Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust

by Ina Garten


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Millions of people love Ina Garten because she writes recipes that make home cooks look great; family and friends shower them with praise and yet the dishes couldn’t be simpler to prepare using ingredients found in any grocery store. In Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, the Food Network star takes easy a step further, sharing her secrets for pulling off deeply satisfying meals that have that “wow!” factor we all crave.

Start with delicious Dukes Cosmopolitans made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus Jalapeño Cheddar Crackers that everyone will devour. Lunches include Hot Smoked Salmon, Lobster & Potato Salad, and Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons, all featuring old-fashioned flavors with the volume turned up. Elegant Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise and show-stopping Seared Scallops & Potato Celery Root Purée are just two of the many fabulous dinner recipes. And your guests will always remember the desserts, from Sticky Toffee Date Cake with Bourbon Glaze to Salted Caramel Brownies.

For Ina, “foolproof” means more than just making one dish successfully; it’s also about planning a menu, including coordinating everything so it all gets to the table at the same time. In Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, Ina shows you how to make a game plan so everything is served hot while you keep your cool. There are notes throughout detailing where a recipe can go wrong to keep you on track, plus tips for making recipes in advance. It’s as though Ina is there in the kitchen with you guiding you every step of the way.

With 150 gorgeous color photographs and Ina’s invaluable tips, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof is a stunning yet infinitely practical cookbook that home cooks will turn to again and again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307464873
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 10/30/2012
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 76,658
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

INA GARTEN is the host of the Emmy Award-winning Barefoot Contessa television show on Food Network. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her husband, Jeffrey. This is her eighth cookbook. Visit Ina at

Table of Contents

introduction ten foolproof tips is it done yet?
cocktails starters lunch dinner vegetables desserts
foolproof menus index recipe index

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A master caterer, TV celebrity, and prolific cookbook author, Garten will delight her legion of fans with this appetizing and welcoming cookbook. Garten focuses on foolproof cooking: recipes that work, are satisfying to eat, and can be made ahead of time… Once again Garten’s culinary wizardry will inspire, delight, and empower readers to entertain in true Barefoot Contessa style.
Publishers Weekly, starred review


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting


Pumpkin is a great base for cupcakes because it keeps the cake moist. I've added lots of pumpkin spices like cinnamon and ginger plus a frosting made with pure maple syrup. If you insist on making them even better, you can crumble some Heath bars on top for added crunch. These are great for a birthday party—grown-ups and kids both love them.

1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (two 1.4-ounce bars)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of a muffin pan with vegetable oil and line it with 10 paper liners.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the - cup vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Scoop the batter into the prepared tins (I use a 2.-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, spread the -cupcakes with the Maple Frosting, and sprinkle with the chopped Heath bars.

Canned pumpkin is actually better for baking than purée made from a fresh pumpkin. It's a different variety of pumpkin than our traditional jack-o'-lantern.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla on medium-low speed until very smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Be sure the cream cheese and butter are absolutely at room temperature or the frosting will be lumpy. I leave them on the counter overnight.

Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

I had always cooked filet of beef at a high temperature to sear the outside and keep the inside moist and rare. Recently, though, I tried slow-roasting a filet of beef, and found it was the tenderest I'd ever tasted. Prep it in advance and throw it in the oven two hours before dinner. The homemade mayonnaise with basil and Parmesan is a delicious accompaniment.

1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise, for serving (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Use an oven thermometer to be sure your oven temperature is accurate!

Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry with paper towels. Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper (it will seem like a lot but believe me, it makes a difference). Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen string to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

Roast the filet of beef for 1. to 1- hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare. I place the thermometer horizontally through the end of the beef. Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise.

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise sounds intimidating but there's really only one trick: the eggs and oil must be totally at room temperature. Adding fresh basil leaves and salty Parmesan cheese makes this a great sauce for filet of beef but it's also delicious as a sandwich spread, a dip for crudit?s, or served with a flavorful fish like salmon or swordfish.

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (see note)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. Taste for seasonings—the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.

I "grate" the Parmesan in the food processor—it's actually ground, which is better than grated.

Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta
Serves 6 to 8

This incredibly hearty winter soup falls somewhere between a soup and a stew.
The texture and flavor are amazing—it's filled with chunky vegetables, pasta, beans, and spinach. Pesto and Parmesan swirled in at the end make it even better. I serve it in big shallow bowls with garlic bruschetta on top.

Good olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
11/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)
21/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled butternut squash
11/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
26 ounces canned or boxed chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (page 62)
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti (see note)
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it's too thick, add more chicken stock. Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.

Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot.

NOTE: To cook the pasta, put 1 cup of pasta into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook according to the directions on the package, drain, and set aside. You can make this soup ahead and reheat it before serving. It will need to be reseasoned.

Garlic Bruschetta

1 baguette
Good olive oil
1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Slice the baguette at a 45-degree angle in - inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic

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Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Really Trust 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Vivi45 More than 1 year ago
Ina is Great! Her recipes are delicious and easy to follow. You can tell she is passionate about her cooking. her cookbooks are the best ones out there!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful selection of recipes; as always Ina's book is delightful. To the person who said she uses too much salt; just a suggestion; adjust the amount! Recipes can be adapted to what suits your taste.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have all of Ina's cookbooks and love the all except this one. Foolproof is disappointing, too many weird recipes.  Prunes in a dessert?? My family would not be happy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
disappointing way to many seafood and fish recipes recipes in this cookbook. Would not have bought had I know that.
helenstam More than 1 year ago
I am a great fan of Ina's so I was looking forward to her latest book. I love the easy directions and helpful hints. The photography is beautiful. This book is really a book of recipes from most of her other cookbooks. Still, I enjoyed going through it and revisiting some of her favorite recipes. Ina is so down to Earth and her cooking style follows suit along with all her easy to follow recipes. I collect cookbooks so, for me, this was another great addition to my collection! It is a perfect gift for any cook and cookbook library.
Smartlady53 More than 1 year ago
I've been a big Ina fan for several years but her last 2 cookbooks have been a little disappointing...same old, same old. This is a nice gift book for the novice entertainer - not for the experienced hostess. I'd only give it about 3 stars - very average.
iowashort More than 1 year ago
While Ina Garten can not write a bad cookbook, this is not one of my favorites. There are way to many recipes that call for ingredients not available in our area. Also I do not do as much entertaining as I used too and this book is geared to that. All in all, not a purchase I would recommend.
Kyblossom More than 1 year ago
Have all of her other cookbooks. Was very disappointed in this cookbooks. It seems to be a compilation of her other recipes already published for the most part and I was not particularly impressed with the recipes she chose for this book. These recipes may be foolproof for a party but most is not every day food you cook for your families. I will have to read reviews before I buy the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Ina's cookbooks and have them all, however I was a little disappointed to see that many of the recipes in this book were already featured on her TV show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Ina Garten. You can trust her recipes. I have all her books. Try the pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple frosting TODAY.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love way her recipes turnout best cosmo recipe ever
NanDot More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent!  I love her collection of recipes - I've tried several and we're always please with the results.  She's just a fabulous cook and my go-to chef when trying something new!
RomanceLoverUK More than 1 year ago
Purchased as a present for our daughter, my husband and I feel we should buy our own copy after looking at all the recipes we felt we would like to try.
debov More than 1 year ago
My very first Ina Garten cookbook. I have made just one recipe so far but it turned out wonderfully. Easy instructions and beautiful illustrations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with those who say that these are her same old recipes. I was very disappointed to find that I had seen a lot of them before. I love salted caramel and wanted to try her salted caramel brownies.... Her recipe called for topping brownies with store-bought caramel sauce. Come on ! I could've come up with that one myself ! No recipe intrigued me enough to make it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luke her other books, full of delicious recipes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have all her books and they are m win source of inspiration for company.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great easy to follow instructions!
pamelag More than 1 year ago
Always excellent. Always simple, straightforward directions!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent, easy to follow recipes that are uncomplicated and don't require a lot of exotic ingredients.