Tasty Tuesday – Interview with Kimberley Troutte

One of my compatriots in COOK LIKE A WRITER, Kimberley Troutte, consented to let me track her down in the midst of a busy writing schedule and interview her.  I’m excited to bring you my results!

N&W: With your love of ghosts, how did history inspire your choices of recipes?

KT: My trip to Spain to write about ghosts inspired me to include Spanish tapas in our cookbook. The food there was amazing.

N&W: If you could go to any kitchen in any period in time, past or present, where would it be and with whom would you cook? What would the menu be?

KT: I have recently gotten on a Thai food kick. Oh, my gosh the sweetness of the coconut milk mixed with the zip of curry is like a party in my mouth. I think it would be pretty cool to take a trip to Thailand and eat in some of the local’s finest restaurants.

N&W: How has your relationship to food and eating changed in the process of doing the cookbook?

KT: I have been checking out ingredients and recipes a lot more now. Just yesterday, I was in a bookstore and stopped to read a food magazine. There was a recipe of how to make bread stuffed with a whole chicken! I soooo have to try that.

N&W: Living in Southern California, you’re exposed to many cuisines. What do you think of as “your” cuisine, as “comfort food”?

KT: I really love ethnic foods. Thai, Indian, Japanese, and Italian, Mexican, you name it we’ve got it nearby. Except Greek. Oh, wow, I love Greek food. My husband and I love this amazing Greek restaurant that’s in the middle of the desert called the Mad Greek and will drive out of our way to go there for lunch when we are traveling to Las Vegas.

N&W: Your newest release, SAVING MINER’S GULCH, is a children’s fiction story. If you had to design a menu for the characters, what would it be?

KT: The miners during the Gold Rush had lots of salt pork, beans, and my favorite—Sourdough Bread. My characters would have loved clam chowder in a hot, fresh Sourdough Bread bowl.

N&W: What are your favorite must-use cookbooks?

KT: The cook book I simply adore is called Cook Like a Writer. It’s fun, easy to use and has the best recipes. 🙂

N&W: What’s the best cocktail to drink while reading CATCH ME IN CASTILE?

KT: Sangria, most likely.

N&W: What advice would you give a writer just starting out?

KT: First there has to be LOVE—a deep passionate burning desire to write stories. If you’ve got the love then go forth and learn all that you can about your craft, which includes understanding yourself as a writer. Take classes and write as much as you can. Experiment. Become acquainted with your best, closest friend—your voice. It is like your fingerprint and is uniquely yours. Once you are more familiar with your voice, you will be able to sort out the genre and style that are best for you. And then write like crazy, as many days a week as you can. Surround yourself with true believers—other writers who are on this crazy path to publication too. Try not to get impatient because this writing journey takes time to prefect. Don’t be one of those people that quit too early. Keep loving, keep learning, keep writing.

N&W: If you could have a meal with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would be served?

KT: This is going to sound mushy, but my favorite time of the day is when my hubby comes home from work and we sit down with the kids to eat dinner. Special events like good report cards and birthdays necessitate fancy dinners out on the town with some sort of chocolate decadence for dessert. I love and savor these moments with my family.

N&W: What do ghosts eat?

KT: Sadly, ghosts don’t eat. But then they don’t gain weight either.

Kimberley Troutte

Check out SAVING MINER’S GULCH, available at your favorite online retailer.

And download COOK LIKE A WRITER, available for free today.  You’ll be glad you did!

Tasty Tuesday – Workday Meatloaf

Let’s face it:  whether you work outside the home or are a full-time homemaker, there are those days that you just want the meal without the work.  Never fear, Dear Reader, Aunt Noony has something for you.  Don’t I always?

