Peace Like A River with The Pajama Chef #bookclubcookbookCC

Happy New Year! And, Welcome Back to The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Club project!

 

To begin 2016, Sarah at The Pajama Chef hosts our club. She selected Mrs. Enger’s Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Frosting from Peace Like a River by Lief Enger for this month’s recipe and book.

I can’t think of a better way to wake up to a new year than with fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls.

Sarah includes the recipe itself on her invitation page (link above, and here, too) and it sounds wonderful.

Remember, reading the book is entirely optional – you can participate by cooking and blogging along.

You can also win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook through the giveaway below!

Participants in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Project:

Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Tortillas and Honey

Adventures in All Things Food

A Day in the Life on the Farm

The Spiffy Cookie

The Pajama Chef

Life of Food

Cheese Curd in Paradise

Mostly Food and Crafts

Things I Make (for Dinner)

Giveaway

This month Sarah at The Pajama Chef, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!


One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from January 1st till January 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


*Disclosure: Sarah received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone #bookclubcookbookCC #bookreview

Welcome Back to The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Club project!

This month, we are hosted by Erin at The Spiffy Cookie.

The book is the beloved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and our recipe is Treacle Tart.

Treacle Tart in gluten free crust

Disclosure – this recipe freaked me out, and I suspect that’s reflected in the photo. I mean, adding bread crumbs to the filling?

I asked Camilla if she knew if this is a wartime food. She didn’t know, so I looked it up : the history of treacle tart. It is not a war time creation, but it is indeed a staple of poorer families. Bread and sugar. No fancy spices or fruits or meat. Just something sweet for a treat.

And sweet it is. The two main ingredients are sugar and sugar (molasses and golden syrup). Interestingly, if you use nuts instead of bread crumbs, you get pretty close to pecan pie. YUM.

(Check this out! Pecan Pie by The Smitten Kitchen YES!)

I added ginger to the filling to give it some flavor other than SUGAR, and it did smell delicious while baking. Ginger and molasses…. Smells like the holidays.

Treacle Tart filling

Also, I took a shortcut and used a frozen gluten free dairy free crust. (This may also be why I think it looks funny.) I want to bring this to work to share and a regular butter crust would make some of my coworkers very ill.

a slice of treacle tart

 

So how did it taste?

Sweet. Toothache inducing sweet. And it burned a bit. I was so concerned about it being too sweet that I added way too much ginger (something which I had thought was impossible given my passion for all things ginger). The gluten free crust is impossible to cut and utterly tasteless.

If I do this again….

Well, I’ll use pecans and a butter crust and make pecan pie. It was a worthy endeavor; I’d always wondered what treacle tart is. And now I know.

And no, I won’t give this to my coworkers. I like them too much, and I love my job.

Participants in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Project:

Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Tortillas and Honey

Adventures in All Things Food

A Day in the Life on the Farm

The Spiffy Cookie

The Pajama Chef

Life of Food

Cheese Curd in Paradise

Mostly Food and Crafts

Things I Make (for Dinner)

Giveaway

 

This month Erin at The Spiffy Cookie, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

 

 

One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from November 1st till November 30st at 4 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

*Disclosure: Erin received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

A Walk in the Woods #bookclubcookbookCC #bookreview

Welcome Back to The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Club project!

(As a refresher, please see Camilla’s Master invitation for details on the what and when – and most importantly how to join us in this year long experience.)

A Legendary Maine Meal

This month, we are hosted by Andrea at Adventures in All Things Food. Please take a moment to click on that hyperlink for her invitation to this month’s project and description of the book and recipe.

The book is A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Bill and his buddy Katz decide to hike the Appalachian Trail beginning at its southernmost tip and ultimately finishing at Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine. It’s often funny and occasionally poignant —- but aside from Snickers Bars and Little Debbie cakes and noodles, there isn’t a lot of food.

