December 10, 2017

Instant Pot Creamy Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

My husband loves soup. He says he could eat it every day for lunch, so every fall I start cooking my way through all our favorite recipes, happy to rediscover those that I've ignored during the summer and happy to have delicious leftovers (which my husband also loves) to serve for lunch. Once I've grown tired of all the familiar recipes, I start searching online and through my cookbooks for something new. Since we recently got an Insta-Pot, I was eager to try this creamy mushroom and wild rice soup, which I found on Pinch of Yum (a new-to-me food blog that is quickly becoming a favorite!). Not only was it super easy, but there were plenty of leftovers for future meals. However, instead of saving it for Rod's lunches, I decided to freeze it so we can take it on our next camping trip.

Instant Pot Creamy Mushroom
and Wild Rice Soup


For the Instant Pot:

5 medium carrots, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
Half of an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 cup uncooked wild rice
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

For the Stovetop:

6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk

Instant Pot: 

Place all the ingredients in the first list into the Instant Pot. Cook on manual for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, release the steam using the valve on top.


Just before the soup is finished cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for one to two minutes. Whisk in the milk, a little bit at a time, until you have a smooth, thickened sauce. Salt to taste.

Once the soup is finished cooking and you've released the steam on the Instant Pot, stir in the creamy sauce.

Serve with a green salad or crusty bread.

Yield: 6 servings

My Notes:

I added a few handfuls of diced rotisserie chicken (brought to room temperature) when I added the roux to the soup. The wild rice gives the soup a delicious nutty flavor, but my husband prefers regular rice, so I'll try that next time around.

Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 8, 2017

Looking Back - Charms for the Easy Life

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
1995 Harper Perennial (first published in 1993)
Finished in May 1997
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent!)

Publisher's Blurb:

A family without men, the Birches live gloriously offbeat lives in the lush, green backwoods of North Carolina. In a sad and singular era, they are unique among women of their time. For radiant, headstrong Sophia and her shy and brilliant daughter Margaret possess powerful charms to ward off loneliness, despair, and the human misery that all too often beats a path to their door. And they are protected through the years by the eccentric wisdom and muscular love of the most stalwart Birch of all — a solid, unbending and uncompromising self-taught healer who can cure everything from boils to broken hones to broken hearts ... a remarkable matriarch who calls herself Charlie Kate.

Charms for the Easy Life is the passionate, luminous, and exhilarating New York Times bestseller by Kaye Gibbons,the acclaimed author of Ellen Foster and Sights Unseen.

My Original Notes (1997):

One of the best books I've ever read! Excellent! I didn't want it to end, but couldn't put it down. Bought everything else that I could find by Kaye Gibbons. I feel like I know the three women in the story. I greatly admired the strength and independence of the grandmother. What a woman! And their love for books and the understanding of the power of the written word... Lyrical - reminded me a bit of Beach Music.

Beautiful. Charming. Delightful!

My Current Thoughts:

With such high praise, I'm shocked that I no longer own a copy of this novel. Maybe I'll get a copy at the library and read it again. 

December 6, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

circa 1964

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December 2, 2017

Sloppy Joes

If you've been following this blog for the past few months, you know that my husband and I bought a travel trailer this summer and have had a lot of fun exploring the Pacific Northwest. Our trailer is outfitted with a large refrigerator, microwave and two-burner stove. We also have a toaster oven, portable grill and Coleman campstove, so there are plenty of cooking options when we're traveling. I love to cook, but cooking while camping is not how I choose to spend my time. I'd rather relax outside with a book or go for a hike or explore a new town. Cooking is a necessity, so I needed to find a solution to get me out of the "galley" while adding more options to our meals. Burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken are fine every now and then, but would surely get old during a two-week trip.

Enter Make-Ahead-Meals.

When fixing dinner at home, I've recently begun to freeze half of a given recipe to take with us when we head out on a camping adventure. Soups, stroganoff, chili, Sloppy Joes, etc. I can't say that I remember ever having a Sloppy Joe until recently, but it tasted so good I decided to make a batch for our recent trip to Bandon. I froze enough of the recipe so we could have it for dinner one night and lunch later in the week. Served with chips, salad or fruit it worked out to be a nice alternative to a cheeseburger. And, the best part? Not only was I able to heat it up in a skillet in just a few minutes, but there were very few dishes involved. (Always a big plus when camping!)

