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When I was pregnant with Sophie, I ate like a 7-year old. I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches (no crust) and bagel pizza bites. I didn’t want water, as important as it was, so I’d have popsicles. By the dozen. My hubby used to yell at me for when a box of popsicles was dinner.

At the time, I was so exhausted that I ate store-bought “ice pops,” as I grew up calling them. But now that I’ve found a new routine with a toddler running around, I’m enjoying experimenting with making my own. This week, I give you several of the popsicle recipes that are on my “to make” list.

If you try any of them, please come back and let me know how you liked it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles from Cara's Cravings

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles from Cara’s Cravings

{Frozen Fridays}

Popsicles

  1. Banana Coconut Cream Popsicles (from Spoonful of Flavor)
  2. Berry 7-Up Popsicles (from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks)
  3. Berry Coconut Popsicles (from Pint Sized Baker)
  4. Blackberry and Lime Popsicles (from Baked Bree)
  5. Blackberry Mojito Popsicles (from White on Rice Couple)
  6. Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt Ice Popsicles (from The Slow Roasted Italian)
  7. Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles (from Pink Parsley)
  8. Citrus Basil Mojito Pops (from Gina’s Skinny Taste)
  9. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles (from Cara’s Cravings)
  10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Pops (from Annie’s Eats)
  11. Coconut Lime Spa Pops (from Mom Foodie)
  12. Cookies and Cream Popsicles (from Just Baked)
  13. Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Pops with Rumchata (from Pass the Sushi)
  14. Limoncello and Raspberry Whiskey Sour Popsicles (from Bakers Royale on Endless Simmer)
  15. Margarita Popsicles (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)
  16. Orange Creamsicles (from Bakers Royale on Endless Simmer)
  17. Oreo Pudding Pops (from Tatertots & Jello)
  18. Raspberry Lemonade Yogurt Ice Pops (from The Slow Roasted Italian)
  19. Strawberry Margarita Popsicles (from Bakers Royale)
  20. Sweet Cream and Raspberry Pudding Pops (from Country Cleaver)
  21. Watermelon Agua Fresca Popsicles (from Little Inspiration)
  22. White Sangria Popsicles (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

 

And if this isn’t enough, check out Endless Poptails Endless Poptails (cocktail popsicles) on Endless Simmer

 

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Last Friday, I gave you 25 great ice cream and sorbet recipes to try this summer. With all of those recipes to try, I couldn’t leave you without some fun toppings and a few homemade bowls to jazz up those recipes even more.

Caramelized Pineapple Sundaes from What’s Cooking, Chicago?

{Frozen Fridays}

Toppings & Servers

  1. Black Forest Dessert Sauce (from Kate’s Recipe Box)
  2. Blueberry Ice Cream Topping (from The Kitchen Whisperer)
  3. Caramelized Pineapple Sundae Sauce (from What’s Cooking, Chicago?)
  4. Chianti Balsamic Strawberries (from Sparks From the Kitchen)
  5. Chocolate Raspberry Sauce (from Cherry Tea Cakes)
  6. Homemade Ice Cream Cake Crunchies (from Heather Likes Food)
  7. Homemade Magic Shell (from Gimme Some Oven)
  8. Peach Bourbon Pecan Sundae Sauce (from Taylor Takes a Taste)
  9. Pecan Brittle Basket (from Baked Bree)
  10. Pie Crust Ice Cream Bowls (from Crazy for Crust)
  11. Raspberry Sauce (from Spoonful of Flavor)
  12. Salted Caramel Sauce (from Sweetest kitchen)

One final suggestion: Use your favorite homemade or store-bought cookie for crumbling, dipping, or to make ice cream sandwiches!

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Shrimp with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

 

One of the things I enjoy most about summer is that most of the weeknight cooking is relegated to my hubby. I prep the meal – usually some sort of protein and veggie – and he grills it. This gives me an extra few minutes each day to relax or play with the little one (at this point, it’s usually less playing together and more, me chasing after her as she climbs up the stairs or pulls things off pantry shelves).

This recipe is quick and easy for your summer entertaining. Prep the peanut sauce earlier in the day, grill up some shrimp, and serve. There’s only about 15 minutes total prep and cook time, and that’s if you’re cooking the shrimp instead of talking your hubby into it. I’d recommend serving the shrimp hot, but room temperature is fine too.

Shrimp with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 96

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer, Yields 1 c. Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium limes
  • 1/2 c. creamy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. Aisan garlic chili paste or sauce, more to taste
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, more for garnish
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. cooked shrimp (I grilled them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper)

In a food processor, combine zest from 1 lime, juice from two limes, peanut butter, garlic chili sauce, 3 Tbs. mint, and 1/4 c. cold water. Process until smooth. Taste – add additional chili paste if you’d like a spicier sauce. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water and/or lime juice for a looser consistency.

