For our Sunday chat pleasure today, I have several books to tell you about, along with a fabulous new recipe made from my Milk Street Vegetables cookbook. So shall we read first, then eat? I adore the Seasons series, and I finished the fourth one. I am trying to read them in the months that they are set. It was appropriate to take a shot of it next to the orchid, as I am still waiting on it to bloom. The amaryllis leaves are getting bigger, but I am still waiting on it as well.
Waiting Season by Melanie Lageschulte – Another charmer in the Seasons series, this one has Melanie braving out a January snowstorm and February ice storm while taking care of her sheep, chickens, and two tiny kittens abandoned in the freezing cold. Waiting for the pregnant ewes to give birth, and dealing with some of the realities of farm life, Melinda has to make a decision about her own future. This one is shorter, only 233 pages of quick and easy reading that I devoured in just a couple of days.
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult – This pandemic story focuses on one woman’s struggle with her emotions during a time when the whole world shut down. The writing is compelling, keeping the reader interested in seeing what happens next, and what choices Diana will make. A twist in the middle of the book is startling and surprising, and from that point on, the book becomes next to impossible to put down. Highly recommend, five stars!! My blogger friend Diann at Little Penguin Quilts posted that she finished the book right when I did, so we had a fun day of discussing the various twists and decisions. This book would be fabulous for book clubs, so much to talk about!!
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – Interesting premise of a Russian Count, convicted of the dubious crime of being an aristocrat at the eve of the communist revolution, he is sentenced to house arrest for life in a hotel where he had been living. Forced to associate with other classes of people in service jobs, he finds himself making friends, finding allies and coming to terms with a new way of life. The book is a bit long, but does have some interesting asides in footnote form of real history taking place at the time. The story begins in 1922 and runs to 1954, through the upheavals of the depression, war and revolutions. I admit I got a bit bored with it for about a 100 pages in the middle of the book, but persevered because I wanted to know the ending. This is a character study not an action novel, with some laugh out loud funny parts, and a lot of philosophy. It isn’t among my choices for best novels, but it wasn’t bad. Three stars.
Now for some food. This recipe is in the Milk Street Vegetables, cookbook and just looked scrumptious. I am always looking for something different to serve My Sweet Babboo. He will eat just about anything, and likes trying new dishes. This one was a winner with a bright lemon flavor complementing the artichokes and pasta. I thought about making it without the meat for a vegetarian meal, but ultimately decided to use some kielbasa sausage I had in the refrigerator instead of the pancetta.
The recipe goes together quickly with ingredients easy to find. Another plus is you do it all in one pan, cooking the pasta first and reserving some of the water to thicken the sauce. Then drain the pasta, and make the sauce in the same pot. Sear the artichokes, then take half for the sauce, made in a blender and added back to the pan. Lemon juice and zest brighten the sauce, and parmesan cheese completes the dish. Yum!
The recipe is on the Milk Street website as well for those who have a membership there. I did a pdf for you, but rather than type it all, I did a photo of the recipe page, I hope that will do – Artichoke Linguini with Pancetta and Lemon. Next time I make this, I plan to double the artichoke hearts to two cans. Since half of the artichokes are blended into the sauce, it would leave more artichoke pieces in the servings. The meal was delicious.
Your turn, what are you reading now? Have you tried a new recipe recently?
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