thank you to Ina for the food and say they hope she likes the pictures. She loves them and next time, she wants to be there. Me too.


Emily said...

Oh my goodness. That is a ton of butter and salt. Hopefully that batch of scones serves a large group of people, but I have a feeling that it doesn't.

That soup sounds good! I think I would like it.

DebCarol said...

The soup DOES sound good - I do like your way with the curry though, I think it would add more depth of flavor. I liked the sprinkling of oatmeal on the scones, very pretty.

Tom said...

I had to laugh about the scones, Ina's baked goods recipes always make enough to feed the proverbial army twice. I always cut her scone recipes in half.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I wonder how I would like the soup. SPP and I are not squash fans, but we once swooned over a well-made squash and apple soup.

Your curry trick sounds like a great idea.

Another one for the drinking game. Drink whenever she says, "It give it a lot of flavor," "It gives it so much flavor," or "It gives it great flavor," (or any variations of those). :-D

Sue said...

Well, if I lived anywhere near Ina, I'd certainly be dropping in for scones.

You would love this soup, I think.

The soup WAS good. I'll tell you about it soon. I also thought the oatmeal on top was a really good idea.

Hi Tom,
Do you think maybe the Contessa has forgotten that the store has closed and she's not cooking for the masses anymore?

Hiya Rach,
Definitely cooking curry powder before adding the liquid type ingredients is the way to go. I do that with all warm spices - cumin, coriander...

I want to be at YOUR house when Ina is on. THAT would be fun!

Lys said...

I learn something new every day, namely to saute the curry powder with the onions and not to just drop it in the soup.

I didn't know there was such a thing as "Good" Oatmeal. Wonder if Quaker qualifies ;)

Cynthia said...

You know me so well :)

Sue said...

Thanks Lys!

Quaker old-fashioned oatmeal is okay, but Ina really means Irish, not-the-instant-ones, oats.

Yes I do!

pTsaldari said...

Hi Food Network Musings, the roasted soup and roasted shrimp looks incredible.
OMG! Incredible presentation. Loved your site, very professional. Photos were crisp and clear. Recipes concise and easy to read. I shall be back for a bite of more.
Thank you for sharing.
Cheers, Gaby
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