Friday, May 30, 2014

Foodie Friday: Ruminations on Rhubarb

Hot_Dawg-smallI had a load of fun putting together y little cookbook RECIPES TO DIE FOR: A Victoria Square Cookbook together. The odd thing is, most of the recipes are ones I really do use over and over again. (It's kind of nice to have them all in one place.)

RhubarbIt's springtime and for me that means fresh rhubarb. What an odd vegetable.  I never thought about it as a vegetable, since the only thing I use it for is desserts and chutney, but it really is a veggie, and the leaves are very, very poisonous.  (If you value your liver, never, EVER eat them.)  But the stalks are just fine to eat--and EXTEMELY tart! We've got rhubarb up the wazoo and I've been even tossing it in my green smoothies.  (Yes, VERY TART indeed.)

Mr. L is partial to rhubarb crisp. Here's my favorite recipe

Rhubarb cristpIngredients:
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats
½ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, and cinnamon; mix together until crumbly. Press half of the brown sugar and oats mixture into a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the sliced rhubarb. In a saucepan combine 1 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and the 1 cup of water and vanilla. Cook together until the liquid is clear, then pour over the rhubarb. Top the rhubarb with remaining crumb mixture and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm, and if desired, with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Yield:  4-6 servings.

Mmm-mmm good!

To_Die_For.smAnd in case you are interested in RECIPES TO DIE FOR, here are a few links.

Watch the video!  (Made by Ellery Adams and me!)

Trade PaperbackKindle US
Kindle Worldwide
Nook
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords

P.S.  New recipe up on my Lorna Barrett Website from Bookmarked for DeathFind it here!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teacup Tuesday: Readers share their beautiful teacups and dishes

Pink Teacup Tuesday
Well, I missed a week.  Then I thought I had written the blog post and would just post it this week.  Hello, I got the pictures ready, but forgot to write the post.  Oy.  (My excuse:  I've been writing up a storm!)

Last time out, I invited readers to submit pictures of their own china cabinets.  Two readers took me up on the challenge.  First up, is Diane L. from Manchester, CT submitted two pictures.  Here's her curio cabinet.

Diane's curio cabinet

and here's a view of her dining room.  Just lovely, Diane!

Diane's dining room

Suzann F. from Bethlehem, PA is a collector after my own heart.  She has a lot of really neat collectibles she keeps in a number of cabinets and shelves.

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Look at the detail on that drawer!  Beautiful.

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Don't you just love those turkey plates?  I have a turkey platter with a similar design.

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Pretty, pretty, pretty!

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Thanks Diane and Suzann for sharing your lovely cups and plates with us.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Foodie Friday: Stealing the Moon & Stars while making Chicken Cordon Bleu

Hot_Dawg-small
By guest bloggers Sally J Smith and Jean Steffens


While working on Stealing the Moon & Stars, a Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino novel, recently released from Camel Press, we needed to research a gourmet dish for a dinner hosted by our culinary-challenged heroine. Chicken Cordon Bleu was the winner.

It’s a dish that originated in Switzerland in the 1940’s. There are dozens of ways to prepare it. All versions include a cutlet--either chicken or veal; cheese--Swiss, Muenster or Gruyere; and pork--ham or prosciutto. You can panfry, deep fry or bake it. It’s tasty by itself, but divine served with a creamy sauce.

Jean_and_Sally_flipped_webAn author is obligated to bring authenticity to her work. We set out to do just that. No problem with grocery shopping. Cooking chicken rolls? Again, easy-peezy.  The white sauce? Mucho problemos.

We stirred and stirred, until our wrists gave out. Fruitless. The sauce was lumpier than an old mattress and about as appetizing. Not to be foiled, we tried again. Our next effort came out perfectly because that time we used canned white sauce, not from scratch. Below, you’ll find our recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu modified for those with little time and even less cooking skill. See what you think.

Also, take a look at how PI Jordan Welsh dealt with the dish when she invited her foodie family to dinner.

Excerpt: Stealing the Moon & Stars (Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino, Scottsdale PIs, are hired to find out who’s stealing the from the Moon & Stars Children’s Foundation. Foundation employees are suspected, but just as the pieces start falling into place, Jordan discovers a hidden agenda that puts her in the crosshairs of a crime lord. Who can she trust? Everyone has a dangerous secret, and the bodies are piling up. Even her partner, Eddie Marino, has a dark and mysterious past. The two have landed in a hornet’s nest—nothing to do but stir it up.)

The doorbell rang at three. She opened the front door to Gabe Penner, a family friend and sometimes client, also the owner and head chef at Gabriel’s Bistro in Paradise Valley. He carried two large insulated bags, one in each hand.

“Here I come to save the day…” he sang in his lilting voice, a fair imitation of Andy Kaufman.

“Gabe.” He always made her smile.

She swung the door open wide and he came in, set down the bags, and bowed. “Your order, Miss Welsh.”

“Get in here, you nut. We’ve only got an hour before everyone arrives, and I have a jillion things left to do.”

“No worries.” He picked up the bags and headed straight for the kitchen. “It will only take a few minutes to show you how to reheat like a pro.”

“You’ve saved my bacon on more than one occasion.”

“Har dee har.” He began to unpack the bags on the counter. “Very funny.”

A dozen containers came out of the bags. Gabe assembled them into an elegant meal so quickly you’d have thought he learned to cook at Hogwarts.

“On the menu tonight is Chicken Cordon Bleu with white wine sauce, baby red potatoes sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with garlic and onion, steamed asparagus, and a spinach salad with poppy seed dressing. I brought fresh baked herb bread from the Bistro and honey butter. There’s cheesecake if anyone has room after all the other food.”

Gabe talked while he worked, navigating the kitchen as if every move had been choreographed in advance.

“Zester.” With one-word commands, he sent Jordan scurrying around the kitchen to find this pan or that utensil, some of which she didn’t even know she had.

“Zester?” She wrinkled her nose. “What the heck is a zester?” She peered into the pan on the burner. “So tell me what you’re doing there, kind sir.”

“I’m making a roux.”

“You can make those? I thought they came in a can.”

Gabe spoke over his shoulder. “Equal parts clarified butter and flour. Whisk, whisk, whisk until thickened, add a splash or two of white wine.” He splashed first and then drank from the open bottle. “Broth. Seasoning. You’ll spoon this over the Cordon Bleu the last ten minutes.”

Gabe put together a gorgeous salad of spinach, toasted almonds, and orange zest and gave her strict instructions not to toss in the dressing until just before mealtime.

After providing further details as to how she should finish off everything else, he spread his arms. “Voilà. Your gourmet meal. If you do exactly as I’ve told you, I don’t think even you can screw it up, my sweet.”


Chicken_cordon_bleuChicken Cordon Bleu, Quick & Easy
Ingredients
6 servings
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices thin, sweet ham
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
 toothpicks
  
1 can White Sauce or made from mix (Knorr’s/McCormick, etc.)
splash (or two or three or more) white wine – we used Chardonnay
juice squeezed from ½ a fresh lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Lay out the pounded chicken breasts on a clean surface. Place a slice of ham on each piece, then one slice of cheese. Roll the chicken up around the cheese and ham, and secure with toothpicks. Dip each roll in melted butter, then roll in bread crumbs. Place in a shallow baking dish. For those with an aversion to post-dinner cleanup, a sheet of aluminum foil lining the pan is a bonus.

Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is browned and juices run clear.

While the chicken is baking, heat the canned sauce, add lemon juice and wine to taste, and drink the rest of the wine. Voila, Chicken Cordon Bleu a la Jean and Sally, Time Deprived Authors
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Stealing_moon_cover_webSally J. Smith and Jean Steffens are the co-authors of Stealing the Moon & Stars, the first Jordan Welsh and Eddie Marino Novel from Camel Press. The two Arizona writers began working together when they figured out two heads are better (and faster) than one. "We work together side-by-side, word-by-word, literally finishing each others’ sentences. Laughter and sarcasm abound during writing sessions, with an odd disagreement here and there that may or may not involve the occasional right cross or karate/ninja move. Partners in crime have never had it so good." Their hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, home of the rich and famous as well as the calculating and criminal, is the perfect setting for this series. The detective team in their novels, Jordan Welsh, maverick heiress, and Eddie Marino, a graduate from the school of hard knocks, are ideally suited to the Scottsdale lifestyle and to each other.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Teacup Tuesday: I love you lovely china cabinet

Pink Teacup Tuesday

China cabinets are a lot of fun. You don't think so? I think of them as an adventure, and I love to snoop in other people's china cabinets.

My china cabinet (well, all of them, really) is pretty much bursting at the seams. In fact, I've now got four or five of my bone china tea cups living on top. (Although not in this picture which I dug up to show you.)

China cabinet

Those are Russian tea glasses on top of the cabinet, along with a few soapstone vases.  (The red one was a wedding gift to my inlaws when they got married in 1939.)

Would you like to share a picture of your china cabinet for others to see?  If so, send them to me at LLB(at)LLBartlett.com -- I know I'd love to see them.
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Friday, May 9, 2014

FOODIE FRIDAY: So you think British Food Sucks? WRONG!

Hot_Dawg-smallBy guest blogger Patricia Burroughs
Wait, you think British food sucks. Really?

I have to ask this in the most polite way possible. Have you ever even been to the British Isles? This is one of my pet peeves, and if you’ve been there and can still say it sucks, well you know your own taste buds, and I respect that. But I love British food. I could eat pub grub daily and happily, just for starters!

Heathrow_haddock_and_guiness
              Heathrow Haddock and Guinness
I have to assume you never ate fish and chips in Great Britain, where even the worst fish and chips make our American versions pale in comparison. And you certainly never had any at the pub in Polperro where we not only had fried haddock--crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, with lashings of malt vinegar. It was all so perfect it brought tears to our eyes. Surprisingly to us as first-time pub-goers, it was served with a side dish of steamed and buttered broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, all fresh from local gardens. In a pub. Local fish, local veg, local ale. And this is typical, not unusual, of pub grub.

I also have to assume you never sat in a tea room in Devon and ate dense but flaky scones, hot and dripping with melting clotted cream and sweet strawberry jam made from local strawberries.

Evidently you haven’t enjoyed the bliss of steak-and-ale pie with rich brown gravy, tender beef, delicious flaky crust, and yes, those ubiquitous fresh veg from local gardens.  And yes, this is at the local pub with walls two feet thick and low ceilings and a history that goes back four centuries.

Certainly I must assume you haven’t had slices of rare roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, or lamb stew with thick crusty bread, or Cornish pasties of every description from savory to sweet.

Part of the full Cornish breakfast Pooks cooked at a cottage in Cornwall.
And we haven’t even touched the full monty, the Full English [or Welsh, or Scottish, or Cornish] breakfast. Regional variations exist. Oat porridge and oat cakes in Scotland, for example. Beans aren’t present everywhere, but when they are, they are a tastier addition than you might expect. Grilled tomato and mushrooms, bacon cut from the loin instead of the streaks, black currant preserves or strawberry jam or orange marmalade, are all fairly standard along with eggs, and don’t forget the milk and butter that are richer than any you’ve had Stateside.

You couldn’t have had any of these things and still believe that British food is inferior, and that makes me very sad for you, because you haven’t had some of the most delicious food on this round globe of ours.

The odd thing about choosing to write on this subject is that it doesn’t play in easily to the book I’m here to flog, a dark epic fantasy with romance and Young Adult crossover appeal. I haven’t spent a lot of words writing about food in This Crumbling Pageant, but the words I’ve written were written from a place of deep respect and longing to be there eating alongside my characters.

When the memory of cheese sets Persephone’s mouth to watering, I know the flavor and texture of that cheese, superior to any I’ve had elsewhere. When she bites into an apple and tastes those tart juices, I remember them, and the wickedly strong apple scrumpy they create.

And when she and the villain have declared an uneasy truce….

The long-fingered hand holding out a rustic earthenware mug of ale should have surprised her. She should be alarmed that he had caught her unaware. She remembered not trusting anything he might offer her. Now, she took it as politely—not desperately, no, she refused to let desperation show—as if it were tea and he the queen. “My most gracious thanks,” she murmured before drinking deeply and gratefully.

I know exactly how delicious that ale is, even if I wasn’t starving when it was offered me.
I’ve made myself hungry and there is not a British pub within a nine hour flight of Dallas. Oh well, more research is necessary for the Fury Triad. I’ll find a way to get my fix soon!
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Award-winning screenwriter and best selling novelist Patricia Burroughs (aka Pooks) is a Nicholl Fellow and a proud member of Book View Café. Pooks loves dogs, books, movies, and American football. A lifelong Anglophile, she treasures her frequent travels in the British Isles researching The Fury Triad, the epic fantasy that has taken over her life and heart.  She and her high school sweetheart husband are living happily ever after in their hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's for a great cause!

Want to help a great cause AND get some cool stuff, too? Check out my donation to the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes.

Charity-2-sm

DEAD IN RED (Hardcover) by LL Bartlett
RECIPES TO DIE FOR (Trade Paper) by Lorraine Bartlett
BOOKPLATE SPECIAL (Paperback) by Lorna Barrett
A Jeff Resnick Shot Glass
Bone China Teacup
Sample of Tea
and 3 Badges

All valued at around $60.

You can bid on my donation by clicking this link!  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teacup Tuesday: Do I love this little teacup?

Usually in my part of the woods, we see yard sales happening in early April, but this year after THE LONG WINTER, there were very few yard sales in April. In fact, I didn't see ANY.  But last weekend it was almost warm (in the mid-50s) and not raining. (YAY!)

So, I was terribly pleased that at the first yard sale I stopped at I found a wonderful bone china teacup with ROSES.  Yellow and pink.  My FAVORITES.

Yellow pink teacup

The question for me is ... will I keep this little beauty, or will it end up as a giveaway sometime in the future here on this blog?  I don't know. I really don't have room for many (any?) more cups. I have to decide if I really love it or now. That will take a few weeks of living with it to know for sure.

In the meantime, do YOU love this little cup?

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Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm a Storyteller!

I've joined with three other multi-genre authors to form Storytellers Unlimited.  They are Kelly McClymer, Shirley Hailstock, and C.B. Pratt.

I hope you'll come and visit our new website.

WebsiteLaunch

We'll be offering snap stories, book recommendations, have author interviews, contests, and lots, lots more.

Come on over, sign-up for our newsletter -- we'll be announcing something big on June 1st and you won't want to miss it.
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