Food ‘n Flix: Simply Irresistible: Spicy Crab Napoleon

2020 blogging goals did not come to fruition. 2021’s is simpler over here at Literature and Limes. In 2021 I’ll be participating in Food ‘n Flix all year long. That means each month I watch a movie and make a meal from it. Some years ago, in a different blog in a different time, I participated in Food ‘n Flix. It was always fun and always a challenge.

The first movie of the year for 2021 is Simply Irresistible and is hosted by A Day In The Life On The Farm. This magical realism movie is all about food, feelings, and falling in love! Though I suspect this dish may be made by others, I chose the Crab Napoleon. When our main character, Amanda, who owns a restaurant, is at the market buying ingredients she has an encounter with a crab and with a man. As the crab is about to crawl up this man’s leg, Amanda grabs it and says humorously, “something is about to crawl up your pants.” She tells this man she intends to make Crab Napoleon with the crab she’s purchasing.

Little does she know he’s going to show up in her restaurant and actually expect this Crab Napoleon!

Other food ideas I had noted included:
* cheesy chicken
* chicken paillard
* a tart with berries
* caramel eclairs
* fig souflee

Spicy Crab Napoleon


16 oz jumbo lump crab meat
3 tbsp minced shallot
1/4 cup lime juice, divided
2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 tbsp jalapeno, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 cups cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cumin


  1. In a large bowl combine the crab meat, shallot, 2 tbsp of the lime juice, 1 tsp salt, and the chili powder together. Place in refrigerator until ready.
  2. In another bowl combine together the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1/2 tsp of salt. This is your pico de gallo portion.
  3. In a blender, blend together the cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of cumin. This is your cilantro sauce portion.
  4. Place a ring mold on a serving plate. Use a slotted spoon and fill the mold half way to the top with the pico de gallo portion. Press down. Add the crab meat portion on top of the pico de gallo. Press firmly into the ring mold. Carefully remove mold. Top with avocado slices and top with the cilantro sauce.
  5. Repeat step 4 four times.

  • My ring mold is approximately 4.5 diameter – about the size of a hamburger.
  • Makes 4 servings.
  • This dish is also being shared with Full Plate Thursday.

Literature and Limes – 2020 Challenge – Cookbook Reviews

For 2019 Literature and Limes explored fiction, turning fictional books into recipes based on the books. It was a fun project. But 2020 is bringing a new project. This is the year of cookbook reviews.

Every month I will review 2-3 cookbooks. They will be choices from my bookshelf, from the library, from recommendations, and from The Kitchn’s Cookbook Club.

Each review will share photos of 4 recipes I made from the book, as well as the best recipe of the 4. And each review will talk about the other parts of the cookbook, including photographs and other text.

So here we go! If you want to follow along with my journey, all the full reviews will be posted here. On my @literatureandlimes instagram account I will be live streaming when I make the recipes from my reviewed cookbooks. Follow me there for that content.

And at the end of 2020, I’ll be giving away one of the cookbooks I reviewed this year.

We’re just days away from the new challenge!

Besides cookbook reviews, I will be posting some single recipes for other blog food events.

The Dinner by Herman Koch: Pine Nut and Pecan Goat Cheese with Arugula Salad


After today’s entry, I have one more recipe for 2019 left to share. I’ll probably read more, but because my 2020 blog goal is changing, I want to have 2019’s wrapped up by the time the year is over. In 2020 I will be doing 2 or 3 cookbook reviews a month, sharing my opinions on cookbooks, and trying four recipes from each one I share. 2021 will have a new goal.

But we’re still in 2019 and I’m still sharing recipes I’ve created from the books I’ve read this year. The Dinner by Herman Koch is rated 3.2 stars on goodreads at the time of this entry. I think that’s far too low – I gave the book 4 stars.  Written by the Dutch author, Herman Koch, this book was translated into English.

