Customer Reviews: Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make
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on October 5, 2011
If you've ever cooked anything from Melissa's famed Good Appetite column in the NYTimes, you know that her recipes work. They are also delicious and practical for the home cook. This book is her kitchen diary for a year - what she actually cooked for herself and her family. The book is structured seasonally, month by month, making it really easy for those getting into seasonally inspired cooking to follow the book along. Having cooked many recipes from the book already, I can tell you it's a lovely addition to my shelf. So much so that I keep it within arm's reach for inspiration for what to make for tonight's dinner. In fact, tonight we'll be making roasted cauliflower from her book - a delicious, easy, terrific side dish. Andrew Scrivani (who is amazing) photographed this book - and each picture is mouthwateringly delicious. This will be a book you'll love forever.
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on October 8, 2011
This is a terrific book with recipes that will go directly into your arsenal. The recipes are organized by month of the year, which is actually a really engaging and sensible way of putting them together. You don't have to read through 30 chicken recipes, half of which you can't make that day anyway. I gave it to a friend who told me she kept telling her husband "Just let me read one more month!" before going to sleep. There are recipes in here for every day, recipes that are sophisticated enough for foodie company and yet you won't spend all day making them, and there's a recipe for mallomars which I made and is a revelation. Every recipe has options and suggestions for switching things up, adding or taking away ingredients, and pairing. I highly recommend it for anyone or for any gift giving.
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on November 13, 2011
I have Clark's first cookbook, In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite and while I enjoyed her beautiful prose, found the recipes too decadent for weeknight cooking. I enjoyed everything I made, but I try to stay in the healthier arena on M-F. Anyway, since I bought this book last month, I've made perhaps 8-10 recipes and every one of them has been fantastic. Namely, her seafood recipes (like Buttery Spicy Garlicky Calamari With Israeli Couscous)and vegetable recipes (Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta and Caraway). The recipes in this book consider the cook who has just worked eight hours or the student who is coming back from a 4 hour graduate seminar-they're not heavy in prep, yet they don't rely on processed food or lackluster flavor. Another unique element is the organization of this book. There are a lot of seasonal cookbooks coming out right now, which is great (books divided by Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall). But Clark's book is arranged by month, which is really interesting. Each recipe has a What Else? section, which lists ingredients you can substitute or add and tips for preparing ahead or adapting. Clark's writing is so sincere without being over the top, to the point that you'll want to curl up and read the book for pleasure, dog-earing pages as you go. Her recipes are so adaptable and unique that they encourage you to cook on your own and not be a slave to the recipe-I actually have used some of her recipes as a base to my own creations and had equally impressive results-she's very inspiring. I cannot recommend this book enough, and also to read her NY Times column and follow her on twitter (@goodappetite)-she's just as kind as she is talented.
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on October 19, 2011
If your are the kind of person who wants a picture of each dish of doesn't like it when an author puts little bits about their family into the intro to a recipe, this book might not seem like it is for you. I don't fall into that category but with around 400 cookbooks I always think, "what will this add?". My answer on this one... a go-to book for really good fairly easy dishes that always seem to work with what you have in the kitchen NOW, if you cook a fair bit and buy what is in season/looks good at the market. I've made a bunch of the recipes and so far my comments in my copy range from "Delicious" to "Stupidly Good". And some of the simplest things ("coconut rice") you may have never thought of may become staples in your house. Thanks Melissa Clark, another winner!
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on October 17, 2011
This book keeps moving from the kitchen counter to my bedside reading table....the writing as well as the food is warm and comforting. I have made the mallomars- awesome and so easy! Also made the vietnamese grilled steak and cabbage which will be in a regular rotation at our house-it was light, flavorful and took just minutes to prepare. I will definitely use this book on a regular basis , along with her previous book. The recipes all work- I would not hesitate to make any recipe without trying it first for a dinner party.
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on January 12, 2012
I've had this book for a week and already cooked a dozen recipes out of it. My husband and I have liked everything; the kids have liked most everything as well, and I didn't even choose the more kid-friendly recipes. I like the fact that the author clearly enjoys experimenting with different flavors, and there are quite a few really novel recipes. You might want to browse through before buying, as some ingredients that show up often (coconut makes a strong showing in everything from soups to desserts) might not appeal to everyone. On the other hand, she provides so many alternatives to every recipe that there are of ideas for improvising with ingredients you prefer. Everything I've tried was quick to prepare (except for the fact that I always get distracted by the prose and want to keep reading before I get to the actual cooking!)and if you live anywhere that has a few ethnic grocers, you should be able to find most of the ingredients. And if you don't, don't sweat it- I'm sure the author wouldn't.
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on May 21, 2012
I initially borrowed a digital copy of this book from the library and found I had bookmarked at least 12 recipes. My criteria for keeping a cookbook has always been three good recipes, so this one seemed to have great potential. I particularly liked the organization by month, based on what is available in local farmer's markets (at least on the east coast.) When I saw it on sale in the kindle store, I immediately purchased it. Clark's style of cooking is very relaxed and she gives multiple variations to each recipe so that you needn't worry about not having a particular ingredient. A good basic for weeknight meals, with clear and simple instructions and amusing head notes, this is not an exhaustive survey, but a well curated collection of achievable meals that are tasty and reasonable healthy. Enough to keep a foodie interested but not scary to a novice, I highly recommend this book in either digital or old fashioned paper format. (The digital format has a few extras which are nice...)
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on December 21, 2012
I like Melissa Clark's NYTimes columns and her writing style is very breezy, engaging, and anecdotal. So I am a fan. I own another of her books, In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, and like it a lot. I would not suggest it for a vegetarian or pescatarian though - this girl likes her meat. So do I. She also notes which recipes can be turned into toddler food - which I appreciate. And she uses ingredients that are available to people who live in a city in the Northeast who have access to farmers markets and CSAs (which I do).

