Category Archives: weekend cooking
Ruth Reichl was happy with her job at the Los Angeles Times as Food Critic. Yet when an opening came at the New York Times for a food critic the buzz was that it was going to be her they would pursue… while Ruth was thinking, “No… I don’t want to move to New York”, her husband, television producer Michael Singer was putting in for a transfer figuring the move was inevitable.
Michael, as it turns out was right.
After an interview with The New York Times that Ruth did not try very hard at, she started to allow herself to say dream a bit of what it would be like to take the position id offered…. then she became a little unsettled when they did not call…. had she blown it? When the call did finally come Ruth said “Yes” and she, her husband and young son made the move to New York.
What Ruth did not realize was that the restaurants were waiting for her. Her picture hung in ever highly notable kitchen so the staff would know when she came to their resistant and they could be sure to give her the best service so they would get the best reviews.
What they didn’t know was that Ruth was not about to let it play out that way. She wondered how she could give people honest reviews of the restaurants if they were catering to her because of who she was. The answer, as it turned out, came in the form of a petite friend of her mothers who was a make up artist… Ruth would go these restaurants in disguise.
Garlic and Sapphires is the true memoir of a critic in disguise who took on the personalities of who she dressed as and learned all too quickly which restaurants only cared about who were you were and what you could do for them. Her reviews were cut throat and made a lot of people angry, but they were honest… and the average person who made a reservation (or not…) would know exactly what to expect.
I read Garlic and Sapphires once before a few years back. At the time of this typing, I believe I reviewed it here at Book Journey but I am not sure and I refuse to look until I have finished writing this review so one opinion does not affect the other. Does that make sense? When my book club chose it last month to be our April read with the idea that is we read it we would all dress in disguise for the review I was in… all in. I love it when we go the extra mile.
SO this second reading of Garlic and Sapphires went something like this… I really enjoyed it. I loved Ruth’s disguises and how each one transformed her. She became the character and no one was the wiser. She could walk by people she knew and they would not even do a double take. No one knew who she was and with that she could walk into any restaurant and see how the “unfamous”, unadorned, were treated. But that wasn’t all… Ruth would dress older, she would dress poorer, and on some occasions she would dress as more confident and sexier…. and of course, she would also show up as herself – actually visiting a restaurant many times before writing her review.
I enjoyed the story behind the review, and then reading her review. I loved the description of the foods she ate as my mouth watered in anticipation… could I taste it simply through her words?
I enjoy reading foodie books. I don’t know why I am so fascinated by them, by the life of a critic amazes me – at first thought I think, what a great job… tasting the best foods, in the best restaurants, but when I really think about being a critic must really be hard work. You feel with the pressures of getting it right and the backlash of those who disagree….
If you are a foodie reader as well, I think you will really enjoy this fun twist on food critiquing.
Oh…. how I love my book club…..♥
When this book came up in the vote last month, Kaydi who nominated it added in that it would be fun to dress up as Ruth does in the book. YAY!!! I love bonus book club events!
7 of us the 12 of us who were there the review did dress up. Brenda (back row – hot blond) said her husband told her as she left her house, “I think you really enjoy these dress up events…”
Truth is, I think we do
I think personally what I love about the dressing p is you really get see some fun personalities come out and I have to smile thinking these are memories in the making.
The Bookies over all rated the book an average read, while everyone seemed to enjoy it, a few brought up that it seemed to get tedious after a while. We had a fun discussion of who we thought was Ruth’s best dress up and we mostly agreed that Brenda was her best as it really seemed to bring out the best in Ruth – and in others. A line from the book was…
Is it possible to be jealous of yourself?
Of course we had food…. we were food critics after all….
Delicious food… fun conversation and then, Angie pulled out a chocolate tasting board… asn we all were able to try our own hand at being critiques:
I think this was a fun book to review as a book club and would recommend it for other book clubs as well.
A am adding this to Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads
Victoria was one of those kids who fell through the cracks of the foster care system. Placed time and again in homes that did not fit for her, or were flat-out… abusive. The Foster Care program felt it was Victoria, she was labeled as difficult and uncooperative… and so Victoria continued moving home to home until at 18 years of age she outgrew the foster care age -
and then was on her own.
One home however, haunts her dreams in a painful loss sort of way and if filled with the “what if’s” of life. When Victoria was placed with Elizabeth a woman who grew up surrounded by flowers and their meanings , Victoria soon learned the secret language as well…. aster meaning patience, honeysuckle for devotion, plum meaning keep your promises….
But a poor decision leads to an unthinkable tragedy and Victoria once again shuts down, holding within her secrets and not trusting anyone with her heart. She finds herself in a world of flowers and in almost an unreal way she flourishes, knowing exactly what those looking for the right bouquet want and need… and while this keeps her busy and is fulfilling…
she still longs for what she came so close to having if not for her secret, and Victoria is about to learn that your past has a way of finding you… and that isn’t always a bad thing…
My book club the Bookies chose this book for our November read. On synopsis alone, I wasn’t sure about this one… I had some sort of 70′s flower child image in my head, however the girl who recommended this one is usually spot on with her book suggestions and she had already read it and said it was wonderful.
The Language Of Flowers, as it turns out is wonderful and an incredible discussion book for reading groups. The beauty we found within the pages of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s story line here was well worth discussing. While Victoria is not always likeable, that makes the story even deeper. She is flawed. She will annoy the crap out of you (and did). AND her decisions do not always fall back on her child hood and the “oh look what she has been through though!” My response to that is, “yeah well, we have all been through stuff.”
Victoria is three-dimensional, while you can not put her on a pedestal, you also can not fully dismiss her. She makes you want to know more about the way she thinks and the underlining flow of flowers and their language is not only fun but interesting. I highly recommend this read not only for flower lovers but also for discussion groups as there is so many ways to discuss this book further.
The Bookies over all rated this one a steady 4 out of 5. While we differed somewhat on how we felt about Victoria, we still enjoyed the read and the characters. The flower discussion was good and I had printed out lists for everyone of Victoria’s Dictionary Of Flower, found on-line and created by the author.
Fresh flowers of course adorned our get together as well as flower book marks. Our food for the review looked like this:
The foods served were some mentioned in the book. I went with Zucchini Linguini because Zucchini starts out as a flower.
The Language of Flowers makes for a wonderful discussion book for book clubs.
Also submitted to Beth Fish Reads, Weekend Cooking Meme.
Born in Ethiopia, Samuelsson was three years old when his mother walked him and his sister 75 miles to be treated for Tuberculosis. Once they arrived at the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Adapa, Marcus’ mom died on the disease, but Marcus and his sister were treated and recovered. Now orphans, they were both adopted by a middle class family that lived in Sweden.
And this is where Marcus started to learn about food. His new Grandmother Mormor took Marcus under her wing and showed him how to cook and to use everything. She made everything herself and taught Marcus that nothing went to waste. Fresh baked bread was served the first day with lunch and dinner, on the second day it was good for toast, and then after that it was good for croutons and breading for battered fish.
As a teen Marcus first applied to work at a McDonald’s but was turned down for employment due to his color. (How funny to think that now one of the most famous chefs in the world was once denied to flip burgers and shake salt in fries…)
As years went on Marcus worked in restaurant after restaurant learning the kitchen as well as the back of his hand. He loved to try new things together and soon Head Chefs were looking to his for new menu ideas and new flavors. Eventually Marcus was given opportunities to travel back to Ethiopia to learn the flavors of his home land.
When he was Head Chef at Aquavit he earned a coveted three star rating for his cooking in the New York Times that sent him forward in huge strides, including being on several Top Chef TV shows, and cooking for the White House.
Marcus’s story is not all up hill, there are times of career crisis, emotional happenings, law suits, and eventually he is led to opening his current Restaurant the Red Rooster in Harlem.
Marcus first hand lets the reader know the price of ambition, the cost of wanting perfection, the battle to be respected by his peers, and ultimately his road to finding the restaurant of his dreams.
Why did I want to read this book? I first seen this book in a Shelf Awareness email. Oddly, although I do not have the patience to cook, I love reading about those who do and succeed. Marcus’ story from Ethiopia as a lost boy to the Big Apple as a household name was one I wanted to know more about.
Yes Chef delivered everything I hoped it would. Marcus tells his story in an honest and humble tone from beginning to end. My copy of this book is covered in little post it arrows where I marked how he prepared truffles (you add them to the sauce at the very end so as not to cook all the flavor out), and his Spanish breakfast (ripe tomatoes peeled and then crushed on toast adding a grind or two of black pepper), and how to make a lobster lasagna. When curing duck breasts Marcus would soak then in a large pan of salted water with a plate weighing them down for 6 hours.
Mouth watering yet?
And in between pages of mixing seasonings and different flavors is Marcus’ story. Growing up and moving out… restaurant experiences that are detailed from where he got it right, and from when he should have been fired and by grace he was not. And then into Marcus’ life as the one doing the firing and trying to find kitchen held that understood the demands of a kitchen, one employee even telling him,
“You can ask me to be on time, iron my shirt, shave or not to wear sneakers, but you can’t ask them all of me… it’s too much.”
~Page 309 Yes CHEF
Yes Chef was interesting and a fun book to read that I will refer to again and again. Marcus is a true story of battling against the odds, fighting prejudices and coming out on top. His tips on food throughout the book are things I want to try, things I would have never considered, but when I read Yes CHEF, I felt inspired.
Highly recommended to lovers of memoirs, cooking related books and success stories… I loved this book.
Marcus’ fried chicken served at Red Rooster
marinate chicken in coconut milk (I would use chicken breasts not whole chicken, but that’s me)
cure in lemon
steam it and bone it
fry in day old oil
serve with greens, sweet potato fries, buttermilk dressing and hot sauce and pickled watermelon rind
This review is part of Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads
Purchased from Amazon
Sheila’s definition of marshmallows: White sticky “globby” things that come from the grocery store and are delicious ONLY if used for making rice crispy bars, smores – or fully melted within a cup of hot cocoa.
While reading blogs a while back I stumbled across this book on Nikki’s site, Notes Of Life. A book entirely about marshmallows caused me pause and at the end of her post about the book, she had a giveaway for a copy. Finding it hard to believe there was a WHOLE BOOK about marshmallows, I signed up. Imagine my surprise when I was the winner of this book!
When Marshmallow Madness arrived I was thrilled with the puffy cover. Ok that is just fun, I thought, but a cute cover in not going to sell me on this….
then I opened that puffy cover…
It was fun to read that author Shauna Severs relationship growing up with marshmallows was much as mine… so how does one go from there, to the point of making delicious flavored marshmallows for family and friends who anxiously await for holidays to receive one of these gift packages?
Shauna takes us through the simple ingredients that make up a marshmallow:
vanilla extract (100% pure)
coating made from powdered sugar and cornstarch
Grab a sauce pan, candy thermometer, measuring cups and spoons, whisk, spatula, stand mixer (heavy-duty mixer is recommended), cooking spray, a bowl for the coating, food coloring, and an 8×8 pan and you are ready to get your mallow on!!!
After the basics for making marshmallows is done, you enter into a section of the books that is all about mastering your new skill with fun recipes and idea…
How about chocolate malt marshmallows? Key lime pie flavored? Lemonade? Apricot? How about flavored with alcohol to make margarita or Malibu flavored marshmallows? There is even a recipe for homemade graham crackers so the next time you make smores – you are going to be the hit of the party!
By the time I was done with this book I knew marshmallows went far beyond what I thought they were used for prior to the reading. The marshmallows in this book are lovely and delicious enough to serve as dessert! A treat at place settings! Weddings! Kids and adult parties!
In the end there is an entire chapter on gift giving which I am particularly excited about. I am always looking for that kitchen goodie I can make for party hosts and for holiday giving that isnt what everybody else is doing. I think I may have found that thing!
I have not made any of the recipes in this book yet but I plan to. And if I were to be asked where I would start I would say the Chocolate malt marshmallows and those delicious looking Key Lime ones are calling my name….
Chocolate Malt Marshmallows (as found on Shauna’s blog, and in the book)
Malted milk powder can be found in most supermarkets either by the hot chocolate mixes, or near the ice cream fixings. That’s right, I said fixings.
For the chocolate shavings, grate bar chocolate on the largest holes of a boxed grater.
The deeper and richer your cocoa powder, the more intense the color and flavor will be, so use the best one you can get your hands on (I like Valrhona).
Makes about 20
For the marshmallows:
2 tablespoons (about 2 packets) unflavored powdered gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup, divided
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup malted milk powder
6 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For finishing the marshmallows:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely grated
Grease an 8×8-inch pan with shortening, using a paper towel to rub it lightly and evenly onto the bottom, sides and edges of the pan. Set aside.
Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water in a small bowl. Set aside to soften.
Place the sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan and stir gently. Clip a candy thermometer onto the pan, and place it over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, checking it occasionally–you are looking for it to eventually hit a temperature of 240-245 degrees.
Meanwhile, place the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Heat the softened gelatin in the microwave to melt it, about 30 seconds or so on high. Start the mixer on low-speed, and pour the gelatin into the corn syrup. Keep the mixer running on low-speed.
Whisk together the cocoa, malt powder and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth. When the sugar syrup is up to temperature, whisk the cocoa mixture into it, followed by the vanilla. Carefully transfer the syrup to a large, heatproof measuring cup or a similar vessel with a spout for easy pouring. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture. When all the syrup has been added, crank the speed up to medium-high and let it go for about 10 minutes–the candy will become fluffy and the color of a chocolate malt during this time.
Sift together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder. Set aside, and keep the sifter handy.
Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula spritzed with a bit of cooking spray to nudge it into the corners and smooth the top. Sift the cocoa-confectioners’ sugar mixture evenly and generously over the top. Let sit for about 6 hours, or overnight.
Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan and invert it onto a cocoa-confectioners’ sugar mixture-dusted work surface. Cut the marshmallow into squares (a pizza cutter works great here). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in chocolate shavings, and dab more all over the marshmallows. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Be sure to check out Shauna Severs blog, Piece Of Cake for her fun posts and great recipes! Oh and of course, if you know a marshmallow lover (or even a skeptic like me!) this book would make a lovely gift!
Posted as part of Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking
News Journalist, Ellen Gleeson is complete when she sees the little bot in the hospital with the heart condition that is up for adoption. When he becomes hers, she is over the moon in love with her now son, Will.
Two years later Ellen is coming home from another harried day on the job and as she sorts through the mail, a Missing Child flyer catches her attention… the boy in the picture, looks exactly like her Will. How could that even be? The birth mother and father has signed over their rights and a judge had awarded Will to Ellen. Yes the flyer does not stop nagging her and Ellen used her journalist instincts to get to the truth, all the while knowing the truth… may cost her everything.
What Ellen uncovers leaves her shell-shocked and fearing for her and Will’s life. She is the only one that knows what she knows… is it best to cover it all back up and pretend it never happened? Or is it best to do what is right for Will, no matter the painful consequences.
(not a big fan of book trailers, with just a few exceptions… this one is one of the reasons why… they man’s voice… is a little too much I think.)
Why did I read this book? My book club chose this book for our June read.
When Lisa Scottoline’s book was chosen for our June book club read I am the first to admit, I wasn’t overjoyed. I had recently finished an audio book of her’s that left me confused and with more questions in the end than I had in the beginning. HOWEVER… I did say I would try her again.
I just didn’t know it would be this soon.
Look Again is every mothers nightmare. Imagine jumping through all the hoops of adopting a child. When that day finally comes that the child is fully yours you are… ecstatic beyond belief. (I have friends who have adopted – I have seen this first hand). This child becomes as much your own as if you had birthed him or her yourself. You know their every expression, their likes, dislikes, joys, and fears… and you love them so much you think your heart can hold no more…
Now imagine that something, or someone… can come along and take away that pure joy.
Ellen is a protagonist you can root for. She is a strong independent single mom, doing the best she can between work and home. It is apparent in this reading that home is the most important of the two as her whole life revolves around Will.
The storyline is consistently updating, but at first it was not at a pace that held me captive. You spend time learning about where Ellen works, her co workers (BOO!!!! to one of them….) and her hot boss Marcelo (double kudos to Lisa Scottoline for coming up with that name…. it oozes hotness, it really does!) for the first half of the book I could have continued on or put it down… I was not overly committed, mainly I think because I had a feeling as to where it was going.
