Rachel Leigh Smith writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and a half-crazed calico. When not writing, which isn't often, she's hanging with her family, doing counted cross-stitch, or yakking about life, the universe, and everything with her besties. There may also be Netflix binging...Learn more about Rachel and her books at her website.
Anastasia was kind enough to let me come on and share a recipe related to my A’yen’s Legacy futuristic/paranormal romance series. I decided to do something I love to eat, but can’t get where I live, and that represents the cultural heritage of Taran Faroukh, the hero of Freedom’s Embrace.
Taran is a humanoid alien, and he lives on the planet Marcase. Marcase was settled by people of Mediterranean descent, specifically Egypt and Greece. They left Earth due to religious persecution, and settled in a place where they could practice their revived ancient Egyptian religion without fear.
When it came time to decide what types of food are most popular in the Marcasian Empire, it was pretty easy: Mediterranean! With an emphasis on Greek, because I have a Greek best friend whose mom was born on Mount Olympus, and she introduced me to the incredible world of Greek food.
I present to you Mrs. S’s Chicken Souvlaki, with homemade tzatziki sauce. This is Greek street food, and soooo good.
1 container of sour cream (I used the medium one, and don’t remember how many ounces are in it. You can see it in the picture)
1 small container of Greek yogurt
Seedless cucumber, diced and with as much water as possible extracted from it (I put a little salt on it, wait five minutes, then squeeze the life out of it with a paper towel.) Or if you don’t want to dice you can shred it with a grater.
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain vinegar
1-2 crushed or minced garlic cloves
dash of salt
There are no measurements for this recipe, and I didn’t measure as I did it. Take most of the sour cream (I think there was about a fourth of the container left for me), put it in a bowl. Add one big spoonful of the Greek yogurt and stir to combine. Add the garlic, oil, vinegar, and salt. Stir again. Add the cucumber, stir it up.
Refrigerate for at least three hours before using to allow the flavors to meld together. In Greece, they eat this stuff like Americans use ketchup. So good. It can also be made entirely with Greek yogurt, but I like the sour cream version better. And that’s how Mrs. S makes it.
3 thawed chicken breasts
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
fresh ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp-ish oregano (I didn’t measure it, measuring is overrated...)
Cut the chicken into strips. Combine other ingredients in a gallon Ziploc or a Tupperware bowl. Add chicken. Place in fridge to marinate. I left mine in for almost 24 hours and it was incredible.
You’ll also need aluminum foil, Greek pita (NOT pita pockets! Think flatbread, kind of like Indian naan), potatoes, more olive oil, lettuce, tomato, onion, a couple of skillets, and a griddle.
Peel potatoes and slice however you want. Mrs. S has made this for me with the potatoes sliced like home fries, and cubed. I did sliced so they’d cook faster. Start frying them up in olive oil, and you can put black pepper on them if you want. Start cooking the chicken in the other skillet. Having two makes more of a mess, but it also cooks faster. I cooked the chicken in the marinade liquid.
When it’s all cooked, heat the griddle. Brush the pita or naan with olive oil and heat it through. Place on a strip of foil. Spread tzatziki over the pita, pile up with chicken, potatoes, lettuce, tomato, onion, or whatever else you want to put on it. Or just do tzatziki, chicken, and potatoes.
Roll it up, and use the foil to seal off the end. This keeps it from making a giant mess when stuff falls out the back end. Enjoy!
They made the wrong choice. Putting it right requires going into a war.
A'yen's Reign: Year Two
Taran has served Nicco, prince of Marcase, for twenty-three years. While on a fact-finding mission to Corsica--a planet annexed by the empire thirteen years ago--Taran and Nicco are kidnapped by the Freedom Alliance and taken deep into the Corsican hardwood forests.
Da'Renna, sister to King A'yen's linked bodyguard, has loved Taran since the moment he saw her. Leaving him behind wasn't easy, but her brother needed her more. Hearing about Taran's kidnapping makes her wonder if she made the right choice.
With the help of a friend from Corsica, Da'Renna and her brother sneak in to find Taran. When mercenaries take her hostage, Taran must make the choice he dreads most: his master, or his soul-mate.
If Taran loses his girl, he'll never find his way to freedom.
Note: This novel stands alone and is a great entry point into the A'yen's Legacy futuristic romance series.