Michael Koryta in Chicago to Talk About His New Book

Michael Koryta, the New York Times-bestselling author of 12 suspense novels of including Those Who Wish Me Dead and Rise the Dark talks with writer Jane Simon Ammeson about his just released “How It Happened” (Little Brown 2018; $27).Michael Koryta

“How It Happened” starts off with the so chilling confession and then suddenly we’re wondering okay, was it true? Is your book based on one specific case or did statistics from Project Innocence help shape the story for you or what shaped the story in your mind?

The confession in the book was inspired by a false confession that was given during the investigation of the disappearance and murder of Jill Behrman, who was a 19-year-old Indiana University freshman when she vanished on a bike ride on a beautiful spring morning in a small college town. Her bike was found near my childhood home, and I was 17 when that happened, and then I was 19 when I began to write some police beat articles about the case for the local newspaper. There was a search going on at that time based on a confession. Those memories are profound and tragic to me.

“How It Happened” is complex just like all your novels, do you plot everything in advance or does it more just flow? 

I don’t know how to outline, but I do know how to rewrite! I do many, many drafts.

And do you ever find yourself caught up in the feel of it all so that you’re where your characters are and experiencing what they’re experiencing rather than sitting at a desk writing about it? And do your characters take on a life of their own or are you in control of them?

If you don’t feel caught up in it, then it won’t be any good. If the desk doesn’t vanish, and if you don’t disappear into the story to join your characters, then how will the reader be able to have that experience? I don’t want to have any control over my characters so much as I want them to explain the story to me, and for them to surprise me. That’s the joy of it.

You’re books are so atmospheric, your characters haunted in many ways and there’s often a combination of the natural—caves, mountains, rivers, now Maine and the ghostly or the unknown. I’m familiar with Bloomington as that’s where I went to Indiana University and I love French Lick/West Baden, those marvelously restored early 20th century resorts in Southern Indiana. All this makes me  curious about how you look at these places and what makes them so haunting as if they’re characters themselves? And how/why did you choose Maine for this book?

I respond to places that have a combination of visual and emotional impact. Sometimes, that might be in an eerie or creepy way — the surreal experience of walking into another time in the West Baden Springs Hotel, or riding a boat on an underground river. In other cases, it is found in the collision of beauty and danger. This would be the Maine coast to me. I love a place that can be astonishingly beautiful in one moment, and turn threatening in the next. It allows me to bring the setting to life like a character.

Did you ever find  a book written by your female relative who was a published author back in the 1800s? What was her name?

I still haven’t been able to track one down, sadly. Jane Parker was her name. She wrote novels in the late 1800s, and was apparently well-regarded in her era, which is even more special because she was a woman writing in an age when not many women had the chance, let alone earned that critical respect. I am afraid none of her books have survived, but I will remain on the hunt!   

Will we ever get another novel set in French Lick and West Baden like “So Cold the River?

I think you will! I finally got the film rights back on SO COLD THE RIVER after it went stagnant with the studio that optioned it originally, and I am exploring ways to get that done with an independent filmmaker, and as I work on that, I keep thinking of new ideas in that area, and with those characters. I am very drawn to that area, and to the stories that abound there. I am feeling the call down there again, louder and louder.

Ifyougo:

What: Michael Koryta book signing

When: Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m.

Where: Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville, 123 W Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL

Cost: This event is free and open to the public.

FYI: To join the signing line, please purchase the author’s latest book, How It Happened, from Anderson’s Bookshop. To purchase please stop into or call Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville (630) 355-2665 or order online at andersonsbookshop.com/event/michael-koryta-0

 

 

Advertisements

Chasing Helicity by Ginger Zee

In the time it takes to create a waterspout, Ginger Zee was hooked on weather.

GINGER ZEE

ABC NEWS – Ginger Zee )ABC/Heidi Gutman)

“My mom kept shouting at me to get out of the way,” says Zee, who was eight years old at the time. “I thought it was the coolest thing, I was mesmerized. That’s when I decided that when I grew up I wanted to become a meteorologist on national TV.”

