Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Vonnie Davis

Thank you so much for visiting today, Vonnie! What a wonderful glimpse of Paris you’ve given us. 

Karyn, thanks for hosting me today. I’ve been looking forward to our visit, so I could talk about food found in my favorite city. I often say that Paris is a feast for the senses. The beauty of the architecture, the smell of freshly baked breads, the hiss of espresso machines and popping of champagne corks, and the rich taste of French food. They do have a love affair with butter…and wine…and cheeses.

One of our favorite markets is along rue Moufftard on the Left Bank. Vendors set up their tables, artfully displaying their fresh fares early in the morning. By two o’clock in the afternoon, they are gone and the street is swept clean. French women with a net bag or a canvas shopping bag make their rounds. With small kitchens and refrigerators that often fit under the counters, storage room is next to nil.

Along with outside vendors, there are little shops barely larger than one’s bedroom here in the States. When you enter these butcher shops, bakeries, cheese stores, florists, wine shops and seafood stores, you are greeted with a lyrical, “Bonjour, Monsieurs, Madames.”

For a great bowl of French Onion Soup, or oignon soupe, we often go to Café Séverin on Boulevard Saint Michel. The restaurant is across the street from Place Saint Michel with a large statue and fountain, a meeting place for Sorbonne students. We often sit there for hours, writing and watching passersby.

 

Unlike in America, where you are expected to move on once you eat, in Paris the price of a cup of coffee entitles you to a seat for as long as you want it. Tipping is different there, too. If the bill says the tip is included, then nothing more is left on the table. In fact, the French look down on Americans for over-tipping and consider it bourgeois, or a middle class person trying to make an impression.

Since onion soup is our favorite, I’m sharing my recipe with you today:

 

SOUPE À L’OIGNON.

The onions for this soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor.

 

1 ½ pounds or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions.

3 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. cooking oil (I use virgin olive oil)

Cook the onions slowly in the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart covered saucepan for 15 minutes, using low heat. Uncover, raise heat to moderate/medium and stir in a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of sugar, which helps the onions to brown. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have turned a deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons of flour and stir for 3 minutes. Turn off heat.

2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart water and 1 quart of beef stock.

½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of parsley

 Blend the boiling liquid into the pan of browned onions. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to simmer.

3 Tbsp. cognac (optional, I’ve found)

Rounds of hard-toasted French bread

2 Cups grated Swiss cheese

 Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into soup cups over the rounds of toasted bread. Top each bowl/soup cups with grated cheese and place under broiler for a minute or two until cheese is brown in spots. Serve right away.

I often bake a roast the day before to get some of the broth. I also save a few slices of roast beef and cut it into tiny pieces while onions are cooking. I add the beef after adding the broth to produce a heartier soup.

I’d like to share some information about my recently released romantic suspense set in Paris. Writing it was fun since it gave me a chance to visit so many of our haunts while visiting there. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I’m feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I’ve met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe–the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

Alyson

View the Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/MonaTrailer

BUY LINKS:

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisaDigital

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoom

AMAZON (paperback) — http://amzn.to/QQZGyD

AMAZON (eBook) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoomeBook

FIND ME ONLINE AT http://www.vonniedavis.com

 I, too, have a love affair with butter, wine and cheese. But I’ll happily settle for Niko and reading Mona Lisa’s Room. And I’ll remember to take my time as well as sip, and savor as I do!

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Tuesday Table Welcomes Author Debra St. John

Welcome Debra! It’s wonderful to have you hear talking about Thanksgiving and sharing a wonderful recipe from your upcoming holiday release, An Unexpected Blessing.

While I was growing up, we always hosted Thanksgiving at our house. I think that’s why it’s my favorite holiday. There’s nothing better than waking up to the smell of succulent turkey in the oven.

One of the best parts of getting ready was setting the table. Usually we had a crowd of at least twenty, so that meant putting all of the leaves in the dining room table, plus adding additional tables at the end. The little card table at the way end was always the “kids’ table”. Eventually each of the older cousins made it to the “big people” table. Until they had kids of their own and wound up right back at the end. All told the extended table stretched out of the dining room, through the archway, and into the living room. Chairs were gathered from all over the house: dining, kitchen, folding, and sometimes even patio. Fancy white linen table cloths (freshly ironed) gave everything a uniform look.

I still remember how exciting it was to get out the cozies with Mom’s good china. Each plate was carefully removed from the stack and placed in precisely the right spot on the table. Serving dishes went in the middle, waiting to be filled with creamy mashed potatoes, sweet corn, gravy, and homemade stuffing. Next came the good silverware. Each utensil had its own stack in the padded compartment of the brown chest. Place cards were the final touch so everyone knew where to sit.

