What’s Cooking? Chicken Espagnole (Hanging By A Moment)

Various herbs and spices on black stone plate

By her own admission, Quinn Russell isn’t much of a cook–or at least she’s not very interested in the kitchen. (Will that change in Days of You and Me? Hmmm . . . stay tuned . . .) But her friend and college roommate Zelda Porter does love to cook and is something of an amateur chef. In this scene from Hanging By A MomentQuinn catches her friend making a special occasion meal . . .

“What’re you doing?” I closed the dryer and started it up, stepping away from it so I could hear Zelda.
“Uh, I’m cooking.” Her voice held a faint tinge of . . . I couldn’t read it. Embarrassment?
“Cooking? For you and Gia? Well, aren’t you a good roommate?” I flopped onto the sofa. “You never cooked for me.”
“No, doll, I’m not cooking for Gia. I have a . . . date. I guess. Sort of.”
If she had told me that she was a spy who was cooking for the head of the CIA, I wouldn’t have been more surprised. Zelda was predictable only in her cynicism about romance and relationships. She had regular sex with an abundance of men, and she liked men, but she didn’t trust them.
“Uh . . . okay. Can I ask the name of this date?”
“You can ask, but I’m not going to tell. This is way outside my comfort zone, Quinn. It’s probably not going to amount to anything. If I’m wrong and it does . . . then you and I can talk. I’ll tell you all the down and dirties. But until then—if there is a then—I’m going to play it close to my chest.”
When I didn’t respond right away, she hurried to continue. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, Quinn. I just don’t trust me. I’m going out on a limb here, and I’m actually scared shitless.”
“Zelda.” I crossed my legs at the knee and kicked one foot in the air. “I’m not insulted that you want to be, um, discreet. It’s your business. But don’t be scared, okay? You are the most incredible woman I know. You’re beautiful, you’re funny and you’re smart. Any guy would be lucky to date you. So don’t mess this up just because you think you’re not the relationship type, okay?”
Something sizzled on Zelda’s side of the phone. “I appreciate everything you said, Quinn. I don’t necessarily agree with you, but still, I’m grateful. I can only promise to do my best.”
“Good. Have fun, and don’t think I’m going to forget this. When I get home next month, you are so cooking for me.”
She laughed. “You got it, doll. We’ll be in our new apartment with a real kitchen, not this lame ass kitchenette. So I’ll make you something special to celebrate moving in, okay?”
“It’s a date.” I giggled at my own joke.

So who was Zelda cooking for, and what did she make? Well, no spoilers here–though you may have guessed the who–but I can tell you that for her mystery date, the enigmatic Ms. Porter prepared Chicken Espagnole, a dish that tastes fabulous and looks elegant but is actually fairly simple to prepare. This recipe was adapted from one served at The Gumbo Shop in New Orleans, where I’ve enjoyed all their food on multiple occasions.

If you want to know more about Zelda’s secret lover, preorder Days of You and Me–and then get ready for her spin-off standalone book, Wildest Dreams, coming in 2017.

Zelda’s Chicken Espagnole

2 small chickens, backs removed, cut in half

CHICKEN SEASONING:

3 tsp Italian seasoning

2 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp black pepper

4 tsp white pepper

5 tsp onion powder

5 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbs paprika

4 Tbs salt

***

3/4 cup butter

3/4 flour

VEGGIES:

2 medium  onions, roughly cut

2 ribs of celery, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

SAUCE SEASONING:

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp sage

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp salt

***

4 cups chicken stock

6-7 baby bella mushrooms, sliced

5 green onions, diced

Directions:

Place chicken halves in roasting pan with sides at least 3 inches. Sprinkle CHICKEN SEASONING over chicken and roast in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove and set aside.

While chicken roasts, in a large pot melt butter and add flour to make a medium roux. Add VEGGIES and stir until coated. Cook about 20 minutes, then add SAUCE SEASONING. Cook until combined, then add chicken stock slowly, stirring well. Bring to a boil and cook on low for about 20 minutes. Add mushrooms and green onions, mix well and remove from heat.

Spoon sauce over chicken in roasting pans and return to the oven, roasting at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve over rice.

