Showing posts with label seeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seeds. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "California Girls" by Susan Mallery, Served with a Recipe for Easy Weeknight Veggie Lo Mein

It's Wednesday and with a busy week already, I am in the mood for a little break to get me over the hump and into the weekend. A Susan Mallery novel, like her newest, California Girls, works beautifully as a little escape and I'm happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour. Accompanying my review is a quick and simple Veggie Lo Mein recipe, perfect for a weeknight dinner. 


Publisher's Blurb:

The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2019)

My Review:

Susan Mallery is an author I turn to when I want a good book to escape with. Her books are easy reads, pages fly by as I immerse myself into the different storylines she weaves together. In California Girls, the story follows three very different sisters, Finola, Zennie, and Ali. They might be different in looks, personality, and lifestyle, but they share a similar problem when they are all dumped by the men in their lives. Finola and Ali tie for the worst dumping with Finola's husband blurting out that he's leaving right before she goes on air with her morning talk show, and her first guest is the young country-pop star he is sleeping with. In Ali's case, her fiance doesn't bother telling her he doesn't want to marry her, so his more responsible brother has to do it. By comparison, Zennie's breakup seems anticlimactic as it is a guy she has had a few dates with, but she isn't interested in being coupled up. There is plenty of drama as each sister tries to navigate her life and find happiness. I found myself liking Ali the most--my heart went out to her first, but Zennie and eventually Finola grew on me too. 

There are no big surprises in the story, but I enjoyed the journey. Mallery's novels are easy to enjoy--from the characters she writes to the food she peppers her stories with. If you like women's fiction, stories about sisters and families, romance and friendships, and you'll enjoy this one.
 
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Author Notes: #1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. 

Visit her at SusanMallery.com, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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Food Inspiration: 

Susan Mallery never has a shortage of food in her books and in fact there is even a recipe for California Girls Stuffed Scones in the back of this one. Food mentions included bacon, potato salad-five ways, espresso, protein-packed smoothies, salad and rotisserie chicken instead of tortilla chips and macaroni salad, all-meat pizza and garlic bread, Cherry Garcia ice cream, chocolate bundt cake, red wine, tequila, a hangover cure smoothie with coconut water, red ginseng, prickly pear and ginger, mushrooms, eggs, cucumbers, hotdogs, peanuts and bear at a baseball game, Chinese takeouts of lo mein, kung pao chicken, Mongolian beef and honey shrimp, fried rice, crab wontons, BBQ spare ribs and crispy green beans, Cheetos, potato chips with ranch dip, instant mashed potatoes, brownies, wedding cake, greens, a pastrami sandwich, kale and other green vegetables, chocolate-covered graham crackers, grilled ahi with salad and a side of broccoli, seafood dinner for two, pickles and chocolate chip ice cream, curried chicken sandwiches and a salad with basil ranch dressing, CPK's avocado egg rolls, sushi, pulled pork tacos with homemade tortillas, extra avocado and salsa, beer, quiche, sandwiches, Brie, a hot fudge sundae, donuts, chicken marsala, mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, frosted cookies, and an In-N-Out burger and a chocolate milkshake.


There were two mentions of Chinese takeout dinners and both included the noodle dish lo mein. The Chinese food was comfort food to Ali after her fiance dumps her and later to Zennie, in the midst of the pregnancy blues. The lo mein caught my eye as I have been craving noodles and it seemed like an easy weeknight dinner. 


These noodles are not all that authentic, but by making them at home which only takes about 20 minutes, you can control the sodium and oil and have fresh tasting noodles. If you have leftovers, they taste great reheated (because lo mein doesn't dry out like fried rice), as Ali declares in the book.

Weeknight Veggie Lo Mein
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2-3)

1 package lo mein noodles or other thin noodle
1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil (I use a mix of sesame and canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced, green and white parts separated
1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
5-6 mini bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed and sliced into thirds
Lo Mein Sauce, recipe below
toasted sesame seeds
 
Lo Mein Sauce:
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup  
2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Cook lo mein noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. 