Workday Meatloaf
Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C milk
1/2 C fine, dry bread crumbs
Do yourself a favor, and get the seasoned bread crumbs.  Getting the plain ones just yields bland meatloaf.
1/4 C finely chopped onion
2 T snipped parsley
1 t salt
1/2 t ground sage
1/8 t pepper
1 and 1/2 pounds ground beef (680 grams)
Do yourself another favor and really shop for the best ground beef you can afford.  If you can, go to a local butcher shop.  If you’re only shopping at the local grocery, then buy as lean of beef as you can find.  I like to use 90/10, which means there’s only 10% fat left.  If you can find ground round, use that; even better, ground sirloin.
For variety, you can try other ground meets as well.  I have a friend who swears by ground buffalo for her meatloaf.  When I’m minding our food variety, I’ll use ground turkey.  Experiment to see what flavors you enjoy.
Directions

Meatloaf is super simple.  See all those ingredients up there?  Get out a large bowl and dump ’em all in there.  I like to mush it around and squeeze it through my fingers, both because it’s cathartic (who doesn’t want to smash something at the end of a long day?) and because it helps ensure the ingredients are well mixed.  If you really don’t want to get your hands dirty, use a good, sturdy wooden spoon.
Put your oven at 350 F, 177C.  Put the meat in a loaf pan and smooth it out.  I like to use the flat of a teaspoon to texture it, but that’s up to you.  Put it in the oven for 50 minutes.
Bonus Glaze

Mix 1/4 C catsup, 2 T brown sugar, and 1 t dry mustard in a small bowl.  Make sure the mustard gets well mixed, as it has a tendency to clump.  Spoon the glaze over the meatloaf and bake another 10 minutes.
C’est fini, Dear Reader.  It really is that easy.  Serve with some steamed corn and a baked potato and you have a nice, full meal.  It serves six.  It stores well in the fridge and makes very nice meatloaf sandwiches the next day.
Join my other Tasty Tuesday compatriots!
Tuesday Yummy Pot Roast, by Nancy Lauzon

Cupcakes For Dinner, by Selena Robins

Paniolo Cornbread, by Renee Wildes

And stay tuned for COOK LIKE A WRITER, by the Guerrilla Chicks, coming February, 2013.  Join me and my Tasty Tuesday compatriots as we show you our stuff – in the kitchen.  More than a hundred recipes with a dash of fun, an extra helping of humor, and some good, old-fashioned stick-to-your-ribs food.  Yum!

Tasty Tuesday – Apple Pie Oatmeal

Welcome to the Guerrilla Chicks’ continuing Tuesday feature, Tasty Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, this band of intrepid writers brings you the news from the kitchen.  Since not all of us are cooks, you’ll learn things about food and eating that you never anticipated.  Watch out; you just might become a gourmand.

One of my favorite breakfast recipes involves preparation the night before. This is the magic of the slow cooker. If you haven’t invested in one of these handy gadgets yet, I highly recommend you try one out. They make the kitchen a more friendly place because they can be cooking something toothsome while you’re doing something else – like sleeping.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

This serves about four people. There are three in my household, and we tend to have at least a serving for leftovers, depending how hungry folks are in the morning. One thing I like to do with this is cook it and leave containers next to it so folks can spoon some and take it to work with them. It’s especially welcome on cold Winter mornings like we get here in Chicago and, since none of us are morning people, we don’t have to stuff it in our face right away. We can eat on the train. Much better than fat and cholesterol bombs one can find in fast food places.

Ingredients

1 C steel cut oats

I’ve tried other kinds of oats with this, and you definitely want slow-cooking ones. They’re hard to find, at least here in the states. Traditional grocery stores seem to only carry the quick-cook kind and ‘regular’, which cook in 5 minutes (and, therefore, aren’t “regular”). If you poke around other kinds of stores like Whole Foods and locally-owned groceries, you can find things like steel cut, Irish cut, etc. I like Irish cut too, and this is one recipe where experimenting pays off.

4 cups water
1 t cinnamon or cake spice
1 t vanilla extract

I know, I know, I’ve said it before and I’ll likely repeat myself. The best place to buy spices is The Spice House, and they have a fantastic website that is filled with good information about herbs and spices. Another excellent resource is the Frontier Coop.

