Writers and Recipes

Heidi Ruby Miller

posted Feb 21, 2012, 5:56 PM by Natalie Duvall   [ updated Feb 21, 2012, 6:01 PM ]

Heidi Ruby Miller's Drunken Chai with Koley's Reserve

It's quite fitting that I bring you this post on Mardi Gras (or as we in PA Dutch country like to call it, Fastnacht Day).  I don't recommend you drink this WHILE reading Miller's Greenshift, but I do recommend reading both drinking and reading what Miller has for you.  A great author, you'll find yourself sucked into the book immediately.  Trust me, I know -- five minutes after I downloaded the book I was hooked.

Okay, okay, I know you're sick of hearing me talk, so here it is!

Because bourbon isn't just made in Kentucky in the far future….


EXCERPT FROM Greenshift BY Heidi Ruby Miller:

Mari slid her arm through David's. "Nothing a drunken coffee won't fix. Do you want one?"

Say no.

He'd had more than enough alcohol tonight. Another drink and his judgment might be impaired. That was one of the reasons he didn't take the stims she offered from the med suite.

"What kind of bourbon do you have?" he asked.

"Koley's Reserve. What else?" She winked.

"You're kidding." He let his skepticism show. "Do you know how difficult that is to get? It's only made in the Koley Mountains, and in very small batches."

Even as an Armadan captain, he sometimes had to wait months for a bottle and he'd given his last one to the dockmaster as a bribe.

She just smiled that big smile of hers. "I wouldn't kid an Armadan about bourbon."

"Well, then how can I refuse a taste of home?" David took another quick survey of the strappy emerald-colored nightie draped over Mari's curves. Or you.

Once inside, the glowing vibrancy of her living quarters bombarded him.

"That's a lot of blue and green," he said.

"My favorite colors. It's a work in progress because you would not believe how much it costs to remodel one of these suites."

Now that she mentioned it, he could see traces of the original décor peeking from around billowing curtains and beneath thick area rugs and under an abundance of shiny pillows. For a soldier used to basic quarters, or even a man used to living alone in a sizable but modestly decorated lake house, the loud, plushy world Mari lived in was overwhelming. 

It smelled great, though, thanks to all the flowering plants. In one corner of the foyer several large pots spilled over with blooms in varying shapes and sizes of white and turquoise petals while a blossoming vine twisted down from a wall-length stone planter inside the living room.

"You have a way with foliage. Or do you have some kind of secret grow lights?"

"I do monitor the lighting, but it's just the same lights you have in your suite."

Minus the aquamarine fringed lamp shades.

"I've been growing plants all my life. But this was the first time I ever tried in space. You'd think with the artificial gravity and light that it would be pretty much the same, but the plants know. So they take a little extra coaxing to flourish."

"Your coaxing is working quite well. They're amazing. And so many different varieties." He wanted to ask her specifics about a couple of plants on a stand nearby, but she had disappeared into the kitchen.

Being within her living space brought those waves of warmth back in a big way for David. Everything in this suite had been touched by her—bare toes on the cushy rugs, a brush of her hip as she passed by an end table, a subtle caress from her delicate hands as she cared for each bit of flora. David ran a finger down a hanging vine whose leaves looked like upside down hearts. They even had veins of red shooting through the waxy green exterior. He swore an electric tingle moved through his whole body from just this one little touch.

Get it together, soldier.

"I forgot I was out of coffee, but how about a drunken chai?" She handed him a mug.

He took a sip and almost couldn't swallow it, but forced the cloying liquid down his throat. "You like lots of sugar in your chai, don't you?" The sweetness nearly masked the aftertaste of alcohol.

"Like my mother always told me, everything is better with sugar." Mari sipped her drink and made a face. So maybe she was realizing not <i>everything</i> was better with sugar, like expensive small batch malt.

"Sorry. Give me that." She grabbed his mug. "I really should have tasted it first. I'll sweeten it up a little."

David took both mugs from her and sat them on the counter. "I think I've had enough to drink."

