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Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients Hardcover – October 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; First Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400054354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400054350
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics is the essential Ina Garten cookbook, focusing on the techniques behind her elegant food and easy entertaining style, and offering nearly a hundred brand-new recipes that will become trusted favorites.

Ina Garten’s bestselling cookbooks have consistently provided accessible, subtly sophisticated recipes ranging from French classics made easy to delicious, simple home cooking. In Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina truly breaks down her ideas on flavor, examining the ingredients and techniques that are the foundation of her easy, refined style.

Here Ina covers the essentials, from ten ways to boost the flavors of your ingredients to ten things not to serve at a party, as well as professional tips that make successful baking, cooking, and entertaining a breeze. The recipes--crowd-pleasers like Lobster Corn Chowder, Tuscan Lemon Chicken, and Easy Sticky Buns--demonstrate Ina’s talent for transforming fresh, easy-to-find ingredients into elegant meals you can make without stress.

For longtime fans, Ina delivers new insights into her simple techniques; for newcomers she provides a thorough master class on the basics of Barefoot Contessa cooking plus a Q&A section with answers to the questions people ask her all the time. With full-color photographs and invaluable cooking tips, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics is an essential addition to the cherished library of Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.

Ina Garten's Roasted Turkey Roulade and Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"

I don't know anyone who looks forward to carving a turkey on Thanksgiving. You're at the table, everyone's watching, and you're struggling to carve a hot bird. Instead, I decided to make a roasted turkey breast stuffed with all kinds of delicious things--sausage, cranberries, and figs. No bones and it cooks to juicy perfection in under two hours. How easy is that?

Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but their prime season is really autumn and winter. Choose potatoes that are smooth and unblemished, and use them fairly soon because they don't keep as well as other potatoes. These potatoes are crispy like fries but they're better for you because they're baked. --Ina Garten

(Photo credit Quentin Bacon)


Roasted Turkey Roulade
(Serves 6 or 7)





















3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1-1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and sauté, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.

Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at one end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1-3/4 to 2 hours, until a thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.


Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"
(Serves 4)




















2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

Ina Garten is one of the country's most beloved culinary icons and the author of five previous cookbooks. She can be seen on Food Network, where her shows, Barefoot Contessa and Back to Basics, are among the network's most watched. Ina also writes a column on entertaining for House Beautiful magazine.

From Publishers Weekly

The sixth cookbook from the Barefoot Contessa juggernaut contains exactly the kind of appealing, simple-yet-just-gourmet-enough recipes Garten devotees adore. There's nothing very surprising (Garten tries to claim an ingredient-focused premise), but her formula works. She offers such dishes as Lobster Corn Chowder, Creamy Cucumber Salad, Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter (which has just five ingredients, plus salt and pepper), and Brownie Pudding. Garten suggests tips on such things as setting the table and "10 things not to serve at a dinner party." Her tone can be charmingly pretentious, but she comes down to earth with admissions like "I have to admit that pastry still makes me anxious. When I discovered puff pastry, it was such a relief." Recipes are short and simple, and she often squeezes in insightful hints for making things work perfectly. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

In 1978, Ina Garten left her job as a budget analyst in the White House to pursue her dream of operating a specialty food store in the Hamptons. She is a frequent contributor to major national magazines and writes a recurring column in O Magazine. Her new television series on entertaining can be seen on Food Network. Ina lives in East Hampton, New York, and Southport, Connecticut, with her husband, Jeffrey.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#67 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#66 in Books
#66 in Books

Customer Reviews

Very simple recipes and easy to follow.
Maria Callas
I recently purchased this book as a gift for my daughter in-law because it is one of my favorite cookbooks.
Karen Hadlock
The pictures are beautiful and helpful.
S. Gee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

288 of 305 people found the following review helpful By Toni VINE VOICE on December 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the things that I enjoy most about Ina's books is the beginning of each section. She does not jump into the recipes; she prepares you likened to a good orchestra conductor preparing before a recital; making sure she has gotten everything in order before presenting her work. Once she gets the essence of what she wishes to tell you into words, then will she begin the recipe process.