Just as exciting was waiting by the window waiting for all of the grandmas, aunts, uncles, and cousins to arrive. A flurry of hugs and kisses greeted each new arrival. While the relatives enjoyed appetizers, snacks, and drinks in the family room, Mom, my sister, and I (and usually a grandma or an aunt or two) put the final touches on the meal in the kitchen. Eating the ‘schnibbles’ as the turkey was carved was the best part. We’d load up the table with the enticing dishes, and then finally announce that dinner was ready. Everyone scurried to find their spots. After plates were filled and the prayer recited, we dug in. Chatter and laughter provided the backdrop as oodles of food was consumed, until one of the uncles would toss down his napkin and say, “I’m so full I can’t eat another bite.” Groans of agreement always echoed the sentiment.

And then we served dessert. And of course everyone ate it.

Those days are long gone. Not only are the cousins all grown, but their kids are all grown too. The grandmas have passed. Mom and Dad are snowbirds and spend the holiday in Florida. But the memories will live on forever in our hearts. This year my hubby and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. It will be a small affair. Just us, our sisters, and his parents. But I can’t wait.

So of course it wasn’t a huge stretch at all to write a story focusing on Thanksgiving. An Unexpected Blessing is coming November 21 and incorporates all the best things about the day.

Single Mom Katy Roth thinks life can’t get any worse. In the past six months she’s been let go at work, had to move back home with her parents, and found out her ex is cutting his child support payment. As Thanksgiving approaches, she finds little to be thankful for in a life that is quickly spinning out of control.

Joe Mason is the town’s bad boy. Literally. He’s just returned from a four year stint in prison. He wants nothing more than to put the past behind him and get on with his life. He’s had a secret crush on Katy since grade school, but when Katy’s parents hire him to be their handyman, she’s less than thrilled to have him around.

But soon, through her young son’s eyes, Katy discovers the good in Joe. As their feelings for one another deepen, small town gossip and prejudice threaten to ruin everything. Will Joe’s past come between them, or will they be able to get beyond it and hold onto a love neither expected?

And a recipe from the book:

Kyle’s Favorite Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

1 c brown sugar

1 c cooked or canned pumpkin

½ c oil

1 t vanilla

2 c flour

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

½ t ginger

1½ – 2 c chocolate chips*

Directions:

Beat sugar, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mix and stir until smooth. Add chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

*Can substitute raisins and/or chopped nuts if preferred.

 

 

Bio: Debra St.John writes spicy romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. An Unexpected Blessing is her fifth release. Although she’s a country girl at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero. You can find her at www.debrastjohnromance.com or blogging at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com, http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com, or www.authorsbymoonlight.com.

Thanks so much for guest blogging today, Debra. I’m more than willing to read a book that combines romance and recipes! What’s the largest gathering you’ve hosted? Feel free to share a Thanksgiving tale.

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Tuesday’s Table with Grace Hood and Autumn Cravings

I love this time of year, and always have. Not only is it back-to-school time (I loved school when I was a child), but I have a September birthday so I equate autumn with presents. Personal greed aside, the cooler days and crisp nights are refreshing after the heat of summer. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to dig my favourite sweaters out of storage.

My food cravings change this time of year. I wonder how much of that has been programmed, you know, that whole nature vs. nurture debate. Regardless of the cause, the effect is that I search for recipes that use apples, pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. On the savoury side, I’m cooking a lot of root vegetables and have retired my salad spinner until spring. Supper this evening was a hash consisting of potatoes, turnips, carrots, kohlrabi, shallots and bacon. A side dish of steamed broccoli, the last few stalks from our garden, completed the plate of comfort food.

The recipe I want to share is one I always look forward to baking once the weather cools. It’s one of my all-time favourite cookies, second only to the half-dozen types of holiday cookies I bake every December. Can you tell I like to bake?

Iced Pumpkin Cookies (adapted from Allrecipes)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour                              1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon baking powder                             1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda                                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves                              3 cups icing sugar

¼ teaspoon ground ginger                              5 tablespoons milk (+/- )

½ teaspoon salt                                               2 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup butter, softened                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups white sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger and salt. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of mixer, cream together the ½ cup butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet (I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper).
  3. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (my oven takes 17 minutes) until bottom of cookie is golden. Cool on sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. To make icing, combine icing sugar, melted butter, vanilla and enough milk to achieve smooth, fluffy consistency. Spread on completely cooled cookies.

Notice that this recipe leaves half a can of pumpkin puree left over. Perfect for making another batch of these cookies, because you may find these tend to disappear.

Career-minded Lara doesn’t find forty all that fabulous. Her carefully plotted path to success is on target and she isn’t about to let romance derail her. Except the hot, new advertising whiz steers her libido into overdrive.