#Thursday Thoughts: A Chat With Vincent

So this happened yesterday, while I was writing I CHOOSE YOU, the third (and what is supposed to be the FINAL) book in the Perfect Dish series. (Yes, it started out as the Perfect Dish Duo. Now it’s a trilogy. But hold onto your hats. . .)

file4541298808299If you read JUST DESSERTS, you might vaguely remember Vincent, Ava’s brother. He’s not the one who got married in that book; he’s the brother who was single. Since I CHOOSE YOU is written from Ava and Liam’s points of view and is mostly about their wedding, Vincent shows up there, too.

I was just minding my own business. . .writing away, like a good author. . .and in strolled Vincent. Our convo went like this:

Vincent: Yo.

Me: Hey, Vincent. (continues typing)

Vincent: So another book about my sister.

Me (glancing at him distractedly): Yes. This is about Ava and Liam’s wedding.

Vincent: Why do they get another book? I thought the last book was theirs.

Me: Well, it was. But then people wanted to read more about them. . .listen, I don’t have to explain myself to you. I’m busy.

Vincent: But if you’re keeping track, Julia got Jesse. Ava got Liam. Even Giff got Jeff. My brother Carl got Angela. What about me?

Me: Yeah, what about you, Vincent?

Vincent: Why’m I still flying solo?

Me: Because, Vincent, you’re a side character. You’re not the main focus. You’re just there because Ava needed another brother to balance things out.

Vincent: But I don’t want to be left out in the cold.

Me (sighing, rolling my eyes and finally turning from the computer screen): Okay, Vincent. You want me to hook you up in this book? Fine. You can meet a bridesmaid or someone and get together with her. There you go.

Vincent (shaking his head): Nope. I want my own book.

Me (throwing up my hands): Vincent! I have no time for another book in this series. Honestly. Do you know how many series I’m juggling? Ongoing ones? Four. Four! And then there’s the non-series books I committed to write next year. Remember the historical romance set in Gettysburg? Does that ring a bell? And the stand-alone New Adult, and the middle grade book, and the big apocalyptic book that the kids’ve been begging me to finally get around to writing for them. . .oh, and the anthology for the King Series people. They’ve been waiting a long time.

Vincent: You can fit me in. I have faith in you.

Me (grumbling): Sure you do. Come back and talk to me in 2018.

Vincent (crossing his arms over his broad chest): Nope. It’s gotta be sooner.

Me: Even if I could fit you in somewhere, I have no idea who’d you end up with. There aren’t any more unattached females in these books.

Vincent (nodding smugly): Yes, there is.

Me: Oh, yeah? Who?

Vincent (leaning closer): I’ll whisper it in your ear. (proceeds to do just that)

Me: Really? Really? Wow, I never thought. . .but what about. . .hmmmm. Hmmmmm. . .

Vincent: Is that a good hmmmm?

Me (as my head hits the keyboard): It means you’re getting your own book, you big doofus. Now go away and leave me alone so  I can finish your sister’s book, okay?

Vincent: Sure. But what’s the book going to be called?

Me: I have no idea.

Vincent: It should be something cooking-related since I’m a pastry chef. Hot and Sweet? Rolling Boil? Simmer This?

Me: You’re not very good at picking out titles. Just saying.

Vincent: Hey! I got it. Just Roll With It. Get it? Roll with it? Like a rolling pin?

Me: Hmmm. It’s got potential. I’ll think about it. Now please go away and let me finish this book.

Vincent: Okay, I’m going. But I’ll be back.

Me: I’ll just bet you will be.

The day of #DEATH. . .Fricassee, that is!

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Want a recipe for disaster? Take one thirty-something food columnist, living the high life as the youngest resident of a Florida retirement community in the house she inherited from her grandmother. Sprinkle with early-bird specials and nights of bingo.

Add one college professor-turned-novelist, seasoned heavily with deep, dark secrets sprung from a night of drunken fun that left him changed in ways he doesn’t understand.

Toss in a dash of murder that rocks a quiet community.

And heat until neither one can deny their growing attraction to each other.

Best served hot with a side of wicked humor and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Bon Appetit!

 

Death Fricassee is Book One in the brand-new Recipe for Death series. This is

adult paramystery: supernatural, a little lighter, a little more fun. Still lots of heat

and of course, just enough romance to keep it interesting!

 

Buy the book: iBooks/Amazon/BN/Kobo/Smashwords

 

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love TK03scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair. 

 

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