HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

*October 2010 Cookbook of the Month: BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK

  • 159
  • Share

Welcome to the general discussion thread for the October 2010 Cookbook of the Month, featuring BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK.

We will use this thread for general commentary, recipe planning, links, and any other issues related to this COTM.

If you're new to Cookbook of the Month, the COTM archive thread explains how it all works:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

To post a full-length review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below.

Appetizers, Soups and Salads
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737716

Dinners and Vegetables
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737718

Desserts
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737721

Breakfasts
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737722

Other Sources: Books and Online
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737723

To review discussions from earlier threads, you can take a look at the nominations: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/732606, the voting: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/734237, and the general discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/735111

Finally, the Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy cooking!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I have made the following recipes several times each and they're always wonderful - looking forward to making many more this month:

    Parker's Split-Pea Soup - p. 73 - but I usually add ham
    Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup - p.84 - a summer favorite
    Beets with Orange Vinaigrette - p. 93 - I sub balsamic for the raspberry vinaigrette usually
    Filet of Beef Bourguignon - p. 123 - like a de-constructed one with rare strips of beef - yum
    Spinach Pie - p. 163
    Chocolate Buttercream Cake - p. 194 - perfect every time

    1. Wow smtucker, thanks for putting up all those on-line recipes in each thread! I really do prefer cooking from an actual book and was very excitted when the e-mail came today, announcing that my library book had arrived. With just 10 minutes to spare, I rushed down to check it out as otherwise would have had to wait three days. Then the librarian handed me The Barefoot Contessa. Only it wasn't a cookbook, it was a video cassette. And not a video of Ina's cooking shows either. Nope, an old movie starring Lauren Bacall.....

      6 Replies
      1. re: clamscasino

        Lol! But I think you mean Ava Gardner?

        1. re: roxlet

          Could be...I no longer have a cassette player, so didn't bring it home.

          1. re: clamscasino

            roxlet is right. It's Ava Gardner.

        2. re: clamscasino

          Oh wow! A cassette? Oh dear me, that must have been so disappointing.

          The Barefoot Contessa is a thin enough book that collecting the urls' wasn't that time consuming [NOTE: I will NEVER do this for a 700 pg book!] and I hope that having so many of the recipes at fingertips will encourage all our enthusiastic newcomers to jump into the fray.

          And who listens to a movie, that isn't a musical, on a cassette?

          1. re: smtucker

            Didn't mean to imply it was a music cassette - it was a video cassette. Oh and it turns out it is a movie made in 1954, not only with Ava Garner, but Humphrey Bogart too. Would have been fun to watch it!

            1. re: clamscasino

              It's a pretty good movie - but not if you're looking forward to a cookbook!

        3. I just went through this book from cover to cover, and could find nothing I want to make. Might have worked for me during the summer months, when many ingredients were in season. I refuse to buy extra-large eggs for the sake of one cookbook, when all others use large. I'll be cooking from Dorie's new book this month.

          48 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            "I refuse to buy extra-large eggs for the sake of one cookbook, when all others use large. "

            I find this annoying as well. Carole Bloom did the same thing in "The Essential Baker."

            1. re: flourgirl

              I really don't think that it makes a big difference one way or another. My husband always buys extra-large eggs at costco, and I use them even when it says large. Maybe it's sloppy on my part, but I have never noticed an appreciable difference in the outcome.

              1. re: roxlet

                It generally wouldn't matter too much if the recipe doesn't use too many eggs. But than why write the recipe using extra large eggs in the first place? Especially when just about EVERY other cookbook author on the planet uses large eggs? It's annoying.

                1. re: flourgirl

                  I don't know. Maybe her husband only buys extra-large eggs at Costco too! If I were to write a recipe, I would use extra-large eggs since that is what I always have. I don't find it annoying when recipes use large eggs; I always do a little adjustment and add a trifle more of something else (flour, breadcrumbs, etc), and it always comes out fine.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    The instruction "extra large egg" is less annoying than "large onion" or "large chicken breast". Google tells me a large egg is 2 ounces, an extra large is 2 1/4 ounces. Plus all the charts tell me it doesn't matter unless many eggs (more than 4 I think) are in play.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Right, but I'm guessing you're not a published cookbook author?

                      If the vast majority of cookbook authors write recipes using large eggs, why is it necessary for a just a couple to be different? And if a recipe DOES use enough eggs, there is absolutely potential for the recipe outcome to be affected if someone substitues larg for extra-large, especially considering that not all eggs in a particular carton are the same size. So if one happens to, say, use the three smallest eggs in a carton of large eggs when a recipe called for extra large eggs, there could absolutely be an appreciable difference in the resulting dish/baked good.

                      I own over 500 cookbooks - and these two are the only ones I've noticed this in. I'm allowed to find it annoying - and I do.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        I'll ask her and her publisher through her "Ask Ina" feature at the Food Network.
                        Will post here if I get an answer!

                        1. re: blue room

                          I may have found an answer to why Ina G. always uses extra large eggs-- she simply thinks they're a better buy. This is according to "peachesncream" a poster at the food site "Cooking Light". She posts:
                          "... I wonder if you're making a recipe of Ina Garten's? Her recipes use extra large eggs. She says they are a better buy..."
                          So don't pay extra for protein if the size of the egg isn't important!
                          I don't know if that's true always everywhere-- but you can figure it this way-- I found this online can't find it quickly now! --
                          Let's say large eggs cost 96 cents a dozen and a dozen extra-large eggs cost $1.05. Which is the better buy? First, find the price difference by subtracting the price of the smaller size from that of the larger. In this case, the price difference is $1.05 minus 96 cents, or 9 cents. Then divide the price of the smaller eggs by 8 to find the "magic number." In this case, 96 cents divided by 8 is exactly 12 (round off the number if it isn't even).
                          If the magic number is lower than the price difference, the smaller eggs are a better buy.