Not all cinnamon is alike. For one thing, due to the embargo with Vietnam after the war with the United States, most Americans lost their palate for real cinnamon. Much of what we had available wasn’t the cinnamon of our grandmothers. Now the embargo is over, you can explore a whole new spectrum of flavor. Check out the different kinds of cinnamon available to your tongue.

My absolute favorite for seasoning, though, is their Cake Spice. Seriously yummy stuff, folks.

Don’t scrimp on your vanilla extract, either. For the love of Pete, do not use “vanillin” or “vanilla flavor.” Spring for the real vanilla extract and poke around, see if you can’t find Madagascar vanilla. It’s like sex on a spoon.

1 C fresh apple, cored and diced

I never knew all the amazing variations of the humble apple. I grew up with Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith. Then Fuji and the Japanese Apple Pear. The Red and Golden Delicious are disgusting, mealy and gross. Don’t consider them part of the apple family. Try Pink Lady, Rome, or Macintosh. Failing that, you can use any apple that’s good in pies; Granny Smiths hold up well and I like Fuji in this recipe too.

1 C dried berries

You can use raisins if you have to, but look around for dried berries. It’s hard to find unsweetened cranberries, and if you’re watching your processed sugar intake that’s not desirable. But the other day at the store I found a bag of mixed berries. They were fantastic in this – cherries, cranberries, and blueberries. Yum city.

Directions

Are you ready for this? This is for all my lovely readers who tell me, “I just don’t cook.” This isn’t even cooking; if you can wash a pan, you can make this recipe.

You see all those ingredients up there? Dump ’em in the slow cooker. Stir. Put it on low and let it sit overnight.

That’s all there is to it.

A word to the wise: once everyone has served themselves, take the remaining stuff and put it in a storage container in the fridge and FILL THE POT WITH HOT, SOAPY WATER. Do.not.leave.it.til.you.get.home.from.work. TRUST the Noony. Unless you LIKE cleaning concrete out of stuff with your bare hands, do yourself a favor and pre-clean.

The Tasty Tuesday Bus

Check out the other wonderful Tasty Tuesday posts my compatriots have prepared for your gustatory enjoyment.  Make 2013 a year to remember by trying new recipes in your home kitchen!

A Taste of Nostalgia, by Moira Keith

Stay-In-Bed Soup, by Nancy Lauzon

Great Balls of Italian Soup by Selena Robins

Tasty Tuesday: A Good Cuppa

Okay.  Let’s get down to brass tacks.  It’s morning, but doo tamned early.  Whadoyoodo?

Coffee.

Rinse the pot.

Get fresh beans.  We keep ours in the freezer.  There is debate on this.  Some say don’t freeze, it’s not good for the oils.  Others say freeze, otherwise the oils go rancid.  Others say refrigerate.

As I was saying, get the beans out of the freezer.

Don’t use ground.  Why?  Because grinding DOES make it stale.  It’s better to grind your own if you can.

Grind your coffee.  I fill the grinder lid halfway full, but you’ll get used to how much with practice.  You could, gasp, read the manual.

After you have some coffee.

Get fresh water, fill the reservoir, put the grounds in the filter, and PUT THE BOT ON THE PURNER.  Don’t forget that part.  Leave the pot off and you get a mess.  Ask me how I know this.

~shudder~

Don’t ask.

As it’s brewing, and I highly suggest you get an interruptable brew pot, get some Valrhona cocoa.  If I’d meant some other kind of cocoa, I’d’ve said some other kind of cocoa.  Valrhona is the best.

Get some Raz al Hanout.  Sprinkle into your cup.

Get some good, high quality, dark honey.  I like Polish pine honey, but there are many many MANY to choose from so go nuts and try different ones.  Put about a teaspoon in the mug.

Pour coffee.  (Now you see why I told you to get an interruptable pour pot, yes?)

There.  That’s better, isn’t it?  For one thing, now you can spell.

Coffee.  It is necessary.

