Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Club Looks at Willa Cather

We read "My Antonia" by Willa Cather and savored her descriptions of childhood, prairie, and immigrants tonight. The lives of Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda are contrasted against the stories of snakes, wolves, and lovable hired hands. I particularly liked the final two sections, which included Jim's beginnings at college:  falling in love with theatre, Greek history, and the world of new ideas (as well as Lena). Unfortunately, the world takes him in another direction and away from the Nebraska frontier. His bittersweet conclusion: "Optima dies, prima fugit" meaning "The best days are the first to flee."
My usual approach is to bake something related to the theme for book club. I debated about apple turnovers or cinnamon rolls. Someone else volunteered to bring blackberry cobbler and chicken-and-noodles, so...  I instead chose an Italian-style ice cream dessert that showed up in my daily emails of cooking websites. Very yummy for a hot day!
Coconot Tortoni
2 pt. vanilla ice cream
2 T. nut liqueuer (Amaretto or Fra Anglico)
6-12 maraschino cherries, chopped
1-1/2 c. whipped topping, thawed
1/4 c. sweetened cocoa or chocolate syrup
1/4 c. toasted coconut
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. cookie crumbles (shortbread)
1. Combine ice cream, liqueuer, and cherries. Spoon into muffin tin lined with paper or foil cups. Freeze until firm.
2. Meanwhile, combine whipped topping with cocoa powder or syrup. Spoon over ice cream mixture.
3. Make topping with coconut, almonds, and cookie crumbles. Sprinkle over ice cream cups. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours, or until firm, before serving the cups.

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