                        2. re: flourgirl

                          Yes, you are allowed to find it annoying, of course.

                          I just made Nick Malgieri's brownie recipe and it simply said '4 eggs' with no indications as to size preference...

                          1. re: roxlet

                            He usually has one of those blah blah sections about ingredients, utensils, etc and it says large. I'm with you, 1/4 oz (average, since eggs are not 100% uniform) doesn't concern me.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              This was from the Saveur site, so he didn't have the blah, blah section. The smell fabulous, btw.

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Haven't I been going on about these long enough? Sheesh.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Ha, ha. I'm glad they're mostly going to school tomorrow!

                        3. re: roxlet

                          I had to laugh thinking of Jeffrey buying eggs at Costco!

                          1. re: nolight

                            I'm guessing he's never crossed the doorway of a Costco.

                            1. re: nolight

                              I know. It made me laugh too!

                          2. re: flourgirl

                            XL eggs are yet another of the many reasons I like Ina better than anyone else on FN. I have always bought XL eggs and used them in baking. Everything has always turned out fine.

                      2. re: pikawicca

                        I dont get why you dont buy the extra large. the price point is usually better (at least here in NY) and it really doesnt make much diff in recipes to use in place of large (in my experience)

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          Garten said in an interview that she believes the extra large are the better buy. A simple matter of more protein for the money, nothing to do with the recipe outcome.

                          1. re: blue room

                            I guess that's why I did it, too. I don't remember ever buying any other size until I started baking a lot of cakes about a year ago, at which time I switched to cake flour and Large eggs.

                            Eventually, I went back to buying XL, because I make an omelet or scrambled eggs with 2 XL eggs, vs. 3 of the Large. So, XL = fewer trips to the store. I ended up making said favorite cake (the 1-2-3-4 cake from Alice Waters' Simple Food) with XL eggs once, and quickly realized I liked the cake just fine that way.

                            1. re: Jay F

                              So you acknowledge that you can subsititute 2 XL eggs for every 3 L when cooking, which is a BIG difference, & yet you're going to keep insisting that you can freely subsitute XL for L eggs in baking?

                              I don't think so. I'm sure there are recipes that work fine substituting XL for L eggs - but I'm thinking that there are also plenty of recipes that won't. And once again, out of hundred of baking books I own, only TWO out of all those books specify XL eggs. I am not about to try every friggin recipe I have that calls for L eggs & see if XL eggs work. And if a recipe calls for XL eggs and all I have is L, I'd be concerned about wasting my time, money and food substituting L eggs & than have a baking failure.

                              1. re: flourgirl

                                This is an interesting discussion.

                                When purchasing eggs, my primary interest is in freshness. From spring through fall I have the pleasure and benefit of purchasing fresh eggs from a local farmer. These eggs come in a wonderful variety of shapes, sizes and colours. When baking w eggs, because measurements are necessarily precise I simply weigh my eggs to ensure I'm adding appropriate amounts.

                                I can't speak to other jurisdictions but in the US and Canada egg weights (and grading standards) are regulated so its easy to find out what weight ranges are set for each egg size . . . .and yes, there is a range of weights.

                                I printed a weight chart similar to the one on the Canadian webpage link I've shared below and have it taped inside one of my kitchen cupboards for reference. When my recipes call for eggs, I then just measure out as much as I need.

                                I've also pasted a US link below if anyone else is interested.

                                Canadian egg info:

                                http://eggs.ab.ca/about-eggs/quality-...

                                US egg info:

                                http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/f...

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  I know there is a range of weights - as do most cookbook authors. My understanding is that well-written recipes take this variation into consideration.

                                  I generally do weigh my ingredients - but not eggs, I've never felt the need. If I started using XL eggs, I would HAVE to though, and this would actually lead to wasting eggs. That's my point. Almost everybody writes recipes using large eggs NOT XL.

                                  For those of us who don't want to weigh and waste eggs, the size of the egg used can matter a great deal. It makes a difference in the consistency of the batter and ultimately affects the outcome of the baked good.

                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                    Very informative - I bet if I were more precise, my baking would be better. Weighing sounds like a good solution - and I probably could benefit from weighing all the ingredients, as I am sure most good chefs probably learn to do.

                                    Does anyone have recommendation for a good kitchen scale that would be durable, but no too expensive for the home cook?

                                    1. re: DpBluSea

                                      Salter makes very reliable scales in various price ranges. A lot depends on your needs. You probably want a tare function, meaning that you can zero out any container or ingredients that are already on the scale so you can add ingredients one after the other in the same container. I also find it tremendously helpful to have a scale that can measure in either grams or ounces so that I can use British measurements without having to convert them. That may or may not be important to you. And of course there's the question of where you'll store the scale. Is a smaller footprint more important than the height of the scale itself, or vice versa.

                                      Lots of other considerations, too. Like will you want to be weighing large cuts of meat or just small amounts of flour, sugar, and butter? How do you feel about having to change batteries?

                                      Here's a good, fairly recent discussion over on the Cookware Board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719968

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        That is great info on scales - thanks so much!

