Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Oven Temp: 450F
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper
1 T diced onion
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 T minced parsley
2 T cold water
2 C cooked cubed chicken
1 C soft bread crumbs or cooked rice
1 C finely sifted dried bread crumbs
Mix mayonnaise and seasonings in a bowl. Gradually stir in water.
Add chicken and soft bread crumbs (or rice). Mix with fork. Let
stand 5 minutes. Shape into 6 - 7 croquettes. Roll each in the
dried bread crumbs. Place on foil on a baking sheet. Bake 15 - 20
minutes or until browned.Hoorah for the women (heck, for the cooks of any gender) who could take what my family calls scrips and scraps and make food that's not only nourishing but enticing and satisfying.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
* Christmas has passed, but New Year's Day isn't here yet. Still time to enjoy a few goodies without that awful eat-less-exercise-more resolution hanging over my head. And there's still time to enjoy the Christmas tree without dreading taking it down. When will they make a tree like those in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas that you can simply pull down like an umbrella, ornaments intact?
* Playing with the children and their new Christmas presents!
* Snuggling with my husband.
* Giggling with the children.
* Enjoying my new Christmas presents. I was up until one this morning reading The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer. He's such a good writer. I love everything I've read by him so far.
* Imagining someone saying what I just said about Brad Meltzer about me. Or, how about this? Brad Meltzer saying, "That Gayle Trent is such a good writer." :-D
* Year in review shows where you see everything you've forgotten or paid no attention to earlier in the year.
* New Year's Eve marathons! I Love Lucy and Looney Toons. . . . Does it get any better than that?
* Christmas vacation!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This year, the freezer on our garage fridge went out right around Thanksgiving. At first, I was convinced that this calmaity would put a huge damper on my holidays. Without the extra space, I would not be able to try each and every recipe that I had planned to make.
I am now convinced that the freezer malfunction was a result of divine intervention. My baking and candy-making began last week. I made about half as much as usual, and still had all kinds of stuff for family and friends.
Little did I know that it would take a broken freezer to teach me that I need to chill out a little over the holidays! Fatal Foodies, if you tend to be like me, please know that the holidays will not be ruined if you don't do everything you THINK you're supposed to. Perhaps this realization is the best gift I have gotten this Christmas.
Merry Christmas! Hope you get some time to "chill out" with loved ones!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
can of corn or frozen equivalent defrosted
can of black or red beans
salsa of whatever strength and quantity you like
tortilla chips for scooping
Another tried and true one:
can of chili beans in sauce
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese -- or Velveeta (processed cheese spread), if you prefer
heavy-duty dipping chips or sliced French bread
Heat chili and cheese until cheese is melted. Dip chips into it or spoon it over bread.
Hmmm.... Why is it always vegetarian? Why is it always Tex-Mex? I am not vegetarian, nor Texan nor Mexican....
Oh, well. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Monday, December 22, 2008
In our household, there are 10 cats. Leaving food unattended is a sure fire way to lose it; one of my cats, Foster, ran off with an entire sausage. He stole it from the cast iron pan on the stove when I left the room for, oh, maybe a minute. Watching him run through the house, one end of the sausage in his mouth, the other trailing between his front legs like an antelope felled by a lion, the other cats on his tail, I was half tempted to let him keep it - I couldn't stop laughing. We ended up chopping it into little pieces and distributing it amongst the feline populace. Trust me, you wouldn't have wanted to eat it either.
Any meal involving seafood starts a clarion call. Foster (the sausage thief) has a meow like a
donkey mixed with a party horn - HEEEEEowwwww.... He jumps up on the arm of the couch (we don't have a dining room table, so most of our meals are eaten at the coffee table), fixes me and/or my plate with his slightly crossed blue gaze and stares with kitty hypno-vision, giving his pathetic HEEEEowwwww every few minutes. The other cats, with the exception of Bug Bear, are slightly more polite. They'll just stare with varying degrees of 'give me now' intensity and/or huge pathetic eyes straight out of a black velvet painting. Bug Bear believes in the direct approach - front paws on my lap, nose and mouth at the edge of my plate. This is not allowed and he is immediately scolded and displaced, but he has the persistance of the Terminator.
What amuses and amazes me about felines is the variety of weird things they eat; things you wouldn't think they'd like. Foster has a passion for corn on the cob, with or without butter. This was discovered after he stole a partially devoured corn cob off my plate during an indoor picnic (we were eating on the floor), vanished from the room and happily consumed the rest of it. Little bits of corn were found all over the house.
Several of my cats love chips. Potato chips, corn chips, popcorn...not gluten free chips, though. They will not touch my beloved Identity Crisis chips from TJs. They also love pizza, little pieces of cheesy crust. Buttered toast...not so weird, I guess.
But avocado? Yup, avocado. And cooked broccoli too. Who would have thunk it?
So what's the weirdest thing YOU'VE seen your cat or dog eat? Enquiring minds want to know...
"AH...dat was good!"
Foster after his meal...
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It’s not Christmas in the Southwest without tamales. Tamales are such a labor intensive dish to make that it has become tradition to make them for very special occasions, like Easter, or Christmas. In Hispanic families, women often spend days making tamales before the holiday, and then give them as gifts. Tamales were here before the Europeans. There are records of the Aztecs serving tamales to the Spanish in the 1500s.
Every region has its own native style of tamales - all the Southwestern states (New Mexican tamales can rip roof of your mouth right off), all the Mexican states, all the Central American countries. The basic idea is to wrap a filling in masa (a type of corn flour), then a corn husk or banana leaf, and steam it - usually end-up - for half an hour or so. Now, the fun part is the filling. Usually, tamale filling is shredded pork, which can be flavored with a plethora of imaginative spices and ingredients. Chiles, of course, and cumin, garlic, and bitter chocolate.
But never think that a good cook will stop there. Out here in Arizona, as Christmas approaches, you can find tamales of every ilk imaginable - pumpkin, chocolate, pineapple and pork, bean with beef and rice, chicken, “green corn” tamales, stuffed with mild green chiles and cheese. Usually, tamales are served hot out of the steamer (don’t forget to remove the husk), so soft and juicy that adding a sauce is just gilding the lily.
I was not raised in the Latino tradition, so I was never an expert tamale-maker. I am simply lucky enough to live in a place where I can buy mine from those who are. There are many fabulous web sites where you can learn all about making tamales the old-fashioned way, but two that I particularly like are:
http://whatscookingamerica.net (once you get there, type 'Cynthia Pineda tamales' in the 'Search This Site' bar) and
So if cooking is your thing, start a whole new holiday tradition in your family. And if tamales are your holiday tradition, let us know your favorite kind.
P.S. I can't get the What's Cooking America link to work on this page, but you can copy and paste. I also found a fun recipe for duck tamales at http://nmmagazine.com/jollytamale_dec08/php
Friday, December 19, 2008
Building on Chris' post about Christmas cookies, I wanted to share a link to an article I wrote for SheKnows.com on cookies for those who have diabetes or food allergies. You can find the article via Examiner or SheKnows.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
There is one way to make the season bright, however. Make Christmas cookies! Okay, so none of us really need the calories. But with so much doom and gloom broadcast on the news each night, who couldn't use a smile?
So, gather up the kids and grandkids, get the spouse off the couch. Get out the cutters and ingredients. Sprinkle on sugar. Laugh at the goofy-looking reindeer cookie. Chuckle about Santa's lopsided beard. Make some Christmas cookies and have fun.
Eat without guilt. Enjoy!
Here are some Christmas cookie recipes to try:
* Chocolate Kisses
* Cookies Kids can make - Gingerbread garland
* Candy Cane cookies
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This year, I have decided to begin a new tradition. I love to give her books for Christmas, but this year, I plan to give her one special book on Christmas Eve night. It will be a bedtime story that will have her dreaming of Santa and pondering the true meaning of Christmas.
The Santa Train Tradition is a beautiful book that describes the special journey of a train that winds through the Appalachian
Mountains every Saturday before Thanksgiving. The story is true, and has special meaning to people in our region. You can read more about the Santa Train and this book: http://www.thesantatraintradition.com/
So, if you have little ones in your life, a gift of pj's and a book is a super-fun idea. Actually, it can be a really cute gift for anyone. An adult might enjoy a little herbal tea or scented candles thrown into the mix.
Shopping tip: Target has some really cute Christmas/Winter themed pajamas that won't break the bank.
Another gift you can send right from home is a micro-loan. Back when I had extra money, I loaned one person $25 and another person $50 through Kiva. That's been paid back into my Kiva account. I could take it out, but it doesn't cost me a thing to lend it out again. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I am entirely impressed by Gayle’s Writers Planner.
It's not officially due to launch until January, but The Sky Took Him, the fourth installment in my "Alalfair Tucker Mystery" series, has been shipped from the printer already, and is available for purchase right now from Poisoned Pen Press, or on the B&N or Amazon sites. I've posted an excerpt from the first chapter of the book over on my web site (http://doniscasey.com), if you'd like to read a bit of it. Once you get to the site, just click on “About This Book” for the excerpt, or on “Reviews” to read the STARRED REVIEW Sky received in the December 8, 2008, edition of Publishers Weekly. (you can’t see me but I’m doing the Dance of Joy) As usual, there is a collection of old family recipes in the back of the book.
I notice that things are pretty quiet on all the writers’ chat rooms and in most of the blogs I regularly read. It’s the Holidays, Dear Readers, and I assume you’re all in your kitchens making wonderful goodies for all the family and friends who are visiting.
Next week, I’ll post a recipe - maybe two - for the traditional Mexican and Southwestern Christmas dish, tamales. It says good luck and lots of love to fix tamales on Christmas. So go finish baking, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows (or if you want to stick with the Mexican theme, cinnamon and chocolate), and curl up with a good book.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This was beef vegetable soup and I ate EVERY BITE! As much as I love soup in a bread bowl, I've never made it--that suddenly seems very odd. I think I'll do it, next time I make soup. I make soup A LOT. Charlie and I love soup. I made--what, children?--Posole yesterday. Mmmmm. As much as Charlie and I love soup and as much as we love bread, you may never hear from me again: the deliciousness may just finish me off!
