Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bookish Review: The Lost Angel

This is the first book I've read by Sierra, and though it was by no means my favorite mystical/religious thriller, it did keep me turning pages. The book includes an interesting glossary of people and places used in the book, highlighting the historical research behind the fictional work, which I thought was a nice touch. The glossary did not always make completely clear which aspects of the definitions are based on the mythology in the novel and which are based in historical fact or belief, but it was still a good addition. The book involves psychic power and mystical stones that open up direct communication with God--but the stones can also wreak havoc and possibly bring about the end of the world.

The main character annoyed me a bit, as she gets used a lot in the book and eventually decides she's okay with that, which seemed an odd conclusion, but as I said, the book did keep me turning pages once I started. Definitely not my favorite book, but interesting. I'd guess people who liked his other book would probably like this one as well.

Thanks to Atria books for sending me an ARC of this title. Receiving a free copy did not affect my review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cookish: What's for dinner?

This is a really easy and pleasing pasta dish: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pasta/avocado-basil-pasta/

My adaptations are below:

  • ounces dried bow tie and/or wagon wheel pasta
    2 medium avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and coarsely chopped
    6 slices bacon, crisp cooked, drained, and crumbled
    2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
    2 ears of corn, roasted, kernels cut from cob
    1 small tomato, chopped

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Add the hot pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cookish: What's for dinner?

My boyfriend and I have taken to making our own pizza lately. Here's what we do:

I make my favorite tomato sauce, using whole tomatoes in a can, and add some  pizza seasoning (mostly oregano and basil) and crushed red pepper, and cook it down a little more than I would for pasta sauce and then use an immersion blender to get it smooth.

To make the dough (adapted from rachelraymag.com):
1 tsp honey
1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
3 cups bread flour (plus more for kneading)
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs oil (plus extra for the bowl)

Stir the honey into the water to dissolve, then stir in yeast and let it sit for 5 mins, until foamy. In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to mix well, then add the oil and yeast mixture and blend until a ball of dough forms. Next, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minuted (good workout!). Put the dough in a large bowl and toss with a small amount of oil til coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1-1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size. punch down the dough, turn out onto a floured surface and cut into quarters. Roll into balls and place in the fridge for 10-48 hours  (I have done less time on occasion), or place in the freezer for longer storage (defrost in fridge overnight). Let come to room temp for 1 hour before stretching into pizzas.

These size dough balls make smallish pizzas,depending upon how thick you like your crust. My bf happily eats a whole one by himself; I usually have a piece or two leftover.

Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500 degrees. Top your pizza as desired (he likes tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni; I like olive oil and garlic, sauteed spinach and mushrooms, and cheese). Bake for 8-10 minutes each.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cookish: Something Sweet

Summer means berries, and I made two tasty berry desserts lately that I would like to share with you.

First my new favorite blueberry muffin recipe, from Joy the Baker: http://joythebaker.com/2009/07/browned-butter-blueberry-muffins/

The only changes I  made were using skim milk instead of whole milk and using only 1  1/2 cups of berries. They are awesome! She also has a new variation I haven't tried yet: http://joythebaker.com/2012/06/lemon-blueberry-poppy-seed-muffins/

The next one is a berry pound cake from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2012/06/triple-berry-summer-buttermilk-bundt/

I used blueberries & blackberries, because that is what I had, and divided the batter between a 6-cup bundt and a loaf pan, because I don't have a 10-cup bundt pan. I used frozen berries and made my own buttermilk (1 tbs vinegar to 1 cup millk; let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and you're good to go). It was delicious and pretty.

You can't go wrong with either recipe!