Fast forward a decade or so. After attending Valparaiso University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology as well as majors in both mathematics and Spanish, Zee worked as a meteorologist for several stations including WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids (she was born and raised in nearby Rockford, Michigan), WYIN-TV in Merrillville and

WMAQ-TV in Chicago before making her debut on Good Morning America in 2011 as the show’s first woman meteorologist. She now is their chief meteorologist and hosts an ABC News original digital series “Food Forecast,” focused on climate and its impact on agriculture. Added to all this and in keeping with her interest in science, she also recently authored Chasing Helicity (Disney-Hyperion 2018; $16.99), the first in a series of three children’s book for ages 8 to 12 about a girl named Helicity—a physics term meaning “to spin.”

“Helicity is a character I’ve been dreaming about for years,” the Emmy Award-winning Zee tweeted earlier this year, noting the book is semi-autobiographical.

Indeed, Helicity is an adventurous weather aficionado who barely escapes a tornado barreling through her home town because she’s so caught up in capturing it on film. Also like Zee, who describes herself as being “different” from the other kids when she was growing up, Helicity sometimes has trouble fitting in.

“Helicity lives in a hyper-reality where so much is happening to her all the time—which at times is very much like my own life,” says Zee who since joining ABC News has covered most major weather events. She’s broadcasted from the Jersey Shore during Hurricane Sandy and Colorado at a time of both horrendous floods and wildfires. She’s also been on the ground following tornados in Moore and El Reno, Oklahoma.

“I fly to the storm, I’m always chasing the storm and I’m in the storm,” she says. “Helicity has lots of adventures too.”

Even the name, Helicity, has long been a favorite.

““I chose that name because it’s one of my favorites,” says Zee. “If I had a daughter I thought about naming her Helicity.

My husband asked if was crazy when I told him that.”

The couple has two boys; neither is named after a weather event.

Zee had another reason to write her book.

“I want to encourage students to take an interest in science and technology,” she says, noting that she often speaks about weather at schools. “I want to let them know what’s out there in terms of science and I have the platform to do just that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecile Richards: “Make Trouble”

“How much time do you have?” Cecile Richards laughs when I ask how her mother, the late Ann Richards and the first woman governor of Texas, influenced her.

“She taught me so much,” continues Richards, the outgoing president of Planned Parenthood who will be in Chicago next week to talk about her new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead — My Life Story (Touchstone, 2018; $27). “There were the practical lessons, like never wear patterns on TV, or before you name your child, think about how it will look on a bumper sticker. And then there were the life lessons I think about constantly: People don’t do things for your reasons, they do things for their reasons. You only get one life, and this is it – there are no second chances, and no do-overs. And most of all, that there is no higher calling or better way to spend your time than public service and making people’s lives better.”Cecile Richards portrait

Richards recalls how, when eight months pregnant with twins and campaigning for her mother, she had to figure out what to wear to such events as the Luling Watermelon Thump parade and how  despite all polls to contrary, Ann Richards won the governor’s race. All of these experiences developed in Richards a resiliency and an ability to persevere no matter what.

“To me, that’s one of the ultimate lessons for activists today: Never let practicality stand in the way of doing the impossible,” says Richards. “Whenever you’re working for social change, there are going to be people who disagree with what you’re doing. If there aren’t, you probably need to set your sights higher. Anything worth doing has its challenges, and I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be able to choose to do the work I do.”

Calling herself a troublemaker, she encourages others to take that role as well.

“Activism and working for social justice are not a chore – they’re fun, inspiring, powerful, and introduce you to people who will change your life and change the world,” says Richards.

She’s also excited that there are currently 35,000 women in America running for office.

“They’re not waiting for permission or an invitation,” she says. “They’re looking around at the people – especially the men – who are supposed to represent them and thinking, ‘I could do better than that.’ Women are leading the resistance, and that is one of the most hopeful, encouraging signs I’ve seen in my life. The number of people in this country who believe politicians should be able to interfere in women’s personal health decisions, who want to go back to the days when women didn’t have the opportunities they do today – that’s a small iceberg, and it’s floating out to sea.”