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          I love my Salter, have had it for about 10 years and would not be parted from it. Love the metric capability too.

                            2. re: jen kalb

                              I don't think extra large eggs are that common in the UK. I did read somewhere once that there are cruelty issues involved with very large eggs, which put me off somewhat, and I usually buy medium.

                              http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life...

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                That is very interesting, greedygirl. Thanks for posting it. I've recently become aware of the lives of egg-laying chickens, but I hadn't read this. I imagine it would be true of both free-range and caged chickens.

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  greedygirl, I was really surprised to read that--I've never ever heard that assertion. Looking around the web, I can find only that one mention of it as a problem. (I was looking at animal cruelty/advocate/welfare sites, not at the egg industry sites!) There are LOTS of horrible and true facts about the treatment of chickens, but the size of eggs isn't mentioned. However, I emailed a direct question to "Certified Humane", an organization that (I read) has the most stringent recommendations for farm animal treatment. I'll certainly post here if they answer.
                                  This isn't meant to challenge or discredit, people who hurt animals deserve to have abuse heaped on them! But this struck me as improbable.
                                  Maybe someone here raises laying hens and could chime in? Is it possible to control the size of eggs that chickens lay? Is it true that eggs become larger naturally as the chicken get older?

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    This last. yes. Larger eggs are from older hens.

                                    1. re: blue room

                                      Recently bought a dozen eggs from a small local organic farm and they were different sizes ranging from medium to extra large. We ate them fried and scrambled - too good to waste in a cake!

                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                      Hi GG!

                                      I had never heard that either. I found some other articles (including mention of jumbo eggs), all referencing the same link you mentioned. http://www.hippyshopper.com/2009/03/g...

                                      I did just ask a friend (farmer) from the local farm where I buy my eggs - pic below; they're so beautiful and come in all colors and sizes because of the variety of chickens. He had never heard that either and was quite curious as different size chickens lay different size eggs and all lay one a day, whether we buy them or not. We are both wondering if somehow breeders in the UK (or here in the US for all I know) somehow feed a small chicken something that makes eggs too big for their body? Interesting topic.

                                      1. re: Rubee

                                        Trying picture again.

                                        Eggs from Superstition Farm:

                                         
                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          Wow, so pretty! You don't even need to dye them at Easter!

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            I know, I feel like I should just display them in a bowl ; )

                                            1. re: Rubee

                                              You should! They make a great flower substitute!

                                          2. re: Rubee

                                            Speaking of eggs ... Ive been lucky to get fresh eggs from my mailman, lately! I leave a egg carton in the mailbox with a couple dollars in it in the mailbox, and the next day there are a carton of eggs - it's like magic!

                                            Anyway, the eggs are always mixed size, M, L ,XL, all shades of brown and white. It's the FRESH part that makes more of a difference, I think - I never tasted a fresh egg till I was 40 (I'm from the city)! If the recipe calls for 4 eggs, I'll use 5 of the Medium ones, otherwise I don't sweat it.

                                            Fresh eggs have a really deep ORANGE colored yolk (rather than yellow/gold) and the yolks stand up high (as opposed to flattened) when you crack them and put in the pan.

                                            If you have a neighbor you can buy fresh eggs from it's worth the trouble.

                                            1. re: DpBluSea

                                              I'm jealous, wish I had a magic mailman!

                                              1. re: DpBluSea

                                                DpBluSea, I hear and read that yolk color is determined by the chicken feed only, and doesn't indicate freshness. Have you heard this?
                                                The height of the yolk, though, does mean an egg is fresher.

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  No, I have not read that, but that may well be - it seems to be true, for me, grocery eggs compared to farm eggs, but my mailman/farmer mentioned that whatever he feeds his hens he "grinds" for them every day - maybe commercial producers use a pre-ground different feed? Could be that chickens that go around and eat grass, etc, have different colored yolks, as opposed to caged hens?

                                                  I don't know much about farms, I come from the city, but live on the FL Gulf Coast, now. The reason I started seeking out fresh eggs was that I heard that the factory eggs that we get in out grocery stores (down here) are actually 2-3 months old! I don't know if that's true or not.

                                                  Fresh eggs (boiled) seem to be a little more difficult to peel, for me, but that may be due to inexact cooking time, on my part?

                                                  Have you ever baked with duck eggs? I have not, but heard that they can be great for baking?

                                                  1. re: DpBluSea

                                                    No, fresh eggs are notoriously difficult to peel. You should let them age a bit before you hard-cook them.

                                                    1. re: DpBluSea

                                                      I'm afraid I've never even seen a duck egg! I suppose they'd be fine to bake with, but of course you'd have to allow for their bigger size in your ingredient ratios.

                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                        I have read that they are good for baking because the yolks are especially rich, much more so that chicken eggs.

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          kattyeyes commented on baking with goose eggs last year, I think?

                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                              This post should have been situated right under greedygirl's discussion of extra large eggs.

                                              Ewwwww!

                                          3. re: pikawicca

                                            Dorie who?

                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                              pikawicca started this thread on Dorie Greenspan's new book, Around My French Table, and has reported on things she has cooked from it (as have others): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731319

                                          4. I didn't vote because I started a new job and didn't know if I'd have time. I like the looks a lot of the recipes though starting with the maple oatmeal scones - nice for crisp Fall mornings. Thanks for all your time and effort organizing this smtucker! :)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                              Hey, that scone recipe looks reasonably healthful, except for all of the butter. Please do report back! I wonder if it's possible to cut back on the butter?

