It was 20 years ago when I wrote my first cookbook, and these salmon recipes continue to endure! We’re talking salmon secrets to perfect your fish dish, with salmon served several ways that you’re sure to love! 🤫#nationalsalmonday
I must admit, I was captivated by this book from the first sentence. After all the main character’s first name is Morgan.
Her surname is Christopher (name of my middle son) and her boyfriend’s name is Trey (name of oldest son). There’s a Jon in there somewhere, I’m sure!
The extra pull is that the novel is set in my adopted state of North Carolina jumping back and forth from the early forties and to the present. But it is the writing that really captures the reader. You feel like the characters are your peers. You find yourself dancing in a time warp while you are cheering for the heroine(s).
This is my next pick for our Super Supper Book Club. Gather your readers, give them the title and dole out the recipes for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal.
Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit; she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.
After a year, you get your hands on a cell phone for the first time. Who do you call?
Was it brave or crazy for Jesse’s family to aid Anna?
Does Morgan ever come to accept that alcohol is a problem for her, or does she simply comply with her parole requirements?
My Southern inspiration for this Super Supper Book Club menu is Jesse’s family’s Sunday dinner. I take the liberty of substituting Anna’s least favorite vegetable (collard greens) with my delicious recipe for Swiss chard. I exchange corn on with cob for creamed corn. In place of stewed tomatoes liberated from the family’s root cellar, I substitute slow roasted cherry tomatoes.
The author didn’t mention a dessert, but I bet the farm, there was strawberry shortcake somewhere, sometime on Sundays. My swaps are allowed, because all these recipes are rooted in my love of the South. Lest there be controversary during the discussion, keep those paintbrushes close to allow everyone to express themselves.
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Super Supper Book Club Menu: “Big Lies in a Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain
Make Mother’s Day weekend a fiesta in your kitchen with this fun (AND EASY) brunch recipe! Bonus: You may already have all of the ingredients you need already!
Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and Mother’s Day (May 8th) come callin’ pretty darn soon and pretty close together. Let’s don our sombrero’s, tune up the guitars and add some spice to our Sunday Brunch dish to treat Mom and friends and neighbors alike.
Huevos rancheros is a traditional mid-morning dish served on rural Mexican farms featuring tortillas topped with black beans with cheese, spicy red sauce and topped with a fried egg. Workers gather together to share the meal, taking a much needed break from farm chores. I am inspired by this communal meal and opted to create my own version of this dish with a strong Southern flare. Why the heck not….Right?
And here you have it: Baked beans spiced with onions and peppers, topped with hand grated cheddar cheese, sautéed ham in mustard-maple butter, fried eggs and garnished of diced avocado and (farm fresh again) chopped tomatoes. This is a great dish to share with friends, especially when most (if not all) of the ingredients are probably sitting in your pantry and fridge. It’s also a great brunch dish to serve Mom on Mother’s Day.
You can serve one large portion and pass around forks, or you can use smaller tortillas and let everyone choose their toppings. Either way this is an eggcellent way to combine two FUN holidays!
Here’s my dish for a mixed up Huevos Rancheros that puts a whole bunch of South in your mouth!
Southern Style Huevos Rancheros
2 Large Plates -or- 4 Small Plates
30 minutes ’til you’re ready to eat
For baked beans: 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 slices bacon, diced 1 bunch green onions, tough tops removed, cut into thin slices, about 1 cup 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and finely diced 1 (16-ounce) can baked beans, drained 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper For the tortilla: 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 (10-inch) spinach tortillas 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup 8 slices deli ham 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, about 1 cup 4 large eggs 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced 1 small tomato, diced
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and onions and cook until the bacon begins to crisp, and the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Drain as much liquid as you can from the baked beans and pour them into the skillet. Season with some of the salt and pepper, stir and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the beans while you cook the ham.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully lay one tortilla into the oil. Cook for a few seconds. Use tongs to turn the tortilla to the other side. Cook for a couple of seconds more and transfer to a large platter. Repeat with the second tortilla and transfer to a second platter. Add the butter, mustard, and maple syrup to the same skillet. Stir together to melt the butter. Add the ham slices to the pan. Cook until the ham begins to brown and crisp on the edges, turning several times, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Spoon half of the beans onto one tortilla. Top the beans with half of the shredded cheese. Arrange four slices of ham on top of the cheese and beans. Repeat with the second tortilla. Crack the eggs into the same skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the whites of the eggs are set, and the yolks are still runny (about 3 to 4 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Transfer two eggs onto each tortilla. Top with diced tomatoes and avocados.
It’s “Read An eBook Week” and my recipes and read are available for immediate download! Host a Southern-style book club supper with “Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson and my “Sunday Best Dishes” menu.
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Last year I discovered authorJoshilyn Jackson and devoured every book she’s written in record time. For me, her characters, strong Southern women, strike a chord with so many attributes I aspire to. Her heroines face challenges that we can identify with, although hopefully in not such a dramatic manner!
For this book club, I’ve chosen the book “The Almost Sisters”. This is not her most recent book, but I find it to be very current given our present political climate. And although this book is in no way political, it does deal with issues in the headlines.
“With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight-year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes.
Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding.
Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.”
There’s a pivotal scene in the book that serves as the catalyst for bringing Leia home to Alabama and her grandmother. Birchie and her caretaker, Wattie attend a potluck supper after Sunday church. It’s Birchie’s out-of-character outburst in front of the parishioners that sends a distress call to Leia.
Here are a couple of book club discussion questions to get you started:
There are multiple relationships in the novel that fit the title The Almost Sisters description. How did the title take on new meaning to you as the story developed?
Despite her worsening dementia, Birchie is still a strong character throughout the book. How would you describe her lifelong friendship with Wattie? Did your impressions change throughout the novel? Why do you think Birchie chose to keep their true relationship a secret even as times changed?
Leia makes the decision to hide her pregnancy early on and keeps her secret throughout much of the story. Do you think Leia made the right decision? Were you surprised by the characters’ reactions when her pregnancy was revealed?
Celebrate your sweetie, family, and loved ones with memorable meals from around the globe. My gift to you this Valentine’s are my very best globally-inspired meals, designed to make memories any moment that calls for celebration.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s take a trip around the world without leaving your own cozy kitchen. Let’s create a menu inspired by far-away places. Let’s create a dish or two to share with those you may not have seen in a while. And while we’re doing all of this, let’s share some LOVE…’cause all you need is….
Food that you can share with your loves. Canvas and Cuisine, the book I wrote with Susan Fazio is filled with foods that are inspired by our travels. But, more than this, the book is about love… love of family, love of neighbors, and love of friendships.
My gift to you this Valentines’ Day is all about LOVE. It’s about creating dishes that inspire you. Food that takes you just a bit your of your comfort zone. And dishes, that beg for your inventiveness.
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