Ryan lives to shake companies up and do whatever it takes to meet his goals. But the saucy affirmation-chanting minx challenging him awakens a more carnal desire.

A battle of wills may be what she wants, but he intends to push her boundaries until her inhibitions come undone.

 

Coming Undone – The Wild Rose Press – Amazon – Barnes and Noble

Grace Hood has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered, and devoured, her grandmother’s stash of medical romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Grace writes full time, concentrating on sexy, steamy contemporary romance, hot paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Grace now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two teenagers, two cats, one budgie, one surviving gold fish, and six hens. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she can be found either in her kitchen whipping up something chocolate, or in her yard chasing the chickens out of the garden.

Find more about Grace Hood and her books at her website.

 

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Last Day of My Virtual Book Tour

 

 

It has been an amazing two weeks. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people and enthusiastic readers. I have one last stop. Today I’m at Kacey’s Konnections with a couple of thoughts. It’s your last chance to enter to win the $25 GC to Amazon so stop in and say hi!

 

 

 

What he’s sworn to protect, she’s willing to sacrifice to save those she loves…

Backlash is available from: The Wild Rose Press ,  Amazon – Print ,  Amazon – Ebook ,  Barnes and Noble ,  Bookstrand ,  All Romance Ebooks

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Virtual Book Tour Day 9

I’m at it again and this time I’m talking about the plot inspiration for Backlash at The Caffeinated Diva Reads! I’m offering a giveaway with this tour, a chance to win a $25 GC to Amazon. Stop on by and say hello! Tour ends Friday.

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I Can’t Believe It’s Day 8

It’s Wednesday and Day 8 of my virtual book tour for my romantic suspense, Backlash. Once again I’m in two places sharing information!

Cathie Dunn – My Top Ten Writing Romantic Suspense Tips

It’s Raining Books – Five Things You Might Not Know About Me

Stop in and share your thoughts and be entered to win a $25 GC to Amazon!

 

What he’s sworn to protect, she’s willing to sacrifice to save those she loves…

Backlash is available from: The Wild Rose Press ,  Amazon – Print ,  Amazon – Ebook ,  Barnes and Noble ,  Bookstrand ,  All Romance Ebooks

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Tuesday and Day 7

 

 

It’s Tuesday and I’m guest blogging at Black Velvet Seductions about why I love the romantic suspense genre! One lucky commenter will win a $25 GC to Amazon at the end of my Goddess Fish Promotions tour.

 

 

 

What he’s sworn to protect, she’s willing to sacrifice to save those she loves…

Backlash is available from: The Wild Rose Press ,  Amazon – Print ,  Amazon – Ebook ,  Barnes and Noble ,  Bookstrand ,  All Romance Ebooks

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Back on Tour with Backlash and Day 6

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you live, but here on the Prairies it’s cold and windy. A great day for curling up with a good book and a cup of something hot. I’m still touring around on my virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, so if you want to take that cup of steaming hot whatever and visit that would be awesome.

Two stops today:

Delighted Reader

Reader Girls

 

My iPod’s in it’s dock and right now I’m listening to Chris De Burgh. I must be in the mood for songs that tell a story and De Burgh is a master. The music and the wind are inspiring me today and I’m going to channel that cloudy, edgy feeling.

Backlash is available from: The Wild Rose Press ,  Amazon – Print ,  Amazon – Ebook ,  Barnes and Noble ,  Bookstrand ,  All Romance Ebooks

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Six Sentence Sunday

It’s Six Sentence Sunday! And a great day to travel around the web reading a short six sentence excerpt from either a published work or a pre-published work-in-progress. So take a tour and drop by some the very talented writers offering snippets for your entertainment.

From my new romantic suspense release, Backlash.

Constable Chase Porter’s new partner has just finished telling him not to worry about Lily. That he’ll look after her.

Don’t worry about Lily? That was like asking a member of the counter terrorism unit to chill, or the defense to quit tackling the guy with the ball. Not gonna happen. Hadn’t he given it his best shot for ten years? Look where it’d gotten him. Right back where he’d started. 

 

Backlash is available from: The Wild Rose Press ,  Amazon – Print ,  Amazon – Ebook ,  Barnes and Noble ,  Bookstrand ,  All Romance Ebooks

Have a wonderful Sunday! Sample some great books from talented authors and take a Six Sentence Sunday tour.

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Day 5 Tour Stop

 

Day 5 of my Goddess Fish Promotions from my romantic suspense, Backlash, takes me to Claire Ashgrove‘s blog, The Muse. I’m talking about the emotional journey of my characters, Chase and Lily and how that effects their happily-ever-after. Join me for a chance to win a $25 GC to Amazon.

Available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon – Print, Amazon – Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Bookstrand, All Romance Ebooks

 

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