Author Archives: klomas2013

Thirteen Days in September by Lawrence Wright


Laura wrote:

It was another great evening last night and I’m glad to have made it there for a portion of the evening. Dinner as always was most tasty, with my favourite being the eggplant and both sauces, so I hope to see the recipes on the blog. Thank you again for being a fabulous host, and thanks everyone for the lively conversation.

Politics being a family obsession I really appreciate your recommendation Karen of such an informative book. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the back story and understanding how each man had so much to lose by failing to come to an agreement. Unavoidably we ventured into the US election and Moira spoke about the Toronto Star reporter who has been a news item himself through his meticulous fact-checking. His name is Daniel Dale, and his posts are also on Twitter – the link below is for today’s posting. Additionally I’m sending along a link to a Globe and Mail article about how Canada could be affected by a Trump presidency. You may find this thought provoking as well, and feel free to comment further – is it all doom and gloom?

Jane wrote:

Thanks Karen for a wonderful evening and recommending (with a little help from John) such an informative and thought provoking book. I learned so many things reading this book and realized how little I know about fairly recent history.

The food was perfect and much appreciated. Recipes and sources are definitely required.

And from Josee:

Thank you Karen and all for a wonderful evening.

As I sit here and reflect on our evening, starting with when I arrived and seeing you all sitting outside on a most beautiful and open porch, Karen prepping dinner inside in a dream for kitchen, to our many diverse dialogues ranging from peace, children, grand children, food, our World, the beauty of diversity, amazing people and mind who have made differences and touched us, where we all fit in, being thankful for where we live…. oh my gosh, I could go on. Yes, we are so lucky and fortunate to live here in Canada….. May we continue to embrace each other and be grateful     lol 🙂



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The Afterlife of Stars Recipes


Jill’s  Caramelized Roasted Cauliflower

½ teasp (2ml) each, ground turmeric, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder

2 tables. (30ml) olive oil.

1 cauliflower cut into small florets.

Salt and pepper.

(I only used half a cauliflower with above ingredients, so add more or less ingredients depending on amount of cauliflower being used)

With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 450f (230 c)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the spices and oil. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Place on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked through and golden brown.

Jill’s Cashew Dip

1 cup raw cashews.

1tbls coconut oil.

¼ cup water.

3 pinches sea salt.

2 pinches black  pepper.

2 pinches cayenne pepper.

Half a squeeze of lemon.

2 cloves of garlic.

Blend all ingredients together.

After putting in serving  bowl, add a dribble of balsamic vinegar around the dip. (sorry, I forgot that and it does make a difference)



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The Afterlife of Stars by Joseph Kertes


June 23, 2016 at Jill’s


Karen wrote:

What a lovely, magical summer evening in your garden, Jill.  I felt very privileged to be with everyone, enjoying good food and discourse especially given the novel’s subject matter.  And thanks for finding the newsreel footage of the Hungarian uprising.  Such a tragedy. Those faces are still in my memory.  It is not surprising that our conversation turned towards politics in this time of unrest with Brexit and Donald Trump.  We are a privileged generation indeed.




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Sweetland by Michael Crummey


May 5, 2016 at Moira’s

Erin wrote:

Moira- Thanks so much for the lovely evening last night.    Although I was pressed for reading time with my work and travels, and didn’t get through much of the book… I really enjoyed the company, food and book discussion (as usual) and feel very motivated to finish reading Sweetland … with all the Newfie cultural idiosyncrasies, and funny endearing characters…

Jane wrote:

Thank you Moira for another memorable night with the Burlington Book Club. It was just what I needed – I could have sat around that table for hours with you lovely ladies, sipping on wine and discussing the wonderful book, the world, how lucky we are and how our lives are changing – I learn from all of you.

Jeanne wrote:

Moira thanks for the delicious dinner and lovely evening. “Sweetland” was a treat to read, especially since I recently visited Newfoundland. Canadian stories almost always have something familiar which makes me feel connected to the locations and the people, and I’m grateful each time I read a book like this that helps me know my country better (good and bad). The discussion was, as always, enlightening!



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All My Puny Sorrow Recipes

To all, the schmooa kumpst’ s recipe I found on-line. It originally came from “Mennonite girls can cook”.  As to the swiss chard’s recipe. It’s my own twist on an ole favorite.  You can even make it a tomato base sauce or filling. It’s very playful. It reads complicated but it’s really very fast.  Other then the cooling time, it should take you no more then 30 min. to prepare.

Schmooa kumpst


  • 6 cups chopped or shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup finely chopped dried apple rings
  • 10 prunes — quartered
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar (less if desired)


  1. Mix fruit and cabbage in saucepan
  2. Mix remaining ingredients and add to fruit and cabbage
  3. Cook stirring until mixture boils
  4. Remove from stove and put into slow cooker — setting on high and cook for 1 1/2 hours. (can also be simmered on stove top – stirring occasionally)
  5. Serve hot immediately or refrigerate and reheat when needed.


Cabbage rolls with a twist 🙂


  • Large to medium Swiss chard cutting stems off. (one per person, instead of cabbage.  I’ve also made this dish using eggplants.  Both really yummy!)
  • I onion
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
  • Tofu (I used a full block of the firm tofu, ground meat can be substituted)
  • 6 to 7 cups of mushroom slices (lots, because I like them 🙂
  • One sliced jalapeño (habanero peppers are delicious too)
  • Half a log of the large goat cheese log
  • Butter and olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, turmeric, curry paste, herbes de Provence (to taste, I put a lot of each)
  • 1 cup of liquids (I used chicken broth low sodium, but you can use whatever you have on hand, even water would work)
  • Parmesan and mozzarella cheese for grilling “au gratin”
  • 2 cups of béchamel sauce ( butter, flour, milk…….more cheese, I also added some apple cider since I had some….)
  • I think that’s it but feel free to play with the ingredients, the spices and herbs. I’ve made this “roll” with a variety of ingredients e.g., sausage meat and/or other ground meats, kale, basil……. It’s a very playful recipe


  1. Melt butter and olive oil
  2. Add onions, garlic, jalapeño and cook for a few minutes
  3. then add spices and mushrooms and cook a bit more
  4. Add tofu and herbs
  5. Stir, you may want to put lid on. Cook for 30 min or so
  6. Near the end of the cooking I added the goat cheese and some chicken broth.
  7. Then allow pan to cool,
  8.  When cooled enough put all ingredients in cuisinart and coarsely blend/chop.
  9. Begin making your rolls using swiss chard’s leaves placing each rolls in a butter/oiled baking dish
  10. Spread béchamel sauce evenly over rolls
  11. Sprinkle on the cheese
  12. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min, uncover and grill
  13. Serve hot immediately

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All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

AMPSThursday April 31 – An Evening at Josee’s


From Karen…

A wonderful, delicious, and life affirming evening.  Thanks Josee for suggesting the book and preparing a lovely meal (check out the recipes on our blog).  As Bev mentioned, “You know when the book choice is a success by the conversation – loud and nonstop!” I couldn’t help but notice that the novel’s subject matter was in stark contrast to the warmth and companionship of last night’s meeting.

And from Erin…

Well of course the evening was pulled off with Josee’s speciale  je ne sais quoi…  autre que sa créativité bien sûr.  The book was an incredibly good read… 

I was immediately plunged into the characters… realizing All My Puny Sorrows is such an incredible description for the human condition… so expansively insignificant but yet deeply and painfully significant to the torment of a human soul. The beauty of the book for me was in the exquisite quality of the relationships… particularly between the author and her sister which stayed a true line through all her pain…

She was a delicate orchid …. exquisite in her talent and intellect… but so fragile in terms of her requirements for surviving the weight of intergenerational trauma.




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Happy 60th Jane!


jane at 60!

May 30, 2016

Happy Birthday to Jane, Wonder Woman!  The bestest, smartest, funniest, bookiest, woman I know.  Loads of love (and admiration) Karen

My best wishes to a most amazing woman. May we all have many many more years to flip through more books all together.  p.s. ” You look marvellous, darling.” 🙂  All my love – Josée

Happy Birthday, Jane. Imagine 60! What a lot of life you have lived and so many lives you have touched. Your bright smile and infectious laugh are like sunshine even at the most challenging of times. A toast to you Jane. Happy 60th and many, many more. Much love…. Bev

Happy 60th Birthday Jane! Welcome to your next decade, you young looking 60 year old. Wishing you all the very best – Love Jill.

“Congratulations  Jane! Welcome to this lofty group of over achievers- the credentials are high but the company is great. Love and best wishes, Moira”

Wishing you all the best Jane!!! Happy birthday. Love Jeanne

Many congratulations to Jane on her upcoming 60th this month.  “Three score”  that makes you a “triple threat” … at east that’s how I like to think of it.  Of course reality hits when I do things like forget my keys, purse, or lose my phone (a regular pattern).  Ha ha… it’s great to have a sense of humour about these things… since there’s no stopping the march of time.  But seriously… you look great… and clearly are at your peak. Cheers! Erin


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Bury Your Dead – Bev’s Recipes

Frozen Lemon Puff/Soufflé
A great Make Ahead
5 eggs (separate 3 and reserve the whites)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (175ml)
1 cup sugar (250 ml)
2 cups whipping cream
Vanilla wafers to cover the bottom and sides of pan
Dash of cream of tartar
1/4 cup icing sugar (60 l)
Whisk 2 eggs and 3 egg yolks, lemon juice and sugar together in a double boiler and cook until
thick. Stirring constantly. Cool.
Whip the whipping cream and fold into lemon mixture.
Line sides and bottom of a 9″ springform pan with vanilla biscuits.
Pour in lemon mixture.
Beat the 3 egg whites until foamy.Add the cream of tartar and icing sugar and beat until the
peaks are stiff.
Spread over the lemon mixture and broil until the egg whites are lightly browned. Watch
Cover with foil,making sure the foil doesn’t touch the foil. Freeze for at least 8 hours.
Remove from freezer taking off foil immediately at lease 1 hour before serving.
Serves 10-12
Spicy Cheese Crackers
Makes about 50
1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
5 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese
11/2 cups all- purpose flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoons coleman’s mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoon water (may need more)
In a food processor, combine cheeses. Pulse until the cheddar is finely chopped.add flour,
butter, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper.
Pulse until the mixture looks like small pellets. Add Worchestershire sauce and iced water, then
pulse until just combined.
Pour the dough on
Not the counter, divide into 2 mounds, then use the palm of your hand to smear the mixture
across the counter several times, or until it comes quickly together
.transfer each half of the dough onto a 16 inch sheet of plastic wrap. Shape into a 12 inch
log.wrap tightly. Chill for at least 1 hour.
When ready to bake heat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove
one of the cylinders, slice the dough crosswise about 1/3 inch and place on baking tray. Sprinkle
each cracker with a pinch of Parmesan. Place trays on centre rack and bake until browned.
About 30 minutes.
Transfer to rack to cool.
Cassoulet a la Food and Drink magazine
As Josee said, there are many variations of cassoulet, depending on region, even what’s in the
cupboard. This recipe uses chicken thighs to make the confit. Often it is made with duck and
you can buy duck co fit but it is expensive. I made some other variations as well.
1 lb (500 g) Great Northern white beans
8 confit chicken thighs ( recipe follows)
1 lb (550 g) fresh pork shoulder or pork loin ( used a small loin roast and cut it to size but you
can use chops)
1 lb fresh or cured garlic sausage. I used fresh chorizo from Longos
2 tbsp 30mi) olive oil preferably from the confit chicken. Wonderfully herbed.
11/3 cups small diced yellow cooking onion (2)
11/2 cups small diced celery (2 stalks)
11/2 cups finely diced carrot (2)
1tbsp minced garlic
I cup dry white wine
31/2 cups combination of stock from confit and chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce or 2tbsp tomato paste I used a cup of seasoned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme 11/2 tsp dried. I used herb de province
I large bay leaf
Buttered Bread crumbs
Step 1
Chicken confit
Use thighs with bone in and skin on
Place chicken thighs snuggly, skin down in 8×8 glass baking dish.
Rub exposed flesh with a mixture of
1tsp sea salt
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried ( I used Herb de Province)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night
Preheat oven to 200
Discard plastic wrap and pour oil over the thighs to cover
Bake for 10 to 12 hours
Separate fat from the juice. You will be using all the chicken juice. Use the fat needed in the
recipe and refrigerate the rest to use for sautéing meat Etc. Wonderfully aromatic cooking oil.
To use chicken scrape off the skin and gently remove from the bone, keeping the chicken in
large chunks.
Step 2
Place the beans in a large bowl. Generously cover water. Let soak over night. Drain and discard
water just before using.
Step 3
1.Remove and discard the skin, bones and. Clinging fat from the confit thighs. Keep the meat in
large chunks.
2. Preheat oven to 325
Cut pork into – inch cubes. Cut sausage into 1 inch lengths.
3. In a large Dutch oven that can go into the oven heat oil unroll hot and sauté the pork for 8-10
minutes. Remove and set aside.
4. Add the sausage to the fat already in the pan. Sauté 8-10 minutes. Remove and see aside
5. To the fat already in the pan add onion, celery, carrots all at once. Saute8-10 minutes, add
garlic. Sauté till fragrant. Add wine and increase heat to medium-high and boil briskly until the
wine has reduced by half.
6. Add broth and tomato sauce to the pot. Stir in beans, pork, sausage and thyme.fold in
chicken pieces. Tuck in bay leaf and heat mixture until it begins to bubble but not boil.
7. Cover and place in oven for 11/2 hours. Uncover and scatter buttered breadcrumbs overtop
and bake for another 1/2 hour.
Serve with salad and crusty bread to soak up juices.
Cassoulet will keep well when properly refrigerated for 3-4 days. Loses flavour if frozen.

