Author's Website: http://www.susanmallery.com/
Susan Mallery brings her Fool's Gold series that much more to life by creating a cookbook with a love story baked within its pages. What a novel idea. *smirk*
Ana Raquel Hopkins and Greg Clary have been at odds since they were seven when he stole the stage as Prince Charming to her Cinderella. Through the years they competed against one another for one thing or another, poor Ana always being outdone by Greg at every turn. If she had to sum her thoughts up of the man in one word she would choose the word annoying. Now, six years since she left Fool's Gold, she's back and her arch nemesis is at it once again. While pitching to the mayor that the town create a cookbook with recipes for the local town folk combined with some of her own and popular festival specialty food, she find out that annoying Greg Clary had proposed the same idea to the mayor just the week before. Now they have to work together to create the town's cookbook. Unbeknownst to her, however, he's once again looking to win something else away from her. This time it's her heart.
This was an utterly charming and adorable cookbook and the food was good to boot. While the love story would definitely be categorized as short but sweet, I love that the characters were creating a town cookbook together and this is apparently the result. If you're a fan of the series, you are definitely going to want this cookbook.
Susan prefaces this book with a little note about how this book came into being and talks about how at age 13, with no idea how to cook or go about it, she threw her first dinner party. Let's just say her mom saved the day by ordering pizza, thereby saving her dinner party/sleep over. While things didn't go as planned, she learned a lot from the failure and this cookbook proves that.
The cookbook is divided up by season according to when the ingredients in each recipe are in the height of season or would be most desired. Nestled between each season are the chapters of Ana and Greg's love story. Recipes that the two talk about are intermingled with others within the book. I made quite a few of the recipes all ready and plan to make several more. Each one I tried was delicious, well, with the exception of the Beet and Carrot Slaw for which I must confess to never liking beets. Even so, while I didn't like it, I didn't exactly dislike it either which, if you know me, actually says a lot.
The level of difficulty of each recipe varies, so I suggest you look over all that each one entails before deciding if you want to attempt it. As for the availability of ingredients, I was able to find each one, although at first I questioned how easy it would be to find the goat cheese. I'd never actually looked for or noticed it in the deli cases of my local grocery store before.
So, as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and while I didn't cook any pudding, I did try several of the recipes. Here are some of my favorites. While I didn't like the beets, I absolutely loved the breaded pork chops: