Thursday, November 30, 2023

Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup for Cook The Books October/November Pick: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

It's Cook the Books time again and for October/November, we read The City Baker's Guide to Country Louise Miller, hosted by Claudia of Honey From Rock. It's a foodie/baked goods-friendly novel, although I don't bake and chose to make a warming Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup as my book-inspired dish. 

Publisher's Blurb:

When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.

Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.
With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.
But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even bet

  • Publisher: ‎Penguin Books; 
  • Paperback: 352 pages

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this story as books where starting over in a small town/community or starting over, in general, are my jam, especially where food is involved. I do admit to not liking Olivia much when the book started, but she grew on me as the story continued. The town of Guthrie with all its quirky residents and small-town politics grew on me as well. Although I fear I could never warm up there--the blood things after 22+ years in a tropical climate, the book definitely made me want to go for an extended visit. And Salty the dog was perhaps my favorite character. In the end, it's a good rom-com that had me smiling and tearing up a few times and a good story to cozy up with. 

There is food galore in the book from apple pie (there's the contest of course) to muffins and scones, cookies (macaroons, butter cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and pecan sandies) to locally-made cheeses, and all manner of breads. There were desserts aplenty, but also a harvest dinner with corn consommé, a fancy salad, prime rib, mushroom risotto, popovers, a cheese course, and even a Thanksgiving dinner. I was going to do the riff on the risotto as it's a favorite and then I switched to a corn soup (heartier than consommé), but at the end of the day, I was craving a simple potato soup, so that's what I made..Is it in the book? Not at all. Would I have wanted it if I was staying in a sugaring house in Vermont in the fall and winter? Absolutely!

Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup
By Deb,  Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 4 Large Servings)

2 Tbsp butter

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp celery seeds

½ teaspoon thyme

1.5 lb potatoes of your choice, cubed

2 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup whole milk or milk of choice

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 bag (8oz-ish) baby spinach washed & chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and herbs, and cook for an extra minute or two, until the onion is coated and smells good. Stir in the cubed potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and flour in a cup. When potatoes are tender, add the flour and milk slurry and stir until the liquid in the pot comes back up to a simmer and starts to thicken (it should take about 2-3 minutes).

Add the spinach to the pot and cook stirring for about 3-4 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper, adjusting the seasoning to your liking. 

Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes/Results: Sometimes it's the really simple things in life that taste the best and this soup is an example of that. Heartly, creamy, warming, and delicious, it was perfect for our starting to get a bit cooler at night, weather. I only wish I'd made a bigger batch. 

The deadline for this round is today (surprise, surprise) but if you like food and books, and foodie books, join us for December/January, when we'll be reading I’m hosting for December/January when Debra of Eliot's Eats is hosting with Undercooked: How I Let Food Become My Life Navigator and How Maybe That’s a Dumb Way to Live by Dan Ahdoot.   

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Partial Review of The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm, Served with Penne with Roasted Eggplant Puree

Last year I was on the TLC Book Tour for The Secrets of Ohnita Harbor by Patricia Crisafulli, the first book in the Ohnita Harbor Mystery Series and today, I am happy to be a stop on the tour for book two, The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm. This will be a partial review as I was having challenges with my e-book ARC and it's taking me longer than I expected to read it. So, I'll just post my initial thoughts along with a recipe inspired by my reading. 

Publisher's Blurb:

On a beautiful September afternoon, a hike through the pristine wild of Still Waters Chasm become a path of mystery and deadly danger for Gabriela Domenici and her boyfriend, Daniel Red Deer. First, they take a side trail to an inexplicable construction site in the middle of the woods, where every tree has been cut down and a huge truck bearing strange-looking equipment is parked in the middle. As they continue their hike to the lake, they find a man convulsing with his last breaths, not far from the lifeless body of a woman. After going for help, Gabriela and Daniel return to the scene—only to find the two people and their canoe and gear are gone. It seems impossible that two bodies could revive and leave on their own, but there is no other explanation. 

When she conducts a library outreach program in the rural Town of Livery, near Still Waters Chasm, Gabriela discovers a community that is both curious and suspicious. There, she meets Lucinda Nanz, an herbalist whose encyclopedic knowledge of plants for help and harm is both fascinating and troubling, and Wendy Haughton, a young woman who desperately wants to sell an old drawing of unknown origin so she can escape her abusive husband. Despite the state police's warnings to stay out of the investigation, and Daniel's urging to not get involved, Gabriela cannot stay away from Livery and Still Waters Chasm—which puts her on a collision course with yet another murder and people who will stop at nothing to prevent her from getting too close to the truth that could destroy chasm. 

