For more than twenty years, Barefoot Contessa, the acclaimed specialty food store, has been cooking and baking extraordinary dishes for enthusiastic customers in the Hamptons. For many of those years, people have tried to get the exuberant owner, Ina Garten, to share the secrets of her store. Finally, the energy and style that make Barefoot Contessa such a special place are shown here, with dozens of recipes and more than 160 breathtaking photographs, in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
Ina's most popular recipes use familiar ingredients, but they taste even better than you would expect. Her Pan-Fried Onion Dip is the real thing, with slowly car-amelized onions and fresh sour cream. Tomato soup is created from oven-roasted tomatoes and fresh basil to intensify the flavors. Meat loaf is as good as your grandmother's, but it's healthier because it's made with ground turkey and fresh herbs. The light and flaky Maple-Oatmeal Scones are baked with rolled oats, whole wheat, and real maple syrup. Now these and other famous Barefoot Contessa recipes can be prepared at home.
Ina says that before she owned a specialty food store she often spent a week making dinner for six friends. Her experience at Barefoot Contessa has given her hundreds of ideas for creating wonderful parties in a few hours. And they're all in this book. Crab Cakes with Rémoulade Sauce can be stored overnight in the refrigerator and sautéed just before the guests arrive. Cheddar Corn Chowder can be made days ahead, reheated, and served with a salad and bread for a delicious autumn lunch. The ingredients for Grilled Salmon Salad can all be prepared ahead and tossed together before serving. The batter for the Raspberry Corn Muffins can be mixed a day before and popped into the oven just before breakfast.
Ina Garten teaches us how to entertain with style, simplicity, and a relaxed sense of fun. There are notes throughout the book for giving cocktail parties, lunches, and dinner parties where everything is done before the guests arrive. And there are easy instructions for creating gorgeous party platters that don't even require you to cook!
With Ina Garten and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, you have the perfect recipe for hosting parties that are easy and fun for everyone--including the cook.
Lauren Bacall gets cranky when Barefoot Contessa, an East Hampton specialty food store/institution for more than 20 years, is sold out of Indonesian Ginger Chicken. She can now thank her lucky stars that exuberant owner Ina Garten has written The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
and included this recipe. Ms. Bacall is sure to be pleased to discover how easy it is to achieve such fantastic flavor. Simplicity is something of a bottom line at Barefoot Contessa. "Food is not about impressing people," Ina Garten says. "It's about making them feel comfortable."
Aimed at the cook who intends to entertain, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook draws on Garten's experience as a caterer, as well as her knowledge of what customers really want to eat when they arrive at her shop. She has culled her favorite recipes and has included timesaving tips, always striving for ease and simplicity. Neither cooking nor entertaining should be a chore, according to Ina Garten, and her lovely cookbook is a case in point.
This is an intensely illustrated cookbook that shows the foods to best advantage (and makes it a lovely gift book). Presentation counts for a great deal, and Garten's food styling adds to any food platter. But just as relevant are photos that bring in the spirit of fresh, locally grown produce. There's the local poultry producer proudly holding a laying hen in case anyone should wonder where the eggs come from.
Starting with appetizers, Ina Garten isn't afraid to include such basics as hummus and guacamole: she knows from experience that her versions make a profound impact. There are French Onion Soup and Corn Cheddar Chowder, Baked Virginia Ham and Salmon with Fennel, Roasted Carrots and Caramelized Butternut Squash--and then one killer dessert after another. Included, too, are some breakfast specialties. Any upscale bed and breakfast could have this book in the kitchen and get rid of all others.
This isn't a cookbook about getting outrageous with food. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is about warming the hearts and souls of your guests with familiar food raised to a gourmet level. --Schuyler Ingle