Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recipe: Dianne Hartsock's Pumpkin Curry

Author Dianne Hartsock sent her main character from her paranormal e-book, Trials of a Lonely Specter to visit us today. Thanks, Dianne for this recipe, er, I mean, thanks Quinn for sharing this curry recipe with us. To be eligible to win Dianne's book, leave a comment on what kind of pie you or pumpkin. Yes, that's your only choices for entering the contest. I imagine there will be some very interesting comments on this. Thanks, Everyone, for participating.

Quinn knows that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and Liam is no exception. Trying to intice Liam to appear, who, for a ghost, has some curiously earthy appetites, he cooked this up for dinner last night. Once the rich, spicy aroma started to fill the house, it was only a matter of minutes before the specter appeared at the table, blue eyes sparkling with hunger. Quinn counts this one a success!

Cashew, Coconut, and Pumpkin Curry

 Cashew, Coconut, and Pumpkin Curry


  • 1 1/2 qts. peeled, 1 1/2-in. chunks pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash (from a 3-lb. squash)
  • About 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion, halved and cut into half-moons
  • 1 or 2 red or green serrano chiles, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 1/2 in. long)
  • 20 fresh curry leaves* or 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 cup salted roasted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Steamed basmati rice 
  • 1. Sprinkle pumpkin with 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown half the pumpkin in oil, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes; reduce heat if pumpkin starts getting dark. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 1 tbsp. oil and remaining pumpkin.
  • 2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil meanwhile in another large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half to the nonstick frying pan and reserve other half in a bowl.
  • 3. Add chiles, cinnamon, and curry leaves to onion in pan. Cook, stirring often, until curry leaves are very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • 4. Return pumpkin to nonstick frying pan (with onion) and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until pumpkin is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cashews and lemon juice, and add more salt to taste. Top curry with reserved onion and serve with rice.
*Find in Indian markets.
Recipe from Sunset Magazine OCTOBER 2011 

Trials of a Lonely Specter
MuseItUp Publishing, October 14, 2011

There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to mediums and apparitions, Quinn has to make a decision: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time.


The room darkened as Liam walked through an archway on the left and he hurried to follow him. He would have liked to take some time to examine the furnishing and tapestries of the parlor, but Liam pressed on. Quinn finally caught him at the far end of the room.
“Where’re we going?”
“We’ll find Betterford’s body reposing in the highest room of the tallest tower.”
Quinn gave him a dry look. “Wasn’t that for the ‘Sleeping Beauty’?”
“So I’ve heard,” Liam purred, looking like he was about to eat the canary.
Quinn didn’t like the eager way he swept through the kitchen to the servants’ staircase.
He tramped up the dark stairs in the apparition’s wake. Liam’s werelight was a mere flicker in his hand, casting eerie shadows on the close walls. Quinn was huffing by the time they reached the third flight and Liam stopped to let him catch his breath.
He looked up at the fond tone. Liam stood several steps above, curiously watching him. “You’re a ghost, my dear. You should be gliding up these stairs.”
Quinn’s mouth fell open. “I forgot,” he confessed. His eyes dropped, waiting for Liam’s mocking laughter. It never came. Instead, the man descended the stairs until he stood level with him. Quinn held his breath as the hand that held the werelight touched his cheek.
“You give me hope,” Liam said surprisingly. “Here, let me help you.” He slipped his arm through Quinn’s.
They fairly flew up the steps after that. Quinn laughed with the exhilaration that raced through him. He’d never felt so free. He wanted to burst through the roof and fly straight into the night. Liam grinned, sharing his joy in the sensation of weightlessness and speed.
All too soon they spilled into the hallway far above. Their laughter died at the grimness of the shadowy corridor. Quinn winced when Liam suddenly grabbed his hand. The spirit’s eyes glowed with anticipation.
He leaned close. “Trust me, Quinn.” His voice was shaking and the man cleared his throat. “Whatever you think of me after this, please remember that I want the best for you. For us.”
“I don’t understand.”
Liam shook his head, clearly disappointed by his answer. Tugging on his hand, he led him to a door in the middle of the corridor.
Quinn stared at the closed door, reluctant to open it. “Betterford’s in there?”
Liam made a noncommittal sound. They stood side-by-side looking at the door until a smile lifted the corner of Liam’s mobile mouth. “Are you going to open it, or are we staying out here all night?”

