Showing posts with label asian food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label asian food. Show all posts

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Slightly Spicy (Vegan) Peanut Ramen Soup with Mushrooms and Veggies for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

The weekend after a long and crazy work week started off great, but Saturday afternoon had me running my cat, Max, to the emergency vet and spend a good part of the afternoon there as they worked to get his blood sugar stabilized. In the over six years he has been diabetic, he has never had dangerously low blood sugar and it was a scary and exhausting day for both of us. He is home today with a temporary monitoring system made for humans and I am monitoring him by the hour but thankfully it is done with a scanner and he is doing well. Anyway, I wasn't sure I was in the mood to make soup, but I had purchased the mushrooms and veggies and it's another quick and easy recipe--perfect for when you don't want to spend time in the kitchen.


The inspiration and the bones of this recipe came from this Vegan Spicy Thai Peanut Ramen from Rabbit and Wolves that I pinned a while back. I adapted the prep and ingredients a bit to suit my preferences and swapped out the green curry for red, the Thai chilies for Sriracha, and used three kinds of mushrooms, baby bok choy, red pepper and snow peas for the veggies. It was delicious.


Slightly Spicy (Vegan) Peanut Ramen Soup with Mushrooms and Veggies
Slightly Adapted from Rabbit and Wolves
(Serves About 4)

1 Tbsp coconut oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated/crushed
1 Tbsp red curry paste
4 cups non-chicken low sodium veggie broth
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 baby bok choy, coarsely chopped and stems and leaves divided
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp agave syrup or sweetener of choice
1 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha, or to taste
juice of 2 limes
3 cups mushrooms (I used a mix of cremini and oyster), sliced
1 1/2 cups snow peas, sliced into thirds
12 oz fresh or dried ramen noodles

To garnish: smoked or roasted peanuts, chopped if desired, enoki mushrooms, extra lime wedges

Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 2 minutes, then stir in the curry paste and cook an additional minute, reducing the heat slightly if needed. 

Add the broth, red bell pepper and stems of the baby bok choy and bring to a boil. Place the peanut butter into a small boil and add a ladle of the hot broth, stirring until smoothly combined. Add to the soup pot along with the coconut milk, tamari, agave, and Sriracha and bring to a simmer, cooking about 10 minutes until flavors meld and veggies are softened. Add lime juice, mushrooms, snow peas and noodles and simmer for 1 to 3 minutes--depending on whether you use dried or fresh noodles.

Taste and add additional seasoning or spice as needed. Ladle into bowls and top soup with peanut and enoki mushrooms. Serve with additional lime slices is desired. Enjoy!
   

Notes/Results: Like a bowl of good peanut noodles, this is a tasty and satisfying soup. I love the lime and peanutty broth with just enough spice. The veggies retain their texture well with the bok choy stems crisp and the mushrooms slightly chewy. This soup made me happy, it's quick and easy to make and tastes great. I would definitely make it again.


 Now let's have a look in the into the Souper Sundays kitchen.


Debra of Eliot's Eats shared Cold Udon Salad with Bok Choy and Cucumbers and said, "I was recently reading the benefits of bok choy in the June edition of EatingWell. The article was aptly named “You Rock, Bok.” Bok choy is listed second on the CDC’s list of forty-one super fruits and veggies. Bok is chockful of antioxidents that protect cells, improve immune function and block cancer forming cells. It’s also high in vitamin C. I love it raw but will start incorporating it in stir fries, too.


Thanks to Debra for joining me this week!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Song of the Jade Lily" by Kirsty Manning, Served with a Recipe for Tea-Soaked Hard-Boiled Eggs

I am excited to be the final stop on the TLC Book Tour for the World War II novel, The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning. Accompanying my review are some  pretty Tea-Soaked Eggs, inspired by my reading.


Publisher's Blurb: 

A gripping historical novel that tells the little-known story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII.

1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart.

2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother’s history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother’s own past in Shanghai.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family—and herself.

The Song of the Jade Lily is a lush, provocative, and beautiful story of friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 14, 2019)

My Review:

Someday I will count up the number of World War II novels I have reviewed on this blog, or even books I have just read, without doing a book tour review. It is a time in history that interests me, particularly when author's explore the war from a different perspective or teach me something new. The Song of the Jade Lily does both as it looks at the war mostly from the point of view of Romy Bernfeld, a young Jewish girl from Vienna who flees Vienna to Shanghai with her parents in 1938. I didn't know that much about Shanghai during the war and just how many European Jewish refugees (over 20,000) they took in during the war. Romy's family does not escape unscathed, one of her older brothers is killed while trying to defend a neighbor from the Germans and her other brother is shipped off to the Dachau concentration camp. On the journey to Shanghai, Romy befriends Nina, a girl her age with her own tragic losses, and later in Shanghai, Romy and her family become friends with their neighbors, the Ho family. Romy and Li Ho become fast friends, along with Li's brother Jian. The book alternates the war timeline with 2016, when Romy's granddaughter, Alexandra takes a job in Shanghai and uses the time to inquire about her past, as her late mother was adopted by Romy and her husband Wilhelm, right after the war ended.

I was a little worried about being able to finish the book with the busy couple of weeks I was having and my limited reading time, but The Song of the Jade Lily was difficult for me to put down--I was completely caught up in the story and in the sights, sounds, and smells of Shanghai in wartime and in present day and wanted to dig in every chance I got. Kirsty Manning brings the pages to vivid life--the horrors or war and the power of love and friendship. Like most WWII novels, there is much sadness in the pages, but strength and resilience too. The afterward with the author's notes on the inspiration for the book as well as the list of resources she used to research her subject was interesting too. I hope to read more from her. If you like historical fiction, WWII stories, interwoven stories and time periods, strong female characters and different perspectives, add this one to your TBR list.

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Author Notes: Kirsty Manning grew up in northern New South Wales, Australia. She has degrees in literature and communications and worked as an editor and publishing manager in book publishing for over a decade. A country girl with wanderlust, her travels and studies have taken her through most of Europe, the east, and west coasts of the United States as well as pockets of Asia. Kirsty’s journalism and photography specializing in lifestyle and travel regularly appear in magazines, newspapers, and online. She lives in Australia.
 
Find out more about Kirsty at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Food Inspiration:

There was so much food in The Song of the Jade Lily that I think it almost classifies as a foodie book and it was a variety of mostly Jewish, German and Austrian and Chinese dishes. I will attempt to cover just some of the mentions here as I took a few pages of notes. Mentions included the scents of frying fish, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise, noodles, congee, champagne, whiskey, afternoon tea, coffee, hot chocolate piles high with cream, fried garlic and smoked paprika, a soup of black bean paste with crushed garlic, ginger, and chives, a garden with green beans, bay, thyme, Meyer lemon and lime trees, flowering garlic and chives, peas, tomato and purple and green basil, a pesto made from coriander, glugs of olive oil, almonds, garlic and lemons, bok choy, pumpkin and water chestnut risotto, sauteed lamb kidneys with orchid stems and shiitake mushrooms, coffee and plum jam liwanzen (fried yeast pancakes), chocolate cake, Semmelknodel (German bread) dumplings with roast chicken,homemade lemonade and ginger beer, Austrian rye bread and baked treats including a brotgewurz (a German bread spice mixture that included ground caraway, fennel, anise and coriander seed, plus Chinese allspice, celery seed and cardamom), mushroom dumplings, carrot cake, Black forest cake, apricot and apple strudels, scones with raspberry jam and double cream, persimmons, crepes with egg,leek, herbs and deep-fried pastry strips for crunch, Griessnockerlsuppe (chicken and semolina dumpling soup), macarons, basi pingguo (apple, deep-fried and coated in caramel and sesame seeds), tofu and eggplant salad, cones of toasted melon, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pickled mango, cream cakes with raspberry jam on top, baba ghanoush and hummus, baled fish, couscous and beef brisket, hot pot, pink dragon fruit, lychee and guava, pea torte, spicy prawns with lily bulbs and almond, jasmine tea-soaked chicken, cinnamon buns, orange and poppyseed cake, mapo doufu, and lychee and ginger martinis.


For my book-inspired dish, I decided to make Tea-Soaked Eggs because I have been wanting to make them for a while now and I liked that they were Romy's favorites, and the description when Alexandra and Zhang go to breakfast:

"'What is that?' asked Alexandra as they passed a narrow alleyway crowded with people lining up behind bamboo steamers stacked like circular towers. 
'That'--he pointed to a tiny hole-in-the-wall--'is breakfast.' 
Alexandra eyed the dozens of boiled eggs floating in a dark broth and recognized one of Romy's favorite dishes. At home, Romy would boil a dozen eggs, then crack them gently on the counter before dropping them into a crockpot filled with black tea. She'd add orange rind, cinnamon, star anise, five spice, cardamom, and soy sauce, and leave the eggs to soak overnight. Alexandra had loved the aromas of all the spices floating through the house, especially in winter. The next morning, Romy would scoop the eggs out with a slotted spoon and peel them to reveal a beautiful marbled pattern, each one in a slightly different hue."


Recipe:

I basically followed the recipe above from the book, along with a glance at this Food52 article for slow cooker timing. I decided to use some of my Lapsang Souchong tea to see what the smoky flavor did with the eggs. Since I didn't have orange rind on hand, I put a couple of pieces of lemon peel into the mix.


Notes/Results: I was expecting a more dramatic mosaic pattern on my eggs. Although I do find the shells quite vibrant and gorgeous, the eggs were lighter in color than I thought they would be. Also, although I took my eggs out of the fridge about 20 minutes before boiling and they were fairly fresh, most of the bottoms were flat. Oh well, the taste was better than they looked. I liked how the smoky flavor of the Lapsang Souchong I used combined with the aromatic spices and soy sauce. They are a little bit rubbery in texture, but the flavor made up for that. I would make them again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "The Song of the Jade Lily" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "How We Disappeared" by Jing-Jing Lee, Served with a Recipe for Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce and Rice with Radish

It's Wednesday and the week is sliding into the home stretch and the weekend and I couldn't be more ready. I am also happy to be today's TLC Book Tour stop for How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, a compelling World War II historical novel that is haunting and beautiful. Accompanying my review is a simple recipe for Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce and Steamed Rice with Radish.
 


Publisher's Blurb: 

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel set in World War II Singapore about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and a man who thought he had lost everything—for fans of Pachinko and We Were the Lucky Ones.

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
 
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.

In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.

Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.

Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Hanover Square Press; Original edition (May 7, 2019)


My Review: 

I will say that I was disappointed when How We Disappeared arrived. I was caught up by the incredibly gorgeous tropical cover and thinking of how great it would look in pics, that when the more plain black ARC arrived I was a bit sad. What I wasn't disappointed in however, was the incredibly moving and beautiful story I found within its pages. I have read several books, fiction and non-fiction about the so-called "comfort women" of the WWII era--young women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in brothels. It is a disturbing subject and one that isn't easy to read or think about, but I try to read historical fiction from different perspectives and viewpoints and I think these women's voices are incredibly powerful and important. Author Jing-Jing Lee has incorporated some of her own family's history and experience in Singapore during WWII for the novel and has written a compelling story that while hard to classify as an enjoyable read, is certainly an engrossing one. 

The book alternates from the voices of Wang Di, a young village woman who is taken from her family and forced into sexual slavery for nearly three years during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, and Kevin, a twelve-year-old boy, living in Singapore with his parents and grandmother. Wang Di tells of the war years as well as Singapore in 2000 where Kevin's story is also set. It isn't completely clear in the beginning how these two lives will intersect but the pieces come together well and I found myself equally caught up in their stories. I liked the way Lee wove the stories, setting and times together and how the disappearing in the title applied to both characters, how they felt about themselves and how others failed to see them. I finished the book a few days ago and can't stop thinking about it and our contrasting human powers for cruelty and kindness, despair and resilience, overwhelming fear and incredible strength and courage. If you need an easy, breezy book, How We Disappeared is not it, but it is a well-written story that will touch you with its poignancy.

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Author Notes: Jing-Jing Lee is the author of the novel, If I Could Tell You. Her poems have been published in Ceriph, Poetry Quarterly, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and Moving Words 2011: A Poetry Anthology. Jing moved to Europe in her early 20s and started to pursue writing full-time. In 2011, she gained a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. She now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and is working on her second book of fiction. When she’s not working on her novel-in-progress or reading (or taking photographs), she can be found here and on twitter.

Connect with Jing-Jing on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Food Inspiration:

There was so much food in How We Disappeared, even with the wartime years, when supplies were meager and the fare simpler, there was no shortage or food inspiration. I had a couple of pages of notes that included egg, water spinach, biscuits, congee--(several mentions with different toppings and additions to this simple rice gruel), pork with salted cabbage and peppercorns, chicken rice, coffee, mangosteens, roast duck and chicken, soup stock with fishcake, raw stuffed okra, silky tofu and straw mushrooms, sweet dumplings and cakes, noodle stalls, Oolong tea, boiled rice in banana leaf, fried shrimp, pickled mustard greens, tapioca, banana, chicken wings in coconut milk with freshly ground curry, root vegetables (cassava and potato,tapioca) home-pickled vegetables, curry, mangoes, silky soybean curd, cups of hot Milo, white bread with margarine and jam, a twist of radish omelet, pandas cake, oyster omelet, soft-boiled egg, pork dumplings, sweet potatoes leaves stir0fried with chili paste, sweet potato porridge, various kinds of kueh (dessert pastries, cakes usually made from gulitnous rice),  salted fish, vegetable soup, tangerines,char su rice with no cucumbers and extra chili, peanut and pigs tail soup, lotus root soup, stir-fried greens, and chocolate Hiro cake.


For my book inspired dish, I thought about making my favorite hawker dish of Singapore street noodles, and considered congee--although I made it fairly recently for a post and didn't want to repeat it. Finally I decided on something very simple--lunch that Kevin's mom left him of white rice, stir-fried choy sum, and three pieces of luncheon meet. (I left off the luncheon meat of course). ;-) I had wanted to stir-fry some water spinach (ong choy here) as it starts out the book, but it isn't as easy to find as choy sum at my local grocery store. Speaking of local, the choy sum and the radishes I put on top of the rice (I was going to pickle them but ran out of time) are local ingredients. I like my greens with garlic and looked at a few recipes online before tossing together my own.


Stir-Fried Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce
Inspired by a bunch of recipes, but tossed together by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 3 to 4 as a Side Dish)

Choy Sum:
2 bunches choy sum (about 1 & 1/4 lbs or so), chopped as desired
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or peanut oil + 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Garlic Sauce
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 Tbsp low-sodium Tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp water
salt and black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add choy sum--blanch for about 2 minutes, drain, and pat dry. 

While water is boiling, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for abut 2 minutes, until fragrant. Scrap cooked garlic from the pan into a small bowl, add tamari/soy sauce, oyster sauce, corn starch, sesame oil and water, whisking together until well blended. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if desired and set aside.

Heat a large wok or saute pan and add oil. When pan is hot and oil is at smoking point, add the choy sum, and saute, stirring regularly for 2 to 3 minutes. Add sauce and stir into the choy sum, cooking for about 2 minutes. 

Plate, serve with a scattering of sesame seeds if desired and enjoy!

Note: I just used some leftover white rice, topped with thin slivers of radish for crunch.   


