IMG_20150727_101140I admit, I’ve been drawn towards try­ing the fun and strange cook books we have in stock. I mean, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Big Gay Book of Ice Cream: those aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly titles of cook­books that one would buy to help with every day cook­ing ideas.

So I decid­ed to switch it up a lit­tle, and review Ina Garten’s Bare­foot Con­tes­sa at Home. Ina’s whole deal through this book is giv­ing the read­er access to great, sim­ple, every­day recipes that make your mouth water but aren’t crazy to make.

Here at Kards, we are huge fans of Ina Garten, Nigel­la Law­son, and Jamie Oliv­er. We car­ry a pret­ty good selec­tion of their cook­books, so when I was try­ing to choose a rea­son­able every­day cook­book, I had plen­ty of big names to choose from. For me, though, Ina Garten’s books stood out the most. Law­son and Oliv­er have some pret­ty great recipes, but they have a ten­den­cy to be too fan­cy for every day life. The pic­tures are great and big and the food looks won­der­ful, but the ingre­di­ents called for are some­time hard to track down.

Bare­foot Con­tes­sa at Home claimed to be a book that you could actu­al­ly use every day, and it’s true to its word. The recipes I read through were all pret­ty down to earth. Not bland or ‘nor­mal’, but def­i­nite­ly not com­pli­cat­ed. I wouldn’t need to have a per­son­al shop­per and an in house butcher to gath­er my ingre­di­ents for me.

This is a big deal for me per­son­al­ly. I often feel like a lot of those TV cook­ing stars for­get that nor­mal peo­ple have to go to nor­mal gro­cery stores to find ingre­di­ents. We can track down fun ingre­di­ents if we have the time, but you have to be pret­ty seri­ous about good food to want to make time to find some of the hard­er to find ingre­di­ents.

So, to me, the Bare­foot Con­tes­sa already has one up on those oth­er guys. She knows how to make a book for peo­ple who want to cook good things for not a lot of mon­ey and not a lot of time.


Doesn’t it look amaz­ing? It tastes even bet­ter.

Choos­ing the recipe was a bit hard.… there are a lot of good ones in there, but in the end I just HAD to go with her Chick­en with Goat C heese and Basil. There are only 5 ingre­di­ents, and one two of them are olive oil and salt.

The only odd or exotic part of this recipe was that it calls for bone­less chick­en breasts with skin on. They don’t real­ly sell that prepack­aged at gro­cery stores. But it does have a note in the book that you can ask your butcher to de-bone some skin-on breasts for you. And I did! IT was easy-peasy. I just went up to the meat coun­ter at mar­ket dis­trict and was like, hey, I need 6 chick­en breast with skin on de-boned please! And they were like, great! come back in 5 min­utes!

Seri­ous­ly, that was the biggest has­sle of the whole thing. Well, that and the first time I went shop­ping, I bough the prepack­age bone­less chick­en breasts because I didn’t actu­al­ly read the recipe and real­ize that there’s a REASON that it calls for skin on!

Mak­ing this dish took me like 5 min­utes, once I had all the ingre­di­ents. 5 min­utes, pop it in the oven for 30 min­utes, and it was ready to go.

And it was GOOD. Seri­ous­ly. I mean, I love goats cheese, so I knew I was going to love it, but some­thing amaz­ing hap­pened to those things while they were in the oven. The goat’s cheese melt­ed into the chick­en in this awe­some way so that it end­ed up hav­ing the tex­ture of cooked ricot­ta cheese, and all of the fla­vor was every­where. The skin gets nice and brown and crunchy and the salt and pep­per make it oh so yum­my.

Like, seri­ous­ly, full con­fes­sion here: I made the mis­take of mak­ing the­se while I was home alone. And I ate three of them. THREE. gross. but SO YUMMY.

Ina Garten says right in the book: “Every­one needs a few dish­es they can assem­ble ten min­utes after they walk in the door at night.” This is it. She has done it. This dish is ridicu­lous­ly easy to buy for, make, and serve up pip­ing hot. It’s deli­cious and it looks real­ly fan­cy. When you have that next din­ner par­ty and make this dish, peo­ple are going to think that you are either a culi­nary genius or that you spent hours in the kitchen.

I high­ly HIGHLY rec­om­mend this recipe and this book as a kitchen basic. Seri­ous­ly. This book is FULL of things that you can and will actu­al­ly use in every day life. Your life will be more yum­my and more sane because of it.



Bare­foot Con­tes­sa at Home
Chick­en with Goat Cheese & Basil

6 bone­less chick­en breast, skin on
8 to 10 ounces gar­lic and herb goat cheese, such as Mon­tra­chet
6 large fresh basil leaves
good olive oil
kosher salt and fresh­ly ground black pep­per

Pre­heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the chick­en breasts on a sheet pan. Loosen the skin from the meat with your fin­gers, leav­ing one side attached. Cut the goat cheese into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place 1 or 2 slices plus a large basil leaf under the skin of each chick­en breast. Pill the skin over as much of the meat as pos­si­ble so that it won’t dry out. With your find­ers, rub each piece with olive oil, then sprin­kle them very gen­er­ous­ly with salt and pep­per. Bake the chick­en for 35 to 40 min­utes, until the skin is light­ly browned and the chick­en is just cooked through. Serve hot or at room tem­per­a­ture.




So, what do you think?