Quinoa is a satisfying and healthy alternative when you're craving a big bowl of pasta. Try this Quinoa Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Pistachio from our February Top Pick in cookbooks, The Tucci Table, for a quick and filling meal or side dish that won't cost you extra time at the gym.
Quinoa Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Pistachio
Felicity introduced me to this healthy alternative to pasta and bread—the staples of the Tucci family diet. Quinoa is a fantastic base to which so many other flavors can be added, like dates, avocado or grilled halloumi cheese. Nutty, delicious and good for you, this quinoa salad blends the sharpness of the feta, the sweetness of the pomegranate and the crunch of the nuts. It can be served as a side or a main.
Serves 4 as a main, 6 as a side
1. Soak the quinoa in cold water to remove its bitterness. Each brand is different, so check the instructions on the package. Then rinse it thoroughly.
2. Bring 3 to 4 cups salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa is done when the germ separates from the seed. It should have a little bite to it, too. Strain if necessary. Dress with the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
3. Gently mix the pomegranate seeds, pistachios or pine nuts and scallions into the quinoa. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Place the mixture in a serving dish and place the feta cheese on top. Scatter the last 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds over the top, gently break up the feta, and serve.
This is delicious served with some sliced blood oranges dressed with extra virgin olive oil.
BookPage is thrilled to reveal the cover for The Day the Crayons Came Home, the sequel to the best-selling The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers! It will be released this August from Philomel. Click to view larger.
But what have those high-maintenance crayons been up to? We chatted with Jeffers for the release of The Day the Crayons Quit, so for this new book, we wanted to hear from author Drew Daywalt:
Author Drew Daywalt
BookPage: What originally inspired you to share the plight of these grumbling crayons?
Daywalt: It wasn’t really by choice. My crayons told me that if I didn’t bring their plight to the public eye, something terrible might happen to me. What would you do? Like Duncan, I complied. This conspiracy of silence has to end. These little wax cylinders are terrors and the world needs to know!
Last time we checked in on the crayons, they were pretty ticked off, though Duncan did make a concerted effort to honor their many demands. Why are they coming back in this sequel? What do they want this time?
Money. Cold hard cash. They want the Benjamins and they aren’t afraid to use violence to get them. NO, I’M JUST KIDDING! Seriously though . . . poor Duncan. He finally gets one group of crayons to chill out and a whole NEW group shows up griping at him.
In The Day the Crayons Came Home, it’s a whole new batch of crayons, and their complaints are about how Duncan has lost, broken or neglected them. We know all these crayons already, because we're all kind of Duncan. They’re all the ones we melted, broke, lost or otherwise treated crappily when we were kids. (Is crappily a word? Oh man, did I just invent a word? I did! Yes! You’re WELCOME, Webster!) But in all seriousness, what I think makes the new book really special is that it’s a story about homecoming and acceptance no matter what . . . but with lots of complaining.
Illustrator Oliver Jeffers
Which crayon do you most empathize with?
In the new book? I’m Neon Red Crayon. Yeah. For sure. He’s kind of a lovable goof who has no idea where he is or where he’s going, but he’s really enjoying the ride. Or . . . I might be Glow-in-the-Dark Crayon. He draws scary things that then totally freak him out when it’s dark. Also kind of an idiot. Hmmm . . . I’m seeing a pattern here in myself.
What’s your favorite part about working with Jeffers?
He smells nice. Actually, It’s the sense of fun when we’re working. A lot of what Oliver and I do is try to make each other laugh. He also has a cool Irish brogue, which makes me 25% cooler just by standing next to him when he talks. What I bring to the table is that I have large strong shoulders and I could easily carry him if I ever needed to rescue him from, like, a burning building or something.
What would you like kids to remember next time they pick up their crayons?
Not to do drugs.
The animated film rights for The Day the Crayons Quit were purchased by Universal Pictures last year. Hooray for crayons!
Get ready to shake off this freezing cold weather with some great books in March! LibraryReads has tallied the votes of librarians around the country, and these are the March books librarians are most excited about putting on their shelves.
Our Top Picks in both fiction (James Hannaham's bold debut, Delicious Foods) and nonfiction (Erik Larson's fascinating tale of the sinking of the Lusitania, Dead Wake) make the list. Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, steps into fiction with the tale of a very bad cat in Cat Out of Hell, and Ian Caldwell delves into a Vatican murder in The Fifth Gospel. Looking for YA lit? Check out Vanishing Girls, a story of linked fates between a group of teenagers, by Lauren Oliver.
See the full LibraryReads March list here.
Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning has the feel of a fairy tale collection. But these strange and haunting fairy tales are not recommended for bedtime stories. As he warns in the intro: "There are things in this book, as in life, that might upset you . . . . Consider yourself warned."
Gaiman cuts a fine line between fantasy and reality, with each story plopping you into another dark world that is so similar, yet so disturbly dissimilar, from our own. There are ghoulish old ladies, ominous hounds, rolling fogs and monarchs—there's even a "Doctor Who" story. It's pretty clear that Gaiman's creativity is in no short supply; I can only imagine what having him around a campfire would be like.
This excerpt comes from "A Calendar of Tales":
My mother had a ring in the shape of a lion’s head. She used it to do small magics—find parking spaces, make the queue she was in at the supermarket move a bit faster, make the squabbling couple at the next table stop squabbling and fall in love again, that sort of thing. She left it to me when she died.
The first time I lost it I was in a café. I think I had been fiddling with it nervously, pulling it off my finger, putting it on again. Only when I got home did I realize that I was no longer wearing it.
I returned to the café, but there was no sign of it.
Several days later, it was returned to me by a taxi driver, who had found it on the pavement outside the café. He told me my mother had appeared to him in a dream and given him my address and her recipe for old-fashioned cheesecake.
What are you reading this week?
Best-selling author Robyn Carr celebrates the release of One Wish—the latest in her Thunder Point series—today, so we thought it would be the perfect time to check in with the author. In this blog post, Carr writes about what women's fiction and romance means to her. If you thought romance novels were just about the steamy scenes, Carr is here to set you straight!
When my son was in Iraq, we Skyped almost every day. We had more long and meaningful discussions while he was in a war zone than we had when he lived under my roof. And there were times it could get a little awkward, like when I was on a writing roll, in the story zone, and his first question is, “Do you know David Baldacci?”
“Not personally,” I said. “Why?”
“Someone gave me one of his books and told me to read it; I might like it.”
“I don’t have one,” he said.
“Stand by,” I said.
So I emailed him a book. It was with great satisfaction that I heard him say, “Hey. This is good.”
The more interesting thing happened later. First, he found that many of his female co-workers had known about me for a long time and were fans. That really jazzed him up; finally made his mother somebody. He did some mild raving about the book, and I offered him the next one in the series.
“No offense, Mom, but it’s a chick book.”
Yes, it’s a chick book, something I’m rather proud of. But what I do is write romance and women’s fiction, which is about women, for women and written largely by women. My books, the chick books of this century, celebrate women. And because of the digital age, the response is immediate! Any writer of fiction for women who doesn’t know what their readers most enjoy, what brings the greatest reader satisfaction, is asleep at the switch. They tell us every day: Dear Ms. Carr, I know just how Mel felt because I lost my husband at a very young age. Dear Ms. Carr, I escaped from an abusive relationship and you really nailed it—thank you. Dear Ms. Carr, My son was bullied in high school and I’m so glad to see one of my favorite romance writers address that subject.
I have a lot of male readers, too—I hear from them regularly. One of them surprised and thrilled me. I lost my leg in Afghanistan and it was after reading your book about a soldier in an almost identical situation, I’ve decided I really need counseling. I don’t know how my wife has lived with me this long!
I realize that what I really do when I write romance is less about love and sex and more about hope.
I write about the things that are part of a woman’s world: the family drama, community cohesiveness, neighbors helping neighbors. My readers visit my books daily for the chance to relate to the characters who share their burdens and joys, to use strong characters as role models, to be entertained while they struggle to find their own happy endings. Sometimes, they come to me at their most vulnerable and entrust me to take them on a meaningful journey. By the time I’m on the home stretch of a new book, I realize that what I really do when I write romance is less about love and sex and more about hope.
My son has been home from Iraq for quite a while now, safe and sound, and I’m meeting the most interesting people in Thunder Point. In One Wish, I met a former figure skating champion who craves a quieter life and Mr. Hottie High School teacher, Troy Headly, who is on hand to prove to her that it doesn’t have to be all that quiet. And in A New Hope, which will be out in June, Ginger Dysart chooses Thunder Point as the town in which she’ll reclaim her life. Who would have guessed she’d find it in the arms of a handsome Basque farmer? And there’s more—join me for Wildest Dreams at the end of summer when a world famous triathlete mixes it up with a local nurse, and together, they dare to dream the wildest dreams.
Join me in Thunder Point—the place where wishes are made, hopes are finally realized and dreams come true.
For book club members, frugal shoppers and readers who still prefer the printed page over the e-reader, here are four of the best new paperback editions available this week:
By Phil Klay
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143126829
This riveting story collection by an Iraq War veteran captured the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.
Breath, Eyes, Memory
By Edwidge Danticat
Soho • $16 • ISBN 9781616955021
The 20th-anniversary edition of Danticat's acclaimed Haitian coming-of-age novel includes an interview with the author and a reading group guide.
By Emma Donoghue
Back Bay • $17 • ISBN 9780316324670
From the author of Room, something entirely different: A rip-roaring Western/mystery featuring a cross-dressing frog catcher and an exotic dancer.
Till now, Judith Flanders has confined herself solely to nonfiction as one of the foremost social historians of the Victorian era and the best-selling author of The Invention of Murder and The Victorian City. With her debut crime novel, Flanders takes on the cutthroat publishing industry and spices it up with a bit of that Victorian-style macabre.
Chosen by librarians for the February 2015 Library Reads list, A Murder of Magpies is a darkly funny romp that takes readers between London and Paris in pursuit of a potentially libelous manuscript.
But how did Flanders make the leap from Victorian crime to contemporary crime fiction? As she reveals in a guest blog post, it's just more fun. (And now we know never to get on Flanders' bad side . . .)
Fiction has some definite advantages over nonfiction. I’ve been writing nonfiction for nearly 20 years now, specializing in Victorian Britain. I truly can’t complain: It’s a great job. As with every job, though, there are some days that are just a slog. At one point I was writing about a fire along the river Thames in 1861, and I wanted to incorporate an eyewitness’ description of seeing the fire from a train. To do that, I needed to say where his train was heading. It took me nearly a week in the library to find that out. Even though it was one of those boring little details that nobody reading my book would care about, still, I had to get it right.
If I had been writing a novel, I grumped to myself, I could have just made it up. And then I bumped into an ex-colleague in the library, someone I’d worked with years before. And I remembered how much I disliked her. (The feeling, I believe, is mutual.) So, to relieve the boredom of researching trains, I began to imagine ways of killing her. From making up train stations, to making up murder methods, I moved on to just making things up.
And before I knew it, I’d started to write a crime novel. Sam Clair is an editor in a publishing house. I worked in publishing for 17 years, and publishing is full of people that belong in a novel. The 20-something editor who thinks he knows everything? Check. The last remaining Goth in Britain, who loves commercial women’s fiction? Double-check. And of course then there’s the general murder and mayhem. After all, there isn’t an author alive who hasn’t wanted to murder her editor, and vice-versa.
With my nonfiction hat on, I wrote a book on 19th-century murder and how real-life crimes were used for entertainment purposes: Where today we have films about the Boston strangler or whatever, they had plays and novels and even puppet shows. What struck me was that real-life murder was, on the whole, not very interesting. Thug A hits Thug B over the head, fighting over a few pounds. Thug B dies. That was the pattern, over and over.
Crime was dull. Crime fiction, however, now that was fabulous. From Dickens to Dracula, authors everywhere found themselves invigorated by these very ordinary, very ugly events. They took the dull stuff—Thug A, a railway station, a fire—and turned it into magic.
Publishing can be dull, too. Like a lot of glamorous jobs, on a day-to-day level it’s often just paperwork: admin and schedules and budgets. But if you make things up, you can liberate the routine, turn it into magic, too.
So I decided that I’d give myself a break from researching train stations, or even Thugs A and B. Instead I would take the ridiculousness that is publishing, and the magic that is making things up, and see what happened.
Thank you so much, Judith! Readers, A Murder of Magpies goes on sale tomorrow!
Judith Flanders author photo by Clive Barda.
Alan Lightman explores his family and past through the lens of cinema in his memoir, Screening Room. Our reviewer writes, "In episodic prose that shimmers with cinematic quality, Lightman recalls a time when aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings, parents and friends gathered in the Memphis moonlight to drink, talk in hushed tones about neighbors, sort out perplexing and slowly evolving attitudes about race and ponder the ragged ways people fall in love and out of it." (Read the review here.)
We asked Lightman to tell us about three books he's been reading lately, and he graciously agreed to share.
Reading only Michael Ondaatje’s big novels, one would be scarcely aware of his delightful sense of humor and wit, demonstrated in his memoir Running in the Family. This short book, poetic as all of Ondaatje’s writing, begins with his return to his native island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in the late 1970s. There, through conversations with aging relatives, he imaginatively recreates his childhood, his Dutch-Ceylonese family history and the painful marriage of his parents—all set against the drug-like heat of the luxurious countryside. The throbbing heart of the book is Ondaatje’s strained relationship with his father, Mervyn, whose drunken antics hide a deeply troubled man who ultimately abandoned his family. With understated subtlety, in these pages Ondaatje aches to find peace with the father he never really knew.
The elderly British writer William H. Hudson was laid up for six weeks in a London hospital at the beginning of World War I when, to his astonishment, he suddenly remembered in photographic detail his entire childhood growing up on the pampas of Argentina in the mid-19th century. The resulting memoir is an extraordinary portrait of that place and time, including luxuriant descriptions of the local flora and fauna and the daily existence of an English family living far from civilization. With no schools being nearby, the children were instructed by a wandering schoolmaster, a fat little man with a crooked nose who owned nothing but his horse. The tutor, Mr. Trigg, spent a year or two at a time with English and Scottish settlers, mostly sheep farmers, and hated teaching as much as children in the wild hated being taught.
In 1815, a Connecticut sea captain named James Riley was shipwrecked off the Western coast of Africa. He and his crew were captured by wandering Arabs and turned into slaves, forced to care for the camels, sleep on the rock hard desert floor and live on practically nothing except camel’s milk as the caravan made a nine-month trek across the burning Sahara. Half starved to death, with their skin nearly burned off their bodies by the ferocious sun, forced to drink their own and camels’ urine to stay alive, Riley and his crew faced a fate of either death or being sold to other caravans. Abraham Lincoln said that Sufferings in Africa, along with the Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress, were the three books that most shaped his thinking.
Thank you, Alan! Readers, do you see any intriguing suggestions?