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Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Hardcover – October 25, 2016
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About the Author
Ina Garten is a New York Times bestselling author and the host of Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa, which has won three Emmy Awards. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her husband, Jeffrey. This is her tenth book.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad Recipe
• 2 pounds carrots, preferably with leafy tops
• Good olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ cup pure Grade A maple syrup
• 2/3 cup dried cranberries
• 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
• 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
• 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
• 6 ounces baby arugula
• 6 ounces goat cheese, such as Montrachet, medium-diced
• 2/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Trim and scrub the carrots. If the carrots are more than 1 inch in diameter, cut them in half lengthwise. Cut the carrots in large diagonal slices 1 inch wide × 2 inches long (they will shrink when they roast) and place in a medium bowl with ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss well and transfer to two sheet pans. (If you use just one, they’ll steam instead of roasting.) Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once, until the carrots are tender. Transfer all the carrots to one of the sheet pans, add the maple syrup, toss, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are caramelized. Watch them carefully! Toss with a metal spatula and set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then set aside for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the arugula in a large bowl and add the carrots, cranberries (with their liquid), goat cheese, almonds, and the vinaigrette. Toss with large spoons, sprinkle with salt, and serve at room temperature.
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Top Customer Reviews
But first, the good part - the verdict on the recipes I've tried so far:
--- Lentils & Kielbasa Salad - I loved this, but, although he liked it, my husband didn't think it was particularly noteworthy. I liked the idea of cooking the lentils with a whole turnip and clove-studded onion thrown in and thought that it would deliver a flavor punch that I hadn't tried before, but for my money (and time), I think Alice Waters's Lentil Salad from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution packs just as much flavor with less than half the work. These lentils, with those flavors, along with the heavily mustarded vinaigrette, worked really nicely with the kielbasa and were delicious. I will likely make this again, but Alice's remain at the top of my lentil recipe list.
--- Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad - We LOVED this salad. So perfect for fall. Although Ina suggests it for lunch or a side, we found that it made a satisfying light supper with a glass of crisp, white wine. My son, who also had it, loved how flavorful it was and even asked me if he could have the recipe! Although the recipe instructs that everything be tossed together, I would have preferred leaving the goat cheese and almonds to be scattered over the top of the tossed vegetables.
--- Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan - This is the recipe to try if you're not sure how to make spaghetti squash. It is similar to Sara Foster's delicious recipe from Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes from Foster's Market, which is made with balsamic vinegar and without garlic. The addition of garlic is a good one. Freshly-grating the Parm is a must. This is yummy.
--- French 75 - a standard recipe for this cocktail, but messing with it would make it something other than a French 75, wouldn't it? I'm so glad she included this, though. It's a lovely cocktail that's not seen often enough.
What disappointed me about the book was that I didn't feel as though the theme - cooking for Jeffrey - was realized in the way I was expecting. Although some of the recipe descriptions say "Jeffrey likes this" or "Jeffrey and I had this when...", Jeffrey's favorite recipes appear at the back of the book as a list of dishes, the recipes for which are in Ina's other cookbooks!
I thought that's what this cookbook was supposed to be!
In addition, there are a lot of recipes that seem to be little more than variations on recipes from earlier books.
As usual, desserts take up the lion's share of pages, but as much as I like to complain about that, desserts from Ina's earlier books (coconut cupcakes, those brownies!) have easily been among the best I've ever made.
There are good recipes here. The first few I tried assured that I will be delving further into these recipes.
I'm not sorry I bought this book, but I do have to say that it was not exactly what I was expecting.
Butternut Squash Hummus
Herbed Fromage Blanc
Lentil and Kielbasa Salad
Asparagus and Fennel Soup
Brisket with Leeks and Onions
Roasted Italian Meatballs
Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Bourbon Honey Cake
I've flipped through many a Barefoot Contessa cookbook in my bookstore adventuring, but I'd never found a volume to be so compelling as to demand a purchase. I decided to go out on a limb and picked up Ina's newest release to give it a fair review, thinking with this many successful cookbooks under her belt there must be something to her recipes right? No publisher is going to keep giving you book contract after contract if your recipes fall flat.
I'm very glad I took the gamble; Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook provides page after page of tasty things to make in the kitchen and lovely pictures to accompany. As one of the dinner party guests mentioned, her recipes are well structured and very detailed, making them easy to follow for inexperienced cooks. She relies on ingredients that are relatively easy to source in American markets. And she has drawn from a great mix of ethnic influences for her recipes.
With regard to the recipes our group cooked and sampled, my favorite was the Asparagus and Fennel Soup, as well as the Ratatouille served over the Polenta, and the Lentil and Kielbasa Salad (which I never thought I'd enjoy and which has this unique but surprisingly delicious pairing as it is served over herbed goat cheese spread on crackers). Perhaps the only criticism I can muster for Ina's latest cookbook is that most of the recipes were seemingly oversalted, especially the hummus and the meatballs. Luckily our member chefs spotted the excess of salt and scaled it back during dinner prep, but if they had followed Ina's recipes as written it would not have been a happy ending. So go forth and Garten it up, but pull back on the salt.