I am always amazed at the wonderful variety of recipes and balance of flavors we sample at our quarterly book club meetings. Last week's meeting was no exception.
The Master's Wall by Sandi Rog
Co-coordinator Missy Jones and I planned appetizers, desserts and decor inspired by our book selection, The Master's Wall by Sandi Rog. We set our tables with foods common to Bible times: grapes, olives, herbed cheese and crackers, pistachios, crusty bread and Parmesan olive oil. We asked guests to bring a favorite soup, salad or stew, and Missy treated us to baklava for dessert.
Two of our ladies brought white bean chicken chili. This crave-worthy soup was creamy and comforting with just enough spice to keep it interesting.
White Bean Chicken Chili
This is a great soup to serve to a crowd on a fall evening. Adjust the amount of Rotel according to your preference.
1 (32-ounce block) Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup3 cups chicken broth4 chicken breasts boiled and cut into pieces or 3 (12-ounce) cans of white meat chicken, drained4 cans white navy beans2 (10-ounce cans) Rotel1 loaf white mountain or sourdough bread, sliced for dipping
Place the cubed Velveeta in the crock pot on low and stir until melted (or you can melt it on the stove with a little of the broth and transfer it to the crock pot when it is melted). Add the remainder of the ingredients to the crock pot and stir until mixed. Cook on low for about two hours. Serve with the sliced bread, which is delicious dipped in the soup.
Sipping a steaming cup of coffee while we nibble our baklava and chat by phone with author Sandi Rog -- an excellent Tuesday night in my book.
Missy baked our baklava hours before our book club and kept it uncovered to prevent the flaky Phyllo layers from drying out.
1 (16-ounce) package Phyllo dough3/4 pound finely chopped nuts3 sticks butter1 tablespoon ground cinnamon1 cup water1 cup white sugar2 teaspoons vanilla extract1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2–3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6–8 sheets deep. Using a sharp knife, cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows to make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
Still to come, an interview with author Sandi Rog and the announcement of our next book!