Tag Archives: cooking

true blood

If you’re a fan of the True Blood HBO series, I know what you were doing last night–watching the season premiere. And I also know you can’t wait for the next episode. But maybe there is something to hold you over…how about a True Blood cookbook? Check out what’s on the market.
True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps

True Blood Drinks and Bites

weathering the storm

Monday Hurricane Sandy hit New York State, and I said goodbye to my internet, and house phone, and cable television, and electricity and cell phone service until today, Thursday. How did we weather the storm? Pretty well, actually, although it was mega-stressful and I’m pretty sure I gained a few pounds. Running the generator a few hours here and there during the day kept the food in the fridge good, and our gas stove meant we could cook even when the generator wasn’t running.

PumpkincoffeeUsing up what we had in the house was kind of fun. We converted some beef leftovers and a can of beer we had here into a French Dip for lunch one day. And then turned the leftover juice from that into French Onion Soup, smothered in cheese with a hunk of bread. Chili leftovers became Chili Cheese Dogs with Sauerkraut another day. We picked up some corned beef and the remaining sauerkraut and cheese became a Reuben.

Leftover coffee from the morning became a tasty gourmet treat in the afternoon when I rimmed the mug with cinnamon and sugar, added Vanilla Stevia, Pumpkin Spice booze, lots of whipped cream and a cinnamon stick and I celebrated Halloween yesterday by drinking my own invented Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

Yes, the storm was stressful. We had some tree damage. The generator didn’t work perfectly. I had to drive to town once on Tuesday to work in the parking lot of the bank because I needed the WiFi. And again I had to get in the car and go in search of signal last night to download edits from my editor that I could see in my inbox but couldn’t work on through the iPad. But all in all, we weathered Sandy well, and ate pretty damn well too.

pioneer cooking

wineNot to infringe upon the Pioneer Woman’s copyright or anything, but I was in power outage hell for about 17 hours, starting last night about dinner time and lasting straight through past breakfast today, and although I’m sure I had more conveniences than the early settlers, it sure as hell felt like pioneer cooking.

My brand new, super Viking coffee maker didn’t help me today as I was standing with a candle in the dark kitchen at 4:45 am lighting the propane burner to boil water for tea, I can tell you that. My kingdom for a French press! But alas, I don’t own one, so tea it was for me until the power came back.

Though all in all–when I wasn’t worried that the thousands of dollars of salt water and tropical fish in our 4 tanks were going to expire without their filters/heaters running, when I wasn’t calculating exactly how much longer we could go without refrigeration before I had to toss everything in the 2 freezers and one fridge, when I wasn’t thinking that I really needed to take a shower but there was barely enough water left in the pipes to both brush my teeth and make the tea since we have a well–I really wasn’t doing too badly.

With the gas stovetop, I was fine to cook a whole bunch of things. Last night I had a pot of homemade chicken soup on when the power left us. I had a package of stew chunks defrosting for today (though really, everything was defrosting now, wasn’t it?) and I could have made Beef Stroganoff without the electric as well. And the chicken breast I had in the fridge could have easily been thrown into a skillet or cooked on my stovetop cast iron griddle.

No I didn’t have the microwave, or the electric oven, or the coffeemaker, but without the stress and worry, the candlelight and rangetop cooking over gas really wouldn’t have been so bad…but that’s only because I was smart last year and sprung for the iPad with the 3G connection because along with the lights, went the internet, and on my release day for Flanked, no less!

So armed with a glass of wine and my iPad 3G, I was able to sit in the dark and at least keep up with the happenings on Twitter and Facebook and stalk my best seller rank on Amazon.com.

