Most of you know that I’m a book lover. I’ve published three children’s books and continue to work on other projects.
Even before I was a writer, though, I was a reader. I don’t use an e-reader, and one of the joys of reading actual books is going to a bookstore to buy them. Ever since I was a university student who rewarded herself for finishing big projects with a new book, I’ve gravitated to small, independent bookstores. There’s nothing like getting to know the staff personally, and having them recommend books based on what they know I’d love.
That’s why I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be participating in the first Canadian Authors for Indies Day. This celebration lets authors thank independent booksellers for both their hard work and their passion for the written word. We’ll show our support by working in their stores for an hour or two, and by talking to customers about some of the books we love.
If you live in the Etobicoke/Toronto area and would like to join me, I’ll be at A Novel Spot bookstore at 270 The Kingsway between 2:00 and 4:00 on Saturday, May 2. I’m looking forward to recommending some of my favourite books, and to meeting the other great authors who will be there.
And if you love to read but don’t live in Toronto, please visit your favourite local bookstore on May 2 - or on any day!
On the topic of books, I hosted my book group this past week. We had a great discussion about a terrific book. (If you haven’t read Station Eleven, why don’t you pick it up on May 2?) And I served these two delicious, make-ahead appetizers.
Camembert and Fig Skewers with Balsamic Sauce
(from The Appetizer Collection)
8 ounces (225 grams) Camembert cheese or Brie cheese
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
12 dried figs, quartered
2 tsp granulated sugar
Cut cheese into 48 cubes and thread 1 piece onto each of 48 skewers.
In small saucepan, heat orange juice and balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat. Add figs and simmer until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer figs to sieve set over bowl.
Bring orange juice mixture to boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in sugar. Transfer to serving bowl and let cool.
Thread fig pieces onto skewers alongside cheese. Serve with sauce for dipping.
(Make this up to six hours ahead. Cover and store in refrigerator.)
Eggplant Rolls with Goat Cheese and Mint
(inspired by The Appetizer Collection)
2 large eggplants
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces (280 grams) soft goat cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream
16 fresh mint leaves
Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices, discarding outermost slices with skin. Sprinkle all over with salt and arrange in single layer on baking sheets.
Brush both sides of eggplant with oil; bake on parchment-paper lined baking sheets in 400 degree oven, turning once, until golden and softened, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Remove skin with a sharp paring knife.
Meanwhile, in bowl, mash together goat cheese and cream; set aside.
Place 1 Tbsp filling at one end of eggplant strip and top with a mint leaf. Roll up to enclose stuffing. Skewer rolls with toothpicks. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
(Make up to 24 hours ahead. Cover and store in refrigerator.)