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The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Hardcover – April 6, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 426 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Booklist

Long Island's summer foodie crowd flocks to the Barefoot Contessa for the kinds of upscale eats that are required for the endless rounds of parties. Garten's creations satisfy her customers, and this cookbook makes it easy to understand why. Savory dishes such as turkey meatloaf and lobster potpie are sure to be crowd pleasers. Potato-fennel gratin improves simpler spud creations; one can go over the top with buttery, creamy Parmesan smashed potatoes. Croissant bread pudding provides a rich ending to a grand dinner. For those entertaining overnight guests, Garten offers a handful of trendy breakfast scones. A chapter on finger foods provides the basis for grazing or for summer lawn cocktail parties. Garten's use of extra-large eggs as her standard measure may cause some cooks to encounter difficulties in reproducing some recipes. Mark Knoblauch

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (April 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609602195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609602195
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I see more than 100 reviews of a book, I usually balk at adding my own two cents worth to the mix. However, I am a big fan of Ina Garten and own all of her books (3 so far) and wanted to throw my opinions into the ring anyway.
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.
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By DJP on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I had people for dinner a few nights ago, and no one can stop talking about the wonderful results. I tried the Indonesian Ginger Chicken, and it sure was tasty. I followed her easy directions, and marinated the chicken overnight-- which is a real lifesaver, since you're not in the kitchen, seasoning, while everyone else is gossiping in the living room. I love recipes where you can prepare ahead, and just pop them in the oven when you want to eat. That seems to be the focus of Ina's book-- have fun with whomever you're entertaining, while a scrumptous meal cooks in the oven. The only thing I would do differently with the Ginger chicken is to buy pre-minced garlic and ginger. Doing it yourself takes forever because of how much is called for in the recipe. All in all, I think this book is terrific, and I've read through each recipe many times, simply imagining the tastes and looks of the food. It's so well put together, and I think Ina owes much of the book's success to the wonderful photography. This is the kind of cookbook you pick up to read just for fun, even if you're not planning to use it that day. Great job! Buy this now!
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Format: Hardcover
This is not your ordinary cookbook. It is a visual feast for all your senses. The photographs are stunning, the recipes are simple to understand, and the tips are actually very helpful. Ina Garten expertly walks you through preparation to presentation, and injects personal anecdotes throughout. I was left with the impression that she truly wants her readers to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of a great meal.
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".
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Format: Hardcover
Before I found The Barefoot Contessa I hated cooking. Even after building a new home with a large, beautiful, functional kitchen, I wasn't interested. In fact my oven didn't get used for the first two months. Then a friend recommended Ms. Garten's book and I liked it because it looked pretty on my countertop. Since the day I opened it, my husband says I'm a changed woman.
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.
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