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Mar 31, 2012 10:32 PM

April 2012 Cookbook of the Month: Melissa Clark Month

Welcome to the April 2012 Cookbook of the Month! This month we will be cooking from two books by Melissa Clark:
Cook This Now, and
In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

If you haven't ever participated in the Cookbook of the Month discussion, we hope you'll give us a try in April. We have a lot of fun, and we learn from each other's experiences. The basics of COTM, and the archive of past books, can be found here:

If you are curious about the selection process, and the accompanying discussion, the nominating thread is here:

The voting thread is here:

Also, there is quite a bit of information, and links to recipes, to be found in the announcement thread here:

I've divided each book into four sections for reporting on recipes, so we have eight reporting threads this month. I've kept the divisions in the same sequential order as they are in the books. Cook This Now is divided into the four seasons, but I think there are enough versatile recipes, and enough people living in different climates, that we will be cooking from all four seasons.
In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite is also divided into four sections. The sizes of the book sections vary, as I've tried to keep the subjects somewhat similar where possible.

Here are the links to the reporting threads:

In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite:

Chapters 1 and 2: Waffling Toward Dinner; The Farmers' Market and Me, pages 5 - 76.

Chapters 3, 4, and 5: Learning to Like Fish; It Tastes Like Chicken; I Never was a Vegetarian, pages 77 - 212.

Chapters 6, 7, and 8: Things with Cheese; My Mother's Sandwich Theory of Life; Better Fried, pages 213 - 296.

Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 12: Holiday Food; My Sweet Tooth and Me; There's Always Room for Pie; Lessons in Imbibing, pages 297 - 430.
(Page-wise, this is a larger section of the book, but it's largely holiday and dessert recipes, so the chapters seemed to belong together.)

Cook This Now:

Winter: January; February; March, pages 7 - 94.

Spring: April; May; June, pages 95 - 192.

Summer: July; August; September, pages 193 - 286.

Autumn: October; November, December, pages 288 - 386.

In addition to using the above threads to report on specific recipes, please feel free to use this thread for general impressions, menu ideas, ingredient sources, and links to online recipes.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. FYI, there is another Melissa Clark thread for Cook This Now started by beetlebug, with some helpful reviews here:

    And, thanks to Gio, we have link to a list of recipes on Melissa Clark's blog here:

    4 Replies
    1. re: L.Nightshade

      FYI, Cook This Now is available on Kindle for $3.99!!! I was vacillating about adding it to my collection but the for the price, I couldn't pass it by. It is downloading now so now I'll have both books for this month. The one I am really interested in hearing about is CHEF, INTERRUPTED. Do any of you have it? Maybe we can add an adjunct thread about it? Thoughts?

      1. re: dkennedy

        Thanks for this Kindle download information. I downloaded it - quality at first glance looks quite good.

        Hmm - in thinking about a Kindle vs. hardcover/paperback, I suppose one adds a kindle download purchase to "Eat Your Books" ???

        1. re: Rella

          Definitely add to EYB, Rella. An e-book is still a book:)

          1. re: herby

            Wellllll, sorta :-))

            Thanks, I did.

    2. Thanks so much for this precise breakdown of the chapters, LN. It's perfect for logical sequential reporting. I've already made a couple of recipes and need to report on those, while for today I've planned a few dishes for Palm Sunday dinner...Happy Cooking everyone.

      1. I believe the text and recipes in In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite are all or mostly drawn from Clark's A Good Appetite column in the NY Times, so the recipes may be found there. Below is a link to the index for that column. If you're not a subscriber and hit the (now) 10-free-articles-per-month limit, try googling the recipe name, as I believe you can access articles via search engines without being prompted to pay.

        1. LN thank-you for such a thoughtful organization of this dual COTM. I think your guidance around posting reviews of the same dish together will be really helpful to new posters as I know I didn't figure this out when I first started posting here.

          I had a fun day in the kitchen today. In addition to an amazing-smelling pork dish from the Mozza cookbook that we will be enjoying in about 20 mins, I made 3 dishes from CTN. All the CTN dishes are for weeknight meals so I'll report on those in the days ahead. I made the White Bean Stew (mine is more like soup), Coconut Rice & Peas to go with some grilled Caribbean Chicken and the Quinoa Pilaf with Swiss Chard and Apricots to which I'll cook and add the chard tomorrow night. I'm especially keen to taste the rice which smelled amazing as it simmered on the stove. Can't wait to cook along with everyone this month. I've flagged most of the recipes in both of the books!!! So many tasty sounding dishes!

          9 Replies
          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Many chowhounds cook an extraordinary amount of recipes/food.

            I've often wondered how many chowhounders do cook for more than 4 at the table.

            The Coconut Rice and Peas sounds so good. I'll have to look it up. My last recipe callng for coconut milk, I tried using a newly purchased dried unsweetened coconut, constituting it into coconut milk. It turned out well. I will not be using canned coconut milk, but I love recipes using it, so am really trying to adapt.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs


              Which pork recipe are you making out of Mozza? I have really enjoyed the recipes I have tried out of that book. Would love to hear about your experience. But for this month, I am going to try to stay true to Melissa!

              1. re: dkennedy

                Hi dk. Sorry I missed your note. It was the Pork Chops with olives and Sambuca-braised fennel and oh, what a dish it was. Those vegetables were ridiculously good. The dish took us totally by surprise in terms of how much we loved it. This is the second dish I've tried from the book and both have been wonderful. I posted more about it in the WFD thread.

                Here's the link:

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  I've had great success with my dishes out of Mozza, too. I'll have to try the Pork Chops.

                  1. re: dkennedy

                    Let us know what you think. If you have a moment would you mind sharing which dishes you've tried?

                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                    What was the other dish you liked from Mozza?

                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      It was a truly scrumptious Brasata al Barolo with polenta and horseradish gremolata LN. Here's a link to my CH comments:


                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Oh thanks BC. Don't know how I missed that, as I posted something right after you. Your description makes it sound so enticing! Those look like gnocchi. Was that your substitute because of Mr BC's disdain for polenta? I know we're a bit off topic here on the Melissa Clark thread, but I can't pass an opportunity for a recipe recommendation!

                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          Sorry for the delay in reporting back re suggestions of recipes from the Mozza book. I left town right after posting and didn't have time to respond. BC, the Brasata al Barolo sounds fantastic so thank you for pointing it out. I think I will make it for the final night of Passover this Friday night.

                          For those of you who do not have any other Nancy Silverton cookbooks, the thing to know, and love, about her recipes is that if you follow her instructions, your dish will always come out perfectly. Having said that, her recipes also usually contain several extra steps that you may wish to skip. If you have the time, don't. The results are always worth the extra time.

                          My favorites (so far):

                          Wild boar ragu on page 185

                          Fiorentini with Guanciale, Tomato, and Spicy Pickled Peppers, page 203

                          Both recipes assume you have some of her other more basic recipes in your pantry. If you don't, each of these are rather time consuming dishes. For example, the Spicy Guanciale sauce is mixed with a basic tomato sauce and a spicy pickled pepper recipe that she refers to elsewhere in the book. You can get away with using store bought versions of the other two sub-recipes, such as a Passata and a jar of pickled peppers.

                          I absolutely love this cookbook. If you are a fan of the restaurant you will be happy to know that pretty much every one of your favorite dishes are included.

              2. NEWS FROM MELISSA CLARK:
                Melissa Clark has generously offered to answer our questions by email! She can be contacted at this address:
                melissa at melissaclark dot net
                At this time she is not planning to get involved with the threads, as she thinks there may be more honest discussion and critique if she is not present.
                If you contact her with questions, please share your results with us!