OLIVE CAPER CHICKEN

This Olive Caper Chicken is not my first recipe to combine chicken and olives and, again, my guys chowed down, leaving no leftovers for my lunch. Always a good sign 🙂Olive Caper Chicken2 tbsp olive oil

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cut into 1″ bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 large onion, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup white cooking wine

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup sliced green olives

1 tbsp capers

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally (you may have to make in 2 batches); transfer chicken to plate

3) To same skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; stir in tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and cooking wine and cook 5 minutes; stir in tomatoes, green olives, capers, and chicken; immediately remove from stove top and bake in oven 30 minutes; remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley, and serve

Servings: 6-8

RELEASE DAY: THE KINDLING: Book Four in the Age of Faith series

THE KINDLING: Book Four in the Age of Faith series is now available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon where it already ranks #12 in Christian Historical Romance books. Yet more for which to be thankful 🙂

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THE UNVEILING, THE YIELDING, and THE REDEEMING introduced readers to the formidable Wulfrith family during Duke Henry’s battle for the English throne and his succession. THE KINDLING, the fourth book in the Age of Faith series, is the story of Sir Abel, the youngest and, perhaps, most dangerous of the Wulfrith brothers.

“’TIS SAID FAMILY CREATES A MULTITUDE OF SINS.”
Helene of Tippet is not her father or her brother’s keeper. Yet when she is enlisted to use her healing skills to aid a fallen knight, the secret she holds close threatens to visit her family’s sins upon her. Now she is in danger of loving where she should not—a man of the nobility, and one who has cause to despise her if ever he learns of the blood that courses through her veins. Dare she reveal herself? Dare she trust a warrior so bitter and intent on revenge? Dare she love?

Sir Abel Wulfrith, a man bred to battle, has the scar to prove one should never trust a woman. But when he is wounded by his family’s enemy, he finds himself at the mercy of one who could prove his undoing. Now he faces a battle against which no strategy can prevail, no blade can defend, no heart can escape unscathed. Can he forgive Helene the sins of the father—more, the sins of the brother? Can he reclaim his faith? Can he love?

To read an excerpt, visit: tamaraleigh.com

To purchase a copy, visit: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  (coming soon to iBookstore and Kobo Books)

$1.99 THE REDEEMING on sale (regularly $4.99) 11.22.13 thru 11.28.13

In celebration of the 11.27.13 release of THE KINDLING: Book Four in the Age of Faith series, THE REDEEMING: Book Three has been reduced to $1.99 (regularly $4.99) thru 11.28.13. And today is the final day to purchase THE UNVEILING: Book One for $.99 (regularly $2.99). Enjoy!

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The Kindling: Book Four 11.27.13

TIS SAID FAMILY CREATES A MULTITUDE OF SINS.

Helene of Tippet is not her father or her brother’s keeper. Yet when she is enlisted to use her healing skills to aid a fallen knight, the secret she holds close threatens to visit her family’s sins upon her. Now she is in danger of loving where she should not—a man of the nobility, and one who has cause to despise her if ever he learns of the blood that courses through her veins. Dare she reveal herself? Dare she trust a warrior so bitter and intent on revenge? Dare she love?

Sir Abel Wulfrith, a man bred to battle, has the scar to prove one should never trust a woman. But when he is wounded by his family’s enemy, he finds himself at the mercy of one who could prove his undoing. Now he faces a battle against which no strategy can prevail, no blade can defend, no heart can escape unscathed. Can he forgive Helene the sins of the father—more, the sins of the brother? Can he reclaim his faith? Can he love?

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The Redeeming: Book Three $1.99 thru 11.28.13

IN THE EYES OF THE CHURCH AND MEN, HERS IS NO SMALL SIN 

Lady Gaenor Wulfrith is a woman scorned. And King Henry’s pawn. After three broken betrothals, she is ordered to wed her family’s enemy, a man she has never met and has good reason to fear. Faced with the prospect of an abusive marriage that will surely turn worse when her sin is revealed, she flees her family’s home with the aid of a knight—a man who could prove her ruin.

Christian Lavonne, the only remaining heir to the barony of Abingdale, has thrown off his monk’s robes—and God—to administer his lands. Determined to end the devastation wrought by his family’s feud with the Wulfriths, he agrees to marry his enemy’s sister, a woman no man seems to want. When he learns she has fled with a knight who has broken fealty with the Wulfriths, he pursues her, knowing that when they meet his own sin will be revealed and he will be as much in need of redemption as the woman who may carry another man’s child.

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The Unveiling: Book One $.99 thru 11.23.13

12th Century England. Two men vie for the throne: King Stephen, the usurper, and young Duke Henry, the rightful heir. Amid civil and private wars, alliances are forged, loyalties are betrayed, families are divided, and marriages are made.

For four years, Lady Annyn Bretanne has trained at arms with one end in mind—to avenge her brother’s murder as God has not deemed it worthy to do. Disguised as a squire, she sets off to exact revenge on a man known only by his surname, Wulfrith. But when she holds his fate in her hands, her will wavers and her heart whispers that her enemy may not be an enemy after all.

Baron Wulfrith, renowned trainer of knights, allows no women within his walls for the distraction they breed. What he never expects is that the impetuous young man sent to train under him is a woman who seeks his death—nor that her unveiling will test his faith and distract the warrior from his purpose.

For a listing of books and excerpts, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

Books available at Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo Books 

PORK TENDERLOIN SMOTHERED IN PEAR-ONION GRAVY

There are few meats as forgiving as pork tenderloin. Even overcooked, it’s tasty. Add pear-onion gravy and we are talking over-the-top amazing. And it’s so easy to make. Try it!
Pork Tenderloin Smothered in Pear Onion Gravy

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin, sliced 1/2″ thick

2 tbsp butter

1-1/4 cup diced onions

2 pears, cored and diced

1 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp sherry cooking wine

1 tsp champagne vinegar

1 tbsp cornstarch

4 scallions, sliced diagonally

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees and place 4 oven-safe plates in oven to warm

2) In shallow bowl, mix flour, sea salt, and black pepper

3) To large skillet add olive oil and heat over medium-high; meanwhile, dredge pork tenderloin pieces in flour mixture; place pork tenderloin pieces in skillet and cook 2-3 minutes each side until lightly browned and just done; transfer to warmed plates in oven

4) To same skillet over medium heat, add butter, onions, and pears and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

5) Meanwhile, in small bowl mix: chicken broth, cooking wine, vinegar, and cornstarch; stir into pear-onion mixture in skillet and cook 5 minutes until “gravy” thickens; remove from heat

6) Remove plated pork tenderloin from oven and pour pear-onion “gravy” over the top; sprinkle with scallions and serve

Servings: 4

MEATBALL TORTILLA SOUP

It should be obvious by now that my family is not only big on soup, but fans of tortilla soup in particular. This recipe is extra special owing to the meatballs. Of course, the addition of potatoes, carrots, and corn doesn’t hurt either. Give this delicious, filling, all thumbs up cool weather meal a try (adapted from Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook’s “Tortilla Meatball Soup”).

Meatball Tortilla Soup

4 corn tortillas, cut in half, then into 1/2″ strips

cooking spray (I used olive oil)

1 lb ground beef

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cups chopped onion

2 cups small-diced red potatoes, unpeeled

1 cup 1/4″ thick carrot slices

5 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers

1 red bell pepper, diced

1-1/4 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1) Preheat broiler

2) Place tortilla strips on baking pan, lightly spray with cooking oil, and broil 1-2 minutes until golden brown; using spatula, turn and broil additional 1-2 minutes

3) To large bowl, add ground beef, panko breadcrumbs, egg, chipotle chile, and sea salt; mix well and form into 1″ diameter meatballs (about 35)

4) Add olive oil to large soup pot and heat over medium-high; space meatballs slightly apart in skillet and cook 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all sides; when no longer pink in center, transfer meatballs to paper towel-lined plate and cover with foil to keep warm

