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Cookbook Review of the Month - December 2006

This month's selection is barefoot contessa at home. Ina Garten has done it again with her fifth cookbook.  Ina is one of the few cookbook authors who always seems to get it right.  She has a wonderful selection of recipes, very easy to make, and they always turn out right.  The are accompanied with beautiful photos, that make you want to dive right in and start cooking.  I have yet to make something from one of her books that hasn't turned out right, and always looks just like the picture.  If you are an Ina Garten fan, you probably will have already purchased this cookbook...if not make sure that you put it on your holiday wish list, it's a keeper.


  • intro
  • soup and sandwich
  • salads
  • dinner
  • vegetables
  • dessert
  • breakfast
  • if you're visiting the Hamptons
  • credits
  • menus
  • index
  • recipe index

Everything about Ina's books emote the feeling of love and warmth and this book is certainly no exception.  When you start to turn the pages, you immediately get the urge to be out in the Hamptons, cooking with Ina in her kitchen.  Unlike many of the celebrity chefs out there, Ina is real.  She speaks lovingly about The Barefoot Contessa, the food emporium she owned in the Hamptons, sharing many of the foods found there with us.  You can see that although she is not formally trained as a chef, this woman, is a better chef than most CIA graduates. She makes it easy for you to be a success when you entertain. She gives you the menus, the table ideas, and tells you how to do it well so you can sit back and enjoy your guests!  There were so many recipes in here it was hard to pick one, but I chose the cheese danish with the holidays coming it is a great start to a holiday morning, I have also made the Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Pannini, Coconut Cake and several others already and the book has only been out a short time.  Cookbook affecianados will tell you that most people will buy a cookbookif they see one recipe they want to problem here, you'll want to try everything!  She also gives a guide to the Hamptons so that you can visit all her favorite places, menu samples, and easy hints throughout the book.  From the novice cook to the gourmet cook, everyone can find something here they want to try.  I encourage you to get a copy og Ina's book. I for one am hoping that she has already started on another.


Sample Recipe from the book:

Every recipe I have ever tried from one of Ina's books has been wonderful.  This book is no exception.  I chose the easy cheese danish for the recipe sample because with the holidays coming it would make a perfect brunch item.  It can be assemble it the night before, and bake it in the morning.

easy cheese danish                                                                       


  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature                                             

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature                                                 

  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

  • 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth.  With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined.  Don't whip!

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it is a

10 x 10-inch square.  Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife.  Place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares.  Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together.  Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash.  Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan.  Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.


Book Title:

barefoot contessa at home

Authors: Ina Garten
Category: General Cookbook
ISBN: 1-4000-5434-6
Publisher: Clarkson/Potter Publishers
Publisher address:

New York, N.Y.

Website or e-mail of publisher:
Published: 2006
Edition: First
Description: Hardcover
Illustrated: none
Photographs: Beautiful full color
Price: $35.00
Reviewed by: Elise Feiner
  November 30, 2006


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