Monday, April 27, 2009

LA Times Festival of Books

Los Angeles does some things right. The LA Times Festival of Books (April 25 & 26) was a huge success, except for the three unfortunate people who were injured by flying scaffolding. Saturday was so windy. I was extremely fortunate to be signing books on Sunday, which was a gloriously beautiful day, at the popular Book Soup booth, right after the ever so popular T. C. Boyle and Candy Spelling, widow of Aaron, mother of Tori. This is LA, after all.

My yalanchi sarma (stuffed grape leaves) were a hit and worth the labor involved. And I met some fantastic people.
I stopped by the Heifer Booth (The Heifer Foundation's mission is to end hunger and poverty by giving people the means to feed themselves) to meet Kim, whose mission is to review and promote independent bookstores through her blog as well as supporting the Heifer Foundation and just generally being fabulous. And to my surprise and joy, copies of Siren's Feast, An Edible Odyssey, were flying out of my hands.

With the spate of independent bookstore closings, it was truly a thrill to see thousands of people who are enamored with reading and meeting authors.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aztec Soup

A while back, after I'd returned from the wedding on Isla Holbox, I promised to post a recipe for the amazing soup I ate several times while there. Everyone loved this soup and I've done my best to recreate it. In honor of my lovely young friend, Kate Puzey, I decided it was high time to revisit the wonderful memories of the time we spent together. Knowing that Kate had an exciting life and the support and love of such an amazing family is some consolation over the loss of her.


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. oregano
2 ears fresh corn, with kernels removed
salt/black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth

chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream
crumbled Queso Fresco (Mexican cheese)
sliced avocado

In a stock pot, begin by sauteing the onion, then the bell pepper and garlic in olive oil, until softened. Stir in the chopped tomato and saute a few minutes more. Add the ground chicken and continue sauteing. Finally add the oregano, corn kernels, chicken broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish each bowl of soup with chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp. sour cream, crumbled Queso Fresco and avocado slices and serve.
DEELISH! And so easy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Good news and more truly sad news

I've been so busy with Mom, who at 94 has had to recover from a broken hip, full-time book promotion, working on my next book, keeping up with the garden, the dogs and friends, I just realized I hadn't written a post in a long while. I'm excited about appearing at the LA Times Festival of Books, signing books at the Book Soup booth (#330), which is one of the hippest bookstores in the West and thrilled about all the latest great reviews of Siren's Feast. All that info is posted on my website.

The truly sad news I received was about the passing of a young woman I met last summer at the beautiful wedding I attended on Isla Holbox, off the coast of the Yucatan. Kate Puzey from Georgia, cousin of the bride, who had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, was found murdered outside her hut in the village where she had been living. I am still devastated. I pored over her blog and photos for days. She was a beautiful, brilliant and spirited soul and my heart is broken since I know how close she was to her entire extended family. You can read from her blog and see some of her photos through another site

Some things are just incomprehensible.