The recipe in the cookbook related to this book is for a Lemon Meringue Pie, and it does sound delicious —- unlike the pie in the book. Bryson describes it as a piece of pie which doesn’t really sound very good, but since he’s been on the trail for weeks at this point, the over abundance of sugar and gooey sliminess is exactly what he craved, making it the best pie ever. Hmm. Well, as a human I can totally relate to how damn good really bad food can be, but as I cook…. Eh. I’ll pass. Also, as someone who lives in Maine, how am I supposed to make a pie that isn’t blueberry?

Maine Blueberry Pie
Bryson finds himself in Maine in August, the height of the short, heavenly blueberry season.  I’ve rhapsodized about Maine Blueberry Pie before, so I won’t repeat myself. Overall, Bryson’s stories about Maine were fairly true to life. People are friendly and very, very funny. The wilderness up here is indeed wild. Maine is The Way Life Should Be, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s easy. As Bryson learned, one does not walk glibly into the Maine woods.

I had one exception to his description of Maine, and it bothers me enough (weeks after finishing the book) that I feel compelled to mention it. He complains about the, in his mind, apparent senselessness of hunting, especially moose. He refuses to understand why this is permitted at all.

Maine, especially in the north, is not a wealthy state. In the summer, people come for vacations and they bring with them the wealth and commerce that largely drives the states economy. Otherwise, we have fishing and some industry (less and less as the mills continue to close) and LL Bean. In other words, there aren’t a lot of jobs. If people don’t hunt and fish, often there isn’t enough food.

A moose goes a long way to feeding the family in winter.

Maine is a state of deep and honorable traditions. Self-reliance and resourcefulness are prized and praised. Hunting and fishing are common, but not only as sporting activities. Indeed, killing for sport is abhorred. Abuse of natural resources is anathema to a Mainer’s way of life.

In fact, Bryson experiences a taste of this in the very hostility of the landscape of the AT while trying to hike The Hundred Miles Wilderness. It’s wild and we will leave it that way. You can have your more guest-friendly AT in the South, a region known for its hospitality and warmth. New Englanders….. eh, we don’t even use road signs. If you don’t know where you are, you probably shouldn’t be here. And why would the AT be any different?

Maines Red Hot Dogs

So…. Here’s a guy who eats mostly junk food on the trail. He studies the history of the trail, but with the exception of Pennsylvania, makes little effort to understand the communities surrounding the trail. He goes home when it gets hard and judges the locals by his own standards. He dabbles in expansive experiences but when it gets too tough, too lonely, too wet or cold, he goes home. He wants Experiences, as long as they don’t make him too uncomfortable. And he is not transformed.

Why embark on a journey of this nature if not to find yourself pushed farther than you think you can stand, if not to learn that indeed you can?

So, Maine –

My Moxie Bella

I won’t make moose burgers. In fact, I’ve never seen a moose. I’ve lived here almost ten years, and I joke about how they must be mythical creatures.

Two foods however are known and loved by Mainers — two foods other than lobster, boiled dinner, or blueberries.

Red hot dogs and Moxie soda.

To welcome you to Maine, I serve you red hot dogs from the grill and Moxie.  (I want to note that prior to this post, I had never considered eating either. Additionally, as proof that I’m not making this up, here’s an article from Yankee Magazine about Maine’s Red Hot Dogs and there’s a whole novella about about Moxie’s history here.)

Red hot dogs are exactly what they sound like: hot dogs made of some parts of beef and pork and dyed bright red. They look like Satan’s hot dogs on the grill. I was afraid.


Hot Dogs from Hell?They taste pretty good, though! Well, they don’t taste like much of anything, really, so they’re pretty standard for you basic summertime ballpark frank.

Moxie, on the other hand, rocks. It’s like a combination of root beer and sarsaparilla and I don’t know what making it the one of the best colas I’ve ever had. And with a name like Moxie, well, you’ve gotta love it.
2015-08-20 20.49.59

I wanted to continue the Moxie exploration, though, so I thought I’d try to blend some cocktails…. I’m not much of a bartender, but I can tell you this: 3-4 parts Moxie, 1 part gin and 1 part Canton liqueur is a fine drink.

Don’t mix it with tequila though. <<shudder>>

One last thought. There’s a Robert Redford movie based on the book coming out soon. Apparently, though, he doesn’t make it to Maine, either.

