Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, talks to Leonard Lopate about entertaining at home, and foolproof ways of making simple, delicious meals. She is also crowned the First Lady of Food Friday, in recognition for her most popular WNYC recipe of all time, Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts.
Ina Garten talks about her latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof Recipes You Can Trust, and shares her secrets for pulling off satisfying meals. For Ina, “foolproof” means more than just making one dish successfully, it’s also about planning a menu, devising a game plan, and coordinating everything so it all gets to the table at the same time.
Read more to find out some fun facts about celebrity chef Ina Garten, including the albums she's listening to now.
Ina Garten was a guest on today’s show. She had this to say about gender differences in the kitchen:
“I think men tend to approach recipes differently than women. I think men tend to just throw things into pots. And I’m speaking for myself, not all women, but I follow a recipe exactly. Until I decide to change it.”
For me, recipes and cookbooks are more about inspiration than anything else. I tend to avoid the narrow confines of a “recipe” and generally follow my Italian great-grandmother's approach to making food: take handfuls of things and throw them into a pan with ample amounts of butter until whatever you’re making “looks right,” or stall until your guests have consumed enough wine that the dish “tastes adequate.” After all, you’re supposed to have fun with cooking. And what could be more entertaining at a dinner party than the occasional oil fire?
Still, I'm just one male cook and I’m not sure if my culinary philosophy proves Ina's theory about gender differences correct. So I surveyed the women who work on the Lopate Show to find out if they view cooking more as an art or a science:
When I’m using recipes, which is most of the time, I follow the recipe at least once; mainly because – theoretically – the recipe has been created and tested by the writer and so it should work. Then, based on what I end up with, I may tweak the recipe or throw it in the “never again” pile.
When I’m making something I’ve made before or that’s similar to a recipe I’m familiar with, I don’t usually follow recipes exactly. Lately I’ve stopped measuring most ingredients because I can eyeball things pretty well, and if I want to add more of one ingredient and less of another, I don’t worry about what the recipe says. But when I’m making something complicated or something I’ve never made before, I usually follow the recipe pretty closely. And with baking, I measure and follow recipes closely—the proportions of things matter more.
If it’s a recipe I’m doing for the first time, I follow it pretty exactly – especially with baking things. But then I’ll experiment. And if I don’t have a particular ingredient, I’ll use what I have around, instead. For instance, when I’d run out of parsley for veal scaloppini, I “made do” with dill – and it was even better. I find I want to see how the recipe was “supposed” to be and get that right, before I make it my own. But, with baking, since it’s more of a science, I tend to follow the steps.
While this survey his hardly a scientific sampling, the Barefoot Contessa appears to be roughly right—at least when it comes to my co-workers. Fortunately, I never bake for these people.
Bestselling cookbook author and host of the Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa,” Ina Garten, discusses saving time and avoiding stress while having fun in the kitchen. Her latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips, includes easy to make recipes that are full of satisfying flavor, and includes her tips on equipment that makes a difference to her—like sharp knives, the right zester, and an extra bowl for her electric mixer.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH WARM CIDER VINAIGRETTE
My friend Stephen Drucker described a warm butternut squash salad that he’d been served and asked if I could make one. Why not? I love the interplay of hot and cold plus the sweet ...