The Monsters of Templeton: Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

The Monsters of Templeton

This month’s book club selection was the Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. I admit this was an ambitious piece of literature, family secrets, ghosts, sea monsters, a complete family lineage going back several generations, a student’s affair with her professor, a best friend dealing with a terrible disease, an unwanted pregnancy, and a girl’s search for her father. However this was just way too much information for one book. the main idea was so watered down by the enormous cast of characters that I ended up just not caring about any of  them.It made it a difficult book to read but that also made it a great book for book club. There were many things to discuss and dissect. I think the discussions are always better when everyone doesn’t love the book. (usually I am the everyone, I can be a bit critical)

Some of us even dressed as “The Running Buds, a group of friends that have run together for years and who may or may not be important characters in the book. They were just the easiest costume, headbands, running shorts etc… Unfortunately I don’t have a sea monster outfit in my costume box. The food didn’t jump right out at you in this book but there was a lot of it if you paid attention ( I didn’t really ) I chose to make my version of Tomatoes Farci, Willie mentions this is her favorite dish when her mother makes it for her. We have quite a few vegetarians so I stuffed my tomatoes with goat cheese and mushrooms instead of meat. Another great one was a Huevos Rancheros casserole, Willie’s mom also makes this during an eventful breakfast in the book.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

10 Campari Tomatoes ( or 4 large for a meal)

1 T olive oil

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms, (I used baby bellas and porcini)

2 T chopped shallot

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 c chopped tomato

2 T chopped parsley

1/4 c white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

1 T balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1 3 1/2 oz log goat cheese

Core tomatoes and remove seeds and pulp, leaving just a shell.( if using a large tomato, cut top off and scoop out insides, leaving a bowl) In a large pan. Add oil and saute mushrooms, shallot and garlic, until mushrooms are soft and shallot is translucent. add tomato, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumb, cheese and parsley. Let cool.

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Stuff tomatoes with the cheese and mushroom mixture , place in an oven safe dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese slightly browns on top.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

(oops, so excited for book club I didn’t take a picture of the final product, but they looked the same with a slightly brown top)

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Gone Girl Book Club: Crepe-a-Dillas

Gone Girl

This month’s book selection was the suspenseful mystery Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was the perfect book for book club, lots to discuss, surprising twists, crazy characters and a unique writing style. I liked it a lot, but I may be biased because it was actually my pick. That also meant that book club was at my house so I had to really bring it with the food. Hmm where to start, how about the beginning, on the day Amy goes missing she is makes crepes for their 5th anniversary breakfast. Crepes are not generally a finger food though and since there is always tons of food at out book clubs, the portion size would be too big. So I thought about it and decided to make my own surprising twist on quesadillas, crepe-a-dillas. Individual triangles of crepe-y goodness, perfect for parties.

Crepe-a-dillas

Crepe-A-Dillas

Filling:

8 0z marscapone cheese

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/4 c lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

3 T honey

10 crepes (you could make your own, but I used pre made ones found in my produce section of the grocery store, flour tortillas would also work)

Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 c sugar

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c water

For the filling,  mix all ingredients with a mixer  until incorporated. To make crepe-a-dillas lay one crepe flat, spread thin layer of filling on crepe, fold in half and then cut into wedges with pizza cutter of knife.

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Place on a plate and put wax paper or plastic wrap between layers to prevent sticking, place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the sauce, add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Place in small bowl and cover. Cool in the refrigerator.

I also made a Chicken Frito Pie, just like the nice woman brought Nick after his wife disappeared which I will share the recipe to in my next post. We also had members bring manchego cheese, chocolate truffles, chili cheese fritos and casseroles, all thematic for the book.

For decorations I really wanted to have live lobsters in a pot (too mean), so I looked for fake ones but I couldn’t find them. I also wrapped a large box in a blue plastic table cloth from the dollar store ( I couldn’t find plain blue wrapping paper anywhere) for the centerpiece. I had a number 5 candle in my crepe-a-dillas. I also thought it would be fun to make some fun quizzes for book club like the ones Amy wrote for magazines.

Caution tape by the front door would have been a nice touch but I thought of that after book club.

I kept a bowl of red jelly beans close by for our discussions so that they could be throw at people for fun if you disagreed with their thoughts about the book. By the way I am still finding red jelly beans in and under my couch. Gone Girl Book Club

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