Pros - It’s a great read, with great recipes; Ina has a great philosophy towards cooking and entertaining
Cons - None
I was sitting here trying to remember when was the last time that I actually paid $25 + for a cookbook. What with the Internet, Social Media, Kindle, IBook, a zillion Television networks not just programs but entire channels dedicated to cooking. Really, what do I need a book for any more? Well…
It’s the anticipation, waiting for that particular book to come out.
It’s holding that hard cover book with a dust jacket that you carefully put aside so that you keep it pretty.
It’s the glossy pages with the stellar photography that makes you want to run into the kitchen and make that dish.
It’s the author taking you into another world, or kitchen as in this case. Where their standing there next to you as you prepare one of their recipes that they’ve test over and over again to get it…
Foolproof, recipes you can trust
Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa series of books has just released the most recent in what I hope a very long line of cooking how to’s. Ina has been a favorite of mine for a number of years. I like her style of cooking and this book really brings it all forward for me as a Home Cook.
She talks about not only the cooking, but the menu planning, the shopping, entertaining, great tips, products that she likes and works best in a recipe.
As she says, she has tried to anticipate the readers’ questions and gives ‘alerts’ and ‘markers’ to what to expect in the recipes.
At the beginning of each chapter (Cocktails, Starters, Lunch, Dinner, Vegetables and Dessert) there’s a great intro. For instance, Cocktails starts out with the ‘foolproof game plans’.
Ina gives her take on setting down on paper a timeline of what has to happen and when for a dinner party. Sounds simpley, but think about it, sometimes a Home Cook gets waylaid in the course of the day trying to get it all on the table, hot and all at the same time.
Here’s a pet peeve of my own. Many recipes will say for example, 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Well, garlic cloves come in all different sizes. Ina spells each ingredient out both ways, 2 cloves of garlic minced and 1 ½ teaspoons, Thank you!
Some of the ingredients are a little on the spendy side for me, but if I wanted to make something special, than I would most definitely have to make…
Lobster Mac & Cheese
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart whole milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups grated Gruyère cheese (12 ounces)
2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (8 ounces)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ pounds cooked lobster meat, ½-inch-diced
1 ½ cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375⁰
Add the oil to a large pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
Heat the milk in a saucepan, but don’t allow it to boil. In the large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyère, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg and stir until the cheese melts. Stir in the cooked pasta and lobster. Pile the mixture into 6 to 8 (2-cup) gratin dishes.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on the top.
Ina’s style of writing is engaging, friendly and easy going.
Foolproof thanksgiving tip #10 give me a giggle, “Finally, if you ever have the urge to make Turducken (a boned chicken rolled inside a boned duck, inside a boned turkey), lie down until the urge passes!”
Towards the very back of the book are foolproof menus. Ina has put together some of her recipes not only from this book but also from 7 of her past books.
I think this a great addition to the at home cook’s library.
It’s a great read, with great recipes; Ina has a great philosophy towards cooking and entertaining.
Ina Garten is the type of person that I would like to get a glass a wine, put on my apron and cook with.