Monday, December 8, 2008
To make matters worse, the stress caused by the lack of productivity affected my appetite. Not that I didn't eat, but nothing sung to me. I usually get my inspiration from something I read or eat as far as my posts for Fatal Foodies. And I usually have definite ideas about what sounds good to me for any given meal. This weekend, however, I was one of those annoying people who, when asked if I was hungry and if so, what did I want, just whined, "I don't know...maybe. I don't know, nothing really sounds good." Dave would make suggestions, I'd wrinkle my nose and scowl at him. We did manage to make it through a weekend of meals without him killing me and we did, in fact, enjoy splitting an Irish breakfast at The Bashful Bull Diner on Taravel and 46th. An Irish breakfast consists of eggs, country potatoes or hash browns, Irish sausage, Irish bacon and black & white pudding with a side of toast. We are both black and white pudding addicts, not a good thing as it's lousy for one's arteries. But oh, so tasty...
I did have some truly magnificent pumpkin fudge at the Sisters in Crime Board Meeting (I'm the new Events Coordinator for SinC NorCal), but no recipe to offer as it was purchased at a craft store and the fudge maker was not at the meeting. But oh, it was good... It almost had the texture of a really good pumpkin pie and yet...it was fudge. I've never had anything like it before.
At any rate, I am a Fatal Foodies Fuddy Duddy today. Devoid of appetite and inspiration. I ask my fellow Fatal Foodies and readers, what do you do when you have a: writer's block and b: can't figure out what you want to eat?
ADDED AFTER THIS WAS POSTED:
I just got an email from M is for Mystery, a great bookstore in San Mateo, and look at this excerpt:
Do you have a mystery lover and cook on your gift list? We have two cookbooks -- 'A Taste of Murder' and 'A Second Helping of Murder,' both with lots of impressive autographs -- that celebrate the connection between detective fiction and food. They include more than 130 recipes each, many of which pay homage to the authors' characters (Marcia Muller - Sharon McCone's Garlic Bread, and C.J. Box - Pickett's Mad Scramble Breakfast) and they range from the gourmet (Elizabeth George - Rigatoni Puttanesca) to the true beginner (Robert B. Parker - Susan Silverman's Boiled Water). This is a very reasonably priced gift, especially considering the many signatures of authors whose characters are honored by recipes. A list of the more than two dozen signatories, and the illustrated dustjackets, are posted on the Web version of our Dec. Newsletter. Just scroll a bit and stop at the heading "A Taste of Murder for Christmas!" Go to: http://www.mformystery.com/newsletter.html (The usual mantra applies: Supplies are limited.)
I just had to share this...
Saturday, December 6, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I promised to give you the recipe for one of my favorite winter comfort soups, posole.
I’ve eaten hominy and hominy grits all my life. Hominy is a Native American staple, and was always around when I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma. But we always ate our hominy straight. I learned to make posole, which is a yummy, spicy, hominy-based stew, after living for a while in Texas, close to the New Mexico border.
I’ve seen many posole recipes, with many variations on the ingredients, but almost always including pork and hominy. Since Don and I have been cooking vegetarian for thirty years, my posole recipe is of course meatless. It’s also easy and fast, and a wonderful quick and warming meal on a winter day.
one 16 oz. can golden hominy
one 13 oz. can of chopped tomatoes with juice
1 cup vegetable broth
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 small chopped onion
one 4 oz. can of whole, roasted, mild green chiles, chopped (you can buy your chiles already chopped, but I like the texture much better when I chop them myself.)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chili powder, or to taste. How hot do you like it?
2 tsp olive oil
Heat the oil in the bottom of a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until transparent. Add chopped peppers, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder and heat for about a minute until fragrant.
Add hominy, tomatoes, and broth all at once, stir well to mix, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with hot corn tortillas.
If you have any of this soup left over, it’s even better reheated the next day, after the flavors have been allowed to marry overnight in the fridge.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I remember one time several years ago when someone in my neighborhood died unexpectedly. I found out about it while I was at work and stopped to buy a pie on the way home. My plan was to take the pie over to the family as soon as I got home and before they left for the funeral home. When I got home and started to put the pie in a pie plate (for some reason, you don't want the family to realize you didn't actually make the food item yourself), I saw that it was FROZEN! I had to thaw the pie and bake it before taking it to the family. It was well after dark by the time I got the pie baked and cooled enough to take to the family. Off I went with my pie and flashlight walking to the neighbors' home. Unfortunately, there was no one there. I did finally find someone home to take the pie, but a friend teased me about being like the old man in the myth who went all throughout the world with his little light seeking . . . truth, I believe. The joke was that I went all throughout the neighborhood with my little light seeking a pie-taker. [eyeroll]
I still don't know what to take to Susan's family. I mean, what can you take that will actually bring some comfort to a young boy whose mother has died? All that can really comfort him is the reassurance that he'll see her again.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Don’t freak out just yet! I did not say that I don’t like country ham. I just can’t eat it. I love the taste. Here’s the thing. It makes me sick. Country ham makes me physically ill! I’m talking severe headaches and vomiting. If my reaction were any less violent, I swear I would partake of the ham and suffer the consequences.
