In praise of Ina Garten

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You guys! I can’t believe how jealous I am of Gwyneth Paltrow today. Not because she is married to a rock star, is tall and blond and stunning, is best friends with fashion royalty and Tracey Anderson, has a widely read and informative blog and even not because she has her pick of any good movie role in Hollywood. I am jealous because she got to go over to Ina Garten’s house and cook with her!!!!!! Yes, Ina Garten better known as the Barefoot Contessa!

Gwyn and Ina

Photo courtesy of Barbara Liberman

All the details and recipes of the homemade ricotta with fresh herbs they made together over at GOOP. They cooked and ate a recipe from Ina’s new book How Easy is That? which just dropped on Tuesday. I’m going to pick up a copy to devour on my honeymoon. Yes that is correct, I read cookbooks, all the way through. Sarah and I highly recommend thoroughly reading Ina’s cookbooks, she has TONS of valuable cooking and entertaining advice hidden on the chapter headings and recipe introductions.

Top 3 entertaining rules I’ve learned form Ina’s books…

1. Organize your grocery list by department of the grocery store. List all the dairy you need together, then all the produce together, all the dry goods, meats and so on. Then when shopping you glance down at your list and grab all the items in that one area of the store and move onto the next section. No racing back and forth, forgetting items and loosing your mind and motivation to cook.

2. Have all of your meal prepped and ready before your guests come so you can visit with them. No one feels comfortable to relax and have a good time when the hostess is in the stressing out in the kitchen, just getting started on dinner. Prep in advance so you can enjoy the evening too.

3. Only make a few dishes but make them really good. Make 3 dishes perfectly and but buy the rest from the store or have a friend bring a dish. I often buy a spread of store bought appetizers, make 3 yummy dinner dishes and then have a guest bring dessert. This way you can enjoy the cooking process and put energy into making those cooked dishes spectacular instead of feeling overwhelmed by the 6 items you have to make in one afternoon.

Ina’s cookbooks make fantastic gifts as the recipes are simple and the instructions are very thorough. Her recipes are so well tested that literally every single recipe is delicious and you can execute it perfectly the first time making the dish (though Ina’ advises not to make a new recipe for important occasions with out doing a trail run first.) I so look forward to the day when Sarah and I are lounging in her squashy arm chairs, draped in cashmere blankets and nibbling on gougeres and toasting Veuve Clicquot with Jeffery and Ina in the Hamptons. Yes, Gwyneth can come over too. Sigh.

6 Comments on In praise of Ina Garten

  1. Sarah
    October 28, 2010 at 9:36 am (9 years ago)

    My head just exploded. : )

  2. Chris
    October 28, 2010 at 11:27 am (9 years ago)

    It makes me giggle when you talk about Ina’s new cookbook “dropping.” That said, she is the best.

  3. Katie
    October 28, 2010 at 11:47 am (9 years ago)

    This post makes my heart flutter a little. I am so jealous of Gwyneth! What a dream to cook with the Barefoot Contessa herself. She is an icon and I read her books and recipes over and over myself. “Who wouldn’t like that?”

  4. Anjali
    October 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm (9 years ago)

    Haha, I love the first paragraph!

    Totally agree on the shopping list thing. In fact, I may or may not have made a shopping list template based on the (old) layout of the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s. It was awesome. Yes, Rob made fun of it, but now he says he misses it.

  5. applesandonions
    October 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm (9 years ago)

    ANJALI! that is the cutest confession, Drew needs the updated version of the that TJ’s template. And yes we all agree she is the best.

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