Sunday, September 23, 2012

Super Yummy Chicken & Green Bean Salad

This recipe looks weird at first - boiling a lemon?  But that is a shortcut to making preserved lemons. And then it looks ridiculously simple as a recipe, and like the dressing isn't enough.  Let me stress - this is a flavor packed, healthy, AMAZINGLY delicious recipe.  You will NOT be able to stop eating it.  Thanks to the Food Network's Ellie Krieger for dreaming it up. The only changeS I make are to not bother cooking the green beans & put on a bed of couscous.  Up to you!


  • 1 lemon, preferably unwaxed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste, divided
  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 container feta


Prick the lemon in 3 or 4 places with a fork and place in a small pot with 1 teaspoon of salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 50 minutes or until the lemon is very tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, mix the saffron, mint, garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Pour the marinade into a sealable plastic bag, add the chicken and let it marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

Steam the green beans for 4 minutes and set aside to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Preheat a large skillet or grill pan which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Set aside to cool. Cut into bite-sized chunks.

Slice the ends off of the lemon and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp. Slice the peel thinly and then again into 1/4-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, lemon,feta, green beans and thyme. In a small bowl combine the rest of the lemon juice and the honey, whisk in the remainder of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Contest for Published and Unpublished Authors

There are lots of romance writing contests out there.  A majority of them ask for the first 20 pages of a manuscript.  But the Maryland Romance Writers like to focus on the heat, so our contest is all about the sexy stuff - any 20 pages of it.

Attention romance writers: show us the chemistry!

* FEEDBACK: Entrants receive constructive feedback from first-round judges, many of them published authors. Finalists receive a brief critique by the final round judge.
* EXPOSURE: Finalists in each category will be judged by editors publishing in that subgenre. First place winners and category finalists will be listed in advertising and announcements in the RWA® Romance Writers Report.
* PRIZES: First place category winners receive a $50 cash prize and a gold Vixen pin!
* OPPORTUNITY: Last year, ONE THIRD of our contest finalists were asked to submit partial or full manuscripts.
Up to 20 pages of any scene that showcases your use of sensual tension, plus an unjudged 1-page set-up (optional).

Anyone! Membership in Maryland Romance Writers or Romance Writers of America is NOT required. The author can be published or not yet published, but the contest entry must be original and uncontracted as of September 1, 2012.

(Word counts apply to targeted finished length of completed manuscript.)
* Series Contemporary: 1950-present, 40,000-79,000 words finished length
* Single Title: 1950-present, 80,000-120,000 words finished length
* Historical: BCE-1950, 40,000-120,000 words finished length
* Alternative: time travel, fantasy, futuristic, paranormal, 85,000-120,000 words finished length
* Erotic Romance: 60,000-120,000 words finished length
* LGBT Romance: 40,000-120,000, any genre/era
* Young Adult: 40,000+ words finished length

$20 MRW members
$25 Non-MRW Members–U.S. entries and International entries

Each entry will be judged by THREE qualified judges, i.e., trained and/or published authors. The three top-scoring entries in each category will advance to the final round for evaluation by one editor and one agent who acquire in that genre.

2012 Judge List

Series Contemporary:   Elizabeth Mazer at HQN  &   Jessica Alvarez at Bookends Literary
Single Title: Emily Ohanjanians at  HQN-Mira &  Paige Wheeler at   Folio Literary
Historical: Erin Molta at Entangled &  Nicole Lukosil at Bradford Literary Agency
Alternative: Chelsey Emmelhainz at Avon & Nicole Resciniti at Seymour Agency
Erotic: Christa Desir at Samhain & Jenn Schober at Spencerhill Associates
LGBT: Kelli Collins at  Elloras Cave&  Alissa Davis at Carina Press
YA: Aubrey Poole at Sourcebooks & Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon

Contest opened for entries on July 1, 2012. Entries must be received and time-stamped no later than October 1, 2012.

Visit or email the 2012 “Reveal Your Inner Vixen” Contest Coordinators, Christi Barth or Eliza Knight,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Baked Egg Brunch Treat

I hosted book club last weekend, and they all went crazy for this dish (the book got mixed reviews, however).  This classic Mexican recipe, Potatoes and Chorizo with Baked Eggs (Papas y Chorizo con Huevos al Horno) is courtesy of Marge Poore's 1,000 Mexican Recipes.  The whole cookbook is fantastic.

Bake and serve in individual ramekins.  The best part is that the entire dish, except for the final breaking and baking of the eggs, can be done the day before. And it is easily doubled!
2 baking potatoes, peeled
1/2  pound fresh bulk chorizo sausages, or packaged, with casings removed

1/4medium white onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Fresh Salsa Mexicana or purchased salsa
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Cut the potatoes into small dice, about 1/4 inch. Set aside. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Break the chorizo into small bits (if in casings, remove the casings), and cook until it begins to brown and the fat is cooked out. Add the diced potatoes, onion, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Divide the potato mixture among 4 individual ramekins. (Recipe can be done to this point one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

3. Prepare salsa, if using homemade. If made ahead, remove casserole dishes from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake until the potato mixture is hot all the way through, 15 to 18 minutes.

4. Remove casserole dishes from the oven and make an indentation with a spoon in the center of each casserole. Break an egg into the indentation. Sprinkle shredded cheese equally over the eggs. Return the casseroles to the oven and bake until the eggs are cooked as desired and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve hot with fresh salsa.