Monday (Mini #BookReview ) Madness

This week I read:

This book had a good premise, developed the characters well and created a solid group dynamic. It delivered the creeps and the scares, and if you want to know how, just read the name. I enjoyed the story, but doubt I’ll be reading more in the series.
This book is SO good! It has heart. It has horror. It has carnage. It’s both haunting and about a haunting. 😉 Stellar plot, creative and imaginative, and while it’s an old trope, it felt new. It’s the first book I’ve read in a while where I thought both, “Yay! There’s a sequel!” and, “Must read sequel immediately!” I’ll be very happy if the next book delivers as much as this one did.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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This one got off to a great start, full of mystery and suspense (which is what it’s categorized under at Amazon). But then it slowed until it dragged. Instead of a crafty plot, there was narrative heavy analysis. The second narrator works in the beginning to add intrigue and keep you reading, but these scenes lose steam until their sole purpose is to fill in (far-fetched) blanks. The ending felt rushed. Instead of a satisfying conclusion, there was the stasis of simply continuing to exist which for some reason is such a popular theme in literary fiction – because that’s what this is. If it had been a mystery, as I expected, I probably would have liked it better.

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If you’re looking for a teenage horror movie in a book, look no further – this is a slasher flick in word form. And I really liked the premise of this one: someone is messing with people in their own houses before killing them. At times, the execution left questions, and the secret haunting the MC is underwhelming when revealed, but this book provided a nice escape from reality. 

I just started:

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Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads and unite our bookish communities!

Friday’s Flavors: Hacked! Starbuck’s Egg Sous Vide Bites

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

e4I’ve been working on this recipe for a while because:

  1. I think Starbuck’s Bacon and Gruyere egg bites are delicious.
  2. I refuse to buy a sous vide machine just to make them.
  3. It took me a while to figure out the details (cooking temperature, proportions, etc.) to reach both a flavor and degree of simplicity I was happy with.

The result of my labors is a tasty and easy version you can make at home using nothing fancier than a food processor (or blender) and a muffin tin. The best part is, because of the way the proportions turned out, there’s no fussy math needed if you decide you want to make 2 or 12.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

eggs (half as many as the egg bites you want when finished)

cottage cheese (Yep. Starbuck’s egg bites are more cottage cheese than egg.)

salt

bacon (the precooked, bagged, chopped bacon in the salad dressing section is fine)

cheese of choice (I used an aged gouda)

Preparation:

ePreheat oven to 325 degrees.

This is super easy. You use half as many eggs as the egg bites you want when finished, so if you want 2 egg bites, use 1 egg, if you want 12 egg bites, use 6 eggs.

Break the eggs into a measuring cup. Take note of the amount, then put the eggs in a food processor (or blender). Fill the measuring cup to slightly above the level where the eggs reached with cottage cheese (so if you’re using 1/2 cup eggs, use 1/2 cup plus a heaping spoonful of cottage cheese.) Add the e1cottage cheese to the food processor. Add a pinch of salt and mix together.

Spray oil in the muffin pan cups. Sprinkle bacon at the bottom. Spoon in egg/cottage cheese mixture until about 3/4 full. Top with a generous pinch of the cheese.

My oven runs a bit hot, but my egg bites were perfectly cooked after 17 minutes. I would suggest checking at 15 minutes, and keeping an eye on them until they’re done. Jiggle the muffin pan, and if the egg bites wiggle in the middle, they need more e4time. If you think they’re done, but you’re not sure, a butter knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

(Don’t worry if the tops puff up, they’ll settle as they cool.)

Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then cover with parchment paper and flip. Using a butter knife, trace the edges of any egg bites that don’t come out on their own to free them.

Enjoy immediately, or allow to cool before storing and reheat when ready.

If you try it, please let me know what you think!

Check back next Friday for another recipe!

 

Friday’s Flavors: Conch Fritters With Key Lime Dipping Sauce

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

c5I really like a good conch fritter, but I feel like when you order them at a restaurant, they’re hit or miss. Sometimes they’re just a hard little ball of deep fried dough, other times the conch is hard and chewy, but when they’re done right, they’re tender and flavorful and oh so good – and they’re probably not nearly as hard to make at home as you think!

(The hardest part is getting conch, and while most recipes will tell you to use fresh, I’ve never had a problem using frozen.)

Ingredients:

3/4 to 1 pound conch meat (fresh or defrosted)

1/2 bell pepper

1 large shallot

1-2 ribs celery

6 cloves garlic

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup eggs, beaten (2 large eggs will usually do)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon Old Bay

a pinch of baking powder (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)

garlic salt to taste

peanut oil for frying (or oil of choice)

Key Lime Dipping Sauce:

1/2 lime

mayonnaise

(optional) crème of coconut

Preparation:

c6Finely chop the bell pepper, shallot and celery. Peel garlic and get the rest of your ingredients ready to go.

Beat the conch on both sides with the business end of a meat mallet. Dice into 1/4 inch pieces, then chop in a food processor for a few seconds.

cMix flour, milk, beaten eggs and melted butter together. Add baking powder, Old Bay and garlic salt, stirring until well mixed.

Add bell pepper, shallots, celery, crushed garlic and conch. Mix well with a fork, making sure to break up any clumps of conch.

Heat oil over medium high heat to about 350 degrees. If you don’t have a way to measure the temperature, slowly c3increase heat until the oil sizzles but not spits when you add a drop of water.

I like the fritters to take their own shape, kind of like alien sea creatures, so I use a fork to push a small spoonful off the spoon into the oil. Work in small batches, making sure to not overcrowd the fritters. When they turn a nice golden brown, remove with a metal slotted spoon and set on a baking sheet lined with a couple layers of paper towels to dry.

c4To make the dipping sauce, juice half a lime and add mayonnaise a little at a time until it reaches a nice consistency (it doesn’t taste like mayonnaise at all when you’re done). Bonus points for adding a touch of cream of coconut (you can find it in a squeeze bottle and it makes the BEST at home Pina Coladas!)

Serve with lime wedges. Cilantro makes the best garnish if you want to get fancy.

If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Check back next Friday for more Foodie Flavors!

Friday’s Flavors: Scallops And Pasta In Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

Hi, Foodies! Happy Friday!

sc1This week I was craving seafood pasta in a creamy cheese sauce, but I was feeling lazy – I didn’t feel like making a roux, or stirring constantly – I really just wanted to do minimal effort, tossing some ingredients together, while enjoying maximum flavor. This creamy blue cheese sauce is the solution!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound scallops (shrimp work well too!)

1 cup crumbled blue cheese (I get 1 cup from a 5oz container)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup dry white wine

2-4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

green onions to garnish

grated parmesan (optional)

Preparation:

sc2In a large pan combine olive oil with melted butter. Usually I’d say sear the scallops a couple of minutes on each size until they caramelize a nice, crusty brown, but I got a new pan and that didn’t happen this time. 😦

But, cook your scallops (or shrimp) until almost done, then add white wine, crushed garlic, cream, and crumbled blue cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook several minutes to allow to reduce. (The sauce won’t thicken until it cools.)

Toss with your favorite pasta. Garnish with green onions and a handful of fresh parmesan if so desired. Then dig in!

If you make it, please let me know how you liked it!

Check back next Friday for another recipe.

 

Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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I picked this one up, then almost set it down after a few pages. I didn’t like the writing and could tell right away that at least one of the characters was going to rub me the wrong way, but I had just seen the title on a list with many books that I had enjoyed, so I kept reading. It never shocked me like the cover blurb promises, but it ended up being decent with a nice twist. 

Mexican Gothic
This was a #BlameItOnLitsy read because this book is getting so much hype right now. While it was definitely creepy with well developed characters, an eerie setting, and plenty of atmosphere, I found that at times the descriptive writing broke up the suspense with all its details. Good, but not as good as I was hoping.

I just started:

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Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads and unite our bookish communities!

Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

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This is a novella to accompany Leaving Time which I read several years ago and absolutely loved! While good, it lacked most of what I enjoyed about the novel. There was nothing uplifting, no message of hope, it was informative and well written but ultimately a downer.

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A girl who escapes her real life by becoming lost within the pages of books. Read my ARC review here.                          To be released August 25, 2020

I just started:

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Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads and unite our bookish communities!

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