Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

Sunday, July 2

Writer's Block and How to Beat it

Writer's Block and How to Beat it

I've been trying to write this blog post all day but the words wouldn't come.

I know all writers have experienced writer's block and know what a horrible feeling it is.

I know some folks deny there's any such thing as writer's block, that professional writers can't afford it. And they DO have a point.

But sometimes the words hover just out of reach. They peek around the corner then run screaming.

An hour ago I realized what was wrong: I had writer's block because I wanted to write something else! My muse wanted to work on the murder mystery I'm writing, but I NEEDED to write nonfiction.

The Secret to Curing Writer's Block: Compromise

Living with one's creative self, one's muse, is a bit like any serious long-term relationship: the key is compromise. I worked on my murder mystery for an hour (I set a timer!).

After the hour passed I sat down to write this blog post and the words (finally!) flowed.

Another thing that works is to write—or to TRY to write—for half an hour (or whatever span of time) and then, after half an hour, give yourself permission to do something else for ten minutes.

I find that, often, I end up working past thirty minutes because I've found inspiration. But it's important I know I have the very real option of stopping after half an hour.

Writing is about truth (at least, IMHO), and in order to write truth one has to be true to oneself. If your muse is leading you in a certain direction, try it out!

Do Something Else Creative

Take a break from writing and do something else creative: paint, draw, or cook. Do anything creative that strikes your fancy!

Chicken Noodle Soup: A Recipe

My favorite creative activity is cooking. I cook and I write. Today I made chicken soup. Here's my recipe:


4 large mushrooms
1 zucchini, cubed
1 crown of broccoli
1 stalk of celery
1 bunch of spinach
1 sweet onion
1 head of garlic, crushed and cut up
5 medium tomatoes
4 or 5 chicken drumsticks or thighs
chile flakes
civicha sauce (optional)


- Cut up the vegetables into bite sized cubes, including the mushrooms.
- Sauté the onions until almost translucent.
- Add garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or so.
- Add chicken and brown. I don't bother deboning the chicken, but it's up to you.
- Add enough water to cover everything, plus an inch or so.
- Add chile flakes.
- Cut stalk off broccoli and cut into cubes. Add to pot.
- Add celery.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add cubed tomatoes.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or so or until the chicken is cooked.
- Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until the zucchini has reached desired doneness.
- Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. If it's not spicy enough (I love mine spicy!) I had a teaspoon or so of civicha.


Put a handful of spinach in a large serving bowl and ladel the soup on top. Stir the soup, making sure the spinach is limp.

That's it! Add whatever vegetables you'd like, I sometimes roast them first (especially root veges) and add them at the same time as the zucchini.

If you try the recipe, let me know I'd love to find out what you've created. :-)

Every post I pick something I believe in and recommend it. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I like with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, they put a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post.

Today I'm recommending a reference book I have on my bookshelf, one I consult all the time. Next to Stephen King's On Writing, It's one of the most useful books I own. I'm speaking of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark.

From the blurb:

"Ten years ago, Roy Peter Clark, America's most influential writing teacher, whittled down almost thirty years of experience in journalism, writing, and teaching into a series of fifty short essays on different aspects of writing. In the past decade, Writing Tools has become a classic guidebook for novices and experts alike and remains one of the best loved books on writing available."

Tuesday, May 15

George R. R. Martin, Author of Song of Ice and Fire, Can't Cook

In the forward to A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook George Martin confesses that he can't cook. Anyone who has read his evocative descriptions of food -- and have their mouth water as a result! -- might find this hard to believe. I thought anyone who understood food on that level would be a dab hand in the kitchen.
The book's authors, Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer run the popular blog, Inn at the Crossroads, where they began cooking their way through Martin's books.
- Author George R. R. Martin Confesses His 'Shameful Secret'
If you can't wait for the the official cookbook -- it's due to be released May 29, 2012 -- you can look at the unofficial one, The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook: From Direwolf Ale to Auroch Stew - More Than 150 Recipes from Westeros and Beyond.

