Thursday, November 16, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jessica Knauss, Author of Awash in Talent



Awash in Talent welcomes you to Providence, Rhode Island, where ten percent of the population can move objects telekinetically, set fires with their minds (or extreme emotions), or observe your thoughts as if they were a TV series. Although this Providence is a fantasy, it’s based on the real capital of Rhode Island, a place I love for all its uniqueness.

You couldn’t experience Providence without Rhode Island cuisine. To start with some of the lingo, Rhode Islanders call milkshakes “cabinets” and pronounce quahog (a local clam; try it stuffed) as if it were spelled “co-hog.” They drink coffee milk made with a special syrup that’s sold right next to Hershey’s, the bread comes from Portugal and is lightly sweet, and some of their best pizza comes from bakeries!

Awash in Talent is made up of three stories, and the one that pays most attention to food is told from the point of view of native Rhode Islander Kelly. She’s recently and unpleasantly discovered that she’s pyrokinetic, and has been sent to an obligatory school to control her Talent for making flames with her mind. In spite of all her worries, Kelly has time to enjoy cold and hot snacks at the outdoor festival WaterFire:

At the bridges, there were a couple of vendor stands. One had soft drinks and lemonade ice, which were probably a big hit during the summer, but didn’t really appeal now. My hands were frozen and my nose was starting to run.

“Want anything?” Brian asked.

“I didn’t bring any money,” I said.

“I did,” he said with that sweet smile.

The ice vendor also had t-shirts, bags, hats, and prints of WaterFire, and I desperately wanted to own one of those items with the logo (Is it water? Is it fire?), but I couldn’t let him buy something for me. It didn’t seem right.

“No, thanks.”

“Okay, but I’m getting some Red Hots.”

I looked, and the other vendor was all about fire. Hot chocolate, jalapeños, Firebrand chili, and Red Hot candies. His stall was pretty popular, and we waited in line for I don’t know how long. I watched the people, listened to the eclectic mix of music, and inhaled the fragrant smoke that wafted over from the river. All while holding Brian’s hand, by the way.


Kelly also has time to delight in a magnificent Thanksgiving spread at her boyfriend’s house:

I have no idea how they were planning to fit more food anywhere, but they did. When it was dinner time, at about four, everyone gathered in the dining room. Through the crush of people—there must have been thirty of us all told—I could see the giant turkey, all the fixings you could imagine and some I’d never seen before, and ten—I counted!—kinds of pie for dessert. Imagine the cacophony of sweet, spicy, salty, and meaty aromas.

This scene is based on some large New England holiday gatherings I have sweet memories of. Sure, New Englanders can be hard to get to know. Once you’re in, though, you’re family.

Pick up Awash in Talent if you’d like to live high on the (qua)hog!


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jessica!



You can visit Jessica here:





Friday, November 10, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Peggy Chambers, Author of The Apocalypse Sucks



Molly and Sandra couldn’t be more different.  They were once just co-workers, but found themselves relying on each other for survival after the virus took out almost everyone they ever loved.

At first, they lived off the vending machines in the basement of the fifteen-story building where they used to work, and now lived.  Of course, it didn’t take long for the supply of Twinkies and Dr. Pepper to dry up.  They had to find real food.  The shelves were emptying in the stores, and that meant there were other survivors. Soon, they had to get out and find them.

During a trip to what was left of the mall for lip gloss and bras, they ran across a couple of survivors they might like to meet.  And the girls were invited to dinner.  Cute guys and dinner?  What post-apocalyptic girl could say no to that?  And they were served fresh strawberries – and wine.

What was left of the town looted until there was nothing in the stores and then they had to restore the food supply. They might even have to learn to cooperate.  Some gardens were popping back up in the spring with perennials, and living in the wheat belt meant there were reserves in the grain elevators.  But it had to be ground into flour and what was left of the population had to learn to take care of themselves.  Food delivery trucks were a thing of the past.

If all else failed, there was always Goulash, a mixture of whatever was available in the form of leftovers, etc.   Here is a version you could make after the Apocalypse:

POST APOCALYPTIC GOULASH
1 can of Green Beans
1 can of other beans or corn
1 can of any type of tomatoes you can find
1 can of Corn Beef Hash or chopped Spam
Salt, pepper and any other spices you can find (they will help a lot)

After scrounging the grocery stores in the area that still have non-perishables left, mix the above ingredients together and warm in large pot over a campfire. Serve in any container you can find that is reasonably clean or wash it in the community pond.  If no canned goods are available in the grocery stores, break into the houses that are now vacant.  (Be careful to step over the dust outlines on the floor, they are what is left of your neighbors.)
Serve with any good red wine or bottled water if available.  Twinkies make a good dessert for this or any other meal. Serves as many as are sitting around the fire. Can be eaten cold if necessary.


The Apocalypse Sucks is a fun romp through a post-apocalyptic world through the eyes of two young, single women who no longer worry about pantyhose and date night.  Survival is the goal. But if you can’t make fun of the apocalypse, what can you make fun of?


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Peggy!


