Monday, April 4, 2011

In The Kitchen: Cookbook Testing Ina Garten's Back To Basics

I drive my husband crazy with my cookbook obsession. I have an entire bookcase filled with cookbooks as well as some stashed here and there. What I’d like to do as a new regular feature is test a few recipes from a cookbook and let you know what we thought about that cookbook. While he is more experienced and experimental, I am a true recipe follower and will be giving you the scoop on how easy the book is to follow.

This week’s book is Ina Garten’s Back to Basics. I’d been dying for this book. I love Ina’s show and all of her recipes seem simple and easy to follow, and like us, she loves to entertain. This weekend, however, I was a little under the weather so the recipes were experimented on with family for our weekly family meal night and not so much with friends or Supper Club night.

Denise Says:
Important in a cookbook to me are photographs, and these are beautiful. In this book, Ina Garten provides little extra tips, important when you consider yourself a novice, as I do.  The tips are not drivel, as in some cookbooks, but truly useful information such as basic ingredients to have on hand or adding coffee to your chocolate desserts.
I’ve watched some other cooks on TV that want you to buy the best of everything. In some cases it just doesn’t matter. Ina lets you know which ingredients that you will need to get high quality. Also important to me was that the recipes called for ‘normal’ ingredients. By this I mean foods we can find locally and not have to hunt for to complete a recipe. I hate that!
Another important factor of this book, it lays flat when open.  Cookbook manufacturers, when are you going to get it? How are we supposed to follow a recipe when it closes on us?

Dave says:
I am what I call a more meat and potatoes/comfort food/ old-fashioned kind of guy. While I truly enjoy cooking and like to experiment, I am not into odd foods. While she does drive me crazy with her cookbook obsession, I was really excited to try her choice in this cookbook. “Back to Basics” sounds like normal, easy to find foods. When we started looking at all of the recipes, we found it hard to come to the conclusion on what to make. They all look so wonderful!
While Denise enjoys pictures, they are not as important to me; however, the pictures were mouth-watering.
This cookbook may be called ‘Back To Basics’, but they do take some time to execute. These are not 30 minute meals. To me, these recipes are good for family as well as entertaining. 

What do WE think?
This cookbook is a definite buy! Loved it! Easy to follow, great pictures, delicious recipes... what more could you ask for?

Our first test was Coq Au Vin. I was intimidated by the name alone. Dave being the more experienced and experimental of the two of us is never intimidated. However, this was extremely to follow, even for me. We thoroughly enjoyed the final product, as did the family. This recipe is a keeper and we will surely make it again.

For the next test, my wonderful hubby let me sleep in and he made Easy Sticky Buns for breakfast. Isn’t he a doll? He said they were oh-so easy to accomplish since you use puff pastry and he didn’t have to make the dough. These were quite delicious and would make an awesome presentation for a breakfast for company!

And for the final test, again that wonderful husband of mine made BC Company Pot Roast for Sunday dinner. I was doing laundry and ironing for the work while he slaved in the kitchen. This turned out ahh-mazing! Since it was just the two of us last night, we are delighted there will be leftovers of this magnificent roast. For lunch today we will be having pot roast sandwiches made from the leftovers!

As we make more from this and other cookbooks, we will continue our series. And as a final note, we highly recommend this cookbook!

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