A huge thanks to Elodie for hosting me on her blog today.
I love to cook and have always admired people who can walk into a kitchen and make the whole art of creating something from scratch look easy. In my latest release, Dinner For Two, Tony does just that. There’s a problem with the food that is supposed to be served for a dinner party in just under an hour’s time and instead of freaking out, he simply guides Sonia around his kitchen and they create a wonderful dish to stall and give them more time to fix their problem – all the while, making it seem like a piece of cake. I’ve watched several friends accomplish this and wish I had this ability. It’s definitely something to aspire to!
I was lucky enough to steal this recipe from a friend of mine I knew in college who is a total foodie. He was taking some cooking classes as a hobby, but mostly he just created dishes from scratch that he’d tasted other places and wanted to improve upon. This was one of those recipes. I’ve never failed to get compliments on it when I’ve brought it places and it makes an excellent summer salad since it’s meant to be served cold. I hope you enjoy it J
1 bag of spiral noodles, cooked according to package directions
½ cup washed halved, then thinly sliced zucchini
½ cup washed, halved, then thinly sliced yellow squash
¼ cup finely diced purple onion
1 small carton fresh white button mushrooms, washed, thinly sliced
(can also use the “baby bellas” or cremini mushrooms)
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
¼ - ½ cup sliced Kalamata olives OR 1 small can sliced black olives
1 package feta cheese (your choice of flavor)
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
½ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp basil
2 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp black pepper
Cook pasta according to directions on package. While boiling, wash and prepare zucchini, squash, onion, mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes (if using). In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise with the spices. (The mayonnaise only acts as a binding agent to “marry” the spices with the olive oil/vinegar and helps everything stick the pasta and veggies. There will be no noticeable “taste” once it’s all put together.)
Add the veggies and onions and toss with the olive oil mixture. Add the feta cheese and let marinate while the pasta is cooking, then cooling for just a few minutes (no more than ten). I like to use a flavored feta cheese in my pasta salad to give it just a little more flavor, but you can use regular feta, too. Once the pasta is cooled, add to the veggie/olive oil mixture and toss to coat the pasta evenly. Set in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
Dinner for Two
Sonia Davenport has dreams of coordinating and planning special events. When she’s given the opportunity to plan a dinner for her boss and his shareholders, she jumps at the chance to make everything perfect. Helping her plan the special night is the head chef of the restaurant, Tony Mancinni, who is not only charming but goes out of his way to make Sonia feel special during the entire planning process.
The dinner party almost turns disastrous when an employee mixes up the orders and sets out the wrong food. In a mad rush to save the dinner, Sonia and Tony realize their attraction to each other when things heat up in the kitchen. However, Tony has to convince Sonia that he wants more than just an extra set of hands in his restaurant – he wants her to stay the night so he can convince her to stay for good.
Read an Excerpt:
Tony gently rubbed his finger along her bottom lip. "I had hoped everything would be perfect tonight because I wanted to impress you. When you came in for brunch that first Sunday and laid out your plans, not only were you beautiful, but you had a detailed description of what you wanted. On the catering side of things, you have no idea how attractive that is. Then, when you came in for your tasting, I didn't think I was going to make it through the afternoon without asking you out. But I have a strict rule: Don't date the clients until after the function is over. So I waited. Do you have any idea how hard it was to wait?" Sonia shook her head slightly, then let her lips part. Instead of replying to him, she slid her tongue out to meet his finger, gently caressing the tip. He hissed in a breath, his eyes fixated on her tongue and lips. Feeling emboldened by his words, she leaned closer and drew his finger deeper inside her mouth, wrapping her lips around it as she laved it with her tongue. "Sonia," he whispered. "You're so beautiful. But I didn't ask you up here for this." She leaned back, his finger sliding out of her mouth. All the nerves and doubts she'd felt earlier were replaced by a heat that was coursing through her. She'd felt it all night in the kitchen with him and it was stronger now that she knew he wanted her as badly as she wanted him. "I'm glad you asked me up here, Tony. But if we're being honest with each other, I think dinner can wait. You see, I've lost my appetite. For food, that is."
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Eileen Griffin lives in the Southwest but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M with lots of boykissing.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eileengriffin77 @eileengriffin77