Friday, February 13, 2015

A Valentine's Date with Zach from Loree Lough's "Once a Marine"

We Talk to Ourselves...A Lot blog series by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist


Well, hello again! Are you having as much troubling believing it’s almost Valentine’s Day as we are? Guess it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun!

We’re glad you could join us in the big, cozy kitchen at the Double M Ranch—one of two main Colorado settings for Once a Marine (#1 in Loree's “Those Marshall Boys” series with Heartwarming)—where former Marine turned self-defense instructor Zach Marshall is whipping up a surprise Valentine’s dinner for Summer Lane. Pull up a stool and feast your eyes on the delicious recipes he’s cooking up for his sweetheart.

Loree: So Zach, why are you preparing the meal here, rather than in your apartment above Marshall Law Self Defense Studio?

Zach: <sets oven temperature> Couple of reasons. One, I have two pans, one for frying eggs, one for warmin’ up soup…on a two-burner stove. And two, my kitchen is barely big enough for me, let alone company.

Cerella: So you’re going to serve Valentine’s Day dinner to Summer here, at your parents’ house? Not very romantic with your mom and dad, cousins, aunts and uncles roaming around….

Zach: You’re right. Which is why I’m cooking the meal here, and serving it on the little back porch at my place above Marshall Law in Vail. <removes a photograph from his shirt pocket> I’m going to duplicate everything on this table. Summer has come a long way from the little hermit I met months ago, but she’s still a little uncomfortable in big crowds.

Cerella: Yeah, and I can’t name a person who doesn’t admire how hard she’s trying to overcome what happened to her that horrible night.

Loree: Very true. And it takes a strong man to love a broken woman.

Zach: <frowning slightly> Doesn’t take much strength, really. She’s easy to love.

Loree: Still, it can’t be easy for you, wondering if something you do or say will remind her of that night.

Cerella: Loree’s right. You’re an admirable man, Zach Marshall!

Zach: <looking uncomfortable> How ‘bout handing me that SPATULA? over there….

Loree: <exchanges knowing glance with Cerella> Well, if you two are going to eat the whole meal outside on the porch, I hope you have a space heater to warm things up! There’s snow on the ground in Vail!

Zach: <nodding> It’s more like a…like a mini-fireplace.



Loree: Oh, wow, Zach, how thoughtful and romantic! And if Summer doesn’t agree, I think she might need to have an eye exam!

Cerella: <laughing> So what will you serve?

Zach: Thought I’d make Lobster Colorado.

Cerella: Sounds delicious! And how perfect, since you were born and raised in Colorado! Summer is one lucky girl!



Lobster Colorado


Ingredients:

4 (8 ounce) beef tenderloin filets
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
8 ounces lobster tail, cleaned and chopped

Directions:

Set oven to Broil at 500 degrees
Coat tenderloins with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Wrap each filet with bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Place on a broiling pan and broil to desired doneness (8-10 minutes per side for medium rare).
While tenderloins are broiling, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat with 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Stir in chopped lobster meat and cook until done (meat will be opaque and no longer translucent).
Spoon lobster meat over cooked tenderloins and return to broiler until the lobster begins to brown.
While the lobster is in the oven, heat remaining 1/4 cup butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until it turns the color of hazelnuts.
Spoon browned butter over steaks and sprinkle with remaining Old Bay.

Loree: With a main dish like that, you won’t need anything but a side salad! But what’s for dessert?

Zach: <slides another recipe across the counter>

Loree: Ah-ha, my parfait cupcakes are one of my grandkids’ favorite sweet treats. I happen to know Summer loves chocolate, so she should enjoy these!


Parfait Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can fluffy white frosting
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
heart-shaped decorative sprinkles

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark pans)
Place baking paper cup in each of 24 muffin cups
Make and bake cake as directed on box for cupcakes.
Cool 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.

Tip: Canned frosting will taste lighter and look fluffier if you beat it first.

Spoon frosting into a zipper bag and cut off a lower corner. Swirl frosting onto cupcakes. 
In microwavable bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening for 1 minute. When melted and well-mixed, drizzle chocolate onto cupcakes. Sprinkle with decorative sprinkles and cover loosely until ready to serve.
Cerella: You’d better be careful, Zach, or you’ll spoil that girl!

Loree: She’s right. You’d better watch it, pal, or she’ll expect a feast like this again next Valentine’s Day!

Zach: <winks and grins> Can’t think of anything I’d like better. <begins rummaging in fridge>

Well, looks like Zach has zoned out on us, friends, at least for the time being! We hope it’s warm and cozy wherever you are on this blustery February day! Be sure to check in with us again next month when, as a result of our talking to ourselves—and one another—we’ll have yet another cool surprise for you!

For now, be sure to comment, below (perhaps with a favorite Valentine’s Day recipe of your own!), and you could win a copy of Once a Marine!

And if you haven’t already commented on the big Heartwarming blog giveaway, click this link and you could win books, chocolates, roses…or all three!

http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com/2015/01/its-huge-heartwarming-valentines-day.html

Happy Valentine's Day!



About Loree:


With nearly 5,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of Once a Marine (#1 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 104! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and www.loreelough.com!