Notes/Results: Just a simple, fairly quick to put together light lunch or dinner of garlicky greens and rice. Sauteing the garlic softens it somewhat, but it definitely plays a big flavor role, so you can reduce it if you want something milder. The sauce would be equally as good on other greens--kale, chard, spinach, bok choy... as the garlic, sesame, tamari and oyster sauce work well with the slight bitterness greens can have. You can of course add your favorite protein to round things out. I actually had some tofu poke salad that I enjoyed with my meal, and my leftovers will likely be topped with a soft-boiled egg tomorrow. I will happily make it again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "How We Disappeared" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easy Miso Potsticker Soup with Crispy Snap Peas & Radish for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was thinking about a carrot soup, or spring peas, or lettuce this week to celebrate Easter but I wanted something easy and I had pinned this very easy Miso Potsticker Soup with Crispy Snap Peas from Real Simple Magazine, so we can just pretend the veggie potstickers are bunny ears. ;-)


I kept the recipe mostly the same, except that I used some no-sodium non-chicken bouillon cubes in place of the water and cooked by broth before stirring in the miso so as not to boil out the nutrients.


Miso Potsticker Soup with Crispy Snap Peas
Slightly Adapted from Charlyne Mattox via  Real Simple.com
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white & green parts separated
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup white miso paste
1 lb potstickers of choice (I used veggie)
6 oz snap peas, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
chili oil for serving, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the miso and ½ cup water. Whisk until the miso is dissolved. Add 7 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.
 
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potstickers and cook until brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Add to the soup and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve the soup topped with the snap peas, radishes, and scallion greens and drizzled with the chili oil, if desired.


Notes/Results: This simple soup really hit the spot today. The miso broth (I do recommend using a light chicken or veggie stock rather than water for maximum flavor and then stir your miso broth--whisked into a cup of the hot liquid--at the end) is lightly spiked with ginger and the potstickers take the place of noodles and their softer consistency pairs well with the crisp peas and radishes. Pretty quick and easy to put together, and light enough for a warm and sunny spring day, I will happily make it again.


My pal Tina is hanging out with me in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week, let's take a look.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought a tasty Shrimp Curry and says, "I am bringing a shrimp curry with loads of coconut milk for this Easter Souper Sunday. Nope, it’s not a traditional meal but we aren’t traditional folks. It’s been excellent weather the last few days so we’ve been able to enjoy this meal outside on the patio. This curry was helped along by Trader Joe’s red curry sauce and some coconut milk. Lots of veggies and over a pound of large shrimp. Since Doug can’t have wheat we didn’t have naan to sop up the juices but he can have wine....so that was the accompaniment."

 
Thanks to Tina for joining in!

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

 
To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
Happy Easter and have a happy, healthy week!
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Within These Lines" by Stephanie Morrill, Served with a Recipe for Grilled Eggplant with Orange-Miso Sauce

I am very excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, a touching and absorbing young adult World War II novel. Accompanying my review is a recipe inspired by my reading, Grilled Eggplant with Orange-Miso Sauce


Publisher's Blurb:

From Stephanie Morrill, author of The Lost Girl of Astor Street, comes Within These Lines, the love story of a girl and boy torn apart by racism during World War II.
 
Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family living in San Francisco in 1941 is quiet and ordinary until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.
 
Degrading treatment makes life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world is treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out against injustice, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. 

Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.
With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their ideals and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Blink (March 5, 2019)

My Review: 

I think it took me all of 30 seconds to sign up for this tour when I saw the email about it. If you ever read my reviews, you know that World War II historical fiction is a passion of mine and the mention of the Manzanar Relocation Center made me think of Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, one of my favorite young adult memoirs. Starting in junior high, I checked that book out regularly for years until I bought my own copy. Several years ago I was thinking of it again and bought myself another copy (mine long since gone) at the library bookstore. The sheer horror of the U.S. government interning Japanese Americans in internment camp with Executive Order 9066 is something that pains me and our recent political climate makes the mistakes from the past chillingly relevant today. Although Within These Lines is a novel, it is based on fact, and Taichi and the Hamasaki’s experiences in the internment camps are gripping and moving.

The heart of the story is the relationship between Evalina and Taichi, in a hidden relationship already when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7. 1941. The book starts three months after the attack, when anger at the Japanese is erupting and the government begins the process of moving families of Japanese descent to the camps. Evalina, an Italian-American and Taichi, a Japanese-American would have faced challenges even before the war, with most states having miscegenation laws prohibiting marriage between different races, but after the attack the odds seem insurmountable. Although a romance, the book is really about the characters and their personal growth—particularly Evalina, as she begins to find her voice. It is poignant and had me tearing up a few times, but there is hope in the pages too.

Within These Lines is well researched and well written, with the mostly fictional characters seamlessly blending with actual people interned at Manzanar. Stephanie Morrill wrote so vividly that I felt like I could see Manzanar and feel the intense winds and grit of the constantly blowing sand. Northern California during the WWII era comes alive too, and I could feel the desperation of the characters and the anger and bigotry against them by so many, as well as the hearts of those who tried to help them. Although written primarily for young adults, it’s a novel equally appropriate for adults. My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit rushed and I wanted to know more about the characters—main and supporting and learn more details about their lives after the war. Morrill writes in the afterword about her research and her inspiration for the book and that gave me more books to explore on this important part of our history that should be remembered and never repeated.
 
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Author Notes: Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids. 

Connect with Stephanie on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Food Inspiration: 

The food in Within These Lines reflects the times, both in the San Francisco setting where Evalina’s Italian family owns a restaurant and the Hamasaki family grew produce, and in the Manzanar Relocation Center where the Hamasaki family is relocated to, and where Taichi works in the kitchen in his housing block. Mentions included jars of olives, strawberries, lettuce, asparagus, eggplant and blackberries, marinara sauce with veal and beef meatballs, onions and tomatoes, eggplant parmesan, tangerines, lemon bars and tea, mochi, chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches, gnocchi, linguine with clam sauce, Vienna sausages and bologna sandwiches with a side of rice and canned peaches, chicken with brown sauce , stew, deep-fried rice balls rolled in sugar, lemonade, lasagna, meat ball sandwiches, fresh mozzarella, carrot sticks, spinach, blueberries and strawberries, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fennel, tomatoes and lemons, fish, cranberries, and rice pudding.


I thought about making mochi as the Hamasaki family eats it for breakfast on the day they are relocated to the camp. I also considered something with blackberries—Evalina’s favorites, or rice since it is a part of both Italian and Japanese cuisines or some type of Italian-Japanese fusion dish. Ultimately I decided that I needed to include the oranges that are mentioned several times in the book. Mrs. Ling, a vendor of Chinese descent who sells produce in the farmers market along side the Hamasakis, gives one to Evalina and tells her it is for luck. She says that oranges are the perfect fruit as they are the easiest to share, and Evalina and Taichi share them a few times throughout the book. When I was Googling orange recipes I found one for a Orange-Miso Sauce from Eating Well magazine. I liked the Japanese-leaning ingredients and that it was served over eggplant—used frequently in both Japanese and Italian recipes.

When I was at the grocery store, I saw some locally-grown eggplant, not as long as a Japanese eggplant and not as round as an Italian eggplant, and labeled “hapa” –which is literally translated in Hawaiian to “part” or “mix” and refers to a person of mixed ethnic heritage. That seemed like a perfect fit for a dish for Taichi and Evalina. 
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Eating Well says, “Mild, nutty flaxseed oil, the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, provides the perfect base for salty miso and sweet orange juice. This sauce is delightful over grilled eggplant, fish and chicken or used as a salad dressing.

Orange-Miso Sauce
Recipe by Jim Romanoff via EatingWell.com
(Makes about 3/4 Cup)

1/2 cup sweet white miso
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flaxseed oil or canola oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp mirin, (optional)

Combine miso, orange zest and juice, oil, ginger, rice vinegar and mirin (if using) in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.
 

Notes/Results: The sauce's orange & miso pairing is really good, especially with the addition of the rice wine and mirin and I liked the pairing with the eggplant. I am taking the leftover eggplant with some cooked shrimp to work for lunch as I think the sauce will pair well with seafood too. Rather than whisk my sauce, I did it the cheater's way and pulsed it in my blender. You must like orange and miso for this one, as the flavors come through predominately, but it worked for me and is an easy, almost pantry sauce as I usually have everything, including an orange or two, available. I will definitely make it again. 


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "Within These Lines" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
 
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.