Drunken Chai with Koley's Reserve

(from Heidi Ruby Miller's novella GREENSHIFT)


1. Brew a cup of chai tea.

2. Add a splash of milk or cream liquor.

3. Add a shot of bourbon, preferably Woodford Reserve since Koley's Reserve only comes from the Koley Mountains on the planet of Yurai.

4. Sweeten to taste.

5. Stir.

Heidi Ruby Miller has been putting too much sex in her Science Fiction since 2005 because the relationship is as important as the adventure. She loves high-heeled shoes, action movies, Chanel, and loud music. Heidi is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, Broad Universe, SFR Brigade, and SFPA.

She also teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program. The writing guide Many Genres, One Craft, which she co-edited with Michael A. Arnzen, is based on the Seton Hill program and her novel Ambasadora was her thesis there. Greenshift is a stand-alone novel set in the Ambasadora-verse.

To find out more about Heidi and the Ambasadora-verse, visit:






Lee McClain

posted May 7, 2011, 7:32 PM by Natalie Duvall   [ updated May 7, 2011, 7:51 PM ]

Lee McClain's Empanadas

The following recipe is featured in

Full Recipe for Aunt Elba’s Empanadas

Empanada Dough

3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks butter, chopped into pieces
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
a few tablespoons water

Combine four and salt.  Cut in butter using two knives (look for a YouTube video to see how this is done, if you don’t have an Aunt Elba in your life!).  Then knead in egg, vinegar, and a couple of tablespoons water, more if needed, to make a dough. As soon as it’s a lump, a little drier than store-bought cookie dough, stop!

If you’re not rushing to get these ready for a school dance, let the dough chill in the fridge for half an hour.  Then roll out the dough to be about ¼ inch thick (Aunt Elba can get it as thin as 1/8 inch, but she’s a genius).

Use a coffee can to cut the dough into circles.  You’re ready for the next step!

Empanada Filling
1 onion, chopped small
olive oil
fresh garlic (don’t you dare use powder)
chile powder
1 sweet pepper, red or green, chopped small
1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons raisins, soaked in warm water, then drained
3 tablespoons olives
3 chopped tomatoes, fresh, of course!

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add pepper.  When tender, set aside.

In the same pan, fry ground beef until it’s no longer pink, and drain if it’s fatty.  Then add raisins, olives, tomatoes, and the pepper and onions, and let it cook ten minutes or so.  

Make the Empanadas
Put a spoonful of filling onto half of each dough circle.  Moisten the edges, then fold the circles over so that they’re like little half-moon pillows, and press the edges closed with a fork.  Brush with egg white if you want them shiny, or with melted butter if you want them extra tasty!  

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Delicioso!

Dr. Lee Tobin McClain happily divides her time between teaching and writing and finds that the two pursuits enrich each other. She writes romantic suspense, fiction for children and teens, and nonfiction essays and magazine articles. Among her novels are
My Loco Life, My Alternate Life, and Sizzle. Her teaching interests include children's and YA literature, magazine writing, composition, and creative writing. The former Director of the Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program at Seton Hill University, Dr. McClain now mentors graduate students.

Coming Soon!

posted Apr 9, 2011, 6:04 PM by Natalie Duvall

Writers and Recipes will be a spot on Many Genres, One Craft's upcoming virtual book tour (VBT).  Check back in May to read about your favorite author's tasty concoctions!

You'll also want to preorder your copy here.

Christine Edison

posted Oct 12, 2009, 6:13 PM by Natalie Duvall

Christine Edison's Hungarian Roll-Up Pancakes
Editor's Note (via Chris) "My article ran in the Northwest Herald newspaper April 4, 2007, but I've modified it a bit for you."

Hungarian rollup pancakes, also called palacsinta, are similar to Swedish pancakes and slightly greasier than crepes. These were a staple in our household when I was growing up. They’re good for those nights when you haven’t been to the grocery store for a while but need a quick meal, and they’re fairly simple to make.

Here’s my version of my great-grandmother’s recipe. We called her G.G., short for "Great-Grandma."

