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This Week's Question

I love your show and love cooking and cookbooks, however, I don't have any of your books! Which of your books would you recommend getting first? I want them all but, where should I start?

From -

I always recommend starting with the first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. There are really simple recipes like Perfect Roasted Chicken and Outrageous Brownies that everyone wants to know how to make. Hope you love it! 

I saw you make truffled mashed potatoes the other day and wondered what the difference in taste is between the white and black..which is more "truffley?"

From Helen Feenie - Los Angeles / London

Black truffles tend to come from the South of France, while white truffles tend to come from Italy. Black truffles have a much more subtle flavor, but I prefer the strong pungent flavor of white truffles. I actually only use truffle butter, which has actual truffles in it- because truffle oil can vary enormously in terms of truffle content. 

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I am an incoming college student, and would love some tips. What are some staple ingredients that I should have on hand, and what are some recipes that would work well in a college setting?

From Jack Crossley - Amherst, Massachusetts

Assuming that you have an oven, there a million things you can make on a sheet pan with (12x18 with a 1-inch lip.) You can roast chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, really any vegetable! You can even make brownies for dessert. And, it never hurts to have a box of pasta and a jar of Rao's marinara sauce on hand for dinner in ten minutes! 

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I recently roasted chicken breasts with the skin on and my chicken was dry when finished. What did I do wrong?

From L. Gay Moss - Utah

I have several suggestions. The first one is check your oven temperature with a thermometer to make sure it's the correct temperature. Second, the length of time you cook the breasts depends on how big they are, so you may have to adjust the time. Third, it's very important to wrap beef, chicken or pork with aluminin foil and let it rest for 15 minutes after cooking, to let the juice get back into the meat. I hope that helps! 

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Love your recipes but occasionally find them too salty. I recently read that Morton's kosher salt is twice as salty as Diamond Crystal's. Which do you use?

From Francie Wenner - Kansas City

I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt exclusively in my recipes.

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How should vinegars and flavored olive oils be stored?

From Dana Koegel - Miltona, MN

You can store both of them in the pantry, but I store olive oil in the pantry and vinegars in the refrigerator to extend their life.

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Ina