HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Melissa Clark's Cook This Now - Cookbook report

I really love this cookbook. It's been a slow courting but I am now quite enamored with this book. This wasn't love at first sight (like with Flexitarian Table or Mightly Spice). But, this book wooed me with it's pantry ready ingredients and twists on dinner staples. I've borrowed both the hard copy and the ebook from the library.

Organization - this book is organized by seasons. And, in the table of contents, it will list recipes for each month. If you get the ebook, you can click on the recipe and it brings you right to the relevant page. Also, there are bonus recipes at the end from Clark's, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite.

At the end of every chapter, Clark adds notes about substitutions and other useful hints. I actually read these and found them to be helpful. I'm a bit notorious for not reading head notes of recipes.

Recipe reports to follow.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. White Bean Stew with Rosemary, Garlic and Farro (pg. 8)

    This was a huge hit. Fairly simple but you do have to plan since you have to soak the dry beans before starting. I'm not sure this would work with canned beans since the beans are simmered with a bunch of aromatics.

    I used fresh dried white kidney beans (maybe Jacob's Ladder?). I forget and I've since thrown the bag away. Since these were fresh dried beans, the soaking and cooking times were significantly shortened.

    Place the soaked beans in a pot with olive oil, garlic cloves, celery, onion, rosemary, thyme, a bay leaf and a parmesan rind. I think the rind is key to the flavorful beans. Simmer until the beans are cooked.

    When the beans are finished, get rid of the onions, celery, herbs and rind. Puree half the beans with minced garlic and return it to the pot.

    This is supposed to be served with farro. I used bulger since that's what I had at home (this will be a common theme in these reports). Cook the bulger/farro. Add the beans and voila.

    The beans were so flavorful and that rind really elevated the taste. I followed the end note and sauteed kale to add to the beans to make this a complete, almost one pot, dinner. I thought bulger went really well with the bean stew and it was a satisifying dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: beetlebug

      You don't have to soak beans - just cook them longer if you don't.

    2. Braised Pork Shoulder with Tomatoes, Cinnamon and Olives over Polenta (pg. 77)

      This was a HUGE hit. Apparently, it's also very fragrant because C smelled it from the basement (we live on the second floor), came running up to see if it was our apt or the downstairs neighbor's. He was very happy to discover that it was our place.

      So, brown chunks of pork butt and set aside. Saute leeks and garlic and return the pork chunks to the pot. Add a large can of plum tomatoes, wine, anchovies, a cinnamon stick, bay leaves and rosemary to the pot. Place it in the oven and braise for 2 hours. Raise the temperature and add chopped up green olives and reduce the liquid until the dish becomes stewy.

      Where to begin on the taste. It's hard to say other then it's full of umami goodness. The anchovies, cinnamon and green olives really makes this dish different. It's so well balanced and the pork just melts.

      In her notes, Clark states that lamb can be subbed for the pork.

      I served this with bulger and an eggplant dish from the Indian slow cooker book.

      I can't even really begin to state how fabulous this dish was. It tasted really good for lunch the next day (and the day after) as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: beetlebug

        Wow, am I happy to read this report! This is the first dish I plan to make, on the first day of April. You make it sound even more appealing than M.Clark does. Thanks for your write-up!

      2. Crispy Roasted Cabbage (pg. 88)

        I love cabbage and I love roasted vegetables. Yet, it never occurred to me to roast cabbage. I either stir fry or I braise the cabbage (Molly Steven's Best Cabbage recipe is a favorite of mine). But, this was a really nice variation.

        Basically, cut the cabbage into one inch chunks and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Try and keep the pieces together and roast for about 30 minutes (turning once). The cabbage gets crispy and brown.

        15 Replies
        1. re: beetlebug

          Crispy Roasted Cabbage, Pg. 88

          Made this roasted cabbage as part of a St. Patrick's Day dinner. It was really delicious. Thanks beetlebug...! I used EVOO, too, and added 1 t black pepper to the sprinkle of salt before roasting. The edges of the cabbage charred a bit and the leaves were surprisingly sweet. A blogger recently reported a similar recipe but her cabbage was very burnt looking. Clark's timing for roasting here was perfect.