                                              ~TDQ

                                            2. SMT you certainly made reporting very easy for us this month with the inclusion of all those links. Thank you very much!

                                              I'm returning the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook to the library today. Who needs the cookbook when almost all her recipes from all her books are on line?? Plus, if you watch her show with paper & pencil in hand you don't even need a computer. This cookbook is a perfect starter book for someone just learning to cook. I can see why she's so popular. Accessible ingredients, simple - really simple - recipes, nice results. I've made a note of other recipes I'll be making so I'll still be cooking along. By-the-bye, where are all the folks who voted this book in? Or is it still too early in the month?

                                              21 Replies
                                              1. re: Gio

                                                I looked through the book and found maybe 10 things that I feel excited about making. But unfortunately my husband is away a LOT this month, which means less cooking (we take advantage of that and have "ladies nights" when he's gone).

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  I voted for it and posted my most-used recipes above. I voted for it because I was ready for some simplicity and easy-to-find ingredients. Am just getting over an elbow injury and will be cooking a lot more, and I enjoy the Contessa's cookbooks. Will try at least 4 or 5 of hers that I haven't cooked yet, this month. If nothing else, the filet of beef bourguignon (123) is excellent fall and winter fare.

                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                    Yes, I read your list and when the book arrived from the library I marked Parker's Split Soup and the Beets with Orange Vinaigrette to make. For the soup I thought I'd add ham hocks as they've been in the freezer for a while and need to be used up so was glad to read of your ham addition. We don't eat red meat but wonder it pork could be subbed for the beef in the Bourguignon...or is that a sacrilege?

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Probably - it's quick-cooked, not braised for hours, even tho' you could braise a cut of pork in it. Interesting idea. Love the Beets salad, let me know what you think.

                                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                                        Do you use the 3 cans of beets? I have 1 large and 2 small-ish CSA beets I thought I'd use ASA I get the oranges. I'd roast them...

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          what you have should work fine - I've used all kind of combos and it always works - mmmm, maybe that salad with the 40-garlic chicken for dinner?

                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                            I wish! DH won't be home to help with dinner so I'l just wing it with left-overs. But the beets and 40 cloves of garlic will be great this week-end.

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            I have hated beets my entire life, until I tried a roasted real beet (rather than canned). DELICIOUS!

                                                            1. re: DpBluSea

                                                              Oh absolutely roasted beets are delicious. And, so simple to do. I never did have canned beets and only cooked them fresh once in a blue moon. But. roasted they're a wonderful way to add to vegetables to a weekly menu.

                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                      I didn't vote due or nominate due to ongoing erratic schedule, but thus far, I can say that I have a house full of acorn and delicata squash and the only squash recipes of hers I can find online (cookbook is on its way from library) or in "Back to Basics" (which I have) are for zucchini or butternut. I'll have to take a closer look. I definitely plan to try that 40 cloves of garlic recipe...but, since her recipes tend to be higher in fat than I am trying to cook right now, I may have only limited participation this month.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        TDQ - I've made the 40 cloves of garlic recipe so much that I haven't USED the recipe in years and years. It's a major family favorite in my house, addicting when you pop the contents of the garlic onto toast points...I'm drooling. Maybe that's dinner tonight.

                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                          With an endorsement like that, how can I resist?!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            TDQ, I made the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic last night, and agree that it is delicious. Plus, it really doesn't call for much fat...yeah there's heavy cream involved, but only 2 tbsp for 2 chickens. I subbed half and half. No problemo. BTW this recipe is in the Barefoot in Paris book.

                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          TDQ: I just got my copy of Plenty on Saturday and have already bought a delicata squash to use in a wonderful-looking roasted squash dish.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                            Oh, I should look at that recipe! I was first looking for a recipe from the current COTM, but, sicne there's no delicata recipe in tbcc, any cookbook is fair game!

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              Well, TDQ, it seems to me that this Plenty recipe could be used with any squash.

                                                            2. re: oakjoan

                                                              What is "Plenty"? Thanks.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                Jay I'm pretty sure oakjoan and The Dairy Queen are referring to Ottolenghi's "Plenty": http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/blog/2010...

                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                  Thanks maplesugar. I sometimes forget that everybody in the world isn't paying close attention to whatever I am thinking. ;+)

                                                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                                                    Thanks, maplesugar. It looks like something I should read. And thanks to oakjoan and DQ for mentioning it in the first place.

                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                      Here are a couple of our discussion threads about Ottolenghi's "Plenty."

                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7065...

                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7038...

                                                          2. I paged through the book when I picked it up from the library on Friday, and I wasn't wowed. BUT -- now that I'm reading about the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic (not in the book, but I have seen her make it on Food Network) I am going to try that, as well as the chocolate buttercream cake if I can find two 8-inch round cake pans.

                                                            I don't have a stand mixer, but I suppose I can still do the cake batter with my hand-held mixer, right? (recipe page 195).

                                                            The sun-dried tomato dip looks simple and yummy.

                                                            I have made her much-lauded pan-fried onion dip (page 53) and I found it too rich, which is unusual for me, b/c I am usually a **Bring on the full fat/ butter and cream girl**!

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: twilight goddess

                                                              I thought the dip was rich too - so subbed 1/2 the sour cream for 1/2 plain yogurt - worked like a charm. :)

                                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                                I like using the whole milk greek style yogurt in place of some or all of the sour cream in dip recipes - it works very well.

