Reading Round-Up: July Edition

It’s going to look like I didn’t do a ton of reading in July, but that’s because I’m currently in the middle of four other books and I’ve been reading those, too. So August should be a big month.

The first book I finished since my last Reading Round-Up was Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. A friend on Twitter suggested that I read it so we could talk about the writer’s style. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Here’s my review from Goodreads:

“This was a haunting book, based on true events that took place in the US in the first part of the twentieth century. It’s the story of a family of river gypsies and what happened to them as a result of the corrupt and horrifying practices of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. It’s written from the point of view of two/three characters (you’ll see why I say that when you read the book), but I think that’s almost the way the story had to be told. The language is descriptive and evocative–I think this is going to be one book that stays with me.”

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You may remember from last month that I read The Merlon Murders and that it was the first book in a two-book series. Well, I finished the second book and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it as much as the first one. The Merlon Murders II, by Victoria Benchley, is a great summer mystery. Here’s my Goodreads review:

“In this second book of The Merlon Murders, readers are treated to some exciting twists following the harrowing ending of Book One. Duncan becomes more deeply involved with the beautiful widow Menzies, he enlists the help of a Swedish expert in game theory, and he begins to form some alarming hunches about the identity of the person who killed Stuart Menzies. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, and especially one set in Scotland.”

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I’m becoming more and more interested in eating a plant-based diet as often as possible, so I read The Mediterranean Table, which is a cookbook of easy Mediterranean recipes. The Mediterranean diet is largely plant-based, though there are recipes in the book featuring meat, poultry, and fish, too. The recipes are not only easy to follow, but they use ingredients that are widely available. The book includes a great description of the Mediterranean diet, along with the countries making up that region of the world and their individual contributions to the cuisine of the area.

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This is a diverse collection of short stories about death. Most of the stories involve some element of whodunit, though not all of them are mysteries. The four I liked the most were by Robbie Cheadle and debut author Aly Locatelli. Cheadle’s stories are fictionalized accounts of historic events and legends and Locatelli’s story is a suspenseful read about a mysterious death. It’s an atmospheric treat that makes for a great debut.

I’m excited to get into August and finish all those books I’m working on! So many books…so little time…

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for June

I’m writing this on a perfect June day, with the windows open and the temperatures in the high 60s. And, as usual, my thoughts are turning toward dinner.

I’m sharing three dinner recipes with you this month: a vegetarian dish, a grilled pork tenderloin, and a big salad.

* * *

Red Thai Veggie Curry

1 T. coconut oil (olive oil can be substituted)

small onion, chopped

1 T. fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 T. Thai red curry paste

1 can (14 oz.) regular coconut milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 T. brown sugar

1 T. soy sauce

1 T. rice vinegar

sliced fresh basil

Melt coconut oil over medium heat and add onion. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add peppers, carrots, and zucchini; cook for about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add coconut milk, water, and sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are cooked to your preference.

Remove curry from heat and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Serve over rice and garnish with basil.

* * *

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1/2 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

6 T. soy sauce

4 T. toasted sesame oil

2 T. fresh grated ginger

1 pkg. pork tenderloin (1-2 pounds)

In a large gallon-sized zip-top bag, combine all ingredients. Squish it around to coat the pork and refrigerate for 6-24 hours, turning occasionally if possible.

Preheat grill to medium-high and discard marinade. Grill tenderloins over indirect heat for 20-35 minutes or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of tenderloins reaches 145 degrees F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

* * *

Greek Salad

Salad:

1 head Romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 large cucumber, seeded, peeled, and chopped

1 medium red onion

1 yellow pepper, sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 c. Kalamata olives, halved

3/4 c. feta cheese

salami, thinly sliced, optional

Dressing:

6 T. olive oil

2 T. red wine vinegar

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 t. dried oregano

2 t. fresh parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. If you want a heartier dinner, add the salami (coarsely chopped deli ham is also a good choice).

In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients. Just before serving, pour over salad and toss gently to coat.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy