A DELICIOUS DILEMMA by Sera Taíno – Featured New Release

A Delicious Dilemma

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA

Sera Taíno

 

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ADD Book CoverDifferent worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

 

Purchase at your favorite retailer here: https://serataino.com/a-delicious-dilemma/

 


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Sera Taino

Debut romance author Sera Taíno was selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. For more information on this initiative, click here.

She is also the author of several short contemporary romances, including her latest, “Oil and Vinegar,” part of A More Perfect Union: A Voting-Themed Romance Benefit Anthology. All proceeds benefit Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Her debut, #ownvoices novel, A Delicious Dilemma, is out now with Harlequin Romance Special Edition.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Sign up for Sera’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or BookBub to stay up to date.


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A Delicious Dilemma is a triumphant debut for Sera Taíno. It’s a sumptuous celebration of food, culture, family, friendship, and love. I devoured this tasty offering in one sitting, its themes so familiar and dear to me.

I find myself relating closely with Val. The eldest of three, close to her dad, loves dancing and cooking, and takes the responsibility for her family’s well-being upon her shoulders. She’s a truly admirable heroine.

Sera’s writing of Philip was impressive as well. I loved the way he handled his inadvertent deception. I cheered his coming into his own against his father. His gentle wooing of Val put a smile on my face. 

I loved that the romance was sweet and slow-burn. The tension in the story was just enough that Val and Philip still had to work for their happy ending. Their conflict was authentic but not too heavy drama and was resolved in a satisfactory manner.

Overall, a start that’s more than promising. It already shows Sera Taíno’s immense talent. I want more stories from her. Soon, please. 

 

4 Four-half-stars

 


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A couple of my favorite recipes from the Sabor de Casa cookbook are Roasted Pork and flan as I featured here. Check them out for yourself. 

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA by Sera Taíno – Preorder Blitz

A Delicious Dilemma

A Delicious Dilemma by Sera Taíno is coming August 24th! Pre-order now and get an EXCLUSIVE cookbook straight from the fictional family restaurant featured in the novel! Simply email seraspromos@gmail.com with a screenshot or forward of your pre-order receipt to claim!

Pre-Order Graphic

Pre-Order Here at Your Favorite Retailer


Different worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

A Delicious Dilemma Pre-Order Blitz 2

 


ABOUT SERA

Sera Taino

Debut romance author Sera Taíno was selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. For more information on this initiative, click here.

She is also the author of several short contemporary romances, including her latest, “Oil and Vinegar,” part of A More Perfect Union: A Voting-Themed Romance Benefit Anthology. All proceeds benefit Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Her debut, #ownvoices novel, A Delicious Dilemma, is scheduled for publication with Harlequin Romance Special Edition in September 2021.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Sign up for Sera’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or BookBub to stay up to date.


SABOR DE CASA

I had the privilege of receiving an early copy of the cookbook Sabor de Casa and I immediately taste-tested several of the recipes. With the Spanish heritage common in both Filipino and Puerto Rican cultures, the dishes are familiar to me and the recipes for them easy to follow. I made the roasted pork (similar to lechon), tostones (the Filipino maruya is a sweet relative), mojo, and the perennial favorite (leche) flan. All the ingredients are readily available in the local grocery stores, especially here in Texas with its huge Mexican community. I chose the small limes because they reminded me of the calamansi. I also substituted evaporated milk for whole milk in the flan recipe.  

The house smelled amazing with the aroma of garlic, of the succulent pork while it roasted in the oven, and the sugar being caramelized. The roast pork was super moist and delectable my 12-year-old son had two servings.

I didn’t have a tostonera so I improvised by smashing the plantain with the use of two differently-sized dipping sauce dishes. One note about the tostones–I fried the plantains five minutes per side two times. It should probably only be five minutes for both sides. Ten minutes total frying not twenty. They turned out browner than the recipe called for. My bad. They were still delicious but did not photograph very well beside the pork. I love brown food, so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. 

The flan came out great. Creamy and not too sweet. I’ll probably use less sugar next time (2/3 cup instead of 3/4) and I’ll make it with 6-8 egg yolks. In short, I’ll revert to my own recipe. Hahaha. 

I cooked a feast with the three dishes I chose. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the recipes. Maybe I’ll do the arroz con gandules, bistec encebollado, and tres leches cake next. Come back here on August 24 to see which dishes I made and to check out my review of A Delicious Dilemma. Preorder the book so you too can make these scrumptious meals.  

 

COMFORT FOODS by Kimberly Fish – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

 

COMFORT FOODS

A Comfort Stories
Stand-Alone Novel

 

 
by
Kimberly Fish
 
Categories: Contemporary / Second-Chance Romance
Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing
Date of Publication: October 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 385 pages
 
 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 
 
 

From the award-winning author of Comfort Plans and Comfort Songs comes a story of two rising stars blitzed by social media. Lacy Cavanaugh and single-dad Rudy Delgardo live a hundred miles apart but meet in the worst possible way. Working at a weekly paper and creating social media for area businesses helps Lacy connect with locals who open her mind to a perspective beyond Instagram. In launching a food-and-wine festival to support Comfort’s new event center, she discovers surprising skills bubbling over, much like the food she’s attempting to cook.

Rudy, on the brink of his restaurant’s takeover, struggles to improve time management so he can create a better relationship with his daughter. Distracted by Lacy and her invitation to the festival, he’s tempted by her beauty, wit, and courage, but as a chef, he rarely gets to enjoy life outside the kitchen. Enemies, illness, and exes add unwelcome spice to the dish they’re concocting—one that will teeter with misunderstanding until the very end.

Will Lacy and Rudy embrace their second chances and discover the perfect seasonings of family, resilience, and grace to create a handwritten recipe of love that will stand the test of time?

CLICK TO PURCHASE!

 
 
 
 
 
 
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20210105_163710123_iOSRelevant and current, Comfort Foods is a feast of a read. Gobble it up in one sitting or savor for several days, you’ll end up satisfied either way. 
 
When I saw the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance. Food and romance are two of my favorite things. As I said when I requested it, foodie romance is my jam, pun fully intended. 
 
Comfort Foods lives up to my expectations. Lacy and Rudy’s story, taking place in two locations (Comfort and Austin), is rich and filling. Lacy’s journey of self-discovery after her fall from grace is especially fascinating and touching. Her scenes with Frank Bachman, the publisher of the newspaper she works for, provide moments of both laughter and tears. In doing service for her sister and for others in the community, Lacy finds her worth beyond the superficial beauty and fashion she was previously famous for. Rudy’s grappling with too many pots on the stove–his restaurant Stella, his daughter Luna, and his attraction to Lacy–is realistic in today’s world and highly relatable. His bewilderment in his search for balance amid man-made obstacles is endearing and admirable.
 
But life is more than a shiny ball. It has edges, holes, and deep caves. Make a choice on where you feel most grounded.
 
Ms. Fish created fully-fleshed-out characters that are sympathetic and likable and oh-so-real with their all-too-human failings. I love that she included multicultural characters that’s reflective of the society at present. She spun a tale filled with humor, angst, insider knowledge of the restaurant and publishing businesses, and the weighty concern of human trafficking. The themes of found family and close-knit community are ones I often seek out and are entrenched in this book and in this series. And then, there’s the food. There’s enough to make a reader’s mouth water and head to the kitchen to recreate the dishes mentioned in the book. 
 
Food is a necessary element of living, and there is real beauty in the process of preparing it and serving people who appreciate the effort.
 
I enjoyed the slow burn of Lacy and Rudy’s romance from their awkward first couple of meetings to cooking together, to the impromptu bridal photo shoot, and to their eventual happy ever after.  I wish though that they have more scenes together and that they communicated more frequently, and collaborated on resolving their issues. Rudy’s declaration at the end seems too quick for a relationship that’s not fully developed because of so much distance. 
 
Love is a recipe worth every effort.
 
As always, huge thanks to Kimberly Fish and to Lone Star Literary Life for the copy of the book to review.
 
 
 
4 out of 5 stars
 
 
 
 
 

Author Kimberly Fish resides in Longview, Texas, and enjoys writing contemporary fiction set in the Hill Country. During the seven years she lived in San Antonio, wandering in and around Comfort, Texas, provided endless space for her imagination to develop stories of women discovering their grit. She studied the small Texas town that had seemingly dug its heels into the limestone and refused modern development and thought that was fertile ground for stories about women remodeling their lives. It made a juxtaposition of place and purpose that was hard to ignore. Plus, anything that takes intentional effort has a much higher value than the things that come easily—Comfort personifies this, and the novels remind readers that anything worth having is worth the work.

Comfort Foods is the third full-length novel in the set, Fiction from the Texas Hill Country, and follows behind the award-winning novels Comfort Plans and Comfort Songs. A novella, Emeralds Mark the Spot, is available as a free eBook download to subscribers of the incredibly sporadic newsletter at kimberlyfish.com and is the original story from which all other Comfort novels grew.

