Today’s Post #2: First Tuesday Recipes for March

photo courtesy of congerdesign/pixabay

Last month’s inaugural First Tuesday Recipes was a great success! I got lots of feedback from readers who were happy to have some new things to add to their menu rotations. We’re back with another edition with some delicious creations to make your mouths happy. And bonus–these are all easy and come together quickly.

If you have a recipe you’d like to share, leave it in the comments or email me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to include your recipe in next month’s edition.

So let’s get started.

I would like to have dinner at Sharon Aguanno’s house sometime. She shares a recipe for split pea soup that sounds wonderful–perfect for the weather we’ve been having or for that leftover ham from Easter, which will be here before we know it. Sharon tells me her whole family loves this–even the grandkids!

Split Pea Soup

(Sharon found the recipe on allrecipes.com and tweaked it to serve her own tastes)

2 1/4 c. dried split peas

2 qt. cold water

leftover ham, chopped

ham bone, optional

2 onions, thinly sliced

1/4 t. each salt and pepper

pinch marjoram

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 potato, peeled and diced

Soften peas: In a large stock pot, cover them with the cold water. Soak overnight.

After peas have been soaked, add ham bone, onion, salt, pepper, and marjoram to stock pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove bone; dice meat from bone and return the meat to the soup. Add additional leftover ham, if desired. Add celery, carrots, and potato. Cook for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Sharon serves her Split Pea Soup with her granddaughters’ favorite Sweet Muffins. You can find the recipe here and there are some fun variations to the basic recipe.

Sweet Muffins

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 large egg

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin tin; spray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and set aside.

Stir together egg, milk, and oil in a medium bowl. Add all at once to the well in the dry ingredients. Stir mixture just until moistened.

Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from pan to cool. Makes 12 muffins.

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Author Ellen Buikema writes for children, but she makes a killer carrot cake. Rather than reprinting the recipe here, I’m going to send you over to her website. You click on the cake at the bottom of the page and send Ellen your email address. She’ll send you her 24 Karat Cake recipe. You’ll want to try it as soon as you can–and again, a great recipe for Easter!

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Author Maggie King writes the Hazel Rose Mysteries. Maggie has been my guest here on Reade and Write (read the posts here and here) and I have it on good authority that Hazel Rose’s chili is to die for. You can read the recipe on Maggie’s blog herebut I’m going to print it here with Maggie’s tweaks. It’s originally from Gourmet Gazelle Cookbook by Ellen Brown.

Hazel Rose’s Black Bean Chili

1 T. vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced

1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey or ground beef

2 T. flour

3 T. chili powder

2 T. ground cumin

2 t. powdered cocoa

1-2 t. cayenne pepper

1/4 c. tarragon vinegar

2 T. strong brewed coffee

2 14-oz. cans plum tomatoes, crushed

1/4 t. salt

2 c. cooked black beans

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and peppers; sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey or ground beef and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and breaking up any lumps with the spoon.

Stir in the flour, chili powder, cumin, and cocoa. Stir frequently over low heat for 3 minutes until spices are fragrant. Add remaining ingredients except black beans and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer chili, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes until thick and the turkey is tender. Add black beans and cook for 5 additional minutes.

Maggie suggests adding jalapenos to the final dish and serving it all with corn bread. Yum!


And finally, I tried two new recipes this month that I’d like to share. The first is a pork tenderloin and the second is a dessert. The pork tenderloin is adapted from a recipe I found online–here’s the link: pork tenderloin recipeYou’ll note that I omitted a couple ingredients in  my version. I also doubled the recipe and took some to friends, and it works well doubled.

For the life of me, I can’t find the photos I know I took when I made these. Maybe next month!

Sesame-Soy-Maple Pork Tenderloin

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T. fresh ginger, minced

2 T. sesame oil

2 T. Hoisin sauce

1/4 c. soy sauce

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

1-1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin

Place all ingredients, except pork tenderloin, in a gallon Ziploc bag. Mix well and add the pork. Marinate the pork from 2 to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat until very hot.

Once the skillet is hot, remove pork from marinade (reserve remaining marinade) and sear it on all sides. This should take about 6 minutes. Add the remaining marinade to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 c. water to the skillet and stir gently.

Place skillet in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the pan and allow to rest for appr. 10 minutes.

Slice the pork and serve drizzled with extra pan sauce.