          I have to say, though, the star of the show was a dish I'd never heard of: Dublin Coddle. Sounds like a dessert but it's a layered casserole with sliced potatoes, onions, sausages, and streaky bacon. A small amount of stock is the baking liquid. I included a 1/2 cup wine. Oh My... Sobhlasta.

          1. re: Gio

            Interesting. I have another Irish book by the same author. It is all in calligraphy. There is quite a bit of overlap in recipes, but the book I have contains more, um, how to put this... well, less accessible recipes. Like Pig's Head Brawn, which calls for a pig's head and tongue and 2 feet. Also nettle broth & carrigeen moss blancmange. The Dublin Coddle is in both books, but the recipe in the book I have is a bit different. Here's a link to the one I have:

            1. re: MelMM

              Love the cover of your book, Mel. (terrific design) The recipe I made had an editing problem, but it's easy to work around and interpret what Murphy's driving at. Onion is a listed ingredient but no direction is given for its use, for example. Don't know if other recipes suffer that ailment, though.

              Absolutely No Way would I even consider eating the tongue of either 4-legged, 2-legged, or swimming creatures... NW. LOL

              1. re: Gio

                The book is very charming, but the calligraphy is a bit hard to read.

                I noticed the onion issue in the recipe you made. The version on my book does tell you what to do with the onions. The difference is it is just one set of layers - meat on bottom, onion and potato on top, as opposed to repeating layers. Also the proportions look to be a bit different.

              2. re: MelMM

                Mel & Gio, would either of you recommend your Irish books? I have 3 Irish books on my shelf but every year in anticipation of SP's day I pull them off the shelf and I'm uninspired. I'd like a book with some traditional dishes.

                These are the 3 I have (and really should donate):

                • The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired By The Legendary Drinks of Ireland by Margaret M. Johnson and Leigh Beisch

                • Irish by Matthew Drennan
                • Gourmet Ireland by Paul Rankin and Jeanne Rankin

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  To tell the truth, BC, it's a sweet book and the illustrations are charming (even got a matching bookmark!), but it's tiny, probably about 3" x 5", which is really OK since I was able to cook from it. There are only about 50 - 60 pages... I think. I bought it on impulse but I wouldn't call it a definitive book on Irish cuisine by any means. I don't think I'd actually recommend it but if someone wanted it for its cuteness factor I'd say go ahead. btw; got it for a song, (Danny Boy?) from an Amazon reseller and it's in Perfect condition.

                  1. re: Gio

                    LOL @ your Danny Boy Gio!! Thanks for the description, I think I'd find the book charming as well and sometimes less is best in terms of selection/options.

                    I've added it to my cart at Abes. As you say, not pricy at all. Thank-you.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Gio, just rec'd my lovely little Irish book. I love it, as you say the illustrations are charming. The Potato Farls recipe is exactly the same as that of my husband's Grannie. Now I'm curious, what type of sausage did you use for your Dublin Coddle?

                      oh, my only regret is that I didn't get the matching bookmark... ; - (

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        I just came here to search for a Clark chicken stir-fry recipe and spotted your question, Breadcrumbs. Sorry.

                        For the sausages in the Coddle recipe I used a hot and spicy Italian pork sausage made by our local salumeria. The recipe only calls for a "good" sausage, IIRC..

                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                      Well, the one I have is traditional enough. But it is a small book, with no photos, and not what I'd call comprehensive. It is also very heavy on offal.

                      I guess if you want traditional, I'd recommend Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen. Or even her other books, like The Forgotten Skills of Cooking, which may not be billed as Irish, but is heavily Irish anyway.

                      I know a couple years ago, Colman Andrews came out with an Irish book, but I don't have it so can't comment one way or another.

                      Less traditional, but very charming, is West of Ireland Summers by Tamasin Day-Lewis. Unfortunately out of print so sometimes hard to find, but if you are patient, it will show up.

                      1. re: MelMM

                        Thanks for all this great info Mel. West of Ireland Summers really appeals. I have another book by Tamasin Day-Lewis and find her recipes enticing. It's a bit pricey on Abes but I'll take a look around and see if I can find a Canadian seller. Thank-you!

                        1. re: MelMM

                          I've also made a few things I've found by Tamasin Day-Lewis and they were always delicious. Aside from her recipes, though, I've had pretty miserable luck with anything supposedly Irish that I've tried (could be my lack of red-meat eating though!).

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            One of my all-time favourite recipes for SP's Day had to be Jamie Oliver's Steak & Guinness Pie. I made it during the COTM last year and it was absolutely delicious. I bet this would be outstanding with chicken as well LM...might that work for you? Here's a link to my review jic it tickles your fancy and you want to make a note of it for next year:


                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Mmm, I think that would be a huge hit here. I could maybe do ground turkey if not chicken, I'm guessing? His stuff tends to work well for our family. I appreciate the tip!

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                Absolutely LM or even chopped turkey thighs would be great. I shouldn't have brought this up though because now mr bc is bugging me to make it!! ; - )

                2. Roast Chicken Legs with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange and Ginger (pg.117)

                  The first not successful dish. It wasn't bad by any stretch of the means, but it wasn't as flavorful as I would have thought. Especially given the marinade. The saving grace was that the chicken was very juicy and tender.

                  Marinate bone in, skin on thighs with a puree of blood orange juice, orange zest, garlic, cilantro (I used parsley), jalepeno, ginger, kosher salt and smoked hot paprika. Mine marinated for about 6 hours.

                  Put the chicken into a skillet and roast for about 40 minutes, turning once. I started skin up, then skin down, and then I flipped again so the skin was up. At that point, turned it to broil to crisp the skin for the last bit.

                  The chicken was juicy, but I tasted none of the ginger, paprika or jalepeno. I only tasted faint hints of orange. C tasted none of it and his palate is usually more sensitive then mine. I was surprised since Clark talks about the heat and smokiness of the dish. I probably have to up the spices a bit.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: beetlebug

                    Thanks for the update! Blood oranges aren't a "pantry staple" in my kitchen. Why not use regular orange juice instead, which actually is found quite often in people's kitchen.

                    1. re: momskitchen

                      Neither oranges nor orange juice is a pantry staple in my home. Chicken thighs aren't either. If I'm going to to the store anyway to buy those items and I happened to see blood oranges. So, I decided to follow the recommended ingredients.

                    2. re: beetlebug

                      I had the same complaint about this dish, although it was easy enough to throw together that I didn't mind too much. I used regular orange juice. Thanks for starting this thread! I'm going to have to take a look through and see what I've made and what I remember well enough to report on.

                      1. re: TxnInMtl

                        So odd, the lack of flavor, isn't it? I have found that I have to up the spice amounts for many of these recipes. Thanks for playing with me.

                      2. re: beetlebug

                        Roast Chicken Legs with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange and Ginger (pg.117)

                        I wish I had come here and read your reviews before making this dish. It sounded so tasty. And indeed, the marinade was tasty (and spicy), but it mostly all slid off and stayed on the baking sheet instead of flavoring the chicken. I kept the juices and will make a soup with the leftover chicken, so will recover some of the flavor that way.

                        What I wish I had done instead was take off the skin since the marinade doesn't penetrate it and most of it stayed flabby anyhow, and then braised the chicken in the marinade. I'm not even convinced it made any difference to marinate it, could probably just put it together and stick it in the oven immediately. Next time.

                        I did use blood oranges, but subbed mint & lovage for the cilantro (as usual for me, because I dislike cilantro). I sprinkled fresh mint over the chicken, and the roasted beets that I served along side, which was quite nice.

                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                          You know, reading the recipe for something like "Mom's roasted mustard chicken on toasts" (forgive me, I don't have the book in front of me), I wondered if making it with skinless chicken would be the way to go, since she says something like "if you want crispy skin, stick it under the broiler for a few minutes." My immediate thought was "shouldn't all roasted chicken have crispy skin?" and my second thought was "if it doesn't, I don't want that skin on there." Would skinless have made a difference in the recipe you are talking about though? Or would it still have ended up with the marinade all lying around the bottom of the baking sheet?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Skinless would definitely have helped, because the underside of the chicken where the marinade had made contact definitely had more flavor. But I still think braising would be even better.

