04 June 2013

Second Glances - Alexa Adams

Summary: A years has passed since the conclusion of "First Impressions," and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering. Expectations are high for the two youngest sister to do equally well. Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season leaving Lydia to bear the burden of the classroom alone. Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity?
Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman intimate terms with her hosts. She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure. Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand? Join the re imagined cast of "Pride and Prejudice" as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.

Comments: Just prior to reading this book, I went back and re-read "First Impressions" and while that is in no means a requirement, it did bring me back to Ms. Adams lovely way with words. She has a gift for being expressive without over describing scenes and her dialogue is realistic and often quite funny. While there are conflicts in the story, they too make sense and are not drawn out angst ridden affairs - they make sense in the context of the story.

This is, largely, Kitty's story and it's nice to see her become a more three dimensional character and her own woman. She still is young, but you start to see the beginnings of a solid mind, practical common sense, but still tinged with some insecurities and a lack of experience in the "real" wold of London society. She's wary, as if afraid that a wrong move will ruin all her chances, and that is largely true.
I enjoyed seeing Lizzie and Darcy as guides for her and Georgianna as a confidante. You begin to understand a bit of Kitty through her interactions with them. Sir James Stratton is a bit of an odd bird - going his own way, which is much easier for a man, a titled, wealthy man at that, to do. It may be his own oddity that makes Kitty the most conscious.
I suppose there is only one part of the book that gives me pause. I think I would have liked Lizzie to pulled Kitty aside once, but perhaps it would have taken twice, to explain that first impressions are not always what you think.
A relaxing comfortable read, "Second Glances" is fun and entertaining. I look forward to what Ms. Adams has coming out next!

I received a copy of this book for an honest review. 

12 January 2013

Wait, what the hell?

My cooktop/oven has inexplicably gone into Sabbath mode - WTH?
This is derailing my serious cooking plans for the weekend. I had my spinach and artichoke stuffed shells ready and the oven was heating to 350 degrees when it all went pear-shaped. Bugger. 
We have it off now - supposedly for 72 hours - is the Sabbath that long? Really?  Hopefully, all sanity will be returned, but until then I'll be going to the MotH's* mom's house to finish off my plans for weekend cooking - I mean, don't mess with a girl that wants to make America's Test Kitchen Butterscotch Cookies - please. 
If this is the best the oven can do, well, I'm not impressed. 
But I am annoyed. 
Perhaps mimosas at brunch at Jaco's tomorrow will help. 

*Man of the House (see Quiet Man)

21 December 2012

Christmas Cooking - 2012

We'll I fell off the wagon - the blogging wagon. But I'm ready to start again and what better way than for Christmas. Here are the plans.

Christmas Eve - at my brother and sister-in-law's house. She is from Texas so we're having Mexican food - yeah. I really like that idea. I'm responsible for salsa and guacamole. I'll have to go with canned tomatoes since there are no decent tomatoes this time of year - even in Florida. I don't care what color they are they just don't taste like a tomato - it's just not right. 

Christmas Day - am - my traditional Sausage Balls w/mustard and/or grape jelly (may sound gross, but don't comment until you have tried it  - we had these every year growing up. This year, I'll be using the Cook's Country version to see if I like it better - I expect that I will. My personal favorite for Christmas - latkes with applesauce and sour cream. Finally, I plan on trying my mom's recipe for banana nut bread - we'll see how that turns out. Happily, the Boy will be in attendance. Music = Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, The Klezmatics - Jews with Horns. 

Christmas Day - pm - back to my brother and sister-in-law's house for turkey dinner - fried turkey. It's truly an amazing thing. I am responsible for cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole (more like dessert than vegetable) and a dessert - probably pecan pie from America's Test Kitchen - it is truly fool-proof. Oh, and an appetizer - mini sweet potato biscuits with horseradish cream and ham - excellent.

Then on the the list of etc.
M&M Cookies, Lemon Curd (have Meyer Lemons from my tree!!), Chocolate Croissants, Sauteed Apples, Spinach & Mushroom Quiche, Peanut Butter Fudge, Parmesan Crackers (new recipe - like I need another one).

Then it's on to planning New Year's Eve! Hot damn. 

27 August 2012


Maybe my slightly (?) superstition-ness worked. Since the storm is going to NOLA - not that I wish it upon them. 
But... It's still windy as all heck here tonight and raining, slightly, but I'll take this over a direct hit. There is still much more Season to go.  It is what it is. 

26 August 2012

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Bleu Cheese and Herbs

Yes, I deviate from the recipe, but only for very good reasons. Plain store-bought bread crumbs taste like ... um, crappy cardboard. Never use them. Ever.

12 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2  pieces of bread, whirred into crumbs in food processor
3/4 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola or grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Marinate the tomatoes for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and Gorgonzola cheese (and additional garlic if you like). Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the bread crumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.

Arrange the cooked tomatoes on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Source: Food Network

25 August 2012

Isaac - well this might be craptacular

I'm not happy - but this is the season... it's what is expected. Crap. Thank goodness the generator is in working order. And that I get mimosas tomorrow morning. It will be necessary. That is Sunday. 
And Monday will bring what it brings. It is life. 


Spent most of today going through hurricane supplies, purchasing a few things, checking the generator, and making sure we've watched all the clothes. 
Expect to spend tomorrow putting away all said hurricane supplies, etc. Looks like it is going east of us. 
Now, we'll still get rain in bands and wind, but we're on the good (west) side of the storm as it's projected. 
We'll see what tomorrow brings. 

Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake

Literally, the best cheesecake ever. From Three Cities of Spain

1 crumb-crust recipe made with finely ground graham crackers
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
16 oz sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Make crumb crust as directed. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. Let stand in baking pan on a rack 5 minutes. Leave oven on.

Make topping:
Stir together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake with topping 10 minutes.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side from pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

well, that did not work or at least not yet

groan ....we will not deal with this until it is past Cuba --- - or at least I will not ... that will be  Sunday ... ugh.

It's the Season

Two people in the office today requested that I start my summer superstition post haste. In my own defense, it has worked for many years now - warding off hurricanes from our area.
So what is it? I print copies of the National Hurricane Center's 5-day cone of probability and put them on the front left (if you're sitting in my chair) of my desk -- where anyone can see them as they walk by my office.
So take that Issac.
(fingers crossed)