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Just finished 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.

Read Grace Unshakled, by Irene Huising. From Amazon’s page, it says: “In the year 2025, 17-year-old Grace Duncan finds herself in shackles because of her faith in Christ. An obedient daughter and stellar student, doing time in jail was never on her mental radar, despite the changes in religious laws [this takes place here in the United States] over the past few years. Through twists and turns in circumstances, Grace and a small band of Christians in Newport Beach, California begin a journey to discover what it means to follow Christ with unwavering faith in the midst of increasing persecution. Facing the potential loss of all her hopes and dreams, would Christ be enough?” We read this for one of my book clubs, and it’s a scary thought about what it could mean if we take God out of our country. The author is a friend of a friend and she attended our book club meeting to share about how she came to write this book. I don’t often share my faith here on my website, but this book made me stop and think about the direction our government is going, removing more and more our ability to worship God. Or to worship in any religion. Will this book ever make waves in the book world? Probably not. My copy may be a pre-edited version, as it contained numerous typos and formatting errors. But they didn’t detract from the subject, just the cosmetics. The book doesn’t come to a resolution; in fact it leaves you hanging, as some books do. It was intentional (obviously), but left me wondering about the “end of the story.”

Also just finished reading 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.

Read The German Girl: A Novel by Correa. It chronicles the story of a wealthy German Jewish family in Berlin, as the Nazis arrive and make life a living hell. The family is lucky (I guess you could say this) to be allowed to purchase passage on the M.S. St. Louis, a passenger liner, to take them to “the Americas.” The destination is actually Cuba. The story is told from two voices – the teenage daughter in this story, and from a current-day distant family member who is trying to learn about her ancestry. Of the 900+ passengers on the ship, only a few were allowed to disembark since the Cuban President decided he needed more money to accept them. Most families had no money left, as the Reich had taken nearly all of their assets. The daughter and her very eccentric mother were allowed to stay in Cuba.  The remaining passengers are rejected by the U.S. too, and eventually return to Europe, where most of the Jews end up dying in concentration camps. The story goes back and forth from the 1939 journey to current day as the link between the two women is slowly revealed. I had a tough time sometimes, tracking the people in this book, but the story was very riveting. It’s based on facts about the ship (see Wikipedia link above if you’re interested). A shameful chapter in history.

Recently 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) – 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 Margaret of York (a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine),  who was 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 the 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. 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

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
Sous Vide Red Chile Chicken Breasts
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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