You can find Peggy here:






Thursday, November 2, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Debra Chapoton, Author of SHELTERED



Preparing lavish dinners never happens in the old haunted house Ben provides for four homeless teens: Cori, Chuck, Adam and Emily. In the suspense novel, Sheltered, a taste for freedom, acceptance, or revenge is on their tongues more than any other flavor. Packing school lunches with plain old peanut butter sandwiches is a chore left to Emily. Her heart is breaking over Ben when he rents the last room to pretty little Megan. Megan should have been thinking about formula and baby food and how she could regain custody, but that ends up on the stove’s back burner when she falls for Ben.

Spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and of course pizza are the staples when you have an unwed mom, schizophrenic twins, and a Goth teen taking turns cooking. With so many problems in one stitched together household mealtime can be the most stressful of all, even if they stick to comfort food.

Strange things begin to happen, not only in the kitchen, but in the attic and the basement. Maybe the ghosts or demons or whatever are preparing their own feast. Any ideas what they’d want to devour?

And then there’s the vending machine at school. When Emily spots Chuck—or is it Adam?—hiding out there she stops thinking about chocolate, the weird things she’s seen at the house and even her own self-inflicted wounds … because something worse than the paranormal happenings at home is about to happen.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Debra!



You can find Debra here:




Monday, October 30, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Eldritch Black, Author of The Book of Kindly Deaths



Unearthly Delights

Greetings, my name is Horasmythe Spindlecleft, also known as the gourmet of gourmets. If you've ever dined in my modest little Inn "The Fat Cobblefoot", situated on the side of the Foggypeake mountains, you'll be well aware of my extensive knowledge of food and of the finer things in life.
By now you've no doubt heard of my infamous twice-fried bat wings and hair of Hackthin tart, creations of exquisite beauty, though I say so myself. Not to mention my highly regarded Doormouse eye on toadstall and very-berry-sherry sauce.
So it's with great pride that I can announce I've been appointed chief scribbler of food reviews for the Grimwytch Gazette. Below are the first of many pearls of wisdom concerning places where weary travelers may sip and gorge upon unearthly delights. Outside of The Fat Cobblefoot, of course. And of places that should be be avoided like Fungal-throat plague.

The Malady Inn
A Fairly good stock of Old Catwhist, shame about the clientele.

The Malady Inn is a worn old building on the side of the Eastern Blackwood Road. Inside is a cosy, dingy room and its fairly affable landlord, Mr. Barrow. His bar is well stocked for the most part, although not to the scale of The Fat Cobblefoot.
I chose a dish of sainted duck, goat-foot soup and a pint of Old Bramble's Tipsy. It was an adequate meal until a table of Babbleslithers sat beside me and ruined the meagre ambience. Upon finishing their food, one of the more portly among them threw up his entire course through his left eye.
An unpleasant, vulgar end to a mediocre, but serviceable evening.

Malumdell
Never Again!

I'd once visited this once-quaint little town in my youth. Gone were the cozy little houses and groves of apple trees, and in their place, ash, charcoal, rot and ruin.
There was nowhere to eat on account of the whole town being burnt to the ground and on top of that I had to deal with a Hoardspike. She managed to consume two of my servants right in front of me and it was only upon offering her my vast collection of dried trotters that she let me go.
A once enchanted town, now a foul, dismal place.

The Midnight City Uncle Horace Eiderstaark's Fabulous Pie Stand, Greshtaat District
As dull and flaky as dandruff.

I'd heard many tales of Uncle Horace's pies. It was with great caution that I entered the hodgepodge Greshtaat District. That caution was well placed. A revolting, stinking pile of bricks and dribbles.

Upon finding the Pie Stand, manned by the bald, sweating wreck of Uncle Horace himself, I purchased a pie. It only took two mouthfuls before I was forced to spit it out, such was its monstrous blandness. Unfortunately, one of the maggots used to garnish the pie struck Horace in the face as I expelled my food, bringing forth the rancor of the Eiderstaarks. We fled and escaped, asides from one servant who I last saw being dragged into a ramshackle building.

The Midnight City Vashhaal Wharf
Fine food, peasanty atmosphere.

Yes, the Kishspick stew is indeed delicious, were it not ruined by the lowlife teeming in from the boats. I thrashed two with my cane for their sheer ugliness, before a vulgar crowd formed and chased me, hacking to death my remaining servants. I only just escaped by the skin of my back teeth and bid a hasty retreat.

The Twisted Entrails Inn*
Two putrid turnips for the food, a rotten onion peel for the atmosphere.

This public house has somehow stood in the heart of the Midnight City for centuries. Upon entering, I was almost certain the place would fall down around my ears.
The ambience could be described as raw and *bloody*. A dense crowd of locals, most as thick as treacle, stood swaying at the bar as broken broken refrains from a derelict piano filled the sour air. I made the mistake of ordering the soup of the day, something that appeared to be a broth of grease containing chunks of indeterminate liver. And thumb. My soup was as cold as a serpent's tooth on a winter's evening. I sent it back at once and called the owner over and–**


* Please note the Grimwitch Gazette found this last review spattered with blood and sitting below a table in The Twisted Entrails Inn.
** Of Mr. Spindlecleft, there was no sign.



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Eldritch!



