The best part of promoting this delightful book this week was learning how to type the word irresistible correctly the first time. Took a while, but I think I've got it. Who knew irresistible was one of my uh-oh words? Let me say that Jill had me in chapter 1 with salt and vinegar potato chips. If they didn't taste so yucky with Oreos, I would've brought some to this week's meeting. I agree with Jill's character Maddie: they do cure a WORLD of hurts. Not sure if it's the vinegar, the chips or the salt—perhaps all three—but they rank right up there with Oreos as one of my favorite food groups. Speaking of Oreos, I haven't seen Mr. Oreo today. Must rectify that... Anyway, about the book...
My co-hostess this week is Kris Gilson, who suggested this book and invited Jill to join us today. So, without further ado, here's Kris with some thoughts about the book and a couple of yummy-sounding recipes!
I loved reading Simply Irresistible. Jill’s books always have a great blend of humor and sweetness. Our heroine, Maddie, is just out of a bad relationship, her life is in the toilet, and she doesn’t want to be involved with any man. But she can’t help but gravitate toward Jax. I love those characters who, when they’re around that one person, they just can’t think straight or keep their resolve.
As the story progresses, we learn more about Jax and how he found himself in the position of turning into a type of person he didn’t want to be and made some serious changes. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him, too! He is such a sweet, caring, and protective man, always helping out those in need and giving back to his community.
My favorite scene is when Jax is on the jet ski to bring in the shrimp boat parade and it is freezing out. The person who guesses the right number of shrimp gets to kiss the Mayor (Jax) and a bunch of townspeople submit Maddie’s name mulitple times in an effort to get her to win. She is mad at Jax from a fight the previous night, but kissed him anyway and then whispers that it could have been Lucille (one of the older women in town) kissing him. I just thought that was a funny scene and Maddie saying Lucille could have won in her place was a pretty laugh-out-loud ending.
I also really liked it when Jax was chopping wood for Maddie and she makes him go shirtless just so she can ogle him. Now that left me with some smokin’ hot images!
Maddie had known that Jax was keeping stuff from her and she shows her anger and hurt at him for doing that. But, when all the secrets come out, she seems more easily forgiving of her sister. I thought that she should have been a little angry at her sister for at least a little bit. What did you think: was it typical of Maddie’s character to easily forgive her sister or would you have expected her to show her anger and hurt similar to how she reacted with Jax? Let's hear what you thought of the book!
Because I rarely entertain and being a part of this book club is very special to me, I’m making my favorite goat cheese pizza. AND of course, in honor of both Marie and Jill, what would this book club be without cookies??? The triple chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies are fabulous with plenty of chocolate (did you see the word “triple”!!!), but also some cranberry and oatmeal so you can convince yourself they’re HEALTHY!!!
Shiitake and Chanterelle Pizzas with Goat Cheese Dough
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour
• 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour or bread flour
• 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten flour or bread flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (105°F to 115°F)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• Additional unbleached all purpose flour (for kneading and shaping)
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
• 6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
• 6 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, thinly sliced
• 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
• 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 6 ounces chilled soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
• 2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives
Combine all flours, coarse salt, and sugar in processor. Stir 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water and yeast in 2-cup measuring cup. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons oil. With machine running, pour yeast-oil mixture through feed tube. Blend until ball of slightly sticky dough forms, about 1 minute.
Transfer dough to lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if very sticky, about 5 minutes. Rub with 1/2 tablespoon oil; place in resealable 1-gallon plastic bag. Seal bag. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours. Open bag; punch down dough in bag. Reseal. Chill overnight, punching down occasionally. Divide into thirds. DO AHEAD Wrap pieces separately; freeze up to 1 week. Thaw 2 pieces in refrigerator before continuing. Let 2 wrapped pieces stand at room temperature 1 hour before shaping.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.
Sprinkle 2 large sheets of parchment with flour. Roll out 2 dough pieces, each on separate parchment sheet, to 10-inch rounds, letting dough rest a few minutes if springing back. Brush with oil; sprinkle each with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan. Top with mushrooms, then dot with goat cheese. DO AHEAD Slide pizzas on parchment onto baking sheets; cover with plastic. Chill up to 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Position 1 rack in bottom third and1 rack in top third of oven; place heavy baking sheet on each and preheat oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes. Slide 1 pizza on parchment onto each hot baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes; reverse sheets. Bake pizzas until crusts are brown at edges and on bottom, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chives.
Triple-Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
2 ounces milk chocolate or white chocolate, chopped (for drizzling)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in all chocolate chips and cranberries.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
Stir chopped milk chocolate in top of double boiler until melted and smooth. Using small spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cookies in zigzag pattern. Let stand until milk chocolate sets, about 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)