The first time I suffered from a country ham induced malady, was on the day after Christmas, in the year 2000. After that, I tested my luck a few more times, eating just a little country ham, and hoping for no ill effects. My hopes were dashed time after time, when my country ham encounters left me vomiting over the toilet and rubbing my aching temples.
Consulting with those in-the-know has led me to believe that the nitrates in country ham trigger a migraine for me, which leads to nausea. While I accept this explanation and the limitations my condition places on me, it is often hard to explain to others.
This Christmas season, and all of the eating opportunities will surely lead to a country ham situation that will require an explanation. I only hope that my host or hostess will be understanding.
If posting this confession leads anyone to revoke my Southern Girl Membership Card, I have relatives in Cincinatti, which we consider "The North". So, if my next post is about Cincinatti's famous Skyline Chili or Graeter's Ice Cream, ya'll know what happened!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Anybody who knows me, knows that my first word was, not mama or dada, but "MEAT". Still, I have many friends and relations who are vegetarian, and my husband and I eat a lot more vegetables and fruit than meat. Here is a casserole we had last night. As it happens, it's a chicken casserole, but it's easily adaptable for vegetarians, and I'm posting the vegetarian version.
Vegetable and Rice Casserole
- 1 can Cream of Celery or Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1 can water
- 3/4 cup uncooked rice
- 1/2 tsp onion powder or chopped sauteed onion to taste
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables or 2 cans mixed vegetables (drained) or any durn kind of cooked or semi-cooked vegetables you durn well please
- seasonings to taste
To make it non-vegetarian, you can use, as the original recipe suggested, Cream of Chicken soup and top the rice-vegetable mix with boneless chicken breasts. Or, to please everybody, make the vegetarian version and cook the chicken breasts separately and serve them, cubed, on the side to be added as desired.
Monday, December 1, 2008
You will need:
Oven heated to 500 or on BROIL (depends on your oven. Lisa's heats up quite nicely at 500, ours demands the broil setting).
Glass baking dish (you can use a cookie sheet, but it's hard to clean up afterwards)
Fresh broccoli heads and stems,as much as you feel like eating
Olive oil - the good stuff!
any other herbs or spices you think would be tasty
Heat up the oven, spread the broccoli on the dish, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and herbs, put under the broiler/in the oven until the broccoli is crunchy. You'll want to stir it up and get both sides. I like it cooked to crunchy browned crispness. You can also use frozen broccoli, but it doesn't get as crunchy. It does, however, lend itself to being blended with seafood - I poached scallops in lemon juice, white wine and a hint of butter, drained them, then added it to the broccoli in the oven with grated Mizithra cheese. Can you say yummy?
P.S. I thought I had this scheduled to post automatically, but... it didn't. D'oh!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Don and I had our usual two-person, vegetarian Thanksgiving again this year. We have lived out here in the wilds of Arizona for close to twenty-five years, just the two of us, with all our family far far away in Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, and Northern California, and a few other points on the compass.
When we first moved out here, we made a point of driving back to OK every year for Thanksgiving. We were younger, then, and wealthier and less encumbered. Then, fifteen or so years ago, I started a business and was literally unable to travel for pleasure for a decade. I don’t have the business any more, but now our parents are all gone, and our siblings are flung to the far corners of the earth.
But it’s okay. We’ve developed our own traditions. We always cook a vegetarian feast just for us, and eat it while watching an old movie. One of my TG perennials is The Farmer’s Daughter with Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten. This year we ate field roast (a type of fake meat) stuffed with hazelnut dressing, gravy and mashed potatoes, the world famous green-bean casserole, whole berry cranberry sauce, rolls, and lots of raw celery, red bell pepper, and olives. Pumpkin pie, of course.
My youngest sister, who is also a vegetarian, suffered empty nest syndrome this year. She lives in Denver, her son, daughter-in-law, and the grandkid live in Tulsa, and her daughter, who joined the Army last summer, is posted to Korea along with her husband. So in order to stave off the Thanksgiving blues, she and her husband went out to eat at a Greek restaurant and took a drive up to Estes Park to enjoy the holiday with the elk.
So whether you had a Thanksgiving houseful of friends and relatives or it was just you and the cat, I hope you made it a special and happy day for yourself. Now, have an Alka-Seltzer and may you find some really good sales going on.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
If you get tired of turkey sandwiches, maybe a stuffing frittata and salad with cranberry vinagrette will hit the spot. Both of these recipes come from Robin Miller of The Food Network. I was a bit skeptical, but they are delicious!
