Tag Archives: Buzzfeed

Hear Your Heroes: A Conversation with Ina Garten

Who would you invite to your fake fantasy dinner party?

Let’s assume it’s you + 3 people. No stipulations.

I’m going to say: Tina Fey, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ina Garten.

I think we’d all have lots to talk about, no? Tina and Ina already have met on 30 Rock. Tina and Lin are both prolific writers and actors. Lin and I are both Puerto Rican. I mean, the conversation is flowing and I haven’t even opened the first fake bottle of wine yet.

anigif_enhanced-22410-1415042094-8

via Buzzfeed

Ina Garten spoke in Richmond last Tuesday and I got the opportunity to go and, PEOPLE, it was incredible.

Disclaimer: I am a dork and I love Ina Garten, so if either of these things offend you, just X on outta this post.

IMG_9175

The only photo I took. It is genuinely terrible. 

I think I’ve seen every episode of Ina’s show, The Barefoot Contessa. I own more of her cookbooks than anyone’s and they’re the first books I consult when I have a party, need a recipe, or need inspiration. She feels like a friend or family member. Her soothing manner of saying, “how easy is that?” is instantly calming.

I’ll admit, I cried more than once during the event. (I said I was a dork.) But honestly, I was overwhelmed by her ease and grace was really  inspired by the path her career has taken. She is even more more interesting and charming in person.

Throughout the evening, which was billed as ‘a conversation with Ina Garten’, the moderator (who was also a friend of hers) steered us through questions about her early years in nuclear energy policy at The White House, how that brought her to to buy the deli in the Hamptons called The Barefoot Contessa, how she was so out of her depth when she first owned it but then how it rose to success, how she wrote her first cookbook, and how she started with The Food Network. The biggest success of her entire career didn’t come until her late 30s/early 40s. She turned down the pilot to her cooking show and then the Food Network came back to her with a better offer. And then she turned it down again. Until they just told her, “yeah, we’re going to shoot this pilot. We’re coming in 2 weeks.” Insanity.

It was fascinating to me to hear her talk candidly about her successes and failures, but even more interesting was when she spoke so honestly of feeling overwhelmed or scared to do something new, but just doing it anyway. It’s a good reminder not to let those fears of how or why get in your way. Just do it and then figure out why you’re doing it later. You can course correct once you’ve started.

Of course, there were some wonderful entertaining tips, which I’m excited to share with y’all. Some of these are fairly intuitive, yet, I didn’t always think of them. But that’s the thing she does best—strips back the bullshit and gets to things in their simplest terms.

  • Dinner parties are about the friends, not the food. So pick a really simple meal and just enjoy yourself. As a guest, you don’t want to impose upon your host. And as a host, you don’t want to be in the kitchen all night.
  • Only invite people that you really love over for dinner.
  • The fancier the guests, the simpler the dinner.
  • Ask your guests what they don’t eat and then make one meal for everyone. Find the thread between vegetarian/pescetarian/omnivore/other.
  • Always put the two most talkative people opposite each other. If they’re next to each other, the conversation stops with them.

I think the loveliest moment of the evening was when the moderator asked Ina why she felt food/food culture has become so important now.

I’m paraphrasing here, but she said that it’s really about taking care of ourselves and connecting with people. We have high stress jobs and ‘jangled nervous.’ How generous it is to be able care for cook for someone.

Isn’t that the whole point of this life—to connect with and care for others? There is nothing I’d rather do than make someone feel cared for and loved with some fried chicken and a pie.

That got a little sappy, y’all. But Ina brings out it out in me.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled quippiness.

Ina Garten is a New York Times best selling author and has many wonderful cookbooks, which are available here.

Her newest cookbook is called Cooking for Jeffrey and comes out in October.

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Year, New “Meat”: Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice

When it comes to food, I’m pretty much game for anything.

Except bananas. NEVER bananas.

But, I’d like to think I’d try most anything once.

I don’t want to eat bugs, but if I was visiting a culture where people eat bugs, I might eat a bug. But like, I wouldn’t eat a bug on Fear Factor (is that still on?) or just at my house or whatever. I’m not going to sit at home and watch Downton and eat a bowl of crickets.

via memegenerator.net (obviously)

via memegenerator.net (obviously)

So, to recap: I’d probably try almost anything, maybe a bug, but never bananas.

