Our Top Pick in Romance for August is Jami Alden's scorching new romantic suspense, Guilty as Sin. Our Romance columnist calls it "a shivery, sensual and sensational read" that finds two former lovers reuniting to find a missing girl—and to heat up the pages.
Kate and Tommy's thrilling story had us begging for more, so we chatted with Alden in a 7 questions interview. Read more about Kate and Tommy, and which scenes Alden believes are the hottest to write:
"For me the hottest scenes are the ones leading up to the first sex scene, including the first kiss. I love when characters are becoming increasingly physically aware of and drawn to each other. It's a great challenge as a writer to find the unique things about each character that the other will be drawn to. Then there's the first contact—the excitement of a first touch, a first kiss. It's something that, once you're in a long-term relationship, you don't ever experience again. It's fun to relive that, even if it's just in my head."
Our August Top Pick in Cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer's Indian Cooking Unfolded, a wonderfully accessible "Master Class" for cooking Indian food. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls this one "maharajah-worthy."
2. Combine the vinegar, chiles, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set the slurry aside.
3. Fill up a medium-size bowl with cold water. Take a leaf of kale, cut along both sides of the tough rib, and discard it. Slice the leaf in half lengthwise. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Stack the leaf halves, about 6 at a time, one on top of the other, and roll them into a tight log. Thinly slice the log crosswise; you will end up with long, slender shreds. When cutting the kale, you can’t help notice how strong smelling and grassy it is (no wonder I love the smell of fresh-mowed grass in the summer). Dunk the shreds into the bowl of water to rinse off any grit, then scoop the shreds out and drain them in a colander. Repeat once or twice if the kale does not appear clean.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, add the turmeric-smeared fillet to the skillet. The instant sizzle and sear will turn the salmon light brown on the underside, about 2 minutes. Turn it over and repeat with the second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate. Add the garlic to the skillet and stir-fry it until light brown and aromatic, about 1 minute.
5. Pour the vinegar-based spice slurry into the skillet and stir to mix with the garlic. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. The pungency will slap you in the face (in a good way—I promise) and the liquid will release all the browned bits of fish from the bottom of the skillet into the thin sauce.
6. Add the kale shreds and stir to coat them evenly with the liquid. Pour 1?2 cup of water into the skillet and stir. Lower the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and stew the kale, stirring occasionally, until the shreds are tender when tested (and tasted, I hope), 5 to 8 minutes.
7. Stir the coconut milk into the kale. Let the milk come to a boil uncovered. Add the seared salmon to the liquid, basting it to make sure it continues to poach. Cook, uncovered, scooping up the sauce and basting the fish occasionally, until it barely starts to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.
8. Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Let the sauce boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve.
David Gordon's fun second novel, Mystery Girl, is our Top Pick in Mystery for August!
When failed novelist Sam Kornberg's wife walks out on him, he decides to take a job as an assistant to morbidly obese private detective Solar Lonsky. The gig: Following the "mystery girl." The result: A complicated, darkly comedic ride through L.A. with shootouts, murder and a little romance. It's a wild new take on L.A. noir, but it's also packed with clever literary and film references.
Check out our 7 questions interview with Gordon, where we talked about writing and other fun stuff.
Sound like your kind of mystery?
Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for July is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's paean to vegetables, River Cottage Veg! Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt raves: "His approach is practical and practiced, his enthusiasm boundless and inspiring. Vegging out has just taken on a new and delicious meaning."
Meanwhile, cut the eggplants and potatoes into 1-inch / 2.5cm cubes, tip into a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Take the roasting pan from the oven and place on a stable, heatproof surface. Add the eggplants and potatoes and turn to coat in the oil, being careful not to splash yourself. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Remove from the oven, stir in the garlic, and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown all over. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a little more salt and pepper if needed, and any finishing touches you fancy. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for July, and as Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt writes, it "is big, beautiful and so bountiful that it’s not going to encourage moderation."
So here's to gorging ourselves on veggies!
Melt the butter with the oil in the frying pan (or tarte tatin dish). Add the cider vinegar, sugar, and some salt and pepper, stir well, then ?add the halved beets and toss to coat. You want the beets to fill the pan snugly, so add a few more if you need to. Cover the pan with foil, transfer to the oven, and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beets are tender.
Take the pan from the oven and rearrange the beet halves neatly, placing them cut side up. Lay the pastry disk over the beets, patting it down and tucking in the edges down the side of the pan. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is fully puffed up and golden brown.
Put the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a screw-topped jar, season well with salt and pepper, and shake to combine. Trickle over the tarte tatin and serve.
Want to learn to cook "like a Mexican mama" with healthy, comforting recipes up your sleeves? Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for June, Pati Jinich's Pati's Mexican Table, shows you how.
This recipe screams summer.
2. Place the watermelon and tomatillos in a large salad bowl. Toss gently with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Sprinkle the cheese on top, garnish with mint, and serve.
There's plenty of excitement in the BookPage office for our Nonfiction Top Pick for June. Several of us are dying to get our hands on Lily Koppel's The Astronaut Wives Club, a look at the fascinating history of the wives of America's Mercury Seven astronauts.
These women bonded together in the face of instant fame and constant public scrutiny, and the stories Koppel shares are oh-so-juicy. Our reviewer found many of the stories in this book to be truly flabbergasting—"You might find yourself shaking your head and thinking, 'Could this be real?' It almost feels like a dream, and occasionally like a nightmare"—which sounds like some great summer reading for nonfiction fans.
Check out the book trailer for The Astronaut Wives Club from Hachette:
The Astronaut Wives Club is out today! Will you check it out this summer?
Our Top Pick in Cookbooks for June is Pati's Mexican Table by Pati Jinich, a collection of recipes for "the simple, healthy, comforting, sensational food that’s served in homes," not the gooey Mexican food so many of us are used to.
2. Serve with the garnishes so everyone can fi x their corn the way they want. The traditional way is to spread on a layer of butter, then a layer of mayonnaise. Next, thoroughly cover the corn with the crumbled cheese, either by rolling the corn on a plate of the cheese or sprinkling it on. Finish with a shower of salt and ground chile, then a squeeze or two of lime juice.
? MEXICAN COOK’S TRICK: Grilling the corn draws out the sugars and caramelizes them, creating a rustic sweetness that is magical with the garnishes.
Fabio Viviani's debut cookbook, Fabio's Italian Kitchen, is our Top Pick in Cookbooks! Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "Fabio’s food is old world, old school; it’s “not meant to impress, it’s meant to feed people.” When you add his Mom’s Meatballs, Drunken Spaghetti and Chicken with Marsala Sauce to your repertoire, you’ll be feeding family and friends real Italian home cooking, and you’ll agree that Fabio is favoloso!"
In Italy we feel bad throwing away even old wine, so we color our pasta water with it to get a little aroma of wine and a dramatic presentation. The flavor of the wine is in the water but you’re not going to feel it, and you give leftover wine a last chance to be useful. The more wine you use, the redder the spaghetti will be—and this dish is all about the presentation, so you can use up to a whole bottle depending on how much you have around. You can also always buy an inexpensive bottle just for the recipe.
Add the spaghetti and about 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking liquid to the sauté pan. Once the liquid has reduced, remove the pasta from the heat.
Add the ricotta and walnuts and mix with tongs. Top with the Pecorino and serve.
Beth Kendrick's new contemporary romance, The Week Before the Wedding, is our Top Pick in Romance for May. This charming, funny story will appeal to romance fans whether they're married, getting hitched this year or are making the singles' table look good.
The Week Before the Wedding finds bride-to-be Emily McKellips looking forward to seven days of pre-wedding festivities and marrying her surgeon fiancé at a lakeside resort. But who should appear at the wedding but her ex, no longer the wild boy she married on a whim 10 years ago. Emily is forced to choose between the two men in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy.
We chatted with author Beth Kendrick in a 7 questions interview about weddings and hot guys, and her answers are just as funny as The Week Before the Wedding promises to be. We asked her why she loves writing romance:
"Plot problems making you crazy? Deadlines getting you down? Need someone to join you on a 'fact-finding mission' to a male strip club? (Serious research!) Author buddies are there to help."