Monday, October 13, 2008

Yum...and a Chance to Win a Book!

It's Recipe Month and so here's one of my favorites, perfect for fall dinners. I made it last night. Read through to the end, because I have a question for you...and a chance to win an ARC of my next book.

French Vegetable Soup

1- 1 1/2 pounds stew beef, trimmed and cut in bite-size pieces
1 can French onion soup
1 6-0z can tomato paste
1 T dried basil
5-6 carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
5-6 celery stalks, in bite-size pieces
2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Brown meat in a dutch oven or stock pot. Add French onion soup, 5 soup cans of water, tomato paste, basil. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, uncovered, stirring occastionally. Add carrots, celery, beans, bring to a boil for additional 30 minutes. Serve with bread. Makes lots...10 servings or more, depending on your appetite. When reheating it the next day, I usually add more water.

And now to the question: Do you like books with recipes? Diane Mott Davidson's mysteries come to mind. I enjoy the stories and reading about the food, but I've never made a recipe I found in a fiction book. Have you? One lucky commenter will win an ARC of my next book, Unravel Me.


Margay said...

I think it's interesting to have recipes in a work of fiction because it adds to the setting of the book and creates authenticity. But I haven't used such a recipe yet.

kimmyl said...

I think books with recipes are great. I love reading about them on the blogs and adding them to books are a plus to me.

Helen Brenna said...

I used a recipe from one Barbara Samuels books once. Can't remember which one.

This recipe sounds great, Christie, and easy. I think I'll use this one!

D Twomey said...

I can't recall ever reading a book that had a recipe in it... I do know that I wouldn't make it, even if I had read one. Not much of a cook. Just ask my other half!

This one sounds pretty good though. I might have to give it a try!

Dev said...

I love recipes, but rarely use them. I read cookbooks just like any other thing I read. They're great for ideas, though! I'm genetically predisposed to be a dumper ~ that's how my mom cooks, how her mom cooked, etc,. etc.

The last two Sheila Roberts books I read, and the last Sarah Strohmeyer all had recipes in them. I was tempted to try the Christmas recipes in the SR book, but haven't done so yet.

Lois said...

The few I've seen of fiction books having a recipe in it, I like it because it added to the book. . . and perhaps, just maybe, I might try it. I'm not a cook, but if I have a recipe right in front of me, I might try it in the future! :)


Christie Ridgway said...

Margay: That's how I read recipes in a part of the setting. But I never think of them when it comes to deciding what to cook!

Kylie said...

Your book looks wonderful Christie!

I like to mess around with recipes. What I hated was making dinner for the 7-12 who were hanging around the house every night. Not so much making it, but *thinking* of what to make. Asking for suggestions on what to make was also useless. I often thought I should make up a disgusting recipe to go with "I don't care" and "whatever you make will be fine." Something truly evil!

The only recipe I can recall making from a book was a Dorothy Garlock book I read eons ago. It had a fabulous sugar cookie recipe in it and since my sugar cookies always seemed so tasteless, I tried her recipe. It was really good!

Christie Ridgway said...

Dev: I like to read cookbooks too. But I'm really picky about choosing recipes. I bought a Cooking Light cookbook recently (it has all the recipes from the magazine from a particular year) and lots looked good...I think I've made only one thing.

Debra Dixon said...

Our readers seem to love the recipes in books. We actually have gotten emails about the recipes and requests for recipes not in the books!

If a character mentions something but there is no recipe, we've had readers write and ask.

Christie Ridgway said...

Kylie: It gets so tiring to think of what to make for dinner every night! Surfer Guy and I sorta share the duties (basically, if I can't think of anything, he'll grill fish) and I still feel overwhelmed often.

I'm always wandering around the kitchen/grocery store with this "They want to eat =again=?" line going through my head.

Christie Ridgway said...

Deb: My last book (Bikini) the heroine was a private chef and I had people ask me for her recipes. She would mention (briefly) different things she made. I had considered including recipes, but since it was also about knitting I thought that might be too much!

Apparently food has a high appeal!

Liza said...

I like books with recipes, but have never tried any of them yet. Your French Vegetable Soup sounds wonderful. I make pretty quick dinners for me usually, but my brother will be staying with me for the next month, so I'll have to start cooking real food again.

Playground Monitor said...

This must be recipe month or something. I blogged about National Dessert Month last week and had folks post their fave dessert recipes. Jennifer LaBrecque posted a Pork and Black Bean Soup recipe on Soapbox Queens the same day. Apparently we were channeling. And now this. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

I make vegetable soup in the crockpot. In the crockpot combine about a pound of beef stew meat, a large can of tomatoes (I buy the diced ones), a can and a half of water, a small bag of frozen mixed vegetables, one small onion chopped, one or two small potatoes diced, about a quarter cup of rice, salt, pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Let it cook on low for at least 8 hours (I usually put mine on to cook in the evening after dinner and let it cook til dinner the next day). You can serve it with sandwiches of some sort (grilled cheese is good) or just bread. This freezes well too.

I'm guessing the cooler weather is making everyone want soup.

I'm not sure I've ever tried a recipe from a book. I tend to cook simple things, and cook them over and over again. Since the nest is empty now, dinners are usually just a piece of grilled or broiled meat and a salad.


Michele Hauf said...

I love this! Just last night the hubby was telling me about the great homemade soup his mother used to make for him. I was feeling poorly because I knew I hadn't a recipe to hand.
Well ha!
There just may be some soup for supper tonight!

I'm not a big cook, so if I see a recipe in a book, I'll just skip it. Doesn't bother me that it's there, unless there's one every other page.

I loved Julie & Julia, where the heroine tried to cook all 500-some of Julia Child's recipes in a year. Don't recall that they listed actual recipes in that one.

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm with Michele. Not much of a cook. There are a few things I do well - rhubarb pie, salsa, bbq ribs and I do make a mean pot roast. :o)
so, generally, unless they are super easy, I skip the recipes if I see one in a book. I have friends, however, who LOVE them.
Your soup sounds great, Christie. I'm thinking I'll be trying it!

Keri Ford said...

Oh, I love coming across receipes in books. I believe Linda Howard put a bread pudding receipe in one of her Blair Mallory books. it used Krispie Kremes (sp?). So would have tried if I hadn't been dieting at the time.

Christie, you could put your chef's recipes somewhere on your website.

Betina Krahn said...

I used to be a good cook. sigh. At least my family thought I was. now with fewer people to cook for and occasions to entertain, I've fallen out of practice.

Don't usually read books with recipes. But the one I did and still do make was from a children's book called "Cranberry Thanksgiving." I made it with my boys and it's still a great recipe for a sweet cranberry-orange bread.

Interesting story line, where a villain was trying to romance a secret recipe from a beloved aunt. . . and the children stop it. . . while hooking auntie up with a more deserving and nicer sea captain. (Who's had his eye on auntie for a while.)

See, I even like my recipes with a little romance! I still keep this children's book in the kitchen with my cookbooks!

Christie Ridgway said...

Cindy: I want your pot roast recipe. And Marily, your crock pot soup sounds great. Will try.

Christie Ridgway said...

Michele: I have the Julie/Julia book. Must finish. I don't think the recipes are in there (she's cooking from a particular Child's cookbook), but she references the ones she's working on. Some are way too outlandish for me!

I enjoy baking a lot too. But then I want to eat all the goodies!

Playground Monitor said...

OHMYGOSH! That Krispy Kreme bread pudding recipe is pure sugar. It's yummy, but certain to rocket you into a sugar high. My DH is a KK afficianado. I remember arguing with a couple in Valdez, Alaska about who made the best doughnuts -- Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts. And to think my daddy had a chance to buy KK stock when the guy started the company. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment earlier but the internet hates me.

I have never used a recipe from a book. They are an interesting addition, but honestly, I usually skip over them when I'm reading. Now, if the author posts those same recipes on her website, I'd more likely to read and copy.

For an ARC :), I have a couple of incredible soup recipes. One is Chicken Velvet Soup (tastes like the inside of a chicken pot pie). YUM I also make a mean Chicken Tortilla Soup. When I'm feeling lazy, I have a quick sausage/ground beef vegetable soup that fast, and great on cold nights. Also make a mean chili.

I love soups. Fast, hot, and reheats like a charm!

lois greiman said...

Stew, perfect for a rainy fall day like today. Thanks, C. Sounds great, though, nope I've never used one from a book before

Kathleen Eagle said...

We're big on soup in my house. One of my favorite foods growing up was Mama's vegetable soup. I make it often. Major comfort food.

Didn't "Like Water For Chocolate" have recipes in it? That's one book that really tasted terrific. I (had to) read a novel a few months back that had a recipe every chapter, and the chapters were pretty short. It was downright annoying.

If I'm going to try a recipe from a novel, it should be in the back of the book where I can find it, maybe even tear it out.

Here's an idea: You know how they put ads on stock cards in some books--Harlequin especially. Why not a recipe card that you can tear out?

catslady said...

I have this thing about collecting and recipes are one lol. I always think I'm going to make these recipes but rarely do. So I have to admit I think it's fun to find a recipe or two in a book.

Christie Ridgway said...

I think that's my problem with recipes in books...I'd want to take them out of the book in order to keep them. Great idea, Kathy, about a tear-out recipe card.

Confession: I love donuts. I have never had a Krispy Kreme! I'm sort of afraid to try them because then I might become addicted.

Christie Ridgway said...

Arkansas Cyndi: You don't have to offer up a recipe for a chance to win the Advanced Readers Copy, =however= both those soups sound SO delicious.

Um...if you have a chance, e-mail them to me?

flchen1 said...

Hmm... I kind of like books with recipes (all that talk about food makes me hungry ;)) and I also like browsing cookbooks sometimes--that's fun, too! I have to say that I don't think I've ever made a recipe I've read in a work of fiction--it's more that I like how the recipes add to the whole "ambiance"... Does that sound goofy?

Tori Lennox said...

I don't cook but for some weird reason I love books with recipes. :)

flip said...

I remember the krispy Kreme recipe!!!! Paula Deen has a similar recipes. If I every have a chance to buy krispy kremes, I am going to make it. It sounds delicious.

Love recipes in books.

Christie Ridgway said...

Tori: I think it's like flchen1 said--it adds to the book even if we don't feel inspired to go into the kitchen and starting whisking something up.

So now I'm wondering if those writers who habitually use the recipes (Diane Mott Davidson, again, comes to mind) have to spend a lot of time looking for new dishes and trying them out.

Gwen/Kelsey said...

Christie -

I've never made a recipe included in a novel, but if I ever do, it will be straight out of The Sweet Potato Queens by Jill Conner Browne. Who could resist something called "Chocolate Stuff?" Her chapter on southern funeral food cracks me up. I think one sentence is along this line..."When someone dies in the south, it's not altogether unfortunate." That may be a misquote, but you get the gist. Great food and tons of it when someone kicks it in Texas.

Maureen said...

I think I've read some stories with recipes but I have never tried a recipe from a novel. The problem is that I am more interested in reading the story and then after I read the end of the story I would never remember to go back and get a recipe.

Jane said...

I can't recall reading a book where there were recipes. I think I would give those recipes a try.

Christie Ridgway said...

Gwen/Kelsey: "Chocolate Stuff" That's priceless!

Reminds me of my friend who had a craving for chocolate chip cookies (well, the dough) but she didn't have something crucial...I think flour. So she made up a mix of butter and sugars and an egg and then threw some chocolate chips in and was very satisfied.

Estella said...

I enjoy the recipes in books, but have never tried one.

ddurance said...

