updated 04/12/2011 AT 11:45 AM ET
•originally published 04/14/2011 AT 12:00 PM ET
It’s not every star who caters her own book party – and for 60 guests. But that’s what Gwyneth Paltrow did this week, to mark the publication of her first solo cookbook, My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness.
The volume honors the Oscar winner’s late father, the producer-director Bruce Paltrow, and its launch brought out such close Paltow pals as Cameron Diaz, Martha Stewart, Jay-Z, Jerry Seinfeld and his foodie wife Jessica, fitness guru Tracy Anderson, celebrated chef Mario Batali, and Christy Turlington and husband Ed Burns, among others, not to mention Paltrow’s rocker husband, Chris Martin, and her mother, Blythe Danner.
In a West Village apartment with sweeping views of downtown Manhattan, the tirelessly multi-tasking actress, singer and chef personally attended to every detail of the party – from the Arugula Salad with Smoked Mozzarella Slow-Roasted Tomato Crostini starter dish to the pink and white peonies lining the linen table runner. Replicas of the tableware will be sold on Thursday at One Kings Lane.
“Everybody who’s in her life knows that she’s an amazing cook,” said Turlington, 42. “There’s not a lot that she can’t do, which I think is pretty clear from all of her work.”
When Turlington and Paltrow get their kids together for meals, not everyone ends up eating the same thing. “There are often times where I’m the embarrassed mom where I’m like, ‘Um, do you have just pasta with butter?’ And that’s terrible,” says Turlington. “Because her kids are having tofu dogs and stir fry with every kind of vegetable.”
For her part, the hostess, who served her favorite duck ragu as a main course, revealed that while she loves cooking for her family, they don’t exactly return the favor – ever.
“Never. Not once,” said the Country Strong star, 38. Not even a bowl of cereal for breakfast? “No,” she said.
Things were different when she was growing up. Bruce Paltrow cherished time spent cooking in the kitchen for his family, and passed that gift on to his daughter.
Blythe Danner says she’s probably fondest of her late husband’s pancake recipe. “It reminds me so of him,” she said. “He would make stacks and stacks. We would have children and grandchildren of friends and he just would puff up, he would just get so proud that he could give these kids such pleasure with his pancakes.”
These days, Danner, 68, says she’s given up trying to cook for her kitchen-guru daughter. “Oh, I think she makes everything so much better than I ever could,” said the actress. “I walk in and I just collapse and I say, ‘You do it!’ ”
Mario Batali, 50, who contributed the book’s foreword, said of his close friend: “Gwyneth gets excited as much about yogurt as she does about seafoam as she does about a perfectly cooked tomato sauce. And she’s a damn good cook.”
Her mother concurs. “I’m ecstatic that she is so damn good at everything she does,” said Danner. “I mean, I just think she’s always had this extraordinary spirit where she could do almost anything. She’s got a lot of her dad. So the cookbook is appropriately called My Father’s Daughter.”
Bitter Greens Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette
Arugula Salad with Smoked Mozzarella and Slow-Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Bell Peppers a la Bruce
Pappardelle with Duck Ragu and Gremolata Bread Crumbs
Broccoli Rabe with garlic & Red Chili
Something Sweet: Mutti s Pecan Butterballs
Berries with Caramelized Cream