Cooking the Books


The fact that I’m a bookkeeper makes that phrase rather loaded, but have no fear–nothing nefarious is afoot, merely the past week’s menu. One of the following meals was inspired by a book I was reading. If you can guess the meal and the book, you’ll win absolutely nothing but I will wonder if you’ve been peeking in my windows at night.

Let’s review the suspects:


Monday: Pumpkin Soup with Almonds and Sage + Cheesy Biscuits

A good Monday-night supper, not too taxing after getting back to work. The soup was good, but I would prefer a creamier version (this used only stock) so milk or a can of coconut milk would probably improve it for me.


Tuesday: Shrimp Salad with Coconut Green Goddess Dressing

I had a little trouble locating unsweetened coconut cream, so I had to go with the sweetened stuff intended for cocktails. This made for a slightly sweeter dressing, of course, and Todd wasn’t as thrilled with it as I was. I also blended the avocado into the dressing rather than leaving it in chunks since Todd isn’t a fan of avocado until it’s mixed into something (guacamole not included).


Wednesday: Forbidden Rice Ramen with Eggs

Yes. that soup is purple. Blame it on the forbidden rice ramen (purchased from iHerb). I made a pot of ginger chicken broth and then split some to leave as is (Todd had to be on clear liquids for a night for a medical thing–everything’s fine!) and then I added the ramen and egg to the remainder for me. The color reminded me, tangentially, of the blue soup in Bridget Jones Diary (which I’d just watched the week before), but otherwise was a bit of a novelty.


Thursday: Grazing tray with Garlic Herb Tomato Goat Cheese Dip

After the aforementioned medical thing, I wasn’t sure how hungry Todd would be or how much energy either of us would have, so I planned a snack night but took the opportunity to make this goat cheese dip I’ve had pinned for a while. It was so good, I didn’t regret putting it together after my 3 hour nap (waiting rooms take the stuffing right out of you!).


Friday: Corn Fritters with Maple Syrup and Sausages

A slightly different take on our frequent breakfast for dinner nights. The fritters are 1 cup each of gf Bisquick and self-rising corn meal, plus a can of corn (drained), and egg, and enough milk to get everything to the right consistency. (Oh, and a pinch of salt for good measure.) They cooked up pretty quick on the griddle and were very tasty.

Saturday: Chinese take-out (use your imagination)

I did precious little this past weekend that wasn’t laying on my chaise longue knitting or watching Star Trek. I just wasn’t feeling up to much else. So when dinner time came around I gave in and ordered Sesame Chicken and Egg Drop Soup. Todd was kind enough to go fetch it.

20170212_200127Sunday: Beef Enchilada Nachos

The twist on these nachos is cooking the ground beef with enchilada sauce and diced green chilies instead of the usual taco seasoning. The homemade nacho cheese gets a kick from a bit of beer and ancho chilies.

Any guesses?

What if I told you the book in questions was a detective novel set in the 20s. It might actually be considered pulp, I can’t really be sure, but I used to read this series when I was a kid and ran out of my other books to read.

Give up? The book was And Be a Villain by Rex Stout (part of the Nero Wolfe series) and the meal was Friday night’s Corn Fritters and Sausage.

I usually enjoy when authors include picayune details like what the characters ate at a given meal, for instance, because it creates a more complete world to step into. Granted, some focus a little too much of the food to the detriment to the story, but I think Stout strikes a good balance. Unfortunately, looking at his prose with an older eye, I now see the rampant sexism (maybe correctly reflecting the mores of the day, but still) and the overuse of slang. Reasons that Todd–who is a fan of Poirot and Homes–never really warmed up to Wolfe.

At any rate, the lunch was described and sounded like a good idea. Have you ever about a meal in a non-cookbook and decided to use that as your dinner inspiration?