Beach Bag Books

east of the sun

I was not ready to stay up all nite to find out what happens in this book, but I did. On a couple of nites recently…

Set in 1928, firmly between the two world wars, the novel tells the story of 3 young women who are part of the “fishing fleet”, the ignominious name given to women who left England for India to find husbands in the “crown jewel” of England’s colonies.

But India is not a dusty colony. It is a thriving, disparate landscape of poverty and castes juxtaposed against the background of English sahibs who colonized and politically and economically strangled fully one third of the Asian land mass.

Viva, Tor and Rose are the protagonists who set out on a liner, Viva as the chaperone to the other two. To capitalize on her passage, she also takes on the chaperoning of a disturbed teenage boy named Guy. Just how disturbed he is, is not immediately apparent.

It’s a terrific story about the intricacies of relationships between men and women, servants and masters, governments and mostly about the relationship between the women themselves.

Thumping good read!

What’s not to like…II

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According to Merriam Webster, the definition of confit is duck, pork or other meat that is cooked and preserved in it’s own fat. But it can also be a garnish of fruit or vegetable that is cooked until tender in a seasoned liquid.

I had some nice Roma tomatoes from Costco and as we have been on a whipped Feta and roasted tomato kick in this house, I decided with this batch, I would confit vs. roast.

As you know I have done garlic confit on this site a mere 60 days ago or so, and made it again after that. I used the same directions except I had to add a step to dry out the tomatoes which you do not have to do with garlic.

I rinsed the tomatoes and quartered them and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkled with a little sea salt and ground pepper and a teensy bit of sugar. I popped them into the oven on a 300° convection bake setting but you can use 275° for a regular oven. Drying out the tomatoes means low and slow, so they were in the oven for about 2 hours. a

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You know they are done in the oven when they go all dull looking. No shine to the tomatoes at all and if you press on them they have very little if any juice to give out.

Place them in a heavy pot and just cover with olive oil. I used the end of the oil that I made another batch of garlic confit with yesterday also, so mine will have a LOT of garlic flavor. I added some capers, finely chopped basil and parsley and teensy bit of anchovy paste. I brought to a boil and then dialed back the burner to a simmer. Important that you don’t cover the pot or too much steam will go back into the confit and make it watery.

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Cook them about an hour, give or take, until they are translucent. I wasn’t feeling getting them all jarred up pretty last nite, so I popped them into a plastic container and will worry about them later.

Remember like all items that are in oil, you need to keep them refrigerated for food safety reasons until you use the.

These will be terrific with a little arugula and olive oil on top of a cornmeal crusted chicken breast with some black olive tapenade. Or whipped with some butter on french bread, or as  previously discussed, with whipped Feta and bread.

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Enjoy!

Passages

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So you may have noticed that I haven’t exactly been tearing up the WordPress stats lately and posting a bunch of stuff on this here blog…Well, that’s because as many of you know and some of you don’t, I’ve undergone a HUGE transition in my life. After 40 years of working full time (chambermaid, waitress, front desk clerk, nite auditor, liquor license clerk, writer, front office manager, rooms division manager, catering and board manager, retail manager, catering director, general manager and then district manager..in case you were wondering), I have “retired” from my company after 31 years of those 40. It comes with mixed emotions, but after two weeks I can tell you that I am enjoying not reading email at 4:30 am. There was and will be a tremendous amount of reorganization going on in my part of the business and an offer was made an accepted. An offer that allows me to stay whole for a while, take a breath and figure things out.

So here’s what I know after noodling on things for a couple of weeks:

I love being in operations. Coming up with a plan and executing it

I love working in diversity especially around the advancement of women in the workforce. The last four years that I spent chairing a Women’s Network Group were the absolutely BEST parts of my career, all 40 years of them.

I love throwing parties, planning parties, thinking about parties, theming a party and going to parties.

I love being creative. If I could do paper crafts, photography, writing this blog, making jewelry, cooking and especially baking every day, all day, while planning a party, I’d be in heaven!

Based on this information I should be planning and executing a lot of parties for fantastic women who are working hard and moving forward. The parties will feature a lot of good food, cake and fabulous party favors. Pink may or may not feature prominently…

If anyone has any needs for any of my skills listed here, give me a call and we’ll work something out. I’m open for everything and anything!

