-Gwyneth Paltrow, author of "My Father's Daughter"
"Fig Snacking Cake Stupendous Hummus Whatever Greens You've Got Salad I want all of it Melissa's smart, welcoming style and love of food infuse this wonderful cookbook. Read more...
-Gwyneth Paltrow, author of "My Father's Daughter"
"Fig Snacking Cake Stupendous Hummus Whatever Greens You've Got Salad I want all of it Melissa's smart, welcoming style and love of food infuse this wonderful cookbook. It's an extremely personal collection of recipes, each with its own subtle twists and original flavors, and on every page you hear Melissa's voice reassuringly guiding you around the kitchen."
-Amanda Hesser, author of "The Essential New York Times Cookbook" and co-founder of food52.com
Melissa Clark, "New York Times" Dining Section columnist, offers a calendar year's worth of brand-new recipes for cooking with fresh, local ingredients-replete with lively and entertaining stories of feeding her own family and friends.
Many people want to eat well, organically and locally, but don't know where or even when to begin, since the offerings at their local farmers' market change with the season. In "Cook This Now," Melissa Clark shares all her market savvy, including what she decides to cook after a chilly visit to the produce section in the dead of winter; what to bring to a potluck dinner that's guaranteed to be a hit; and how she feeds her marathon-running husband and finicky toddler. In addition, she regales us with personal stories about good times with family and friends, and cooking adventures such as her obsessive cherry pie experimentation and the day she threw out her husband's last preserved Meyer lemon.
In her welcoming, friendly voice, Melissa takes you inside her life while providing the dishes that will become your go-to meals for your own busy days. Recipes include Crisp Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas, Lemons, and Carrots with Parsley Gremolata; Baked Apples with Fig and Cardamom Crumble; Honey-Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula and Almonds; Quick-Braised Pork Chops with Spring Greens and Anchovies; Coconut Fudge Brownies-and much more.
Melissa delivers easy, delicious meals featuring organic, fresh ingredients that can be uniquely obtained during each particular month. It can be a real challenge to feed families these days, but Melissa's recipes and inviting writing encourage home cooks to venture outside of the familiar, yet please everyone at the table.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-09-19
- Reviewer: Staff
Veteran cookbook author, James Beard recipient, and New York Times food columnist, Clark presents readers with 120 recipes organized by season and month. With a candid opening essay on weekly trips to her local NYC farmers’ market in the dead of winter—think frosty fingers, and ice-topped milk—Clark sets the course for this down-to-earth, realistic guide to cooking throughout the year, finding and highlighting seasonal gems in mains, side dishes, and desserts. Numbered steps guide home cooks through recipes ranging from the simple and quick— August’s A Perfect Tomato Sandwich, June’s Green Peach Salad with Lime and Basil, and March’s Spicy Black Beans with Chorizo and Jalapeños—to simple and slow cooked—September’s Braised Pork Ribs with Green Tomato, Orange, and Thyme, and November’s Ham Bone, Greens and Been Soup. “What Else?” sections feature bulleted tips at the end of recipes such as how to turn a stew into a soup and substituting canned beans for dry, while “A Dish By Another Name” headers lead readers to easy recipe variations. Even with a multitude of cooking-by-season titles in the marketplace, the author’s inspiring use of fresh ingredients and flexible attitude toward cooking make this a solid addition to any kitchen cookbook shelf. (Oct.)
In Gear for the Year
Melissa Clark’s effervescent, inexhaustible enthusiasm for all things edible is wonderfully infectious. She really makes you want to drop everything, head for the kitchen and whip up an Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake or Carroty Mac and Cheese. In her second cookbook, Cook This Now, this fabulous food writer and columnist for the New York Times Dining Section has arranged a year’s worth of all-new recipes by month so you can take advantage of what’s fresh and seasonal. Each recipe comes with a chatty, warm, uniquely Melissa-esque introduction, a sort of kitchen bio, that will help you understand why a particular technique or ingredient is used. Why, for instance, Melissa roasts rather than stews Ratatouille, or why it’s worth looking for real new potatoes, using three different meats in chili or peeling away the craggy exterior of celery root. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recipe you won’t want to make among the 120 gathered here. Gotta go, my beautiful Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon is just about ready.
THE SPLENDOR OF SLOW
Nifty, thrifty and oh, so practical, slow cooking—in a traditional oven or in a slow cooker (remember when we called them crockpots?)—is a super way to save time and save money as you serve up consistently impressive and delicious dishes. The Slow Cook Book by Heather Whinney, a winning collection of more than 200 recipes, will put you on the fast track to slow in no time. Whinney begins at the beginning with a primer on the techniques necessary for successful slow cooking and advice on stocking your pantry, choosing ingredients, then prepping them. But the proof, as always, is in the pudding, or, more to the slow-cooking point, in the casserole, curry, pilaf or paella. These recipes allow you to stay with the classics or go global: Chicken Fricassée or Chicken and Orange Tagine; Beef Broth with Parmesan Dumplings or curried Beef Mulligatawny Soup; hearty Brazilian Feijoada or caraway-scented Pork Goulash; Artichoke Risotto or Vegetable Biryani. Each recipe has clear, detailed instructions for both slow cookers and traditional ovens—take your pick. Either way, slow is now quick.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
In addition to making stock, the ever-fabulous Jacques Pepin is taking stock. Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food is the culmination of Jacques’ reflections on his 60-plus years in the kitchen—a culinary diary of his culinary identity. The recipes are Jacques’ pick of the best of the best from among the thousands he’s created and, though their intrinsic quality remains unchanged, each one has been rethought and updated. From golden oldies to the here-and-now, from the classic French to the all-American, everything in Jacques’ repertoire carries his unique stamp and approach—unpretentious yet elegant, pragmatic yet sophisticated. I wish I had the gastronomic gumption to pull a Julie-and-Julia, cover-to-cover cook-through (a Jacques-around-the-clock?) of these 700 recipes. This is exactly the kind of rare cookbook that deserves that sort of passionate attention. Just imagine starting with Cold Cream of Pea Soup with Mint and ending (a few happy years later) with Espresso Ice Cream in Chocolate Goblets. Jacques’ life in food is truly worth reliving.