Wednesday, September 10, 2014

150 Best Dips and Salsas: Plus Recipes for Chips, Flatbreads and More

150 Best Dips and Salsas
Plus Recipes for Chips, Flatbreads and More
by Judith Finlayson and Jordan Wagman
Paperback, 192 pages

I am a condiment junkie. I live for sauces, dips, spreads, pickles; all the accessories that make the meal (or appetizer, or snack...)

And I love that there is a book dedicated to dips and salsas. Clearly they were thinking of me when they wrote it. 

I also love that they give you interesting ideas and recipes to use as the vehicles for said dips and salsas. Arepas, blini, vegetable crisps... There are enough different kinds of recipes in this book that you can entertain anyone at any time of year. Vegan to meaty, summer to winter, worldly to local. New concept to old fashioned.

What more could you ask for?


From the publishers:

 Mouthwatering recipes to get any special occasion off to a memorable start.

Dips and salsas are the most sociable of recipes that are great catalysts for getting a party off to a good start because they encourage guests to congregate by scooping and munching.

Most of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time, and they will appeal to a wide variety of tastes and will satisfy many different dietary preferences, from the strict vegans to wide-ranging omnivores. The authors provide a wonderful rainbow of textures and flavors, from salty and sweet to spicy and sour.

All the recipes are made with fresh ingredients. Here is just a small sampling of the delightful dips:

    Canary Island Red Pepper Mojo, Greek-Style Eggplant Dip, Easy Tahini Dip, Guacamole, Pepper-Spiked Plantain Dip, Creamy Roquefort Dip, Egg and Olive Spread, Caramelized Red Onion Dip, Green Olive Tapenade, Walnut Hummus.

And a few of the sublime salsas:

    Roasted Corn Salsa, Pineapple Mango Salsa, Pepper Confetti Salsa, Navy Bean Salsa, Bloody Mary Salsa, Fresh Salsa Verde, Apple and Dried Cranberry Salsa, Classic Mango Salsa, Warm Banana Salsa, Jicama Salsa, Spicy Nectarine Salsa.


The authors also provide a wealth of serving ideas and compatible companions to their dips and salsas from dippers such Green Plantain Chips and rice crackers, to cucumber slices and crostini and more. 


Sumptuous Spinach and Artichoke Dip, page 42, vegetarian
Spinach and artichoke dip has become a classic. Serve with toast points, crostini, tostadas or tortilla chips, or sliced baguette.

•    Small (maximum 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker

1 cup    shredded mozzarella cheese    250 mL
8 oz    cream cheese, cubed    250 g
1⁄4 cup    freshly grated Parmesan cheese     60 mL
1    clove garlic, minced    1
1⁄4 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    1 mL
1    can (14 oz/398 mL) artichokes, drained     1
    and finely chopped
1 lb    fresh spinach, stems removed, or     500 g
    1 package (10 oz/300 g) spinach
    leaves, thawed if frozen (see Tips)

In slow cooker stoneware, combine cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, pepper, artichokes and spinach. Cover and cook on High for 2 hours, until hot and bubbly. Stir well and serve.

Tips
If you are using fresh spinach leaves in this recipe, take care to wash them thoroughly, as they can be quite gritty. To wash spinach: Fill a clean sink with lukewarm water. Remove the tough stems and submerge the tender leaves in the water, swishing to remove the grit. Rinse thoroughly in a colander under cold running water, checking carefully to ensure that no sand remains. If you are using frozen spinach in this recipe, thaw and squeeze the excess moisture out before adding to the slow cooker.
If you prefer a smoother dip, place spinach and artichokes in a food processor, in separate batches, and pulse until desired degree of fineness is achieved. Then combine with remaining ingredients in slow cooker stoneware.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Vegetarian Friendly


Courtesy of 150 Best Dips & Salsas by Judith Finlayson & Jordan Wagman 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.




Tuna Tapenade, page 78, seafood
Known as Provençal caviar, tapenade is a flavorful mixture of capers, olives and anchovies, among other ingredients. Here, the addition of tuna lightens up the result. Serve this with carrot or celery sticks, sliced cucumber, crackers or Basic Crostini (page 176). It also makes a delicious filling for hard-cooked eggs.

           Food processor

1          can (6 oz/170 g) tuna, preferably        1
            Italian, packed in olive oil, drained
            (see Tip)
4          anchovy fillets 4
2 tbsp  drained capers 30 mL
1 tbsp  freshly squeezed lemon juice  15 mL
1          clove garlic, coarsely chopped            1
10        pitted black olives       10
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil    60 mL

In food processor fitted with metal blade, pulse tuna, anchovies, capers, lemon juice, garlic and olives until ingredients are combined but still chunky, about 10 times. Add olive oil and pulse until blended, about 5 times. Spoon into a bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 3 days.

Tip
Italian (or Spanish) tuna packed in olive oil is more moist and flavorful than the paler versions packed in water.