DownEast Magazine

Participants in The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Project:

Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Tortillas and Honey

Adventures in All Things Food

A Day in the Life on the Farm

The Spiffy Cookie

The Pajama Chef

Life of Food

Cheese Curd in Paradise

Mostly Food and Crafts

Things I Make (for Dinner)

Giveaway
This month Andrea at Adventures in all Things Food, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from August 1st till August 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Andrea received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Egg Curry with The Book Club Cook Book Cooking Crew #thebookclubcookbookCC

One of my friends from high school is an adventurous cook (see this post where I mention her). Camilla is a delightful source of encouragement and ideas in the kitchen and when she asked who would enjoy participating in a year long cooking project, I immediately jumped at the chance. Here’s the link: How To Participate — Everyone is Welcome.

This month is the first round of recipes. Using The Book Club Cook Book, each host selects a book and recipe for that month. Each of us then creates something in our kitchen either using the recipe listed in the cook book or another inspired by it or the novel on which it is based. The book this month is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. The recipes are egg curry and mango lassi.

In the final story of the collection, our narrator makes this dish for his bride after she travels from India to Cambridge, MA. Realizing the enormous leap of faith she makes coming so far from home to a man she has only met briefly, he makes for her the only dish he knows to try to give her comfort. Personally, this story (“The Final Continent”) is my favorite in the book.

I began to research “egg curry” online and learned that there is no one recipe for it. In fact, it varies from household to household. It is however considered to be both a resourceful empty-pantry dish and a true comfort food. The recipe I chose to use includes a significant amount of grated ginger and potatoes. As ginger is one of my favorite flavors and the Irish in me can’t imagine a comfort food without potatoes (unless it’s beer. or pad thai. or a burger. or—), I decided to use the website recipe in stead of the cook book recipe.

I hard-boiled eggs ahead of time, and sliced up several potatoes. I liked the idea of adding potatoes to the dish to give it a little more substance. Eggs are delicious, but they can leave me wanting when they aren’t coupled with something else. Maybe the Irish in me just can’t imagine a comfort food without potatoes… Either way, the added potatoes and ginger are why I used the recipe from the website.

Both the eggs and the potatoes are initially prepped and flavored separately. After preparing them separately with a combination of boiling and / or frying, and after separately grating ginger and a tomato (!!!), eventually everything gets added together and cooked all they way through.

egg curry final step

Conclusion:

There were a lot of steps involved for a dish which is supposed to be quick and simple. I don’t mind recipes that demand attention and detail, but I did hope for more flavor and variety of texture after having done all that work. The recipe in the cookbook did not have nearly as many steps — I should have stuck with that one.

egg curry

Please visit the other bloggers participating in the project! These are wonderful sites – great ideas, beautiful pictures, and funny to boot.

Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Tortillas and Honey

Adventures in All Things Food

A Day in the Life on the Farm

The Spiffy Cookie

The Pajama Chef

Life on Food

Cheese Curd in Paradise

Mostly Food and Crafts

Things I Make (for Dinner)

Giveaway
And to kick-off the event, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authorsby Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy ofTarcher-Penguin.Giveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Dessert Hack

Here’s the ugly truth about me: while I do love to bake and cook from scratch, sometimes I’d really rather…. not. Sometimes, I just want it easy and brainless and done. Before I begin participating in the yearlong Book Club Cook Book cooking project steered by Camilla**, it’s important to come clean. I believe we should understand the limits of those who offer advice and how-tos… and therefore, I need to be straightforward about some of mine.

I am not a Cook. Camilla, for example, is a Cook. Sometimes, I want to capitalize all four of those letters when I think of her. She does the CSA, forage for food, farm to table, organic, free range, food so fresh it talks back to you. Personally, I’m not that brave. I love to read about her adventures, but I’ll only go so far myself. Also, I’m in Down East Maine where winter lasts 8 months out of the year and the infrastructure is deliberately ignored to discourage casual interlopers. (It’s a New England thing. We do want your tourism, but……)

Now, I’m not bad in the kitchen. Not calling myself a “Cook” is just my way of acknowledging that you’ll never find me on a Food Network contest. I burn stuff, and sometimes myself. I use my rice cooker every week. And every once in a while, I take a shortcut.

