Sunday, April 26, 2015

Most of you know that I’m a book lover. I’ve published three children’s books and continue to work on other projects.

Even before I was a writer, though, I was a reader. I don’t use an e-reader, and one of the joys of reading actual books is going to a bookstore to buy them. Ever since I was a university student who rewarded herself for finishing big projects with a new book, I’ve gravitated to small, independent bookstores. There’s nothing like getting to know the staff personally, and having them recommend books based on what they know I’d love.

That’s why I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be participating in the first Canadian Authors for Indies Day. This celebration lets authors thank independent booksellers for both their hard work and their passion for the written word. We’ll show our support by working in their stores for an hour or two, and by talking to customers about some of the books we love.

If you live in the Etobicoke/Toronto area and would like to join me, I’ll be at A Novel Spot bookstore at 270 The Kingsway between 2:00 and 4:00 on Saturday, May 2. I’m looking forward to recommending some of my favourite books, and to meeting the other great authors who will be there.

And if you love to read but don’t live in Toronto, please visit your favourite local bookstore on May 2 - or on any day!

On the topic of books, I hosted my book group this past week. We had a great discussion about a terrific book. (If you haven’t read Station Eleven, why don’t you pick it up on May 2?) And I served these two delicious, make-ahead appetizers.

Camembert and Fig Skewers with Balsamic Sauce

8 ounces (225 grams) Camembert cheese or Brie cheese
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
12 dried figs, quartered
2 tsp granulated sugar

Cut cheese into 48 cubes and thread 1 piece onto each of 48 skewers.

In small saucepan, heat orange juice and balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat. Add figs and simmer until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer figs to sieve set over bowl.

Bring orange juice mixture to boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in sugar. Transfer to serving bowl and let cool.

Thread fig pieces onto skewers alongside cheese. Serve with sauce for dipping.

(Make this up to six hours ahead. Cover and store in refrigerator.)


Eggplant Rolls with Goat Cheese and Mint

2 large eggplants
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces (280 grams) soft goat cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream
16 fresh mint leaves

Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices, discarding outermost slices with skin. Sprinkle all over with salt and arrange in single layer on baking sheets.

Brush both sides of eggplant with oil; bake on parchment-paper lined baking sheets in 400 degree oven, turning once, until golden and softened, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Remove skin with a sharp paring knife.

Meanwhile, in bowl, mash together goat cheese and cream; set aside.

Place 1 Tbsp filling at one end of eggplant strip and top with a mint leaf. Roll up to enclose stuffing. Skewer rolls with toothpicks. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

(Make up to 24 hours ahead. Cover and store in refrigerator.)


Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I have Station Eleven on my kindle---thanks for reminding me! And both your appetizers look fabulous for when I host my next book club :)

Julie said...

I do love to read but unfortunately only seem to have (or find) time when I am traveling. I wish I read more! I should make that a goal!! Those fig appetizers look amazing. Delicious! Have a great week and wish I were closer so I could drop by the bookstore.

We Are Not Martha said...

Love this post! Station Eleven is on my list! Those camembert and fig skewers look prefect for a book club meeting!


Marcela said...

I'd die to be in Toronto that day! Lovely post! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe with us!

Beth said...

Julie and Marcela, it would be great to see you - but I understand that distance would be an issue!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your book event! So wish I lived near you so I could go.

Unknown said...

Have a great day on Saturday. If I can get there in time I will definitely try. I haven't read Station Eleven so will look for it. Thanks for the suggestion. I am always looking for new books. I am a voracious reader and have read some wonderful books this winter but not that one. Blessings

Beth said...

Thanks, Lynne! If you can't make it on Saturday, I'll tell you all about Station Eleven at our next meeting!

Vanessa Morgan said...

I'd love some of those eggplants with goat cheese, please ;-)

Angie's Recipes said...

Those eggplant rolls are so inviting with goat cheese filling!
Have a fun and successful book event, Beth!

grace said...

lots of complex flavors going on in a short list of ingredients--my mouth likes this kind of recipe. :)
and to me, nothing will ever or could ever replace a (dust-gathering) physical book!!

Unknown said...

Figs and balsamic is such an awesome combo! I always read physical books too. I look at screens enough as it is.

Jemi Fraser said...

We haven't had an indie bookstore in town in years and years. Makes me sad. I loved the 2 we had when I was a kid

Gloria Baker said...

Love these look delicious Beth!!
Hope you have an amazing book event Beth, I love read too:)

Vicki Bensinger said...

As you're telling that story it reminded me of the movie You've Got Mail and how Meg Ryan had the corner bookstore and offered that personal touch that Tom Hanks bookstore couldn't offer. Great movie!

I actually didn't know you had written 3 childrens books. I'll have to check those out. Your appetizers sound wonderful and easy. I'll definitely make these.

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

These eggplant rolls have my name on them, classy and addictive - perfect if you want a different snack at parties :D

Choc Chip Uru

Monica said...

I always think that the only thing better than a good meal just might be a good book. I have such love for authors because they have brought me so many hours of sheer joy. Here's to authors and books...and good food while we're at it. : )

Valerie Gamine said...

Nothing compare with the feel of an actual book in your hands (and seeing how far you've come by the shifting thickness). Excellent way to promote the increasingly rare indie book store.

Scrumptious apps, too!!

Kayte said...

My these little treats look really yummy. You are such fun...all the interests you have and things you do. This book event sounds just right for you. I would love to read the books you have written...are they available in the US?

Katerina said...

To be able to write you must first be a good reader yourself. These are delicious appetizers. Figs are in season late summer here!

Joanne said...

Your appetizers sound awesome!! And I absolutely love the sound of this event. Such a great thing to celebrate!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your book recommendation, I love an actual hold in my hands book and my favorite local independent bookstore. Your appetizer looks delicious, thanks for sharing your recipe and I will remember to pick up a new book soon :-)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Congrats! Although I must say, e-readers are wonderful. I resisted for years, but couldn't live without mine now -- such a terrific reading machine! I like that I can increase the font size when I'm on the treadmill (only way I can possibly read on the treadmill!). And as someone who's usually reading 2 or 3 books at a time, so nice to carry them around in one small package. Anyway, Love this dish! Really good -- thanks.

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

I've always wanted to write children's books! What fun! Before I die, I want to read every book in the library. I always feel as if there is never enough time! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Now I found yours! But I have sen your photo around! My mistake for not coming by sooner!

Tricia Buice said...

Oh I wish I could come - sounds like a wonderful event. Congratulations on your books - I think that is amazing. The fig and cheese skewers are calling my name - they sound pretty terrific too - have a great Saturday!

Juliana said...

Congratulations Beth! I still like to read books and have not gotten used to read books in tablets...these appetizers look great...
Enjoy the rest of your week :)

nancy at good food matters said...

Hi Beth--what a great idea, to have a gratitude day for the independent booksellers. As my friend, who owns and runs a small but successful bookstore says, "Publishers don't sell books, booksellers do."

Beth said...

Kayte, sorry for my late response. Yes, they're available in the US! Thanks for asking.

Bonnie said...

How I wish I lived near. I would love to come in and talk with you about books? Thanks for another book suggestion. Have a wonderful weekend

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Dear Beth - now if only I lived in the Toronto area, I would most certainly drop by the book store and have you recommend some wonderful reads - I would love to get your perspective on some of the books I treasure too...Your appetizers look like fun bites to enjoy while contemplating a few good books.
Have a great event today - with lots and lots of curious readers,

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

I added your recommendation to my list. I usually read my book club books out of the library, but the next one is in too much demand and I had already resolved to go to one of the few remaining independent bookstores to pick it up. Congrats on the event!

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