Derrick’s Orange Hazelnut Biscotti

WIN_20141021_064617

See recipe below!

“‘I know I’m not family, but Madeleine is my best friend. I love her like a sister. I flew halfway around the world, overnight, when she called. When I say she won’t be alone, I mean that. I will do anything and everything I can to help her adjust. I promise you that…’ Derrick set out a plate of his signature homemade orange hazelnut biscotti and poured Madeleine a scant half glass of wine. She breathed in the heady aroma and tasted the tiniest sip, intent on making her two ounce pour last as long as possible.”

How to Bake a Chocolate Souffle Blue Cover~Excerpt from Carly Ellen Kramer’s food fiction novel, How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé

Available at amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format.

Author signed copies (no extra charge) are also available right here at Crowded Earth Kitchen!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Recipe

Cream together 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 3 egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest. Add 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Mix well.

Shape dough into two rectangles, approximately 9×4 inches. Bake on a parchment lined pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.

Cut rectangles on a slight diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices cut side down on a parchment lined pan and return to the 350 degree oven for another 15 minutes.

After biscotti have cooled, drizzle with an icing made from 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons orange juice. Garnish with coarsely chopped hazelnuts.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sisters

I Am From

I am from strong women

A heritage quilt stitched with love and determination

I am more durable than decorative

More educated than wise

Slowly becoming embroidered.

I am from Alvilda

A gritty Norwegian pioneer, 1900s single mother

Who settled the harsh Dakota prairie

Hungered through the Depression

And lived to be one hundred and three.

I am from Frieda

A small boned and big hearted, poised German woman

Whose fragrant kitchen and ample table

Veiled stories of a young girl’s fight for bread

On an immigrant ship.

I am from Helen

A kind, commonsense woman, adopted Dutch orphan

Whose hands crocheted comfort and

Whose colorful pantsuits

Were emancipatory images.

I am from Gladys

Who raised seven children

With loving hands and little voice

She buried a son, then a daughter

And never wavered in her faith in the Lord.

I am from Joanne

Outwardly practical, inwardly whimsical

Painting, photographing, collecting, telling celebratory stories

Of Life, love, family

Making me want to learn how to cook.

But mostly

I am from Susan.

In my mother’s face I see my reflection,

In her eyes I see years of selflessness and pride in our future.

She insisted – insists – upon strong daughters, my sister and I.

In following her lead

And finding our identity,

We continue the patchwork, my sister and I,

Crafting new patterns out of familiar fabric

Carrying our heritage forward.

Will you share a recipe?

Imagine the recipes of the world in one book, to benefit world hunger organizations!

Mission:  

Through the Global Recipe Project, Crowded Earth Kitchen aims to publish a charitable book of authentic and representative food experiences from every country in the world.  All net profit from this project will benefit world hunger organizations.  YOU, the contributors to this project and readers of this blog, will be able to select the receiving organizations!

Goals:

1) To collect at least one recipe from every country in the world;

2) To collect at least one recipe for every ten million (10,000,000) people per country.

How to Participate:

Are you willing to share a recipe with Crowded Earth Kitchen?  Simply contact us using the contact form at the bottom of this page! All recipe submissions will be entered in monthly drawings for prizes and other tokens of appreciation!  If your recipe is selected to appear in the cookbook, your name will be recognized (unless you wish to remain anonymous) as the contributor.  A few recipes will also be featured on the blog, as examples of what the book will offer!  Again, if your recipe is selected, your name will be recognized.

