EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Deb Salonen’s Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas and Potatoes
Food=love in my books.
Since Easter arrives this Sunday, I thought I’d share a favorite recipe of mine AND a snippet from the book I just turned in: Cowgirl Come Home.
It won’t be out until August 8, but I’m really excited about writing for the upcoming MontanaBorn FAIR series because the current MontanaBorn BRIDES series is knock-your-socks-off fabulous.
Here’s a link to the website where you can buy the first three titles (Katherine’s releases right after Easter). MontanaBrides
Do yourself a favor and stock up. They’re delicious…as is my super simple asparagus salad recipe.
- 2 medium gold or red potatoes, about 10 ounces
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 12 ounces), trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- ¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette (buy or make by mixing ¼ C olive oil, ⅛ C vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, salt and pepper to taste, pinch of chili flakes optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Cook the potatoes until tender but still firm in any way you choose (boil, microwave, or bake). Allow to cool slightly and cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a large serving bowl along with the chickpeas.
- While the potatoes are cooking, spread the asparagus on a baking sheet and sprinkle the onion over it. In a corner of the sheet, place the unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast until asparagus is tender yet still crisp, about 15 minutes, stirring once after 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Set the garlic aside to cool for a few minutes and put the asparagus into the bowl with the potatoes. When the garlic is cool, peel it and place it in a small bowl. Mash it well with a fork; then stir in the salad dressing. Pour the dressing over the asparagus and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Note: Makes 2 large, one-pot meal servings or 4 side servings.
The coolest thing about writing a book in a multi-author series is seeing one of MY characters appear in ANOTHER author’s book. This is especially exciting when the other author is New York Times bestselling author Jane Porter.
To read Beauty’s Kiss for FREE, click HERE.
In Beauty’s Kiss, you’ll meet Louise Jenkins, my heroine, Bailey’s mother. Here’s Louise in my book:
Oscar Jenkins double-fisted the thin, scratchy sheets at his side. He hated everything about this so-called hospital. The thin plastic mattress, the crappy sheets and pilled, nappy cotton blanket. But worst of all, he detested the crappy slop they tried to pass off as food.
“Honey, please. Bailey’s coming. She’ll be at the house when I bring you home…if you eat and…eliminate.”
“Shit. Say it, Luly. For once in your life, call it like it is.”
Louise Billingham Jenkins, his wife of nearly forty years, blushed like the schoolgirl she was when they first met. Sweet. Innocent. Still was. Even after all this time in constant contact with him–the lowest piece of scat that ever rolled off Copper Mountain.
“Don’t be coarse.” She advanced on him with a spoon and a palm-sized cup of something beige. “Try the pudding. You said you liked it.”
He snarled and pressed his head and shoulders into the skinny foam pillow. “Must have been the drugs.”
She held the shimmery, flesh-tone glob a few inches from his lips. The tiny quake of her hand compromised his resolve. He opened his mouth, clamped down on the spoon and wouldn’t let go. Louise frowned sternly, but he could tell she was fighting back a smile.
He covered her hand with his tenderly, before prying the handle free. The banana-flavored slop lodged in the back of his throat and nearly gagged him, but he forced it down.
“I can feed myself.”
She turned away–probably so he couldn’t see her smile of triumph. Louise wasn’t one to gloat. Not that he’d given her many opportunities for jubilation during their years together. When he looked back at his life–and he’d had plenty of time for retrospection since his body started falling apart, he couldn’t say for sure why she’d put up with all his crap for so damn long. He sure as hell wouldn’t have stuck around if the shoe had been on the other foot.
I’d have lit out just like Bailey did.
His gaze fell to the flat stretch of covers where his left foot should have rested. His appetite disappeared. His mouth turned dry.
Life as he knew it was gone. And despite his pissing and moaning about the skyrocketing costs of fishing licenses and gas and idiot clients and the government’s nose in his business, OC loved hunting and fishing and teaching even the dumbest flatlander how to catch a trout or two.
And, now, thanks to his cussed orneriness–and some poorly timed budget cuts at the library, he and Louise were looking at serious financial problems.
Louise had tried to keep the worst of it from him. But yesterday, she’d tearfully admitted her fears.
“We’re in bad shape, Oscar. The County changed insurance companies last year and our co-pay went up. Plus, they’re trying to disallow one of your surgeries. If I miss any more work, I might not even qualify for the library’s policy. And with you not being able to work, our savings is pretty much gone.”
“The company can’t be bankrupt,” he said. “Jack told me we lost a few bookings, but he’s been out with clients every day–even on Sunday.”
Jack Sawyer had worked for Jenkins’ Fish and Game off and on for sixteen years. His wife, Marla, handled the company’s bookings and website.
“Jack’s good, but he’s not you, Oscar. And even if he were as good as you, people don’t pay big bucks to go fishing with Jack Sawyer. They want the Fish Whisperer.”
OC took another bite of puke pudding to keep from sneering. The name was a joke, of course. Tossed out in Wolf’s Den one night when he’d started howling for some dumb reason. To his chagrin, the name stuck. And bookings picked up.
Apparently, the Fish Whisperer even had a blog–whatever that was.
Now, thanks to OC’s ridiculous so-called fame, Jenkins’ Fish and Game, was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. And, to make matters worse, his daughter was coming home.
As badly as he’d screwed up his health and finances, both were small potatoes compared to the mess he’d made with Bailey. “Who’d you say is picking her up at the airport?”
Louise glanced at her watch surreptitiously. Bailey’s plane had landed thirty minutes earlier. Paul would have been there to meet her. A shock her daughter never would have seen coming, but not the worst she had in store.
“She hasn’t been cleared to drive, has she?” Oscar asked.
“I don’t know.”
She took a calming breath–to prepare for the explosion to follow. He’d find out eventually, and certain news was better coming from her. “I asked Paul Zabrinski to pick her up. He had to take Chloe and Mark to their mother’s. He said it was no problem.”
“No problem? Woman, are you out of your mind? Bailey’s probably back on the airplane by now.”
Louise pulled her smart phone out of her pocket. “The next flight to Fresno isn’t until tomorrow morning. She isn’t going anywhere.”
Oscar shook his head from side to side, slowly, as if the effort took every last ounce of his energy. No surprise since he ate barely enough to keep a fly alive. Just one of the many reasons Louise needed Bailey here.
Louise had tried everything to reignite the spark in her husband’s eyes, but nothing helped. And from their phone conversations, Louise knew Bailey was skating perilously close to the edge of her own demon-filled pit of depression. The two people she loved most were giving up, and Louise would use every resource available to spark a fire. Even asking Bailey’s oldest “frenemy,” as the kids at the library might say, to meet her plane.
“That took balls, Luly.”
Have a lovely Easter, dear friends. And if you’re enjoying a Spring Break, I hope you’ll include these wonderful stories in your reading line-up.
Bon appetit! Happy reading!
Tags: asparagus, Beauty's Kiss, Brides, Debra Salonen, Easter recipes, Free book, home cooking, Jane Porter, Katherine Garbera, Kelly Hunter, Montana Born Books, recipes, romance, Sarah Mayberry, The Great Wedding Giveaway, Trish Morey, Tule Publishing, vegan, Vera Wang bridal gowns, weddings