 
 
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—————————————
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
ONE WINNER
GRANDPRIZE (US only):
Signed copy of COMFORT FOODS +
Ina Garten’s MODERN COMFORT FOOD
Ends Midnight, CST, January 22, 2021
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 
 
 
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
 
1/12/21 Guest Post Hall Ways Blog
1/12/21 Review Sydney Young, Stories
1/13/21 Excerpt Forgotten Winds
1/14/21 Review Jennie Reads
1/14/21 Author Interview Texas Book Lover
1/15/21 Review The Clueless Gent
1/16/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
1/17/21 Guest Post All the Ups and Downs
1/18/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
1/18/21 Character Interview StoreyBook Reviews
1/19/21 Review Book Bustle
1/19/21 Guest Post That’s What She’s Reading
1/20/21 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
1/21/21 Review It’s Not All Gravy
1/21/21 Review Bibliotica
 
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SIMMER DOWN by Sarah Smith – Featured New Release

SIMMER DOWN

by 

Sarah Smith

In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum … a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

Buy Links:

Penguin Random House          Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Kobo     Google Play          Indiebound          Books A Million          Bookshop.org     

Any time I see myself in the book I’m reading, I give it high marks. Every time I cry while reading a book, I give it top ratings. Whenever a book promotes the Filipino culture, I only had positive things to say about it. Simmer Down, with its part-Filipina heroine, her tight-knit bond with her parents, its multicultural romance, and its proud celebration of Filipino food, gets my enthusiastic rave. A perfectly-fitting read during the Filipino American History Month this October.

Sarah Smith is a copywriter-turned-author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time. Her love of romance began when she was eight and she discovered her auntie’s stash of romance novels. She’s been hooked ever since. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, eating chocolate, and perfecting her lumpia recipe. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and adorable cat Salem.

Social Media Links:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     BookBub     Goodreads

Some of the dishes served in Nikki’s food truck Tiva’s Filipina Kusina are found in Boracay Vows.

Pancit and lumpia are mentioned multiple times in Simmer Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken adobo is a prize-winning dish in Simmer Down.

A SWEET MESS by Jayci Lee – Release Day Review and Giveaway

SweetMess_BlogTourBanner_AvailableNow

A SWEET MESS

by

Jayci Lee

 

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A Sweet Mess_coverKorean-American author Jayci Lee delights with A Sweet Mess, a delicious and light-hearted romantic comedy that readers will devour and ask for more.

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see the gorgeous Korean hunk again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.

Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250621108

 

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Asian-American main characters, lots of hunger-inducing food descriptions, and classic romance tropes. How can I turn that down? That’s essentially what I write too.

I like the choice of having the Korean leads be beautiful people in successful occupations–an influential food critic in Landon and a talented baker in Aubrey. I like that this story is light, focusing on the travails of a romantic relationship instead of societal struggles that minorities face in the US. We have too many of those stories and not enough of this kind. The angst comes from the yearning, the risking of professional reputation versus personal desires.

While there’s instalust, the sex scenes are sweet and not explicit. The food scenes are sumptuous, so don’t read this hungry. Friendships are tight and mothers are honored. Overall, Ms. Lee’s storytelling is enjoyable. She handled one of my most disliked tropes quite well and the push-and-pull was just enough to cause tension but not too much to make me give up on the couple.

As the title suggests, this book is both sweet and a little bit of a mess. In the early copy I read, there were several times when the transitions between Aubrey’s and Landon’s points of view weren’t smooth and the time jumps weren’t clear. Also, the dual daddy issues were too much and the cover, while cute, didn’t reflect the ethnicity of the lead characters. These are minor issues and don’t stop me from recommending A Sweet Mess to Romance readers who are looking for books that reflect the diversity of the society we live in today.

Three-half-stars

 

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Jayci Lee_Photo Credit Nichanh Nicole PhotographyJAYCI LEE writes poignant, sexy, and laugh-out-loud romance every free second she can scavenge and is semi-retired from her fifteen-year career as a defense litigator. She loves food, wine, and travelling, and incidentally so do her characters. Jayci lives in sunny California with her tall-dark-and-handsome husband, two amazing boys with boundless energy, and a fluffy rescue whose cuteness is a major distraction. She is the author of A Sweet Mess.

