Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Book Review of "At Wave's End" a Novel by Patricia Perry Donovan, with Ina Garten's "16 Bean" Pasta E Fagioli Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This Sunday I have a hearty and delicious 16 Bean Pasta E Fagioli Soup to share, adapted from an Ina Garten recipe and paired with a long overdue book review of At Wave's End by Patricia Perry Donovan. The review might be overdue, but the book features a small Jersey Shore town ravaged by a hurricane (based on Hurricane Sandy), so it fits right into recent headlines. 

Publisher's Blurb:

After a childhood as unpredictable as the flip of a coin, Faith Sterling has finally found her comfort zone in the kitchen of an upscale Manhattan restaurant. A workaholic chef, at least there she’s in control. So when her free-spirited and often-gullible mother, Connie, calls to announce that she’s won a bed-and-breakfast on the Jersey Shore, Faith’s patience boils over. Convinced the contest is a scam, she rushes to Wave’s End to stop Connie from trading her steady job for an uncertain future.

When a hurricane ravages the coast, Faith is torn between supporting the shore rescue and bailing out her beleaguered boss. But the storm dredges up deceptions and emotional debris that threaten to destroy the inn’s future and her fragile bonds with her mother.

As the women struggle to salvage both the inn and their relationship, Faith begins to see herself and Connie in a new light—and to realize that some moments are better left to chance.

My Review:

I read and enjoyed Patricia Perry Donovan's first book Deliver Her for a TLC Book Tour last year so when she contacted me several months ago and asked if I would read and review her new book, At Wave's End, I agreed of course. My good intentions to read and review the book when it published in August didn't quite happen. I did read and enjoy the book but did not get around to making a dish and posting a review. Since then several states and communities--most recently Puerto Rico--have suffered severe hurricane damage, which makes a book about it very current. As I read through the book again, deciding on a dish to make for my usual book and food pairing, my thoughts and heart are with all of those who are suffering the after-effects of storms like the book's fictional Hurricane Nadine (based after Hurricane Sandy back in 2012).

At Wave's End is about more than a hurricane on the Jersey Shore, it's about the relationship between a mother and daughter, and a book about taking chances and finding yourself--all things I enjoy reading about. With the main character Faith, being a chef, it also has an strong element of foodie fiction in it. As in her first book, Perry Donovan creates characters that are believable and relatable. Both Faith and her somewhat flighty mother Connie are engaging, as are the supporting characters--mainly the people that stay in the bed and breakfast due to the storm. Faith's harder edges soften and are understandable when you look at her upbringing and Connie has hidden depths to her personality that are not easily seen at the beginning of the story. Despite having heavy topics like the storm and its aftermath worked into the story, overall At Wave's End leans to the lighter side--there is romance, plenty of food, a balance of humorous and poignant moments, and the way the community comes together in a difficult time is heartwarming. A very enjoyable read and I look forward to the author's next book.   


Author Notes: Patricia Perry Donovan is an American journalist who writes about healthcare and the author of the novel Deliver Her. Her fiction has appeared at Gravel Literary, Flash Fiction Magazine, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable and in other literary journals. The mother of two grown daughters, she lives at the Jersey shore with her husband and "a cranky Yorkie named Deisel."

You can connect with Patricia Perry Donovan on her website, Facebook and Twitter


Note: A copy of At Wave's End was provided to me by the author to review. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Food Inspiration:

When Patricia sent me the book, she commented that she thought it would be easier for me to make my book inspired dish as there was plenty of food to be found in At Wave's End. She was right--I had a hard time choosing from all of the different mentions that included things like filet medallions au poivre--medium rare, coffee-burnished magret de canard (seared duck breast) blue-corn-dusted cobia (fish) with zucchini and okra, salmon and quinoa salad with carrot-sesame dressing, chicken paillard and fingerling potatoes,  afternoon tea with chilled lemonade and crumpets, Bundt cake, iced tea, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, garlic bread, pumpkin-sweet potato bisque, lychee cilantro sorbet, grilled watermelon and conch salad, shrimp and grits, arugula-topped pizzettes, breakfast strata, roasted vegetable soup, spiral ham, baked bananas, an apple and pear breakfast compote, chicken potpies, sticky buns, frittata, turkey brie and cherry-chipotle panini, sweet potato and bacon mash, wild rice, cranberry and cheese-stuffed peppers, beef daube (stew), scones, hand rolled sushi and crab and cucumber canapes, butter-poached shrimp cocktail, starfish finger sandwiches, vanilla mousse, a crab salad, a raw seafood bar or oysters, crab and shrimp, shrimp skewers wrapped in prosciutto, cilantro-studded crab cakes, lobster tacos, tuna sliders, tomato and mozzarella tarts, Asiago-dusted French fries, corn chowder, deep-fried zeppoles, chocolate-chip ice cream sandwiches filled with locally made frozen custard, watermelon, feta and arugula salad, roast loin of pork with fig jelly, scallion-studded polenta,  and  carrots with cumin yogurt. Drinks included armagnac, cocktails with muddled produce (muddled orange slices and blackberries and muddled celery),  pinot grigio, the Boxcar (a blend of London gin, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and egg white), a Shirley Temple, and mermaid cocktails--rainbow-layered confections with alcohol and without. Whew! 

