Tag Archives: italian

#WriteWed Always a Bridesmaid Series Inspiration

I am so so excited to say that I’ve accepted an offer from Sourcebooks for a new contemporary romance series – ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID. The series is about the last three unmarried friends and what happens as one by one, they possibly find the man who might provide the Happily-Ever-After.

The series was inspired by my daughter and her friends since they are all in various stages of dating, getting engaged, and getting married. I thought it might be fun to explore that moment in time and what happens as friends’ relationships change.

Another fun thing – the stories have a hometown feel even though they are set in different parts of New York City. I really love sharing the unique neighborhoods in New York so the stories will move from upscale places like Chelsea and Gramercy Park to more blue collar neighborhoods in Spanish Harlem and Brooklyn.

The stories will also show the diversity of New York City with the first story being about very wealthy old money families to the second story about an up-and-coming Latino family and finally, the third story highlights a big boisterous Italian family!

I am so excited about this series and about being part of the Sourcebooks family. If you’d like to know more about them, visit the Sourcebooks website and also, the fabulous Casablanca Authors website with so many wonderful Sourcebooks authors.

I’m having a little fun with the announcement this morning, so here’s a banner for you! Nope, this isn’t the cover! We haven’t even gotten to that stage yet! I will let you know as soon as we’ve decided on a release date for the series.
always

Chicken Cacciatore Thanks to Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers

I’m still a little behind, so today I’m offering up a recipe from my friends Lois Winston and Caroline Mickelson. So click here to visit the fabulous Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog for a very tasty recipe for Chicken Cacciatore!

Did you know “cacciatore’ is Italian for hunter? This style of meal was prepared hunter-style with whatever vegetables and meats were at hand.

Also, please take a moment to visit with me at Paranormal Dimensions! I’m sharing some behind the scenes details on my latest release in THE REBORN vampire novel series.

Citrus-Marinated Roast Pork

During my recent visit to the wonderful blog of my friend and fellow author Kelly Moran, I was asked about my signature dish for Christmas. Now in my house, Christmas Eve is a mix of Italian, Cuban and American foods, but the signature dish has to be the Cuban-style citrus-marinated roast pork.

We, because it is a family affair to cook this dish, start preparing it the night before after a trip to Union City, New Jersey to pick up some Cuban staples and the pork leg.

I’m normally feeding anywhere from 15 to 25 people on Christmas Eve, so I need a really really big pork leg (pork shoulder/picnic ham/pernil). I normally get a piece of pork that weighs around 25 pounds, but you can buy a much smaller piece and adjust the cooking times (more on that later).

Ingredients:

    10-15 navel oranges
    10 lemons
    10 limes
    6-8 Seville (aka Sour) Oranges
    6 pink grapefruit
    10-20 gloves of finely chopped garlic
    Ground cumin
    bay leaves
    Pork leg/shoulder/picnic ham

Directions:

Juice all the above citrus into a large pot. We use one of those large buckets in which your grocery store deli get its potato salad, etc. Drop by and ask them for one! Ours is only used for the Christmas Eve pork.

The citrus mix should be sour, but with a strong hit of sweet (the navel oranges and grapefruit really help with that). You should have enough citrus juice to fully cover your piece of pork. Once you’ve tasted the sweet/sour mix, then add 3 to 4 bay leaves, about a half cup of garlic (less for a smaller piece of pork) and about 1/4 cup of cumin. Mix this all up.

Take your piece of pork and make multiple slits in it so that the marinade can penetrate into the meat. Place the pork leg in the citrus juice, cover and refrigerate. You’re probably wondering how I keep that big a bucket cold? Put the bucket in one of those big party tubs, place it in your garage (which should be slightly colder anyway) and fill the tub with ice. It should be icy cold in the morning unless you are in a really hot environment in which case you will need to keep on adding ice to keep the meat cold.

In the morning (around 6 a.m. or so) pre-heat the oven to 425. Remove the pork from the citrus and place it in a large roasting dish. Keep some of the citrus juice, bay leaves and garlic for use as a marinade. Discard the rest. Ladle about 1 to 2 cups over the pork and then stick the pork into the oven for one hour at 425. For a small piece of pork, cut down this initial high temp roast accordingly. For ten pounds make it around 30 minutes, anything smaller than that no more than about 15 minutes.

Do not baste the pork during this high heat roast.

When the high heat roast time is up, baste the pork and lower the oven temp to 325. Then cook until the meat pulls away from the bone in the leg and is starting to fall off. Marinate every half an hour during the cooking process. For a 25 pound pork leg, I will cook it for about 8 to 9 hours. The pork will turn this beautiful mahogany brown and just melt in your mouth.

