EM Lynley talks Spaghetti Western and her Favorite Comfort Foods ~ Guest Blog, Giveaway, Rafflecopter

Prism Book Alliance would like to thank EM Lynley for taking the time to talk with us today.

SpaghettiWesternLG

Title: Spaghetti Western (a Delectable novel)
Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase

EM’s Favorite Comfort Foods

Because I love to cook, and I have lots of recipes in Spaghetti Western, Brandilyn asked me to share some of my favorite comfort food recipes with you. It was difficult narrowing down the list, but these are recipes I make over and over. There’s nothing fancy about them nor do they use difficult techniques, but they are delicious and filling and make me feel warm and happy. If you like to cook, try one of them. If you like to eat, ask someone to cook for you!

For me, food is about love, and that’s something you don’t find in any recipe. When you add it, everyone who eats will feel it, so even the simplest food becomes a feast. Just ask Riley Emerson, because even though he trained at Le Cordon Bleu, that’s one thing he didn’t learn until he took a job at the Rocking Z Ranch and started cooking for Colby Zane.

Now, onto my favorite comfort recipes!

Right up at the top of any list would be Mac and Cheese. When I’m feeling particularly lazy I’m not averse to the neon-orange yumminess of the box of Kraft, but if I’ve got the time, my go-to recipe is Alton Brown’s calorific best-in-show cheese and mac, because it’s all about the cheesy sauce here.

Try it yourself and see if this isn’t about the perfect antidote to just about everything (except worrying about how your jeans look).

Alton Brown’s Stove Top Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (try using half gruyere for a nice blend)

Directions

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

From Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/stove-top-mac-n-cheese-recipe.html

Meatloaf Sandwiches

I love meatloaf. I didn’t used to. My grandmother made some really scary meatloaf—the kind with a whole egg in there, which always reminded me of an eyeball. YUCK. But I like the taste of meatloaf, sans eyeball-egg. You can’t make it with really lean meat or it’s not smooth and comforting. But you have to put a glaze of tomato paste and bbq sauce on top.

And then, if fresh meatloaf isn’t enough, turning the leftovers into meatloaf sandwiches is like dying and going to heaven. Even sandwiches made with cold meatloaf rock. I like to make two loaves at a time so I have lots of leftovers. You get twice the mileage for the same amount of time and mess.

Ingredients (makes one loaf, can be doubled)

  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 pounds ground beef (or half beef, half pork)
  • 3 slices bread, shredded
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cube beef bouillon, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup tomato paste and ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground meat, shredded bread, onion, egg, bouillon, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of the tomato/bbq mixture until well mixed. Form into a loaf and place in a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  4. Bake 1 hour. Pour off fat. Pour reserved glaze mixture over loaf. Bake 10 minutes more.

Beef Brisket

It’s the Jewish pot roast, not the Texas BBQ-type brisket. This is another great dish that takes a long time, but it’s pretty easy to make. It also allows for leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (4 pound) beef brisket
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Season the brisket generously with black pepper. Place in the pan and cook until the surface is a rich brown color, not burnt, but dark. Lift the roast and scatter the onions in the pan. Place the uncooked side of the roast down onto the onions. Repeat the browning process.
  2. Add the garlic to the pan, and fill with enough water to almost cover the roast. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid or tight-fitting aluminum foil. Simmer for 4 hours, turning the roast over once halfway through. The roast should be fork tender.
  3. Remove the brisket to a serving platter. Bring the broth in the pan to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen any browned bits. Cook until reduced to a thin gravy. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

French Toast

I happen to love breakfast. I love it most when someone else cooks it for me, but even I can manage to throw some French toast together. For extra-yummy French toast, use cinnamon bread. My favorite is Semifreddi’s Cinnamon Twist. Challah also makes great French toast because it’s rich and eggy all on its own.

Ingredients (can be easily doubled or tripled)

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Butter for cooking

Directions

  1. Beat the egg, add milk and vanilla in a wide, shallow dish or bowl.
  2. Preheat the skillet on medium heat, then add butter. Once it’s melted, soak each piece of bread for about 30 seconds on each side. Cook until dry and just starting to brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Eat with butter and syrup.

