Category Archives: Preview My Book

Book Review: “Words That Make A Difference”

Photo of book, "Words That Make A Difference" for blog on book review on www.SATgourmet.com, a blog by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."

Reading and studying "Words That Make A Difference" is a great way to learn more vocab!

On my hunt to find another creative vocabulary book, I came across Words That Make a Difference: and how to use them in a masterly way, written by Robert Greenman. Words That Make A Difference offers  yet another way to ATTAIN a great vocabulary through context. The book features hundreds of words that were used in passages from the RENOWNED newspaper, The New York Times. The book also includes a vocab list at the beginning and offers an easy tool at the end to clear up common linguistic mistakes, such as understanding the difference between “affect” and “effect.” There are about 400 pages of vocab words used in context, a sentence definition of that word and also how to sound it out. This book will keep you busy! Words That Make A Difference is a self-guide to learning words by reading passages that were written by vocabulary experts. It’s interesting and it makes learning fun.

Example:

SURREPTITIOUS   suh ruhp TI shus: acting in a secret, stealthy way

“‘The video pirates would take portable video cameras into movie theaters and surreptitiously tape the feature films being shown,’ Ms. Pirro said. She said they would then return to their base of operations and, using hundreds of conventional videocassette recorders, mass-produce copies of the movie.”

Words That Make A Difference was published in 2000, so it can be considered a “classic.” For words that make a difference today, Erin McKean writes a column for the New York Times NEMESIS called, Week In Words, a field guide to unusual words in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Erin highlights vocab that is not likely to appear on standardized tests but is fun NEVERTHELESS. 

Photo of mirliton or chayote squash for post by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way Through The S.A.T.", on book review of "words that make a difference"
Mirliton (AKA chayote squash)

Erin wrote this in the February 11, 2012 column:

the mirliton squash (also known as a chayote) can be swapped for bitter melon varietals.

The word mirliton comes from a French word for a kazoo-type flute, although the squash itself is often called a “christophene” in France. It is also pronounced as “mella-ton.”

April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day… consider baking a mirliton bread to celebrate! Scarlott Paolicchi recently featured my Zucchini Brownies recipe and fun fact vocabulary from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. on her blog, www.FamilyFocusBlog.com. Brownies aren’t exactly bread…but close enough?

Charis
  •  ATTAIN = achieve, acquire
  • RENOWNED = famous
  • SURREPTITIOUS = acting in a secret way
  • NEMESIS = rival
  • NEVERTHELESS = still

Hummus From Scratch

Photo of raw chickpeas for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Raw organic chickpeas

Canned food may be contaminated by BPA, so I updated the hummus recipe in “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” using raw chickpeas. It takes planning to make the hummus from scratch because the chickpeas have to soak for many hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried organic chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • ¼ cup organic tahini
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp EVOO + more for drizzling
  • 1 cup parsley, shredded + more for garnish
  • ½ tsp cumin + more for garnish
  • ½ tsp salt + more to taste
Photo of raw chickpeas submerged in a bowl of water for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

The chickpeas float until they absorb water, then become submerged

 Prep:

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight for 15 hours. Drain the water and soak them again, covered in fresh water, for 3 hours. Drain the chickpeas and rinse with fresh water.
  • Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1½ hours. Remove the foam and peels that form and float on the boiling water. Drain, saving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend into a thick paste. Add cooking water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the desired texture, smooth and creamy.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Transfer the hummus to a bowl and chill. Dust with cumin, drizzle with EVOO, and garnish with parsley just before serving.
Photo of raw chickpeas cooking in pot for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Skim the foam and peels from the pot as needed

Photo of all ingredients in a food processor for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor

Photo of hummus finished product for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Hummus from scratch, the finished product

Here’s the fun fact blurb for the “”Nancy’s Hummus With Pita Chips” recipe in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.:

Fun fact blurb for hummus recipe from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. by Charis Freiman-Mendel

Hummus recipe fun fact blurb

Try to figure out the vocab in context before you take the match test. The correct answers are listed alphabetically in the vocabulary word list on this website.