For some other scrumptious recipes for Tasty Tuesday, visit my buds.  Selena’s got something toothsome (I swear, that woman could cook pocket lint and make it to die for) and Nancy shares her special shortbread.  ~watering mouth~  Who wants to stage a raid and steal these two ladies?  We need something to go with our coffee, after all.  And mulled wine!  LOFF! ~gets map~

Mulled Wine, by PG Forte

My Grandmother’s Shortbreads, by Nancy Lauzon

Pouding Chomeur by Selena Robins

Tasty Tuesday – Rolled Sugar Cookies

As we approach the holidays, I wanted to share an excellent basic recipe for cookies that anyone who has made simple drop cookies (like chocolate-chip cookies) can make without much fuss.  It does, however, require a cookie cutter; I invite you over to my post at the Torquere Press today for my post, “Christmas Cookies – A Cautionary Tale.”

Here, without further ado, is the recipe:

Cookie Baking 101:  Rolled Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 C butter (anyone that tells you to use margarine in cookies should be shot) (just sayin’)
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C milk
1/2 t vanilla (do NOT use “Vanillin.”  This is an artificial flavor.  Buy real vanilla.  You’ll thank me.)
2 1/4 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground mace or cake spice

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  the world’s best cake spice is from The Spice House.  Check it out.  You won’t be sorry.

Directions

  1. Soften the butter.  Either let it stand at room temperature or beat it with an electric mixer until creamy.  Do not let it become too soft or melt.
  2. In a mixer bowl (I love to use ceramic bowls for this but any large bowl will do), cream together the butter and sugar.  Wooden spoons are very helpful for this purpose or you can use your handy dandy electric mixer again.  (Just don’t go nuts with the sugar or it’ll splash everywhere.)  (Ask me how I know this.)
  3. Add the egg, the milk, and the vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and mace or cake spice.
  5. Add to creamed mixture and beat until blended.
  6. Divide dough in half.
  7. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, 191 C.
  9. On a lightly-floured surface, roll each half of dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
  10. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  (You can use an overturned glass if you aren’t fortunate enough to have cookie cutters; you can really go nuts with fancy shapes if that’s your thing.  You can find them on the internet, second-hand stores, and antique shops.)
  11. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden.
  12. Remove from cookie sheet with metal spatula.  Cool on wire rack.

Yield: about 4.5 dozen.

Join our other Tasty Tuesday Compatriots!

Nancy Lauzon brings us Headless Chicken Soup!

Selena Robins whips up a Fun Fabulous Focaccia Feast!

A Taurusless Tasty Tuesday

Yes, I know.  Tauruses and food go together like cats and catnip.  Would I disappoint?  Would I stay up too late and forget to post a recipe for my faithful readers?

Moving right along, then, to share with you my other compatriots’ offerings, who did not stay up too late, who did not forget to type or post, and who are lovely human beings galloping into the void of fast food to bring us real food and real conversation!

Without further ado, then, I bring you…  TASTY TUESDAY!

PG Forte rings in the season right with “Pumpkin Martini.”  Say, YUM!

Nancy Lauzon brings us something as American as Apple Pie.  Or… “Spaghetti Pie.” (Which is extra fun since she’s from Canada.  I just adopted her as an honorary countrywoman.  Or she adopted me.  Or we adopted each other.  There was an adoption going on.)

Selena Robins wonders, “So, How Does One Eat a Taco?

Please stop by and peruse these wonderful choices and be sure to tell ’em, the Tauruses sent ya!

A Taurusless Tasty Tuesday

I know, I know, what’s a Taurus without food?  Sadly, she is me, again this week.  My pals do not disappoint, and have cooked up some come-hither comestibles to please even the most discerning of palates.  Please stop by and give them some love.  Tell ’em the Tauruses sent you!

Pumpkin Spice Cake (yum!!!) by Pg Forte

Pizzeria by Nancy Lauzon

Honey, I Shrunk the Dinner (Love the title) by Selena Robins

Taurusless Tasty Tuesday

I know, I know, Tauruses love food.

