Lunch in the Park, a novel about love and family, is available for sale in multiple electronic formats at Smashwords, for the Kindle at Amazon.com and for the Nook at BN.com Wherever you buy it, it is DRM-free. The delicious recipes that Kate and Jeff cook up are right here on my blog.
I hope you'll read Lunch in the Park, you'll love it, and you'll feel the overwhelming urge to write a review on one or more of the sites above. And of course I'd love to hear from you here on the blog, too.
Sometimes I'm here talking about food. Sometimes I'm chasing my kids around. Sometimes I'm serving women in labor. If I'm not doing any of those things I might be checking in on the lives of the fictional people who live in my head.
Before you run away, no, I'm not hearing voices. I've just always have a story or two that I'm writing in my head. If I have a few minutes I try to get the story out of my head and onto paper. Sometimes I find that the people in my head are recalcitrant, and won't go live on the paper. Sometimes I can transfer them onto paper just fine, but I find that there's nothing more to them than a vignette. Every once in a while I discover that they have a lot going on, and the more I write, the more I find. This is the case with Kate and Jeff. Kate and Jeff have been living in my head for quite some time now, and a while back I decided to start putting them not on paper, but out in the great wide world. You can read about them on my fiction blog, Lunch in the Park. A brilliant and beautiful friend of mine declared it better than Dickens. If you go take a look, and I hope you will, start at the beginning, Picnic. You can use the navigation buttons at the bottom of each post to keep reading from there. (Sorry, the blog is no longer public. The novel is coming soon.)
One thing that my fictional stories have in common is that someone is always a cook. In this story both Kate and Jeff cook, and I've written scenes about food and cooking. My husband read one chapter and declared that it made him hungry, and then asked me to make the dish in question. This is not that dish, which will come later. Instead I'm offering up Kate's black bean soup.
Kate has a lot going on in her life, and not a lot of money for eating out. This soup is hearty, healthful, pantry friendly, cheap and simple. Heck, it's even vegetarian and gluten-free. The real people who live in my house like it, too. Kate makes it a lot in the winter. She uses her slow cooker, but you can make it without one.
2 1/2 cups black beans (or 2 15-ounce cans)
6 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce
2 medium potatoes
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream and cilantro for garnish
The night before sort and rinse black beans, then place in slow cooker crock with water and allow to soak overnight.
The next morning, turn the slow cooker on low.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Dice the onions and add them to the hot oil, stirring occasionally. While the onion cooks, mince the garlic. When the onion begins to soften add the garlic and cumin to the pan. Stir until fragrant, then remove the pan from the heat and add onion mixture to the crock. Mince the chipotle pepper and add it to the crock, then clean and dice the potatoes and add them. Cover the crock and allow to cook at least 6-8 hours on low.
(For a quick version, use canned beans. Drain and rinse the beans, add to a large soup pot with 4 cups of water. Add tomatoes, diced potatoe and chipotle and bring to a simmer while you saute the onion, garlic and cumin. Add onion mixture to the soup. Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Then continue with the instructions below.)
15 minutes before it's time to eat,chop the cilantro and add it to the soup along with the lime juice. Stir and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro.