If you've been around here for a minute, you know and love Trent from @storeboughtisfine just as much as we do! If you are new here, Trent is a dear friend of ours and he's been cooking his way through every Ina Garten cookbook over the years. After over 1,000 recipes - he's looking forward to cooking his way through Ina's newest release, "Go-To Dinners".
We wanted to catch up with Trent before the big launch day arrives to take a little walk down memory lane and see what he's been up to and what he's looking forward to with tomorrow's launch.
What are your favorite cookbooks so far?
This is always a hard one to answer! Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of Ina's books - to quote an Ina-ism, they are foolproof! My average rating for each range from 4.3 to 4.7 so there isn’t a vast difference in the quality of recipes between any. My current top 3 are:
Barefoot Contessa at Home - I return to the simple yet delicious recipes in this book over and over again. It’s the one I recommend to everyone whether new to Ina, new to the kitchen, or an old pro! These aren’t the recipes to show off at a dinner party, they're more for every day – easy to make, without skimping on flavor. So many are destined for your regular rotation! You can grab it here.
Cook Like A Pro - So many of my absolute favorite recipes come from this book. Sure, there are some complicated ones, like Raspberry Bakes Alaska and Fried Chicken Sandwiches, but with Ina’s guidance, you’re sure to be able to tackle anyone no matter your skill level in the kitchen. Grab it here.
Modern Comfort Food - I absolutely loved the concept of this book: classic comfort foods with modern twists. It arrived mid-pandemic and pre-election – just when we needed it and recipe after recipe is a hit! This one earned my highest average ranking of all the books! Grab it here.
Full ranking of the books here: https://storeboughtisfineblog.
Favorite Ina Main Dish?
Ever since tasting her Rigatoni with Sausage & Fennel in 2017 it’s been at the top of any favorite Ina dish list. How can you not love tender fennel and onions cooked with sausage in a tomato cream sauce, poured over pasta, and sprinkled with parmesan!?! Don’t love fennel? Try this dish - it’s turned every fennel hater I’ve served it to into a fan! One person described it at hamburger helper with the volume turned up, and it really is in the best way possible.
While the rigatoni has been a long-time favorite, two of her newer recipes that are quickly rising the ranks are her spicy Shrimp & Linguine Fra Diavolo and mouthwatering Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mustard Sauce.
You can see those here:
Favorite Ina Dessert
My all-time favorite Ina dessert is her Mocha Chocolate Ice Box Cake from How Easy Is That - I make it at least a couple of times each year. It’s a no-cook recipe that could not be easier. Layers of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies alternating with mascarpone cream infused with cocoa powder, Kahlua, and espresso powder stack up to a heavenly dessert perfect for those hot summer days when you can’t even fathom turning on the oven!
One of my favorites for this time of year is Ina’s Pumpkin Mousse Parfait - what can I say I’m a sucker for a dessert of layered cream and cookies! For this one, you use ginger cookies along with whipped cream and pumpkin mousse infused with warm fall spices. Cassandra and I made these together and they are always a fall favorite!
You can see those here:
Pumpkin Mousse Parfait https://www.instagram.com/p/
Icebox cake: https://www.instagram.com/p/
Name one kitchen item you can NOT live without.
I love an under-appreciated workhorse in the kitchen and the Glass Nesting Bowls are the unsung heroes of my cooking routine - outside of my knives, they are the most used item. I have two sets and there is not a meal that I don’t break them out. The different sizes are perfect for mise en place - the prepping of all the ingredients before you begin cooking. Sure, they aren’t the most flashy thing in my kitchen but they are the most beloved.
Any exciting holiday/winter plans for you and your partner, Alex? Anything exciting you're currently working on you'd like for us to share?
We are still trying to figure out holiday travel plans but we are really looking forward to Alex’s brother’s wedding in Jamaica in March - by that time New York winter will have zapped us and a little celebration of love in the sun will be very much needed!
On the Store-Bought Is Fine front, in the New Year I really hoping to do some more recipe development, which may mean dialing it back on posting and making other people’s recipes. It’s always been a dream, but between my full-time job, cookbooks of the month, and other content it’s been hard to find the time! We’ll see if it happens!