Remember Hunt's Manwich? I can honestly say I've never tried one and I doubt I ever will. This Crock-Pot recipe for Sloppy Joes is so easy, I don't know why anyone would opt for a canned variety. I'm not sure if this recipe tastes like a Manwich, but it's certainly filling and yummy, especially after a day of exploring.

Manwich is the brand name of a canned sloppy joe sauce produced by ConAgra Foods and Hunt's, introduced in 1969. The can contains seasoned tomato sauce that is added to ground beef cooked in a skillet. It is marketed as a quick and easy one-pan meal for the whole family. Manwich's slogan is, "A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal." (Wikipedia)
Crock-Pot Sloppy Joes


1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 (16 oz.) package ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 hamburger buns, toasted

Brown beef and sausage with onion and bell pepper in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring 10 minutes or until beef and sausage crumble and are no longer pink. Drain well.

Place beef mixture in a 4 1/2 quart slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce and next 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH for four hours.

Serve on hamburger buns.

Stove-Top Method

Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 1, returning drained beef mixture to Dutch oven. Stir in tomato sauce and next 8 ingredients, omitting flour. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.


To freeze leftover Sloppy Joe mixture, let cool completely. Place in zip-top plastic freezer bag; lay bags flat, and stack in freezer. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave.

My Notes:

I made this on the stove, rather than in a Crock-Pot. I think either method is fine, but since it's just ground beef and pork sausage, slow cooking isn't necessary for tenderizing the meat.

I don't care for green bell peppers, so I left those out and reduced the amount of chili powder to 1 teaspoon.

Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 1, 2017

Looking Back - O Pioneers!

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
1988 Houghton Mifflin Company (first published in 1913)
Finished on May 5, 1997
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Publisher's Blurb:

In O Pioneers!, Willa Cather introduces Alexandra Bergson, the daughter of Swedish immigrant farmers, whose devotion to the land sustains her against the hardships and suffering of prairie life. With Alexandra, Willa Cather created the model for a series of remarkable, spirited heroines. This vivid portrait of the American frontier reveals Cather's powerful themes as it enthralls new generations of readers.

Willa Cather was born in 1873 in Virginia, but at the age of nine, she moved with her family to Nebraska; this landscape later provided her with the setting for many of her finest stories. After graduating from the University of Nebraska she worked as a journalist, a teacher, and as an editor at McClure's magazine, until deciding to write full-time. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Willa Cather is the author of more than fifteen books, including My Antonia and The Song of the Lark.

My Original Notes (1997):

Excellent! A great novel. Similar in some ways to My Antonia. I felt strongly connected to the characters and didn't want the story to end. Beautiful descriptions of the landscape as in My Antonia. Grabbed my attention from the very start.

My Current Thoughts:

As I recall, I wound up liking this novel better than My Antonia. I wish I had taken more detailed notes in my reading journal because now I only have a slight recollection of the plot and cast of characters. I guess it's time to read it again.

November 30, 2017

A Vintage Affair

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
2010 Bantam
Finished on January 19, 2017
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Every dress has a history. And so does every woman. In Isabel Wolff’s captivating A Vintage Affair, a treasured child’s coat becomes a thread of hope connecting two very different women.

Her friends are stunned when Phoebe Swift abruptly leaves a plum job at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. In the sunlight-flooded interior of Village Vintage, surrounded by Yves Saint Laurent silk scarves, Vivienne Westwood bustle skirts, cupcake dresses, and satin gowns, Phoebe hopes to make her store the hot new place to shop, even as she deals with two ardent suitors, her increasingly difficult mother, and a secret from her past that casts a shadow over her new venture.

For Phoebe, each vintage garment carries its own precious history. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe is rewarded whenever she finds something truly unique, for she knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of smart suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

This contemporary novel, which is set in London, is a bit reminiscent of Marisa de los Santos and Erica Bauermeister's novels. Not exactly a romance, but not a heavy, serious book, either. I guess one could call it a fluffy, comfort read. The WWII and Holocaust subplots, as well as the unpredictable outcomes, helped hold my interest in what could have become a trite story.

November 29, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Dosewallips, Washington
September 2017

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November 28, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Winter Street

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea every Tuesday. Feel free to join in the fun!

Christmas is less than a month away and I've decided to kick off my December reading with the first book in Hilderbrand's "Winter" series.

 by Elin Hilderbrand
2014 Little, Brown and Company

He thinks nothing of walking into room 10 without knocking. The door is unlocked, and George hasn't checked in yet, anyway. George is due on the eleven-thirty ferry with his 1931 Model A fire engine, a bespoke Santa Claus vehicle, but he was delayed because of snow in the western part of the state. George has gamely brought the fire engine over and donned the red suit every December for the past twelve years. George weighs in at 305 pounds, give or take the five, and is the jolly owner of a full head of white hair and a white goatee (new since his divorce; before, it was a full beard.) Kelley wants George to arrive so that Mitzi will relax. According to Mitzi, no one can possibly replace George, and nothing ruins Christmas like an absent Santa.
What do you think? Would you continue reading?

November 26, 2017

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes. Seriously, how difficult can they be to prepare? Do I really need to share a recipe when almost every cook can make these without searching the Internet (or perusing a stack of cookbooks) to figure out how to throw together such a simple dish? 

I've been making mashed potatoes for decades, but decided to see if I could find something a little more decadent for our Thanksgiving dinner. (My usual "recipe" is pretty basic: Some peeled potatoes, some warm milk and a bit -- okay, a LOT -- of butter.) I also wanted a recipe that I could make ahead of time. I don't know about you, but the traditional Thanksgiving dinner involves a lot of dishes and a lot of dish washing, not to mention the stress of having everything hot and ready all at the same time! This year I wanted to prep as much as possible the day before (or at least the morning of) so that we could relax with our guests and not spend hours cleaning up after they'd gone home. Enter The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.

I'm a big fan of PW's recipes and snagged a copy of this book last year during Barnes & Noble's cookbook sale. Have I used the cookbook in the past year? Nope. At least not until last Wednesday, when I discovered her recipe for Perfect Mashed Potatoes. It's pretty much your typical recipe for this favorite comfort food, but in addition to butter, she adds cream cheese, half-and-half and heavy cream. Not exactly healthy, but we can overlook that once or twice a year, right? And the verdict? Fantastic!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Photo Credit: Food Network


5 lbs. russet or Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces, more for the dish and topping
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp seasoned salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
1 tsp black pepper, more to taste


Peel the potatoes, placing them in a bowl of cold water as you go to prevent browning.

Cut the peeled potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. (I usually cute them into eighths.) 

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water until the potatoes are completely covered. Bring to a boil and cook (uncovered) until the potatoes are cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. (When they're done a fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.) 

Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a large colander and put them back into the dry pot. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing the steam and excess moisture to escape.

Remove the pot from the stove and add the butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, heavy cream, seasoned salt, salt and pepper. Use the masher or a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Spread the potatoes in a large buttered casserole dish, smoothing out the surface of the potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Prior to baking the potatoes, remove the dish from the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dot the top of the potatoes with a little more butter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are piping hot and golden brown on top.

My Notes:

I used two large pots to boil the potatoes so they wouldn't be too crowded as they cooked.

I didn't use the seasoned salt, nor did I add any additional salt & pepper (to taste) since the amounts indicated were enough.

I didn't add any extra butter to the top of the potatoes. I think 2 sticks of butter in the potatoes is plenty.

I made the mashed potatoes the day before Thanksgiving and placed them in a Crock-Pot and stored that dish in the refrigerator until mid-morning on Thanksgiving. I began to heat them about 6 hours before serving, starting out on High for the first hour and then reducing the temperature to Low for the remaining time.

I have never before tasted such creamy, rich mashed potatoes! There was no need to add any butter or salt & pepper, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a big ladle-full of gravy. Mmmmm!

Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

November 24, 2017

Olympic Peninsula Trip - Day Six

Friday, September 22, 2017
Day Trips: Hoh Rain Forest

We slept pretty well at our new site AND we had hot showers for the first time in three days! Bliss. You may be wondering why we don't just use the shower in our trailer, especially when we have water hook-ups and a hot water heater. Our gray water holding tank is only 26 gallons and with two very short showers and minimal dish washing, it would fill up very quickly in three days. Of course, when we're not dry camping, we have the option to dump our tanks either at the site or at a dump station. However, our bathroom is a wet bath which means the shower is in the same room as the sink and toilet. And, it's not very large. So, we've decided to to make do without showering in the trailer unless we're absolutely desperate. We love it when a campground has hot showers available, even at a cost, but if none are provided we're willing to rough it until the next campsite. Of course, three days is probably our limit...