Serve with cooked shrimp, either hot or at room temperature.

Shrimp with Spicy Peanut Sauce

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First off, Happy 4th of July! I hope you’re enjoying this day with family and friends. We’ll be kicking off the day with a lazy morning, and then joining friends this afternoon for the day’s World Cup soccer game, dinner, and fireworks.

Secondly, I’d like to welcome you to Frozen Fridays. Each Friday throughout the month of July, I’ll be sharing a number of recipes to cool off your summer.

To kick things off, I’ve got 25 ice creams, sorbets, sherberts, and granitas that make my mouth water. It’s been hitting the 90s and higher, so I’m looking forward to stocking my freezer with cool treats. Do you have a favorite that’s not listed below? Please leave a comment and let me know (and share a link to the recipe!).

Pistachio Ice Cream from Cook Like A Champion

Pistachio Ice Cream from Cook Like A Champion

{Frozen Fridays: Round Up}

Ice Creams, Sorbets, and More!

  1. Apple Pie Ice Cream (from Brown Eyed Baker)
  2. Berry Basil Sorbet (from Former Chef)
  3. Blackberry Creamsicle Sherbet (from 17 and Baking)
  4. Blueberry Granita (from The Frugal Foodie Mom)
  5. Boozy Blueberry Thyme Sorbet (from bell’alimento)
  6. Cake Batter Ice Cream (from Baked Perfection)
  7. Caramel S’mores Ice Cream (from Cookaholic Wife)
  8. Cardamon Ice Cream with Spiced Candied Pistachios (from Savory Simple)
  9. Cherry Bourbon Ice Cream (from Books n’ Cooks)
  10. Cherry Garcia Ice Cream (from Dieter’s Downfall)
  11. Churro Ice Cream (from Bakers Royale)
  12. Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (from Baked Bree)

    Dark Chocolate Icre Cream from Baked Bree

    Dark Chocolate Icre Cream from Baked Bree

  13. Drunken Cherry Ice Cream (from Savory Simple)
  14. Key Lime Pie Ice Cream (from Cherry Tea Cakes)
  15. Lemon Sorbet (from Live, Dine, Party)
  16. Oreo Fudge Cappuccino Ice Cream (from Inside BruCrew Life)
  17. Pistachio Ice Cream (from Cook Like a Champion)
  18. Raspberry Chambord Sorbet (from Books n’ Cooks)
  19. Raspberry Pina Colada Ice Cream (from Try Anything Once)
  20. Strawberry Angel Food Ice Cream (from A Beautiful Mess)
  21. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (from Books n’ Cooks)
  22. Toasted Coconut Ice Cream with Fudge Ripple (from Life Made Simple)
  23. Toasted Marshmallow Swirl Ice Cream (from Love and Olive Oil)
  24. Vanilla Bean Honey Ice Cream (from The Foodie Army Wife)
  25. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Two Ways (from Annie’s Eats)
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Beef Wellington

I feel like Beef Wellington is one of those dishes you indulge in. It’s expensive and while not difficult to make, it does take a little bit of time. However, this recipe has become of of my favorite beef recipes and my go-to entree for special occasions, particularly for Easter. The beef is incredibly tender and the stuffing is full of flavor. I usually pair it with a simple potato dish, a roasted vegetable, and a salad – the beef is the star of the show and there’s no need to detract from it with fancy sides.

I’ve used this recipe (scaled accordingly) to make both individual Beef Wellingtons as well as one large Beef Wellington, which we then sliced. While I like the idea of everyone having their own individual serving, the larger one was easier to put together and honestly easier to accommodate appetites of varying sizes.

Beef Wellington 

Heavily adapted (simplified) from Tyler Florence

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the Mushroom Duxelles: 

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pints (1 1/2 lbs.) white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for the Beef:

  • 3 lbs. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb. puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • coarse sea salt

Make the Duxelles: On the stove, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add butter and olive oil.

Meanwhile, in a large food processor, pulse the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme until finely chopped. Add to skillet with melted butter and olive oil. Sautee for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

I’ve made this step several hours ahead of time, and simply refrigerated it until ready to prepare the beef.

Prep the Beef: In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.

While the oil is heating, season all sides of the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper. Sear meat on all sides for only a few minutes, to seal in juices.

Beef Wellington

Assemble the Beef Wellington:  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F and lightly flour the counter. Roll out puff pastry to 1/4-inch thickness, overlapping the two sheets of puff pastry as necessary. Spread duxelles in the center, to the approximate length and width of the puff pastry. Set seared beef tenderloin on top.

Combine beaten egg with a little bit of water to create an egg wash. Brush long sides of puff pastry with egg wash and then fold over, sealing in meat. Trim ends, if necessary. Brush with egg wash and fold over.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Gently place beef on prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Cut slits into top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the beef comes out at 125F. Allow to rest for 15 minutes, which will allow the meat to continue to cool until it reaches medium, about 140 degrees.

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AllegiantSo I have something a little embarrassing to admit. This post is soooo long overdue. Like, so long that I read the book twice in order to do really do my review justice. I just cannot seem to carve out enough time to spend on the blog. I really need to go back to my grad school habit of visiting a coffee shop for a few hours of quiet every weekend.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you my review of Allegiant, the third book in the Divergent series. If  you have not read my review of the first two books in the series, check them out here.

Book Review: Divergent Trilogy

Book 3: Allegiant

By Veronica Roth

Book three in the Divergent series picked up where the previous book left off. The factions ceased to exist. There is only the factionless and the allegiant, those that wanted a return to the factions and the principles upon which their city was founded.

Tris and Four join a handful of the allegiant in a trip beyond the city walls, to see what lies before them. There their world, although already spinning from revelations about the creation of the city, is upended once again as they discover that even that was a lie. The two struggle to figure out not their own future but also that of everyone still within the city.

Review/Recommendation: I enjoyed Allegiant. The story was pretty good, and to be honest, Roth completely shocked me with her ending. It shouldn’t have been unexpected, but so rarely do books end in such a way… but no more on that (no spoilers!). I’ll just say that the ending was very surprising and that she wrapped up the story very nicely. One of the better endings I’ve read, actually.

One of my more frequent criticisms of young adult books is that the characters get a little whiny, ruining an otherwise great story. Insurgent, book two in the series, was no different. However, I’m really happy to report that Allegiant did not follow that tradition. Tris returned as a strong character, more mature than she was in the earlier books of the series.

I think my only complaint about Allegiant was that the chapters alternated points of view between Tris and Four. That would have been fine, but the two characters largely had the same voice, making it sometimes easy to forget whose point of view you were reading from.

Overall, a great end to the trilogy.

Grade: A-

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I bookmark a lot of recipes. A LOT. Way more than I ever get to make.

It’s sad really. There are so many fabulous sounding recipes out there and because of time, energy, various dietary restrictions, general pickiness… I only get to try a small fraction of those that I bookmark, and often a long time after I bookmarked it. This recipe (and the last recipe I blogged) were both on my to-make list for over two years. It’s such a shame that I am not able to spend more time in the kitchen because both recipes were winners in my book.

This blackberry coconut macaroon tart tasted amazing. I loved the coconut taste but I’ve never thought to pair a berry with it. The burst of freshness from the blackberry was refreshing, but, I’m happy to say, didn’t outshine the wonderful coconut flavor. My only complaint about the tart was that it was very crumbly. I noted in the directions below where I’d add a little extra butter to help remedy the problem.

Since I’ve recently pulled two (fabulous) recipes buried deep within pages of bookmarks, I thought I’d ask whether there are any recipes that took you forever to make, that you loved once you did get around to making it? Are there any recipes that you’ve had bookmarked forever, and still haven’t gotten around to making? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Blackberry Coconut Macaroon Tart

Blackberry Coconut Macaroon Tart

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day (by Heidi Swanson) via Smitten Kitchen

Makes 1 tart

Ingredients for the Crust:

  •  1 c. plus 2 Tbs. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs. unsweetened finely shredded coconut (I found it in the organic food aisle)
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 Tbs. natural cane sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted (more if your dough doesn’t come together)
  • Additional unsalted butter for greasing the pan

Ingredients for the Filling: 

  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 6 Tbs. natural cane sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  •  6 oz. fresh blackberries

Make the Crust: Ensure a rack is positioned in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper. Generously grease the parchment paper and sides of the pan. 

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, coconut, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. If your crust is too dry, add 1-2 Tbs. more melted butter (add 1 Tbs. at a time). Press into prepared ban so that mixture firms a solid layer across the bottom, like shortbread.

Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile prepare the topping. Stir together coconut, sugar and egg whites.

When crust has cooled slightly, scatter blackberries evenly over the crust. Using your fingers, dollop topping around and over blackberries. Make sure at least some blackberries remain at least partially uncovered.

Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until tart is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Serve at room temperature.

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Mediterranean Baked Feta

This appetizer has been on my list to try for quite some time (almost 2 years!). I don’t know why I always passed over it – perhaps because my husband wouldn’t touch most of what is in this dish. After making this a couple of week ago, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. I whipped this together one Sunday in about 20 minutes (including baking time) for an afternoon of knitting and crocheting with my Mommy friends. I loved the brightness of this dish – fresh tomatoes and herbs (I loaded it up!), salty feta…. And the smell was amazing! Longest 20 minute car ride ever.

Mediterranean Baked Feta

Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook via Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint (or more) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c. diced red onion, small diced
  • 1/3 c. diced olives, small dice
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley, divided
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 10 oz. feta
  • fresh pita or pita chips, for serving

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes, onion, olives, olive oil, 1 Tbs. parsley, and freshly ground pepper until combined.

Place feta in the center of an oven-safe dish. Top with tomato mixture.

Baked 15 minutes, until feta is warmed throughout and slightly softened. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbs. parsley.

Serve hot or at room temperature with sliced pita or pita chips. (May reheat  to soften cheese, as desired).

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There are some books that you correlate to certain things – food, drink, smells… it has as much to do with the book itself as the experience of reading it. For me, Pride and Prejudice (and all of its modern day spinoffs), make me want to host a tea party. Thus, inspired by this week’s review of Longbourn, I thought I’d do a round up of some tea time treats from the blogosphere.

For those of you unfamiliar with traditional English tea, afternoon tea is usually accompanied by finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and little cakes. I won’t say that any of the below tea time treats are traditional English, but you can certainly enjoy them in your own afternoon tea.

The second set of links are to food and beverages either infused with tea or are a blogger’s take on a popular tea.

I haven’t gotten to try everything on this list, so if you make any of the below, be sure to come back and let me know how you liked it!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

Tea Time Treats 

  1. Almond Poppy Seed Bread (from Books n’ Cooks)
  2. Blackberry Jam (from Noel Barnhurst)
  3. Cranberry Walnut Scones (from Books n’ Cooks)
  4. Grapefruit Scones (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)
  5. Green Goddess Tea Sandwiches (from Joy the Baker)
  6. Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies (from Hot Polka Dot)
  7. Petit Fours (from Vegan Yum Yum)
  8. Raspberry Lemon Balm Jam (from The Way to His Heart)
  9. Vanilla Sugar (from Books n’ Cooks)
Vanilla Garlic's Chocolate Earl Grey Caramels

Chocolate Early Grey Caramels by Vanilla Garlic

Tea-Infused Goodies

  1. Chocolate Earl Grey Caramels (from Vanilla Garlic)
  2. Coconut Iced Tea (from Jenn Cuisine)
  3. Dark Chocolate Early Grey Cupcakes (from Desserts for Breakfast)
  4. Earl Grey Chocolate Pots de Creme (from Gourmande in the Kitchen)
  5. Earl Grey Oatmeal with Cardamon & Honey Cream (from A Better Happier St. Sebastian)
  6. Earl Grey Tea Latte (from Gimme Some Oven)
  7. Green Tea Ice Cream (from Annie’s Eats)
  8. Lemon, Ginger, and Orange Earl Grey Flavored Sugars (from Taylor Takes a Taste)
  9. Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktail (from Joy the Baker)
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LongbournBook Review:

Longbourn

By Jo Baker

The story behind Longbourn can be summarized in one sentence: it is Pride and Prejudice told from the point of view of the servants.

Although Jane Austen rarely mentions a servant in her classic novel, Baker creates a series of characters who wait on the Bennetts: Sarah (orphaned at 6, she grew into a young woman while serving as housemaid), Mr. and Mrs. Hill (elderly head butler and housekeeper), Polly (even young housemaid who is naive and full of dreams), and James Smith (orphan who, after a series of hardships, becomes a butler).

Review & Recommendation: There’s something I love about British history. Maybe it stems from a high school trip to England with my grandma (my first trip overseas), seeing the beautiful buildings and picking out new-to-me foods. Or maybe it’s the fairy tale-like stories, both fiction and non-fiction of royalty and nobility that I simply cant’ relate to. Whatever the reason, I am drawn to British historical novels, fiction and non-fiction alike.

Pride and Prejudice has long been a favorite of mine (I’ve even been known to read some of the trashy spin-offs) so when Longbourn was chosen as a book for book club, I quickly bought an e-book version, but dawdled before starting it with fear I’d finish too quickly. Life got me sidetracked so I took quite a while in reading it, but I thoroughly enjoyed Longbourn. Actually, the feel of the book reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey, which I devoured while on maternity leave.

Anyway, I felt that the tone of the book stayed fairly true to Jane Austen and the story-line of Longbourn follows that of Pride and Prejudice. However, it is important to note that because the role of the servants was minimal in Pride and Prejudice, Baker made up just about everything that the servants were doing. As a result, sometimes the story felt a bit choppy, like long, classic scenes in Pride and Prejudice were cut short, and that we left from scene to scene with little transition.

The other critique I have is that the story is interrupted for several pages by a flashback into the footman’s (James) history. While I appreciate the character background, it was a huge break in the story (added because there wasn’t enough for the servants to be doing along the story line of Pride and Prejudice?) and ended up feeling like Baker was trying to fill pages.

Overall, Longbourn was an enjoyable and different read for a Pride and Prejudice enthusiast.

Grade: B

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