Chef and television host Ina Garten is everyone’s dream Long Island neighbor, and she’s about to be a lot more accessible to food and cookbook enthusiasts as she has an answer to the age-old question about meals: Can I make it ahead of time? The answer is yes.
The author, an Emmy and James Beard-award winner, will venture out to Westbury on Thursday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m., for one of the many stops on her Make It Ahead tour. Her latest cookbook, Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, is all about preparing delicious and fresh meals ahead of time.
“I do a lot of events around the country,” said Garten, who has been doing on-stage interviews for the past two years. “They asked me to do this event because I thought it would be wonderful to do something close to home. I feel more of a connection because the event is on Long Island,” she added of the venue, the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Live Nation Entertainment will be sponsoring the series, called “Conversations,” at which Garten is the first guest of four speakers to appear.
Garten will share behind-the-scene stories of filming her Food Network show, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, discuss what went into writing her nine best-selling cookbooks and how she enjoys food with her family and friends at home in the Hamptons.
“When we’re cooking and we’re so busy, being able to make things in advance really allows us to entertain,” said Garten on the ability to balance the role of host and guest at your own party. “In this cookbook, I’ve broken down each recipe and say that you can do three-fourths of it ahead of time and it’s ready whenever you want to serve dinner.”
Included in the book are helpful tips on prepping, cooking, baking and entertaining ahead of time, which are useful for events as simple as a dinner party or as grand as a family holiday. Some delicious recipes include zucchini basil soup, rosemary rack of lamb with tzatziki, raspberry baked French toast and a decadent (and gluten-free) chocolate cake.
“I have a fresh peach cobbler in the oven with a biscuit topping as we speak,” said Garten, taking her own advice and preparing dessert hours ahead of dinner.
Her favorite recipe, which is also included in her book, is a slow-roasted spice pork, as it is the perfect dinner to make when she is pressed for time.
“This has become my favorite dish for winter entertaining. I rub the pork with the seasoning mixture in advance and then just throw it in the oven at low temperature to roast for 6 to 7 hours before dinner,” said Garten, who serves the dish with baked beans that also cook in the oven. “Everything is hot and ready when I’m about to serve dinner. I also make a coleslaw and some cornbread to serve with it.”
Up next on the culinary icon’s cutting board is another cookbook, which is sure to be another hit. For more information on Garten’s appearance at the Theatre at Westbury, including purchasing tickets and a copy of Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, visit www.thetheatreatwestbury.com and www.williams-sonoma.com. An audience Q & A will immediately follow each interview at the event.