Publisher: Woodhall Press (September 5, 2023)
Paperback: 220 pages

My Thoughts So Far:

I am at about 35% of the book and find myself caught up in the story. Gabriela is suffering from PTSD from the first book when she was nearly killed. (I won't say more due to spoilers and I do always recommend starting at the beginning of a series even if there is enough info given to catch you up on what happened in the second book.) Being a book lover, I like that Gabriela is a Director of Circulation and Head of Programing of the Ohnita Harbor Library (which is in a castle-like building in town). In this book she is trying too create can outreach program in a local community in nearby Still Waters Chasm but some mysterious goings on and a couple of murders are getting in the way. I will come back and give my full review soon as I think, even though it's a challenge with the ARC format, I really want to know what happens. 

Food Inspiration: 

Even at 35% in, there is plenty of food in this book. Gabriela and her Italian mother cook frequently so there is mention of eggplant parmigiana, pasta, salad, steak, meatballs, cookies, lemonade, fruit punch, tea, berries, maple syrup, salmon, eggs, bread, pies, preserves, potatoes, apples, honey, zucchini, chard, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, bananas, yogurt, milk, popcorn, fried perch, Cobb salad, fish sandwich and fries, beer and red wine so far. 

For my bookish dish, I decided on pasta with eggplant as Gabriela's mother, Agnese, says Gabriela's son eats too much pasta when she finds out she is serving leftover eggplant farm to her boyfriend for dinner and planning to feed Ben Can there be such a thing?

Giada's Penne with Roasted Eggplant Puree is an old favorite. I posted this recipe in 2011.

Penne with Roasted Eggplant Puree
Adapted from "Giada's Kitchen" by Giada De Laurentiis
(4 to 6 Servings)

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole (I used 5 cloves)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used feta cheese)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red

pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven on the rack below the vegetables. Roast until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.

My Notes/Results: This makes a nice chunky sauce with good flavor. I like the combination of the roasted veggies with the coolness of the mint and the slight kick from the red pepper. I used 5 large cloves of garlic in mine and liked the extra flavor--since it roasts along with the eggplant and tomato it doesn't overpower. I think the Parmesan called for in the recipe would have been good too, but I couldn't resist adding the feta--which I needed to use up anyway, and it went nicely with the mint and pine nuts. I used a multi-grain penne pasta to get a little more fiber in and the thick sauce held up well to it. This is a great hearty vegetarian dish, although adding a little sausage certainly would be delicious too. 


Note: A review copy of "The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and learn what other reviewers thought about the book below.

Thursday, September 28th: @donasbooks
Thursday, September 28th: @subakka.bookstuff and Subakka.bookstuff
Friday, September 29th: @strandedinchaos9438
Monday, October 2nd: @aimeedarsreads
Wednesday, October 
Friday, October 6th: @fashionablyfifty
Monday, October 9th: Bookchickdi
Wednesday, October 11th:  Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, October 12th: @kristens.reading.nook
Sunday, October 15th@literally_lit_in_miami 
Monday, October 16th: What is That Book About
Wednesday, October 18thGirl Who Reads
Thursday, October 19th@always_reading1
Friday, October 20th: @chicagobooklover 
Monday, October 23rd: Books Cooks Looks
Friday, November 3rd: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie
TBD: Friday, September 29thLaura’s Reviews


Saturday, September 30, 2023

Potato, Cauliflower & Pea Curry (Aloo Gobi Matar) for Cook the Books August/September Pick: Love & Saffron

It's Cook the Books time again. (OK, it's a bit past but I'm hosting so...). As usual, work is keeping me massively busy and likely will for the next bit as I hit six months in my new company and new role. It's all good, just not much time and energy leftover, which is why I am happy I selected Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food & Love by Kim Fay for our Cook the Books August/September pick. It's a quick and delightful read, full of delicious food and engaging characters. 

From the Publisher's blurb:

"Two strangers. One recipe. A friendship for the ages.

Creamy risotto alla Milanese. Mussels in a hot, buttery broth. Chicken spiced with cinnamon and cloves. Joan Bergstrom and Imogen Fortier understand the key to a savored life—delicious food. Young Joan is just discovering herself as a foodwriter in bustling Los Angeles, while experienced columnist Imogen is settled in her decades-long marriage on Camano Island outside Seattle. When Joan sends a fan letter to Imogen with an enclosed packet of saffron and a recipe, their journey of culinary exploration and soul-deep friendship begins. 

A long-lost flavor surfaces buried memories, and a quest to make carne asada opens the doors of a sheltered life. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of their friendship, and of their belief that food and love can sustain us during our darkest hours."

I loved this book! The letters that chronicled the friendship between Joan and Imogen were wonderful. Set in the 1960s, when "snail mail" was the option for penpals, they moved from strangers to a solid friendship over the years. It made me both smile and brought me to tears as both women faced challenges in their lives and were there for each other during them. I loved that Immy lived in Seattle (my old stomping grounds) and the mentions of Frederick & Nelson department store and Frango Mints as I worked there in the late 80s and the mints are still an occasional treat from Macy's. The fact that an earlier Cook the Books pick, The Unprejudiced Palate was mentioned and its author Angelo Pellegrini was a secondary character was also fun. But mainly I loved watching a friendship forged in delicious food unfold. 

There was so much food packed in the pages from risotto to hamburgers and hot dogs, Hungarian chicken, homemade blackberry jam, omelettes with saffron and herbs de Provence, cottage cheese and salmon mold, tamales, grilled crab, chile rellenos, meatloaf, jerk chicken, pesto, teriyaki and tempura, ceviche, Aplets & Cotlets (another Pacific Northwest tradition), coq au vin, clam chowder, aebleskivers, homemade sausage in Milanese stew, heart of palm salad, muffins, and apple butter--just to name some of it. 

For my book inspired dish, I ended up going with curry. Joan wrote, "At Stanford I was drawn to students from India because they cooked up little pots of curry in their rooms." I too am drawn to the smells of a delicious curry and I love how easy it is to knock one together. I decided on an old favorite, Aloo Gobi Matar which is simple potatoes, cauliflower and peas in a dryish simple tomato curry, served with rice. 

Potato, Cauliflower & Pea Curry (Aloo Gobi Matar)
Slightly Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
(Makes 4-5 servings)

1/4 cup ghee or olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger 
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic 
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chile powder or to taste
1.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped/quartered depending on size
salt to taste
1 bag (12-oz) frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
1 (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup coconut milk, water or broth
1 cup frozen green sweet peas, thawed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil or ghee over medium heat in a large heavy-bottom pan. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and chile; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and chile powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add cauliflower, potatoes, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk or broth and peas and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with more salt as needed. Serve with basmati rice. 

Notes/Results: Just a good simple curry--hearty and good. You can change around the spices, add more chile, or liquid if desired. This hit the spot as I was craving curry and I'd happily make it again. 

I'll be rounding up the dishes from this round of Cook the Books shortly on the site. If you missed this round and love food, books and foodie book, join us for our October/November round, hosted by Claudia of Honey From Rock. We'll be reading The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller


Sunday, July 30, 2023

Everything But The Bagel & Nova Salmon Cottage Cheese Bowl for Cook the Books June/July Pick: Food Americana

Time again for Cook the Books, our bi-monthly virtual foodie book club. For June/July, our pick is Food Americana: The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories behind America’s Favorite Dishes by David Page, hosted by Simona of Briciole.

Publisher's Blurb:

David Page changed the world of food television by creating, developing, and executive-producing the groundbreaking show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Now from this two-time Emmy winner comes Food Americana, an entertaining mix of food culture, pop culture, nostalgia, and everything new on the American plate.

The remarkable history of American food. What is American cuisine, what national menu do we share, what dishes have we chosen, how did they become “American,” and how are they likely to evolve from here? David Page answers all these questions and more.

Engaging, insightful, and often humorous. The inside story of how Americans have formed a national cuisine from a world of flavors. Sushi, pizza, tacos, bagels, barbecue, dim sum―even fried chicken, burgers, ice cream, and many more―were born elsewhere and transformed into a unique American cuisine.

Mango (May 4, 2021)

I like foodie non-fiction and food origin stories so that made Food Americana an enjoyable read. At 214 pages, it's a quick read too, making it optimal for summer and the for how busy life is lately. A lot of the information was not new to me but written in an engaging way that also managed to make me quite hungry as we tour through pizza, Mexican food, barbecue, fried chicken and chicken sandwiches, sushi, bagels, chicken wings, burgers, Chinese food, lobster rolls, oysters and other seafood, and ice cream. As a creator and producer of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Page knows how to keep it interesting and I'd recommend it to any foodie looking for a good read. 

There was plenty of food inspiration in the book and a recipe for a food mentioned followed each chapter. I considered making ice cream, sushi, or a lobster roll but decided, as usual, I was down to a time crunch also, it's been warm and humid, and I have been trying to eat better and lighter lately, so quick, easy, and no-cook was what I was craving. 

Although my new job has me working from home which lessens my commute, it also means that I need to come up with quick and easy, healthy home lunches. A new favorite way to get lots of protein is making cottage cheese bowls. Cottage cheese has had a big comeback this year and has become the cauliflower of the healthy eating world. I decided to take inspiration from the chapter on bagels and make a bowl with Nova salmon and everything but the bagel-spiced cottage cheese, along with some other toppings that might be found on a bagel and some Everything But the Bagel Chips. 

This isn't a recipe--it really just involves mixing some (in my case Trader Joe's) Everything But the Bagel Seasoning (about a tablespoon) into a cup of cottage cheese along with a squirt of lemon juice and (if desired) a bit of horseradish. I like to mix it in in the morning so the flavors get a chance to meld and it's less "crunchy." Everything else--smoked salmon (I used Acme Nova from Brooklyn), capers, sliced baby cucumber, baby tomatoes, dill, red onions (I made some quick pickled ones) and the chips, just need to be arranged in a large dinner bowl. Add anything you like and/or take away what you don't. If cottage cheese isn't your thing you could yogurt or even a scoop of rice. I think rye or pumpernickel toast would make a nice dipper too. 

Notes/Results: Quick, tasty and satisfying, this is the perfect lunch or dinner when you don't feel like cooking. I will happily make it again. 

As usual, I am right at the deadline for this Cook the Books round (July 31st) and Simona will be rounding things up on the CTB Club website soon, but if you like food, books, and foodie books, join us for August/September when I'll be hosting the epistolary novel, Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food and Love by Kim Fay.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Spinach Artichoke Risotto for Cook the Books April/May Selection: Lessons in Chemistry

Hi Friends, it's been a while. Lots of life changes, some good (I got a new job and out of some toxicity) and some bad (I lost my fur baby Max, the best cat ever, and got bronchitis and COVID again and have some lingering breathing junk) and I'm still not doing a whole lot of cooking. I missed our last round of Cook the Books, even though I read the book and I really didn't want to miss this one, so I am coming in right at the wire with my dish for the fabulous, lives-up-to-its-hype novel, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats. 

I think you might have to have been living under a big not-reading rock this past year to not hear about this book and see the many gushy reviews about it. It's been on my radar for a while now and this was the push I needed to read it.

Here's the blurb:

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show 
Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.  

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, 
Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel: Garmus, Bonnie: 9780385547345:  Books

My Thoughts: Although I bought a hard copy of the book, I ended up using an Audible credit and listened to most of the book. It was delightful, the narrator captured the characters well and I enjoyed spending time with them. I really loved this novel, it's a charming and smartly written book and a debut novel which is hard to believe, it's so good! I loved Elizabeth Zott, she is just quirky enough of a character to be endearing without overdoing it. Intelligent, strong, funny, and dealing with so much struggle and sexism while making her way as a chemist and a woman in the 1950-60s. The supporting characters were fun--my absolute favorite was Six-Thirty. I could keep talking about the book, it will go down as one of my favorites for the year, but it's been a long day and really, you should just go read it (or listen to it) if you haven't already. I am also in half excitement, and half fear that Apple TV+ will be doing the series but the end of the audiobook was an interview with the author and she seems to think it's in good hands, so, fingers crossed... 

With Elizabeth Zott and her cooking show, there was food in the book. Dishes like baked spaghetti Bolognese, chicken pot pie, broccoli and mushroom casserole, vinegar, and brownies. I know there were more mentions but it was hard to keep track with the audiobook. 

I took inspiration from a spinach casserole Elizabeth made. I was thinking spinach and rice but rather than something baked in the oven, my thoughts turned to risotto which I love to make (the zen of stirring) and to eat. Given the fact that I am working remotely from home, but still remain super busy and not wanting to spend a lot of time or dirty up many dishes, I decided to add a little pre-made magic to my homemade risotto dinner and so I bought a container of parmesan spinach artichoke dip from the deli and also added a can of halved artichoke hearts and pre-shredded cheese. (OK, so I was having a dip craving too!) I'd like to think Elizabeth would understand the shortcuts, even if she wouldn't have approved them!  

Spinach Artichoke Risotto
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen  
(Serves 4-ish

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tsp salt
1 cup dry white wine, room temperature
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or non-chicken stock, warmed 
1 (8 oz) container prepared spinach artichoke dip or homemade
1 can artichoke hearts, cut into bite-size wedges 
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or other favorite cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan + more to top 
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over high heat add the butter, shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly. Add the rice and salt and stir with a wooden spoon to coat all the kernels with oil. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until the rice is sizzling. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it is almost completely absorbed. Now begin adding the chicken broth, one cup at a time, stirring frequently between additions. 

After the first cup is almost entirely absorbed, add the next cup. Continue in this way until the rice is cooked through and you have a creamy risotto, about 20 minutes in all. (The risotto should be slightly loose, not dry; it should run off your spoon. If it gets too dry, add a bit more broth.) Gently stir in the prepared spinach dip, artichoke hearts, cheeses and black pepper and warm through. Taste and add lemon juice, salt and more black pepper as need. Serve and enjoy.

Notes/Results: Oh yeah, this was tasty comfort food and other than the stirring time, quick and easy to put together. The dip blended right into the risotto and the extra cheese didn't hurt. If you wanted more protein, some chicken would be nic but I was more than satisfied with it as written. I will happily make this again. 

So, yes, the deadline for this round of Cook the Books is today, but if you want to join in the next one, Simona of Briciole will be hosting our June/July pick, Food Americana by David Page (May 2021).