2-3 cups leftover stuffing
1 cup of shredded cheddar
6 large eggs
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons grated parmesean cheese
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Directions: Preheat broiler. Coat ovenproof nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Put stuffing in bottom of pan to warm and stir to break up a little. Sprinkle cheese on top. In medium bowl, whisk eggs and whites, milk, mustard, and nutmeg. Pour over stuffing. Sprinkle parmesean over top. Cook on low 5-7 minutes. Transfer to broiler for about 2 minutes.
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red win vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Directions: Whisk it all together or shake it all up!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Leslie is our #3 daughter, and also a friend. Although she's a good cook, she doesn't enjoy it. She likes eating, though, so I'm always happy to have her to dinner. She gave me this recipe.
Leslie's Favorite Pumpkin Dump Cake
- 15-oz can of pumpkin--not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 5 or 6-oz can evaporated milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 9-oz box yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup melted margarine
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix first six ingredients until well blended. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix on top. Cover with pecans. Pour melted margarine over top. Bake about 45 minutes to an hour.
Whip together well, pour into graham cracker crust and chill 3 or so hours. Top with fresh fruit.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Okay. Winos. Fine. Are you happy now?
So I made breakfast sandwiches for Sunday brunch today. Healthful breakfast sandwiches. Let me describe.
Turkey bacon (three fat slices per sandwich)W
Whole grain English muffins
Low fat provolone cheese slices
Fried egg with lemon pepper
Black olive tapenade
Put it all together and...well...yum.
That, however, was not enough for the ideal Sunday brunch.
I've been saving a bottle of not too expensive, but VERY good Bordeaux I bought a year ago, saving it for just the right meal. A Chateau la fleur Mongiron, 2003. When I took that first test bite of the breakfast sandwich, something told me this was the moment, the meal, that this bottle was waiting for. So I opened it, put in the wine snorkel (it aerates the wine the same way decanting it does, but without the wait), poured a glass, took another bite of sandwich and then a sip of wine.
Lisa agreed after I gave her a sip of my wine when she'd had the first bite of her sandwich. Sunday brunch decadence. It doesn't get much better than this.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My last event for 2008, the 4th Annual Authors & Auction, went very well last Sunday. That's me, standing behind author J.M. Hayes, who is talking to
author Nancy E. Turner. Over 100 people showed up, we sold a lot of books, auctioned off a lot of nifty stuff for a good cause, and ate ourselves silly on chocolate fondue and cakes of every variety. Now that the appearances are in abeyance until January, I hope very much to get back to the business of writing, cooking, and generally living a more structured life for a while.
I loved the cookie recipes and the snowy day thoughts from the previous blogs. Makes me nostalgic for cozy, snowy weather, a fireplace, hot chocolate and a fuzzy sweater. No snow here. Today’s high was eighty-five degrees. Of course, as we say in Arizona, you don’t have to shovel sunshine, so I’ll content myself with my romantic childhood memories of winter.
All this doesn’t mean that I don’t make plenty of winter comfort foods. I am particularly fond of soup at this time of year. Day before yesterday, I made one of my old standbys, potato-carrot soup, which couldn’t be easier or tastier or more nutritious. I chopped up two small potatoes, two large carrots, half a large onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic and boiled them until soft in about two cups of vegetable broth. Then I blended it all, stirred in milk until it was the consistency I like, then returned it to the fire until it was hot. Serve it with a nice roll, and yum!
We had quite a bit left over, which I used last night as the base for more soup. I use whatever I have to create something different, so last night I just chopped up another small potato and some more onion and garlic, put it in the leftover pureed soup, added a little water, and cooked until the new ingredients were done. Didn’t blend it. It was sort of an oniony potato soup with a nice gold color and a wonderfully creamy consistency.
One of the best winter soups is posole. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. As the Christmas season nears, the traditional thing to do here in the great American Southwest is to eat lots of posole and make tamales for Christmas. Since I’ve carried on long enough, I’ll give you Dear Readers my posole recipe next week, and we can all look forward to tamales in December.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I took my jug of rock salt out early this morning and salted the sidewalk all the way to the mailbox and back. Ordered packages are due to arrive, and I don't want the mailman to fall and 1) hurt himself, 2) break whatever goodies are in the packages, and/or 3) sue us. That last one is the result of working too many years for lawyers and judges.
Alas, there were no packages in the mail, but there was a sweet surprise. I had a letter from Guideposts' Senior Editor Elizabeth Kramer Gold. She reminded me that several years ago, Guideposts published a book called Their Mysterious Ways: Amazing Stories About God's Animals and Us and included my essay "The Gatekeeper." The letter was requesting the right to reprint the essay in a new gift version of that book titled Angels in Disguise: When God Sends Animals to Comfort Us to be released next Fall.
I'm excited. I'll get paid for the article again, I'll get a copy of the book, and I was reminded today of the essay I wrote about the best dog I ever had--a St. Bernard named Duke. He was great.
I have macaroni and three types of cheeses in the crock pot. I'm thinking about making pumpkin bread and brownies (and freezing the pumpkin bread for next week). And I'm playing Justice League Heroes with my children.
