I've had such fun these past few weeks having blog parties with The Book Club Cookbook and other bloggers where we make dishes inspired by books. Tomorrow is the book birthday of All Girls by Emily Laden and I am celebrating with some "Lord of the Fries" Avocado Fries with Garlic-Sriracha Aioli.
But first, our book...
A tender and unflinching portrait of modern adolescence told through the shifting perspectives of nine female students, All Girls explores what it means to grow up in a place that promises you the world - when the world still isn't yours for the taking.
An all-girls boarding school in a hilly corner of Connecticut, Atwater is a haven for progressive thinking and feminist intellectuals. The students are smart, driven and worldly; they are also teenagers, learning to find their way. But when they arrive on campus for the start of the Fall term, they're confronted with startling news: an Atwater alumna has made a troubling allegation of sexual misconduct against an unidentified teacher. As the weeks wear on and the administration's efforts to manage the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary young women come to realise that the adults in their lives may not be the protectors they previously believed.
All Girls unfolds over the course of one tumultuous academic year and is told from the point of view of a small cast of diverse, interconnected characters as they navigate the social mores of prep school life and the broader, more universal challenges of growing up. The trials of adolescent girlhood are pitched against the backdrop of sexual assault, consent, anxiety and the ways that our culture looks to young women as trendsetters, but otherwise silences their voices and discounts their opinions. The story that emerges is a richly detailed, impeccably layered, and emotionally nuanced depiction of what it means to come of age in a female body today.
St. Martin's Press / St. Martin's Publishing Group
On Sale: 02/16/2021 | 320 Pages
So first, I am kind of a sucker for boarding school settings. Something about be a public school student all of my life and not going away to college I guess. I find the traditions and life fascinating and Atwater in Connecticut, was a great place for a story. All Girls takes place throughout a school year in 2015 and is told from the perspectives multiple students in chapters titled by school events. The book opens with the incoming students coming across a hundred signs placed to be seen from all of the approaches to campus. These signs state "A Rapist Works Here" and it's the opening salvo of a year where a mysterious someone (or someones), push the school to confront and answer for a 1995 incident where a former student reports a rape from a teacher she was having a consensual affair with. She ends up getting kicked out of Atwater while the teacher is apparently still there, 20 years later. There is a lot of teenage angst and young women facing their sexuality in an environment which positions itself to support them, but really does not. The mystery at first is who the teacher is that the school has protected for so many years and then it becomes the identity of the person pushing the school to step up through various rebellious acts. The story is intriguing but the challenge with the book is that there are so many perspectives that it becomes jumbled and hard to follow which makes it hard to care about every character. All Girls is billed as a Young Adult novel and it would be good to read and discuss with older teens. It's a coming of age story in the time a few years before the #metoo movement got started, and is topical and relevant, but it didn't quite come together for me as much as I wanted it to.
Author Notes: EMILY LAYDEN is a graduate of Stanford University, and has taught at several girls' schools nationwide. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, The Billfold, and Runner's World. All Girls is her first novel.
There was definitely food in All Girls and mentions included iceberg lettuce, Korean food, matcha lattes, açaí bowls, buttered pasta, Mac and cheese, grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, and sandwiches of American cheese on white bread, sneaking vegetables into foods like pureed zucchini folded into banana bread, butternut squash roasted and pureed and stirred into stovetop macaroni and cheese, cauliflower steamed and mashed and used to replace half the potatoes, wheat toast, Instant Pot casserole, coffee, powdered electrolyte mix, teas and decaf coffees, sunflower seeds sprinkled over salads, chickpeas, turkey sandwich, a banana, a granola bar, eggs, maple syrup, oatmeal, birthday cake, Frosted Flakes, acorn squash, green beans, roasted turkey, protein bars, Atwater's designer egg McMuffins (served on little ciabatta rolls instead) and maple sausage, food trucks with banh mi tacos and grilled cheese with smoked gouda and caramelized onions, apples and paper cups of steaming cider, cider donuts, kettle corn, Sour Patch Kids, pizza, jam, past-its-prime winter fruit, Nantucket oysters, a really good burger, rosewater macarons, chicken Parm made with frozen chicken tenders, vodka, orange-red tofu stew, grilled peel-and-eat shrimp, tikka masala, stir fry, roast chicken, poke, bibimbap, and California cheeses.