I saw this recipe for Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice on Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has been doing this fun series where they have a chef come to their office and make breakfast. The latest chef contributor was Dale Talde.

For those who don’t know, Dale Talde is a Top Chef alum who was on my favorite two seasons (season 5 Chicago and season 8 All-Stars). He was a punk (season 5), but he really has a heart of gold (season 8).

I feel like we could be friends.  via Buzzfeed

I feel like we could be friends.
via Buzzfeed

 

Season 5 Dale…about to murk Antonia. via imdb.com

 

Dale always made really inventive food and was a pretty funny dude with a great laugh, second only to Tre Wilcox (season 3/season 8.) He also has a bunch of really killer restaurants in NYC. I’ve been to Pork Slope in Brooklyn and it was legit, especially since it combines my two favorite things: pork and puns.

Pork and Puns will be the name of my cookbook/comedy memoir, by the way.

So, when I saw this Spam and Kimchi fried rice recipe, I was excited. When two of my friends sent me the recipe, I knew I had to make it. It was time to try Spam.

I honestly did not know what to expect. But I thought, “if Dale Talde can eat Spam, I can eat some Spam too.”

If you’ve never opened Spam before, it will bring back some memories of opening cat food for the neighbors cats while they’re on vacation. (The cats weren’t on vacation…the people were….was that clear?) It has a golden pop top situation and there’s some gelatinous meat juice around the Spam, which add to the cat food-ness. It’s fairly disgusting to behold. And touch. It absolutely does not feel like real meat.

But this dish? This dish is awesome. Honestly. It’s just awesome. There are a lot of steps, but it’s not hard. Get your mise en place in place. (Nailed it.) Then go to town. The Spam is essential and it’s great. I really and truly stand corrected. It brings a salty, porky, meat-like punch to the dish.

Don’t skip the kimchi. It adds some spicy funk to the party, which every party needs. Also, it’s a probiotic according to the jar! Think about that! But not too much cause ew!

So, do yourself a favor. Try something new today. Buy yourself a can of Spam and make yourself some Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice. It’s what Dale Talde would do.

God Bless Spam and God Bless the USA.

Spam and Kimchi Fried Rice by Dale Talde from Buzzfeed

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fried rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups white jasmine rice, uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 12-ounce container Spam, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Kimchi, strained, thinly sliced, liquid reserved
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes (red pepper flake can be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)

For the fried eggs:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the rice: First, rinse the rice by pouring it into a medium pot or bowl, covering it with cold water, then draining it in a fine mesh strainer, shaking the rice to get as much water off as possible. Then, in a medium sauce pot, combine the 2 cups of rice with 2 cups of cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat all the way down to low, cover, and let the rice cook, covered, for 23 minutes. Then, turn the heat off but DO NOT UNCOVER THE RICE. Let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover it, fluff it with a fork, and set it aside in the pot while you prepare the other fried rice ingredients.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. While the oil heats, crack the 2 eggs into a medium bowl and beat them together with a fork until the yolk and white are thoroughly combined. Add the beaten egg to the hot skillet all at once, then use a spoon or spatula to constantly move the egg around the skillet, When the egg is fully cooked but not browned, about 30 seconds, slide it out of the skillet and onto a plate, and set it aside.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat, then add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil and the cubed spam. Cook the spam, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic, stir everything together, and continue to cook over medium high heat just until the onion has started to soften, about 2 minutes more. Make sure to stir often, so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the chili flakes, sesame oil, kimchi, and butter, then stir everything together and cook for about a minute, just to heat the kimchi. By now, the mixture may have started to stick to the skillet. Add the reserved kimchi liquid (about 1/3 cup) and stir to deglaze the skillet (the liquid will release all the stuff that’s stuck to the bottom).

Add the cooked rice, stir, then add the cooked egg, sliced scallions, and fish sauce(optional). Stir thoroughly so that the egg is in bite-sized pieces and everything is evenly distributed throughout the rice. Turn the heat to low to keep the rice warm while you fry the eggs, stirring every minute or so to keep the rice from sticking.

