Thursday, November 8, 2012

Confessions - and Recipes - of a Reluctant Cook

By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell

                So this month we’re talking recipes here at the Roses of Prose. I thought it was a great idea – after all, I thought of it!
          Great, that is, until I remembered my limited talents in the kitchen. I love books where the characters enjoy gourmet foods, expensive wines, and exotic this and that. Unfortunately, we writers do write what we know. In Judgement By Fire, heroine Lauren Stephens makes a mean tuna’n’cheese macaroni casserole. And in my upcoming release, Saving Maggie, (Crimson Romance, December 31) the heroine, Maggie Kendall, has the local pizza place on speed dial.

                You get my drift?

                But my Saving Grace (that’s the title of a 2013 release, by the way – more about that later!) is that I know how to get help. As always, when in need, I find my fellow writers are darn talented and willing to share their knowledge.
                Here’s one of my favourite foodie sites: Chickens in the Road, by bestselling author Suzanne McMinn. If you haven’t visited, the site is delightful and you really, really should go.

                Susan is the one who introduced me to the world of bread. That is, breads that even I could make. Her recipe, which I adapted for my own use, has saved my bacon on many occasions, from having to rustle up a pizza lunch for the bunch, to creating gorgeous bread to glam up a simple soup meal.

Here’s my version:


Ingredients: 1 cup warm/not quite hot water; 1 packet quick rise dry yeast; 1 teaspoon sugar; ½ teaspoon salt; 1 egg, beaten; 2 cups unbleached white flour; 1 cup wholewheat flour.

What you do: ) Put water in a large bowl, add salt & sugar, stir slightly to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast on top, wrap in a clean tea towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to ferment – about  15-20 min.
2) Add beaten egg to yeast mixture, then stir in flour. Mix together until you have a dough – you may not use all the flour for this.
3) Turn out onto a floured board, knead for several minutes (push, pull, fold) until the dough is elastic, smooth and no longer sticky.

4) Put a tablespoon of olive oil in the bowl, place dough in and turn until covered lightly in the oil.

5) Cover and put back in a warm place until double in size.

6) Put back on floured board, punch down, shape into loaf or rolls, and place on a baking sheet.
7) Back in warm place to rise to double again.

8) Put in oven (don’t preheat!) turn temp to 400 and bake for about 25 min for a loaf, 15 – 20 min for rolls. Don’t overbrown.

9) When baked, brush melted butter over loaf or rolls, place on a cooling sheet and try to resist nibbling – at least until the bread is cool!

Follow steps 1  - 5. When dough has doubled in size, place on floured board and roll out in a shape to fit your pizza or cookie sheet.
Place in unheated oven, turn heat to 400, and bake for eight minutes.

Cover pizza crust with pizza sauce or my favorite, spaghetti sauce, then sprinkle with your favorite pizza toppings – onions, garlic, sweet peppers, mushrooms, Italian sausage, pepperoni or whatever.
Cover with a nice layer of grated cheese – I use mozzarella and medium cheddar. Back to the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes.


Did I mention my December 31 release from Crimson Romance – Saving Maggie? Well, at the end of the book are Maggie’s/my recipes for chicken stir fry and oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies – I can promise you, both are yummy!

Visit Suzanne McMinn’s site, Chickens in the Road, for lots of delicious recipes you can adapt to your own taste, as well as tales of the farm, the animals, and Suzanne’s many adventures, activities, and books.
Glenys O'Connell is busy with two new releases on the way. You can visit her at



Margo Hoornstra said...

Wow! So much good information. As in tasty sounding. Nice know other non-cooks like me are out there.

Jannine Gallant said...

Chickens in the Road is a great title. I'll have to check it out. I love making homemade pizza, too. Will have to try your bread recipe.

Amy Denim said...

Ooh, I'll totally make this. Big lol's about writing what we do - ie Pizza place on speed dial. I write "culinary romance" and love to cook, although, I definitely get a lot of my ideas by watching cooking shows! Can't wait to check out Chickens in the Road, and your new book!

glenys said...

Marg - no, you're not alone!I have friends who are great cooks, therefore I both dread and look forward to pot luck get togethers - the fear of seeing my orange muffins sitting all alone amid empty plates at the end of the evening...:-(

glenys said...

Jannine - Chickens in the Road is well worth a visit - I stop by often. I really liked Suzanne's books, and she has so many other talents as you'll see when you visit. I want to be her.

glenys said...

Amy thanks for commenting! I make pizza because we live miles from a pizza delivery it's make it or go without. And who could go without pizza? What do they say about necessity being the mother of invention?