Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Barefoot Contessa - How Easy is That?

Barefoot Contessa 
How Easy Is That? 
Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips
Ina Garten
Hardcover, 256 pages

How much do I love this woman? Enough to leave my comfy little nest in the wee hours of the morning, attended by my eldest son, to journey into the city and stand in line for 5+ hours to have my book signed. We were about 8th in line. It was three years ago and I am still on a high from seeing her in person. It was a bit like camp, waiting with all these people, and I was lucky to have a nice gal beside me to chat with. My son held our coats and took snapshots of us with Ina. Good boy, him. I think I'll keep him.

Okay, not the best pic of me - but the poor boy was also juggling coats and the crowds. Ina looks great though - as usual!
Now Ina has a new book out, How Easy Is That?, which gives us the same quality of well crafted, written and tested recipes that we have come to love and expect from her - but geared especially to our busier-than-ever lifestyles. Simple and elegant, these are meals that you can confidently serve your friends and family without having to spend the whole day in the kitchen.

We had Thanksgiving here in Canada earlier this month and because my kids are all grown and working - we had to divide it over two weekends to make sure they all got fed here. This meant two mini Thanksgiving dinners, and we did Ina's recipes for the second one. Her Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast was so tender and delicious - it will forever be part of my autumn dinner parties. What a joy to be able to serve turkey in less than 2 hours! What I like about her recipes is that the timing is always perfect. She tests and retests and has other people test them.. They always end up just right.
For dessert we had the Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake. So blissfully easy and totally delicious. Our neighbour came for dinner and brought some good quality vanilla ice cream to go with it and it complemented the tartness of the berries perfectly.

All the recipes utilize easy-to-find ingredients and simple steps. How Easy is That? ☺

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
From Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? By Ina Garten

Serves 6 to 8

Why do we only serve turkey on Thanksgiving? A whole turkey breast roasted with fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme is a great weeknight dinner and the leftovers make delicious sandwiches the next day. Roasting the turkey at 325 degrees and allowing it to rest for fifteen minutes ensures that it will be very moist.

1 whole bone-in turkey breast (6½  to 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture evenly all over the skin of the turkey breast. (You can also loosen the skin and smear half of the paste underneath, directly on the meat.) Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1½  to 1 ¾ hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest and meatiest area of the breast. Check the breast after an hour or so; if the skin is overbrowning, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

When the turkey is done, remove from the oven, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with the pan juices.

Excerpted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten Copyright © 2010 by Ina Garten. Photographs Copyright © 2010 by Quentin Bacon. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake
From Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? By Ina Garten

Serves 6 to 8

This recipe is inspired by a cranberry pie from Sarah Chase’s book Cold Weather Cooking. My friend Barbara Liberman calls it “easy cake”—I call it delicious.
It’s even better served warm with vanilla ice cream.


12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
¼ freshly squeezed orange juice
11⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Excerpted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten Copyright © 2010 by Ina Garten. Photographs Copyright © 2010 by Quentin Bacon. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.