Showing posts with label Mark Bittman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Bittman. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Shadow Writer" by Eliza Maxwell, Served with a Recipe for Shrimp Tacos

Happy Friday! I love a short week. I also love a good mystery thriller and I adore shrimp tacos, and this post has all three. I am happy to be the last stop on the TLC Book Tour for The Shadow Writer by Eliza Maxwell and I am pairing my review with some delectable Shrimp Tacos. Enjoy! 


Publisher's Blurb:

Every writer has a story. Some are deadlier than others.

Aspiring author Graye Templeton will do anything to escape the horrific childhood crime that haunts her. After a life lived in shadows, she’s accepted a new job as protégé to Laura West, influential book blogger and wife of an acclaimed novelist. Laura’s connections could make Graye’s publishing dreams a reality. But there’s more to Laura than meets the eye.

Behind the veneer of a charmed life, Laura’s marriage is collapsing. Her once-lauded husband is descending into alcoholism and ruin and bringing Laura nearer to the edge.

As the two women form a bond that seems meant to be, long-buried secrets claw their way into the present, and the line between friendship and obsession begins to blur, forcing each to decide where her loyalties lie. Running from the past is a dangerous game, and the loser could end up dead.

Paperback
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 1, 2019)


My Review:

The Shadow Writer is my first book from Eliza Maxwell and it won't be my last. I was drawn by the premise and the fact that one of the main characters, Laura, is a book blogger. Graye is a young aspiring author with a tragic background who works her way into a position as Laura's personal assistant. Laura's life might seem enviable to those looking in, except for her alcoholic husband, a famous author whose work has deteriorated after his big break and initial success which Laura heavily influenced. Graye was David's teaching assistant before coming to work for Laura, and although he was once her idol, she is no longer impressed. 

The story is a bit of a slow burn with the plot slowly unraveling secret by secret, and told by the perspectives of Laura, Graye, and Sister Margaret, the nun who helped raise a young Graye after her family tragedy. There were plenty of twists and turns that had me guessing and the tension was steadily built throughout the book. Although there were some suspenseful moments, it was the several smaller dramas that brought the thrills rather than one big "aha" moment. If you like psychological thrillers and domestic thrillers, with intriguing plots, add The Shadow Rider to your summer TBR--it will bring some good chills to a hot summer evening. 

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Author Notes:  Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Widow’s WatcherThe Unremembered GirlThe Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee.

Connect with Eliza on her website, Facebook, and Instagram

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Food Inspiration: 

There was not a lot of food inspiration in The Shadow Writer but mentions included, pasta and wine, a taco stand with shrimp tacos, Thin Mints, champagne, margaritas, a frosty pink drink, salad, bread and gruel, a facetious mention of "salmon with a side of poison" for a murder mystery event, pizza, coffee, a root beer and a club sandwich, and fresh cherries.

For my book-inspired dish, I decided to make some fish tacos like the ones Laura and Greer enjoyed at a roadside taco stand early in the book. Not a lot of description was given--other than them each getting a plate with two over-stuffed shrimp tacos, so I just did my own thing, pairing Mark Bittman's Spanish-style Simplest and Best Shrimp with a bunch of taco fixins' and adding some of these tasty pickled sweet peppers from Chef Edward Lee.


Mark Bittman says, "Excuse the superlatives; this spin on a Spanish tapa is my favorite, and everyone I serve it to loves it. The shrimp juices infuse the oil, and the sum is beyond delicious. It’s good with bread, over rice, tossed with pasta, or stuffed into tacos.

Other seafood you can use: similar-sized scallops (or larger, though they’ll take longer to cook)."


Mark Bittman's Simplest and Best Shrimp
From How to Everything via MarkBittman.com
(Makes 4 Servings)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers
About 1 1/2 lbs shrimp (20 to 30 per lb), peeled, rinsed, and dried
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/ 2 tsp hot paprika
chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish


Warm the olive oil in a large, broad ovenproof skillet or heatproof baking pan over low heat. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don’t skimp. Add the garlic and cook until it turns golden, a few minutes.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, some salt and pepper, the cumin, and the paprika. Stir to blend and continue to cook, shaking the pan once or twice and turning the shrimp once or twice, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish and serve immediately.

I served my shrimp on grilled corn tortillas with cabbage slaw, cilantro, salsa, pickled sweet peppers, guacamole and lime juice.


