Sunday, October 31, 2010
I’ve been wracking my brains for days trying to think of a food related theme to introduce my new book, Negative Image.
I’ve come up blank.
Sorry everyone. Not much eating goes on in this book, and certainly no cooking. There isn't even a Hallowe'en link I can toss in.
So instead I’ll just have to talk about the book.
Negative Image is the fourth in the Constable Molly Smith book from Poisoned Pen Press. The release date is supposedly November 2nd, but it seems to be available at most online sites already.
What would you do if you believe the person you trust most in the world has betrayed you? What would you do if you discover that the person you trust most in the world believes you capable of betrayal?
When his wife’s former fiancé is found dead of a single shot to the back of the head, Trafalgar police Sergeant John Winters is forced to make the most difficult decision of his life: loyalty to his job or to his wife. Meanwhile, tragedy strikes the heart of Constable Molly Smith’s family.
“…combines the crisp plotting of the best small-town police procedurals with trenchant commentary on such universal problems as love and trust.” Kirkus Reviews
“Delany … deftly sprinkles clues–and red herrings–without ever slighting her engaging characters.” Publishers Weekly
Negative Image is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, other online stores and the best independent and chain booksellers. It is also available for Kindle and other e-formats. If you'd like a sneak peek, the first two chapters are on my web page at www.vickidelany.com
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I miss the way Halloween used to be. When I was trick-or-treat age, back in the Middle Ages, as soon as darkness fell on Oct 31, the streets of my suburban neighborhood filled with seas of little hobos and pirates and witches. It was literally a mob scene.
And the treats! No store-bought mini-Snickers for us mid-century ragamuffins. Sadly, it’s not a good idea to give out homemade treats any more, unless both the giver and receiver have undergone a background check. I’d be loathe to let my kid eat a stranger’s cookie. But in those halcyon days, my sisters and I always came home with a pillow case full of little bags of cookies and brownies, apples and packs of Juicy Fruit gum, dimes and nickels, licorice whips, Slo-Pokes, Hershey Bars, and my very favorite treat of all time, popcorn balls!
So your little ones may have to make do with bite-sized Twixt and Krackles from the neighbors, but there’s no reason you can’t create your own tradition with a homemade popcorn ball to celebrate the season.
This quick recipe is very simple and unadorned, but there are all sorts of fancy add-ins and binders made of caramel and chocolate and who knows what else. We often enjoyed mixing red-hots with the popcorn.
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons cold water
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallows
5 quarts plain popped popcorn
Combine the corn syrup, butter, cold water, powdered sugar, and marshmallows in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Carefully pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and mix, coating each kernel.
Grease your hands with butter or vegetable shortening and quickly shape the coated popcorn into balls before it cools. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Makes 1 dozen
(Take this as a warning because a dozen doesn't go very far. You might want to double or triple the recipe)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 teaspoons butter - softened
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter and butter. Mix well. Shape into balls and place on waxed paper. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Coat with melted chocolate.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
If you have not seen Tim Burton's movie adaptation of this story, you ought to check it out. The visuals are both eery and beautiful. A cozy night could consist of curling up on the couch with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a bowl of popcorn and a caramel apple!
Since my kids are too little to be that scared, we may tune into It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. It airs tonight on ABC. This one's just as classic, in a different sort of way.
What's you're favorite Halloween story?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This is what you do with pumpkin or squash entrails:
Pick off the strings and discard them. Do NOT wash the ick off the seeds. Toss the seeds with melted butter or with oil and seasonings. I like Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, my go-to seasoning for just about everything.
Spread seeds in a single layer in a shallow baking pan and roast at 350 until toasty. Or you can toast them in a skillet.
WARNING: Entrails are addictive!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Have you entered yet? This contest for my newsletter subscribers runs through October 31, and contestants may enter once per day.
This prize is for a signed copy of Murder Takes the Cake, a signed copy of The Quick and The Thread, a Slatkin & Co. Creamy Pumpkin scented candle, a miniature Pirates of the Caribbean cross-stitch kit, and a $25 Amazon gift card (not pictured).
One thing that makes this prize pack special is that the edition of Murder Takes The Cake which is currently being offered is no longer available. The book is being rereleased by Simon & Schuster in March of 2011. The new release has been edited to include some additional back story about Daphne and Ben, and more recipes and cake decorating tips are included in the back.
Since the contest is for subscribers to the Gayle Trent/Amanda Lee newsletter, if you aren't a subscriber, go to my website and fill out the form at the top of the page. That way, not only will you receive information about this contest (such as, the winner); you’ll also learn about new contests for newsletter subscribers.
You can enter once each day. To enter, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line October Contest. The contest will run from now (it started on Oct. 1 for current newsletter subscribers) until October 31. On November 1, a random number will be chosen from the number of contest entries. The winner will receive an announcement through the newsletter to confirm or obtain a mailing address. If I don’t receive a confirmation e-mail from the winner within three days, another number will be chosen, etc., until a winner is confirmed.
Good luck! Stay tuned for November contest information! :)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It's Day 2 - and all about Halloween food today as part of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature at my Candid Canine blog.
You'll be amazed, so, stop by and see what's cooking. haa! (Skull cookies by Kiva Atkinson.)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Into all lives a little rain must fall.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I start every day by working these links, and I encourage you to do it, too. It's fast (now that we have high-speed, even faster) and dangerous. Extreme clicking--that's the sport for me!
The first link is the most dangerous. it's The Hunger Site. Actually, it's The Breast Cancer Site, but it has a row of tabs across the top. You can go to each one and click. Each time you do (one click on each tab each day), the site's sponsors donate toward the cause featured on the tab: Hunger, Breast Cancer detection, Child Health, Literacy, saving Rainforests and Animal Rescue. The danger comes from the sidebars and the Thank You pages--that's where the sponsors post pictures of their wares: jewelry, accessories, SCARVES (I'm addicted to scarves) and more.
It was through an ad on The Hunger Site that I found World Wide Recipes, the best darned recipezine in the whole darned universe. :)
After The Hunger Site, I go to Free Rice and start playing. I keep it open and go back to it through the day and play a few screens in between tasks. Free Rice is a game with a serious purpose. You can pick a category--I use vocabulary--and answer multiple-choice questions. For each correct answer, the sponsors donate ten grains of rice to the World Food Programme to end world hunger. It's amazing how quickly those ten grains add up during a day. The danger here is: it's freaking addictive.
While I'm playing--um, I mean, improving my vocabulary--at Free Rice, I go to Free Kibble and answer a trivia question about dogs. Right or wrong, my click there donates kibble to dogs in shelters. I click through from there to its sister site and answer a trivia question about cats to donate kibble to shelter cats. Danger: Makes me want to go to all the shelters everywhere and hug all the dogs and cats and take them home and be a crazy dog-and-cat lady and get shut down by the Health Department--.... No. No. Mustn't do that. Mustn't.
So that's my morning. Takes about five minutes, plus the bits and pieces during the day of clicking on the Free Rice vocabulary. Won't you join me in the dangerous games?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Our civilization is based on food.
Seems like a no-brainer, but I’m thinking new thoughts about that these days. I’m reading a great new book titled Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas. The book explores how various civilizations of the past have grown and expanded when times are good – good weather, improved technology, specialization of crops, fertile, new ground to cultivate leading to plentiful crops – and then collapsed into anarchy and despair when the growth cannot be sustained.
The Roman Empire, Europe in the 14th century are the examples I’ve read so far.
You can probably guess where the book is headed. In our own times decades of good weather and exploding new technologies have led to the abundance of food that we (most of us reading this) enjoy today. But weather is changing, and new technologies are exploiting the soil, not replenishing it, and agriculture is so monoculture it is all not sustainable.
I’m hoping the book will have a cheerful ending, but I doubt it.
Anyway, trying to do my bit, I got my first delivery of chicken from the farmer up the road. He showed up at my door, big smile on his face, bag of chicken in hand, dirt on his boots. My order of pork will follow.
Of course the chicken has been delivered either whole or cut into large pieces. Not the delicately cut skinless, boneless breasts that I buy at the grocery store, or the tray of identically sized thighs. And the whole chicken is gigantic. I’ll be looking for recipes using left-over roast chicken and sharpening my chef’s knives.
And hopefully delay the collapse of western civilization as we know it for another meal or two.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The bad news is, they charge money for books. (Well, yes, but I can dream, can't I? After all, the only book sources we've had here for years are Used, Grocery, Library and Other People's.)
The good news is, I bought a copy of Mark Bittman's FOOD MATTERS, a book I've wanted since I first saw it reviewed. It's a persuasive argument--with recipes--by a major chef and food writer for doing what we try to do already: eat mindfully for improving the health of ourselves, the food supply, and the planet.
The bad news is, Charlie snagged it as soon as I got home and now goes around telling me what an extremely good book it is and how I ought to read it.
The good news is, he pacified me by giving me a copy of George MacDonald Fraser's last novel, THE REAVERS. He (Charlie, not GMF) knows I love the Flashman books, and he knows I spelled reivers the same archaic way (reavers) in my fantasy, EEL'S REVERENCE.
The extra good news is, I'm very much enjoying THE REAVERS, and FOOD MATTERS will still be here when Charlie's done with it.
The bad news is, now I need to buy THE FOOD MATTERS COOKBOOK.... And we have a bookstore in our town....
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Our guest today is Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif). She's a wonderful writer, a wonderful friend, and just our type. :)
Take it away, Cherish!
Thank you so much for having me guest on Fatal Foodies during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour, which lunches―I mean, launches―my contemporary romantic suspense, Lancelot's Lady. Today I'm going to talk about characters who cook, and I'm not talking about in the bedroom.
Cooking can be a hurried rush of things found in the fridge thrown into a pot and well burned or an intricately planned menu with complementing wine created by a masterful cook. It can be one character knowing how to make fifty things out of hamburger or another character that shops for the finest fresh seafood and makes homemade sauces. Either way, adding this element to the development of a character can tell us a lot about that character.
