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Ina Garten on her new cookbook, visit to Denver and the joy of simple food – The Denver Post

Ina Garten on her new cookbook, visit to Denver and the joy of simple food – The Denver Post
Roasted Eggplant Parmesan from “Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten. (Offered by Clarkson Potter

For almost 20 years, prolific cookbook writer and TV host Ina Garten has perfected the artwork of creating elegant but informal home-cooked meals.

She has persuaded cooks and amateurs alike in her unruffled, “how easy is that,” fashion, that they, too, can produce a diffusion as good as the one she serves her buddies, or husband, Jeffrey Garten, on her exhibits and in her cookbooks.

It’s what Garten does greatest. The self-taught prepare dinner with the trademark pearl earrings and blue denim shirt is the artistic drive behind the best-selling Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and the award-winning Food Community TV collection. Her model is a singular mix of simple but refined recipes ready and artfully plated for associates and household in the cozy consolation of residence.

In her newest ebook, “Cook Like a Pro, Recipes & Tips For Home Cooks” (Clarkson Potter, Oct. 24, 2018), Garten units out to assist house cooks really feel extra assured whereas getting ready food that “looks and tastes like it was homemade by professionals.”

“It’s still home cooking, which is what I do,” Garten stated. However there are “teachable moments” sprinkled all through the e-book to ease the stress for cooks who need assistance with her recipes. “I’ve learned that a happy, relaxed host is the most important ingredient at any gathering,” stated Garten, who’s scheduled to be at the Paramount Theatre in Denver on Dec. four.

Garten spoke to The Denver Post in October from her New York Metropolis condominium, the place she exams recipes twice every week. Her workplace, TV studio and essential check kitchen are in East Hampton, N.Y.

“Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, October 2018)

The inspiration for her newest ebook grew out of her on-line Ask Ina net web page through which she responds to cooking and entertaining questions.

Like her 10 earlier books, all best-sellers, Garten’s newest is crammed with full-page colour pictures of recipes reminiscent of Autumn Sangria with cinnamon sticks and Apple Brandy. It’s the first recipe in the guide and comes with a tip on how to seed a pomegranate. (Minimize the fruit in half holding it over a bowl or a bit of parchment paper, whack the pores and skin a number of occasions with a picket spoon and voila.) Garten notes that the sangria recipe was borrowed from chef Bobby Flay.

Actually, Garten has been a decide on the “Beat Bobby Flay” actuality TV present and Flay has appeared on her present. ”I really like Bobby and … he’s requested me to be a decide a couple of occasions. It’s actually enjoyable, however so far as being a contestant there’s no means I might beat Bobby Flay,” she stated.

There additionally is not any method she needs to compete in any of the fast-paced, high-pressure chef competitions, nor does she fear that these exhibits compete towards her extra conventional present.

“I pretty much stick to what I do. I don’t look at what other people are doing,” she stated. “The truth is I love writing cookbooks and the TV show is fantastic to do.”

Garten had no coaching in the food enterprise when, in 1978 at the age of 30, she made a dramatic profession leap from nuclear power price range analyst with the Workplace of Administration and Price range at the White Home to proprietor of a specialty food retailer, referred to as the Barefoot Contessa, on Lengthy Island, N.Y. She had taught herself to prepare dinner for pals and her husband, Jeffrey, in Washington, D.C., utilizing Julia Youngster’s cookbooks, however she had no expertise operating a enterprise or professionally getting ready giant takeout entrees for strangers.

Over the course of 18 years, she discovered many painful classes as she constructed a massively profitable enterprise. On this new e-book, she writes about peeling 40 kilos of butternut squash or baking 50 chocolate muffins in someday as a result of a baker didn’t present up. One of the most precious classes she discovered was what individuals actually needed to eat at house. It wasn’t the lavish meals that one may order at a high-end restaurant.

Cookbook writer Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, at the TIME 100 Gala in New York on April 21, 2015. (Evan Agostini, Invision/AP)

In the starting, when she made fancy take-out dishes like pork loin full of prunes marinated in a French brandy or recent chickens on a mattress of recent herbs, “nobody would buy them,” she stated.

“And I thought, ‘People want really simple food,’ (so) I just made a platter of roast chickens,” she stated. ”I might make huge salads and roast carrots and mashed potatoes and I discovered in a short time that’s what individuals need to serve at residence.”

The classes of simplicity, taste and accessibility, with elements obtainable at the grocery retailer, proved invaluable when she started writing recipes for her cookbooks.

“I realized the fact that I don’t have a professional culinary education ironically worked in my favor because I know how hard it is to cook,” she stated. “It’s still hard for me. I’m still completely stressed out just making roasted chicken because I want it to turn out perfectly.”

A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, Garten grew up in the 1950s in Stamford, Conn., the place her surgeon father had his apply. It was the period of Marvel Bread, canned food and casseroles. Her mom did all the cooking, which was nutritious however not fancy, whereas her job was to research. “I remember wanting to cook because I was always searching for flavor,” she stated.

