Side Dish: Barefoot Contessa

Here’s a tip for those looking for a gift for the cooks on their gift lists: Bestselling author and Food Network star Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, her eighth, is now available.

“Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust” is illustrated with plenty of beautiful full-color photographs by Quentin Bacon and offers almost 100 recipes that are easy to follow and produce delicious results.

Garten writes that to her, foolproof means cooking with confidence and she hopes that the book’s recipes will give readers more confidence in the kitchen. She also offers lots of tips on shopping and cooking and easy ideas for entertaining.

She explains how to develop a game plan so that everything arrives at the table at the same time and she provides 18 sample menus. However, not all the recipes for the sample menus are in “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.” Many of them are from her seven earlier cookbooks.

Recipes are divided into six chapters, beginning with cocktails and ending with desserts. Among the recipes are Dukes Cosmopolitan, jalapeño cheddar crackers, Spanish pea soup with crispy ham, crispy mustard-roasted chicken, salmon and melting cherry tomatoes, balsamic-roasted Brussels sprouts, chocolate cassis cake and Viennese iced coffee.

This is an attractive book that fans of Garten’s recipe collections will appreciate receiving.

Cookbook signings

Todd-Michael St. Pierre will autograph his book “Taste of Treme” at 5 p.m. Dec. 14 at at the Barnes & Noble at 5705 Johnston St., Lafayette.

The Beaver Club of Lafayette will sign copies of its cookbook, “Cajun Men Cook,” on Saturday, Dec. 15, at both Baton Rouge Barnes & Noble locations. Club members will be at the Perkins Rowe store, 7707 Bluebonnet Blvd., at 10 a.m. and at CitiPlace, 2590 CitiPlace Court, at 3 p.m.

Retired New Orleans firefighter Robert Medina will autograph his cookbook, “If you Can’t Stand the Heat … A New Orleans Firefighter’s Cookbook,” and offer samples of his smoked chicken, duck and andouille gumbo from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe store in Baton Rouge.

A portion of the proceeds from his book sales will benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, creator and editor of “Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde... Life Stories About Food”, will sign copies of her book at Barnes & Noble CitiPlace in Baton Rouge from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday and at the Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe location from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com.
Advocate-tested recipe

Green Bean Gremolata

Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is reprinted with permission from “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, 2012). Garten writes that she blanches the green beans, makes the gremolata in advance, and stores them separately in the refrigerator.

1 lb. French green beans, trimmed
2 tsps. minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 tbl. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
3 tbls. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbls. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbls. toasted pine nuts (see note)
21/4 tbls. good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 miinutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

2. For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside.

3. When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Add the beans to the pan and sauté, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through. Off the heat, add the gremolata and toss well. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve hot.

Note: Toast pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.