Vocabulary match test for hummus recipe fun fact blurb from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. by Charis Freiman-Mendel

The vocabulary match test for the hummus fun fact blurb

Hummus is high in protein so it’s a great dish for vegetarians. It’s delicious and the recipe can be varied to include your favorite herbs and spices.

Charis

Chocolate Lava Cake Fun Fact Blurb (More SAT Vocabulary)

Photo of chocolate lava cake, also known as chocolate volcano cake for fun fact blurb post by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Chocolate Lava Cake AKA Chocolate Volcano Cake

Enjoying lava cake depends on the CONVERGENCE of texture with taste and smell, the two CARDINAL senses needed to SAVOR food. The ability to MASTICATE ENHANCES appreciation of texture. Bite into the MOLTEN center of lava cake and enjoy the tasty, VISCOUS chocolate whose flow is STANCHED by the brownie-like exterior. To experience UNFALTERING pleasure, keep the thought of calories in ABEYANCE.

Good luck to everyone taking the March 10th SAT!

Charis

  • CONVERGENCE = coming together
  • CARDINAL = prime
  • SAVOR = appreciate
  • MASTICATE = chew
  • ENHANCES = increases
  • MOLTEN = liquid
  • VISCOUS = syrupy
  • STANCHED = stopped
  • ABEYANCE = suspension
  • UNFALTERING = firm

Contest Announcement “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” And SLJTeen

I’m excited to announce the “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” contest co-sponsored with “School Library Journal-Teen (SLJTeen).” The contest is open to all middle and high school students in grades 6 – 12. The contest will be announced on the SLJTeen website on 12/21/11 but you don’t have to wait until then to enter.

Photo of "Cook Your Way THrough The S.A.T." book and apron, prizes for contest sponsored by Charis Freiman-Mendel of S.A.T. gourmet and SLJ-Teen

Each winner will receive a copy of my book, "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." and a matching apron

RULES:

1. LIKE the Facebook fan page “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” Click on ENTER NOW, fill in your name and email on the entry form and click SUBSCRIBE. Please note: you can “view the official rules” before entering the contest, but you can’t actually enter without filling out the form!

2. Write a 3 – 7 sentence “fun fact blurb” for my “chocolate lava cake” recipe, which is listed below. The blurb must contain 10 standardized test vocabulary words that have not already been used in “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” Sample blurbs and already-used vocabulary can be found in the “Preview My Book” tab on www.SATgourmet.com.

3. Email your blurb to CookYourWayThroughTheSAT@gmail.com on or before January 15, 2012. Please write “SLJTeen Contest  – Grade ___” in the subject line. Don’t forget to fill in the grade you’re in!

4. Students who are already fans of my Facebook page can click on the “Contest” tab on the fan page to enter the contest.

Photo of Charis Freiman-Mendel of S.A.T. gourmet.com in kitchen setting up ingredients to bake "chocolate lava cake" for "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." contest with School Library Journal Teen

Simple ingredients, easy recipe, fun to make, tastes great

RECIPE:
Chocolate Lava Cake (Chocolate Volcano Cake)
Makes 12 cakes

Ingredients:

8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
nonstick cooking spray
vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray 12 muffin tins with the nonstick cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave. Mix together the butter/chocolate mixture and then add the flour and sugar. Mix until combined and then add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Evenly ladle the batter into each muffin tin. Place in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Once the cakes are done, run a knife around each and carefully take out the cakes. Serve with ice cream.

I will post the cooking demo for this recipe on my youtube channel: SATgourmet on the same day as the SLJTeen announcement.

Photo of chocolate lava cake and vanilla ice cream by Charis Freiman-Mendel posting on S.A.T. gourmet about "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." contest with School Library Journal Teen

Traditionally served as individual cakes but can be made into one large cake

Legend has it that this dessert is the product of a culinary disaster, when a chef took the cake out of the oven before it was fully baked.  Enjoy the MOLTEN center by eating chocolate lava cake right out of the oven – no cooling necessary.