G.G.’s Hungarian Roll-Up Pancakes
(Makes about 10 pancakes)

Dash of salt
2 cups flour
2 eggs
About 2-1/2 cups milk
Butter or margarine

Heat a large skillet over a medium flame.

Stir together the flour and salt in a large bowl with a whisk. Beat in the eggs and milk until fairly smooth. The batter should run in a thin stream off the whisk, thinner than regular pancake batter. If necessary, add a little more milk at a time until the consistency is right.

Wipe the inside of the skillet with butter or margarine. (You can try using cooking spray, but it’s never worked well in this recipe for me.) Drop a single drop of the batter in the pan – if it starts to bubble, the pan is ready. Put 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the batter in the center of the pan and quickly tilt the pan to coat it with the batter.

The pancake will cook quickly (30 seconds to 1 minute). Watch the pancake’s edge. When it peels away from the bottom and the top of the pancake dries out a little, the pancake is ready to turn.
Use a large spatula, and be careful the pancake doesn’t stick together as you turn it over. Let it cook another 30 seconds or so, then take it out of the pan. Wipe the pan with butter or margarine again before the next pancake.

Warm pancakes in a 200 degree F. oven until ready to serve. (Pancakes can also be refrigerated in plastic wrap and reheated later.) The pancakes are deceptively thin, so eat more than four at one sitting at your peril.

To eat, spread the topping of your choice in a thin layer on the face of the pancake and roll it up. My mom swears by granulated sugar, but I also like them with honey, jam, peanut butter or Nutella. At Epicurean, a Hungarian restaurant in Westchester, Illinois, they are folded in quarters, like a napkin, and served cold with chocolate sauce and whipped cream as a dessert. Recipes on the Internet call for them to be filled with everything from apples to sweetened cottage cheese to sour cherry sauce ... even cabbage, mushrooms or bleu cheese.

Judi Fennell

posted Oct 4, 2009, 5:41 PM by Natalie Duvall

Judi Fennell's Sexy Scallops Scallopini

When the story for In Over Her Head came to me - mermen, a woman terrified of the ocean due to The Incident, Atlantis, talking fish - I just started writing what the characters told me. Live under the sea? Check. Chat with the aquatic neighbors? Check. One big happy town under Bermuda? Check.
The logistics never got in the way. Until I had them all hanging around a table chatting. They're going to eat food, right? Of course they will. I could have made them vegetarians, but really, with all that abundance of sea life, why wouldn't they eat fish? The dilemma came when you realize that they'd be having a conversation with Joe the Grouper one minute, and be dining on him the next. You can see the problem.
So, I had to devise a no-kill zone for Atlantis, yet still manage to feed the masses. In my world, Atlantis has a five mile no-kill radius. Everyone is safe within those parameters. Swim a fin over the line and you're fair game.
But the residents of Atlantis, which is lit by refracted magma off gold walls, bending through the water like a reverse prism to create daylight, have those magma wells available for cooking. So I had a bunch of fun trying to come up with something they would prepare. This little number gets a mention in Wild Blue Under (which comes out November 1) and while Drake complains about it, since they have it every week, it's actually very good.
Here, with a sneak peak of Wild Blue Under, is Drake's take on the food:
"So what are you doing to keep yourself occupied these days, Drake?"
Again, an answer Drake had prepared-with just enough nonchalance that Dad would assume it was real. After all, dear ol' Dad thought he was incompetent, and he didn't want to ruin the image.
Especially now.
Drake waved off the squid who propelled over to him with a plate of shrimp in his tentacles. "I'm working on an underwater writing utensil that will make tablets, urchin spines, and octopi ink obsolete."
            "Hmmph." Nigel bit into another slice. "If it works, we'll have to look into getting you a patent."
             Dad had to preface the statement with "if."
             "If it works," "if you pass," "if you finish..."
             Never "when."
             But now... When this plan worked, he'd be out from under Nigel's thumb and finally get the respect the Mer should have shown him his entire life.
             Drake met his father's gaze across the table through the anemone centerpiece, looking for some sign of approval.
            And just like always, there was none.
            Ha. The old man didn't know what he'd planned. Didn't have a clue what he was up to.
            Not yet.
Because, the thing was, Nigel would probably try to stop him. Oh, the old salt would love to have him on the throne, but not the way Drake was planning to do it. No, apparently getting someone knocked up was an acceptable way to insinuate yourself into the succession lineup, but murder wasn't. Dad was a real stickler for the rules.
Heh. Whatever worked . As long as it did. Then the method wouldn't matter.
            He couldn't wait to show Dad the results. Have him accompany him to the crowning ceremony, then watch Fisher's daughters line up to marry him.
            Watch his father bow before him.
            Drake helped himself to more of the scallops scallopini they had, ad nauseum, every week. Things never changed around here-
            But they were about to.
            Because, come Hades or high tide, there was no way Rod was going to make it back to claim the throne.
           Drake had hired JR to ensure it.
Sexy Scallops Scallopini
** A recipe for the Mer-minded among us. Or anyone who enjoys scallops.

