Showing posts with label pickles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pickles. Show all posts

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.

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
(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.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Greek Mezze Platter with Marinated Herbed Feta

Ina Garten is known for throwing store-bought dishes and ingredients into her meals, something that helps during this busy time of year when you want to minimize your time spent in the kitchen. At I Heart Cooking Clubs our theme this week is A Helping Hand!--Ina recipes and meals that get a helping hand from any source we like. I decided to make her Greek Mezze Platter with most all store-bought ingredients that get a few special touches and are "artfully arranged" (we must use 'good' ingredients and arrange them artfully when cooking with Ina!). Since I just made a Greek-inspired soup Lemony Chickpea and Noodle Soup this week, I had leftover thyme, pita bread and some homemade hummus that I could put to good use.

I made a few very small changes to Ina's platter besides reducing the size by about half. She calls for store-bought hummus and I had homemade, she calls for olives with pits and I bought pitted olives from the deli olive bar, and she toasts her pita into chips and I'm a warm, soft, grilled pita fan so I just toasted mine over my gas burners to warm, soften and mark it just a bit. In the feta, she calls for crushed red pepper flakes and I have become fond of Aleppo pepper for it's slightly tangy flavor and more moderate heat. Otherwise I left things the same and it made for a quick and tasty light dinner.

Greek Mezze Platter
Slightly Adapted from Ina Garten via
(Serves 8)

Marinated Herbed Feta (recipe below)
6 roasted red peppers, store-bought
8-10 stuffed grape leaves, store-bought 
1 cup hummus, store-bought (I used homemade)
1 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
good olive oil
toasted pita chips for serving (I used grilled pita bread)
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Artfully arrange the marinated feta, red peppers, stuffed grape leaves and a small bowl filled with the hummus on a platter. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the hummus and add a drizzle of olive oil. Place the pita chips on the platter and arrange the sprigs of thyme over the red peppers, for decoration.


Ina says, "Most marinated feta consists of cubes of feta swimming in a large jar of olive oil, which I think makes the feta oily. Instead, I slice it and sprinkle it with thyme, fennel, crushed red pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. The flavor is much cleaner and brighter. Serve this with toasted pita triangles or on a Greek mezze platter with hummus, olives and stuffed grape leaves."

Marinated Herbed Feta
from Ina Garten, via Food

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper)
1 1/2 pounds Greek feta, drained and sliced 1/2-inch thick 
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup green olives with pits, such as Cerignola (I used pitted green olives)
1/2 cup good olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the dried thyme, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Lay the feta slices overlapping on a 9 × 9-inch square serving plate.

Sprinkle the feta with the entire herb mixture. Nestle the fresh thyme sprigs and olives among the feta slices. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve at room temperature. 

Got a hankering for marinated feta? Both Diana Henry and Ottolenghi have terrific recipes as well. 

Notes/Results: This platter is practically effortless and is perfect for a holiday appetizer or a light meal or starter. Both of my nearby grocery stores have fairly extensive olive bars that carry stuffed grape leaves, roasted red peppers, and olives of all sorts, and there are so many great brands and kinds of store-bought humus--although is is hardly any effort to make your own. I never think to toast pine nuts to serve on top of my hummus and it adds so much great nutty flavor and texture and "curb appeal" to a dish, I'll try to remember to do it. Between that and leaving time to marinate feta (I used a nice sheep's milk feta) a few hours or the the night before, it makes the store-bought ingredients feel special. I reduced the amounts of ingredients to feed 3 to 4 instead of 8 and it made a great dinner for a couple of evenings noshing. 

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs for this week's A Helping Hand theme--where we make Ina Garten dishes that get a hand from store-bought ingredients or other helpful things that lessen the fuss and holiday cooking time.

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.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Disrobed" by Syl Tang, Served with a Recipe for Avocado Toast with Cream Cheese, Pickled Onions, Egg & 'Everything Bagel' Seasoning

A little break from all of the fiction I've been reviewing, I am excited to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for Disrobed: How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, And Determines the Future by Syl Tang. It's a quick, informative and entertaining read that may make you think twice before you go shopping. Accompanying my review (sorry Syl Tang but I had to do it!) is the new "blood diamond" of the breakfast table--avocado toast. In this case, my toast is deli-inspired with cream cheese, pickled onions, hard-boiled egg and "Everything Bagel" seasoning blend.

Publisher's Blurb:

We may not often think of our clothes as having a function beyond covering our naked bodies and keeping us a little safer from the elements. But to discount the enormous influence of clothing on anything from economic cycles to the future of water scarcity is to ignore the greater meaning of the garments we put on our backs. Disrobed vividly considers the role that clothing plays in everything from natural disasters to climate change to terrorism to geopolitics to agribusiness. Chapter by chapter, Tang takes the reader on an unusual journey, telling stories and asking questions that most consumers have never considered about their clothing. Why do banker’s wives sell off their clothes and how does that presage a recession? How is clothing linked to ethanol and starvation on the African continent? Could RFID in clothing save the lives of millions of people in earthquakes around the world?

