Friday, January 22, 2010

Cold Day Soup by the "Brooklyn Knight" C.J. Henderson

Piers Knight—SWM, over 30, enjoys sushi, works in a the world’s only chance for survival...

Please welcome my friend and fellow foodie, the multi-published SF, paranormal, and mystery author C.J. Henderson. Tor books has just launched C.J.'s fantastic new paranormal urban mystery series: Brooklyn Knight. (You don't have to take my word for it. Check out the praise below.) ~ Cleo Coyle
Library Journal: "...Henderson revives the fast-paced action and smart, quippy dialog of the best pulp fiction in his urban fantasy debut, which features a truly likable hero, a resourceful and surprising heroine, and a plot that combines wizardly battles with today's headlines."

Hugo Award Winner Mike Resnick: "Brooklyn Knight is everything a thrilling old-time pulp adventure should be, but told with thoroughly modern skills. As urban fantasies go, Brooklyn Knight is as breathlessly exciting as they come."

William Shatner: "C.J. and I have worked together before on a series of books called MAN O’ WAR. I know his expertise, his storytelling ability and love of words. I believe you will enjoy this book every bit as much as I enjoyed working with him."

Hello, all, C.J. Henderson here. Since I've always seemed to have put eating scenes into my novels, this web site is just the perfect place for me. It's a wonderful idea, but for a moment I was a bit worried when I was invited to share a recipe from my latest book to hit the stores, Brooklyn Knight. This is the first book in a new series, and I don't really know the characters yet the way I do in some of my longer running series. Since the two main characters meet for the first time here, they take most of their meals in restaurants. What to do? Luckily, I remembered that this book does have one home-cooked scene in it...
Piers Knight is a touch older, a curator at the Brooklyn Museum and a long-time New York City resident. He initiates most of the eating in the story, and apparently he likes to eat out. But, his new assistant, Bridget Elkins, is a small town girl from Montana. When it falls to her to raid Knight's fridge and try to find something for them to eat, she makes soup. And, from what she says in the book, I know she's making a favorite of my family, one they insist on every other week in the fall.

Now, for those of you that end up reading the book, Ms. Elkins is like a lot of cooks. She doesn't mention one of the main ingredients. But, you know how it is when you want to impress someone with your cooking. However, no such tricks will follow. Here, for the first time ever, I present the full and complete recipe for...

Cold Day Soup


Turkey or Chicken (note: we're talking bones, leftover scraps, feet and butts and all the stuff that's still on the cutting board after chopping or still on the platter after a meal. Remember, dried out, tough scraps of meat left on bones make great soup)

Ham (note: same as above. Yes, you can go to the store and just grab a slice, or you can use the bone or the shank from some dinner where you put out a whole ham) Amount of meat left up to chef. For me, the more bones, the better.

3 pounds Potatoes (dealer's choice. Eastern potatoes are the safest. If you like something better, you can't hurt this soup by changing the type of potatoes)
1 head Celery
2 pounds Onions
1 small head Cabbage
2 pounds Carrots


NOTE: First off, understand that all quantities above can be raised or lowered without substantially altering the taste. 5 pounds of potatoes instead of three and only half a head of cabbage ... makes very little difference. This is a "grandma" soup, the kind of thing that you make out of what you have. The work here is not so much in the preparation as it is in the endurance of cooking to completion.

(1) First, in the biggest pot (or two) you have, get your bones and meat inside, covered with water, and get them to boiling. It takes a good while to soften and loosen all the meat on the bones, and certainly a while to start dragging the flavor of the marrow out of the bones. So, meat in pot, water on meat, pot on stove and let the simmering commence.

(2) Second, at your leisure, it's time to clean and chop the vegetables. You can easily let the meat slow boil for an hour before you throw in the rest. The cabbage is the hardest to get to break down after the meat, so it should go in first. After that, it's as-you-like-it.

