The White Iris by Sandy MacDonald

This book was chosen for our book club last month…and the woman who chose it was quite sure that she’d win ‘best book’ this year with this comical look at three eccentric women in rural Nova Scotia.

The White Iris was written by lawyer Sandy MacDonald and after reading it (well, trying to read it) I would humbly suggest that he not give up his day job. The story is hardly the sparkling and witty examination of environmental issues it claims to be. For me- it was a diatribe of a novel peopled by stock characters, pedestrian prose and enough lifeless filler for three novels.

Worst book I’ve read this year.

FOOD
Oven Roasted Shrimp with Toasted Garlic and Red Chile Oil

24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Red Chile Oil, recipe follows
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Toasted Garlic Chips, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the shrimp in a cazuela or an ovenproof casserole and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle olive oil over shrimp, add crushed garlic, and toss to coat. Roast in the oven until pink and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drizzle generously with Red Chile Oil and sprinkle with thyme and Toasted Garlic Chips. Serve with crusty bread.

Red Chile Oil:
1 cup olive oil
6 dried chiles de arbol, lightly toasted and crushed
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
Blend all ingredients including the thyme leaves in a blender until smooth.. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.

Toasted Garlic Chips:
1 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt
Heat the oil in a small skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and cook until the slices begin to brown and curl. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels and season with salt.

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