Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead seems to be her first cookbook to capitalize on her early career as a White House budget analyst. It offers tips on how to “entertain with ease” by preparing ahead. Each recipe is designed to be made and served right away - but is supplemented with tips on how far ahead you can make it (or whether it can be frozen). Her dinosaur kale chips with parmesan can be put in the oven for minutes just before your guests arrived (though you must keep an eye on them). And she suggests recipes that actually taste better with time like a Moroccan tagine or overnight Belgian waffles.
My favorite tid-bit is her description of a perfectly lavish yet simple New Year’s Eve celebration:
Garten describes how she pulls off making dinner in 15 minutes on returning home by either whipping up a lemon/butter sauce for Lemon Capellini with Caviar in advance, or setting up a Provencal Fish Stew so that all she has to do is add the fish and mussels and cook for ten more minutes, serving it with garlicky rouille and crusty bread . Even if your New Year’s Eve includes a glass of sparkling water, a spin around the family room with the kids and screening Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, this book might help keep you out of the kitchen to enjoy it more of it!