First Tuesday Recipes for June

I’m writing this on a perfect June day, with the windows open and the temperatures in the high 60s. And, as usual, my thoughts are turning toward dinner.

I’m sharing three dinner recipes with you this month: a vegetarian dish, a grilled pork tenderloin, and a big salad.

* * *

Red Thai Veggie Curry

1 T. coconut oil (olive oil can be substituted)

small onion, chopped

1 T. fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 T. Thai red curry paste

1 can (14 oz.) regular coconut milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 T. brown sugar

1 T. soy sauce

1 T. rice vinegar

sliced fresh basil

Melt coconut oil over medium heat and add onion. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add peppers, carrots, and zucchini; cook for about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add coconut milk, water, and sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are cooked to your preference.

Remove curry from heat and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Serve over rice and garnish with basil.

* * *

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1/2 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

6 T. soy sauce

4 T. toasted sesame oil

2 T. fresh grated ginger

1 pkg. pork tenderloin (1-2 pounds)

In a large gallon-sized zip-top bag, combine all ingredients. Squish it around to coat the pork and refrigerate for 6-24 hours, turning occasionally if possible.

Preheat grill to medium-high and discard marinade. Grill tenderloins over indirect heat for 20-35 minutes or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of tenderloins reaches 145 degrees F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

* * *

Greek Salad

Salad:

1 head Romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 large cucumber, seeded, peeled, and chopped

1 medium red onion

1 yellow pepper, sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 c. Kalamata olives, halved

3/4 c. feta cheese

salami, thinly sliced, optional

Dressing:

6 T. olive oil

2 T. red wine vinegar

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 t. dried oregano

2 t. fresh parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. If you want a heartier dinner, add the salami (coarsely chopped deli ham is also a good choice).

In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients. Just before serving, pour over salad and toss gently to coat.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

A Halloween Treat: Jenny Kales Returns!

Happy Halloween! My guest today is Jenny Kales, who writes the Callie’s Kitchen cozy mystery series. She visited Reade and Write once before, when her debut novel, On the Chopping Block, was released (if you’d like to read that post, you can find it here).

Jenny’s back today to talk about her newest release, Book Three in the series, Secrets and Pies. Welcome, Jenny, and congratulations on the new release!

Tell us about your new book.

My new book, SECRETS AND PIES, is the third book in The Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries, my culinary cozy mystery series. It takes place in fictional Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, a picturesque waterfront community that many readers say is a character unto itself. This time around, Callie Costas, my Greek-American food business owner and amateur sleuth, is faced with a murder that hits really close to home. A Murder Mystery Night at a spooky old house, a motley crew of suspects, personnel issues and a busy summer tourist season add to the intrigue. Along the way, secrets pertaining to Crystal Bay’s colorful past may provide clues! As always, my book contains mouth-watering recipes, both Greek and Midwestern favorites.

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

About 6 months, with a few months of post-production, including editing, beta readers and book design and layout. So altogether, 9 months or so.

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 create a pretty detailed outline and write linearly. Things do change as I go along, but I start with whodunit and construct the novel around that.

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

Max used to have a crush on Callie.

Do you have any writing rituals?

If I’m working on something that needs a lot of concentration, I go the Quiet Room of my local library. It’s a beautiful space with a fireplace. I also like to be surrounded by books when I write – it’s inspirational. Something about that room tells my brain to get to business!

What time of day do you do your best writing?

Probably the morning, but I also write in the early afternoon before the kids get home from school.

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

Yes, I went to a summer writer’s retreat hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my alma mater. However, I have not been on a writing retreat in a very long time and I would love to do that in the near future.

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

I’m planning to work on a new series idea for NaNoWriMo. I’m about five chapters into a new book and I love it. It’s a traditional mystery with cozy elements and the protagonist is a hoot! I’m also developing an idea for a Callie’s Kitchen short story and the next full-length novel in the series.

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

This one didn’t have a dedication, but it did have two epigrams. One is from Homer and one is from F. Scott Fitzgerald and they both tie into the novel. That’s all I can say!

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

I used to prefer print books and I still really like them, but I tend to go for my tablet with the Kindle app. I can adjust the type to be larger or smaller and it gives off some light, which is great because I read a lot at night and I don’t want to keep my husband awake.

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

I would love to go across country for a book tour where I served Callie’s Kitchen specialties and met my readers. A lot of what I do is online, which is a great way to connect, but I would love to host in-person book parties with my readers. Hopefully, someday!

Remind us where we can connect with you.

You can find me on Facebook, my website, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You can also follow me on my Amazon author page. And be sure to follow me on Bookbub, too!

Where is the new book available?

SECRETS AND PIES is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book, as well as Kindle Unlimited: The paperback version looks beautiful! I have a really wonderful cover designer.

I also want to add that I have a Christmas cozy mystery, which is the second book in my Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, SPICED AND ICED (you can find it here). So if any of you are in the Christmas spirit a little bit early, check out this cozy mystery with festive holiday recipes included. I’m also happy to be a part of the Christmas-themed cozy mystery event with you, Amy! My day is December 2 and I am looking forward to some cozy holiday fun.

  

Thanks again, Amy, for hosting me on your wonderful blog!

Thanks, Jenny. As always, it’s been a pleasure having you here. 

For those of you who may not be aware of the Christmas-themed cozy event Jenny mentioned, she’s talking about The 12 Slays of Christmas Release Week Extravaganza, which takes place from November 28 until December 5. If you haven’t seen my posts about the set before, it’s a set of twelve cozy mysteries by twelve authors. You can find the website here and the Facebook event here.

One more thing….

There’s one more boxed set I want to tell you about. It’s called Christmas Babies on Main Street and it’s a collection of stories of Christmas, love, and babies from around the world. It’s only 99¢ and you can find it on Amazon.

 

My Bucket List

One of my daughters is a consummate list-maker.  She has lists for everything you can imagine, from her favorite foods to her favorite Disney movies to places she wants to visit.  I’m taking my cue from her today and making a list.  My bucket list.  I’m going to stop myself at ten items because that’s a nice round number and because I don’t want to bore you to death.

When I thought about writing this post, I realized I don’t really have a bucket list.  But when I actually tried to decide what might be on it, I had a hard time narrowing it down to ten.  I imagine most people have that same problem.  

Here goes.

First, I’d like to travel to Greece.  I want to see the postcard places with the white buildings and cerulean ocean in the background.  I want to taste real Greek cuisine.  I want to see all the places I’ve only read about in history books.

Second, I want to take a class at the Culinary Institute of America.  It doesn’t have to be any particular kind of class, though I’m partial to desserts.  

Third, I would love to learn French.  I took French in high school, but I remember almost nothing and if I had to have a conversation, I would be limited to “please” and “thank you” and “shut your mouth” and “I love cheese.”

Fourth and Fifth, I’d like to take two kinds of vacations:  an eco-vacation and a volunteer vacation.  The eco-vacation doesn’t have to be anywhere specific, but it would be nice if it were in a warm place.  And I’d like to take a volunteer vacation in South America. 

Sixth, I want to see a performance at Carnegie Hall.  In all the years I lived in and near Manhattan, I never visited Carnegie Hall and it’s one of the few things I regret about that time. 

Seventh, I want to go to Scotland.  I want to see the mountains and the plaids and the lochs.

Eighth, I want to go to Ireland.  I want to taste honest-to-goodness Irish pub food and see lots of green and lots of sheep.   

Ninth, I’d love to go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River.  I don’t even know why.  It just looks so cool in pictures.

And last, but not least, I’d like to see the Northern Lights.  Preferably from Norway.  

So that’s my bucket list.  I hope it inspires you to come up with your own if you haven’t yet, and I hope it inspires you to let me know what’s on yours. 

Until next week,

Amy