When I first heard about the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, I could hardly contain my excitement. With Ina Garten’s easy way of cooking and her foolproof recipes, home entertaining is a breeze. She not only makes it look easy, she also teaches you the essential skills of stress-free entertaining, too. In that vein, her latest cookbook, “Make It Ahead,” is a much-needed addition on any home cook’s bookshelf. Frequent entertainers already know that throwing a dinner party means making some dishes ahead. The question is which dishes prepared in advance will be just as tasty as those freshly whipped up? With 150 recipes, the book delivers plenty of answers, from truffled chicken liver mousse to grilled New York strip steaks, twice-baked sweet potatoes and tres leches cake with berries. Some of my favorites are the garlic and herb roasted shrimp, zucchini basil soup and crusty baked potatoes with whipped feta. Although I found many recipes to be heavy, I modified them by eliminating the cheese. Because the base recipes were super easy to work with, the modifications were winners, too. Check out two sample recipes for asparagus and prosciutto bundles and the decadent (gluten-free!) chocolate cake.
Reprinted from Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Copyright © 2014 by Ina Garten. Photographs © 2014 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House LLC.
This cake is gluten-free but no one will suspect because the cake and ganache are so rich and fudgy. Thomas Keller’s Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour is pure genius.
Prepare the cake and allow it to sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours.