Sunday, June 14, 2009



Karen Beasley

Meet Mrs. Beasley -- better known to me as Karen. I have known Karen for more years than I want to disclose. Here she is in her pearl earrings. They don’t seem appropriate for her, somehow. She seems more “with it,” more contemporary than they suggest. Yet, come to think of it, Karen is just one classy woman. So why shouldn’t she be sporting those pearls? She’s an expert chef, avid reader, and friend to more people than I can count.

I love to read and I love to cook, and I think I’m pretty competent at the latter. But, who do I go to when I’m desperate for something to wow my guests? Karen Beasley. She has astonished me with recipes like her Curry Chicken Salad. Sounds simple and mundane, but everyone who has tried it – including my discriminating friend, Jgock – says they love it.

Curry Chicken Salad

Below is a recipe she gave me just the other day. I ran to the store to get the ingredients so I could try it immediately. And once again, I was just blown away by sheer gustatory pleasure. She said she can’t take credit for it because it came from a friend or hers, Anelle Williams. I guess most recipes come from someone else most of the time, but that’s Karen , too -- honest to a fault.

Here is the copy of the recipe I typed and stamped.

This is what the brie cheese combination looks like as it begins to melt down

Finished product-yum!

I tried this recipe the other night and I have to agree with Karen. The sauce was velvety. When drizzled over the pasta, the whole concoction just melts in your mouth. I also tried the leftover sauce as a dip and once again, it is heavenly. Karen didn't give me a name for the recipe but I thought Pasta Melt Down sounded appropriate.

I plan to start featuring some of Karen’s recipes in my weekly recipe posts.

When it comes to books … well, when I’m looking for a good read, who do I call? You guessed it: Karen Beasley. Through the many years I’ve known her, she has directed me to some of the best books I’ve ever read. She started me on the Susan Howatch novels years ago, beginning with Wheel of Fortune. She also turned me onto Rosamunde Pilcher's breakthrough family saga, The Shell Seekers. Before most had even heard about Harry Potter, Karen was prompting me to buy these children's books. Another children's book she recommended was Tuck Everlasting. At first, I turned my nose up at these books, but upon reading them, I knew she was onto something. So, my trust in her recommendations remains to this day.

Perhaps as a byproduct of her extensive reading, Karen is also a superb storyteller. To hear her spin a tale is as entertaining as the best movie, the best concert, the best play, or the best "whatever" you've ever been to -- all-consuming entertainment in which you can just lose yourself for a while. She belongs to a storytelling group that meets regularly, and she's polished her skill to a high art.

In future blogs, you'll recognize Karen as the source of some of the best recipes I've ever prepared and some of the best books I've ever read. You'll recognize her as the stimulating friend who always keeps you wondering what she’ll come up with next. Maybe – indirectly – I can pass a little of that anticipation along to you.

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