Like today.

dessert hack 3july2015

A little over a year ago, I made a version of the chocolate stout pudding on Camilla’s website. It was awesome. I couldn’t use my wrists for a week afterwards from all the whisking, but it was so, so worth it. (That pudding is NOT the hack.) My family raved and gushed and — It was good.

Here’s something I learned not too long afterwards:

My kid loves instant Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate pudding and a Keebler graham cracker premade crust *almost* as much, and it takes 5 minutes to make if you’re unorganized. (THIS pudding is the hack.) Honest to God it takes more time to open the packages than to whisk and refrigerate. And she LOVES it. So, dessert hack. Kid thinks I slaved and I get Best Mom Ever points — and I can do this before morning coffee or on a commercial break.

**The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew is a yearlong project and ANYONE can join in. For details, please see here.

Zooeysuff’s Amaretto Cake

My friend Camilla Mann and her son D developed one of the best cakes I have ever had. It’s a gorgeous limoncello cake, perfect in density and moisture and flavor. I’ve made it three or four times in the past four months. Here’s the recipe: http://www.culinary-adventures-with-cam.blogspot.com/2014/02/dylans-limoncello-rosemary-cake.html

Note: it’s also a link to one of my favorite food blogs.

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, but so is almond. I wondered what would happen if I changed Camilla’s recipe to an almond recipe….

It’s pretty fantastic, too.

Second note: play with the amount of amaretto you add, between 2 – 3 T, depending on your preference. Three could be too strong, even for almond fans.

Cake:

1/2 c semolina flour

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (using the two flours adds texture to the cake. I tried skipping the semolina and it was awful. don’t skip it.)

1/2 c unsalted butter

1/4 c dark brown sugar

3/4 c white, granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 c almonds, chopped or slivered, whatever texture you prefer

1/2 t pure vanilla extract

2/3 c whole milk

2 – 3 T amaretto

Third note: I used handfuls of sliced almonds to line the bottom of my baking dish. They toasted up during the baking and added a nice crunch to the bottom of the cake. I think you can safely skip it if you want, but it was a nice touch. 

Optional Almond Crust

Optional Almond Crust

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter your baking dish to prepare it.

Beat the butter and dark brown sugar and white sugar in a large mixing bowl until it’s light and fluffy. Really go to town on it. Seriously, take your time. The better whipped up it is, the lighter and airier your cake will be.

Light and Fluffy

Light and Fluffy

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. (See above note on wailing on the butter and sugar. Really show it who’s boss.)

Pour in the milk, amaretto and vanilla. (Again, mix it up.)

Here’s where you start to use a light touch:

FOLD in the semolina flour, then then all-purpose flour, then the baking powder and finally the almonds. Be gentle. Love your cake. Whispering sweet nothings to it, use a spatula to mix the ingredients just until they are moist. Just introduce them to each other.

Gentled into its Dish

Gentled into its Dish

Now, pour or scoop the batter into your baking dish and put it inside your preheated oven for 45 – 50 minutes.

You can watch it bake, if you’re into that kind of thing.

When it’s done, take it out and let it sit in the dish for 5 minutes. Then, invert it onto a wire rack and let it cool down. It’s had an exciting hour. Let it gather itself together.

Cooling Down

Cooling Down

In the meantime, you can decide how to decorate it.

The first time I made it, I just sprinkled powdered sugar over the top. It was subtle but oh so pretty. Or, you can make a glaze it you want to dress it up a bit.

1 c powdered sugar

1 T amaretto

2 T cold water

Whisk them together  till they make a pretty glaze, and pour over the top of your cake.

Just a Little Something I Threw On

Just a Little Something I Threw On

(Last note: if the cake hasn’t cooled, the glaze will drip off the side. Not a problem, just an FYI.)

Enjoy!!

2014-06-25 21.41.15

Perfect