Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipe X Talks - Guest Blog - Louisa Edwards

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I want to thank you for tuning in to my week of I call them RecipeX Talks with some of the most interesting and fun loving tweep peeps I have had the pleasure of forging a friendship with !!

I want to introduce you to an extremely Talented writer and beautiful person Louisa Edwards who is exploring the the human condition through romance and food...a girl after my own heart

Thank you , thank sooo much. I so appreciate your involvement.



We all know what “romantic” is. I mean, I watch movies. I see commercials. I read romances. “Romantic” is

roses and champagne, dinner by candlelight. Right? Maybe a strolling violinist and a diamond or two.

Well, sure. Of course that stuff is romantic! But it’s not the only definition of “romance.” Romance can be unexpected; it can shock you to your toes, make you laugh, make you cry—and sometimes, it can take your relationship to a whole new level the way an unexpectedly fresh romance novel can up your reading experience.

Plenty of romance novelists do the wine and roses thing, but I like to think my Recipe for Love culinary romance series is rooted in my own expansive view of what qualifies as “romantic.”

A case in point: When my husband, then my boyfriend of one year, and I were in college, he lived off campus. That apartment was teeny, way too small for entertaining; the kitchen was about the size of a bathroom stall. Still, we decided to throw a party for New Year’s. And instead of getting a few boxes of wine and some plastic cups, maybe a couple bags of chips, we hauled out my
stash of cookbooks and started poring through them, looking for the perfect cocktail party

Eventually, we decided on a theme: A New Orleans New Year, based on my husband’s love of Cajun food. Armed with Paul Prudhomme’s classic Louisiana Kitchen,
we planned our menu: popcorn shrimp with remoulade, oysters en brochette with dirty rice, and the main event—a Cajun prime rib, rubbed with spices, roasted in the oven then blackened
on the stovetop.

We had no idea what we were getting into.

I’ve never run around so frantically in my life as I did the day of our big party. We’d invited all our friends, told them to dress up, bring wine, etc. With only a couple of burners to share between us and barely room to walk past each other in that kitchen, we were really scrambling as the clock ticked down to zero hour.
Finally, we had the prime rib in the oven,
the popcorn shrimp sizzling
away, and our friends arriving to fortify us with Cabernet. We were exhausted, but we weren’t done yet! The oven timer dinged—the prime rib was ready to be blackened.

Blackening is a Cajun cooking technique that involves searing spiced meat in a cast-iron skillet over very high heat. The spices caramelize and form a delicious, smoky crust that keeps the meat juicy and tender inside. It’s fabulous…but the billowing clouds of thick, stinging smoke? Not a great byproduct, especially in a poorly ventilated, closet-sized kitchen.

I thought my husband was going to die. Or at least lose a lung! I certainly thought he’d give up. But no. Coughing and covering his nose with his shirt collar, he opened the back door onto our two-foot concrete balcony, letting in frigid air, and then he turned back to the stove and kept going. He had to squint to see through the smoke—seriously, you wouldn’t believe how much there was—and the spices irritated his eyes so that he had a constant stream of tears running down his cheeks, but the man would not quit. We had a fabulous menu, our guests were waiting, and he was not giving in. We were going to make this wonderful meal and have a great time if it killed him.

That was the moment I realized exactly how much I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man.

Different romantic evenings suit different couples. After all, what is it that makes the candlelit dinner, complete with violinist, so special? On a basic level, it’s the time and effort that went into arranging it, the sense that our partner appreciates us and wants to give us an experience we’ll remember our whole lives. When my husband put his head down and doggedly kept cooking, I knew he was someone I could count on. And when we sliced into our unbelievably succulent prime rib that night, our friends perched around the living room, I knew it was only the first of many wonderful evenings full of laughter, love, and culinary adventures.

So what’s your most unexpectedly romantic evening? Or the best romantic scene from your favorite romance novel?

Tell me your stories, and you could win a copy of my new Recipe for Love novel, On the Steamy Side, along with a farmer’s tote and a signature Recipe for Love spatula and apron set.

Gram’s Crab Dip
This is one of the few recipes I have from my father’s side of the family, and I’ve always loved its simplicity and big flavor. It’s a fantastic party recipe, and is always a huge hit!

1 can jumbo lump crab meat, well picked over for pieces of shell
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Garlic salt to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small package slivered almonds (4-6 oz)
Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees F. for about 15 minutes, until bubbly. Serve hot with chips or crackers. Enjoy!

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