Country Population Total Recipes Needed: 831 Total Recipes Received: 185
1  China[8] 1,363,310,000 136  6
2  India 1,241,520,000 124  28
3  United States 317,694,000 32  13
4  Indonesia 249,866,000 25  2
5  Brazil 201,032,714 20  1
6  Pakistan 185,896,000 19  1
7  Nigeria 173,615,000 17  2
8  Bangladesh 152,518,015 15  2
9  Russia 143,700,000 14  1
10  Japan 127,180,000 13  6
11  Mexico 119,713,203 12  2
12  Philippines 99,265,300 10  4
13  Vietnam 89,708,900 9  1
14  Ethiopia 86,613,986 9  1
15  Egypt 86,115,800 9
16  Germany 80,619,000 8  8
17  Iran 77,283,000 8  1
18  Turkey 76,667,864 8  2
19  Democratic Republic of the Congo 67,514,000 7
20  Thailand 65,926,261 7  5
21  France[10] 65,844,000 7  5
22  United Kingdom 63,705,000 6
23  Italy 59,943,933 6  3
24  Burma 53,259,000 5  1
25  South Africa 52,981,991 5  1
26  South Korea 50,219,669 5  1
27  Colombia 47,503,000 5  1
28  Spain 46,609,700 5  4
29  Ukraine 45,426,200 5  2
30  Tanzania 44,928,923 4
31  Kenya 44,354,000 4
32  Argentina 41,660,096 4
33  Algeria 38,700,000 4
34  Poland 38,502,396 4  3
35  Sudan 37,964,000 4
36  Uganda 35,357,000 4
37  Canada 35,295,770 4  3
38  Iraq 34,035,000 3  1
39  Morocco 33,200,300 3  1
40  Peru 30,475,144 3
41  Uzbekistan 30,183,400 3
42  Malaysia 30,038,000 3  1
43  Saudi Arabia 29,994,272 3
44  Venezuela 28,946,101 3
45    Nepal 26,494,504 3
46  Afghanistan 25,500,100 3
47  Yemen 25,235,000 3
48  North Korea 24,895,000 2
49  Ghana 24,658,823 2
50  Mozambique 23,700,715 2
51  Australia 23,412,365 2  3
52  Taiwan[11] 23,379,129 2
53  Ivory Coast 23,202,000 2
54  Syria 21,898,000 2  3
55  Madagascar 21,263,403 2  1
56  Angola 20,609,294 2
57  Cameroon 20,386,799 2
58  Sri Lanka 20,277,597 2
59  Romania 20,121,641 2  1
60  Burkina Faso 17,322,796 2
61  Kazakhstan 17,186,000 2
62  Niger 17,129,076 2
63  Netherlands 16,841,900 2  3
64  Malawi 16,363,000 2
65  Chile 16,341,929 2  2
66  Guatemala 15,806,675 2
67  Ecuador 15,697,800 2  2
68  Mali 15,302,000 2  1
69  Cambodia 15,135,000 2  1
70  Zambia 14,580,290 1  1
71  Senegal 13,567,338 1
72  Zimbabwe 12,973,808 1
73  Chad 12,825,000 1  1
74  South Sudan 11,296,000 1
75  Cuba 11,167,325 1  2
76  Belgium 11,132,269 1
77  Tunisia 10,886,500 1
78  Guinea 10,824,200 1
79  Greece 10,815,197 1  6
80  Rwanda 10,537,222 1
81  Czech Republic 10,513,800 1  2
82  Somalia[12] 10,496,000 1
83  Portugal 10,487,289 1
84  Haiti 10,413,211 1
85  Benin 10,323,000 1
86  Burundi 10,163,000 1
87  Bolivia 10,027,254 1
88  Hungary 9,906,000 1  4
89  Sweden 9,651,531 1  4
90  Azerbaijan 9,477,100 1
91  Belarus 9,468,100 1
92  Dominican Republic 9,445,281 1
93  Honduras 8,555,072 1
94  Austria 8,504,850 1  2
95  United Arab Emirates 8,264,070 1
96  Tajikistan 8,160,000 1
97  Israel 8,146,300 1  3
98   Switzerland 8,112,200 1
99  Papua New Guinea 7,398,500 1
100  Bulgaria 7,282,041 1
101  Hong Kong (China) 7,219,700 1  1
102  Serbia[13] 7,181,505 1  1
103  Paraguay 6,783,374 1
104  Laos 6,580,800 1  1
105  Jordan 6,558,100 1  1
106  El Salvador 6,340,000 1  1
107  Eritrea 6,333,000 1
108  Libya 6,202,000 1  1
109  Togo 6,191,155 1
110  Sierra Leone 6,190,280 1
111  Nicaragua 6,071,045 1
112  Kyrgyzstan 5,663,133 1
113  Denmark 5,627,235 1  2
114  Finland 5,452,821 1  1
115  Slovakia 5,415,949 1  2
116  Singapore 5,399,200 1
117  Turkmenistan 5,240,000 1
118  Norway 5,109,056 1  3
119  Lebanon 4,822,000 1  1
120  Costa Rica 4,667,096 1
121  Central African Republic 4,616,000 1
122  Ireland 4,593,100 1  3
123  New Zealand 4,517,950 1  6
124  Georgia[14] 4,483,800 1
125  Republic of the Congo 4,448,000 1
126  Palestine[15] 4,420,549 1
127  Liberia 4,294,000 1
128  Croatia 4,290,612 1