1 lb. sea scallops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 /4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 cup white wine (the sweeter the better)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
Red oak lettuce as garnish

Season scallops with salt, pepper. Arrange washed/dried red oak leaves on a serving plate as a bed. Heat oil in pan. When oil starts to sizzle add scallops. Sear until golden on both sides. Don't overcook. Set aside on bed of lettuce when finished. Add chopped garlic and red peppers to oil. Cook until just before garlic turns golden then add the wine. Simmer 1 minute. Add pineapple and stir to coat. Serve warm pineapple/wine mixture over scallops. **For a salad flair, add thinly slivered almonds and toss with finely shredded oak lettuce as bed. Drizzle fresh pineapple juice mixed with a dash of lemon juice as dressing.


posted Sep 28, 2009, 8:06 PM by Natalie Duvall

Natalie Duvall's Easy Peasy (and Low Cal!) Pumpkin Spice Cake
My original plan for this Tuesday's recipe was to post a great scallops recipe by Judi Fennell.  Unfortunately, I forgot to advertise for this in advance!  So, I'm pushing Judi's recipe back till next week.
What you're getting instead is a recipe from me!  If you know me, you know that my strenghts lie in eating, not in cooking.  My husband does most of our food-making.  I do have one or two tricks up my sleeve, most which are simple, low calorie recipes.  Here's one of the simplest, just in time for fall!
I first heard of this recipe from Judy Endy, the owner of my local Curves.  I slightly modified things (added Cool Whip and cinnamon).
1 box spice cake mix (I prefer either Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker -- mainly because these are the only brands my local stores carry)
1 can pumpkin (I usually buy generic, but that's because I'm frugal)  When I first looked for this, I was very confused as to what to buy.  It looks like a can of smooshed pumpkin.  Libby's is the brand name for a popular canned pumpkin (which is next to the generic I buy).
1 (or more) tub(s) of Cool Whip Lite (Lite tastes better than the fat free kind, and only has about 5 calories more)
Cinnamon to taste
Mix dry spice cake mix with pumpkin.  Spread in a 9x13 pan.  Heat to the specifications on the cake mix box.  Check before you remove from the oven (use the good ole toothpick trick), in case you need to add a bit more time to the baking process.
Yes, that's right, the only thing you used from the cake mix is the actual dry mix!
When cool, dump Cool Whip all over the cake.  Sprinkle cinnamon at will!  This goes great with a tall, cold glass of skim milk.
Do be careful, I heard there's currently a pumpkin pie filling shortage.  http://www.heartlandconnection.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=354685

Since you know what I look like, I'm including the logo of one of my favorite charities (is that an okay thing to say -- favorite charity?).
Come Back Next Tuesday for a scrumptious entree from Judi Fennell!

