Sunday, September 9, 2012

Local Farmers Thank You For Buying My Book

On Friday the first box of 20 paperback Game of Hearts books arrived.  Much to my dismay, the cover was terrible.  It looked good on the digital proof.  It looked good on the Kindle version.  On the paperback it was dark and a little fuzzy.  I was not pleased.

UPDATE: I re-did the cover.  It's the same pics & layout, but it's a lot brighter.  Lesson learned.  Use 300 dpi for the pics, not 96.  Oopsie.

All of the books had been pre-ordered by my co-workers and I told them if they didn't want to buy them they could wait for the next batch as I was determined to fix this issue.  To my delight I received a resounding, "NO!  WE'RE NOT WAITING!  WE WANT THIS NOW!!"  Most added, "This is even better because someday it will be a rare collector's item."  I don't often love my co-workers, but on Friday they were the best friends and fans a nervous writer could want.  I still choke up thinking about how supportive and awesome they have been.  These people have had to listen to me talk about this book for months and they're still excited about it.  I love them all*!!!

* Except Jason, whose job it is to kick my exercise ball and crush my ego if he thinks it's getting too big.  He falls in the category of "a tool with a purpose."  It's a good thing he's kidding (although probably not) and kind of funny or I might kick his ball.  I'd even let him pick which one...

With the money I made Friday from book sales I went to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning and bought A LOT of veggies.  A huge basket of tomatoes.  A huge basket of "second" peppers.  (Second should be re-labelled as "homegrown" because they taste the same but look like something you grew in the backyard.  I never understood why people needed perfect looking produce.  Are you gonna cut it up and eat it, or use it as decor.  Stupid humans.)  A bag of onions.  Eggplants.  Squash.  Geode zucchini.  (So freaking cute!!!!)

For those of you from Auburn, NY who have been living in a cave, the Farmer's Market is located in the large parking lot across from the YMCA.  It's a small market but the vendors there produce the most tasty and beautiful veggies and fruit in the world.  Please support them.

I came home and went about making a healthy, super-yummy soup.  I will probably make three batches of this before I'm done and freeze it up for winter.  You can use whatever veggies you like in it.

Rare Ugly 1st Edition Chunky Tomato & Chicken Soup

10 huge beefsteak-sized tomatoes, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 small onions (3" in diameter), diced
1 heaping tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil (I use F. Oliver's Smoky Chipolte)
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
1 heaping tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Throw everything  in a huge crock pot.  Cook on Low at least 10 hours.  More is recommended.  The longer, the better.

After you've cooked your chunky tomato base to damn-near death...

4 hot poultry sausage links
2 large grilled Italian-marinated chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
1 bag frozen cauliflower, nuked & drained (Somehow missed the fresh stuff at the market. Tsk tsk tsk.)
1 eggplant, diced
2-16 oz packages mushrooms, cubed or sliced
2 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 cup chicken broth (optional)

Squeeze the innards out of the sausage links and fry it up.  Crumble it up and toss it into the crock pot.  Throw in the remaining ingredients as well.  Stir it all up and cook another 2 hours.

Feeds a crapload!  Freezes excellently!

A note about chicken broth:  I prefer to use chicken broth leftover from Crock Pot Chicken.  Use as much as you want.  I like a chunky soup with less broth.  Feel free to use more and stretch this recipe even further.  

Crock Pot Chicken

Put a whole chicken in a crock pot.  Add a cup of water.  Season at will.  Cook on Low for 8 hours.  The chicken will fall apart but will be super-moist and amazingly yummy.  Strain the liquid for the best chicken broth!  The leftover breast meat is great for chicken salad sandwiches.  Or you can use it in the soup!