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Just finished reading a magnificent historical novel. Not new. Philippa Gregory has been a favorite author of mine for a couple of decades. You may remember her most famous book, The Other Boleyn Girl, published some years ago. I thought that was a really great book. I’ve read other books by Gregory, but most recently I read The King’s Curse (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels). The time period is the 1450s to 1541, mostly under the rule of King Henry VIII, the infamous womanizer and wife/Queen-killer. The man who cursed Rome/the Pope because he wanted his first marriage annulled because Queen Catherine couldn’t produce a living male heir. And subsequently made himself the head of the church in England in order to do so. It was a Catholic country at the time. This story (it’s fiction, but woven with intricate historical detail) is from the voice of a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine, Margaret of York, later titled Countess of Salisbury, but a Plantagenet in her own right (which is key to the later events in the book). Certainly I’ve read other novels over the years that dealt with Henry VIII, but not with this much breadth of info. What a wicked, sinful man he was. And did I say tyrant. Wow.  I could hardly put it down, through its nearly 600 pages. In the author’s notes at the end, she shares relatively recent medical info that suggests Henry probably suffered from a rare problem, Kell positive blood type, which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and infant deaths IF the mother has the more common Kell negative blood type. And that in his later years, he may have had McLeod syndrome, a disease only found in Kell positive individuals. Around the age of 40 it causes physical degeneration and personality changes resulting in paranoia, depression and irrational behavior. All of those King Henry VIII had in spades. If you read the book, you might read the author’s notes (at the end) before reading the book. If you like historical fiction (I love any book about English history) you’ll just love this one. It’s interesting, though, as I think about the many books I’ve read covering this era in English history, that each book presented its hero/heroine as the most innocent and worthy individual vying for the crown of England. I remember thinking Anne Boleyn was dealt with so badly during her life (and certainly her beheading), and yet reading this book, I completely reversed my opinion. Anne Boleyn was called a wh–e by most people during the years she shared Henry’s bed. The “curse” from the title pertains to Henry’s inability or curse on the Tudors, that caused him to fail in producing a male heir. In any case, none of Henry’s wives should have died for it – likely it was all Henry’s fault anyway. Just read this one, okay?

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.

Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong. Have you ever read about forensic dentistry? I sure had not, so I found it fascinating reading. It’s a debut novel for the author, and what a story. Halina, an Australian, with Polish roots, specializes in this obscure profession as a forensic dentist, and is asked to go to Poland, to help identify bone (and tooth) fragments, to put to rest a sad event in the story of this small town, when many, many people (Jews) were murdered. Was it the Nazis? Or was it the local townspeople who disliked the Jews. What a tangled web of intrigue, including Halina’s own mysterious past. I really enjoyed the read. The author does a great job of developing the characters (which I always like). This is no light read if you consider the subject matter, although it IS a novel (but based on fact). Nor is it a spy thriller – it’s more just an historical novel with lots of interesting people throughout. There’s a romance thrown in too, and a whole lot of angst about the discoveries found in the mass grave. But, the subject expanded my knowledge about forensics.

The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. I just LOVED this book. I’ve never been much of a fan of Caravaggio’s paintings, although I’ve seen plenty of them (many are extremely large) in museums around the world. His paintings were dark, often with dark subjects. But as with many of the old masters, occasionally some obscure work surfaces, perhaps credited to another artist, even, that turns out to be one done by “the” master. In this case, Caravaggio. Although this book is written as a novel (with dialogue, etc.) it’s historical through and through. It begins with two young women art scholars, in Italy, who are asked to do a research project. One thing leads to another, and to another. All true.  If you enjoy books about art – I learned some things about the paint and the canvases of the time – you’ll be intrigued as I was.

Eye On the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press, by James, McGrath Morris. Each year my AAUW book club reads something related to Black History Month. This is a biography of a woman you’ve probably never heard of, Ethel Payne, and about her life-long journey in journalism, struggling to keep her head above water financially, but staying true to her purposes of telling the truth about the black stories and black racism of the day. Sometimes biographies aren’t all that riveting, but I found this one to be so, and I savored each new chapter. We had a really good discussion of the book, and the ups and downs of Payne’s life, especially during her years as a Washington reporter. You’ll not be sorry to have spent the time reading this book. It’s well-written, as well. I was thrilled when the author, Morris, left a message here on my blog, thanking me (and my group) for reading his book.