Dianne Hartsock

Monday, November 28, 2011

Recipe: Pat Dale's Date Pudding to Die For

Big Monday morning welcome to Author Pat Dale. Pat advises readers--"If you try this recipe, be prepared for a big tummy ache if you overeat it. I chose this recipe because, don’t you know, misery loves company. LOL" Please leave a comment to be eligible to win Pat's psychological suspense paperback book, Crossed Lines.


Date Pudding to Die For 
1 cup Dromedary dates, chopped                                                   3/4cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped
 2/3 cup brown sugar
 2   eggs
 ½ t  vanilla extract
 ½ cup  flour
 1 t   baking powder (heaping)
1 T   butter
 Pinch of salt

Beat eggs and vanilla, add dates, nuts, and brown sugar. Mix well.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into mixture.
Spread into a greased 9X9 glass pan and dot with butter.
Bake @ 325 degrees for 30 min., or when a knife inserted into middle comes out clean.

Serve warm with freshly whipped cream. Warning, portions should be small. This scrumptious dessert will leave you wanting more, but resist temptation.
Recommended serving size: two inch squares. Not recommended: licking the bowl clean. LOL


SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY, a mid-life romantic suspense novel by Pat Dale.

You’re a woman approaching the big four-oh and you’re all alone. Again. You’d lost your fighter pilot husband to a stupid accident, but you sucked it up and took your young son to a new life in Colorado. Then he’s killed by a hit and run driver and your life turns maudlin. You’re a nurse with a good job in a hospital children’s ward, but your life has lost its meaning. How do you go on? Why do you go on?
Then you meet a man who’d lost his wife to cancer. His daughter is almost the age your son would have been. He likes you and she likes you. You bond and suddenly the world takes on a new glimmer. Your heart beats strong with hope for a better future.
Of course, that’s before you discover that this man may have been the very one who ran over your son. Have you been sleeping with your enemy?

The girl was sitting up, propped by pillows when they stepped into the room. “Hi, Daddy.” She gave him a big smile before turning her eyes questioningly at Ana.
He said, “Hi, sweetheart. How are you feeling?”
“Better. I got pretty sick today but I’m okay now.”
“That’s good, honey. Do you remember Ana?”
She smiled. “Yes, Daddy. It’s my tummy that’s sick, not my head.”
Ana got the embarrassed daddy off the hook, saying, “I’m glad you’re feeling better, Sherry. Did you miss us?”
“I think I was too dizzy to miss much of anything.”
Dan said, “I went over to Ana’s for coffee while they helped you. She has a puppy you’ve got to see.”
“A puppy?” She turned quizzical eyes on Ana. “You have a dog?”
“I do. Her name is Molly and she’s a German Shorthair.”
“Do they get big?”
“Not too big. She weighs about twenty pounds right now but they said she’ll be about forty to fifty full-grown. And she’s really smart, too.”
“Wow. Wish I had a dog, smart or dumb.” Her eyes fixed accusingly on her father. “But I guess we can’t have pets in our house.”
“Oh, yes we can,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it, sweetheart, and there’s no reason you can’t have a puppy if you want one.”
That brought her to life. Eyes bright and shining, she asked, “Really?”
“Really. I like dogs too, honey. And we’re going to be making some changes at home. I think we need that.”
Sherry turned serious. “Daddy, will I be out of here in time to go to the swim meet this weekend?”
He glanced at Ana, who was shaking her head. “I don’t think so, baby. The doctor wants you to get over this before you get back into the water.”
“But I am over it. Almost. I feel great now.”
Ana watched the struggle of wills between father and daughter, wondering how much the girl had gotten away with over the past couple of years. She remembered her experiences with Joey. Kids seemed to have some kind of surveillance radar that let them know when their parents were vulnerable.

Buy Link for SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY  available at Muse It Up Publishing.

For more information about Pat Dale and his books, go to Muse It Up Publishing  Also available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

FREE Recipe Collection for You

The Good Eats, Great Reads celebration continues during the month of November and even spills into the first week of December with tasty recipes for you to try throughout the holidays. You can keep these recipes close at hand all year round by downloading a copy of the Good Eats, Great Reads Recipe Collection. This is a gift to you, our readers, from the authors participating in this event.