I enjoy Diane Mott Davidson's books and recipes included in otherbooks, especially chocolate ones, but I have never actually cooked one.


Christie Ridgway said...

I think we should start trying recipes in books. I'm going to look for a good one and post my results in the comments in the coming weeks!

Anonymous said...

Cyndi’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 chicken breasts cubed
• (I use 2 cans of canned chicken breasts- shred the chicken with a fork as you add it the soup)
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn thawed
1 onion chopped
• (Too lazy – I use dried onion flakes...just add until I like how it looks! Probably about a tablespoon I guess)
2 garlic cloves
• (Again, I use garlic power. I just pour until I’m happy! But the bottle probably has a conversion for clove to power)
5 cups chicken broth
• (I drain the chicken broth off the canned chicken breasts, add a chicken broth cube and enough water to make up 5 cups)
1 can crushed tomatoes
• (I used diced. That seems to work better for me)
1 can Rotel
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of black beans
1 cup of minute rice (more or less to taste, but the rice with use up A LOT of the liquid)
¼ cup cilantro

Simmer all ingredients together until heated through. Garnish with tortilla chips, diced avocado, and cheese.

Anonymous said...

Cyndi’s Chicken Velvet Soup

6 Tblsp Butter
6 Tblsp Flour
½ cup Milk
½ cup light cream (half & half)
3 cups Chicken broth
• I use the broth from the canned chicken breasts and add more water and chicken broth cubes if needed
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
• I use 3 cans of canned chicken breasts
Pepper to taste
2 cans Veg-All- drained

In saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour, then stir in milk, light cream, and chicken broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. (This take a while, so drag up stool. Stir constantly because it will stick) When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat. Stir in chicken and dash of pepper. Return soup to boiling and serve immediately. Makes about 5 cups of soup.

Since this tastes like the inside of a chicken pot pie, sometimes I’ll bake a pie crust and break it into pieces on top of the soup.

Christie Ridgway said...

Cyndi: I cannot wait to try your recipes! I don't even mind chopping onions! I think the pie crust on top of the velvet one is brilliant! Thanks so much.

M. said...

I confess I've never made a recipe found in a novel, but I can't really say why not. It might have to do with complexity (I'd consider myself advanced beginner, or low-average maybe on the cooking scale) or type of dish; for some reason I'll attempt any type of soup (really), jam or interesting bread (involving a machine, of course).

Maybe you can post a bread recipe to go along with your soup? *g*

PJ said...

I love to cook and especially to bake so recipes in books are a special treat for me. Shirley Jump puts a lot of recipes in her books and, yes, I have tried some of them...with delicious results. :)

I cook a lot of soups over the fall and winter and my breadmaker gets a lot of use (although I still prefer making it the old fashioned way). Right now, local apples are in season and my favorite thing to make is Apple Coconutty Muffins. Sooooo good.

Anonymous said...

I love Diane Mott Davidson's books! Try her lowfat take on Alfredo...yum! I enjoy that little "prize" of a recipe or 2 in a book I'm reading.
I enjoy your books too! Debbie A.

CrystalGB said...

I think it is great when books have recipes in them. I have not attempted to make any of the recipes though.

Betina Krahn said...

Okay, PJ, hand over the recipe for the Apple Cconutty Muffins and nobody gets hurt!


PJ said...

LOL @ Betina! One recipe coming up. These are moist and yummy! I usually use Granny Smith, Rome or McIntosh apples.


1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Crisco Oil
2 cups peeled and diced apples
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar and oil. Stir in the apples, nuts and coconut.

Stir the apple mixture into the dry ingredients until moist.

Grease 16 muffin cups. Spoon muffin mixture into each cup to 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 F. for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before removing muffins from the pan.

Enjoy! :)

ArkieRN said...

I read cookbooks for fun so I really enjoy books with recipies in them. Diane Mott Davidson's are great! I don't know if I've used any of the recipies I've read in books. If I find one I like, I copy it and place it in my recipie holder but I sometimes forget to write down the recipe source.