I’m reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest which is a debut novel by J. Ryan Standal. The novel celebrates some of the unique Midwest foods and also the strong bonds of family. Eva Thorvald isn’t aware that the people she knows as her parents are really her aunt and uncle. How they came to care for her came about through tragedy, but it worked. Eva has an intense ability to recognize flavors and a very experimental palate. The book has heartbreak, humor, and good food. Do you know you can make money on side bets if you have the ability to eat platters of food heavily laced with hot peppers? Have you ever wondered what the baking competition can be like at a county fair? This is a book filled with venison, walleye, Caesar salad, bar cookies, and the most important ingredient—love.
Literary Foodies IS a recipe club that meets once a month on the last Wednesday evening of the month BUT this isn’t any ordinary recipe club. This culinary club focuses on fantastic foods from fiction. Participants create a dish inspired by their favorite book, author or character and bring their fictitious feast, along with a recipe, to share and discuss with other foodies. Visit the Library’s Events Calendar for the next meet-ups times and registration information and in the meantime enjoy this recipe provided by literary foodie Jennet.
The Queen of Hearts’ Strawberry Tarts
“The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts
And took them quite away!”
~Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)
1 Cup flour
pinch of salt
orange zest (optional)
2 Tbls butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 Tbls vegetable shortening
2 Tbls cold water
A jar of quality strawberry jam or preserves
Begin by making the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour or use the tips of your fingers, lifting it up as you go to aerate the flour somewhat. Be careful not to over mix, the flour should be crumbly. Add the cold water all at once and stir with a fork. Blend quickly until the mixture clings together in a ball, leaving the sides of the bowl clean. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a couple of times, lightly, to make a smooth, stiff dough. Let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 400*F.
Roll the pastry out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a sharp 3 inch cutter. Place the pastry rounds into the holes of muffin tin. Dollop heaped teaspoons of jam into the center of each shell.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pastry has lightly browned and the jam is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating.
Note – You can use any kind of jam you want.