Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun
 
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Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun [Hardcover]

Ina Garten
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"A good party is not about the food," says Ina Garten, "it's about the people." That may be true, but her Barefoot Contessa Parties! will ensure that your next party is a fabulous one, regardless of your guest list. Garten, author of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and a monthly column in Martha Stewart Living, has been catering since 1978. So who better to put together a collection of entertaining theme parties? She's included everything from drinks and hors d'oeuvres to dessert and coffee, as well as notes about what "surprises," atmospheres, venues, and table decorations lend themselves to each. Because she likes to attend her own parties (and who doesn't?), almost every recipe is make-ahead and remarkably uncomplicated.

From casual get-togethers, such as the Pizza Party--which includes recipes for Caesar Salad with Pancetta, California Pizzas that your guests can assemble themselves, and Ice-Cream Sodas--to the elegant Academy Awards dinner--where your guests will enjoy Raspberry Vodka, Rori's Potato Chips with Caviar Dip, Smoked Salmon with Mesclun, Filet of Beef with Gorgonzola Sauce, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic Roasted Potatoes, and Chocolate Ganache Cake--Garten's parties are well thought out and well organized. Divided by season, you'll look forward to Summer's Outdoor Grill, which starts with Real Margaritas, followed by Endive and Avocado Salad, Grilled Herb Shrimp with Mango Salsa, Spaghettoni al Pesto, Tomato Fennel Salad, and Peach Raspberry Shortcakes for dessert. Autumn brings beautiful menus like the one where you cook with your guests and end up with a feast of Potato Pancakes with Caviar, Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, Rack of Lamb, Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, and Apple Crostata. Winter's menus bring soul-warming food, such as Seafood Chowder, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, and a recipe for possibly the world's best Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Spring offers menus such as the Sunday Breakfast, with a main course of Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs, and the Jewish Holiday Party, with Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls.

Filled with funny party anecdotes, a bit of Ina Garten history, and clever hints and tips to help guarantee the success of these recipes, this collection, subtitled "Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun," delivers on every count. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Building on the success of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Garten presents 16 simple menus, yielding readers four fun and distinctive parties per season. True to her theory that the easiest parties are usually the best, Garten offers sound advice (e.g., prepare dishes in advance when possible so you can be a guest at your own party, and use strategy when building a guest list) and fare within the reach of any cook. Moreover, by suggesting many dishes that can be served at room temperature, she helps hosts minimize any last-minute frenzies. Brisket with Carrots and Onions requires very little supervision, and Chocolate Ganache Cake can be baked a week ahead and glazed the day it's served. Garten pumps up the flavor with such recipes as Potato Pancakes with Caviar and an irresistible vinaigrette-tossed salad topped by sliced onions baked with balsamic vinegar and then by crumbled Maytag blue cheese. Potables are as innocent as Tropical Smoothies and as potent as Raspberry Vodka and Real Margaritas. (Apr.)Forecast: Having already catapulted herself from her eponymous gourmet shop in East Hampton, N.Y., to the national stage, Garten is sure to secure the success of her second book with the added exposure of her own cooking show on the Food Network, regular appearances on Martha Stewart Living and her high-profile Web site (www.barefootcontessa.com).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The Barefoot Contessa is Garten's upscale take-out shop in East Hampton, NY, but her Barefoot Contessa Cookbook proved to have a national audience (it sold more than 100,000 copies). Here she provides menus and recipes for 16 parties and other festive gatherings, from "Lunch in the Garden" to "Not Thanksgiving" to "Valentine's Day," along with tips for stress-free entertaining. With the same attractive design (featuring dozens of full-page color close-ups of food and settings) that helped make the first book so popular, and its simple, seasonal recipes, this, too, is sure to be in demand. (Not to mention that Garten is soon to become a regular contributor to Martha Stewart Living, as well as host of a new Food Network series.) Recommended for most collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Anyone looking for inspirations for parties will find excellent, well-developed ideas in Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! The doyenne of caterers to the tony inhabitants of Long Island's Hamptons follows on the success of her earlier cookbook by offering menus designed for parties from simple to sumptuous. Organized by seasons, Garten's party menus can be as basic as a meal for two of vegetable pot pie and chocolate pudding. Or they can be more elaborate parties that feature, for example, a flavorsome roast turkey accompanied by a Spinach Gratin enriched with multiple cheeses. An afternoon tea presents a duet of savory cheese sandwiches and a handful of sweets such as Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake and Lime Curd with Strawberries. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"True to her theory that the easiest parties are usually the best, Garten offers sound advice... and fare within the reach of any cook" Publishers Weekly "Beloved all over the planet (not only for her food), Ina Garten has become the inspiration in the kitchen for so many of us." Gwyneth Paltrow --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

After more than twenty years of running Barefoot Contessa, the acclaimed specialty food store, Ina Garten published her first collection of recipes. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was an overnight sensation, but it's the kind of success that can only be grounded in years of experience. In it, Ina shared her ideas for familiar food but with outstanding flavor and -- most important of all -- recipes that really work.

Now, with Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ina shares secrets she has gleaned from her years not only as a caterer but as a dedicated party giver. The keyword here is fun. Ina's parties are easy to prepare and fun for everyone, including the host. Forget those boring Saturday-night dinners that just won't end. With Ina's advice, you're certain to have all your friends saying, "Wasn't that fun!"

Ina has packed Barefoot Contessa Parties! with plans for pulling off parties like a pro, stories about her own parties, and tips on assembling food (rather than cooking everything) and organizing like a caterer. In the spring you can invite your friends to a party where they all make their own pizzas. Come summer, it's into the garden for a lunch with grilled lamb and pita sandwiches that guests assemble themselves. In the autumn, when it's not Thanksgiving, Ina roasts a fresh turkey, which her friends enjoy with popovers and a creamy spinach gratin. And on a snowy winter's day, everyone is invited for a lunch buffet with seafood chowder and butternut squash and apple soup.

Ever since Ina published her first book, people write, e-mail, and stop her on the street to say how much they love the food. She's reached new heights here with recipes like sour cream coffee cake--the ultimate breakfast treat. Salads? The red lettuce, balsamic onions, and blue cheese; Chinese chicken salad; and panzanella may be the best you've ever tasted. Filet of beef is easy to make for a fancy dinner with oh-so-good gorgonzola sauce, or sliced into sandwiches and served with lobster rolls for a Superbowl party. And fans of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook will be delighted to find the recipe for the Lemon Cake they drooled over but only saw pictured, right here in this book.

With so many great ideas and recipes in these pages for you to use, your friends will start to wonder why your parties are always so much fun.

About the Author

INA GARTEN is the author of the bestselling The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and of the popular monthly column "Entertaining Is Fun" in Martha Stewart Living magazine. For more than twenty years, her Barefoot Contessa specialty food shop has been celebrated for its style as well as its delicious food. Ina lives in East Hampton, New York, and Southport, Connecticut, with her husband, Jeffrey.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Recipes from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Chicken Chili
Serves 12

We had been making traditional chili at Barefoot Contessa for almost 20 years. I decided to update it with chicken to make it lighter, and it's even more popular than our regular chili.

8 cups chopped yellow onions (6 onions)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/4 cup minced garlic (8 cloves)
4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
4 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
4 28-ounce cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
8 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

For Serving
Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream

Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 36 to 40 cookies

This is my favorite variation of the old Barefoot Contessa chocolate chunk cookie recipe. It has the combination of flavors in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Yum!

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup good smooth peanut butter
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound good semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, and mix. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the batter, mixing only until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, using either a 1-3/4-inch ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Dampen your hands, flatten the dough lightly, then press the tines of a wet fork in both directions. Bake for exactly 17 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone). Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Hot Mulled Cider
Serves 12

Nothing tastes as good on a cold winter day as hot spiced cider. It's easy to make and really warms your insides after an afternoon of winter sports. And nothing makes a house smell as wonderful. For a party, I leave it on the stove over very low heat and everyone helps themselves.

16 cups apple cider or pure apple juice
4 2-inch cinnamon sticks
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
8 whole cloves
8 star anise

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour into mugs and serve.

*Commercially prepared mulling spices, which combine many of these ingredients, can be added to the apple cider to make preparation even easier.
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