“You promised no one would make me eat haggis” #MySexySaturday

293a6-headerforlynn_sexysaturdayThis week’s My Sexy Saturday theme is Our Sexy Thanksgiving, celebrating love and family. My excerpt cheats a little, as it talks about a feast for St. Andrew’s Day, which is observed Nov. 30. The heroine, Chloe, is visiting her boyfriend’s family in Scotland. Roberto is Jorge’s uncle and Adam is his brother. The just finished discussing a mysterious website related to shape-shifters. Roberto and Jorge are both shape-shifters. This snippet is from To Growl or to Groan, the second book in my Hidden Lines trilogy.

Roberto smiles at me. “I say we don’t worry about it. Tomorrow is St. Andrew’s Day and we’ll celebrate. Have you had haggis before, Chloe?”

I wrinkle my nose and turn to Jorge. “You promised no one would make me eat haggis.”

They all laugh, the Web site momentarily left to rest.

Jorge winks at me. “No one will make you eat it. I never said it wouldn’t be served. You might like white pudding better. And there will be plenty of neeps and tatties.”

“I can do turnips and potatoes. And white pudding doesn’t sound nearly as gross as haggis. Organ meats are not my thing.”

Adam snorts. “No one said there wouldn’t be plenty of leftover haggis, either. I think Dad’s the only one who actually eats it.”

We all have a good laugh before heading to bed.

Right now the first book in the trilogy, To Hiss or to Kiss, is only 99 cents. Books two and three are each only $2.99!

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Wednesday Words: Sour Cream

Since this is the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and this holiday is centered around food, I thought I’d share one of my favorite cookie recipes. This is a classic that my family has made for a long time. According to my search on the Internet, this recipe first appeared in Family Circle some 40 years ago. I found the exact recipe my mom gave me on Food.com.

The key ingredient is sour cream. I often have sour cream left over from Mexican dinners at my house, and it’s actually a wonderful ingredient for baked good to make them soft.

Sour Cream Softies

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (8 ounce carton)
  • cinnamon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Measure flour, salt, baking powder, and soda into a sifter.
  2. Cream butter or margarine with sugar until well blended in a large bowl: beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift in flour mixture, adding alternately with sour cream to make a thick batter.
  4. Drop by by rounded Tablespoonfuls, 4 inches apart, on greased cookie sheets; spread into 2 inch rounds; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. [I generally don’t bother to flatten them and they come out just fine as a regular drop cookie does.]
  5. Bake in hot oven (400°F) 12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. [Although I find 10 minutes is good enough for me, as I like them not very browned on the bottom.]
  6. Remove from cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks.

Thanksgiving with a Hungarian Twist

The finished plate of food. Sweet potato pie will come later.

I like to make nontraditional food for Thanksgiving. This year, I opted to make Chicken Paprikash (csirke paprikas) and soft dumplings (galuska). And for tradition’s sake, I also made mashed potatoes and stuffing. We paired our dinner with one of the few Hungarian wines available in the U.S.: Bull’s Blood.

Bull’s Blood is a wine that definitely benefits from decanting.

I fell in love with Hungarian food while visiting the country in the late 1990s. I came home and searched for a Hungarian cookbook. I found The Hungarian Cookbook by Susan Derecskey.

Here’s my slightly adapted version for Chicken Paprikash.

    • 2-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken
    • 2 T. olive oil
    • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock

Galuska (pronounced gah-loosh-kah)

  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut in 1/2″ strips
  • 3/4 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

Chicken Paprikash

Measure out sour cream and put it in a small bowl so it can begin to warm up. Wash and dry each piece of chicken and set aside. In large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Lightly saute each piece of chicken so that it has a slightly yellowed color on each side. Set aside. Add 1/4 c. chicken stock and use it to pull up any bits that may be stuck to the pan (of course, if you use teflon-coated, you won’t have anything to scrape up). Then stir in salt and paprika. Lay chicken as flat as possible in as close to a single layer as you can. Add chicken stock if needed to cover chicken halfway. Lay peppers and tomato on top of chicken. Cover. Simmer 15 min. Turn the chicken and simmer for another 15 minutes. Take about  two tablespoons of the cooking liquid and stir it into the sour cream, then fold the sour cream mixture into the frying pan.

This is best served over soft dumplings or spaetzle.