We can't get enough of the delicious recipes from our Cookbook of the Month, Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite (Hyperion). Clark's family version of this traditional Eastern European dish makes a tasty and comforting addition to any table.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Fit a food processor with a medium grating blade. With the motor running, alternate pushing the potato and onion chunks through the feed tube. Transfer the mixture to a dish towel–lined colander. Wrap the mixture in the towel and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, 1/4 cup oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a 9-inch, slope-sided skillet. Add the shallots in a single layer over high heat. Let sit several minutes before stirring. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are crispy and dark brown, about 7 minutes total.
5. Fold the potato mixture and shallots in the egg mixture. Return the skillet to high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Tilt the skillet to grease the bottom and sides of the pan. Carefully press the potato mixture into the pan. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes (this will help sear the bottom crust of the kugel). Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the potatoes are tender and the top of the kugel is golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
6. Place the kugel under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to form a crisp crust on top (watch carefully to see that it does not burn). Run an offset spatula around the edges and bottom of the kugel and carefullyinvert it onto a large plate or platter. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
Recipe from IN THE KITCHEN WITH A GOOD APPETITE by Melissa Clark, published September 7, 2010 by Hyperion. Copyright © 2010. All Rights Reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
Did you know that today is the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival?
This holiday falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. It is a time to celebrate the end of the harvesting season, gather to watch the moon with family and friends, eat mooncakes—and read Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a lovely new picture book by Newbery Honoree Grace Lin.
I thought this would be a perfect time to direct you to Lin's blog, gracenotes, if you're not aware of it already. In the past week alone, the author/illustrator has posted moon poetry, a recipe for Chinese Tea Eggs and instructions on how to make a bunny lantern. This is a great resource for parents and teachers.
Are you celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival? Also, do you (or your children/grandchildren/students) have a favorite book by Lin?
I think I'll have "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" stuck in my head all day.
Shania Twain is publishing an autobiography with Atria, to be published in spring 2011. Here's a quote from Twain:
There have been moments in my life I was concerned by the reality that tomorrow would never come . . . Recently I experienced one of those moments to an intensity that brought on a sudden urgency to document my life before I ran out of time, before I had the opportunity to share an honest and complete account of my life, in my own words.
Are you interested in Twain's story?
A few months ago we posted about Ann Patchett's “Conradian” novel set in the Amazon jungle, and now we have a little more info on this June 2011 release.
The book is called State of Wonder, and in a recent interview with the Aspen Times, Patchett said its central relationship is between a teacher ("the 70-something Annick Swenson") and a student ("the 40-ish Marina Singh"). Here's a bit more from the article, which was published leading up to Patchett's first public reading from State of Wonder at the Basalt Regional Library:
Annick has discovered a tribe of women in the Brazilian Amazon who are eternally fertile, and immune to malaria. Settling in the Amazon to create a vaccine for malaria, Annick gets into the politics of drug development; Patchett says it is a “sort of ‘Heart of Darkness' ” journey.
Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City
by Jay Jennings
Rodale • $25.99 • September 14, 2010
Much like Friday Night Lights, Carry the Rock is about a specific football season—in this case, the 2007 season. In Little Rock, this season was significant because the year marked the 50th anniversary of the Central High Crisis.
Carry the Rock juxtaposes the football season with Little Rock's (sometimes ugly) history, touching on how much—or little—things have changed since the school was forced to integrate. The numbers of black and white students may look good today (close to 50-50 when I was a student), but is there real community? As reviewer Pete Croatto notes in the October issue of BookPage, "[Jennings] shows that a sweeping social change does not guarantee acceptance—that many courageous, selfless acts must still be performed year after year, and there are no assurances that those acts will be acknowledged."
Although Carry the Rock will likely find its largest audience within Central Arkansas, anyone interested in the history of Civil Rights, the politics of an urban public school or the inner-workings of an underfunded football team will enjoy this book.
To give you a taste, here's a short excerpt that describes a problem with the 2007 players:
Through most of the season, the 2007 Tigers had frustrated all the coaches' attempts to foster passion and unity in them. Some years it came pretty easily, and the players did most of the work for the coaches. The championship teams of 2003 and 2004 were like that; the players, black and white, had hung out together, spent time at each other's houses, formed deep and lasting friendships. "Any really good team is made up of guys who are friends," Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight once said, "guys who want to help each other and play together." Nancy Rousseau, the principal of Central, remembered the school's atmosphere around those teams as "electric, absolute magic." The excitement during that time, her second and third years as principal, "permeated everything." Those teams had bonded, this one had not.
By the way, for all you readers who'll be at SIBA this weekend, Jennings is speaking on Friday at 11 a.m. (Carry the Rock is a 2010 Fall Okra Pick.)
What are you reading today?
Elizabeth Berg fans are a passionate group, relishing her stories of family and relationships and how women think. Or, as reviewer Carrie Rollwagen wrote of Berg's 2009 bestseller Home Safe: "When your mood runs more toward cozy than chic, turn to Elizabeth Berg, an author with a great talent for comfort."
Berg's next offering, Once Upon a Time, There Was You, is about a divorced couple—parents of a teen daughter—who are suddenly brought back together when "tragedy strikes." The author elaborated in a recent blog post:
This one is about a long-divorced couple in their fifties who have an 18 year old daughter to whom something pretty awful happens. The couple come together again around this, and ....Well, what happens when they're together again is what the book is about. There's humor here, gotta have humor, and there's a couple times where you might cry, and as you know crying is good for you, as stress hormones are released in tears. I think this is the longest book I've done, and I like it a lot. I hope you will, too.
Read more about Berg on BookPage.com. Do you have a favorite novel by this prolific author?
I admit, I let out a gasp when I came across the catalog listing for The Uncoupling (Riverhead) by Meg Wolitzer. Her 2008 novel The Ten-Year Nap was one of my favorites of the year [read our interview here]; that was a big year for books on the "mommy wars" debate, and Wolitzer's novel took on the issue in a much more honest and entertaining way than any nonfiction study.
Her eighth novel, The Uncoupling, is inspired by Lysistrata (need I say more?). When the Stellar Plains High School drama club chooses Aristophane's classic story for the annual school play, the women of the community begin to turn away from their partners, and both men and women "are forced to look at their partners, their shared history, and their sexual selves in a new light."
Look for the book on April 4.
We've reported on Ken Follett's Century Trilogy throughout the past year—from the book deal in Frankfurt to the release of the cover. Now, believe it or not, we are approaching the pub date of book 1: Fall of Giants. The 985-page, $36 novel comes out one week from today.
The trilogy is about the intertwined fates of five families—American, English, German, Russian and Welsh—throughout the 20th century. Fall of Giants takes readers through World War I, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women's suffrage.
BookPage contributor Alden Mudge interviewed Follett for the September issue of BookPage. You can read the full interview on BookPage.com next week, but here's a little preview:
My mantra while writing Fall of Giants was ‘they don’t want a history lesson.’ So I had to find ways in which all of these developments were part of the lives of characters in the story.
What book trailers are you buzzing about today?
Related in BookPage: a Q&A with Follett about World Without End, the sequel to Pillars of the Earth
The beginning of the year is the perfect time for publishers to introduce new faces, and two February debuts are already building up some buzz.
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Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (Feb. 17, 2011; Amy Einhorn Books): Three sisters named for Shakespeare's heroines have one summer to pull their disorganized lives together—is there really no problem a library card can't solve?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Feb. 2011; Viking Books): A novel about an ages-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious alchemical manuscript that draws them together—this book provides a dose of the paranormal for the adult crowd and was one of the hottest titles on offer at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair.
What debuts are you looking forward to?
Here's one item we can guarantee will be found under many readers' trees this holiday season: a boxed set of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Packaged in a slipcase, the three books include maps and beautifully designed endpapers. The set also includes On Stieg Larsson, a collection of essays about and correspondence with the author. Retail price is $99, and you can buy them on November 26.
Either of these on your gift list—or wish list!—this year?