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BLOG TOUR – GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: “My Heartache Cowboy” by ZA Maxfield

Welcome to the ZA Maxfield blog tour for the contemporary cowboy release of My Heartache Cowboy!

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GUEST POST

My Favorite Valentine’s Day Meal

My husband isn’t overly fond of Valentine’s Day. He’s generally a sweet romantic guy, and especially in the beginning, pre-kids, before the endless ennui of every little daily chore and every honey-do list, he went way out of his way to show me every little classic romantic kindness, from flowers — usually a single, unusual variety every Friday night just to let me know he cared, at least until his favorite flower shop closed its doors. I’m partial, by the way to the “Pink Mink Protea”, an otherworldly looking flower that has feathery fronds that are fun to play with…

That’s another post. :D

One year we watched Tom Jones, and of course laughed about the eating scene. That was when I decided what my Valentine’s fantasy meal should be, and created it — without all the slobbery excess, because that’s just yuck…

Right off the bat we’re going to have a genteel disagreement over what to start with. It’s going to require compromise, and ingenuity, just as our marriage has required for thirty years.

If we’re going to start with a salad, I have to tread carefully. My husband’s love of Thousand Island or Catalina dressings over iceberg lettuce is a little pedestrian for me, while I like a classic vinaigrette which is made with a bit of mustard and add-ins like glazed nuts and bleu cheese which are anathema to him. We could go Caesar of course, but top even a mundane salad with a crouton and it ruins things for him. So salad isn’t our best route to domestic bliss.

What we can both agree on is a soup made from roasted butternut squash, onions, and either carrots or apples for sweetness. I get those good and soft, add stock, throw in a hint thai chili curry paste and honey to taste and buzz it in the blender. Yummy and complex, just like love.

Dinner is invariably Roast Chicken. There’s nothing more lovely than a perfectly roasted bird, unless you’re vegetarian, and then I think maybe you can forego the soup, make a salad, and have an entree course of perfectly roasted winter squashes and root vegetables. There’s something about aroma of roasting: the caramelization of fat and sugar inherent in the process, the way it sweetens onions and garlic, how it gives punch and presence to herbs and spices. Everything coalesces into a mouthwatering purity of flavor that only comes from high heat — from fire and patience.

With my chicken, I love to serve artichokes. They’re like a satiny, unctuous strip tease. Dipped in the good stuff, homemade mayonnaise or aoili, they’re perfect for eating and sharing and lets face it, anything you put in your mouth, scrape off with your teeth, and then throw onto a plate makes for a lot of sexy face drama.

A wild rice pilaf — technically, wild rice isn’t rice at all but grass — is a great, nutty accompaniment. I like to add nuts to everything, my husband picks them out. They don’t ruin his enjoyment too much if I use them sparingly.

We don’t drink, chez moi, but wine and artichokes are like the Hatfields and The McCoy’s anyway, a tragic love affair best never begun. I remember reading somewhere that there are maybe two wines that don’t worsen in the company of artichokes so it’s a safer bet to drink something else. Sweet tea, maybe, or sparkling water with a slice of lemon. If we do a sparkling cider, maybe I’d drop red fruit at the bottom of the glass. I favor raspberries or pomegranate seeds. I like that they’re both tart, and of course those blood red pomegranate seeds doomed Persephone (or perhaps allowed her?) to return to her underworld lover despite her mother’s intervention.

For dessert, I favor small, jewel-like fruit tarts or a cream cheese pie, which we both love, but if I’m really going for romance here, I have to do something dark, chocolatey, and fudgey, which is where I cross the ultimate romantic Rubicon and submit to my husband’s taste for things that are sweeter than I actually like. I don’t like fudge brownies, or ice cream, particularly. Or fudge sauce. I like my chocolate to be flavored with sea salt or chili. I like it light — one tiny perfect square, or in a thin veneer over a delicate shortbread cookie. But my guy likes it sweet. And I figure something should be. Because it’s quite possible I’ve never been as sweet as I promised I’d be on that long ago first Valentine’s Day.

So here it is, the menu. I’ve culled all my recipes from sources too many to name here. All the dishes can be found under this one umbrella Epicurious.com Use my plan or create your own, and have a wonderful, delicious, Valentine’s Day with someone you love.

Valentine’s Day Feast for Two (or more)

(Carnivore edition)

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Roast Chicken

Steamed Artichokes w/ Homemade Mayonnaise

Wild Rice and Toasted Almond Pilaf

Decadent Brownie Sundae

Valentine’s Day Feast for Two (or more)

(Vegetarian — not vegan — edition)

Greens with glazed Pecans, Berries and Gorgonzola

Roasted squash and root vegetables

Steamed Artichokes w/ Homemade Mayonnaise

Wild Rice and Toasted Almond Pilaf

Decadent Brownie Sundae

About the Author:

Author Picture (1)Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Her published books include Crossing Borders, Drawn Together, and the St. Nacho’s and Brothers Grime series from Loose Id, ePistols at Dawn and The Pharaoh’s Concubine from Samhain Publishing, and Notturno, Vigil, Stirring Up Trouble, and All Stirred Up from MLR Press.

Website/Blog
Twitter
FB Author Page
Goodreads

Book Info:

18338605Title: My Heartache Cowboy (The Cowboys #2)

Author: ZA Maxfield
Publisher:  Intermix
Pages: 288
Publish Date:  January 21, 2014
Purchase Links:  Amazon, ARe

3 comments on “BLOG TOUR – GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: “My Heartache Cowboy” by ZA Maxfield

  1. Trix
    February 14, 2014

    I’ve always loved butternut squash, too (it also makes a great pizza topping with caramelized onions, bacon, and kale), and roast chicken is always fun!

    Like

  2. Kaje Harper
    February 15, 2014

    I adore artichokes. No need for anything more than a little lemon juice. My husband, of course, is one of those who thinks Valentine’s day is an artificial holiday created by the greeting card companies. Fortuantely he’s also a vegan who doesn’t need any excuse to eat artichokes…

    I loved My Heartache Cowboy, BTW. Loved that it didn’t stick to the well-worn paths of romance, but made emotional sense. And loved the guys.

    Like

  3. Dawn D
    February 19, 2014

    My husband thought a package of roses in the cellaphane wrap bought at the grocery store and left in the kitchen was all that needed to be said for Valentine’s Day. When I asked him if he knew how many were in the package he said, a dozen right? Nope, lucky me it was 2 dozen.

    Another book to add to my tbr, can’t wait to read it.

    Like

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This entry was posted on February 14, 2014 by in Blog Tour, Giveaway and tagged , , .

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