And you can say the same about the book itself! It's another crowd-pleasing, comfortable, yet elegant set of recipes and tips with Garten's trademark style: Unfussy, gracious, and delicious. Ina Garten is known for her finely-tuned, elegant comfort food. Scalloped tomatoes, pink grapefruit margarita, rich celery root puree and fresh peach cake? They're all here. Plus balsamic roasted beef, weeknight bolognese, and chicken with shallots. It's really perfect food — elegant enough to serve to company, and simple enough to make for yourself on a quiet night in. That's Garten's trademark style, of course — and this book just reinforces her well-earned reputation as the go-to source when you need to throw a party and don't want to break a sweat.
This book also has some fun sections with photos from Garten's own kitchen. She shows off some favorite tools, serving pieces, and relevant tips, like using a tall wicker basket to hold oversized trays and cutting boards. (See, how easy is that?!)
We loved this book — it's easy to love. It has gorgeous photos peppered through on nearly every page, plenty of recipes for all menus and seasons, and Garten's gracious, friendly voice guiding you through.
• Find the book: Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips, by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter (October 2010). $18.90 at Amazon.
Ina Garten's Chipotle & Rosemary Spiced Nuts
Serves 8 to 10
When I have a little extra time before a party, I'll whip up a batch of these really delicious nuts. They're sweet, salty, and spicy--with lots of brown sugar, maple syrup, chipotle powder, and fresh rosemary. Roasting is the process that brings out the most flavor in nuts, and serving them warm is a particularly nice touch.
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
2 cups whole pecan halves (7 ounces)
1/2 cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.
Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.
Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.
Chipotle chile powder is different from ordinary chili powder-- it's ground dried smoked jalapeños and has a distinctive hot, smoky, sweet flavor.
More on Ina Garten at The Kitchn
• Ina Garten On: Great Dinners & Overlooked Kitchen Tools
• Ina Garten's Favorite Ice Cream: And Ice Cream Maker
• Ina Garten On: The Best Breakfast & Favorite Comfort Food
(Images and recipe courtesy of Clarkson Potter)