Well, today we have, on the Finished Book Pile, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, an elegantly written and richly imagined novel by Olga Grushin.
At first, I wasn't so sure. A quick glance over the jacket copy left me reluctant to plunge in. The story centers on the 50-something protagonist. Who wants to read a book about someone in their 50s? I thought before I, of course, remembered that I'm in, er, that is, near, er, that is, closer than some of you to my 50s.
And who would want to read a book set in Russia, the most frozen and depressing place on earth? But Sukhanov's Russia is a place of champagne, fine wool coats, parties under chandeliers. He belongs to the privileged class, you see, although events fix that. Best say no more, lest I give things away.
The story can get a little confusing as it shifts between the real world and Sukhanov's dream world. It took me a couple rounds to recognize the we're-in-dream-world signals, but I picked up on it. At the very end, though, I wasn't sure what was real and what was not.
I liked it. And no cow patties.
As for your recipe, I've got a menu for you today. When I fixed this for guests, they accused me of cooking all day. Nope, this meal wasn't all that back-breaking. I spent a half hour in the afternoon, making (and I have posted this one before):
Cashew Turkey Pasta Salad (except I use chicken)
An hour or so before serving time, you can start on:
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
When the mousse is done, start right in on the main dish:
Raspberry Chicken Sandwiches
I find Taste of Home's version a little unwieldy, so here's my version:
1 cup chili sauce
3/4 cup raspberry preserves
2 TB red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 TB dijon mustard
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 TB olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 sandwich buns
6 slices Muenster or Provolone cheese
Flatten chicken breasts to 1/4-in. thickness. Place in a ziploc bag. Add oil, salt and pepper. Seal bag and turn to coat.
Coat grill rack with PAM before starting the grill. In a small saucepan, combine chili sauce, preserves, vinegar & mustard. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Set aside half for serving and use the remaining sauce for basting.
Grill chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until juices run clear, basting frequently the raspberry sauce. Top with cheese. Remove and place on buns. Serve with lettuce and more raspberry sauce. YIELD: 6 servings, 495 cals. ea.
My guests brought Sun Chips and a salad of spinach, strawberries and almonds. We ate hearty, then we played games in which the quiet ones among us revealed their competitive side.