For smaller pieces of pork, adjust the cooking times. A 10 pound picnic ham may take only about 4 or so hours. The key is to keep on basting and cooking at a low temp to keep the meat juicy.

If the pork begins to brown too much, just cover with aluminum and keep on cooking until the meat is fork tender.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Tuesday Tip. Here’s a shot of family and friends sitting around the Christmas Eve table, waiting to start the big meal!

Thoughtful Thanksgivings!

ThanksgivingWe were having a wonderful discussion on the Dangerous Women Loop (you can click here to join!) about our Thanksgiving traditions and I thought I’d share mine with you and invite you to share yours.

Every Thanksgiving we go to my sister’s house for a wonderful gathering of friends and family. This photo is one I took a few years ago of the beautiful table my sister, Carmen, sets for Thanksgiving. We have a very traditional American meal of turkey with assorted stuffings and side dishes. Actually, two turkeys for this large crowd – one roasted and one fried.

Sis is an amazing cook and we spend the day chatting, sometimes playing board games, going for a walk after dinner if the weather permits and generally just enjoying being together and eating some amazing food. I usually prepare the breads, muffins and some side dishes. You can check the Cook’s Treat section for some of the recipes for that day. My sis’s favorites are the cranberry maple muffins and I always make a double-batch of those!

But Thanksgiving doesn’t end that day! The next day we visit my in-laws where we get to share good talk and good food with the Italian side of the family. My sister-in-law has taken over the reins of preparing the Black Friday meal and she always does a great job. We usually bring some pastries, wine or other goodies to add to the mix.

Through it all, we take the time to be thankful for those things we have in our lives. It’s important to remember that and appreciate how lucky we are to have homes, food, family and friends and the good health and Liberty to share all those things.

How about you? What are your traditions for Thanksgiving.

Thoughtful Thursday – The Power of Language

Raul Ramos y SanchezMy friend Raul Ramos y Sanchez (who will be visiting us on August 14th) talked a little about learning his first English word yesterday at Mama Latina Tips.

I remember learning my first English words from television:

Doublemint adds to your fun
Double pleasures all in one
So refreshing, great taste, too
Chew Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint gum!

LOL! Had to look up the lyrics to that classic commercial.

Actually, we had the television on constantly. It was how my sister and I started to learn English before I was plopped into kindergarten with barely any understanding of the language (I had only been in America for a short time at that point). There were no ESL classes back then. You learned by immersion which is much the same way most people effectively learn a foreign language today.

In no time I was speaking and reading English and eventually I learned Italian, some French and because all the Romance languages have their roots in Latin (which I took in high school), I realized I was able to read Portuguese as well.

Being able to speak and/or read all those languages has really been a blessing. Whenever a project came up at work that required someone who was bilingual, I was the one handed the assignment which means that I’ve been able to visit over a dozen countries for an assortment of projects and conferences.

Learning other languages opens up new worlds and not just because you can visit somewhere else. When you take the time to learn even a few words, it opens doors of communication. If you learn a little more, you’ll also come to know more about other cultures.

For those who don’t speak English, learning it is important because it is the lingua franca of the business world. Get ten people together in any country and chances are, a large number of them (if not all) will speak English.

For those who only speak English, learning another language gives you new opportunities for growth. Many companies are global now and need people who can communicate with those in other countries. Even though these people may speak English, conversing with them in their own language makes them feel more comfortable and establishes an immediate bond. With another language under your belt you are that much more marketable in today’s economy.

Do you speak another language? Did your parents or grandparents?

Want to visit some more with Raul? Check him out on one of these other stops on his virtual blog tour:

WEEK ONE
August 3: “Musings” by Nilki Benitez http://Nilkibenitez.blogspot.com
August 4: “Chasing Heroes” http://chasingheroes.com
August 5: “Mama Latina” http://www.mamalatinatips.com
August 6: “Efrain’s Corner” by Efrain Ortiz, Jr. http://efrainortizjr.blogspot.com
August 7: “Writing to Insanity” by Icess Fernandez http://www.locacrazywriter.blogspot.com

WEEK TWO
The AMERICA LIBRE “Virtual Book Tour” continues…
August 10: “Sofrito for Your Soul” by George Torres http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/sofrito-for-your-soul
August 11: “Author Terri Molina” http://terrimolina.com
August 12: “Latino Books Examiner Mayra Calvani” http://www.examiner.com/x-6309-Latino-Books-Examiner
August 13: “Unloaded” by Ricardo Lori http://www.un-loaded.com
August 14: “Author Caridad Piñeiro” http://www.caridad.com

WEEK THREE
The AMERICA LIBRE “Virtual Book Tour” continues…
August 17: “Author Julia Amante” http://juliaamante.blogspot.com
August 18: “Author Charlie Vazquez” http://charlievazquez.wordpress.com