(3) You're not going to be serving the veggies with the soup, this is mostly a broth only dish, so size of chunks is up to you. Your job is to get the water and the meat/bones simmering. Then, you clean and peel and chop and throw in the veggies. After that, the waiting game begins. Once the soup has everything inside and has come to a boil once more, turn down the fire to where it will keep a mild boil going, and then let it sit and cook. Check it every twenty, thirty minutes. Stir, see what's happening in the pot. After two hours a lot of juice should have boiled away. Let the soup cool a while, because you're going to have to take a spoon and get the grease off the top. It's the ham. It's going to leave too much grease floating on top for most people. So, you'll take a spoon and, as it begins to congeal on the top, you'll get it out of there before it ends up in your family's bowls.

After that, it just heat and serve. And, salt to taste (or let folks do it at the table--you know how salt conscious everyone is these days)

And, here's that next day note: If you're willing to do the work, once all those left-over soup stuff has cooled, go through it and pull out the potatoes and the meat. The meat will be soft and filled with good soup juice. Throw the cabbage, onions and carrots away because they'll be too mushy to be of any good. But, the meat and potatoes will fry up into something that, with a little salt and pepper will make everyone happy.

Thanks again for joining us today, C.J.! To find out more about C.J., his new series Brooklyn Knight, or his other books, visit his official web site by clicking here.

Our Iron Chef Contest Continues! Send us your idea for our next "Secret Ingredient" and you could win a great prize! Send your suggestions to One entry allowed per person, per day. The winner will be chosen among blog followers only, so if you're not following yet, be sure to click one of the "follow" buttons in the right column. We'll be choosing the next winner very soon! ~Cleo

Comments for C.J. Welcome!


  1. Welcome, C.J.! I've been very curious about urban fantasy (I love the idea of having an everyday setting and then introducing the fantastic!) I'm putting your book on my TBR list.

    Since we're having a cold day here in NC, Cold Day soup sounds brilliant! Thanks for choosing to share Ms. Elkins' secret recipe here.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Welcome, C.J.! I'm a big urban fantasy fan, so I'll be checking out your book.

    And, ladies? Turnabout is fair play. I've presented you with an award. Hope you can stop by and pick it up. Lesa -

  3. Welcome, CJ! I can tell you're dealing with very cold weather like I am. Your soup sounds perfect for a hearty meal on a bitterly cold day. But I do have a question. What do you mean when you say "Eastern potatoes are the safest"?

    ~ Krista

  4. I woke up feeling cold this morning, so this soup sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing and introducing me to a new series.

  5. CJ- You had me at turkey butts! LOL.
    I can't wait to read your novel (I love
    Urban fantasy -- especially in a series) and make your soup. It's another cold and rainy day here in AZ, so this is perfect. Thanks
    for popping in!

  6. To Elizabet/Riley:

    Cold here in NYC, but it's supposed to be cold here. Still, one of my favorite publishers is Marietta, down in GA, and they've been having as much snow and ice and cold as us Yankees, so ... fingers crossed for all of us.

    Glad to see the right-thinking over curiosity concerning urban fantasy is spreading (of course, I could be prejudiced on the subject). For an example, if you go over my website,, you'll always find free short stories. Sadly, my webmistress doesn't have a Piers Knight story posted (maybe I should remedy that), but if you check out "The Gardener," you'll get a nice moody introduction to the genre with an HP Lovecraft twist.

    As for the soup, oh yeah, it's yummy. My mother-in-law (who is Chinese) and I actually created it decades ago. Our traditional Christmas ham was finished, we still had half our Thanksgiving turkey bones in the freezer, someone wanted soup and ... well ... you know the rest. Now it's a Henderson household favorite that not only gets made several times a year, but allows mom to get more ham (her favorite American treat) and me more turkey (my favorite fowl).

    And now that I've rambled on for far too long, perhaps I should bend someone else's ear for a while.

