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October 2010 Cookbook of the Month: BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK

The winner of the October 2010 Cookbook of the Month is the BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK by Ina Garten and Martha Stewart.

From the Nominations to the Primary, there were many opinions but not much consensus. The assumption was that this primary would be a close call, but the voting was clear and we have avoided a second voting round.

This has been an exciting month. Of particular note is how many new people have participated in the process. Welcome to the fold!

This thread will be a place to discuss ingredients, techniques and the book in general. On October 1st, the recipe threads for the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook will be posted, along with one thread for Barefoot Contessa Other so we can assemble recipe reviews of her other cookbooks in one convenient location. These other cookbooks will not technically be part of the COTM, but are "companions." Please wait to post your reviews until those threads are up so that we have them nicely organized going forward.

When I receive this book from my library, I will begin to research which of the recipes are online. If you already have the book in hand, please feel free to start posting URL's with titles.

For our new members, reviewing a recipe is easy. Locate the best thread for your dish, post the name of the recipe and page number, and then review away!

Some of the questions you might answer include: Did it come out well? Did you modify the ingredients? Was the seasoning good or did you need less/more? How did your family like it? Would you make it again? Is this a quick weekday or a company is coming recipe? Did your kid(s) like it? And bonus points for photos.


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    1. Thank you SMT...!! I just ordered the book from my library system. This time around I want to take a peek before I buy. Sometimes, in the afternoon, I catch a re-run of her TV show and although her food looks pretty good, as do her surroundings, I need to read the recipes to determine if I'll like what I'll be cooking. Food Network cooks try very hard to Sell their food to the viewing audience. I want to see for myself.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Very prudent. I have just finished a large cookbook buying spree, my own version of a stimulus package. I too have ordered from the library. In general, I start this way most months since not every book "sings" to me.

        As I mentioned on the Primary thread, I have made a number of her recipes from the Food Network site and they have all been very good. However, they use copious quantities of butter and/or cream, so are simply not in the general rotation.

        Of particular note is her Chicken Stew with Biscuits. I make this for friends who are undergoing medical treatments regularly. It freezes well, it packs a ton of calories into every bite, and for those that are unable to consume much at one sitting, is easy to control portion size. All the same reasons, I don't serve it to myself often. :-)

        1. re: Gio

          I've ordered this from the library too. I just have two of her books, Parties and Paris, and haven't cooked much from either. But I am intrigued to know why her books are so hugely popular.

          My kids are very happy that next month will be regular food. It doesn't sound like my so-called diet is going to get much support from these recipes though.

          1. re: JaneEYB

            I use her recipes when I can't take a chance and am cooking for or with a group or for a special occasion. They are always a hit and the directions are clear and not very complicated. When chopping onions with volunteers it helps to know how many pounds or cups you need as opposed to "3 onions". I've made the lentil soup for 80 and the chicken salad (she roasts the chicken breasts) for 20 with great success and no worries. I hope this book has a beef braise- hers are always show stoppers. Luckily my library system has a number of copies on hand.

          2. re: Gio

            I'm not going to be able to get it from my library, in all probability (the great website which searched the whole of London's library system no longer exists, unfortunately). So I'm probably going to have to sit this month out. I do have the Paris book, however, so it will be a good opportunity to explore a book I've hardly ever used.

            1. re: greedygirl

              GG--you can post to the adjunct thread. I've got her "Back to Basics" and will be reporting there. (I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get the COTM book out of the library, though.

              Also, if you're willing to do online recipes, there are many. (Amyzan gave us a great start with links below).


              1. re: greedygirl

                Two things I've liked a lot from the Paris book, if memory serves me correctly are the couscous with roasted veg and the Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. I'll have to give it a look over to see if there is more I have tried and can recommend.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Ah, shoot, that recipe doesn't seem to be in B2B or BCC. Oh, but it's here on the Food Network. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...


              2. re: Gio

                This thread and this strategy (order it from the library in order to "try before you buy") is Librarian Approved. By this librarian.

                [wad of chewing gum imprinted with a seal here]

              3. smtucker, thanks for all your effort w this COTM, you're a saint!! I

                i'm thrilled to be taking a deeper dive into the BC cookbook and love that we're doing the companion thread. You can definitely count on my enthusiastic participation. I just discovered Chowhound over a month ago and have thoroughly enjoyed myself here thus far. It was the notion of the COTM (once I figured out what the acronym meant!) that really piqued my interest and I was delighted to start cooking along w others once my copy of Arabesque arrived.