129  Oman 3,957,000 1
130  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,791,622 1
131  Puerto Rico (USA) 3,615,086 1
132  Moldova[16] 3,559,500 1
133  Mauritania 3,461,041 1
134  Panama 3,405,813 1
135  Uruguay 3,286,314 1
136  Kuwait 3,065,850 1
137  Armenia 3,017,400 1 2
138  Lithuania 2,941,953 1
139  Mongolia 2,931,300 1
140  Albania 2,821,977 1
141  Jamaica 2,711,476 1  2
142  Namibia 2,113,077 1
143  Lesotho 2,074,000 1
144  Macedonia 2,062,294 1
145  Slovenia 2,061,941 1
146  Qatar 2,045,239 1
147  Botswana 2,024,904 1
148  Latvia 2,003,900 1
149  Gambia 1,849,000 1
150  Kosovo 1,815,606 1
151  Guinea-Bissau 1,704,000 1
152  Gabon 1,672,000 1
153  Equatorial Guinea 1,622,000 1
154  Trinidad and Tobago 1,328,019 1  1
155  Estonia 1,311,870 1
156  Mauritius 1,257,900 1
157  Swaziland 1,250,000 1
158  Bahrain 1,234,571 1
159  Timor-Leste 1,066,409 1
160  Djibouti 873,000 1
161  Cyprus[17] 865,878 1
162  Fiji 858,038 1
163  Réunion (France) 840,974 1
164  Guyana 784,894 1
165  Bhutan 745,130 1
166  Comoros 743,798 1
167  Montenegro 620,029 1
168  Macau (China) 598,200 1
169  Solomon Islands 581,344 1
170  Western Sahara[18] 567,000 1
171  Luxembourg 537,000 1
172  Suriname 534,189 1
173  Cape Verde 491,875 1
174  Malta 416,055 1  1
175  Guadeloupe (France) 405,739 1
176  Brunei 393,162 1
177  Martinique (France) 392,291 1
178  Bahamas 351,461 1
179  Belize 349,728 1
180  Iceland 325,671 1
181  Maldives 317,280 1
182  Barbados 285,000 1
183  French Polynesia (France) 268,270 1
184  Vanuatu 264,652 1
185  New Caledonia (France) 258,958 1
186  French Guiana (France) 237,549 1
187  Mayotte (France) 212,645 1
188  Samoa 187,820 1
189  São Tomé and Príncipe 187,356 1
190  Saint Lucia 180,000 1
191  Guam (USA) 159,358 1
192  Curaçao (Netherlands) 150,563 1
193  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 109,000 1
194  Kiribati 106,461 1
195  United States Virgin Islands (USA) 106,405 1
196  Grenada 103,328 1
197  Tonga 103,036 1
198  Aruba (Netherlands) 101,484 1
199  Federated States of Micronesia 101,351 1
200  Jersey (UK) 99,000 1
201  Seychelles 90,945 1
202  Antigua and Barbuda 86,295 1
203  Isle of Man (UK) 84,497 1
204  Andorra 76,098 1
205  Dominica 71,293 1
206  Bermuda (UK) 64,237 1
207  Guernsey (UK) 63,085 1
208  Greenland (Denmark) 56,483 1
209  Marshall Islands 56,086 1
210  American Samoa (USA) 55,519 1
211  Cayman Islands (UK) 55,456 1
212  Saint Kitts and Nevis 54,000 1
213  Northern Mariana Islands (USA) 53,883 1
214  Faroe Islands (Denmark) 48,244 1
215  Sint Maarten (Netherlands) 37,429 1
216  Liechtenstein 37,132 1
217  Saint Martin (France) 36,979 1
218  Monaco 36,136 1
219  San Marino 33,540 1
220  Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) 31,458 1
221  Gibraltar (UK) 30,001 1
222  British Virgin Islands (UK) 29,537 1
223  Åland Islands (Finland) 28,502 1
224  Caribbean Netherlands (Netherlands) 23,296 1
225  Palau 20,901 1
226  Cook Islands (NZ) 14,974 1
227  Anguilla (UK) 13,452 1
228  Wallis and Futuna (France) 13,135 1
229  Tuvalu 11,323 1
230  Nauru 9,945 1
231  Saint Barthélemy (France) 8,938 1
232  Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France) 6,081 1
233  Montserrat (UK) 4,922 1
234  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (UK) 4,000 1
235  Svalbard and Jan Mayen (Norway) 2,655 1
236  Falkland Islands (UK) 2,563 1
237  Norfolk Island (Australia) 2,302 1
238  Christmas Island (Australia) 2,072 1
239  Niue (NZ) 1,613 1
240  Tokelau (NZ) 1,411 1
241   Vatican City 839 1
242  Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia) 596 1
243  Pitcairn Islands (UK) 56 1
Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

