Although I havent taken formal count, I think I have most of Melissa Clark's 29 cookbooks! So it is time to confess - this is one author whom I have had a girl crush on for years. She is a terrific writer and I love her recipes. So one day, I decided to write to her to see if she would review my first book.. this was ten years ago. I was new and no one knew me or had heard of me ( I know no ones knows me now but back then it was worse). I never expected to hear back. But I did. I got the kindest note from her telling me she liked my book. I was stunned. If a writer at her level liked my book, then by golly, I was doing something right.
Fast forward, nine years. I sent her another email, this time to see if she would meet me for coffee in NYC as we were presenting at the same conference. She did (along with Amanda Hesser.. my other girl crush.) It was one of the best afternoons of my life. To talk with someone who has accomplished so much and is so modest about it.
And now to her newest book, In the Kitchen With Good Appetite, it is, of course, a great read with all her fun stories but I also adore the recipes and how simple and charming they are. What I really like about her approach overall is how fuss-less and practical her recipes are. So far we have cooked and loved - the chipotle chicken (featured here), Spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce, and the lovely deviled egg salad with hot smoked paprika and tomato. This is a book you will want to keep in your kitchen. Buy one for every cook you know. Trust me, they will thank you.
And as always, you can win a copy here. I am keeping my lovely review copy but her publisher is giving away one copy of a lucky LIFE OF SPICE reader. To win -tell me this.. which author do you have a crush on and why?
A winner will be announced on Saturday, October 30th at 10:00 am so get your entry in fast!!
Photos of chicken for Life of Spice by the super fabulous Sala Kannan.
Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes
Time: 15 minutes, plus 35 to 40 minutes roasting
Recipe from Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with Good Appetite
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
1. 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.
2. 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.