"A good party is not about the food," says Ina Garten, "it's about the people." That may be true, but her Barefoot Contessa Parties! will ensure that your next party is a fabulous one, regardless of your guest list. Garten, author of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and a monthly column in Martha Stewart Living, has been catering since 1978. So who better to put together a collection of entertaining theme parties? She's included everything from drinks and hors d'oeuvres to dessert and coffee, as well as notes about what "surprises," atmospheres, venues, and table decorations lend themselves to each. Because she likes to attend her own parties (and who doesn't?), almost every recipe is make-ahead and remarkably uncomplicated.
From casual get-togethers, such as the Pizza Party--which includes recipes for Caesar Salad with Pancetta, California Pizzas that your guests can assemble themselves, and Ice-Cream Sodas--to the elegant Academy Awards dinner--where your guests will enjoy Raspberry Vodka, Rori's Potato Chips with Caviar Dip, Smoked Salmon with Mesclun, Filet of Beef with Gorgonzola Sauce, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic Roasted Potatoes, and Chocolate Ganache Cake--Garten's parties are well thought out and well organized. Divided by season, you'll look forward to Summer's Outdoor Grill, which starts with Real Margaritas, followed by Endive and Avocado Salad, Grilled Herb Shrimp with Mango Salsa, Spaghettoni al Pesto, Tomato Fennel Salad, and Peach Raspberry Shortcakes for dessert. Autumn brings beautiful menus like the one where you cook with your guests and end up with a feast of Potato Pancakes with Caviar, Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, Rack of Lamb, Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, and Apple Crostata. Winter's menus bring soul-warming food, such as Seafood Chowder, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, and a recipe for possibly the world's best Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Spring offers menus such as the Sunday Breakfast, with a main course of Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs, and the Jewish Holiday Party, with Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls.
Filled with funny party anecdotes, a bit of Ina Garten history, and clever hints and tips to help guarantee the success of these recipes, this collection, subtitled "Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun," delivers on every count. --Leora Y. Bloom
After more than twenty years of running Barefoot Contessa, the acclaimed specialty food store, Ina Garten published her first collection of recipes. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was an overnight sensation, but it's the kind of success that can only be grounded in years of experience. In it, Ina shared her ideas for familiar food but with outstanding flavor and -- most important of all -- recipes that really work.
Now, with Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ina shares secrets she has gleaned from her years not only as a caterer but as a dedicated party giver. The keyword here is fun. Ina's parties are easy to prepare and fun for everyone, including the host. Forget those boring Saturday-night dinners that just won't end. With Ina's advice, you're certain to have all your friends saying, "Wasn't that fun!"
Ina has packed Barefoot Contessa Parties! with plans for pulling off parties like a pro, stories about her own parties, and tips on assembling food (rather than cooking everything) and organizing like a caterer. In the spring you can invite your friends to a party where they all make their own pizzas. Come summer, it's into the garden for a lunch with grilled lamb and pita sandwiches that guests assemble themselves. In the autumn, when it's not Thanksgiving, Ina roasts a fresh turkey, which her friends enjoy with popovers and a creamy spinach gratin. And on a snowy winter's day, everyone is invited for a lunch buffet with seafood chowder and butternut squash and apple soup.
Ever since Ina published her first book, people write, e-mail, and stop her on the street to say how much they love the food. She's reached new heights here with recipes like sour cream coffee cake--the ultimate breakfast treat. Salads? The red lettuce, balsamic onions, and blue cheese; Chinese chicken salad; and panzanella may be the best you've ever tasted. Filet of beef is easy to make for a fancy dinner with oh-so-good gorgonzola sauce, or sliced into sandwiches and served with lobster rolls for a Superbowl party. And fans of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook will be delighted to find the recipe for the Lemon Cake they drooled over but only saw pictured, right here in this book.
With so many great ideas and recipes in these pages for you to use, your friends will start to wonder why your parties are always so much fun.
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