Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves is a little bit like Eat, Pray, Love but with more sex and less meditation. Sounds good, right? The book documents Eaves passion for travel, which starts when she takes a school trip to Europe when she in high school. Her obsession with travel is sparked by a boy she meets on the plane, and throughout "Wanderlust" it is apparent that her desire to travel to new places and keep moving is inextricably linked to her relationship with men and sex, which is also defined by her desire to keep moving and seek out new experiences and partners. The book is a great combination of relationship confessional and travelogue. Eaves is undoubtedly a bit irresponsible in the way she treats some of the men in her life, but she owns up to that fact and candidly explores why she treats people the way she does. My favorite parts of Eat, Pray, Love were the travel parts, and to be honest I suffered through the soul searching. In Wanderlust, you have all the great explorations of far off lands, with some navel gazing, but I found the Eaves' navel gazing much more interesting and tolerable. The beautiful salad above has no direct link to the book, but I came upon the recipe when I was searching for something kinda sexy and exotic. The salad is a great anecdote to some of the heavier eating we are doing these days without giving up any pleasure. It was easy and so delicious and will definitely become part of my regular rotation.
This day after Thanksgiving cocktail, the question I have for you is, do you want to be good or bad. If you over did it on the holiday and you want to be good, to cleanse, I have for you the above green smoothie, featuring the super healthy and virtuous kale! If you over did it on the holiday and you don't care, and you want to continue being bad, I have for you the pumpkin butter cocktail below called the homecoming. A farewell to fall and all things pumpkin, it is a doosy. I'll tell you how to make both after the jump.
Ken Follett likes to write really long books. If you have read his work before, you have likely read the large tomes "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End," which both, in about 1000 pages, tell the story of two generations of characters in England in the middle ages, with a real focus on the church and the introduction of the architecture of grand cathedrals in England. Follett has a knack for sharing a lot of useful information (about history, about architecture) via some juicy stories, and he has done it again in Fall of Giants - which I liked much more than his previous books. Part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much is that I am a bit of a history buff - I am particularly interested in 20th century history and Fall of Giants is an epic about World War I. Unlike most war books which tend to tell only one side of the story, in Fall of Giants WWI is seen from multiple sides of the war - the main characters are from England, the United States, Russia and Germany. It was also a riveting account of the domestic events that shaped the WWI period that were so earth shifting at the time - the Bolshevik revolution, the rise of the Labor (and Labour) movement and the fight for womens' suffrage. Follett weaves all of this major history with love stories, secret marriages, illicit affairs, and unwed mothers - the epic told from the perspective of the every day. As I was thinking about what to make for the book, I googled around "WWI food" and what kept coming up is the WWI Salvation Army doughnut recipe. More about the book and the recipe after the jump
Cocktail Hour Number Two! If you are looking for an unfussy but festive cocktail for your Thanksgiving gathering, this is it. Also, if you are looking for relief from the crush of crowds at your local Whole Foods grabbing at the heritage turkeys and bags of stuffing mix, this will also do the trick. I had this cocktail last week at a fun little party my friend and I went to at my local J.Crew store for "very special" customers to introduce the new holiday collection. Now, I am sure anyone could have attended the party, but my credit card statement confirms that J.Crew and I have a "very special" relationship. This elegant but simple cocktail fit in perfectly amongst the soft cashmere, sparkly sequins and rabid J.Crew shoppers at the party. Want to know whats in it?
Here is an improvised pizza with some non-typical pizza ingredients and a whole wheat no-knead crust. It is amazing how little effort went into it and how wonderful it turned out. This is one a few book-free posts. There are a couple of reasons for this - first, I am trying to post more often, with great seasonal recipes, and I can definitely cook quicker than I can read! Second, I am on about page 850 of a close to 1000 page book, so it has obviously taken me longer to get through it than my typical book. Next weekend I will (hopefully) be ready to go with some book/food combos! For now, enjoy this wonderful pizza.
This is a first of what I hope to be a weekly post where I share a cocktail or a delicious cocktail snack. Just a quick little post with something yummy for you as you begin your weekend. This week, we have an apple cider cocktail - with just three ingredients - bourbon, apple cider and rosemary. The recipe and some info about the bourbon after the jump.
This gratin/pot pie is a "kitchen sink" creation of the vegetables, pastry dough and cheese that I had left over from a fiasco of sorts. I had planned to make some sort of lattice pot pie for Jane Smiley's "Private Life" to represent the main character's feeling of being trapped in a loveless, unhappy marriage. This veggie pot pie came about because I had purchased a whole bunch of vegetables and other ingredients and made a batch of savory pie dough in preparation for going to a "Master Chef" open call here in Boston. For the open call you were required to bring a dish for the judges to taste, and you may be sitting there all day, so it should be something that tasted good cold. For those of you that don't know, Master Chef is a pretty cheesy show on Fox where celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey screams profanities at a bunch of amateur cooks who want to become a "Master Chef" (prizes are that title, some cash and a cookbook deal). So, anyway, I thought it may be fun to go to the open call even though I didn't really fit the mold - I am not super hot, a fireman who cooks for my crew, or someone with a really poignant sob story. Despite that, I took a day off from work the day before the Open Call and planned to spend the day in the kitchen experimenting and coming up with a really good savory/tart quiche and fall salad combo. Unfortunately, I was unable to cook that day because of a plumbing malfunction in my apartment. So, I have all these great ingredients so decided to throw them together and make this rich vegetable gratin with a lattice crust. It is sort of random, but definitely works and would be a great vegetarian main course for Turkey day. More about the book after the jump.
A few weeks ago, I finally got around to reading the final book in Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I was inspired to do so by the totally amazing trailer for the American movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have seen the first two Swedish movies of the trilogy and thought they were really great and Noomi Rapace, the actress who plays Lisbeth Salander, spot on. That said, I personally believe any movie can be made better with the addition of Daniel Craig, n'est-ce pa? Anyway, the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest was much like the other two Salander books and picked up where the middle book left off. This book had a lot more political intrigue than the last two - which was both a good and bad thing. Good because it was interesting and suspenseful without being overly violent, bad because it frankly included way too much about Swedish history and politics which got pretty boring in some parts. But all in all, while the series had its faults, Larrson created a truly unique and compelling character in Lisbeth Salander, and I am sorry that there will be no more books about her. A mini review and these birds nests after the jump. If you have not read the series and intend to, probably best to just skip this post.