To this present day, she stated, her recipes are “all about flavor.”

“In my recipes, every ingredient has to pull its own weight, and I want the flavors to be perfectly layered so no one flavor smacks you in the head while the next one is so subtle that you hardly notice it,” she stated.

In her new e-book, Garten works her taste magic with simple touches: a splash of pink wine on her Hen Marbella marinade, a squeeze of lemon on her Pork Souvlaki and a sprinkle of orange zest on her Orange-Roasted Rainbow Carrots. A spot of espresso brings out the taste in her Chocolate Chevron Cake.

In the early 1970s, newly married to Jeffrey, who was in the army, Garten lived in numerous locations, together with Colorado Springs for six months. (Followers know Jeffrey, a Yale College dean emeritus, from her exhibits and cookbooks.)

“I used to come to Denver all the time,” Garten stated. “We had friends who lived in Breckenridge … (and) we’d go skiing with them.”

She first encountered high-altitude baking whereas making an attempt to make danish with yeast. “It kept rising and rising and I couldn’t get it to stop,” she stated. “I ended up with the biggest danish I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“I do know how hard high-altitude baking is,” she added, “but since I can’t test it at sea level, I refer people to a chart on the internet that’s helpful.”

Garten has been praised by individuals in the food business for sticking to correct method and completely testing her recipes — practices that grew out of her scientific background.

“I start with an idea and then I test it … and I’m very specific and deliberate about it, the way a scientist would test something. Except I end up with red wine braised short ribs instead of nuclear material,” she stated with amusing. After testing a recipe as many as 20 occasions, she palms it off to workforce members to retest at house so she will see what errors is perhaps made, and what modifying is required.

Garten bought her specialty food retailer in 1996, considering, “it’s probably the end of my professional career, and little did I know it hadn’t even started yet.” In 1999, she revealed her first cookbook, “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” with an introduction by Martha Stewart. It shortly bought greater than one million copies, marking the begin of her profession as an writer and her entrée into the culinary huge leagues. The Food Community shortly got here calling and, after turning them down a number of occasions, she agreed to host her personal present in 2002.

These days, Garten, 70, is proud of her life and needs to maintain doing what she’s doing. It’s a life-style that leaves “time to myself and time to spend with Jeffrey,” she stated.

She listens to music whereas she cooks – from Motown to Taylor Swift and music from Paris, the place she has a house – “music that’s upbeat and fun.”

And she or he rigorously nurtures her model, which contributes to a various fan base – from individuals on her Ask Ina net web page to these in fur coats on New York’s Madison Avenue who greet her with an ‘Oh, darling, love your cookbooks,” and truck drivers who holler out the window, “Hey, babe, love your show.’ ”

She is working on guide No. 12. “I’m just at a point in my life where if I can just keep doing these two things (writing cookbooks and hosting her TV show). I’d be happy to do it until they drag me out by my feet,” she laughed.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

From “Cook Like a Pro,” by Ina Garten.

Serves 6

Most recipes for eggplant Parmesan require that you simply fry the eggplant, which leaves my kitchen — and me! — a greasy mess. As an alternative, I roast the eggplant, and it’s so a lot better. The relaxation is simply layering the eggplant with tons of tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, and slightly tangy goat cheese. I notably love the crunchy, garlicky bread crumbs on prime.


2½ kilos eggplant, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
¼ to 1/eight inch thick
¾ cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly floor black pepper
1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce, akin to Rao’s
½ cup julienned recent basil leaves
1 pound recent buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
eight ounces garlic and herb goat cheese, reminiscent of Montrachet
1½ cups freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese

For the topping:
1¹⁄³ cups recent bread crumbs from a rustic loaf
four garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped recent basil or parsley leaves
¼ cup good olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 levels and organize three racks evenly spaced.

Lay the eggplant in a single layer on three sheet pans and brush each side with olive oil, utilizing all the oil. Sprinkle with the oregano, crushing it frivolously in your palms, then sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons salt and 1½ teaspoons pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the slices and rotate the pans in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, till tender. Depart the oven at 400 levels.

In a 10×14×2-inch ceramic baking dish, unfold ¹⁄₃ of the marinara sauce. Organize a 3rd of the eggplant on prime in a single layer. Scatter a 3rd of the basil, a 3rd of the mozzarella, a 3rd of the goat cheese, and a 3rd of the Parmesan on prime. Repeat twice, beginning with the marinara and ending with the Parmesan, ensuring every layer is evenly distributed.

For the topping, place the bread crumbs, garlic, and basil in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse to moisten the crumbs. Sprinkle the combination evenly over the dish.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, till effervescent and golden brown. Permit to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes earlier than serving.


Ina Garten is showing at the Paramount for a speak about her new cookbook, “Cook Like a Pro,” adopted by a Q&A on Tuesday, Dec. four at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for $49.50 to  $69.50 can be found at