It’s time to crack the books on the old summer reading list. That means ditching the heavy literature and losing yourself in some mindless, guilt-free entertainment. This month’s book club selection satisfies all of your ‘sit on the beach and drink a diet coke’ summer reading requirements: “Unholy Night”, by Seth Grahame-Smith.
If you’re like me and you hate vampire/zombie books, I know what you’re thinking: Ugh, there is no way I’m picking up a book from the same guy who wrote “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” or “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” But hold on, before you turn up your nose, this book isn’t nearly as outrageous. I’ll try to refrain from inserting any high and mighty opinions (mostly because I get annoyed by book reviewers who think their opinion is the only one that counts). In a nutshell, the book is a re-imagining of the birth of Jesus and the three kings who come bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh. For what it’s worth, I think the author did a great job of creating a fictional story of three crooks, instead of three kings, and weaving their story with the facts of Jesus’ birth and some of the key players.
Now that we’ve fed our minds… time to feed the bellies!
I’ll be honest with you. I was feeling a little overwhelmed this month between work and the weather. The deadline for dinner was approaching and I had very little motivation and even fewer ideas for what to make. So, I cheated… and I’m giving you permission to do the same! Picture this: I’m in Whole Foods, it’s 7 hours to dinner, and my mind is blank. I stumble across the ready-made food section, and temptation took over. I made a deal with myself: cheat on the main course and hand-make the side dish and dessert. Done! In the end, the Quiche Lorraine was calling and I answered the phone!
This is actually a genius idea for any book club. Quiches are so cute. You can fill them up with almost anything to accommodate any allergies or tastes. And they can be used for breakfast or dinner. Check out this Whole Foods recipe for Goat Cheese and Leek Quiche:
1 (9-inch) frozen pie crust (in pie pan), thawed 10 minutes
2 leeks (about 1 pound), trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup (2-percent) milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1.Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick crust all over with a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until just golden, about 15 minutes. Set crust aside and reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
2.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add leeks and simmer until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
3.In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, tarragon, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread leeks in bottom of crust and dot with goat cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top and bake until puffed in the center and lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Set aside to let cool until warm or serve at room temperature.
With the biggest obstacle out of the way, it was time to roll up the sleeves and put some effort into the dinner. For dessert: Creamy Lime Bars. I found a great recipe on Pinterest from a blogger over at Eat, Live, Run.
I didn’t add the green food coloring like she did, but it still had that awesome and unmistakable lime taste. Lime Bar Recipe Here. These bars scream “Summerrrrrr!”
For my side, I decided just to stick with a simple Strawberry, Tomato and Feta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. No reinventing the wheel on this one, it’s more an oldie-but-goodie salad that can still pull out the stops when you need an idea in a pinch. Plus, it’s even better now that strawberries are so fresh, juicy and in-season right now. Hooray for summer fruit!
This menu worked in a pinch. I can’t take full credit for being a domestic diva and making it all from scratch, but hey, you can’t make ’em all!