Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
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Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  10,968 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics is the essential Ina Garten cookbook, focusing on the techniques behind her elegant food and easy entertaining style, and offering nearly a hundred brand-new recipes that will become trusted favorites.

Ina Garten’s bestselling cookbooks have con-sistently provided accessible, subtly sophisticated recipes ranging from French classics made eas...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Clarkson Potter
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The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook  by Cheryl DayBarefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina GartenThe Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa FainBasic to Brilliant, Y'all by Virginia WillisSouthern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree
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Community Reviews

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El
Unlike many of the Martha Stewart Living recipes I've tried, you don't get halfway through a Barefoot Contessa recipe only to find that you were supposed to soak the pears for your cake or whatever in some liquor for three months last fall (true story) or something equally as ridiculous. Who starts planning a recipe three months in advance???? (excluding famous chefs and Stepford wives, that is)
I love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks because Ina Garten's recipes are fairly easy while still main...more
Darlene
First I will say I love cookbooks! Secondly, Ina Garten has been a favorite of mine for so long now I can't even remember when I first saw her. I watch her religiously on the Food Network channel whenever she's on. This may sound odd, but for me she has a comforting nature. When I watch her show I'm just relaxed and really enjoying watching her putting together her recipes in that easy way that she has.


This latest cookbook of hers is fabulous. First of all it's a beautiful book from the front c...more
A.M.
I'm not much of a cookbook person.
But when I use a cookbook, I want it to be just that: a collection of recipes. I am not interested in the page-long descriptions of why cooking is so great, and how to buy ingredients, and anything else that the author feels like sharing. So the 9 introductory pages could have been summarized a lot more concisely.
On the plus side, the photographs are beautiful, although it makes me feel this book is more a coffee-table book than a cookbook.
The recipes all seem...more
Sarah
Jun 13, 2012 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
I checked out a bunch of her cookbooks - and out of four of them I found maybe three recipes I would make. They all looked delicious, but just for various reasons I probably won't be making most of them. I sure enjoyed looking at all the pictures, though, and dreaming of eating her food. I also read most of the text in each book. One book (maybe this one?) had an essay about how she only has the essential pans - and not so many that she can't store them with their lids on. The photo showed some...more
Jen
Okay, so I'm a huge Ina Garten fan and was excited to try out some of these recipes. A new Barefoot Contessa book always means taking out the battery of the smoke alarm near the kitchen because of all the smoke caused by roasting. I'm going to think of this one as the fennel and dill book because seriously, has she always used so much fresh fennel and dill? (I did not make any of the fennel or dill recipes but I am planting fennel this spring, so I'll have to revisit.)
We made (and my thoughts):...more
Shelley
Love this book. Go, Ina! This one seriously came through for me today, as it was my turn to host for bookclub. Everything I made, with the exception of one appetizer, came from this book. I have yet to try one of her breakfast dishes - they look wonderful - but I have tried the "juice of a few flowers" cocktail, the roasted shrimp cocktail, the bruschetta with peppers & gorgonzola, the chocolate-dipped strawberries and the company pot roast. All turned out fabulous and were not terribly diff...more
Rachel
I found a delicious potato salad recipe in this book - so yummy, in fact, that I have to find it again! I really like the style and the photos are gorgeous. The layout is very clean and enticing, and Ina Garten's writing voice is warm and friendly. I definitely want to add this to my permanent cookbook collection one day.
Gail
Aug 05, 2009 Gail marked it as to-read
Shelves: cooking
I have the monthly mag Cooking Light to thank for my new-found love of cooking. And chopping. And using fresh ingredients. What I love about the mag is how its introduced me to cooking that incorporates fresh ingredients that make for the BEST meals but that it's also fairly simple stuff. I mean, do I have ginger ALL the time in my fridge? No, but I can easily buy it fresh. As opposed to some chef's cookbook with like, dried eel.

Nora Ephron (Julie & Julia) recently dubbed this cookbook one o...more
Terri
made the garlic bread this weekend and it was wonderful!! minor changes i would suggest: use 1/4 cup of olive oil instead of 1/2 cup, feel free to skip on the fresh oregano if not keen (you get enough flavour from parsley and garlic) and can prepare using a blender instead of food processor if you're like me and struggle with turing on your food processor (note: i also had to add a little olive oil in the blender for liquid)

i have a recipe for chicken stock that i've been following for years. be...more
Lindsey
I do appreciate the simplicity of the Barefoot Contessa books. This book seems designed to create company-worthy food with a minimum of fuss and muss, and provides great entertaining tips, from cocktails to appetizers to the table setting and flower arranging. Unlike some books which promise simple recipes and don't deliver, everything offered here is really feasible for just about anyone: you can spend the day cleaning your house and still pull off these menus. However, I find the taste doesn't...more
Lori
I love this cookbook! Barefoot Back to Basics has the same great narration by Ina Garten and wonderful recipes that you will easily make over again for family and company. Back to basics is simply Ina's way of taking "ordinary ingredients and cooking them or pairing them in a way that unlocks their true flavors." A hint of lemon zest, a dash of cinnamon, a hint of basil etc.. Great appetizers include; roasted shrimp cocktail, parmesan and thyme crackers and the bookclub favorite of pomegranite c...more
Lucyzoe
Tonight I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa on FoodTv and I realized how much I enjoy learning from Ina Garten. She's a no-nonsense cook and a great teacher.

The episode included a recipe for chicken bouillabaisse with a rouille - a garlicky mayonnaise. I remembered I hadn't reviewed a few of her cookbooks and quickly scanned the index with the hope of finding the recipe for the bouillabaisse(pg.111). It's a great recipe with layers of flavor.

In another episode, celebrating a 40th ann...more
Jane
Lots of wonderful wonderful recipes, ones that I've forgotten about. Serves as a great reminder.

Ina's included some of my favorite dishes:
Sweet potato fries -- I tried this both roasted and fried. Roasted is better.
Wild mushroom risotto -- I think of risotto as a side dish, but Ina places it as a main dinner dish which also works. Yummy!
Coq au vin -- I will always think of this as the purple chicken dish. Looks odd at first, but I promise it's very good. A braised dish.


I love the commentaries...more
Kate
Quick, easy recipes that are easy to add to your "rotation". The title is perfect, because many of these recipes really are basic - roasted carrots & parsnips, pasta with just truffle butter, garlic bread with herbs... most require few ingredients & basic techniques. If you have access to great produce/meat/etc. and want them to shine in a dish, this is good book for you.

The photography is beautiful and the layout is simple and pretty. Since there is one recipe per full page & a ful...more
Melinda
I enjoyed this book because it contains so many of the recipes I'd printed out from watching her show plus so many more! I love Ina's recipes because she uses "regular" ingredients you already have in your kitchen to produce fantastic results. Also, love all the great baking, cooking, table setting tips throughout the book. Her style of cooking is a direct line to my palette so I have made many, many of her recipes like the Baked Shrimp Scampi, her Italian Wedding Soup, and the Raisin Pecan Oatm...more
Rebecca
Jan 12, 2009 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Katie B., Kate L., Sharon
Shelves: cookbooks
I've made three recipes from this book in the last week and have found them all OUTSTANDING: Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Pasta with Pecorino & Pepper, and Orange-Pecan Wild Rice. I like Garten's non-nonsense approach to cooking, relying on fresh, basic ingredients. She has several wonderful lists in her book, including "Top 10 Things NOT to serve at a Dinner Party" and "10 no-cook things to serve for Dessert." Her recipes are well-written, and include "tips" to fill in the blanks (e.g. HOW to toas...more
Gerry
there are definitely some winners here. i've made her coq au vin and loved it. parker's beef stew is, by far, the best beef stew that i have ever eaten in life (only to come into rivalry with jamie oliver's guinness stew). and there are certainly some things that i would like to try. my problem with this one is that so many of the recipes are standard, with just the use of better ingredients, which has kind of been ina's mantra all along anyhow. so i guess it just seems redundant. granted, every...more
Kay
Jan 27, 2014 Kay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: cooking
I probably sucked about a third of the recipes in this book into my recipe app, including nearly all of the roasted vegetable ones. I'm looking forward to trying them, as other recipes from Ina Garten have worked out for me.
Redbaies
So once again my darling brother gave me this book.
But I know how to cook! Ah you may think so too, but this book is not the basic how to boil an egg as others have published...but a plethora of recipes many I did not know, but all of which or superbe...a must for all cooks!
I began to read and what a pleasure, her heart gones into these books and I always enjoy trying out a new recipe...
Even if you are a beginner cook - I would suggest her books over any other...the recipes are faultless and ev...more
Erin Vandeven
This book is worth having in your cookbook library for the soups desserts and breakfast chapters. The tomato soup is heaven and the oatmeal raisin cookies are perfection. Some of the recipes are so basic they leave a bit to be desired (such as the burger recipe) and others call for ingredients that you would only access in the hamptons for example, (beef from a particular ranch) but outside of that this book is tried and true again and again.
Jessica
Love Barefoot Contessa but never found any recipes that I wanted to make
Lisa
I made the grilled lemon chicken recipe and it was fantastic. There is also a grilled pork recipe I am definitely going to try. I also drooled over the fantastic photographs that made me want to cook all of it.

That said ... this is a cookbook for special occasion cooking. It has simple, delicious sounding recipes that are mostly easy to make. The problem is that much of their deliciousness includes casually adding two sticks of butter and a container of creme fresh. I will do so happily for a sp...more
Kathy
I heard this was a really good cookbook, but it is expensive so I thought I would borrow it from the library first. Oh my! On almost every page Al and I were saying, "Oh, we have to try that," and "Oh, we have to try that, too," so I just ordered it. She offers nice tips, too, on planning menus, setting a nice table, arranging flowers, etc. And I like her philosophy of cooking with a few good ingredients, preferably seasonal (although not every recipe is simple and a few call for ingredients I'v...more
Kristin
This is, in my opinion, Ina Garten's best cookbook. It's one of my favorite cookbooks period, since every recipe is straightforward and delicious. I don't even mind the pretentiousness that peeks through at times. I'd like to buy all of my chicken from a heritage breed farm down the road from my house in the Hamptons, too, but that ain't gonna happen any time soon. Plus, she refers to her husband as Geoffrey. Not Geoff. Geoffrey. 'Nuff said.

I love her all the same, though.
Bill
There should be a point to a cookbook and this one has one: entertaining.

The Contessa waxes a little poetic on cooking, but not for too long. Her dishes are designed for dinner parties and are well balanced between ones that need to be made on the day, and ones that can be prepared earlier. Plus, some very easy recipes are included, which still look and taste wonderful.

She includes lots of tips on subjects, most of which are very useful and show that she knows her stuff.
Vanessa
Jun 09, 2010 Vanessa rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who like to cook
I like Ina Garten's cookbooks, but I don't usually end up actually making many of the recipes. They are simple, with few ingredients and instructions that are clear and easy to follow, yet for some reason I can't usually picture myself adding them to my recipe "rotation." Maybe they are just too sophisticated for me; I don't know. Still, I would recommend her cookbooks. I'd describe her cooking style as fresh, simple, sophisticated, European, and focused on entertaining.
Susan
I think I have over 200 cookbooks now and this one is in my top ten. You need to try the Parker's Beef Stew recipe and the Shrimp Scampi recipes for sure. Marinating the beef in red wine 24 hours prior to cooking is just one of the wonderful layers of flavor in the Beef Stew. The shrimp scampi is just so darn easy to make, it is great for company served with a homemade fettucini alfredo on the side. Not the most calorie friendly meal but worth every bite!
Linda
I just picked up this book today and love it! The pictures are beautiful, and the recipes all look great. I have yet to actually try a recipe, but I don't think I will be disappointed. What I really like about the book is that it isn't just a book of recipes, but Ina includes stories with each recipe along with helpful notes on each page. And there are sections that teach you more about cooking in general, including an FAQ at the back.
Nollie
You may think this is a cop out in putting a cookbook on a reading list, but I am the nerd who really does read every page of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks because I LOVE her stuff! Fairly simple, elegant, and always delicious. I got it for Christmas and hope to someday get all her books in my collection.
Meg
Honestly I didn't have the time right now to give this book a fair chance. However, I wasn't immediately drawn into it either. I like Ina Garten's style, but do find that many of her dishes are not easily adaptable to our gluten-freedom. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes her cooking show, and to anyone who is looking for how to prepare food simply, especially if you don't have dietary restrictions.
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Ina Rosenberg Garten is an American author, host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and former White House nuclear policy analyst. Known for designing recipes with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and time-saving tips, she has been noted by Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, and Patricia Wells for her cooking and home entertaining.

Garten had no formal training; she taught herself culinary...more
More about Ina Garten...
Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family Barefoot in Paris Barefoot Contessa Parties!: Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun

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