with Anna Sugden
I'm delighted to welcome one of my favourite authors and favourite people (and the lady who gives the best workshops any aspiring writer can attend!) to the Bandita's Lair ... Virginia Kantra.
USA Today bestselling author Virginia Kantra is a six-time RITA Award finalist and winner of numerous writing awards including the Golden Heart, Golden Leaf, Holt Medallion, Maggie, and two National Readers' Choice Awards. Her new Children of the Sea series debuts with Sea Witch (July 2008) and Sea Fever (August 2008 ).
Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three kids, Virginia is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love.
Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.
Visit her on the web at http://www.virginiakantra.com/ or www.myspace.com/virginiakantra
Anna: We have an extra treat in store for you too. Virginia has managed to convince a special guest to accompany her today. Let me hand you over to Virginia, who will introduce her guest.
VK: Thank you so much for inviting me to blog with the Banditas! I’m actually hard at work on Sea Lord, the third book in the Children of the Sea series, so I’ve asked Regina Barone to come with me today to talk about simple summer recipes. Regina?
REGINA: You didn’t say this was, like, some celebrity chef gig.
VK: Well, not exactly. But you’re such a great cook, and I know your mother doesn’t always let you try out new things at the restaurant, so—
REGINA: Sure. You want recipes, I got recipes. No problem.
VK: Oh, my gosh, Regina, I’m sorry. I didn’t even think about Nick’s dad being a TV chef .
REGINA: It’s fine. It’s over. You want Food Network, I can do Food Network. How about Lemon Chicken Salad?
VK: That sounds great.
REGINA: Okay. You can substitute the chicken breasts in this recipe with leftovers. Or you can use that rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
VK: Good tip.
REGINA: Hey, I know how hard it is when you’re struggling to put food on the table for your family. Especially when you don’t have a lot of time.
So, you want two skinless, boneless chicken breasts—that’s four pieces, about a pound and a half. You can marinate them in some olive oil, a little lemon juice, some garlic…
DYLAN: She's marinating the Golden Rooster?
VK: No, no. It's chicken.
REGINA (to VK): Oh, my God. What the hell is he doing here?
VK: I thought...If you couldn’t come…
DYLAN: That’s not usually a problem for her. Not with the right partner.
REGINA: You shut up.
DYLAN: Did you think I wouldn’t want to see you again?
REGINA: I was counting on it.
VK: Guys . . . Could we get back to the cooking lesson?
REGINA (takes a deep breath): Um. Okay, so you want to cook your chicken breasts.
DYLAN: You mean, grill.
REGINA (ignoring him): Under the broiler is fine—about 5 mins a side. While the chicken cooks, combine in your blender or food processor:
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
Then slowly add ¾ C olive oil, processing. . .
(hisses to DYLAN): What are you doing?
DYLAN: I’m watching.
REGINA: You’re brooding. What do you think this is, a romance novel?
DYLAN: Close enough.
REGINA: Too close. Back off.
DYLAN: That’s not what you said the other night.
VK: What are you supposed to do with the olive oil?
REGINA: Add the olive oil, processing until the dressing is thick and creamy. Arrange the cooked chicken on a bed of lettuce. You can use the pre-washed stuff, but for the love of Mary, don’t buy iceberg.
ANTONIA BARONE, Regina’s mother (shouts from the distance): What’s the matter with iceberg?
REGINA: Ma, I’m trying to cook here. Where was I?
DYLAN (softly): Chicken.
REGINA (takes a deep breath): Top the chicken with the dressing and serve with crusty bread and a nice cold bottle of Pinot Grigio.
VK: Thank you, Regina.
REGINA: Is that it?
VK: Well, if you have a question for everybody . . .
REGINA: Sure. What do you all like to cook in the summer time?
DYLAN: I have a question. Who wants to cook? How many of you just throw something on the fire and open a beer?
VK: And thank you, Dylan.
I, for one, would really like to hear your responses. We’ll be drawing one poster to receive a copy of Regina and Dylan’s book, Sea Fever.
DYLAN: We have a book?
Anna: Thank you Virginia, Regina and Dylan. That recipe sounds fab, Regina. I know we have lots of cooking fans here in the Lair who will be thrilled to exchange summer recipes with you. And Dylan, I'm sure there are a few grillers lurking too.