review

MODERN COMFORT FOOD – INA GARTEN

Modern Comfort FoodModern Comfort Food by Ina Garten
My rating: 5/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

i won’t be doing one-a-day, but i’m going to do A LOT, so get on board now! MODERN! COMFORT! FOOD!

OUTRAGEOUS GARLIC BREAD

since this is the internet, i figured this project should begin with outrage. outrage and considerably more cheese than the recipe specified. extra cheese is MY comfort food, ina!

ULTIMATE TUNA MELTS

i agree that tuna melts are comfort food. i do NOT agree that the tuna used to make a tuna melt should cost $11 a jar. or come in a jar at all. but i recognize that ina garten enjoys a much higher level of comfort across the board than broke-ass me, and for her, spending $22 on just the tuna part of a couple of sandwiches ain’t no thing. next time i make these, it’ll be with canned tuna, on sale.

for the cheeseporners: look at that ooze.

also, i went to a couple of different places for microgreens, and no one had any, so i just chopped some arugula and called it a day. i’m not looking to get covid scouring all of nyfc just for some microgreens. ina garten probably has hers hand-delivered by a microgreen farmer, but that’s an unchecked item on my bucket list.

SMASHED HAMBURGERS WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS

burgers are DEFINITELY comfort food. this recipe is less about the what-goes-into-them and more about the technique, which involves briefly FREEZING the patties before slapping them on the skillet!

it soon becomes this

which deserves a closer look

and in case you’re wondering, that middle is exactly how i like my meat cooked.

comfort me with burgers, anytime.

FRESH CRAB NACHOS

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO! how’s that for some cheese?

again, ina garten takes a comfy trashpanda treat like nachos and hoists it up to her classier-than-you level and it’s heckin’ delicious, but it’s certainly not going to replace the original. i hate to keep being a gauche person harping on $$, but shoooot—this crab was thirty dang dollars! i’m not that fancy, tho i AM fancy enough to own a nachosaurus

if i go broke doing this project, at least i’ll die chubby.

ARRABBIATA SAUCE

i have officially found my forever sauce

it is so simple to make, but so flavorful. it has—are you sitting down?—3 bulbs of garlic in it. not cloves—BULBS. and there’s fennel seeds and red pepper flakes and chianti and basil and it all comes together beautifully and harmoniously and it is the One for Me.

arrabbiata means “angry” in italian, but i will never get in a fight with this sauce.

STRAWBERRY JAM MILKSHAKE

time for a sweet treat! this is another keeper—it might not look like much, but it is intense! frozen strawberries, fresh raspberries, milk, greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream; all standard milkshake stuff, but then she has the audacity to add JAM! why have i never put JAM into a milkshake before?? i meddled with the proportions a bit, because i like my milkshakes to require a spoon, and this puppy was thick and sweet and definitely gave me comfort. oh, and there’s chambord in it, too, because we’re adults. adults who drink jam.

ARE YOU READY FOR A COMPLETE MEAL??

BAKED COD WITH GARLIC & HERB RITZ CRUMBS

ROASTED BROCCOLINI & CHEDDAR

pause for cheese

EMILY’S ENGLISH ROASTED POTATOES

all delicious, but special awe reserved for that broccolini, which, while conceptually simple and quick to make, nonetheless left me a changed woman. damn good potatoes, too, emily! and i’d be more trumpet-y about the fish if i hadn’t grown up a new england lass with my heart already full of my dad’s cooking. my dad’s fish is BOMB. this one’s pretty good, but i’m spoken for in the seafood-recipe department.

ROASTED SHISHITO PEPPERS WITH EASY HOLLANDAISE

just a light snack because i still have some leftovers. these are tasty, but i’m not crazy about the hollandaise sauce, despite claims of quickness. and as a TMI-aside, my relationship with shishito peppers has never been one of ‘comfort.’ i love them, but they do things to me which are quite uncomfortable, indeed. DISCREET HINT: IT’S IN THE NAME OF THE PEPPERS AND IT’S POOP. MY BODY IS A QUICK-PROCESSING PLANT FOR SHISHITO PEPPERS.

LOBSTER BLTS

the CDC has declared that the best way to recover from that dreaded second shot is to eat LOBSTER. so i did.

it may not be the ‘comfort food’ i grew up on, but this sauceporn sure is helping me feel safe from covid.

BAKED RIGATONI WITH LAMB RAGU

ina garten, you win. sometimes it IS worth it to shell out for fancy ingredients like ground lamb. there are no words for how delicious this is, so i will let the pictures speak for themselves.



i never want to eat anything else.

HOT SPICED APPLE CIDER

i didn’t post anything last night, because i was too busy enjoying some hot alcohol after a long day

i wanted to make these before summer started doing its thing and it got too hot to enjoy the autumnal pleasures of cider and bourbon and hoo boy, this is one i will make when those leaves start turning again. i doubled up the amount of peppercorns and cinnamon and poured the bourbon with a heavy hand it was 1000% the right decision.

POTATO GALETTES WITH SMOKED SALMON

look at this beautiful thing i made perfectly!

DON’T look under the hood to see that my potato galette is a potato goofus that i guess i didn’t desiccate enough before attempting to galette so it’s just a loose bunch of potato kindling instead of a pancake and that’s okay.

everything looks better once you toss some smoked fish on top of it. it is nature’s beautifying blanket.

GIANT CRINKLED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

these just look like regular cookies, right?

WRONGO! they are HUGE!

some of mine wanted to make friends. oops.

but with sneaky cropping, no one will know!

this is my evening. what are you doing?

BRUSSELS SPROUTS PIZZA CARBONARA

some of these sprouts look like they’ve been carbon-ized rather than carbonara’d, but that’s what you WANT—sprouts are SO GOOD when they’re nice and crispy round the edges.

not my best photography, but as far as tastiness goes, ina and i both get high marks.

fun fact: the lighting is best in my bathroom

so now there’re probably fecal particles all over my ‘za and this is why i will never become a famous chef.

CHEDDAR & CHUTNEY GRILLED CHEESE

because i do not live inside an applebee’s, i do not have a panini press, so i just plopped these bad boys onto my cast iron skillet and hoped for the best. my chutney was mango ginger, so it had a nice little kick to it. i have made hundreds of grilled cheeses in my life—i made fifty in a row for an earlier food project, and this one falls somewhere in the middle of Best Grilled Cheeses Ever. do try it, but don’t write home about it.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH ARRABBIATA

i got to make my favorite sauce again!! and then i got to smoosh it all up with cheese and squash and yummmmmm

not to toot my own horn or nothing, but these things look good

add some wine, and you got a balanced meal, and—i daresay—some COMFORT!

FROZEN PALOMAS

this cookbook project sure is helping me keep my neighborhood liquor store in business! this was the perfect drink for this NINETY-ONE DEGREE evening. that is too hot for may. or ever. anywhere.

it’s a beautiful drink, though. very delicate colors. here it is in natural light:

in light-bulb light:

and half in my tummy:

nothing like drinking a fishbowl fulla tequila and grapefruit juice after an honest day’s work…

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CAKE

you guys, i made a cake. it is the best cake i have ever made.

LOOK! AT! THIS! CAKE!!!


and just to gild this dam lily

that shark’s making eyes at my cake…NONE FOR YOU, SHARK!

no more words. my mouth needs room for cake.

