In all of my novels, there are scenes that occur around a meal. Food and drink sustain all of us and in my novels, provide a place for interaction between the characters. I am a “foodie” and I love to cook for family and friends. Please enjoy these recipes that occur within the storyline involving my characters. Bon appetit!
Mayra’s Pozole Recipe
From Diego’s Secret
“Mayra made pozole for dinner.” Diego rubbed his stomach. “It was as good as Grandma’s.”
“Oh, she’s rolling over in her grave, hearing you say that. Is there any left?” Rafael asked.
“There was a whole pot on the stove. I had a couple of bowls, but there was a lot left, I think.” Diego’s eyes followed his big brother as he plopped onto his bed and adjusted his pillow.
- 2 pounds of pork cut into medium sized cubes
- 6 dried guajillo chiles (or California Chiles) cleaned and seeds from the inside removed
- 1-24 oz can of white or yellow hominy
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 large tomato
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
Toppings (This is what really makes the dish so inviting at the table):
- 2 cups chopped radish
- 8 cut limes
- 4 cups chopped cabbage
- 1 chopped onion
- Crushed Tortilla chips
- Chopped cilantro
- Cook the pork meat in sufficient water (ensuring that the pork is completely covered with an inch or two to spare) with 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 piece of an onion (not diced), the bay leaves, salt and pepper.
- Once the meat is cooked through, remove the bay leaves, onion, and garlic clove, and add the hominy (keep 1/2 cup of the hominy for later) and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.
- Blend the remaining 5 cloves of garlic, the guajillo chilies, the tomato, another 1/4 piece of the onion, the cumin, and 1/2 cup of hominy (to thicken the sauce) in a blender until completely blended.
- Once the above mixture is blended, strain any impurities from the mixture and add the strained puree to the boiling pot with the pork and water. Season with more oregano and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Let boil 15 minutes longer.
- Serve hot, topped with chopped cabbage, onions, radishes, and a few drops of lime and finally the tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Levi & Elizabeth’s Catfish Stew
From Come to the Oaks
The boys had just picked up a fourth stowaway who had led them back to the Quaker Preacher Levi and his wife Elizabeth. Nervously, Ben sat at the table conversing with Preacher Levi as Elizabeth brought dinner to the table. This is where Ben first heard of the Underground Railroad. Acknowledging her hospitality with a nod, Ben hesitated before reaching for a piece of bread. He hadn’t had bread in days, and he couldn’t resist any longer. “Wasn’t plannin’ on Pearl comin’ with us, but she saw fit to stow away. Don’t say I blame her none, that life was swallowin’ us all up whole.” Tearing the bread in two, Ben dipped it into his bowl of catfish stew. The first bite stopped him in his tracks. He savored the warm stew hitting his stomach.
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes (diced)
- 1 14 oz canned tomatoes (diced)
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 large tablespoon flour
- ¾ stick butter
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
- 6 chopped stalks celery
- 6 chopped green onion
- ½ chopped green bell pepper
- ½ chopped red bell pepper
- ½ chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1 2/2 lb Catfish cut into 2 inch pieces (Can be substituted for any white fish fillet)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Simmer fresh tomatoes, can tomatoes, chicken broth, water on low for 20 minutes
- Heat pan and add butter. Let butter melt and stir in flour. Mix until golden brown
- Add tomato mixture to pan stirring in slowly and cook on low another 10 minutes
- Add chopped vegetables and continue cooking on low for another 15 minutes
- Add fish and cook for another 15 minutes the stew in mixed completely
- Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.
Dolly’s Ol’ Fashion Sweet Potato Pie Come
From Come to the Oaks
Dolly’s ingredients have been updated for the modern kitchen, but just as good.
Master Lee sat at the head of the table and Ben sat to the right of his father. Their guest, Dexter, the plantation overseer, sat on Ben’s left. Ben did not like Dexter and had trouble trying to conceal this fact. Dexter was easily provoked and cruel to the slaves. Ben’s father and Dexter thought of the slaves as animals and treated them that way. Ben thought his mother, Clara, disliked Dexter and thought him to be crude. In truth, Clara found Dexter’s table manners to be despicable. They had just finished a delicious meal as Dolly came in to clear the plates. She would soon return with dessert, a sweet potato pie that Penny had made earlier in the day. While they waited for the sweet potato pie to be served, the table conversation turned to a discussion of crops and Ben’s newly purchased slave, Tobias. This conversation made Ben nervous because he secretly treated Tobias as a friend when no one else was around. Ben, having to conceal his feelings for Tobias from his father and Dexter, said that he was working Tobias really hard and that he was getting stronger and would be a valuable slave as soon as he was fully recovered. The conversation slowed as Dolly brought in the desert and everyone enjoyed their pie.
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 11/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
- In a bowl, cream butter and sugar.
- Add eggs; mix well.
- Add milk, sweet potatoes, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well.
- Pour into pie shell.
- Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean (if the edges start to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remainder of the bake time).
- Cool one hour before serving
Phillip’s Rosemary Cabernet Reduction
From Before Sunrise
In the book, Before Sunrise, Nicky and Phillip’s first date took place in coach Phillip’s home. Nervous to be out in public with one of his swimmers, the coach opted to cook Nicky a private dinner. Nicky, who had a heightened sense of curiosity, sat in the kitchen while Phillip cooked for him. Nicky was intently watching Phillip as he gathered the ingredients. Phillip was intensely aware of Nicky’s presence and had to concentrate on preparing the meal. To keep his mind occupied, Phillip turned to the task at hand. A very special meal was about to be enjoyed by the two of them.
Phillip prepared a rosemary cabernet reduction over braised lamb chops, sautéed mushrooms, mushroom risotto, broiled asparagus lightly dusted with sea salt and olive oil, and garlic bread. Here is how Phillip made that reduction.
- 1 cup Cabernet wine
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup diced white onion
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- ¼ cup of cold water
- 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary sprig finely chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Sauté onions in butter for 3 minutes over medium heat.
- Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
- Stir in red wine, vinegar, and rosemary.
- Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by 1/2 volume.
- Mix cornstarch with ¼-cup cold water and add to sauce. Stir for 1 minute or until sauce thickens.
- Drizzle over your choice of cooked meat immediately.