To make the eggs, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. (If you don’t have a large nonstick skillet, use a small nonstick skillet and work in two batches.) When the butter is melted, crack the eggs into the skillet. Try to keep them separate but if the whites touch, that’s OK.

Season with salt and pepper, then let the eggs cook over medium-low heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 3-4 minutes.

Divide the fried rice evenly among four plates or bowls, then top each portion with a fried egg. Serve immediately.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nearly Birthday Musings: Foods You Should Learn in your 20s

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.

Hell, 10 minutes from now.

I’m not upset about turning 30. Truly. My bff Ally very wisely called your twenties the “middle school” of your life. So I’m excited to see what my thirties will bring. (Although, let’s face it, I was still working out a lot of the kinks in high school, including but not limited to my hair. Bangs were not for me.)

I just happened to be trolling looking on Twitter tonight and saw one of those annoying/clever Buzzfeed lists. You know, lists like: 20 Signs Your Dog is Gay. 10 Signs You Used to Watch Muppet Babies. 253 Signs You Read Too Many Buzzfeed Lists.

But this one was oddly apropos today. 26 Foods You Should Learn to Cook in Your Twenties. So, I decided to click.

I was very pleased to see that I’ve made just about everything on their list. I have never made homemade pancakes (I leave the homemade pancake making to my pal, Sarah, cause she’s got some mad skills). I’ve also never made mussels at home. I love mussels, but they never compare to the first time that I had them. I was on a boat in the north of Spain and the mussels were being pulled out of the ocean and cooked in white wine for us on the boat and we were eating mussels and drinking wine and on the boat and holy shit I sound like such an asshole but I don’t regret those mussels at all maybe I regret telling this story but I’m just going to go with it.

Ahem. Anyway.

I’d like to add a couple things to this list. So without further ado, a few extra items for Buzzfeed’s consideration.

27. A fried egg.

Egg cookery can be tricky. I’d say to make a perfectly cooked fried egg is important to have in your repertoire. Good for breakfast. Clutch for brinner. Always perfect to bring to the party.

28. Chicken Noodle Soup.

Beef stew (#22) is great, but that’s a heavy, cold weather, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish. Chicken soup will soothe your soul (according to the books) and it’s plain delicious. It cannot be beat when you’re sick. It’s also great with a soda on the side.

29. An Entertaining Meal.

This is a meal that you can make when friends come over and people will be impressed. This dish doesn’t have to be gourmet, per say, but it needs to have something special about it. My go-to is Ina Garten’s portabello mushroom lasagna. It’s not a hard dish, but it’s time-intensive and I feel like it shows the people I made it for that I love them. CAUSE I DO.

Fun fact: one time I made this for a dinner party and then dropped it on the floor and had to throw the whole thing out. I laughed a lot and then bought a frozen lasagna for the party. The party was RUINED. (It wasn’t, but it wasn’t quite as delicious.)

30. Your favorite food.

I’ve saved this one for number 30, symbollically, because I have yet to master this. I love fried chicken. It is my favorite food. I’ve only made it once at home and it was ok. This year, I will master some fried chicken.

So, those are my thoughts. My final musings as a 29-year-old.

And those musings are about fried chicken.

I’m not surprised.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
curiouser & curiouser

a collection of the delicious & delightful

Food and Brew Review

Triad restaurants and farms and craft beer! Oh my!

Motherhood - WHAT?!

Making it through motherhoodhood with the grace of a camel on ice skates

costablancamama

A Spanish Adventure - raising kids and giving birth in Spain

PornBurger

Burger Perverts Welcome

NC | NY

bringing a little bit of the south to the city

Erin Lesica

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Crafty Cook Nook

Preserving Food, Stories, and Place

Justin Timberlake Does Things

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Feed Me Phoebe

{ health, hedonism & all the delicious things in between }

pancussion

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Frenemy.

Real Food. Fake Blog.

THE KIDS ARE RELATIVELY OKAY

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Curious And Curiouser

I Find the World Curious

POPSUGAR Food

Real Food. Fake Blog.

This American Wife

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Eat, Live, Run

Real Food. Fake Blog.

So Delushious !

personal random ramblings from a girl who loves bacon and can't be fat.

Seasoned to Taste

I'm just a girl with an appetite.