Bookclub 2008 A Feast in the Garden


June was my month to host the lovely ladies of my book-club at my home. We have enough members so that I only get to host once a year or less.  If I am able I usually try to pick June because we can gather in my garden and enjoy a relaxing evening.

In our club the hostess gets to choose the book so this month I chose  “Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison Allen. We all enjoyed the book and had a huge discussion over whether or not we would want to know what the most import moment in our life was going to be if given the chance- which is one of the components of the story. I’m not telling you more- go read it for yourself. 🙂 I’ve also just finished Ms. Allen’s new book, “Sugar Queen” and I enjoyed it as well. Her writing reminds me of Alice Hoffman’s (I picked her book,  “The Probable Future”for a past book-club) but with a bit of southern flavour.


Herbs and flowers incorporated into recipes are integral to the story so I planned a menu with this in mind.  I have lots of recipes to share so I’ve decided to list the menu and show you pictures but spread the recipes over my next several posts. Here’s what I prepared:


  •  Spiced Pecans
  • Crudites with Creamy Herb Dip
  • Sun Dried Tomato and Cheese Baked Spread with Garlic Crostini
  •  Minted Limeade
  • Home-brewed Mighty Leaf  Orange Dulce and Vanilla Bean Iced Tea with Lemon Verbena Sugar Syrup
  • Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass Vichyssoise
  • Spring Mix Salad with Raspberries, Mint and Pecans
  • Garden Rice Salad with Tomatoes, Peas and Herbs
  • Green Onion Biscuits with Bourbon Glazed Ham
  • Crustless Fresh Lump Crab Quiche
  • Coconut Cake with Brambleberry Jam and Candied Violets (served with Spotted Dog Creamery’s Huckleberry Chip Ice Cream)




The first recipe I’m posting for the spiced pecans is super easy and flexible – add the herbs and spices you like, increase or decrease the amount easily:

Spiced Pecans

  • 5 cups of pecan halves

  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted (my standing rule is no margarine anywhere near my house)

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons molasses

  • 1 Tablespoon good tasting wild flower honey

  • 1/2 Tablespoon good chile powder (I use Rick’s)

  • pinch of cayenne

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt, use fine grind

  • a few grinds of black pepper

  • 1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence or just dried thyme, crumbled

Line a baking tray large enough for the pecans to spread out in one layer- if your sheet is not large enough use two or bake in batches and split the coating ingredients between them. Preheat your oven to 350F and roast the pecans for about 15 minutes (watch them carefully so they don’t burn)  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl large enough to add the hot pecans. Remove the pecans from the oven, add to the bowl and stir with a spoon or spatula to coat evenly, return to the parchment lined pan(s) and roast for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the pans.  Great to snack or added to salads such as the one I’ll give you the recipe for later. 🙂 

More next time from this Feast…



  1. LisaRene says:

    You certainly “wowed” your book club, they will always want you to host! Beautiful array of foods and drink!

  2. casalba says:

    Did you make all that yourself? I’d like to be in your bookclub too. Then again, I think I’d worry when it was my turn to host. No pressure!!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.