Ina Garten’s ‘Cooking for Jeffrey’

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ina-garten-cooking-for-jeffrey-coverIna Garten’s new cookbook is “Cooking for Jeffrey” (Clarkson Potter, $35), a title that’s immediately understood by her fans to contain a little wink. After all, we know that pretty much all the time, Ina is cooking for her husband Jeffrey. Oh sure, there might be other stated guests: Famous Friend, maybe, or Accomplished Neighbor, or Bridge Partners. But Jeffrey’s delight is the main thing. Most of the recipes in the new book, Garten writes, “have been ‘Jeffrey tested’ again and again, but frankly I’m not sure that means much, because Jeffrey seems to like everything I make for him, and that’s exactly why I love to cook!”

We all owe Jeffrey a debt of gratitude. There are so many good-sounding recipes in this book I used up my Post-Its and had to crack open a new package to mark all the ones I plan to try. Braided challah is the first thing she made as a newlywed, the traditional bread for Friday night dinners in her new home, for her new husband. All these years later, a little saffron has snuck into her recipe—doesn’t that sound fantastic?  Lemon-tarragon aioli to serve with cooked artichokes—it’s true that I’m all about tarragon at the moment, having had my first bountiful crop in five years, but I can just taste that combination. And, immediately upon reading, Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad ingratiated itself onto my Thanksgiving menu: arugula, goat cheese, Marcona almonds, dried cranberries (I’m using currants), and a sherry vinegar-garlic vinaigrette.

For that salad I’ll be using the Scarborough Farms wild arugula I bought at the Saturday Irvine farmers market, where I’d gone to provision for a different Ina recipe for that night’s dinner, chicken roasted with radishes. I have many times sautéed radishes, but never roasted. Reading “Cooking for Jeffrey” the day before, the prospect of getting a lovely, Temecula-raised La Bahn chicken and matching it up with crisp, Riverside-grown organic radishes from Meños Farm became irresistible. (La Bahn also sells chicken and eggs at the Costa Mesa Thursday farmers market, and Meños’ is in Tustin on Wednesdays.)

Garten succeeds no like no one else in making things easy without sacrificing results. The chicken is a perfect example—it is probably the simplest roast chicken instructions you will ever read. And, will make one of the best dinners you will ever serve.

Roast Chicken With Radishes from Ina Garten

A very chic Frenchwoman made this dish for Jeffrey and me years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. It seemed so Parisian and elegant and yet, it’s so simple and earthy. It’s basically a chicken roasted with radishes that you can find in any grocery store. If you have heirloom radishes at your local farmers market, it will be even better!–Ina Garten

1 4-pound chicken

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lemon, quartered

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 ½ pounds radishes, preferably mixed heirloom, trimmed and scrubbed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken breast side up in roasting pan or ceramic baking dish just large enough to hold it and radishes, and sprinkle cavity liberally with salt and pepper. Put lemon and thyme in cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string and tuck wings under body. Place radishes around chicken.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Brush chicken and radishes with melted butter and sprinkle both literally with salt and pepper.

Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until juices run clear when cut between leg and thigh. Cover pan with aluminum foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with radishes and pan juices.

Reprinted from Cooking for Jeffrey. Copyright (c) 2016 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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