Are you looking for an easy to follow cookbook with tried and true, never fail recipes? Here is the cookbook for you Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa; Back to Basics. This may perhaps be the only cookbooks that I have cooked every recipe at least once. Almost always with complete success. Always good honest food designed to bringing out the flavors. Ina’s forward says it all:

“When I talk about getting back to basics, I’m not talking about simple mashed potatoes or a plain roast chicken. What truly fires my imagination is taking ordinary ingredients and cooking them—or pairing them—in a way that “unlocks” their true flavors. This book is about how to cook the simple ingredients you can find in a grocery store and how to unlock their essences…Roasted Tomato Caprese salad with slow-roasted tomatoes for that rich summer flavor all year ’round. The Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese pair a classic combination in a new way. On the grill, the Tuscan Lemon Chicken is the moistest, most delicious chicken with a marinade of fresh lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary.”

I have followed her Food Network career since Barefoot Contessa premiered in 2002 to a positive reception. The program focuses on hearty, guest-oriented food: “A friend is coming to dinner,” “Jeffrey, her adorable husband’s favorite recipe,” etc. Sounds like a cheesy premise, but with her charm and earnestness you fall for it every time. Most compare her television presence to that of her mentor, Martha Stewart, but with a softer edge and more nurturing, comforting manner.

Usually I don’t take the chefs/cooks on Food Network seriously. Many times, the food gets lost in the “showmanship.” Not with Ina, she has this level of culinary integrity and always interesting visual appeal It would be an understatement to say that Ina Gartin has won my respect. She may have won my heart.
Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics comes highly recommended. Weighing in at only a little over 250 pages this cookbook would be a great gift as well as a “must have” for any home cook who wants reliable, no fuss, flavorful food every time.

Look for her new cookbook this fall Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That, her first desserts book. Just in time for Christmas.