                I know some folks have concern over Ina's love of butter/cream and the like and I hope they'll be delighted to find the many other recipes that are much more mainstream in terms of ingredients. I have all of Ina's books with the exception of the new one that's not available in Canada as yet, and my experience has been that her books are balanced with something for everyone. Two recipes that have been longtime favourites of my friends and family just happen to be online as well so I'll happily post the links below:

                Roasted-tomato basil soup


                Turkey meat loaf


                1 Reply
                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Agreed--her recipes are foolproof. I'll go somewhere--Italy or a farmer's mkt in Afton, VA and have something amazing--say an orange cranberry scone or ribolitta. I'll come home and search all over for the recipe, and low and behold, the best version will be Ina's.

                  1. I have my Barefoot Contessa books on the top shelf and just took the COTM down. For some reason, it feels very thin to me, and also very summery. I am going to try to cook from it though, especially once my DH is away on business trips in October. I am interested to try the turkey meatloaf, for example, and he would absolutely turn his nose up at it. I guess this is the reason I have been buying BC books whenever they appear at Costco!

                      1. Lentil Vegetable Soup http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/le...
                        Parmesan Croutons http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/...
                        Pecan Squares http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Cheddar and Chutney on Brioche http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Crab Cakes http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Strawberry Scones http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Swordfish with Tomato and Capers http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Maple-Oatmeal Scones http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Peach and Raspberry Crisp http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Lobster Pot Pie http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Guacamole http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Potato Fennel Gratin http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Fillet of Beef Bourguignonne http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Outrageous Brownies http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Roasted Tomato Basil Soup http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Parmesan Smashed Potatoes http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Roasted Brussels Sprouts http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Beets with Orange Vinaigrette http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Lamb Sausage in Puff Pastry http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Lobster Salad in Endive http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        French Potato Salad http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Grilled Tuna Nicoise Platter http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Caramelized Butternut Squash http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Roasted Carrots http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Cheddar Corn Chowder http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Lemon Curd http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Lemon Bars http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Hot Chocolate http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Roasted Eggplant Spread http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Lime Curd Tart http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Banana Crunch Muffin http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Cranberry Harvest Muffin http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ba...
                        Vegetable Sushi http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Sun-dried tomato Dip http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Kitchen Clam Bake http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Orange Yogurt http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                        Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: BigSal

                          BigSal sweetheart... How many ways can I thank you? I have an order in with my library for the book but your list will keep me occupied till I have the book in hand. A Million thanks!! And many thanks to others who have posted links to recipes. Just one more reason to love the Home Cooking board...

                            1. re: Gio

                              Gio speaks for me, too! Thanks.

                            2. re: BigSal

                              I love her chicken pot pie recipe. Don't know if it is in any books.


                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585552 - lots of discussions about her recipe on this thread, as well as how others have varied it. I love to put in some tarragon.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                her chix pot pie is excellent. HOWEVER, i don't know what universe she living in where it serves four...it serves 3 times that.

                            3. smtucker: Don't you mean did you NOT modify the ingredients?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: oakjoan

                                Heh, you mean because the basic assumption is "Yes, of course we modified the ingredients," since we are such, um, self-guided cooks?

                              2. Say, is Martha Stewart actually a co-author of this cookbook? As best I can tell, she merely wrote the foreword to it. I see that Amazon lists the authors as "Ina Garten and Martha Stewart", but I think they're wrong. Or maybe they're just doing it so that this book will come up on a search for Martha Stewart. But I hate to see COTM propagating this error.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                  I'm pretty sure she (MS) just wrote the foreword.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    My book says by Ina Garten, foreword by Martha Stewart

                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                      It looks to me that martha stewart was just lending her then superior visibility and marketing cachet to her friend here. Even tho they get equal billing as authors, I see no indication anywhere that martha stewart was involved with the actual recipes.

                                  2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                    Clearly, I used amazon at the end of the voting round. My library shows Ina Garten as the only author. I don't have the book yet so I can't check the copyright page, but I suspect that you are correct.

                                  3. With the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook in hand, I have begun locating online versions of the book's recipes.

                                    Now that I have finished three chapters, I am amazed to discover that only one recipe per chapter is NOT online. This means that even if you can't afford the book, don't want to own the book without trying it, and/or your library can't get the book, there is no reason to not participate this month.

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      That is pretty terrific!

                                      I know there's still time left in September, but I feel so behind on Roden month that I have half a mind to jump ahead to Ina Garten. Then I can feel AHEAD for once instead of behind.


                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        TDQ: What do you mean by "behind"?

                                        You haven't started cooking yet?

