Plus, Ina gets real about grocery shopping—and what's next on her to-do list.
Ina Garten returned to Food Network this past Sunday to teach us easy recipes and techniques on her Barefoot Contessa spinoff, Cook Like a Pro. As if this week couldn't get any better, Ina Garten's eleventh cookbook by the same name officially hit stores today, and we're already flicking through our copy of Cook Like a Pro for new recipe ideas (like this healthy side salad).
Over the last few months, Ina has taken to Instagram to promote her new cookbook and teach her followers how to master the basics of cooking—from whipping up a 4-ingredient vinaigrette to preparing snap peas, corn, and cauliflower without creating a big mess.
Cook Like a Pro is a perfect guide to mastering the basics, including techniques to whip up easy weeknight recipes. From sections on the best staples you should be buying to cocktails and even holiday tips (read: Thanksgiving), Cook Like a Pro is a great pick for home cooks who can't get enough of Garten's latest Food Network series.
To promote the launch of her new cookbook, Garten sat down for a tell-all interview with the Huffington Post. She broaches everything from being famous to running her own Instagram—even the one thing that her husband, Jeffrey, makes better than her. "He makes really good coffee!" she shares with a laugh.
More classic Barefoot Contessa tips for you to use at home:
- Ina Garten Says This Is Her Favorite Recipe She's Ever Written
- This Is the Recipe Ina Garten Says She Could "Eat Every Night"
- These Are the 3 No-Cook Appetizers Ina Garten Serves to Party Guests
Keep reading below to hear more about how Cook Like a Pro came to life and Ina's challenges when it comes to cooking. You can buy a copy of her new cookbook, now in stores, right here.
The Cook Like a Pro Recipe That Challenged Her Most
When pressed about which new recipe was the hardest to create, Ina admitted that it had to do with a particularly tender cut of beef—short ribs. "I made the red wine-braised short ribs many times with different cuts of short ribs from different stores. I had my assistant make them so I could see if she had any problems with the recipe, and then I made them for friends for dinner to see if people liked it," Garten told Huffington Post.
Garten admits that she'll cook up her best recipes anywhere between 10 and 20 times before it's ever considered for one of her cookbooks. "We try it on a gas stove, we try it on an electric stove—I just never know what kind of conditions people have in their homes, so I try everything," she said.
And This Is the Recipe That She Still Can't Get Right
You'll be happy to hear that it's not a healthy dish, per se. Garten shares that she's been working on a Boston creme pie recipe for the last six years, but she just can't seem to get this dessert to shine. "It’s a really traditional recipe, but I want to give it more flavor. And getting the balance of the texture of the cake with the flavor of the cake with the pastry cream in the middle and then getting the chocolate right—sometimes one flavor overpowers another," Garten admits.
While she tried to get a creme pie recipe into Cook Like a Pro, Ina faced a lot of common baking problems that we all run into from time to time: a too-dense cake, or an uneven ratio of creme-filling. Perhaps we'll see her nail a classic creme pie in her next title?
How Has She Managed to Write So Many Cookbooks?
Believe it or not, Ina Garten's approach to writing a new book is pretty straightforward—she starts with a number in mind and works from there.
"I always want to do about 85 recipes for each book and I want some in each category — summer recipes, spring recipes, winter, fall—and I want to get a range of ingredients," she said.
"Sometimes I find myself with five recipes that involve butternut squash because I love it. So then I’ll leave a few for the next book. There’s always a balancing act that I try and hit. Some things are healthier, some things are more celebratory—there’s a range."
Yes, Ina Garten Grocery Shops—Here's Why
If you're thinking that the Barefoot Contessa star doesn't have time to run to the market every day, well... you'd be right.
Garten admits that she has an assistant to shop for her on most days—but as busy as she is, she makes time to head to the market every once in a while. The supermarket is really where she learns of new, exciting ingredients to begin cooking with, and so she'll spend afternoons browsing through specialty aisles to make sure she's up to speed on what's hot now.
"I’ll discover something like, Look! You can buy honeynut squash in the grocery store now. It’s important to stay connected with what’s there, but it’s just too time consuming," she said. "I need to stick with cooking."
We wonder if Ina knows about these 10 ways that home cooks can get their groceries delivered.
What's Next for Ina Garten?
You'll be happy to hear that the Barefoot Contessa isn't going anywhere soon—although, if Ina had her way, she'll be traveling quite a bit in the future.
"Personally, I have always had this idea that I’d love to go the Antarctic, but you have to get there first! [Laughs] It’s a nightmare trying to get there, and that’s what has stopped me every time I’ve considered it, but I’d love to go and see the penguins!"