                            I swear, I am never making another wet marinade roasted chicken again! Salt, pepper, maybe some herbs or spices. That's all roast chicken needs to taste great anyhow.

                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                              Thanks for the tip/answer. I'm thinking I'll make the roast chicken I mentioned above with skinless. Who wants flabby chicken skin?

                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                I totally agree with your last sentence, Karen. Our roast chicken gets wonderfully crisp skin and tastes great simply with spices: always with S & P, sometimes with paprika or other spice added too, inside the cavity as well. A braise is another matter entirely.

                        2. Bulger Pilar with Swiss Chard and Dried Apricots (pg. 120)

                          I served this with the chicken and smoked paprika and this saved dinner. This was great. My one mistake was to not cut the chard up into smaller pieces bc it was a bit unwieldy to serve and eat.

                          This was also a different way to cook bulger. I usually boil the bulger with the requisite amount of water and then let it steam at the end. This, you have a big pot of boiling water, add the bulger (and chopped apricots), and then drain. I didn't really notice a taste difference in texture.

                          Anyway, while the bulger cooks, saute pistachios in butter and cumin (I used pepitas since I had some lying around) and remove from the wok. Sautee garlic and shallot and then add the chard. Stir in the bulger and nuts.

                          There were a lot of interesting textures and flavors to this dish. I usually don't like fruit with my savory dishes but I had 4 odd apricots lying around, half a shallot in the fridge and some pepitas. I thought it would be a good way to use up the odd ingredients. The cumin contrasted the apricots nicely and everything just complemented each other.

                          1. Quick Braise Pork Chops with spring greens and anchovies (pg. 123)

                            Another interesting variation for a standard pork chop dinner. I usually brown and then finish it in the oven. This was a quick braise with greens and it became a one pot dinner, which is always a plus.

                            Brown the chops and let them rest on a plate. Melt butter in the same skillet and add shallots and anchovies. Add chicken stock and a bunch of arugula. Make sure the arugula is well coated with everything before placing the pork chops on top. Braise for about 15 minutes.

                            Easy and delicious (a common refrain, but what more can I add?). The anchovies really worked well with the arugula and pork. Something I never would have thought of on my own.

                            1. Stir Fried Chicken with Leeks, Mushrooms, Oyster Mushroom and Peanuts (pg. 304)

                              A nice variation off a standard stir fry. I've always used shiitakes in stir fries but really liked the oyster mushroom in it's place.

                              Marinate chunks of chicken with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. Stir fry the chicken until it's almost cooked. Remove and then stir fry the mushrooms and leeks until they soften, and then add chopped ginger and garlic. Add the chicken back in and stir fry until it's cooked. Add peanuts and cilantro and serve.

                              1. Kate's Impossibly Fudge Brownies with Chile and Sea Salt (pg. 383)

                                This is one of the bonus recipes from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. This was a fantastic recipe. I brought this to book group and one woman said that this was her favorite dessert so far.

                                I wasn't sure how I would like it. I'm a huge fan of Malgieri's and Garten's brownie recipes. I'm not a fan of fudge. But, this recipe wasn't fudge, although it was a short brownie. It was really good and I'm always a sucker for chile and salt with my chocolate. I love contrasting flavors.

                                So, melt unsweetened chocolate with butter. When it's smooth, whisk in cocoa powder and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

                                Note: Clark doesn't specify whether or not to use dutch process or not. I *think* I used dutch process but don't remember.

                                In a separate bowl combine flour, kosher salt and cayenne. Fold the dry ingredients in with the wet until it's not lumpy.

                                Pour the batter into a 9x13 pan and sprinkle the top with Maldon salt. Bake for about 30 minutes.

                                The salt was also visually striking on top of the brownies and added a great crunch.

                                1. I have this book, but have yet to cook from it. I really appreciate the report!

                                  1. Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon, p.321

                                    This is the dish that convinced me to buy this book. I made it on a night that the BF was out as he's not a big fan of squash or vegetarian dishes, but even he appreciated the leftovers. The thing that makes this recipe unique is the squash is shredded before going into the risotto, so there's no need to pre-roast and the flavor infuses nicely throughout. The rosemary with the lemon juice made this dish for me.

                                    To make, shred squash in a FP. Melt butter and cook leeks. Add garlic. Add rice, squash, rosemary, and salt. White wine is added and then you follow the normal risotto cooking method of ladling in stock as it cooks. At the end, stir in lemon zest, juice, and pepper. Top with pistachios.

                                    1. Grilled Sausages with Celery Root Salad with Hazelnuts and Arugula, p. 40

                                      I love celery root and arugula so this salad was a huge success to me. I'm not sure why the sausage portion is even included with this recipe instead of just being a serving suggestion. The whole dish is extremely quick and great for a weeknight.

                                      A mustard vinaigrette is made by smashing the garlic into a paste and mixing with salt, dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar. Olive oil is whisked in and pepper added to taste. Sausages are broiled until done. Grate celery root with a FP. Combine with arugula and hazelnuts and toss with vinaigrette.

                                      1. Shrimp Scampi with Pernod and Fennel Fronds, p. 201

                                        Our CSA box loves to send the tiniest fennel bulb I'v ever seen attached to a foot's worth of fennel fronds. I found this recipe on EYB while searching for something to do with them and think it will now be my go-to dish for dealing with fennel overload. She suggests other herbs that would go nicely for this dish as well. I used absinthe instead of Pernod. She suggests cognac or more white wine could also be used.

                                        In a large pan, melt butter. Add garlic. Add white wine, Pernod, salt, and red pepper flakes and reduce mixture by half (2 min!). Add shrimp and cook until pink. Stir in fennel fronds and lemon juice.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: TxnInMtl

                                          Also, you can use the stalks and fronds in many recipes calling for fennel bulb, such as pasta sauces, soups and stews. The stalks cook up softer than the bulb but have great flavor. There is no reason to throw them away.

                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                            Good to know! I've haven't cooked much with fennel, so new ideas are always welcome.

                                        2. Maple Blueberry Tea Cake with Maple Glaze, p.217

                                          I've made this twice now using frozen blueberries from last summer. Once with whole wheat and once with corn flour as suggested as an alternative and a few raspberries added, skipping the glaze both times. The maple flavor is subtle and the cake isn't overly sweet. It seems a little dry, but makes a great breakfast cake and is extremely versatile. Usually on baking recipes, I need to add time, but with this one my cake was almost overdone using the minimum, so be careful with the cooking time!

                                          Preheat oven to 400 and grease a loaf pan. Combine AP flour, ww flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl, combine maple syrup, egg, milk, and melted butter. Pour wet into dry and fold in berries. Pour batter into pan and bake until golden.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: TxnInMtl

                                            I had this cookbook out of the library, and had copied the recipe. I love maple and I had a whole bag of frozen blueberries to use up... however, I seem to have only copied the FIRST page, or half of the recipe! I am kicking myself! I'll have to take it out again to get the rest of it, as it doesn't seem to be on her blog...

                                            1. re: rstuart

                                              As luck would have it, I already have the ingredient amounts typed up. The method is above (bake for 50 - 60 minutes; glaze cooks separately on the stovetop and gets poured on after the cake is done).

                                              3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
                                              3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
                                              1 1/2 tsp baking powder
                                              1/4 tsp baking soda
                                              1/4 tsp kosher salt
                                              2/3 cup maple syrup
                                              1 large egg, lightly beaten
                                              1/2 cup milk
                                              6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
                                              1 cup fresh blueberries
                                              3 tbsp maple syrup
                                              3 tbsp unsalted butter
                                              pinch kosher salt
                                              1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

                                              1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                Thanks so much Txn!!! that's great.. will have to try..

                                            2. re: TxnInMtl

                                              TIM, is the cornmeal alternative using 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cornmeal in place of the same amount of whole wheat? I like the idea of the blueberry/corn/maple combo.

                                                1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                  Thanks! I am copying the ingredients and instructions from your posts.