Chicken and Dumplings

This might not be a traditional Southern version, but it’s pretty easy. I like the fluffy dumplings which cook in the broth. I pretty much like any dumplings, but these are the only ones I’ve tried to make myself. The recipe reheats very well too. Don’t be tempted to chop up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The beauty of this recipe is the extra taste of the bone-in chicken. That’s what makes this so comforting compared to the relatively tasteless boneless white meat.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds cut-up bone-in chicken pieces, a mix of white and dark meat is nice.
  • 8 ounces baby carrots, halved
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen peeled pearl onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (dried works okay)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preparation

  1. Remove and discard skin from chicken. Place chicken and next 7 ingredients in a large (6-quart) soup pot, stirring until well blended. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove pot from heat; remove chicken pieces from soup pot, reserving broth. Let chicken stand until cool enough to handle. Remove chicken from bones, and cut into bite-size pieces. Stir chicken into broth mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  3. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until mixture comes together.
  4. Drop tablespoons of dumpling batter into hot broth. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup

NOTE: If you hate pomegranates, make the cheesecake and serve with pureed strawberries, blueberries or another fruit of your choice. If you love pomegranates, you’ll adore this.

This is one of my favorite recipes and I’ve made it plenty of times. It’s based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, but I’m simplified it a little, or it’s a lot of work. If you like Greek yogurt, you’ll love this one. The pomegranate seeds make a pretty presentation and crunch, but the syrup is enough for flavor.

Ingredients 

Crust:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Filling:

  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt – I like Trader Joe’s full fat Greek yogurt. It’s the tangiest.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pomegranate syrup and assembly:

  • ½ cup pomegranate syrup (from Middle eastern grocery store or Safeway, depending on where you live)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Special equipment: A 9″-diameter springform pan

Preparation

For crust:
Coat bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom with a parchment-paper round. Using your fingertips, mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl until mixture holds together when pinched tightly. Pack onto bottom of pan in an even layer (using the bottom of a flat measuring cup works well). Chill until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

  1. For filling:
    Place gelatin and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a heatproof bowl. Let stand until softened, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Pulse cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a food processor, scraping down sides as needed, until completely smooth.
  3. Pour water to a depth of 1/2″ into a small skillet over medium heat. Place bowl with gelatin in skillet; stir until gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove bowl from skillet.
  4. With processor running, drizzle gelatin into cream cheese mixture; mix until well blended. Pour into prepared crust. Tap pan firmly on the counter to break up any big air bubbles. Smooth top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours before serving. DO AHEAD: Cheesecake can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

For pomegranate syrup and assembly:

Cut cheesecake into slices, dipping knife into a large glass of warm water and wiping dry between slices, and place on plates. Drizzle pomegranate syrup over and scatter pomegranate seeds around.

Blurb:

A Novel in the Delectable Series

Cordon Bleu-trained chef Riley Emerson arrives in Aspen, Colorado for a summer at the best restaurant in town, only to discover his jerk of a boyfriend has dumped him, leaving his heart and his plans in tatters. Doubting himself and longing for a change of pace, he takes a low-paying position at the Rocking Z guest ranch, though he expects nature up close and personal won’t hold a candle to his exciting Paris lifestyle.

When born-and-bred cattle rancher Colby Zane spots a newcomer being pawed at by a passel of horny cowboys at Aspen’s Club Rawhide, he rushes in, throws the guy over his shoulder, and rescues him. Sober, Riley Emerson is sweet and sexy, but not interested in more than a one-night stand. Still, Colby’s over the moon when Riley later arrives as the new cook on his family’s ranch.

But all’s not well at the Rocking Z. Unsurmountable financial problems force them to seek a cash infusion from outside investor Fitz Wellington. Fitz is hot for Colby, and he won’t sign on the dotted line without some very personal incentives. The future of the ranch is at stake, and Colby’s just that desperate, but saving the Z might mean losing Riley.

About the Author:

EM-at-GRL-book-signingEM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.

She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.

Author Links:

Visit her online WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterNewsletter

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks

Giveaway:

EM Lynley has kindly offered a Rafflecopter

Contest will end 7 days from original posting date (or as stated on the Rafflecopter) at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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6 thoughts on “EM Lynley talks Spaghetti Western and her Favorite Comfort Foods ~ Guest Blog, Giveaway, Rafflecopter

  1. Lots of great recipes they all sound delicious I’m pleased you have a new Delectable book out I enjoyed reading all the previous ones.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

    • I’ve been a fan of Alton Brown for years. I love the combination of cooking and science because then you understand why stuff works and why it doesn’t. I also like Cooks Illustrated/Americas’ Test Kitchen but they’re not very fun. It’s more like a lecture, but the information is fantastic. Thanks for stopping by!

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