About Cerella:

Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. She has won various competitions and a scholarship for her writing, which include devotionals, full-length plays, and novels. She divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. Her novels exhibit her love for both the written word and food in fiction. You can find her online at her website www.cerellasechrist.com where she pens “Literary Fare: Fiction & Food”, a blog for readers.

36 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I agree, Rula! A man who can cook is pretty handy to have around. ;)

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    2. Don't tell anybody (lest HE get a big head), but I kinda pattered Zach after my very own real-life hero!

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  2. I can tell you that if you ladies cook like that and write books---I need to move closer and become your BFF. I'm looking forward to the book Loree. Happy Valentine's Day all. My youngest daughter and family are coming to visit tomorrow so I may hit and miss on the computer all week. But hope you all get lovely hearts and flowers.

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    1. Same to you, Roz! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day visit with the family!

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    2. We both love to cook, Roz, and you're welcome to join us for a meal, any time!

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  3. If Zach ever gets tired of Summer, please send him to my house--with that yummy food, of course. Your book sounds great, Loree. Happy Valentine's Day to all!

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    1. You'll have to fight me for him, Leigh! I've been totally charmed by this hero of Loree's!

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    2. LOL, Leigh! Here's hoping your Valentine's Day is every bit as romantic as Zach and Summer's!

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  4. Wow, a man who cooks is definitely swoon-worthy! Unfortunately, I don't have any amazing Valentine's Day recipes to share. Since I'm responsible for cooking dinner nightly at our house, someone else doing the cooking and clean-up is my idea of the best Valentine's Day dinner! Congrats, Loree, on over 100 books in print! That's amazing. I haven't read Once a Marine, but based on this interview with you, Cerella, and Zach, it's definitely on my radar! I love catching up with the blog, and I love the Heartwarming books. Thanks for sharing your stories, ladies!

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    1. I'm with you, Christy, Zach's cooking schools are part of what makes this such a great Valentine's Day dinner! Loree's books are always amazing - I hope you enjoy Once a Marine! :)

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    2. There's a big crock pot filled with hearty venison stew on my countertop, Christy. C'mon over...there's always room (and stew) for more!

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  5. Oh, and my husband would absolutely love Lobster Colorado! We have a fundraiser dinner to attend this Valentine's Day, but I'll keep the recipe for the next special occasion. Looks amazing!

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    1. I second this! The Lobster Colorado looks DELICIOUS!

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    2. It's a super dish for those special occasions. (Secret: I've made it using tuna; not quite as luxurious, but tasty all the same!)

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  6. Replies
    1. That makes three of us, at least, Melinda! LOL I've spoiled the grandorables, though. They prefer their cupcakes in an ice cream cone (the flat-bottomed kind) now. So guess who had to go out and buy special racks so they wouldn't tip over in the oven? You guessed it! LOL

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  7. What a fun post, ladies! (As usual.) My mouth is watering at that lobster Colorado--I've never heard of it, until now. I bet I could replace the lobster with our northwest favorite of dungeness crab. I'm already a little in love with Zach because is there anything sexier than a man who cooks?

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    1. I was thinking the same thing, Carol. Zach's cooking skills definitely up his swoon-worthiness!

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    2. You can definitely replace the lobster with crab (or mackerel, or tuna, or... LOL)! And you're not alone in having a little crush on Zach. Just wait until you meet his cousins, Nate and Sam. Somebody catch me...I feel a 'faint' coming on!

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  8. okay, I'm going to make the lobster colorado. I'm supposed to set my oven to broil. My old oven had a broiler at the bottom. My new one doesn't. What's my first step. It sounds wonderful!

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    1. I'm thinking the same thing, Pam - I need to try out the recipe Loree provided! And those cupcakes look like a perfect dessert!

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    2. My 'new' stove as an in-oven broiler, too, Pam, and it works just as well on this recipe!

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  9. I'm going straight to the cupcakes. I have everything I need except the heart sprinkles, but am running errands this morning and will look for some. Fun blog, you too. I'm already in love with Zach. Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

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    1. Share a photo of your cupcakes, Muriel...preferably of you or a grandkid munchin' on 'em! :-)

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  10. oh be still my fluttering heart. what a great interview of your character, Loree. the Valentine's Day dinner sounds absolutely wonderful. Happy Valentine's Day, Ladies. Loved this interview!

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    1. I kinda wish I could watch this meal from a short distance. If for no other reason than to be right-close to the leftovers! LOL

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  11. Be still my heart! Zach cooks great food. Maybe he should stop by my house and give me lessons. Great interview!

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    1. LOL Tammy! Zach is good and patient teacher, so I'm thinkin' you'd learn a lot...if you could concentrate on the lesson! (I know I couldn't! LOL)

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  12. You two--three?--are so funny! I love that kitchen.

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    1. I love it, too, Liz, and one of these days, Larry will come home to discover I've sledgehammered through the kitchen wall and into the garage so I can get a start on that kitchen, right here! LOL (Kidding, Lar...KIDDING!)

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  13. So cute! And those cupcakes sounds delish! Thanks for always putting together something fun :)

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    1. You're welcome, Amy, and here's hoping your Valentine's Day will be delish and fun! :-)

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  14. Robin Bunting, YOU are the winner of a signed copy of ONCE A MARINE! I know you're on Facebook, so if you'll private message your address, I'll pop your copy in the mail! Congratulations and happy Valentine's Day!

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