Weekend Cooking – November 19, 2011

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There is something about the shortening of the days, the baring of the trees, the frost which whitens the ground on most mornings…which makes me want to hibernate in my kitchen, cooking up warm and comforting foods.

Recently I purchased In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark which is not just a cookbook, but a meditation about food and the stories that accompany the foods we remember and love the most. The book has been sitting on my counter and this week I finally delved into it. I was looking for a different way to cook the boneless, skinless chicken breast I had taken out of the freezer and I found a recipe in Clark’s book which caught my attention.

Clark reminisces about Thanksgivings past with her uncle Danny – a man who loved the dark meat of the turkey the best:

Every Thanksgiving when I was a kid, my uncle Danny used to say, “I like my turkeys built like Jane Fonda, with small tits and a big ass.” – from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, page 145 –

The point of the story was that Clark also prefers the moist and juicy dark meat over the dry breast meat, and so her cookbook has only one recipe for chicken breasts…a recipe that she envisioned made with honey and spices and sweet potatoes – something moist and flavorful. Her recipe for Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes (page 147) looked delicious…but I had a little bit of a problem. I did not have Chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce or sweet potatoes, and I am allergic to Cumin. Undeterred, I decided to go forth with the recipe with some substitutions. Instead of Chipotle chiles, I diced up some red peppers, and instead of sweet potatoes, I used Russet potatoes. I left out the cumin.

The recipe calls for roasting the potatoes for 15 minutes before topping them with the chicken breasts which have been rubbed  with honey, cinnamon, cider vinegar, the peppers, and kosher salt and roasting the dish in a 400 degree oven for an additional 25-30 minutes. The smell of cooking chicken with the rich tang of cinnamon had my mouth watering. The result was  scrumptious. I do think that it would have been even better with sweet potatoes, but I did not miss the Chipotle chilies at all.

I also baked some butternut squash as a side…and decided the perfect dessert was apple pie hot from the oven.

I am eager to continue exploring Clark’s homey cookbook…I’ll keep you posted!

Do you love to cook? Don’t miss other bloggers’ Weekend Cooking posts – head over to Beth Fish Reads to catch all the links for today!


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  1. I may be the only person who does not like apple pie. but I must say that one looks lovely…

    • Beth F on November 19, 2011 at 09:00

    Beautiful pie. We call that squash acorn squash and I bake it the same way — cut in half and filled with goodness. A cookbook that inspires is a good cookbook in my mind. I don’t need to make the exact recipe but I call it a win if I can create a version all my own after reading the author’s.

    • Margot on November 19, 2011 at 10:19

    I’ve been wanting to try a book Melissa Clark wrote all by herself. She’s co-written so many good ones. I’m glad to hear this one is chatty but also has good recipes. I like the story about the dark meat.

  2. The chicken looks delicious – I bet we’d like the spicier version too.

    • JoAnn on November 19, 2011 at 10:39

    Very creative substituting. Wish I’d been at your house for dinner that night!

    • Fay on November 19, 2011 at 12:39

    The honey and cinnamon sound like a Middle Eastern style, but then there is the chipotle. Do Mexican cooks pair honey and chicken? Off to check Diana Kennedy’s book. Looks great. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. YUM! I’m always looking for new ways to cook chicken breasts, so this recipe is the ticket. The book sounds delightful — if full of thighs. 🙂

    • Trish on November 19, 2011 at 20:48

    That pie is beautiful! Cumin seems like an interesting spice to add to the recipe anyway–might have been better without it. 😉 Though I admit that I’m a chicken breast girl–not sure how I’d do with all that dark meat!

  4. In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite is fantastic! From the look of those pictures, it looks like you are cooking the recipes very well. Must admit I havn’t tried to cook the Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes meal yet, (Theres just so many to choose from!) I think I’ll give it a give tonight, thanks for the tips!

    • zibilee on November 20, 2011 at 06:43

    It’s always so neat to experiment with substitutions and see what you come up with, and it sounds like this dinner was a winner! I would love to get my hands on a copy of this one and check it out. The recipes sound amazing!

    • Amused on November 20, 2011 at 19:08

    Like you, fall makes me want to cook more too! The recipes you’ve made here look delicious. I’ll have to check out this new cookbook.

  5. I tend to get more excited about cooking in the fall, too! Your dishes look delicious!

    • Heather on November 22, 2011 at 18:40

    Sounds like and interesting book. i hadn’t heard of it. Thanks,

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