                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                  yeah up here I have to settle for Liberte greek yogurt(which is really good, don't get me wrong), can't wait for our trip south so I can finally try Fage.

                                                                2. re: maplesugar

                                                                  Okay, I'm definitely going for the sundried tomato dip. Today. I was contemplating using it as a sandwich spread too, and when I looked at the reviews on the FN link, several people suggested the dip's yumminess as exactly that, a sandwich spread. So I'll go for it. I wonder if I didn't let that onion dip sit long enough, b/c the reviews specify that with this one, too, it tastes heavy on the mayo right after it is completed, but the flavor really changes with chilling in the fridge for a few hours. Of course, I know that about dips, but maybe in the case of these especially rich ones, the chilling & waiting is really imperative. While it chills I am going to devour season one of Mad Men.

                                                                3. re: twilight goddess

                                                                  That chocolate buttercream cake looks incredible, doesn't it? And the coconut cupcakes too.

                                                                  1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                    twilight goddess, I just yesterday made her "Strawberry Country Cake" with a hand mixer, two 8 inch rounds. It worked fine.

                                                                    1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                      I don't have a stand mixer and it never made any difference. I seem to have baking problems but this cake always turns out great.

                                                                      1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                        This was the first summer that I tried the pan-fried onion dip and it made it's appearance at all our entertaining pool parties. Everyone LOVED it! I used low fat sour cream and mayo - maybe that cuts the richness a bit?

                                                                        1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                          that dip didn't come out for me at all when I made it years ago. What a waste of those beautiful onions!

                                                                        2. I didn't vote for this book, but requested it from my library and intend to cook along with you all. It just seems so...boring.
                                                                          Perhaps I will be proven wrong.
                                                                          There isn't a single pork recipe either. I'm just sayin'.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: rabaja

                                                                            One word, rabaja... Substitute.
                                                                            I noticed the no pork thing too so if I see an interesting recipe that can take it I intend to substitute...

                                                                            1. re: rabaja

                                                                              If I'm not mistaken, Ina is Jewish, which may account for the lack of pork. I just put bacon on my turkey meatloaf -- an improvement over ketchup I think!

                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                She may be Jewish, but if you Google "Ina Garten +pork" you'll find lots of her recipes. Wonder why none are in this book?

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  Maybe pork wasn't all the rage when she published this book? It does have a Virginia Ham recipe... And several shellfish recipes.

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                            2. It isn't just this book being used this month--the place to post reports from her other books and online recipes is here:
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7377...
                                                                              Yes, I've seen bacon, pork loin, pork chop dishes from her.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                I'm bumping this. I was certain we had an adjunct thread w this COTM for Ina's other books but a CH and Google search left me empty-handed. Unfortunately blue room's link doesn't work. I also checked the NON COTM thread to see if it was listed there but there's only a link to a Foolproof thread there.

                                                                                Does anyone else happen to remember an adjunct thread?

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  Here it is BC: "October 2010 COTM: BAREFOOT CONTESSA - Other Sources"
                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737723

                                                                                  It was on the Master Discussion page with the Contessa's reporting chapter breakdown.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Gio, grazie mille!! I'll add this to our Non COTM thread right away so I don't lose sight of it again. Big thanks!

                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      I just did...

                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                        You're so good Gio. I'll see if I can get the mods to remove mine.

                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                          It's OK Breadcrumbs. So it's in 2 places... top & bottom.

                                                                              2. Well, having made the turkey meatloaf, I realize that there is not a single other thing in the book that I am anxious to make! The Indonesian ginger chicken sounds like it would make my fillings ache with an entire cup of honey; I make my own version of swordfish with capers; a virginia ham for three is the definition of eternity; no one in my family likes fennel so there goes salmon with fennel; the grilled nicoise platter sounds very summery to me ditto the kitchen clambake; the lobster pot pie is kind of a special occasion pot pie; and her roast chicken is just roast chicken as far as I'm concerned. Maybe the filet of been bourguignon but that's it. It is really a very thin book.

                                                                                31 Replies
                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  roxlet, you must be having the kind of day I'm having, because your post just cracked me up.

                                                                                  I found this index of all of Garten's recipes. Since there's the "Other Sources" thread, maybe you kind find some recipes from another book that you can search for online to try? That's what I'm planning to do.

                                                                                  http://www.barefootcontessa.com/index...

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    Yes, I am definitely bored with this selection. I do have some of her other books -- I find the price of cookbooks at Costco irresistible, and this is why I have so many of her books I think!

                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      Even though I've made a number of things in Ina's first book--and have the recipes for them, what have you--I still enjoy her particular presentation of things, in this one volume, with its easy recipes and beautiful photos. There's no one on food network who cooks as much like me as Ina.

                                                                                      I had, however, never roasted a chicken on top of vegetables before I saw Ina do it on TV. That was the one that sealed the deal.

                                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                                    Yeah, I definitely get it. At this point I feel like I already *have* a recipe for the things that appeal. BUT ... some of the sweeter things sound good (that chocolate cake, those coconut cupcakes, some of the scones).

                                                                                    I will say that the french onion soup in this book is always my go-to recipe.

                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      I didn't care for the overly sweet Indonesian Chicken at all. I much prefer Bill Granger's Carmel Chicken, a very complex mix of flavors.

                                                                                      And although I am a huge fan of Ina Garten's, her BTB book, bores me to tears.

                                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                                        Yeah, I'm not completely in love with it, either. And since many, many of her recipes are online, it hardly seems worth hanging onto. I'm thinking I'm going to pass this book along to someone who might be more enthused. Once Octobers over. :).

