Reading with a Side Of…

As soon as I read this month’s book I knew I was going to have to share it with everyone.  Plus, I knew I had to find the perfect recipe to accompany it.

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

One morning five boys went into the woods to go deer hunting.  They were best friends and each was carrying a gun.  Hours later only four came back.  No one knows what happened to Grant or who pulled the trigger that ended his life but Kate Marino is determined to find out who murdered the boy with whom she had shared a secret connection.  Kate is going to use her internship with the District Attorney’s office to investigate the death of one of the wealthiest boys in her small Louisiana town.  Kate will uncover secrets of a murder plot that may put her life in danger.

This book grabbed me at page one and didn’t let go which was surprising because I am not a big mystery fan.  Elston pieced together a compelling murder mystery that never stops being twisty or surprising.  Kate is a fabulous female lead.  She is scrappy and has the gumption needed when you are tying to take down one of the sons of the wealthiest people in your small town.  Everything Kate does is in pursuit of justice.  Her story is part family drama, a little romance, with just a dash of Veronica Mars mixed in and it was wonderful.  Elston leaves a trail of breadcrumb clues for the reader to follow that lead to a surprising and completely satisfying conclusion that left this reader very happy.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5

Now, for the food.  I immediately knew the recipe that would perfect match this book would have to do with hunting and I think I found just the perfect thing.  This recipe is from one of my favorite celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Venison Stew found on Food

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds venison stew meat
1/4 cup flour
Essence, recipe follows
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
4 cups brown stock
Salt and black pepper
Crusty bread
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
In a large pot, over high heat, add the olive oil. In a mixing bowl, toss the venison with flour and Essence. When the oil is hot, sear the meat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, basil, thyme, and bay leaves to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the brown stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the stew for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the meat is very tender. If the liquid evaporates too much add a little more stock.

Remove the stew from the oven and serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread.

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse


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