Ina Garten's Genius Tip for Making Perfect Chocolate Curls
Ina Garten is in the middle of a press tour for her latest cookbook, Cook Like a Pro—a collection of recipes designed to help home cooks master the basics—and last night she stopped by The Late Show to give Stephen Colbert a lesson in dessert presentation. Being the ultimate hostess, the Barefoot Contessa starts off the segment by mixing Colbert a drink—a real, "honest to god, Hemingway" daiquiri, made with only fresh lime juice, simple syrup and rum (and shaken for exactly 30 seconds). "Daiquiris got into, like, bananas and strawberries," Garten, a daiquiri purist explains. "They're like smoothies. Nobody wants them anymore."
After giving a quick demo on how to make a simple vinaigrette (the key is to use a lot of olive oil), Garten moves onto assembling a chocolate meringue torte. As soon as Colbert applies the final layer of whipped cream, the Barefoot Contessa shows him how to top it off with perfect chocolate curls (a.k.a. Fancy Sprinkles). The trick? First Garten pops a block of chocolate in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds (depending on the thickness), and then she scrapes it with a vegetable peeler in a downward motion (much easier, and more precise, than fussing with a knife). "You look like you have the happiest life," Colbert says at one point. "You're out there in the Hamptons, you got the split cedar shingle houses, everybody's beautiful...I really should be invited." Attending one of Ina and Jeffrey parties is pretty much the dream, right?
For a crash course in Barefoot Contessa-style entertaining, you can pick up Cook Like a Pro for $20.99 at Amazon.com. And, if you want more Garten in your life, her Cook Like a Pro TV show just returned to the Food Network this month. The next episode, which airs Sunday, October 28, is titled "Good Ingredients" and promises recipes for dishes like "Crispy Chicken Thighs With Mustard Sauce" and "Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies"—Garten's "favorite cookies ever."