Deanna Lepsch

posted Sep 21, 2009, 3:21 PM by Natalie Duvall   [ updated Sep 21, 2009, 3:28 PM ]

Deanna Lepsch's Tropical Mojito Fruit Salad
1 Fresh Pineapple, diced
1 Ripe Mango, diced
1 Ripe Papaya, diced
1-2 Large Bananas, sliced
1-2 Honeycrisp Apples, diced
Fresh Mint , 10 leaves
Juice from 3 limes
2 tbsp. rum
1 cup water
1 cup raw or turbinado sugar

1. Soak the mint leaves in the lime juice for half an hour.
2. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and bring to a boil. Reduce
to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, and add rum. Cool to room temperature.
4. Remove the mint leaves, chop, and set aside.
5. Dice the fruit and place in a large bowl - make sure all of the fruit, except the
banana, is chilled.
6. Add the chopped mint to the lime-mint juice, then pour into the fruit bowl.
7. Stir to coat the fruit and drizzle with the rum simple syrup.
8. Chill or serve quickly.
Editor's Note: For a picture and some follow up notes, check out Deanna's blog http://betterthanbasicbetty.blogspot.com/2009/08/tropical-mojito-fruit-salad.html

Monica McCarty

posted Sep 14, 2009, 7:44 PM by Natalie Duvall

Monica McCarty's Easy Angel Hair Pasta

I dug up this recipe from a cookbook I did when my husband was with the Minnesota Twins called
"Home Plate Hits" many years ago: http://www.amazon.ca/Plate-Recipes-Kitchens-Minnesota-

Easy Angel Hair Pasta: (in book called "Can't Miss Angel Hair Pasta")

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (plus 1-2 T. more to taste)
3 cloves garlic, mashed
6 ounces angel hair pasta
8 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan (good quality like reggiano)

1.  Heat 2 T. olive oil in medium saucepan.  Add garlic.  Turn heat to low and cook for a few minutes
until golden brown.

2.  Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water.  About one minute before pasta is done, add
tomatoes and basic to garlic and olive oil.  Stir well.

3.  Drain pasta and toss with tomato mixture.  Add olive oil to taste.  Serve sprinkled with parmesan.

Serves 2 as main dish or 4 as a side.

Great with sourdough bread.  You can substitute shallots for garlic.  Great also with shrimp.

Lee Allen Howard

posted Sep 7, 2009, 7:32 PM by Natalie Duvall   [ updated Sep 7, 2009, 7:47 PM ]

Lee Allen Howard's Easy Marinara Sauce
Easy Marinara Sauce
Makes about 3 cups of sauce.
2 large garlic cloves, smashed or minced (I use 1 tsp. minced garlic from a jar -- hey, I'm a bachelor!)
1/4 c. (or less) extra virgin olive oil (that is, if you have a spare virgin on hand)
1 28-oz. can Italian chopped tomatoes
1 small shallot, peeled and diced (or half a small onion. Or skip it altogether.)
1 tsp. sugar, to taste
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
8-10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces (be sure to smell your fingers all evening)
In a large skillet:
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic, about 1 minute.
2. Add the diced shallot and cook another 3 minutes. Do not overbrown the garlic.
3. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper.
4. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.
5. Stir in the basil leaves.
Serve over pasta. My favorite spaghetti noodles are Barilla. Be sure to cook them in filtered or spring water with adequate salt.
Enjoy, but try not to get sauce on your manuscript!

Shelley Adina

posted Aug 24, 2009, 7:34 PM by Natalie Duvall

Shelley Adina's Slapdash Risotto
OK, here's the easiest risotto recipe I've ever used. It may be simple, but even finicky teenagers like it :)

1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 glass dry white wine
1 14-oz can chicken broth
3/4 cup arborio rice
Grated asiago cheese

Saute shallots in butter and oil until golden. Add rice and saute
until lightly browned (2 minutes). Add wine and cook until absorbed (1-2 minutes). Add half of broth a little at a time; rice will absorb it as it cooks. Then add remainder of broth all at once and bring to boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender (around 20 minutes). Sprinkle generously with parmesan or asiago cheese and serve. Serves 2.

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