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Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 4, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 4, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


One of NPR's Best Cookbooks of 2011:

"What Clark does so well is to tweak easy dishes just far enough that they become interesting again.  Professional food columnist or not, Clark is at heart a home cook's home cook, with a flair for practical innovation."
--T Susan Chang, food writer and NPR Contributor

"This collection of brilliantly conceived, seasonally driven recipes has quickly become one of my favorites. Easy to prepare and incredibly satisfying, this is inventive comfort food at its best. A must for any passionate home cook." (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)

From the Author

Crisp Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas, Lemons, and Carrots with Parsley Gremolata

When I flip through food magazines, I rarely read the recipes. I look at the photos and imagine what I think the recipe should be. Most of the time I get it pretty close but sometimes I'm way off base. This recipe is an example of that.

The photo was of a roasted chicken on a bed of chickpeas and what I thought were tiny cubes of carrot. I could taste the dish in my head. The chickpeas were crunchy and salty next to the melting, sweet carrots and everything was suffused with chicken fat from the roasting bird.

In fact, the carrots turned out to be bits of orange bell pepper (definitely not in season in January in New York) and the chickpeas were added to the pan during the last few minutes of cooking so they would stay moist and soft, without the time to absorb much in the way of chicken essence. I'm sure it was a perfectly good dish. But I liked my own idea better.

So next time I roasted a chicken, I tried it.

I placed the chicken on a rack over the chickpeas and carrot slices so all the good juices would drip down onto them. I also added slivered lemon because I love the way lemons caramelize when you roast them, and I figured the dish would need some zip to perk up the garam masala, a spicy, earthy Indian spice blend I rubbed on the bird.

While it roasted, I chopped together a mix of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic known as gremolata (which is usually served with osso buco) to sprinkle on top. I knew it would give the whole thing some color and a little kick from the garlic, which would be welcome with all the hearty flavors.

When everything was done, the chicken was burnished, shining and fragrant, and the chickpeas, lemon bits, and carrots were caramelized and tender. It was so pretty I immediately had to take a picture, which looks nothing like the food porn photo that was its inspiration. I can't say how the flavors compare, but my chicken was darned good - intensely lemony, very succulent, the chickpeas as tempting as bacon. Maybe one day I'll dig up that other recipe to give it a whirl....though given how delightful this dish is, maybe not.
Serves 4

For the Chicken:
2 lemons
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
4 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch rounds

For the Gremolata:
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Quarter the lemons lengthwise and remove and discard any seeds. Thinly slice six of the lemon quarters crosswise (you will get little triangles) and in a bowl, toss them with the chickpeas, oil, 1/2 tablespoon (which equals 1 1/2 teaspoons if you don't have a 1/2 tablespoons measure) of the garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
3. Season the inside of the chicken cavity with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fill the cavity with remaining wedges of lemon and thyme sprigs. Rub the outside of the chicken all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub the butter all over the skin.
4. Scatter the carrots in the bottom of the largest roasting pan you have (use the one you use for your Thanksgiving turkey). Place a wire roasting rack over the carrots; arrange the chicken, breast-side-up, on the rack. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast, stirring the carrots occasionally, for 30 minutes. Scatter the chickpea mixture into the bottom of the roasting pan. Continue to roast until the chicken's thigh juices run clear when pierced with a knife, 45 to 60 minutes longer. Let chicken rest 5 minutes before carving.
5. Meanwhile, combine the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a bowl. Spoon the carrot-chickpea mixture onto a platter; arrange the chicken on top. Sprinkle the gremolata over the dish and serve.

What Else?
- Some farmers' market chickens have tough old legs because they develop actual muscle tone from the exercise they get pecking for grubs around the farm. If you suspect you've got one like this (or you know you do from prior experience with a particular farm), you might want to carve them off the chicken carcass and give them a head start in the oven before adding the breast. That way your breast won't dry out in the time that the legs will need to soften. To do this, carve the legs off the bird and smear those legs and the rest of the chicken carcass with the butter, salt, and seasonings. Put the legs in the pan (along with the carrots) to roast for 15 minutes before adding the carcass with the breasts (tuck the lemon and herbs inside the cavity before roasting). Overall time will be a tad longer than called for above, just keep checking to see when the juices run clear with a knife.

A Dish by Another Name:
- For a more traditional Sunday Supper Roasted Chicken, you can skip the chickpeas and lemon bits and instead just add a pound of cubed potatoes to the pan along with the carrots. Season carrots and potatoes with salt and pepper and give them a stir once or twice while the chicken roasts. This is good with or without the gremolata.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 25009th edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323987
  • ASIN: B0091KZFXW
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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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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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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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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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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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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