Thursday, May 10, 2018

Amy Poeppel's "twist" on comfort food...plus a book giveaway

We're so glad to have Amy Poeppel here during Food Month to celebrate the recent publication of her sophomore novel, Limelight. (And no, it's not about limes.) Melissa A has already added this book to her 2018 Favorites list! (Check out her review.) Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications, we have TWO copies to give away. It's perfect to share with the Broadway fan in your life (and also enjoy for yourself, whether or not you love Broadway too).

Amy Poeppel is also the author of  SMALL ADMISSIONS. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she lives with her husband and three sons in New York City. She workshopped a theatrical version of SMALL ADMISSIONS at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. Her writing has appeared on The Rumpus, The Higgs Weldon, Mock Mom, and Working Mother. (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Amy online:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Synopsis:
Allison Brinkley—wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist—discovers that a carefully weighed decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought.

Allison learns that New York is unruly and bewildering, defying the notions she developed from romantic movies and a memorable childhood visit. After a humiliating call from the principal’s office and the loss of the job she was counting on, Allison begins to accept that New York may not suit her after all.

When Allison has a fender-bender, witnessed by a flock of mothers at her son’s new school, she is led to the penthouse apartment of a luxurious Central Park West building and encounters a spoiled, hungover, unsupervised teenager who looks familiar. It doesn’t take long to recognize him as Carter Reid—a famous pop star who has been cast in a new Broadway musical. Through this brush with stardom, Allison embraces a unique and unexpected opportunity that helps her find her way in the heart of Manhattan.
(Courtesy of Amazon.)


Food, Glorious Food!

When I was about ten years old, I went to see a high school production of the musical Oliver! It may have been terrible, but I was young, and I absolutely loved this high-spirited show adapted from the classic Dickens novel. The cast was singing and dancing to the exuberant song Food, Glorious Food, and I was delighted. I remember thinking, “Food and musicals will always be two of my favorite things!”

Forty-something years later, and I’m still a foodie and theater buff. As I was writing my new novel Limelight, set in New York City, I knew that eating and acting were going to play important roles in the story. Limelight is the story of Allison, a mother of three, who becomes the personal assistant to a famous teenaged popstar. Like it or not, Carter Reid is about to make his acting debut on a celebrated Broadway stage. The problem is that Carter is a train wreck. When Allison first meets him, injured, hungover, and alone, what is her first instinct? To bring him a meal. When her husband asks her why she’s going to the popstar’s penthouse to help him after he’s been so rude to her, she explains: “Bringing food to Carter was a no-brainer, he was hungry and I was a mother.”

Limelight is full of food delivery, fancy restaurants, and what I think of as upscale family meals. (Think Ina Garten’s roast chicken.) As my own kids got older and their palates got more sophisticated, I still cooked some of their favorites from childhood. One of those meals appears in Limelight when Allison goes to Carter’s condo and cooks for him. The menu: macaroni and cheese and roasted broccoli. Whether you’re cooking for a mega-star with a brutal hangover or your own family, this meal will be a hit. It is comfort food at its finest.

Here are my recipes, but FYI, full disclosure, I’m not a cook and I’m definitely not one for sticking too closely to the rules! Feel free to make substitutions, especially if you want to reduce the calories.

Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. dried elbow pasta
1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups half and half
4 cups grated cheddar cheese 
2 cups grated cheese of your choice: Gruyere, muenster, or havarti
1 package of Boursin cheese, preferably with pepper

Make a roux with butter and flour and then slowly stir in the whole milk and half and half. When the white sauce has thickened, stir in about 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese and 2 cups of gruyere (or whatever you choose). Meanwhile, boil water and cook the elbow noodles, about a minute underdone. Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce and then put half of mixture into a buttered 9 x 13-inch pan. Crumble a layer of Boursin cheese (all of it) on top, then add the remaining pasta mixture. Top with the remaining cup of grated cheddar. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Before serving, feel free to put crumbled crispy bacon on top.

Roasted broccoli
Whenever I forget the details on this simple recipe, I consult Ina Garten!
I like to cut the broccoli up into pretty small pieces for this recipe. In a large bowl, mix about 4 cups of broccoli florets with olive oil (to lightly coat) and salt and pepper. I always add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes, but feel free to leave that out if you’re not a fan of spicy. Also optional: add chopped or sliced garlic. Roast the broccoli at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. When you take it out, you can add parmesan cheese or lemon juice if you like.

As the kids sing in Oliver!

Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed --
Still worth a king's ransom!


Enjoy!

Thanks to Amy for sharing her recipes with us and to Kathleen Carter Communications for sharing Limelight with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends May 15th at midnight EST.


26 comments:

Janine said...

What comes to mind first is Eat, Pray, Love.

Carla S. said...

Macaroni and cheese is my go-to comfort food.

traveler said...

Comfort food for me is delectable homemade chicken soup with a crusty baguette or challah.

Carla said...

Comfort food - meatloaf

Linda Kish said...

Pizza or peanut butter and jelly are my comfort foods. I like things simple.

Lisamarie said...

Chicken Tortilla soup is one of my favorite comfort foods

Faith Creech said...

Favorite comfort food is tea and scones!

Kate Vocke said...

My favorite comfort food is fruit. Any kind about mostly berries :)

Mary said...

Favorite comfort food is dumplings.

susieqlaw said...

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

Rita Wray said...

Roast and potatoes. Chocolate cake for dessert.

Dianne Casey said...

Pot roast is my favorite comfort food.

bn100 said...

meatloaf

Mary Preston said...

Fruit for me - less guilt too.

Grandma Cootie said...

Anything my mom used to cook, like meatloaf, mac & cheese, pot roast.

Lesley McIntosh said...

My comfort food would be pumpkin soup or seafood chowder served with garlic bread

Laura K. Curtis said...

Comfort food for me is basically anything with tons of carbs. I love beef stew with loads of noodles, or spaghetti, or a loaf of bread and some cheese....:D

Melanie Backus said...

Chips and salsa are my comfort go tos.

Jennifer said...

A latte and gummy bears are my comfort foods!

John Smith said...

"In the spirit of Waitress, what food-themed movie should be made into a musical?
OR
What is your favorite comfort food?"

In the spirit of Waitress, I think "Like Water For Chocolate" would be good, because it's romantic and beautiful!
AND
My favorite comfort food is fried shrimp!

rubynreba said...

My comfort food is ice cream.

RD said...

Mashed potatoes!

Kristy F said...

My fav comfort food is crackers, preferably Cheez-its.

Tatum Rangel said...

Popcorn is my comfort food. :)

Linda May said...

Pizza is my comfort food. Thanks for this generous giveaway.

Patricia said...

Pasta or pizza or ice cream. Or maybe all three?