5) To same pot, add onion, potatoes, and carrots (you may have to add a bit more olive oil); cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables start to soften; add broth, jalapeno pepper, red bell pepper, and corn; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes until vegetables are tender

6) Add meatballs to soup and cook 5 minutes; remove from heat, ladle into bowls, top with tortilla strips and cheese, and serve

Servings: 4 hearty dinner-sized portions

AN UNTIMELY CONVERSATION WITH ABEL WULFRITH OF “THE KINDLING”

Today is the birthday of my Facebook friend, Patti Jones, a lovely lady who has been patient in awaiting Sir Abel Wulfrith’s story. Since THE KINDLING: Book Four won’t release for nearly two more weeks (fingers crossed), I’m unable to give it to her as a birthday present. But what I can give her is what I’ve been promising readers for some time now–the conversation (yes, imagined) that made me postpone the rewrite of my 1994 Bantam Books release, WARRIOR BRIDE, in order to tell Abel’s story. Happy birthday, Patti!

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Late February, 2013

You again? Sorry, Abel, but I don’t have time—lots to do before I pick up Junior Too from school.

’Tis a final scene you are writing?

Yep. And since this is the last book in the series, everything has to come together just right to satisfy the readers who have followed the Wulfriths from “The Unveiling” to “The Yielding” and are now awaiting “The Redeeming.”

Hmm.

Don’t start in on me again.

‘Tis your fault, troubadour. You placed me in Helene’s path.

I did. She was important to the plot, just as you are.

But not enough to warrant a book of our own.

I didn’t say that. As I told you before, there are three books in the Age of Faith series. Three, not four.

Then you went to all that trouble to develop my back story—nearly killed me—for naught?

Not for naught! And be happy, won’t you? I could have made you more cardboard than flesh and bone. But, no, I believe secondary characters, especially recurring ones, should come as alive to readers as primary characters.

Most generous, and yet now you abandon us.

Abel!

How can you sit there quaffing that brown slop and writing the story of Gaenor and her husband who, I will admit, is not nearly as bad as you led me to believe, and all the while Helene and I languish in your imagination?

Of course Christian Lavonne isn’t bad. He’s the hero, after all. But as for calling my latte names, just because it isn’t wine or ale doesn’t make it slop.

That is what it looks to be. What is it?

Coffee which, in my time, is more popular than what you drink. In this case, it’s diluted with milk.

A child’s drink!

Abel, you really need to let me get back to work.

What about Helene? If you find me undeserving of my own book, give her one.

Starring you as her leading man?

There was an attraction between us and, as you know, neither is she—what did you call it?—cardboard. And don’t forget the bond that exists between her son and me.

Don’t worry, Abel, I’ll tie up all the loose ends before I write “The End.”

Loose ends? Is that what Helene and I are to you? Sounds demeaning.

It’s not. Trust me.

Trust you who dangles a woman like her before me, then turns your back on us?

Aargh! I didn’t tell you to fall for her. In fact, not only did I not make her beautiful, but I gave her red hair and light freckling which you do not find attractive.

I believe you need to reacquaint yourself with my character and back story, troubadour. There is far more to me than a man attracted only to outward beauty. I had that once, remember?

I know, I know.

So?

If it will get you off my shoulder—though you’re ruining my surprise—I’ll tell you my plans for you and Helene.

Aye?

In the epilogue of “The Redeeming,” I’ll mention that the two of you are exploring a relationship.

Mention? Exploring?

You’re taking this too personally, Abel. Hey! Don’t think I’m intimidated by a medieval POPO flexing his hand on his sword hilt. In fact, if I don’t want that hand of yours to flex, it won’t.

What is this…POPO?

Person On Paper Only—a fictional character. You.

Not in the minds of your readers. You may not care for me, but I believe they do.

Abel, look, maybe—and I’m only saying maybe—one day I’ll revisit you and Helene, perhaps write your romance as a novella.

That is not the same as a novel?

It’s a short novel—one third, maybe half as long.

What is it about me you do not like, troubadour?

I do like you. You’re perfect hero material.

Then?

