Cookbook Review:The Barefoot Contessa


I was introduced to Ina Garten “The Barefoot Contessa” several years ago by my mom and sister, and her recipes are the best. Her recipes are for the most part pretty simple, and many of the ingredients are staples that a well stocked kitchen would already have. I have seriously never made one recipe from this book that I didn’t like. Ina definitely loves herself some butter when it comes to baking. I usually embrace the butter, especially if I am baking for an event, but I do try to modify her baking recipes and make them a little healthier from time to time. Anywho, here are the recipes I have tried from this book and my quick opinion.

  • Hummus-Simple and basic recipe. Make sure to add the full amount of garlic (or more).
  • Cheddar Corn Chowder—-This recipe is amazing. Seriously.. the best recipe in the fall with fresh corn. I sometimes just use regular milk instead of the half and half to make it a little less fattening.
  • Lentil Vegetable Soup-Another amazing soup. So good with the parmesan on top! Like any good soup, it’s even better the next day.
  • Roasted Tomato basil soup-Yummy. The roasted tomato gives it a unique flavor.
  • Szechuan noodles-This is a must try recipe if you were going to choose just a few to try. The sauce is so delicious, and I like that the recipe calls for regular spaghetti noodles, because I feel like I can never quite get the rice noodles from being too sticky.
  • Indonesian Ginger Chicken–So simple and really yummy. I usually just cook 1 chicken, and I sometimes even just do ┬áchicken breasts.
  • Roasted Carrots-Easy and yummy
  • Homemade Applesauce-So good. I have used this recipe a couple of times when we wanted fresh applesauce but not when I have canned applesauce.
  • Coconut Cupcakes—These are so flippin good. The almond extract and vanilla combined with the coconut make the perfect cupcake!
  • Peach and raspberry crisp-I have made this a tons of times, but I always modify the recipe. You can get away with cutting quite ┬ábit of the butter, and I have used homemade canned peaches mixed with frozen berries. The best thing to make in the middle of March to remind yourself that summer really will come one day.
  • Chocolate Buttercream cake-Yummy! I actually just made the chocolate part of the recipe and made my own coconut frosting for german chocolate cake.
  • Homemade granola-I add a little more honey than it asks for, and I change up the dried fruit depending on what I am craving. Good basic recipe. My kids will just snack on the granola.
  • Banana Crunch Muffins-Great muffins!! You can use some of your homemade granola in this recipe!

Do you all love the Barefoot Contessa? What are your favorite recipes?


EmmaJ - June 2, 2011 - 4:37 am

I love her. I wish I was her (especially living in that house and having that kitchen!!!) My daughter loves to watch her. I have a few of her cookbooks, and I love the cruchy breakfast granola recipe (I eat it with fresh berries and Greek yogurt) and her California pizza dough.

Carrie - June 2, 2011 - 9:02 am

I love this cookbook also! Have you tried the cheddar dill scones? Yummy! Also, the oatmeal maple scones are terrific!

kara - June 2, 2011 - 10:39 am

I am going to try the California pizza dough. I’ve been looking for a good pizza dough recipe! Emma, I would love to hear your favorite cookbooks since you are a chef!!
I’ve seen those recipes but never tried them… can’t wait.. I’ll let you know what I think!!

Margaret - June 2, 2011 - 8:53 pm

Oh I’m a Barefoot lover. I have two of her cookbooks, both different from the one you have and love all her recipes. And if I had cable I would watch her show.
She has a risotto that you bake in the oven and I try different variations on it and it is fool proof.
Also her chicken and biscuits, roast chicken and basically it all.

kara - June 2, 2011 - 9:39 pm

What books do you have one, and is there one you use more than the other?

Margaret - June 4, 2011 - 11:38 am

Well, my mom always would use recipes out of the family style barefoot contessa, which is wonderful. And I still use a bunch of those.
But I own the Back to Basics one and for Christmas got her newest one, How Easy Is That. Which I’m using a lot right now. I love it because it takes her recipes and simplifies them. So everything is still delicious just easier, quicker.

kara - June 5, 2011 - 11:25 pm

I think that I want the family style book. Maybe someday if we ever reunite we can have a barefoot contessa dinner party :).