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In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 7, 2010
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Featured Recipe: Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes from Melissa Clarks’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite
When it comes to chicken, I like the dark meat. I like the gristly, fatty, sinewy bits and the musky deep flavor the darker parts possess. This said, there are times when circumstances call for cooking up that stalwart of American cuisine, the boneless, skinless chicken breast. Maybe I need to whip up something speedy on a busy weeknight, or please the palate of a diehard white meat fan. And in those moments, this is the recipe I reach for. It is, hands down, my favorite way to cook white meat chicken. The breasts are seasoned with an intense paste of smoky chipotle chilies, sweet honey, garlic, and spices, and roasted over a bed of sweet potatoes. While they cook, the kitchen takes on a spicy, autumnal scent from the cinnamon, cumin, and caramelizing sweet potatoes. And the breasts themselves come out moist, juicy, and richly flavored. It’s a fuss-free, one-pan crowd-pleaser, even for the dark meat lovers in the bunch. --Melissa Clark
Time: 15 minutes, plus 35 to 40 minutes roasting
4 (10-ounces each) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chopped cilantro or basil, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and scatter on the bottom a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the remaining olive oil, chipotles, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt, cumin, and cinnamon to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken. Carefully place chicken on top of the sweet potatoes and continue to roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 25 minutes longer. Serve garnished with cilantro or basil.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Clark, a New York Times food columnist, takes readers into her home kitchen and delights them with personal stories interwoven with recipes in this engaging and scrumptious collection. Born to gourmands and exposed to a wide variety of foods from an early age, Clark possesses the uncanny ability to recreate meals from memory or invent them on the spot. Her love of breakfast results in buttery polenta with parmesan, olive oil, or fried eggs with swiss chard. Her obsession with the farmer's market inspires extra-sharp leeks vinaigrette and raw Tuscan kale salad with chilis and pecorino, and overcoming her aversion to crustaceans prompts spaghetti with spicy tomato, clams, and bacon. She shares the story behind every dish including Dahlia's fragrant chicken fingers, conjured for her chiliand bratwurst-eating one-year old's advanced palate. Italian sausages necessitate reinventing sausages with sweet pepper and onion stew, and fried croutons with chorizo and paprika. Clark creates for the home cook, making her dishes easy to replicate without special equipment and complicated preparation. Her trademark unassuming writing style, genuine love of food, and wealth of recipes, which cover chicken and meat, cheese, sandwiches, and desserts, are an incredible treat for foodies everywhere.
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Ranging from dead easy like her roast chicken and her Italian in-law’s signature zucchini with mint and garlic to slightly more ambitious propositions like duck confit, Clark lays out the improvisational thesis to improve and invent new and intriguing recipes aimed at the home cook.
For readers who dearly miss Laurie Colwin and her endearing Home Cooking volumes I and II for their appealing anecdotes, In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite approximates the spirit of Colwin. No, the stories aren’t quite up to Colwin’s poignant and sometimes funny level of writing but the recipes may actually be better.
Most are fairly simple with a twist of Clark’s own invention or her own riffs on the culinary creations of famous foodie friends, like the Olive Oil Granola with dried apricots and pistachios. While some ingredients she prefers like Tuscan kale may be more difficult for those outside city centers to obtain most recipes are doable at home and variations are listed for almost every concoction.
The adventurous attitude to food Clark displays is due to her parents and she includes some charming anecdotes about these foodie pioneers. Her advice on winning over juvenile picky eaters is just one more lagniappe of her book. How she entertains guests on both formal and casual occasions (what she brings to potlucks, for example) is instructive and delivered free of any Martha Stewart fussiness or pretension.
Ambitious home cooks and kitchen beginners alike will appreciate the simplicity of so many of her recipes and will soon learn how to cook with the inspiration and freedom of a jazz musician by carefully reading her stories.
All in all, it’s a likable, comforting read and should provide many memorable meals.
I don't think that you can go wrong with this cookbook - even if you don't cook.
It is not often that I leaf through a cook book and want to cook EVERY SINGLE THING in it. But with this one - I really do. And I can't stress enough what a great addition it'll be to your own collection or as a gift. I've given 4 out as gifts already and I've gotten rave reviews and big thanks.