Notes/Results: I think if you aren't over-stuffing your tacos and needing multiple napkins for the ensuing mess, you just aren't having the full taco experience. These shrimp tacos were definitely the full experience--full of ingredients and flavor. They made for a quick and easy and pretty healthy dinner. Mark Bittman's shrimp were a definite win--I loved the cumin and paprika along with the garlic. I will definitely be making them again. 


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's them is Take It Outside with outdoor-friendly recipes from any of our 19 featured chefs like Rick Bayless


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "The Shadow Writer" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Garlicky White Bean (Chickpea) Soup: 5 Ingredients or Less for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I had been craving a simple bean-based soup and our theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs: All Chef's Edition is 5 Ingredients or Less. Of course I turned to Mark Bittman and found his Garlicky White Bean Soup.


Beans of choice, a bulb of garlic, rosemary, plus salt and pepper (not counted in our 5 or less) and olive oil for garnishing and that's it. Because I wanted chickpeas (even though I made a chickpea soup a few weeks ago, they are my favorite), the cooking time is longer than other white beans, even after soaking, but it's worth it and the wait while the rosemary-garlic aroma permeates the house.

Bittman's advice: "Use dried beans, don't skimp on the garlic (when I say '1 bulb' I mean it) and you won't be disappointed."


Garlicky White Bean Soup
Slightly Adapted from How To Cook Everything: The Basics via MarkBittman.com
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups any dried white beans, rinsed and picked over
1 medium garlic bulb, cloves peeled
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp dried
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for garnish

Deb's Note: I usually soak my beans--especially chickpeas--overnight before cooking.

In a large soup pot, place beans, garlic, and rosemary and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat so the soup bubbles steadily. 

Cook, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the beans are tender and falling apart, 45 minutes to up to 2 hours (or more) depending on the bean and whether they were soaked first. Add more water or broth if mixture gets too thick or dry. 

When beans are tender, sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste and stir vigorously to break up the beans even more, or you can mash or puree some of the soup to thicken the broth even more. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on each bowl. Enjoy! 

Bittman has two variations--adding chopped greens or peeled shrimp during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  


Notes/Results: Perfectly garlicky, perfectly good. It's amazing what just a few good ingredients and lots of time will do. I ended up cooking the soup about 3 hours total to get the chickpeas as tender as I wanted them, which allowed them to build plenty of flavor from the garlic and rosemary and concentrating the broth. I pureed a couple of cups of the mixture to thicken it, and it was just the right texture. Simple and delicious, I would happily make it again.


Linking Up with I Heart Cooking Clubs: 5 Ingredients or Less.

 
 Let's take a look in the in the Souper Sundays kitchen.


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought Indian Cucumber and Tomato Salad and said, "The theme for May's spotlight dish at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Indian cuisine. My first thought was Tandoori chicken or a curry dish but I went with a simple salad. Diana Henry's recipe and column is posted at The Telegraph so I grabbed it there. She says this looks like an ordinary salad but it's fresh and punchy. Must be the chilli and cumin. Certainly smells good when you are heating the cumin."


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared Japanese Steakhouse Ginger Dressing with Salad and said, "My sister and mom had to make a quick trip back recently. They spent one day with us and Sis was telling me about a new salad dressing she had recently made. Her favorite cookbook is Joy of Cooking and she gave me a copy for Christmas many years ago. As she described the ingredients, I decided I had to look up this recipe in my own Joy of Cooking. It’s now bookmarked! The accompanying salad was made of spinach, shredded carrots, chopped celery, cucumbers, radishes and bean sprouts. I had also intended to toss in some snow peas but I forgot. This is a great salad and an even better dressing.   It is definitely a way to get your family to eat their vegetables!"

 
Thanks to Debra and Tina for joining in this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...
 

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mark Bittman's Simple Miso Soup with Tofu, Mushroom, & Noodles for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I pretty much always have miso paste in my fridge--usually more than one kind and love to stir up some easy miso soup when my body and soul is craving it. Sometimes I make a dashi stock, other times I use broth or water. Toppings and add-ins are whatever I have on hand. When Mark Bittman's email newsletter featured an article on miso and its many uses last week, he had me craving a simple Miso Soup.


