Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday With Ina

"When you cook, it brings people to the table." - The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten 

Hi all, did you enjoy the weekend? Ours was the perfect blend of sunshine, friends and outdoor fun. But the highlight was Sunday with Ina! The morning started early in my kitchen, baking with the Barefoot Contessa - or else it seemed like she was with me as I whipped up scones and a Limoncello fruit salad from her cookbooks. The occasion was a light brunch with the girls before we went off to meet Ina in person at a reception prior to a speaking engagement in support of her new book Foolproof

Foolproof captures the essence of what I love about The Barefoot Contessa. Her rock-solid recipes make it possible for me to concentrate on the people I'm cooking for, not the cooking itself. And whatever she helps me dish up, it always comes out just right. As Ina says, "You don't have to do something complicated to make a delicious meal. The more familiar the food, the better time you'll have." She says that her recipes are "familiar with the volume turned up."

The key to a perfect scone? Cold butter. 

Fruit Salad with Limoncello from Back to Basics

Ina proved to be as lovely and engaging in person as she is on her television show. The same warmth and sincerity that you find on the pages of her books came through when she greeted guests at the reception and later on stage as she and event host Seattle chef Greg Atkinson discussed her life in food.

So what did we learn about Ina in the time we spent in her company? Fran's salted caramels are her guilty food pleasure. A roasted chicken is her favorite thing to cook and she really does make one for Jeffrey every Friday night. She always makes chicken stock from scratch and you'll never find a recipe for a French macaron in her cookbooks - they're too complicated for her straightforward style. She believes that the best way to get the perfect macaron or cassoulet is to go out.

My cute friends with the BFC: Pam, Dana, and Christina above, and Allison and Laurie below 

I think ultimately Ina is such a comforting partner to have in the kitchen because she's so real and relatable. Her story about the road from working on White House nuclear policy to buying a specialty food store in East Hampton, and then leaving that behind to author best selling cookbooks and create a hit TV show, resonated and inspired. She describes the major transitions in her life as "jumping off a cliff" moments. "When you jump off a cliff, it really focuses your attention - you just figure it out," she says. 

And with another Barefoot cookbook coming soon, I'm looking forward to many more chances to bring friends and family to the table--her simply delicious recipes keeping my attention focused on the people gathered in my home, not what's on the stove. 

Thanks Ina!

What's your favorite Barefoot recipe?

Thanks to Red Ticking Pam for helping with photos for the post.


  1. I'm so glad to hear you had a great time with Ina. Lucky you I would have loved to have gone. I don't have one favorite recipe of hers but I love how she does certain fish they always come out so easy and elegant with great flavor. Love her!


  2. how wonderful! Ina and your girlfriends so beautiful. I don't have a favorite recipe....but her Paris apartment is a favorite, love it

  3. Jeanne-
    I am so happy that you were able to see Ina! She is my favorite too, and I love her cookbooks.
    Thank you for sharing your visit.
    Happy Monday.

  4. Well, it seems EVERY GIRL in Seattle was meeting Ina yesterday afternoon... except Moi! :-) I am sorry I missed it, but thanks to you, Kimberly, Leslie, and the few other friends who blogged about what a great time they had with everyone's favorite no-fuss Chef, I feel as if I had been there as well. Merci, Jeanne! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  5. Oh Veronique, I'm so sorry you weren't able to there, it truly was a treat! Glad I could bring a little bit of the Barefoot to you!
    Have a lovely week. XO

  6. Good morning, Jeanne!
    This post makes me SO happy!!! I truly feel like I have had Ina guiding me in the kitchen (very successfully) for years now. Her cookbooks are always the first I grab.

    What a highlight it must have been to meet her in person and share the day with your darling friends!!!

    My all time favorite Ina recipe are her Maple Oatmeal Scones. They are our family's favorite and in fact, I plan on making some this week.

    xoxo Elizabeth

  7. I was so bummed to have missed it so thanks for the review! :) My favorites are her chicken stew with homemade biscuits and the french eggs...but her overall approach really makes all of her recipes great! I love how she gives permission to buy great foods too and just make one or two things, so you aren't exhausted when your guests show up...

  8. i love cooking with ina too! one of my favorite things about her is her shared preference for cooking ahead! she liberates me. and i love how she chooses to make the unexpected. remember how she made meatloaf for dinner for her boss?

    sounds like a fun fun weekend!


  9. I like the sound of this - no fuss cooking and being able to concentrate on the people I'm cooking for rather than the cooking - and those scones look perfect! Great post.

  10. Well Jeanne, you introduced us to the BC when we had dinner at your pre-wedding cottage in MP - you made salmon with lentils from BC in Paris. It is one of my favorites. What a lovely Sunday, so happy for you!

  11. We love each and every one of her recipes and her roast chicken is definitely foolproof - so is her boeuf bourguignon! With the colder weather setting in, we can't wait to whip up her soups and stews. What a great post, Jeanne.
    C + C

  12. So jealous you got to meet her! I love her cookbooks too.

  13. OH I love Ina, I have her french inspired cookbook... I think my favorite was a mac and cheese she did.



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