Tag Archives | Sarah Addison Allen

Book Club Recipe for LOST LAKE

Today’s post by Ingrid of Edible Tapestry | @EdibleTapestry


Cremini Mushroom & Toasted Pine Nut Risotto

I didn’t make it very far into Lost Lake, only to Page 2, as a matter of fact, before I knew what I wanted to make for my She Reads March post. This is what stopped me in my tracks.

Over dinner, a meal that had consisted wholly of mushrooms simply because they felt like it, they still couldn’t bring themselves to talk of home yet.

And isn’t that how a honeymoon in Paris should be?

Eby and George’s undying love was evident throughout the book, even when told in flashbacks. I kept reading beyond the second page because I just didn’t want to put this book down, but I couldn’t stop thinking about a dinner centered around mushrooms, even when author Sarah Addison Allen tempted me with fire-grilled steaks, French pastries, and a monstrous chocolate cake that was so large it had to be carried by two men to Eby’s farewell party table.

And then, of course, I was kicking myself for never cooking or consuming a meal of just mushroom dishes. Why didn’t I think of that? I adore mushrooms.

Though it isn’t a French dish, I started toasting pine nuts and slicing cremini mushrooms for a risotto. Here is my recipe, but I am including links to a few other mushroom dishes of mine for anyone who might like to use them for a meal consisting “wholly of mushrooms”.

Mushroom and Onion Tart

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Morel & Sautèed Spring Greens with Morel Crespelle

Cremini Mushroom & Toasted Pine Nut Risotto


2 T salted butter

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T minced garlic

1/4 c. pine nuts

1/2 c. sliced cremini mushrooms

1 1/2 c. brown rice

3 c. beef broth

3 c. water

2 T fresh minced parsley

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. grated romano cheese

Salt & pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, combine the oil and butter and place over medium heat until the butter is melted.


Sautè the garlic in the fats until it’s translucent.

Add the mushrooms and slowly brown them.


Toss in the pine nuts to toast, stirring constantly.


As soon as they begin to turn golden brown, add the rice.


Toast the rice, while stirring, until golden.

Start pouring a little of the broth in at a time, while stirring constantly, until it is absorbed. Add the parsley.


Continue adding broth and water until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly, about 40 minutes.

Repeat the process with the cream.


Stir in the cheese before serving. Season with salt & pepper to taste.


Though time consuming, this method makes a creamy risotto that is worth the wait. The end result is rich and beefy. If you prefer to save time and are willing to sacrifice quality but not lose any of the flavor, you could pour all the broth and water, along with the parsley, into the mixture after the rice is toasted to make a pilaf. Just cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and stir occasionally until the rice is tender.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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Picture This: A Visit With Sarah Addison Allen

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Sarah Addison Allen | @SarahAddisonAll

Aligator Picture

This old alligator photo has a vintage vibe I called upon when I created the setting for Lost Lake —  a swampy, quirky resort with a heyday long since passed.  This photo was also used as inspiration for the retro feel of the postcards designed exclusively for the book.  You’ll find the postcards, which include some hidden alligator images, sprinkled throughout the pages of Lost Lake.

* Email readers can click here to see the video.

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Just So You Know

Sarah Addison Allen

Today’s post by New York Times bestselling author,  Sarah Addison Allen | @sarahaddisonall

You fall in love with every book you touch. You never break the spine or tear the pages. That would be cruel. You have secret favorites but, when asked, you say that you could never choose. But did you know that books fall in love with you, too?

They watch you from the shelf while you sleep. Are you dreaming of them, they wonder, in that wistful mood books are prone to at night when they’re bored and there’s nothing else to do but tease the cat.

Remember that pale yellow book you read when you were sixteen? It changed your world, that book. It changed your dreams. You carried it around until it was old and thin and sparkles no longer rose from the pages and filled the air when you opened it, like it did when it was new. You should know that it still thinks of you. It would like to get together sometime, maybe over coffee next month, so you can see how much you’ve both changed.

And the book about the donkey your father read to you every night when you were three, it’s still around — older, a little worse for wear. But it still remembers the way your laughter made its pages tremble with joy.

Then there was that book, just last week, in the bookstore. It caught your eye. You looked away quickly, but it was too late. You felt the rush. You picked it up and stroked your hand over its glassy cover. It knew you were The One. But, for whatever reason, you put it back and walked away. Maybe you were trying to be practical. Maybe you thought there wasn’t room enough, time enough, energy enough.

But you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?
You fall in love so easily.
But just so you know, they do, too.

This essay first appeared as a Valentine’s Day 2010 “More in Store ” feature for Barnes & Noble’s Nook. It is reprinted here with permission.

Sarah’s latest novel is THE PEACH KEEPER, is now available in paperback:

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.

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Literary First Love – Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen

I still remember discovering Lee Smith as a sophomore in high school. Her writing was about people I knew. People like me. Southerners, not New Yorkers. I was amazed that that was allowed. I dove into her books and didn’t come up until I’d read them all. I swam to the surface with hope that someday I’d write stories like that– stories about people I knew.

Later on in high school I discovered Brett Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero and Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. These weren’t about southerners but they were about young people. I knew them too. I still remember the first line of Less Than Zero: “People are afraid to merge.” The main character is talking about driving, but it’s true about life too. I fell in love with words that could mean more than one thing.

It was also in high school that I discovered Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald. I wanted to sit with them in French cafes and discuss the downfall of American society. I wanted to meet Catherine from A Farewell To Arms. I thought about naming my daughter Jordan after the spunky character from Gatsby. These people– who lived long before me and weren’t real– felt as near and as real as my classmates. And perhaps more in touch.

Still later I discovered Alice Hoffman, whose writing was positively  lyrical. Her books were a feast and I devoured them all.

More recently it’s been Jodi Picoult, whose talent for metaphors is envy enducing. And Sarah Addison Allen, whose writing takes me to a place that is not rooted in  any reality I know, even if her books are set in the mountains of my state. I love disappearing into her world, a true escape from my own.

I guess I don’t just have one literary first love. It is my love of reading that sparked this site, this community of other women who have first loves of the literary variety. What were your first loves? And does the sight of them still make your heart beat just a little faster? Welcome to the club.


Marybeth’s lates novel, SHE MAKES IT LOOK EASY hit bookstore shelves last summer. You know what’s especially fun about this novel? She named the main character after me! And I didn’t even have to pay her. 🙂
Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood playdates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.
Soon Ariel realizes there  is  hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection ” isn’t always what it seems to be.
A novel for every woman who has looked at another woman’s life and said, “I want what she has, ”  She Makes It Look Easy  reminds us of the danger of pedestals and the beauty of authentic friendship.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links. ” This means if you click on the link and purchase the book, She Reads will receive an affiliate commission. These commissions help us pay for the site and the services we offer. Regardless, we only recommend books that we have read and loved.

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