Table of Contents features recipes drawn from the work of today's bestselling authors, along with intimate insights that help bring their books to life.
The fifty authors involved in the project were given a series of prompts: inspiration, readers should know, readers frequently ask, authors who have influenced my writing, etc. Many also provide additional background on their chosen recipes. The book is arranged alphabetically by author, and features a chart with book/recipe pairings, along with a recipe index and general index.
From breakfast to dinner, and cocktails to dessert, a wide variety of recipes is included. With Enzo's Pancakes from Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and Blue Sky Bakery's Chicken Garlic Dog Biscuits courtesy of Jill Ciment, even our canine companions will find something to love. It was a pleasure learning more about authors I already "know" while perusing recipes from their books or lives.
Last year I enjoyed the audio version of The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (my review). In Table of Contents, I read about Cooper's first attempt at hosting a dinner party in her one-bedroom Notting Hill flat. Her mother assisted in planning the 'Liberian' menu, and I chose to try her Shrimp Creole recipe on my family.
1 pound raw large shrimp, shell on, deveined (see note)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry's)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
1 habanero chile
2 cups whole okra (can use frozen)
1 cup diced carrots (can use frozen)
1 cup water or chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
white rice, for serving
1. Season shrimp with paprika, salt, seasoned salt, and pepper, and toss to coat shrimp evenly.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, and saute shrimp on both sides until opaque, about 5 minutes.
3. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and chile, and saute until softened , about 5 minutes. Add okra, carrot, and water or broth. Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add peas, adjust seasoning, and simmer another 10 minutes.
4. Serve over white rice.
Note: You can buy fresh shrimp, or pick up frozen shrimp and thaw them. We leave the shell on for cooking and serving shrimp because that helps retain the flavor. It's peel and eat while on your plate, but I highly recommend first licking all the lovely Creole juice off the shrimp before peeling it.
Wear plastic or rubber gloves while handling the chiles to protect your skin from the oil in them. Avoid direct contact with your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
Last summer, as a variation on our annual pot-luck dinner, my book club read A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg and each of us prepared a recipe from the book. The meeting was a huge success (read about it here) and we have decided to follow that format again this summer. Table of Contents will definitely be one of the books up for consideration.
I received a review copy of Table of Contents from the authors.
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