Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rum Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa #FantasticalFoodFight

Our theme for Fantastical Food Fight this month is RUM.....Put me in coach!!!  Our coach being Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes and founder of Fantastical Food Fight.

I LOVE rum.....I love Island life....I love the tropics....I love scuba diving....I love alcohol.....I love girly drinks....I  love umbrella drinks....I love fruity drinks......

I refuse to make a drink for this month's challenge!!

It was very difficult for me not to make a drink.  Rum drinks hold a special place in my heart.  We enjoy Mojitos.  We love adding rum to teas, like this SpIced Tea and this Roobois Tea.  We serve Rum Punch at nearly every dive party we have. I added it to this Indian Mango Cooler and we serve it hot and buttery during the cold winter months.

I didn't want to serve it in a dessert!!

Though I love rum desserts and have shared several.  This Spiced Rum Pumpkin Cake is awesome. You will be proud to serve up this gorgeous Pina Colada Trifle.  I even use it in my Grandma's Raisin Bread.

I knew I wanted to use it in a savory presentation!!

I just wasn't sure what I should make.  I had previously shared recipes for Pulled Pork containing Rum.  Knowing that Rum and Pork are so compatible I decided to try it again.

I found this recipe for Rum Glazed Pork Tenderloin by Bobby Flay and immediately knew that I wanted to make it for this Fight.  I changed things up a bit to make it my own, pulled on my boxing gloves and jumped into the ring.

I did make some adjustments to the recipe.  Most notably, I used our homemade Rib Rub to flavor the meat and omitted some of the spices in the glaze.  I also grilled the scallions along with the pineapple for the salsa, and substituted pineapple juice for chicken broth.  Other than that just simple substitutions to use what I had on hand.

I served this up at a dinner party for some of my sister in law's family who came to visit while she was in town.  It was a huge hit.  The pork was cooked to a perfect medium rare which is perfectly acceptable by the USDA.  It was tender and juicy.

The salsa was the perfect accompaniment to the meat.  Slightly acidic, full of flavor with just a touch of heat from the jalapenos.

Rum Glazed Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Bobby Flay

4 T. olive oil
1/2  sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 T. dark brown sugar
1 c. dark rum
2 c. pineapple juice
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 Pork Tenderloins, silver skin removed
World's Best Rib Rub (recipe here)

Sprinkle both sides of the tenderloins with the rib rub massaging it in. Set aside while making the sauce.

In a large saucepan over med high heat cook the onion and garlic in the oil until softened and fragrant. Add the brown sugar, rum, juice and jalapeno to the pan.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Heat a grill to med high heat.  Grill the tenderloins, occasionally brushing with the sauce until crisp and charred on the outside and an internal temperature of 145* is reached.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with Pineapple Salsa (recipe below).  Print Recipe

Grilled Pineapple Salsa
adapted from Bobby Flay

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2" rounds
1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed and outer leaves removed
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
juice of 1 lime
1 t. agave syrup

Brush the pineapple and scallions with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Grill over med high heat until slightly charred and grill marks appear.  Remove from grill.  Chop the pineapple into chunks and place in a bowl.  Slice the scallions and add to the pineapple.  Place the lime juice, agave and jalapeno in a small jar with a lid and shake until emulsified.  Pour over the pineapple mixture and toss to coat. Print Recipe

More Rum Recipes included in this Rumble

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Julia!! #JuliaChild

Today is Julia Child's Birthday.  The iconic chef who taught so many that cooking a great meal was not only possible but a lot of fun as well.

She was the first "tv"chef, years before anyone ever dreamed that there would be an entire network devoted to nothing but cooking and food.

Julia has been an inspiration to many home cooks and professional chefs.  The movement brought about by her and her friend and cohort Jacques Pepin has evolved into quite the following of people who also document their food journeys on the internet through blogs.

We food bloggers dream of one day influencing just one person as much as Julia influenced the whole cooking community. In honor of Julia's birthday, our friends, Ellen of Family Around the Table and Cynthia of Feeding Big, invited a group of us to share a recipe that was written by Julia or one that we thought she would love.

I had just gotten back from the Farmer's Market where I had picked up this gorgeous head of cauliflower.  I pulled out my favorite Julia Child Cookbook and went to the Chofleur section.

