Bean and Hound Dog by B.G. Thomas, Poached Salmon for Beginners and a lovely Chilean Viognier.

HoundDogandBeanLGThis was my first novel by B.G. Thomas. I’ve seen great reviews about his work online, and thought this one was a good place to start. I had a few reasons: 1. I LOVE the cover. Paul Richmond is a star. 2. The title is adorable. and, 3. I am an unrepentant coffee snob (I blame that on the fact, I lived in Ethiopia for five of the last ten years and you just CANNOT get bad coffee there). If I was hard pressed to describe this book in one word, I’d probably go with adorable.

The characters are endearing, and the way the author blended the details about artisanal coffee, and all the good done in dog shelters was pretty cool. Personally, I’m a fan of dogs and coffee, so I enjoyed  those tangents, and speaking of tangents…I must say my only complaint with the story is it sometimes did go a bit long on story lines which marginal to the main story. That being said, this was not a big issue for me, and I still enjoyed the book a whole lot.
photo (3) Hound Dog and Bean were very fun to read. I specially loved how much Hound Dog totally embraced his nickname, and how he channeled the “Hound Dog”  in him when the situation called for it (so cute!). For these boys I made a meal HD made for Bean on their first date, complete with the wine they enjoyed with their meal. The preparation involved a grill in the book, but since I live in Upstate New York, and it is too cold to grill right now, I adjusted it for a more Winter friendly recipe. Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce, Lemon Dill Potatoes, and Asparagus with a DELICIOUS and affordable Chilean Viognier.  This meal involves a bit of work, but it is certainly a showstopper, you WILL impress. The wine I chose is the 2012 Cono Sur Biclicleta Viognier. The viognier is a very full white wine, it definitely goes slower than the average sip of white. It has strong citrusy undertones, and even a bit of nuttiness. This is a great bottle for any seafood, and for about $8.99 a fabulous deal.

photo 5

Now back to the story…Hound Dog (HD) is a pretty chill guy, he works at the local no-kill shelter, and is very passionate about the animals he cares for. He is a DOG PERSON, I mean he goes by Hound Dog for goodness sake! So, when a guy that he turned down for a pet a the shelter (the dude was an asshole!) comes after him at the nearby coffee shop he escapes from getting his eye punched in by a knight in shining armor. Actually it was just Bean, the owner of the shop, and even if there was no ACTUAL armor to be found, his willingness to stand up for  HD  made him sorta swoony. The guy was SEXY. HD would certainly take that hunky body out for a spin. Not on a date or anything, because HD does not do relationships, hell, he won’t even do a sleep over. He is a hound dog after all, gets what he needs and goes on his way. Bean is on the same page with the attraction to HD, however he wants to take things in a bit of a different direction. He is so grateful for the attention HD gave him after he got punched in the eye, he wants to get to know the man more. HD is such a character with his hippie clothes and his dreadlocks. So, different from anyone Bean has ever gone for, yet the attraction is very strong.  It’s been awhile for Bean, he had a very unsettling affair not long ago, and since then he has not had any desire to get involved. He feels a niggle to try with HG though, so when the man offers to come to Bean’s house and make him dinner, he is all for it. The night goes GREAT (steamy!), and pretty soon HD and Bean are getting closer and closer to becoming lovers. Thing is HD has had too much loss in his life, and he is so reluctant to let anyone in. Even Elaine his coworker, and pretty much only friend has trouble getting him to open up. Despite what he is feeling, and all the ways that Bean has made his life better, has proven to him again and again with his actions he is a good man and mate, he is scared to fall too hard.

This book has a lot of lightness,  without being shallow, and I liked that there were facets to it. I enjoyed learning about the dogs in the characters lives, and how much they cared for their animals. The coffee part of the story was also very interesting. Like I mentioned earlier, I lived in Ethiopia for a long time, and I was particularly happy reading the story of Kaldi and his dancing goats. Actually all the details about how Bean searched for the best coffee in the world, and roasted it with such care was super interesting. The way the author weaved topics which are clearly of interest to him, into something that added a bit of flavor to the story was very clever. The secondary characters (canine and human!) were also engaging and endearing. I thought that getting to read about Bean and HD’s friends own love story was a nice segway, and since we only got a glance, it didn’t take away the spotlight from our main guys.

The inevitable angstyness surely had to happen before HD got over himself and his issues was TINY bit longer than I would have liked, but I like the resolution. Particularly the idea that our fears only cheat us of getting to have the things that we most want.

This was a nice read and I will certainly look  for B.G. Thomas releases in the future. This is good one to start for those who have never read his stuff before.

Bean and Hound Dog is for sale at Dreamspinner Press.

Creamy Garlic and Dill Sauce

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon of fresh dill

1 garlic clove minced

1/4 teaspoon of agave nectar

juice 1/2 lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Direction: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Put in the fridge until time to use.

photo 1 (1)

Lemon Dill Red Potatoes

1 lb baby red potatoes

2 garlic cloves minced

1 lemon juiced

1 tablespoon of fresh dill

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of cracked red pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven at 425 degrees. Wash and quarter potatoes. In a large bowl put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper, regular pepper and salt. Toss potatoes into the bowl until they are well coated. In a cookie sheet lined with foil, put the potatoes and bake for 35 minutes. Tossing once so they cook on both sides. Once the potatoes are done, take them out, put them back in the bowl and toss in the dill.

photo 3 (1)

Oven Garlicky Lemon Asparagus

1 bunch on asparagus with ends chopped off

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 lemon juiced

1/4 teaspoon of onion powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Toss the asparagus with all the ingredients. Spread out a large piece of foil, place the seasoned asparagus and fold the foil so that it is sealed. Put on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

photo 2 (3)

Poached Salmon

4 salmon fillets

1 carrot cut in chunks

1 stalk of celery cut in chunks

2 garlic cloves cut in halves

1 medium onion cut in pieces

1 lemon sliced

1/4 teaspoon of cracked pepper.

Directions: In a deep pan put six cups of water and all ingredients except for the salmon. Bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling place the salmon fillets in the pan, reduce the temperature to medium low heat and cover. Leave for five minutes. After five minutes take the fillets, top with the Creamy Dill Sauce, potatoes and asparagus.

photo 4 (4)

Hope you guys enjoy the story, the food and the wine. They are all delightful!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Laura

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