Saturday, March 14, 2009

Succulent Dishes for the Romance Blow Out

It isn’t every day that we get the chance to provide food for a Romance party. We Casablanca writers take our romance very seriously – and our food! Tasty dishes are our forte, so when the opportunity arose to serve up something spicy, hot, delectable, and addicting for Publishers Weekly’s Barbara Vey’s Bash for her second anniversary of “Behind the Book,” we rose to the challenge. It had to be pleasing to the palate, every morsel mouthwatering, pleasurable while partaking, extremely satisfying when completed, and also make one hungry for more. Are we still talking about food? Maybe! We will let you decide what you now crave – either way, the desired gratification can be found at our blog. Books to the left….. recipes below……. Read on, let your imaginations go wild, and be sure to click over to Barbara’s Romance Blow Out to join in the fun. Everyone is invited! There are dozens of giveaways (including the Casablanca novels), numerous hosts and special guests, hunks galore roaming the halls, and a costume ball! You would not want to miss it.

Hot & Spicy Spaghetti for Cold Nights & Hot Dates & Wolfish Delight
** The first time I had this spaghetti, my aunt made it because my boyfriend was of Italian descent. It was so good I’ve been making my own version ever since. (She made her own version from scratch also!) By Terry Spear

1 lb Pre-cooked Italian Sausage (I use hot, but any variety works)

29 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Medium Onion
1 Tbsp Italian Herb Spices
(can be Oregano)
1 Tsp Garlic Salt, or ¼ Clove of Garlic

7 Small Fresh Mushrooms

1/8 Tsp Pickling Sp

1) Combine all ingredients and cook on low until peppers, onions, mushrooms are tender and sausage is heated thoroughly. Variations on the theme can work just fine if guests don’t like some of the items in the recipe and it’s still a tasty dinner for when nothing else appeals but something hot and spicy!
2) Cook nood
les of choice- spinach and whole grain add to the health benefit. Top the cooked noodles with the hot and spicy sauce and top the sauce with Grated Cheese to please anyone with Wolfish appetites! Serves 4-6.

Elizabeth Darcy’s Venison Frumenty for the Discerning Man’s Palate
**Frumenty (also known as Furmenty) is an easy-to-make wheat porridge. It was used in medieval times as an accompaniment to meat dishes and also as a breakfast cereal. By Sharon Lathan

Ingredients for meat stew
4lbs venison, cut as preferred
1 large turnip, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Place the meat in a large saucepan an
d cover with hot stock or hot salted water. Bring quickly to a boil, skim grease, and then add vegetables. Lower heat and simmer until tender (2-3 hours depending on the size/cut of meat). Option: If preferred, roast venison haunch in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes/lb., basting frequently with melted butter. Slice meat and serve with frumenty.

Ingredients for frume
1 cup whole grain wheat, kibbled or cracked (bulgar)

4 cups water

1 cup heavy cr
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbsp brown sugar, molasses, or honey (as preferred)
1 tsp cinnamon

Raisins, mixed dried fruit (optional)

1) Soak the wheat overnight in water in a warm place; or Bring water to a boil then add wheat, reducing to a slow simmer until wheat soft.

2) Drain off water; then cook whea
t in cream adding egg yolk, sugar/honey, cinnamon, and fruits if desired. Simmer slowly for 20-40 minutes until preferred consistency. May add additional milk if mixture too stiff.
3) Season sparingly with salt to taste.
Serve with sliced venison. **Frumenty can be made ahead and reheated with extra milk added.

Line of Scrimmage Buffalo Chicken Dip
**Perfect for Tailgating Parties. By Marie Force

One package precooked chicken (in the deli area with hot dogs)
One package of shredded cheddar cheese

One bottle blue cheese dressing
One bottle buffalo chicken sauce

Dice the chicken into small pieces.
Add most of the blue cheese and most of the shredded cheddar.
Add the buffalo sauce to taste, the m
ore you add the hotter it is.
Stir ingredients
and pour into a shallow casserole dish.
Bake at 350 until it bubbles. Serve hot with Scoops corn chips.

