Monday, September 21, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
Today we have a double treat, an interview with Regency romance author Elf (yes, that’s her real name) Ahearn and her marinade recipe. Learn more about Elf and her books at her website where you can find links to her other social media and subscribe to her newsletter.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m a hybrid author by default. My books were published by Crimson Romance, which was sold to Simon & Schuster, which passed on keeping both novels on its backlist… alas.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I would love to have the skill to make people laugh and cry the way Steinbeck does with that story. The characters are brilliant and the problem of Lenny’s brute strength and inability to control it is the most heartbreaking situation in literature. A class I teach for Romance Writers of America is called Conflict, Action, and Suspense, and I use Of Mice and Men as an example.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
For nearly 20 years, I struggled as a New York City actress. Instead, I wish I’d lived in the country and gone straight to writing. Rejection is face to face in the theatre, whereas an author gets to read a no-go weeks after the submission. Believe me, that’s a lot easier to take.
New York is an amazing place—Broadway, SoHo, Fifth Avenue, Central Park—it’s got so many things to offer, it takes your breath away, yet every chance I got, I dashed home to the country. If you take a gander at A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, you’ll see it’s a story about a girl, a boy, and a horse. The horse is her best friend; that was me, except I had a pinto pony named Bettikins whereas in my book, the horse is Manifesto, a dapple grey stallion.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I was the personal secretary to two sadists who owned a radio station in Connecticut. Example: One of them took an incredibly nasty poop, and then made me search for something nonexistent in the attic where the bathroom fan vented. The same guy didn’t want to know when callers were on hold: “You are to treat me like the governor and make them wait until I’ve finished my other business.”
They were also yellers, and they yelled at me for everything. Example: One night, long after I’d gone home, the office alarm went off and the police showed up. The owners had visited the office, and one of them blew it entering the alarm code. When I said he’d probably made a mistake, he started screaming, “I never make a mistake! Never!”
Less than six months later, knowing my husband and I were applying for a mortgage, they terminated me. It would have been devastating except they fired employees all the time for the slightest infraction. In fact, by the time I lost my job, they’d racked up the second highest number of unemployment claims in the state—this from a tiny, rinky dink radio station. Ironically, the only employee they hesitated to dismiss was this crazy receptionist who came in early and lit a shelf on fire. Why didn’t they dump her immediately? Because they were scared. You see, they’d weaseled their way onto the board of directors of the local hospital and had the nursing staff cut so the lobby could be decorated with high-end furniture and the president supplied with a $10,000 desk. People in that peaceful Connecticut community hated them so bitterly, their tires were regularly slashed.
They’d spread their personal brand of lousiness so far and wide, they needed a bodyguard to visit New York City. You see, one of them had had a prime position in the fashion industry but lost his job due to lawsuits claiming employee abuse.
There is a happy ending, though: my husband and I got a mortgage on better terms, and I became a journalist—a job I absolutely loved. And here’s the kicker—my newspaper printed the story of how those two bankrupted the radio station and had to sell for less than it was worth. Karma, baby.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’ve completed two more Regency romances with my signature “Gothic twist.” The moment I find a publisher, I’ll be building the suspense till their release.
I use this marinade on chicken, lamb, and pork. It’s super tasty and easy to make.
Chicken, lamb, or pork
4C seasoned breadcrumbs
Pour enough lemon juice to cover meat. Add approximately 1/4 – 1/2 cup mustard. Add a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic.
Allow meat to marinate for 10-20 minutes. I usually turn on the oven and wait for it to reach 350 degrees F (approx. 10 minutes), then remove the meat from the marinade.
Coat meat in 4C seasoned breadcrumbs. Place coated meat in a baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or until specific meat reaches proper temperature.