Don't tell my husband, but snow days rock. ;-)
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My church uses homamade cookies to spread love and good wishes in its prison ministry. Volunteers donate bags of cookies that are taken to inmates in a local prison.
Whether you want to bake some cookies for your family, to send in a special care package, or to give as gifts to your neighbors, they're certain to bring smiles. Here's a great site for Christmas cookie recipes:
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Here's what happened. I emailed her to tell her she had won. She emailed back to tell me which one she wanted. I saw that she only lives and works about 15 minutes from Corydon. I offered to meet her and give her a paper copy instead. She agreed. I found I didn't have a paper copy. Not a problem--I could pick one up at the SIW meeting on Thursday and give it to her on Monday. My back went out. I didn't go to the SIW meeting on Thursday. Okay, so I would give her a paper copy I did have and apologize. Better yet, I would give her a paper copy of what I did have AND give her a download of the book she chose. I logged onto Lulu, where the anthologies are available for download. The file is a bazillion kilobites big... and we have dial-up at my house. Okay. So I would go into town to meet her and download the PDF file on the Cafe on the Square high-speed connection. Oh, but wait...my laptop doesn't have a CD burner.Fortunately, Charlene is a VERY nice person and graciously accepted the book she didn't choose.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Roll of polenta (you can buy it this way at Trader Joes)
leftover chicken/apple sausages that had been in the freezer for over a month
can of black olives
jar of pasta sauce (also from Trader Joes)
the dregs of a bag of parmesan, feta, and mozarella cheese
I heated the oven to 400 and poured a little olive oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Then I sliced the polenta into relatively even slices and put a layer down on top of the olive oil. Added some pasta sauce, sausage slices, olives and cheese. Repeated the layering, saving most of the cheese for the top. Cooked it for about 30-35 minutes, then let it sit for a bit.
May I just say 'yum?'
We had it with some light red wine, a pinot noir from Talus. A little went a long way and other than the cheese, it was relatively low in fat. And for those of us (me!) trying to avoid wheat, the polenta was a great option instead of lasagna. I had it for lunch again this afternoon after it had
solidified a bit more in the fridge and it was even better. I recommend it when you want something comforting, tomato-sauce based and Italian, but with a reasonable calorie count and fat content. Or if you just want something yummy that goes with red wine!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
And the winner of the Unspeakably Stupendous Trick or Treat Drawing for a signed copy of The Sky Took Him is (drum roll) Kate Kelly Gallegos! As soon as the book is released next January, I’ll be sending her copy along to her.
I want to thank all of you - Ruth, Irene, Carolyn, Corey, Margo, Cathy, Taunna, Janice, Dana, Gayle, Marian, Krysten, Pam, Annette, Lu Ann, and the two Carols - for your lovely comments. I wish I could afford to send free copies to all of you.
What a strange and tiring time it’s been lately. My signing at the brand new Queen Creek Library went very well. They set up the authors at tables in the foyer, where every person going in had to pass right by us. There must have been a thousand people at the event, so it was sort of like being in the middle of a cattle chute. This Sunday, November 16, I’ll be participating in the 4th annual Authors and Auction Event at Four Points by Sheraton in Tempe. If any of you are in the vicinity and would like to come by, check out the details at http://authorsandauction.com.
This is my last event for 2008, thank goodness. I plan to put my head down and work, now, and the next time I appear in my official authorly capacity will be at the launch of Sky on January 17, 2009. Until then, the holidays are coming and my thoughts and blog entries return to good eating.
P.S. Gayle, great tv interview.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Perhaps I'm a Fatal Foodies snob when I declare that Fatal Foodies may just have a superior ability to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and tastes of the upcoming holiday season. For it is our love of sensory details that will allow us to take in each tiny twinkling light and notice every delighted child's smile. Old familiar tunes will make us weep with sappy sentimentality, and the smells of cinamon, cloves, and sage may very well make us picture our grandmother's hands preparing holiday feasts. I count us lucky for our ablilities to make glorious experiences out of things that many people may take for granted. Fatal Foodies, we are a blessed bunch!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There were no apples involved, actually, but the title occurred to me and I couldn't resist it.
No, what I was thinking was that a kebab, that skewer, would make a dandy weapon. Is that a new idea, or has it been... er... done to death?
