Ina Garten on her new cookbook, visit to Denver and the joy of simple food – The Denver Post

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan from “Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten. (Provided by Clarkson Potter

For nearly 20 years, prolific cookbook author and TV host Ina Garten has perfected the art of creating elegant yet casual home-cooked meals.

She has persuaded cooks and amateurs alike in her unruffled, “how easy is that,” style, that they, too, can produce a spread as perfect as the one she serves her friends, or husband, Jeffrey Garten, on her shows and in her cookbooks.

It’s what Garten does best. The self-taught cook with the trademark pearl earrings and blue denim shirt is the creative force behind the best-selling Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and the award-winning Food Network TV series. Her brand is a unique blend of simple yet refined recipes prepared and artfully plated for friends and family in the cozy comfort of home.

In her latest book, “Cook Like a Pro, Recipes & Tips For Home Cooks” (Clarkson Potter, Oct. 24, 2018), Garten sets out to help home cooks feel more confident while preparing food that “looks and tastes like it was homemade by professionals.”

“It’s still home cooking, which is what I do,” Garten said. But there are “teachable moments” sprinkled throughout the book to ease the stress for cooks who need help with her recipes. “I’ve learned that a happy, relaxed host is the most important ingredient at any gathering,” said Garten, who is scheduled to be at the Paramount Theatre in Denver on Dec. 4.

Garten spoke to The Denver Post in October from her New York City apartment, where she tests recipes twice a week. Her office, TV studio and main test kitchen are in East Hampton, N.Y.

“Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, October 2018)

The inspiration for her latest book grew out of her online Ask Ina web page in which she responds to cooking and entertaining questions.

Like her 10 previous books, all best-sellers, Garten’s latest is filled with full-page color photographs of recipes such as Autumn Sangria with cinnamon sticks and Apple Brandy. It is the first recipe in the book and comes with a tip on how to seed a pomegranate. (Cut the fruit in half holding it over a bowl or a piece of parchment paper, whack the skin a few times with a wooden spoon and voila.) Garten notes that the sangria recipe was borrowed from chef Bobby Flay.

In fact, Garten has been a judge on the “Beat Bobby Flay” reality TV show and Flay has appeared on her show. ”I love Bobby and … he’s asked me to be a judge a few times. It’s really fun, but as far as being a contestant there’s no way I would beat Bobby Flay,” she said.