Hey Bookworm!

A blog for books and the people who love them.

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Plights of a Bookworm #7: Reading Addiction

They say I gotta go to rehab, I say no, no no…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week, our esteemed mayor went to rehab (we think), confirming what I had been saying all along; there no such thing as a casual crack user. That, unlike other things (Baseball cards, scratching mosquito bites or Starbucks cinnamon dolce lattes), you can’t simply go out once in a while with some buddies and…

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So, heres the thing. I had a plan for the last week to make a chocolate pie using a recipe LOOSELY derived from “Minnys’ Chocolate Pie” (also known as “Revenge Pie” and “Eat my Shit” Pie) from Kathryn Stocketts’ “The Help”. The recipe and the book sat on my desk for a week, I just could not get motivated to make this pie or write this post. For those of you not familiar with the book (shame on you!), it takes place in 1962 Mississippi, and is the story of a white, privileged, 22-year old who sets out to write the story of black Mississippi housemaids and the prejudice they endure. It is a fantastic book and everyone should read it. There is also a movie, which is actually very good if you’re not the reading sort (double shame!)

But about this pie. Minny, one of the maids, gets her revenge on her very cruel former boss by baking her a very special chocolate pie. I had intended to make a similar pie (without the special ingredient), but I just couldn’t do it. Even knowing that my pie would be a simple chocolate pie, my stomach churned at the very thought of a replica revenge pie. So not only is it not Thursday, this is NOT a recipe from a book.

This is my recipe for regular chocolate pie. Regular. Chocolate. Pie.

From:FoodandWine.com

1 packaged pie dough crust, such as Pillsbury How much do I love when recipes call for something pre-made? A lot. That’s how much.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Ease the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively Oh sure, “decorative”.

2. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned. I have no pie weights. If you also have no pie-baking accessories from 1872, just bake it and squish it down if it starts to puff up.

3. Wine. From now on, step 3 will always be wine.

4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.

5. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center.

6.Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking.No

7. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely (somewhat. Then realize that cooling is what keeps the pie from being liquid. Let it cool completely in the fridge, and cover your mistakes with whipped cream.) before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.

Verdict: Extremely sweet. See-through-time kind of sweet. But pretty tasty, especially with copious amounts of whipped cream!

 

Book Cookin So, heres the thing. I had a plan for the last week to make a chocolate pie using a recipe LOOSELY derived from “Minnys’ Chocolate Pie” (also known as “Revenge Pie” and “Eat my Shit” Pie) from…

Filed under Book Recipes Chocolate Pie The Help

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Review Time: A Train in Winter

Review Time:

In the years following WW2, there was a surge of psychological papers published discussing the conditions in the Nazi Concentration camps and their impact on survivors. The concentration camps, although undeniably horrible, offer a unique opportunity to explore human behavior under the most desperate and deplorable of conditions.
One such paper by Elmer Luchterhand* determined that the basic unit…

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Filed under A Train in Winter Book Review Caroline Moorehead French Revolution

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10 Terrible Truths About Spring Cleaning

I love spring cleaning. It means that summer is around the corner, it’s usually the first weekend we break out the BBQ and I just really love cleaning and organizing on an occasional basis (like when it’s an event…day to day I don’t care to pick up my things).

However, as with everything in this great and terrifying thing we call life, spring cleaning is not without its problems. And so, in…

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Filed under Cleaning Fails Pinterest Fails Spring Cleaning Top 10 List

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What’s in a Name?

Just a little bit of fun to liven up this Wednesday morning. I’m sure that everyone is familiar with the concept of pen names or pseudonyms. Writers have been using pen names for centuries for any number of reasons; to avoid prejudice due to feminine* or ethnic names, for popular authors to avoid over-exposure, for group writing efforts, because of a hard to pronounce name or simply because their…

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Filed under Book App Pen Names

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I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu. Food can make anything better. Even facing certain death in a kill-or-be-killed arena where you are being sent to atone for crimes committed by your ancestors. Apparently.

“What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest. “The lamb stew,” I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in. “The one with the dried plums?” asks Caesar. I nod. “Oh, I eat it by the bucketful.”