They also love sleep, ergo this is aTaurusless Tasty Tuesday – but my compatriots do not disappoint!  Check out these awesome entries (and I love the Mars Bars idea, I totally have to try that).

Red Flannel FTW by Pg Forte

Lentil and Sausage Soup by Moira Keith

Men are from Mars Bars by Nancy Lauzon

Dinner a La Leftovers by Selena Robins

Tasty Tuesday – The Allure of Ice

Ice cream.  Licking.  The two go together like long, slow kisses that last for three days.  (Thank you Bull Durham and Kevin Costner for that particular bit of yumminess.)

Where was I?

Oh, right.  Ice cream.

I can’t have it.

~howl~

So what’s my alternative?  You’re gonna love this.  It’s not exactly a sexy recipe, but I have a good imagination and this is Tasty Tuesday, so I’ll tell you how to make this sexy.  I mean, come on.  There’s honey, and frozen berries, and…

But I digress.

Okay.  Go get a bowl.

No, not one of those pansy tiny little ice cream lispy bowls, I mean a real bowl, like a real man, something with some roundness to it that you can really get your hands around, like a woman with a real set of non-plastic boobs.  You know what I mean.

If you don’t know what I mean, close the computer and go find a date first.  Then come back when you’ve had some fun and this will make a lot more sense.

Okay, what were we talking about?

Hey, how’d that get in here?  We’ll never get to the recipe if you keep distracting me like this.

Ice cream. But I can’t have it!  Why are we talking about ice cream?

Ice cream alternatives!  Right.  Got it. Jeez.  Somebody needs to make some coffee; Noony’s brain is mush.

Bowl.  Get a bowl.  You have your bowl?  Good.  Now get a spoon.  A real spoon, not a child’s spoon or a tiny spoon.  You have a big mouth, get a big spoon.

Go to your freezer and get out your favorite frozen fruit. What??  You don’t have any frozen fruit?  GO TO TRADER JOE’S RIGHT NOW!  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s, or it’s not open, then go to your grocery store and wander to the frozen section.  They have whole bags of things like blueberries, mangoes, cherries, and berry medlies.  I’ve even seen frozen melon balls and grapes which sounded so odd, I had to try it (and, for the record, it was odd, but good).

Go to your fridge and get out the Greek-style yogurt. Haven’t got any? Don’t you shop for food? Sheesh. Okay.  Go back to Trader Joe’s or your grocery store and go to the yogurt section.  (Hint: it’s by the milk.)  If you are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe’s, then try their store brand Greek-style yogurt; if not, the Fage brand is awesome.

If you don’t have either one, then try a good, plain yogurt and bring that home, pour it into a strainer lined with cheese cloth, and put a bowl under it in the fridge to drain.  The resulting liquid can be thrown out and the thick yogurt left behind is strained yogurt.  Poof.  That’s how it’s made.

Why’s it cool?  It’s thick and creamy, like ice cream. (Ah, see where I’m going with this?) Put your fruit in your bowl, and use your big spoon to ladle yogurt on top.  Go get your honey and drizzle a bunch on top, and sprinkle some Cake Spice on top of that.

This dish is healthy enough you can have it for breakfast.  If you use 0% fat yogurt, it’s even Weight Watchers friendly.  It tastes enough like ice cream that it’s like having ice cream every day for breakfast.

Join the other Tasty Tuesday authors for some more Tasty fun:

I Heart NY Cheesecake by PG Forte

Just a little Devilishly Sweet Red Velvet Cookies! by Moira Keith

I died and went to Italy by Nancy Lauzon

Soups On by Selena Robins

Tasty Tuesday: Romance Is In the Mayonnaise

Anticipation makes the sex better. There’s a lot to be said for a good “quickie,” but one shouldn’t overlook the power of seduction and foreplay. And foreplay doesn’t just mean the tongue, the hands, or massage. Sometimes, foreplay is literally the play that comes before.