As soon as I read the words "avocado fries", I knew that was going to be my bookish dish. I've been wanting to try them, and reading that Atwater served them at their prom gave me a great excuse.
"Guys!" Karla gasps from two tables away, clutching a cocktail napkin in one hand. "They did the avocado fries again! With the aioli!" She takes a bite and makes an exaggerated groan, a food-induced orgasm.
I decided to serve them with my favorite Garlic-Sriracha Aioli. Although I didn't set out to use a The Book Club Cookbook Book Blend, how could I make any kind of fries and not use my "Lord of the Fries" Brew Pub Garlic Fries Seasoning I used it both in my aioli and in the panko coating on the avocado fries.
"Lord of the Fries" Avocado Fries with Garlic-Sriracha Aioli
By Deb with Lots of Inspiration from Online
(Serves 2 to 4)
2 to 3 medium-large avocados, ripe but still firm
fresh lime juice
sea salt and black pepper
2 tsp Lord of the Fries Brew Pub Garlic Fries Seasoning or garlic powder blend of choice
1 heaping cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup flour
avocado or olive oil cooking spray
Sriracha-Garlic Aioli (recipe below)
Preheat oven to about 425 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice avocado fairly thickly (each half into about 5 slices) so they won't break as easily. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and lightly salt and pepper then.
In a small bowl or container, mix garlic seasoning into panko and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the flour to another small container or plate. To a third small container, beat an egg until blended.
Dredge avocado slices into flour and gently shake off excess, then dip in egg and gently shake off excess before coating in the panko mix--lightly pressing/patting the panko in so it sticks and avocado slices are well covered.
Spray your parchment covered pan with cooking spray. Gently lay coated avocado slices in a single layer with a little space in between them. Lightly spray them with cooking spray to help them brown. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. You can gently turn them mid way through to ensure they brown on both sides.
Serve warm and crisp with Sriracha-Garlic Aioli or your favorite dipping sauce.
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 Tbsp sriracha, or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder (I used "Lord of the Fries Brew Pub Garlic Fries Seasoning")
1/2 Tbsp pickle or caper juice + more to taste
Stir together ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add additional Sriracha or seasoning as desired. Cover and chill until ready to use. Will keep for about a week to ten days in fridge.
Notes/Results: OK, these are a little slice of heaven, crispy on the outside, soft and creamy inside, with the garlic blending so well with the sweet avocado and spicy aioli. I admit, they aren't very pretty but they more than make up for it in flavor. I think the hardest part is finding the right avocado ripeness--not too soft but also not hard, I had a couple of bad avocados in my "collection" so I was happy to get three good medium ones that were pretty close to being just right. I ate more of these than I should have--they are pretty addicting. I'll happily make them again.
Check out this link for the #AllGirlsBlogParty at The Book Club Cookbook to see the other bloggers taking part and their delicious recipes!
Mahalo to St. Martin's Press and The Book Club Cookbook for the review copies of the book and for hosting this fun event. I received no compensation for my participation and, as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
Find The Book Club Cookbook here:
I knew at least one of us would make avocado fries Deb..love the recipe and can't wait to try it.ReplyDelete
Wow. I thought I was keeping pretty good track of the food mentioned in the novel. You win! I failed! I am so glad you made these fries. I was hoping someone would. I seriously thought about it but by the time I was ready to push forward, the avocados were mush. :( Hope you're safe and warm in Hawaii. It's -12 here this morning (which is a recording breaking event).ReplyDelete
I'll be honest: I've heard of avocado fries and really couldn't imagine that I would want to try them. Until I read your recipes! And I do appreciate your thoughts on the book. It's nice to get different perspectives; I had such a tough time finishing this book because I just didn't care about any of the characters in the end.ReplyDelete
I never thought of frying avocados: it sounds like a good idea. The book sounds worse with each review I have read. I'll definitely avoid that author! But it's fun to see what several people think.ReplyDelete
be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I've never heard of avocado fries before and really want to try them. Is it sweet pickle juice used in the aioli?ReplyDelete
I used caper juice or I sometimes use dill pickle juice but you could use sweet pickle juice if that's what you have/prefer.Delete