To receive your FREE copy, please e-mail me
jqrose02 (at) gmail (dot) com with Recipes in the Subject line 
or leave a comment below with your e-mail address.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Recipe: Barbara Ehrentreu's Homemade Chicken Soup

Welcome author Barbara Ehrentreu to Good Eats, Great Reads. I learned something new about Barbara. She cooks with her nose. I am sure the delicious aroma of Homemade Chicken Soup will fill the house, not only the kitchen, and tease the taste buds as it cooks all day. Please read all her great tips on how to make this tummy warming soup as well as an excerpt from her young adult book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Oh, my goodness, my stomach is rumbling just thinking about a huge bowl full of chicken soup....How is that possible after that huge Thanksgiving dinner yesterday??

Good Eats:

Barbara’s Homemade Chicken Soup


Water to fill pot three quarters full
5 large stalks of celery with the leaves on them
6 large carrots unpeeled
2 medium onions
6 cloves of garlic
parsnip (optional)
bunch of parsley chopped
dill (optional) 
salt and pepper to taste

Large stockpot
Large wooden spoon
Large metal spoon
Mesh strainer
Large bowl

It's a whole day experience and usually I make it for holidays. It's probably the longest and most tedious dish I have ever made. I think it's the constant skimming of the stuff on top. My mother taught me to cook the vegetables first without cleaning off the skin. So you're putting in washed, but unpeeled celery and carrots with raw onions and garlic and cover with water to just cover the vegetables. The foam comes to the top and you skim that. Then when the vegetables are soft you put in the chicken, add water to cover it until it is three quarters full in the pot, just covering the chicken, and let it boil again. When it comes to a boil you keep skimming off the fat until large globules become smaller and then you add more vegetables. Sometimes I add some parsnips if the soup isn't sweet enough. Then you go by the smell. It should smell like cooked chicken with a blend of the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. It's kind of hard to explain that unless you were with me, but there's really no other way. When the chicken is completely cooked I start tasting it and then add the seasonings. Then you cover it partially and just leave it to simmer, simmer, simmer. When the meat starts coming off the bones, the soup is probably ready. Then you must strain the soup. In the meantime you are constantly skimming the fat as the soup is simmering. Some people keep that fat and let it get cold and hard. Then they use it as a spread or as fat in food, like chopped liver. I don't. :)  

The important thing to remember with Jewish chicken soup is that there are also varieties that include dill, etc. I never put dill in mine. I do use parsley, though. After you are finished straining the soup then you need to put it back in the pot and keep the strained chicken and vegetables. When I was younger my mother used to put in the undeveloped baby chicken eggs that look like hard boiled yolk and my grandmother used to make her own thin noodles (lukshen) I usually go through and take out the bones before I serve it. You can serve the boiled chicken or use it in other recipes. Or you can put some of the chicken back into the pot and warm it. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if necessary. 

The worst part of this is cleaning up your stove. The soup gets everywhere and you usually have to clean the entire stovetop.:) Wow, did I just give you my secret recipe for chicken soup? Oh yeah, you won't be able to duplicate it unless you have me and my nose there.<G>

About Barbara:

Barbara, a retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. When she received her Masters degree she began writing seriously. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Barbara’s first YA novel, was published by MuseItUp Publishing, September 16th and was inspired by Paula Danziger. In addition, Barbara has a story in the anthology, Lavender Dreams, also published by MuseItUp Publishing. All proceeds from this anthology go to cancer research. Barbara also writes poetry and three of her poems are included in the soon to be published anthology, Prompted, a collaboration of members of The Anthologists.  Her blog, Barbara’s Meanderings,, is networked on both Facebook and Blog Catalog. She hosts RRWL Tales from the Pages (Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages) on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children's story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” are published online She has written book reviews for and several of her reviews have been on Acewriters and Celebrity Café. She is a member of SCBWI. Writing is her life!


Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky junior quarterback, Brad her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school.
When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again? 

I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair. “You always know just what I like.” He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me. The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark- haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.
The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.
I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school—first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn't. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.
Dangling over the chair are those size twelve jeans, clown pants—hardly a fashion statement. I groan. Paired with the red long-sleeved T-shirt, they looked so good on the mannequin; I’ll look like a stoplight. What was I thinking? How could I possibly go to school looking like such a freak?
Actually, the real reason I can’t go is Jennifer, with her long straight blonde hair, perfect body, and clothes from magazines like Teen and Seventeen. Yuck. I feel sick, sick with Jenniferitis. I hear Mom's footsteps on the stairs. “Why are you still in bed?” She comes upstairs and peeks into my room with a puzzled look on her face.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Recipe: Larion Wills' Sour Dough Bread

Please welcome Larion Wills today our gun-totin', rootin' tootin' Western author whose book, Tarbet, is the fifth in her historical western collection and will be released Friday, November 25. In the spirit of the West, Larion shares a recipe from that era, but one which we all love in the 21st century. Yee-haw!

Sour Dough Bread

To fit in with a western, here's a peek at how they used to do it. Although bread making is nearly a lost art, it has become much easier for the modern day person who didn't live on a remote ranch or farm or was traveling if they wanted or preferred raised, yeast bread to biscuits or flat bread. A trip to the store for yeast was in many cases an all day journey. To ensure they had yeast on hand for bread, they used a sour dough starter. In a modern kitchen, though time consuming, the process sounds pretty simple. Even cooking it in a pioneer kitchen would be as long as there was enough wood to keep the stove going. Imagine attempting to do this on a wagon train headed west. The only thing that would be simple would be the shaking of the starter. I actually came across this in references to cowboy cooking. It does boggle my mind a bit to think of carrying starter in a saddle bag. They, like those on a wagon train, wouldn't have to worry about shaking frequently. On the trail they used dutch ovens, cast iron pots with a lid, that they buried in the coals. I suspect it was a lot of guess and keep your fingers crossed when it came to gauging the temperature.

Sour dough bread

1 cup starter (recipe below)
2 cups warm water
31/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 T. Dry milk
1 T. Honey

Mix ingredient well and place soft dough in a nest of flour. Knead in only enough flour to keep mixture from sticking to your fingers. Develop further, out of flour nest, by kneading or pounding for 10 minutes. Place smooth ball in bowl and cover with a hot damp towel. Allow to rise for about 4 hours at room temp. (72 degrees) or until double in size. Shape into 3 loaves, allow to raise again for 3 hours. Bake at 325 for about an hour in a well greased or floured pan.

Sour dough starter.
2 cups flour
2 cups water
2 tsp honey
Mix well and allow to ferment 5 days in a warm room. Stir it several times a day. Store unused portion in glass or crockery with a tight fitting lid, shaking often. After using activate with water and flour, 2-3 T in equal portions and stir. Ready again to use in 24 hours. Always maintain at least one cup of starter. One cup of starter is equal to 1 T of dry yeast.

Blurb: Forced to run the ranch like a man after her father’s death, whispers ran wild that Susan was less than a lady. William coming to call caused tongues to wag more. Taking care of a wounded man with only Blazer to help would totally ruin her reputation, but she couldn’t leave a dying man in the hands of delicate Angela or her bungling father no matter what the gossips said about him. How was she to know how much more was behind the attempt on his life? How was she to know she would have to take up a gun, as less than a lady, and fight to save herself and the man she loved?

Larion, please tell us where we can find out more about you and the Western collection.

Larion's Website                     

Larion's Blog     

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipe: Cheryl Malandrinos Greek Sugar Cookies (Kourabiedes)

Welcome children author Cheryl Malandrinos who brings us a traditional Greek sugar cookie recipe for Christmas. She also has a  children's story, Little Shepherd, perfect for Christmas gift giving to a special child in your life. Your mouth will water as you read through this recipe. Enjoy her musing about Food and Writing.

The recipe below is for Greek Sugar Cookies (Kourabiedes). My mother-in-law was kind enough to share it with me. Kourabiedes are usually served at Christmas; though they can be seen at weddings or on Easter. I recently learned it's traditional to stick a whole clove in the top to represent the gift of spices the Three Wise Men brought to Bethlehem. The little French girl who married the Greek guy doesn’t know everything about Greek food yet—but she’s learning.


1 lb. sweet butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup powder sugar
4 ½ - 5 cups of sifted flour
2 – 1 lb. boxes of powdered sugar, shifted on top immediately after baking*
Preheat oven to 400°.
Cream butter well (until butter turns white). Add egg and beat again. Add vanilla and sugar.
Gradually add sifted flour and blend until the dough is easy to handle (knead the dough with your hands when you are no longer able to blend it with the mixer, but only until the dough does not stick to your hands.) Be careful not to handle the dough too much or it will harden the cookies.
Drop by rounded teaspoonful about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Use a finger to make a slight impression in the middle of each cookie.
Bake at 400° for 20 – 25 minutes.
Put newspaper down on the table and cover the newspaper with wax paper. Sift powdered sugar onto the wax paper to coat it. Take cookies out of the oven and put on the sugar-coated wax paper. Sift a thick layer of powdered sugar on the top of the cookies while they are still hot.
Cool well before handling.
*Yes, that is two boxes of powdered sugar. Once the cookies are on a plate you can sift extra powered sugar over them to create a virgin snowy mountain centerpiece for your dessert table.
It’s a good idea to wear an apron and protect your floor when you make these, because they are messy. They are however, delicious and kids absolutely love them.

Food and Writing: A Lovely Mix

By Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Author of Little Shepherd

Food is so much a part of who we are, it’s not surprising a variety of dishes make their way into the books we write.
Marilyn Meredith, author of the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, seamlessly blends in tasty meals for her characters to enjoy. In her latest novel, Bears With Us, Tempe—the only female police officer in Bear Creek—and her pastor husband, Hutch, visit the Bear Creek Inn where they dine on Glazed Mini-Pork Roast. Nick Two John, co-owner of the Inn, delivers their meal and is eager for them to try his new recipe. “Served on a bed of wild rice with crisp baby asparagus alongside, the glazed miniature pork roasts had a hint of apple cider fragrance.”

Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Southern fiction authors are well-known for embracing how much we take pleasure in food. Rhett DeVane, who wrote two of my favorite books in this genre—The Madhatter’s Guide to Chocolate and Up the Devil’s Belly—not only celebrates food through her writing, she graciously includes recipes (chocolate ones in Madhatter and spicy ones in Devil) for the many dishes Hattie, Jake and Piddie enjoy while living in Chattahoochee, Florida.
Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Can he trust the miracle of Christmas to keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?
I didn’t get a chance to include the joy of cooking in Little Shepherd. A re-telling of the first Christmas didn’t seem to be the right place. Though one might believe the shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem could have been hungry while guarding their flocks, I’m pretty sure food was the last thing on their minds once the angel appeared.

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI.
Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.
Visit Cheryl at her newly redesigned website or visit the Little Shepherd book blog at


Friday, November 18, 2011

Recipe: Edinburgh Fog Pudding from Jane Richardson

Edinburgh Fog is the name of Jane Richardson's new release AND a delicious pudding recipe she is sharing today. We can add this tasty delight to our international recipes. Jane said it is one she has "cobbled together" from a number of other recipes. That's what makes cooking fun...experimenting with your own interpretation of a recipe. I hope you readers have fun with the recipe and with the excerpt from Jane's contemporary romance story, Edinburgh Fog.

The Recipe: Edinburgh Fog

To serve 4:

1/2 pint double (heavy) cream
1 tablespoon fine sugar
few drops vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
about 20 ratafia biscuits (or small macaroons or Italian amaretti biscuits if you can't get ratafias)
1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds
Scotch whisky or Drambuie whisky liqueur
Fresh raspberries or other soft fruit to serve.

Whip the cream into soft peaks, and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Keeping 1 or 2 biscuits per serving whole, crumble the remainder and gently fold into the cream along with the almonds. Add whisky or Drambuie to taste. (You can use almond extract if you don't want a boozy version of the dish!) Serve in individual dishes topped with the whole ratafias and a handful of fresh raspberries. Slainte!

Blurb: When Greg Morton returned to Edinburgh, it was to follow his dream of opening the smartest bar-bistro in town. Now Tellers’ is a huge success—but the truth is, deep inside, it means little without the love of his life.

Four years ago, he left Julia Brady behind in London to realize his business ambitions in his Scottish home town. By the time he’d recognized his mistake and admitted to himself he wanted her back, the grapevine told him Julia had moved on—and Greg had to face the fact that he’d been a fool.

When Julia appears out of the blue in Tellers’, he knows the only thing he should do is walk right up to her and say hello. But it looks like someone else has their sights set on her, and he’s a quick worker. Is Julia about to disappear from Greg's life a second time - this time, for good?

The staff heaved a collective sigh and set to preparing the place for the Friday evening crowd. Nothing eventful happened except Chrissie tripping over Ben as he knelt behind the bar to re-stack the mixers shelf and tipping half a bottle of vermouth and a bowl of stuffed olives down the back of his neck. Ben took it in good part, commenting that while he smelled like a martini, he was only stirred and not at all shaken. Leaving them to clean up as he sliced lemons and limes for the bar, Greg mused on whether the olive-incident counted as Thing Number Three, and was on the point of convincing himself that definitely, absolutely nothing else could possibly go wrong for the rest of the day, when she walked in.
            Greg froze, hypnotized by the reflection shimmering in the long mirror behind the bar. It disappeared briefly, moving out of his line of vision and he stepped sideways, following the mirror along the wall, seeking her out if only to convince himself that it couldn’t possibly be her—that Julia hadn’t just walked back into his life four years after he’d walked out of hers.

Kindle US 

You can find Jane at her blog, Home is Where the Heart Is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recipe: Heather Haven Shares Uncle Tio's Flan de Naranja

Welcome to Heather Haven, author of the Alvarez Family Mystery Series. Her protagonist, Lee Alvarez, shares Uncle Tio's authentic recipe with us. Heather is generously offering a PDF copy of A Wedding to Die For, an EPIC finalist for best mystery of the year 2012. However, she would like it to be a reward for the 'most mysterious' comment. Please leave your comments below, then copy this recipe for your files.

Recipe from a PI: Tio’s Flan de Naranja
Lee Alvarez, protagonist of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series by Heather Havenshares one of her uncle’s recipes.
I don’t mean to brag, but as the central character of the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, I get to eat a lot of terrific food. That’s because my Tio is the retired head chef of the world famous Las Mananita’s Restaurant in San Jose, California. During his illustrious career, his recipes were often written up in gourmet food magazines. They’d throw in a few pics, too, because Tio is one classy-looking uncle. I have all the articles and pictures in a scrapbook I started in my early teens. That was before my PI days. I don’t have time to make scrapbooks anymore – I don’t have time to do squat anymore– but I always seem to find time to sit down at the dinner table and scarf down one of his culinary masterpieces!
Tío’s desserts undo me. While he’s creating a recipe, he makes it again and again until it reaches his idea of perfection. Meanwhile, lucky me gets to gobble up every version, as he strives for the ultimate. When Tio was working on his homemade mango and red plum ice cream garnished with fresh spearmint leaves, I must have gained six pounds. Fortunately, I spend a lot of time chasing bad guys over Bay Area rooftops, so I tend to lose the weight as fast as I gain it. I’ll tell you, though; my favorite is his Flan de Naranja. No lie, his flan has gone down in song and legend. Tio even picks the oranges himself from our backyard. Olé!

Tio’s Flan de Naranja
Serves 4-6:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
5 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 orange peel
1/2 fluid ounce orange liqueur
2 ounces candied orange peel, grated
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and yolk. Beat in sugar until smooth. Set aside.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, half-and-half, the vanilla bean and its scrapings, and the peel of one orange. Heat until bubbles form at edges of liquid, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove orange peel. Beat hot cream into egg mixture, a little at a time, until all is incorporated. Stir in orange liqueur. Pour into 4 to 6 individual custard cups.
Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place cups on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the cups.
Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until set. Let cool completely.  Sprinkle candied orange peel on top of each cup before serving. Yum!

About the author
Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word.  In her career, she’s written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book.
One of her first jobs as a writer was given to her by her then agent. It was that of writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week and then promptly came down with the flu. She wrote “The Sands of Time” with a temperature of 102 and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Later on, she wrote short comedy skits for nightclub acts and ad copy for such places as No Soap Radio, where her love for comedy blossomed. Many of her short stories have been seen in various publications, as well as 2 one-act plays produced in Manhattan, one at the well-known, Playwrights Horizons.
Her novels, Murder is a Family Business and A Wedding to Die For, are the first two books of the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series. The third in the series, Death Runs in the Family, debuts May 2012. The series is published by MuseItUp Publishing in ebook and print form and can be found at MuseItUp, Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and many Bay Area bookstores. Heather says the series is a joy to write. She gets to be all the characters, including the cat!
You can visit Heather online at and her blog at

The Alvarez Family
Murder Mystery Series
Heather Haven

Welcome to the Family! And when the Alvarez clan is not is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of intellectual property and computer software.
Murder is a Family BusinessA Wedding to Die For, and the soon to be released Death Runs in the Family are part of the humorous mystery series revolving around Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Graftonʼs Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitchʼ Stephanie Plum. Completing the Alvarez Family is Leeʼs Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle “Tio;” and her energetic orange and white cat, Tugger. These whodunit novels explore familial love -- the good, the bad and the annoying.

 “Heather Haven makes a stellar debut in Murder is a Family Business. Highly recommended.” Sheldon Siegel. New York Times Best Selling Author of Perfect Alibi.

“Heather Haven has done it again with the second in the Alvarez series [A Wedding to Die For]. Just when I thought she couldn't best herself, she did.” Ginger Simpson, Dishin’ It Out with Ginger

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe: Gail Branan's Southern Cornbread Dressing

A big hearty hello to our dear Southern author, Gail Branan. Gail's book, fantasy romance, Miami Days and Truscan (K)nights, will be released in April 2012 by Muse It Up Publishing. Her recipe today comes from a dear friend. Enjoy this story about her friend and more information about her upcoming release.

Hey, y’all!  I’m so pleased to be here today on J. Q. Rose’s Good Eats, Great Reads.  Janet, thanks for having me.  

Some of you have visited my blog, Flowers on the Fence, and know that it’s the place where I collect very special people and very special memories.  Today, even though I’m on J. Q. Rose’s blog, I’m also collecting and sharing a very special flower as I share her recipe for Southern Cornbread Dressing – Mrs. Emma Richardson.

Miss Emma – and please be advised that in the South, all ladies not your mother or your aunt who are some years older than you are addressed as “Miss”, just as all men not your Daddy or your uncle who are some years older than you are addressed as “Mr.” – was the office mother of the Macon, Georgia law firm of Jones, Cork & Miller LLP.  

When I first met Miss Emma, she was a very young and spry 74.  In fact, she drove a stick shift and listened to a rock station on the radio.  The reason I remember her age so clearly is because the next year I helped spearhead a special birthday celebration for her 75th birthday.  As I did for her 85th.  And her 90th.  And her 91st.  At every one of those birthday celebrations, I gave the same toast, a quote from the Wizard of Oz to the Tin Man.  I still think that quote describes Miss Emma like no other.  “Hearts are not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” 

Miss Emma was a sheer delight.  A true Southern lady, she had a strict work ethic, a heart that encompassed the world but especially embraced every person who ever set foot through the JCM doors, whether attorney, bookkeeping staff, paralegal, secretary, law clerk, receptionist, runner, copy clerk.  She also especially embraced every member of Mulberry Street Methodist Church.  JCM’s a big firm, and Mulberry Methodist is a big Church, but trust me, her heart was big enough to hold all of us and have plenty of room for newcomers.
Very simply, she loved us.  

Not one for excess sentimentality, she showed her love in concrete ways.  I think most women show their love through their cooking.  And believe me when I tell you this – Miss Emma could cook.   The break room was fragrant with the smells of fresh baking more mornings than not. You were never certain what might greet you when you went for your coffee.  Her pound cakes were legendary.  I can still smell the long pans of peach cobbler, baked that morning and still streaming steam.  Even if no fresh-baked offering appeared in the morning, it was possible that an afternoon visit for fresh coffee would reveal a block of cream cheese standing by a plate of crackers and an open jar of her homemade green pepper jelly. 

She retired from the firm several times during the years, but she always came back.  Not for full duty, of course, and she made her own hours.  Her true job description was “Heart of Jones, Cork & Miller” and she remained so even after she retired for the last time at 91.  Still in good health and perfect mind, she’d suffered an episode that was probably the beginning of the end, and served as the impetus for her decision, “I choose to drive no more.” 

A broken hip two years later necessitated a spell in a nursing/rehabilitation facility and we snapped candid pictures of each other all over the office and mounted them for her on a large poster board.  That picture poster was buried with her when she died at 93. 

She’d collected her recipes years before into a big black notebook, divided into categories by divider tabs, and she was always first recipe book of choice for any of us searching for a new recipe for anything.  My friend Melody Lord made a copy of that notebook to keep at the firm, as well as one for herself and one for me.  Melody made a copy of her copy and gave it to my daughter as a wedding present.  She inscribed it “From Melody and Miss Emma.  She’d want you to have it.”  

Mulberry Street Methodist had the recipes printed in a book and sold them with proceeds going to one of Miss Emma’s special Church projects, but Melody and I prefer our own copies of the original wherein we can still see the notes in her own handwriting:  “Very good”; “Bake at 425 instead of 400”; “Add ½ cup of butter rather than ¼”. 

And so without further ado, because I get teary-eyed when I remember Miss Emma, I present Miss Emma’s Southern Cornbread Dressing, which is the only dressing I make for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

(With Turkey or Hen) – Serves about 8

2 cups crumbled stale cornbread
2 to 2-1/2 cups crumbled dry white bread (such as leftover biscuits or rolls – biscuits are better)
1 onion chopped fine
2 or 3 stalks of celery chopped fine (about ½ to ¾ cup)
½ stick melted butter or margarine
3 eggs, beaten slightly
4 to 5 cups turkey or chicken stock (after skimming off the grease –see note below)
1-1/2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
(**Gail’s addition:  1 ½ tsp. sage)

Preheat oven to 425.  Mix breads, stock, beaten eggs and seasonings.  In the meantime, in a shallow frying pan, melt the butter/margarine and partially cook the onion and celery till it is just limp; then add the whole bit to the first mixture and stir well. This should be soft and runny, about the consistency of cake batter or very thick soup – this is the secret of good dressing, as it will dry out as it cooks.  After you make this a few times, you will be able to tell about the consistency.  Use a shallow pan for baking – a 9 x 13 size, or two smaller sizes – as this should be a rather thin layer.  I grease the pan with butter first.  After about 15 to 20 minutes, I take a cooking fork and run through it and sort of stir it up and then let it continue baking about another 15 to 20 minutes.  Or, you can leave it alone and let it bake smooth – then cut into squares.  Of course, you must have giblet gravy with this.  If you don’t know how to do that, I will be glad to tell you if you will give me a call.

(Note from Gail:  That’s Miss Emma talkin’, not me.  I’m not chopping and boiling giblets and have not a clue how to make giblet gravy.  The store-bought turkey gravy works just fine for me.  Though in all honesty, this dressing, done properly, doesn’t need gravy as it’s super moist all by itself.  Now back to Miss Emma.  The tip given below finally made me realize why I always got sick as a dog off my mother’s dressing during the Holidays.)

NOTE:  As to the stock, I always pour the stock up after baking a turkey or after cooking the giblets (neck, gizzard, heart and liver) and let it get cold in the refrigerator and remove the fat from the top.  Then I put that in the freezer to save to make dressing and gravy the next time I bake a turkey.  Otherwise, you have the problem of baking your turkey ahead of time and not having time to prepare the stock.  It really is too greasy if you don’t remove the fat.

(Note from Gail:  Cans of chicken broth work well also.  Because believe it or not, as un-American as it sounds, I detest turkey and while I give in and cook them for Thanksgiving, I hold out for ham on Christmas – also wonderful with dressing – and I’m not pouring up and straining turkey broth!)

For Oyster Dressing:  Simply add up to a cup of chopped oysters to the batter before baking.

If you don’t mind eating dressing and gravy two times in a row, it’s nice to bake only half of the above and put the balance in the refrigerator and bake it fresh the next day.  Or you can half the whole thing to begin with.

(Note from Gail:  Or in the case of my family, you can double it.)

And now about that new book?

Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights, April 2012, MuseItUpPublishing

Everybody's wanted to fly over the rainbow sometime or other in their life, right? Though probably not by flying through the Bermuda Triangle. But Tess Ames, who’s the personal troubleshooter of the CEO of Miami based Ramos International, does exactly that on her way to Jamaica to serve as corporate hostess at one of the corporation’s big parties. Her double Masters Degrees in Marketing and Finance aren’t a lot of preparation for the world she discovers. Magic, omens, portents and power stones weren’t discussed much in her graduate classes. But Tess is nothing if not versatile. She’s going to give it her best shot. The first sight of that Truscan king would give any woman incentive. But trust me – she ain’t in Kansas anymore.

Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream, Happy Mother's Day, Working Moms

YouTube VIDEO: Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream Hello and welcome! I wanted to pop in to wish you moms, grandmoms and those w...