Like all of Julia's recipes in this book, this is a simple process but is broken into several parts with each part being on a different page.  In this case, the bechemal is located in another section.  I have combined it all into one recipe to make life easier for you.  You're welcome.

This dish is not only easy but it can be made any time during the day and finished when you are ready to have dinner.  Cauliflower is blanched, combined with the sauce and topped with bread crumbs and shredded Swiss cheese.

A half an hour before serving, place the casserole in the oven and let it get bubbly and crispy brown on top.

Cauliflower Gratin
(Chou-Fleur a la Mornay Gratine)
source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Florets from 1 head of cauliflower
4 T. butter, divided
3 T. flour
2 c. whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 T. dried bread crumbs
2 T. shredded Swiss Cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower florets.  Cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Melt 2 T. of butter in skillet over med high heat.  Stir in the flour and cook until slightly nutty smelling.  Whisk in the milk.  Cook and stir for a minute or two until thickened.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Butter the inside of an 8x8" baking pan.  Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Add the cauliflower and pour the remaining sauce over the top.  

Combine the bread crumbs and cheese.  Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Melt the remaining 2 T. of butter and drizzle over the top. 

Bake in a preheated 375* oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly and the top is golden brown. Print Recipe

More Recipes to Honor Julia Child

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lobster Roll ala Sisters One, Two, Three #FoodiesRead

One of my favorite things about vacation is that there is lots of reading time.  I was able to get 3 books in during our Alaskan Cruise.  This, that I am sharing with you today, was read while enroute to the ship.

Image result for sisters one two three book

This novel was offered either free or very inexpensively through my Kindle account and has been on my to read list for a while.  

The story follows the dysfunctional Tangle family to a vacation on Martha's Vineyard during which a terrible tragedy occurs.  As with so many dysfunctional families, the children learn to ignore the elephant in the room.  They quickly learn that secrets are theirs to keep, tears are to be shed privately with the shades drawn and questions are to be evaded, if possible, and answered with a positive spin if they cannot be evaded.

We all know that the sins of the parents rain down upon the children who, in turn, become parents and rain down sins upon theirs.  This story is no different and tells of the struggle of the adult children trying to cope with their memories and private demons.  Family is learning to love each other despite our shortcomings and forgive each other for all wrongs, real and imagined.

I enjoyed my journey with the Tangle family and I think you will as well.  This was not a foodie read at all but it did have a lot of food in it.  Granted, most of it was inedible as the mother was not much of a cook and food, when it was served, was often burnt, raw or microwaved from frozen dinners.

However, there were glimpses of good food..... cookies provided by the neighbor who often tossed lifelines to the eldest daughter in the family.  Ice cream outings with Dad and Lobster Rolls to celebrate their first night on "the island".

I have never been to the Northeast States.  It has been on my bucket list for quite a while and when I do go, I will definitely visit Martha's Vineyard.  Until then, I live vicariously through others who have gone, through books, through blogs.

When I do finally get there, you can be sure that I will be hitting all the local places and eating all the local foods, including Lobster Rolls.

Then, I will know how my version stacks up to the authentic Lobster Rolls that you find on every street corner in the area.

I imagine that when you have the best seafood available you would want it to shine.  So when I make a Lobster Roll, I don't add a lot of ingredients.  I buy the best lobster I can find and afford.  I mix it with a small amount of mayonnaise, fresh tarragon, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  I cut open a good, fresh roll and butter both sides before toasting.  In this case, I toasted the roll on the grill .  A bit of lettuce and it is ready to be served.

I have joined Foodies Read 2017 and am challenging myself to read 12-16 books this year, posting a recipe inspired from each. There are a lot of great bloggers who have joined this challenge as well. You can see what they are reading and cooking over at Based on a True Story.  join in the fun

Lobster Roll

2 small lobster tails 
kosher salt for water
2 t. mayonnaise
1 t. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
sea salt 
freshly ground pepper
1 leaf red lettuce
1 hot dog or hoagie roll
2 t. butter

Fill a stock pot with 1" of water and add a generous pinch of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the lobster tails, cover and steam until bright red and cooked through.  Remove the tails from the steamer pot and plunge into ice water.

Slice the roll in half and butter both insides.  Toast in the oven or on a grill until light brown and crisp.  Set aside.

Remove the chilled tails and cut along both sides of the bottom of the tail removing the thin membrane.  Loosen the meat from the top shell and remove to a cutting board.  Coarsely chop the lobster into bite sized pieces and place in a small bowl. Combine the mayonnaise, tarragon, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Add to the bowl and gently fold in the lobster.

Line the bottom roll with a lettuce leaf, top with the lobster mixture and cover with the top roll.  Print Recipe

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Casimer Rice for #SundaySupper

The theme for this month's Sunday Supper is Back to School Dinners.  This recipe that I am sharing today is perfect for Back to School.  It is quick, easy and economical.  It reheats well so it can be made ahead of time if you wish or leftovers can be used for lunches the next day.

It contains chicken which most kids love and as a bonus has grilled fruit that adds a little sweetness to the dish.

I had this dish in a restaurant and fell in love with it.  It is lightly spiced with mild curry so it is flavorful without heat.  While looking to recreate this dish I found many recipes, many in Swedish and all with different variations.  Some used coconut milk, some used fruit cocktail.  Some used rice pilaf, some used white rice.  Some added almonds or raisins.  Some poached the fruit, some added it raw.  None of them grilled the fruit which is what the restaurant where I had it did.  

So I took a bit of this recipe and a dash of that recipe and a snippet from another and a smidge from the dish I ate and did my best to recreate this wonderful dish.

My dish was good....not as good as the restaurant but good enough that I will make it again.....tweaking until I get it just right.  Some of the things I will change from the recipe I am sharing.  I will double the sauce next time.  I will also add a bit of sweetener (perhaps honey) to the sauce. I will brush my fruit with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper and I will use bananas that are not quite ripe.

Casimer Rice

2 lg. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
2 t. minced ginger
1/2 c. white wine
1 1/2 c. half and half
1 T. mild curry powder
1 t. cornstarch
2 bananas, peeled and quartered
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" slices
3 c. cooked rice

Melt the butter with the olive oil over med high heat in a large skillet.  Add the scallions, ginger and garlic, cook and stir for half a minute until fragrant.  Add the chicken.  Cook and stir until no longer pink and lightly browned.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the wine to the hot pan and deglaze, scraping up any crispy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle in the curry powder and cornstarch, cook and stir until incorporated.  Add the light cream. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Return the chicken to the sauce and cook until warmed through.

Meanwhile place the fruit slices on a hot griddle or grill pan and cook on both sides until browned and caramelized.

To serve, place 1/2 cup of rice into the center of a shallow dish. Surround with 1/4 of the chicken and sauce, top with 2 banana slices and 2 pineapples slices.  Print Recipe

More Back to School Dinner Recipes

Beef and Pork

Pastas, Soups, Rice and Stews


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I heard an Angel Whispering in my ear......#WinePW

Our Wine Pairing Weekend theme is Rosé and is being hosted by Lori of Dracaena Wines.  It is the height of the summer here in Michigan and Rosé, being so crisp and chilled is the perfect wine for sipping on the deck with friends on a hot sultry evening.

However, in Lori's invitation post, she remind us that Rosé is not just for summer sipping.  Lori points out that Rosé is perfect anytime of the year and pairs well with a variety of different foods. She asked us to help her out by pairing our Rosé with a food that you would not normally consider.

When you are reading this, I am just returning home from an Alaskan Cruise.  Prior to that, however, we had my brother, Larry, and his wife, Mary, who live in California for a month long visit.  Larry and Mary come each year and stay with us for the month of July.

While they are with us we do a lot of entertaining and spend a lot of time being entertained.  My niece, Stephanie, invited the whole family out to her house for a casual get together.  When we arrived, she poured me a glass of Rosé, telling me that she had recently discovered it and thought I would enjoy it.

I took a sip and it was bone dry....for me this is a big plus.  Then I noticed a difference from other Rosé's I have enjoyed.  There was the lingering of floral notes on my tongue.  I took another sip, closed my eyes and let the slightly acidic crispness envelope me.

When Lori sent out her invitation, I immediately knew which wine I wanted to share.....This amazing Whispering Angel from Provence, France.

