What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating: Super Supper Book Club Menu

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating: Super Supper Book Club Menu

I chose a veggie-forward menu for this Super Supper Book Club, Social-Distance Edition. Safely supp over a good read and prepare for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal!  Click to skip to the recipe

 

In the months before COVID, we started posting a once a month book club guide for you to follow with your group. 

I stopped posting because we couldn’t gather.

But, in today’s environment, with some of the restrictions eased and our ability to safely gather in a socially distance approved way, I thought I would bring it back! My book club has gathered over the summer and we will convene again this week.

For those of you who are still staying home, you might consider starting a virtual book club.

A few of my besties did this over the summer as well, and we found that we gathered (virtually) more often than our in-person club.

I have included the full supper club menu here, but if you wish, just a sampling of one or two dishes works just as well.

Either way, if you are looking for a good read to share with friends (or just on your own), this one’s for you!

 

“The Family Upstairs” by Lisa Jewel

As I read, I had the same feelings that I had when I read The Goldfinch. The abuse of children is never an easy subject.

However, I loved this read because of the development of the characters from childhood to adulthood, the paths their lives eventually take, and The Baby that brings them together.

There are several twists and turns, many of which I didn’t see coming (which to me is the measure of a good suspense novel).

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.

There are three stories woven into the narrative. On Libby’s 25th birthday, she finds out she’s inherited a Chelsea mansion that’s been held in trust.

She soon discovers the house has a dark history based on scant decades-old news coverage. Lucy is living hand-to-mouth in France when her phone reminds her that The Baby is 25.

Without the means or identity, she must resort to some pretty desperate acts in order to get back to England after 24 years. Henry knows everything that happened in the house in the last several years when his family lived there.

He knew why there were so many extra people living there, what happened to the once-opulent residence and its contents, and how and why people were found dead in black robes on the kitchen floor.

I already cooked up some questions for your Super Supper Book Club gathering…

  • Do you think Henry’s lies and violent acts were born out of his need to survive an unimaginable situation, or do you think there is, as Clemency states, “a streak of pure evil” in him?
  • In your opinion, who is the most tragic figure in this novel? 
  • What do you imagine happens to the characters after the book ends?

I chose a veggie-forward menu for this Super Supper Book Club. In contrast to the spartan food the children were given while they lived at 16 Cheyne Walk, this menu celebrates the abundance of the garden with dishes woven into a delicious menu that all your members will enjoy.

Super Supper Book Club Menu

“The Family Upstairs”

 


Fresh Corn, Green Bean and Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette •
Canvas and Cuisine,  page 150

Cauliflower Risotto with Cinnamon-Roasted Butternut Squash • Canvas and Cuisine, page 36

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs (Recipe below) Canvas and Cuisine, page 96

Fresh Fish of the Day in Puttanesca Sauce • Canvas and Cuisine, page 262

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Thyme • Canvas and Cuisine, page 341

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
With Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pancetta & Toasted Breadcrumbs

Best Stuffed Portabello Recipe

Spending quality time in the Farmer’s market naturally leads to veggie-forward main meals. This is one of these. There’s nothing better than meaty mushrooms, with a tangy, crunchy filling! You can serve these mushrooms as a first course, or as a late-night snack. Or you can stuff smaller mushrooms and serve these to your book club! The flavors are fantastic – everyone is a mushroom lover after tasting this dish!

Ingredients

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 more for sauce

1 (3.5-ounce) julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained but save 2 tablespoons of the oil 

4 ounces pancetta, finely diced

4 large garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tablespoons

¼ cup Marsala wine

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

8 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Yields: Serves 4 for a Veggie Main or 8 as an Appy

Time:   30 Minutes

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs onto a baking sheet. Toast the buttered crumbs until they begin to crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a skillet over medium-high heat. And the pancetta and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a platter lined with paper towels. 

Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer until most of the wine has disappeared, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice. Season with some of the salt and crushed red pepper. Turn off the heat and swirl in 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the parsley.

Heat a grill pan on high heat. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, turning once, until they are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter. Spoon the sun-dried tomatoes into the mushroom caps. Top with pancetta and toasted breadcrumbs.

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating

How’s that for a preview of what I’m reading this month? Ruth Ware has been touted as the Agatha Christie of our times, and with titles like The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game behind her, you will most definitely agree.

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.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

POT BOILER PLOT: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss – a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious “smart” home fitted with all modern conveniences, and, even more, by the picture-perfect family that lives there. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare.

I already cooked up some questions for your Super Supper Book Club gathering…

• If you read an ad for a job that offers an extraordinary salary, would you be wary or curious?
• When you first meet Jack, are you smitten, or do you think he is too good to be true?
• At what point is a smart house too smart for our own good?

My ghostly inspiration for this Super Supper Book Club menu is Heatherbrae House itself. Almost a character in the book, the house holds the key to comfort and the uncomfortable. A haunted house turned into a smart house; it sits in a remote area in the Scottish Highlands where the food traditions are steeped in history. This spirited menu grabs a taste from the past and updates conventional Scottish dishes just in time for our book discussion. Choose as many or as few recipes as your group likes. As you’re dining and discussing, don’t forget to look over your shoulder for any shadows lurking in the corner of the room. You never know who (or what’s) listening…..

This Month’s Super Supper Book Club Menu for
Turn of the Key
Features:

Bangers ‘n Mash Hand Pies with Mustard Dipping Sauce
Canvas & Cuisine page 186
Sausage-Stuffed Party Bread
At Home Entertaining page 372
Dill Roasted Salmon with Horseradish Caper Sauce
At Home Entertaining page 379
Fish and Chips with Roasted Tomato Ketchup
At Home Entertaining page 210
Wild Rice, Lentils and Sautéed Mushrooms
At Home Entertaining 381
Raspberry Shortbread Tart
Sunday Best Dishes page 315

Raspberry Shortbread Tart
60 minute cuisine
MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Filling
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 medium orange, about 3 tablespoons (reserve zest for tart)
2 pints fresh raspberries, about 4 cups
¼ cup apricot jam

Combine the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Stir in the raspberries. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the raspberries have broken down into the sauce, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the jam. Simmer until the jam melts into the sauce, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Tart
6 ounces sliced almonds, about 1 ½ cup
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 2 ¾ cups
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon table salt
1½ cup unsalted butter (3 sticks), chilled, cut into small pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 medium orange, about 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large egg yolks
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet. Bake until they just begin to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Place ¼ cup of the flour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the toasted almonds. Pulse to form fine crumbs. Pour into a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining flour, cornmeal, and salt.

Place the butter into the bowl of the processor. Add the sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Pulse until creamy. Add the egg yolks and pulse. Add the dry ingredients and pulse until the dough just comes together. Pour the dough out onto your work surface. Divide the dough in half. Coat the bottom of a 12-inch fluted tart pan with vegetable oil spray. Press one half of the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Wrap the second half of the dough in plastic. Refrigerate both for 30 minutes.

Prick the bottom of the tart with the tines of a fork. Place onto a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven. Spread the filling over the top. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the filling. Bake until the top of the tart is golden, about 30 to 40 minutes more. Cool completely. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar. Remove the rim from the tart pan and transfer to a platter.

 

Wanna Make Fast Foodie Friends…?

Wanna Make Fast Foodie Friends…?

I’m embarking on a new year of writing that celebrate others like me, who LIVE TO EAT! Just such a person is 28-year-old Alex Rold.

Rold takes eye popping, UNREAL, mouthwatering Instagram photos of all his foodie adventures in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s not the marketing analyst’s day job but perhaps it should be. I know his mother…yet I found my foodcentric cohort on his IG page, @roldinginthe_eats through drool of mouth. Sufficed to say, I was hardly the first one to notice Alex’s keen eye for superlative places to eat.

He was featured on Atlanta Eats a little over a year ago, when he said his nosh hobby really took hold and sent him on a photographic tour of the famed Buford Highway – a 7 mile path of restaurants, food halls and markets, that really are a dream come true for anyone with taste buds.

Buford Highway has its own China Town and massive food courts, with stalls that are like a United Nations in food: Korean, Mexican, Vietnamese, Dominican, African, you name it!

“If you’re not used to Buford, it can be overwhelming. The diversity you’ll find there, sometimes language barriers – it’s the best Asian food, best true Szechuan food, I’ve had in my life. I’m there almost every night of the week,” said Rold.

He recommended we all try the numbing peppers at Good Luck Gourmet and Masterpiece. Nam Phuong is definitely a favorite haunt for Vietnamese food.

Rold said his near daily trek down the four-lane highway, stretching from just north of Atlanta (Brookhaven) to Duluth, GA in Gwinnett County, has been the path toward more than just amazing food.

Being food oriented has also been the path toward the best friendships of his life.

“I recognize friends from Instagram on Buford Highway all the time – people I never would have met were it not for our shared love of eating,” he said.

Clicking through the IG pages of his fellow Atlanta food advocates, one can find recommendations for the best fried Korean chicken wings, dumplings, tandoori chicken, Pho, tacos, burgers and ice cream.

I, @jorjmorgancooking have followed them all and urge my own food blog subscribers to do the same. The photo below is one of Alex’a Instagrams. It reads:

The Shed Burger – @creekstone_farms grass fed angus beef on brioche topped with homemade bacon jam and smoked Gouda. Served with fries.

If you are looking for similar pics of gorgeous grub, check out his friends on these Instagram pages:

@soupelly_atl

@capturedbywinnie

@foodcationforever

@yukilovesfood

@theyukinator

@eathereatl

@eatingthroughatlanta

@atlbestbites

@whonomsatl

@salut_atl

@thebubblytalk

@eatclickrepeat_

@_liv2luv2liv_

@atlfoodie

In the meantime, here’s a list of best international Buford Highway restaurants according to the Travel Channel, and my solemn vow that I will persuade Alex in the near future to join my Super Supper Book Club – because I know he likes to cook almost as much as he loves to go out. Don’t worry, Rold. I won’t breathe a word of what happened when you invented your own ice cream flavor with limited edition Captain Crunch.

Speaking of gourmet, here’s Alex’s own effort at making Japanese soufflé pancakes, which he said his New York Times Cooking subscription taught him how to make.

I may feature my own version of these fairy tale cakes sometime in February, and bring a short stack to my next Super Supper Book Club, should we decide to feed and read on a novel like Crazy Rich Asians next.

Ciao

JORJ

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating

What I’m Reading and What We’re Eating

Welcome to my Super Supper Book Club where we merge a book club with a supper club for an evening with friends that combines food and thought (with a few gossipy moments interspersed!)

On the 3rd Monday of each month, I’ll give you a summary of a book I’ve read and really enjoyed. I’ll also give you a supper club menu with recipes that are built around the theme of the book. You assemble your friends, give them the book title and dole out the recipes so that everyone brings a dish to the party.

While you’re discussing and dining, snap a picture of your event. Post the pic to my Facebook/Instagram pages and enter to win a cookbook for your next dinner party. Sounds like some FUN, yes?!

Here’s my first pick for 2020: The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents, as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who’ve been a part of one another’s lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate.

I loved The Gifted School’s relevance to today’s headlines. It was dark but hilarious! I urge you to listen to the podcast, Gangster Capitalism once you’ve read the book. Listening to it is sure to spark even more conversation for your book discussion.

I already cooked up some conversation starters for The Gifted School

  • What is the higher education endgame when parents have to compete for quality daycare placement for their babies?
  • Who is in competition, the child or the parent?
  • What games are played in the name of educational opportunity?

My inspiration for The Gifted School Super Supper Book Club menu is school lunch. Not the school lunch of our childhood experience. You remember sliding those compartmentalized trays down the waist-high counter in the cafeteria while those sweet kitchen ladies doled out scoops of mac ‘n cheese and spoonful’s of mushed veggies, don’t you?

This menu might find its way to a gifted school dining table. Watch out for the competitive members of your club. Afterall, there is no special school placement or award for the best prepared dish…. or is there?

Super Supper Book Club Menu

A Gifted School

Kale Salad with Strawberries with Goat Cheese and a Nutty Topper

Canvas and Cuisine page 111

Veggie-Filled Meatloaf Muffins

Sunday Best Dishes page 87

Mac ‘N Cheese “n Peas

Sunday Best Dishes page 85

Saucy Succotash

Recipe follows

Favorite Fruit Crumble

Canvas and Cuisine page 340

Saucy Succotash

This is an excellent side veggie that goes with most everything. For a full-on veggie meal, serve the succotash over a baked sweet potato with a drizzle of maple syrup over the top!

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium zucchini, sliced, about 2 cups

1 large red onion, peeled and diced, about 1 cup

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded, veins removed, diced, about ½ cup

1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn, thawed

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed

1 (10-ounce) package frozen lima beans, thawed

1 (10-ounce) package frozen okra, thawed

1 whole marinated roasted red pepper, diced, about ½ cup

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1 teaspoon (or more) hot pepper sauce

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Heat the butter and the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, onion and jalapeno pepper and cook until soft. Stir in the remaining veggies. Pour in the tomatoes. Season with Worcestershire, Creole seasoning, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.