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The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Hardcover – April 6, 1999
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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
Top Customer Reviews
Many reviewers commented on the beautiful photos, but complained about the number of recipes. I can understand that point of view, but I would rather have a really good, dependable cookbook with 25 great recipes (and there are more than that in this book) than a cookbook with 100 recipes that are just so-so. It's the ol' quality versus quantity argument, I suppose.
And about those photos -- I know that color photos add to the cost and bulk of a cookbook, but when they are beautifully done, as is the case with this book, it makes you WANT to try the recipes. On the other hand, I've got some gorgeous cookbooks with some stinker recipes in them. That's another reason why I love this book. You get beautiful photos AND really good recipes.
Do you want a cookbook you can trust? This book fits the bill for me. I have made her recipes for the first time FOR GUESTS -- something that would normally create heart palpitations and have me reaching for that unnecessary extra glass of wine. Yet my guests and I have yet to be disappointed. I'd say that was cause for celebration myself.
One other comment -- Garten emphasizes using fresh and good quality ingredients. If you do you will find her recipes work all of the time. I suspect that one or two of the less than satisfied reviewers here took some shortcuts or perhaps used a less than stellar ingredient.
There is no substitute for fresh thyme for example when it is a PRIMARY flavoring.Read more ›
The book begins with an introduction to fresh ingredients and again, the emphasis is on quality and simplicity. Ina guides us through a farmer's market of fresh fruits and vegetables, explaining what to look for and how to select the very best ingredients for our meals. In the midst of this primer, she delivers a simple recipe for fresh lemonade (a quick application of what we have just learned!), followed by a glossary of kitchen terms, and all accompanied by beautiful photographs. The first section is devoted to appetizers, and includes detailed instructions on what to serve at cocktail parties (and exactly how to serve it) and how to make and present an elegant, yet simple fruit and cheese platter. My favorite recipe from this section was the vegetable sushi. She then covers Soups (including home made croutons), Salads (the French Potato is tremendous!), Dinner Entrees (including a kitchen clambake and the famous Indonesian Ginger Chicken recipe), Vegetables (with instructions on creating a stunning vegetable platter), Desserts (the country dessert platter is perfect for small groups get-togethers!) and a section simply entitled "Breakfast" with a wonderful recipe for White Hot Chocolate and a short primer on how to make "the perfect cup of coffee".Read more ›
My first attempt at a recipe was Parker's Split Pea soup, which is as delicious as my mother's (sorry, mom) and sooooo simple. If you can use a knife to chop veggies you're 90% there. The Rosemary Whitebean soup (use FRESH rosemary or don't even bother) enticed my neighbor to ask about the aromas she could smell from her yard. I then moved on to recipes that required more focus but are easily followed like Filet of Beef Bourginon (my husband's all-time favorite) and Swordfish with Tomato and Capers with Parmesan Smashed Potatoes served at a dinner party for eight (something I never would have even considered a year ago) where a guest inquired about whom I used for a caterer! Overall, extremely well written and simple to navigate your way through each recipe. Ina's side column notes are helpful personal touches, like why to use Kosher salt instead of table salt. (I had never even heard of such a thing...) The biggest rewards are hearing guests rave about MY cooking and, of course, enjoying the incredible food in my newly-discovered kitchen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd rather get this one from the library as opposed to buying it. Nothing really jumped off the page for me.Published 2 days ago by Leonor
i love Ina Garten's cooking and watching her on tv...this is the one book i did not have and i think it is one of the early ones......... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Luisa Cohen
Love the book, but I bought a book that was supposed to be in "very good" condition, but it was falling apart. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maggie
Great condition. More of a "picture book" than cook book. Could use more recipes.Published 3 months ago by Christina DuBois