Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Here is the Culinary Chronicles column I wrote about my favorite fungus back when I wrote for World Wide Recipes (The best darn recipezine in the whole darn Universe).
I'm talking about MORel, the edible fungus, not morEL, the deadly nightshade relative. I know, "edible fungus" sounds like something Little Miss Picky would say "ick" to, but I love morels. It's almost that time, and I can hardly wait for the first nice day after the rain we've been having. Just give me some insect repellent and a mesh bag, and I'm happy for hours. Morels are known in Europe and Asia as well as the USA. High in flavor, sufficient in protein and low in calories, morels have been said to taste like steak or clams. They're sometimes called "sponges" or "honeycombs", and don't really look much like anything else, not even much like false morels. If you find some true morels, rinse them off, cut them in half and soak them in salt water to encourage any creepy little critters who might be homesteading inside to vacate the premises. Then cook and enjoy (the morels, not the critters). Important safety tip: IF YOU GO FORAGING, DON'T EAT ANY WILD PLANT THAT HASN'T BEEN IDENTIFIED BY SOMEONE WILLING TO EAT SOME OF IT. In the case of morels, I'll be glad to volunteer.
I'm posting different stuff on the same subject on my own blog today, along with a picture of my latest haul.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Murder Takes the Cake launches on Tuesday, March 29, and Pocket Books and I have a lot of fun activities planned:
o Monday, March 28 - I'll be appearing on the Newscenter 5 at Noon show with Tarah Taylor (wcyb.com).o Tuesday, March 29 - Virtual Book Launch Party at Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee, Cozy Mystery Writer - Simply "like" the page and then join us on the 29th to win great prizes all day long. The fun starts at around 8 a.m., and prizes will include signed copies of Murder Takes the Cake, gift certificates from Restaurant.com, Mrs. Fields Cookies gift, tote bags, Amazon.com gift cards and more!
- Thursday, March 29 - Mega Blog Tour:
o Friday, April 1 - Book Signing and Cupcake Decorating Competition at Babycakes Cupcakery in Kingsport, TN
o Saturday, April 2 - Book Reading/Signing at Barnes & Noble in Johnson City, TN
o Murder Takes the Cake will be featured in the April e-newsletter, Buzzing About Books
o Advertising in the Spring issue of Mystery Scene Magazine on stands April 15
o Advertising in the May issue of Suspense Magazine on stands April 28Join me, and let's have some fun!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I've been thinking about "Feast Here Tonight", an old-timey song I first heard from The Kingston Trio:
There's a rabbit in the log and I ain't got my dog
How will I get him I know
I'll get me a briar and twist it in his hair
That way I'll get him I know.
If you'd like to listen to it, here's a page of MP3 downloads of several versions.
I think about the movie Savannah Smiles and how Bootsie fed Alvie a dead squshed rabbit scraped up off the highway. Alvie defended himself: "It was still warm!"
I think about hasenpfeffer (German stewed rabbit), which I used to eat back when I still ate sweet little bunnies.
But those days are gone.
Unfortunately for Bubbles, we did have the dog and did not have a log. Knowing those neighbors, who are self-reliant and practical people, I have a feeling Bubbles wasn't long for this world, anyway.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
About all I can think of that I’m eating locally is eggs and chicken. Got a big package of chicken from the farmer earlier in the month and the farm where I stop to get my eggs still has enough for the locals. Did you know that chickens stop lying in the dark winter months? Small scale farmers will use lights in the coop to extend the daylight a bit over the winter. On industrial farms, I guess it doesn’t matter as those chickens never know if it’s summer or winter anyway.
I haven’t been cooking anything imaginative lately, just the usual repertoire and using up the soup I froze in the fall.
I’m writing a new standalone for Poisoned Pen Press right now. This book will have a back story of a Loyalist (i.e. refugee from the American Revolution) woman to came to the wilderness of Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1783 in the way that Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory, my first two books, had a backstory of something that happened in World War II.
Writing her story is making me think about how we lived when everything was local. You grew what you ate or you didn’t eat. The Loyalists got assistance from the British government to settle once they arrived including land and money and farming equipment and supplies. They stopped giving supplies in 1788, Just in time for an exceptionally severe winter. Most of the settlers didn’t have productive farms yet,. Remember they had to cut down the forest and build their houses first. And there were no cities or towns within an easy travelling distance. It was a tough winter and some people starved.
No supermarkets to pop out to when the last of the potatoes were finished. No fresh greens trucked in from California when you got tired of eating cabbage. And none of the neighbours had any more than you did.
I’m thinking maybe shrimp curry with rice and imported bok choy for dinner tonight. And I’ll raise a glass of wine to my ancestors who worked so hard so that I don’t have to.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The book held only two disappointments for me. One, I hint at on my own blog today. The other was the food.
They didn't eat any. Oh, they had breakfast and dinner, but no food was described or even, insofar as I remember, mentioned. Apart from tea, wine, brandy and the occasional Mickey Finn, nobody ingested anything of note. Most disappointing.
There were several fatalities, but none involving food or drink, and even our villains were preserved from committing violence by their own hands. Personally, I would have relished seeing a couple of characters beeyoch-slapped, but it was not to be.
Collins walked a fine line between sensationalism and refinement, and did it jolly well, all in all. I raise a ladylike glass of sherry in his honor.
Friday, March 11, 2011
On Tuesday night, feeling no relief whatsoever despite being three days into my antibiotics, I wailed, "Just shoot me!"