As Good as Sex Brownies
**Do you doubt it? Me neithe
r! By Linda Wisdom

2 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening

1 cup strong brew
ed coffee or water
1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting Ingredients
1/2 cup
2 tbsp. cocoa

1/4 cup milk

3 1/2 cup pow
dered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1) Combine flour and sugar; set aside. In heavy pan, combine butter, shortening, coffee or water and cocoa. Stir and heat to boiling. Pour boiling mixture over the flou
r and sugar in the large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well using wooden spoon or high speed on mixer. Pour into well buttered 17x1/2x11 jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 for 20 min. or until brownies done in center.
2) While brownies bake, prepare the frosting. In pan, combine butter, cocoa, and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Mix in powdered sugar and add vanilla; stir until smooth. Pour warm frosting over brownies as soon as you take them out of oven. *If you want thicker frosting, halve again, or double, the ingredients

Cat's Out-of-this-World Cookies
**This recipe was developed by a fan of "Slave," the first book in the Cat Star Chronicles series. By Cheryl Brooks

2 cups unbleached Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
2/3 cup unsalted Butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed Brown Sugar
2 lg. Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup M&M Candies

Preheat oven to 350 (325 if using a glass baking pan). Lightly grease a 13"x9" baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter and brown sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Mix in the vanilla. Gently mix in the dry ingredients, until well combined. Stir in the M&Ms.
Spread evenly into prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into bars. Yield: 3-4 dozen, depending on size of bar. Can be frozen.

Sexy Scallops Scallopini
** A recipe for the Mer-minded among us. Or anyone who enjoys scallops. By Judi Fennell


1 lb. sea scallops

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1 /4 cup finely chopped red pepper

1 cup white wi
ne (the sweeter the better)
1 tablespoon cho
pped garlic
Salt and pepper

Red oak lettuce as garnish

Season scallops with salt, pepper. Arrange washed/dried red oak leaves on a serving plate as a bed. Heat oil in pan. When oil starts to sizzle add scallops. Sear until golden on both sides. Don’t overcook. Set aside on bed of lettuce when finished. Add chopped garlic and red peppers to oil. Cook until just before garlic turns golden then add the wine. Simmer 1 minute. Add pineapple and stir to coat. Serve warm pineapple/wine mixture over scallops. **For a salad flair, add thinly slivered almonds and toss with finely shredded oak lettuce as bed. Drizzle fresh pineapple juice mixed with a dash of lemon juice as dressing.

Aunt Lilly Hale Sessoms’ Tipsy Cake
** Aunt Lilly Hale believes blood ties alone do not make a family. Keeping a family together requires conscious, intelligent choices, as well as balanced values. Tipsy Cake is a “good time” food. This is food that says, “Stick with this family. We will indulge you just often enough to be good for you. Our love is rich. Our time together is sweet yet always varied, and salty enough to satisfy.” By Mary Margret Daughtridge

You will need:

1 store-bought angel food cake torn into 2-3inch chunks
One pint of regular, not
heavy, whipping cream - whipped
One cup toasted pecan pieces and 12 perfect halves for decoration

Sherry: Cocktail, dry, crème
—whatever you like
1 recipe Boiled Cus


1) The evening before: Sprinkle cake pieces liberally with sherry, all surfaces! Make the boiled custard, keep in frig until needed.
2) *Boiled Custard directions – Combine in saucepan: 4 lightly beaten eggs, ½ cup sugar, and 2 cups whole milk.
Stir constantly over low heat until mixture thickens and coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat and instantly transfer the pot to a bowl of ice water to stop the custard from cooking. Stir until cool. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
3) Toast pecans in a shallow baking pan at 375; sprinkle liberally with butter and salt while cooking, stirring occasionally until deep tan (not brown!). Remove from butter once cooled and keep in an airtight container.
4) Using a pretty bowl, four or five hours before serving assemble cake (will become soggy if done too far ahead.) Layer cake chunks, pecans, custard, and whipped cream, then nutmeg. Repeat 3 times. Decorate with swirls of whipped cream, sprinkled nutmeg, and pecan halves. Refrigerate. Can be frozen for up to an hour before serving. Serves 24.

Safe for Kissin’ Chicken Piccata
**For the domestic God who loves Italian. Or the Italian domestic God lover! By Robin Kaye

4 chicken breasts halves or buy
the thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets
2 tablespoons Olive oil

4 lemons, juiced
1 stick of but
1 cup Vermouth
1/3 cups Capers

1 can artichoke hearts-quartered.