H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald. This one has been on the best seller list. It’s a memoir about a woman who takes on a personal challenge of taming a wild hawk. Prior to reading this book, I knew next to nothing about the entire subject of hawking, or taming any of the big, wild birds. The book is equally about the writer’s inner journey. She’s a consummate writer, and every page was a joy of words, for me. My only problem is my own – I found it hard, the more time that went by, and the more time the writer spent trying to tame this bird, to scream out “let the bird go.” Perhaps it’s because I spent time in Africa in 2015, seeing animals in the wild, that I felt more for the bird than I did with the writer’s discontent with herself and the taming process. Little did I know what a hard job it is to tame a hawk. I actually didn’t finish the book. It was a book club read, and highly recommended by several of our members. And I ended up not being able to attend the meeting as I had a cold. So perhaps there is some great ending to it that would have made me feel better. I haven’t gone to the end to find out. I just had to stop reading it. But I’m not NOT recommending it. If nothing else, read it for Macdonald’s sublime proficiency with words.

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

Recipes highlighted in red are some of my all-time favorites. The chicken and turkey recipes are divided up in several sections. Click on the title below to go to that section. If you’re interested in Chicken Soups, go to the index for SOUPS.

Casseroles!

Baked Chicken and Prosciutto Casserole
Bombay Chicken
Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken Pudding with Pea Gravy (an old-time English recipe)
Deep Dish Turkey Chili Pie (uses ground turkey)
Turkey Hachis Parmentier


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Chicken Breasts Only!

Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Aioli
Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts with Thai Green Curry Sauce (easy)
BFF Crispy Coated Chicken Breast Strips
Chicken on Greens with Chile Buttermilk Dressing
Chicken Breasts Santa Fe Style
Chicken Breasts with Alabama White Sauce
Chicken Breasts with Asian Lemon Sauce
Chicken Breasts and Chipotle Rice with Cilantro Sauce
Chicken Breasts Flambe with Tarragon Tomato Wine Sauce
Chicken Breasts with Apricot Onion Pan Sauce
Chicken Breasts with Bacon and Mushrooms
Chicken Breasts with Chianti Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Breasts with Emmental & Arugula
Chicken Breasts with Maple Mustard Sauce
Chicken Breasts in Milk with Sweet Potatoes
Chicken Breasts with Panko and Mustard Crust
Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto Mushrooms and Basil
Chicken Breasts with Spinach and Gorgonzola
Chicken Chili
Chicken Cordon Bleu Rolls with Lemon Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Madeira (healthy – something like the Cheesecake Factory’s but healthy)
Chicken Relleno (not chile rellenos, but relleno style chicken)
Chicken Saltimbocca with Basil Butter
Chicken Sausage and Mushroom Pot Pie
Chicken Tacos
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Breasts Tikka Masala Sous Vide 146°
Chicken with Garlic Lemon Crust
Chipotle Mayo Chicken Breasts
Cilantro Chicken
Cajun Chicken Breasts with Creole Sauce
Crispy Mustard Chicken Breasts
Curried Maple-Mustard Chicken Breasts
Fresh Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Caper Sauce
Lemon Basil Chicken Breasts with Tomato, Cucumber & Basil Beurre Blanc
Lemon Chicken Breasts
Oven-Fried Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Oven-Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Bundles (with broccoli and bacon)
Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken
Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Gorgonzola
Parmesan Chicken with Spinach and Gorgonzola Sauce
Pecan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Corn and Blueberry Salsa
Pretzel-Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Seared Chicken Breasts with Lemon Chive Pan Sauce
Shiitake Crusted Chicken with Sauce
Stacked Chicken Enchiladas
Tequila Chicken Pasta
White Chicken Chili


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Grilled Chicken!

Bademiya’s Chile Cilantro Grilled Chicken
Big Daddy’s Tandoori Chicken
Cha Cha Cha Jerk Chicken
Chicken Breasts with Alabama White Sauce
Chicken with Artichokes and Olives
Greek Marinade for Chicken
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Belize Barbecue Sauce
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Citrus and Honey
Grilled Chicken Grand Marnier
Grilled Chicken with Jalapeno Jelly Salsa
Grilled Lemon Chicken
Grilled Marinated Drumsticks
Moroccan Spiced Chicken Breasts
Orange Sesame Glazed Chicken
Peruvian Grilled Chicken
Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken


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Ground Chicken or Turkey!

Cabbage Patch Stew (make with ground turkey and either mashed potatoes or the “cauliflower” mash)
Chicken with Poblano Peppers and Sauce
Cousin Gary’s Turkey Chili (healthy)
Italian Chicken Sausage with Bell Peppers
Piccadillo (a ground meat mixture to serve over a carb – use ground turkey)
Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Turkey
Thai-Inspired Turkey Larb Salad
Turkey Breakfast Sausage
Turkey Meatballs
Unstuffed Sweet and Sour Cabbage


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Roasted and Baked Chicken!

Chicken a l’Orange (eh)
Chicken Bamako
Chicken Barbere(an Ethiopian spicy chicken)
Chicken Bouillabaisse
Chicken-in-a-Pot (it’s French)
Country Captain Chicken
Ina Garten’s Coq au Vin
Italian Crumb-Crusted Chicken
Mustard and Herb Chicken
Oven-Fried Chicken
Roast Chicken – the best I’ve ever made (tender & moist)
Roast Lemon Chicken
Roast Potatoes Better than the Chicken (eh)
Rustic Lemon Onion Chicken
Sheetpan Chicken Thighs with Cabbage
Spicy Chipotle Chicken Breasts w/ Panko Crust
Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken
Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken & Vegetables


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Salads and Sandwiches!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Almond Edges
Cornish Game Hen Salad
Curried Chicken Salad
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Salad
Roast Chicken Salad a la Zuni Cafe
(Updated) Fumi Chinese Chicken Salad


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Stovetop (mostly all in one pan)!

100 Almond Chicken Curry
Bal’s No-Butter Chicken (Indian)
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken Jalfrezi (a curry and peppers dish)
Chicken Supreme (no oil, with Benson’s herb blend)
Chicken with Aged Red Wine Vinegar
Chicken with Leeks, Candied Lemon and Walnuts
Chicken with Piquillo Peppers
Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar Sauce
Chicken with Sage and Pesto
Creole Jambalaya
Crispy Fried Chicken
Dinah Shore’s Chicken Curry Without Worry (could substitute turkey)
Fesenjen (slow cooker)
Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken with Pasta
Indian Chicken with Green Chiles
Indian Pepper Chicken (black pepper, not veggie peppers)
Lemon Chicken with Herbs & Orzo
Mexican Chicken and Grapes Uva
Murgh Korma (Indian Chicken Curry)
Pecan Crusted Chicken with Rosemary Orange Sauce
Quick Chicken Tikka Masala (using left over chicken)
Quick Coq au Vin
Risotto with Turkey Sausage, Corn, Leeks, Tomatoes and Spinach
Saffron Chicken Curry
Saffron Chicken Tagine
Sicilian Stewed Chicken
Spicy Chicken Thighs with Shallot Sour Cream Pan Sauce
Very Lemony Chicken Thighs


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Turkey!

Dry-Brined Turkey Breast
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Turkey – Kosher
Turkey & Pancetta Gravy
Pancetta, Sage & Rosemary Turkey
Spatchcocked Turkey (partly deboned – easy for Thanksgiving)
Turkey Hachis Parmentier (fantastic casserole for left over turkey)
Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Tetrazzini (adapted from Pioneer Woman)
White Turkey Chili


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Other!

Pizza with Chicken, Red Onion and Kalamata Olives
Chicken Broth from Penzey’s
Crockpot Chicken Paprikash
Pasta with Artichoke Hearts, Broccoli, Chicken & Lemon
Steeping Chicken (a preparation for chicken breasts – easy)

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