Juices and Smoothies Galore!

I recently received a free review copy of Christine Bailey’s Supercharged Juice & Smoothie Recipes: Your Ultra-Healthy Plan for Weight-Loss, Detox, Beauty and More Using Green Vegetables, Powders and Super-Supplements

Supercharged

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Supercharged is an interesting read. Christine Bailey devotes the first 25 pages of her book to outlining and explaining the nutritional contexts behind her recipes. If you happen to own a juicer, you will find plenty of recipes to keep you busy and well nourished for a long time! I don’t own a juicer, so my blender and I moved right along to the smoothies in the second half of the book.
picture507

Folks concerned about allergens will be happy to see convenient symbols pointing readers toward recipes that are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, seed free, citrus free, and suitable for vegans. Some readers might enjoy Bailey’s more subjective categories including weight loss, cleansing, radiance, energy, immune boost, and brain health and stress. Crowded Earth Kitchen doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in these latter, subjective categories, believing instead that simply enjoying a wide variety of fresh, whole foods is the key to optimum health. But hey, if it puts a little spring in your step to sip a glass of something labeled “cleansing” or “radiant,” who am I to judge?

I enjoyed the Wake-Up Berry Latte, featured on page 118 of Supercharged. Made from yerba mate tea, almond milk, maqui berry powder, frozen mixed berries, and cinnamon, I thought this smoothie was a delicious and low calorie way to start my day.

Don’t have any maqui berry powder handy? Yes… that’s the only real drawback I found reading Supercharged Juice & Smoothie Recipes: Your Ultra-Healthy Plan for Weight-Loss, Detox, Beauty and More Using Green Vegetables, Powders and Super-Supplements. The recipes contained within the book do contain many specialty ingredients, from a wide variety of berry and vegetable powders to ingredients such as aloe vera juice, flaxseed oil, water kefir, and shelled hemp seeds. Readers should plan on a trip to a health food store (or a bit of online shopping) before making use of this book.

