Monday, October 2, 2023

Love & Saffron: The Roundup

Happy October! I'll be rounding up our Cook the Books August/September selection Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food & Love by Kim Fay. I'm so glad so many of you enjoyed the book and the friendship between Joan and Imogen. It certainly inspired some delicious dishes!

Amy of Amy's Kitchen Adventures said,  "This is one of those books that is simply "ok". There's nothing wrong with it (yes, Immy's storyline was very predictable and Joan's was a bit odd) but it's not a super captivating page turner either." For her dish, Amy said, "Of the more “exotic” (for the time at least) recipes mentioned in the book, Jamaican Jerk Chicken stood out. A few months ago, Hubs and I took a long overdue trip (just us, no kids) to Daytona Beach, FL. After an afternoon  of beach walking, we had dinner at a beachside restaurant with deck seating and live music and I ordered a Jerk Chicken Salad. It was delicious and perfect after walking for a few hours! With the further inspiration from the book,I decided to recreate that salad at home!"

Camilla of Culinary Cam said, "I devoured Love & Saffron in a single sitting. It had delicious prose and embodied the spirit of a true friendship between two women in a sisterhood that they chose. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to revisit a few dishes that I made for one of my very best friends." Camilla's saffron-infused dinner included Savory Ricotta Cupcakes with a Saffron Salsa,Whitefish B'stilla and Saffron-Cardamom Ice Cream. Check out all the photos and recipes on her post.

Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm said, "Let me start off this review by saying I LOVED this quick, easy read. It is perfect for the dog days of summer. It is written, for the most part, in a series of letters that span through the years. These letters foster a close friendship between Joan and Imogen even though there is a 30-year difference in their ages." Wendy made Joan's Quesadillas, saying, "As a bonus, the women share recipes with each other, and thus the author shares recipes with the readers. One of these recipes was Quesadillas provided by Joan to Imogen. These quesadillas, like the others, are easy to make, budget-friendly, quick, and delicious. I would recommend both the recipe and the novel."  

Claudia of Honey From Rock said, "It was also a reminder of the friendships in my own life, those I communicate with daily.  Particularly a good friend of many years, just recently more closely reconnected with. We now email back and forth about what we're cooking, planting, research of the various aspects of it all, and food we're experimenting with; occasionally visiting local farmers markets, and sharing meals. Claudia's Ulu and Deconstructed Kebabs came from the following, "Immy was lamenting her many trips to the big city wasted, eating Dick's burgers when she could have been relishing shish kebab at the Turkish restaurant. So, that's what I made last night with some boneless lamb sirloin steaks. Only in my version, deconstructed like my kitchen, the meat was left in largish pieces!  I believe in simplifying when possible. Also instead of the pita bread side, breadfruit was substituted."

Debra of Eliot's Eats enjoyed the book saying, "You can see there is a bit of international flair along with 1960s staples like those sad jello molds. Both Joan and Imogene are adventurous epicures who spur each other on to try new things. It was interesting that garlic, limes, tortillas and other things we take for granted as staples were hard to find. Or how very few people even knew about Mexican food." Debra chose a recipe from the book saying, "I had to try one of the Mexican recipes and I had lofty plans to make carne asada and the One-Bean Salad. Time was once again my enemy so I went only with the salad with a few modifications. This recipe is listed in the back of the novel. “The one-bean is the pinto, which is fundamental to Mexican cookery. Nopales are tender portions of cactus that are sold fresh or canned in little green dice in Mexican markets.

Marg of The Intrepid Reader said, "I don't participate in Cook the Books all the time, but this month I was able to read the book, and it is a case of reading a book that I might not otherwise have read! When I started this book, I knew straight away that I was going to enjoy it! And I did!  There were a number of recipes shared in the text, as well as mentions of specific dishes but in the end we decided to go with a dish from a cuisine rather than a specific dish. Throughout the story, there was discussion about the influence of Mexican flavours so we decided to make a version of Beef Enchiladas from the Recipetin Eats: Dinner cookbook that we are still cooking so many recipes from!"

Cathy of Delaware Girl Eats liked the book and the mention of Julia Child in one of the letters, saying, This characterization of Julia and her groundbreaking program cracked me up in that it was so dead on." For her contribution, Cathy made Mini Citrusy Cheesecakes, noting, "Although the cheesecake recipe isn’t mentioned in the book, I felt Julia deserved some acclaim. So below is an adaptation of mini-cheesecakes inspired by my friend and partnered with Julia’s usual wisdom."

Muffins 9-18-23

Simona of briciole said, "During the course of the novel, Joan starts exploring the food scene of Los Angeles and Imogen's husband learns to cook, aided, in part, by a friendship that develops between him and Angelo Pellegrini, whose The Unprejudiced Palate ("a book on bread and wine in relation to life") was a Cook the Books Club's selection some years ago. ... There are a number of foods mentioned ... and some recipes, none of which I wished to replicate. Instead, Joan's love story with Mateo and her appreciation, through him, of Mexican food, reminded me of a dish I had wanted to make for a while: chimichurri. I thought it would be great on Francis's (Imogen's husband) omelettes. Except that, once I re-read the article that sparked my interest, I realized the sauce is from Argentina, not Mexico: too late, my mind was set and Chimichurri it was."

Finally, at Kahakai Kitchen, I enjoyed this book and found it an engaging read. For my book inspired dish, I ended up going with curry. Joan wrote, "At Stanford I was drawn to students from India because they cooked up little pots of curry in their rooms." I too am drawn to the smells of a delicious curry and I love how easy it is to knock one together. I decided on an old favorite, Aloo Gobi Matar which is simple potatoes, cauliflower and peas in a dryish simple tomato curry, served with rice. 

I believe I captured everyone's entries, but if I missed anyone, please let me know. As usual, I wish we could have a Cook the Books potluck and try all of these delectable-looking recipes. Thank you for joining in this round!

For our October/November, Claudia from Honey from Rock will be hosting with The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller. We hope you join us!

Happy Reading and Cooking!

Kahakai Kitchen


Lori said...

I read this book over the summer so I really enjoyed seeing everyone's dishes.

Simona Carini said...

Thank you so much, Deb, for hosting and for the lovely roundup. I'm ready to read the posts and savor each of the dishes prepared :)

Claudia said...

Hey, Deb, I absolutely love curries too, and will be giving this one a try. Thanks for a great selection.