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: mcel215

                                                                                          mcel215, I see the Granger Caramel Chicken uses Thai fish sauce--but it is only stirred in *after* cooking. Would you say the fishy taste is pronounced? I like to find recipes to use up the huge bottle of fish sauce I bought, but I've only used it sparingly, and cooked, like in Pad Thai.

                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                            Hi blue room,
                                                                                            I add the fish sauce at the end of the cooking, but don't plate for about ten minutes after I add it with the heat turned off. The smell is pungent at first, but the fish taste isn't pungent all all. It's a delightfully delicious dish and quiet economical as well. I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and don't cut them in half as the recipe says too.
                                                                                            Give it a try, you won't be disappointed. ;)

                                                                                          2. re: mcel215

                                                                                            Oh, there are gazillion more interesting Indonesian chicken recipes, but this one is so simple. It wouldn't be my first one now that I've been playing alone with COTM though, that is for sure. The Vietnamese month was one of my favorites - the ginger chicken in that has become a staple here (although about half the time I make it with tofu instead).

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              Was that ginger chicken in Pham or Nguyen, LLM? I think I must try!

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                Pham, page 143. I love it.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  I would love the recipe - when I tried to google it I came up with this that sounds pretty terrific - is yours similar?

                                                                                                  Vietnamese Caramel Ginger Chicken (adapted from two recipes in Food & Wine magazine - "Clay Pot Ginger Chicken" by Chef Mai Pham and "Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken with Caramel Sauce" by Joyce Jue)

                                                                                                  3 Tbsp sugar
                                                                                                  1/3 cup hot water
                                                                                                  3 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided use)
                                                                                                  juice of 1/2 a lemon
                                                                                                  1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
                                                                                                  1 tsp ground black pepper
                                                                                                  2 tsp cornstarch
                                                                                                  1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, visible fat removed and cubed
                                                                                                  3 Tbsp lemongrass stalks, chopped (I used jarred lemongrass stalks)
                                                                                                  1 medium onion, diced
                                                                                                  4 garlic cloves, crushed
                                                                                                  2 Tbsp fresh ginger, (1 Tbsp crushed and 1 Tbsp cut in slivers)
                                                                                                  1 tsp red chilli flakes (this made the dish very hot! Adjust as you see fit)
                                                                                                  1/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder
                                                                                                  1/4 tsp salt (omit if fish sauce is salty)
                                                                                                  2 scallions, chopped
                                                                                                  A few springs of cilantro for garnishing

                                                                                                  Method
                                                                                                  1. In heavy based pan, heat sugar on medium heat till it starts to turn amber and caramelizes, make sure all sugar has dissolved by swirling the pan. Remove from heat, .
                                                                                                  3. Be very CAREFUL with next step, add the hot water a bit at a time, it will cause the caramel to splutter. After all the water is added, return the pan to heat if there are clumps of caramel that did not dissolve and boil until there is a caramel syrup with no lumps. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and reserve.
                                                                                                  4. In a bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of fish sauce, cornstarch, black pepper and the chicken. Stir to coat.
                                                                                                  5. In a wok or clay pot, heat 2 Tbsp of oil until smoking and add lemongrass, onion, garlic and the crushed ginger. Stir-fry until the garlic and onions are golden. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil.
                                                                                                  6. Add the chicken mixture and cayenne pepper and stir-fry until the chicken turns white.
                                                                                                  7. Add all the caramel syrup and remaining fish sauce and cook over moderate heat until chicken is glazed and cooked through. Check for salt and adjust with fish sauce or salt (I did not add any salt, the fish sauce used to this point was salty enough).
                                                                                                  8. Add the scallions, ginger slivers and cilantro and mix well. Either reduce the sauce if you do not want the gravy or remove from heat and serve with plain rice.

                                                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                    Here it is:

                                                                                                    1 2 inch piece of ginger
                                                                                                    1/3 lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite size bits
                                                                                                    2 tablespoons veg oil
                                                                                                    2 tsps. garlic minced
                                                                                                    1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
                                                                                                    1 tsp. chopped fresh red chilies or dried chili flakes
                                                                                                    1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
                                                                                                    2 tsps sugar
                                                                                                    1/4 tsp salt
                                                                                                    1/2 cup fresh chicken stock (or store bought low sodium)
                                                                                                    1/2 tablespoon caramel sauce (or 1 tablespoon light brown sugar)
                                                                                                    2 scallions cut into 2 inch length
                                                                                                    6 sprigs cilantro, cut into 1 inch pieces.

                                                                                                    peel ginger on diagonal, take some and finely chop (one tablespoons worth). Combine minced ginger and chicken in a bowel and marinate for 30 minutes.
                                                                                                    Heat oil in large skillet, add garlic, onion, chilies and stir until fragrant; add chicken, ginger slices, fish sauce, sugar and salt and stir for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to preheated claypot if using (I just keep it in the same dutch oven I'm cooking it in).
                                                                                                    Add chicken stock and caramel sauce (or sugar) and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is done halfway, about 5 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until sauce is thickened, another 5 minutes. Stir in the scallions. Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro.

                                                                                                    I always find that this makes a tiny amount for our family, and usually double (or even triple if I want leftovers) the whole thing.

                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                      This sounds great and pretty diet friendly.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        You mention ginger slices ("add chicken, ginger slices..."). Is the rest of the 2-inch piece of ginger sliced and added then?