All right, maybe it wasn’t so much like the pioneers after all…

Cat Johnson

red hot & blue chicken salad

Red Hot & Blue Chicken Salad

A Red Hot & Blue Signature Recipe:

I’m no chef but I do pride myself on my creative uses of leftovers, which is how this dinner came about. Hot wing sauce and blue cheese dressing makes this a great way to use up leftover chicken with all the satisfaction of eating hot wings. You get all the good stuff you’d get in a bar if you ordered chicken wings–the blue cheese dressing, the carrot and celery for dipping, and of course the tasty hot chicken wings, all on top of lettuce so you can pretend you’re being healthy! AND as I’m sitting there deciding what to name my recipe, it hit me. Red Hot and Blue–just like the name of my book series. It’s not often I can be both a promo ho and a foodie at the same time… okay, maybe more often than you’d think. But in any case, try this with 4th of July leftover chicken. Quick, easy and you’ll never notice you’re eating leftovers!

1 cup leftover cooked chicken, sliced to bite sized pieces

1 Tb Butter

2 Tb Hot Sauce (such as Crystal or Frank’s Red Hot)


Carrots, chopped

Celery, chopped

Blue Cheese dressing

Buffalo Hot Wing ChickenIn saucepan melt butter and add hot sauce. When blended, add chicken and heat just until warm.

With the remaining ingredients, assemble your salad (in either individual serving bowls for each person or one large bowl for serving family style). Place warm chicken pieces on top and serve immediately.

Note: You can add other salad ingredients if you’d like. I usually like to keep it purely chicken-wing themed, but tonight I had a cut tomato I needed to use up so that’s in there too.


sexy dieting?

I know being on a diet doesn’t sound sexy at all, but let me try to sway your opinion.

First, and most obvious, I know I will personally feel a lot more sexy once I take off these 10 pounds of winter/holiday weight I somehow mysteriously put on. Jeans that are snug to cup the booty are one thing, but jeans that are too snug because you gained weight are quite another. So there’s that, but there’s also this…when I’m on a serious diet I actually eat well. It sounds very strange but it’s true. When I’m not on a diet, I don’t take care of myself. I’ll eat last night’s dinner leftovers of spicy fried Chinese dumplings for breakfast while I’m checking my emails. For lunch I’ve been known to eat a handful of nuts, also while at the computer working. But when I’m consciously on a diet trying to lose weight, I eat like a princess. I food shop. I cook. I sit at a table. I plan menus. I make homemade soup and eat green salads with tasty and creative homemade dressings. Total turnaround.

Yes, being on a diet is a lot more work, and more money, and more time, with shopping for the fresh ingredients rather than scouring the old cans in the closet looking for whatever is the least amount of work. But eating right, and on a plate at a table, almost makes me feel like I’m out at a restaurant, out on a date.

That’s why I’m not too worried that as of March 1st, I am part of Romance Biggest Winners 2. It’s a weight loss competition comprised of romance readers and authors placed on teams to support each other to lose whatever amount of weight they want/need to over the next 6 months. Some of the girls are blogging their experience and I thought I might pop in here with an update or a recipe once in awhile. It’s a nice concept to have us band together in teams, since both reading and writing can be very solitary occupations.

Today, I’d thought I’d include the instructions for my new favorite quick healthy food, Arugula Salad. When I used to try to eat Arugula as if it was regular lettuce, I hated it. It tasted a bit like grass clippings when I tried to use it instead of Romaine Hearts in a salad with dressing. Then I saw a recipe on ABC’s The Chew for Arugula and tried it, and it made all the difference in the world.

Maybe the strong flavor of the Arugula needs the tartness and the acidity of the lemons. I don’t know, but my mouth waters just thinking about this salad. Give it a try. It’s so green and fresh tasting, I feel healthier just from eating it.


Put a generous couple of handfuls of fresh Arugula in a bowl. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons good quality Olive Oil. Squeeze in the fresh juice of one half a lemon. Sprinkle with coarse salt (Kosher or Sea Salt, I hate using fine salt on food) and fresh ground pepper. If I have grape tomatoes I’ll add a handful of those. That’s it. Perfect with a steak, or a crab cake for a light lunch or dinner.