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409 of 423 found the following review helpful:
A Great ValueOct 27, 2006
By Jay K.
"just a thought..."
As the owner of a whole 'lotta cookbooks, I sometimes have to explain my theory of cookbooks to my husband. In the case of "Barefoot Contessa at Home", the recipe for Easy Cheese Danish is a perfect example. This recipe uses 6 ingredients plus seasonings. It can be made the night before you need it. Both of which translate into making my life easier. And it can be enjoyed by our family and our holiday guests for years to come. If you break down the cost of the book as to how many times we'll use just that one recipe, you'll see what a great value it really is.
And, of course, there are many more recipes included that make it even better. Most of the recipes are a creative version of standard fare, like a coleslaw that uses blue cheese or the jalapeno cheddar cornbread or the Chicken Salad Veronique. The book includes chapters entitled soup and sandwiches; salads; dinner; vegetables; dessert; breakfast; and others.
And I like it that Ms. Garten includes a recipe for "Chicken with Goat Cheese and Basil" that can be prepared in 10 minutes when, as she puts it "I'm too tired to cook." I LOVE recipes like that.
And, what about the "frozen berries with hot white chocolate"? Looking forward to trying that.
Plus, Barefoot Contessa at Home includes menu suggestions, which are helpful if you're in a hurry or need inspiration. Each recipe is partnered by a beautiful photograph so you can see what you're making and how it should look.
I like her style, I like her recipes and I like her cookbook.
327 of 343 found the following review helpful:
Ina changed my life!Oct 27, 2006
I cook because of Ina. Before I found her first cookbook, I cooked infrequently. I knew the basics, but I didn't have simple, great tasting recipes that I enjoyed making on a regular basis. Ina changed my life with her books, and my friends and family thank her for it!
I'm one of those people that needs to have a photo of the finished product, and Ina delivers beautiful images, encouraging you to give the recipe a try. Her recipes were easy and each one was a tasty success, I have slowly devoured my way through her books.
I am thrilled with this new one, and just with the first pass through it, I've found 14 recipes I'd like to try immediately!
I am a little surprised by comments made by one of the other reviewers, (which is why I am now writing my first review for Amazon.) They had issue with Ina's liberal use of butter and salt, the cost of the book, her crediting recipes to other people, Ina's suggestions for grocery shopping, etc. How funny!
Part of Ina's charm and fabulous tasting food results from copious amounts of butter and salt. If you have an issue with it, you probably shouldn't make those recipes. (She has plenty of recipes that don't have butter in them, but they aren't as tasty!)
Why someone would complain about the cost of the cookbook baffles me. The retail cost of the books is $35, (I pre-ordered it for $20.35) It is a wonderful book with exquisite photos, and if you say it has only 80 recipes, I'll take your word for it. Would you rather sit in front of the TV, watching her show and writing down the recipes? I feel this is the type of book that because it is so beautiful, would be a lovely gift, let alone a welcome addition to anyone's kitchen.
Each chef and their cookbooks are unique, and Ina's style fits perfectly into my kitchen. I just hope that Ina keeps producing more books so I can keep expanding my list of recipes!
352 of 379 found the following review helpful:
Doesn't live up to her other cookbooksDec 09, 2006
By Esther Schindler
I really like Ina Garten, and I have a few of her other cookbooks. Unfortunately, Barefoot Contessa at Home is far from her best effort; it is, alas, entirely resistable.
The major reason behind my disappointment is that the book doesn't live up to its premise: these *aren't* everyday recipes you'll make over and over again. While I like to bake as much as anybody, I don't do so on an everyday basis -- yet fully half the book is given over to dessert recipes. There are only 16 recipes for entrees (I'm not counting the side dishes in those), and several of them -- however delicious they appear to be -- are not in my everyay budget. I admit that I'm swayed by the seafood gratin and by the paella, but both of those use lobster, the paella uses 1/2 teaspoon of saffron... this is not an everyday dinner. It might be a delicious one (that gratin _does_ call to me...) but given her emphasis on simplicity I find the cost of the ingredients a bit of a downer, because one is left with few "they really *are* everyday" recipes.
