With the publication of Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make, Melissa Clark has now written 32 books. She also writes for numerous print and online publications including The New York Times, as well as her own terrific blog…the woman is amazingly prolific. When I met her in Atlanta last May, I discovered that she’s also incredibly nice…truly a lovely person, inside and out.

I would say lots of nice things about Cook This Now if it was simply a great collection of recipes…the ones Melissa makes for her family and friends. But it’s much more. Instead of utilizing typical cookbook chapters, the recipes are categorized by the month in which the main ingredient is in season. It’s pretty brilliant, and perfect for anyone who wants to eat delicious, wholesome meals made with local foods from their own garden or their favorite Farmer’s Market.

The recipes are inventive without being “far-out”- the same type of fare I cook up for my own family, and I am really enjoying each and every entertaining and informative recipe headnote. I also love all the tips Melissa shares after each recipe: I challenge you to read this book and not want to get cooking.

Since I basically want to make every recipe in the book, I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted to feature here on my blog. Even though I just posted a potato recipe last week, I ended up going with this sweet potato dish because I had just brought some sweet potatoes home from the market, plus I’ve never used whole cinnamon sticks like this before.

These sweet potatoes cook up to be fantastically fragrant. Each bite is crisp and wonderfully salty on the outside, with a meltingly soft interior. They’re perfect as a side dish any day of the week, but they’re pretty and delicious enough to grace your Thanksgiving table, too. Melissa likes to make this with garnet yams, and suggests drizzling the potatoes with honey half way through if you like the idea of a sticky glaze on top.

Recipe for Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Garlic

Yield: serves 4

Melissa says: "Make sure everyone squeezes the rich, caramelized garlic paste out of the skins to eat with the potatoes. It makes the dish."

Ingredients:

*1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, preferably garnet yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
*6 unpeeled garlic cloves
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*2 thyme branches
*1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
*1 tablespoon kosher salt
*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put all ingredients in a baking pan and toss to combine., then spread out in an even layer,

2. Roast until potatoes are tender and browned, 25-45 minutes. Serve hot or warm, along with the garlic cloves.

Reprinted with permission from Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make. Recipes by Melissa Clark; photographs by Andrew Scrivani. Copyright © 2011; published by Hyperion.

More Recipes You’ll Love From (or Inspired by) Cook This Now:
Stir Fried Chicken with Scallions and Oyster Mushrooms from Sassy Radish
Melissa’s Spicy Sopressata Pasta from Justcook NYC
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Caraway from Gluten Free Girl
SproutKraut from The Peche
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon from Canelle et Vanille