Listen to Smidgen: 4 Lessons from the Barefoot Contessa

Store bought is fine. It’s a meme, it’s printed on t-shirts, it’s a whole aesthetic. Ina Garten’s famous line gives us permission to kick perfectionism in the kitchen to the curb and, instead, pick your battles. From her foolproof recipes to her entertaining tips, we love everything about Ina Garten. Here are our 4 big takeaways from the Barefoot Contessa.

1- Store Bought Is Fine

Think of this mantra as less about cutting corners and more about smart solutions. But wait, you’re probably thinking: isn’t homemade better? Isn’t that what the bloggers and influencers and magazines say? Homemade is certainly worth it – when you have the time. If the clock is being kind, definitely carve out time and take on a homemade stock or a batch of pizza dough. If time is not your side, then join us as we lean into the words of our favorite influencer Ina Garten: Store Bought is Fine.
Read our blog: Store Bought Standouts for tons of inspiration and recipes

2- Learn to Make a Vinaigrette

Ina is simultaneously ok if you grab a store-bought salad dressing while also cheering you on to make your own. Ina’s one-minute Vinaigrette is an Instagram hit. We feel that Ina would be a-ok with our vinaigrette fave: Julia Child’s Vinaigrette. No matter which one you whisk up, making your own vinaigrette is quick, easy and so very delicious. Try these vinaigrette recipes:
Zahtar Vinaigrette
Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Dirty Martini Vinaigrette

3- Buy Good Olive Oil

Ina often refers to choosing “good olive oil.” She’s 100% correct, but the word “good” can seem a little broad. We are immersed in the olive oil world, and over and over, quality equates to youth. Purchasing olive oil as close to harvest as possible is key to flavorful and healthy oil. At Red Stick Spice, we know the harvest and crush date of every oil in the shop – and nothing on our shelves is over one year old. Read our blog about the importance of young oil to polyphenol counts: Polyphenols Explained. Then read on for more “good” olive oil-forward recipes and ideas:
Citrus Olive Oil Mini Loaf Cakes
Four Delicious Bread Dipping Blends
Three New Ways to Use Olive Oil

4- Keep Tasting Spoons at the Ready

When watching Barefoot Contessa Episodes, you’ll see Ina’s tasting spoons at the ready. Same girl, same. In our Teaching Kitchen, every station has a rocks glass filled to the edges with tasting spoons. That’s because you’re likely to use many in the course of creating a dish. When you’re in a class, you’ll hear us say, did you taste it? Tasting and adjusting flavors are key to becoming a better cook. In the Teaching Kitchen, we find that soups, stews and curries are the types of dishes we taste most frequently and need the most adjustment. Keep in mind, in most recipes, the quantities of salt and spices are often a starting point. You’re in charge! Here are recipes perfect for tasting and adjusting along the way:
Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Spicy Chickpeas
Chicken Orzo Soup
Columbian Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes

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