Imagine reading about a female character who doesn't know how to do much more than toast bread. She ain't no Martha Stewart. Imagine her then inviting Mr. Right over for dinner and hoping to impress him. She probably burns the pot roast. Or maybe she orders in and tries to pass it off as her creation. Or maybe her best friend cooks it for her and she passes it off as her own creation.
The above situation could result in a very humorous situation. She burns the roast, smoke fills the air and Mr. Right arrives to a small kitchen fire and saves the day, while the protagonist ends up with a sooty face and a black lump of coal stuck to a pan. We'd laugh, wouldn't we? Or Mr. Right loves her (friend's) cooking so much that he asks her to cook for some event. Uh oh! Now she's in trouble.
Now imagine that the roles are reversed and he can't cook. He ain't no Chef Ramsay. He tries to cook that same blasted roast and has the same result. She arrives in time to witness the fire trucks leaving the area. She finds him standing in his kitchen holding the charcoaled lump of roast. Endearing, isn't it? Hey, at least he tried! Now they'll have to go out to some fancy restaurant. Oh, darn...
Imagine Mr. Right is the finest self-taught Chef. Maybe he's got all of Chef Ramsey's cookbooks. He prepares the most perfect meal for the heroine. And damn, is she impressed! Perfectly seasoned steak, mashed potatoes whipped to perfection, sautéed asparagus with a cranberry and white wine reduction sauce and chocolate covered strawberries, hand dipped by him, for dessert. Oh, and don't forget the fresh whip cream. Yeah, I'll have one of him to go.
Now imagine he can't cook, but she's a wonderful chef. She prepares a dinner of roasted chicken and almond and cranberry stuffing with fresh herbs, plus a salad of garden fresh vegetables with a homemade balsamic fig dressing. Dessert is chocolate mousse with grated dark chocolate on top. He arrives and is indeed impressed. This woman's a "keeper".
We read romance because of the fantasy. We enjoy the romantic journey. And most readers enjoy characters that are flawed, and a bad cook would certainly be a flaw in my book (pun intended). But whether a character can cook or not, each situation creates a more rounded character and can lead to some interesting situations. Personally, I find it hugely entertaining to write a scene about a bad cook.
Now I must leave. My husband has made his famous "Marc's Surprise" for dinner. I'll be honest with you, it's no surprise. It's almost the only thing he can cook besides barbecue. But Marc's a keeper, even though he ain't no Chef Ramsay. Who says a gal needs a guy who can cook? That's what restaurants are for.
Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.
Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."
You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherishdangelo.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com. Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.
Do you think you're a good cook? In the kitchen, I mean.
Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
These sunglasses look like bat glasses, by the way. See? So I got to worrying that my sunglasses made me look like Dame Edna. Do you remember Dame Edna, possums? (She calls people "possums.") I looked her up on YouTube to refresh my own memory.
This short video is sure to make you laugh. Martin Sheen's reaction is priceless.
Hope I made you smile!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Since I'm behind, I'll share something fun - an assortment of some miniature candy that I got through swaps with other collectors. Looks yummy enough to eat but - no calories! (It's made of oven bake clay!) (Best kind!) haa!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Home Made Simple
Pumpkin Patches and More
Apple fritters--now, those, I've heard of. While I was at it, I found this recipe for Nothin' to Fret about Apple Fritters by Rachel Ray on FoodNetwork.com.
The Rachel Ray recipe has apple rings, but I think I like 'em better with chunks. And I like 'em better if someone other than I makes them (yes, that is grammatically correct).
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Yesterday I made squash soup for the freezer and I realised I was creating a sloorich of my own.
Vicki’s Fall Soup with Everything Thrown into the Pot.
These are the portions I used, you can use any combination and amount of root vegetables. It makes a wonderful thick creamy soup without any flour, milk, or cream.
2 large butternut squash
2 large sweet potatoes
4 – 5 potatoes
Several carrots (I used yellow heirloom – a richer, sweeter flavour)
2 large onions
Several cloves of garlic
Peel and chop squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic. If potatoes are new and/or thin skinned the skin can be left on after scrubbing. Same with carrots.
Toss everything in a roasting pan with
3 tbsp olive oil
Lots of salt and pepper
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
Roast at 350 degrees for about 1 ½ hours until vegetable are very soft.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Toss in blender until thick and smooth.
Put in a stock pot along with
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or as much as required for the consistency you like)
Simmer until stock is blended.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
The Grand National Wedding Cake Competition’s 2010 theme is Mansions and Monasteries. Contestants will “create a showpiece depicting elements from an existing mansion or monastery.”
A special guest to the show this year will be Richard Ruskell. To date, Chef Ruskell has won the most Food Network Challenge comeptitions. Additional guest “stars” include Corporate Chef Donald Wressell, “Cake Chicks” Cheri Elder, Bronwen Weber, and Carolyn Wanke Mangold, and the award-winning chef Andrew Shotts.
If you’re attending the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show, be sure to check out all the wonderful vendors on hand. You can get some terrific items there–at least, I know I did! Also, if you go, please say hello to Kerry and give her a hug from Daphne and Gayle!