Bryan, Alexis, and Davis are thrilled to be sharing one of their favorite books with all of you this month! Our June Book du Mois is Ocean Vuong’s seemingly autobiographical novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Vuong’s protagonist, Little Dog, writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read or speak English, describing the events of his life with both compassion and brutal honestly. Vuong explores the realities of race, class, and masculinity as Little Dog struggles with domestic violence, drug abuse, and the inter-generational trauma of the Vietnam War. This coming of age novel reveals the power and joy of telling one’s own story, and is also a part of our Pride Month reading list.
As you enjoy this tough but rewarding read, burn this month’s Candle du Mois created by our favorite candle-maker, Maria of Jules & Esther. This month’s candle is called Trà Lài and is a lovely blend of sweetgrass, jasmine, lily, amber, musk, and vetiver.
Our June Book du Mois discussion will kick off Beausoleil’s First Annual Pride Day, and The Whisper Room will be serving this month's Cocktail du Mois, Little Dog, a unique blending of flavors meant for the drinker who relishes in every sip. The Little Dog gives the initial kick of cognac and lemon juice, and follows with a smooth aftertaste of vanilla and jasmine tea. This cocktail is what we would call a palate punch, in the bet possible way.
We will be meeting in The Whisper Room to discuss On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous on Saturday June 26 at 11:30. Readers should know that this book includes depictions of domestic abuse, drug addiction, homophobia, mental illness, violence, and war.
Yesterday I pulled out my favorite cookbook from Beausoleil Books, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, and I decided I was going to challenge myself. I not only wanted to make a delicious meal, but I wanted to make it beautiful. I chose the Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways Pasta and my own version of a pesto caprese salad. I also decided I was going to make one of the Whisper Room cocktails I created: Raspberry Lemon Dream. It all came out so amazing that I had to take a picture before I dove in!
Penne Alla Vodka Two Ways:
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box penne
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, for serving
I started with adding the butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. I continued cooking, stirring often, and then added Ketel One Vodka (they say to never cook with anything you wouldn't drink). I cooked until the vodka reduced, added my crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, large pinches of salt and pepper, and simmered the sauce over medium heat. After about 12 minutes I transferred my sauce to my blender and allowed it to blend until it was a beautiful orange color and pureed texture. I stirred in my heavy cream and allowed it all to simmer. Meanwhile, I boiled my penne pasta in salted water for 12 minutes. I then drained my pasta, added it to the sauce and mixed it all together. I whipped up my caprese salad on the side using butter lettuce, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and topped with a pesto, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Finally, for the final touch I topped my pasta with shredded parmesan and began making my cocktail.
Raspberry Lemon Dream:
1.5 oz Belvedere Vodka
5 Muddled raspberries
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz homemade simple syrup
Shake and strain into a martini glass
Voila! That was my yummy Sunday night meal. Stop by sometime to get yourself a Raspberry Lemon Dream and a copy of "Half Baked Harvest Super Simple!"
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