Here's one of the recipes:
Pentoshi Mushrooms in Butter and Garlic

"Even when he fears that he is being led into a trap and that the dish before him may be poisoned, Tyrion cannot help but acknowledge his desire for just a taste of it. The mushrooms before him glistening with butter and smelling of garlic make his mouth water, and it’s nob wonder. Poisoned or not, this savory dish would tempt just about anyone." (A Dance with Dragons, Chapter One)

Serves 4

4 large portobello mushrooms with stems
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
4 large white onions, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
5 cups vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons grated imported Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
Scented olive oil, such as truffle oil, garlic oil, or herb oil (or very good extra-virgin olive oil)

Finely chop the stems of the mushrooms. Set the caps aside. In a large saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter, and sauteÅL the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom stems, and saute a minute longer. Season with salt.
Add the rice. Stir well to coat, then add 1 cup of stock and stir until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Add another cup of stock, stirring constantly, and allow the rice to absorb it. Continue adding stock cup by cup, until all liquid is used and rice is tender, but still a little firm to the bite in the middle (about 25 minutes). Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the cheese, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Slice the portobello caps paper-thin. Divide risotto into 4 bowls, immediately sprinkle with the shaved portobellos, and garnish with scallions and a drizzle (about 2 teaspoons) of truffle oil (or other flavored oil).

A Word of Wisdom

Need to know your mushrooms? Creminis are just young portobellos; both are nutty, and gourmand favorites. Fluted oyster mushrooms have a more subtle flavor. Any young mushroom can be called a button, but chefs usually reserve the name for the white button variety. White mushrooms are simply button mushrooms with the caps fully opened.

Related Links:
- Inn at the Crossroads
- A Feast of Ice and Fire
- George R.R. Martin, Wikipedia

Photo credit: Google Books Search

Saturday, May 5

A Writers Reward: Recipe For Chocolate Cupcakes with Dream Filling

I think writers need to celebrate when reach a milestone, for instance, when we finish a story.  Yesterday I completed a short story, A Night In The Woods, I began years ago -- exactly how many is depressing to contemplate. Perhaps that's why typing "the end" felt like such an accomplishment.

What do we do when we achieve something? We celebrate!

I celebrate by baking. Lately I've had a craving for my Chocolate Dream Cupcakes, so that's what I made. (Not at my apartment, though, my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp!)

Anyway, this is, hands down, my favorite cupcake recipe so I wanted to share it with you. It's super easy.

What you need:

- A box of chocolate cake mix, I prefer Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix (wickedly delicious!).

- 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
- Three tablespoons strong coffee
- Icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsps dark rum
- 250 grams (1 cup) cream cheese, room temperature

- 1/3 cup water
- Three large egg whites
- 1 tbsp white corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar

First, following the instructions on the box, make the cupcakes and leave them to cool on racks. They'll need to be completely cool before they're iced. A tip: I like to use paper cupcake cups so I don't have to grease and flour the pans.

When the cupcakes are cool, use a paring knife to cut out a small circle in the middle of each cupcake. I put the fluffy chocolate cores in another bowl and snack on them later.

Now, let's make the filling. This is just 7-minute frosting. I should cut this recipe by a third (so only 1 egg white is used, etc.,) but I haven't tried that yet so I'll give you the full recipe and you can experiment. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized glass bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Beat with a hand mixer on medium or high for 7 minutes. Take the bowl off the stove and continue beating every two minutes or so as it cools.

I know the filling sounds like a lot of work but, trust me, it's worth it. The filling is what makes these cupcakes mouthwateringly delicious.

Now we're ready for the icing. This is simplicity itself, just melt the chocolate with with the coffee in a double-boiler and, when the chocolate is melted and blended with the coffee, start mixing all the icing ingredients together in a large bowl.

If you have a piping bag for icing then use this. I don't so I make a piping bag out of wax paper or use a medium sized Ziploc bag. Just fill up the bag and cut off one of the corners. So armed, fill up the hole you've made in each cupcake. Now take a big dollop of chocolate icing on your knife and slap it down in the middle of the cupcake on top of the hole and seal it up. You'll end up using a lot of icing, but the more the better; we're celebrating after all!. :)

That's it! These are great cupcakes to share, everyone I've given them to has come back for seconds and I've never had to take any home from a pot luck.

Good luck! I hope these cupcakes satisfy your sweet tooth as thoroughly as they have mine.

Photo credit: Me! Can't you tell? ;)

"A Writers Reward: Recipe For Chocolate Cupcakes with Dream Filling," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.