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“Bury Your Dead” by Louise Penny Feb 18, 2016

Thursday February 18th was a lovely mild, winter evening and a first time visit to Bev’s new apartment in the heart of downtown Burlington.  Bev did her research and presented an interesting lecture on the early Quebec city settlement, the famous Plains of Abraham battle, and a biography of the author Louise Penny.  The evening concluded with a delicious French meal (recipes are posted on this blog) and lively discussion – as we are wont to do!

Bookclub Feb 18

Email excerpts:

Firstly, thank you to Bev for hosting a fascinating discussion and insight into the history of our book, and delicious meal!  Will we ever know where Champlain is really buried? We missed you Jane. (from Jill)

Thank you Bev for a great time. It was nice to be able to walk over to your place, although I loved your home as well!  After looking at the recipes I can’t believe how much work you did in preparing the Cassoulet, but it was worth all the work – fragrant and delicious. I bet the next day leftovers were wonderful too. Reading Bury Your Dead made me remember how lovely Quebec is and that I would like to re-visit soon. (from Laura)

Bev and Karen



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“Preparation for the Next Life” by Atticus Lish at Jane’s

From Moira,
Just wanted to thank you for hosting another memorable book club meeting, and for serving such a delicious, creative meal. I wanted to let you know that I finished the book while on the airplane and it helped me push on, knowing that Zou Lei was not going to die. I did have to skim the entire marathon chapter in which she walks in plastic sandals/barefoot for 30 miles. I rather liked the ending as I believe that  the world is a better place without the likes of Jimmy and I appreciated  that Skinner took control of his own destiny, even if only for a few minutes, to put himself out of his misery. I don’t believe he could ever have recovered from the depths to which he had fallen- but that’s  not my field of expertise. The ending was a bit neat for Zou Lei- but then again she deserved it and so did we!!

Thanks Jane, for bringing the book to our attention – it’s always good to push the boundaries of our reading every once in awhile. I could literally feel the level of the characters exhaustion.

See you all at Bev’s.


Jane 2


And from Bev

After I have read a really good book it tends to stay with me for a long time. I still am thinking about this one. Thank you for choosing it Jane. Again good book, good discussion and amazing food.


From Karen

And a very belated thank you from me!  One week later and I still find myself thinking about the characters and their situation.  I wonder just how many people- even here in Burlington, are living under the radar as undocumented immigrants, trying to hold a job and evade deportation.

I also don’t understand Jimmy and Zou Lei’s relationship.  In my reading of the novel, Jimmy and Zou Lei had a palpable sense of need for each other – but love?  They were two comrades (I use this term purposefully) striking out in hostile territory, trying to survive.  This was a gloomy read but an important one nonetheless.  As I said before, how lucky am I?  I will never complain about Manulife again.

Jane thanks for your hospitality and for taking the trouble to make us an authentic meal.  It certainly added to the pleasure of being together and discussing this “sledgehammer to the American dream”

Jane 4

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