Now I just needed to decide a food pairing worthy of this amazing wine.  Prior to Larry and Mary's arrival, our son from Denmark, Dian, and his family had come for a 3 week visit.  It was so wonderful spending time with him and getting to know his fiancee and my 10 month old, grandson, who I fondly refer to as Joyful Jordan.

One of the things we did, while they were visiting was to fly to Frankenmuth for the day.  In fact, while we were in flight, Dian proposed to Helena.  You can read all about that and see the video here.

When we landed our plane in Frankenmuth there was a couple enjoying lunch while he took a break from working on the plane he was building in one of the hangars.  While we were waiting for the shuttle to take us into town we struck up a conversation and they recommended a local restaurant, The Old Christmas Station, for lunch.

I have a rule when visiting anywhere.  I always listen to recommendations from the locals.  This was no exception and again it proved to be a very good rule to follow.  This restaurant was lovely.  It contained Old World European charm and offered food from all different regions of Europe.  I tried a dish called Casimer Rice that originates in Switzerland and is the Swiss interpretation of Kashmiri Rice from Northern India. Source: Dairy Free Switzerland

I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this much so that I knew I wanted to recreate it at home.  

Was it as good as the restaurant version I enjoyed?  You will have to wait until tomorrow when I share the recipe over at #SundaySupper to get the answer to that question.  What I will tell you today is how it paired with the Whispering Angel Rosé.

I thought that while it was not a perfect pairing it was still a very good pairing.  I actually found the pairing with the cheese platter at my niece's more enjoyable with this wine.  Not that the pairing with my dish was was just that I think this Casimer Rice cries out for a beer.

So, my advice to you is to go out and buy a bottle of this wine and enjoy it by itself or with  one of the recipes being shared below or whatever you are cooking up.  

Then go learn more about Casimer Rice and get my recipe tomorrow when I share it.  Cook it up, pop open a bottle of your favorite German beer and enjoy.

Rosé paired with......

Friday, August 11, 2017

There is no place like home.....and the Weekly Menu

We had an awesome time on our Alaskan Cruise and I cannot wait to tell you all about it.  We have tons of photos that I will be sharing as soon as Frank is done with all the editing.

Meanwhile, I have a few shots to share.....a teaser of sorts LOL.


We had a whole week to relax and breathe....we laughed, we danced and we enjoyed our time together.

We got to spend a lot of time with our Marina.  She was able to join us each night for dinner and on all the excursions.  It was so nice catching up with her and reconnecting in person.  It makes me very happy that we have social media and are able to stay in touch on a daily basis but nothing beats being able to share a hug, a glass of wine and a laugh.

The weather was perfect.  Sunshine on 6 of the 7 days and no rain at all, just some fog.  The temps were in the low to mid 70's the entire trip.

The scenery was breathtaking and the views from our balcony were astounding.  It was a perfect trip but like all trips.....I am very happy to be home.

I will be spending tomorrow catching up on laundry, hitting the farmer's market and going to the grocery store.  I am hoping that I get to see our Little Angel Face tomorrow or Sunday.  I really missed that baby!!

Sunday is our Parish Picnic.  An outdoor Mass at Noon followed by a pot luck.  I am taking some cookies to share.

The rest of the week is pretty typical.  We have Melody on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Frank is having a procedure done to his hand Wednesday afternoon but it is not supposed to affect his everyday life other than to make it better.  He has a disease known as Deputyren's.  The tissue inside the hand thickens and contracts making it difficult to use your hand efficiently.  The doctor seems to think some injections will fix the problem.

I am sharing our Weekly Menu and will be back each day with recipes, photos and posts for different events.  I would love to have you join me.

Grilled Steaks
Roasted Red Skin Potatoes
Cauliflower Gratin

Hamburgers on the Grill
Corn on the Cob
Baked Beans

Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli and Pineapple

Italian Chicken and Wild Rice

Steak and Spinach Salad

Stuffed Peppers

Fish Friday
Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cherry Pie Bars #FilltheCookieJar

Last month our daughter, Nicole, and her husband, Pierre, blessed us with two gallon size bags filled to the hilt with tart cherries from the tree in their backyard.

I went to work and the first thing I made was a wonderful Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream. Then I made this delicious Cherry Cheese Braid.  

I turned the rest into Homemade Cherry Pie Filling, returned them to one of the bags and stored them in the freezer.

When it came time to Fill the Cookie Jar this month, I remembered those cherries sitting in the freezer. The only problem was....the theme for this month is Grandma's Cookies.  

My Grandma never made cookies using cherry pie filling and if I wanted to make cookies like my Mom used to make for my kids, I would have to go to the refrigerator section of the grocery store and get busy cutting up prepared dough and putting it in the oven.

Then, I thought, "Hey, I'm a Grandma".  I think I can make my own cookies and they are going to count.  And if they don't.....oh well, I would rather apologize afterwards than ask permission before hand LOL.

I had made Cherry Pie Bars  a couple of years ago and still remembered them fondly.  I knew that I wanted to do something similar this time around, changing it up a bit to make it my own.

I made a shortbread to use as the bottom crust or bar part of the recipe.  Reserving some to sprinkle on top as a streusel.

I combined the reserved shortbread batter with some roughly chopped raw almonds.   I love the cherry/almond flavor profile and always use almond extract in my cherry confections rather than vanilla.

I spread the cherry pie filling over the shortbread crust, using about 3 cups to cover it completely.

Then I sprinkled the entire surface with the Shortbread/Almond Streusel, placed it in the oven and let it bake until golden brown.

I had lined the baking pan with foil for easy removal.  I allowed the cookies to cool right on the foil before drizzling them with an easy peasy glaze.

When the glaze was set, I cut them into bars and placed them on a platter to serve up as a wonderful dessert to my family who had been visiting from out of town.

These are a perfect cookie to take to your next pot luck or to pack in your child's lunch box.  They are easily made with canned cherry pie filling.  They look like they take a lot of work but they are easy and only take a few minutes of active participation on your part. 

Cherry Pie Bars II

3 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 t. almond extract
3 sticks butter, chilled and cut into tablespoon pieces
3 c. cherry pie filling
1 c. raw almonds
1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. milk
1/4 t. almond extract

Place flour, sugar, salt, 1/4 t. almond extract and butter in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until crumbly.  Remove and reserve 1 cup of this mixture.  Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of a 9"x 13" pan that has been lined with a 18" piece of aluminum foil.  Crimp the ends of the foil that extend past the pan into handles.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for half an hour.

Meanwhile, add the almonds to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Combine with reserved shortbread mix.

Remove bottom layer from the oven.  Cover with the canned cherries.  Sprinkle the streusel over the top and return to the oven for another 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Lift out by using the handles of aluminum foil and let cool completely.

While bars are cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and almond extract.  Drizzle over the cooled bars.  Let glaze set before cutting into 24 pieces. Print Recipe

More Amazing Cookies

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Peach BBQ Sauce for #FoodieExtravaganza

Welcome to this month's edition of Foodie Extravaganza.  I went over to The Nibble and discovered that August is National Peach Month.  It is my turn to host this party so I invited the others to join me  in sharing their favorite Peach recipes with our readers.


Peaches are a big crop here in Michigan and August is the prime harvest season.  In fact, a neighboring town that is known for it's fruit orchards celebrates with a big Peach Festival the first week of September.  There are parades, carnivals, music, dancing and, of course, peaches.  Peach Pies, Peach Doughnuts, Peach Cakes, Peach Struedels.  You name it.....if it is made of peaches you will find it at this festival.

Each year, I buy a bushel of peaches for us to enjoy.  We eat many of them fresh.  I puree them and pour them on top of pancakes for a FMD friendly breakfast.  I make margaritas, lemonade, salsa, salads, appetizers, pie, cake, and  clafouti.  

I grill them, make an ice cream topping from them, turn them into compotes and preserve them in numerous applications.

For today's recipe I used a mixture of white and yellow peaches.  I found a recipe for Peach BBQ sauce at Epicurious and followed it with a few, very slight adaptations.

I simmered the peaches with onions, jalapeno and spices until the peaches were falling apart tender.

Then I transferred that mixture to a heavy duty blender and pureed away.  It was very hot so use caution when blending.

I transferred it to a mason jar and allowed it to cool before refrigerating.  I only made the one batch but I think that I will be making more to preserve using a water bath system before peach season is complete. 

I brushed it onto some boneless pork loin chops while they grilled and they were to die for.  I was afraid that Frank was going to think the sauce had too much bite but he loved it every bit as much as I.  I used it on burgers and chicken and it was just as wonderful as with the pork.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Make sure you stop by and see what other creations are being shared to celebrate National Peach Month.  You will find links to them all following this recipe.

Peach BBQ Sauce
slightly adapted from Epicurious

3 large peaches, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper,stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. bourbon
2 1/2 t. honey
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. brown sugar
1/4 t. chili powder
pinch of kosher salt

In a dutch oven over medium high heat, cook the onion and jalapeno in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Stir in the peaches, vinegar, bourbon, honey, Dijon, sugar, chili powder, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peaches start to fall apart, about half an hour or so.

Transfer mixture to a heavy duty blender and carefully puree until smooth.  Transfer the sauce to a container and let cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating.  This sauce will keep for up to 1 week refrigerated and can be preserved using the water bath canning method for longer shelf life.

More "Peachy" Recipes

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lemon Blueberry Upside Down Cake and a Book Review #foodiesread

National Blueberry Month is officially over but blueberries are still plentiful and inexpensive right now so let's just keep on baking!!!

Besides the fact that I had overbought when I went shopping for our  #NationalBlueberryMonth event and had tons of leftover blueberries, even after making this Crumb Cake and Homemade Blueberry Syrup, I was mostly inspired to make this cake based on a novel I just finished.

Image result for everything we keep

My friend Cam, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, reviewed this novel and gave it a big thumbs up so, having just finished my Cook the Books selection, I ordered it up.  

My first reaction when reading this novel was surprise.  Not at the novel, but at the fact that Cam had recommended it.  This is not her usual genre of book at all but I am very glad that she decided to go against the grain and read it since I never would have heard of it otherwise.

This novel is a quick, easy read....perfect for a hot summer day by the pool, relaxing in a shady spot in the park or sunning yourself on the beach.  It starts off with the protagonist, Aimee, at church on her wedding day celebrating not her wedding but her fiance's funeral Mass.

Aimee is, of course, devastated.  Not only has she lost her fiance but her lifelong companion and best friend.  Aimee and James met as youngsters and grew up to fall in love.  Now he is gone and she is left floundering.  

Immediately following the Mass, Aimee is approached by a "psychic" who tells her she has information about James and that he is not dead at all.  Aimee tries to write her off as a nut but can't shake the feeling that there is something to her story.  

Thus begins the nearly two year quest for Aimee to continue with her life while not being able to completely reconcile to the belief that James is truly gone.  

During the months after the funeral, Aimee opened a gourmet coffee shop and cafe.  She also met Ian, to whom she found herself very attracted.  Ian comes to work for Aimee and comes to her house one evening to try some of the recipes on which she is working.  She serves him a Lemon Blueberry Cake and they share their first kiss. inspiration for using up some of those many blueberries hanging around in my refrigerator.

Aimee made a lemon cake stuffed with blueberry filling.  I decided to take an easy route and make an upside down cake using a lemon batter and blueberry topping.

It was amazing.  I know that if you try this cake you will love it and I think if you read this novel you will enjoy it.  I know that was the case for me.  Please let me know if I am right.

Sharing this review over at Foodies Read 2017.  Stop by and see what the others are reading and eating this month.

Lemon Blueberry Upside Down Cake

3/4 c. brown sugar
3 T. butter
2 c. blueberries
1/3 c. water
2 t. cornstarch
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 c. flour
pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cardamom

Melt the brown sugar and butter in a cast iron or oven safe skillet over med high heat.  Add the blueberries, water and cornstarch.  Cook and stir until blueberries soften and liquid is thickened and glossy.  Remove from heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, zest and lemon juice.  Reduce speed to low and stir in flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom.  Once incorporated, increase speed and mix well.  Batter will be stiffer than cake batter.

Gently spread the batter over the blueberries.  It is not necessary to get the batter completely to the edges of the pan.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center removes cleanly.  Print Recipe