the same thing every day! I said, ‘You don’t
want me to do your line of clothing.’ ”
Turning serious, she continues, “I always
say this, with a caveat: I love what I’m doing
now; I don’t want to do more. I feel really
grateful to have the work that I get to do, that
I can walk to work from the house to the
barn, that I do it with people I love and that I
can make a living doing it. I don’t want to do
anything to spoil that. Every once in a while
something interesting comes along. I’m not
saying it will never happen, but it would have
to be really interesting.”
Meanwhile, Garten is working on an app
that offers tips on creating menus using her
recipes. Fans of her Food Network show can
expect to continue seeing interesting guests
she invites into her kitchen. She also contin-
ues to expand her Barefoot Contessa Pantry
line, which features baking mixes, toppings
and coffee blends, many based on recipes
from her cookbooks. The products are avail-
able in gourmet specialty stores and online
www.barefootcontessa.com, under “Shop”).
Simplicity in a busy world
It’s been 32 years since Garten drove up to
a tiny for-sale food store in the Hamptons
(where, incidentally, she had never been
before), and one thing seems very clear: At
heart she’s still the same person of a few essen-
The Costco Connection
You can find Ina Garten’s latest cookbook,
Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?, along
with a selection of other Barefoot Contessa
cookbooks, in most Costco warehouses and
online at Costco.com.
tial ingredients—a passion for food, a self-taught approach to preparation and a love for
simple, flavorful meals with friends.
Her audience appreciates these qualities.
On her TV show, for example, the cameras
are kept close so that viewers feel they are
right there with her in her kitchen. “I wanted
you to feel like you’re hanging out on the
other side of the counter,” Garten says. “I
think it works out well.”
This couldn’t happen on a set. “I think
that everybody—whether it was your mother,
or she worked and there was somebody else at
home—has this need to sit while somebody is
cooking for them,” Garten tells me. “And I
think there’s something about that dynamic
that really works—that you feel I’m cooking
for you, and that I’m just talking to you.”
As for simplicity, Garten shrugs and says
it’s natural for her. The niche of professional
chef is amply filled by others in the cookbook
world and on the Food Network. Rather than
complex meals, she delights in small victo-
ries—Brussels sprouts brushed with olive oil,
sprinkled with salt and baked on a sheet pan;
a delicious onion dip for pan-fried oysters,
made without a mix; a shortcut for home-
made ricotta (recipe below).
Who knew it was so easy to make ricotta? I mix it with scallions and fresh herbs like dill and
chives—and spread it on toast to serve with a green salad. Homemade ricotta is also good in
manicotti for dinner or sweetened with sugar and cocoa powder for a simple Italian dessert.
30 The Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2010
2 cups ricotta, store-bought or homemade (recipe
3 tablespoons minced scallions, white and green
parts ( 2 scallions)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 round sourdough bread
Good olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, cut in half
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or turn
a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1
teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, and
set aside. Cut the bread in half and cut each
half into 6 thick slices to make 12 slices total.
When the grill is hot, brush the bread with
olive oil and grill on each side for 1½ to 2
minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from
the grill and rub each slice of bread with the
cut side of the garlic clove. Sprinkle with
salt and pepper and spread with the herbed
ricotta. Serve 2 warm slices per person, with
a green salad on the side. Serves 6.
Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen
2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line
the sieve with the cheesecloth.
Pour the milk and cream into a stainless steel
or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in
the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat,
stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir
in the vinegar.
Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until
it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the
curds) and milky parts (the whey).
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined
sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at
room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes,
occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the
mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to
like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer
it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining
whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic
wrap and refrigerate.
The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5
days. Makes about 2 cups.