Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

Title: The Glass Kitchen
Author: Linda Francis Lee
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Magical Realism
Publication Date: 17th June 2014
Pages: 384

Book Source: own purchase

Synopsis: Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan... and never cook again. 

But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream. 

The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.

My Thoughts: 

I'm seriously loving on this one!! It's one of those beautiful feel-good reads, right story, right time ... you know the one, warms your heart, leaving you feeling like you've been wrapped in a rainbow. 

Portia has a gift, a knowing connected with food, it's a beautiful, magical, healing thing when she allows it to come. 

I loved Portia from the start, I love how the story unfolded ... turmoil, chemistry, hurts, love and laughs. I wanted Gabriel and Portia to be together, neither were perfect but they seemed perfect for each other and I was torn between reading fast enough to see if my HEA wish was granted and savouring every delicious morsel.  

"I am going to prove to you that I listen. I am going to prove that I love you in that madly, deeply, let-you-eat-crackers-in-my-bed, shouting-Stella-from-the-courtyard sort of way."

Linda Francis Lee does justice to a full cast of characters. It's not all sunshine and roses, there are some unlikable characters in the mix but for the most part I adored them - Portia's sisters, quirky neighbours Stanley and Marcus, Gabriel's daughters ... I liked Miranda with all her teenage angst but I have a soft spot reserved for Gabriel's youngest daughter Ariel, she's pivotal in the story with her insight and sass. 

I can't recommend this one highly enough, if you love emotional reads with a touch of whimsy and magic, if you believe in the healing power of food and following your heart, you'll adore The Glass Kitchen. It really is love on a plate!


Fried Chicken with Sweet Jalapeno Mustard

Ingredients:
2 cups panko
2 cups bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 eggs, scrambled (can use yoghurt or buttermilk instead)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast (use kitchen mallet to pound into flat, even pieces)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (use kitchen mallet to pound into flat, even pieces)
vegetable oil for pan frying

Directions: 
Mix the panko, bread crumbs and seasoning in a bowl for dipping, or a bag for shaking.
Dip the pieces of chicken into the egg to coat; then dip in the bowl of crumb mix. Coat the chicken in the mixture. (For extra-crispy chicken, repeat the dipping steps.) 
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Heat on medium-high until hot. Carefully fill the bottom of the pan with chicken pieces. Brown, approximately 4-6 minutes each side (depending on the thickness of chicken), until cooked thoroughly. Place on paper towel to drain. 

Sweet Jalapeno Mustard
Ingredients:
6 tblsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup mustard powder
3 tblsp vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp salt
2 tblsp honey
2 tblsp finely chopped jalapenos

Directions:
Stir together the mustard seeds and mustard powder. Mix with the vinegar and wine. Add the salt. Mix thoroughly. Mix in the honey and jalapenos. Pour the mixture into a jar. Refrigerate anywhere from 1 to 3 days to bring out flavours. Makes approx 1 cup


There's some yummy recipes in the back of The Glass Kitchen. I love honey mustard dipping sauce with chicken (this fried chicken looks like the equivalent of our chicken schnitzel, which we make regularly) and the Sweet Jalapeno Mustard sounds like it has a big mustard kick. I'm going to make it, starting with 1/4 cup mustard powder and adjust from there. 


 Connect with Linda Francis Lee




Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs.

28 comments:

  1. I have this book on my list to read -- sounds like I'm going to like it. That jalapeno mustard looks particularly good, and I have some jalapenos on hand. Hummm, might try making this over the weekend.

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    1. Let me know if you do Beth, I'm not sure about the amount of mustard but adjusting for personal taste should be easy. I'll keep an eye out for your review too :)

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  2. The recipe looks delicious! This book has been on my wishlist for awhile so I'm glad to hear you are enjoying this one! Can't wait to read it!

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    1. It's a favourite this year ... hope you love it as much as I did Katherine!

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  3. This book is on my wish list and the recipe sounds good... love the cover, too!

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    1. me too on the cover JoAnn ...hope you love the read when you get to it!

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  4. Sounds like a lovely story, and thanks for sharing your recipe!

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    1. Beautiful story, fans of Beth Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen will love it.

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  5. Love the idea of jalapeno mustard! Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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  6. I've admired the cover of this book since the first time I saw it. I'm glad to see it's so good!

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    1. the cover drew me in too and the contents lived up to it :)

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  7. I've had my eye on this book and will save it for just the right time!

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    1. wonderful idea Nise, can't wait to see what you think!

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  8. Can't agree with you more on this one, it was such a great read and Ariel just won my heart - I got all choked up in the final chapter!

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    1. me too Kathryn, I'm so glad I read this one!!

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  9. Not sure if my comment went through or not so sorry if this is a repeat - I have this one and I want to read it soon!

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    1. Hope you love it too Sheila, will keep an eye out for your review!

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  10. I definitely want to read this. It sounds similar to Sarah Addison Allen. I am glad you liked it!

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  11. I literally have this on my to-read book table and need to pick it up after your glowing review. Thanks for pushing me forward.

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  12. Your review is utterly compelling - I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this now. The chicken dish sounds wonderful too.

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  13. I've been curious about this one. I'm glad you loved it. If it's not already on my To Read List, I'm going to add it.

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  14. Wow! I think I picked this one up at a booksale in the spring just because I loved the cover so much. Good to see I'm going to lovethe book as well :)

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  15. This sounds fantastic but I'm saving emotional reads for another year.
    But this is going on the wish list.

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