Although there were several food mentions that caught my eye and that I thought about making, I decided on the humble "makeshift" pasta e fagioli soup that Faith puts together for the volunteers and people taking shelter from the storm at the local church. To me, a bowl of soup is like a hug and exactly what I make when I need comfort or want to comfort someone else and it captured the spirit of the book. I have been wanting to try Ina Garten's 16 Bean Pasta E Fagioli Soup and this seemed like a great time to make it.

I did change a few things in Ina's recipe such as taking out the pancetta as I don't eat meat. Instead I added smoked paprika and some dried oregano and basil to give a slightly smoky taste and a flavor boost. I used a combination of non-chicken vegan soup base and homemade garlic broth in place of the chicken broth and because I was making a 1 & 1/2-ish batch of this soup to share with friends who have a small child, I left out the red wine--deciding to add an Italian mushroom bullion cube and little extra red wine vinegar at the end for another flavor boost. When you take out ingredients that add a lot of flavor to make a recipe vegetarian or vegan, you have to put flavors back in. I did however leave in the Parmesan. If you want a vegan version of the soup you could use nutritional yeast or a vegan Parmesan mixture instead. I am sure Ina's soup recipe is more than delicious as it is written, but I think my changes kept all of the great taste without using foods I don't eat and removing the alcohol.

Ina says, "Pasta e fagioli is a classic Italian soup with pasta and white beans. I'm always looking for new ways to make old fashioned dishes and Goya's 16-bean soup mix was the perfect change. This is thick enough to be a hearty meal on a cold winter day. I added a splash of red wine vinegar at the end, which really livens up the flavors of the soup."

"16 Bean" Pasta E Fagioli 
Slightly Adapted from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten
(Makes 6 Servings)

1 (1 lb) bag of Goya of other 16-bean soup mix
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 (6 oz) package pancetta, diced (I omitted)
1 large onion diced
3-4 cloves minced garlic (I used 5 cloves)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

(I added 1 tsp smoked paprika, I tsp oregano & 1 tsp dried basil)
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

(I added 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes)
1 cup dry red wine
4 -6 cups good chicken or veggie stock (I used 4 cups non-chicken stock + 2 Cups homemade garlic stock + 1 boullion mushroom cube)
kosher salt & black pepper
1 cup miniature pasta such as ditalini or tubettini
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese + more for serving
1 Tbsp good red wine vinegar (I added 1 extra Tbsp)
fresh basil leaves, julienned for serving

The day before you plan to make the soup, place the bean mix in a large bowl, and add water to cover by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the beans, rinse under cold running water, drain again. Place the beans in a large pot with 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that rises to the top. The beans should be very tender and the skin will peel away when you blow on the bean.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium (10-inch) stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.Add the pancetta and onion and sauté over medium to medium-high heat for 12 to 18 minutes, until browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for one minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, 4 cups of the chicken stock, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and turn off the heat.

Drain the beans and add two-thirds of them to the soup. Pass the remaining beans through a food mill, discarding the skins. Stir the bean puree and the pasta into the soup, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender. Add up to 2 more cups of chicken stock if the soup is too thick. Stir in the Parmesan and the vinegar. Ladle the soup into large shallow bowls and add a swirl of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and some basil. Serve with extra Parmesan on the side.

Ina says that you can prepare and refrigerate the soup for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Just add more broth or water if the soup is too thick.

Notes/Results: Ultra thick and comforting, this is a tasty soup full of rich tomato flavor. I was happy with the changes I made to remove the meat and wine and still get a lot of flavor. I couldn't find Goya's 16-bean mix at my local grocery stores but I found another brand that worked fine. I wasn't sure about Ina's putting one third of the beans through the food mill either, but it was quick to do and it adds a thicker texture to the soup, along with the Parmesan cheese. Although this soup takes planning for bean soaking and a little extra time, it goes together easily and tastes great. I would happily make it again. 

I'm linking this soup up at I Heart Cooking Clubs where this coming week's theme is How Easy Is That? -- Ina Garten dishes that are quick and easy. This isn't the quickest soup to make but it is very easy and created mostly from the pantry. ;-)

I am linking this post up as my eighth entry for Foodie Reads 2017. You can check out the October Foodies Read linkup, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story, to see what everyone is reading this month.

We have some tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Colleen of Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice is back this week with a Vegan, Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Crockpot Soup and said, "Since I have our big annual Halloween party coming up this weekend, I decided to make and freeze a large crockpot full of sweet potato soup for the big day. I have several friends who follow a strict diet and thought that if I had at least one thing that was vegan, gluten-free, and healthy, that each one of them would have at least one thing that they could enjoy at the party without fear of getting sick."

Linda of The Crafty Gardener returns to Souper Sundays making good use of her Canadian Thanksgiving leftovers in her Yummy Turkey Soup. She said, "Individual portions of the soup are put into freezer bags and stored in the upright freezer for enjoying later. There is nothing like a bowl of homemade soup on a chilly day. You can add whatever veggies you prefer. Rice can be substituted for the potatoes. The potatoes and pot barley will make it a thicker soup."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog brought Quick Root Vegetable Soup and said, "I love this homemade soup recipe because it is fast and easy, nourishing and tastes delicious. Root vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes make a simple but flavorful soup that feels warming and soothing no matter when you eat it. Did you know that soup is a popular breakfast food in Japan?

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor made Zuppa di Pesce (Fish Stew) and said, "A few weeks ago Doug found this recipe for a fish stew. It looked good so we saved our leftover fish from other dinners (froze it) and used that along with a fresh fillet of Tripletail. Tripletail is a new fish for us. We saw it at Southern Seafood and decided to try it - happy we did because it's a mild fish with great texture for grilling. The last time we bought way more than we needed so we kept some aside for this stew."


Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shared Roasted Marrow Salad with Black Olives and Lemon Oil and said that " made for a change from the typical pasta salads that I make for work.  It was also a good way to use up some left over potatoes and my marrow aka summer squash harvest from the garden.  The dressing was simple, an oil vinaigrette made with Azada Lemon oil."

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Deb,
    This week I am interested in the book and the soup. We live not to far from the Jersey shore and I like reading about mother daughter relationships! We always eat this type of soup in the winter because it seems to satisfy our hunger and our need for warmth..thanks for the review and the recipe

  2. Thank you so much for reading, reviewing and interpreting gastronomically my second book, AT WAVE'S END. Of the 70-ish food references in the book, which you inventory so thoroughly, it's so interesting you chose to make the soup. It's one I serve to my family and my husband's every Thanksgiving. We both come from large families and have hosted a joint Thanksgiving meal for more than ten years now. It's a simple but hearty soup that everyone loves. My recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." I've been meaning to write about the origins of the food in this book, and your post has inspired me! Thank you again.

  3. This looks like a delicious soup recipe. I am still waiting for soup weather. How nice of you to share your soup too. I hope they enjoyed it.

  4. This soup sounds wonderful Deb. I keep meaning to join in on this fun group but always forget about it. I'm going to mark my calendar.

  5. It's fun to read about all the vegetarian adaptation you've made to the dish and make it just as delicious.

  6. This looks like a nice hearty soup recipe. I'm always adapting recipes too.

  7. This book sounds like a great read. I love the whole B&B element of the story and the hurricane story line is very timely.

    This soup caught my eye too and I'm definitely going to be making it! I love that you made it your own and kudos to you for actually blending up some of it as she suggested. Ugh...getting out the blender? However, this soup is worth the extra struggle:)

  8. This book sounds really interesting.

  9. The soup looks delicious as always, and you are really good at swapping ingredients and flavours for a vegetarian version!
    The books sounds interesting and one that I would enjoy reading too.

  10. That looks delicious! A bowl of soup is indeed a hug. As an alternative to a food mill you could try a potato masher to crush some of the beans.


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