Photo Credit: Forks Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Forks Chamber of Commerce

The focus of this day's outing was the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park. The drive from our campsite to the Visitor's Center is roughly 40 miles, but it took us close to an hour to reach our destination as the road from Hwy. 101 to the park is very narrow and windy.

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful for the drive, with blue sky and a few puffy clouds. There was no rain in the forecast, which turns out to be unfortunate when visiting a rain forest! The trees were beautiful, draped in their thick layers of moss, but the visual impact wasn't nearly as impressive had they been dripping with rain or even dew drops. It was still a lovely hike and one I'd do again.
Throughout the winter season, rain falls frequently in the Hoh Rain Forest, contributing to the yearly total of 140 to 170 inches (or 12 to 14 feet!) of precipitation each year. The result is a lush, green canopy of both coniferous and deciduous species. Mosses and ferns that blanket the surfaces add another dimension to the enchantment of the rainforest. 
The Hoh Rain Forest is located in the stretch of the Pacific Northwest rainforest which once spanned the Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska to the central coast of California. The Hoh is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States and is one of the park's most popular destinations. (National Park Service)

We took the Hall of Mosses trail, which is a short (.8 mile) loop through the forest, and came across this stream at the beginning of the trail. It was full of green plant life swaying gentle current and the colors were quite vivid, especially with the reflection of the blue sky. It was very enchanting and somewhat surreal.

One of many enormous trees along the trail.

I love how the ferns just settle in and grow wherever they find nourishment.

These trees almost look as though they're dancing among the ferns, their lower branches extended like arms.

People see all sorts of animals and creatures in clouds. With a little imagination, I see the same in these enormous trees. Trunks look like a back or legs. Branches look like arms, pointing in different directions. Large clumps of moss look like a head peering down at the trail.

We stopped for lunch at the Hard Rain Cafe just outside of the park on our way back toward 101. With no indoor seating, we were thankful it wasn't raining so we could eat at the picnic tables on the patio. It's too bad I can't say that I'd return for another one of their cheeseburgers... Pretty mediocre.

We spotted a herd of Roosevelt elk in a distant field and stopped for a photo. They paid no attention to us and refused to wander any closer. Little did I know we'd see a larger herd in our campground in another week.

Anyone who has read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga will recognize the name of these towns.

With no burn ban here, we were finally able to have a fire!

And roast marshmallows.

And have S'mores. Rod's very first ever!

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November 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Sunrise over Whidbey Island
Port Townsend, Washington

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November 21, 2017

You Will Not Have My Hate

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris
2016 Penguin Press
Finished on December 31, 2016
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

On 13 November 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène, was killed, along with 88 other people at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, when three men armed with guns and suicide bombs opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd at a rock concert. Three days later, Leiris, a young journalist, wrote an open letter on Facebook addressed to his wife’s killers. Leiris refused to be cowed or to let his 17-month-old son’s life be defined by Hélène’s murder. He refused to let the killers have their way. ‘For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short Facebook post caught fire. It was shared over two hundred thousand times and was reported on all over the world. In his beautiful and moving defiance of the terrorists who had killed his wife, Leiris became an international hero to everyone searching desperately for a way to deal with the horror of the attacks. 

You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir about how Leiris, and his baby son Melvil, endured after Hélène’s murder. With courage, moral acuity, and absolute emotional honesty, Leiris finds a way to answer the question, how can I go on? This is the rare and unforgettable testimony of a survivor, and a universal message of hope and resilience. Leiris is guiding star for us all in perilous times.

Oh, this is such a beautifully written memoir filled with lyrical prose for such a heartbreaking story. My husband and coworkers couldn't understand why I would want to read such a tragic memoir, but I felt compelled, almost obligated to hear Antoine's story. He shares so many thoughts about the tragic, violent death of a loved one, which includes the tender perspective of his young son's feelings of loss. I read this slim book in a single day. I could have read it in one sitting, but I needed to take a few breaks, it's so sad. The entire book could be shared as favorite quotes, but I'll leave you with just a few:

Melvil waits. He waits to be big enough to reach the light switch in the living room. He waits to be well-behaved enough to go out without a stroller. He waits for me to make his dinner before I read him a story. He waits for bath time, for lunch time, for snack time. And tonight, he waits for his mother to come home before he goes to bed. Waiting is a feeling without a name. As I read him one last story, it brings all of them at the same time. It is distress, hope, sadness, relief, surprise, dread.


On Friday night, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate. I don't know who you are and I don't want to know. You are dead souls. If that God for whom you blindly kill made us in his image, each bullet in my wife's body will have been a wound in his heart. 

So, no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. That is what you want, but to respond to your hate with anger would be to yield to the same ignorance that made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to see my fellow citizens through suspicious eyes, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have failed. I will not change.


"I've come to read the electric meter."

I should have remembered the letter warning me of this visit. Helene stuck it to our fridge, and I walk past the fridge several times a day. But recently I have been blind to the world.

"Can I come in?"

I thought that if the moon ever disappeared, the sea would retreat so no one would see it crying. I thought the winds would stop dancing. That the sun would not want to rise again.

Nothing of the kind. The world continues to turn, and meters must be read.


November 19, 2017

One-Pan Mediterranean Baked Halibut & Vegetables

Photo Credit: The Mediterranean Dish

I love seafood, but until recently I would rarely cook anything other than grilled salmon, crab cakes or shrimp tacos. It's not that I didn't know how to prepare fish, but that I was living in a landlocked state for more than 20 years and the availability of fresh fish was sorely lacking. I never bothered to explore new recipes since I was quite happy with my three or four favorites. But now that we've moved to the Oregon coast, I am very excited to start sampling new recipes and new types of fish. 

I saved this halibut recipe from JoAnn's blog post earlier this summer and have now made it for dinner a couple of times. We love fresh halibut but it's pretty expensive, even locally, so we wait until it goes on sale at our local market. I'm sure there are lots of great recipes to use, but so far this is our favorite. The first time I made the dish, I followed the recipe exactly as written. Last night I decided to try it with asparagus instead of green beans (and forgot all about the onions). I served it with naan, but it would also be very good with this easy recipe for risotto. Winner, winner! 

One-Pan Mediterranean
 Baked Halibut with Vegetables


Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly minced garlic
2 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. ground coriander

Fish and Vegetables:

1 lb. fresh French beans
1 lb. cherry tomatoes
1 large yellow onion sliced into half moons
1 1/2 lbs. halibut fillet, sliced into 1 1/2-inch strips

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sauce ingredients together. Add the green beans, tomatoes and onions, tossing to coat with sauce. You can do this in batches, if necessary.

With a large slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a large baking sheet (21 x 15 x 1 inch, for example). Keep the vegetables to one side or one half of the baking sheet, making sure to spread them out in one layer.

Add the halibut strips to the remaining sauce, tossing to coat. Transfer the halibut to the baking sheet next to the vegetables and pour any remaining sauce on top.

Lightly sprinkle the halibut and vegetables with a little seasoned salt.

Bake in the 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to the top oven rack and broil for an additional 3-5 minutes, watching carefully. The cherry tomatoes should begin to burst under the broiler.

Remove pan from the oven and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

My notes:

You can use asparagus in lieu of the green beans, but watch your cooking time, especially if the asparagus is very thin. 

This is delicious with or without the onion. 

Serve with naan or risotto.

Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

November 17, 2017

Looking Back - Alexander's Bridge

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather
1977 University of Nebraska Press (first published in 1912)
Finished in April 1997
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Bartley Alexander, an engineer famous for the audacious structure of his North American bridges, is at the height of his reputation. He has a distinguished and beautiful wife and an enviable Boston home. Then, on a trip to London, he has a chance encounter with an Irish actress he once loved. When their affair re–ignites, Alexander finds himself caught in a tug of emotions — between his feelings for his wife, who has supported his career with understanding and strength, and Hilda, whose impulsiveness and generosity restore to him the passion and energy of his youth. Coinciding with this personal dilemma are ominous signs of strain in his professional life. In this, her first novel, originally published in 1912, Willa Cather skillfully explores the struggle between opposing sides of the self, a facility that was to become a hallmark of her craft. 

My Original Notes (1997):

Cather's first published novel. Good, but not as good as My Antonia or Death Comes For the Archbishop. The characters weren't as developed. The lyrical and beautiful descriptions of the landscape weren't as prevalent. A good book, but not great.

My Current Thoughts:

I only have a vague recollection of this novel and I no longer own a copy, so it's not one that I envisioned re-reading.