Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Club, Delicious!

This month's book was Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl.  I enjoyed this book. A nice and light read after last month's selection. Instead of soldiers marching through the forests we had a young girl walking through the streets of Little Italy and Chinatown. The story was a bit predictable at times but I loved the subject matter and I looked forward to reading it after a crazy day sitting in traffic. I have read Ruth Reichl's other books and heard her speak at Foodstock a couple of years ago. I am looking forward to her next novel.

And of course Book Club always means good food.
We had some "book inspired" dishes tonight.
We should have been counting how many times the word "Delicious" was used.

In the book there was discussion of Cow's Milk Mozzarella and Buffalo Milk.
Personally, I liked the Buffalo!

But then we also had Burrata Cheese. Sorry Buffalo, Burrata steals my heart every time!

Stuffed Grape Leaves! Homemade! Amazing
The recipe is at the end of this post.

 Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken. Loved this!
The recipe for this is at the end of this post.

Beet and Berry and Arugula Salad.
Almost too pretty to eat! But it was delicious!

Ham Sandwiches on Southern Biscuits with Fresh Blackberry Mustard. 
1/2 cup fresh blackberries mashed into 2 Tbs. of grain mustard. 
I love blackberries and would never had thought to use them like this. Now I know!

Macarons in honor of the James Beard letters in the book.

And Billie's Gingerbread.
I made Billie's Gingerbread. The recipe calls for whole cinnamon sticks, whole black pepper and whole cardamom . There is a note on the recipe saying you can use ground spices but the flavor will not be the same. I am glad I used the whole spices.
Want the recipe?  Click here. I would strongly recommend trying this recipe. Was it a difficult recipe? No. The hardest part was grating the ginger. Not that it was hard it was just time consuming. But the aroma in the kitchen from the grinding of the spices and the oranges and ginger was intoxicating. 

Before I sat down to write this post I found a recipe on Bon Appetit for a Lemon Ginger Brew recipe. In it they chop the ginger and then pulse ginger in a food processor to a coarse paste. I wonder if this paste could replace the grated ginger?

And here are the recipes for the Stuffed Grape Leave and the Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken -

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Try to pick leaves before July 4 for freshest. Pick the largest but youngest, tender light green leaves.
They should be about 6" across for best rolling. Now, to make the dolma:

1) Snip off each stem near the leaf, trying not to tear the leaf.

2) Blanch leaves 2-3 at a time in shallow pan with 1-2" very hot water, turn them over once (the whole group of 3). Wait until they go from bright green to olive-colored and soften a bit.

3) Set aside and make your filling. You can use anything leftover, and it always helps to have some cooked rice on hand.

4) Mince 1/4 cup onions and saute to soften. Cook some ground lamb or hamburger--you don't need much for a dozen dolma, about 1/2 cup.

5) Mix the meat and onions with1/2 cup of rice. Adjust amounts to preference. Season with salt and pepper. You can also add some breadcrumbs to the mixture.

6) Lay a leaf flat, with smooth side down. Place a tablespoon or so of filling crosswise near the bottom of the leaf.

7) Fold the sides of the leaf in, then roll from bottom to point. (Kate's Gypsy friend from Upstate New York says the measure of a Gypsy's worth is how tightly her dolma are rolled!)

8) Place point side down in dish. Squeeze lemon juice over top and drizzle each with a little olive oil. Chill.

Serve with Dilled Yogurt!

Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken  (serves 4)

2 cups corn flake cereal
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp skim milk
1 tsp garlic salt
4 chicken drumsticks (about 1⅓ lbs)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray an oven-safe 13x9x2 inch pan with cooking oil spray.
Place the cereal in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add 2 tbsp parsley and the paprika to the bag and shake to incorporate. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small skillet. Remove from burner and let cool for a few minutes. Then, whisk in the milk, 1 tbsp parsley and garlic salt. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Then, roll it in the butter mixture. Transfer chicken pieces to the resealable bag and shake until well-coated (do then all at once -- it's easiest). Place the chicken into the prepared pan. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray.
Slide the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

This was our last Book Club meeting until September. There is talk about a Book Club road trip to Arthur Avenue this summer. Could you imagine us wandering in and out of those shops. Sweet dreams! Have a Happy Summer and read a book!

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