Subscribe

Get updates sent to you for free by RSS, or by email:

Archives

Currently Reading


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

On my recent road trip, I visited one of my local libraries and borrowed 5 books on tape. We listened to 3 of them. I’m a big fan of Craig Johnson, the author of a series of mysteries taking place in Wyoming, and a TV series on Netflix called Longmire. This book, A Serpent’s Tooth: A Longmire Mystery was really complex. Hard to explain, but it’s about graft and greed and oil. Worth reading, for sure. Also read Stone Kiss by Faye Kellerman, another complex mystery about Lt Decker, an LA cop who journeys to NYC to help out his family when a murder occurs. Lots of violence in this one.  Not particularly a fav book, I’d venture. Then read Leaving Time: A Novel by Jodi Picoult. I’ve read most of her books – always very riveting. In this book, you’ll learn a whole lot about elephants since the protagonist in it is a young girl whose mother disappeared when she was quite young. Her parents ran an elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire. In the ensuing years, Jenna has tried to find clues as to her mother’s whereabouts because she just cannot believe her mother would have up and abandoned her. There are a whole cast of characters (her mother, her father, employees at the sanctuary, a cop or two, and a psychic). All play fairly prominent roles. Fascinating book – I really liked it, almost as much for the education about the behavior of elephants as about the mystery. A great read.

Also on the trip, I read a book (on Kindle) for one of my book clubs, The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin. It’s about the relationship between Truman Capote and his “swans,” a group of aging high society ladies, and specifically Beth Paley. I don’t know whether to recommend this book or not. Truman Capote was not a nice man, although the whole novel (vs. non-fiction, which this is not) is conjured from speculation about the years Truman was kind of adopted by the group of women. He cared about all of them (most were married/divorced, wealthy women) but in the end he betrays them all by writing a novella about their secrets, their marriages, their affairs (theirs or their spouses, information they’d all shared with him, thinking he could be trusted with their innermost secrets). It was scandalous, and yes, all that part is true. I finished the book, but almost felt like I’d read a “dirty book.” There is no graphic detail in this book – it’s just what Capote did to destroy these women, supposedly his dear, darling “swans.” He was the villain in the book, and in his old age . . . well, I won’t spoil the story if you’re interested in reading it.

I’ve written up an entire blog post about this book. (It hasn’t been posted yet, but will soon.) It may be one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s a memoir by Pat Conroy (an author I’ve long admired). He died a year or so ago – sad, that. In order to get the most out of My Reading Life, I recommend you BUY THE HARDBACK. I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s an autobiography of sorts, but not really. He never wrote one, I don’t think, and I doubt he would ever have written one as he likely didn’t believe anyone would want to read about his (sad) life. In this memoir, he chronicles the books (and the people who recommended them) that influenced his life. Starting at his mother’s knees and continuing through influential teachers and mentors and friends. One of my book clubs read it, and I devoured it, cover to cover, with little plastic flags inserted all the way through to re-read some of the prose. Pat Conroy was a fabulous writer – he studied words from a young age and used them widely and wisely throughout his writing, but better than most authors would. He adored his mother, and hated (with venom) his aviator military father who physically abused everyone in the family, including his mother. They all took it like stoic Buddhas. I’m going to have to read Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel because of reading this book. I’ve never read it. Conroy says that book’s first page is the best first page of any book he ever read in his life. Wow. And maybe my book group is going to re-read Tolstoy’s War and Peace (Vintage Classics) too because of the chapter on that book. We might have to assign that to a 2-month or longer read. If you have friends or family who are avid readers, this would make a great gift, this book, My Reading Life. If YOU are a reader, it needs to be on your bookshelf, but in hardback, so you can go back to it and re-read his stories. It’s a series of essays, each one about a sub-section of his life. A must-have and a must-read.

Also read The Towers of Tuscany by Carol Cram. It was a bargain book through amazon or bookbub (e-book). Back in the Middle Ages women were forbidden to be artists. Their only place was in the home, caring for children and sewing and cooking. But the heroine in this book was taught to paint by her widowed artist-father (in secret, of course). When her father suddenly dies, all hell breaks loose and she must fend for herself. Much of the book takes place in Siena (and also San Gimignano) as she disguises herself as a boy in order to continue her life’s passion – painting. Very interesting story and worth reading.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

Scroll down to the bottom to view my Blogroll

Posted in Veggies/sides, on September 20th, 2007.

garlic green beans

What fun, when you are served something that is a known quantity (green beans) and they’re cooked in an altogether different, new way. You think you know every way possible to make simple green beans. Not so. People who live around these parts (South Jersey, it’s called) are quite proprietary about their corn and tomatoes. My DH swears that he’s never tasted anything like Jersey corn and Jersey tomatoes. None, anywhere, compare to the texture and flavor he remembers from his youth. I’ve had them before when visiting here, but it was never so good as last night.

Our hosts, Meredith & Harry, served us a delicious dinner of grilled lamb, Jersey corn, Jersey tomatoes with basil, Jersey cucumbers in a sour cream sauce and Jersey green beans. Absolutely delicious, every mouthful. The corn – Jersey corn – was young ears, and beyond tender. Like melting in your mouth, almost. No butter or seasoning. Fabulous! But it’s the green beans that I went back to for seconds. Meredith told me how she made them. And excuse me, I may go grab some for breakfast. They were that good. Very, very garlicky. Hmmm. Breakfast, you say? Where’s the mouthwash?

printer-friendly CutePDF

Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click link to open in MC – 14 contains photo)

Green Beans with Garlic & Olive Oil

Recipe: our friend Meredith R.

2 pounds green beans, trimmed, left whole
8 cloves garlic
About 2 tsp.
Kosher salt (fine grind, or any salt of choice)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Steam the green beans until just barely tender, but still with a little bit of bite. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, on a large cutting board, peel the garlic cloves and mash with the side of a large chef’s knife. Sprinkle the salt on top of the garlic and using the chef’s knife chop and mash some more. Allow this mixture to sit for just a few minutes.
2. Then, in a very large skillet, heat the olive oil, then plop this garlic/salt mixture into the pan and allow to cook briefly. Do not brown the garlic at all. When it’s sizzled just a bit, throw in ALL the beans and stir (lift and turn) the green beans so all of them are liberally coated with oil. Cook briefly until you’re satisfied the garlic is mostly cooked and the beans are hot and cooked to your satisfaction. Serve. May be be served hot or room temperature.
Per Serving: 155 Calories; 14g Fat (75.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 477mg Sodium.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Get Recipes by Email, Free!

  1. Toffeeapple

    said on September 23rd, 2009:

    I am going to do this recipe tonight, I am so sick of plain boiled beans. I have some wonderful fish to cook, Pollock but I haven’t yet decided how to do it.

    Sure hope you enjoy those garlicky beans as much as we do. .. carolyn T

  2. Charlene

    said on June 19th, 2012:

    I bet you could get the same result by tossing the drained, unrinsed beans back into the hot, empty pot you cooked them in and tossing with the olive oil and garlic/salt mixture. I do this with just a very good olive oil and sea salt and they are wonderful. I think there would be enough heat to warm the garlic through. Just had leftovers last night, nuked at 10% power just long enough to take the chill off, and they were wonderful again.

    You could do it that way. I’ll try it next time I make them! . . . carolyn t

Leave Your Comment