When you have your next date night, and if you don’t have a date night scheduled, best get on that right away, plan to make a special dinner for your lover. If you’re fortunate enough to have more than one lover at the same time, then simply multiply the recipe for the mouths you’re feeding. Bonus tip: if your lover works outside the home, make enough to pack for lunch the next work day. Talk about afterglow. Make them remember you with every bite.

Rowr.

So. Lessee. What can we make that will make them think of us under the fluorescent lights of the office, or wherever they are the next day.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces boneless chicken breast, skinned
  • 6 T dry white wine

If I meant cooking wine, I’d’ve said cooking wine. If you have any of that abominous stuff in your fridge, throw it out right now and go to Trader Joe’s or your local liquor supplier and get yourself a good, inexpensive Chardonnay.

If you can’t use alcohol, then use chicken broth.

If you don’t have chicken broth, go get some. You can buy it in the can or in an aseptic package that will stay in your fridge and keep for a week or two. It’s useful in cooking – cook your rice with it, or make mashed potatoes from scratch. Even warm up a cup like tea in the microwave when you have the munchies but don’t want to pack on the pounds. It’s satisfying since it’s protein and satisfies the urge for salt. Yum.

It occurs to me that I’m using abbreviations. Here’s a quick lexicon:

  • T = Tablespoon
  • t = teaspon
  • C = Cup (8 fluid oz)

Okay, now where was I? If you keep interrupting like this, we’ll never get to dinner. Sheesh.

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 t honey

You can use sugar, but honey is just as sweet and better for you. Try all the different varieties out there, don’t just assume orange blossom is the only kind you can have. Pine honey is lovely, and there are a bunch of others out there.

  • 2 small cloves garlic minced or pressed in a garlic press
  • 0.5 t curry powder – if you can, get yours from The Spice House. This place is amazing. Once you try it, you won’t go back to supermarket, dried-out spices. Trust me.
  • Dash of ground pepper

If you don’t have peppercorns in a grinder, go out and get a grinder and some peppercorns (Spice House has lovely ones). You can get grinders anywhere from Target to fancy cooking stores like Sur la Table or Williams Sonoma. Fresh pepper is worth it.

  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 2 T cooking oil – anything will do, but high quality extra-Virgin olive is yummy
  • 2 C broccoli flowerets
  • 4 green onions (scallions), cut into ½ inch or 1 centimeter pieces)
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 1 C cooked rice with 1t of turmeric (also get from Spice House); I like California Hinode Brown Rice but any cooked rice will work; cook it in 2 C of broth instead of water

Directions

Using a rice maker or pot, cook the rice according to the directions on the package, using chicken broth instead of water. While it’s cooking, prepare the chicken, below.

Cut chicken into thin strips and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine wine or broth, lemon juice, honey, garlic, curry powder, and pepper. Whisk well to blend.

Add chicken to bowl, rubbing the chicken and making sure it gets coated by the liquid.

Let chicken stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes in the marinade.

Drain chicken, reserving marinade. If needed, add enough broth to make ½ C liquid. Stir in cornstarch, set aside.

Preheat a medium skillet over high heat, then add oil.

Stir-fry broccoli and green onions in hot oil about 90 seconds or until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet.

Add chicken to skillet. Stir-fry about 2 minutes or until tender.

Push chicken from the center of the skillet and return the vegetables. Stir in the cornstarch mixture.

Cook about 1 more minute, stirring constantly, until heated through.

Remove from heat and stir in the mayonnaise.

Add the turmeric to the rice and stir well. Serve rice in small bowls or plates, and spoon the chicken and vegetables over the top.

For dessert, use your imagination. Bonus tip: soak the rice pot in hot, soapy water. TRUST me. You’ll be glad in the morning when you don’t have a gelatinous concrete mixture in your pot or rice maker.

Join the Other Tasty Tuesday Participants

Come on and visit the other Tasty Tuesday participants for some sexy, simple recipes to help revitalize your kitchen time. Enjoy!

Inspiration Cake by Pg Forte

Sometimes you feel like a nut… by Selena Robins