And the winner is: Paula Deen

I must say, I'm a little surprised by the results.  I thought that Ina Garten would run away with this category, but the Southern Butter Queen, Paula Deen, wins by 4 votes.  I guess it wouldn't be the worst thing to grow up around so much butter.  It would make me thankful for all those hours of swimming, though.

On to the rest of the results:

  1. Paula Deen's sassy, southern drawl wins with 38 votes (41%.)

  2. Ina Garten's sweet comfort comes in a close second with 34 votes (37%.)

  3. Sandra Lee, Rachael Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis all tied for third (or last) with 7 votes each, or 8% of the votes.

I think a lot of people went for the older chefs for this one.  I'm not judging, I'm just saying. 

I didn't know I had that many fans in the south, but I love you all.  (I still can't bring myself to say "y'all.)


New poll! A Mother's Day theme

I thought in honor of Mother's Day this Sunday, that this week's theme should be centered around mom.  Afterall, she is generally the one who teaches us to cook, and the one who made all those meals for all those crazy people who lived under your roof.

Every time I watch the Food Network, I see a bit of my mom in the way that Sandra Lee cooks.  If she's reading this, which she probably is, she has no idea who that is.  Trust me, mom, it's a compliment. 

me and momSandra Lee finds shortcuts in cooking to make meals that taste delicious but don't take a lot of time.  There is no shame in using stuff from the store and turning it into your own meal.  My family was always so busy.  My brother played waterpolo religiously and I swam for 5 hours a day every day.  My mom was a middle school teacher and worked really hard all day, while my dad also worked an 8 to 6 job.  By the time we all got home, and believe me that was never at the same time, my mom had made something for dinner.  Sometimes parts of it were from boxes and stuff, but we were all fed and happy.  That in itself was miraculous.  My brother only eats chicken and pizza, and he still does today at the age of 27.  Because of my mother's ingenuity, my flare for cooking was sparked.  OK, I admit I'm no professional chef, but I'm not afraid of the stove either, and that's all due to my mom.

Thanks, mom!

Feel free to post something about your mom, tis the season!


Weekly recipe attempt: Barefoot Contessa

shrimpIn keeping with this week's theme of Weddings, I chose one of my favorite appetizers of all time for all cocktail-type affairs: shrimp cocktail.  Ina Garten made this recipe for a wedding anniversary dinner, and I think it would make an excellent shower appetizer.  It's simple and pretty.  It's yummy, too, which never hurts.

Weekly recipe attempt:  Shrimp Cocktail

While it's true that you can buy the shrimp and the sauce already prepared, I think there is something fun about making any type of dip yourself.  I did, however, purchase the shrimp already cooked, but everything else was made from scratch. 

My sauce was a little on the thin side, and I don't really know why that happened, but it tasted fine, nonetheless.  I think this dish finds success in the presentation.  I think I saw Rachael Ray serve her shrimp cocktail the way that I served mine above.  It looks festive and an will impress anyone.

I give this recipe an 8.  It just tasted like an 8.


And the winner is: Alton Brown's quirky kitchen!

The latest poll has everyone craving Alton Brown's velcro herb canisters and extensivley labled tupperware.  I love Alton, and apparently, everyone else loves his kitchen.  I think I'd like his kitchen, too, if he came with it.

Giada De Laurentiis came in a close second with her pretty and hip kitchen.  In all honestly, I'd love to cook in her kitchen, probably more then Alton's.  It seems so lovely, but not so girly that you expect Martha Stewart to be making homemade baby food in the next room.

As for the final tally, here are all the results:

  1. Alton Brown's quirky and practical kitchen wins with 28 % of the votes.

  2. Giada De Laurentiis' pretty and hip pad comes in second with 27% of the votes.

  3. Ina Garten's clean and colonial kitchen sits comfortably in the middle with 19% of the votes.

  4. Tyler Florence's homey yet masculine digs beat a couple of others with 11% of the votes.

  5. Sandra Lee's matchy matchy cooking spot ties with Rachael Ray's funky color swatch with 7% of the votesrounding out the bottom.

Didn't see your favorite chef's kitchen on the list?  Tell me about it and why you'd love to slave over dinner in it.


Get to know your favorite Food Network chef with Chefography week

How did Rachael Ray take over our TVs?  Who taught Paula Deen to use all that butter?  Who put the "BAM" in Emeril's sauce?  Tune in this week to the Food Network for Chefography week to find out all the answers about your favorite chefs.

