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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sweet Samples from "The Marriage List" & Recipe!

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. These snippets from my bestselling book, The Marriage List (only $.99) all involve the dinner Carrie was making for Grey. She was cooking Boeuf Bourguignon. Though she refused to give us her family's recipe, I managed to get one from The Food Network. The recipe for Beef Bourguinon follows the snippets (see below). 

from The Marriage List
“Dinner here. Okay?” She chewed her lip.
“Your place?”
“I found an old recipe of my mom’s and decided to make it. It’s in the oven cooking now…smells great.”
“Hmmm. What is it?”
“Boeuf Bourguinon.”
“I’m impressed and salivating already.”
“Keep your pants on, handsome…” Carrie smiled and sat back on the sofa, putting her feet up on the coffee table.
“What made you think…”
“Tuesday night?”
“I’m salivating in that department, too.”
She laughed. “Are you assuming we’ll…”
“Not assuming anything here…but a guy can hope, can’t he?”
“Tomorrow will be our third date.” Carrie picked up her wine glass and took a sip.
“Our fourth.”
“The first one was business,” she corrected him.
“That’s what you think.”
“It was a date? You didn’t even kiss me goodnight!” She put her feet down and sat up.
“Checking you out before puckering up.”
She laughed.

The Boeuf Bourguignon was in the oven, warming up. The aroma filled the apartment and seeped out from under the door, wafting down the stairs to fill the narrow hallways and tiny vestibule. The table was set with her best dishes, white with tiny butterflies and flowers in shades of lavender and light green. The small round table was covered with a lavender cloth to the floor, topped by a shorter one in darker purple layering the setting. The crystal wine and water glasses were shining and there was one silver candlestick with a light green candle perched in the middle of the table. Pretty romantic, he might get ideas. He’s already got ideas, I have to make up my mind what I want to happen.
As soon as he opened the wrought iron front door to the brownstone, Grey smelled the French stew cooking. I hope that’s coming from Carrie’s place. As he climbed the two flights of stairs, the aroma grew stronger and he felt his stomach rumble in response. He held an expensive bottle of red wine in one hand and a dozen red roses in the other.
She arranged the roses he brought in a vase and put them on the coffee table, then stopped to give him a quick “thank you” kiss and returned to the kitchen. He stood in the living room looking around at the pieces of original artwork on her walls, each perfectly framed and artfully arranged, until he heard a scream, then a clatter. He ran into the kitchen to find Carrie clutching her hand, tears in her eyes.
“What happened?”
“Sometimes I forget…I picked up the pan without the mitt,” she said.
Grey quickly and calmly reached into the freezer and grabbed a few pieces of ice. He took her hand, gently placed the ice on the burned skin and held it there with one hand. With the other, he took a small bowl out of the cabinet and filled it with cold water. Then he plunked the ice in the water and led her to the dinner table. She sat down and he put her hand in the ice water.
“Keep it there. I’ll get the food,” he said, kissing the damaged area before putting it in the bowl, wiping away a tear on her cheek with his thumb.
Carrie sat back, keeping her hand in the icy water. She watched Grey handle the casserole adeptly and get the noodles and salad to the table.

“This is amazing,” he said, closing his eyes, rolling the food around in his mouth for a few seconds.
“It’s good, isn’t it?” She cut the tender meat with the side of her fork, avoiding using her injured hand.
“God, it’s more than good, it’s incredible. You made this?”
“From mom’s secret recipe.” Her smile grew wide. 

Click HERE for more Sweet Saturday Samples
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With a giant "thank you" to Ina Gartin on the Barefoot Contessa program on the Food Network

Beef Bourguignon

Ina Garten
Rated 5 stars out of

Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
30 min
1 hr 15 min

6 servings
  • Level:
  • Intermediate
  • Ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
    • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
    • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
    • 2 yellow onions, sliced
    • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
    • 1/2 cup Cognac
    • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
    • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 pound frozen whole onions
    • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

    For serving:

    • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
    Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
    Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
    Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
    Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
    To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

    You might want to add a salad.


    Monday, April 2, 2012


    A snippet from our WIP, "Love, Lost & Found" written with Ben Tanner.This is the Tara and  Mick's first date on vacation in St. Thomas.
    Tara closed the door to her room. Her palms were a little sweaty. She looked at the beads of moisture there and laughed at her own nervousness. Her room was two flights up. She walked down the stairs slowly as she was wearing high heels, apprehension mixed with anticipation sent a tingle up her spine.
    As she neared the lobby, she stopped to peer in cautiously, wondering if Mick was actually going to show up. It wouldn’t be the first time a man got cold feet. 
    Tara spied him before he saw her. Dressed in all his Marine finery, he looked devastatingly handsome. For a moment, she studied him from the hallway. There were so many medals on his chest and he stood so straight, wearing a slight frown on his face as his eyes searched the lobby. I’d never judge a man on his physical appearance alone, but a man in uniform…irresistible, sexy.  Mick seems to be…more he’s sweet and the Marines make him strong and tough, in a good way, right?  She couldn’t deny his sensuality, the sexual heat she absorbed from him made her want to melt in his arms. She cleared her throat, letting him know she was there.
    Mick heard a noise behind him and turned. His eyes grew wide and a grin spread from ear to ear as his gaze traveled from her head to her painted toes peeking out from her white sandals.