3/11/2011

Cover Art for Upcoming Release : Keeping House

I'm showing off my new cover for Keeping House.  Can't help it. I like looking at it.  Victoria Miller made it absolutely beautiful.  Now, we're one step closer to publication, which I think is some time in the first part of May.  Keep watch here for updates and I'll let you know more as soon as I have the information.


Keeping House
Truth or Dare, Book 1

Donovan Holloway, advertising executive, newly made vice president of the company where he’s worked for twenty years, grew up in a free love hippie commune taking care of the parents who should have been taking care of him. He’s worked hard to put himself through school and achieve the American dream- all he’s ever wanted was a normal family life- house in the suburbs, two cars, two kids, a shaggy dog. A family to come home to, to care for, to care for him has been his dream since he was a small boy.

Mischa Blake is the green eyed, liberally pierced, black haired, Mohawk wearing spoiled youngest son of a Hollywood producer and his actress wife. Mischa has made a terrible mistake. In a fit of childish pique he’s accepted a dare from his older brothers. The dare? Live on his own supporting himself completely for a year without accessing his trust fund. No problem. Except Mischa has never worked a day in his life, hasn’t finished college, and has absolutely no skills that he can bring to the table.

So when he sees Donovan’s ad for a housekeeper/gardener, he has nothing to lose by applying, because really...how hard can it be?

3/08/2011

Malaysian Beef Stew

Though Spring is fast approaching, its still cold enough for stews, and this evening we're trying this one out!  We haven't tried this recipe before, but we've made a variety of dishes with recipes from this website, so I'm sure this one will be delicious as well! I'm getting the slow cooker all prepped this morning for a visit to Malaysia this evening.  



Malaysian Beef Stew

This is an ImportFood.com online  recipe. Here you can conveniently purchase authentic, quality ingredients imported from Thailand.

Ingredients - Spice Paste
8 large dried New Mexico chiles
4 stalks fresh lemongrass
1/2 cup chopped shallots
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar

Ingredients - Stew
3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
8 kaffir lime leaves (we substituted sweet basil when we couldn’t find lime leaves)
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
Chopped fresh cilantro
Steamed rice

Method - Spice Paste
Cover chiles with very hot water and soak until soft, about 45 minutes. Drain. Stem, seed, and chop chiles. Cut off bottom 4 inches from lemongrass stalks; chop and transfer to processor (reserve tops of stalks for stew). Add shallots, garlic, coriander, cumin, ginger, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper; process until finely ground. Add 1/2 cup water, chiles, fish sauce, and sugar; process to paste. Transfer to bowl. Cover; chill.

Method - Stew
Smash reserved tops of lemongrass from spice paste with mallet or rolling pin. Bend in half; bundle with kitchen twine. Mix beef and spice paste in slow cooker. Stir in lemongrass bundles, coconut milk, lime leaves, star anise, cinnamon, and tamarind. Press meat down to completely submerge. Cook stew on low heat until meat is very tender, 41/2 to 5 hours. Tilt pot and spoon off excess fat from surface of stew. Remove lemongrass bundles, lime leaves, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Transfer stew to bowl. Sprinkle cilantro over and serve with steamed rice.

****If you don't have a slow cooker, use a covered Dutch oven; cook the curry in a 325┬║F oven until the beef is tender, about 2 hours, adding 1/2 cup water if the stew is dry. The spice paste can be made up to a week ahead of cooking.

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955