Happy Juicing! Be Well!

Help fight hunger and win free stuff!

Rafflecopter Drawing – Check out the many ways to win!

***   a Rafflecopter giveaway   ***   a Rafflecopter giveaway   ***

Contest Ends March 31st

How to Win:  Submit your favorite recipe to The Global Recipe Project!  

100% of profits from the sale of The Global Recipe Project cookbook will be donated to nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is fighting food insecurity. Anticipated publication release: October 2015.

Simply share your favorite recipe with The Global Recipe Project to contribute to this worthy project and you will be automatically entered in a drawing for a free, author signed book.  Each recipe counts as a separate entry.  Enter as many times as you’d like by sharing as many recipes as you wish!  Thank you for your help!

Budapest and Chocolate Soufflé

Bela Bartok

Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Budapest

Her routine was always the same. She sat on the edge of the bench in the blessed quiet, barely placing her hands on the keys, and moved her fingers in silent meditation. She played the first notes in her mind, moving her fingers without pressing the keys, over and over and over. Her eyes opened and closed, her shoulders moved almost imperceptibly, and the smooth muscles of her forehead moved this way and that, mere fractions of an inch. She had been attempting to perfect Trois Caprices Poétiques to Fenwick’s satisfaction for months, and the first of its three etudes, Il Lamento, was beginning to stir inside of her. The thought that Liszt had put these notes to paper in the 1840s, and the notes had endured through generations, humbled her. She viewed her performances as equal parts art and history, and strove meticulously to honor both.

~ Excerpted from page 42 of How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé 

Home of beloved composer Franz Liszt, the capitol city of Budapest, Hungary is often referred to as the Paris of the East. Depending upon one’s perspective, this may be a fair comparison. Both cities are cradled by famous and beautiful rivers, and both cities are laden with romantic charm…but really that is where the similarities end. To compare Budapest to Paris, I think, is to shortchange Budapest! Let me explain.

Paris is certainly a beautiful city, there’s no sense in denying that. Paris has marched forward in lockstep with time, evolving into a thoroughly modern global city with a healthy respect for its own history. Budapest, however, continues to live its history. In Budapest you will find that Old European charm is still very much infused in everyday life, from the simple peasant foods sold in market squares by well rounded, kerchiefed grandmothers to the men of all ages playing and dancing along to achingly beautiful strains on violins. Hungary is outside of the Eurozone, which means that currency exchange rates for Americans and Europeans living within the Eurozone are quite favorable. Compared with the high cost of living and traveling in Paris, Budapest is quite a bargain!

Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

Visitors to Budapest will fall in love with the architecture of Matthias Church and Fishermen’s Bastion, and will enjoy stealing a kiss on the Chain Bridge. History buffs will enjoy the striking Parliament building and Heroes’ Square. Of course, no visit to Budapest would be complete without experiencing the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall…

Had she glanced to the left, she would have seen the 92 towering pipes of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall’s organ, an instrument so magnificent that its creation required collaboration between the German Orgelbau-Mühlhausen and the Hungarian Orgonaépítő Manufaktúra, but it never caught her eye. Had she glanced to the right, and astonishingly enough she did not, Madeleine would have noticed four majestic levels of gleaming, pale wood seating, in crisp view close up, but swallowed into darkness halfway back. If the house lights were on, she would have been able to see how every seat was arranged so that patrons could align their ears and their eyes with Madeleine’s position. She would notice all of these details when the concert ended, of course.

… She was so breathtakingly beautiful, he had to close his eyes to avoid distraction and truly hear her bring Liszt to life.

