Saturday, February 12, 2011

Table of Contents by Judy Gelman & Vicki Levy Krupp

 Most of us already know that good food is the perfect complement to a good book, and Judy Gellman and Vicky Levy Krupp have published a unique cookbook that offers us the best of both. 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.

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.


  1. This book looks like it has a lot of potential. My favorite cookbook related to reading still is the Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook.

  2. I have this one too and am fascinated by the connections between my favorite authors and food. I agree this would be a good one to consider for a book club pick.

  3. I am going to feature this one next week! I can't wait to delve into it.

  4. How did I miss this book? I'm going to to have to get a copy.

  5. what a cool idea for a book...and a rather spicy sounding recipe. yum.

  6. That does look delicious! I'm enjoying reading the book as if it were short stories; so interesting to learn about the authors and get great new recipes.

  7. love the concept of this book. Your shrimp dish looks tasty.

  8. Lynne - I'll bet the Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook would make for interesting reading!

    Margot - There are so many fascinating stories involving authors and food. I'm sure my book club would have fun with this.

    Beth F - Can't wait to see what you choose to highlight!

    Ellie - It makes for interesting reading (and eating!).

    Caite - There was a lot of prep work involved, but my family really liked the shrimp creole.

    Lisa - What a great approach - love the idea of treating these like short stories!

    Heather - Isn't this a great idea for a book? The shrimp was delicious.

    Joy Weese Moll - Thanks, and it tasted just as good!

  9. Yum Yum Yum! I was to receive this book from the publishers but now wonder if it got lost in the mail!

    The Shrimp Creole looks wonderful, though I admit I'm not a big fan of peeling while I eat. Love that you've got all your ingredients in bowls--I do the same thing when I'm cooking a recipe with lots of different parts.

  10. oh - I could just shoot myself.

    I was contacted by the publisher to preview this book - and I immediately responded with a resounding "YES" --- and then I failed to send my mailing address in time.

    I have nothing but good reviews and I am hopeful that my local library will obtain a copy so that I can read it for myself.

  11. That looks divine!! I've read nothing but good things about this one!!

  12. Trish - Peel and eat at the table was the only drawback, but she did say the shells really help keep the flavor in. I'm compulsive in the kitchen when it comes to getting everything ready... it sure does make the cooking easier when it's all prepped and in front of you.

    Molly - Hope you get a chance to look at this. It's fun to read even if you don't try any of the recipes.

    Staci - There's nothing but good to be said about this book :-)

  13. I received not one, but two copies of this book! I should move it from one of the toppling stacks and make a point to read one entry every weekend. Might even sample one recipe a week. This creole sounds delicious, but you lost me at okra! Of course, I can always leave it out. ;) And I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain, so I'll definitely have to give Enzo's Pancakes a try.

    Thanks for reminding me to get crackin' on this book, as well as A Homemade Life.

  14. Les - I've never used okra before, and not sure I will again ;-) The book is a lot of fun to read and I will try a few more recipes. Definitely read A Homemade Life, and try Molly's recipes.... I've made the meatballs 3 or 4 times.

  15. Not only did that recipe sound delicious but it looks delicious as well! This book was kind of like getting recipes from friends, wasn't it?

  16. Your shrimp looks amazing- glad you liked the book too.


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