Book Club- “Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home”

June 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I first read this book soon after moving to New York.. To give some perspective, I was 22, being paid in miniature peanuts (not literally, but you get the gist) and sharing a studio apartment with a friend (sleeping head-to-toe in a queen bed). And then here is Kim Sunée–with just one year on me, she is beautiful, exotic, and in possession of an international businessman millionaire boyfriend who whisks her off to the French countryside to cook luxurious dinner parties and lounge by the pool. I must have done something terribly, terribly wrong.

But Kim is deeply dissatisfied with her position and place.  Abandoned by her mother at just 3 years old in a South Korean market and then adopted by a family from New Orleans, she is on a life-long quest of self discovery. She isolates herself from her family, living abroad and is wooed by the founder of L’Occitaine and finds herself his mistress in his enormous house in Provence and globe-trotting around the world with him. Though her situation and misery may be a little unrelatable, the book is still a really enjoyable look into the life of the frenchmen–the strong relations of neighbors, the daily trips to the market. And of course, I love when recipes are included. I also like that some are just tips so you they are easy to apply to whatever you have. For example, some ways she recommends to use truffles:

“Toss cooked fettuccini with cream and shave truffles over. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, a crack of pepper and, if desired, Parmiagiano-Reggiano.” And “Toast baguette slices. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil; sprinkle with fleur de sel and shave truffle slices over.” SO easy, even I can do that.

I’ve had at least 3 PERFECT peaches this week–so ripe the juice dribbles down my chin and I have to eat the whole thing as fast as possible. For this reason, I think this recipe stood out for me and I can’t wait to try it:

Wild Peaches Poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena

6 medium-size ripe wild peaches
1 (750-ml) bottle Lillet Blanc
1/3 cup sugar
2 to 3 tbsp. honey
1 (3-inch) piece orange rind
Squeeze of fresh orange juice (from  quarter) 4 to 5 fresh lemon verbena sprigs, plus leaves for garnish.

Cut an X in blossom end of each peach. Plunge in boiling water, about 30 seconds. remove and peel peaches. Place peeled peaches in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour Lillet Blanc over. Add sugar, honey, orange rind and juice. Gently crush lemon verbena leaves with hands to release fragrance and add sprigs to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and poach, occasionally turning peaches gently for even cooking, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on ripeness) or until peaches are tender when pierced gently with tip of knife. Carefully remove peaches and place in a  large serving bowl. Turn heat to high and cook poaching liquid 6 to 8 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Pour over peaches. Let cool and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with more lemon verbena leaves. This is also delicious with a swirl of creme fraiche or soft vanilla ice crème fraîche and grated Amaretti di Saronno cookies. Serves 6

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