            ~Excerpted from pages 188-189 of How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé

Carly Ellen is a food traveler and writer who loves incorporating delicious recipes into her stories.  She has a minor obsession with French boulangeries, and is sublimely happy with a fresh baguette and cup of espresso in any European cobblestoned square. Because she can’t resist weaving food into her fiction, Carly Ellen has included over a dozen new recipes in her book, How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé. Free book giveaways and author discussions are available at Carly Ellen’s Goodreads page and author website.  Don’t miss out on author updates and fun freebies – follow Carly Ellen on Facebook and Twitter!

You can purchase this book here:        AMAZON         B&N

Travel vicariously with World of Nikki! Click here for travel stories, travel books, global foods, and more!

Chocolate Souffle Adventures with Author Carly Ellen Kramer (Recipe Included)

Chocolate Souffle Adventures with Author Carly Ellen Kramer (Recipe Included)

Poetic Parfait

Who’s in the mood for chocolate today? Author Carly Ellen Kramer is here with a sweet idea! She is the author of the food fiction novel “How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé.” While Carly is here to visit as part of her blog tour, I thought we could whip up Mrs. Baptiste’s Chocolate Soufflé, which is the recipe on page 8 of the book.

Let’s do this!

Mrs. Baptiste’s Chocolate Soufflé

Grease four single-serving ramekins with real butter and dust with sugar. Set aside. Set a metal mixing bowl over the top of a pot containing one inch of softly boiling water. The bottom of the mixing bowl should not touch the water in the pot. In the mixing bowl, melt ½ cup of dark chocolate chips. Stir well.

Making a chocolate souffle with author Carly Ellen Krame In the mixing bowl, melt ½ cup of dark chocolate chips. Step 1 of making a chocolate souffle recipe. Photo via Carly Ellen…

View original post 607 more words

Blog Tour: Kookie Krysp Reads

Blog Tour: How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé by Carly Ellen Kramer.

Read what this Young Adult reviewer has to say about CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE.  For example, “I’m used to my heroines being teenagers and battling werewolves while they wonder why the cute guy they are in love with doesn’t talk to them anymore. It was refreshing to read about grown women with realistic problems for once.

I love it!

Click on the link above to read more and enter not one but TWO free book giveaways!

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Add to Goodreads

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars 

Spicy Chicken Strudel with Paprika Cream Sauce & Visit with Book Sniffers Anonymous

Spicy Chicken Strudel recipe from the fiction novel HOW TO BAKE A CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE

Today, Carly Ellen is delighted to appear on Book Sniffers Anonymous. As part of her appearance, Carly Ellen shared a recipe from her novel (below) and related excerpt. Check out Book Sniffers Anonymous – it sure is a fun blog! Carly Ellen and I hope you enjoy the strudel as well… it’s pretty scrumptious.

Spicy Chicken Strudel with Paprika Cream Sauce

Dough:

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add beaten eggs, olive oil, and water.
  3. Knead well (add another tablespoon of water if necessary) and let rest under a clean cloth for 1 hour.

Filling:

  • ½ diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon diced Hungarian hot wax pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken.
  1. In a pan over medium heat sauté onion, Hungarian hot wax pepper, and paprika in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in sour cream and chicken.

Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° f.
  2. On a lightly oiled surface, roll dough into rectangle, approximately 14 x 8 inches.
  3. At 1 inch intervals along the long sides, make cuts two inches in toward the center of the rectangle. Place filling in a long, narrow stripe down the center of the dough. Lift cut edges on either side toward each other, working end to end, twist together, and lay flat.chicken1
  4. Your completed strudel will have a braided appearance. Sprinkle with paprika.
    chicken2
  5. Bake on a parchment lined pan for 15–20 minutes, or until crust is golden. Slice and serve warm with sour cream.

Excerpt from How to Bake a Chocolate Souffle

Warm ambiance and decadent aromas greeted the well-dressed pair immediately upon their arrival at Első Pesti Rétesház. Madeleine and Fenwick were ushered graciously into what appeared to be the well-appointed dining room of a large private home. The plaster walls were painted a warm gold color and were accented with gilded mirrors, while the small antique wood tables were set with embroidered ivory linens.“Valami inni?” Their waiter inquired. Madeleine looked at Fenwick, who mimed the question by lifting his water glass.“Mineral water, please.”