My little heart stood on its tippy-toes to get closer to my ears, yearning to hear the words of adoration he was sure to spout next.
And then came his actual words:
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
On the Tuesday before Lent begins, observant Christians eat up all the rich, fat (gras) foods in the house. Of course, this time comes at the end of winter, so the chance of there being loads of food of any kind, back in subsistence days, was not large, and eating light in the period before spring crops had sprouted made a virtue of necessity. In other words, they didn't have much to eat anyway, so tying light eating to spiritual growth was a brilliant and constructive notion.
So enjoy your Fat Tuesday, as I intend to do, but I venture to imagine there's nothing we can eat today that'll give us as much pleasure as a buttered egg gave a peasant who wouldn't have another one for forty days.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I don’t consider myself to be all that old, yet I am of the generation and culture in which food was, to put it mildly, pretty unadventurous. My mother was considered an exotic and adventurous cook because she made things like “Chinese Food” i.e. meat and vegetables cut up and served with rice, or “spaghetti” i.e. bolognaise sauce made with canned tomato soup (for which I recently provided the recipe here).
Now that we’re travelling so much more, and living with people of so many different cultures, our food horizons are almost limitless. Tonight I’m going to the theatre with friends to see a Flamenco performance. First we’re having dinner at a German restaurant. There’s a multi-cultural experience for you.
I have a packed schedule of book tours this spring. At the end of March, I’m going to Sante Fe for Left Coast Crime and then driving to Arizona for appearances at the Poisoned Pen and the Teague Library and to give a talk to the Scottsdale Association of Women Writers.
I’d absolutely love and any all suggestions of places to eat that serve true local cuisine.
Particularly on the long drive from Sante Fe to Phoenix – not only where to eat but suggestions of places to stay and to visit along the way.
Then in April, I’m driving down to the Durham, Raleigh area of North Carolina with Mary Jane Maffini and Elizabeth Duncan on what we’re calling the Older Hotter Deadlier tour. As we drive, we tend to seek out chain restaurants for lunch and breaks. As the aim is just to refuel and keep on going, that seems better than taking a chance on something that might turn out to be a mite iffy. But once we arrive, we’re going to be looking for the best places to eat and again hoping for some good regional cooking. Barbeque maybe?
In May it’s cross Canada all the way to Victoria for Bloody Words. I’ll be stopping in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Nelson, and Seattle en route. I’ve been to Seattle many times, and just love it (and the Seattle Mystery Bookstore, of course). I don’t eat much seafood unless I’m near the sea. Like eating in season, it’s well worth the wait. When I’m in Seattle, it’s definitely clam chowder. Any suggestions as to the best place for it?
Friday, March 4, 2011
But not on Free Pancake Day!!!
I said, "If we can be out of here by 7:30, we'll stop at IHOP and get the free short stacks they're giving out today."
Zoom! Like teen superheroes, they sprang into action. Zip! They were dressed. Whoosh! Their teeth were brushed, their hair was combed, and they were in the car.
"It's all about the motivation," I mused on the way to IHOP.
The restaurant was not at all crowded, which surprised me. Did no one else know about the free pancakes? Still, we had to make it to school on time, so I was definitely happy about the scant number of people there. We ordered our pancakes and drinks. When the waitress brought out our pancakes, she also brought out warm maple syrup to go on them. YUM!
This made me think that we need to have breakfast for dinner soon. We haven't done that in a long time, and often, that's the only way we ever get to have breakfast together.
Of course, while we were at the IHOP, we had to quote Jim Gaffigan and his riff on pancakes. "Let's see ya load up on THAT and try not to nap!" I'm including the YouTube clip below for a Friday Funny. :)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Guess I'm happy it's spring. Officially! Forget the groundhog. Out here in my neck of Wisconsin I know it's spring by the increasing sound outside my door. We saw a few redwinged blackbirds the other day, a sure sign that winter is over.
Now while they may have been roosting on the other side of the lake or in another area, this is the first group I saw tonight. From now until fall, at sunrise and near sunset, I will wake to a growing black cloud and increased shrieks and chirps outside. The flock will grow in size as it finds refuge in the trees on the edge of the wetlands in front of my house. The sight still amazes me.
Funny since realizing I had to write this post, my first thought? That rhyme about Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Sing a Song of Sixpence) came to mind...
Ok, to be fair, here are some recipes to regular pies. Birds not needed. (G)
* See the Top 20 Pie Recipes.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
One day, he came to his wife and said, "Honey, don't get any more of those fancy oranges. I peeled one, and MAN! They taste almost like lemons."
Now, the wife knew she had not bought any oranges that week and, filled with a dreadful suspicion, she checked the fruit bin. Sure enough, he had tried to eat a fruit taken from a bag clearly marked, "MEYER LEMONS"
Meyer lemons, in case you aren't familiar with them, are probably a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. I had one once, years ago, and I've been wanting more ever since, and our local grocery store had some so I coughed up the money and bought a bag of four.
I have three, now.
Here is what The Splendid Table has to say about Meyer lemons. Here is what The Los Angeles Times has to say, including a list of 100 things to do with them, not including trying to eat one under the mistaken impression that it is an orange.
As for what I'm going to do, I'm going to make a lemon pie.
p.s. On my own blog today, Joseph Robert Lewis, writer of mystery/fantasy/steampunk and all things wonderful, talks about world building.