Saturday, July 02, 2005

Weeds, Soup, and Pages

It can get very hot and humid here. Last week it was in the 90's all week. But the high today was only 84, so I ran outside first thing in the morning and pulled weeds. I made it all the way around the back garden and along the side of the house. What a feeling of accomplishment!

The backyard has no grass. I got rid of the grass years ago and made the main area into a garden with brick or stepping stone paths running through it. So there's a lot of weeding. There's a large ground-level wooden deck at one side and a patio on the other. One or the other will be shady at different times during the day.

After the weeding, I rewarded myself with iced coffee, the Saturday Washington Post, and my e-mail in the shade of the patio.

I left the screen open at the sliding glass door and two of my cats--Ozzie and Harriet--sat in the doorway breathing in the summer air. Ozzie would slip out if I let her. Harriet has never been out and wouldn't know what to do if she got there. She's the fraidy cat in the family.

The air conditioning was on inside, so I made soup for lunch. Even in summer, soup is one of my favorite meals. I made curried peanut and apple soup. But I added left over Kung Pao chicken that had been in the refrigerator for a couple of days. The flavors blended really well, and it all worked together.

Then I started a novella that's due September first. Starting a book is always hard for me, so I only got about five pages written. I hope I speed up a little tomorrow.

For lunch tomorrow I think I'll try a West African peanut and sweet potato soup.



Darla said...

Oh, I'm drooling here. Those soups sound fabulous. Are the recipes in one of your cookbooks? I've told myself I can't buy any more cookbooks, but if they are, I'll make an exception.

Rebecca York said...

Darla, the soup recipes aren't in any of my cookbooks. I have been fiddling around with the peanut soup recipe for a while. But I don't think I have this version written down. And the sweet potato-peanut soup is something I ate at a restaurant recently. I decided to make my own. (I'm good at reproducing dishes I eat in restaurants.)

There is always a big dilema for me regarding recipe development. If I'm in a hurry and just want to go into the kitchen and make something good, then I don't want to take the time to write it down. But if I want to tell someone else how to make it, I have to take notes. The solution is sometimes to get my husband to sit there writing down the ingredients and the method while I work. But I hate to drag him away from his computer to do that.

I have been asked by the American Diabetes Association to update my Diabetes Snack Munch Nibble Nosh Book. I may be able to put the soup recipes in there.

Michele said...

You are so talented!
Question: Do you have a recipe for Scottish Meat Pie?
I had my first taste at my very first RenFest I went to this weekend. Didn't recognize the flavors at all. They said it was just beef and spices but forthcoming of just what kind. It was Nothing like French Meat Pie. Just curious.

Michele said...

Sorry , forgot an important little word,
They were NOT forthcoming....finger burp again *sigh*

Rebecca York said...

Thanks, Michele.
I found this on a Scottish Culture Web site. Sounds good!

"Wee Scotch Pies" pies are eaten all over Scotland.
Made with hot-water or raised crust, they are a traditional favourite.


1 Ib. lean lamb,or mutton * free from fat, bone, gristle, etc.
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small minced onion or shallot
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 tbs. stock (can use tinned beef broth)
salt and pepper to taste

Hot Water Crust Pastry

1 lb. plain flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/2 c. beef dripping or lard

1.To make pie pastry, bring fat and water to boil in saucepan.
2.Put flour and salt in a basin, make a hole in the middle.
3.Pour boiling water and fat into hole.
4.Mix with a spatula until cool enough to handle.
5.Form quickly into a ball before fat hardens too much.
6.Turn on to a floured board, knead well, pat into a flat shape.
7.Divide into halves, put one half aside, keep warm.
8.Roll other half out to make a large oval.
9.Stand a small jar (about 3 inches across) in the middle.
10.Mold pastry up the sides to 3 inches high to make filling holder.
11.When it stays up firmly, remove jar and repeat process.
12.Roll out saved halves, cutting them into rounds to fit filling holders.
13.Cut lamb into very small pieces or chop into mince.
14.Mix all filling ingredients together and fill pastry, filling holders.
15.Dampen edges, pinch tops on.
16.Make a slit in centre of each top to let steam out.
17.Brush tops with milk or beaten egg.
18.Bake for 45 minutes on baking sheet in oven at 250°F (120°C).

Makes about 4 pies.

Michele said...

You know, I bet it was made with lamb all along and not beef. I know that lamb is quite distinctive. Oh, Thank You!!! And you know, the shape of the little pies we ate were exactly shaped like it was described. I am SO excited! Thank you for looking that up.
BTW - I just read Phantom Lover, one of your Harlequin Intrigues. I'm a litte fuzzy on the ending. Was or wasn't Troy dead? Was he in some supernatural limbo because his unfinished business was unrequited love? I mean they did love each other, but they never had a real chance to get together to see how far or how strong their love was. Did his love of the land and home have something to do with the whirlwind effect? What exactly were the mechanics of "her love brought him back to himself"??
I just felt a little fuzzy about the HEA, although I'm always glad to get there. Hope you don't mind the questions? All in all, it was an interesting read. Thanks for another good book!

Rebecca York said...

Michele, in the reader letter it says you have to decide for yourself. I think he was dead but that his love for Bree brought him back to life. When I submitted the proposal, the editor told me I couldn't have him be dead and bring him back to life. She wanted him to have been alive and lost his memory. I hated that solution. But I figured I could get away with being ambiguous. As I said, in my mind, he was a ghost but came back to life. The way I wrote the book, he didn't even remember who he was at the beginning. And he had no body. But the closer he got to Bree, the more alive he became. Then I had the swirling leaves and other organic matter form themselves into a new body for him. At least, that's the way I thought about it.

I hope the recipe works okay. Obviously, I didn't test it.

Michele said...

Oh, that's OK. I read the recipe to my hubby and he wants me to try it. I'll let you know how it goes.
BTW, having Troy die and come back to life is OK. Nothing wrong with it. Seems editors can be so subjective....I often wonder if they are swayed by their own likes, not just the pulse of the public. No matter, I liked what you did, and the thought that he was made of the swirling organic matter is a good ending. He loved the land, now's he's a part of it and its a part of him. Who knows what kind of special powers that may have granted him....Thank you for your insight!