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Currently Reading

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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

Recipes highlighted in red are some of my all-time favorites. The fish and shellfish recipes are divided up in several sections. Click on the title below to go to that section. There is some overlap – the SOUPS section of the index may have some fish recipes. These below are main dishes mostly.


Amber Halibut Steaks
Broiled Halibut with Lemon Aioli
Cornflake Crusted Halibut with Aioli
Crispy Parmesan Fish (Halibut) with Capers & Lemon
Greek Style Halibut
Halibut Balsamico
Halibut Osso Buco
Halibut Provencal with Yukon Gold Potatoes
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Orange Roughy!

Almond Crusted Orange Roughy
Parmesan Crusted Fish Filets
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Achiote Salmon with Beurre Blanc Sauce
Baked Salmon with Agave & Lime
Baked Salmon with Honey Mustard
Cedar-Planked Fire Roasted Salmon
Cedar-Planked Salmon
Chili-Rubbed Roasted Salmon
Fillet of Salmon with Dill Sauce (sous vide 140°)
Grilled Salmon a la Taku Lodge
Grilled Salmon with Lemon Piccata Caper Sauce
Slow Roasted Chipotle Salmon
Crispy Salmon with Lentil Salad
Grilled Salmon on Caesar Salad
Grilled Salmon with Watercress Salad
Mustard Salmon on Bean Ragu
Pancetta-Wrapped Salmon
Pan-Seared Salmon with Tomatoes
Pecan Crusted Salmon with Artichoke Tartar Sauce
Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Apricot Glaze
Poached Salmon with Herb Caper Vinaigrette
Salmon Cakes with Bacon (canned salmon)
Salmon Dill Salad (good for leftover salmon)
Salmon Moqueca (a fish soup)
Salmon Papillotes (foil pouches)
Salmon Steaks with Soy Sauce, Maple Glaze
Salmon with Leeks, Maple and Orange Sauce
Salmon with Asparagus Pesto
Salmon with Maple Syrup and Thyme
Salmon with Orange and Leek Sauce
Salmon with Parsnips
Salmon with Pickled Ginger
Steamed Salmon with Capers (done in a Lekue Steam Box)
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Tarragon Sauce for Salmon


Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique
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Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Zucchini and Lemony Cream Sauce
Barbecued Southern Shrimp
Caribbean Spinach Shrimp Salad
Crunchy Shrimp with Couscous Salad and Spicy Sauce
Grilled Shrimp with Bread Croutons and Romesco Sauce
Grilled Shrimp Scampi
Grilled Shrimp with Polenta and Corn Cakes
Grilled Shrimp with Tabouleh Salad
Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp
Risotto with Avocado Tomato Salsa and Shrimp
Seafood Paella
Shrimp Al Pastor on Pasta with Pineapple, Cilantro
Shrimp and Creamy Grits
Shrimp and Orzo Salad with Feta
Shrimp, Scallops & Calamari in Coconut Lime Sauce
Shrimp Khichdi (an Indian rice dish)
Shrimp Sliders

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Filet of Sole with Almond Sauce (Julia Child)
Filet of Sole Salad with Bacon, Shallots and Asian Dressing
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Skewered Swordfish Souvlaki
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Crispy Tilapia with Fennel Tzatziki Sauce
Indian Broiled Fish
Tilapia Curry with Roasted Indian Spices
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Broiled Trout with Bacon, Onions & Raisins
Trout Filets
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Clementine’s Tuna Pasta Salad>
Sicilian Tuna Salad (canned tuna)
Tuna La Scala (also uses canned tuna)
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BouillabaisseCurry Coconut Fish Stew
Fresh Crab Cakes
Sea Bass with Potato Leek Crust
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