That isn’t to say that over the years I haven’t stolen – er-- developed a few dishes that I cook well and often. I have a very fancy Cornish Hen recipe on a bed of spinach with a cranberry glaze and cous-cous, and if you beg, I’ll give you the recipe. I also have a recipe, allegedly from Bon Appetit, for the best Caponata you’ve ever put in your mouth.
But in the spirit of keeping it real, and, more important, easy, I’d like to share one of my favorite dishes that you can literally throw together in minutes for family or guests.
¼ cup flour for coating
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp oregano
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup Marsala wine
¼ cup cooking sherry
Chicken pieces (up to 8)
Combine spices and flour. Coat chicken on both sides.
Melt butter and olive oil in fry pan. Brown chicken on both sides. Add mushrooms, liquids. Simmer on stovetop 15 mins or to taste
Serve with pasta or whatever
Speaking of Chicken…
There just happens to be a significant scene in SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE that involves cooking fried chicken. For those of you who don’t know, STNOF is my 7th novel and first stand-alone thriller. It’s set mostly in the present but the middle section goes back to the late Sixties, when 6 activists lived together in Chicago’s Old Town. One of the young women is from a wealthy family and has never cooked before, so the other young woman is teaching her how to fry chicken, and, at the same time, raise her political consciousness.
Here’s the excerpt…
The chicken crackled, sending a hearty aroma through the apartment. Alix was draining a few pieces on paper towels when Rain said, “Alix, we need to talk.”
Rain turned from the stove. “Have you ever wondered why we’re the ones always cooking and cleaning, and the guys don’t...”
“That’s just the way it is.”
“Well, it shouldn’t be.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve been organizing down at The Seed.”
“A women’s caucus. We do all the grunt work. But men make the decisions and take the credit. That has to change.”
Alix reached for the spatula. “What does a women’s caucus do?”
“It will start to raise consciousness that women are just as oppressed as—the blacks, say—and need to be liberated.”
“Oh, come on, Rain. Black people and women are equally oppressed?”
“Come on, you. Who’s in the kitchen frying chicken? Do you see any of the men helping? We aren’t much more than cooks to them. Or wombs.”
“You can’t change biology.”
“Biology gave us brains as well as vaginas. We are half the population. Have you ever thought what the world would be like if women had an equal voice? We need to create our own power base.”
After a pause Alix said, “I don’t know, Rain. You know I’m not political.”
Rain’s glasses reflected the light, making them sparkle. “This isn’t politics. It’s survival.”
“I just don’t know. Between Billy, and the jewelry, and Dar . . . ”
From the living room, Billy coughed again. Alix stiffened.
Rain turned back to the frying pan. “Oh, never mind. You’re hopeless.”
Btw, that really happened. I hope it resonated with you. And thanks, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for having me!
Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. During the Christmas holidays she returns from running errands to find her family home in flames, her father and brother trapped inside. Later, she is attacked by a mysterious man on a motorcycle. . . and the threats don't end there. As Lila desperately tries to piece together who is after her and why, she uncovers information about her father's past in Chicago during the volatile days of the late 1960s . . . information he never shared with her, but now threatens to destroy her. Part thriller, part historical novel, and part love story, Set the Night on Fire paints an unforgettable portrait of Chicago during a turbulent time: the riots at the Democratic Convention . . . the struggle for power between the Black Panthers and SDS . . . and a group of young idealists who tried to change the world.
"A tremendous book - sweeping but intimate, elegiac but urgent, subtle but intense. This story really does set the night on fire." --Lee Child
"A brilliantly-paced thriller, transitioning seamlessly from modern-day Chicago to the late '60s. First-rate characterization...Best to start early in the day, as it is easy to stay up all night reading it." --Foreword Magazine
"RT Top Pick for December: "Electric... a marvelous novel."
--RT Book Reviews
"Set the Night on Fire is a compelling story of love, truth and redemption. This will be a break-out novel for this talented writer. Highly recommended." --Sheldon Siegel, NYTImes bestselling author of Perfect Alibi
"A top-rate thriller that taps into the antiwar protests of the 1960s... A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman's insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history."
(There are an additional 20 reviews on Amazon)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Libby Fischer Hellmann is the award-winning author of four Ellie Foreman mysteries and two Georgia Davis mystery-thrillers, as well as the two volume short story collection, Nice Girl Does Noir. She also edited the highly praised crime fiction anthology, Chicago Blues. She has lived in the Chicago area for over thirty years. Set the Night on Fire is her first stand-alone novel. More at http://libbyhellmann.com