Our wonderful guest judges, Lavonne and David Neff of The Neff Review
thoughtfully reviewed the submissions for this latest round of Cook the Books, in which we savored Andrea Camilleri's "The Shape of Water". Here's what Lavonne had to say:
"Both of us enjoyed the Camilleri books we’ve read, but we
still have quite a few left to go. We got waylaid by Donna Leon’s 22-book
series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. She’s one of our very favorite
mystery writers, and her descriptions of the culinary creations of Paola
Falier, Brunetti’s wife, would drive you all to your kitchens. But given the
absence of a Paola in Inspector Montalbano’s life (and his own reluctance to do
more in the kitchen than open the refrigerator), you’ve all done wonderfully
well to come up with food he would love.
I love the idea of an international book club, with hosts
from (left to right) Hawaii, California, Indiana, and New York, and other
participants this month from Australia, Hawaii, Vancouver, Oklahoma,
Pennsylvania, and the U.K. On the other hand, food is best whenprepared and
eaten with friends—and kudos to Marla
and Louise who got together in person to make delicious looking
adaptation to the “current trend of stacking things” is right up my alley. One
of my blog posts last year, “Make
puts “stacking things” in chart form. I’m going to try your
recipe, Claudia. Alicia
, I love the
way you used leftovers in your pasta. I often say my refrigerator is my best
cookbook. And the cat’s mother
’s acquacotta maremmana
you choose “cooked water” to go with the title?
Thanks to Heather(and
Ana) for càlia e simenza, which looks
better than trail mix any day and is easy to make, to Simona for cookies that I’ll bake as soon as I figure out where to
buy baker’s ammonia, and to Debra
for a dish that I think best exemplifies Inspector Montalbano’s approach to
food. I too love food that can “be served up without any problem,” especially
if garlic is involved. Ana, how
appropriate to choose pasta alla
puttanesca—and is there a pasta in the style of corrupt politicians too?
And Rachel, the pollo e pomodori looks delightful.
(By the way, my go-to Italian cookbook is Trattoria by Patricia Wells. I’ve never
had one of her recipes go wrong. Friday evening I fixed two of her recipes, petti di pollo alla salvia (sautéed
chicken breasts with fresh sage) and risotto
al limone—but I digress. They aren’t even remotely Sicilian.)
Well, David and I read all of your blog posts and then read
them all again, and as we ate leftover risotto
(“As they ate, they spoke of eating, as always happens in Italy”) we talked
about what we most liked. Since we found it hard to decide, I asked him one
question: “Which recipe do you want me to make for dinner tomorrow night?” He
didn’t hesitate: he wanted sciuscieddu,
though he didn’t try to pronounce it: egg and bread crumb soup.We both thought Deb wrote an excellent review of the
book, both its plot and its food, and she bravely not only researched Sicilian
food but even adapted English-language recipes to be truer to the Sicilian
original. A bonus for us is that the recipe can be made vegetarian (we call
ourselves part-time vegetarians). So the winner is Deb of Kahakai Kitchen—but
really, you’re all winners, and so are we, with all these good new recipes to
try. Now go make more of that Sicilian food and invite the neighbors over to
P.S. Deb, do you think it would hurt to cook the garlic a
little before adding it to the dumplings? And is there a wine you’d recommend
to complement the soup?"
Hats off to our winner, Deb, and a big thank you to our delightful guest judges!
And now, to pass the torch to our CTB winner and current Host of the next CTB round. Hope you are all enjoying our next book, "The Color of Tea", by Hannah Tunnicliffe.
-Rachel, The Crispy Cook
Lavonne made a batch of Deb's award-winning soup and here's what she had to say:
"It's delicious! Just before serving, I added the juice of one lemon,
which I think made it even better. Oh, and if it really bothers Deb that
her dumplings fell apart, tell her to keep the broth just at or just
below boiling, and to let the dumplings cook in it for at least 5
minutes. Then they turn into little meatballs."