Ifyougo:

What: David Axelrod, Chief Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and current Director of University of Chicago Institute of Politics and a Senior Political Commentator @CNN, will be in conversation with Cecile Richards:

When: Saturday, April 14 at 4pm

Where: Nicholas Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL

FYI: Tickets are for sale by Women & Children’s First and can be ordered at brownpapertickets.com/event/3335756. The price includes a pre-signed copy of the book.

Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide

 

ParisInStride_p67

All illustrations © Jessie Kanelos Weiner

Imagine strolling through Paris with a friend, one who knows the greatest little patisseries, cafes, outdoor markets and shops tucked along winding cobbled streets. Together the two of us try on amazingly chic designer dresses at La boutique Didier Ludot and amble through the courtyard gardens and gaze at the Swedish art work at Institut Suedois located in the Hôtel de Marle, a 16th century mansion in the heart of the central Marais district. We order small plates of fantastic food amidst 19th century murals of clowns at the appropriately named Clown Bar, considered one of the city’s finest restaurants. After stopping to admire the Eiffel Tower, we trek even more before stopping to reward ourselves with ice cream at Berthillon Glacier. We are, definitely, Parisian insiders.

17. Clown bar

Wait—don’t have a friend in Paris? Don’t even have tickets or plans to go sometime soon? Well, Rick of Casablanca told Else they’d always have Paris and for the rest of us, before we get there, we’ll have the recently released Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide (Rizzoli 2018; $27.50), co-authored by Jessie Kanelos Weiner, a Chicago gal who grew up on the Northside and Sarah Moroz both of whom have lived in Paris for the last decade. Charmingly illustrated with over 150 of Weiner’s delicate watercolors, the book curates walking itineraries the authors put together to go beyond the typical guidebooks.

“We wanted to put together walking tours of a timeless Paris, the type of Paris that will always be the same,” says Weiner who will be back in Chicago on April 6 & 7 for book events. “We wanted something that wasn’t too text heavy, a book that was a jumping off point to see what you want to see, one that wasn’t prescriptive but takes you down the side streets.”

Paris is Weiner’s passion and wandering its streets is what she loves to do. ParisinStride_p134-135

“It’s a city based on pleasure,” she says, “and one with many beguiling things along the way.”

Ifyougo:

What: Jessie Kanelos Weiner will talk about her book and teach a water color class during the conversation at Read It & Eat, 2142 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL, Friday April 6 @ 6:30. Wine and a cheese will be available during the event, as well. (773) 661-6158; readitandeatstore.com

On Saturday, April 7 from 3:00pm – 4:30pm, Weiner will be in conversation with photographer Rebecca Plotnick talking about Paris and her book at 57th Street Books, 1301 E 57th St., Chicago, IL.  (773) 684-1300; 57th.semcoop.com

ParisInStride_p132-133

F. MURRAY ABRAHAM NARRATES NEW RECORDING OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES

ACADEMY AWARD®-WINNING F. MURRAY ABRAHAM NARRATES NEW RECORDING OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES ALONG WITH ENSEMBLE CAST

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES is the newest installment in Listening Library’s Classics series that will be available as an audiobook download on March 27, 2018, in time to celebrate International Children’s Book Day, which has been celebrated on Andersen’s birthday (April 2) every day since 1967. Brought to life by Academy Award®-winning actor F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Homeland) and a full cast of narrators, and featuring original music by Michael Bacon and original cover art by LeUyen Pham, this collection contains Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved fairy tales, in addition to a selection of lesser-known favorites.

In addition to F. Murray Abraham, a stellar cast contributes to this special new recording of timeless favorites:

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES

Read for you by F. MURRAY ABRAHAM with

EDOARDO BALLERINI

MARISSA CALIN

CYNTHIA DARLOW,

ARI FLIAKOS,

DION GRAHAM,

 

JANUARY LaVOY,

JENNIFER LIM,

EUAN MORTON,

ROBERT PETKOFF,

REBECCA SOLER

and MARC THOMPSON

Music by MICHAEL BACONStories include: The Princess and the Pea; Thumbelina; The Little Mermaid; The Emperor’s New Clothes; The Steadfast Tin Soldier; The Wild Swans; The Nightingale; The Ugly Duckling; The Snow Queen; The Little Match Girl; “The Will-o’-the-Wisps are in Town,” said the Bog Witch; The Rags; The Adventures of a Thistle; Luck Can Be Found in a Stick; The Days of the Week

The audio collection features cover art by LeUyen Pham, who has illustrated more than 50 books, including Julianne Moore’s Freckleface Strawberry and Shannon and Dean Hale’s Princess in Black series. The music on the recording is by Emmy-winning composer for film and television, Michael Bacon.michaelbaconmusic.com

Unlike the Brothers Grimm, who collected and retold folklore and fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen adopted the most ancient literary forms and distilled them into a genre that was uniquely his own. His fairy tales are remarkable for their sense of fantasy, power of description, and vivid imagination. F. Murray Abraham lends his distinct voice as the narrator ofeach story, while the other 11 voices appear throughout as various characters, including Marc Thompson, beloved narrator of many bestselling Star Wars audiobooks, Euan Morton, who currently stars as King George in HamiltonJanuary LaVoy, known for her award-winning audiobooks from Libba Bray’s The Diviners series, and Dion Graham, 4-time Odyssey Award honoree.

As a part of our Listening Library Classics program, this new recording of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales will join our previous recordings of Grimm’s Fairy Tales read by a full cast, The Call of the Wild read by Jeff Daniels, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz read by Brooke Shields and Paul Ruddand 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea read by James Frain, among others—all with original cover art by illustrators including Jerry Pinckney, Carson Ellis, Brian Floca and Noelle Stevenson.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: LeUyen Pham is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of The Princess in Black series with Shannon and Dean Hale andFreckleface Strawberry with Julianne Moore.  She wrote and illustrated Big Sister, Little SisterThe Bear Who Wasn’t There, and is the illustrator of numerous other picture books, including The Boy Who Loved Math. She lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband and her two adorable sons.

Listening Library Ÿ DN on sale 3/27/18 Ÿ CD on sale 5/1/18

Leslie Odom Jr.’s Inspiring New Book: Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning

Leslie Odom, Jr. originated the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical phenomenon Hamilton. Since then, he has performed for sold-out audiences, sung for the Obamas at the White House, and won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. But before he landed the role of a lifetime in one of the biggest musicals of all time, Odom put in years of hard work as a singer and an actor.

With personal stories from his life, Odom asks the questions that will help you unlock your true potential and achieve your goals even when they seem impossible. What work did you put in today that will help you improve tomorrow? How do you surround yourself with people who will care about your dreams as much as you do? How do you know when to play it safe and when to risk it all for something bigger and better?

These stories will inspire you, motivate you, and empower you for the greatness that lies ahead, whether you’re graduating from college, starting a new job, or just looking to live each day to the fullest.

Odom was most recently seen in the blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for the role of “Aaron Burr.” He is a Grammy Award winner as a principal soloist on Hamilton’s Original Broadway Cast Recording, which won the 2015 award for Best Musical Theater Album. Odom, Jr. originated the role of “Burr” in a sold-out run at The Public Theater in 2015, earning a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical.

As a recording artist, his self-titled debut album was part-funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised $40,971. The album was released in 2014 by Borderlight Entertainment, Inc. Odom has appeared on “Smash,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Gotham,” “Person of Interest,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House of Lies,” “Vanished” and “CSI: Miami.” He also starred in the feature film Murder on the Orient Express.

Leslie Odom, Jr.’s upcoming visit is part of Anderson’s Bookshops’ calendar of special author events. Anderson’s Bookshops specialize in book sales, author events, book signings, and building a sense of community, learning and fun. The store has been helping Naperville readers for six generations. Additional locations include Downers Grove, at 5112 Main Street (630)-963-2665 and La Grange, at 26 S. La Grange Rd. (708) 582-6353. A toy shop, Anderson’s Toyshop, at 111 W. Jefferson Ave., in Naperville, opened in 2016. Key to Anderson’s success has been special author events, like the March 31 program with Leslie Odom, Jr.

American Wolf

Nate Blakeslee has created more than a moving tribute to Yellowstone wolves. American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West (Crown 2017; $28) is truly a crossover genre, science with a human face. Or, should I say, a genuinely intelligent book that connects man and beast in a way that is evocative of what Harvard’s E. O. Wilson calls “Biophilia”.