While spaghetti is cooking, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil in a large wok or skillet and add whites of green onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, snow peas and carrots and saute 5 to 6 minutes--until veggies are just tender. Add noodles and sauce and warm through. Serve garnished with green onion tops and sesame seeds and enjoy!


Notes/Results: What's not to like here? Noodles, tasty sauce and lots of fresh veggies. The only effort is the chopping and you have a delicious dinner ready in about 20 minutes. You can use whatever veggies you like in this--cabbage or Chinese greens would be nice. I may add some roasted peanuts to the leftovers for crunch and protein. I would happily make this 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 "California Girls" 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, August 5, 2018

Red Curry Vegetable & Cauliflower Rice Soup with Crispy Hoisin-Sesame Tofu for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Sometimes soup inspiration just strikes. I made this delicious Bengali Fish Curry earlier in week. I was heating up the leftovers and decided to dump the remains of a can of coconut milk into it. As I was enjoying the soupy curry with cauliflower rice, I thought about what a great soup it would make. 


At first I decided to make a vegan chicken cauliflower rice soup, but then I decided to use up some red curry paste and a bunch of summer veggies (zucchini, red pepper, tomatoes, eggplant, carrot, onion and snow peas) lurking in my fridge. Wanting to add protein, I made a variation to Chloe Coscarelli's Crispy Hoisin Tofu from her Vegan Ramen Bowl, and thus my Red Curry Vegetable & Cauliflower Rice Soup with Crispy Hoisin-Seasame Tofu was born.


Red Curry Vegetable & Cauliflower Rice Soup with Crispy Hoisin-Seasame Tofu
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serve 4 to 5

1 Tbsp coconut oil or oil of choice
3 Tbsp red curry paste, or to taste 
2 lemongrass stalks, stalks trimmed and bruised
4 to 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 Japanese eggplant, halved and sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced 
1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 Tbsp ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock of choice
2 tsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce, or to taste

3-4 cups riced cauliflower
1 large handful snow peas, ends trimmed and cut into thirds
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
fresh lime juice

To Serve: Crispy Hoisin-Sesame Tofu (recipe below), pea shoots, chopped green onion, Thai basil leaves, and lime wedges, as desired  

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat and add coconut oil and red curry paste, cooking for a couple of minutes to release the flavors. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and onions and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the red bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant, carrot, ginger, and garlic and saute for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the broth and tamari and bring soup to a slow roiling boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the riced cauliflower, snow peas and coconut milk and simmer about 5 minutes until snow peas are tender crisp. Taste and add salt, or other seasoning (such as lime juice) as needed or desired.

To Serve: Ladle Soup into large bowls and top with Crispy Hoisin-Sesame Tofu, green onion, pea shoots, and Thai basil leaves as desired and serve with fresh lime wedges. Enjoy!

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Crispy Hoisin-Sesame Tofu 
Slightly Adapted from by Chloe Flavor by Chloe Coscarelli
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 (16 oz) package extra-firm tofu, pressed (see note below) and cubed
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Heat \the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the tofu and sear for about 3 minutes per side, until it turns golden and crispy. (Chloe says the key to crispy tofu it not to flip them over too soon--to let them get nicely brown before turning them over.) Add more oil as needed if the pan looks dry. Add the hoisin sauce, tamari, and sesame seeds, reduce the heat to low and turn the tofu to coat it evenly.


Notes/Results: This bowl of soup with its Asian-inspired flavors really hit the spot. The cauliflower rice is a great, lower calorie and carb substitute to real rice and the tofu adds the right amount of chewy, meaty texture and flavor. I made this one vegan with veggies I had on hand and like, but you can adjust it easily with whatever you like--adding fewer or more ingredients and a different protein if you like. The red curry paste I use has a medium spice and with the jalapeno, it was the right heat level for me, but you can add more heat to the soup--or serve it with chili paste or sriracha if you like a bigger kick of spice. One note about the tofu--it is REALLY good and so I recommend making extra as like me, you may find your self noshing on it as you cook. I will happily make this soup again and will experiment with more cauliflower rice in soups. 


Lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen.