You can find Eldritch here:





Friday, October 27, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jeffrey Beesler, Author of Speed Demons



Hey, Shelley! Thanks for hosting me today on your blog! Hello, everybody. I’m Jeff, here to discuss the foods featured in Speed Demons. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it.

Speed Demons takes place in a small town called Helensview. My characters can be found eating at two different locations in that town. One place is called the Eat’N’Grease, a small diner that doesn’t get much business these days as something mysterious has happened to most of the town. As you might guess, the Eat’N’Grease Diner features foods like eggs, sausage, hash browns, fries, hamburgers, and just about anything that drips grease all over you. One scene finds Chase Weaverson, the main character, eating cherry cobbler as he tries to figure out what’s going on.

The other location is the mini-mart of Helensview’s newest gas station. In one scene, it isn’t Chase or Gus Peddle who are eating food, but rather the rampaging Speed Demons. Aisles of chips and soda are utterly ravaged, the Demons shredding and puncturing the packaging with their talons. While Chase is worried for his life, Gus Peddle flips out over the fact that the Demons aren’t paying for their food. This leads Chase to suspect Peddle of knowing more than what Peddle claims.

Is there something behind Chase’s suspicions? Or are the Demons simply fond of junk food? One thing I know is that I won’t leave my potato chips and candy bars lying around if I ever visit Helensview!

Hey, thanks for reading. If you want to know more about yours truly well, I’m an author of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror stories. When I’m not busy hoarding gas station junk food from the Speed Demons, I’m usually listening to Weird Al Yankovic and playing computer games.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jeff!


You can find Jeff and his books here:               
                                                                        JeffBeesler.blogspot.com






Thursday, October 19, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Back Luke Murphy, Author of Wild Card



I’m Canadian, born and raised. For a ten year stretch, from the mid-nineties to 2005, I lived in the United States. These are the two countries I know, so it made sense to set my novels in these countries.

My first novel, Dead Man's Hand, was set in Las Vegas. My second novel, Kiss & Tell, set in Los Angeles. Canada and the United States, both in North America, are very similar when dealing with things like foods, language, culture, activities, etc.

But for my new novel, Wild Card, I challenged myself. Part of Wild Card is set in South America, more specifically, Brazil and Colombia. So the internet was my friend, and played a key role in my research, especially when learning special dishes because let’s face it, my characters have to eat.

I learned that breakfast is usually lighter for Brazilians, to save room for bigger lunches. Coffee and tropical fruits are big in both countries. Rice is very popular in Colombia and served with most dishes.

Special dishes from Brazil & Colombia (there are many more, I know, but I chose one for each meal):

Breakfast

(Brazil) Skillet toasted French bread rolls (pão na chapa) is a favorite quick breakfast that you can buy at your local bakery and enjoy with pingado (warm milk with sweetened coffee).

(Colombia) Migas de Arepa: Migas means “crumbs”. Scrambled eggs with pieces of arepa and tomato-onion sauce is a popular breakfast served in Colombia. Can be served with chorizo, avocado and beans.

Lunch

(Brazil) Pastel, a deep fried thin pastry filled with either savory fillings, the most common of which are minced meat, chicken, shrimp, mozzarella, palm heart and catupiry cream cheese. There are also sweet fillings such as guava and cheese, chocolate, doce de leite, banana and cinnamon.  It is believed the Japanese introduced pastel into Brazilian cuisine by adapting deep fried Chinese wontons.

(Colombia) Tamales: There are many variations of tamales in Colombia, but they all have something in common—Colombian Tamales are all wrapped in banana leaves. Served with rice.

Supper
 
(Brazil) Feijoada is arguably the national dish. It is a recipe of thick black bean stew served with rice and a variety of pork meats. It was invented by the slaves who were brought from Africa, during colonisation to work in the large estates and plantations in Brazil. The slaves would smuggle the leftover food from their masters’ houses and make a stew.

(Colombia) Puchero Santafereño is a dish named after Santa Fé de Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Puchero is a dish that originated in Spain, as is the case with many other Colombian dishes. Puchero Santafereño is a hearty and filling stew that usually includes beef, chicken, pork, plantain, yuca, potatoes, corn, chorizo, and cabbage.

It’s always fun to learn about new cultures, and the foods that are served in those countries.


Thanks for stopping by again to share more food for thought, Luke!


You can find Luke here:







Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (Imajin Books, 2012) and Kiss & Tell (Imajin Books, 2015).

Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).

Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife, three daughters and pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).
Wild Card, a sequel to Dead Man’s Hand, is Murphy’s third novel.



More about Wild Card:

This time, it’s not a job.

After proving his innocence as a murder suspect, taking down an assassin, and being an instrumental part in solving a high profile murder, Calvin Watters believes he can finally move on—until Ace Sanders’ prison escape catapults him into action.

This time, it’s personal!

Something has always bothered Detective Dale Dayton about the arrest of Ace Sanders. Call it police intuition, but his inner ‘cop alarm’ keeps twitching. When Dale reopens the case, he’s introduced to new evidence that leads him into a political nightmare.

Who will play the Wild Card to survive?

While Calvin tracks Sanders across continents and into unknown, unfriendly surroundings, Dale remains in Vegas to uncover the truth behind police corruption, prison escapes, and hired assassins. But Calvin and Dale must be vigilant, because there’s a deadly, new player in town.

