Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe--Split Pea Soup

What a great writing week I'm having. I attended the IRWA Retreat last weekend and have been on a roll ever since. From the time I got home Sunday afternoon to last night, I've written 6400 words on The Morphing Subplot. Only another 12K or so to go to finish the manuscript.

The IRWA Retreat was held at Bradford Woods in Mooresville, Indiana, with about 30 members attending. I spent Friday evening and all day Saturday critiquing with my fellow conspirators from The Sextet. We'll be submitting our first set of short stories in December. Boy, are they hot! :D For a preview, go to

Curl up with a hot story and a Bowl of Split Pea Soup on these chilly nights. And enjoy!

Split Pea Soup

1 1/2 cups dried green split peas
1 smoked ham hock or ham bone
6-8 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
A few shakes of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil flakes
1 cup ham, cubed

Place all ingredients, except cubed ham, in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover. Add more water as necessary. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove ham hock. Add cubed ham. Cook to desired thickness. Makes 6-8 servings.

Back to writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe--Chicken Paprikash

Fall is trying to fool us with a few days of warmer temperatures, but I know winter is just weeks away. The only trees with leaves left are the oaks and aspens out in the woods. The black walnuts have been bare for what seems like months, the maples dropped their leaves last week, and the mulberry trees finally gave up theirs in a rush as well. I'm ready to stoke the fire in the woodburning stove or, on the warmer evenings, light a Duraflame log in the fireplace. Time for hearty soups and homemade bread. Yummm!!!

In honor of my Hungarian heritage, this week's recipe is an adaptation of my grandmother's favorite dish. She used chicken thighs and sour cream in her Chicken Paprikash, while I created a healthier version. To my grandmother, Rose.

Chicken Paprikash

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or breast tenderloins
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
a few shakes of black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
8-10 cups water
Dumplings (recipe below)

Place all ingredients except dumplings in a large pot. Cook over medium heat 1-2 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to cool. Cut into bite-size pieces. Return to pot.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup water

Mix flour and salt. Add eggs and water. Stir and knead to make a stiff dough.

Bring soup to a gentle boil. Drop dough into the soup by small spoonfuls or pinches depending on desired size of dumplings. They double to triple in size during cooking. Simmer 30-40 minutes after all dough has been added to the soup. Makes 8-10 servings.

Off to write!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday's Recipe--Fried Cornmeal Mush

Yeah, so I'm a couple weeks behind. Writing comes first, and the writing has been chugging along in the right direction. With the formation of The Sextet a few months ago, I've been working on hot and sexy short stories as well as my current Morphing Subplot. We'll be submitting our first set of stories by December first. Three of us have story #2 ready. I've finished the first draft of #3 and am waiting on a few answers to some research questions. AND #4 is underway! The Morphing Subplot is over 67,000 words now too.

Cold weather has come to Indiana, and I think it's here to stay for a while. Time to warm up with one of my favorites.

Fried Cornmeal Mush

1 cup cold water
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water

Whisk together 1 cup cold water, cornmeal, and salt. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until thick. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 10 more minutes. Pour into a buttered loaf pan. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

To fry: Preheat an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Remove cornmeal mush from loaf pan to a cutting board. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and fry until crisp on both sides (about 5-6 minutes per side). Keep warm in the oven while frying remaining slices.

Serve with warm syrup. Makes about 16-20 slices.

Back to writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!