                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                          That's right. Rest of the ginger is sliced and added along with chicken to the skillet.

                                                                                                          1. re: cpw

                                                                                                            Thanks for the confirmation, cpw. I'm saving this recipe - it looks delicious (I love all things ginger).

                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                              I bookmarked it too. I haven't "visited" Vietnamese from a long time.

                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                      Thanks for telling the page number. I had to open the book to check this recipe out, and just opening the book brought back good memories of Vietnamese month (especially in my take out months)

                                                                                                      1. re: cpw

                                                                                                        I remember thinking "how much Vietnamese food can one non-Vietnamese family eat in a month?" but boy, I ate my words. I couldn't get enough of it. I really loved that month. That ginger chicken and (my own cobbled together version of) banh mi have been the things we do the most, but there are still recipes I haven't made but want to.

                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                          I think it's a riot that the BC general discussion has been hijacked by a past COTM!

                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                            Not the biggest compliment we could be giving BC, is it?

                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                              Well, it's very telling I think.

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                I picked up BC from the library on Friday and so far I haven't come up with anything to cook from it. Tomorrow I have some friends coming over and I am trying hard to come up with app and entree, but I keep going to PotVT to read and re-read, instead of focusing on BC.

                                                                                                                1. re: cpw

                                                                                                                  What's "PotVT"? It's probably explained somewhere here, but I'm just too lazy.

                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                    Mai Pham's "Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table".

                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              It's odd about BC --most claim to like it very much, except that it's boring and nobody wants to cook from it! It's a mystery how it was chosen as COTM. Maybe several voted that did not cook.

                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                The other side: I didn't vote for the book but I cooked a few dishes from it.

                                                                                                                I think that we've cooked from so many truly wonderful, different, ethnic cookbooks that we've become... dare I say...Jaded? Ina's recipes speak to those foks who want easy simple, tasty dishes. Most of her recipes are very familiar to us already. Variations on a theme. We want the same thing, but with a certain flair....or new approach. That or something completely different, al la Ottolenghi, for instance, or a totaly new ehtnic cuisine, African, for example.

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  I think any group focusing on an activity will just naturally move from simple to complex--scuba divers will seek more exotic waters, bird watchers rarer warblers. Jaded describes it, but jaded in a *good* way! I've NEVER felt COTM was exclusive
                                                                                                                  -- always always inclusive. Never had a question go unanswered. I'm surprised fairly often when a poster (I always picture housewives) turns out to be an ex or current chef, or a caterer, took classes from Famous Cook, or even someone with their own food blog.

                                                                                                                  "Ethnic" changes depending on your birthplace/geographic point of view, of course--I certainly wasn't weaned on rice noodles with little dried shrimp, but lots of people were.
                                                                                                                  I was so excited to do I. Garten's popovers this month--a little let down to realize they're pretty much the cream puffs I've been making since high school. But if you literally only had potatoes pureed your whole life--think how miraculous a pile of crisp (how'd they do that!?) French fries with ketchup would seem!
                                                                                                                  This coming month is cookies--that oughta keep everybody happy.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    I think we've had decent participation this month (I've made four recipes, and didn't vote), but we're not having the kind of wild success that fuels people to keep wanting to try more and more recipes. We did want a break this month from some of the international cuisines we've been cooking from lately, but that seemed to be driven by the families of the COTM'ers not COTM'ers themselves. Anyway, hopefully this will just give us more energy for next month!

                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                    For me, it was more that I got this book when I first started cooking, and liked it, but looking back over it realized that at this point I have a version of most of the dishes I have an interest in that is from someplace else. The exception? The sweets - they all look pretty amazing to me. I just can't have another 20 cupcakes, or some huge cake lying around the house right away after the last batch.

                                                                                                  2. Whoops, help! I have a problem. I was planning on making the 40 cloves of garlic chicken today. The recipe calls for 3 tbsp of Cognac, which I forgot I needed when I was doing my shopping yesterday, and all liquor stores are closed today! Is there something I can substitute? (hopefully, whatever that is, I'll have it on hand...regular brandy, perhaps?) Or, must I wait until tomorrow night to make this dish? Thank you!

                                                                                                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      I would use almost any hard liquor of the brown variety myself, brandy if I had it, Scotch or Irish if not (we always have one or the other of those). Not bourbon though (just can't like it, would be too sweet) or dark rum which would also be sweet.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        OK, thank you! I still haven't gotten used to dry Sundays in MN...

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          It is weird changing from one liquor control system to another, isn't it? Went from Ontario (restricted hours and liquor/wine in separate government-controlled stores) to CA (7 days a week, and in supermarkets) to NY with no Sunday sales until quite recently, no wine or liquor in supermarkets, and now to NJ with wine/beer BYOB in a lot of restaurants, no liquor in supermarkets, and what must be more 7-day liquor stores per capita in this town than anywhere else we've lived.

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            I just think of liquor as I do any other grocery item, except, restricted for age. It just never occurs to me that it might not be infinitely available.

                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              I am planning on making (Ina Garten's) Vegetable Pot Pie this week. Calls for ONE tablespoon of Pernod. (To compliment the fennel, I s'pose.) But I'm thinking I can get away with steeping a star anise in some hot water for a few minutes and using a tablespoonful of that?
                                                                                                              Or maybe there'll be some wonderful baked goods in the upcoming COTM choice that will require Pernod.

                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                I wonder how star anise or fennel seed soaked vodka would compare?