I know I could EAT myself to death at Shiraz.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday night Dave and I had dinner at Farallon Restaurant, courtesy of work. It's not a place
we could generally afford to go on our own dime and we've wanted to go there for a long time. I mean, you walk by the front windows and the decor is spectacular.The ceiling lamps are in the shapes of giant fairytale-esque jelly fish. The walls are all curved, like the inside of a seashell, no harsh angles or sharp edges. And the food is spectacular. Here's what we had:
SEARED MAINE DIVER SCALLOP
broiled Greenlip mussels, caramelized sweet onions, saffron vinaigrette
WILD MUSHROOM BISQUE
Madeira chantilly, Extra virgin olive oil, chives
STEAMED AUSTRALIAN KINGFISH
wild mushroom gnocchi, toasted hazelnuts, porcini fondue
ROASTED LAKE SUPERIOR WALLEYED PIKE
Black truffle polenta, baby spinach, pearl onion jus
HONEY RICOTTA CHEESECAKE
Bellwether Farm's sweet ricotta cream,
pine nut- pistachio praline, fig-Gewürztraminer jam
Dark chocolate almond cluster
Milk chocolate peanut butter pave'
I had a champagne cocktail and a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir. Dave had a Fog Cutter cocktail (citrus and rum and other yummy things) and some chilled sake. The portions were generous (considering the prices, this was a good thing and also a surprise - I've found a lot of expensive restaurants are usually not so forthcoming with enough food to satisfy one's appetite) and the food rich and filling. I couldn't finish mine (I had the pike) and happily gave the rest to Dave. As a result, I enjoyed myself without indigestion.
The service was also excellent - consistant without being intrusive, pleasant personalities (no uber hyper 'Hi! My name is Jamie and I'll be your SERVER tonight!') and we never had to ask for anything. But my favorite part was still the cool jellyfish ceiling lamps. :-)
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I want to thank Gayle for the lovely prizes I won by Trick or Treating on her site. I’ve already polished off the chocolate and I am eagerly looking forward to reading Murder Takes the Cake. How lucky am I?
Today is the last day for Trick or Treating on my site, Dear Readers, so don’t miss the opportunity to go over to http://doniscasey.com and leave me a comment before tomorrow. You’ll get a really fun recipe, and be automatically entered in a drawing to win a copy of my upcoming release, The Sky Took Him.
I will be signing copies of all my books today from 10 am until 2 pm at the grand opening of the Queen Creek Library in Queen Creek Arizona, which if you are not familiar with Arizona and have never been there, wouldn’t you love to go there just to see what a place called Queen Creek looks like? I’ve seen the new library, and it is pretty cool. So if any of you happen to be in the vicinity, drop by. They are doing a whole carnival, and including several Arizona authors in the festivities, which is quite an appropriate thing for a library to do. I’ll not only be signing books, but taking the opportunity to get rid of all my extra Halloween candy by handing it out to anyone who walks by.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Why Pregnant Women Should Eat Fish
Easy, Elegant Cake Decorating
Cake Decorating With Your Children
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The list doesn't give an indication for the year so you can safely celebrate today as National Nachos Day. Each day's link goes to a related recipe, also. So pick your favorite day and enjoy!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
So I was going to make bread, but there's no way I can knead it now. :( We'll just have to wait--and just when I posted about my bread book and got us all drooling and stuff.
Time out for food and fatalities to say--VOTE! Vote for the candidate of your choice, but VOTE!
waving a flag and cheering
Monday, November 3, 2008
Hot bread with butter or olive oil. Nothing more, nothing less.
Bread. The evil of evils, according to the likes of Atkins and all other proponents of low/no carb diets (which I have followed in the past).
In the case of this evening, half baked seeded sourdough bread from Trader Joe's, requiring 10- 15 minutes in the oven to bring it to crunchy crusted, soft and chewy interiored perfection.
I served it with a choice of Earth Balance organic buttery spread (it tastes much better than the name would indicate) or San Pietro olive oil, a rich, nutty, buttery flavored oil from Italy. Expensive, yes. But when it comes to olive oil, the occasional splurge is SO worth it. And it's good for you too.
That was it for dinner. We'd had leftover pasta (in bat and jack-o-lantern shapes) for lunch and weren't really all that hungry. So a few slices of hot bread and a glass of really nice pinot noir was just the thing.
Okay. TWO glasses of pinot noir.
At any rate, I am satiated and content. It just doesn't get much better.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
As promised, we've gathered up some links so you can go trick-or-treating at our sites. Costumes are optional; but if you do dress up, please add your picture here in our comments so we can share in your fun.
Since it's my post day, I get to go first.
Come to my Haunted HOUSE for your treat from me. Be sure and scroll all the way down the page so you'll get all the goodies I've set up for you.
Then go next door to Donis Casey's KITCHEN. Before you leave, be sure to leave a comment on her blog. Donis says, "Anyone who leaves a comment on my blog between now and November 8, even just to say, "Hi, Donis", will be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy of my newest mystery, The Sky Took Him, which will be out in January."
On down the street is Margo Dill's LIBRARY. Margo says,
At Lisa Hall's BAKERY, stop by and jot a note to Lisa to be entered to win a copy of her latest book, Secrets, Lies, and Pies, which serves up a hilarious slice of small town life. While Marlene Prescott is creating sweet treats in her bakery, some ladies in town are cooking up some mean tricks!
Hurry over to Marian Allen's PARLOR. for free stories, recipes and Culinary Chronicles columns. If you leave a comment at Marian's blog, she'll put your name in a drawing to win a PDF of their choice of Southern Indiana Writers anthologies from Lulu.com.