That being said, this book continues the appreciation that so many people for Ina, along with the superb photography she wants to help bring the flavors, colors, and joy of her ideas and foods. And as Ina states in her dedication, "simple food has the most style". Indeed it does.

Her "Acknowledgement" page has all the secrets of why her books are so successful........great book and cooking industry people, great photography ("I want you to see the photograph and feel like licking the page") and her great husband, Jeffrey (can't ever imagine one without the other).

Her "Introduction" is its own chapter in that you are given her ideas and thoughts behind how she approaches the dining table and the dining experience. She will opt for the simplest, yet freshest foods, whether for a casual or formal dinner. And she helps us to thin out some of the detailed concerns with how we want the table to look and instead, think of how the food should be prepared. This will help us come away with an appreciation for a simpler meal with the atmosphere automatically settling in as you go along.

A real treat in this book is her great new "cooking barn" (don't think hay and horses with a stove nearby but instead a fabulous, sleek, warm, inviting, rustic, yet modern edifice, that is totally Ina).
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264 of 280 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cookbooks are so much fun to read. Every author will have different approaches and even provide differing recipes for the same dish. The comparisons are fascinating. Today, I'm marinating chicken in the old "fireman's barbecue" sauce. Over times, I've collected a variety of recipes for this single sauce, and it's fun to experiment, compare, and finally select the one I like best. Same with cookbooks. . . .

In essence, the author, Ina Garten, lays out her approach in the following quotations (both from Page 11): ". . .I don't see any reason why we can't buy perfectly good ingredients in a grocery store, cook them simply, and serve an absolutely delicious meal that will delight everyone at the table." And, "What truly fires my imagination is taking ordinary ingredients and cooking them--or pairing them--in a way that `unlocks' their true flavors." She also argues strongly in favor of cooking by the season, since different foods are at their most flavorful at different times. Earlier, I quoted her as saying that certain ingredients unlock flavor. Among the "unlockers," she says, are Reggiano Parmesan cheese, wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Pernod, coffee, cream, etc.

Throughout the book, Garten scatters "Top 10" lists, such as the "10 No-cook things to serve with drinks," "Top 10 Flavor Boosters," and "10 Things Not to Serve at a Dinner Party."

But let's take a look at some of the recipes. I enjoy Potato Leek Soup, and have tried out several different recipes (enjoying all). Garten adds a new one to my collection. One ingredient that distinguishes hers from others is the use of arugula. Delicious.
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119 of 125 people found the following review helpful By L. G. on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I waited eagerly for this, the sixth of Ina Garten's books. I love it. It's beautiful and the recipes are both simple AND exciting. She always reminds me that I don't have to eat boring, redundant meals every day just because I work and have limited cooking time at night. Many of these recipes require only a handful of ingredients and no more than an hour of preparation from start to finish. And they're elegant meals that provide nourishment and beauty. The scallop dish is lovely. The mustard fish surprising with the touch of salty capers. The wedding soup I'm planning to make tomorrow, but already I see that her recipe respects the cook's time while not sacrificing creativity and flavor. I love The Barefoot.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Sara Smith Joyce on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I also have all her other cookbooks but agree this one is the best. The title made me hesitate, thinking it might be a cookbook for beginners or a "Joy Of Cooking" type but I was very wrong. That's not to say a beginner would be intimidated by it. All levels of cooks will enjoy this one. The layout/format is very well thought out. Don't skip reading the intro on this one, she has wonderful suggestions and ideas.
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163 of 190 people found the following review helpful By DC Mom on November 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a Barefoot Contessa devotee -- I make one of her recipes almost once a week, but I'm just not in love with this cookbook. Yes, the fish baked in mustard and cream is very nice and easy, but like almost everything else, it is loaded with fat and there's no way to make it healthier. I think her other books have a better balance of high fat and low fat dishes. There are too many belt-busters here. There's also not much new on the roast vegetable front. This is a good book and beautifully done, but I think Garten's Parties will stand up in your kitchen much longer.
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