I’ve already cleaned all the closets in the house except for one….

Currently Crushing…

Here’s what I’m crushing on this summer….in no particular order…

nivea

Makes your shower slippery as all get out, but totally worth it. A little of this moisturizer smoothed on while still in the shower apres cleansing, and then rinsed off, is light enough for the summer when you don’t want a heavy lotion, but need something….Once you are out of the shower, and toweling off, it’s like buffing your skin. For those of you peeps in the Boston area, Christmas Tree Shops sell this for $5.99, $2 bucks less than Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc.

curate

Have you peeps seen or tried these new snack bars? Totally awesome! Of course the fig and apricot ones are my personal faves. Get ’em at Target…where else?

book bub

My bestie, L, got me hooked on these next  two items. Book Bub is the best kept secret for e books. Sign up and choose your favorite genres. Each day you get a list of discounted ebooks you can order from Amazon Kindle or Nook. Terrific for quick fast beach bag books like romcoms and mysteries. But they even have cookbooks, history etc. The most expensive one I have seen is $1.99 and some of them are even free! Most are $.99. The only thing better than a $.99 book is a .99 pence soft serve ice cream in Ireland. It’s as big as your head. But I digress….

dove

And falling into the category of ” I never met one I didn’t like, is Dove’s latest creation of dark chocolate sea salt promises. You can eat them while you read your romcoms, if you are somewhere where they don’t melt. Otherwise, wait to eat them as a treat. So far, I can only find them at Tarjay…(Target).

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Lastly, I am mad for the seemingly out of no where fascination with mermaids…you can even knit/buy a blanket that lets you do your best Ariel or Madison impression….And you can buy mermaid fin for that authentic feeling at the beach…

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I hear Weeki Wachi is hiring…..

Modified Mezze….

During another day of living vegetatively last week, I made falafels from the box mix            ( very easy….) and made a Greek salad with no lettuce, the way it’s served in Greece. I added a a homemade tzitziki sauce made with cucumbers, dill and ricotta cheese, not Greek yogurt. Why ricotta you ask? Because I froze the container of Greek yogurt by putting it on the top shelf of the refrigerator, much to my chagrin. I thawed out some nice soft Naan breads, added some mixed greens and topped with the falafels and lots of lemon and tzitziki. The avocados….well, it was perfectly dead ripe and another day would have turned it into a slag heap…

Enjoy!

The Green Goddess

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During our week of living vegetatively we utilized a few recipes that I adapted from Pinterest postings I had saved over the past couple of years.

One that caught my eye was to utilized green goddess dressing ( yes WITH the anchovies…) to produce a tasty and satisfying sandwich that doubles down as a meal. I made this for the Hubs and I one very HOT night last week before our A/C was fixed. Honestly…it was Africa hot…

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I started with fresh herbs from the garden. Basil, parsley and chives and tossed them in the Cuisinart with a couple of cloves of the garlic confit from 2 weeks ago…

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Then anchovies and a little bit of no fat sour cream and some fresh pepper. I spread the dressing onto a lavash roll up…one for each of us.

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First I added Boston lettuce…

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Then thin sliced avocado wedges….

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Then thin slices of buffalo mozzarella and sweet Vidalia onions….

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Lastly, thin sliced cucumber…

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Cool, crunchy, creamy and a totally great vegetarian option for a hot summer nite.

Would also work for a take to work lunch! Just add limeade to continue the green goddess theme!

Greening up….


The Hubs and I are doing a little experiment this week and going vegetarian for a few days…I prepped up some quick zucchini rolls on Sunday. I shaved a lonely zucchini on the long side and the rolled with a mix of shredded Parmesan, Italian seasoning, cream cheese and a little bit of mozzarella. I placed them in a foil pan on a bed of simple tomato sauce.

Then a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. I topped with more sauce just before serving. More to follow!

Fruit Salad


Seriously the best salad I’ve made in years…dead ripe fresh peaches sliced, dead ripe and sliced avocado, a thinly sliced red onion, baby romaine and a vinaigrette of evoo, apricot curd (just about a tablespoon) and a little apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Really, try it. It’s the peaches….