Saturday, July 3, 2010

Book Club - it's not all about the book...

This month it was my turn to pick the book at book club.  I take this duty very seriously and peruse many books before I make my sometimes I pick books like I pick wine - by the cover (or with wine by the label), sometimes I read the jacket and see what I think, other times I go on Amazon and read reviews and their longer blurb, and always I read a page or two to see if it grabs me.  Ok...with this book I did ALL of the above - and still part way through the month I emailed the book club peoples and said EEEk...I might have picked a bad one!?

No, they said, we are farther than you (they are more advanced readers than I) and enjoying the book - here it takes a bit of time to get into but the characters become endearing and there is a message to it all.

After our discussion of the book I am looking forward to finishing it!

That said Book Club is more than just the book...we always discuss the book (sometimes longer than others)...but we also have many other things to discuss - we have solved the world's problems three times over...and we love to eat and have a little cocktail or wine or iced tea or something to wet our whistle!

Last night I prepared the bean salad that I just put on the blog -

and I made some little breads to go with it...

I just sliced a baguette, melted some butter and added garlic salt, chili powder and nutmeg.  I lined the slices of baguette up on a cookie sheet, spooned a teaspoon of the buttery stuff onto each and then broiled them until they were bubbly...Yu-um as my friend Annie would say!

I also made a new hummus to snack on...

Speaking of Annie - she gave me this cute bowl and knife!!!

For the hummus I put a can of garbanzo beans, a jar of roasted red peppers (be sure you get all the water out of them), 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, a little pour of olive oil and some sea salt into the blender.  Easy-peasy - throw it in a bowl, set out some crackers and TA DA - instant party snack.

Now........for the beverage - my favorite summer time cocktail is a mojito - the combination of mint and lime is so refreshing.

Last night I made them individually but I have also made them by the pitcherful (which is nice because it frees you up a bit)

Into a tall glass toss - 6 or 8 mint leaves torn in half, 2 t of superfine sugar, and juice about 1/4 of a lime in and throw in the lime peel also.  Now you muddle this...or smush it up as I say.  They have a very fancy muddling tool shown on the Baccardi Rum site (, I want to find out where to get it...but I just used the end of a wooden spoon. (Depending on the size of the glass you use you may want to change the amounts of these ingredients.)

This is another good use for the lime squeezer I told you about.

Now add a jigger of rum and fill the glass with ice...

...and top it off with club soda and a quick stir!!!  We also make these without the rum for the girlies.

A party isn't a party without sweets so I put out some of my favorite red licorice,

and made a couple of shortbreads.

I got this shortbread recipe from my mom and it is nice because it is tasty and easy to make.

In a bowl put - 1 1/4 Cups flour, 1/4 Cup sugar, 3 T cornstarch and 1/2 Cup softened butter.  Mix these together by smashing with the back of a fork.  When the butter is all distributed put the mixture into a pie plate and push it down with your hands til it is all packed in nicely.  Then put some pretty fork marks aroung the edge and prick the surface all over with the fork tines.  I don't know why...this is what my mom taught me to do.  It looks pretty, but there might be a practical reason too.

Bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes - it should be a little bit golden but not too much.  When it comes out of the oven you can sprinkle it with sugar - and cut it while it is warm so it doesn't break all apart.

Well there you have it - now go and start a Book Club - you know you want to....

xoxo    Elizabeth

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