  7. To Lesa:

    Could I interest you in a signed copy of a galley proof? Or are you as in love with the cover as I am? Although I've been putting food scenes into my novels and short stories for decades, I didn't know a thing about what appears to be an almost overwhelming interest on the part of readers in such things. I just thought it was a weird quirk of mine. But, after Cleo introduced to me to all of this, I'm very excited. It was great fun to get to write up the entry for the blog. Being such a novice to this, I didn't even realize I'd then get a chance to talk to people about it.

    Anyway, I do chatter on, so let me just say "thanks" for your interest in urban fantasy, and especially mine, and then shut up. I find I make more friends that way.

  8. To Krista:

    Sorry ... you can tell who likes to cook but has never had to write out very many recipes before.

    Eastern potatoes are simply good, solid potatoes for soup. They hold together well enough so that afterward, if you don't want to throw them out with the veggies that have liquified, you can grab them and the meat (and sometimes the carrots) and make a nice fried side for lunch.

    By "safest," I just meant the potato most likely to please all around. The mighty Idaho is good, too, but more expensive, and the extra price doesn't mean extra goodness.

    Other potatoes will "probably" work just as well, but I've never used them, and so don't know for sure, so that makes Easterns "safe."

    Sorry for the confusion.

  9. To Janel:

    It IS a good soup for a cold day. Does take a long time to prepare. Big as our family is, we actually make 2 pots at the same time so that once it's simmered long enough to really taste great, we have one full pot.


  10. Just dropping by to say thank you again to CJ for guest blogging with us Mystery Writing Cooks today!

    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  11. To Jenn:

    I've been trying for some time to write a comment back to you, but the internet is working hard to keep us apart. I just wanted to say "thank you" for your comment. This is all new to me so I suppose I'm doing something wrong, but ... it let me get the first bunch up, but refuses to let me get through once more.

    Oh well, I shall try again. And if I fail, I will try again, because all of you have made me feel great by commenting, and you should all get your own "thank you" for making this a great day for me personally.

  12. Thanks, CJ! I live in Virginia but I've never seen potatoes labeled Eastern. Maybe they like to fool us by making us all think Idaho Potatoes are best? ;-) I thought maybe Eastern Potatoes were something special. I love Yukon Golds for mashed potatoes. Somehow, though, I bet they don't come from the Yukon!

    Great to have you with us today!

    ~ Krista

  13. To Krista--

    Huh. I've been a PA/NY dweller all my life, and the five pound bags next to the Idahos were always labeled simply "Eastern." So, of course, being as blindered as the next guy, I just assumed they were everywhere. Well, that's the good thing about being a writer, you learn something new every day.

    Thanks again.

  14. What a wonderful recipe! I can't wait to try this one. It's so... authentic, and I love all the fresh ingredients. Yum! Thanks for joining us here, CJ!


  15. To Julie---

    My pleasure to be here. This was a load of fun. I just got done serving dinner (with a Chinese family, an American cook has to be on his toes). Roasted, skinless chicken, baked potatoes, bisquits and baked carrots. I got thumbs up all around. Tonight's secret? I saved the extra garlic bread spread from the other night (simply equal portion margarine and butter with both a LOT of chopped garlic and garlic powder) for just such an event. Using that as the yum factor for the carrots and chicken gave them an edge they never had with just margarine and butter. Since the carrots were baked in a covered dish, they really benefitted big time.

    Yeah, I like to cook with as much fresh stuff as I can as well.

    Nice to hear from you. Thanks for helping to make my first time here seem really cool!

  16. Will have to look for your book as it sounds right up my alley. Appreciate a good read and a good soup.

    Soup looks excellent, just so hearty and comforting. I knew immediately what you meant Eastern potatoes, but it's probably because I'm from the East, grins.

    Well done!

  17. To Katy---

    Well, I certainly hope you like the book and the soup. And by the way, if you read the book or make the soup, I'd love to hear the results. My website is There are free short stories to read there, and I answer all my mail ... especially when it's food related.