Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter Yumminess

I hosted my book club this week. We rotate, and since there are about 15 people (all lovely, highly articulate women) in the club, we each end up hosting about once a year.

I took the opportunity to cook up a winter feast of green salad with toasted almonds, dried cranberries and bleu cheese crumbles; Jamie Oliver chicken stew (his basic stew recipe is awesome, and the flexibility of it makes it one of my go-to recipes); and Paula Deen's chocolate bread pudding, which is absolutely to-die-for.

Although everyone served themselves dinner, when it was time for dessert, I sneaked off into the kitchen to fill the bowls with bread pudding and a scoop of ice cream. Women will always say, “Oh, only a little,” and I didn't want them to have the chance to do that. I wanted everyone to feel like they could indulge. So I filled the bowls up with substantial scoops of the warm bread pudding – and was gratified when not one single bowl had a morsel left in it.

There's a time for restraint, but a cold, snowy evening spent with friends sharing a scrumptious dessert is not it!

The one thing I forgot to do in the busy-ness of preparations was take photos, which I must remember to do if I'm going to master this blogging thing. But follow the links to the recipes and I promise you wont be disappointed. (A couple of notes: I added red potatoes, quartered, to the stew to make it a bit more filling since I was serving 12, and I doubled the amount of chocolate chips in the bread pudding. I dont think Ms. Deen would mind :-)

The book this month was March, by Geraldine Brooks, which won the Pulitzer Prize. It's the story of the father from Little Women, while he's away in the Civil War. (It made me want to reread Little Women, one of my childhood favorites.) It was worth reading, although I prefer Year of Wonders by the same author. How someone can write about the plague (yes, THE Plague) and have it come out inspiring and uplifting is a true marvel, but Ms. Brooks manages it beautifully.

I'm reading more lately after a long phase where I didnt make time for it. I read a lot for my job and sometimes forget how nice it is to read for pleasure. Lately I can't get enough. Read any good books lately?

Another question, someone in my book club said every girl who read Little Women saw herself as Jo. Is that how you felt? Were we all Jo Wannabes, or are there some Beths, Megs and Amys out there?

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