Good Luck iMix

oldnewborrowedtrueimixThis week’s iMix is a fun and eclectic collection of tunes that pay tribute to Book Group Magazine’s current theme of Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something True.

 

Something Old

1. Oh You Beautiful Doll by Al Jolson 

2. All Of Me by Billie Holiday 

3. In the Jailhouse Now by Jimmie Rodgers 

Something New

4. Check My Brain by Alice In Chains  (New Release)

5. I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock of Seagulls I Ran (New Wave)

6. Brand New Companion by Steve Earle Townes (New in the Title)

Something Borrowed

7. La vie en rose by Edith Piaf 

8. I’ll Tell Me Ma by Sinéad O’Connor 

9. Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley 

Something True

10. Biko by Peter Gabriel 

11. Smoke On the Water by Deep Purple 

12. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot 

A TASTE OF GOOD LUCK

This week we are suggesting good reads that pay tribute to the Victorian bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue (or, in our case, something true).

Our wine and food pairings undertake the same theme, looking at old-stand-by’s, new cuisine, foreign dishes,  simple no-fuss finger-foods, and a tasty and afforable wine.

Each of this week’s dishes can be served individually, or if you’re feeling really ambitious, make all four.

 

The  M E N U

Teiglach: Grandma’s Honey-Nut Cookies

Black Soybean and Veggie “Sushi”

Tea Sandwiches with Lemon, Honey and Ginger

Mediterranean Red Lentil Pate

 

The  W I N E

California’s Montevina Pinot Grigio 2007

Montevina Pinot GrigioI love the description, “Sunshine in a glass.”  It is indeed a very bright, light, fall/summery wine that can be paired with all of the dishes. A perfect wine for our theme, Montevina is both a new and old wine. Pinot Grigio is the Italian term for Pinot Gris, the gray grape of France. A mutation of Pinot Noir, for generations it grew in the vineyards of Burgundy among its red relation and field blended to add softness and acidity to red wines. Today, Pinot Gris (Grigio) is considered one of the five noble varieties in the Alsace region of France.

  

The  R E C I P E S

S O M E T H I N G  Old

honeynut

TEIGLACH

GRANDMA’S

HONEY-NUT COOKIES

 

This is a treat that requires a lot of time in advance, so keep that in mind when planning to make these delicious cookies. You can complete step 1 a day before and step 2 the day of your event.

Most women’s teiglach recipes were kept secret and shared only with daughters and grand-daughters. They were the jewel in her culinary crown, and made her shine at occasions like baby showers and receptions. This version comes from a long line of such grandmothers and grand-daughters.

Makes 20-25 pieces.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lb honey
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Sugar
  • Powdered ginger

Step 1 Directions

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. Make a well in the center and break the eggs in it. Scramble the eggs lightly with a fork.
  3. Add oil. Gradually pull flour into the center, mixing until dough is formed.
  4. Add a few drops of water if dry flour is left in the bowl.
  5. Knead the dough until it is smooth, then lightly oil the surface.
  6. Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  8. Divide the dough into five equal pieces.
  9. Use your hands to roll each piece into a long “snake”, about ½ inch to ¾ inch in diameter.
  10. Sprinkle flour on a cutting board, dip the knife into the flour, and cut the rolls of dough into small nuggets, about ½ inch wide.
  11. Bake the nuggets on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20 min or until they are light gold in color.

Step 2 Directions 

  1. Using a heavy pot, bring the honey to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Lower the heat and add the baked nuggets. Stir often with a wooden spoon to keep the bottom and sides of the pot from burning. Make sure the honey doesn’t boil over.
  3. After 30-50 min, the honey will begin to coat the nuggets. Continue cooking and stirring until all the liquid is gone and the honey hangs in strings from the sides of the pot.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in nuts. The honey will be quite thick; it will cling to the nuggets and harden as it cools.
  5. Turn the mixture out onto a wet wooden cutting board and use a wet wooden spoon to pat out a 15-inch square, approximately 1 inch thick.
  6. Cover the top with generous amounts of sugar and ginger.
  7. When the tieglach has cooled, cut it into 2-inch squares using a heavy knife (tap the knife gently with a hammer or wooden mallet) or break the teiglach into pieces with your hands. It will be crunchy, sticky and somewhat dry, like brittle.

S O M E T H I N G  New

black soybeanBLACK SOYBEAN

and

VEGGIE “SUSHI”

 

 

This fresh and delectable recipe comes from The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass. Not only are these “sushi” easy to make and high in protein, but they are vegan as well. Plus, the spread can be made a few days in advance to save time. Perfect meat-free finger food!

 

Ingredients ( Black Soybean)

  • One 15-ounce can organic black soybeans (reserve liquid)
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Japanese soy sauce (shoyu or tamari)
  • 2 Tablespoons pickled ginger
  • Chili oil to taste (optional)

Ingredients (“Sushi”)

  • 4 sheets nori
  • 4 tortillas, 8 to 9 inches in diameter (whole wheat are nice)
  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 8 strips red bell pepper, about ¼ inch wide
  • 8 carrot sticks, about 1/8 inch in diameter and 5 inches long
  • 1 cucumber (pickling Kirby recommended) halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 8 sticks

Directions

  1. To make the Black Soybean Spread: In a food processor, combine the ingredients for the spread. Blend in enough of the reserved bean liquid (usually 1-2 tbsp) to create a thick but spreadable paste. Add more soy sauce and/or pickled ginger if needed, to give the spread an assertive taste. Season with chili oil if desired.
  2. To assemble the “sushi”: Stack the nori and use kitchen scissors to trim the sheets into circles about ½ inch smaller than the tortillas.
  3. Spread 2 tbsp of the soybean mixture onto one of the tortillas, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Distribute ¼ cup of the cabbage over the spread. Gently press a piece of nori on top. Spread another 2 tbsp of the soybean spread on the nori. Set 2 red pepper strips horizontally about 1 inch from the bottom of the tortilla. Arrange 2 carrot and 2 cucumber sticks in a cluster in top.
  4. Wrap the bottom edge of the tortilla over the vegetables and roll tightly. If necessary, moisten the top edge of the tortilla lightly with soybean spread or water to seal.
  5. Gently press roll to shape it into an even log. Repeat steps to fill and roll remaining tortillas.
  6. Set each roll on a cutting board, seam side down, and use a very sharp knife to trim off edges. Holding the roll firmly with one hand, use a gentle sawing motion of the knife to cut the roll into 5 or 6 pieces, making every cut on the diagonal. Arrange the pieces flat side down on a platter and serve.

S O M E T H I N G  Borrowed

LemonGingerTEA SANDWICHES

with

LEMON, HONEY & GINGER

 

 

Not only are tea sandwiches a treat for the eyes, they are a luscious way to pack flavor into a small bite. This version is borrowed from Top Chefhost and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi. She recommends serving them with tea or sherry.

Serves 6-8

 

Ingredients

  • 10 slices of good white brad, toasted on both sides
  • 2 preserved lemon halves (sold in specialty food stores)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly minced ginger
  • 10 thin slices Italian cheese like pecorino or caciotta

Directions

  1. Arrange the toast on a platter.
  2. Chop the preserved lemons, being sure to remove any seeds first. Place them in a food processor or blender with the honey, red pepper, and ginger and make a smooth paste.
  3. Spread the paste on the toast and top with a slice of cheese.
  4. Diagonally cut each slice to make equal triangles from each toast.
  5. You can serve as is or heat them in an oven to 350 F for a few minutes, until cheese is melted and barely toasted.

S O M E T H I N G  True

red lentilsMEDITERRANEAN

RED LENTIL

PATE

 

 

After reading Michael Pollan’s book, ‘In Defense of Food’, it became clear that true foods are whole foods. His manifesto of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” is echoed in this savory appetizer, which happens to be vegan. Not to worry, with flavorful ingredients like fennel and garlic, you won’t be sacrificing a thing – and, you’ll be true to your body’s needs. One note: this will take about 2 ½ – 3 hours to make, so begin the night before or very early in your day for your evening book club.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling ramekins or loaf pans
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted sunflowers seeds or chopped pistachios
  • 1 ½ cups finely diced onions
  • 1 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, gently crushed in a mortar or under a chef’s knife
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Accompaniments for serving: olives, slow roasted tomatoes, pickled onions, cornichons, marinated mushrooms or artichokes

Directions

  1. Brush oil on the bottom and sides of the loaf pans or ramekins. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on the bottom. Set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy, nonreactive pot, heat the oil.
  3. Cook the onions and shallots over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown which should be about 6 minutes.
  4. Stir in the fennel, thyme, garlic, and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until most of the wine evaporates, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the water, lentils, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  7. Add the salt and pepper and continue cooking longer until lentils have melted into a coarse puree, 10 – 20 minutes longer.
  8. Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasonings to your liking (check for salt).
  9. Stir well, smashing any whole lentils onto the sides of the pot to create a fairly smooth, thick mixture, with a texture similar to oatmeal. If the puree is loose and soupy, boil it uncovered, stirring frequently, until it thickens.
  10. Ladle the puree immediately into the oiled loaf pans or ramekins. Smooth the top with a spatula. Cool to room temp.
  11. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  12. If you want to unmold the pate, first run a knife along the edges. The set a plate on top, turn both loaf pan and plate over. This step is not necessary.
  13. Bring pate to room temp and arrange on a platter or individual plates with accompaniments.

SPOOKY GOOD LUCK

As our readers know, this week Book Group Magazine is paying homage to the Victorian practice of a bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. 

Our second good-luck-book-group makes for perfect October reading (especially on darky and windy nights).

 

S O M E T H I N G  Old 

FRANKENSTEIN, by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism.  A subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. 
 

 

 

 

S O M E T H I N G  New

HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger

her fearful symmetry

Six years after the phenomenal success of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has returned with a spectacularly compelling and haunting second novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents.  As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including–perhaps–their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

 

S O M E T H I N G  Borrowed

THE SEANCE by John Harwood (Australia)

the seance

Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside, has a sinister reputation. Once, a family disappeared there. And now Constance Langton has inherited this dark place as well as the mysteries surrounding it. John Harwood’s second novel delivers on the great promise proven by his first with this gripping mystery set in the heart of Victorian England.

“Set in Victorian England, Harwood’s spellbinding novel pays homage to such 19th-century suspense masters as Wilkie Collins and Sheridan LeFanu. Harwood invokes the hoariest cliches of supernatural suspense, from stormy nights to haunted houses, and effortlessly makes them his own. –Publishers Weekly, starred

 

S O M E T H I N G  True

THE LAST WITCH OF LANGENBURG by Thomas Robisheaux

Last Witch of LangenburgA young mother dies in agony. Was it a natural death, murder—or witchcraft? On the night of the festive holiday of Shrove Tuesday in 1672 Anna Fessler died after eating one of her neighbor’s buttery cakes. Could it have been poisoned? Drawing on vivid court documents, eyewitness accounts, and an early autopsy report, historian Thomas Robisheaux brings the story to life. Robisheaux shows how ordinary events became diabolical ones, leading magistrates to torture and turn a daughter against her mother. In so doing he portrays an entire world caught between superstition and modernity.

A LITTLE GOOD LUCK

The Victorian practice of a bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue is still carried out today to bring newlyweds luck and a happy future. Book Group Magazine thinks this tried and true tradition translates into auspicious and audacious reading lists.

So, this week we’ll be suggesting good reads under the umbrella of something old (fiction classics), something new (newly released fiction), something borrowed (fiction from foreign authors), something true blue (non-fiction). Our wine and food pairings will undertake the same theme, looking at the old-stand-by’s, new cuisine and vintages, foreign dishes and wines and simple no-fuss finger-foods that work with a variety of labels.

Our first good-luck-book-group list looks like this:
 

S O M E T H I N G  Old

my antonia

MY ANTONIA, by Willa Cather

“The best thing I’ve done is My Antonia,” recalled Willa Cather.  “I feel I’ve made a contribution to American letters with that book.”
An unconventional novel of prairie life, My Antonia tells the story of a remarkable woman whose strength and passion epitomize the pioneer spirit. Antonia Shimerda returns to Black Hawk, Nebraska, to made a fresh start after eloping with a railway conductor following the tragic death of her father.  Accustomed to living in a sod house and toiling alongside the men in the fields, she is unprepared for the lecherous reaction her lush sensuality provokes when she moves to the city. Despite betrayal and crushing opposition, Antonia steadfastly pursues  her quest for happiness–a moving struggle that mirrors the quiet drama of the American  landscape. 

 

S O M E T H I N G  New


homer and langleyHOMER & LANGLEY by E.L. Doctorow

Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers–the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley’s proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers–wars, political movements, technological advances–and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.

 

S O M E T H I N G  Borrowed


the-angels-gameTHE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner. Once again, Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in The Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.

 

S O M E T H I N G  True Blue


nine livesNINE LIVES by Dan Baum

An outsider in a city that many outsiders have tried to understand, Dan Baum arrived in New Orleans to report on Katrina for The New Yorker and came to realize that the way to tell the story of the storm was to step back and tell the story of the city. From the ’60s through the aftermath of the hurricane, Baum follows, with empathy and joy, nine lives that could only happen in the Crescent City.

 

Happy Reading!

Oh Wow, It’s Fall iMix

Book Group Magazine’s “Oh Wow, It’s Fall!” iMix is now available at iTunes. 

Summer up and left. But that’s okay! Fall is a beautiful time of year. And, this fall promises to be a great season for book groups with incredible new titles from several bestselling and beloved authors. Book Group Magazine’s “Oh Wow, It’s Fall!” iMix features “Fall” tunes perfect for your October and November book discussions.

 

The Fall Tunes

  • California Dreamin by The Mamas & The Papas 
  • Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground by The White Stripes 
  • September by Earth, Wind & Fire 
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love by UB40 
  • October by U2 
  • Autumn in New York by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong 
  • November Spawned a Monster by Morrissey 
  • I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline 
  • If We Make It Through December by Merle Haggard 
  • Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) by Nanci Griffith

Oh Wow, It’s Fall! Book 8: MICHAEL CRICHTON

big-piratelatitudesDiscovered on Crichton’s computer after his death, Pirate Latitudes: A Novelis an adventure story about piracy in Jamaica in the 17th century.  Stephen Speilberg’s DreamWorks Studios has acquired the film rights. 

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 24, 2009

In the News: SYDNEY DUST STORM

sydney dust stormThe city of Sydney was shrouded in red outback dust today. The images are beautifully haunting.

The Worst Hard Time, by Pulitzer Prize-wining author Tim Egan is the extraordinary tale of those who survived the great American Dust Bowl. worst hard time