This book takes an everyday item and considers it in a way that readers may not have previously thought possible. It tackles topics relevant to today, everything from fakes in the museums to farm-to-table eating, and answers questions about how we can anticipate and change our world in areas as far-reaching as the environment, politics, and the clash of civilizations occurring between countries. Much like other pop economics books have done before, the stories are easily retold in water-cooler style, allowing them to be thoughtfully considered, argued, and discussed.

Hardcover: 182 pages  
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (October 16, 2017)

My Review:

I have a fascination for how often seemingly different things link together so when I read the description of Disrobed, a book that looks at how what we wear and fashion trends can influence and impact economic cycles, the earth, our safety, and even what we eat, I was excited to hop on the book tour for it. I wasn't familiar with the author Syl Tang, who is both a journalist and a futurist, predicting trends and documenting the effects on world events. 

Disrobed is a quick (less than 200 pages) and thought-provoking read, that although is full of facts and details, keeps them entertaining and doesn't get bogged down. The book kicks off with how clothing trends predicted the 2016 election (as well as  the 2008 election). It shows how every fashion choice we make can have lasting ramifications. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned from Disrobed with Tang's almost conversational style. Even the chapter titles and taglines: "Can Clothing save the Lives of Millions?: Can existing wearable technology alter the death rate of natural disasters?" or "Burkinis and the Clash of Civilizations: How terrorism, clothing, and travel became inextricably linked." drew me in and had me anticipating each chapter. It's obvious Tang put in a lot of research--there are over 30 pages of notes supporting her findings and arguments in the back of the book. Most of her points are covered well, but it also inspired me to hit up Google to find more information on some of the topics I wanted more detail on. 

Although I have some interest in fashion, you don't need to be a fashionista in order to appreciate Disrobed. Those with an interest in current events, technology, the environment, and the world will find it fascinating reading. Tang says that "clothing has the ability to take the pulse of the world in any given moment..." and also points out "That clothing is a part of so many aspects of our daily lives, our messaging, our choices, our struggles, and our wars provides an unparalleled tool." She leaves how the reader uses that tool up to them. I have a feeling that I will be thinking about Tang's points, observing fashion's impact more closely and thinking about the choices I make and the small actions (microactions) I take that can contribute to a huge global impact.


Author Notes: Syl Tang is CEO and founder of the 19-year old HipGuide Inc. A futurist, her focus is how and why we consume, with an eye towards world events such as natural disasters, geo-political clashes, and pandemics. She has written hundreds of articles on the confluence of world events and soft goods for the Financial Times, predicting and documenting trends such as the Apple watch and other smart wearables, lab-made diamonds, the Department of Defense’s funding of Afghan jewelry companies, the effects of global warming on South Sea pearls, and the unsolved murder of tanzanite speculator Campbell Bridges. Her brand consulting work focuses on helping companies including Diageo, Revlon and the State of Michigan. She is behind the launches of some of the most well-known beauty, beverage, automotive and urban development efforts including category changers such as frozen alcohol and mineral makeup. In addition to developing her site, in 1999 she created the first mobile lifestyle texting product in the market and predicted mobile couponing as it exists today. Her company HipGuide is a case study taught in universities around the world, from Dubai to Nova Scotia to Purdue, through a textbook series.

Find Syl on Twitter, as well as Instagram, @hipguide and @disrobedbook.


Food Inspiration:

You might think there is no food in a book about clothing but in fact there is. There's a discussion on the boom in speakeasy style bars and 'mixologists' pouring botanically infused cocktails.  a whole chapter "Is Your Cotton Shirt Causing Starvation?" that centers around its tagline "Food or clothing; we might not be able to have both" that talks about how some of the popular food trends and topics are related to clothing trends--like foraging, farm-to-table, GMOs, and how the competition for land to grow food or cotton for clothing could be causing famine somewhere in the world.  

I found the inspiration for my book-inspired dish in my favorite breakfast which turns out to be  not the best choice for the planet--or as Tang puts it--"Why avocado toast is the new blood diamond." I won't go into all of the details but it is both interesting and entertaining and more than a bit sobering, the effect the avocado toast craze has had. Tang notes that the Instagram craze "led to a surge of an additional ninety-six thousand households buying avocados," as well as avocado thefts in New Zealand, a deforestation of pine trees to make room for avocados in the mountains of Mexico, the funding of drug cartels, and even cites a Wall Street Journal that "equates the fruit to conflict diamonds."

