Sarah’s Quiche Lorraine– Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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Sarah Franklin, Roosevelt’s deceased and beloved wife, in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I was an excellent and accomplished cook.  In some ways, besides being a horror novel, this is also a love story about a man who so loved his wife that even years after her death, he has not stopped grieving for her or loving her.  He still wears their wedding band, and he still misses her every day when he wakes up in an empty bed.

Sarah enjoyed cooking for him and making dishes that he would never have attempted himself. One of his favorites was her Quiche Lorraine.  This is Sarah’s version of a traditional dish. Her recipe follows:

*Use either a premade 9 inch pastry dough, or make it from scratch.

Ingredients for crust:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/3 cup shortening

– pinch of salt

– 3 tablespoons cold water

Directions for crust:

Mix salt and flour in a bowl. Add the shortening, using a pastry blender, until the pieces  are the size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork until all flour is moistened

Shape the flour into a single ball. Then, form it into a flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until the dough is firm and cold but still malleable.

Preheat oven to 425° F. With floured rolling pin, roll the pastry into a round form 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch quiche dish or glass pie plate. Fold the pastry into fourths; place into dish. Press against bottom and side.

Line the pastry with a double thickness of foil.  Press the foil gently onto the side and bottom of the pastry. Let the foil extend over edge of pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil, and bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until pastry just begins to brown and has become set. If the crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon.

After the piecrust has been made,

Ingredients for the Quiche:

– 12 slices of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled

– 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

– 1/3 cup chopped scallions

– 1 and 3/4 cups light cream

– ¼ teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper

– ½ teaspoon salt

– ½ teaspoon sugar

– 4 eggs

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 425°

– Whisk eggs slightly, then add remaining ingredients, and whisk a bit more.

– pour mixture into pie pan

– bake for 15 minutes at 425°

– reduce oven heat to 300°

– bake additional 30 minutes

– the Quiche is ready when a butter knife is inserted into the center and comes out clean

– let the Quiche stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!!

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(photos courtesy of Liz French)

 

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

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Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

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Paris

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I am in deep shock and horror at the attacks in Paris.  My thoughts and prayers are with all in France after this horrific and nearly unbelievable event.  This was an act of evil.

My deepest condolences to everyone who was affected. I stand with France.

Best TV Shows of the 1950s and 1960s—Part Two: Star Trek

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I am continuing the series I began about what I consider to be the best TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s and representative example episodes of those shows. For this post, I am going to talk about Star Trek, the original version, which ran from 1966-1969. I will be dating myself, but this show ran when I had just become a young teenager, and it had huge influence on me.

I remember looking forward all week to the next episode and wondering what that week’s episode would be about.  Star Trek was filled with what were, at the time, wonderful special effects, but much more than that, great stories and deeply developed characters.

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I have many episodes that I think were very good, but one, in particular, stands out as excellent: “City On The Edge Of Forever.” It was written by the noted science-fiction author Harlan Ellison and ran towards the end of the first season. It dealt with time travel and insanity, which were always good themes for science-fiction, but it also dealt with an issue that continues to confront our society: what does someone do when seeing the existence of evil? Do they act at the risk of enormous sacrifice, or ignore it? Other questions also emerge from the show: what matters more—the fate of an individual or of society? How do we judge what is necessary to do in a difficult ethical situation? And where is the place of love in our world? These are very heady issues for a young teenager to struggle with; in fact, they continue to influence my thinking and my writing.  It was also a series that infused hope, optimism, and humanism in its message, the idea that humanity can improve itself but always with struggle.

I am wondering: did you like the original Star Trek series, and if so, what episode was your favorite?

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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.

Samuel Sadlowski—Hidden Grief

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In Maledicus Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, my horror novel, the protagonist Roosevelt Franklin, along with two very close friends formed a ghost hunting group. In a previous post, I gave some background information on Roosevelt, and I will give more in the future, but I want to turn my attention in this and future posts to his friends.

In today’s post, I will speak about Samuel Sadlowski, a retired homicide detective. Sam, as he prefers to be called, is a short, stout, balding man. In his youth, he kept in excellent physical shape, but in his older years, he has let his physical well-being deteriorate. He eats as much junk food as he can, and loves to drink beer. His seeming self-destructive physical choices are, in some ways, a reflection of his inner turmoil.

Like the other two men in the ghost-hunting group, he has had someone very close to him die, and it has had huge impact on his life. Sam’s son, Josh committed suicide when he was 16, and Sam never found a reason why the boy did it. Despite being an experienced homicide detective, Sam never discovered anything, any kind of clue, which pointed to a rational for this terrible action.

Of course, like others who had been friends or family of a suicide, Sam blames himself for his son’s death. He thinks that there must have been some indicator of a problem that he should have seen. So, Sam carries this grief and blame deep in his soul, and it drives him to try to find answers to the question: is there life after death?

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Roosevelt’s and Sam’s friendship originated in the cauldron of the Vietnam War, when Roosevelt served as a 2nd Lieutenant and Sam was a Sergeant in his unit. The central experience of the war for them was the Tet Offensive, a massive attack launched by the North Vietnamese on the South, in an attempt to take the country. The two men fought together and saved each others’ lives several times.

Even though they came from vastly different backgrounds, Roosevelt from old upper-class and Sam from the working-class, their friendship was bonded in an unbreakable forge of life’s greatest perils. And they maintained that friendship over the course of many decades.

In another post about Sam, I will write about his hidden love of art.

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(Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh 1889)

Response to Evil

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Maledicus Final

Copyright @ 2016 by Charles F. French

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This issue is one of the central themes of my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I and is also one of the main issues that has faced humanity in the last one hundred years. From the consequences of millions slain in the Holocaust to one single person murdered on the streets of New York City while many watched and did nothing, humanity has been confronted with this dilemma. When finding evil threatening others, what do we do? Do we ignore it and pretend that it is not there? Do we call authorities to try to handle the situation and hope they arrive in time? Or do we inject ourselves into situations that for both individuals and nations could be filled with the worst kind of danger?

It does not take much effort to find contemporary examples of such circumstances. In all of these situations, the observers are faced with a moral quandary, and in my novel, it is that circumstance which drives the central conflict. What do three retired gentlemen who are trying to find the answer to the ancient question—is there life after death?—do when they are confronted with sociopathic supernatural evil that threatens an innocent? It would be easy for them to turn aside and say—this isn’t our fight, or this doesn’t concern me.

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These three retired gentlemen do decide to fight this evil, even at the potential cost of their lives and perhaps souls.

In our cynical so-called post-modern world, I feel that I am a bit of a dinosaur, because I am an unapologetic Humanist. I still believe that our connections as people are more important than that which disconnects us. My three central characters believe this ideal also. Hence, they understand Donne’s admonition—“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” And they understand that whatever threatens an innocent must be opposed.