Showing posts with label mushrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mushrooms. Show all posts

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder with Salmon & Shrimp for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted a simple chowder this week as I was craving fish and seafood. I found one in Jacques Pépin's Seafood Chowder from More Fast Food My Way. I like the mushroom and zucchini and also was interested in the mashed potato flakes as a thickener. 


I made a few changes--subbing in coconut milk for the half-and-half and adding frozen corn for the sweetness, and leaving my shrimp whole. I also added some smoked paprika at the end. 

Seafood Chowder
Slightly Adapted from More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pépin 
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups trimmed, split, washed & sliced leeks
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups diced (about 1/2-inch) zucchini
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3/4 cup (1-inch) pieces peeled uncooked shrimp
1 cup (1-inch) pieces boneless fish fillet
2/3 cup half-and-half (I used coconut milk)  

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. When hot, add the leek and garlic and saute for about 1 minute . Add the clam juice, water. mushroom, and salt, bring to a boil, and boil for about 2 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and sprinkle the potato flakes on top, mixing them in with a whisk to prevent lumping. Bring to a boil and boil for about 1 minute. (The soup can be prepared several hours ahead to this point.)

At serving time, bring the soup back to a boil, add the shrimp, fish, and half-and-half and bring back just to a boil. The fish and shrimp will be cooked through. Divide among four bowls and garnish with crab meat or chives, and smoked paprika if desired. Serve immediately. 


Notes/Results: A good solid chowder, with a thick and creamy broth and lots of texture from the ingredients. I did add some smoked paprika to the mix and also squeezed a little lemon on my bowl to give it more of a pop of flavor. I would keep the sweet corn and next time I might add a bit of thyme to the mix, or dill would be another good option. It's hearty without being heavy and pairs well with bread to mop up the broth--I used leftover marbled rye. For the speed and ease, I would make it again.


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

The lovely Debra is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared these Chef Grant's Best Burgers with Sauce Gribiche and Green Apple. She says, "These are great burgers for a weeknight meal. We enjoyed the combination of the creamy sauce gribiche with the slight crunch of the fried apple and the bacon-burger. (And, I am so stealing the onion and caraway mix for future recipes.)

 
Thanks to Debra 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!
 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Eighth Sister" by Robert Dugoni, Served with a Recipe for Smoky Eggplant Spread, Marbled Rye Toasts & Pickled Veggies

I can't believe how quickly this week has flown by, and that it's is already Thursday. Just one more day until the weekend can begin. If you are looking for a suspenseful weekend read, try the latest Robert Dugoni book, The Eighth Sister. I'm reviewing it as today's stop on the TLC Book Tour and I am pairing my review with a recipe for a Smoky Eggplant Spread, accompanied by toasted marble rye and pickled vegetables, and inspired by my reading.


Publisher's Blurb:

A pulse-pounding thriller of espionage, spy games, and treachery by the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series.

Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.
 
Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.
 
Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

Hardcover:
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (April 9, 2019)


My Review:

I am a huge fan of Robert Dugoni's Tracy Crosswhite series and feel like I am often anxiously awaiting the newest one. I hadn't ventured into Dugoni's other books because of my over-full TBR lis, but when I heard this was the start of a new series, I quickly jumped on the tour. Me being me and me being very anal retentive about reading series books in order, I was bit dismayed to learn that Charlies Jenkins, the main character in The Eighth Sister, is a secondary character in the author's David Sloane series. I think that there is enough explanation of the relationship in this book that you don't need to have read the David Sloan books first, but dogonnit, Dugoni made me curious, and now I want to and thus the TBR pile grows again ;-)

Charlie Jenkins is ex-CIA and living in Washington with his younger wife, young son, and a baby on the way. Disillusioned by his service to his country and how it ended, he is running a security firm with his wife when his old bureau chief tracks him down and asks him to reactivate and go undercover in Russia to find the leak behind a very secret spy ring known as the Seven Sisters, before more of these undercover agents are killed. Charlie doesn't want the assignment but his business is going under and he needs the money. so he heads to Moscow. Things do not go well and soon he is fighting to get out of Russia and to clear his name. 

Dugoni does an excellent job of building the pace and suspense throughout the story. making it a fast read for a thick book, as I didn't want to put it down and may have chewed down a couple of fingernails. I don't generally choose spy novels to read but i liked the way The Eighth Sister was both a spy thriller and a legal thriller with both the scenes in the filed and the courtroom scenes equally gripping. Charlie Jenkins is a great character, as were the supporting characters--his wife Alex, son CJ and the aforementioned David Sloane, and I look forward to spending more time with them in future books. I find Russia fairly fascinating and Dugoni's afterword about his inspiration for the book including a trip he made to Russia with his family in 1998 and some of their experiences was an interesting read as well. If you have not read Dugoni, you can't go wrong with either his Tracy Crosswhite books or this new series and I have a feeling his other books are equally as well done. (I'll let you know!)


-----

Author Notes: Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series, which has sold more than 4 million books worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling David Sloane Series; the stand-alone novels The 7th CanonDamage Control, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, for which he won an AudioFile Earphones Award for the narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award. His books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Connect with Robert on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

-----


Food Inspiration

There is so much action in this book and Charlie has little time to eat, but there were a few food mentions like pastries and veal with onions, junk food--chips, donuts, candy, granola bars, crackers, cheese, juice and chocolate bars, strong Turkish coffee, lamb with rice, scrambled eggs with onions and pepper and bread, cinnamon rolls, Thai food--chicken pad Thai, tom yum soup, and phat khing, and homemade tacos. 

There is one scene where Jenkins is meeting with his Russian contact Federov and they share a plate of appetizers at a restaurant:

"The man set a plate of appetizers on the table. speaking while gesturing. 'Rye bread bruschetta with eggplant spread. marinated mushrooms, and pickled vegetables. Naslazhdat'sya.'

Federov picked up a piece of the bruschetta and spread the eggplant with a butter knife. 'Please,' he said, gesturing to Jenkins. 'You will enjoy.' 

Jenkins chose the bruschetta and spread, mimicking whatever Federov ate."

There were marinated mushrooms mentioned and of course vodka. So I decided to make my book-inspired dish as a nod to the appetizer plate and especially the eggplant spread. 


When I looked up Russian eggplant spread, I found many recipes for it, often called Baklazhannaia Ikra (poor man’s caviar) or eggplant caviar. The recipes varied slightly in ingredients and sometimes spices and i ended up going with one of the simplest--just eggplant, onion and tomato paste with oil, salt and pepper. The flavor comes more from the roasting of the eggplant and the caramelizing of the onions.


Smoky Eggplant Spread
From Emily Han, via TheKitchn.com
(makes about 4 cups

2 large eggplant (about 1 lb each)
olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
about 6z/3/4 cup tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prick the eggplants all over with a fork and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven, turning over once, until soft, about 1 hour.
 

Let the eggplants cool in a colander in the sink, where their juices can drain. When cool enough to handle, press any excess liquid out. (This step helps to reduce any bitterness.)
Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes.
 

Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the peel. Using a large knife, chop the flesh very finely. (Avoid using a food processor, as you want the eggplant to be more textured than a purée.)
 

Add the eggplant to the onions along with the tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a couple good cracks of black pepper. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. (Be liberal with the oil; any excess will rise to the top as the mixture cools, and you can remove it then, if you wish.)
 

Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl and let it cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.


Notes/Results: With so few ingredients, I was surprised just how flavorful this eggplant spread was--and how good. Slightly smoky, and a bit sweet from the onion, it was really good hot, warm and cold and I think it will make a fabulous sandwich spread. I served mine on marbled rye toast points and with a small assortment of pickled and marinated veggies from the olive bar at my local grocery store (including some very spicy marinated mushrooms), which made a nice contrast to the eggplant spread. I will happily make this spread 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 "The Eighth Sister" 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, 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, December 9, 2018

Ruth Reichl's Creamy Mushroom Soup, Kitchen Therapy for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This simple soup is from Ruth Reichl's memoir Comfort Me With Apples and she mentions in the book that she made it daily to get her through hard times as it was the most soothing soup she could make. I find most soups to be a good form of therapy--both making them and eating them, and a pot of mushroom soup is the perfect comfort on a cool day.


I made a few changes to the recipe, swapping the half and half for coconut milk because I have several cans on hand and it's better than dairy on my breathing. I also swapped the beef broth for mushroom bouillon cubes and water. Because I bought some huge white mushrooms and wasn't sure how flavorful they would be. Finally, I used smoked paprika instead of nutmeg because I am just not a nutmeg fan. My changes are in red below. 


Creamy Mushroom Soup
Slightly Adapted from Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 4)

1/2 lb mushrooms
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 small onion, diced
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup broth (I used 2 mushroom broth bouillon cubes)
2 cups half & half (I used coconut milk)
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp smoked paprika)
1 bay leaf

Thinly slice the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a heavy pan. When the foam subsides, add the onion and saute until golden. Add the mushrooms and saute until brown and softened. Stir in the flour, then slowly add the broth, stirring constantly.

Heat the half & half (or coconut milk) in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add it to the mushrooms along with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a bay leaf. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes; do not boil. Remove the bay leaf and serve. 


Notes/Results: Simple in ingredients and process, but a very tasty soup that is the perfect comfort food on a cool day. I imagine it would be perfect for a cold day too but we don't get those very often here so a windy cool day will have to do. I loved all of the flavor from the mushrooms, the extra mushroom bouillon cube, and the smoked paprika. The coconut milk is as creamy as half and half and with the butter, make this soup rich and satisfying. I topped my soup with crisp garlic and pepper fried onions. Yum. Although I won't make it every day, I will happily eat this soup for lunches this week and would make it again. 


Linking this soup up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where the theme is Kitchen Therapy--Ruth Reichl dishes that are therapeutic to make or eat. 

 
I'm also 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.


Now let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor made Potato Soup with Carrots, Onions & Garlic and said, "Two weeks ago I posted a Potato Soup that was hearty and delicious, but not homemade. I haven't been able to duplicate that recipe exactly but I did whip up a pot of homemade soup for the cold work week. Not sure why we can't get heat at work but I can combat the chill with a hot bowl of comfort food."



Kim of Stirring the Pot made Ruth Reichl's Lentil, Sausage and Brown Rice Stew, saying "This stew lends itself perfectly to kitchen therapy as I sliced, chopped, stirred, and smelled my way to happiness. Not to mention, I was even more satisfied at the chance to use up an abundance of brown rice and lentils I found languishing about in my pantry. I always feel quite accomplished when I use up all the bits and bobs laying about. This is a soul-soothing wintry stew that comes together with humble ingredients and love. I'm convinced it holds the power to heal whatever ails you."


Thanks to Tina and Kim 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 her 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 (optional).



Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: Review of "Cross Her Heart" by Sarah Pinborough, Served with a Recipe for Mushroom & Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice

Happy Thursday. We got lucky again this week, with Hurricane Olivia down to a tropical storm today and besides some heavy rains still to come, not much of an impact on Oahu, Kauai, and while there were damages, it certainly was not as bad as it could have been on Maui. My thoughts are with the East coast and those dealing with Hurricane Florence. I hope for a similar outcome. 

If you are nervously anticipating a storm, it doesn't hurt to have a good thriller to distract you like Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough. I am happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for this novel. Accompanying my review is a recipe for healthy and tasty bowl of Mushroom & Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice, inspired by my reading.


Publisher's Blurb:

Lisa is living a lie and everyone is about to find out.

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job and her best friend Marilyn.

But when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him, too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. 

Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go.

But when her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa’s world explodes.

As she finds everything she has built threatened, and not knowing who she can trust, it’s up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what she holds dear.

But someone has been pulling all their strings. And that someone is determined that both Lisa and Ava must suffer.

Because long ago Lisa broke a promise. And some promises aren’t meant to be broken.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (September 4, 2018)


My Review:

Cross Her Heart is my first Sarah Pinborough book. Well, at least the first one I've read. I chose her bestselling previous novel, Behind Her Eyes as a Book of the Month pick last year, before I decided that my biggest problem with the Book of the Month club was actually reading the books. I have a stack of them just sitting on my shelves. I have a feeling though, that Behind Her Eyes may move up to the top of the pile, now that I have given her a try. 

Cross Her Heart snuck up on me a bit. I felt like it started a little slow but whether that was me (seriously, I can't read ANYTHING lately at night and stay awake lately) or the book, I'm not sure, but the twists in the story began to unfold and I found myself caught up in this story and the secrets and lies of Lisa, Ava, and several of the other characters. It is easy to assume that you know what Lisa might be hiding herself and her daughter from, and I liked that I had it wrong. I had several things wrong as a matter of fact, until I reached the end. I was expecting a bigger shock than I got--maybe because I heard so much about a shocking twist in Behind Her Eyes (If you read it don't tell me--I have managed to go more than a year knowing there was a twist but not knowing what it is!), but I felt like in this case, there was a lot of foreshadowing of the big reveal. It didn't spoil the journey for me though, the last third of the book was quite a ride and had me anxiously turning pages. I don't want to say much more than that, as this is a book you'll want to go into without many more details than you already get in the publisher's blurb. 

If you like mystery-thrillers full of twists, secrets, lies, and family and friendship dramas with interesting and flawed characters, add Cross Her Heart to your fall TBR list--it's engaging and entertaining and will keep you guessing.

-----

Author Notes: Sunday Times No.1 bestseller Sarah Pinborough is the critically acclaimed and award-winning, adult and YA author. Her previous novel, Behind Her Eyes, has sold in 25 territories, been shortlisted for the Crime and Thriller Book of the Year at the British Book Awards and was a Sunday Times No.1 bestseller in hardback and paperback. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.
 
Find out more about Sarah at her website, and connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

-----

Food Inspiration:

Although there wasn't a lot, there was food to be found in Cross Her Heart including pizza, milk, bread, Battenberg cake (an almond-flavored tea cake), tea, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, vodka, cakes,  drinks, a punch of fruit juice, lemonade, vodka and Bacardi, a cold jacket potato, donuts, prosecco, sandwiches and chips, microwave popcorn, cider, tequila shot, crisps, brownies, frozen lasagna, oven fries and peas, curry, beer, bread, olives, scallops and sea bream, Chablis, ice cream with wafers, chicken salad, Chinese takeaway (mentioned a few times, from the Peking sweet-and-sour pork and chicken chow mein, etc.) Caramacs, jelly, ice cream, Chocolate cake, beans on toast, and Jelly Babies (a jelly candy).


Recipe Inspiration: Since there were several mentions of Chinese take-away, for my book-inspired dish, I thought I pick one of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes--fried rice. I wanted to be a bit healthier than my favorite take-out place and use plenty of vegetables and since I still had the remains of a large bag of frozen cauliflower rice, use it in place of rice.

Mushroom & Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2 as a Main, 4 as a Side)

4 cups cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen--see note*
3 Tbsp olive or coconut oil, separated
1/2 sweet onion sliced
1 medium carrot diced
1/2 large red bell pepper
3 scallions/green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger minced
2 cups white button and crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup snow peas, trimmed and sliced into thirds
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, plus more to taste
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp sesame oil, plus more to taste
sea salt and black pepper to taste
toasted sesame seeds

Prep Cauliflower: If using fresh cauliflower, wash the head and pat it dry, then shred it using the largest holes of a grater or by pulsing the florets in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice. If using frozen, let thaw in a colander then squeeze/press as much of the liquid out as possible. Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion slices, carrot, red pepper, the white part of the scallions, garlic and ginger and saute until just the vegetables are just starting to get tender--about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are tender and vegetables are tender and cooked through. Remove the vegetables from the pan, cover and set aside. 

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. When hot, add the cauliflower rice and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until cauliflower is tender but not mushy. Stir in the snow peas, 2/3 of the green onion tops, and the tamari/soy sauce and cook for another minute or two. Then push the cauliflower rice to one side of the pan and scramble the beaten eggs on the opposite side. Once eggs are scrambled, gently stir them into the cauliflower rice, along with the sesame oil. Taste and add additional tamari, salt and black pepper as desired. serve immediately, garnished with the remaining chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds, Enjoy!

Note: This fried rice is at it's best when fresh cooked and hot but you can enjoy leftovers within a day or two. 


Notes/Results: Especially when served hot and fresh, this cauliflower fried rice stands up to it's counterpart in flavor but is much lighter, less greasy, and so much lower calorie and healthier. If you are using frozen, pre-riced cauliflower, the more liquid you can press from it the better--much like the original, the drier the 'rice'--the better the fried rice as you can get it crispier. Use any veggies you like here, you can also add more protein with shrimp, chicken, or tofu and you can leave out the eggs if you aren't a fan--it's very versatile. I'm not saying I don't love the slightly greasy, salty shrimp fried-rice from my local Chinese restaurant, but a big serving of this works just fine and leaves me some wiggle room for dessert calories. ;-) I'd happily 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 "Cross Her Heart" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, 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.