Building on the success of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Garten presents 16 simple menus, yielding readers four fun and distinctive parties per season. True to her theory that the easiest parties are usually the best, Garten offers sound advice (e.g., prepare dishes in advance when possible so you can be a guest at your own party, and use strategy when building a guest list) and fare within the reach of any cook. Moreover, by suggesting many dishes that can be served at room temperature, she helps hosts minimize any last-minute frenzies. Brisket with Carrots and Onions requires very little supervision, and Chocolate Ganache Cake can be baked a week ahead and glazed the day it's served. Garten pumps up the flavor with such recipes as Potato Pancakes with Caviar and an irresistible vinaigrette-tossed salad topped by sliced onions baked with balsamic vinegar and then by crumbled Maytag blue cheese. Potables are as innocent as Tropical Smoothies and as potent as Raspberry Vodka and Real Margaritas. (Apr.) Forecast: Having already catapulted herself from her eponymous gourmet shop in East Hampton, N.Y., to the national stage, Garten is sure to secure the success of her second book with the added exposure of her own cooking show on the Food Network, regular appearances on Martha Stewart Living and her high-profile Web site (www.barefootcontessa.com).
Reviewed on: 03/26/2001 Release date: 03/01/2001 Genre: Nonfiction