Debra of Eliot's Eats is here with Raw Butternut Squash Salad with Ginger & Raisins, She says, "I bragged during last month’s “In My Kitchen” about my beautiful squash plant and how it was loaded with lovely butternuts. Seriously, it wasn’t two days after that post that the entire vine withered away and died. (Squash bugs, perhaps?) Anywhoo, I was able to salvage half a dozen squashes. When I think of butternut squash, I think of fall….nice gratins, creamy soups, delicious pies and muffins. Definitely not salads. I wondered if you could eat it raw and after a couple of searches I came across some delicious sounding recipes: Raw Butternut Squash Salad with Ginger and Raisins by Mark Bittman and Fresh Butternut Squash Salad with prosciutto, Parmesan and walnuts by Marc Meyer.  Although I have to admit that the latter one sounded more delicious, I had everything to make the former one. So, Raw Butternut Squash Salad with Ginger it was."
 
 
Mahalo, Debra--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 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!




Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Because I'm Worth It" by Linda Nielsen, Served with Nepenthe's Café Krevah Granola

I'm easing over the Wednesday hump with a book review and a recipe. Kahakai Kitchen is today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for Because I'm Worth It, a novel by by Linda Nielsen. Accompanying my review is a recipe for my version of Nepenthe's Café Krevah Granola, inspired in part by the book's Big Sur setting.



Publisher's Blurb: 

An impressive contract combined with lavish perks influence Skye Topple to marry the boss’ daughter, Delaney Mae Anne Covington, a self-centered and spoiled southern belle. The “perfect” wedding is threatened when an alarming secret refuses to stay hidden. With no regard for anyone other than herself and her daughter, Delaney’s alcoholic mother takes control, inserting irrational solutions that leave mother and daughter looking foolish while a baby’s life, a grandmother’s love, and a man’s career hang in the balance. 

This is certainly not a North meets South story—more like South moves North and meets West, where what works for one family may not work for another. Choices must be made. Lives will be changed. One thing is for sure… Skye is smack dab in the middle when Big Sur life meets country club values.

Paperback: 346 pages
Publisher: TouchPoint Press (March 1, 2018)

My Review:

Because I'm Worth It starts well before the description on the publisher's blurb about the "perfect" wedding being planned by Delaney, a spoiled Chicago socialite and Terri Sue Ellen, her even more spoiled, plus alcoholic and really annoying, southern belle of a mother. The book begins in Big Sur, California, with the family of Sky Topple (the groom) then darts to Atlanta, Georgia to meet the family of the bride and it isn't until about fifty pages in that we actually get to know Delaney Covington and Skye Topple--who start as fairly obnoxious teenagers and don't improve with age. I really wanted to like Because I'm Worth It, I felt like it had strong potential, and there were times I did enjoy reading it--but it just wasn't the book for me. I found myself disliking most of the characters, some fairly intensely-Delaney, Terri Sue Ellen, Skye, and even Charles Covington (Delaney's father) who were so over-the-top annoying that they were more caricatures than characters. Terri Sue Ellen's dialogue is peppered with southern dialect that made my teeth grind with all of the "ahs" and "mahs" and distracted me from the story. In fact, for me, much of the dialogue in the book didn't seem natural--even from the characters I liked. The Topple family from Big Sur, with the exception of Skye--who wanted to escape his bohemian background and family, were all enjoyable and I found myself wanting much more of Melissa (Skye's mother) and her story and much less of everyone else. 

I found the writing strongest when the author was describing Big Sur and the Topple family's unique house and the surrounding landscape. About halfway through the book, things did start to pick up for me--there is some character growth for Delaney and Skye, an interesting twist is added, and some new (and likable) characters are introduced. There were more humorous moments and some touching ones, so I am glad I stuck with it and finished the story. The book and the author's previous work have some very good reviews on Amazon, so Because I'm Worth It is the book for some people and you can read their reviews and see if it might be for you. (There's a link to the TLC tour stops and other reviewers at the end of the post.) It definitely got me thinking about the beauty and spirit of Big Sur and it inspired some delicious granola, so I still came out a winner. ;-)

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Author Notes: Linda’s first book, Lasso the Stars, was published in 2011 under L.L. Nielsen. Her newest novel, Because I’m Worth It, is scheduled for release by TouchPoint Press in early 2018.
 
Find out more about Linda at her website, and find all her books at Author Central page.


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Food Inspiration:

There was a fair amount of food and a whole lot of alcohol in Because I'm Worth It. Mentions included herbal tea, sandwiches, lemonade, vodka in orange juice, coffee with extra cream and sugar, warm pecan buns, beer, cherry snow cones, peaches, pop-tarts and peanut butter, moonshine, bourbon, champagne, grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches with homemade potato chips, peach bellinis, molasses, turkey and a Thanksgiving meal, martinis, soup, pumpkin pie, turkey sandwiches, a dish with warm Indian spices and vegetables, cookies, chicken, pizza, chocolates, coca cola, caviar and toast points, pies and casseroles, popcorn, green olives, a salad with a squeeze of lemon, salt-washed three times and no dressing, steak sandwiches and French fries, sole with lemon and capers and al dente vegetables, buttered bagels,  quiche, iced tea, fruit, Sherry, Scotch, Pinot Grigio, cheese and crackers, goat cheese, pasta with shrimp, apple cinnamon rolls, ollalieberries (like a blackberry), blackberries, tomatoes, eggs and bacon, granola, French toast, quail eggs with Danish smoked ham and Chardonnay mustard with toast points, roast with braised potatoes and veggies, Bloody Marys, pigs-in-a-blanket, green peas, chicken and dumplings, and BLTs. 


I knew I wanted to go with something related to Big Sur--my favorite parts of the book and so I narrowed in on the granola. There's a scene where spoiled Delaney is offered cereal by Pete. 

"Cereal?" Delaney looked surprised. "Oh, no thank you." She moistened her lips and continued, "I have a private brand of granola that's made for me. It's expensive, but I'm worth it." 

"Come again?"

"Ahh, it's specially formulated for my dietary needs based on my metabolism and nutritional requirements achieved through scientific testing, to assure me of a healthy start in the morning."

I went to a cookbook I reviewed about 8 years ago called My Nepenthe by Romney Steel. (You can see my review here) Nepethe is a classic and famed Big Sur restaurant that Steele grew up at, the granddaughter of the restaurant's founders. When I reviewed the book I had noticed the Café Kevah Granola recipe and had always meant to try it. Café Kevah is a small casual cafe on the  restaurant's grounds. In the book, Delaney's granola was specially formulated, but this one sounded delicious with cashews, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds added to the oats. I also liked that it has orange zest, along with the usual cinnamon. I modified the recipe slightly, based on what I had on hand--leaving out the wheat flakes and the powdered milk (sometimes used as a binder and protein source) and using a mix of black and regular sesame seeds and dried cranberries.


Romney says, “Low in commercial sweetener and oil, this granola is a healthy and tasty alternative to store-bought cereal. It is easy to make and stores well in a glass jar or a resealable plastic bag in the freezer. The recipe, a variation on the one we still use at the café, can easily be doubled or tripled. Sprinkle over yogurt or serve with milk. For a sweeter granola, that has more clusters, stir in 1/4 cup honey with the maple syrup."


Café Kevah Granola
Slightly Adapted from My Nepenthe by Romney Steel
(Makes About 6 Cups)

2 cups whole oats
1 cup wheat flakes (I omitted and added extra oats)
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds (I used a mix of regular and black sesame seeds)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup oat bran (I pulsed a heaping 1/3 cup oatmeal in my blender)
1/3 cup high-quality organic powdered milk (I omitted)
zest of one orange
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
(I added a large pinch of sea salt)
1/3 cup safflower oil (I used 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup boiling water
1/3 to 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat flakes, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oat bran, powdered milk, orange zest, cinnamon, safflower oil, boiling water, and maple syrup, mixing well. Spread out on a baking sheet. Bake slowly, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Stir in dried fruit when cooled. Store in an airtight container.
 

