'Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That' on Serious Eats
I decided to try this Easy Cranberry Apple Cake from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That? for two reasons. First, it had the word "easy" in the title and second, apples and cranberries add up to a fantastic fall dessert. As far as cakes go, this one is a breeze. The batter, which is almost coffee cake-like, layers apples and cranberries that have been tossed in brown sugar, cinnamon, orange juice, and zest.
When cooking for a crowd I tend to go for the wow factor—big, labor intensive dishes that have me holed up in the kitchen for hours, if not days, and always exhausted by the time my guests arrive. And of course, it was the wow factor that attracted me to this recipe for Easy Provençal Lamb from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That?, which began with a leg of lamb that was bigger than one of my own legs. Was there anyway that cooking a piece of meat this giant would be as easy as its name implies? There was only one way to find out.
By swapping out Yukon Golds for plain old Russets, and adding vibrant green blanched basil, basic mashed potatoes are taken from humble and homey to exciting and dinner party-worthy.
Celery, lemons, Parmesan, and anchovies are ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand, but I'd never thought of them as the base for a salad until I tried this one for myself. And now that I have, this refreshing dish will certainly be working its way into my weekly rotation.
Ina Garten's How Easy Is That? begins like every great dinner party does, with cocktails. The first chapter is a predinner spread of cocktails and little bites that get the meal started on the right note, keeping your guests entertained and giving you a little leeway to finish up the rest of the meal. All of these hors d'oeuvres have Garten's simple and elegant touches all over them—popcorn is drizzled with truffle butter, mixed nuts are roasted with chipotle and rosemary, and instead of cheese and crackers, Garten offers these Stilton and Walnut Crackers.
In Ina Garten's latest Barefoot Contessa volume, How Easy Is That? she has put together a collection of some of her simplest and most elegant recipes interspersed with 68 tips to help entertain. To see just how easy How Easy Is That? makes things, we planned and cooked a meal consisting entirely of recipes from the book, and I have to say it was one of the most effortless meals I've cooked in a while.