Cooking with Friends: In the Kitchen with Ina Garten

Ina gets in the kitchen with friends Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler Florence and Michael Symon to cook and catch up over good food.

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Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Dessert First

After sharing a decadent lunch, Ina and Giada De Laurentiis get in the kitchen to bake. "I pegged you as somebody who loves chocolate," says Ina, "so I picked chocolate cake." As a "dessert person" who began her career as a pastry chef, Giada couldn't agree more. This flourless cake is different in that it includes cassis, a black currant liqueur. As Ina unmolds the cake, Giada finishes the ganache glaze.

Chocolate Cassis Cake

Made without flour and leavening, this cake rises with the help of eggs that have been beaten to a pale yellow and tripled in volume. It's topped with chocolate ganache and served with berries macerated in more cassis.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Cassis Cake

Giada's Version of an Italian Classic

Now it's time for Giada to show Ina one of her favorite recipes, for gnocchi, which Ina has never made before. This recipe is made without potatoes and has just a little bit of flour. "It's mostly just cheese and lemon," says Giada. They use 2 spoons to shape the mixture into quenelles, then roll each in additional flour to make the gnocchi.

Mascarpone and Lemon Gnocchi with Butter-Thyme Sauce

Three cheeses –– mascarpone, Parmesan and pecorino –– go into this gnocchi recipe. Lemon zest adds a bright zing that cuts through the rich brown-butter sauce, which has been infused with fresh thyme.

Get the Recipe: Mascarpone and Lemon Gnocchi with Butter Thyme Sauce

Lobster and Potato Salad

Earlier, as Ina was expecting Giada, she prepared a lobster and potato salad with Yukon gold potatoes, champagne vinaigrette and diced, cooked lobster meat. Inspired by lobster rolls from Montauk, this salad makes a perfect Hamptons-style lunch.

Get the Recipe: Lobster & Potato Salad

Never Too Old for Cake

Tyler Florence stops by Ina's next for a day of recipe swapping and cooking. It happens to be Tyler's son Hayden's birthday, so Ina and Tyler melt some chocolate chips for a frosting. Tyler jokes that this cake is for him too, since adults never really grow up: "We just kind of get an older shell," but everyone's a kid on the inside.

Hayden's Chocolate Cake

Ina's secret to a moist chocolate cake is buttermilk and sour cream. To bring out the chocolate flavor she uses a 1/4 cup of brewed coffee. Stacking the layers off-center makes for a fun presentation.

Get the Recipe: Hayden's Chocolate Cake

Fresh from the Source

Ina takes Tyler to the market where she likes to buy fresh chicken for Jeffrey's roast every Friday night. This time, though, Tyler will be showing Ina how to make his fried chicken. After buying a 4-pound bird and checking out the beautiful Bantam eggs, the two are ready to get back to Ina's house to cook.

Tyler's Take on Fried Chicken

Tyler's recipe is based on his grandmother's fried chicken, with an additional California twist. After brining the chicken for around 2 hours, Tyler coats it with a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce, then flour seasoned with onion and garlic powders and sweet paprika. His twist is to fry the chicken in peanut oil that's been infused with garlic and fresh herbs. To serve alongside the bird, Ina's made a slaw.

Winter Slaw

Like a coleslaw but much lighter, this recipe includes Brussels sprouts, radicchio and kale, which are all finely shredded and tossed in a lemon vinaigrette with dried cranberries and Parmesan cheese.

Get the Recipe: Winter Slaw

Tyler Florence's Fried Chicken

Tyler serves his crispy fried chicken with the fried garlic and herbs as well as fresh lemon wedges. Mustard flowers add a nice garnish –– and they're edible too, as are the fried herbs.

Get the Recipe: Tyler Florence's Fried Chicken

A Fitting Meal

Tyler and Ina sit down on the patio to enjoy their meal and toast with glasses of Cabernet from Napa Valley. They dig into the fried chicken, and there's no shame in eating it with their hands. "It's so crisp on the outside and so moist inside," says Ina about the chicken, "and the herbs and the Sriracha all season it without overpowering it."

Ready, Set, Grill

Ina's expecting Michael Symon for a day of grilling. As Ina sets up the charcoal grill, Michael picks up ribs at the local butcher shop. After soaking the applewood chips, Ina turns them out right on top of the hot coals as Michael instructs. "And then, if someone was using a gas grill," says Michael, "they could wrap them in foil and do the same thing."

Just Like Grandma Used to Make

Michael shows Ina how to make the spice rub for the ribs and tells her it's based on his Greek grandmother's (or yiayia's) recipe. "I actually used to cook with my grandmother," says Ina, "but she made herring," not ribs. "It's very similar," jokes Michael. Ina brings red-wine vinegar and honey, which will go into the simple glaze for the ribs.

Mezze Platter

While they wait for the ribs to finish cooking, Ina shows Michael how she makes her spicy hummus. She then assembles a Greek platter with tzatziki she made earlier, the hummus, pita wedges, green and black olives, feta cheese and lemon wedges.

Get the Recipes: Toasted Pita Triangles

Smoked Pork Ribs

Michael's way to cook ribs without a smoker is to wrap them in foil and throw them on a grill, tenting the top of the foil and poking a few holes so that the smoke can circulate. About halfway through the grilling time, he adds the glaze. Michael finishes the ribs directly on the grill and serves them with grilled lemons.

Get the Recipe: Smoked Pork Ribs

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