Website: https://jaycilee.com/
Twitter: @authorjaycilee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjaycilee

 

 

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Macmillan is giving one of my followers a digital copy of Jayci Lee’s A Sweet Mess. All you have to do to enter is Follow @carpediemchronicles on Instagram and Like my bookstagram of the book. Comment there or return here to let me know you’ve entered. I will draw the winner on Tuesday, July 21 at 12 noon Central time.

 

NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT Recipe – Soda Bread

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Who isn’t baking these days? I certainly am. One of my creations is soda bread. I mentioned it in New York Engagement on Chapter Nine where Krista had a family meal with the Ryans at their pub in Hell’s Kitchen. In the book, they served brown soda bread to go with Guinness caldereta, longganisa coddle, and chicken lechon. As the only flour I have at home was all-purpose white and I wanted it for breakfast and tea, I followed this Irish-American version with whiskey-soaked cranberries from seriouseats.com. The Ryans are Irish-Americans after all.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins or currants)
1/2 cup Irish whiskey (or hot water)
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

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Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (~190 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the cranberries and whiskey (or hot water). Cover and set aside to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into slices, then work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it is fully incorporated. Add the honey, buttermilk, and the cranberries and soaking liquid mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed.

20200509_011808222_iOS3. Flour your work surface lightly and turn out the dough. Gently bring it together without kneading so as not to overwork it. Form the dough into a 6-8 inch disk about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 inches high and place it on your prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make four cuts all the way through to create eight triangles.

4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the bread is nicely browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack. If you like a softer crust, cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel as it cools.

5. Serve plain or, as I do, with cream cheese and your favorite beverage. Mine is coffee with Baileys.  

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New York Engagement is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback can be purchased from this website.

NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT Recipe – Guinness Caldereta

In New York Engagement, Craig prepared three dishes for the family lunch where Blake introduced Krista to the Ryans: longganisa coddle, chicken lechon with mushrooms and whiskey-cream sauce, and Guinness caldereta. All three are Irish and Filipino fusion dishes you can serve whole year round but especially fitting for St. Patrick’s Day. In some places, late winter snow still clings to the ground. In others, soft rain is already falling to prepare for new life to spring forth.

Guinness Caldereta is a hearty beef stew great for sharing with the family. Cooking time depends on the cut and amount of beef you choose, but you can never go wrong with a longer simmer for more tender meat. Some Filipinos don’t use carrots and potatoes in their caldereta. Some have peas and olives. Some Irish beef stews contain celery and turnips. You can personalize to your taste. This is my own interpretation of the dish.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

20180609_214259485_iOS2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast (or beef round for leaner option), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bottle (~ 11 ounces) Guinness beer
20 pieces peppercorn, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup red or green pepper, cut in strips
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 piece bay leaf
1/3 cup liver spread

 

Instructions:

  1. 20180609_230250007_iOSMarinate beef in mixture of 1/2 cup beer, peppercorn, salt, and garlic for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry beef until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
  2. Sauté onions in one tablespoon of oil until translucent. Add marinade and tomato paste, stir for one minute, then deglaze with the remaining Guinness. Return beef to Dutch oven. Pour tomato sauce and beef broth.
  3. Cover and bake 1 hour. Stir in pepper, carrots, and potatoes. Re-cover and bake for about an hour or until beef and vegetables are tender. Blend in liver spread. Cook 5 more minutes. Serve with rice or soda bread.

 

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New York Engagement is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed paperback can be purchased from this website.

CARPE DIEM CHRONICLES Paperback Collection

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The first three books of Carpe Diem Chronicles (Boracay Vows, New York Engagement, and Singapore Fling) are now all available on paperback. As a special treat for those who order the set, I’m giving a bonus swag package containing:

  • Carpe Diem Chronicles Books 1, 1.5, and 2
  • a Carpe Diem Chronicles tote bag
  • Mama Sita’s Adobo and Chopsuey/Pancit Canton sauce mixes to make some of the Filipino dishes from Boracay Vows
  • Mama Sita’s Caldereta sauce mix to make the Irish-Filipino fusion dish Guinness Caldereta featured in New York Engagement
  • Asian Home Gourmet spice pastes for Hainanese Chicken Rice and Singapore Laksa, dishes highlighted in Singapore Fling
  • a handmade charm bracelet that can also be a fancy bookmark
  • Madeleine perfume bottle
  • bookmarks and postcards

The entire package is worth $88 and you can have it for only $39.99. Order here:

Carpe Diem Chronicles Paperback Collection

Signed copies of Boracay Vows, New York Engagement, and Singapore Fling plus a swag package. Inclusive of tax and US shipping.

