Shanghai Girls is written by Lisa See who also wrote Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, both of which I also read. Shanghai Girls is the story of May and Pearl when they are young women. The story begins in Shanghai in the late 1930s and ends during the Chairman Mao days. May and Pearl are beautiful young women from a privileged background, but their father needs to pay off gambling debts and sells them as brides to a Chinese businessman for his sons. The businessman and his family live in America and May and Pearl have no desire to live in America and try to thwart the plans. They do end up going to America and finding that all is not as they have been told. But they too have their secrets, such as the daughter May gives birth to and Pearl raises as her own. The book is about the relationship of the sisters and how their lives evolve. The ending of the book will leave you anticipating a sequel. I enjoyed reading this.
The Sweet Life in Paris is authored by David Lebovitz, who is a pastry chef, chocoholic, author of cookbooks, and food blogger. He left a comfortable life in San Francisco to live in a cramped apartment in Paris. The book is about his adjustment to life in Paris and Parisians, and is also filled with recipes. Many of the recipes contain chocolate — no surprise. I too like good chocolate — but I can also live without it. I did enjoy reading about his adventures in Paris, and I also love reading recipes. I am tempted to try his recipe for madeleines, dulce de leche brownies, warm goat cheese salad, fig-olive tapenade, and the tomato and sourdough bread salad. They all sounded yummy.
I have been buying fresh sweet corn at the farm market, and rather than roasting it AGAIN in the oven, I gave the fashionista a new recipe to try on Monday. And she made it — but said it was a lot of work. She had to cut the kernels off four ears of corn, which she had never done before. The corn salad she made turned out very well, and we will definitely make this recipe again. The salad consists of fresh corn kernels, a diced avocado, diced fresh mozzarella, and halved grape or cherry tomatoes. The dressing is fresh cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper put through the blender or food processor.
Saturday after the farm market I headed over to Thai Binh, an Asian market close to where we live. I found a recipe for an Asian noodle salad that I want to make, so I was shopping for ingredients. I bought some fresh vegetables there also — a package of three Chinese eggplants marked down to $1.33, cilantro, napa cabbage, limes 5/$1 — in addition to the fish sauce, vegetarian soy sauce, and rice vermicelli. Oh — and green beans since the farm market had none. I think I will buy more of my produce there — it is less expensive than the chain grocery stores and likely fresher.
I needed to do something right away with the eggplants, so I made a ratatouille with sliced eggplant, zucchini, kalamata olives, onion, garlic, olive oil, and an assortment of tomatoes. I say assortment because I threw in a can of seasoned diced tomatoes, a handful of grape tomatoes, and two yellow tomatoes that needed to be used asap. The fashionista was not sure about the ratatouille, but we had it for dinner and she topped hers with plain yogurt. We also had feta and olives, pita, and a bit of hummus. Made a lovely dinner. And she said she would definitely eat it again.
I want to make the noodle salad soon, and I have been craving vegetable fried rice since we ate some at Pei Wei a couple of weeks ago. And I have been searching for more zucchini and yellow squash recipes.