Makes about 3⁄4 cup (175 mL)

Courtesy of 150 Best Dips & Salsas by Judith Finlayson & Jordan Wagman 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.


Champagne and Raspberry Dip, page 153, desserts
Each bite is like a delightful sip of a Kir Royale. Serve this dip next to a bowl of fresh strawberries for dipping and a glass of Champagne for an excellent brunch or dessert offering.

•    Blender

1⁄2 cup    Champagne or Prosecco    125 mL
    (see Tips)
1 tbsp    granulated sugar (see Tips)    15 mL
1⁄2 cup    golden or red raspberries    125 mL
1 tsp    apricot jam    5 mL
1    fresh basil leaf     1
1⁄2 cup    whipped cream    125 mL

1.    In a saucepan, bring Champagne and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until reduced by three-quarters, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add raspberries, jam and basil leaf. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender and purée until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
2.    Fold whipped cream, one-third at a time, into raspberry mixture and serve immediately.

Tips
If Champagne or Prosecco are not available or to your liking, feel free to substitute your favorite white wine.
If you are a vegetarian, use unbleached organic sugar to ensure it has not been filtered through bone char.

Vegetarian Friendly

Makes about 11⁄2 cups (375 mL)


Courtesy of 150 Best Dips & Salsas by Judith Finlayson & Jordan Wagman 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations Eren B. from Pickering. You have won the special two-book giveaway for Canadians!

 Omens
Following the epic conclusion of her internationally bestselling Women of the Otherworld series, Kelley Armstrong launches a brand-new series set in Cainsville, a small town as spookily fascinating as Stephen King’s Castle Rock or Dean Koontz’s Moonlight Bay.

Visions
In the second book in bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new Cainsville series, Olivia’s newly discovered power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her hometown.  
 
Your awesome 2-book prize will be mailed out to you this month. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Sandman: A Joona Linna Thriller by Lars Kepler

A Joona Linna Thriller
By Lars Kepler
Trade paperback, 496 pages

You see - it's books like these that keep me from having an outdoor life. You know, unless you count reading on the deck in a comfy chair. Okay. I guess I am outdoorsy after all.

The Sandman is the fourth book in the Joona Linna series by Lars Kepler. And by golly they just keep getting better and better. Darker, smarter, more complex... and did I mention dark? Not for the feint of heart these thrillers. But for us hardcore Nordic Noir fans? Amazing.

I was hooked at the first page.

Grab this book. And, if you missed any, grab the past ones too. They don't need to be read in order. Sit back and, if you are outside - don't forget a hat. And a drink. Maybe a couple. It's a big book.

From the Back Flap:

Already a huge success internationally, The Sandman is the explosive, utterly gripping fourth book in the internationally bestselling Joona Linna Thriller series, which has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. For readers of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbo.

     During a cold winter night in Stockholm a man is found walking alongside a railway bridge, suffering from hypothermia and legionella. After he’s rushed to the hospital, it’s discovered that, according to a death certificate, the man has been dead for over seven years. He is believed to be a victim of notorious serial killer Jurek Walter, who was arrested years ago by Detective Inspector Joona Linna and sentenced to a life of total isolation in forensic psychiatric care. As Joona Linna investigates where the “dead man” has been all these years, some unexpected evidence leads to the reopening of a cold case. Danger is imminent, and someone needs to get under the skin of the serial killer–fast–as they are running out of time.


LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril & Alexander Ahndoril, both critically acclaimed writers under their own names. Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril’s first novel, Stjärneborg (Castle of Stars), has been translated in several languages while Alexander Ahndoril’s novel The Director, about Ingmar Bergman, was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Stalker is the fifth book in their series featuring Detective Inspector Joona Linna.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spooky 2-Book Give-Away! Omens and Visions by Kelley Armstrong



The nights are getting a little chillier here in Ontario. The kids are going back to school soon. It's time for some good spooky reading material for those darker evenings.

A special two book giveaway for Canadians!

 Omens
Following the epic conclusion of her internationally bestselling Women of the Otherworld series, Kelley Armstrong launches a brand-new series set in Cainsville, a small town as spookily fascinating as Stephen King’s Castle Rock or Dean Koontz’s Moonlight Bay.

Visions
In the second book in bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new Cainsville series, Olivia’s newly discovered power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her hometown. 

September is my favourite month of the year, and this contest is open until September first. Send me an email to livinginthekitchenwithpuppies AT hotmail DOT com and tell me one thing you like most about September.

Contest closes midnight EDT Sept first, 2014. Sorry, we can only ship to Canadian addresses. One winner will win both books! 

Read the blurbs below to find out more about Kelley Armstrong's new series.

Omens
The Cainsville Series
By Kelley Armstrong

Trade Paperback, 480 pages

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.


Visions
The Cainsville Series
By Kelley Armstrong

Hardcover, 496 pages

Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

Kelley Armstrong is the author of eleven novels and two short-story collections in the Otherworld series. She lives in Ontario with her family.