I see a lot of cookbooks — that’ll happen when you work for Food Network — and even though there’s a stack of new books on my desk threatening to topple over, I still get excited when I get a really good, new cookbook. The cookbooks that excite me are the ones filled with healthy, seasonal recipes, especially those with a lot of vegetable dishes because I don’t eat meat. Food writer, NY Times columnist and cookbook author Melissa Clark‘s book, Cook This Now was one that excited me. So much so that it made it home to my kitchen, and not the teetering, 4-foot cookbook pile on my desk.
The book is organized by month, and each month has 10 recipes using ingredients that are at their peak that month. The setup is helpful for obvious reason: it’s easy to figure out what’s freshest and what to shop for at farmers’ markets, but there was an unexpected bonus to the month-by-month organization. Usually when I get a great cookbook, I leaf through the whole thing, flagging dozens of recipes I must make, then can’t decide what to make first. When I cracked open Cook This Now, I jumped right to November. I was tempted by the Butternut Squash Risotto With Pistachios and Lemon, the Honey Whole Wheat Corn Bread and the Roasted Acorn Squash, Honey, Smoked Paprika, and Sage Salt, but last night just happened to get a big bunch of broccoli rabe in my CSA, so was eager to turn that into dinner.