Reviews:

“All the danger, treachery, and action a thriller reader could wish for.  Luke Murphy has the touch.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Order

“Hold on for a wild ride that doesn’t end until the last page.”
—Jordan Dane, bestselling author of the Sweet Justice series

“Murder, sex, hackers…an elaborate criminal chess game: Luke Murphy delivers.”
—Bryan Gruley, author of the Starvation Lake trilogy

Friday, October 13, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Rachel Rawlings, Author of The Morrigna



Welcome to Salem, MA. Home of Maurin Kincaide, psychometric and all-around representative of the paranormal community; whether she wants to be or not. Restaurants in town offer the usual pub fare, unless you’ve accidentally wandered into Toil and Trouble. If so, whether or not the Blood Sausage is fresh is the least of your worries; because this local haunt isn’t on the tour.

You’ve heard of Starbuck’s secret menu? The ol’ double T has one of those too. Wine lists range from Merlot to O; positive or negative that is and the steak is served rare. There’s the occasional elixir and farm to table is more like herb garden to table. So far, the norms have remained blissfully unaware.

Maurin’s been known to solve more than one problem after a few lemon drop shooters artfully crafted by Toil and Troubles bartender, Mike. But her favorite brew isn’t from a cauldron or the local micro-brewery.

A witch may be the purveyor, but even the squarest of norms can feel magic in these beans. Daily Grind, home of Salem’s best Dirty Chai latte, has earned the Maurin seal of approval. Much like me, she has a love affair with coffee. In any form, hot, cold or beans covered in chocolate served from a candy dispenser, Maurin hasn’t met a coffee she hasn’t liked. And that includes the sludge they try to pass as coffee at Salem’s Preternatural Task Force.

While her tastes have progressed from coffee lighter than her porcelain complexion to a cup so strong and dark a spoon could stand up straight in the mug, Maurin’s go to comfort drink is usually a Dirty Chai. Part espresso, part Chai tea, this nectar of the Gods is combined with steamed milk to create the perfect Autumn drink.

Not convinced? Try this simple recipe at home. Or, order one off Starbuck’s secret menu.

Brew chai tea bag in boiling water. Remove tea bag.
Pour coffee over tea.
Put milk in a mason jar or plastic container with lid. Shake until frothy.
Remove lid and microwave for 30 seconds.
Top with a dash of cinnamon. Sweeten with sugar if desired.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Rachel!



You can find Rachel here:




Thursday, October 5, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Patricia Sands, Author of Drawing Lessons



Heartbreak is never easy. Arianna Papadopoulos-Miller arrives, from Toronto, in the Alpilles area of the south of France on a quest to rediscover the artist she once was and move forward with her life.

She is welcomed on the terrace of the 200-year-old mas (farmhouse) where she will spend two weeks with 7 other artists. From that moment, gastronomy becomes a feature of her stay. But, hey … alors … it’s France!



Foie gras on toasted rounds of baguette and local olives accompany the chilled champagne, poured in slender hand-blown glass flutes. A toast is made to the beginning of an exciting two weeks of drawing and painting … and other unimagined experiences.

And so it begins.

“La grande charcuterie!” Maurice announced as three large slabs of olivewood were proudly presented by the kitchen staff. Each bore a colorful display of meats.

Maurice gave a guided tour of each artistically arranged platter. “We have thinly sliced prosciutto as well as jambon cru . . . local uncured ham that will melt in your mouth. Here we have our very special saucisson d’Arles, native to our area in particular. It’s a dry sausage that used to be made a century ago from—don’t gasp, please—donkey meat.”

In spite of themselves, there was a slight gasp.

“It is nowadays made of beef and pork fat with some garlic and black pepper. Magnifique! Only certain local charcutiers make it—c’est authentique! And finally, there are grilled lamb chops, seasoned to perfection. We are famous for lamb in Provence. You will see why!”
His hand moved on to the end of the platter, and his level of enthuthsiasm increased even more. “Pâté maison, la recette de mon arrière-grand- mère! Very smooth. It’s made with chicken livers, lemon, onion, and herbs de Provence. Plus”—with this, he raised his fingers to his lips, as if sharing a secret—“what makes hers special is . . . a touch of fromage de Neufchâtel.”

He nodded conspiratorially, the gleam in his eye never fading as he continued. “And also her even more famous pâté en croute. It’s a coarse and rich terrine of mixed ground meats with peppercorns and pistachios. After being cooked in aspic, it is wrapped in a rich, buttery crust, coated inside with lard. C’est vraiment extraordinaire!”

“And ever so fattening!” Bertram interjected.

Maurice responded with humor. “Don’t even think about calories or cholesterol when you eat in France. Simply enjoy! A little bit never hurt anyone! Even too much on certain days never hurt anyone. We only live once!”

“Can you tell my husband is a true ‘foodie’?” Juliette interjected with a grin.

Maurice bowed with an extravagant flourish as applause reverberated around the table. “Champagne goes very well with this meal, if you care to continue, or we have a fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape red—and, of course, always there is beer for those who prefer.”

After he slipped his arm around Juliette’s waist, they wished everyone in unison, “Bon appétit!”

During the meal, Maurice answered questions about the difference between a boucher, a butcher who sells raw meat, and a true charcutier, someone who prepares the foods they were eating.

“Of course,” he explained, “you will discover we can thank the Ancient Romans for many of our traditions.”

And that was just the beginning … from breakfasts of warm, buttery croissant, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins, farm fresh eggs and fruit straight from the orchard through exquisite multi-course meals (or sometimes simple but delicious baguette sandwiches) ... and then there is a simple green salad followed by cheese. Lots of cheese choices! The grand finale consists of luscious desserts of crème brulée, profiteroles, crêpes, gateaux, tarte tatin, tarte au citron … Are you full yet? You may think I’m exaggerating, mais non! And somehow over there, it all works as hours are spent savouring and appreciating each morsel. Bon appétit!



Along with the food, Drawing Lessons is a story about friendship, art, discovery and hope … set amidst the beauty of Arles and the unique Camargue, in the Bouches-du-Rhône area of the south of France.



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Patricia!




You can find Patricia here:




Friday, September 29, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Caroline Clemmons, Author of The Texan's Irish Bride



Thank you, Shelley, for inviting me to your fun blog. One of the things all characters (as well as readers and writers) do is eat. Usually, authors don’t dwell on the food served. In his or her head, though, the writer knows all the delicious recipes that will be prepared.

In my book The Texan's Irish Bride, Dallas McClintock hosts a huge party for his family and friends and for the wedding of his brother-in-law and one of the Traveler lasses. This group includes the McClintock family and that of his bride, Cenora O’Neill McClintock.

Dallas prepares his secret chili recipe for the party. Yes, he keeps it a secret but—shhhh—I’ll share it with you.* Now that the weather is cooling in most areas, chili is a welcome meal on a cold night. (I love it year round.) It’s easy to prepare in large batches for a party. If there’s any left over, chili freezes well for a quick meal later.

Chili is a favorite for entertaining at our house. I provide dishes of tortilla chips, grated cheese, minced spring onions, pinto beans, cornbread muffins, butter, and honey as well as serving potato salad and other chilled salads. In my opinion, chili is a traditional Southwest food that has gained popularity throughout the United States.

When I wrote The Texan's Irish Bride, book 1 of the McClintock series, I did a lot of research. After its release, many readers asked for a book about Finn O’Neill, older brother of Cenora. Once again, I dug into research for book 2, Finn's Texas Bride. Book 3, McClintock's Reluctant Bride, didn’t require as much research. In November, I’ll release the fourth book in this series, Daniel. This book has me immersed in research to be as factual as possible in Daniel’s treatment. I hope you’ll read and enjoy this entire series (and my other series, too). To get you started, The Texan's Irish Bride is free (links below).


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Caroline!



Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards.



You can find Caroline here:






*          *          *          *          *           *          *          *          *          *          *

*Dallas McClintock’s Fandango Chili con Carne
[usually shortened to Chili]
From The Texan's Irish Bride  By Caroline Clemmons

5 lbs. Chili meat or ground beef, or combination of 4lbs. Beef or Venison and 1 lb. Pork sausage (I use only beef in a combination of 2 lbs. chili meat and 3 lbs. ground beef)
1 15 0z. Tomato sauce
1 can Stewed tomatoes
3 Tspn Chili powder [adjust to taste]
1 tspn. Ground comino [cumin]
1 tspn. Cayenne
1 tspn. Salt
1 tspn. Pepper
1 tspn. Paprika
I medium Onion, finely chopped
3-5 Garlic cloves, minced [or garlic salt].
¼ cup Brown sugar (Dallas’ secret ingredient)

Sear meat in a large skillet, pouring off the excess grease as the meat cooks. As meat nears browning, add onions and garlic to let them brown also. Mix the remainder of the ingredients except brown sugar with the meat in a large heavy kettle or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce the heat to simmer. Stir frequently. Adjust seasonings to taste as chili cooks.

As the chili simmers slowly, more fat will reduce out and float to the surface. Skim off this fat each time before you stir the chili.  Discard the fat. About fifteen or twenty minutes before serving, add brown sugar and stir. This chili can be cooked in an hour, but the flavor is best if simmered very slowly for two or three hours, stirring every thirty minutes.

Serve with cornbread or tortillas and pinto beans. Texans don’t add beans to the chili con carne while it’s cooking.

Friday, September 22, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jenn Brink, Author of Silver Bells



Demoralized from her latest titanic failure, Jessica is back under her parent’s roof in Silver Bells the stand-alone third novel in the Jessica Hart series.  Our heroine isn’t the kind of girl who doesn’t eat.  She uses food as her security blanket in this comedic New Adult mystery series.
 
With the bedroom that she never completely moved out of and family gossip driving her straight into the arms of the mashed potatoes, Jessica needs an out (either that or a larger pants size).  Why, oh why, does it have to be the holidays?!  Can’t a girl enjoy a massive breakup and life crisis during bikini season?

Worried about the amount of pumpkin pie going straight to her hips, Jessica takes off with side-kick Barbie on a mission (okay it’s not their mission but… details) to save Christmas.  There isn’t enough comfort food to keep Jessica’s emotions in check as she teams up with the yummy hunk of muscles who won’t quit haunting her daydreams.
 
