cover image Modern Comfort Food

Modern Comfort Food

Ina Garten. Penguin Press, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8041-8706-0

Garten (Cook Like a Pro) admits in her delightful 12th outing that she’s been “a little grumpier” than usual during the pandemic and has been reaching for foods that soothe. Fittingly, she here offers simple spins on classic comfort fare: roasted shishito peppers with hollandaise is a new take on eggs Benedict, and chicken soup made with frozen peas and onions is a riff on chicken pot pie, the crust of which is frozen puff pastry punched out with a cookie cutter and baked into large croutons. Garten has a way with irresistible snacks, and a chapter on cocktails and foods for entertaining a crowd includes nachos topped with fresh crabmeat and a cream cheese and mayonnaise mixture. She also doesn’t shrink from fat: a free-form tomato and goat cheese pie that serves four for lunch uses one and a half sticks of butter, as well as a macaroni and cheese with mushrooms and truffle butter. To balance that out, there’s a salad comprising a bright mix of fresh peas, sugar snap peas, mint, and manchego cheese. A chapter of breakfast options includes a puffy apple Dutch baby and hash browns crisped in a waffle iron. Specific brands are frequently recommended, such as the Nabisco ginger snaps in a banana rum trifle, and Pepperidge Farm top-split buns for tuna and avocado rolls. Garten fans will dig into these inviting recipes, presented in her always friendly tone. (Oct.)