Mark Bittman says, "With all due respect to packaged ramen, this is probably the best “instant” soup there is. At its simplest (which it is here), miso soup is basically tea: miso whisked with water. Add on if you like. Tofu and scallions are traditional, but do what you want: carrots, peas, beans, greens, sea greens, and so on, or soaked Asian noodles, chopped leftover cooked meat or seafood, or a couple cooked scrambled eggs stirred in right before serving.


I made a few small changes--adding a light non-chicken bouillon paste for flavor and whirring my miso paste and hot water into the blender instead of whisking, and adding fresh yaki soba noodles and mushrooms to the tofu to make it more of a meal  

Miso Soup
Slightly Adapted from How to Cook Everything: The Basics, via MarkBittman.com
(Serves 4)

1/3 cup any miso (I used mellow white miso)
1/2 lb any tofu, cut into small cubes
4 scallions, chopped
I added 1 Tbsp low-sodium non-chicken bouillon paste, fresh yaki-soba noodles and sauteed Bunashimeji (Beech Mushrooms) mushrooms

Put 6 cups water in a large pot over medium heat. When steam rises from the surface of the liquid and small bubbles appear along the edges of the pot, ladle 1 ⁄ 2 cup of the water into a small bowl with the miso and whisk until smooth.

Lower the heat under the pot to medium-low and add the miso slurry; stir once or twice, then add the tofu if you’re using it. Do not let the mixture boil; let it sit for a minute or two to heat the tofu through. Stir in the scallions and serve.
 

Notes/Results: Nourishing, delicious, satisfying--it's comforting chicken soup for the non-chicken eater. It's even better with a light drizzle of toasted sesame oil. I'll be eating it thins week, changing in the add-ins and toppings with egg, rice, and other veggies--really anything goes. Quick and easy, I'll definitely keep making miso soup.


Linking up at I Heart Cooking Clubs where it's March Potluck! --our chance to cook any recipe from any of our 19 featured chefs. Speaking of featured chefs, we finish cooking with Ruth Reichl at the end of the month and rather than picking a new chef to cook with for six months, we will be cooking with all nineteen chefs to celebrate our ten year anniversary. Hope you join in the fun! 

 
 Let's take a look into the Souper Sunday kitchen...


A big Souper Sundays welcome to Angela of Mean Green Chef who joins us for the first time with a classic, Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup. She says, "Our authentic Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup is a favorite in our kitchen. It’s easy, bright and totally satisfying! ... Use any of your favorite Mexican toppings, the only component that is an absolute must are the crispy tortilla strips. Trust me, they’re so much better than store-bought chips, really making this Mexican Soup pop with flavor and originality! They come with one caveat though, they’re extremely addicting! We use a blend of white and yellow corn tortillas, fry them up till golden and then hit them with a pop of Pink Himalayan sea salt."

 
Tina of Squirrel Head Manor has me craving a fish sammie with her Panko Baked Cod Sandwiches. She says, "Flipping through my notebook of saved recipes I came across this Panko baked fish. It's easy and we like it for a filling no fuss meal. This of course inspired me to make it again. There were a few pieces leftover....but not enough for a dinner.  Simple solution and zero waste; have fish sandwiches for a hot healthy lunch. ...
Pop that fillet on a bun with sliced tomato and lettuce and you have yourself a filling lunch. We baked a sweet potato too."  


Thanks to Tina and Angela for joining me this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 
To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).



 Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Tomato & Garlic (aka Pizza Margherita) Soup with Pizza Toasts for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays + Three More Pizza-Inspired Recipes

I decided to go a bit out of the box for this month's Monthly Dish/Ingredient Challenge at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Featuring pizza or pizza-flavored recipes. I decided to take Mark Bittman's Tomato and Garlic Soup from Kitchen Matrix and make it into a fun and tasty Pizza Margherita Soup.


Since Pizza Margherita is basically tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil, Mark Bittman's recipe just needed a few additions and something pizza-like to dunk into it. I made Pizza Toasts with ciabatta bread, garlic butter, Parmesan, mozzarella, black olives, and chopped basil. 


Pizza Margherita Soup
Adapted from Tomato and Garlic Soup from Mark Bittman''s Kitchen Matrix Cookbook
(Serves 4)

Sauté 1 chopped medium onion, 1 chopped carrot, and two tablespoons minced garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add one teaspoon each of dried basil and dried oregano, 1 large pinch of chili pepper flakes, one jar pizza sauce, and two cans chopped tomatoes (I used fire-roasted) and 3 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until veggies are soft. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.

Serve sup hot, in warmed bowls and topped with fresh mozzarella cubes or small balls, shaved Parmesan cheese, black pepper and torn basil leaves. Serve with bread, garlic bread, or pizza toasts. Enjoy!

For the pizza toasts: I divided a ciabatta roll into four pieces and spread it with olive oil heated and mixed with roasted garlic powder, and a pinch each of dried basil, oregano and chili pepper. I baked it in my toaster over at 400 degrees F. for about 5 minutes, then pulled it out and topped with shaved Parmesan, black olives, mozzarella slices and chopped basil and baked it again for about 5 minutes, then turned on the broiler and toasted it for about 1 minutes. Serve hot.


Notes/Results: Thick, rich, flavorful and fun with a definite pizza flavor. I really liked dipping the cheesy toasts into the tomato soup and scooping up the melting mozzarella balls. Just cheesy pizza goodness. If you eat meat, adding sausage or pepperoni and/or any of your favorite pizza toppings would also be delicious. Quick to make and tasty, I would happily make it again.


Here are three of my favorite pizza-inspired recipes from our IHCC chefs:

I still make a version of Jacques Pépin's tasty and easy Smoked Salmon Pizza on Naan Bread.

Giada's Pizza Popcorn is pretty addictive.


Finally, ages ago (back when I still ate meat) ;-) I made Ina Garten's Grilled California Pizzas. My favorite was the one where I topped it with avocado, bacon, and ranch among other things. Excuse the bad picture--early blogging days.


Linking up these pizza treats to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is our Monthly Dish/Ingredient Challenge. This month it's "Pizza" My Heart--recipes from any of our IHCC chefs for pizza or pizza-flavored dishes. 

 

And for Souper Sunday...

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).


Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Chickpea and Pasta Soup from Mark Bittman for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

When I want something very simple and good, I look to Mark Bittman with his easy recipe sketches and countless adaptations. Trying to adhere to my no-buy rule for cookbooks, I checked his Kitchen Matrix cookbook out of the library and immediately went for the Chickpea and Pasta Soup, healthy and good for work lunches. 


I did double my chickpeas and up the broth, as well as adding a half of a red bell pepper left in the veggie crisper, three cloves of garlic, minced, and smoked paprika and celery salt.  


Chickpea and Pasta Soup 
Slightly Adapted from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix
(Serves 4-6)

Put 1 1/2 cups dried beans, 1 chopped medium onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon hopped fresh rosemary leaves, 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine) and 6 cups vegetable broth into a large soup pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until the beans are soft--at least an hour. When the chickpeas are almost tender, add 1/2 cup small pasta. Cook until the pasta and chickpeas are tender. Remove bay leaves, season with salt and black pepper and serve, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and few chopped rosemary leaves.


Notes/Results: Just a good, simple soup--full of veggies, pasta and beans. There's not much more you ask for on a cool (OK, cold for Hawaii) windy weekend. I liked the changes I made to pump the flavor up a bit. I kept it vegan, but some grated Parmesan would be delightful on top too. With olive oil-grilled bread to dip into the broth, this made for a delicious light meal. I would happily make it again. 


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck week--our chance to make any recipe from our IHCC chefs.


Let's look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here:


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor says, "I don't know about anyone else but I am continually clipping or copying new recipes I want to try. Unfortunately that leads to an overstuffed file folder with all sorts of recipes, just waiting to get on the kitchen agenda. To clean up my messy cookbook shelf/folders I decided I would pick one each week. Sometimes I thumb through them and wonder why I would even want to try it. Those get tossed. This week I thought I would try Giada's Corn Soup. This was good but I doubt I will keep the recipe. Maybe it was timing - we had just driven back from Quincy, after some shopping, and realized we were ravenous the closer we got to home."


Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared Beet and Walnut Salad with Pickled Onion and said, "I was first introduced to this interesting salad at a luncheon given by an amazing cook who lived her first 18 years in Cairo, Egypt. She brought many of her family recipes with her. This colorful salad is one of her recipes. It is made with cooked beets, marinated pickled onions, and raw walnuts. The marinated onions serve as the seasoning, although you could add a little touch of vinegar to the beets if desired. The unique combination makes a flavorful salad that is high in fiber and vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants."


 Thank you to Tina and Judee for joining me this week! 
 
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).



Have a happy, healthy week!