Friday, July 18, 2014

Peargasmic Crostata: A Recipe for a Writerly Friend

Heather Friedman Rivera is having a virtual book launch Sunday for MAIDEN FLIGHT and asked me for a pear recipe. This is a good one!

The Peargasmic Crostata is very easy but a tiny bit time consuming in the prep stages. It is worth it!

Enjoy! And happy book launch, Heather!

Peargasmic Crostata
1 piecrust (bought or homemade)

4 large Anjou or Bosc pears, unpeeled/sliced thin
¼ cup cream sherry or Marsala
¼ cup flour + flour to sprinkle
¼ cup quick oats oatmeal
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup butter
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 450°. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper for drips. Place pie crust on parchment paper. Sprinkle with flour.

Mix sliced pears with liquor and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Toss to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes, turning at least once to keep all sides touching the liquid.

Mix well: flour, oatmeal, sugar, zest, remaining cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Using hands or pastry blender incorporate the butter into flour mixture until crumbly, forming pea-sized chunks.

Drain pears and put onto piecrust center. Spread fruit evenly up to about a 1 ½” to 2” from the edge. Cover fruit with flour mixture evenly. Sprinkle on nuts.

Fold edge up to make a lip all around the fruit to keep juices in. Crimp the edge so it stays up.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden.

Serve warm or cold plain or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Note: you can substitute other fruits like apples or plums or a mix of fruits

Preview of Prime Rib and Punishment AND a Recipe from Book Two

My two cooks, Alli and Gina are struggling to make ends meet with their personal chef business at the end of Mission Impastable. As only an author can do, in book two, Prime Rib and Punishment, I create part-time jobs for them working for a martinet of a chef at a newly-opened cooking school. I want them to succeed, right? But …

Things don’t go well from the beginning, and then there’s the murder that implicates Alli. And all those police questions. Sigh! She sets out to prove her innocence, but suspects abound making the task difficult. Was it the underworld guy? The berated student? The weight loss guru? The under-appreciated chef? The victim’s wife? The school owner? The school owner’s wife? Or was it …?

Despite the odds, you know Alli. She’s an intrepid gal!

Spoiler Alert: Alli solves the crime! But then you knew that would happen, didn’t you?

As you also know, titles in the “Dinner is Served” series signal the focus for the majority of the recipes. Lots of pasta in Mission Impastable. In Prime Rib and Punishment, there’s a focus on meat recipes. Want a little taste of a recipe in PR&P? Here is a recipe I created just the other night for DH and me.

Cheesy Chicken Fingers
<serves 2-4 depending on sides>

1# Chicken breast, cut into tenders
¼ c butter, melted
½ c flour with
salt, pepper to taste
1 t garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
½ c bread crumbs
1 T basil
¼ c Asiago Cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare baking pan.
Mix together bread crumbs, basil, and cheese
Roll chicken tenders in butter.
Dredge in flour mixed with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Roll in beaten egg
Dredge in bread crumb mixture
Bake for ~20 minutes (until crispy brown) turning halfway through

Cranberry Sauce:
½ cup cranberry jelly
juice of small orange (with some pulp)
1 T tarragon

Honey-Mustard Sauce:
Equal amounts of mustard and honey blended well

Enjoy this with your favorite sides. We had a green salad and mandarin orange noodles.