Today we’re joined by Kaye Spencer who shares a recipe for Meat and Potato Pasty and a bit about A Permanent Woman, her latest romance which is part of the Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride anthology. Learn more about Kaye and her books at her website.
In my story, Simon Driscoll needs a wife so he can get custody of his grandchildren. Tessa Morris needs a fresh start and a new reputation. Desperate men — and women — sometimes take desperate measures...but can she be A Permanent Woman?
This excerpt from A Permanent Woman is from Simon and Tessa’s first meeting.
A fiery flush rose up Simon’s neck, and his button-up shirt collar felt like it was strangling him. She was a fine looking woman—creamy smooth skin with a rosy complexion and bright intelligent eyes. Her hat, perched just so on top of the curls pinned up on her head, accentuated her neat, tailored and expensive traveling outfit, which hugged a good figure.
Her gentle touch and the hint of roses hovering about her stirred memories of long ago summer evenings rocking on the porch swing, watching the stars come out, holding hands and sipping lemonade, listening to the owls conversing in the tops of the cottonwoods in the yard, then retiring to the bedroom and slipping between cool sheets—
He jerked back to his senses. Damn it to hell, he’d no business entertaining bedroom thoughts about a woman. And a total stranger at that. It wasn’t part of the arrangement; besides, it not being a fitting topic to broach with a lady. A man could get himself into all sorts of trouble thinking of a woman the way he was thinking of her.
“Miss Morris, it’d be best if we don’t—”
“—waste any more time with formalities? I concur, so I’ll move right on. I admire your determination to assume responsibility for your grandchildren. And please accept my condolences for the loss of your son and daughter-in-law. Such a needless tragedy. With your wife gone but these four years, you’ve had more than your share of troubles.” She clucked her tongue in sympathy and rested her hand upon his knee as if it were the most natural thing to do.
Simon mumbled his thanks, his hands sweating and his mouth as dry as cotton.
“Let’s get to the heart of the issue, shall we?” She sat back, giving space between them, and Simon exhaled in relief.
“As you can see from my appearance, I have a sturdy and healthy constitution. I am of good moral character, although you’ll have to take my word on it, as I am willing to trust you. I’ve lived most of my life in a quaint little lakeshore town I’m sure you’ve never heard of.” She gestured in a generally easterly direction.
“I have your advertisement here.” Reaching into her handbag, Tessa brought out a paper with a torn, jagged edge, and smoothed it out on her lap. “To further address your requirements, I am well-educated, I keep a decent house, and I am acceptably versed in culinary endeavors. My meat and potato pasty and whitefish chowder are highly regarded…”
So, on that food note, here is a hand-me-down family recipe for a meat and potato pasty that came to me via my maternal grandmother who brought it with her when she and my grandfather moved to Fort Morgan, Colorado from Lamoni, Iowa by way of Oral, South Dakota in 1922.
Meat and Potato Pasty
2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cold shortening
1/3 cup ice cold water (may need more or less)
2 or 3 medium sized potatoes, finely chopped (peeled or unpeeled)
1 pound (approximately) cooked or uncooked beef cut into small pieces (If already cooked, use larger pieces. If raw, lightly brown the meat in hot lard in a skillet to seal in the juice)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped onion (optional)
1 large egg, beaten
For filling, mix meat, potatoes, onion, salt, and pepper together. Spoon mixture into each pasty bowl, filling until 3/4 full. Top each mixture with approximately 1 Tablespoon butter. Place the top crust over the bottom crust.
For crust, sift flour once, measure, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sift again. Cut in shortening until pieces are size of small peas. Add ice water, a small amount at a time, and mix with fork just enough to make flour hold together. Continue mixing until it is neither sticky nor crumbly.
Divide dough into pieces according to the size and number of pastys you want to make. Keep in mind you need one bottom crust and one top crust per pasty. Roll the pieces out onto a floured surface.
Place one piece of rolled-out dough in container that holds up the sides, fill with meat and potato mixture. Brush a film of beaten egg around the edges of the bottom and top crust so the edges stick together. Place top crust over bottom crust and crimp them closed. Remove pasty from the bowl and place on baking sheet to bake. Repeat for other pastys, leaving space between each on baking sheet. Brush top crusts with beaten egg. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes to an hour until crusts are golden brown.
Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride
A woman would have to be loco to become a mail-order bride...wouldn't she? Leaving everything behind and starting fresh in the untamed west is the answer to a prayer for these ladies! A beautiful socialite needs a husband fast —but her husband wants a bride for life. A pregnant young lady becomes desperate —almost as desperate as her soon-to-be husband, who just inherited his sister's kids. A man is in love with a woman he can’t have —or can he? A woman’s reputation is tarnished and professional career compromised —she runs, but she can't hide. Will they all find love with strangers they've never met who are set on LASSOING A MAIL-ORDER BRIDE?