In the Fast Lane with Barefoot Contessa

I’m watching Barefoot Contessa. I love her. I want to be a Girl Who Grills just like her. I want to have lunches with my gay friends while my husband’s at work just like her.

Today, she’s “cooking in the fast lane,” which, if you’ve seen Barefoot, is really a relaxed amble.

But hey, with a one year old, I’m always cooking in the fast lane, so I’m game and willing to give Barefoot the benefit of the doubt. She’s making a quick dinner for company, and she says: “You can find all the ingredients in any grocery store.”

Have you seen my FoodTown, Barefoot? You’re on! Let’s do this!

First, roasted broccoli with garlic and Parmesan. FoodTown recently started stocking Parmesan. It’s waxy, but I’m sure it melts eventually.

Next, fingerling potatoes with dill. Yes! They have weird-shaped potatoes.

And for the main dish: red snapper, available fresh at the fish counter. Whoa, whoa, Barefoot! FoodTown doesn’t have a George-Clooney-fishmonger named Dave like you do. But ground turkey and chicken hearts are on sale…

And for dessert: fresh berries with raspberry sauce and fromage blanc.

Sometimes I realize Barefoot has spent a little too much time in the Hamptons. She insists any grocery store will have fromage blanc: “It’s really become more common.” Really? Does Goya make it? Then FoodTown doesn’t stock it.

If I can’t find fromage blanc at my grocery store, she says, any specialty shop will have it. Tied down by a stroller and a budget, my specialty stores are the corner bodegas, but I’m not a big fan of their “specialties.”

I suddenly realize why my mom never used a recipe until I was thirteen. You start off with something lovely in mind: roasted broccoli, potatoes, red snapper, and raspberries; but you quickly realize your pantry is low, your grocery story doesn’t have everything you need, and your child is opening all the cabinets in the living room with a glue stick in his mouth.

Presto! Change of plans. All the ingredients you can find are frying up in the same pan with some garlic and olive oil.

As Barefoot would say: “How easy is that?”

(If you have a little time and a good specialty shop, then look up Barefoot’s Cooking in the Fast Lane recipes here:

14 responses to “In the Fast Lane with Barefoot Contessa

  1. You should check our Five Ingredient Fix. Not the most perfect show on FN but, hey, FIVE ingredients!

  2. Barefoot Contessa inspired Carmelized Onion! Steak, onion rings, panzanella, and so many others that I can’t think of at the moment… 🙂

  3. I’d love to cook in the cadillac lane. If only someone would do my shopping, chopping, and prepping for me (for free!). Then I could ponder things like, red snapper or mahimahi? Instead of pinto or navy beans?

    • Agreed! I’ll even do the chopping and prepping if someone can find me the red snapper and fromage blanc. There are now three Trader Joe’s in the city, but none of them have elevators to the subway, so 20 lbs. of baby and 20 lbs. of groceries=mad momma. I’ll be keeping it simple until FoodTown starts carrying Barefoot’s staples. 🙂

  4. How is it that I’ve never discovered you before????

    I’m following you right back.

  5. Great post — and thanks for the lovely comment on my TypeA post. I’m thrilled to be in your blog roll — just added you to mine, too 🙂

    • Awesome. Thanks! Can’t wait to read more from you. BTW: we’re going to be in your NC stomping grounds soon for a visit. I’ll have to search Triangle Mamas for good tips. 🙂

  6. Love your blog! “Something to suck on” makes me laugh every time I rethink of it.

    I’m a huge Ina Garten fan. Partly because anytime you make something of hers it’s guaranteed to be awesome, and partly because her life is a fairy tale. She is so blissfully in her own universe of privilege, picnic lunches and amazingly well-stocked pantries. She is certainly not my go-to for quick weeknight meals, but anytime I have to bring a dish to something, I use her recipes and it’s always a HUGE hit. Word of warning: her recipes and her physique are related. Delicious. Not healthy.

    Glad I found your blog!

    • If only everything could have just one metric: deliciousness. There would certainly be more butter and more brown sugar in my life. But, in the spirit of full disclosure, I pretty much only make Ina’s drop cookies and that hikes our butter bill each month. Maybe we can do a potluck sometime (likely on the beach, with a grill, and some gay friends; I’ll bring the frozen margaritas). 😉

      In the meantime, I look forward to reading more of you!

  7. I love love love this post. I was laughing out loud. Perfect and awesome.

    Was the snapper supposed to be whole? Or is it just Martha Stewart who insists that a whole grilled fish with its beady dead eyes staring at you is just a lovely and delightful thing to present to guests? Welcome to my dinner party. Here’s a big dead fish. YUCK.

    • LOL. So I guess you’re not serving a pig head for Christmas Eve with a nice crabapple stuffed in his snout?

      You know, I don’t mind the beady fish eyes. It allows me to make peace before eating: “Hi Mr. Fish. May I call you Ed? I really appreciate you being here tonight. You’re going to be delicious, so take heart in the fact your life was not in vain.”

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