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Brief review. The Boy in the Snow: An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery by M. J. McGrath

The Boy in the Snow: An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery by M J McGrath

This is the 2nd in the series of three books by M. J. McGrath that I’ve read. This one has several of the same characters as the others – Edie Kiglatuk and Derek Palliser. This one takes place in Alaska – far south of Edie’s home. It nicely involves the tensions of religious freedom, property development, and politics. A nice addition to the series.

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Brief review. I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum

I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum

The character described in this book is likable, mentally ill, dangerous, and pathetic. Ms Fossum has done an excellent job of describing this person and his actions, from his point of view. In his words and through his feelings and rationalizations. Now to read more of her books!

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Brief review. The Miniaturist: A Novel by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist: A Novel by Jessie Burton

The end of the 1600s in Amsterdam, its power beginning to wane. A very interesting view into a relatively short period of a new wife arriving into a well-established and affluent household with its rules and secrets. There are many rules and one fundamental secret! Nicely written and nice to read. I’m looking forward to reading other books by Ms. Burton when they become available.

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Brief review. The Bone Seeker: An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery (Edie Kiglatuk Mysteries) by M. J. McGrath

The Bone Seeker: An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery (Edie Kiglatuk Mysteries) by M. J. McGrath

The third in McGrath’s series of mysteries featuring Edie Kiglatuk and Derek Pallister. Edie is the primary protagonist. They both live in the Canadian Arctic. She is a private citizen who often works as a teacher or guide. He is a regional policeman and in this story she is hired as his deputy. In the background is the independence and resourcefulness of the local peoples and the disregard for their rights by the federal, Canadian authorities. This tale, as her others, has an interesting telling but it ends a little too neatly. Of course, all the bad people are punished or die and some good people die along the way, but it comes together at the end rather quickly with right and truth winning out over more powerful forces. I’ve read three of McGrath’s books and do look forward to reading another.

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Recipe for Beet & Orange salad

reflection in pond near Warsaw, VA Beets are in season now and we’ve been getting some great ones from Blenhiem Organic Gardens at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market.  Here’s a recipe for a salad of beets and oranges. It has a great marinade for the beets too.

Citrus Marinated Beet Salad : The Broken Bread Tried a variation of this tonight. Less dressing/marinade with mozzarella, fennel fronds, and pumpkin seeds. Very good.


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A Place to Bury Strangers – news, interviews

APtBS on stage

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Brief Review. The Janissary Tree: A Novel by Jason Goodwin

The Janissary Tree: A Novel

The first in the series of books by Jason Goodwin with protagonist Inspector Yashim, an eunuch with connection to the Sultan and his mother in 19th century Istanbul. A pleasant low-suspense mystery that allows the reader to get Goodwin’s insights into the politics, culture, and daily lives in Istanbul in that period before the upheavals of the twentieth century. I’ve also read the last in the series in which Goodwin’s writing seems a bit more mature, practiced. I don’t mean to imply that this is not good. It just gets better when one reads more than one in this sequence.

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Eggplant Cheese Cake

Aubergine-cheesecake-001After requesting Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi I felt compelled to find a recipe and cook it. Since it is early July there are lots of eggplant available at our local farmers market, so I settled on Eggplant Cheesecake. His recipe is available online at Yotam Ottolenghi’s aubergine ‘cheesecake ‘ recipe. I made a few changes and the result ahs received rave reviews here. Here is my version of this great dish.

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Grind about a half cup of walnuts fine and coatd the buttered portion of the pan with them.
  3. Using about 1 1/2 pounds of eggplant, peel the eggplant and cut into 3/4 inch slices so you have a collection of rounds.
  4. Put the eggplant on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper. Brush or spoon 1/4 cup of olive oil on the eggplant. It is important that the oil soaks in and that you use it all. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes making sure the eggplant slices are tender and have a bit of a crust on top. Cool.
  5. Set heat to 325. Mix 5 oz. Feta cheese, 5 oz ricotta, 3 eggs, 1/4 cup cream, and some pepper until smooth. I used a whisk.
  6. Put the eggplant slices in the baking pan, layering them or standing them up. Add 1 cup of halved tomatoes, putting some of them under  the eggplant slices. sprinkle about 1/4 cup of oregano leaves on top and pour in liquid mixture. Smooth it out. Sprinkle about another 1/4 cup of oregano leaves on top.
  7. Bake at 325 for about 25 -35 minutes until the custard sets and it is a little brown/golden on top.
  8. When cool, take the ‘cake’ out of the springform pan and spread a mixture of 1 1/4 teaspoons of Zatar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top and the sides.
  9. Enjoy.
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Brief review. White Heat: The First Edie Kiglatuk Mystery (Edie Kiglatuk Mysteries) by M. J. McGrath

White Heat: The First Edie Kiglatuk Mystery (Edie Kiglatuk Mysteries)

Edie Kiglatuk is a woman of half Inuit heritage. She lives in one of the Canadian portions of the Arctic very near Greenland. She’s an accomplished hunter and guide. A person who can deal with much of the modern world but also held in another world through her heritage and her culture. An admirable heroine. The book takes her through mystery, terror, and great sorrow while providing a description of an isolated land and peoples. This is the first in a series of three current books. I’ve read the first two in succession and now reading the third. A pretty good recommendation, no?

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Brief review. The Woman and the Ape by Peter Høeg

The Woman and the Ape

A nice treatment of the conflicts between our manufactured perfection and the perfection of the natural world. The woman comes from her perfect world and an ape, capable of speech and intelligence we often associate with humans is captured from his world. The two come together, live together in an excellent fantasy. Very nicely done.

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