Helen Murray’s Homemade Chicken Soup

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Helen Murray, first appearing as a client and then a warrior in my horror novel Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1, has become in Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2, a full member of this society. Originally, I had envisioned this series to be three books, each featuring one of three older gentleman who made up the group, but now there will be a fourth book, and that will focus on Helen.

Continuing with my exploration of the characters’ love of food, I will offer Helen’s homemade chicken soup, a simple, but delicious, meal.

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It begins with a baked turkey!  After cooking and enjoying the bird, Helen carves all the meat, leaving only the bones.  Then she makes her own stock.  She places the bones in a large stock pan, adds carrots, onions, curly parsley, celery, and any other vegetables she might have handy.  Then she adds water close to the top of the stock pot and brings the water to a boil. She turns it to a simmer and lets it cook  for 8-9 hours. After it is finished, Helen carefully removes the vegetables and bones and strains the broth and stores it in the refrigerator over night.

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The next day Helen makes the soup!

INGREDIENTS: (all of these ingredients are included by choice, except the stock and chicken. Use the amounts you desire)

*turkey stock

*boneless chicken thighs (1-2 pounds)

*carrots

*corn

*green beans

*other vegetables as desired

*1 lb bag of wide noodles

*black pepper and salt (as desired)

*dill weed

*touch of paprika

Process:

Combine ingredients into stock, except for noodles.

Heat slowly for several hours.

Season to taste.

With approximately 10-15 minutes to go, add noodles (if desired).

Serve and enjoy with good bread!

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Please remember to recognize the positives and the blessings in your lives.

Enjoy your feasts, your gatherings, and your traditions. And please remember to give thanks to those who help us in many ways. So many are away from home, friends, and family, and we should all give them a moment of thanks.

Please try to remember those who are less fortunate, and try to find some kindness and to continue to spread it throughout the year.

To my friends and family–thank you!

Roosevelt’s Cheeseburgers and Panfried Veggies

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Roosevelt Franklin, the protagonist of my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, in many ways is a sophisticated man. He has expensive tastes in British tailored suits, fine cigars, and the best single malt Scotch whisky. He is not, however, a food snob.  His beloved wife, Sarah, was an excellent cook and often prepared elegant meals for Roosevelt.  Sarah died a few years before the beginning of the book, and Roosevelt honors her memory by not attempting to make those meals for himself. Now, he prefers simpler fare, even if it is not always the healthiest.

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(Photo by Liz French)

One of his favorite meals now is panfried veggies and cheeseburgers.

The Recipe:

Roosevelt emphasizes that, if possible, to use cast iron pans for the frying.

Ingredients:

One pound ground beef, preferably 80/20 mixture.

Cheese–American, cheddar, or Swiss.

Two to three large red potatoes.

One large sweet onion.

4-5 carrots.

One tomato.

One bell pepper.

One egg.

Ground pepper.

Sea salt.

Worcestershire sauce.

Paprika.

Dill.

*Clean and cut potatoes and carrots into irregular small pieces.

*Briefly steam the carrots and potatoes to soften them.

*Dice the bell pepper, tomato, and onion.

*Preheat two cast iron skillets to medium.

*Lightly coat one with olive oil or vegetable oil (this pan is for the veggies.)

*As pans are heating, mix the groundbeef with an egg and Worcestershire sauce. Season mixture with pepper and sea salt.

*Form into patties, as large or small as desired.

*Place patties into heated pan. Allow to sear on both sides.

*Add all veggies into other hot skillet.

*Season with pepper, sea salt, paprika, and dill.

*After about 5 minutes, reduce heat. Turn veggies ever 5 minutes or so to prevent burning. Add more oil if needed.

*If needed, reduce heat for hamburgers. Depending on their size and the preference for level of being cooked, it could take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to cook, so keep a careful eye on them.

*When close to being finished, add cheese and cover, so the cheese melts completely.

*Serve either on a plate or hamburger rolls. Add whatever condiments are desired.

Enjoy!

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(Photo by Liz French)

 

 

Roosevelt’s Bread Pudding With Whiskey Sauce

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As an affirmed anglophile, and a would be British country gentleman, even though he is a proud American, Theodore Roosevelt Franklin, the protagonist of my horror novel, Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, loves some traditional British foods, but he always puts his own touches to the recipes.

One of his favorite desserts is bread pudding with a whiskey sauce, in this case a bourbon sauce. While not a baker, this is a dish he has learned to make to his taste.

Ingredients: (Roosevelt emphasizes that if you make this dish, adjust the ingredients according to your tastes.)

For the bread pudding:

4 cups stale French or Italian bread, cut in small, irregular pieces

2 & 1/2 cups milk

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla (extract is fine to use)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4-5 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup raisins

For the Bourbon Sauce:

1 stick butter

2 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/3-1/2 cup bourbon whiskey, depending on how strong you want the sauce to be

How to make the bread pudding:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a big mixing bowl, combine milk and the bread. Squeeze the bread until completely saturated with the milk.

Use another mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar on a high speed (use electric mixer) until thick.  Add the vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, and butter, and stir together thoroughly.  Then add the bread to the mix and stir.

Next, let the mixture sit for around 10-15 minutes so there will be no separation during the baking. Roosevelt made this mistake the first time he tried the dish, and the result was not good.

Grease a baking dish (a spray also works well), and pour the entire mixture into the dish.

Bake about 45-55 minutes.  Check with a butter knife to see if done. Insert into the middle, and examine when taking it out. If the knife is clean, it is done.

