Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee: Keto Jagerschnitzel

That last book got me off my game. I told you I rated it a 1. And then it got hard to get back into the swing of reading. I was reading Buttermilk Graffiti for Cook The Books Club, but I missed the due date by 2 weeks. Great work! But between this book and the Emily Giffin book I just finished (probably coming tomorrow), I am back! Rated a 4.03 on goodreads, I gave the book 4 stars. 

Edward Lee is a famous chef. He has published the cookbook Smoke and Pickles, which I need to pick up for myself. Lee is of Korean heritage, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives in Kentucky and finds way to blend the food that reminds him of his youth with southern flavors.

Buttermilk Graffiti is not a cookbook, though it does include some recipes. It is a story about what Edward Lee has learned about the food of America, the immigrants that brought certain flavors to certain places, and the combinations of cultures. I usually make a list of all of the food in a cookbook, but I won’t be doing that in this post – there is food mentioned in nearly every paragraph. But he includes recipes for:

  • Beignets
  • Amok Trey
  • Pork Lab with Fried Egg on Popcorn Bread
  • Lagman Soup 
  • Russian Pickled Watermelon
  • Lamb Arayes
  • Hummus
  • Mango Fries
  • Chicken “Vaca Frita” with Coconut Rice and Mojo Sauce
  • Slaw Dogs
  • Fried Pork Chops with Miso Creamed Corn and Pickle Juice Gravy
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Beef Tartare-Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Caviar 
  • Octopus Stir Fry
  • Salt-Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
  • Seared Beef Rib Eye with Prunes, Almonds, and Bourbon Washed Butter
  • Budae Jjigae with Fried Bologna
  • Pickled Salmon
  • Vietnamese Crepes 
  • Bourbon Nuoc Cham-Roasted Oysters
  • Pollo A La Brasa
  • Green Fried Rice with Chicken, Cilantro, and Aji Sauce
  • Beef Skewers with Cashews, Curry, and Black Pepper
  • Spicy Tomato Braised Chicken with Turmeric and Cashew
  • Hasenpfeffer
  • Roast Butternut Squash Schnitzel
  • Beef Tongue Pastrami
  • Beef Tongue Sandwich
  • Lacy Cornbread with Rhubarb Jam

The chapter called German Mustard really spoke to me on a personal level. Lee contemplates why there hasn’t been more of an abundance of German-inspired cuisine in the US. There are several reasons he points out: 

  1. Americans see the food as unappetizing.
  2. The food requires an “ambassador” to introduce it to America. 
  3. German food never recovered from the negative perceptions of Germans during WWII.
  4. We’ve already appropriated German food through sausage, pretzels, etc. 
  5. There has not been a large German immigration into the US in years.

I don’t know why German food isn’t more known in the US. My favorite restaurant growing up was a schnitzel restaurant in San Francisco. It was eventually bought and unfortunately the flavors from the new owners didn’t compare to the food I had loved. But I did spend my 21st birthday there with my family. I had a big beer and a weinerschnitzel. 

My mom was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is full German by blood, but our family has been in America since the mid-1800s. My grandpa was raised on a farm in Wisconsin where they exclusively spoke German in the home. When my grandpa moved out of the house he joined the military during WWII and stopped speaking German. He did not teach it to anyone in the family. My grandmother’s family did not speak German at all either, though I’m unsure when they dropped the language and switched to English exclusively. 

This chapter spoke to me, because I got it. My maternal side of the family may not identify as being German anymore, but there is still a lot of German influence in the food and in the culture. German flavors make me feel like home. My grandma made German food. My mom made German food. I make German food. It’s the food that reminds me of home.

But like Lee shows throughout his book, sometimes cultures combine and bring changes to the food. As he shared a squash schnitzel, I made a schnitzel I can eat with my diet. Pork rinds provide a great crunchy breading to a keto breaded meat. This schnitzel may not be exactly what I ate as a child, but the flavors are all there.


Keto Jagerschnitzel


4 pork chops
1 egg
1 tbsp heavy cream
4 oz crushed pork rinds
1 packet gelatin
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp butter
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
7 oz mushrooms
3 cloves shallots
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Whisk the egg and heavy cream together. 
  3. Pound your pork chop so it’s very thin. Dredge the pork chop in the egg and then coat with the crushed pork rinds.
  4. Bake the pork chop for 24 minutes, flipping half way through.
  5. While the pork chops are cooking, work on the sauce. Place the gelatin and beef broth together in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet and add the bacon. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  7. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  8. Add the remaining butter and the shallots and cook until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  9. Add the garlic, white wine, and lemon juice and cook until the sauce is as thick as you’d like.
  10. Remove the pork chops from the oven and place the sauce on top.

Serves 4.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Novel Food, and Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. 

I am still on track for the Philippine tarsier badge for #YARC2019.




I Owe You Own by Sophie Kinsella: Margaritas

As of the date of this post, I Owe You One by Sophia Kinsella is rated 3.57 stars on goodreads. I confess, I only rated it 1 star out of 5. This book falls outside of my general comfort zone of books and was read because of an online book club I’m a part of. Usually the books chosen are way more in my wheelhouse. I had read Kinsella in the past and was hopeful, because I found her quite hilarious in The Undomesticated Goddess. I don’t know how she dropped the ball so hard, but I really really disliked this book.

Fixie Farr is a fixer as she is nicknamed. When there’s something wrong, she must fix it, even to her own detriment. Fixie, along with every other character in this book, has fatal character flaws that make them frankly all around unlikable. Fixie just annoyed me. Everything she did was just frankly, stupid. While at the beginning of the book I was cheering for her, midway through I wanted to drop her. She’s not someone I would socialize with. She just seems difficult, as does everyone in this book.

The best way to handle a book I dislike is to get drunk, yeah? But there was some other food mentioned in the book as well:

  • Olive oils
  • Flaky pastries
  • Sausage rolls, waldorf salad, apple pie
  • Mint tea
  • Coffee and cookie
  • Double chocolate chip muffin
  • Cupcakes
  • Pomegranate salad dressing
  • Rissotto
  • Profitoroles
  • Japanese food
  • Steak
  • Bolognese
  • Seafood and sangria
  • Swiss rolls
  • Jams and jellies
  • Victoria sponge and carrot cake
  • Lamb hot pot
  • Limy cocktails
  • Christmas cake
  • Gingerbread house
  • Hot chocolate
  • Linguine with clams
  • Pancakes, waffles, and toast
  • Panini
  • Homemade fudge
  • Rich tea biscuit
  • Lamb casserole

Like I said, the only way to cope with Fixie Farr is through alcohol. Fixie finds herself at a cocktail party with her brother and other pretentious folks, gulping down limy cocktails, when she bumps into Seb. Just for a quick rundown, Seb is the man who owes Fixie one after she saves his laptop from impending waterlogged doom at a coffee shop. She gets super drunk while gulping these cocktails, something I wish I was when I read this book. I’m on number three now.

And you know what? I didn’t even make a margarita from scratch. I bought a mix and poured the tequila in, because that’s about as much effort I was willing to put into this book.

This post has been shared with Foodies Read

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman: Honey Fig and Brie Ice Cream

Currently rated 4.12 stars on goodreads, I received a digital copy of this book (hence no picture of my food with the book) from firsttoread, which sadly will be defunct in July. I was asked to give an honest review of this book, which comes out in July 2019. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

This book was a light read and quite humorous and enjoyable. Nina Hill is a bookworm. She loves to read, she loves trivia, and she loves her cat. Her very predictable life is tossed about when she meets family she never knew existed and begins a relationship with a man she had no intention of dating initially. Nina has to learn to break away from her books a bit and push herself into sometimes uncomfortable dealings for the sake of making these new relationships work.

Food mentioned in this book included:

  • Pickles
  • Prickly pear soda
  • Popcorn and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows
  • Gluten-free bran muffins and chocolate croissants
  • Cake pops
  • Pesto panini
  • Lattes and chocolate eclairs
  • Croque madame
  • Broccoli
  • Juice
  • Hot dogs
  • Pistachios
  • Moons over my hammy and chicken and waffles
  • A salad from Chipotle
  • Lamb burgers with fresh mint
  • Pomegranate salad dressing
  • Chicken and canapes
  • Pocky
  • Picnic baskets of bread rolls and cheese and enormous bars of chocolate
  • Salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks ice cream
  • Blackberry crisp ice cream
  • Cotton candy, sno-cones, hot dog on a stick
  • Soup
  • Cinnamon raisin bagels
  • Banana bread
  • Cardamom, fig, and brie ice cream

I chose to make the last food that made its way into the story line. A massive food fight erupts over the closing of the beloved bookstore that Nina works at. A protester throws a ball of cardamom, fig, and brie ice cream and hits someone. Lemon juice and cayenne is sprayed about. More ice cream is thrown. Cupcakes are thrown. And then the cops shut the food fight down.

