cooking & reading

Posted by on September 14, 2010 in cook, other things | 5 comments

It happens every summer, I just have to take a break from the computer, and so the blog suffers. Mostly I've been cooking and reading, and trying to stay cool up here in the mountains. Sadly, I haven't been taking many pictures, so  you will just have to imagine the following: fresh pea risotto with lemon zest (this would also work well with frozen peas. My secret ingrediant? Just add a couple tablespoons of cream at the very end); apricot yogurt popsicles (apricot nectar make surprisingly delicious popsicles, I highly recommend it!), white chocolate layer cake with apricot filling (there will be more on this at a later time, I am attempting to learn to make Italian buttercream, and my first go-round was a 
complete failure), and pasta salads (one with fresh tomatoes, fresh corn, fresh basil, and a lime-cumin dressing. Another, using orzo, with pesto, pistachios, golden raisins and green olives). I'm pretty 
sure I'll be making all of these things again soon, so there may be pictures and official recipes someday. Oh yes, I did manage a pizza photo:


But it seems that my photography mojo is temporarily lacking. I'm hoping it will be back soon.

So, the pizza. It's a summer favorite I like to call bruschetta pizza. Roll out some dough, drizzle with olive oil, rub with a cut clove of garlic and bake just until it starts browning and is cooked through. As soon as you take it out of the oven, top with a mixture of diced tomatoes, fresh basil, salt & pepper and olive oil & vinegar to taste. I used some lovely heirloom tomatoes, and a little balsamic vinegar. Then you can top that with a salad lightly dressed with more oil & vinegar. I even added some crumbled feta to this one. I especially like an arugula salad, but this spring mix was delicious too. 

I've been doing lots of reading this summer, so just in case you're looking for something good to read, here are a few suggestions for you: 

  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers by Sara Kate Lynch (Artisan cheesemakers in Ireland, a long, lost granddaughter, a Wall Street trader, down on his luck, and lots of other quirky characters, very cute!)
  • The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Novels) and The English Assassin  by Daniel Silva (The beginnings of a series featuring Gabriel Allon, art restorer and former Israeli super-spy. They're pretty decent thrillers. I'll continue the series when I'm in the mood for a satisfying thriller, but I'm not so invested in the characters that I have to finish one and immediately pick up the next)
  • Bruno, Chief of Police (Vintage) by Martin Walker (A small town in Provence, a police officer who avoids making arrests, villagers avoiding EU health inspections of their cheeses, sausages and patés, lovely descriptions of food, oh, and a grisly, mysterious, murder. What could be better? First in a series, and I'm eagerly awaiting the second installment from the library)
  • The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia De Luce Mystery 2) by Alan Bradley (I love 11-year-old sleuth, Flavia.)
  • The Spellman Files: A Novel (Izzy Spellman Mysteries) , Revenge of the Spellmans: A Novel , and Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel by Lisa Lutz (I actually listened to all these while driving to and from work, I love the narrator, Christina Moore, and the books are so fun. I was laughing out loud while stuck in traffic, and didn't want to get out of the car. They're just a fun, light read. If you're a Stephanie Plum fan, you'll probably enjoy these as well)
  • This Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George (I've been reading the Inspector Lynley series for quite awhile. The last few books have not been as good, so it was nice to see the series improving a bit with this latest novel. There was a character I didn't really like, and hated seeing them hooking up with one of the regulars. I also listened to this one, and it was all I could do to not yell at them to knock it off. But that's only a small portion of the book, the mystery itself is quite good, lots of little twists at the end)
  • Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (So suspenseful! Very dark, but also compelling! Who hasn't read these yet?)
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson (So charming! But it also deals with issues like racism in a small English village, so it's not just fluff. There's also some lovely romance which I enjoyed, and I really liked the characters)
  • The Hunger Games , Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) , and Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (thankfully, I only heard about this trilogy shortly before the final book came out last month. I would have hated to wait! These are so, so good. Don't let the fact that they are being marketed as Young Adult books deter you, or the fact that they are sort of sci-fi/fantasy. These are the sort of books that will stay with you for a long, long time. They are brutal, but there is so much depth to them. I'm still thinking about Katniss and all the other competitors in The Hunger Games, and the world they live in. There's just so much to consider)

There's more, but that will do for now. I added that little amazon widget to the sidebar, over there to your right, and I've put some of my favorites there, so if you did happen to want to get them (or anything else from amazon, for that matter) it would be ever so lovely to shop from here. I'll earn a tiny bit of cash, and you'll get a good book. Win-win! I like this better than the Blogher ads I had there before. They got on my nerves, so I finally took them down. 


  1. Welcome back! have done a lot of reading. Glad all is well!

  2. Glad to see you here! And thanks for all the book suggestions – I’m always looking for things to get from Audible and as I’ve really liked a few you mentioned (Major Pettigrew, the Stieg Larsson trio) I’ll bet I’ll like some of the others too!

  3. Do you have a account? It's a great way to find lots of good books to read and keep track of what you have read. Feel free to add me as a friend if you do! 
    I've recently become addicted to audio books too. I've got an audible account and request them from the library all the time too (it's a bit more labor intensive to transfer them to my ipod, but it's so nice to go for a walk on my lunch hour and listen to a book, not to mention listening during my long commute). The narrators make such a difference, don't you think? I borrowed the Flavia de Luce audio book from the library, and the narrator just rubbed me the wrong way (and I usually love British narrators), so I had to request the printed book and just read it myself :o) 
    I highly recommend The Hunger Games, plus, I bet your kids would like them too-I think they appeal to boys and girls. I actually listened to the second one (Catching Fire), but I didn't care for that narrator a whole lot either, she was too breathy or something. Luckily the story was so engrossing at times that I was able to not think about her voice. 

  4. You’ll be happy to know that I am finally reading the first of the #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I think it’s only taken me 2 or 3 years since you first recommended them to me. I have to say, I’m only about 30 pages into it, but it’s living up to my expectations thus far.:-)

  5. If you get a chance, after you've read a book or two, get the series dvds, it's so good! They really captured the flavor of the books, and it was really well cast. 

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