Let it sit while preparing the bourbon sauce.

How to make the bourbon sauce:

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are thick. Melt the butter along with the sugar. Add the mixture to the egg yolks, and mix until thickened. Stir in the bourbon with a wooden spoon.

Serve by cutting pieces into a bowl, and pour  an ample amount of the sauce onto the bread pudding.

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Roosevelt usually eats his dessert with a glass of bourbon and a good cigar.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

 

 

Sam’s Chicken Paprikash

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It has been a while since I have talked about the characters from my horror novel Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1. Sam Sadlowski is one of three founding members of the IPS, the Investigative Paranormal Society, a ghost and supernatural investigation group, that is central to my book.

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Sam is a retired homicide detective and an avid cook.  But he doesn’t do any of “that high-class stuff served on a plate too large and a portion too small,” as he would say. A proud descendant of Polish and Hungarians, he loved the peasant food he grew up with. He loves hearty food and plenty of it.

One of his favorite foods was a meal his mother made often when he was growing up.  Here is his version of Chicken Paprikash:

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(Photo By Liz French, 2016)

Ingredients:

2 pounds chicken, either breast or thighs

2 green bell peppers

2 large onions

1 pound button mushrooms

1 can crushed tomatoes

paprika — regular or hot depending on the level of desired heat

fresh ground black pepper

garlic

pinch of salt (optional)

sour cream

either dumplings or wide noodles

To prepare:

Use a large dutch oven, preferably of cast iron.

Boil the chicken for a few minutes to begin the cooking process, then transfer to the dutch oven that has a hot layer of cooking oil in it that has been heavily coated with paprika, so that the oil looks red.  Be sure to pat the chicken dry first with a paper towel to avoid oil splattering.

While the chicken is searing, on both sides, chop the peppers and onions. Clean the mushrooms with cold water and a paper towel.

After the chicken is seared, turn the heat to low or simmer.

Add the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Add the seasoning.

Add the crushed tomatoes.

Add two-four tablespoons sour cream, and mix completely.

Let simmer in the dutch oven for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.

Cook the noodles or dumplings.

To Serve:

Serve over noodles or dumplings in a large bowl.

Slick thick pieces of good bread to place on the side.

Sam prefers to drink Hungarian red wine: egri bikaver, which translates loosely as “bull’s blood” with the meal.

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If you enjoy hearty meals, give this a try. You will probably enjoy Sam’s recipe.

 

 

 

Patrick’s Smashed Potatoes

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This post continues a series of posts I have done featuring recipes from characters from my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. Patrick Franklin, along with his twin brother Michael, is a secondary, but important, character in this book. He is a retired Marine Corps Officer who fought in the first battle of Fallujah in 2004 in the Iraqi War. He is the protagonist’s—Roosevelt Theodore Franklin—nephew and a strong supporting element in the story.

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Like his uncle, Patrick prefers rustic and basic meals to that of haute cuisine. One of his favorite is what he calls smashed potatoes.

The recipe: (intended to feed 8-10 people at a large meal)
5 pounds of red potatoes
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
fresh paprika
fresh dill
fresh black pepper
coarse sea salt

*Rinse, clean, but do not peel the potatoes. Cut away any bad spots.
*Cut the potatoes into small irregular pieces.
*Boil in dutch oven until fork tender.
*Drain and rinse potatoes.
*Place in mixing bowl.
*Add the rest of the ingredients.
*Using a hand masher, not a mixer—Patrick says too much air is incorporated, which makes the potatoes look pretty, but they lose some flavor. He is not a believer in the phrase “we eat first with our eyes.” Like his uncle, he believes we first notice smell, then we taste the food. Its appearance is irrelevant. Mix with the hand masher until blended together and serve hot. If desired, serve with gravy.

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Enjoy!!

Helen Murray’s Peanut Butter Cookies

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I have shared some recipes from the three gentlemen who make up the ghost hunting group in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. These are the main characters in my novel, but there are other very important people also, and they will also share recipes with you.   Today, I wanted to offer a baking recipe from Helen Murray.

Helen Murray, one of the main secondary characters, is a high school history teacher and the guardian of her niece Helena who was named for her.  Helen became the child’s guardian when her sister and brother-in-law were killed by a drunk driver.  The child was an infant when this tragedy occurred, so she has grown to the age of 5 thinking of Helen as her mother.  One of the tasks involved with caring for the little girl that Helen embraced was baking.  Previously, she had done very little of it, but after gaining the responsibility for taking care of this little girl, whom she loved, she found a passion for baking.

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One of her simple recipes is also one of Helena’s favorite treats: Helen’s peanut butter cookies.

1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)

1/2 cup butter–softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean if adventurous)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Put peanut butter and butter into mixing bowl. Use medium speed, and beat until the mixture is smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Add sugar, egg and vanilla.  Use medium speed, and beat about another minute.  Scrape bowl and combine together.

Add all the other ingredients for about 1 more minute of beating.  Roll the dough into one inch balls.  Press flat with a fork into a criss-cross pattern.

Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.  In Helen’s oven, that takes about 10 minutes.  It could vary by a few minutes.  Remove from baking sheets and let cool. This recipe will make about 33-37 cookies.

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As an extra treat, Helen sometimes will dip half the cookie in melted chocolate and add rainbow sprinkles and let them cool.

Helena always loves these!

More recipes from characters to come in the future.