Justin wasn’t thrilled by me putting cheese in the ice cream. But it did add a nice savory dimension to a sweet treat. I really liked the addition, though I promised him I wouldn’t always add cheese to ice cream.

Honey Fig and Brie Ice Cream


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
3 oz brie, cut into cubes
1/2 cup fig jam


  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the heavy cream, milk, and honey. Heat until the liquid is steaming, but do not let it boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Mix together and press the cheese pieces on the sides of the sauce pan to help it melt.
  3. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Follow your ice cream maker instructions to churn the ice cream. In the KitchenAid I mixed it on setting 1 for 20 minutes.
  5. 30 seconds before your ice cream is complete, add the fig jam to the mixture.
  6. Remove from the ice cream mixture and freeze until firm.

This post is being shared with Foodies Read

The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker: Collard Greens

I haven’t updated in awhile. This month was busy – I had my parents in town last weekend for early Easter festivities. And things are going to get busier with a wedding to attend next month, my bachelorette party next month, a trip home in June, and then all moving towards my October wedding.

But I have been doing some reading, I just hadn’t found time to do the cooking for the blog. I read The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker. I’ve read Alice Walker before, specifically The Color Purple. Alice Walker is a prolific American novelist. She is an African American woman who writes extraordinarily deep novels about the African American culture and struggle.

The Third Life of Grange Copeland is about a man and the following generations of his family. Grange is a bad father to his son Brownfield. And Brownfield becomes a bad father to his daughters. But Grange does try to turn it around and be a good role model and support for his granddaughter. The book has a lot of discussion of race and discusses racial tensions and racism as well as patriarchy.

The food that I noted in this book includes:

  • Mint julep
  • Old biscuits
  • Grits and eggs
  • Chitlins, pig’s feet, and collard greens
  • Stew
  • Peas and hamhocks
  • Cornbread
  • Shortbread
  • Peach pie
  • Peach wine, corncob wine, blackberry wine, muscadine wine, and plum wine
  • Rabbit with potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Root tea, sassafras tea
  • Watermelon

Though I could have made a full meal out of chitlins, pig’s feet, and collard greens, I focused just on the collard greens and served it with some breaded chicken. These greens hit the spot for great comfort food.

Collard Greens


1 lb collard greens, ripped into pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
6 slices of bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch crushed red chili pepper


  1. In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove and cut into pieces.
  2. Return the bacon to the pot along with the onion and garlic. Cook until the onions have softened.
  3. Add the collard greens to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
  5. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Serves 4.

I’m sharing this post with Foodies Read & Weekend Cooking.

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo: Pork Chops Smothered in Mushroom Sauce

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via a giveaway on goodreads. At the time of this blog post the book is rated 4.45 stars on goodreads. I rated it 4 stars.

I read The Most Fun We Ever Had after I finished reading The Altruists. Truth be told, I was a little worried about getting into this book. Like The Altruists, it’s a long story about many members of a family and the dysfunctions of each character. But unlike The Altruists, Lombardo’s characters were much more relate-able.

The story doesn’t really center on one main character, but it is the story of the Sorenson family: David, Marilyn and their four daughters (Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace.) Each character has significant character flaws. Each character makes a series of decisions and a series of mistakes and face a series of consequences that shape their lives. Lombardo weaves their stories together masterfully to tell the story of the Sorenson family.

The food mentioned included:

  • Macaroni
  • Chardonnay and string cheese
  • Cappuccino
  • Delicate grilled fish and spring risotto
  • Toast
  • Ice cream sandwich and a bottle of pinot noir
  • Blueberry pancakes
  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate croissant
  • Omelets
  • Waffles
  • Hamburgers
  • Overcooked chicken
  • Apple pie with salted caramel
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Brown rice
  • Half-caf cappuccino
  • Turkey thigh and pumpkin pie
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Chocolate milk
  • Swordfish and a salad
  • Strawberry jam, peanuts, grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Granola bars with chocolate, chips, fresh pineapple , non-gluten free pretzels, Little Debbies oatmeal creme pies, chocolate covered wafers with peanut butter
  • Sesame sticks
  • Penna alla vodka
  • Fontina risotto cakes
  • Bunny shaped pasta
  • Sprinkle doused ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Olives and pita and hummus and some soft cheeses and ceviche
  • Chinese food
  • Pork chops
  • Pad thai
  • Potatoes
  • Kung pao chicken from Panda Express
  • A fancy and heart-healthy Mediterranean spread

Because the story is very much about family, making a family meal for this book seemed appropriate. I went with pork chops mentioned twice in the book. Marilyn is described at one point as “an exhausted mother of four trying not to burn the pork chops.”

This recipe may not be the most beautiful, but it sure is delicious.

Pork Chops Smothered in Mushroom Sauce


4 pork chops
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp fresh sage
1 tbsp oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
6 tbsp heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter with the sage, oregano, garlic, and mushrooms. Once the butter is melted add the pork chops and brown for 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Place the entire skillet in the oven for 35 minutes.
  4. Once the pork chops are cooked, remove from the oven. Remove the pork chops from the skillet. Over medium heat, whisk in the heavy cream, almond flour, and cornstarch. Cook for about 3 minutes and serve over the pork chops.

Serves 4.

This entry is being shared with Foodies Read & Novel Food.

A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa: Sticky Rice Cakes Filled With Red Bean Paste

A River In Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea is a memoir written originally in Japanese and translated to English. Though at this point 19 years old, the book is still very poignant today. When published in 2000, Ishikawa was forced to use a pseudonym. In 2018 the book was republished with his true name on the cover.

Currently rated 4.26 stars on goodreads, I rated this book 5 stars. This book is incredibly raw. I cried multiple times throughout the story of Ishikawa’s life.

Born in Japan to a Japanese woman and a Korean father, life was already stacked against Ishikawa. Since he was half-Korean he wasn’t entirely accepted by Japanese society. His father wanted to return to Korea very badly. After the Korean War, North Korea began advertising to foreign-living Koreans of the utopia that North Korea had to offer, Ishikawa’s father relocated the family from Japan to North Korea. They left everything they knew and moved to a land they did not, where people spoke a language they did not, and lived in abject poverty.

This book details the struggles that Ishikawa faced during his life in North Korea and how he was able to escape, though it took leaving his family behind. I don’t really feel like I’m spoiling the book by telling too much – this is a story of truth about the inhumane treatment that is still occurring in walled off North Korea. There is no happy ending to the book. My guess is that even 19 years after its original publication, there still is no happy ending.

Because North Korea continues to remain walled off from the rest of the world, we obviously don’t hear many stories of people who live there. This book is an exception to that rule and is one that I highly encourage people to read.

I had a hard time when I was reading this book about the food. I didn’t want to make light of the lack of food situation in North Korea and I wanted to be respectful of both the story and of the people who live everyday in how I presented this book. Food mentioned in this book included:

  • Corn husks and kernels
  • Rice and Korean pickles
  • Dog meat
  • Rice balls with sweetened red beans
  • Rice cakes, meat, fish, and sake
  • Chinese cabbage boiled in water and thickened with cornstarch
  • Corn rice
  • Glutinous rice, sesame seeds, azuki beans, and regular rice
  • Daikon radishes
  • Thumb-size peaches, apples, and potatoes
  • Seaweed, pork, eggs, and daikon radish leaves
  • Soybean paste

Much of the food referenced in the book is either from times where there were celebrations (births and weddings) or memories and dreams of desires. When Ishikawa talks about the food eaten on a regular basis it was something like the rice gruel he explained: “Chop up the radish, including the leaves. Mix it all with a few grains of rice you’ve scrounged up. Add a lot of water to make a rice gruel.”

The recipe I made for this book is one that was mentioned several times throughout. He writes of his mother announcing that she wanted a rice ball coated with sweetened red beans. His father knew this would be impossible because of the cost of the rice, sugar, and beans. Mom responded, “‘Don’t worry! . . . I couldn’t eat a rice ball even if I tried. I don’t have enough teeth. My rice-ball-eating days are over.’ And then she just laughed.”

These are for Ishikawa’s mom who tried to keep up her spirit even in the face of impossible hardship. These are for Ishikawa’s mom who could not work in North Korea because she was not Korean, but who tried to help keep her family afloat by picking weeds to cook. These are for Ishikawa’s mom.

Sticky Rice Cakes filled with Red Bean Paste


4.5 oz glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red bean paste
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl add the glutinous rice flour. Slowly add the water to the flour, mixing together with a fork. Once the water is all added, the dough should come together like a soft play-dough feel.
  2. Dust a work spot with rice flour. Divide the dough into six even size balls.
  3. Flatten each of the balls into a circle approximately 1/4 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  4. Scoop a little more than 1 tbsp of the red bean paste and form it into a ball. Place one on the middle of each disk. Form the dough around the red bean paste and then flatten each side with your palms.
  5. Place the sesame seeds on a flat plate. Press each cake into the sesame seeds on each side.
  6. In a non-stick pan heat the vegetable oil. Once hot fry the cakes for approximately 3 minutes per side.

Makes 6 rice cakes.

This recipe and book recommendation are being shared with Foodies Read, Novel Food, Weekend Cooking, & Year of the Asian Reading Challenge.

As to the #YARC2019 challenge, March’s theme is challenge. Though we don’t have to read books that fit the theme and truthfully, I didn’t go out searching for one that did, I think A River In Darkness is the epitome of the challenge theme.

And I’m still on track for the Philippine tarsier badge.


The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Keto Chai Walnut Cupcakes

I read this book for an online book club I am part of. Though I am not a part of the Book of the Month club (despite the markings on this book, I bought it used on mercari,) this book makes me very tempted to sign up for it. I had seen reference to this book all over the #bookstagrammer-verse and was intrigued. When it was chosen for the book for my club, I was thrilled! I love reading thrillers and this one hit it out of the ballpark.

At the time of me writing this entry, The Silent Patient is rated 4.11 stars on goodreads. I rated it a 5. This book is about a psychotherapist, Theo. His patient, Alicia, is selectively mute. Theo begins a job in a mental hospital where Alicia is housed due to her conviction for the murder of her husband. Theo takes it upon himself to try to open Alicia up and get her to begin speaking, to try to help unleash the truth about her husband’s death.

I can’t go into this book too much, because I don’t want to give away the massive twist that I absolutely did not see coming. But it got me!

This book did not have a lot of food presence. The foods that I noted included:

  • Iced coffee
  • Italian restaurant
  • Sugared almonds
  • Chewy, nutty, and sweet walnut cake
  • Frying onions
  • Sherry
  • Barbecue
  • Salad
  • Champagne, small sweet tomatoes, smoked salmon, and slivers of bread
  • Whiskey
  • Fish and chips and chicken curry
  • Sushi
  • Prawn cocktail crips

I decided to go with the walnut cake, though as you can see, I made a keto version because today is not a cheat day and I wanted to get something made for this book. And I had a sweet tooth that these cupcakes cured. I had intended to make a swiss meringue frosting to go on these, but the recipe I tried did not work and by that point I was over it. So we got unfrosted walnut cupcakes. The texture is much more like a muffin because of the almond flour.

The scene that the walnut cake appeared in the book was close to the beginning. Indira, one of the employees at the hospital, gives Theo a slice of walnut cake. She tells him that she finds a piece of cake helps with difficult clients and difficult staff, though she reassures him that he is neither. “A little sugar is a great mood enhancer.” I won’t disagree with that sentiment, though there is no sugar in these.

Keto Chai Walnut Cupcakes


2 cups almond flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup xylitol
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a cupcake tin with liners.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, xylitol, and baking soda.
  3. Once well combined, pulse in the almond milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and butter.
  4. Add the eggs and process until smooth.
  5. Pulse in the walnuts, but do not over-process. You want some nut chunks.
  6. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Makes 12 cupcakes.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Novel Food, & Weekend Cooking.