Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics by Ina Garten
Ina Garten’s latest cookbook is titled Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients, and that subtitle really says it all. I recently read a comment that Ina Garten’s recipes are incredibly simple to follow–anyone can do it–but you end up with extraordinary food, and that’s been my experience. These recipes are elegant, but foolproof.
The book opens with reflections on The Barefoot Contessa philosophy, basically that food can be simple and fabulous, that entertaining should be easy, elegant, and fun. Each chapter begins with a list of tips from Ina, such as “10 no-cook things to serve with drinks” or “cook like a pro.” These lists inspire a home cook to aspire to be the perfect host or hostess, all while making it sound and look effortless.
There are seven sections of recipes in Back to Basics:
- Cocktail Hour (Parmesan & Thyme Crackers, Campari Orange Spritzer, Gravlax with Mustard Sauce, Juice of a Few Flowers, Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, Pomegranate Cosmopolitans, Savory Palmiers, Mango Banana Daiquiris, Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola)
- Soup (Lobster Corn Chowder, Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup, Homemade Chicken Stock, Roasted Potato Leek Soup, Chilled Cucumber Soup, Pappa al Pomodoro, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Italian Wedding Soup)
- Lunch (Cape Cod Chopped Salad, Old-Fashioned Carrot Salad, White Pizzas with Arugula, Creamy Cucumber Salad, Warm Goat Cheese in Phyllo, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad, Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts, Truffled Filet of Beef Sandwiches, Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese, Mache with Warm Brie)
- Dinner (Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Roasted Turkey Roulade, Chicken Bouillabaisse, Coq au Vin, Company Pot Roast, Niman Ranch Burgers, French Bistro Steaks, Parker’s Beef Stew, Herb-Marinated Loin of Pork, Baked Shrimp Scampi, Easy Sole Meuniere, Bay Scallop Gratins, Indonesian Grilled Swordfish, Mustard-Roasted Fish, Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches, Proscuitto Roasted Bass, Pasta with Pecorino & Pepper, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Spring Green Risotto, Dinner Spanakopitas, Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter)
- Vegetables (Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash, Confetti Corn, Creamy Cheddar Grits, Orange Pecan Wild Rice, Baked Potatoes with Yogurt, Celery Root & Apple Puree, Oven-Roasted Vegetables, Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli, Chive Risotto Cakes, Pan-Roasted Root Vegetables, Roasted Parsnips & Carrots, Baked Sweet Potato “Fries,” Roasted Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic Ciabatta Bread)
- Dessert (French Apple Tart, Fresh Lemon Mousse, Apple Dried Cherry Turnovers, Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, French Chocolate Bark, Old-Fashioned Gingerbread, Plum Crunch, Honey Vanilla Fromage Blanc, Honey Vanilla Pound Cake, Fresh Raspberry Gratins, Pumpkin Roulade, Raisin-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies, Affogato Sundaes, Brownie Pudding)
- Breakfast (Sunrise Smoothies, Country French Omelet, Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits, Baked Blintzes, Homemade Muesli, Tri-Berry Oven Pancakes, Whitefish Salad, Easy Sticky Buns, Homemade Granola Bars, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, Date Nut Spice Bread, Fruit Salad with Limoncello, Easy Strawberry Jam)
The book concludes with sections for FAQ’s, sources, credits, and menu suggestions for throwing your own brunch or dinner party.
I love this cookbook. In addition to the amazing recipes, and fun tips, the pages of the book are glossy and the recipes are each illustrated beautifully. Everytime I flip through the pages of this cookbook, I find something else I want to make. This was my first Barefoot Contessa cookbook, but I am anxious to collect each of her others.