The list of missing persons keeps growing as Jessica searches for clues and dinner, while struggling to suppress her desires.  When the bullets start flying, there’s no time to stop and eat (I mean understand her feelings).  Jessica is hoping for a miracle, but did someone order pizza?
 

Keep the hot chocolate flowing and don’t skimp on the booze, not if you fear the sobered up wrath of Barbie, as these cousins search from the North Pole to the Caribbean for Jolly Ole Saint Nick and a new life-plan.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jenn!



You can visit Jenn here:




Friday, September 8, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Dina Santorelli, Author of Baby Grand



Mob storylines usually involve a smorgasbord of Italian food—pasta, sauce, bread, lots of bread, and all kinds of pastries. In my mind’s eye, when I think of books and movies about organized crime, I picture bulky, menacing-looking guys stirring big pots of sauce and probably the most memorable line from The Godfather: “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

In Baby Grand, the first book in my thriller trilogy, a bunch of mob guys are living temporarily in the home of a man named Don Bailino, who has just orchestrated the kidnapping of the baby daughter of New York Governor Phillip Grand. Bailino has also abducted a down-and-out writer named Jamie Carter whom he then forces to care for the child while he and the others work to delay the execution of mobster Gino Cataldi, who is on death row.

Rather than have the usual smells of tomato sauce, basil, and oregano permeate Bailino’s home or have the mobsters hang out in front of a pork store, a la The Sopranos, or make frequent visits to a local Italian bakery, I keep the food spare—and, overall, quite healthy. Cheerios (for the baby, perhaps). Apples. Grapes.

The reason? Don Bailino isn’t your everyday mobster.

In one scene, he bakes brownies—carefully using a knife to coat the top of a brownie with frosting, an image that makes him seem more like Martha Stewart than a mob guy. I did this to depict the complexity of Bailino, a guy who uses knives to kill but also to bake. A guy who can be as sweet as he is ruthless. A man who is meticulous about his work, be it in the kitchen or in a back alley.

Bailino eventually presents those brownies to Jamie Carter who is upstairs in his bedroom. What will Jamie do? And where is the baby?

I could tell you what happens next, but I’d have to kill you.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Dina!



You can find Dina here:





Thursday, August 17, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jack Scott, Author of Perking the Pansies



Turkish cuisine is justifiably famed as one of the world’s greatest. The Sultan’s table overflowed with extravagant bounty from the vast Ottoman domains that once stretched across three continents. The empire may be history, but food – preparing it, eating it, sharing it – is still of enormous cultural importance to all Turks regardless of status and income. So it’s small wonder the simple act of eating plays a starring role in both of my memoirs, Perking the Pansies and its sequel, Turkey Street. Here’s a soupçon…


Mini dishes of Turkish tasters flew out from Beril’s kitchen as she launched her mission to spice up our bland English palates, something she approached with the unrestrained fervour of a TV evangelist. Like her parents before her, Beril had never ventured into Europe beyond the city limits of old Istanbul but had heard terrible tales about British cuisine, a culinary travesty, all fish ‘n’ chips, pork scratchings, over-boiled carrots, scurvy and mad cow disease.

‘Eat!’ she would scream, sliding another exotic sample onto our table. ‘Is good. Eat!’

We would comply like scolded children, tucking into her braised artichoke hearts, garlic-roasted aubergines, sautéed spinach or white bean goo, salivating even before the first mouthful.

‘Süper!’ we would shout over to Beril as she puffed on a Black Russian Sobranie, looking on and waiting for every last scrap to be devoured. ‘Le-zz-et-li! De-li-cious!’



When our new next-door neighbours moved in, Liam and I were on edge. What if they were a couple of old stick-in-the-muds rolling out the prayer mats? After all, we were an unabashed gay couple living in a Muslim land, something as rare as ginger imams. We were mightily relieved to be greeted by Beril and Vadim, an unconventional couple from Ankara. He was a retired percussionist, she a fiery brunette half his height and half his age. And they were living in sin which made them just as damned as us. Their English was dreadful and our mastery of the language of the sultans was close to tragic. Despite the language barrier, over time Beril and I developed a sweet affinity. With Liam often back in London on family duty and, likewise, Vadim in Ankara, Beril kept my pecker up with freshly-baked treats from her kitchen. We ate, we smoked, we drank and we laughed. And when Beril felt totally at ease, she shared the secret about her older brother.

Our all too brief time in Turkey was a kaleidoscope for the senses – so many extraordinary sights, unexpected events and vivid characters like Beril. I just had to put pen to paper, first in a blog, then in the memoirs. Turkey made a writer of me. Who’d have thought? Certainly not me.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jack!



You can find Jack here:





Thursday, August 10, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Deborah Shilan & Linda Reid, Authors of Dead Air



Dead Air, Vibrant Cuisine!

What’s the #1 College Team in New England?  The delivery crew from Luigi’s Pizza, of course.  Luigi’s is Ellsford University’s championship greasy spoon, where fraternity men and sorority sisters rub shoulders with bespectacled graduate students, exhausted medical students, and varsity athletes.  The hangout is a treasure trove for campus radio talk show host cum investigative reporter Sammy Greene, whose alert ears pick up on local gossip for her show as Ellsford students chow down on tsunamis of mozzarella, pepperoni, bacon and sausage.  Daring rebels order pineapple on their pies, but, to the relief of all, there is nary a vegetable in sight.  Despite tasty toppings, something is rotten in the State of Vermont.  In Dead Air, Ellsford University students and faculty are disappearing or dying, and it’s Sammy to the rescue with a variety of suspects stirring the pot at the Ivy League school.
 
Soon after Professor Barton Conrad buzzes his alarm, his goose is cooked; and it’s Sammy and her on-and-off boyfriend, medical student Reed Wyndham sniffing out suspects.  Sammy and Reed are feeling the heat from corrupt coaches, aggressive sports stars, animal rights protesters, and crusty campus cop, Gus Pappajohn, whose sinecure has turned into a forum for activism and ecoterrorism directed at the college’s new multimillion-dollar Nitshi Research Institute which funds the pharmaceutical research of Reed’s mentor, Dr. Marcus Palmer.  Even Gus’ love for tasty pastitsio can’t stop the churning in his stomach as the body count mounts.

Sammy’s nose for news takes her to her childhood haunts in New York City, where she was raised after her mother’s suicide by her Bubbe Rose.  She’s ripe for rescue by Sergeant Gus, who provides tasty respite at a church Greek Festival near his sister’s home in Boston as they drive home to Vermont.  At the Fair, Sammy gets to sample the home-cooking flavors of eggplant soufflé Moussaka, flaky filo-wrapped Spanakopitas, sizzling beef and chicken Souvlaki, and cheesy Tiropites.  Just like (Greek) Mom’s.  Energized by her Mediterranean dietary excursion, Sammy is back on the trail—providing readers a delicious recipe of mystery, murder, thrills, and chills, as she uncovers the charred underside of her higher education home.

Enjoy great Mediterranean dishes as you share Sammy’s culinary and sleuthing adventures in Dead Air! 


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Deborah and Linda!




You can find the authors here:








Friday, August 4, 2017

FOODFIC: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs



Riggs isn’t kidding – the children* certainly are peculiar.

Emma can make fire with her hands.

Millard is invisible.

Hugh has bees living in his stomach.

There’s also Olive, the levitating girl, and Claire, who is a backmouth. (I’ll let you read the book to discover what that is on your own.)

And it’s not just the children who have “gifts;” their headmistress Miss Peregrine can in fact morph into a bird at will!

So it stands to reason that the food this strange cast partakes in must also be “special,” right?

Not so much.

Newcomer Jacob joins them for a dinner consisting of: a roasted goose, its flesh a perfect golden brown; a whole salmon and a whole cod, each outfitted with lemons and fresh dill and pats of melting butter; a bowl of steamed mussels; platters of roasted vegetables; loaves of bread still cooling from the oven; and all manner of jellies and sauces [he] didn’t recognize.

Okay, maybe that’s not a typical American dinner, but Jacob has come a very long way - to a remote island off the coast of Wales - to find these peculiars from his grandfather’s stories, so you have to take regional culture into account. More interesting still - it’s not only great distance he has covered, but also time. Again, you’re on your own to discover in which era this meal would most likely be served…and if Jacob will make it back.



*Or syndrigast, to use the venerable language of [the] ancestors. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Juli D. Revezzo, Author of House of Dark Envy



In  my latest novel, House of Dark Envy, my heroine Sarahjane is a young painter so when she has a chance to study with a painting master, she jumps at the chance.

She is surprised to learn, however, that though she stays in the master’s house, she’s also left with the run of it, while he goes off gallivanting around town. For a young lady in the 19th century, this was  a strange things she deals with, mostly young ladies were followed around by mothers and chaperones and not allowed such freedom. Running of the house of course means dinners so she pretty much does what she wants in terms of meals, as far as the markets allowed. This was, of course, before you could run off to the store to buy any ole thing, regardless of whether it was in season or not.

Aside from her meals, she drinks a lot of tea. For most people, tea is the first thing they think of, when they think of Victorian Britain, and Sarahjane’s daily repast was no different. Though she never frequents a tea room, at least during her educational stay in York, she does consume the popular drink with a few little dainty sandwiches or cakes, if she’s hungry enough!

It’s an interesting tradition and one that many partake of today, even in the United States. My grandmother used to have her tea every day like clockwork, and I can say I myself have gone to a high tea.

Okay, okay, I wasn’t all decked out in Victorian finery but it happened! I have the pictures to prove it. :) In looking into what-all else she might have, the Britons ate differently than we Americans. There’s sausage and ham—and tomatoes, of all things, to comprise their breakfasts. Which sounds a lot more like lunch to me. More often than not, I can see her just having a biscuit and a bit of tea. Something she can eat with one hand, while painting with the other. :)



Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Juli!




You can find Juli here:








Synopsis of House of Dark Envy:

Surely, lightning can’t strike twice...

1888: When Sarahjane attends Lady Morville’s costume party, she never expects to learn her old beau Felix Gryffith is under the illustrious woman’s patronage and stands on the cusp of making a world-changing discovery. Felix, whose lies disgraced her in the eyes of the London elite by labeling her a flirt.

Felix’s love for Sarahjane has never wavered, despite the scandal that forced them apart. He’s desperate to tell her the truth, if he can convince her to listen.

Fate lurked in the shadows that night, years ago. Has it returned to grant Sarahjane and Felix their wishes, or terrorize them?



Works cited:
Articles about English breakfasts:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jul/21/how-to-make-full-english-breakfast

Friday, July 21, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Cory Putman Oakes, Author of WITCHTOWN



There are few things I take more seriously than books and food. Put those two things together and I really go nuts. When I was writing my young adult novel, WITCHTOWN, a lot of my writing research revolved around food.

WITCHTOWN is a story about a sixteen year old girl named Macie and her mother who travel between witch-only towns (called havens) robbing people. They must ingratiate themselves with the folks at each new haven they arrive at, and one of their methods of doing this is trying to assert their spiritual superiority by maintaining a raw vegan diet.

I decided to try raw veganism for myself so I could write about it more realistically. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was thirteen so I figured it would be no big deal – I figured wrong! The idea behind raw veganism is that you eat no animal-derived products at all, and no food that has been heated above 104 degrees. Unlike vegetarianism, which is really just about substituting different protein sources into your diet, raw veganism requires a completely different approach to shopping, preparing, and eating food. I committed to the diet for one full week. You can follow the whole story over on my blog (Starting here on DAY 0: http://www.corypoakes.com/news-and-events/in-the-name-of-writing-research-my-raw-vegan-adventure/) but the highlights included: rampant cheese cravings, raw “lasagna,” a new appreciation for raw vegan desserts, raw vegan date night with my (carnivorous) husband, and victory pizza at midnight on Day #7.

To make things more interesting for my raw vegan main character, I had her develop a friendship with Gayle, the Witchtown baker. To make Gayle (and her bakery) as real as possible, I spoke at length with a wonderful pagan food blogger (http://recipesforapagansoul.weebly.com) who helped me to come up with all sorts of delightful (NOT raw vegan) baked goods to torture Macie with – including Gayle’s signature scones. (The recipe is on my website: http://www.corypoakes.com/books/witchtown/recipe-gayles-lemony-thyme-scones/) They are lemony, herby, and totally perfect for the Summer Solstice (or whatever special occasion you happen to be celebrating). I make them all the time!

I also really got into pagan holiday recipes. I’m most proud of my Summer Solstice cakes and pies (they’ve become an annual tradition in my house). But I also love the mini pumpkin pies I made for Autumn Equinox one year, and the wassail and Yule Log cake I did for Winter Solstice.

In short, the research for WITCHTOWN was as fun as it was delicious and it’s left me with family traditions and recipes that we’ll continue to enjoy for years to come – as well as a book I’m really proud of. I hope you enjoy reading about the food in WITCHTOWN just as much as I enjoyed writing about it!


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Cory!



You can find Cory here:





Thursday, July 13, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Holly Robinson, Author of Folly Cove



Nothing Brings People Together Like an Eiffel Tower Cake...and Other Fictional Follies
By Holly Robinson


A confession: I am not a cook. My husband is the cook. In fact, he won me over on our first date because he took what looked like a wilted spinach leaf, a solitary egg, and a piece of yarn—okay, maybe not yarn—and made me a delectable omelet.

Me? The first time I cooked for him, it was lasagna made with no-boil noodles and a jar of no-name red sauce. But he married me anyway, God bless him.

However, the best thing about being a fiction writer (other than working in your sweats most of the time) is that you can be an expert at ANYTHING. In the six novels I have published so far, I have been a painter, a potter, a DJ, a real estate agent, a construction worker, a secretary, a PR executive, a competitive equestrienne, a sheep farmer, a therapist, a backpacker in the Himalayas, and—wait for it—a fabulous cook!

Of course, doing all of these jobs requires a combination of real life experience (I took pottery lessons and horseback riding lessons) and research. Cooking is the toughest thing I've ever written about in a novel by far, since I'm the sort of person who is likely to text her husband emergency questions like this: “Should I have taken the plastic wrap off the chicken pie before I put it in?”

For my newest novel, Folly Cove, I was pushing every envelope by having the characters not only be great cooks (these three sisters grew up in an inn, after all), but ace bakers, too. This meant researching the sorts of foods typically served in historic New England inns (prime rib or lobster, anyone?) and how they were made.

And, as a bonus, I had these three sisters organize a birthday party for their mother, Sarah, despite the fact that Sarah has not always been the most loving mother and has some pretty dark secrets, starting with the fact that she is not who she says she is...

The cake had to be as extreme and elegant as Sarah has always seemed. And the birthday party had to have a theme. Finally it came to me: one way of outing Sarah's true identity (and age) would be to have a party based on her favorite movie, An American in Paris, which came out the year she was born—or did it?

And, since the movie is set in Paris, of course the cake had to be shaped like the Eiffel Tower, and big enough to serve lots of guests. Amazingly enough—or maybe not, given how much you can find online these days—I discovered more than one recipe online. Here's one of them:

Did I actually try making the cake myself? Sure. And you can guess how that went.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Holly!



You can find Holly here: