And as badly as I want it to last, I'm equally fervent in devouring every last word. And for one...two if I'm lucky...brief days, I visit the world I've been missing. Before I start fantasizing about what's to come next time. And plead with the "author gods" to make insert name here write faster!
So was the case of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I didn't discover it right away. As a matter of fact, though I just finished reading the lastest (book 12), I didn't actually begin reading them until just before book 11 was released. This would be the beginning of 2011. I remember eyeing the new books as they came out over the years. The covers are attention-grabbers. But I'd never picked them up. I don't remember exactly what spurred me to start reading them. It must have been some sort of discussion about True Blood (the HBO series based on the books). And some friends talking about the books. Saying how much they enjoyed them. And me looking for a new series to love...which I often find myself needing between release dates of "my" other beloved series.
book 3 remains one of my favorites in the series.
Anyway, I snatched up the remaining books in quick succession and was finished and eagerly awaiting the release of book 11 when it came out a couple of months later. And then of course I finished it way too quickly and had to wait a whole 'nother year for the next book. Since I'd already caught myself up (I like to read series in order). So when book 12 hit shelves the first day of this month, I had my library copy on reserve. I was finished reading it the following day. Grrrrrr. I can't wait to read it, but I want to savor it, but I can't put it down, but I don't want to finish.... it's a vicious cycle.
my friend Kim went to a book signing with Ms. Harris at the beginning of the month and she announced that there would only be one more book in the Sookie series. However, she also said we'd be seeing some of the characters making appearances in some of her upcoming books. Including one of my favorite characters, whom I always wished would have been more prominent in this series, Quinn (the weretiger). Yay! I'm thinking Sookie will finally choose somebody good for her in the final book. And without giving anything away, all I can say is FINALLY! Unless I'm totally anticipating/foreshadowing in the wrong direction. I look forward to finding out, though.
In Deadlocked (the latest), Sookie seemed to be serving a fair amount of fried pickles to go with the cold beers at Merlotte's. So I decided that I needed to make some fried pickles and a couple of other goodies that get cooked up in the small kitchen of the bar I can imagine myself sitting in. Fortunately, in between books, Ms. Harris gives us bits and pieces of Bon Temps in her short stories and in the Sookie Stackhouse Companion. So these recipes are inspired by and adapted from "actual" Merlotte's recipes. Just me. Hangin' out at Merlotte's with Quinn. Or Alcide. Or Sam. Yes, I like the hot-blooded supes. I mean, I like to feed people afterall. And I'm not talkin' blood here. And I like to eat. And I can't imagine not having the social aspect of all that goes along with food. Sookie can keep the vamps. Although, I admit that Eric is pretty sexy to look at (in my mind and on the series inspired by...).
Spicy Chicken Strips
Prep Time: 8 hours (to marinate)
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Keywords: fry entree chicken spice American
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
- 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
- ~3 pounds. chicken "tenderloins"
- ~3 cups all-purpose flour
- freshly ground black pepper
- oil, for frying
Combine buttermilk, cayenne, and adobo sauce. Place chicken tenderloins in a gallon-size zippered baggie. Pour buttermilk mixture in over the chicken. Seal the baggie tightly. Squish it all around so that all of the chicken is coated. Marinate 8 hours in the fridge.
Heat a couple inches of oil in a large, deep skillet.
Place the flour in a brown paper bag and season generously with salt and pepper. Add a few chicken tenderloins at a time, fold the top of the bag over, and shake it up. Slide chicken (one piece at a time) into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the skillet, do this in batches.
Fry until golden and cooked through. Lift out of the hot oil using a slotted spatula or tongs and let drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing for dipping and some Fried Pickles on the side.
-adapted from/inspired by The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: What's Cookin' in Bon Temps
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: fry snack side vegetarian pickles American
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- couple dashes of Tabasco
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup beer
- whole dill pickles
- oil, for frying
Sift the dry ingredients together. Whisk in Tabasco, milk, and beer.
Blot the outsides of the pickles dry and then slice into thick chips, ~1/4" thick. Dip the pickle chips into the batter and turn to coat. Gently lower into hot oil. Fry, turning once or twice until nice and golden brown.
Enjoy with a cold beer...and maybe some Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing for dipping. Add Spicy Chicken Strips to make it a meal!
-slightly adapted from The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: What's Cookin' in Bon Temps
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: salad condiment vegetarian buttermilk sour cream American
Ingredients (~2 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup sour cream (more as desired)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
Whisk all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Pour into a jar with a lid. Refrigerate and let chill a couple of hours before serving.
Keeps well for at least a week in the fridge.
If you prefer your dressing a bit thicker, stir in more sour cream to reach your desired consistency.
-adapted from The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: What's Cookin' in Bon Temps
And tell me I'm not the only one who contemplates which Supe they would be were they in Bon Temps or somewhere close...