Well… color me wrong. Once all starts to come together the books pace takes on a fast trot and now I do not want to put it down. Every page, reveals a new twist, a new turn… what I think is about to happen… doesn’t… what does, is something totally left field… totally…
As I flew to the end of this book, tears on some pages, anger on others… I fully appreciated what Lisa Scottoline invested into this book. It is smart and clever. I did not see it coming…
while some (uhem…. Bookies book club members) found the ending a little too neat all wrapped up perfectly with a bow… I think I had bee through so much with Ellen that I liked the neat ending, what some would call the easy way out, I applaud in this case as it was just what I needed.
The Bookies (book club) thoughts:
Oh the Bookies….. a difficult group…. lol… I am kidding! Our discussion was not passionate as it has been in some recent reads, and I admit I missed that, but it was a good discussion. For the most part, the group found this book to be a slightly over average read. A few found it predictable, and said they had figured out how it was all going to go down long before the end. (I had not). While the book did not blow anyone away with “WOW!!!! Why did it take us so long to read this?” It was a good discussion and brought up conversations around adoption, and connections between birth parents.
Oh, and of course we had food to go with the book:
And I don’t know how I missed this picture, but two of us brought lime jello, the abducted boy, Timothy Braverman’s favorite, as well as Will’s.
I am linking my review to Beth Fish reads Weekend Cooking because where there are Bookies… there is food.
Other fab reviewers thoughts:
Is it really possible to love your enemies? That is the question that surrounds this book and leads the authors into the hear of the Middle East in Summer 2008. This is a trip that began in Egypt, to Saudi Arabia, and Beirut, before ending at the cradle of the world’s three major religions: Jerusalem.
Ted Dekker tells his side of this amazing true story through the eyes of a first timer into this country. Carl Medearis tells it from the side of a repeat visitor who had even been arrested and held in jail in the country on previous entrances in this country.
From late night border crossings to hair-raising taxi rides, and back room meetings, follow the story of these two men as they seek permission to talk to – and are granted permission to such people as Hezbollah Leaders,sheikhs, muftis, and even Osama bin Laden’s brothers who tell you first hand, they don’t like their brother much.
Finding the answers come from heartfelt interviews, surprising revaluation, and at times, life threatening situations, all to work towards the heart of this relationship we have – or more accurately – lack their of… with the middle east.
Imagine, going into a country that in many ways does not approve of Americans, or at least that is what many of us think. The country is at war, it is not necessarily a safe journey – yet you feel called to do it.
Jesus says in Matthew 22:
36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself? I think of my neighbors. Sure we wave at each other as we go by, or occasionally chat about gardening or weather, but love them as myself?
And really, if you take this text to what that means… doesn’t it mean to love all people as ourselves? That is a heavy request. And that is what Ted and Carl go to find out. What does that mean in the midst of war? Is that even possible?
I was engrossed in this true story of the authors adventures into the middle east, and the interviews that revolved around this trip. This audio is told from the authors perspectives, however the interviews, are word for word as told by the interviewed, and that I have to say was down right fascinating.
The interviews were the best part of the audio.
Unfortunately the reading falls short of hitting an excellent or even very good mark from me. I would say it was definitely good, and interesting, but it felt as though a goal was set, even implied in the synopsis, and I didn’t find it to have been reached. There is a fiction story that weaves itself among the pages, entwined throughout the book and is working towards I believe, a common thread to tie this whole read together. In some ways it works, it is definitely interesting, but in other ways I find it sad that this particular thread was not actually found as truth through all the interviews and traveling done in the book. That may have reached me in a stronger way. My take away is mainly what I already knew and what I strive to do anyway, and it is love everyone as myself, do not judge other people, and try to always put love and grace before all else. I don’t always succeed… but for the most part, living this way gives me a great peace knowing that in most situations, I have done all that I can to show love and grace and at that point, any disagreements or differences are off me.
My aunts often refer to me when there is conflict in the family and someone wants to know my thoughts as “Oh Sheila? Sheila gets along with everyone!”
I like that.
I am not passive, I can clearly speak my opinion and then let it go. Life is too short to live angry.
If you are interested in the middle east, the Biblical teaching of Love Your Neighbor’s As Yourself, or even what those interviewed had to say, I would say read this book or listen to the audio (which, yes, was narrated well by George Wilson.)
Why I listened to this book: I have read and enjoyed Dekker’s non fiction through the years. The last few years I have found his writing to become darker and I do not enjoy it as much as I once did. Besides the three reasons I listed above being true for me as reasons to read this book, I also wanted to know what Dekker would do with non fiction.
Here are a few other opinions by awesome bloggers:
For weekend cooking, I had stumbled across this little jewel on Pinterest yesterday and knew I had to make these:
What a great idea and what a great go along for a book about tea! I got a late start on making these, but I am giving you a recipe for the shortbread cookie in case you have any ideas… as I brainstormed I thought these could also by used for luggage tags , perhaps for a traveling get together, room keys, baby showers with its a girl r its a boy tags, and I even have an idea for my book club on Tuesday but you will have to wait until Wednesday when I put up our review to see what I came up with
2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
I am using melted Ghiradhelli chocolate chips, but you can use semi sweet chocolate or whatever you prefer.
Preheat over to 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and stir. Add flour and mix well. Roll out onto a lightly floured counter top. I used a cut out using cardboard to get the tea bag shape and then poked a hole in the cookie shape using a toothpick but making it big enough so it does not bake closed. Mine are still in the process of being made so I do not have a finished product yet, but will show you once I do
Bake 10-12 minutes, watching closely at that 9 minute mark to make sure the cookies do not get too dark. Let cool, then run string through the hole and add your tags. Fun!
Be sure to connect with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads to see what other people are cooking this weekend!
I purchased this audio from audible.com
I love food. It’s true. I absolutely admit to loving a good buffet, I hardly have anything I will not eat or try. There was a time in my youth… that did not matter. No matter what I ate, I did not gain. I was not a work out queen either… in fact I can not recall any exercise in those years beyond the required gym class.
Well times… they do change…
As I became older, married, with children… the pounds did not just melt away any more. I came to a point where if I wanted to look the way I well…. wanted to look, then I needed to work for it. In those years, I worked hard at the gym, tried hard to watch what I ate and did maintain the look I wanted for myself.
Now…. (*fast forward to present time), I have actually found things that I enjoy doing that also qualify as “working out and exercise”. Who knew… it could also be fun?
I still fall off track. I get good at it, and then lose my mojo…. and then, like now, work on putting myself back on the track again. Of course…. I still have that “love of food” that has never left me.
When I found this book recently at one of my local book stores I was excited about it. Flipping through it I seen the pictures of the food were mouth-watering and something I would definitely be all for giving a try. I mean, look at some of these:
- Dessert Pizza
- Mini Blueberry Muffins
- Seven-Layer Dip
- Pineapple Mojitos
- Shrimp and Grits
- Cheese “Fries”
- Carrot Soup with a Kick
- Flank Steak with Indian Salsa
- White Pizza with Roasted Mushrooms
And it also is broke into wonderful categories:
AND – if you know me, you know that I do not like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen doing prep work and searching for a long list of ingredients. I was thrilled to see that the recipes were fairly simple to make, took few ingredients, and not a ton of “kitchen duty”. YAY to all of that!
I also like recipes that I can serve to guests or take to potlucks that do not look like they are “healthy foods” (enter the vegie tray….)
I plan to spend some more time in this book yet this afternoon. Many (but not all) recipes have a mouth-watering picture. They all have nutrition information, and a list of ingredients that are pretty easy to find. (I may make the spaghetti squash for dinner) These are recipes my hubby would even enjoy and not feel deprived of flavors (just calories )
On page 29 I found this little gem which looks tasty and something I could easily prep ahead of time for work:
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche
4 asparagus stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup low-fat milk- (I use 1%)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 oz. goat cheese- (I would use a low fat cheese)
1.) Preheat the oven to 425F. Spray four 5 oz. ramekins (I would use my muffin tin) with cooking spray. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside.
2.) Place the asparagus in a shallow dish with 2 Tbsp water. Cover with vented plastic wrap, and microwave on high until bright green and just tender…about 3 1/2 minutes. Carefully uncover and place in ice bath to cool, and drain.
