Subscribe

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

Archives

Currently Reading


Carolyn

Sara

Sara and me

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

Just finished reading A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler. My friend Ann, from Idaho, brought it with her as we spent a week in Palm Desert. She handed it to me and said I’d really like it. Oh, did I! Loved the book. This book is a novel, but based on the life of Alva Smith Vanderbilt (Belmont). She was nearly destitute (and faking it) when a marriage was proposed for her with William Vanderbilt. There is lots of dialogue in the book, which is made  up, but I’m guessing the author probably read many diary entries of Alva (and the family) to create a very intriguing and readable story. A life of unbelievable privilege. Several children, including one who marries into a titled family in England. You see the inner life of Alva – her day to day busy work, charity work, visiting for afternoon tea, the undercurrent of society’s morals – men were nearly expected to have mistresses or affairs. This was the Victorian Age when sex between and man and a woman was not necessarily, and usually not, passionate. I loved this book from page one until the end.  She was a suffragette of the first order. Having read the book, I have a lot of admiration for her, even though she lived in the highest echelons of society.

Also read In Falling Snow: A Novel, by Mary-Rose McColl. From amazon: Iris, a young Australian nurse, travels to France during World War I to bring home her fifteen-year-old brother, who ran away to enlist. But in Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in the old abbey at Royaumont, staffed entirely by women—a decision that will change her life. Seamlessly interwoven is the story of Grace, Iris’s granddaughter in 1970s Australia. Together their narratives paint a portrait of the changing role of women in medicine and the powerful legacy of love. The book  gives you a vivid picture of the state of nursing in WWI, but the story is quite mesmerizing. And there’s a twist almost at the end. Highly recommend.

Also couldn’t put down The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. A long story that begins in war-torn Russia. Cavalry officer Dmitri falls head over heels in love with one of the daughters of Tzar Nicholas. But events intervene, as history tells us. That was 1914. Cut to 2016 when a young woman inherits an ancient cabin in upper New York State and she discovers a jeweled pendant. The two times weave together to make a really riveting story. Lots of Russian history; well written; as I said, couldn’t put it down.

Uncommon Woman. A book about Colonial America, but really the western frontier at that time, which is in western Pennsylvania. The warring native Americans play large in this book. There is a romance, yes, but this book is not “a romance.” It’s more than that – about the hardships of living on the land, away from protection, Tessa and her family struggle to make a living and avoid the angered natives who take revenge when their people are murdered. Clay Tygart is a respected officer/soldier and commands a fort near where Tessa lives. Clay was captured by Lanape Indians when he was a young man, so he straddles both sides of the equation – first hand, he knows how the natives feel, but also his role in the lure of American exploration of the west. The natives wish to preserve their hunting grounds from the encroaching settlers. This book takes place in the mid-1700s I think. Loved it. Not only the history that is brilliantly detailed, even to the summer heat they experience. The crops they raise, the constant fear of attack. And the sweet love that weaves through it. Not a speck of sex in it.

Reading mysteries has never loomed large in my reading life. Occasionally, yes. And some espionage type books. But light mysteries have not intrigued me much. But one of my book clubs had us read Louise Penny’s novel, A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel). The member actually handed out a cheat sheet of the characters in the book (many) and posed several questions of us as we read through it. The cheat sheet really helped. She asked us when (or if) we caught the foreshadowing of the murder culprit (I never did). The book takes place at a lovely inn in Canada and Chief Inspector Gamache (he is quite a character – along with his wife – are vacationing there) when a murder occurs. None of the characters escape the C.I.’s scrutiny. Lois, our book club member, led us through a very thorough and lively discussion of the book. Usually, my complaint about murder mysteries is that they don’t make for good discussion at a book club – but this book was an exception, for sure. Many of my learned book club friends rave about Louise Penny. One told me I should read Still Life next, and probably should have read it before I read this one.

Rachel Hauck is an author I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. Just finished reading The Memory House. It’s about relationships. Love. About family. About secrets. Doesn’t that just describe about 90% of every novel out there these days? Beck is a cop in NYC; a series of events occur and she is forced to take leave. Just then she inherits a house in Florida. She barely remembers the woman who bequeathed the house to her. Then you meet Bruno, a sports agent who will figure large in Beck’s life. Then the book jumps back in time to Everleigh, the woman who owned the house and you learn her story. Really stories of her two husbands. And how do those stories connect to present day. Very sweet book. Not a speck of sex in this one, either.

The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship by Joanna Burger. Such an interesting book – nonfiction. The author is an ornithologist by profession (and a PhD) and this memoir of sorts is about her Red-Lored Amazon parrot she and her husband own. But no, it’s the parrot who owns her/them.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. A book club friend recommended this book, I immediately bought it on my Kindle. I could NOT put the book down. I devoured it. Any other “work” I should have been doing was swept aside as I read and read of Resolute’s adventures. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America. This book is the story of her life. The people she met, the men in her life, her children, and always about her indefatigable energy for life. Always hoping to return to Jamaica.

Finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Richardson.  It’s a novel about the first mobile library in Kentucky (this is the 1930s) and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and, just as importantly, a compassionate human connection.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This book was offered as a bargain book from Bookbub, and something about the description resonated with me – maybe because of my Old Testament readings regarding the lives of shepherds back in ancient days. I utterly loved this book. It might not suit everyone – it’s a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, the son of a farming family, who sabotages everything in his being regarding going to school and leaves as soon as he is able (probably about 8th grade, I’d guess). And becomes a shepherd. And at night, he read literature that he accumulated from his grandfather. He bickers with his father, eventually moves out. One night in a pub with his blokes (friends) he enters some kind of a contest in the pub and realizes he has a lot more knowledge than he thought he did. In time he applies to get what I’d call here in the U.S. a G.E.D (high school diploma), which he does, and then he applies to Oxford, on a whim. And gets in. He graduates. He applies his knowledge to his rural life. He marries, has children, but still, his day to day life is all about his Herdwick sheep, although he does have a day job too working for UNESCO. You’ll learn more about sheep than you might have wanted to know. I absolutely loved, LOVED this book. If you are interested, James Rebanks has a Twitter feed, called @herdyshepherd1, and you can sign up to get updates from him about his farm and his sheep. I don’t do Twitter or I would.

Moloka’i: A Novel by Alan Brennert. A riveting book about the early days of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) in Hawaii, and the stigma attached to the victims AND their families. It chronicles the story of a young woman, diagnosed almost as a child, and ostracized from her family, subsequently learning to live alone and remote.

House by the Fjord by Rosalind Laker. What a darling story. From amazon: A touching and atmospheric love story – When Anna Harvik travels to Norway in 1946 in order to visit the family of her late husband, the country is only just recovering from five cruel years of Nazi occupation. So it is with surprise that she finds in this cold and bitter country the capacity for new love and perhaps even a new home. I just loved this book – could hardly put it down; yet it’s not a mystery. You’ll come away with a desire to find that house by the fjord. I want to go there and have some coffee with the Anna, who was a Brit, yet fell head over heels in love with Norway.

Running Blind (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child. A Jack Reacher mystery. From amazon: Across the country, women are being murdered, victims of a disciplined and clever killer who leaves no trace evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle, and no clues to an apparent motive. They are, truly, perfect crimes. Until Jack Reacher gets in the middle of it. A page turner, as are all of the Jack Reacher stories.

Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This story, which takes place in a kind of Texas backwater, sets a town into an angry mess when two young boys, one white, one black, become friends, something most folks don’t like. At all. There’s a dog involved, the father of the black boy, the father of the white boy plus a woman who lives in the town and does her best to avoid people altogether. But they all get fused. Wonderful story.

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. A sweet book, true story, of the author and her friend, during one summer in the midst of their college years, going by train to NYC and ultimately getting a job of Tiffany’s.  Cute read.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. You might think what a stretch – what does an Indian (Native American) tribe have to do with the FBI. Read and you’ll find out. This is back in time, 50s I think, and a number of murders have taken place on the Osage Reservation. A wake up call, even for today.

Oh wow. Just finished reading David Guterson’s book, East of the Mountains. You know this author from his most well known book, Snow Falling on Cedars. I loved the Cedars book when I read it years ago, and assumed I’d like this other book (not new) as well. Have you learned to trust my judgment when I tell you, you HAVE to read a book? When I tell you the story line, I can already hear you thinking . . . oh no, I don’t want to read this kind of a book. Please trust me. You’ll come away from it being glad you did.

A fabulous read – Catherine Ryan Hyde’s newest book, Have You Seen Luis Velez? I marvel sometimes about how authors ever come up with the ideas they do, to create the premise for a novel. And this one is right up there at the top of the list. Raymond, a youngster, an older teenager, who has a big lack of self-confidence and feels like an odd duck sometimes, reluctantly (at first) befriends an elderly woman in the apartment building where he lives with his mother and step-father. He discovers she’s blind and needs some help, which he gives her.

Magic Hour: A Novel

Excellent Women

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin Lee

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club): A Novel by Tayari Jones.

Recently finished Sally Field’s memoir (autobiography) called In Pieces.

If you want grit, well, read Kristen Hannah’s newest book, The Great Alone: A Novel.

You’ve got to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book – Take Me With You. What a story.  From Amazon’s description: August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go. What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together. Have a tissue handy at the end. It’s such a charming, sweet story. You’ll fall in love with the young boys, and fall in love with them again 10 years later.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by JoJo Moyes.

Mark of the Lion : A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure As the Dawn (Vol 1-3)by Francine Rivers.

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

Answer As a Man

Celeste Ng Little Fires Everywhere.

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright.

C.J. Box’s book The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel).

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen.

Leaving Blythe River: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. A

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyanseo Lee.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.

The Good Widow: A Novel by Lisa Steinke.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes. W

How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively.

 

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 Salad Dressings, on January 18th, 2020.

green_curry_salad_dressing

Different? Yes. Good? Yes, indeed.

Over the holidays I was invited to a fun-filled afternoon/evening with part of my extended family. They know I love Indian food, and every so often they invite me to join them at their (and my) favorite Indian restaurant in our part of the world, the Royal Khyber. As it turned out, the restaurant was closed that evening for a private party, so they ordered all the food at noontime, picked it up and reheated it at their home for a late afternoon dinner. Janice and I conferred and I was to bring a salad.

So, hmmm. What kind of green salad and dressing goes with Indian food, I ask you? I had no idea. Since I knew curry would be on the menu, I googled some curry dressings and finally settled on one at the Cheeky Chickpea (is THAT not a cute name for a blog?). After making the dressing, and tasting it with a leaf of lettuce in hand, I thought it needed oil. The original recipe went onto a Thai noodle salad and the dressing, as is, no doubt works well with that, but on a green salad I was afraid the dressing would wilt the greens, and wouldn’t have enough heft to hold up to sturdy greens I used (Romaine and arugula). So I added oil. Tasted it again, then decided to try a trick I’ve read in many other recipe, some mayo was needed. Not much, but just enough to emulsify the dressing. I made it in a glass jar and shook it like crazy and it held together well for several hours.

The salad – as I said – was Romaine and arugula, but then to add some interest I included some sliced cabbage and a little bit of grated carrot for color. Then I added sliced almonds, fresh mango, and chopped dates plus a bunch of green onions. You could also use peanuts instead of almonds. I forgot to take a picture of it when I served it – so all you get to see is the dressing.

What’s GOOD: it was perfect with an Indian meal – the mango and almonds added nice crunch. It was not overwhelmingly curried.

What’s NOT: only that it might not be great with a meal that didn’t complement curry/Indian/Thai food.

printer-friendly PDF or MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Green Curry Salad Dressing

By: Inspired by a recipe on the Cheeky Chickpea
Serving Size: 6

2 tablespoons lemongrass paste
4 teaspoons green curry paste
2 teaspoons fresh ginger — grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce — or Bragg’s aminos, or coconut aminos
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup — or sugar free substitute
2 tablespoons powdered almond butter
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1. Combine all ingredients in a container with a firm lid. Shake vigorously to break up the mayo.
2. Serve on a green salad that has added cabbage (finely sliced), green onions, fresh diced mango, slivered almonds (or peanuts) and diced Medjool dates. For the greens, I recommend the heartier type – Romaine, arugula.
NOTES: This dressing contains less oil than a standard one, with other liquids added so the lettuces will wilt if left on the salad, so dress only enough that you’ll eat right away.
Per Serving: 193 Calories; 18g Fat (81.9% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 520mg Sodium.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Get Recipes by Email, Free!

  1. hddonna

    said on January 24th, 2020:

    I couldn’t wait to try this salad dressing and the salad you served it with. I’ve been craving something different in the way of salads, especially something with plenty of crunch. Unfortunately, I didn’t have two of the essential ingredients called for–the lemongrass paste and the green curry paste. Being desperate, I made it without either, though I added some green Cholula hot sauce and some garlic. I also used powdered peanut butter in place of the almond. It was so good! I did the salad just as you described it, except for the mango, which I didn’t have either. I was serving it with a sheet pan dinner of chicken thighs rubbed with cumin, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and butternut squash, apples, and onions, which were mixed with some of the same spice mixture and a little oil and maple syrup. Used a little raw apple in the salad in place of the mango, but I had the dates and was able to use them as well. The salad complemented the chicken and vegetable dish perfectly–the dressing even mingled well with the pan juices. I picked up some lemongrass paste and green curry paste today and intend to add some to the remaining dressing so I can have it as originally intended. Drizzled some into my turkey lettuce wrap this noon, and it was yummy!

    Impressive, Donna! You took the recipe and elevated to a higher realm! Glad you enjoyed it. . . carolyn t

  2. hddonna

    said on February 10th, 2020:

    OK, now I’ve made it as written, after I had a chance to get some lemongrass paste and a new jar of green curry paste! And I made the salad with mango. It was scrumptious! I intend to keep some of this around as my personal house dressing (my husband wants blue cheese dressing on everything). To me, the two versions I’ve made are equally good (as written, and without the curry paste and lemongrass paste but with some grated garlic and hot sauce). The powdered peanut butter is essential, as are peanuts in the salad! (Have not seen almond butter powder, but will look for it.),I added some brussels sprout leaves to the salad for the cabbage component–they were left over from a recipe for pan-roasted brussels sprouts, where all the leaves that fell off when I was trimming and halving the sprouts added up to quite a little pile, and they would not have worked well in that recipe.

    How clever of you Donna! You would make my mother proud, using every speck of food with no waste! Am so happy you liked the dressing. I’ll have to make it again sometime soon. . . Carolyn t

  3. Donna Woerth

    said on February 10th, 2020:

    LOL! I’m afraid I wouldn’t deserve your mother’s kudos. Things may come out just right occasionally, as with the brussels sprouts leaves, but I also just left two containers of spreadable cream cheese on the half wall to the stairwell for three days and had to throw them away. I’m sure for every sprout leaf I save I lose a pound of good stuff. Every time I clean out the fridge, I think, “Oh, dear, Jacques Pepin would be horrified!” But I do try to do better, though I have to admit I have absolutely no interest in making pesto with my radish leaves or baking banana peel banana bread, and when I tried composting my kitchen scraps–for several years–I found myself with enough compost to add a trowelful each to about 6 tomato plants each spring. Not worth the bother of having a container of scraps taking up part of my meager counter space.)

    Oh Donna, you have me chortling. How many times have I left something out on my kitchen counter to cool and gone to bed, having forgotten all about it. I just did that a few weeks ago. Makes me so mad at myself. What I TRY to do is put the cooling item on my stovetop and leave the light on there so when I close up shop downstairs for the night, that light is on. It helps as long as I glance over into the kitchen and SEE that light on. I know my mother would be so disappointed in me to have wasted perfectly good food. . . Carolyn t

Leave Your Comment