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Order "Barefoot Contessa Parties" today!Barefoot Contessa Parties!

BAREFOOT CONTESSA PARTIES! - Ideas and Recipes For Easy Parties That Are Really Fun
by Ina Garten

Clarkson Potter Publishers/Hardcover $32.50

After reading through every page of this beautifully written and photographed cook book, I've come to the conclusion that Ina Garten and I must have been separated at birth.  We have the same philosophy and love of  food and entertaining, we apparently love the same delicious foods (I mentally devoured each and every recipe) and, Ina has blue and white dinnerware just as I do - except the patterns are different.

I haven't had the opportunity to visit Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa food shop in Westhampton Beach, New York (that's on the Eastern end of Long Island) but after reading through "Barefoot Contessa Parties!" I just know the food must be gorgeous to look at and scrumptious to eat.  Maybe I'll be able to make a day trip this summer to see and taste for myself.

In the Introduction, Ina re-visits her first experiences in entertaining and her early experiences as the new owner of Barefoot Contessa specialty food shop. Her suggestions about "staying cool" in the face of entertaining nightmares right down to the actual guests themselves that you'll be inviting to your own parties - are absolutely priceless bits of information that every home cook should know.  Details on how to plan the party are also extremely useful to those home cooks who are entertaining the idea of entertaining! 

The chapters are divided into seasons (which as everyone should know by now,  is the only way to cook - with seasonal foods)! The Spring chapter gives you menus for a Sunday Breakfast,  Pizza Party, Jewish Holiday and an Academy Awards feast.  The Summer chapter has menus for a Canoe Trip, Lunch in the Garden, Happy Birthday! and an Outdoor Grill menu. The Autumn chapter has menus for a Football Party, Autumn Dinner, a NOT Thanksgiving dinner, and an Afternoon Tea menu. The Winter chapter has menus for New Year's Day, a Snow Day, Valentine's Dinner and a Fireside Dinner menu.

It's almost impossible for me to choose my favorite season or menu from this book -  they are all equally delicious tasting.  I will be cooking many if not all of these recipes - but as I have a trained mind that can "taste" a recipe by just reading it, I am confident they will all taste as exquisitely as they are photographed.  By the way, James Merrell  is the photographer who is not only talented behind the camera, but I would venture a guess that he's a food lover as well. The food styling for the photography is by Rori Spinelli - also an obvious food lover!

Okay, here's a sampling of  the menus that I'm sure will entice you to buy this book and cook the recipes.

Spring - Sunday Breakfast for Eight  includes Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs, Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Tropical Smoothies, Eli's Health Bread, Raspberry Butter, Cinnamon Honey Butter, Fresh Fruit and Coffee.

Summer - Canoe Trip Party for Twelve includes Shrimp Salad, Chinese Chicken Salad, Pasta, Pesto and Peas, Panzanella Salad, and Lemon Cake

Autumn - Autumn Dinner for Six includes Potato Pancakes with Caviar, Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, Rack of Lamb, Orzo with Roasted Vegetables and Apple Crostata.

Winter - Valentine's Dinner Party for Six includes Cheese Straws, Black Olives, Roast Loin of Port with Fennel, Sautéed Cabbage and Pear, English Stilton and Port




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