Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

The flap reads: "Here Ina covers the essentials, from ten ways to boost the flavors of your ingredients to ten things not to serve at a party, as well as professional tips that make successful baking, cooking, and entertaining a breeze. The recipes—crowd-pleasers like Lobster Corn Chowder, Tuscan Lemon Chicken, and Easy Sticky Buns—demonstrate Ina’s talent for transforming fresh, easy-to-find ingredients into elegant meals you can make without stress."

Subtitled Fabulous Flavour from Simple Ingredients, the title of Ina Garten's newest release, Back to Basics, pretty much sums up the premise of this book.

In the introduction, Garten says that she's uninterested in food trends, and would rather let fresh, seasonal, and locally available ingredients speak their own volumes rather than be overly embellished by all kinds of fanciness. The result is a collection of simple but sophisticated recipes using uncomplicated ingredients and techniques. Interspersed between the chapters are some helpful top 10 lists, like "10 no-cook things to serve with drinks" and "10 things not to serve at a dinner party." There is even a flower arranging techniques list.

The styling is elegant and nice on the eye, and the pictures are mouthwatering. The recipes are easy to follow and the instructions are not convoluted or unnecessarily complicated, showing that simple, tried-and-true methods produce amazing food.

The recipe I tried out for the purposes of this review was the Brownie Pudding on page 218. I really needed a chocolate fix badly one night this week, and since I had all the ingredients on hand (except the optional framboise liqueur) I decided to make it. The recipe was quick to put together and made an absolutely outstanding pudding! It was so chocolatey it was nearly black, and it wasn't too sweet - just perfect. I'll definitely be making this again.

This is a great cookbook for the advanced cook and beginner cook alike; the sophistication of the food combined with the simpler ingredients and methods appeals to many different levels of kitchen experience.

4 comments:

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I love that chubby little culinary minx. Sparky says that I have an unhealthy fascination with her. And she's not too far off the mark when she says that.

Meg said...

That pudding sounds amazing! Thanks for the info about this cookbook!

Tamara (TC) said...

Thank you for this review. I have seen the book and thought about getting it but had not taken the time to even look through it. I love her, though. I saw a chefography on her a few years ago and she just seems like the sweetest, most down to earth person. And, she is so cute with her husband.

Anyway, I will definitely pick up this book the next time I see it.

lemon_tart said...

I heart Ina.

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