I love to cook and and I love to read. As I was sitting on the beach in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. reading my latest novel, a "novel" idea came to me. I decided I would start a blog which combined both passions where I review a book, and also write about a new dish I cook. The food will be inspired by either the food mentioned in the book, or inspired by the geography and culture in the book. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie - Enough Said.
1 1/4 cups of pecan halves
1 cup of light corn syrup
1 cup of sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 eggs beaten lightly
2 Tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 10 inch (9 oz) pre-made graham cracker crust (I know, not traditional, but it is good!)
Mix together the corn syrup, sugar, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Then stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into the pie shell and bake for about 45-55 minutes on 350 degrees. If the top looks nice and brown, go ahead and take it out, if you overbake it too much, it will be hard to cut.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The Sugar Queen: Read with a slice of Caramel Apple Cheesecake
The book, The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen is the story of a sheltered young woman, Josey Cirrini, daughter of a rich Italian man and her Southern Belle mother, who lives in a ski town in North Carolina in the house she grew up in. She doesn't have much of a social life, and mainly takes care of her aging mother. Through a series of interesting events and magical characters, Josey learns to live her life.. The book has humor, romance and mystery, and is a fun read. I read it on the plane from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale last weekend and back. Each chapter is titled after a candy, which ties into the theme of the chapter. Did I mention that Josey is obsessed with candy? There is also a superstitious maid in the book who thinks peppermint oil keeps evil spirits away....some very funny and amusing characters.
1 - Everlasting Gobstoppers
2 - Rock Candy
3 - SweeTarts
4 - Sno Caps
5 - Lemon Drops
6 - Sour Patch
7 - Sugar Daddy
8 - Jawbreakers
9 - Snow Candy
10 - Mellowcreme Pumpkins
11 - Candy Hearts
12 - Mr. Goodbar
13 - Lifesavers
14 - Now and Later
It is very intriguing, that Josey's friend, Chloe Findley, has an odd relationship with books...they magically appear in every situation based on what she is going through in her life. The books that keep showing up in Chloe's apartment whenever she needs guidance were titled:
Old Love: New Direction
A Girl's Guide to Keeping Her Guy
The Complete Homeowner's Guide
You can learn more about the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Queen-Random-Readers-Circle/dp/0553384848/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290478966&sr=1-1
Since all kinds of sweets, candies and pies are mentioned in the book (Apple, Strawberry and Rhubarb to name a few), I decided to make a very decadent dessert...wait for it....
Caramel Apple Cheesecake! I used a Paula Deen recipe, the Queen of Sweets!
You can find the recipe at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/caramel-apple-cheesecake-recipe/index.html
It was very good - the middle was a little soft, so I would recommend baking a little longer (35 minutes versus 30), and putting in the freezer before serving to harden it a little.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Willy Wonka River of Chocolate Cake
If you've seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory then you remember the river of chocolate that poor Augustus got swept away in...thank goodness for the Oompa Loompas who rescued him.
I made this most chocolaty cake for a bake-off at work:
1 box of Devil's Food Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 box of of Chocolate Pudding Mix (3.9 oz box)
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of water
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tablespoons of melted butter
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Butter and flour (do a good job of this) a non-stick bundt pan
3) Mix together all the cake ingredients (except the chips) and mix well
4) Add the chocolate chips
5) Pour into the bundt pan
6) Bake 40-50 minutes (it will still look a little underdone - mine was closer to 50 minutes)
7) Let cool in the pan about 15 -30 minutes
8) Invert cake and let cool completely
9) Melt butter in the microwave and then stir in the cup of chocolate chips and mix until creamy. You may need to microwave a few more seconds
10) Pour over cake and let cool
We'll see if I win the First Place Prize tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It's Time for Scarves and Jessica's Easy and Healthy Powder Keg Chili
I feel a chill in the air, we've set the clocks back, and tis the season for making Chili!
1 pound ground sirloin (it's ok if the pack is a little bigger)
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced in small moons (cut in half lengthwise, then half again several times on each side, then dice across)
A big handful of pre-shredded carrots
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste (use half the can if you want it to be less tomatoey)
1 can of pinto beans (chili beans) in spicy sauce
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth/stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper ( I used closer to 1/2, but depends on your taste)
3 -4 Tablespoons chili powder (I use closer to 4, but depends on your taste)
2 -3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1) Spray the bottom of a big pot with non stick cooking spray and put over high heat on the stove
2) Brown the ground beef and chopped onion together, breaking up the meat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until brown
3) Add in the cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt and continue to brown meat/onions another minute or two
4) Pour in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili beans, and tomato paste and cook for another minute or two
5) Add in the shredded carrots, diced/sliced zucchini and the broth
6) Bring to a boil
7) Reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes partially covered
8) Taste the chili - you may need to add more cayenne pepper, salt, chili powder etc. depending on your taste....if it gets too thick, just add more broth.
I liked to top mine with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, but you could crush tortilla chips on top and squeeze in a lime...the possibilities are endless.
Very healthy, lots of veggies and a perfect Fall food!
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