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Play It Again, Sam!

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By Gini Rainey

A lot has been going on in our world this past week.  Some of it has not too terribly pretty.  Sometimes it’s difficult to look past this messy life of ours and find the beauty of our home called Earth and as a result of all this messiness, I find it hard to find much inspiration.  Initially we were wondering which world power would decide to blow us off the face of this Earth, but it would seem that we are doing a mighty good job of trying to destroy ourselves from within.  It would seem that there are a lot of folks who feel the best way to move forward is to disregard the past that got us all to this point in time.  Instead of trying to learn from that history and try not to repeat it, it would seem a lot of folks just want to erase and forget.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the way to honestly move forward.

How can she tie this into a cookbook review, they say.  Well, The Casablanca Cookbook references a lot of things from the movie of the same name, which drew it strength of popularity from its perfectly timed release that followed, by just a few
short weeks, the Allied invasion of North Africa.  While many films about war were released during that time period, Casablanca went on to win three Academy Awards because of its compelling plot, cast of all-stars, memorable lines, and pervasive theme song.

While this cookbook isn’t very big, Sarah key, Jennifer Newman Brazil, and Vicki Wells managed to pack some interesting recipes along with great black and white photos and trivia into their 44 page book that was published in 1992 by Abbeville Press Publishers.  Filled with recipes that have a Moroccan flair, you’ll be able to cook up a meal like they served at Rick’s and savor a flavor straight out of the Kasbah.  The adult beverage recipes in this book seem to out-weigh the others, but after all, Rick’s was one smoke-filled, bar-type restaurant, so it stands to reason.  From a “Here’s Looking at You, Kid” Champagne Cocktail straight through to the “As Time Goes By” Preserved Lemon Cookies, you should be able to get your nostalgia juices flowing enough to maybe pop in the movie while you cook a meal of Couscous Marocain and sip a “We’ll Always Have Paris” Preserved Lemon Martini.

To make your own supply of Preserved Lemons, use this recipe.  Starting with 4 thin-skinned, small lemons (or limes), slice thin, or in wedges.  In a 1-quart jar, layer the lemons alternately with 2 cups sugar to fill jar.  Seal the jar with an airtight lid.  By the following day, they should have produced enough liquid to cover the lemons.  If not, add more sugar.  Do not add water.  Let sit in a cool, dry spot for 2 weeks.  After 2 weeks, the lemons are ready to use.  Refrigerate at this point to store up to 6 months.  These are great for garnishing sweet drinks and desserts.  If you are a martini drinker, you can use the same recipe, only substitute salt for the sugar.  Oh, and by the way, Bogart did not say “Play it again, Sam.” What he said was “You played it for her, you can play it for me…If she can stand it, I can. Play it!”

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Books

Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More

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From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

For more events, check out EGuideMagazine.com ‘s entire

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Books

Reading the Kids Back to School

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By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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A Good Pounding!

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By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with jenreviews.com.  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: https://eguidemagazine.com/janies-cakes-finally-oprah-realizes-something-weve-all-known-for-years/ In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past: https://janiescakes.com/  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here: https://www.jenreviews.com/cranberry-pound-cake-recipe/.  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

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