Subscribe

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

Archives

Currently Reading


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

Just finished a quirky book, Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel by Rachel Khong. She’s a new writer (newly published, I guess I should say) and this story is about Ruth, a 30+ something, trying to readjust to life without her fiance, who’s dumped her. She goes back home to help with the care of her father, who has Alzheimer’s. Written in a diary style, it jumps all over about her life, her mother, the funny, poignant things her father says on good days, and the nutty stuff he does on not-so-good days, her ex-, and her very quirky friends, too. Then a woman flits through who had had an affair with her father –  you get to observe all the angst from the mom about that. Mostly it’s about her father, as he’s relatively “together” early in the book, but then he disintegrates. Reading that part isn’t fun, although the author is able to lean some humor into it. I’m not sure I recommend the book exactly – I read it through – and felt sad. It doesn’t tie up loose ends – if you want that kind of book – you may not want to read this one.

Also finished Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia. You know Julian Fellowes, the producer and writer of Downton Abbey? He lends his mind to a story about a family or two from the similar time period as Downton, who live in London. There’s some amount of intrigue, romance, observations from within the halls of wealthy Londoners and moderately well off tradesmen and their families. There’s affairs, shady business dealings, an illegitimate child, the comings and goings of the “downstairs” staff too, etc. The characters were well done – I had no trouble keeping all of the people identified. The story is somewhat predictable, but it was interesting clear up to the end.

The Letter by Kathyrn Hughes. It’s a very intricate tale. At first it’s about Tina, a battered wife [at which point I paused and wondered if I wanted to read any further, but I’m glad I did]. She tries to get the courage to leave her husband. Then enters the letter she finds in a suit pocket in the thrift shop where she volunteers. It’s old – sealed and stamped, but never mailed. Then you learn about Crissie, decades earlier, a young pregnant girl who is sent off to Ireland to a distant relative by her father, then to a rigid (meaning horrible) convent [the book takes place mostly in Manchester, England and in rural Ireland]. The letter is addressed to her. Jump forward decades and William, the adopted child Crissie gave up, tries to find his birth mother. William meets Tina in Ireland [a serendipitous moment] as she’s trying to find the woman to whom the letter is addressed. This book is the #2 best seller on Amazon at the moment. It’s a riveting tale and I really enjoyed it.

The Muralist: A Novel by Shapiro. It tells the story of a young woman, an artist, who was part of the U.S.’s WPA mural project from the 1930s-40s (she is fiction, the WPA is not). As with so many artists, even today, they live in abject poverty through much of their lives. This woman, though, had family in France, desperately trying to escape before Hitler’s henchmen rousted them into concentration camps. The story, a bit of a mystery but not of the mystery-genre, is about Alizée Benoit, this young painter, who slightly captivates Eleanor Roosevelt’s help. It also skips into current time when the painter’s great-niece uncovers paintings she believes were painted by her aunt. The painter had disappeared into thin air in 1940, and her relative tries desperately to find out what happened to her. It’s a really good story including such Abstract Expressionist painters as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner well-woven into the narrative. It keeps you guessing right up to the end. A good read. The author also wrote The Art Forger: A Novel a few years ago.

Also recently read News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles. One of my book-reading friends said this is one of the best books she’s ever read in her life. That kind of praise required me to read it and I just LOVED it. It’s about an old man (a widower), who was a former military captain, during the 1800s, who goes from town to town to read out loud the current news of the world (yes, there WAS such a free-lance job.) Newspapers didn’t make it to small towns back then. By chance he’s asked to take a 10-year old girl to East Texas to reunite with relatives. The child had been captured by an Indian tribe as a baby (her family was killed in the raid), raised by the Kiowa and as was often the case of such children, she wants nothing to do with leaving. So the “hero” in this story has his hands full. And yet, they learn to trust each other on the journey. Reaching the destination, there are lots of complications (of course!). This book is truly a wonderful read – I didn’t want it to end. The author has a gift of description and the severe dangers and difficulties of an old (wild) west horse and wagon journey. The relationship is tender. Now I’ve got to investigate the author’s other books, of which there are many. Just read this one first!

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