Friday, July 29, 2016

Corelli's Mandolin: A Book Review with a Book Inspired Recipe #BookClubCookbookCC

I finished our very last selection of the Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew this morning.  It's hard tto believe that this year long journey, started by my friend Cam of Cooking Adventures with Camilla and sponsored the the authors of the Book Club Cookbook, Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, has come to an end.

Cam gathered eleven fellow bloggers and we were each provided with a copy of the cookbook to raffle off when it was our month to host.  Some of us were also given a copy for our own use but I had purchased mine prior to that incentive.  It was incentive enough for me to just join in on one of Cam's events.  They are always so much fun.  You can find out more about how this started and get links to a years worth of wonderful book inspired recipes by going to Cam's BCCBCC index on her blog.

Cam started this event by choosing one of the books featured in the cookbook.  The rest of the crew were then each assigned a month and were able to choose the book from the cookbook from which the rest would be inspired.  Cam is now finishing this year by, once again, choosing a book that we could read and be inspired or just read about it in the cookbook and be inspired.  She chose Corelli's Mandolin.  You can read more at her invitation post.

Image result for corelli's mandolin

I started this historical novel, set during WWII on the Greek Island of Cephallonia, at the beginning of July.  The book starts off slow and when I finally got to the meat of the story and it grabbed my interest, my out of town guests arrived and reading time was sparse.  Not believing I was going to finish it before the end of the month, I posted my recipe for Gluten Free Spinach Pie, as inspired by what I had read and the cookbook itself.

My guests left a few days ago and I ended up finishing this novel this morning.  I am a huge historical fiction fan.  When I, and I daresay, most Americans think of WWII we think of Germany, Russia and Poland.  I don't know why I don't think of Italy because I know that was where my father was stationed during the war and I never, ever considered Greece or it's tiny Island of Cephallonia. Perhaps, as I was to learn from the novel, because the USA forgot about Greece who had been occupied by the Italian army under order of Mussolini.

The novel depicted very well the tragedies and horrors of war on all involved.  I am always amazed that such evil men as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin were able to so easily sway and bully the populace to their beliefs and narcissistic agendas.  I am even more frightened that we still see it today in people like Putin, Bin Ladin and scared to death that we are seeing it in our own country during this presidential election.

But, mostly, this is a love story of an Italian soldier and those who know him.  It is the story of Pelagia who is very young and headstrong as the story begins and is being raised by a single father who is very progressive for the times.  They are forced to house this Italian soldier, Carelli, and slowly they learn that the world is not black and white.  Not all of any nationality is bad nor is it good.  There is grace and evil in each religion, race and nationality.  That many people are just not strong enough to stand for their beliefs and that a person's job and assignment does not signify whether they are good, evil or, as most of us, a little of each.

My inspiration, after reading this novel, was much different from the Spinach Pie chosen by the authors of the cookbook.  I am sharing with you today a Snail Pilaf.  Snails play a very important role in this novel.  They are introduced in the beginning as Pelagia and her family forage for wild snails to help allay their hunger caused by the war, mentioned several more times throughout the span of 50 some years and then show up again at the end of the book in a pilaf.  I won't tell you more about the novel than I have as I don't want to include spoilers.

I made my pilaf with quinoa since that is one of the grains allowed today on my new eating plan. Feel free to use rice if you prefer.  Snails are not listed as one of the proteins that I'm allowed but I am sure that it is fine since every other shellfish is included.  Other than that this was a perfect Phase 3 meal containing 4 servings.

Oh my Goodness.  The umami of this dish made me swoon.
The nuttiness of the quinoa matched with the smooth, silkiness of the snails was a perfect match.
Join me over at Foodies Read and see what the others are reading.

Snail Pilaf

1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 small stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 (8 oz.) can snails, cleaned
1 c. rainbow quinoa
2 c. vegetable stock
2 T. parsley, chopped
Lemon wedges for garnish

Heat olive oil over med high heat in large saucepan.  Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables start to get tender.  Add the snails and quinoa.  Stir and cook for a few minutes before adding the stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Stir in parsley. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve with a wedge of lemon.  Print Recipe


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