Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another Pooh Day


“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...” 
A.A. Milne
Today might just be that kind of day to sit and think or write or enjoy a book. These two new books are very interesting reads. If you liked the book Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier and Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland then you might also like Painted Girls  by Cathy Marie Buchanan. All three book are historical fiction and the stories weave tales based on famous works of art.  
On the cover of this book toward bottom is featured  Edgar Degas's sculpture titled Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.  The sculpture was first exhibited in 1881 in Paris. It depicts the very young working class girls of the ballet. 
This is quite an imaginative and inventive story about the girl who modeled for Degas, Marie van Goethem. The story highlights the struggle of Marie's family and her sisters who face poverty and the prejudices of the poor in Paris during the time of cultural change in the 19th century. Each sister faces sexual predation with punishing choices  that change them physically and emotionally. Their story is also a tribute to their sisterly love and you can't help admire all characters in the novel as they fight for dignity. 
The book is informative with a lot of information about ballet, opera, 19th life in Paris and Degas.  It does read a bit like the movie/play/book Les Miserables and is quite a mesmerizing story.
This is Tracy Chevalier new novel set in the United States and also during the 19th century but in the 1850's in Oberlin, Ohio. Honor Bright is the main character. She emigrates to the US from Bristol with he sister Grace. Honor is accompanying her sister to US who is moving to there to be married. Her sister becomes ill on the journey before reaching Ohio and dies. Honor decides to continues the journey and settles in Oberlin. This town is a major stop on the Underground Railroad to many Quakers and escaped freed slaves. Honor  eventually marries but is faced with difficult choices. Her new family opposes her work in the Underground Railroad. Chevalier in this book as in Girl With A Pearl Earring, is attentive to research and detail. Her readers learn a lot about quilting and the inner workings of the Underground Railroad. 
So if reading is just not quite how you want to spend the day perhaps one of these recipes will appeal to you. They are both quite easy and take little time to assemble. 
Garlic Cheese Sticks
Cook’s notes: These breadsticks go well with the chicken corn chowder recipe posted January 17, 2013 and chicken noodle soup recipe posted December 31, 2012
Garlic Cheese Sticks recipe from cuisineathome.com February 2013
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp.  prepared  garlic (comes in a jar)
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tube (can) refrigerated bread-stick dough
  • 2 TB. olive oil
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 and spray PAM lightly to a cookie sheet
  • In a bowl combine Parmesan, garlic, pepper and salt
  • Unroll dough on a lightly floured surface and brush with oil
  • Sprinkle cheese mixture on dough and press gently so it adheres
  • Separate dough into sticks at the perforations and stretch each one to 10-12 inches-then twist into a spiral
  • Arrange breadsticks 1 inch apart on cookie sheet
  • Bake till golden about 12-15 minutes
  • Let cool a few minutes before removing from sheet 
  Salad Italiano
Salad Italiano recipe from cuisineathome.com February 2013
serves 4-6
Cook's note: It may be necessary to double dressing since makes only 1/2 cup 
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I substituted Miracle Whip)
  • 3 TB. milk
  • 1 TB. red wine vinegar
  • 1 TB. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp. prepared garlic (comes in a jar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small bag of mixed greens
  • 1 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup Caesar croutons
  • ¾ cup carrots sliced diagonally
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup pepper rings
  • slices of red onion
Directions:
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, sugar, garlic and seasoning and place mixture in blender to mix well
  • Season dressing with salt and pepper and refrigerate one hour to meld flavors
  • Stir dressing before adding in salad mix, cucumbers, croutons, carrots, celery and pepper rings


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