1 lb. Fettuccini

Garlic lemon pepper (is a mixture of garlic powder and lemon pepper, 50/50)


1) Bring pasta water to a boil, salt well. 2) Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them. If the breasts are large, you might want to cut each into 2 pieces. Pound chicken until thin and flour with a mixture of flour, salt and garlic lemon pepper.
3) Add pasta to water and cook as dire
4) In hot frying pan, plac
e olive oil and over high heat, sauté/brown chicken breast on both sides. Remove from pan and place on a warmed platter, keep warm. 5) Deglaze pan with vermouth, add the juice of 4 lemons, the capers, artichoke hearts, and butter. Return chicken to pan and simmer to bring the temperature back up and make sure it’s cooked. When done, put chicken on a platter, reserve a small amount of sauce and pour the remaining sauce over fettuccini.

Get a Man Irish Boxty
**A traditional potato pancake made infamous in the old rhyme my hero Donovan recited to my heroine Rylie in The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary:
Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan.

If you can't ma
ke boxty,
You'll never get a man.
1 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup leftover mashed potatoes

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

1) Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a large bowl. Stir in mashed potatoes until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk; mix into the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add some chopped onion if you're feeling adventurous.
2) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop in the potato mixture, forming patties about 2 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm.

Love Bitten Apple Cake
**For people who, like Carly Silver and Gideon MacInnes, just can't resist a little forbidden fruit. Best enjoyed with someone you find utterly tempting! By Kendra Leigh Castle

4 cups sliced apples

2 cups sugar

2 cups fl
1&1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Stir apples and sugar together, and then add dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla together. Stir the egg mixture into the apple mixture. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan, and bake for 50 minutes. Serve each piece of cake with warm sauce.

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan, and stir while bringing the sauce to a boil. Let boil for approx. 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour by the spoonful over each piece of cake.

Jane Austen’s Favorite Bath Bun
**In its hey-day Bath had it all and was also home to Jane Austen for a number of years. Today’s Bath Bun is a sorry affair compared to its ancestors, however. And while Sally Lunn lays claim to their origin, others trace it back to recipes for caraway seed cake. Elizabeth Raffald’s 1769 recipe for Bath cakes, which were yeast-leavened rolls made with butter, cream and caraway seeds (in the form of caraway comfits – sugar coated seeds) seems to be close to the original recipe which might have been enjoyed by dearest Jane. Don’t let the idea of using yeast scare you, this is not difficult, it just requires patience. By Michele Ann Young


450g white flour (strong bread flour - part plain flour will work)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar

225g butter

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

15 g yeast (fresh) or 7g (dried)

280g warm milk

For the glazing:
1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons caster sugar

Brown sugar granules for coffee, lightly crushed in a mortar

1) Add the salt and sugar to the flour, then rub in the butter. Stir through the caraway seeds.

2) If using dried yeast, add this to the butter rubbed flour. If using fresh, first liven it up by adding it to the warm milk.

3) Add the milk and mix ‘to a light dough.’ Initially the mixture looks very like cake mix – very moist – but don’t be tempted to add more flour. *The recommended method for hand-kneading soft dough (i.e. with a high butter/fat content), is to take a handful of the dough and pull upwards – then push back down onto the work surface.*

4) Once kneaded, cover the bowl and lea
ve to rise. This takes about 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours to double in volume depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
5) Prepare two baking sheets, and use a tablespoon to scoop out 12 portions of dough. Shape into buns and smooth the top surface using a palette knife (or finger). Cover and leave for quarter of hour to regain spring.
6) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375F/190C
7) Just before the buns have finished cooking prepare the glaze. Warm the milk and sugar in a small saucepan. As soon as the buns are baked use a pastry brush to anoint the tops and sprinkle with a little of the crushed sugar. The original recipe suggests that if possible eat these buns fresh from the oven. If you can’t manage 12 buns in one go, try cutting them in half and toasting them later.

Creamy Pecan Pralines
**A favorite Louisiana treat! By Beth Cornelison


3 cups sugar

1 tsp. Baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. butter 3 cups pecan halves

1) In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, soda, and salt. Stir.