WINNERS:

One winner will be chosen from each of 3 categories:

  • middle school (6th/7th/8th grades)
  • lower high school (9th/10th grades)
  • upper high school (11th/12th grades)

Winning blurbs will be posted on www.SATgourmet.com on Monday, 1/30/2012. Each winner will receive a copy of “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” and a matching apron.

Questions? Use the “Contact Charis” form on this website.

Good writing and good luck!

Charis

MOLTEN = liquified by heat

Cooking “Fish In Parchment” WTNH Channel 8

Cook Your Way Through The SAT: WTNH.com

Last Wednesday morning, I cooked my “fish in parchment” recipe from “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” with New Haven News 8 reporters Jocelyn Maminta and Teresa LaBarbera.  Jocelyn and Teresa host the “In The Kitchen” segment of the Connecticut Style program. I was invited to be on the program after my book was published in September, but I had to wait until I had a HIATUS from school. My Thanksgiving vacation was the perfect OPPORTUNITY.

I’ve spent INNUMERABLE hours watching the Food Channel, wondering what it would be like to be a chef on TV. The process of cooking has to be STREAMLINED for television. The segments are short and you have to get to the main points quickly. I got up at 5am the morning of the show to prepare all of my ingredients at home and brought them with me to the studio. The WTNH kitchen does have a working oven, so I cooked a sample of the food but I also had a finished product already prepared.

The hosts made me feel comfortable and I had so much fun chatting with them. When the segment was done, the staff DEVOURED my dish, which I think means it was pretty good! Jocelyn and Teresa invited me back to cook with them again. Next time, I’ll prepare one of my desserts. I can’t wait!

Charis

HIATUS: break
OPPORTUNITY: chance
INNUMERABLE: countless
STREAMLINED: concentrated
DEVOURED: consumed

ChicagoParent.com: Chicken And Dumpling Soup

Carrie Kaufman reviewed “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” for ChicagoParent.com. She and her nine year old tested my recipe for “chicken and dumpling soup.” I was nine when I cooked my first serious meal, so maybe I can be an INSPIRATION. Here’s the recipe, which they cut in half for the test:

 photo of recipe for chicken and dumpling soup from "Cook your way through the S.a.T." for charis post on www.SATgourmet.com

This is the “fun fact blurb” that goes with the recipe. Try to figure out the definitions in context before you take the match test:

photo of "fun fact blurb" for chicken and dumpling soup from "Cook your way through the S.a.T." for charis post on www.SATgourmet.com

Here’s the match test (the answers are at the end of the book and on a list on the website):

photo of match test for chicken and dumpling soup from "Cook your way through the S.a.T." for charis post on www.SATgourmet.com

It’s been fun to see which recipe each reviewer chooses…they have all been different. Faith Durand of TheKitchn.com featured the “pesto pizza” and Cheramie Sonnier of the Baton Rouge Advocate chose my “meal in a pita pocket.”

Thanks to Carrie Kaufman for sharing my book.

INSPIRATION – (noun): germ, source, seed for later work

Charis

You can enjoy more recipes, stories and vocabulary by ordering “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” (CYWTTSAT)

Thekitchn.com

Fun fact blurb from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

“Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” was recently featured on thekitchn.com which is a beautiful website/blog about cooking.

Faith Durand, the blogger, chose my blurb about pine nut syndrome, which goes with my recipe for pesto pizza.

Thanks, Faith!

Charis

Enjoy more fun fact blurbs, vocabulary and recipes: order “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.”

New Video Posted: Ruby’s Belizean Red Beans

I hope you enjoy this video of Ruby and me cooking the recipe which is on page 126 of “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” I just posted it on my youtube channel. The demo was shot over the summer and I finally finished editing it. Editing takes forever!

 

 

Here’s a copy of the fun fact blurb that goes with  the recipe (p.127 of the book):

Here’s the match test . . . try it and see how you do:

Don’t miss the bonus vocabulary word that Ross adds at the end of the video!

I’m working on editing the blooper video for this demo. It’s really funny.

Charis

For more match tests, fun fact blurbs, vocabulary and recipes, order “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.”