This last recipe is one I got from my father. I had to include a decadent dessert!

Chocolate-Raspberry Crumb Bars

2 sticks butter, softened

2 c. flour

1/2 c. packed light brown sugar

1/4 t. salt

2 c. semisweet chocolate morsels, divided

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

1/3 c. seedless raspberry jam (I like to use a little more, maybe 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking dish.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat in flour, sugar, and salt until crumbly. Using your fingers (you may need to dip them in flour first) press 1 3/4 c. of the crumb mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Reserve remaining mixture.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Place condensed milk and 1 c. chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute; stir morsels. Continue heating morsels at 10-20 second intervals, stirring after each time, until chocolate is smooth. Spread over hot crust.

If using nuts, stir them into the reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle crumb mixture over chocolate.

Place raspberry jam in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 50% power until jam is runny. Drizzle jam over top of the bars. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate morsels.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack and cut into squares when cool. Makes 30-36 squares.


I hope you get a chance to try some or all of these and that you’ll send in your own recipes for next month’s First Tuesday Recipes!

Until next time,

Amy

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Today’s Post #1: Author Spotlight on Elaine Faber

Today I welcome Elaine Faber back to Reade and Write. Elaine has been my guest once before, when she was here to talk about her book Mrs. Oddbody–Home Town Patriot. You can read that post here.

She’s here today to talk about a new book, All Things Cat.

Hi, Elaine! Tell us about your new book.

All Things Cat contains 21 heart-warming short stories, some about cats, and some written by the cat. Imagine how a cat feels when a burglar breaks into a WWII butcher shop and he is the only thing standing in the way of his master losing his money? What reward might he expect for his heroism?

How long did it take you to write the new book?

All these cat stories were written over many years. I have now compiled them into a fun and charming book of short cat stories.

Do you write linearly, or do you write each scene separately and then piece them together like a puzzle? Or is there some other path you take to writing a novel?

I have an overall idea of the story and begin at the beginning and let the cat tell the story as it plays out. Sometimes the cat takes the story to unexpected places.

Tell us a secret about one of your characters- something that’s not in the book.

Since the book contains the story of 21 different characters, this is difficult. One of my characters, a cat named Tinkleberry, is a ‘conscientious objector’ and refuses to kill, until circumstances demand that he reconsider his position and in order to save his mistress’ life, he must forgo his own moral objections. Sounds grim, but it is a humorous story.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I have to have complete silence to write. No music, no TV. If hubby gets on the phone I have to stop until he’s through talking. If my kitty wants attention, I have to stop and play.

What time of day do you do your best writing?

Early in the morning is best, but since these stories were written over the past twenty years, it’s likely that some were written in the afternoon.

Have you ever been on a writing retreat? And if so, where did you go?

I have been to writing conferences with Sisters in Crime and Inspire Writers, but not a ‘writing retreat.’

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

just finished my fourth cozy cat mystery book, Black Cat and the Key to the Treasure, a story that takes place here at home and also a mystery simultaneously in Austria. Look for it next year. My next published novel will be the third Mrs. Odboddy adventure, Mrs. Odboddy–And Then There Was a Tiger, a WWII humorous mystery adventure, to be published in 2018, mid-summer.

Tell us about the dedication in your new book, if you wish.

Since this was a compilation of my own works over many years, I didn’t dedicate it to a specific person.

Do you prefer to read a physical book (with paper pages that really turn), or do you prefer an e-reader, or perhaps audio books?

I do not have an e-reader so definitely, prefer a paper book.

If you had an unlimited budget, is there something special you would do for your readers?

I make my books free on Amazon from time to time. Hopefully this will make it possible for those on a limited budget to enjoy my books. Also, a portion of my sales is donated to Cat Rescue organizations here in California.

Remind us where we can connect with you.

Facebook

Where is the new book available?

It is on Amazon. If you click the link, it will take you to Amazon’s All Things Cat page. The first complete story can be read for free in the LOOK INSIDE feature. If you like what you see, All Things Cat in e-book can be purchased for $2.99. Please check out my three other cozy cat mysteries, and two WWII humorous mystery adventures.
Thanks for visiting again, Elaine! I think your idea of cat stories is great and I wish you lots of success!

Stay tuned for the First Tuesday Recipe post, which will post shortly.

Until next time,
Amy