The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Onion Tarts and Sam’s Club Samples at Book Club

For this month’s bookclub, I was so totally swamped with family and friends celebrations, cooking, caroling, decorating, helping abandoned animals from those sad commercials, and doing my Christmas service work, that I totally forgot to read the book!

Of course, that is not true. I was just lazy all the way around, because there is no lazy like Christmas break lazy and Christmas break lazy don’t stop.

Everyone who read the book which was basically everyobe except me, though, liked it fine. The book was The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker. I loved her book Once Upon a Day, but I just didn’t get motivated enough to read this one. Actually, I wasn’t motivated to much at all like get dressed or brush my teeth on most days.

I did cook one thing and prepare something else for bookclub, though. Go me!

So, we had been to Sam’s and one of the many samples that I was abusing to fill Miss Helper up for free was multi-grain crackers with prosciutto on top. They weren’t too bad; she said that were good, so I had one myself. I bought the ingredients and remade them at bookclub. Simple.

I also made an onion tart, or at least that is what I am calling it.
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I found the recipe in a magazine, but then I reworked it. I liked it a lot, but I do love onions. And cheese. And tarts.
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All the way around, it was good. We also ate some chicken salad stuffed in tiny little tomatoes, sausage balls, salmon on crackers with a dill sauce, and a reuben dip that was divine. It was a good bookclub, even if I have no clue what the book was about.
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Onion Tart:
1/2 stick of butter
One three pound bag of sweet onions, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
One frozen piecrust, thawed
1/2 cup of Parmesan-I used the kind on the green container, if you know what I mean
1 egg, beaten

In a large skillet, melt the butter and then add the onions. Let them get a little tender, and then add the garlic. Cook the onions and garlic over low heat for a long time, about 45 minutes or until the onions turn golden brown. Meanwhile, line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the piecrust with a rolling pin and shape into a rectangle the size of the cookie sheet. Transfer the piecrust to the cookie sheet. When the onions and garlic are done, add half of the Parmesan and mix. Spread the onion mixture on the piecrust leaving a rim of piecrust around the edges. Fold those edges over and brush the edges with the egg.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400. Then, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top and bake for 15 minutes more. Broil for 3 or 4 minutes if necessary to get the edges brown.

This does not have to be hot to be good, but it was really good while it was hot.



Defending Jacob with Fruit!

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Bookclub! One of my favorite things ever.

Last night, we met to discuss William Landay’s book Defending Jacob. The book was twisted. I think I was the only one who didn’t love it, but I did like it. I enjoyed the curves in the story and the way it left so much to think about. We had a great discussion about it, and we realized that there are lots of ways to interpret the story and what happened to the family. It was a great book to talk about, but I would not want to read it without a group of friends to bounce ideas off of. Thank goodness for bookclub friends.

We also, of course, ate great food.

My mom made her now famous asparagus via Trisha Yearwood. We also had homemade pimento cheese, chicken salad from Sam’s, and lots of fresh fruit. Devine.

Dessert by our hostess was lemon ice box pie ice cream from Southern Living. Amazing.

I made a few new dishes since I had the time to try something new. Another reason to love summer, I say.
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First, I made Rachael Ray’s Cherry-Mozzarella Crisps since I found good looking fresh cherries at Wal-Mart. The recipe was easy. The cherries turned into this beautiful color and sweet sauce.
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Next time, I would flip the bread before I topped them with the cheese, because the bottoms were a great golden brown color while the tops looked kind of greasy from the olive oil.
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Too bad I figured that out too late. When I took them to dinner, they were not as good as when I tested them at home while they were hot. They were still interesting, though.
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I also made a Monte Cristo Strata from Food and Wine. It was a hit, and it was easy. I got everything I needed from Kroger’s deli counter and used smoked Gouda. Easy. I assembled the dish then let it sit in the refrigerator to absorb all the juices for about an hour. I also adjusted my baking time to about 45 minutes to make sure the middle was done.
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A good time was had by all.



How to Be Cool with Tomatoes

Book Club this month was the book How to Be Cool by Johanna Edwards.  The book was bleh and predicatable, but the food was-as usual-very, very good.

Do I attend book club just for the food?

Sometimes.

This month, we had a plethora of fresh garden tomato recipes, and they were a hit.

We had fresh salsa, mozzerella and tomato dip, tomato bread, tomato sandwiches, and of course, chicken salad.

I made steak and chicken quesidillas with guacamole with tomatoes and also spinach, tomato, and bacon dip.  My dishes were fine, but I had some other favorites.

One of my favorites was Amy’s broiled tomatoes.  I copied her dish by slicing two fresh tomatoes into quarter-inch slices.  In a glass casserole dish, I placed the tomatoes in a single layer and coated them with olive oil.  On top of that, I generously sprinkled salt, paper, basil, and Romano cheese.  I baked that in the oven at 350 for twenty minutes, and then I broiled them for two minutes.

They were delicious and so, so easy.  A few more minutes in the oven would not have hurt them, but I was happy the way they were.

A good use of the many, many tomatoes that are in the garden now.  Our tomatoey book club was fun, even if the book was not.



The Peach Keeper

Book club this month was The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.

The book was a nice, safe, happy read. Nothing was offensive. The language and innuendos were mild. The end was pleasant.

It was, in other words, a far cry from last month’s book, Fifty Shades of Grey.

And, in comparison, maybe a tad boring. Still a good book, though.

The food, however, was awesome. The theme, of course, was all things peachy.

The stars of the night, in my opinion, were two dishes. One, our vet friend made Southern Living’s marinated cheese. I have seen this recipe many times, but it looked a little too difficult to me. She took the time to make it, and it was divine. The cheeses were out of this world. So, so good.

My other favorite was the host’s spicy watermelon. She made this dish last year, and it was just as good this year. It was fresh and not too spicy. Love. Love. Love.

I made a hot mess with my dishes. Of course. When it comes to book club lately, I always seem to choke.

First, I made a Southern Living recipe that looked pretty interesting on paper-grilled peaches, onions, and bacon salad. Not having time to grill and it was too hot anyway, I made it in the house. I peeled and sliced five white peaches and macerated them in sugar. In a pan with a little oil, I sautéed an onion until it was nice and golden. On my griddle pan, I fried half a pound of bacon. When it was done on one side and almost done on the other, I covered it with brown sugar and pressed the sugar in letting it get good and hot. Meanwhile, I made the dressing according to the directions in the recipe.

I mixed the peaches, the onions, and the bacon after I chopped it into bite size pieces.

It was a pretty dish, and it wasn’t bad. My dressing was a little watery, but it was fine. Not really worth the time and effort, though. It needs tweaking. Maybe I’ll try again someday.

Doubt it.

I also made an attempt at a recipe I have done before, my friend Trish’s peach sandwiches. Only this time I made more of a dip type situation.

Why did I decide to mess with a good thing? Good question.

I used all the ingredients from before and then I chopped the fire out of them. I was going for an easier version but with the same taste as before.

Again, why is a good question here.

What happened was the pepper bacon made the whole shebang way peppery, which I thought was not a good thing. I asked my sister what she thought, thinking that she would be honest. She said it was fine.

Obviously she is not honest all the time. Since she doesn’t read this blog, I can say that.

She made potatoes wrapped in bacon with a sour cream sauce. Yum. Our mother made peach glazed ribs. We had a few fruit salsas and a great veggie pizza.

Good, good honest, peachy fun.



Fifty Shades of Grey and “Vanilla” Sandwiches
June 5, 2012, 6:59 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , ,

Book club this month was about That Book that everyone is talking about, Fifty Shades of Gray. The book and the food were very interesting, to say the least.

When I was trying to decide what to make for book club, it was a tough choice. I always try to match the theme of the book with my food. I had never in my life read a book quite like this one. It was very different.Since this book was mostly about only one thing, there weren’t very many culinary choices.

Something with cherries? Finger sandwiches? Or Paula Deen’s Better Than Sex Cake? Or a quiche, which we mispronounce as a quickie? Something spicy? My food linked to fornication experiences were limited.

Our discussion and the food, though, were good. We had the best chicken stir fry imaginable made from a friend’s mom’s recipe from her time living overseas in Japan. We also had Trisha Yearwood’s cheese straws and several great dips not related to “It.”

My sister made a quiche. She didn’t see the connection since she didn’t read the book. I thought that was hilarious.

We laughed our heads off talking about the book. Well, at least most of the book. We really couldn’t discuss the whole thing with turning fifty shades of red.

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I finally figured to play it safe with a sandwich. A boring, vanilla sandwich made with turkey, ham, tomatoes, bacon, and avocado. It was delicious and as exciting as I wanted to get.

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