I do love me some avocado toast and probably average eating it twice a week, once at my local coffee shop, and once at home copycatting my local coffee shop's recipe. Will I stop after reading this book? Likely I will not, but I will think more about it and maybe switch my avocado buying to local avocados (when I can find good ones). This is my favorite avocado toast recipe but since I have already posted it, I wanted to do something different and also find another use for the bottle of Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend I grabbed the last time I was in Portland and got a chance to go to Trader Joe's. I added cream cheese (or technically labne or yogurt cheese), pickled red onions, and softly-boiled eggs--so the yolks are still 'jammy' to round out my toast.

There is no real recipe for this toast. Although if you have no Trader Joe's near you and didn't happen to grab their Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend the last time you were near one like I did, you can easily make your own using this recipe from Food Network. You can also find the recipe for Rick Bayless's lime-pickled red onions here.

Basically, I spread my bread of choice with a thin layer of labne (or use cream cheese), topped it with thinly-sliced avocado, some pickled red onions, a few slices of the "jammy-yolked" hard-boiled egg, and sprinkled the Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend on top.

Notes/Results: Probably no avocado toast will hold the same space in my heart as my regular one with spicy garlic aioli, but this is a great alternative. I had experiment with the pickled onions on avo toast before and love the tart lime with the creamy slices of avocado, and it only gets better with the cream cheese, hard-boiled egg, and seasoning spice. A great mix of flavors and textures and a satisfying breakfast of lunch--I would happily make it again. Yes, I do feel a bit bad about making and eating avocado toast after listening to Tang's arguments--there definitely is a cause and effect to all of our choices and microactions. OK, maybe I'll go down to once a week avocado toast...

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.

And at Souper Sundays, hosted right here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup


Note: A review copy of "Disrobed" 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.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Rick Bayless's Pickled Red Onions, Served On His Mushroom Tacos with Onions and Garlic

Looking for recipes featuring garlic and onions and craving tacos, I turned to Rick Bayless for inspiration. I found a recipe for Pickled Red Onions on his website. I thought the tangy lime flavor of the pickled onions would work well as a condiment for tacos and decided to make his recipe for Mushroom Tacos with Onions and Garlic. It's not the first time I''ve made this recipe (as you can see here I made them last year) but it was what I was craving and they make a great meat-free Friday dinner.

The pickled onions are simple and I liked that they used lime juice and salt instead of vinegar. I kept the taco recipe pretty much as written--just replacing the chicken stock with garlic broth and replacing the hard to find epazote with oregano and cilantro. My changes are in red below.

Pickled Red Onions
Recipe from From
(Makes about 1 cup)

1 small red onion, peeled and cut in half
1/2 cups fresh lime juice

With a knife or food processor, thinly slice the onions. Scoop into a non-reactive bowl. 

Pour boiling water over them, count to 10, then immediately pour the onions into a strainer. Shake off all the water, pour the onions back into the bowl, pour on the lime juice and stir in the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. 

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The onions will last for a week or more in the refrigerator.

Mushroom Tacos with Onions and Garlic
Slightly Adapted from
(Makes 4 to 6 Tacos)

12 oz fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped into 1/2 -inch pieces (I sliced them)
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 or 2 fresh green chiles (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2/3 cup chicken stock or water (I used garlic broth)
1/2 small lime, juiced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large ripe tomato, roasted or boiled, cored, peeled and roughly chopped  OR 3/4 of a 15-oz can tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp epazote, chopped (optional) (I used 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro & 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano)
salt to taste

Place the mushrooms, onion, chile, broth or water, lime juice and lard or other fat in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and cook 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to fry in the fat.

While the mushrooms are cooking, puree the tomato with the garlic in a blender or food processor. 

When the mushrooms begin to fry, add the tomato mixture and optional epazote and cook until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and scrap into a serving bowl. Serve with tortillas on the side for making tacos.

Notes/Results: I like these tangy pickled onions with their strong lime flavor. They added a bright bite to the meaty mushroom tacos and I think they will be excellent with fish tacos this weekend, as well as with avocado toast or sandwiches. Between the boiling water, salt and lime juice, they don't have the usual red onion bite and they paired well with the sweet yellow onion I used in the tacos. Quick and easy--and I love their bright color too--I will happily make them again. 

As a bonus, some of my other favorite allium-centered recipes from IHCC chefs are:

Jacques Pépin's Garlic Soup:
Garlic Soup with Harissa by Yotam Ottolenghi:

Jacques Pépin's Onion-Crusted Mahi Mahi:

Diana Henry's Cabbage & Leek Colcannon:

Nigel Slater's Leek and Camembert Risotto

And back when I ate meat and poultry--Nigella Lawson's Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic:

I could keep going with many more delicious allium dishes from IHCC chefs but the above were some of my very favorite.
This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is October's Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge: Alliums! We are featuring recipes from any of our current or past IHCC featured chefs that use any member of the allium family such as onions, garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

(Pickled Turmeric Eggs) Curried Egg Salad Bites on Naan and Chai Tea Whiskey Toddies for Blog Party #44: Tea Party!

I just had my ninth year Blogaversary and I forgot! Whoops! 

But yes, nine years ago last week I made my first blog post and it's been a fun nine years and 1,626 posts ever since that first one. Since I didn't have a party, ;-) I am joining in with my friend Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness as she has resurrected one of my favorite blogging events from those early years: Blog Party!

I *met* Stephanie not long after I started blogging through her Blog Party event when it caught my eye. The object of Blog Party is to make an appetizer and cocktail to go with a monthly theme. I didn't join in until Blog Party #34--The Buffy Bash, where for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme, I made Spiked DoubleMeat Sliders & Garlic Fries with Hellmouth Dipping Sauce and Soylent Green Cocktails. (Note: It was from my meat & poultry-eating and bad blog photography days!) It was fun and I took part in the next nine Blog Parties--up until Stephanie stopped having them. 

Stephanie drops by Souper Sundays occasionally when she has a soup to share and so when she tweeted a message to some of the old Blog Party attendees that she was having a Blog Party #44, I really wanted to take part. The only trouble was that it was really short notice (gotta love those impulses!), less than a week in fact--so I knew if I did join in, it would be with something simple and from my pantry. 

Flash forward to this afternoon, when I turned some of Heidi Swanson's Pickled Turmeric Eggs that were in a jar in my fridge into some delightful and delicious Curried Egg Salad Bites on Naan Bread and partnered them with quick Chai Whiskey Toddies. I gotta say, with just a little planning and using up leftovers, these were perfect for an impromptu tea party. 

I highly recommend that you try the Pickled Turmeric Eggs for the egg salad--they add such a great tangy bite to the curry mayo and are easy to make and loads of fun. 

(Pickled Turmeric Eggs) Curried Egg Salad Bites on Naan
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen with Heidi Swanson's Eggs
(Makes about 2 scant cups of egg salad)

4 turmeric pickled eggs (recipe here) or regular hard-boiled eggs
3 Tbsp vegan mayo or mayo of choice
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp celery salt
salt and black pepper to taste
2 pieces naan bread
1 tsp olive oil
Garnishes like: cilantro, celery leaves, Nigella seeds or black sesame seeds, pickled onions from the turmeric pickled eggs.

Grate pickled eggs on the large holes of a box grater into a small bowl. Add mayo, curry powder, cumin, turmeric and celery salt and mix together well. Taste and season with salt and pepper.  

Brush a pan lightly with olive oil and heat on medium-high. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter to make small rounds out of the naan bread and lay those circles into the pan. Cook until lightly toasted on each side, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove naan circles from the heat and allow to cool.

To Assemble: lay the naan circles on a serving plate. Scoop a small amount of the egg salad onto each round, spreading it out to cover the edges. Top the egg salad mixture with garnish of your choice (I used celery leaves, black sesame seeds, and chopped pickled red onions from the Turmeric Pickled Eggs.)

Serve and enjoy!

Chai Whiskey Toddies
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 2 8-oz drinks)

1 cup Chai Tea Latte Concentrate (or strongly brewed chai tea)
1 cup coconut milk
honey to taste
2 ounces whiskey or Bourbon

Heat chai concentrate and coconut milk together in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add honey to taste--depending on how sweet you want it. (I used about 1 Tbsp.) When hot, remove from heat and stir in whiskey. Pour into mugs or tea cups and serve immediately. Enjoy.

Notes/Results: I am not sure these two are perfectly paired but it kind of works and they are both delicious--and hey, in this case they are for an entire tea party with other food and drinks so you don't have to have them together. ;-)  I am going to make more Turmeric Pickled Eggs in order to have more curried egg salad--it was so good, especially on the toasted naan bread. I love the bright notes of the vinegar (it kind of takes the place of mustard) in the egg salad when it combined with the curry. A really fun way to change up a basic egg salad sandwich. The warm chai toddy was really tasty--creamy and with a little kick from the Maker's Mark Whiskey I used. For coming together with bits and bobs from the fridge and pantry, I was very pleased with how it all turned out.

Thanks to Stephanie for hosting! I hope Blog Party becomes a regular thing again. The deadline for Blog Party #44 is tomorrow, Friday, April 21th and Stephanie will be rounding up the BP entries on her blog soon after. You can get the details here

I'm linking up these tasty little sandwiches to Souper Sundays, hosted here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup