Showing posts with label eggs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggs. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Before She Was Found" by Heather Gudenkauf, Served with a Recipe for Cheese Pizza (with Pesto, Artichoke Hearts & Black Olives)

One more day until Friday! I am excited for the weekend and excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for Before She Was Found, a new mystery/thriller by Heather Gudenkauf. Accompanying my review is a recipe for an easy Cheese Pizza. While the dish is inspired by my reading, I changed up to experiment with a keto-friendly egg and cheese crust and topped it with pesto, artichoke hearts, black olives and plenty of cheese.


Publisher's Blurb:

A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town.

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.
 
Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.
 
Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (April 16, 2019)



My Review:

Before She Was Found is my first Heather Gudenkauf book and one reason I jumped on this tour as I have been meaning to give her a try. The other thing that drew me in was the similarity of the plot description to the Slender Man case from a few years ago in which two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin, lured another friend to the woods and stabbed her in order to impress a creepy Internet urban legend. Gudenkauf notes in the afterword that this is where the inspiration from the book came from, although there are differences in characters, settings and plot lines. I won't go into much detail in this review as I don't want to spoil it.

The story is told from different points of view and methods--a therapist's notes, Cora's journal, texts between friends, etc., and goes back in forth from the night Cora is found on the train tracks of the abandoned rail yard having been attacked to the time before she was found. Gudenkauf does a skillful job in weaving the different perspectives together and building the suspense, with several twists and turns. There are a lot of characters--the three friends, Cora, Violet and Jordyn, their families, the doctors and police involved, other friends and a somewhat creepy teacher, which kept me interested and guessing as to what happened and who was involved. The down side is that it also made it hard to get to know or bond with any one character and I wanted to understand some of the different motives more than I did. Still, overall I enjoyed Before She Was Found; the story engaged me, the pages flew by, and I would definitely read more from this author. 

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Author Notes: Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound.  Heather lives in Iowa with her family.

Connect with her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.






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Food Inspiration:

The food in Before She Was Found was a bit limited, but there were mentions like gingerbread and pitchie moloko ("birds milk cake" from Russia), ice cream, green rivers (a classic soda shop/diner drink of 7-Up and lime syrup), pizza, a turtle sundae, hot chocolate and fries, oatmeal, chocolate or strawberry milkshakes, peanut butter sandwich, butterscotch candy, bagels, donuts and orange juice, cupcakes, toast with butter and peach jam, pasta and wine, and a bunch of drinks and cocktails as one of the characters grandfather ran a bar and remembered people's drinks rather than their names.
 
For my bookish dish, I chose cheese pizza as when Cora and Violet first become friends, one of the things Cora notes they have in common is a love of cheese pizza.


Why not a regular cheese pizza like the ones the girls enjoyed in the book? well, I have been wanting to experiment with a gluten-free crust and wanted something very easy for a weeknight dinner. my friend has been experimenting with a keto lifestyle lately and suggested I try this one from DietDoctor.com. I like the simplicity of it--just eggs and cheese in the crust (plus a little pepper I added). I prefer non-tomato sauces and have been craving pesto and I thought that the brine of the artichoke hearts and olives to cut some of the rich cheesy-ness.
 

Keto Cheese Pizza (with Pesto, Artichoke Hearts & Black Olives)
Slightly Adapted from DietDoctor.com
(Makes 2 to 4 Servings)

Crust:
4 large eggs
6 oz shredded cheese--preferably mozzarella and/or Provolone
black pepper and oregano if desired

Toppings:
pesto or pizza sauce of choice
shredded cheese of choice (I used a mix of Parmesan, Romano, and cheddar)
canned or jarred artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
black olives 
dried basil or oregano if desired

Pre-heat over to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper or olive oil cooking spray.

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and stir them with a fork until blended. Stir in the shredded cheese and mix together well.

Spread out thinly on your prepared pan, using a rubber spatula. (Note: I used two personal pizza pans and divided the mix between them.

Bake for about 15 minutes--until crust turns golden. Remove and let sit for a few minutes. (After it cools a little, I like to loosen the crust from a pan with my spatula before putting on the toppings.)

Turn oven to 450 degrees F. Spread pesto or sauce over pizza crust. Top with artichoke hearts, cheese and black olives--or toppings of choice. Sprinkle with a little dried oregano or basil if desired.

Bake for 7 -10 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!


Notes/Results: Like a cross between pizza and frittata, but chewy and good and enough to solve my  pizza craving, I liked this pizza. It is rich though and I topped one of my two crusts and found myself only eating half of it. (The other half became today's breakfast and I saved the other crust to make another time.) If you don't want to bother with making crust, or frozen crust or pulverizing cauliflower rice if you want to go gluten-free, it is a good way to go and very easy. I will make  it again.


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 "Before She Was Gone" 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, April 14, 2019

Heidi Swanson's Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted a simple soup this weekend, one that was quick to make as I spent all day yesterday at a writing workshop. I pinned this Heidi Swanson recipe a while back from Food52.com and had most everything I needed to make it today.


Food52 says, "A spring vegetarian chickpea soup that's lush in all the right places (but won't lull you to sleep)."
 

Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic 
From Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson via Food52.com
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 pinch fine-grain sea salt, to taste
3 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 1/2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp saffron threads (2 modest pinches)
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
1 dash sweet paprika
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
 
In a medium-large pot over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, onion, and a couple of big pinches of salt. Cook until the onions soften up a bit, a few minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas, and then add the vegetable broth and garlic. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the saffron and egg yolks, then whisk in the yogurt. Slowly add a big ladleful, at least 1 cup, of the hot broth to the yogurt mixture, stirring constantly. Very slowly whisk this mixture back into the pot of soup.

Return the pot to medium heat and cook, stirring continuously for another 5 minutes or so, until the broth thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, never quite allowing broth to simmer.

Ladle into individual bowls and serve sprinkled with a touch of paprika and plenty of chopped cilantro.
 

Notes/Results: A good, simple soup that has a slightly tangy taste from the yogurt that makes it almost lemony. It reminds me in a way of Greek avgolemono soup with the eggs stirred in--especially when served with the rice. A good rainy spring day soup, I'd happily make it again.


Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs for this week's April Showers theme. Heidi Swanson is one of our 19 featured chefs. 



We have Judee and Tina hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen, let's take a look.
 
Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog made 5 Minute Red Pepper Soup - Zero Points and said, "Red pepper soup is one of my favorite soups. But I often don't have the time or interest to heat up the oven to slow roast the peppers. After eating this delicious soup at a friend's house, I asked for the recipe. I was shocked to find out that she actually made this soup in just 5 minutes in the blender using a jar of roasted peppers! The results are a rich tasty soup that is both high in protein and flavor."



Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared a different version of Black Bean Tomato Soup. She said, "Every once in a while I make black bean soup and it's different each time.  Here's another version. Check out these bowls, I like them quite a bit. Funny, after looking for a deep and wide bowl at World Market and similar places, we found them at the local grocery store for a low price. Bargain! This is a quick to toss together lunch.  We were fortunate enough to eat this lunch on the patio and paired it with leftover gluten free pizza."
 
Thanks to Judee and Tina for joining in!

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 31, 2019

Chinese Egg Drop Soup with Shrimp for Cook the Books Club: February/March Pick: "Crazy Rich Asians"

So this wasn't the recipe I intended to cook for this round of Cook the Books, our virtual foodie book club, but I got behind in my reading, life and work got in my way and then I caught what I think is a doozy of a cold or sinus infection and have been laid up all weekend. So I decided that my Singapore Street Noodle ingredients, were going to morph into a soup, but curry and noodles just didn't sound good this morning. What did? A simple and restorative Chinese Egg Drop Soup with Shrimp


I had been meaning to read Crazy Rich Asians so I was pleased when my fellow Hawaii co-host Claudia of Honey From Rock selected it. (See her announcement here.) I saw the movie before the book (but missed the tie-in with Food & Flix) and wanted to see if I enjoyed the book as much. I did enjoy it, but the fun and vibrant film won me over more. the movie streamlined the many family members and plot lines and was easier to digest and you could see all of the food and clothes and wealthy excess rather than read about it. On the other hand, the film does cut a lot out and I appreciated Kevin Kwan's detailed footnotes about the slang, descriptions of the dishes, etc. Although I didn't hang out in most of the elite places he mentions, he does bring the city to life and brought me back to the times I spent there. The time spent on the settings at times overshadows the character development. I wanted a more complete ending in the book too, but since it's a trilogy, I guess I will need to read the other two books to get more detail on what happens next with Rachel and Nick.


There was so much good food in Crazy Rich Asians--it definitely sent me back to my days of traveling there for work and eating at the hawker stalls and great little cafes and coffee shops there. As mentioned, my dish is not Singaporean, but nothing says comfort like egg drop soup and I have a feeling that Rachel's mom might have made her a bowl or two when she needed it.


For my recipe, I looked on line but ultimately just kept the bones of most of the recipes I tried and just threw together what I wanted. That is the beauty of this soup--good broth, eggs and whatever you have on hand--like shrimp and peas that were going into my noodles. Easy and low effort and much better and less salty than the kind from your local Chinese restaurant.

Chinese Egg Drop Soup
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 4)

4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
5 cups chicken stock or broth (I used no-chicken bouillon paste)
4 tsp cornstarch
sea salt and black pepper to taste
about 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed 
8 oz medium shrimp, shelled and de-veined
5 eggs
toasted sesame oil and/or chili oil, if desired

Combine the onions, ginger and stock and bring to a boil in a large soup pan over a high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. 

Make a slurry with the cornstarch, salt, pepper and 2 Tbsp water in a small bowl, whisking well until the cornstarch is dissolved. Stir the slurry into the soup, stirring with a slotted spoon. Add peas and shrimp to the soup and cook about 2 minutes. 

Beat eggs together well in a small bowl. Using a fork across the lips of the bowl, slowly pour egg through. Let the eggs set for a few minutes, then break them apart into the desired size pieces--you can use a fork or chopstick to break apart the eggs. 

Ladle into bowls and top with the sliced green onions and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and/or chili oil if desired.


Notes/Results: This soup hit the spot today as my head and sinuses are pounding and I needed something simple and soothing. It is velvety and rich and I liked the sweeter bites of shrimp and peas, mixed in the savory broth. I tend to order egg drop soup in Chinese restaurants as it reminds me of family dinners at a very Americanized Chinese restaurant in Portland that my mom and dad loved. I forget how easy it is to make this fridge/pantry soup at home and I will definitely make it again.


The deadline for this round of CTB is tody, March 31st and Claudia be rounding up the entries on the Cook the Books site soon after. If you missed this round and like food, books, and foodie books, join us for February/March when we'll be reading Buttermilk Graffiti, hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats. 


Since we are on a soup kick and this was our last week cooking with Ruth Reichl at I Heart Cooking Clubs, and I didn't get a chance to make a dish to say Goodbye Ruth with, here are five great soups I cooked with her:

 
First, so good I made it twice, her Avgolemono Soup

 
Classic Congee:

 
The retro Cream of Watercress Soup

 
Another retro find, Eggplant Soup Parmigiana


And finally, her Hot Vegetarian (Vegan) Vichyssoise:
 

It was a delicious six months! I look forward to cooking more with Ruth and all of our past featured chefs at IHCC when we celebrate our Ten-Year: All Chefs Edition. Hope you join in the fun! 
 
  
And, last but not least, we have one guest in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week, let's see what she brought...

Angela of Mean Green Chef shares Robust Cabbage Soup and says, "Healthy Robust Cabbage Soup, a full-flavored bowl that’s healthy and light. Super easy to prepare and totally versatile you can add more veg or even some roasted chicken if you want to! You’ve probably seen a lot of cabbage soup recipes for weight loss due to the fact its low calorie. Which is a great benefit, but we also love the full-on taste from sauteing which really helps to develop a serious punch of flavor!"


Thanks for joining in, Angela!

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, March 10, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Congee: Soupy Rice Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

A busy few weeks and a lack of sleep and good rest for a variety of reasons means I can't seem to shed the cough and cold I have been nursing. I needed something easy, satisfying and comforting this weekend, so I picked Congee. Technically it is a porridge rather than a soup, but it is soupy rice, and as host of Souper Sundays, I'll allow it. ;-)


It's been ten years since I made and posted congee on the blog (this one as part of Cook the Books, The Last Chinese Chef book club review). 


Congee is a lot about the toppings and for that one, I used topping from the book: tofu cubes, roasted peanuts, (Chinese) pickles, smoked ham (I ate meat back then!), scallions, greens, and re-hydrated wood ear mushrooms. For today's congee I kept the nuts and scallions and added capers in place of tiny pickles, sauteed oyster mushrooms, chili oil and a jammy soft-boiled egg. 


Ruth says "Nothing is easier to make than the classic Chinese breakfast . It's basically rice slowly cooked with lots of liquid. I like to use arborio rice, although it's not traditional; any kind of rice you have on hand will do. The ratio is about 1 cup of rice to 8 cups of liquid. I think it tastes best with chicken stock, although you can certainly use plain water."

Congee
Slightly Adapted from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 4)

1 cup rice
chicken stock or liquid of choice (I used vegan non-chicken-style bouillon paste)
ginger 

To serve: 
soy sauce
scallions
roasted peanuts, jammy hard-boiled eggs, sauteed (oyster) mushrooms, capers, chili oil and/or toppings of choice

Put the rice and liquid in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and let it simmer for an hour, stirring once in a while. 

The result is a thick, creamy porridge, a canvas for flavor. What you choose for garnish is completely up to you, but to me a julienne of ginger is essential, as is a little shot of really good soy sauce. Peanuts and scallions are nice, and shredded chicken or shiitakes are lovely too. It is the ultimate tonic: basic, fragrant, satisfying. 

Ruth notes: "A confession: in a pinch I've used leftover cooked rice, simply cooking it with lots of water and stirring until it collapses into the correct currency."


Notes/Results: Good flavor and texture make this the perfect comfort food, whether eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. I especially like how the jammy hard-boiled egg yolk mixes into the brothy rice, and the capers add their briny notes taking the place of tiny pickles. It made my stuffy nose better and I'm looking forward to enjoying more of it this week. I will make it again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where the theme is Gimme a R!--Ruth Reichl recipes that feature ingredients that begin with the letter R. Here we have rice and roasted peanuts. 

And for Souper Sundays...


My friend Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared this tasty Baked Potato Soup and said, "Baked potato soup with a healthy twist.  Well, except the bacon topping 😏 On a cool day a homemade bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is just the ticket. Healthy, economical and absolute comfort food. This is another recipe I tried from SkinnyTaste. You use potatoes and cauliflower for the base. now the toppings are to your preference and we used bacon, cheese and scallions."


Thanks to Tina 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!