                                            3. Many thanks for starting this thread, BB. (I was wondering what had happened to you) I have this book but haven't cooked anything from it yet. Of course I haven't cooked from Mighty Spice yet, either. But, with your reports and TxnInMtl's I'm thinking it time to break into Cook This Now...

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Gio

                                                I've been uninspired and a bit lazy in my posting. This book is bringing me back though.

                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                  Somehow MC has always turned me off a bit in the Times, but reading your reports has me rethinking this (and her recipes today featuring cabbage all sounded great). I trust you *very* much on food.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Went ahead and ordered this book. Not very expensive via amazon, and some of the stuff sounds very appealing. Thanks, as always, for pointing us all in the right direction.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Thanks LLM. I just bought a copy. ;-) Now I should go price Mighty Spice.

                                              2. Carroty Mac and Cheese, p. 307

                                                I prefer ridiculously cheesy mac and cheese (my go-to is Martha Stewart's recipe) and this is more custard-like. I wasn't thrilled with it the first day, but oddly warmed to it a bit as leftovers. I might make it again if I'm feeling overwhelmed by carrots.

                                                Preheat oven to 400 and grease an 8" square pan. Cook macaroni adding shredded carrots for last 3 minutes. (The shredded carrots does make draining a bit more annoying if your usual strainer has large slit like mine.) Add shredded Cheddar and butter to pasta. In a bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper. Fold into pasta. Pour into pan, top with more Cheddar and Parmesan, and bake until golden.

                                                1. Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, p. 328

                                                  This is the one dish I've made from the book that I really did not care for. It's personal taste, but the greens remained too bitter for me. I served it to friends with the meatballs from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen and people barely touched the greens.

                                                  Garlic and pepper flakes are added to heated oil and cooked until fragrant. The broccoli rabe is added along with some salt and cooked for 1 minute. Water is then added and the pan is covered to cook until the greens are tender.

                                                  1. Sauteed Kale with Hot Pepper and Cumin, p.13

                                                    This is one of the variations she suggests for Tuscan Kale with Anchovies, Garlic, and Pecorino. I used a mixture of kale and mustard greens. I used this as a side for the pork and veal sausage from the COTM. It was simple and worked nicely with it.

                                                    Leaves are torn into bite-sized pieces and rinsed, but not dried. Oil is heated in a skillet and chopped garlic, pepper flakes, and cumin seeds are added. Kale is added a handful at a time, then the whole thing is cooked until completely wilted.

                                                    1. Fragrant lentil rice soup with spinach and crispy onions

                                                      Very nice soup.. comforting with the savoury spices as the lentils melt away. Used medium-grain brown rice with good results. Made my own caramelized onions instead of following her directions for the crispy onions.


                                                      1. Oh, I have this book. Thanks for starting this thread!


                                                        1. Vietnamese Grilled Steak and Cabbage Salad with Peanuts, Mint and Chiles (pg. 114)

                                                          I loved this. So many different flavors and pretty easy to put together. This would be a great summer's night meal.

                                                          Marinate flank steak with soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, sesame oil, and garlic for up to 12 hours. Brush off the marinade and either grill or broil (I broiled). Slice and serve with the cabbage salad.

                                                          The cabbage salad was delicious. Very refreshing, although I did make some slight changes. The twist is that it's napa cabbage v. green or red cabbage. Anyway, shred cabbage, carrots and cilantro (or mint or basil) and place it in a bowl. Combine the dressing (soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, fish sauce, lime juice, cayenne and garlic) and toss with the salad. This made a lot of dressing. I used about half of the dressing and later cut up more napa and cilantro to finish the rest of the dressing.

                                                          I also added sliced scallions and almonds (instead of peanuts) to the salad. Next time, I would keep these additions and up the cayenne level in the dressing. I couldn't taste it at all.

                                                          The salad and steak both held up well as leftovers.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                            I dress napa cabbage "Chinese" chicken salad with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and chile-garlic sauce. Chile-garlic sauce might be a good sub for cayenne in your dressing here.

                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              Oooh. Excellent idea. I'll have to pick some up. for some reason, I don't have any in the house.