“Yes,” replied the waiter, indicating that he followed her English.

“Arran tokaji and water,” Fenwick requested. He knew Madeleine was performing again tomorrow and understood her abstinence, but wagered he would be better company with a drink in hand than without. The waiter nodded and disappeared.

“What do you recommend?” Madeleine asked, glancing at a menu she couldn’t read. It was a practical question, given the circumstances, but also a comfortable topic of conversation.

“I haven’t tried anything here that was not to my liking, but the spicy chicken strudel with paprika cream sauce is one of my favorite starters.”

“When in Rome,” Madeleine laughed.

Audrey’s Cherry Preserves

Audrey's Cherry Preserves

Audrey, one of the three fabulous fictional ladies featured in Carly Ellen Kramer’s novel How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé, was delighted to participate in a character interview with N.M. Sotzek at On Writing.  Laugh along as Audrey dishes on her girlfriends and discusses her famous cherry preserves here.  The recipe itself is simple… here we go!

Audrey’s Cherry Preserves
2 pounds dark, sweet pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 heaping tablespoon lemon marmalade (or juice and zest from 1/2 lemon)
4 ounces liquid pectin
3 cups sugar

Add half of the pitted cherries to a large pot. Coarsely chop the other half of the cherries in a blender or food processor, and add to the pot with the whole cherries.

Simmer over low heat with stirring until cherries are soft and release a lot of liquid. Bring to a boil, stirring so that the cherries on the bottom of the pot don’t burn!  Add marmalade, pectin, and sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a hard boil.

Boil for five minutes.  Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly before transferring to glass jars.  If you are canning Audrey’s Cherry Preserves as gifts, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Makes approximately 6 half-pint jars.

Psst… January Freebie for You!

lizzyjane

We’re giving away one free copy of Lizzy & Jane, by Katherine Reay!

Contest Ends: January 30th

How to Win: Mention Crowded Earth Kitchen posts on your Facebook or Twitter accounts!

Every mention/link counts as one entry – enter as many times as you like!

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Elizabeth is a talented chef whose personal distractions are interfering with her cooking, which in turn is interfering with the profits of her otherwise admiring boss. Against Elizabeth’s wishes, a celebrity chef is brought in to temporarily assist in turning things around. Elizabeth doesn’t cope with this well, and takes a hiatus from the restaurant.

At this point, the story seemed to invoke plot lines reminiscent of Barbara O’Neal, whose food fiction novels I greatly admire. However, when Elizabeth’s hiatus lands her on the doorstep of Jane, her estranged sister who is fighting a battle with cancer, the story becomes uniquely Katherine Reay’s.

Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of cancer themes in fiction novels – not at all. I prefer engaging struggles that are, well, fictional (should the main character follow that amazing guy off into the sunset, or should she take the money she unexpectedly fell into and buy the orchard of her dreams… I like those sorts of fictional struggles!). Reading the gritty details of Jane’s drug treatments, side effects, and resulting family strain made my heart heavy. It was, however, a realistic and gripping portrayal of two sisters trying to repair their relationship, and eventually converted me to the strengths of such realistic fiction.

Throughout the story, Katherine Reay expertly weaves Elizabeth’s cooking struggles effectively into the expanding plot. When Elizabeth turns her cooking talents to the task of preparing meals desirable to the palates of people struggling with food due to the side effects of chemotherapy, the reader is pulled into an aspect of cooking-for-healing that is rarely portrayed in books.

Lizzy & Jane is not a beach read… it won’t make you laugh nearly as often as it will tug at your heart. Nonetheless, for gripping “sister fiction” written with finesse, I highly recommend this book!