2) While stirring constantly, add buttermilk and corn syrup and bring to boil over a medium heat. Keep stirring! Cook to a soft ball or 234 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add butter and pecans. Beat until thick enough to drop from spoon in clumps. Drop tablespoon sized lumps to wax paper. (Protect counter top from heat with a towel.) If too stiff to drop, add one tablespoon hot water. Let cool and enjoy!

Mushroom Catsup to Howl For
** Lady Anne Addison enjoys this savory condiment with eggs, roast beef, pork, but advises the home cook to be exceptionally careful when picking mushrooms to avoid unpleasant gustatory accidents. By Donna Simpson

1) Wipe firm, fresh mushrooms and break
them into pieces. Add two tbsp of salt to every quart of the mushrooms, and arrange the latter in a large crock, sprinkling salt over each layer. Stand the jar in a cellar or other cool place for three days, stirring the contents three or four times each day.
2) At the end of the time turn mushrooms and salt into a preserving kettle, and let them get warm very slowly over a low fire. When the juice flows freely, strain it off, put it back over the fire and boil fifteen minutes.

3) Measure it then and add to each quart of the liquor one tbsp whole black peppers, one tbsp allspice, two blades of mace, a bay leaf, a tiny section of a clove of garlic, a bit of ginger root of the same size, and a very little cayenne.
4) Return the liquor to the fire once more with the spices and boil until it is reduced to half the quantity; let it cool, strain and bottle it. Seal the bottles. The addition of a tea-spoonful of brandy to each bottle is recommended by some authorities as an aid in preserving it.


  1. You did a beautiful job with the blog, Sharon! Thanks!!! And recipes! I can't wait to try them! But for now, I'm headed off to check in at Barbara Vey's to see if she's up as early as I am! ;) Have a super Saturday, everyone!

  2. I really liked seeing all our pictures together at the same time.

    That was extra work for you, Sharon, but you were right to insist on it.

    And these recipes! I've always said, three-quarters of throwing a successful party is handing out really good food and lots of it. This party is going to be smashing!

  3. Amaaaazing job, Sharon! Wow! Thank you for all your hard work.

    I'm off to partay... merlot, anyone?

  4. This is one great pahty. I can't wait to taste all the goodies.

  5. Looks wonderful, Sharon. What a fine-looking bunch we are! LOL!! And we eat well, too! Thanks for putting this all together for us!

  6. Sharon and Terry~

    Thanks for all the hard work! Love all the recipes. I can't wait to start cooking!

    Robin :)

  7. Hey, look at all these hotties who can cook! Thanks, Sharon:-) And these are all getting printed out, because YUMMMMM!

  8. Looks plum scrumptious, Sharon! Thanks for all your hard work!

  9. Wow! These all look scrumpcious! I may have to try some of these (and I don't even cook!)

  10. Oh yummy! These recipes look great! I wish I cooked more. I used to, but a busy writing schedule and family stuff makes it hard to find time. (Oh, and I'm kinda lazy about stuff like that too! LOL!)
    But I may make an exception to try some of these recipes. Good work ladies, and thanks Sharon and Terry for your work getting them together!
    Happy Saturday! Beth C

  11. Okay, the "peeps" have been notified and social networking sites are getting hits as we speak. Sharon - you did an AMAZING job with this! Now, can someone tell me how I can have enough time to finish this book AND make all these scrumptious recipes?

  12. Thanks everyone! I am glad you like it. I actually had fun with it. I tried to match the font color to each book cover. It worked fairly well, but MAN we have lots of blue book covers!! Ever notice that? LOL! Sourcebooks must have a thing for blue. No thanks are really necessary as I had fun and it was a pleasure to do it. The tough part was keeping focused as I imagined how good all the food would taste!

    Now I am off to PAARRTTYY!!! After I add a note on my Facebook that is. :)

  13. You did a fantastic job Sharon! Thanks so much for putting this up for us. And so many goodies to choose from.


  14. VERY BIG thanx to Terry for the idea and Sharon for the wonderful execution of said idea!

    WOW! These recipes DO sound great. I'm with Beth, don't really cook. Not that I can't, but the DH likes to and I'd never deprive him of fun. ;-) I just don't know what I want him to try first!


  15. Oh WOW! I've GOT to try out some of these. Thanks for posting these Sizzlin' dishes!