                                                          2. Grilled Cumin and Chile Veal Meatballs (pg. 241)

                                                            This was fine. Part of it was user error and the other part was mismanaged expectations. I love Ottolenghi's meatballs with tahini sauce from his first book. But, I've made those twice this winter and thought I should try something else. These were good but those were way better. But, I did use the veal for these meatballs and wonder if I would like them better with lamb.

                                                            So, toast cumin seeds and hot pepper flakes (I upped both these quantities) and combine with the ground meat, breadcrumbs, mint or basil, garlic, egg, kosher salt and pepper. As I'm typing this, I realized that I forgot the breadcrumbs. I also didn't have mint or basil so I used parsley and cilantro.

                                                            Anyway, I broiled these instead of grilled. They were slightly tough but the flavor was nice.

                                                            1. Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with salted yogurt, mint and pomegranate seeds (pg. 294)

                                                              I wanted to love this but only liked this. Part of it is that I didn't have all the ingredients and the other part is that I didn't really like the yogurt on the cauliflower. I did love the roasted cauliflower with cumin and thought that tasted great on its own. It would also be fantastic with Ottolenghi's meatballs with tahini sauce (I really love those meatballs).

                                                              Roast the cauliflower with cumin seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix a bit of salt in with greek yogurt and dollop it on the finished cauliflower. Sprinkle it with mint and pomegranate seeds (I didn't have either).

                                                              I would roast cauliflower with cumin in a heartbeat. It really jazzed up plain cauliflower.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                Oh please try this again with all the ingredients BB (though we are now out of pomegranate season). I became so obsessed with this dish that I made it about 5 times in two weeks. I thought the combination of the smoky, crunchy cauliflower and cumin against the cool, salty yogurt, the fresh mint and the sweet crunch of the pomegranate seeds was just perfect. As soon as pomegranates are back in the store I'll be rushing to make this again.,

                                                                1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                  Can't wait. Any idea when pomegranate season is? Not my fruit of choice due to my own laziness.

                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                    I noticed in our grocery store that they now often sell just the seeds. I was happily surprised. Maybe a store in your neck of the woods does this too. This was just our regular (and not usually very fancy) local grocery, not Whole Foods or anything.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      Pomegranates are in season in the late fall, but Trader Joe's sells little containers of pomegranate seeds year round (I believe they're from Chile, at least in the off season) for, I think, $3.49. Not cheap, but considering the cost of a large pomegranate + labor, totally worth it in my book when I want to use them.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        I've had great results with frozen Pomegranate seeds. I first found them at my Persian grocer but now our local supermarkets sell them. They're great to have have on hand and they defrost in no time.

                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          Oh how exciting. I'm going to look out for those. The cauliflower dish just isn't as special without the seeds and it also makes it so pretty with the red jewels against the white yogurt and green mint.

                                                              2. Tuscan kale with garlic, anchovies and pecorino. My naturopath has been droning on about the glories of kale for months now (kale chips, anyone? YECH!!!). I've tried. Really I have. Just could NOT get to like the stuff. Until I tried this recipe. This recipe... this recipe is delicious. And fast. And healthy. And easy. What's not to love?

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: linengirl

                                                                  I love kale chips! Have you tried them? Epicurious has a good recipe. Anyway, wow, what a great endorsement of this recipe. I shall put it on the list for the kale-non-appreciators in my house. Maybe they will love it, too.


                                                                  1. re: linengirl

                                                                    This has been my method of cooking all greens including broccoli rabe, escarole, Italian chickory, and yes, kale for years. It's also delicious when thick white fin fish fillets are steamed right on top of the greens... It's originally a Marian Morash (Of PBS's "The Victory Garden" fame) She doesn't include Romano however, and neither do I.

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      I was fortunate enough to find The Victory Garden Cookbook at a thrift shop or book sale recently Gio. It looks like a wonderful resource. I can't wait to use it during growing season.

                                                                  2. I think that most people posting here are already involved in the Cookbook of the Month, but just in case, and for any new folks dropping by here...

                                                                    Cook This Now is one of two Melissa Clark books that are the COTM for April. The other book is In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. If you would like to read more about these recipes, and join in the discussion, please come and visit us here: