|original photo by flagstaffotos.com.au, derivative work by Itzuvit|
Jesse Kimmel-Freeman has written six novels, four short stories, four illustrated children's books, been part of several anthologies and is actively working on the next pieces to her series. Learn more about Jesse and her books at her website.
Hey everyone! Food is such an essential thing when writing. I mean our characters have to live off of something, right? There are certain things in each of my stories that if you know me, then you know why they’re there--like Barqs Root Beer and Galaxy milk chocolate bars!
But one of those things that’s really important to me is finding a way to connect my characters to each other. In the scene below, Emma and Dominic (two of the main characters from the Bella Vampires Series) are finally connecting to each other in the first book, Bella Notte. This meal that Dominic makes for Emma is so vital because there was such a HUGE disconnect between the characters in the beginning--he was a total jerk!
“So, what are we making?” I asked as I looked over the ingredients--artichokes, eggs, a lemon, some parsley, olive oil, dry white wine, and salt and pepper.
“We are not cooking. I am cooking for you. I am going to make you artichoke frittata. It is delicious. It is like an omelet but different. You will enjoy it.” He sounded absolutely sure of himself.
I sat and watched as he prepared the artichokes and placed them aside in water and lemon juice. Then as he beat the eggs and shook random amounts of salt and pepper into them. He sautéed the artichokes in the oil and wine. Then he threw in some more spices and then the eggs. It took only a few minutes but it was amazing to watch. I had never had someone close to me cook. Watching him cook was fun and exciting.
He cut it in half when he was sure it was done and had cooled then he served it to me. It looked a little on the scary side but I wouldn't let that stop me. I took a fork full and chewed. It tasted great. It was thicker than a regular omelet, but it seemed that this feature helped the flavor of the artichokes come through. We ate in silence. I helped to clean up afterwards through his insistent complaints.
“You cooked, I'll clean,” was all I said.
We said good night and I went to bed. I thought to look for another email from Mike but I didn't want anything to ruin the peaceful atmosphere that still clung to me from the kitchen. I enjoy being around him sometimes. He brings a peace to me. I closed my eyes.
The recipe itself wasn’t what was so important (although it’s quite tasty), but the connection that is finally beginning between these two! Emma was getting to see a completely different side than what she had experienced back in her hometown. This is the true beginning of them.
4 artichokes (can use canned, 2-3 cans)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (can use dried, 3-4 tbsp)
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp butter
black pepper, to taste
*Side note: Frittatas are tasty ways to include things you like for breakfast, so if you're not a fan on artichokes, throw something else in. Experiment! It's the kitchen sink of breakfast foods! Enjoy! :)
To prepare the artichokes, take off the tough inedible outer leaves, and slice the spiked tips of the remaining outer leaves. Slice about ¾” from the top of the heart, and cut off the stalk where it joins the base of the leaves. Rub the cut surfaces with the lemon to prevent blackening. Quarter each artichoke lengthways and remove the fuzzy centers from the heart. Cut the quarters lengthways into thin wedges or can make them thicker if desired. Squeeze lemon juice over them.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°/gas 4).
Heat oil (can use butter if you want) in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the artichoke wedges and gently saunté over low heat until brown on both sides.
Add the garlic, white wine and half the parsley. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the artichokes are very tender and the liquid is basically gone. Season to taste.
Mix up the eggs in a bowl. Add the milk and whisk again until even color.
Add the cooked artichokes to the eggs. Season to taste and mix again.
Pour the mixture into buttered baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes until the eggs are set. Not all ovens are the same, so there might be a time variation.
Serve warm or cold but not hot.
Vampires? Check. Werewolves? Check. Death prophecy to hang over your head? Double check. Seventeen-year-old Emma Hutchinson struggles to find her place in the world she has been born to as she tries to decide whether she should be with Michael, the boy she has been dreaming about since she was three, or if she belongs with Dominic, her betrothed.