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Review: Get Cooking by Mollie Katzen

By L. Stolpman in Food on Sep 28, 2009 5:40PM

We were fortunate enough to score an advance copy of Get Cooking by Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook, a cookbook that we've had and used for years - along with the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (the fragrant jasmine rice recipe is fantastic). Katzen's latest book is geared toward getting people who do not normally cook into the kitchen. Chapters include: Soups, Salads, Pastas, Vegetarian Entrees, Burgers, Chicken Fish & Meat, Sides, Party Snacks, and Desserts.

The recipes are simple, calling for a relative minimum of ingredients, but with detailed instructions and, unlike some of her other cookbooks, each recipe is accompanied with a color photograph of the dish. The photos do not look overly stylized and look pretty much like someone made the dish and snapped a picture - which is sort of nice because you won't look at your creation and wonder why it doesn't look like Michelangelo made it, as in the cookbook. Additionally, each recipe is coupled with a small section entitled "Get Creative" with tips on how you could vary the recipe. This reassures the beginning cook that recipes aren't written in stone and experimenting in the kitchen is a good thing.

We saw the recipe for "baked cut-up chicken with fruit" that called for apricots, prunes, figs, and oranges. We read some of the "get creative" tips and used what we had on hand - apricots and lemons. Using the basic recipe, its variations and instructions, we whipped up some chicken. More details after the cut! Enjoy.

Here's what we did: We took the chicken and rubbed it with the spice mixture (salt, pepper, and paprika). Put it in the roasting container, skin side up (we removed the skin from some of the pieces). Topped it with sliced onions, apricots, garlic cloves and lemon slices. In the oven covered with foil at 375 for an hour. Removed it from the oven, basted everything, flipped the chicken. Back in the oven covered for 20 minutes. Took it out, basted everything, flipped chicken back over, and put back in uncovered for 10 minutes to brown. Removed from oven, basted, and let sit for ten minutes before we tried it.

The chicken was really tasty. We loved the sweetness of the apricots with it and better understood while the original recipe called for so much fruit. Delicious!

If you're thinking about cooking at home more, this cookbook is a good starting point. The more experienced cook will probably enjoy the creative options, as well. The cookbook goes on sale October 13th.