Notes/Results: I really like this granola. Every time I make homemade granola, it reinforces that you should never, ever buy it pre-made. Even the gourmet brands just don't have the same freshness and appeal as when you mix and bake it to your own preferences. The cashews add a decadent note and for some reason I have neglected to put sesame seeds in my granola and the orange zest was lovely with the cinnamon. I like my granola flakier than clumpy and so I used just the 1/3 cup of maple syrup--so it isn't overly sweet. With a handful topping the creamy Siggi's vanilla yogurt (my new favorite) and fresh blackberries, it was delicious and more like a dessert than breakfast. I have to go get more yogurt and berries and I will happily scarf down all of my granola and 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 "Because I'm Worth It" 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 1, 2018

Chloe Coscarelli's Vegan Ramen Bowl with Crispy Hoisin Tofu for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I adore vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli and have made quite a few of her recipes out of the three of her cookbooks that I own. So, although I have way too many cookbooks already, when I saw that her new Chloe Flavor cookbook was out, I had to get it. (In my defense, I did have a Barnes & Noble coupon, my membership discount, and the remains of a gift card to use up.)


I tagged a bunch of recipes I wanted to try but with a craving for soupy noodles, I had to try her Vegan Ramen Bowl first. With a curry and coconut milk broth, veggies, fresh ramen noodles (worth it if you can find them, but you can use dried noodles too) and crispy tofu cubes tossed in hoisin sauce.


Vegan Ramen Bowl
From Chloe Flavor by Chloe Coscarelli
(Serves 4)

About 8 oz fresh or dried ramen noodles
3 Tbsp vegetable oil + more as needed (I used coconut oil)
1 (16 oz) package extra-firm tofu, pressed (see note below) and cubed
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 1/2 cups (8 oz) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp curry powder (I used 2 tsp)
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk

Toppings: thinly sliced scallions, sesame seeds, sriracha or chili-garlic sauce, optional      (I added pea shoots)

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water and return to the pot--off the heat.

Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the tofu and sear for about 3 minutes per side, until it turns golden and crispy. (Chloe says the key to crispy tofu it not to flip them over too soon--to let them get nicely brown before turning them over.) Add more oil as needed if the pan looks dry. Add the hoisin sauce , reduce the heat to low and turn the tofu to coat it evenly.

In a large saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat and when it shimmers, add the mushrooms and bok choy. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and the bok choy wilts. Add the garlic, curry powder, and salt and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk. Add the cooked ramen noodles and stir until heated through.

Ladle the broth and noodles into bowls and top each serving with scallions, sesame seeds, and tofu. If you like heat, add a drizzle of sriracha or chili-garlic sauce. 


***Pressed Tofu: Chloe says, "To press your tofu, wrap it tightly in kitchen or paper towels and place a heavy object (books, cans from your pantry) on top. Let sit for about 20 minutes while excess water is released from the tofu. Unwrap and cut as directed." (Or be like me and buy a tofu press!)


Notes/Results: It's not traditional, but this ramen bowl totally hit the spot with the curry-coconut broth and the crisp-chewy hoisin-sweet tofu. If you are not a fan of tofu, you haven't tried it pressed, fried up and tossed in a yummy sauce--it adds great flavor and with the mushrooms, a meat-like vibe to the soup that is really satisfying. It's nice on its own and with a touch of heat from the sriracha. Although there are a few steps and pans used in this recipe, it goes together pretty quickly and easily. Chloe notes that you can make it gluten free with rice or other gluten free noodles and making sure your hoisin sauce and broth are GF. I would happily make these bowls again and I look forward to cooking more recipes from this book.


 We have some tasty dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen, let's take a look!


Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen made a brothy Bowl of Butter Beans with Kalettes and said, "For those of you scrolling to the bottom of the page in search of the recipe, will have to forgive me as I cannot remember the recipe for this Butter Bean and Kalette dish.  I do however remember it being very simple and light like a broth and the butter beans just melted.  The original recipe had Brussels sprouts, but as I am not that keen on them, I changed it with kalettes also known as purple flower spouts that were in season at the time." 