3.) Whisk together the eggs, egg white, milk, salt, and pepper until well blended. Divide the cheese and asparagus among the 4 dishes, and pour the egg mixture on top.
4.) Bake until just set, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool.
I hope to make that this week… maybe even later today as this ends my official week off of work and I am back to it tomorrow morning
I posted this review today as part of Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking. Stop over and see what else is cooking this weekend!
In a typical me fashion, after bringing this book home… I seen I already had it on my “To Be Read” Shelves…. so….. my “Doh!” is your “Woo Hoo!” as I am giving my second copy away to one commenter – who shares with me…. what they are having for dinner tonight…. (I will announce the winner of the book Tuesday morning)
Donia Bijan grew up in a family that appreciated good food. Food to her was a language all of its own, it was used to celebrate as well as substantiate, is was used in times of great joy, and n times of sorrow. Growing up in Iran, Donia was surrounded by foods that were a part of her families life… loaves of bread were sliced in thick slabs and covered in fine cheeses and tomatoes, roasted duck, leg of lamb, homemade jams and fresh brewed teas were a breakfast staple. Her father, a doctor, would not have his family wasting money on foods they could buy on the streets when they could make their own mouthwatering delicacies better than any thing purchased. Her mother a nurse, would share her time between her family, the kitchen, and the hospital. Many childhood memories were in that kitchen as vegetables were cut for thick stews, and batters stirred for mouth watering baked goods.
Then in 1978 when the Islamic revolution threatened their safety, Donia’s family fled to California, where the food of then and now formed a bridge to the life they had left behind. Donia grew into a love for creating foods that created togetherness, and to her fathers disappointment (he wanted her to go into medicine) yet her mothers unending support, Donia took the steps needed to become the award winning chef she is today.
From the Persian world of her youth, to her new life in America this book walks up through Donia’s time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to apprenticeships in France’s three star kitchens, back to San Francisco where she opened her own now famous bistro.
My review for Weekend Cooking hosted over at Beth Fish Reads:
For a girl who does not really like to cook, I sure do read a lot of cooking related books. Honestly that baffles me a bit too… but as I type this and really think about it, I am mesmerized by those who can cook…those who can take a table full of ingredients and create a master piece.
I don’t think it is so much that I do not like cooking, as I have yet to find the patience it takes to do it right.
From the moment I laid eyes on this book I knew I wanted to read it. It sounded like the just the type of story I enjoy reading. Donia family brings to the table a memoir of family and traditions, and foods that would make the strongest of readers salivate page to page.
Along side Donia’s story of growing up surrounded by an appreciation for fresh foods, and wholesome meals, she leaves us with trails of recipes sprinkled throughout the pages. While some looked delicious but I felt I was not skilled enough to put it to the test, others sounded down right doable, and I put my basic skills to the test today of placing ingredients together to make the delectable Orange Cardamom Cookies along side the Persian Cardamom Tea…
the results were delicious. I think I now know what is going into my Christmas goody bags….
Donia’s story is an incredible journey that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a wonderful memoir filled with a family that feels like you are sitting at their glorious table.
Orange Cardamom Cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
grated zest of 2 oranges
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
Beat butter in a bow with an electric mixer until it whitens. Add the sugar and blend well. Add teh egg yolk and orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, cardamom, and poppy seeds. Once mixed, add to the butter mixture and mix until a dough like consistency.
Form the dough into two logs, roll in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, cut the chilled dough into 1/2 inch rounds and place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake 12 – 15 minutes until edges of cookie are golden brown. This dough will keep well in the freezer up to 3 weeks.
Persian Cardamom Tea
Bring kettle to a boil. Swirl some of the boiling water into teapot to warm it then dump water back into kettel. Measure 2 heaping teaspoons of Earl Grey tea leaves and 1 crushed pod of cardamom and place in tea pot. Add the boiling water to pot and let steep for ten minutes.
Pour a cup of tea and then pour tea pack into tea pot to to warm cup and to make sure color is even.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include Mamans’ Homesick Pie
I received this book as part of the Linus’s Blanket
and Devourer of Books Book Club
Good morning! Happy Sunday!