                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                  I've used Sambucca as a substitute for Pernod because I can buy it in those airline-sized bottles. It is sweet, though, which Pernod is not.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                    Sure, soaking in vodka is a better idea..didn't think of that.
                                                                                                                    I don't know Sambuca, but just looked it up. Since I need only 1 TBLS, and the casserole has some sweet notes (carrot, squash, those small onions), Sambuca would work too.
                                                                                                                    I guess I'm just an ouzo floozie, now I can move up to Pernod/Sambuca !

                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                      "Ouzo floozie" - LOVE IT! Me too. Any of the less sweet anise apƩritifs.

                                                                                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                    I have a small bottle of pernod that has lasted me more than 20 years.
                                                                                                                    so dont worry about it. Its quite delicious and I am sure you youc sub another anise flavored liquor.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                      That wouldn't last 20 days in our house!

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        well, I had bought it for cooking and no one really tasted it as a liqueur until recently, But the last time I used it we all tasted it and were impressed. It fit fit right into an ongoing liqueur drinking and making exploration - chartreuse and strega have also been recent faves.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                          It makes a really nice, refreshing long drink in warm weather - 1:4 (water) with lots of ice. It's one of my husband's favorite drinks.

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            a must with mezze!

                                                                                                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    Until we moved here we lived in a town that was completely "dry"....well other than the bootleggers....you had to drive over an hour to buy alcohol or have a drink in a restaurant!

                                                                                                          2. I have read everyone's feedback and feel better knowing that many seem to feel the same way I do - I LOVE Ina on TV - so easy to watch and follow - but I just borrowed two of her cookbooks from the library - Barefoot Contessa At Home and Parties. Both books had so few recipes to make me feel I wanted to buy the book. I was disappointed. Has anyone made her
                                                                                                            chicken stock,
                                                                                                            "eli's asian salmon,
                                                                                                            cornmeal-fried onion rings,
                                                                                                            lemon yogurt cake,
                                                                                                            chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter icing.

                                                                                                            I think those are the only ones that caught my attention. BUT I STILL THINK INA ROCKS!! among my favorites to watch.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                              I have done the Asian Salmon. I found it a bit too sweet, but the kid and husband loved it. Only made it that once since I have found the I prefer a miso glaze if I am going to make salmon that way, which I rarely do.

                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                I found the Asian salmon WAY too salty . 1 cup soy sauce? Please. Cut tht by at least half.

                                                                                                              2. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                I feel the same way - love her recipes in general but hard to nail down a specific cookbook. I have made the barefoot contessa chocolate ganache cake several times and the plain cake recipe is a keeper for an amateur baker like me. The Hersey's syrup is brilliant - hard to mess this one up.
                                                                                                                Last year I was given "Back to Basics" by hubby so I made that recipe for chicken stock and was quite happy with it. Froze most of it for soup recipes.

                                                                                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                  I have made the salmon, which I love, but I usually cut back on the soy. A lot of people think it's too salty. I am not a salmon lover, but am trying, and this recipe was the first one that made me think I could eat it! I have also made the pnut butter icing - really good, but as I recall made more than I needed. I used my own chocolate cake recipe. But it was a big hit.

                                                                                                                2. Other than the original, which reflects food offered at TBC shop, my fave Ina books are, in this order:

                                                                                                                  Back to Basics
                                                                                                                  At Home
                                                                                                                  Family Style
                                                                                                                  In Paris
                                                                                                                  Parties

                                                                                                                  Can't wait to get her latest book, hoping to find it at Costco this week.

                                                                                                                  1. My time with the Contessa has come to a close. The book was due back at the library, and I wasn't inspired to renew. I think her recipes have some really great qualities, band I would recommend her books to anyone who wants to learn some of the basic tenants of cooking meals. But I find the cost of her ingredients very high, there is just too much fat in the recipes, and I often have felt like I already make something similar from another source that is just better.

                                                                                                                    I think that I will stick to the online versions of her recipes when I crave her chicken stew.

                                                                                                                    1. Not sure how I missed this back in October, but I use the early BC cookbooks all the time. Last night I used the pizza dough recipe, a favorite, from BC Parties, and this morning we had the sour cream coffee cake (though I made it with lots of fresh ginger, candied pecans, less streusel etc.) For the original BC cookbook, I've made the chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, which is outstanding (though again with my own twists), the shortbread cookies (plain and pecan), and the banana crunch muffins. Hmm, what else?

                                                                                                                      Roasted-Tomato Basil Soup
                                                                                                                      Beets with Orange Vinaigrette -- I've turned people on to beets with this. Simple but very good.
                                                                                                                      French Potato Salad -- also very yummy, and I play around with the herbs
                                                                                                                      Provencal Potato Salad
                                                                                                                      Grilled Salmon Salad
                                                                                                                      Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame
                                                                                                                      Indonesian Ginger Chicken
                                                                                                                      Outrageous Brownies -- fabolous but very rich (and not inexpensive if you make the whole recipe.)
                                                                                                                      Raspberry Tart - simple and tasty, great to showcase fresh raspberries
                                                                                                                      Lime Curd Tart
                                                                                                                      Pecan Squares - super rich but good
                                                                                                                      Peach and Raspberry Crisp
                                                                                                                      Croissant Bread Pudding
                                                                                                                      Maple-Oatmeal Scones

                                                                                                                      Some of her recipes I just don't see the point of -- like the filet of beef bourguignon, though I'm sure it tastes great. But relative to the number of cookbooks I have, I've made quite a few of her recipes, and successfully.