                                        You've started cooking but haven't posted?

                                        You've not even looked at the book?

                                        You set yourself a task to cook 100 recipes from Roden and have only cooked 64?

                                        If you DO jump ahead, think of all of us poor saps who will be discouraged when they see that, even though it's not even the last week in September, you've already posted about 25 recipes? Then WE'll feel behind and get discouraged and it'll spread all over the country and pretty soon nobody will be cooking at all!

                                        McDonald's will thrive, but American cooking as we know it will be dead! Dead, I tell you, DEAD! Do you want that on your shoulders? I think not!

                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                          (Laughing so hard I'm crying). Oakjoan, thank you for setting me straight. In order to pull human civilization back from the brink of extinction, I promise to refrain from cooking from Ina Garten until Oct 1.

                                          But, I've read through both books and marked a ton of recipes from each, and not cooked even one. :(


                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            OMG! Joan, is hysterical, and today was a day for hysteria, IMHO. See two internets acronyms in two sentences. My work here is done.

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                Just finished mine. Ready for shrimp fajitas!

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              Joan, you are unspeakably hysterical! TDQ: home cooking terrorist!

                                              Just picked up my copy of BCC from the library today and going through it now. First impression was that it wasn't my type of food -- I like comfort food, but it's not necessarily what I like to cook. But I'm halfway through the book now and there are about 20 post-it flags sticking out from the sides, so I may be wrong. I like her tone in the chapter intros and recipe headers overall, even if it's pretty basic for many, but the few name-drops are pretty irritating (Lauren Bacall gets cranky about lack of Indonesian Chicken and Stephen Spielberg says split pea soup tastes like his mom's) -- hopefully just something they felt necessary to give a first book from a relative unknown a little extra cred.

                                              Also got Barefoot in Paris from the library, which is looking really good, even though I am not much for cooking French (again, I like to eat it, just not what I like to cook -- funny how that works, isn't it?).

                                              One question on BCC -- I've seen several recipes that call for raspberry vinegar, which feels very of that time a decade ago and just isn't an ingredient I want to buy -- anyone have any suggestions for substitutions?

                                              Did anyone else know that pre-BC, Ina "was working in the White House on nuclear energy policy?" I was saving the world then I decided to cater parties in the Hamptons. Is that first-book hyperbole? Too lazy to google....

                                              1. re: mebby

                                                Yea, that part is true. She did work on nuclear policy.

                                                I have just spent hours with this book googling all the recipes and it is "of a time" for sure. everything in the book is designed to cook in-house, be chosen by ladies who lunch, and then served somewhere else/later. As to the raspberry vinegar, I would substitute sherry or champagne vinegar, both of which she uses a lot in more recent recipes.

                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                  "Of a time" seems right. Unfortunately for some of the recipes, they're "of a time" gone by! No one was happier than I to seen the general demise of raspberry vinegar.

                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      The only place I still find a need for raspberry vinegar is in making this fantastic cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. It's really wonderful; the vinegar gives a terrific, tangy background flavor. Luckily vinegar keeps and keeps, because that's the one thing I use it for (and I only use one brand, which is really very good, even if it's not a flavor I want everywhere).

                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          Kozlowski Farms Black & Raspberry Vinegar. I don't know if it's available in stores outside Northern California, though they do mail order. (I occasionally schlepped bottles back with me to NY when returning from CA visits when I lived in NY, for making the cranberry sauce.)


                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          oh man, getting through a bottle of that stuff. I just threw out the dregs of a 20 yr old bottle.

                                                    2. re: mebby

                                                      I never did like raspberry vinegar, but I love using a mild vinegar with raspberry preserves. Most raspberry vinegar tastes artificial to me.

                                              2. Ina Garten's recipes might be from "a time" but I *missed* that time-- my job didn't permit me to cook and read as much as I can now! Raspberry vinegar sounds delicious and wonderful, I wonder if a person could just smash some raspberries or berry liqueur with some wine vinegar and approximate the flavor? It's sad that dishes go "out of style" -- if it was tasty then it's tasty now, it's just fashion I guess.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  Look at that! You can make your own. Scroll down for the full recipe. if you make some, will you let us know how it tastes? I won't be cooking much for the next week or so [well not new and different things anyhow.]


                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    Thank you, smtucker, and there are some interesting recipes (museum pieces?) below those vinegar instructions too. I found a Martha Stewart recipe for raspberry vinegar also--on her site.

                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                    You could make a gastrique: equal parts seedless red raspberry jam and white wine vinegar, melted and stirred together. Gastriques (use any jam, any vinegar, although top quality yields the best results) are extremely useful to have in the fridge to use in dressings and sauces for fish, poultry, and meats.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      I don't see how this flavor would differ from raspberry vinegar in a recipe--and yes, it sounds like a very useful mixture. I guess it's old fashioned now to like mint jelly on lamb, but this seems like the same idea. Any berry, or fig or apricot, maybe.

                                                    2. re: blue room

                                                      I just don't really care for raspberry vinegar and never did. Love raspberries by themselves, but don't love them as a flavoring. I don't really think food is as much about "fashion" for most people/cooks. There are trends, certainly, but I don't think they are driven as much by a desire to be fashionable, as it is to try new ingredients, combinations and flavors -- and sometimes getting tired of one that has been overdone.

                                                      For anyone who is interested, I did see the Kozlowski Farms Raspberry Vinegar Caitlin mentions above (not Black and Raspberry as she references) in my local grocery store (Gelson's) in L.A. yesterday.

                                                      1. re: mebby

                                                        I used to love raspberry vinaigrette, but, yeah, now that you mention it, it seems so last millennium.


                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          One of my favorite thoughts about food right now by Ian Froeb a local restaurant critic-
                                                          Great execution trumps cliché.

                                                        2. re: mebby

                                                          They have two, plain raspberry vinegar and black raspberry vinegar (that's the one they call Black & Raspberry); the latter has the better flavor.

                                                      2. My library copy of the book arrived on Saturday and although I haven't had a chance to read all the recipes, at first glance I can see why her recipes are so popular. Clear, concise directions and not many hard-to-source ingredients. One recipe that caught my eye viv a vis baking was the peach and raspberry crisp. One pound of butter...?? My goodness. (O_O)

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          For others whose interest might be peaked:

                                                          peach and raspberry crisp pg 190

                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                            Hmmmnn, the linked recipe calls for one half pound of butter. Wonder if it's different in the book. It also looks a lot like the recipe that has been in my family for years, although we always called it a "crisp," and used either apples or rhubarb. Any type of fruit works well. It's my "go-to" recipe for potlucks, but I use sour cherries, Sometimes sour cherries and peaches. Now that is a mighty fine combo.

                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                              My edition of the cookbook also has 1/2 pound.

                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                It's as if somebody at the publishing house saw the recipe and said "OMIGOD! One POUND of butter?!!!???

                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  All right...I sit corrected. I checked the book and indeed.. it's ONLY 1/2 pound of butter. But still, that's alotta buddah.

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      It's a lot of butter, but the recipe does call for 5 pounds of peaches, and serves 10, meaning less than 2 tablespoons of butter per serving.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        Probably would have been wise to look up the recipe before commenting, eh?


                                                          2. I got my copy from the library too and I'm so glad we're doing a smaller book so more (all?) of the recipes can be reviewed. I got several pounds of tomatoes for the roasted tomato soup (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...) from the farmers market and am hoping they last a couple more days until I have time to make it. Glad I have something to use up the basil in my garden as it calls for *four cups, packed*.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: sarahcooks

                                                              Oh, awesome. I get a ton of basil in summer and am always looking for things to do with it. I hope it turns out delicious!


                                                            2. I just got my copy from the library today and have marked a handful of recipes to try. Like, um, 10. Years ago I would have marked a lot more, I'm sure, but most of the recipes that I find appealing are things I already make, and pretty similarly to her way. But hey, wasn't it TDQ who said this would be a month we could keep up with? Yeah, I think I might actually manage to make all 10 of those recipes this month.

                                                              Now if I were a sweets person, I'm sure I'd have quite a few more marked. I briefly considered the corn muffins and the maple oatmeal scones, but the amount of butter made me blanche. 1/2 lb butter for 12 muffins? A pound of butter for 14 scones? Oh, lordy.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                I have read all of your post and no one has mention the name of Ina's new cookbook that you are dicussing. Would someone please name the title?

                                                                1. re: Mollybud

                                                                  The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. (It's not really new...).


                                                                  1. re: Mollybud

                                                                    We're talking about the COTM (Cookbook of the Month) that those who want to participate in voted for the month of October, BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK, just as the title of this thread announced. Any and all are welcome to cook along from this book. We cook whatever recipe that we think we or our family would like to eat and report on it on the threads the organizer will set up for us. We hope you will join us.

                                                                    Here's a link to past Cookbooks of the Month so you can see what went before this:

                                                                    Click on the blue links to see our reports of past books.

                                                                  2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                    You have to try the brownies - they're amazing.