This book is about two brothers who are having dinner at a pretentious restaurant. But they’re not there just to shoot the breeze; there is something very important they must discuss, that neither of them really wants to discuss. The characters in this story are incredibly unlikable, but it doesn’t seem like the reader is supposed to like them or relate to them. They are pretentious, so the setting of this story is incredibly appropriate.

Now of course, a book titled The Dinner has a lot of food references:

  • Spareribs with fries
  • Pink champagne
  • Olives
  • Steak a maison
  • Crayfish dressed in a vinaigrette of tarragon and baby green onions
  • Lamb;s neck sweet bread marinated in Sardinian olive oil and served with arugula
  • Warm goat’s cheese with pine nuts and walnut shavings
  • Cheese sandwich with white bread
  • Almond cake
  • Beef croquette
  • Escargot
  • Buffet of salads, French cheeses, cured meats and breads
  • Hamburgers and shish kebabs with bell peppers and onions
  • Potatoes and gravy
  • Filet of guinea fowl wrapped in paper thin German bacon
  • Lasagna slice with eggplant and ricotta
  • Macaroni alla carbonara
  • Chocolate parfait with blackberries, shaved almonds, and grated walnut
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Crepes with syrup

The goat’s cheese with nuts stood out to me.

“‘This is warm goat’s cheese with pine nuts and walnut shavings.’ The hand with the pinky was above my own plate now. I fought back the urge to say, ‘I know, because that’s what I ordered,’ and concentrated on the pinky.”

Though I didn’t make a warm goat cheese and I didn’t have it in a pretentious restaurant, I really did enjoy my salad. It was the perfect combination of sweet and savory and made a great weekend lunch.


Pine Nut and Pecan Goat Cheese with Arugula Salad


1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp pecans
4 oz goat cheese
2 cups arugula
1 tbsp diced red bell pepper
1/2 pear, sliced
1 tsp honey


  1. In a small bowl mix together the red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Then slowly add the olive oil and stir until well combined.
  2. Slice the cheese into slices.
  3. In a dry skillet, toast the pine nuts and pecans until slightly brown. After toasting them, chop the nuts.
  4. Press the cheese into the nuts, covering all sides.
  5. Toss together the arugula, bell pepper, and the salad dressing.
  6. Put the arugula into a bowl and garnish with pear and cheese. Drizzle with honey.
  • Makes 1 salad.

Shared with Foodies Read, Mix It Up Monday, & Melt In Your Mouth Monday.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly: Makoweic (Polish Poppy Seed Roll)


For December, the bloggers at Eat The World are celebrating Christmas. The challenge this month is to explore and share a recipe from anywhere in the world that is served at Christmastime. Since I’m still doing my literature/recipe challenges, I wasn’t sure I would be participating this month. (NOTE NOTE NOTE: This project is only for 2019. In 2020 I will be sharing recipes in the shape of cookbook reviews. This will be another yearlong project. 2021 could bring something different.) But as I was going through the recipes I haven’t made yet from the books I’ve read this year, I realized that that the dish I was going to make for this book was already a festive dish. I’ll tell you more in a minute about the recipe and the importance of the recipe in a minute.

Another of my goals this year was to go to a Free Little Library. I’ve gone a few times this year, but this is the first book I took out of one of them. I had heard about it before and it was a good book for me to snag, because it’s my favorite genre: WWII historical fiction. Rated 4.29 stars on goodreads at the time I’m writing this, I gave the book 5 stars.

This book is told through three separate narrators: Kasia (a Polish woman who survives the concentration camps,) Caroline (an American woman involved in humanitarian work,) and Herta (a German woman who was a doctor at the concentration camps.) This book gives a tragic glance of the life of a survivor of the atrocities that were performed on the political prisoners of Hitler and the Nazi party.