A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing
The Albright Sisters, Book 1
In Lord Hugh Davenport’s opinion, women of the ton perpetually hide behind a mask of deception. That’s hard for Ellie Albright, the daughter of an earl, to swallow—especially since she’s disguised herself as a stable hand to get back the prized stallion her father sold to Hugh to pay a debt. If Hugh learns her true identity, she’ll lose the horse and her family will go bankrupt. Somehow, though, losing Hugh’s affection is beginning to seem even worse…
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
We’re always happy to welcome back award-winning author Judy Alter. After a long career writing historical fiction about women of the nineteenth century American West for adults and young adults, Judy began writing contemporary cozy mysteries. She now has three series as well her current release, a standalone—which may eventually wind up being the first in a new series. Judy currently lives in a small cottage with a postage-stamp sized kitchen without a stove. So, she wrote a cookbook about it, Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Today Judy shares a recipe that plays a part in her latest book. Learn more about Judy and her books at her website.
Let’s Hear it for American Food
When Henny James tries to add hamburger Stroganoff to the menu her chef/boss Irene Foxglove will cook on the TV show, Madame, a French-ish snob about cooking, is indignant that she would be asked to cook with ground meat, the stuff peasants eat. Stroganoff is traditionally made with beef tenderloin, which is expensive; if you want to cut corners, you can use a cheaper cut and simmer it a long time. Henny points out that hamburger is both quick and inexpensive, which will appeal to American cooks. Besides, it retains all the flavor of the original Russian dish.
But this incident in Saving Grace illustrates a larger theme in the cozy mystery—the return of American food to popularity in a nation that has wildly embraced everything from Japanese to Middle Eastern cuisine. In the Sixties and Seventies, James Beard, himself a French-trained chef, was the spokesman for the American menu, pointing out that it is, like the nation, a melting pot of international cuisines. But Beard died in 1985, and no one major took up that banner. International cuisines—please don’t call them ethnic, which is a bit derogatory—became the fashion. Today, that trend is reversing, thanks to some prominent TV chefs and such enduring publications such as Southern Living.
So what is American cuisine? It’s hard to define because it encompasses so many regional cuisines—southern, Cajun, southwestern, Pacific rim, etc.—and incorporates many cooking techniques, from Native American to European (yes, Madame, and French!). If there is one key to American food, it is variety. Among the most popular dishes are cheeseburgers and hot dogs, nachos and barbecue, po’ boy sandwiches and fried chicken, apple pie and s’mores. See a pattern here? They are all accessible dishes, easily duplicated by the home cook, and the ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores. No need to go on a desperate search for gochuchang (a red chili paste) or truffles (a French delicacy). Hamburger Stroganoff fits right in as an American dish.
Serves six; may be halved easily; makes good leftovers
2 lbs. ground sirloin
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cups beef stock
1 lb. egg noodles
1 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Brown ground meat in 2 Tbsp. butter. If necessary, brown in batches. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Remove meat from skillet. Brown onion in remaining 2 Tbsp. When onion is translucent, add mushrooms and sauté until nicely wilted. Add beef stock and bring to slight boil, cooking until sauce thickens. Add meat to mixture and heat.
Cook noodles and drain.
Mix sour cream, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir a spoonful of hot beef mixture into the sour cream, and then stir the whole thing back into the meat. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Mix thoroughly and stir to warm the sour cream.
Serve immediately, either over noodles or separately.
Saving Irene, A Culinary Mystery
Irene Foxglove wishes she were a French chef. Henrietta James, her assistant, knows she is nothing more than a small-time TV chef on a local Chicago channel. And yet when Irene is threatened, Henny tries desperately to save her, wishing always that “Madame” would tell her the truth--about her marriage, her spoiled daughter, her days in France, the man who threatens her. Henny’s best friend, the gay guy who lives next door, teases her, encourages her, and shares meals with her, even as she wishes for more.
Murder, kidnapping, and some French gossip complicate this mystery, set in Chicago and redolent with the aroma of fine food.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Monday, September 7, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Monday, August 31, 2020
#COOKING WITH CLORIS--CHICKEN FOR A QUEEN WITH MYSTERY AUTHOR AND SHERLOCKIAN SCHOLAR LIESE SHERWOOD-FABRE
|The author's Texas take on Coronation Chicken|
|The Stone of Destiny|
Friday, August 28, 2020
|Silk Parachute Cord Knotted Bracelet|
|Combo box made out of cardboard with three cardboard dials.|