While I’m not technically a rookie anymore, I often still feel like one. Don’t get me wrong — my culinary skill set improved significantly in 2012. The many hours spent whisking away in the kitchen more often than not resulted in satisfied taste-testers (luckily, my friends happily oblige to free food). But with so many techniques still to master and trendy ingredients out there to try, it’s hard not to feel a step behind.
To shake these self doubts, I go back to the basics. A challenge is good, but cooking should remain, for the most part, fun. And sometimes there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as simple comfort food.
Ina’s Easy Tomato Soup from Food Network Magazine is just as the Barefoot Contessa promises: fool-proof. It’s a recipe that I am confident in getting right each time. Prep work is minimal and cleanup is a cinch, so the whole process is relaxing. As I let everything simmer together, I could almost hear her cheery voice encouraging, “How easy is that?”