  • Rachael Ray's chefography airs March 23rd @ 8pm ET/PT and March 24th @ 9pm ET/PT

  • Bobby Flay's chefography airs March 23rd @ 9pm ET/PT

  • Ina Garten's chefography airs March 25th @ 2pm ET/PT

  • Nigella Lawson's chefography airs March 21th @ 8pm ET/PT and March 25th @ 3pm ET/PT

  • Paula Deen's chefography airs March 20th @ 8pm ET/PT and March 24th @ 7pm ET/PT

  • Sandra Lee's chefography airs March 20th @ 9pm ET/PT and March 24 @ 10pm ET/PT

  • Tyler Florence's chefography airs March 21th @ 9pm ET/PT and March 25 @ 6pm ET/PT

  • Giada DeLaurentiis' chefography airs March 22th @ 8pm ET/PT and March 25 @ 4pm ET/PT

  • Emeril Lagasse's chefography airs March 24 @ 8pm ET/PT

  • Mario Batalli's chefography airs March 22th @ 9pm ET/PT and March 25 @ 5pm ET/PT

Maybe next time they do Chefography week, they'll delve into Alton Brown's past.  I'd really like to see how he came up with all those cooky gadgets.  Until then, I'll have to settle with the chefs above.  I think I'm ok with that.


Food TV Face-off

I have to thank a reader for the following post.  Fellow Food Network fan, Nicky, at has started an interesting new blog series called Food TV Face Off.  In this version of the face-off, Nicky pits Dave Lieberman's Arborio Rice Pudding with Ina Garten's Rum Rice Pudding. 

Nicky proceeds by making both dishes, explaining any variations, and ultimatley crowning a winner.  For the recipes of these two dishes and for the winner of this battle, check out Nicky's site


How to rim a glass care of the Barefoot Contessa

drinkI was watching the Barefoot Contessa this evening and caught the episode where Ina makes a ton of different cocktails.  It was a nice little episode, but I caught something strange.  She rimmed one of the cocktails by dipping the glass into a beaten egg white.  She never explains why she does this.  I'm used to glasses being rimmed in lemon juice and then dipped into sugar.  Am I in the minority?  Does everyone do this?  I don't think I can bring myself to crack a whole egg open to merely rim a glass.  Please find a moment of your time to maybe explain to me the reasoning behind this egg white thing.  I beg you.

If you want to see the recipes from this show, one of which is Linguini with Shrimp that looks delicious, feel free to click here.


Tips for entertaining from Ina Garten

trayI was watching Friends last night, and I saw the episode after Ross and Emily's wedding.  If you rememeber, The party after the wedding had a buffet that served steak.  A clever humorous moment had Joey standing in the middle of the room eating a steak with his hands like beef jerky.  It made me wonder, is there a correct way to entertain if you do not have enough seating?  Can you in fact, properly throw a dinner where the guests are allowed to eat on the couch with their plates on their laps?  Obviously, I knew steak wouldn't be the best choice for a casual food-in-your-lap get together, but someone somewhere must know how to appropriatley have the kind of casual dinner us new entertainers want to throw. 

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself, to the rescue.  She answers questions for iVillage's House Beautiful column on the best way to entertain.  Some tips for lap dinners include the obvious:

  • No food should require a knife and fork.

And less obvious:

  • Match the temperature of the food to the season.  Serve warm soup if it's cold out to help heat the holder up.  

  • Avoid messy food.  If you don't want it on your floor, you probaby shouldn't serve it to your guests.

The article also contains other helpful entertaining tip from the Contessa.  Check it out. Try it out.  And let me know what you thinK


The Barefoot Contessa, a reality show?

oilMany of the shows on the Food Network are taped on sound stages in fake kitchens, but reality is key for Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  Her shows are taped in her actual kitchen in East Hampton, New York, with her real friends and colleagues.  When I watch the show, I get a feeling that I am getting a glimpse into this classy chef's life.  It makes me long for cultured friends who bring me beautiful bouquets and expensive olive oil.  I guess I'll just have to settle for friends who bring me homemade biscotti, which is almost as good. 

In today's episode at 5:00pm (4:00pm central), Ina stocks the fridge of one of her friends that is running an errand for her over the weekend.  She's making comfort food that will be easily heated for cooking-challenged beginners, like myself.  I'm looking forward to this one.  Hey Ina!  I'll do some errands in exchange for food, if you're available!

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