Finally, do you dare to stop by Dana Fredsti's Private Eye OFFICE? If you do, and if you leave Dana a comment on her blog, you'll be entered to win a copy of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon.
There are tons of cute Halloween cakes you can make. Then there is the gross stuff...
How about the famous Kitty Litter Cake? Supposedly it's good though, gee, bet you can't wait to dig in, right?
Well, I think I found something to beat that. I won't picture it here, as well, it's pretty disgusting.
Curious? Check out this recipe for a Thorax Cake WARNING: Not for the timid or weak stomachs.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Honestly, it is unbelievable how nice their fans are. We wear our Tennessee orange all weekend, and rarely gone anywhere that a South Carolina fan doesn't go out of their way to welcome us to their home turf, and tell us that they hope we're having a great time.
One of the most fun parts of our trip is tailgating before the game with some friends who are South Carolina alumni. I can't post on Fatal Foodies without talking about food! So, let me tell you, the tailgaiting food is awesome! The two most prominent items at any South Carolina tailgait party seem to be pimento cheese sandwiches and chicken wings. The pimento cheese is always homemade, and ALWAYS made with Duke's mayo.
Chicken wing restaurants are quite plentiful in Columbia, South Carolina. Most will offer a huge variety of flavors, from hot and spicy to tangy and sweet.
So, I hope the Vols win this Saturday, but with all the hospitality and good food, I won't be complaining!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Note for fellow writers: I'm told that, when he sent his first Navaho cop book to his agent, the agent advised him to take all the Indian stuff out of it. I guess the moral is, write from your heart and your readers--and your work--will respond.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
It's October, almost Halloween. Usually my favorite time of the year. But we just lost one of our foster kittens (we took in a year old Mom cat and her four newborn kittens to save them from a shelter in Fresno) to pneumonia and I am so friggin' sad, nothing is cheering me up.
There is a box of See's Candy sitting in our kitchen, a gift from the gal who persuaded us to foster this particular batch of felines. She bought a pound of our favorite See's chocolates (butterscotch squares, dark chocolate truffles, cashew brittles and, for Dave, dark almond clusters) as a thank you for taking in these furry little babies. I love See's Candy. I know I'll enjoy them. But not today. My appetite is pretty much down the toilet, along with my creativity.
Fostering young kittens, especially from crowded shelters, is always a risk. Disease runs through the population and even an URI can be deadly to the fragile immune systems of these babies. We figured with the momma cat nursing them, they stood a good chance; mother's milk gives kittens a certain amount of natural immunity. But three out of the four caught her cold, one of them lost his sense of smell and couldn't find his way to Mom's milk dispenser, so we've been bottle feeding him. I think he's made it past the danger point. Another has an eye infection and we were worried about him this morning...but it was one of our little orange boys who ended up getting really sick in a matter of hours. Fine last night, a little shaky this morning and then, two hours later, deathly ill. The vet did his best...we bought a humidifier and childrens nose drops after the kitten was given antibiotics and fluids...sat for hours with him in the bathroom and thought we'd pulled him through. But he slipped away from us in his sleep a little while ago...looking so peaceful we couldn't tell if he was dead...
I hate this. There shouldn't be things that can't be fixed by See's Candy.
I'm all intrigued about our Halloween Trick or Treat. I hope everyone gives it a try. I can't wait to see what sort of treats we all come up with. I've spent some time thoughtfully rubbing my chin as I try to decide what sort of treat (or trick!) to offer.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Yesterday I got a link from American Cake Decorating with the winners of the 2008 Oklahoma Sugar Art Show. Granted, I said from the instant I walked into the exposition hall that I was glad I didn't have to be a judge because I couldn't possibly choose a winner. That said, I was so surprised that this cake apparently didn't even place!
The cakes that won are gorgeous, too. You can see them for yourself at http://www.americancakedecorating.com/slice/04-10/SliceIG_OSSAS08/gallery.php. But don't you feel sorry for whoever made this cake. . . and all the others? It makes me really glad I had to come home before seeing the awards. Don't you know many contestants left in tears? And I would have, too.
Okay, let's shake it off. It's Friday and we're not allowed to have a bad day today. It'll ruin the whole weekend.
Yesterday I worked on the "treat" I'm giving you for Halloween! I'm so excited. And I'm looking forward to trick-or-treating at everyone else's sites. We have some cool things in store for you next week. If you'd like to participate and offer a "treat," please let me know by Wednesday, October 29. If you'd like to participate by trick-or-treating, simply join us on Friday and click on the links. You don't even have to dress up. Unless you want to. Maybe we could give a prize for best costume! :-)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
With all the activities going on, I am thankful to have found a couple of really cute ideas for simple Halloween-themed dinners. The first is for Mummy Dogs. They're weiners wrapped in crescent roll dough. If you look at this site, it shows how to make them look like cute little mummies.
The second recipe is for Cheddar Witch's Fingers. These are a savory, crispy snack that I think will be really good with a bowl of soup.
These recipes would be super-fun to make for a scary movie night or open-house on Halloween night.