Though not a foodie book, there was a lot of food mentioned:

  • Waldorf salad.
  • Warm bread and buttery escargot.
  • Tinned peas, two potatoes, and a sad little cabbage.
  • Martini.
  • Chop suey and rice cakes.
  • Light sandwiches.
  • Tuorog, a Russian peasant dish of farmer’s cheese infused with blackberry syrup.
  • Creme brulee.
  • Khachapuri, buttery bread cut in triangles.
  • Apple kugel.
  • Shiny, braided bread.
  • Coq au vin.
  • Chocolate ice cream.
  • Hanukkah doughnuts.
  • Cheese sandwich.
  • Pork roast and buttered potatoes.
  • Fatty pork chops.
  • Buche de Noel.
  • Lukewarm yellowish soup.
  • Bread and cheese.
  • Polish chocolates.
  • Bread pudding.
  • Rib roast and popover.
  • Real coffee and salami.
  • Poppy seed cake.
  • Fish sandwiches.
  • Fried onions and mashed potatoes with applesauce.
  • Hot rolls and fresh butter.
  • Princess cake and pitepalt dumplings with butter and lingonberry jam.
  • Onion soup.
  • Pierogies and beet soup and hunter’s stew.
  • Packzie.
  • Miniature American breakfast: a tin of diced ham and eggs, Nescafe coffee, cellophaned crackers, a pack of Wrigley’s gum.
  • Apple tart with creme fraiche.
  • Liver mousse canapes.
  • Coconut washboard cookies.
  • Fig newtons.
  • Emerald peas, a hill of mashed-up potatoes, a puddle of brown sauce on top.
  • Crepes and quiches.
  • Petite fours.

I chose to make the Polish poppy seed cake. It made it’s way into the story when Kasia was at the concentration camps. She receives a package from her Papa:

“In the tin were three cloth-wrapped bundles. I unwrapped the first to reveal what was left of a poppy-seed cake. Were they being generous since it was Christmas? I tasted a crumb and thanked God for creating the poppy flower.”

As I learned thanks to the internet, Makowiec, or the Polish poppy seed cake, is a must-have at both Christmas and Easter. Makowiec is a must-have at the big holidays, but it’s apparently available year round in Poland. The poppy seeds are said to bring good luck.




1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup + 2 tsp sugar (divided)
1 packet yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp + 1 tsp softened unsalted butter, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz poppy seeds
1 egg white
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Place the poppy seeds into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for several hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the milk to 110 degrees. Pour the milk into a large bowl and mix together with the yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes, add the flour, salt, egg yolk, 2 tbsp of butter, and vanilla into the bowl with the yeast/milk mixture. Mix together with your hands, kneading into a shaggy dough. The dough may be sort of sticky and that’s okay. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 90 minutes.
  4. Punch down the dough. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 10 inches by 14 inches. If the dough is sticky, use some flour to avoid it sticking to the rolling pin.
  5. Drain the poppy seeds. Place them in a food processor and process until ground. Add the egg white, honey, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of butter, and raisins to the food process and process until all combined.
  6. Spread the poppy seed mixture onto the rolled out dough, avoiding the edges.
  7. Starting on the long side, roll the dough into a log – jelly roll style. Pinch the edges together. Place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel and let side for 40 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Beat together your remaining egg and olive oil. Brush over the bread loaf.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool before slicing into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Makes 1 loaf.

Check out all the wonderful Christmas/holiday dishes and sweets prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Glædelig Jul, Nisser, and Mormor Agnes’ Æbleskiver
Literature and Limes: Makowiec
Palatable Pastime: Danish Asier Pickles
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Lebkuchenherzen (German Cookies)
Chipa by the Dozen: Pepperkaker (Norwegian Christmas Cookies)
Evelyne: Oliebollen, the Dutch Doughnut
Loreto and Nicoletta: Sandbakkelse, Norwegian Christmas Cookies
Simply Inspired Meals: Classic Christmas Spritz Cookies
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Bohemian Potato Salad
Making Miracles: Scottish Steak Pie
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Basler Leckerli, Swiss Christmas cookies

2019 Giveaway

You have the option of winning one of the books I reviewed this year! To enter click the link at the bottom of this post. Because I am not paying for a wordpress account I can’t embed the rafflecopter, so make your way there!


  1. Anyone can enter the giveaway.
  2. If you live in the US I will send you the book of your choice from amazon.
  3. If you live out of the US I will send you a gift card to amazon for the value of the book.
  4. The rafflecopter will give you an option to tell me what book you want to win. You must request one of the books I reviewed in 2019. The whole list of books will be under these rules.
  5. This giveaway ends on December 15, 2019 at 12AM EST.


  1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  2. Sula by Toni Morrison
  3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  4. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  5. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  6. Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
  7. Tips for Living by Renee Shafransky
  8. Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
  9. Educated by Tara Westover
  10. The Altruists by Andrew Ridker
  11. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
  12. The Silent Patient by Alexander Michaelides
  13. A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa
  14. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
  15. The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker
  16. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
  17. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
  18. Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  19. Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
  20. The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy
  21. The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim
  22. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
  23. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
  24. Shadows On The Nile by Kate Furnivall
  25. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
  26. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  27. Radiant Girl by Andrea White
  28. The Institute by Stephen King



Congratulations to Kylie who wins a copy of I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella.

The next giveaway will be in December 2020 – one full year away!


The Institute by Stephen King: Sausage and Cheese Biscuits


I’m really behind with my book reading/cooking. I’ve read many more books than I’ve shared this year, but I’m just plugging along when I have the time. Several months ago I bought The Institute by Stephen King from Costco and I enjoyed every minute of it. Rated 4.23 stars on goodreads at the time I wrote this review, I gave it 5 stars.

The Institute is not a scary book by King, but very much a sci-fi thriller. Luke, along with a bunch of other kids, have been kidnapped and sent to an institution. The people in charge of this institution want to take advantage of the telekinetic and telepathic abilities of these children.

This book never stopped. I enjoyed it so much. If you want to read it yourself, be on the lookout. I intend to set up a giveaway sometime today or tomorrow – one lucky reader will win one of the books I reviewed on my blog this year of their choice.

But back to The Institute. This book included some food references:

  • Hardboiled egg and pancakes
  • Liver and onions
  • Chicken-fried steak, green beans, and peach cobbler
  • Cornbread and a slice of cake
  • Sandwich and a cake or sweet tea
  • Moonpie or cherry tart
  • Peanuts or pork rinds
  • Pepperoni pizza
  • Cookies, nuts, apples
  • Buffalo wings or tomato bisque, bison burger or American chop suey, apple pie a la mode or Magic Custard Cake
  • Breaded mushrooms, chopped steak with salad
  • Popcorn for breakfast
  • Creamed corn
  • Scrambled eggs with bacon and home fries
  • Meatloaf
  • Pancakes drenched in blackberry syrup
  • Gigantic cupcake
  • Peanut butter crackers and a coke
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Doughnuts stuffed with jelly
  • Potatos
  • Oatmeal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Hot dogs and baked beans
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Cheese and sausage biscuit, a Hostess fruit pie, and a bottle of Carolina Sweetheart Springs Water
  • Dinty Moore Beef Stew
  • Chicken drumsticks, burgers, and fries
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Corndogs and pizza
  • Big pot of spaghetti

Without giving away too much of the story, Luke is able to escape the Institute and tries to run to safety. But this isn’t any easy task. And he’s hungry.

“Luke crawled out of his hiding place so fast he cracked the good-ear side of his head on the housing of a riding lawnmower. He didn’t even notice. Heaven was in that bag. He could smell it.
Heaven turned out to be a cheese-and-sausage biscuit, a Hostess Fruit Pie, and a bottle of Carolina Sweetheart Spring Water.”

And boy, do I get it. The smell of these biscuits is heavenly.


Sausage and Cheese Biscuits


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 lb sausage, cooked and drained
1/2 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 oz feta cheese
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into cubes and then cut the butter into the flour, so it resembles small crumbles the size of peas.
  3. Mix in the cheese and sausage. Then mix in the buttermilk. Once you can’t stir anymore, knead the dough together with your hands.
  4. On a parchment paper covered baking sheet, spread the dough into an 8×10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 equal size pieces and spread apart so they aren’t touching.
  5. Brush the melted butter on the top of the biscuits.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Makes 12 biscuits.

This is being shared with Foodies Read, Weekend Cooking, Over The Moon, Mix It Up Monday, and Busy Monday. 

Radiant Girl by Andrea White: Oladi

img_5530.jpgFor October, the bloggers at Eat The World are exploring Ukrainian cuisine. To not get too political in a food blog, it’s pretty interesting how certain things can line up. Ukraine is quite top of news right now. So being that I am hearing a lot about Ukraine and possible (um probable) involvement in the US elections, it was interesting to get a historical fiction history lesson about the area. For my book selection I chose Radiant Girl by Andrea White. Rated a 4.06 on goodreads on the date I wrote this entry, I rated it 4 stars.

Radiant Girl is set in Ukraine in 1986 and revolves around the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Told from the perspective of a young teenage girl, this book follows 11-year-old Katya into her high school years as she copes with the aftermath of the tragedy which forced her family out of their home and community. The book also used a lot of plays on Ukrainian folklore, which helped give some insight into the culture as well.

Food in the book included:

  • Paska
  • Sorrel and cabbage
  • Garlic buns and crepes called nalysnyky
  • Sausage and cabbage soup
  • Bread and hot chocolate and chocolate cake
  • Horilka, a strong spicy vodka
  • Strawberry jam
  • Kompot
  • Huge stacks of salami, domashnyaya kolbasa, beet-root salad, pickled mushrooms, cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice, fried fish, and sweet pies
  • Cucumber salad
  • Kutia, the traditional Christmas dish Mama made with poppy seeds, wheat nuts, and honey
  • Pancakes with sour cream, strawberry jam, and jelly
  • Lemonade
  • Salo-pig fat, the new potatoes dripped in butter, borsch made from homegrown beets and piping hot apple pie topped with sour cream
  • Cooked potato
  • Pickled beets and a loaf of chorni khilib
  • Yushka, a nutritious soup of whole wheat bread, chicken, veal, ham, egg yolksm and celery
  • Sausage and sauerkraut or corned beef and slaw
  • Homemade sandwiches
  • Porridge
  • Varenniki
  • Oversized sausage sandwiches
  • Cucumber and mayonnaise sandwich
  • Chicken soup
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Chicken sandwich
  • Chicken paprika
  • Potato soup

I decided to make pancakes:

“As Mama returned to the kitchen, I managed to get out of bed and begin dressing. The delicious aroma of fried dough filled my room — she was making pancakes.”

When I googled “Ukrainian pancakes,” I learned about oladi. Oladi or olaydi is a common dish in Russian, Ukraine, and Belarus. They are small, yeasted pancakes made with buttermilk. Oladi are usually served with sour cream, jam, honey, and/or caviar.

The oladi is much fluffier than a pancake, as the yeast sits more like bread. It has to sit for an hour and a half before frying. The flavor is much more like sourdough because of the sourness from the buttermilk.

After sneaking out at night and meeting her domovyk, or household god, Katya wakes up to her mom making pancakes for breakfast.

“A pile of pancakes, a bowl of sour cream and strawberry jam waited for me on the counter. The butter dripping off the side of the pancakes had formed a luscious yellow pool.”

I served the pancakes with the jam from my previous post. The sweet of the jam and the sour of the pancakes was a perfect breakfast!




1 cup warm water
1/4 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tbsp salt
just under 2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over the water. After a minute stir together and then let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sugar, salt, and yeast water. Then slowly mix the flour into the wet mixture.
  3. Cover and set aside somewhere warm for an hour and a half. Let the mixture double in size.
  4. Heat a griddle and spread the vegetable oil on the griddle. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the batter on the skillet. Cook until golden brown on each side.
  • Makes about 15 pancakes.


Check out all the wonderful Ukrainian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Making Miracles: Mazuricks
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Nalysnyky (Ukranian Crêpes)
Sugarlovespices: Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk
Pandemonium Noshery: Ukrainian Pickled Tomatoes
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Galushki Soup
Literature and Limes: Oladi

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: Triple Berry Jam


The Facebook book club I’m part of read The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware for September’s choice. I’ve read In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ware and enjoyed it. I thought The Turn of the Key was even better. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads. At the date I am writing this review the book has been rated 4.03 stars.

A true psychological thriller and mystery, The Turn of the Key is quite exhilarating with twists and turns I was not expecting. Set in the UK, Rowan gets a new gig as a nanny for a family living in a house out in the boonies. The house is all up to date with the newest and the best types of smart house technologies. When Rowan begins working with this family she quickly learns something is amiss. Is it ghosts? Is someone messing with her? But the loud music that pumps through the speakers, the doorbell consistently ringing – who is doing this to her? What does it mean?

I’m not going to tell you, because that would ruin the fun.

The Turn of the Key is written in the form of a letter. From jail Rowan writes the best lawyer she has heard of a compelling reason why he should take her case.

Food included in this book was:

  • Beef casserole with horseradish creme fraiche stirred in.
  • Toast and marmalade.
  • Porridge.
  • Ice cream.
  • Chocolate chip cookies, juice, pizza.
  • Popcorn.
  • Pasta and pesto with peas mixed in.
  • Mini rice cakes.
  • Picnic of sandwiches, crisps, and rice cakes.
  • Alphabetti Spaghetti.
  • Cake.
  • Cappucino.
  • Berry jam.
  • Hot chocolate.
  • Tea and biscuits.
  • Bacon sandwich.

As Rowan tries to make sense of the strange happenings in the house, she looks up the history of the house online. The children had mentioned in passing that they knew something bad had happened in the house. That’s when Rowan learns that the former residents had lost their 11-year-old daughter after

“she had died from eating Prunus laurocerasus, or cherry laurel berries, which had been accidentally made into jam.”

Poison jam you say? For my murder mystery thriller? Sounds great!

Don’t worry. No Prunus laurocerasus was used in the making of my jam.


Triple Berry Jam


1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
8 oz fresh strawberries, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Set your berries in a bowl. Mix together with sugar and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Add to a pot. Set to medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the lemon zest and juice and salt.  Reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Use your spoon to break down the berries as they get soft.
  4. As the jam cools it will start to stiffen up. Pour into a mason jar. Cover once completely cool and refrigerate.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Novel Reads, & Creative Muster,

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai: Moroccan Lentil Chickpea Stew


For September’s choice of Girly Book Club, the choice was The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. While I often read books chosen by Girly Book Club, they unfortunately don’t have a chapter anywhere near me. Though part of me says I should start one myself, I’m not sure I have the time to do that. But the books chosen just are very good, culturally relevant books. Rated 4.23 stars on goodreads, I rated this book a 4.0.

The Great Believers tells the stories of Boytown during the AIDS crisis. Moving between the ’80s and ’90s in the gay community of Chicago and between Paris in 2015, this story weaves the past and present together of the stories of those who both contracted HIV and those who lost loved ones to the disease. Focusing mostly on Fiona and Yale, this story tells the story of love and loss, based on the very real events that victimized the gay community.

This book was tragic and hard to read, but it was very well written. Though there was a lot of food mentioned in the book, there hardly was a dish that stood out very much, because none were all that relevant to the story line. They included:

  • Sandwiches.
  • Cuba libres.
  • Pancakes.
  • Trays of little quiches and stuffed mushrooms and deviled eggs.
  • Swedish fish candy.
  • Bowl of chocolate ice cream.
  • Soup.
  • Croissants.
  • Double cheese sandwich with three slices of provolone, three slices of cheddar, brown mustard, lettuce, onion, and tomato on rye.
  • Milkshake.
  • Ice cream and waffle cones.
  • Latte.
  • Yoplaits and Pringles.
  • Leftover spaghetti.
  • Fish fry.
  • Potpie.
  • Fish and chips.
  • Avocado with cottage cheese.
  • Fruit salad.
  • Cheese omelet.
  • Chocolate milk.
  • Doughnuts.
  • Honey and salad dressing.
  • Cornish game hens.
  • Fresh baked bread.
  • Trifle with sherry.
  • Rice noodles.
  • Apple pie.
  • Tea and ramen.
  • Meatballs and mashed potatoes.
  • Cheeseburger.
  • Moroccan stew.
  • Apple tart.
  • Veal parmensan.
  • Tomato soup.
  • Chocolate pudding.
  • Veggie chili.
  • Sake, nigri, ikura, miso, and avocado roll.
  • Sloppy turkey sandwich.
  • Egg salad, pasta salad, cold cuts.
  • Cherry cobbler.
  • Souflee.
  • Chicken salad.
  • Platters of smoked fish.
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup.
  • Mu shu and lo mein.
  • Turkey and Muenster cheese sandwich.
  • Toast.
  • Roast beef sandwich.
  • Pizza and beer.
  • S’mores.
  • Paella.
  • Ham and cheese sandwich on baguette.

Like I said, there were a lot of mentions of food in this book. Nothing in this book though was entirely crucial to the telling of the story. It was all mentioned rather in passing. So the reason I chose the Moroccan stew is because there was a scene that sort of revolved around this dinner with the stew. I didn’t make it with the lamb and the apricots that were discussed in The Great Believers, because unfortunately buying lamb is really hard at my local stores and when I can find it, is very expensive.

“It was another two hours before the doorbell rang — what Serge had been cooking was a Moroccan stew that apparently took years.”

Fiona, like I said, is one of the main players in this book. Back during the AIDS crisis her brother Nico died. Fiona had become very close to Nico’s friends, including a man Yale. Fiona and Yale’s friendship shaped a lot of her adult life. And with the deaths of many of the men in this group of friends, their losses shaped Fiona and her decisions into the future. Those decisions shaped her relationship with her daughter, Claire. The portion of the book that is set in 2015 is set in Paris, where Fiona is searching for Claire to try to mend what may have been broken. While in Paris she tries to reconnect with her daughter, but also reconnects with old friends, including Richard. While staying at Richard’s house, his boyfriend Serge, makes a dinner of Moroccan stew what lamb and apricots and spices that “didn’t hit till after you’d swallowed.”

This hearty stew was a great way to begin into soup season, with us meeting one of our colder nights since summer started.


Moroccan Lentil Stew


1 tbsp avocado oil
1 onion, chopped
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
28 oz crushed tomatoes
6 carrots, cut into coins
1 cup dry lentils
16 oz can chickpeas
1 lemon
coconut milk, to taste


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the avocado oil. Add the onions to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. After the onions start to get translucent, add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, salt, and garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth, water, crushed tomatoes, and lentils into the pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. After 25 minutes, add the chickpeas and lemon juice. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in coconut milk. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Serves 5-6.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Souper Sundays over at Kahakai Kitchen, & Reader Tip Tuesday.

Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall: Taameyya


For September, Eat The World is exploring Egyptian cuisine. So as I mentioned in my review of The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico, I am trying to mash these two challenges into one. Since this month we are doing Egyptian cuisine, I opted to find a book set in Egypt. I didn’t do a good job, though there were several mentions of Egyptian foods in this book. I truly disliked Shadows on the Nile, rating it 1 star on goodreads. The average as of the date I am writing this entry is 3.53.

Shadows on the Nile is a mystery set in 1912. Jessie, an English woman, learns her brother has gone missing. She begins to follow clues he has left for her to find him. These clues, many Sherlock Holmes related, lead her to Egypt. I find the book boring, slow paced, and predictable. And it really didn’t have any of the Egyptian food references I was hoping might pop up. The food that did show up included:

  • Herring
  • Steak
  • Apfelstrudel
  • Two fried eggs on toast, three fried tomatoes, and three mushrooms
  • Milky cocoa and a ginger biscuit
  • Rhubarb and custard
  • Scrambled egg
  • Orange marmalade
  • Escargots, trout meuniere, pigeon roti, and graptefruit sorbet
  • Shai tea
  • Peaches and spiced wine
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Mashed potatoes and steamed tasteless fish
  • Tea and watermelon with yogurt and honey
  • Eesh baladi
  • Mint tea
  • Slice of melon
  • Flatbread rolled around goat’s cheese
  • Cinnamon
  • Falafel and pita bread
  • Two eggs and a piece of millet bread
  • Lemonade
  • Kushari and mezzes

With the very few Egyptian recipes presented in the book, I googled each. Eesh baladi (or aish baladi as everything online says) is flatbread. Kushari is a delicious dish of lentils, noodles, and more. I have made kushari in the past. I wanted to try something new. While I have had falafel in the past, I decided to google Egyptian falafel and see if it was something unique to Egypt or if it was the chickpea fritters I have had in the past. To my delight, I learned about the taameyya, which doesn’t use chickpeas and is much greener than falafel I have had previously.

If you look taameyya up on wikipedia, it brings you to the page about falafels. And as wiki explains, falafel are deep fried balls of beans with herbs, spices, and onions. Falafel is a well known Egyptian and other Middle Eastern dish. Known as taameyya in Egypt, the literal translation is “a little taste of food” or “a small tasty thing.” In Egypt the taameyya is most commonly made with fava beans.

I made so many taameyya in this process because I soaked too many beans. Instead of letting the soaked beans go bad, I made a huge batch of these fritters. The first meal involved taameyya on pita. The next meal involved a salad with taameyya on top. Both options were delicious. Because I couldn’t find fava beans in my local stores, I opted for a broad bean. Because I did not buy them pre-split, I had to peel them before I could use them in the falafel mix. It was quite a bit of work, but ultimately delicious. The recipe turned out way better than the book.



14 oz broad beans
1 onion, cut into pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch of parsley, no stems
1 bunch of cilantro, no stems
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
oil for frying
Sesame seeds, to taste


  1. For at least 8 hours or up to overnight, soak the beans in a bowl of water, making sure the water covers the beans.
  2. Once the beans are soaked and plump, peel the skin off of the beans.
  3. In a food processor combine the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cornstarch, baking soda, coriander, cumin, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add the beans to the food processor. Pulse until a course paste is formed. Scrape the paste into a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to a half hour, allowing it to firm.
  5. Wet your hands and form balls of the paste about 2-3 tbsp in size. Set on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Pat the seeds into place.
  6. In a cast iron skillet heat olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot add no more than 5 taameyya to the skillet at a time. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.
  7. Continue to fry the taameyya in batches until complete.
  • Makes approximately 20 taameyya.

Check out all the wonderful Egyptian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Lahma Bil Basal (Egyptian Beef in Onion Sauce)
PalatablePastimeBedouin Stuffed Grape Leaves
SnehaDatar:Vegan Egyptian Koshari# Eat the World
Literature and Limes: Taameyya
Pandemonium Noshery: Ful Medames
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Ghorayebah Cookies
The Gingered Whisk: Basbousa Cake Recipe
Kitchen Frau: Egyptian Fava Beans and Feta
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Koshary
Sara’s Tasty Buds: Luqmet el qadi

This is also being shared with Foodies Read