And, so this week for Book Cookin’ Thursday, We will be making Lamb Stew with Dried Plums from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
..or rather, the “No-Hunger Games”, if this stew works out!

* pauses for laughs*

Anyone?

Fine, all puns aside, the recipe I used is from the website notquitenigella.com , and you can find and follow it along here. She has some great pictures of every step in the recipe, and modifications for pressure cookers and stove top methods.

Let’s Cook! May the odds be ever in our favor.

Serves 4

  • 1 kilo, 1 inch diced lamb neck (also called scotch fillet-you can also use lamb fillet, diced leg or shoulder).
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cups beef or lamb stock
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 500g/1 pound small chat potatoes roughly the same size
  • 1/4 cup pitted prunes (am I the only one who didn’t know that prunes are dried plums?)
  • 1/4 cup Turkish dried apricots (Ah yes, the finest turkish dried apricots that the No Name brand makes…)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme (or use thyme and add some lemon zest)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • Salt if needed
  • Serve with: wild rice, regular rice or Paddy’s potato scones

Step 1 – On a shallow plate, mix the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the lamb pieces shaking off any excess.

Step 1a- Regret leaving the prep work for this recipe until after work, especially when “after work” is midnight. Lousy evening shift. :(

Step 2 – Heat your cast iron pot or a frying pan on medium to high heat and brown the lamb pieces in the oil in three or four batches. Then add the garlic and onion and stir until the onions become translucent.

Step 3- If using a slow cooker: Add the stock, sugar, carrots, potatoes, prunes, apricots, rosemary, lemon thyme, bay leaves and ginger beer to the lamb and onion mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste to see whether salt is needed
Okay, I’m pretty tired, but I did not see sugar ANYWHERE in the ingredients list. What kind of sugar? How much sugar? I am adding no sugar, and I  do NOT appreciate deception when I’m trying my best to be good and follow the recipe.

Step 4- Clean up after yourself, because if memory serves, J HATES it when he goes to bed after cleaning practically the whole house only to then waking up to an unholy mess his wife made after work. It’s like his least favorite thing, aside from K-Os and people who don’t stand up during the national anthem.

Step 5- Watch an episode of Nashville, eat a handful of Ritz crackers and a Cheesestring and fall asleep

Step 6- Cook, add some salt and LOTS of pepper when you realize you added a bottle of ginger beer instead of a cup and therefore the stew is very sweet.

 
Verdict: Sweetness aside, this was actually pretty tasty. Make sure that you only add a cup of ginger beer and then I would actually recommend this. I’ve never prepared lamb before, because I didn’t know how, but this was easy, healthy, filling and yummy! Would I choose it as my last meal before entering the arena? No, but I would make it again! Success!

Book Cookin Thursday #6: I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu.

Filed under Book Recipes Hunger Games Hunger Games Stew Lamb stew with dried plums

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Plight of a Bookworm #6: The Book Hangover

If you’ve been there, you know how this goes. It’s 2am. You’ve been reading this wonderful book for hours, ever since your 11pm “I’ll just read a few pages before I go to sleep” claim. It was a lie then, and you knew it. And just as you knew you would, you keep on reading, long, long into the night.

You have to be up in 6 hours to go to work/ school/ raise children.

“Just until the end of this…

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Filed under Book Hangover Bookworm problems plight of a bookworm

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Lessons from a Friend

Recently, my close group of friends lost one of our own. I”ve had the same friends since high school (and the same taste in music, but that’s neither here nor there), and so even though I had lost contact with this person, the loss is real and palpable.
It’s a complicated thing to mourn a loss that isn’t yours to mourn. My friend left behind a wife and daughters, parents and siblings. This loss…

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Filed under Life Lessons Loss

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Review Time: The 100-Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

Review Time: The Hundred-Year Old Man

Jonas Jonassons’ sensation “The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared”is one one of the recent “it-books” to grace every list and on the lap of every subway rider. It has the distinction of being the most sold book in Sweden in 2010 and was made into a movie that did very well in Europe and I would not be surprised if a North American debut was in its future. Before I go…

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Filed under Book Review Jonas Jonasson Review The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared