Monday, October 8, 2007

The lights went out..

Our electricity went out early Saturday morning due to a storm and came back on around noon. It felt so strange around here, not in a bad way, just in a quiet way, and I think the break in my routine of checking email just pushed me away from the computer for the rest of the weekend. Which is not a bad thing - certainly I spend too much time on it, but I just wasn't interested. I think I'm back in form now, though, having spent my entire workday in front of one.

I've had the cooking bug lately and a few things have turned out well. I made what I consider 'my best mashed potatoes ever' - though my dear husband disagrees - he says his are better. Anyhow, I have heaps of shallots, so I sauteed them in butter and oil for a long time - they were practically crispy - then stirred them into yukon golds mashed with lots of milk - added salt, pepper, and some leftover chives. Oh, yum. My mashed potato hating child actually ate some. There are leftovers....I'm considering combining them with an egg and then dipping in flour then frying them up like potato pancakes to go with dinner tonight. These were served Saturday evening and Sunday brought more shallots. I sauteed them again, then added 2 cut up apples and sauteed those. I removed those from the pan, added pork chops seasoned with s/p and sage, removed those and deglazed with apple cider, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup. I served the pork chops with rice to soak up all that lovely sauce and roasted brussels sprouts. I considered it a perfect fall meal......

I have finished a couple of books, but since I'm feeling long winded I'll only share one of them now.

Out of the Silence by Wendy James is an Australian book I picked up on bookcloseouts. I have some sort of fascination with what sort of books women are reading in other countries, so that is what drew me to this. This novel is based on a true story and is told from the perspective of two different characters. The first, Maggie Heffernan, was a country girl and a real person. The second is Elizabeth Hamilton, a fictional person that serves to offer a perspective on life for single women in Australia at the turn of the 20th century. Elizabeth has close ties to Vida Goldstein, a suffragist and her story collides with Maggie's due to a crime. I enjoyed this novel overall, though I found myself enjoying Maggie's part of the story more, and felt at times as I was just trying to get through Elizabeth's tale. The most interesting part for me was reading about women in Australia from 2 different walks of life, yet both desiring much the same thing.

8 comments:

Bookfool said...

That sounds like my kind of book. I used to order from Bookcloseouts waaaay too much. Now, I don't even go there, but . . . hmm.

Cath said...

I love the sound of your mashed potato! I love onions, shallots etc. in all their different guises but have never thought to put them in mash. Good idea!

Tara said...

Bookfool, from reading your reviews I do think this sounds like your kind of book! I agree that bookcloseouts is dangerous...I keep a running 'cart' of stuff there and there is always that one item that puts me over the edge and makes me push that 'place order' button.

Cath, I also love onions in every way - glad to see you back.

Karen said...

Those mashed potatoes sound perfect (as does the pork dish). I'm hungry just reading about them and it's only 9.20am!!

Carrie K said...

Congratulations on your post and mashed potatos!

The books sounds pretty good. Have you read My Brilliant Career or seen the movie?

Nan - said...

Those potatoes sound so good! I don't have shallots but I bet onions and/or garlic would be just as delicious! I am a huge potato fan.

Tara said...

Karen, thanks, I'd love to make them both for you.

Nan, I agree - onions and garlic would be just as good.

Nan - said...

I made your shallot mashed potatoes, and boy were they ever good! I boiled the potatoes and mashed them with melted butter, and the sautéed shallots, and that's it! They were perfect. I mixed a few of the shallots with some cooked carrots and that was also delicious. Thanks, Tara.