PROVENÇAL ZUCCHINI GRATIN

here’s a quick little side dish because it’s too hot to cook a full meal

although this one is satisfying enough to eat as a meal, and it’s got three whole food groups, if you count the bread crumbs. cheese should really be its own group, if you ask me

i certainly have a type

another twofer: SMASHED EGGS ON TOAST WITH WAFFLE IRON HASH BROWNS

do you like my new dollar-store platter? SUCH RUSTIC OLDE TIMINESS!

i wasn’t going to make anything from the breakfast chapter because it all seemed basic/boring, but rebecca popped onto this thread praising these eggs so i figured i’d give ’em a shot. and despite my not loving dill, they were very good!

the photos aren’t great because soft-boiled eggs are time-sensitive models, congealing quickly and unprettily, but WE DO OUR BEST!

the hash browns were sort of a rerun; a couple years back i reviewed Will It Waffle?: Bacon and Eggs to Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Bibimbap to Chocolate Chip Cookies–53 Irresistible, Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron (review here) which included a version of these. i misunderstood ina’s directions, and put the batter(?) into the waffle iron the way mr. shumski taught me, so instead of making 8 tiny hash browns, i made three humungos. BUT, learning from my galette-fail, i squeezed every last drop of moisture outta these taters, and they held together nicely.

in conclusion: breakfast! for! dinner!

TRUFFLED MAC & CHEESE

bring on the CHEESE!

unsurprisingly, mac and cheese is my ultimate comfort food, any way/shape/form. this one’s a decadent oozy masterpiece of flavors with a satisfying density that’ll stick to your ribs for DAYS.

it’s far more involved than the trump-orange boxed variety, and you will have to wash this many dishes afterwards, when you are far too logy with pasta and cheese to even

it’s worth the effort, and if you worked with me, you would get one of these tupperwares so you could enjoy it without having to dirty even a single pot.

as a bonus feature, i have invented a new game called “what kind of roadkill does this most resemble?”

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CAKE

oops, i made it again.

COFFEE CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

ina’s recipe calls for coffee-chip ice cream (to be precise, it’s talenti coffee chocolate chip, which is a GELATO, so this recipe name is a LIE) and heath bar baking bits. i already had the second half of a bag of heath bar baking bits in my cupboard, and have been wondering ‘what do i do with this half-bag of heath bar baking bits?’ for years. this solution to my heath bar quandary was the deciding factor in choosing to make these, despite not being crazy about coffee-in-dessert-form.

sadly, i discovered this recipe too late. i have no idea how long that half-bag of heath bar baking bits has been in my cupboard, but the short answer is “too long,” and they were GROSS. to get the horrible taste out of my mouth, i bought a couple of skor bars and chopped them up to use instead. then i bought some double chocolate chip talenti gelato and pretzels and made some superior frozen treats.

SHRIMP & LINGUINE FRA DIAVOLO

i got to make my beloved arrabbiata sauce for a third time!

but then i had to make a whole other recipe on top of that. somewhat labor intensive, but well worth it.

but who’s this?

oh no, shrimpy! laying down his (delicious) body to save his friends! but it’s too late, little shrimpy, you are the sole survivor of the arrabbiata assault. this project just got pretty dark and i’m sorry. looks like MAY is actually the cruelest month after all.

but back to the food-review: the crispety cruncheties are the real stars here. they are just butter-fried panko with some seasonings, but they bring a lot of YUM.

only ONE DAY LEFT, but i still want to make so many more things.

BAKED RACLETTE

okay, this one won the final slot because 1) CHEESE, and 2) “raclette” rhymes with my last name.

this was very tasty, and CHEESY and i got to make little cornichon fans (which i just realized you can’t see in the pictures so hang on) HERE:

anyway, thanks for following along. i have enjoyed this project very much and i will update in this secondary review space as i make more dishes in the futuuure, although some of them are more suited to cold-weathertimes, so it might be a while. HOLD TIGHT!

these are the ones i had planned to make during this project, but there just weren’t enough days in the month:

SALTED PISTACHIO MERINGUES
KIELBASA WITH MUSTARD DIP
CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP WITH PUFF PASTRY CROUTONS
BAKED FISH CHOWDER
MAINE LOBSTER STEW
SEARED TUNA AND AVOCADO ROLLS
SKILLET-ROASTED CHICKEN & POTATOES
CRISPY CHICKEN WITH LEMON ORZO
FRESH CRAB & PEA RISOTTO
CHUNKY APPLE BUTTER

WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

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