Yesterday morning I had a breakfast brunch to attend and I was to bring one of the main dishes. *gulp* I am not a big breakfast person… really I either have a Fiber One bar around 10 am or a packet of oatmeal. SO…. I had to do some thinking to come up with a breakfast item that 1. was tasty for a group but also 2. traveled well.
I enjoy participating in the Weekend Cooking Meme a Beth Fish Reads. I like to nose around what other people are cooking, and as someone who does not enjoy a lot of kitchen time… finding great recipes that do not take a ton of time makes my day.
The recipe I found and made is here.
Almond Pear French Toast Casserole
1/4 cup butter cut into little squares
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 29 oz. can of pear halves – each half cut into fourths
1 pound loaf of sour dough bread cut into squares (not the end pieces)
2 3/4 cup of eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup slices almonds
Using a 10 x 14 pan, evenly distribute the butter slices around the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and bottom of pan. Put the pear slices over the brown sugar in a single layer. Take the cut up bread and place in a single layer over the butter and brown sugar.
Now mix together the eggs, milk, sugar, and extracts. Pour this mixture over the bread evenly – make sure all pieces get wet. Put foil over the pan and refrigerate over night (if you wish).
When ready to bake, take pan out of refrigerator and let sit while over gets up to temperature. Then bake at 350 for 40 minutes, take out and sprinkle almond slices on top, put back in over and let continue to bake for another 15 minutes.
This is delicious and when we ate it about 35 minutes later it was even good after it had cooled.
As for the flash mob… I think they are so cool. I seriously want to find one and do this. Here is one that was in Minnesota recently, and I will leave you this morning with this:
How is everyone surviving the Thanksgiving weekend? Honestly I feel soooo behind. I have had the best of intentions to post reviews the last few days and the fact is… I need to write them first. My week has been busy with not only Thanksgiving prep and crazy hours of shopping, but also a good friend of mine’s sister passed away on Wednesday and I have been spending time with her as well as she goes through this hard time.
Yesterday College Son (Justin) spent all day with me from the crazy shopping to afternoon errands to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. It’s hard to catch him when he is in town as he is off visiting friends but having him all day on Thursday and most of Friday was a blessing. He will be hanging out with us a while today before he heads back to Mankato this afternoon to prepare his projects for school again on Monday.
So this morning I was trying to think what pictures I was going to post for Alyce’s Saturday Snapshot as well as Candice’s Weekend Cooking post and decided if I want to add another post I have been working on this afternoon – I had to (just this once) combine the two meme’s.
In honor of Thanksgiving…. here is what I have to share.
SO… you may have heard of a very odd (IMO) tradition of stuffing a turkey with a duck and inside the duck a chicken? (ughhh…. I so dont even like the visual image of this). It is called Turducken.
No worries… I did not do it, BUT this past week I heard of something a little visually comforting and a fun holiday treat and that is the combination of a cake and a pie. (I looked it up on the internet this morning… I guess the official title is Pumpple.
I have no “before” pictures… but it is fairly easy and you can get the steps here:
you will need:
a cake mix or two
a pie or two that you think would compliment the cake mix
In this particular two layer one… the cake mixes were spice and yellow and the pies were pumpkin and apple.
Use round cake pans and put a little spray oil in the bottom and on sides. Mix up the cake mix as instructed on the box and put a layer in the bottom of your cake pan. Place your pie in the cake pan. Pour more cake mix over pie in the cake pan. Yes, you will have mix left over. Maybe make a few cupcakes or a mini cake.
Bake as instructed on the cake box. When done, cool and then frost. It looks pretty cool on a plate and when you cut into it. Its pretty tasty as well as a fun conversation piece for your next get together.
Verdict: It’s good. I liked the pumpkin pie and spice cake combo. I heard that a chocolate cake with pumpkin is really good too and since I am a fan of all things chocolate I would consider that one.
Please stop by At Home With Books to see what others are posting today for Saturday Snapshots…
AND be sure to check out Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking which always has links to fantastic recipes that make you (ME) run right out the door to get the things to cook them!
Today is going to be a low-key day and I am sooooo excited for that. I am going to write the missing reviews and between today and tomorrow get in some good reading time as well. I hope your weekend is a fantastic one.