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor was inspired by my recent potato soup post and made her own Potato Soup with Cheddar and Chives. She said, "My adaptions were minor compared to the original recipe. Yukons were supposed to be on hand but I had red creamer potatoes. Probably it could have been creamier with Yukons but this was still very good. I didn't have the white cheddar so I used regular orange cheddar. Chives. The package I bought looked good but once home, half were soggy so, not a good amount of chives on the toppings. Still - I loved this soup. We brought it for lunch this week at work and it transported and reheated well."


Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe shared this colorful Watermelon Poke Salad Bowl with Pickled Radishes and said, "What really fascinates me is dishes that imitate meat with real food.  I don't like all that mock meat stuff at restaurants but I am drawn to simple ideas like carrot hot dogs and tofu bacon. How amazing that someone looked at a watermelon and saw the marbling effect that looks like meat. Amazing and a little disturbing".

Thanks to everyone who joined me this week at Souper Sundays!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches 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 the post you link up to be included.
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 on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).




Happy Easter and have a happy, healthy week!
 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "In Every Moment We Are Still Alive" by Tom Malmquist, Served with a Recipe for Muesli with Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts, Banana & Strawberries

Today I am happy to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, a heart-tugging autobiographical novel by Tom Malmquist. Accompanying my review is a recipe for Muesli with Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts, Banana & Strawberries, inspired by my reading.


Publisher's Blurb:

A prize-winning, bestselling debut of love, loss, and family–based on a true story–that’s winning readers around the world.

When Tom’s heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to the hospital, doctors are able to save the baby. But they are helpless to save Karin from what turns out to be acute Leukemia. And in a cruel, fleeting moment Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment We Are Alive is the story of the year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury and pain of loss with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone.
 
By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this autobiographical novel has been described as ‘hypnotic’, ‘impossible to resist’ and ‘one of the most powerful books about grief ever written’.

Shortlisted for the Nordic Council Literary Award — the ‘Nordic Booker’ — the judges praised it as “one of the most powerful books about grief ever written.” Malmquist is the first novelist to ever win Sweden’s prestigious Dagens Nyheter Culture Prize.  This novel is translated from Swedish by Henning Koch (the translator of Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove).

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Melville House (January 30, 2018)

My Review:

I was interested in reviewing In Every Moment We Are Alive after reading the blurb and seeing all the accolades the book was getting. It's based on the real life and experiences of the author, Tom Malmquist when his long-time girlfriend Karin, is rushed to the hospital with breathing issues. What should be a happy time for the couple, Karin is pregnant with their daughter, soon becomes tragic as Karin's health rapidly deteriorates and she is diagnosed with acute leukemia. Doctors are able to save the baby (named Livia by Karin) delivering her prematurely, but not Karin.

This book was a challenge to read for a few reasons. Having recently come out of the hospital, starting in the ICU for a acute asthma attack, the respirator and cannula descriptions (I have an interesting fading scar from one on my wrist) made me flash back a bit squeamishly and Malmquist's descriptions of his anger, frustration and grief are very raw and tug at the heart. The writing itself is free-form--which can be hard to follow as Malmquist goes back and forth in time and writes in rambling sentences where dialogue is written without quotation marks, paragraphs run long, and chapter breaks are few and far between. There are also a myriad of doctors, nurses, friends and family mixed in, most of whom just appear without an introduction, and it takes time to figure out who everyone is. But, as someone who has suffered grief and with it thoughts that run on and on with a mish-mash of past, present, and random images that flash across your mind, although In Every Moment We Are Still Alive can be difficult to read, it comes across as very real and it is worth the extra care it takes as a reader to work your way through it. 

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, won't appeal to every one--both in the subject matter and the writing style. If chaotic writing leaves you unable to focus on a story, it won't be the book for you, but if you can get into the rhythm of the author's words, there is a beautiful story of family, love, loss, and hope that unfolds from a tragedy.

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Author Notes:  
Tom Malmquist is a poet and sportswriter. He has written two highly acclaimed poetry collections. In Every Moment We Are Still Alive is his first novel. He lives in Sweden.



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Food Inspiration:

Although not a focus in the book, there is food to be found within the pages of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, including coffee, cheese sandwiches, a salad with prawns and Rhode Island sauce (similar to Thousand Island dressing), orange juice, a late night dinner at a kabob shop with garlic sauce on the table, a Frödinge curd cake, pickled gherkins, a seafood cocktail made prawns, lobster and mint, a dinner of beef, salad, Dauphinoise potatoes, gravy and Bearnaise sauce, coffee and Marie biscuits, yogurt, egg sandwiches and sandwiches of liver pâté and gherkins, pina coladas, cucumber salad, potatoes, lamb osso bucco, a hotdog stand with a Sausage Special with Boston gherkins, and a picnic of Swiss hard cheese, roast chicken, vine tomatoes and Chablis. 

I ended up taking my inspiration from Tom cleaning out the kitchen cabinets in the flat he shared with Karin, "I throw most of the contents of the kitchen cabinets into black bags: pumpkin seeds, black quinoa, apple and cinnamon muesli, raisins, tins of tomato pulp and white beans, cocoa, vanilla sugar, cartons of green tea, toasted linseed, spelt flour, walnuts, dried apricots, some of the expiry dates go back as far as 2003."

I decided it was a good time to make some homemade muesli, and decided to put a few of the ingredients that mentioned in the book and that I had in my pantry (pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cinnamon, apples, and dried fruit) into it.


Muesli, is a breakfast dish based on raw oats, grains, seeds, nuts, and dried and fresh fruit that was usually mixed with milk or yogurt and left overnight for the oats to soften, then eaten cold. Muesli was developed in the early 1900s by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. The original Bircher muesli was soaked overnight with water and lemon juice and then mixed with yogurt to eat the next day.  Muesli comes in many different styles and forms now pre-packaged and fresh. I am not a big hot oatmeal fan but like muesli and it's modern application into overnight oats.
 
This is a recipe I use often, (I've posted it here and here) based on Jamie Oliver's Pukkolla from The Naked Chef Takes Off. I have adapted it to my tastes over the years (including making a smaller batch here) and I vary the ingredients based on what I have in the pantry and what strikes my mood.


Muesli with Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts, Banana & Strawberries
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Muesli Dry Mix:
4 large handfuls of organic rolled oats
1 handfuls of chopped dried fruits of choice (I used pineapple & papaya)

1 handful of crumbled or chopped walnuts or nuts of choice 
1 handful of pumpkin seeds 
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Add your oats to an airtight container along with the dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon. Place the lid on and shake well to mix. This dry mixture will keep for a good couple of months in the airtight container


The Night before: 
non-dairy milk to cover (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/2 crunchy apple per serving, washed and unpeeled

You can make this anytime, but letting it sit overnight (or for about 8 hours), gives it a better texture. Place the amount of dry muesli you want to eat in a bowl or small, lidded container. (Remember the dry muesli will almost double in volume so an average serving is about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of dry mix.)

Grate in about 1/2 an apple per person, cover with the milk and stir immediately to keep the apple from discoloring. Place in the fridge overnight. 


To Eat:
1/2 banana per person, peeled and sliced or mashed 

1/2 cup sliced strawberries or other fruit
honey or maple syrup to taste

Remove the container/bowl from the fridge. You will find that the muesli has softened and thickened, so loosen with a little additional milk. Add your banana, sliced or mashed or blueberries. You will find that a lot of natural sweetness has come out of the dried fruit, so add honey or maple syrup to taste. Serve and enjoy.



Notes/Results: Muesli makes for a satisfying breakfast and it is one of those recipes that you can adapt to your tastes and available ingredients, adding more or less of any ingredient too. if you want less sugar, use less dried fruit and bump up the nuts and seeds if you want more protein--it all works. Don't leave out the grated apple (I like HoneyCrisp) as it adds a nice sweet-tart flavor to the oats and a great texture to the mix. Although I only made a half-batch, since you only use a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the oat mixture per serving, I'll be enjoying it for breakfast a lot. ;-)


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 "In Every Moment We Are Still Alive" 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.