I read this outstanding volume after reading an utterly vacuous and didactic animal book, so I was predisposed to expect it to be a soppy, sentimental and anthropomorphic look at Canis Lupus. Mercifully, it is not.

American Wolf has beauty as well as brains. And it pierces the heart only after skillfully penetrating the neocortex.  I recommend it, without reservation.

If These Walls Could Talk: Chicago Blackhawks: Stories from the Chicago Blackhawks Ice, Locker Room, and Press Box

Walls Blackhawks COVER (1)“It was like chronicling the Dark Ages of hockey,” says Mark Lazerus, a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks since the early 2000s when the only way players could get people to attend games was to hand out free tickets at bus stations among other places.

“Back then, with 23 on the team, 20 would be out getting drunk the night before a game,” recalls Lazerus, a sportswriter who lives in Highland, Indiana. “I knew they were young and crazy but that was really something.”

Growing up on Long Island, New York, Lazerus has long been a serious hockey aficionado, rooting for the Long Island Islanders since he was young. A graduate of Northwestern University, he continued his passion for hockey by avidly following the Blackhawks. But even such a seasoned and dedicated fan was amazed by the big change in the team and their fortunes.

“The players are all very different now,” says Lazerus, author of If These Walls Could Talk: Chicago Blackhawks: Stories from the Chicago Blackhawks Ice, Locker Room, and Press Box (Triumph Books 2017; $16.95). “I was surprised by the complete turnaround. These guys are now finely tuned machines.”

Going behind the scenes including on the team plane, players’ homes and, of course, in lots of bars, Lazerus interviewed present and former team members collecting stories which he shares in his book. These include reminiscences of how Blackhawk players celebrated after winning their first Stanley Cup victory in almost a half century, dialogues with such greats as Adam Burish, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews and stories on sharing the bench with Head Coach Joel Quenneville. The book’s forward is written by Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Savard who played for the Blackhawks.

“It was fun watching the city fall in love with the Blackhawks,” says Lazerus. “And for me, writing the book was great. It let me talk to people about hockey and that’s all hockey fans like me want to talk about.”

 

Cheers to the Publican, Repast and Present: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall

Invited by a friend to dine at Blackbird, Paul Kahan’s first restaurant, when it first opened in 1997, I was somewhat taken about upon first entering about how totally different it was from many of the restaurants of the time. The menu was farm-to-table way before the term had become a cliché, the setting minimalist with long communal tables (like a high school cafeteria I remember thinking) and menu items including an endive salad with pancetta and a poached egg on top which when punctured dripped a wonderful ooze of yolk into the dressing. It was, in other words, unique. Other restaurants opened in Chicago that year and many of those are gone but Blackbird remains and chef/restauranteur Paul Kahan has expanded his restaurant empire with such additions as Avec, Big Star, the wonderfully named The Violet Hour and the Publican.

With all this success, you’d think that during the last two decades Kahan would have come out with a cookbook or two or even more. Surprisingly though, his first, barbecued-carrots.jpg (Lorena Jones Books 2017; $40) was just released this fall. And in keeping with the eclectic concepts of his restaurants, which he describes as speaking to a place and not a time, it’s definitely different–an amalgam of recipes, insights, reminiscences, paeans to local food producers and autobiographical. It even contains poems.

So, what took you so long, I ask?

“I waited 20 yeas because I didn’t want it to be a half-assed,” was Kahan’s response. “We’re not run of the mill and I wanted the book to be unique, to follow the path of the Publican, include poetry.”

Kahan’s mantra it that he’s just a small part of the business and its success.

“We’ve all been here together since day one,” he says about his One Off Hospitality Group. “We’re all about the culture, the relevance and the continuity and the book is about that. I think our success has truly been about us, about trust, nurturing. We like to be innovative and approach things differently.”

Indeed, Avec, he says, was inspired by his first trip to France with his wife.

“She was in a real horrific motorcycle accident there and end up recuperating in Switzerland,” he says. “The culinary experience of Avec was built by the experience of going there.”

If each restaurant has a story, so do the recipes.  Take the barbecued carrots.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a dish at The Publican that people have freaked out about so much. Even chefs,” writes Kahan in the introduction. “We did a charity event last year and served these, and there was a table of 25 big-name chefs just losing their minds over them. We’ve tried new variations, adding different spices, experimenting with other preparations, but it always comes back to this recipe. We use a barbecue rub that I ‘borrowed’ from Chris Lilly, the owner of Big Bob Gibson’s in Georgia and a world champion of barbecued pork shoulder. He came in to eat once, and we got embarrassed about ripping him off, so we quickly changed the name of these to Chris Lilly Carrots. We like to serve them with pecans that we get from Blain Farms in California, which are creamier than any other pecan, and then we top it off with an herbed dressing.”

Sourcing ingredients is, of course, super important as is forging relationships with farmers and food artisans. Finding them often takes Kahan to less exotic places than a trip to France.

One out of the way journey lead Kahan to tiny Medora in Southern Indiana, best known for its 1910 round barn and covered bridge—built in 1875 and the longest historic covered bridge in the United States. It’s also the hometown of Burton’s Maplewood Farm, owned by Tim Burton, a producer of highly valued maple syrup which is much used by chefs in both Chicago and throughout the U.S.

“I think I was the first guy Tim hooked up with at the Green Market,” says Kahan, a James Beard Award winner in the following categories Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, Best Chefs in America 2004 and Outstanding Chef 2013.

Growing up in Chicago, Kahan was influenced by his father who owned both a Jewish deli as well as the Village Fishery and King Salmon, a small smoked fish business. He still remembers the slow cooked corned beef, the hanging sausages and the smoked chubs. Following in those footsteps might seem a given, but Kahan diverged at first, studying applied mathematics until the lure of cooking over took him.

Will it take another 20 years before we see another cookbook, I ask?

“I’m already working on a second cookbook,” Kahan says, noting that it’s already two years in the making. But then true to form, he goes from I to we, noting that Cheers to the Publican wasn’t just his work.

“There are a lot of people who worked hard on that book,” he says.

Barbecued Carrots

Recipe courtesy of Cheers to the Publican, Repast and Present by Paul Kahan.

Makes 4 servings

1 gallon water

1 cup plus

1 tablespoon BBQ Rub (recipe follows)

1⁄4 cup kosher salt

1 pound carrots, cleaned and halved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

11⁄2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1⁄4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

2 sprigs dill, torn

1 batch Ranchovy Herb Dressing (recipe follows)

In large pot, add 2 gallons of water, 1 cup of the BBQ rub, ¼ cup of salt.  Bring to a boil.

Add the carrots and cook until ¾ done, about 5 minutes.

Drain the carrots, reserve for the grill.

To Finish:

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

In a bowl, toss the blanched carrots with 1 tablespoon of BBQ rub and extra virgin olive oil.

Arrange on a grill screen, and grill over direct heat until finished.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Arrange carrots on a plate, drizzle with lemon juice, garnish with crushed pecans and dill yogurt sauce.

Dress the carrots with the Ranchovy Herb Dressing and serve.

BBQ Rub

Makes 1.5 cups

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup kosher salt

4 tablespoons hot smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon onion granules or onion powder

½ tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Combine all in bowl, mix well, store in an airtight container.

2 cups mayonnaise (we like Hellman’s/Best Foods)

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1½ teaspoon white vinegar

1½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1½ teaspoon granulated sugar

1½ teaspoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 ½ teaspoon chopped tarragon

1½ teaspoon chopped oregano

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a glass container with a lid and refrigerate. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Give the jar a good shake before using.

 

The Faerie Handbook: An Enchanting Compendium of Literature Lore, Art, Recipes and Projects

To me, fairies have always been about the holiday season—think the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite ballet and Tinkerbelle, the blonde-haired imp who wore a green outfit with matching translucent green wings in the 1904 play Peter Pan and knew how to handle a wand and pixie dust—both a job requirement. Imagine then my delight when my friend Lily Lopate sent me a copy of The Faerie Handbook: An Enchanting Compendium of Literature Lore, Art, Recipes and Projects by Carol Turgeon with Grace Nuth and the Editors of Faerie Magazine (Harper Design 2017; $35). And yes, there is a Faerie Magazine.lavender-shortbread-cookies_smalll-credit-sara-ghedina-2.jpg

This beautifully illustrated book containing all things faerie (the archaic literary spelling) is divided into chapter including Flora & Fauna with such headings as “A Select List of Fairy World Inhabitants” and their history, a “Fairy Herb and Flower Almanac,” as well as instructions on making such fairy necessities as houses, furniture, pressed flowers, and terrariums. In the section on Fashion & Beauty we learn about such style icons as Morgan Le Fay, Titania of the Fairy Realm and La Belle Dame Sans-Mercy—a woman with eyes that mesmerized helpless, handsome men (way to go, La Belle, we say).  The Fashion & Beauty chapter gives us the low down on fairy couture including fairy shoes which are totally inappropriate for walking particularly the ones with five-inch heels made of flowers. It also contains directions on how to make a fairy crown—a clothing item no one should be without.

It isn’t easy being a fairy. You have to get up early to gather the right beauty ingredients. After all, according to Samuel Pepys, the great 17th century diarist, his wife was a big believer in maintaining her looks in a faerie manner by collecting early morning May dew. Another requirement is being able to make fairy dust. That’s what Tinkerbell used to get Peter Pan to fly. You wouldn’t want to be without it.

Want to hang with the faeries? The authors tell about how to find fairy portals and pathways. You’ll need to read the chapter, but we can give some hints. Look for a strange circle of mushrooms (those are fairy rings), bridges (but be careful of the trolls, country crossroads are good places to run into fairies (but devils hang out there too) and natural portals like ocean cliffs and tangled branches with an open center in the middle.frosted-cranberries-1.jpg

Of course, what interested me the most was fairy food. As one might expect, fairies love parties and the authors show us how to host a Midsummer Night’s Dream Garden Party. Fairies main ingredient when it comes to cooking seems to be edible flowers. Their menus consist of such goodies as Flower Lollipops, Honey Ricotta Tart with Lavender Scented Crust, Candied Violets and Lavender Shortbread Cookies.

Faeries also love tea parties—ones with lots of flowers in pastel colors of pink, lavender, violet, pale blues and even moss. What to eat at such a party? Fairy Tea Cakes and flower teas.

Candied Violets

40 fresh violets, pesticide free, with stems intact

1 egg white

1 cup superfine sugar

Special Equipment:

Fine-tipped paintbrush, preferably new

Small sharp scissors

Place a wire rack over a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.

Holding a violet by the stem, dip the paintbrush in the egg white and carefully coat each petal, front and back.

Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the violet and shake off any excess. Sprinkle again until the whole flower is lightly coated.

Gently place the violet on the drying rack. Repeat with the remaining flowers.

Allow the violets to dry for 24 hours, then use the scissors to cut off the stems. Candied violets may be stored in an airtight container for up to eight weeks.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon dried lavender, pesticide-free

1 stick plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons whole milk (optional)

½ cup sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the sugar and lavender in a food processor and pulse to achieve a fine texture.

In a large bowl, combine the lavender sugar, butter, and salt. Use the electric hand mixer to cream the ingredients until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the flour, mixing until the dough comes together. If it’s too crumbly, lightly wet your hands with water and knead the dough in the bowl until the flour is completely absorbed, and the dough is smooth.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a ½-inch thickness.

Use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Transfer the cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

If desired, use the pastry brush to lightly coat each cookie with milk, then sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Transfer cookies to the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes, rotating the pan once, until the cookies are golden brown.

The cookies will be very soft when you remove them from the oven, but will set once cool. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to a plate.

Frosted Cranberries

1 ½ cups water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar, plus 1 cup for dusting

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

2 cups fresh cranberries

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes before stirring in the cranberries. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, set a wire rack over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the berries onto the rack and set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile, line another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a shallow dish. Working in small batches, roll the cranberries in the sugar until they are completely coated, then transfer to the clean parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure berries are in a single layer and not touching each other.

Allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour or until dry. Frosted cranberries may be stored in an airtight container for several days.

The above recipes are from the book: THE FAERIE HANDBOOK by Carolyn Turgeon and the editors of Faerie Magazine. Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Turgeon. Reprinted courtesy of Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.