20081110-ctb.jpgWords by Ed Levine | Just in time for the holidays and this week's Cook the Book giveaway comes Ina Garten's new book, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. I love Garten's books and recipes for three simple and satisfying reasons:

1. Her recipes always work
2. They're eminently doable
3. Boy, does the woman know delicious

I also feel that Garten manages to empower home cooks in a thoroughly appealing and noncondescending fashion. Whenever I make one of her recipes, I'm supremely confident it's going to turn out well.

For this week's recipes we chose dishes that are perfect for any kind of a holiday get-together, from a Thanksgiving feast to a casual cocktail party or potluck dinner with friends and family.

Doesn't roast shrimp cocktail sound delicious and easy for an appetizer or a pass-around? Or how about the orange pecan wild rice? Yummy! And this Thanksgiving I'm definitely going to make the roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette.

Win 'Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics'

Thanks to the good folks at Clarkson Potter we are giving away five (5) copies of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. In the comments below, just tell us your favorite basic dish that your friends and relatives insist you serve at gatherings.

Regular Serious Eats contest rules apply. Comments must be left here by noon ET on Monday, November 17. Winners will be chosen at random from among eligible commenters.

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