Then, when a recipe does meet my criteria for "everyday" (you can get dinner on the table within 1.5 hours of getting home from work, without full-time attention in the kitchen), it's surprisingly ordinary; chicken salad? blue cheese burgers? another roast chicken? That's not to say that the book lacks some good recipes. Some of these include loin of pork with fennel; garlic & herb cherry tomatoes; herbed basmati rice which, she says, always accompanies the Indonesian Ginger Chicken from her first book (a dish which has saved my life on a few occasions, since it's dead easy, is made in a single pan, and is absolutely delicious). It's just that there's so darn few of them that the book really isn't worth acquiring.
Then, too, the book is uneven in regard to its audience. Does someone who can afford lobster and a pound of wild mushrooms need to be told how to write a shopping list? Do I really need to be instructed to use "good" mayonnaise? This isn't quite a book for the novice cook, and it doesn't have the simple-but-special recipes to satisfy those of us who read cookbooks the way that others read the daily newspaper (and as often, too).
If you're looking for a first Ina Garten cookbook, don't start with this one. If you're a big fan of her show (and honest, I am too) you'll be tempted to add this one to your collection. I'm sorry that I feel the need to suggest that you try to resist the urge.
164 of 174 found the following review helpful:
More cooking pleasure from InaApr 25, 2007
So...........where do I start? The sharp, beautiful, glossy photography that entices you to make each delicious recipe? The welcoming and carefree pictures of Ina and Jeffrey's beautiful home that are the background for this book? The helpful hints and encouragement from Ina? The use of fresh veggies and fruit to make each meal so good to eat? It's hard to figure out which to place first, but regardless of where you want to begin, you'll find yourself at ease.
Ina just seems to get better and better with each volume of gastronomic delights, even when you think she has already given us the best. Her fifth venture into the publishing world is no less wonderful than her first four.
She has broken down her book into six main categories of cooking (soup and sandwich, salads, dinner, veggies, dessert, breakfast) then ties it all up with an interesting addendum of "if you're visiting the Hamptons" which is a tribute, of sorts, to all the lovely places she goes to in the Hamptons, to see and smell and taste and enjoy; much appreciated, good friend! The book flows as such:
This is a really friendly introduction that helps you get caught up with her casual approach to planning, her path to this career change, and all the little hints and idea's that you can incorporate to make any get-together with family and friends all that more fun and memorable. She also gives you 2 quick recipes for getting guests to unwind and snack until all is ready for the main event, and they are Fresh Whiskey Sours, and Green Herb Dip. She then gives you a little help in how to plan your grocery list and the actual shopping.
SOUP AND SANDWICHES
Caesar Club Sandwich
Mexican Chicken Soup
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Smoked Salmon and Egg Salad Tartines
Garlic Croutons, Chicken Stock
Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup (superb!!)
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Pesto Panini
Honey White Bread
Planning Outdoor Parties
Heirloom Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Dressing
Chicken Salad Veronique
Grilled Tuna Salad
Bibb Salad with Basil Green Goddess Dressing
Jon Snow's Fish Salad
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
Pesto Pea Salad
Warm Duck Salad
Tomato Feta Salad
Blue Cheese Coleslaw (a must if you're a cheesehead!)
Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
Making An "Important" Dinner
Blue Cheese Burgers
Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing
Lamb Kebobs with Couscous
Couscous with Pine Nuts
Loin of Pork with Fennel
Stuffed Cabbage (sooo easy and such a standard!!)
Rib-eye Steaks with Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings
Portobello Mushroom Lasagna
Chicken with Goat Cheese and Basil
Eli's Asian Salmon
Lemon Fusilli with Arugula
Summer Garden Pasta
Seared Tuna with Mango Chutney
Easy Lobster Paella
Garlic and Herb Tomatoes
Orange-Honey Glazed Carrots
Broccolini and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Herbed Basmati Rice
Green, Green Spring Vegetables
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes
Creamy Rosemary Polenta
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic
Maple Baked beans
Mustard Roasted Potatoes
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
DESSERTS (the best part of ANY meal!!)
How she thinks about,defines, and develops recipes
Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate
Beatty's Chocolate Cake & Frosting (the BEST chocolate cake ever!)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Mixed Berry Pavlova, Sweetened Whipped Cream, Triple Raspberry Sauce
Pumpkin Mousse Parfait
Black and White Angel Food Cake
Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing
Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries
Ultimate Ginger Cookies
Peach and Blueberry Crumbles
Pear, Apple and Cranberry Crisp
Summer Fruit Crostata
Caramel Pecan Sundaes
Designing a kitchen
Cranberry Orange Scones
Chunky Banana Bran Muffins
Easy Cheese Danish
Omelet for Two
Scrambled Eggs and Salmon
Breakfast Fruit Crunch (this is a quick and delicious idea)
Sunday Morning Oatmeal
Blueberry Crumb Cake
Anna's Orange Marmalade
Irish Soda bread
Fresh Peach Bellini's
Spicy Bloody Mary's
"If You're Visiting The Hampton's"........
Menu's for All Ooccasions
54 of 58 found the following review helpful:
Ina and a cozy arm chairNov 12, 2006
By Renee Gleason
I am going to start by saying that I have been a fan of Ina's for a few years now. What I have always loved about Ina is her easy going nature, her love of family and friends, and her uncanny ability to make even the simplest things seem elegant. Her recipes are almost always easy but delicious and it is a rare occasion when I stumble across one that wasn't sensational. She has become a trusted source for me for recipes and entertaining ideas. With all that being said, it is no surprise that I eagerly anticipated the release of her new book. It pains me to give Ina anything less than a 5 star rating, but I'm afraid this book has not quite delivered to my expectations.
My real disappointment lies in the lack of truly inspiring recipes. For a seasoned cook, many of her selections are horrible disappointments. For example, buttermilk mashed potatoes, not one but two versions of chicken salad, tomato feta salad, potato salad, blue cheese burgers, herbed basmati rice, omelet for two...if you have found your way into a kitchen from time to time, then you probably already know how to make these dishes. What's more, with such an abundance of simple recipes, this book seems oddly out of place in Ina's collection. Perhaps if this were her first it wouldn't feel so elementary, but after 4 wonderful cookbooks with many fabulous and often innovative recipes, this one just seems oddly uncharacteristic. This would be a great book for a beginner cook. Or if someone was new to Ina then I might recommend they buy this book first, but for us Ina vets, it feels like a step in the wrong direction. This is not to say that there aren't any noteworthy recipes. I, for one, am anxious to try her shrimp bisque, her ribollita, loin of pork with fennel, zucchini pancakes, seafood gratin and her coconut cake. But for the amount of recipes I will actually gain, this book sadly feels skimpy.
In Ina's defense however, she did name the book "Barefoot Contessa at Home" for a reason. If you sit down and read this book from cover to cover you will see that there is an underlying theme from which Ina never deviates...home. Right from the beginning Ina takes us on a journey of what "home" means to her, from the beginning days of her marriage when she struggled to create a comfortable home for her and her new husband, to the later years when she found herself at home in the Hamptons. In her characteristic easygoing charm, Ina is able to paint a whole different picture of the Hamptons than we are probably used to...not the stuffy, snobby Hamptons that we may think of, but a place of true community. She talks about the couple who inherited a farm and began raising the best chickens ever to grace a Sunday dinner table, and the family of fishermen that spans three generations. She describes a place steeped deeply in history and with a character all its own. Her guide to the Hamptons at the end of the book may seem odd at first, but it is, in fact, a beautiful testament to the place she calls home, and Ina is more than proud to share it with us. She also pays tribute to "home" in other areas of her book, like how to make your dinner guests feel at home or how to outfit and decorate your house to make it feel homey and comfortable...not only for you but for all the friends and family who will drop in from time to time. She even talks about how to design a kitchen so that it not only functions well but is inviting and comfortable for all who venture in it. In this context I suppose her recipes are not so far off from the true theme of her book. Home is the place we feel most comfortable of all and oftentimes the simplest of dishes are the ones that make us feel the warmest inside. If this is what Ina set out to do, then she has certainly succeeded. But if you are an Ina fan, then you should know before buying this book that you are not going to find the Ina you are used to. This is Ina at her most relaxed, curled up in a cozy armchair in her home in East Hampton. And she has invited you in to stay for a while. To quote Ina herself, "How bad is that?"
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