$39.99

 

MEET THE PARENTS – A Carpe Diem Chronicles Foodie Event

Like many cultures, Filipinos attach great significance to the introduction of a special someone to their immediate family. It’s a signal of deep commitment to the relationship often called “taking it to the next level.”

In Boracay Vows, it was extra special for Blake when Krista’s mother invited him to their home in the province of Quezon. Marissa Lopez had been opposed to her daughter being in a relationship with a foreigner. He was understandably nervous right before their meeting but their warm hospitality, which Filipinos are known for, put him at ease immediately. Blake knew things were going to be all right when he and Krista were presented with a feast.

Here’s an excerpt from that meeting:

Krista stroked Blake’s back as they walked, and asked, “You okay?”

“I’m great, baby.” He smiled down at her. “They’re nice—your parents. I like them.”

“I told you—” The sight of their dining table, groaning under the weight of the platters and platters of her favorite dishes, brought her up short. Pancit Malabon, lechon kawali, embutido, menudo, kare kare, lumpiang Shanghai, relyenong bangus, sapin-sapin, maruya, and rice crowded the long table.

 

In New York Engagement, it was Krista’s turn to be introduced to Blake’s family. That meeting also involved food since it took place at the pub the Ryans co-own with the O’Connors. They serve a fusion of Irish and Filipino dishes since the cook/part-owner Belen O’Connor is from Palawan in the Philippines.

These were the food served as explained by Craig, one of Blake’s brothers who will be the hero of Samui Heat:

“In front of you, Krista, is Guinness caldereta, our version of beef stew. There’s steamed rice, of course. Or brown soda bread, if that’s what you prefer. Next to that is longganisa coddle. Instead of regular bangers, we use the sweeter Filipino pork sausage. Lastly, we have chicken lechon with mushrooms and whiskey-cream sauce. Enjoy.”

Both “Meet the parents” events were successful for Blake and Krista and at the end of New York Engagement, we see them planning a wedding for the following Christmas in the Philippines.

I will be writing that story soon, so watch out for announcements on publication here. In the meantime, please accept my gift for you this Christmas: the recipe of Longganisa Coddle.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 pork longganisa
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (substitute with 2 tablespoons dried if fresh is not available
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 pieces dried bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • my secret ingredient: patis (fish sauce) to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; cut into 1-inch pieces. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon drippings.
  2. Add longganisa to saucepan; cook about 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to paper towel-lined plate; leave whole.
  3. Add onions to saucepan; cook and stir about 8 minutes or until translucent. Return bacon and sausages to saucepan. Add carrots, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme; sprinkle generously with pepper. Pour broth over vegetables; bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low; partially cover and simmer about 1 hour 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add fish sauce to taste. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. Serve with rice or soda bread.

**Recipe adapted from Irish Pub Food by Publication International, Ltd.

Boracay Vows and New York Engagement are available in both eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed copies can be purchased on this website.

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Lumpia

In Boracay Vows, lumpia is one of the dishes Marissa Lopez prepared for Krista and Blake when they went to Quezon to meet the family. It also happened to be a belated birthday celebration for Krista, so there were plenty of food.

There are many variations of lumpiasariwa (fresh), Shanghai (thin pork spring rolls), hubad (unwrapped), vegetable, or with meat. The latest version I made has chicken in it, but can be done with ground pork or shrimp. Some people call it lumpiang togue, which translates to spring rolls with bean sprouts. Others use cabbage instead of bean sprouts, or sometimes both in their vegetable spring rolls. There’s not just one way of making these, all of them delicious.

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Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 cup of shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut thinly on a bias
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of lumpia wrapper

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or pan. Add tofu and fry until brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add garlic and onion to hot oil and cook until softened. Pour the fish sauce on the side of the wok. Cook until smell goes away (2-3 minutes).
  3. Stir in shrimp (if using) and cook until pink. Add chicken, green beans, carrots, and bean sprouts. Cook until all ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the tofu. Let cool.
  4.  Lay the wrapper on a flat surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling two inches from the top. Fold the top end of the wrapper over the mixture. Fold the sides and roll tightly into a log. Brush the bottom end with water to seal completely. Repeat until there’s no more filling or wrapper. (At this point you can stop to freeze the wrapped lumpia until you’re ready to eat it.)
  5. In a skillet, heat about two inches of oil. Add spring rolls with the seam side down. Fry, turning once or twice (about 2 minutes per side) until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot and crispy with garlic-spiced vinegar dip. Enjoy!

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