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April Favorites at AGR Book Club!

During the month of April, we're serving up an exciting blend of flavors and intrigue that pairs perfectly with your next thrilling read! Imagine diving into a hearty bowl of Chili Con Carne, complemented by the refreshing zest of a Strawberry Mint Texas Ranch Water. For a delightful nibble, enjoy some East Texas Caviar, a savory bean and vegetable salad. To complete this culinary adventure, immerse yourself in "The Inheritance Games" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes—a gripping mystery filled with twists and turns. Prepare to be captivated by this unforgettable combination of delicious food, refreshing drinks, and a page-turning story!

Pairings: Get ready to elevate your month with this delightful trio that promises to tantalize your taste buds and captivate your imagination:

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why—or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch—and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.


▢ 1/2 cup olive oil

▢ 3 tablespoons honey

▢ 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

▢ 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

▢ 1 teaspoon garlic powder

▢ 1 teaspoon Salt

▢ 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

▢ 1 pound Roma tomatoes seeded and diced

▢ 1 15 ounce can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed

▢ 1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed

▢ 1 1/2 cups sweet corn, frozen and thawed

▢ 1 diced red onion

▢ 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

▢ 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper

▢ 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

▢ 1 cup chopped cilantro or parsley


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, onion, bell peppers, jalapeño and cilantro.

  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

  • Cover and chill for one hour.

  • Serve with chips or use as a flavorful topping.


▢ 6 Ancho peppers, dried (Use 2 per lb of meat for a mild chili, can use up to 4 chilis per lb of meat if you want a kick)

▢ 3 lbs chuck roast Select or choice, NOT PRIME

▢ 4 cloves garlic minced

▢ ½ tsp dried oregano

▢ ½ tsp ground cumin

▢ 3 tsp salt

▢ 1-2 cups beef broth if needed

▢ 2 tbsp masa harina



  • Boil Water: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium size pot. 

  • Remove Seeds Use a sharp knife to cut off the stem of the peppers, remove the seeds. 

  • Toast: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the peppers, cook 2-3 minutes just to toast them. 

  • Soak: Remove the boiling water from the heat, add the peppers to the boiling water, cover the pot with a lid and let the peppers soak in the hot water for 30 mins

  • After soaking, remove the peppers from the water to a cutting board. They should be nice and soft and not hot to the touch. (RESERVE THE WATER FROM SOAKING THE PEPPERS)

  • Remove the skins from the peppers: Easiest way is to slice the peppers in half, lay them flat skin side down and gently scrape the flesh of the pepper off of the skin. The peppers will be mostly mashed by this point, just give a few chops to the peppers to ensure they are nice and mashed, almost like a paste.


  • Trim: Remove all excess fat from the meat—just large chunks of fat, not marbling (too much fat will make the chili greasy) 

  • Chop: Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes.

  • Sear: Working in batches, cook the meat in a large dutch oven or iron pot over medium heat. Sear the meat on all sides, once seared, remove the meat to a plate and continue until all meat is cooked. (I never have any issues not using any oil for this step..again it cuts down the grease in the chili. Just be sure to turn the meat often while cooking to prevent sticking or bits burning in the pot.)

  • After all the meat is cooked and on the plate, saute the garlic in the pot for about 30 seconds. 

  • Deglaze: Pour 2 cups of the reserved chili water (from soaking the peppers) into the pot. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. 

  • Stir in the mashed chili peppers until mixture is smooth.

  • Add the meat into the pot. Add additional chili water, just enough to cover the meat. (Start with less liquid than you think.. you can always add more as it cooks, the goal is to not make it too liquid-y) If needed you can use beef broth if you run out of chili water. 

  • Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook for 30 mins. 


  • Spice Dump: After simmering for 30 minutes, uncover and stir in the oregano, cumin, and salt. Check liquid levels, add additional chili water/beef broth as needed to keep the meat covered in liquid.

  • Bring back to a simmer, lower heat, cover and let cook for 45 minutes. Keep stirring limited during this time to help prevent meat from breaking apart.

  • Seasoning: After simmering 45 minutes, uncover, skim any grease off of the top. Test the flavoring and adjust as needed (additional salt, chili powder for more heat, etc.) Add additional liquid if needed.

  • Thicken: In a small bowl add 2 tbsp of masa, pour in 1/4 cup of the broth from the chili. Whisk this together, then pour this into the pot of chili. The masa will help thicken the chili and bind it all together. 

  • Bring to a simmer, lower heat, cover and let simmer a final 30 minutes. 

  • Serve bowls of chili topped with diced onion and shredded cheddar cheese, or additional toppings if desired! 


  • 4 strawberries

  • 4 sprigs mint

  • 1 lime

  • 2 oz blanco tequila

  • 4–6oz topo chico or other fizzy seltzer water

  • optional: salted rim, lime wedge


  1. In two glasses, muddle 2 strawberries and 2 mint leaves together until well mashed.

  2. Add in ice to the top of both glasses.

  3. Pour in 2oz tequila and the juice of half a lime into each glass.

  4. Top with topo chico or other seltzer water. Use a spoon to mix gently.

  5. Serve with lime wedge.


As you finish the last chapter of "The Inheritance Games" and savor the final bites of Chili Con Carne, Strawberry Mint Texas Ranch Water, and East Texas Caviar, you'll find yourself thoroughly satisfied by this delightful experience. This month's pairing offers a perfect blend of bold flavors and captivating storytelling, creating an unforgettable journey for your senses. Let this combination remind you of the joy found in exploring new dishes and thrilling mysteries.

Cheers to discovering delicious food and compelling tales that keep you coming back for more!

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