If you’ve been flipping through TV channels on a Saturday morning, chances are you’ve come across Ina Garten’s Food Network show, “Barefoot Contessa”. You know the show, it’s that one with the unnecessary closeups that are sometimes blurry. It’s the show that has signature “getting-busy-music” that sounds like a french percussion trio is somewhere in the kitchen with her. Its even the show that has produced catchphrases that are equal parts pleasant and condescending, example: “How bad could that be?” or “If you can’t make your own chicken stock… store bought is fine, too.” and “Use really good vanilla, you can tell the difference.”
But the show is more about lifestyle than it is about her cooking. Having owned a specialty food store for years, she sold the business to two employees and set out to write her own cookbook. After the cookbook’s wild success, she launched her wildly successful lifestyle brand. Garten now spends her days cooking in her “barn” (that rivals the best homes in Dallas), cooking up recipes for either her friends who don’t seem to have jobs, or her husband, Jeffrey, that is undoubtedly shuffling around the house waiting for her next creation. She has a quaint cottage-style home in East Hampton with a sprawling, perfectly manicured lawn, and an equally perfect garden. You can often see her, in her signature denim or black button-front shirt (collar always popped), clipping herbs for which ever delicious dish she has in her head.
All of these quips are what make Barefoot Contessa one of Food Network’s flagship shows. I found the show in college after I had outgrown Rachael Ray… and haven’t looked back since. Ina Garten’s recipes have become synonymous with my cooking and has even become an ongoing joke amongst friends. If you’re coming to my house for dinner, chances are you will be served a delicious Barefoot Contessa meal. I can honestly say that out of the ten plus years I’ve been cooking Garten’s recipes, I’ve never made a bad one.
Fast forward to last week when I needed to whip up a birthday cake for a friend’s birthday dinner. I was tasked with the cake. Traditional cakes are fine…but I think it’s more special to make something a little unexpected. After hours of skimming through the one of many Ina Garten cookbooks I’ve collected, I came across the recipe for Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Ganache. Needless to say, lives were changed after consuming this cake. It’s soft, creamy, rich, and the espresso really brings out the chocolate flavor (she wasn’t lying). To send me over the edge, the cheesecake is then drizzled with glossy chocolate ganache. To serve, I cut the cheesecake into squares. It’s a personal preference.
So if you have no idea who I’m talking about, pull yourself out from under that rock, and find “Barefoot Contessa” on your TV guide and hit record.
You can find the full recipe for Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Ganache HERE!