Week 4: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof – V’s picks

V here: I first picked up an Ina Garten cookbook at Costco, back when they used to sell books, for $12.99 (the price tag is still on the cover). After cooking a couple of her recipes, I picked up a few more. Now I’m up to four of her books, and Foolproof is the only one of them that I hadn’t cooked from yet, which is why I chose it for this week’s book.

After flipping through all the recipes, and finding a LOT of them really attractive, I decided to go with one dish that I kind of universally hate – meatloaf. Why? Because I’ve cooked enough of her recipes to know that I could use her meatloaf as a litmus for whether or not I actually hate it, or if I just hate everyone else’s.

There is also a suggested menus section in the back of the book, which listed two sides as good accompaniments to the meatloaf, so I decided to be completely insane and cook all three. On a weeknight.

So I chose the 1770 House Meatloaf with Garlic Sauce (page 128), and paired it with her suggestions for Orange Braised Carrots & Parsnips (page 170) and Mashed Potatoes. The original menu was for Truffle Mashed Potatoes (page 186), but as I’m allergic to truffles, I decided to skip that.

I’ve never really wanted two ovens before, nor seen the need for it, but having two different dishes (meatloaf and carrots) bake at two wildly different temperatures which needed to be on the table at the same time showed me the utility for having two.

Long story short, the meatloaf was really good, even if I couldn’t find any veal to add to it, which honestly, I’m not broken up about. Ground pork also wasn’t available, but I got some nice looking pork chops and ran it through the meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid (which is the result of another wild hair that I caught about making my own sausage).

The meatloaf was tender, flavorful and not dry, which has been one of my primary complaints about other people’s (and some upscale restaurants’) meatloaf. It was very salty though, and I keep forgetting that Ina Garten tends to massively over salt her recipes to my taste, so next time, I will try to remember to cut the salt in half.

However, the main star of the meal was the garlic sauce that went on the meatloaf. It took about 45 minutes to make the sauce, however it was WELL worth it. Basically it involved deep frying a lot of garlic in olive oil, and then adding butter and mashing up the garlic into the liquids and letting that reduce. OMG. Amazing.

The Orange Braised Carrots & Parsnips were fine. I didn’t really like the carrots, I enjoyed the parsnips, and we didn’t eat these leftovers.

As I was stressing about getting everything done, Chris took over on the mashed potatoes while I finished the carrots and garlic sauce. Overall, my dinner plan failed, as the carrots were done about 45 minutes after the meatloaf. But Chris and Georgia were amiable about the entire experience and both enjoyed the food.

The final product. Not bad, overall. I’m working on my presentation skills.

As I’ve been pretty long winded, we’ll put Chris’s choices in a separate post for tomorrow.

My conclusion: This book is awesome and there’s a whole bunch of other stuff in here that I want to make. Plus Ina Garten is pretty much a no brainer: Her recipes and techniques are great.


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