The Little French Bistro by Nina George & Louisiana Court-Bouillon

“Court bouillon, made with carrot, shallot, leek, garlic, celeriac, herbs, water and Muscadet, was the heart and soul of Breton cuisine. Langoustines blossomed in it, and crabs drowned in bliss; skinned duck or vegetables simmered in it to perfection. The stock grew strong with each use and would keep for three days. It formed the base for sauces, and a shot glass of sieved court bouillon could turn a mediocre fish stew into a regular feast.” ~The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Louisiana Court-Bouillon

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour, browned

1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 1/2 cups fish stock

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

1 tablespoon creole seasoning

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

3 lemon slices

1 lb fish (flounder, snapper, and/or shrimp)

1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 cups cooked rice

Directions:

  1. Cut fish into 3 inch chunks and sprinkle with creole seasoning. Set in fridge.
  2. Cook veggies in butter until tender.
  3. Add roux (either use 4 tablespoons flour browned in a pan or oven or make with 4 tablespoons flour browned in 3 tablespoons butter).
  4. Add bay leaves
  5. Add stock, tomatoes, other liquid ingredients and salt and pepper. Note: chicken stock or clam juice (or both) can be used if you have no fish stock.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add fish, seasonings, and parsley and simmer gently for 15 more minutes.
  8. Serve with rice in bowl.

 

Patina by Jason Reynolds

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Patina is the second book in the Track series by Jason Reynolds. I loved Book 1, Ghost, and was afraid Patina would be pale or stale in comparison. I’m glad to be able to say she isn’t and it isn’t. Patina lives in the same world as Ghost, and also runs track for the Defenders, but that’s where the similarities blur. For one, she attends a ritzy private school, Chester Academy, and for two, she and her younger sister, Maddy, live with her uncle and aunt since her Ma’s had both legs amputated due to “the sugar,” (diabetes.) In spite of the upheaval of her home and school lives, Patina holds her head high, does what she can to help, and runs like the wind. This is a well-wrought individual story with tight ties to the first volume, and I look forward to Sunny, Book 3.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC REYNOLDS)

 

Weekly Book List: Week 48 (Takes place on an Island)

Island Beneath the Sea / Isabel Allende

The story of Tete a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine on the island of Saint-Domingue , determined to take control of her own destiny in a society where that would seem impossible. (FIC ALLENDE)

 

The Count of Monte Cristo / Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo is the story of Edmond Dantes, who is imprisoned in the island fortress of the Chateau d’If on a false political charge; after escaping, he finds the fabulous treasure of Monte Cristo and sets upon the course of revenge against his old enemies. (FIC DUMAS)

 

Lord of the Flies / William Golding

The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island. (FIC GOLDING)

 

Skinny Dip / Carl Hiaasen

Doctoring water samples to help his corrupt agribusiness employer continue illegal dumping in the Everglades, biologist Chaz Perrone attempts to murder his wife, who has figured out his scam and who survives to plot her husband’s downfall. (FIC HIAASEN)

 

Mister Pip / Lloyd Jones

Thirteen-year-old Matilda watches as all the foreigners flee her homeland–all but one, the white man Mr. Watts. Amidst the ruins of the town schoolhouse, Watts reads Dickens’ Great Expectations to the children, thus sparking their imaginations and giving them hope in a chaotic world. (FIC JONES, LLOYD)

Burial Rites / Hannah Kent

The unforgettable story finds convicted killer Agnes Magnúsdóttir awaiting execution and seeking both a reprieve from her dreadful sentence and the possibility of redemption. (FIC KENT)

 

A House for Mr. Biswas / V.S. Naipaul

Owning a small portion of the Trinidad earth and a respectable house is the dream and the reality sustaining Mohun Biswas through a life of frustration and despair. (FIc NAIPAUL)

 

The Search / Nora Roberts

Fiona, a dog trainer who performs canine search-and-rescue missions, is devastated after her fiance is murdered, but her emotions are rekindled when Simon, a newcomer to town, brings his puppy Jaws to her for obedience training. (FIC ROBERTS, NORA)

 

The Light Between Oceans / M.L. Stedman

After moving with his wife to an isolated Australian lighthouse where they suffer miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom allows his wife to claim an infant that has washed up on the shore, a decision with devastating consequences. (FIC STEDMAN)

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry / Gabrielle Zevin

A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances. (FIC ZEVIN)

The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick

Reviewed by Judy B (Library Staff)

Heather Young, author of “The Lost Girls”, describes this book as “a romantic, big-hearted novel that celebrates femininity in all its nurturing, resilient, and fearless power.”
I couldn’t agree more, and loved it as much as the author’s first novel, “The Sparrow Sisters”.
I recommend this to readers who enjoy Sarah Addison Allen, Kate Morton, Alice Hoffman and Audrey Niffenegger.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

The Exception (2016)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

This romantic war drama starring Jai Courtney, Lily James, and Christopher Plummer, explores a fictionalized account of the last days of the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II (Plummer) at the onset of World War II. He is living in Holland, when a German soldier (Courtney) comes to oversee his security. While trying to figure out if there is a spy in their midst, the soldier falls for a Jewish maid (James).

I knew nothing about this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised after watching it. I enjoyed it, and I really wasn’t sure how it was going to end. To be honest, I was surprised but happy with the ending; it was definitely different than how I expected it to end. If you like historical dramas that have a light, romantic nature to them, I think you will like this movie.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert & Italian Sausage Stuffing

“No time to roast a twenty-pound turkey, obviously, but Luca sautes up some lovely cuts of turkey breast and I preside over a whirlwind group effort to make a Thanksgiving stuffing, as best as I can remember the recipe, made from the crumbs of some high-end Italian bread, with necessary cultural substitutions (dates instead of apricots; fennel instead of celery).” ~Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Italian Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

3 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken broth

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

16 cups 1/2-inch stale country white bread cubes (1 1/2 pounds)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the celery and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sage. Add the broth, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper; bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the parsley, bread cubes and sausage-broth mixture and stir until combined. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into small cubes and scatter evenly over the stuffing.
  4. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden, 20 to 30 more minutes.

Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

I read a lot of foodie fiction. (And food memoirs, and cookbooks… I guess I just like the combination of snacks and books.) But Feast of Sorrow is not quite like any other foodie novel I’ve ever read.

That’s because most foodie fiction involves foods I’ve at least heard of. But Feast of Sorrow is set in the first decades of the Roman Empire, and boy did they eat some strange stuff back then. Pheasant meatballs, milk-fed snails, and and sausage-stuffed dormice are some of the delicacies mentioned. Silphium (something like fennel), garum (fish sauce), and lovage (??) are major players in the flavorings arena. I found this novel interesting simply for the introduction to the exotic flavors of ancient Roman cuisine. The author has clearly done her research, which I appreciate in a historical novel.

She has also managed to craft an absorbing plot and engaging characters. The protagonist is a fictional chef named Thrasius, whom the author presents as the talent behind the cookbooks attributed to Marcus Gavius Apicius (a real person). The relationship between Thrasius and Apicius is wonderfully complex, and would be a good story by itself. But the author weaves this narrative into real-life events during the reign of Augustus, plunging the reader into the cutthroat competition among members of the Roman upper class for power and position.

There is no happy ending to Feast of Sorrow, but it has fascinating historical details and plot twists to spare. Make room for it on your reading menu!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC KING, CRYSTAL)

Weekly Book List: Week 47 (Unreliable Narrator)

The Blind Assassin / Margaret Atwood

Iris Chase Griffen, married at eighteen to a wealthy industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, recalls her far from exemplary life, and the events leading up to her sisters death, who drove a car off a bridge ten days after the war ended, gradually revealing the carefully guarded Chase family secrets. (FIC ATWOOD)

Gone Girl / Gillian Flynn

When beautiful Amy Dunne disappears from her Missouri home, it looks as if her husband Nick is to blame. But though he protests his innocence, it’s clear that he’s not being entirely truthful. Gone Girl is not only the story of a disappearance, but a truly frightening glimpse of a souring marriage. (FIC FLYNN)

 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves / Karen Joy Fowler

Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister. (FIC FOWLER)

 

Elizabeth is Missing / Emma Healey

Maude sinks into a confusing world in this gripping psychological mystery written in the voice of an aging woman with Alzheimer’s. She can’t remember what she’s doing or where she is, but she is obsessed with one thought–her good friend Elizabeth is missing. (FIC HEALEY)

 

Flowers for Algernon / David Keyes

Charlie Gordon, a youth with limited mental capabilities, along with a laboratory rat named Algernon become the joint objects of a scientific alteration to see if Charlie can become “normal.” (FIC KEYES)

 

The Dinner / Herman Koch

Over the course of a meal at a fashionable Amsterdam restaurant, two couples move from small talk during the appetizer to weightier issues. While discussing their sons — who have done something terrible — we learn more about what ties the families together, and what seems to be a skewering of upper-class values turns into something far more serious. (FIC KOCH)

The Screwtape Letters / C.S. Lewis

In a series of letters, one of Satan’s more experienced tempters writes to a junior agent in the field, instructing him in the finer points of capturing souls. (248.4 KEW)

 

We Were Liars / E. Lockhart

This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. (TEEN FIC LOCKHART)

 

The Night Guest / Fiona McFarlane

An elderly Australian woman lets a mysterious and possibly sinister caretaker into her beach-side home and into her life. (FIC MCFARLANE)

 

The Walls Around Us / Nora Ren Suma

Orianna and Violet are ballet dancers and best friends, but when the ballerinas who have been harassing Violet are murdered, Orianna is accused of the crime and sent to a juvenile detention center where she meets Amber and they experience supernatural events linking the girls together. (TEEN FIC SUMA)

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I know, I know; there have been many suspense novels, involving a husband and wife, which have graced the bestseller shelves these past few years. They often involve either one or both spouses having secrets, sometimes a kidnapping is involved, maybe even murder. After a while, they all kind of seem the same. So when The Couple Next Door came across my desk, I did not have high expectations. But I was wrong.

Anne and Marco seem to have it all, including a wonderful baby, Cora. But one night when at a dinner party next door, their baby goes missing. What follows is many twists and turns, and you don’t really know who to believe.

I thought I had it all figured out, and while some of the plot I figured out right away, there was a lot that I did not figure out. And make sure to read to the very end of the book, because there is a final shocking twist on the last page.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC LAPENA)

The Promise (2016)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

This historical drama, set during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, follows Mikael, an Armenia medical student, Chris, an American journalist, and Ana, an Armenia-born woman who grew up in France. Mikael (Oscar Isaac) is an apothecary, going to medical school when he meets Ana, and falls in love. Ana is with Chris (Christian Bale), the journalist, but she also falls in love with Mikael. The movie follows the three of them as they try to survive the Armenian genocide, whether they are trying to save their family or orphans.

I enjoyed this movie, even though it was about a difficult subject. This movie allowed me to learn some facts about the Armenian genocide that I didn’t know. It was a sad, poignant movie.

Located in DVDs (DVD PROMISE)