Black Beans with Garlic and Chipotle on a TLC Book Tour for Resurrecting Rain

I have read more books since March 16 (and the start of my safer at home experience) than I had in the previous six months.

What have you been reading?  I hope that you’ve been doing more than binging on Tiger King

Welcome to the latest stop on the TLC book tour and my latest read:  Resurrecting Rain by Patricia Averbach.  (I received a free reader’s copy for an honest review.)

About the book:

 Deena’s house is being auctioned off at sheriff’s sale and her marriage is falling apart. As her carefully constructed life unravels, her thoughts return to the New Moon Commune outside Santa Fe where she was born, and to Rain, the lesbian mother she had abandoned at fourteen. No one, not even her husband and children, knows about New Moon or that she sat Shiva for Rain in exchange for living in her Orthodox grandmother’s house in an upscale suburb of Cleveland.
Deena’s story unfolds with empathy and wit as a cascade of disasters leaves this middle aged librarian unmoored from her home and family, penniless and alone on the streets of Sarasota, Florida. The novel is populated with deftly drawn characters full of their own secrets and surprises–from Deena’s blue haired freegan daughter who refuses to tell her parents where she lives, to the octogenarian TV writer who believes that crows are the reincarnated souls of Jews lost in the Holocaust. Deena loses her house, but will she find a home? Maybe the crows know.
Resurrecting Rain explores the unanticipated consequences of the choices that we make, the bonds and boundaries of love and the cost of our infatuation with materialism. At its heart the novel is a tale of loss and redemption, a reevaluation of our material culture and an appreciation for the blessing of friends and family. It demonstrates that sometimes you have to lose everything before you find yourself.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Connect with Patricia

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 About the author:

Patricia Averbach, a Cleveland native, is the former director of the Chautauqua Writers’ Center in Chautauqua, New York.

Averbach’s second novel, Resurrecting Rain, the contemporary story of a woman who loses her house but finds her home, was released by Golden Antelope Press in 2020.

Her first novel, Painting Bridges, was described in a Cleveland Plain Dealer review as “introspective, intelligent and moving.” Her poetry chapbook, Missing Persons, received the London based Lumen/Camden award in 2013 and was selected by the Times of London Literary Supplement (Nov. 2014) as one of the best short collections of the year.

Previous work includes a memoir about her early career as Anzia Yezierska’s sixteen year old literary assistant and an article about the Jewish community in a virtual world called, Second Life. Her work has appeared in Lilith Magazine, Margie, The Muse, and The Blue Angel Review.

 What I thought…

There might be some minor spoilers here so be aware.

Resurrecting Rain has a lot going on in it—a bankruptcy, a disruption of a marriage, a major con and artifact robbery, cross country travel, generations re-connecting, a search for self…

The onset reminded me a great deal of Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, Unsheltered, due to the dire financial situation of the family.   I connected with Deena and empathized with her plight, set in motion by a failed investment scheme of her husband.   Deena still tries to make things normal for her son, a senior in high school, as the family more than downsizes.   A dashing and handsome professor shows up and as Deena’s husband falls into a deep depression, she sets off on a dalliance that will be her demise.

No spoiler alert needed here, but the middle part of the book was not my favorite.  In fact, I had little hopes that I would like the book.  But, when Deena flees to Florida and the aforementioned professor is finally out of the way, I began to like Deena again.  She truly is reborn through fire.   Her employment and friendship with Raisa, her elderly employer, saves her life in more than one way.

As she reconnects with her past and travels back to New Moon, I began reading quicker.   The final part of the book was perhaps my favorite.

Can I just say that Martin, Deena’s husband, was not a character I could connect with at all?  As the marriage fails, he takes off on a European bike tour.   What?   With money being so tight?

Please check out the other reviews from this TLC Book Tour.

The Food…

Obviously, this is not a food-centric book, but people have to eat.   The first food mentioned was the dinner Deena prepares as they tell their son about the family’s financial straits.  She made tacos, his favorite food, “to soften the blow.”  She later makes requested pancakes for her prodigal daughter, Lauren.

Deena makes another meal to basically try to seduce her husband with lobster bisque, honey bourbon salmon, asparagus risotto, and limoncello mousse.

Matcha is mentioned often as that is Deena’s morning ritual.

The other food runs the gamut of comfort food to grocery lists, food from the secretive dinners, Santa Fe Farmers Market fare to an authentic Southwest feast.

I, of course, was drawn to the food from the New Mexico setting of the plot.

  • An old pecan orchard
  • Red beans and rice, cornbread and stuffed peppers
  • Three-bean chili on cornbread
  • Baskets of peppers, squash, apples, onions, tomatillos, corn, cilantro, goat cheese, and mozarella
  • Unshelled almonds
  • Mexican wedding cake
  • Salsa and guacamole
  • Margaritas
  • Challah, apple cakes with honey, matzah ball soup, chili relenos, enchiladas, sopaipillas

Since Cinco de Mayo was coming up and there was lots of good food found in the New Moon portion of the book, I decided to focus on that.   We always celebrate the holiday here with a Southwest feast and with the book ending with two of these (when Deena returns to her roots and with the seder that she makes), that’s where I headed for inspiration.  I pulled out my Santa Fe Cooking School Cookbook for guidance.

Black Beans with Garlic and Chipotle

Based on a Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook recipe

According to the cookbook: “This recipe is part of the Southwest Vegetarian class developed by Todd  Sanson. These beans make a great side dish, or they can be used as a filling for burritos.”

I used the leftovers for chili.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. black beans (2 cups), picked over for stones
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 c. chopped yellow onion
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 t. Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 t. coriander seeds, crushed (The original recipe calls for 2 t. dried epazote.)
  • 1 chipotle in adobe, chopped (The original recipe calls for 3 dried chiptle chiles.)
  • 4-5 qts. water
  • 4 T. apple cider vinegar, to taste
  • 1-2 t. salt, to taste
  • 2 T. Sherry
  • cilantro to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans in water to cover overnight. (Or use the quick soak method found here.)
  2. Heat oil in a large pot and saute the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, oregano, coriander, and saute for 1 minute. Add the chipotle, drained beans, and 3 quarts water. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hours, or until the bearns are soft. Add the remaining water as needed during cooking.
  3. Add the vinegar and salt and continue to cook slowly for 30 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Stir in the sherry before serving.  Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Yield: 6-8

I can certainly see this being whipped up in the New Moon kitchen by Rain or Casey.  (The rest of our Cinco de Mayo feast consisted of these black beans on the side, along with homemade tamales with a NM chile sauce, and rice.  More about the rest of the meal later.)

I love this cookbook and I would like to think I would love it if it didn’t have “Santa Fe” on the cover.   Because of my hoard of cookbooks, I sometimes forget about this one.  In fact, it was stuck away with my “regular” books, not on my cookbok shelves.  I am so glad that Resurrecting Rain gave me the excuse to dig it out.   (Another favorite recipe from this book is Green Chile and Sausage Soup.)

I recommend both of the books.  I found myself totally engaged and ultimately rooting for Deena and her family, including her forgotten mother and her adopted “grandmother.”   I am passing Resurrecting Rain along to my reading buddies.
Linking up with Foodies Read for May.
Finally, I’m using this post as one of my Cookbook of the Week posts.

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