However, this book in some way was kind of a letdown because a lot of the recipes seemed very similar to ones in the "Good Appetite" book - both in ingredients and style. If I had to pick one of the two books, I would pick this one because she adds lots of tips at the end of each recipe. This book differs because it is arranged by season whereas "Good Appetite" is arranged by ingredient.

I still gave it a lot of stars because her recipes do work and her combinations of ingredients are inspired. If you own any of her other books make sure you flip through it before you buy though!
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on November 29, 2011
I'm crazy about this cookbook!!! I'm an avid home cook with an ever-growing cookbook collection (100+), but I always keep a stack of my go-to favorites right on the kitchen counter. This book is at the top of the stack. If you're the kind of cook who loves bold flavors, seasonal cooking, and simple techniques, this book is a must-have. I'm actually perplexed by the reviewer who said her recipes don't work. In my experience, they are always a slam dunk with my friends and even my sometimes-picky kids. I recently made the Chili-Coconut Braised Short Ribs for a dinner party and guests were raving like crazy. Others I've loved: Leek and Parmesan Gratin, Black Beans with Chorizo and Jalapeno, and the whole wheat pizza with tomatoes, olives, and tuna.
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VINE VOICEon November 21, 2011
In "Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make," Melissa Clark, best known as a New York Times dining section columnist, shares some of her favorite seasonal recipes. The recipes are divided by months and seasons, with a separate section dedicated to Bonus Recipes. Each section starts with the author's re-collection of her cooking habits for this particular season, and then continues on with the actual recipes.

After each recipe, Clark includes a section titled "What else" where she shares her cooking techniques (possible substitutions, additional information about the ingredients, tips on cooking) pertinent to the recipe described. I thought the inclusion of this section following each recipe particularly lets this cookbook stand out, as each recipe is not just listed but discussed in depth.

The recipes themselves are mixed in terms of the difficulty level: both sophisticated recipes (for well experienced cooks) and more basic recipes (for beginning cooks) are included. Pictures of some of the recipes are included in the two centerfolds of the book; below each picture is the page number of the corresponding recipe.

Here is a sample of some of the seasonal recipes that I bookmarked: Winter: Whatever Greens You've Got Salad, Mallobars, Double Coconut Granola, and Fragrant Lentil Soup With Spinach and Crispy Onions. Spring: Pasta With Garlic Scapes Pesto, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta; Whole Wheat Pizza with The Very First Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, And Tuna (my personal favorite recipe so far), and Buckwheat Pancakes With Sliced Peaches And Cardamom Cream Syrup. Summer: Maple Blueberry Tea Cake With Maple Glaze, Fresh Buttermilk Peach Ice Cream, and Creamed Caramelized Corn. Autumn: Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Garlic, Cornmeal Blini With Salmon Caviar, and Spicy coconut Eggnog. I can already tell that this will likely be one of my favorite cookbooks. Highly recommended for all the cooking enthusiasts.
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