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I can’t believe another month is almost over. They seem to be flying lately. I can remember when I was a kid, it seemed like it took forever for Christmas to come, or for the school year to end, but as I get older, I find myself asking the question of where time goes more and more often.

And finishing one month and starting another means that it is time to say goodbye to the cookbook of the month and time to welcome in a new one. And earlier this week, I just noticed that there are 5 Fridays this month, so I had to squeeze in one more recipe from this month’s cookbookBarefoot Contessa Parties!

Like I said when I first chose this book as the cookbook of the month – I never imagined that I would fall in love with a party book. And although now I have dreams of throwing great dinner parties, (and I know that probably won’t happen), I have discovered that this book also works for regular dinners, desserts, appetizers and drinks. I have found some great recipes already and can’t wait to try even more.

The book is divided by seasons – which I really love. I’m not the best at cooking seasonally, but this book helps me out with that. I also love reading about Ina’s party experiences, both good and bad. Oh, and how I would love to attend one of her perfectly orchestrated parties!! She just seems so down to earth, and not pretentious. In fact, she says that a good party should be more about the company you are keeping, and to keep the food simple and fun. That sounds like the equation for a good party to me!!

I loved all of the recipes I tried, and there are many more that I want to try, such as the rugelach, the spinach gratin, and of course her lemon bars! I can tell that this cookbook is going to be a used on on my shelf.

Recipes made from Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Herbed Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Salmon Sandwiches
Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream
Tropical Smoothies (recipe below)

For the cookbook of the month for June, I went to my bookshelf and chose a book that I haven’t made anything from yet. I’m actually quite embarrassed to say that I haven’t made anything from it yet, because it looks like a great book! I actually got this book on accident – awhile back I belonged to one of those book clubs that send you an offer every month, and if you don’t send the card back in, they will send you the book. (And usually charge you an arm and a leg for it!) Well, this book showed up one day because I am quite forgetful, and I just never got around to sending it back. I have since quit that club, but looking through this book now, I’m actually quite happy that I ended up with it. This month’s choice is:

Vegetables from the Culinary Institute of America

And although there are many recipes in this book that would be best in the late summer when the fresh vegetables are plenty here in my neck of the woods, there are still plenty in the book that can be made year round. I’m going through the book today to bookmark the ones I will make, so I’m excited to see what’s in there!

And now for the bonus recipe – Tropical Smoothies. Yes, I know that a recipe is not really necessary to have a recipe for a smoothie, but I just couldn’t resist making these for breakfast this week. And I’ll admit that I’m not a big smoothie fan. I like them fine, but I don’t go out of my way to hit Jamba Juice. But I’ve been trying to get more fruits and veggies in my diet lately, and this was a great way to get a ton of fruit for breakfast. I adapted the recipe to what I had on hand, and it was delicious and healthy! Feel free to substitute whatever fruit you have on hand – you probably won’t go wrong!

Tropical Smoothies
adapted from
Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Serves 2

1 mango
1 banana

1-2 cups hulled strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup water

2 cups ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

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19 Responses to Cookbook of the Month Review – May 2008

  1. Patsyk says:

    I have several of the CIA cookbooks on my wish list… I’m dying to take a course (or 2 or 3 or 4!) from them! I can’t wait to see what you make from this cookbook.

    I think Ina has some great recipes, but have been hesitant to buy her books as I don’t know that I’ll use them enough since I tend to cook “lighter” than she does. I love this project and how you share your results each month.

  2. glamah16 says:

    The CIA puts out great books. I have one on Cake Decorating and one on Hors D Ouevers. Come on, give a prty. You’ll be great. I actually enjoy the ‘presure’.

  3. Augustina says:

    I just got a new handheld immersion blender so maybe this smoothie will be my first recipe using it! I don’t own any Ina Garten cookbooks yet but i have tried some of her recipes before. I like her style too. Thanks for sharing these great recipes.

  4. Roni says:

    love the smoothie idea. wouldn’t have considered banana mango together. Isn’t that weird? :~)

  5. Mary says:

    Oh I’m so excited to see what you’re going to make! I’ve never heard of this cookbook before, but I’m definitely intrigued!

  6. Katerina says:

    Great post as always! I took this one out of the library and grabbed a few recipes, I am generally a big Ina fan and I have her original book. I have also been meaning to make her spinach gratin. We can see who gets to it first.

  7. Prudy says:

    What a great idea-to actually use the cookbooks you’ve got. I just read your profile and noticed you are from Orem. I just happen to be in Orem visiting my sister. I’m from Santa Clara. Your opera cake looks wonderful!

  8. Vicarious Foodie says:

    Yum! Smoothies are such a great way to get a fast, nutritious breakfast. Yours sounds (and looks) great!

  9. Psychgrad says:

    Like many others, I’m a fan of Ina Garten. Her recipes are always good. Giz recently made her rugelach recipe. As an official taster of Giz’s recipes, when I’m in town to visit, I can verify that it is also good.

  10. Grace says:

    i had mango for the first time a couple weeks ago (in a salad at an airport, no less), and now i can’t get enough. i want to toss it in everything. it’s amazing to me how quickly i can become obsessed with a certain food, and usually the obsession ends just as easily. i’ll be sure to make this smoothie while i’m still feeling the mango-love, cause it sounds great. 🙂

  11. Dhanggit says:

    oh i love strawberry smoothies!! i would probably add some banana on it though!! 🙂

    btw, i agree with you how time flies so fast..everytime i look at my daughter..she used to be a baby she’s growing faster and faster..i feel a little bit old …sigh 🙁

  12. Elle says:

    With summer coming, I’ll be looking for more smoothie ideas, so thanks for this one! It looks so refreshing!

  13. Cakespy says:

    I love it when books are separated like that in a way that makes sense. Judging by how delicious this smoothie looks, and with Mr. Cakespy’s penchant for them in the morning, I might have to give this one a try!

  14. Emiline says:

    Yeah, I’m more of a coffee gal myself, but this smoothie looks really good.
    I wonder if by drinking V8, you would get a lot of vitamins in your diet? I don’t think I’ve ever had a V8.

    I wouldn’t mind having this Ina book. I like her.

  15. giz says:

    I have Ina’s party book and love it totally. I blogged her rugalach recipe not long ago – fantastic and so easy to make. All her recipes are totally accessible, no nonsense and never let me down.

  16. Brittany says:

    Just wanted to say great blog, and congrats on the FFF feature!

  17. eatme_delicious says:

    Can’t wait to see what you make from the Vegetables cookbook! And yum to that smoothie. Did you use fresh mango? They’re such a pain to cut up. I love smoothies because, as you said, it’s a great way to add more fruit to my diet!

  18. EAT! says:

    I have all Ina’s cookbooks and I mostly love all her recipes. I like her easy style and lots of fresh ingredients.

  19. Aggie says:

    I’m a big Barefoot Contessa fan…her original cookbook is one of my favorites and most used. When I got it, I read it like a book…she’s my kind of gal.

    Have I told you I love your blog? =)

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