After “The Redeeming,” I plan to rewrite my medieval novels that were published in the nineties and which I’ve put on hold too many times already. Speaking of which, I need to contact my graphic artist and get her started on a new cover.

I do not know what any of that means, but I do know you are making a grave mistake in denying Helene and me our story.

Abel, it takes a minimum of six months for me to write a full-length novel—

Thus, if you start now, you could give your readers the fourth novel this fall.

Best case scenario, yes, but as I said, I have other commitments. Besides, there has to be considerable conflict between the hero and heroine to carry a whole story, and the conflict between you and Helene is pretty easily resolved. Like I said: Epilogue.

Then do that thing you did for Garr and Annyn, Michael and Beatrix, and Christian and Gaenor. Give us more conflict in those final scenes.

Like kill you off?

Is that a threat?

One without substance. However, I do need to have some of the good guys killed and badly injured to make the final battle believable.

You could injure me. As a warrior, I am accustomed to blood and scars.

That’s certainly a possibility. But I’d still be left with a romance that has little place to go outside of Helene being the one to care for you as you recover from your injuries.

It sounds as if you need to give her more of that back story you believe to be so important.

I…suppose I could.

Of course you can. You are my favorite troubadour, do you not know?

Are you buttering me up, Abel?

Butter…ing? Why would I do that when ‘tis not my desire to anger you but to convince you to give Helene and me our story?

It’s just an expression. It means to charm.

Ah. Just as I prefer wine and ale to your slop, I prefer the word “charm” over an item of  food to refer to my ability to gain your cooperation. So we are in agreement?

We are not.

Then would you consider a wager?

Sorry, no dice.

I have some.

Of course you do, you rascal.  But no. No wager.

A deal, then. 

I need to get back to writing.

All the more reason to hear me out. Here is the deal: I shall remain silent the rest of this day—

Only the rest of today?

Very well. This day and tomorrow.

Only today and tomorrow?

A sennight?

Continue.

I shall remain silent as you write the final scenes, during which you shall make an effort to provide Helene and me with more conflict.

That’s all?

Aye, and if you are truly serious about satisfying your readers, I trust you will discover there is another story in your series. Mayhap two.

Two?!

Have you forgotten my brother, Everard? Or do you just not like bald men?

Hey, he’s bald by choice, not because of male pattern baldness.

Do I sense more back story?

Maybe. Or maybe he just doesn’t have time to spend on his hair.

Still, ‘tis something to think upon.

Or not.

Do we have a deal?

Abel, I—

Did you know I, myself, am quite good at storytelling?

You are not! You’re a warrior, not a guy who travels castle to castle earning his living by spinning tales, reciting poetry, and singing. Believe me, that is not part of your back story

Ask Helene’s son, John. Nearly as much as he likes playing at swords, he likes the tales that have accompanied our practice.

You are putting words in my…pen, Abel.

Pen?

Quill.

Ah, aye. And if you promise to give Helene and me our due, I shall give you more words and will sit with you while you drink that—I forget what you call it.

Latte.

Slop. I shall sit with you and direct your quill and inspire you beyond a silly log, even beyond—

You mean epilogue?

That. Even beyond a vellum.

Novella.

That too. Deal?

You are persistent.

Indeed I am.

I suppose you could be a candidate to be severely injured.

Not too severely.

To a point. And I could even throw in a facial scar to give you a bit more character.

Acceptable.

Really? You don’t mind? After all, you’re pretty good looking and accustomed to women finding your appearance pleasing.

As long as Helene doesn’t mind, I am well with that—and providing I can swing a sword again.

Hmm.

I will be able to, will I not?

Sure, though I certainly won’t make it easy on you.

Ah, conflict.

Conflict.

Deal?

Deal.

To read an excerpt of THE KINDLING, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

SALMON-PINE NUT-RAISIN RICE SALAD

This warm salmon salad is a wonderful way to transition from warm weather food to cold weather food. The combination of Arborio rice, salmon, pine nuts, and raisins is over-the-top delicious. Enjoy!

Salmon-Pine Nut-Raisin Rice Salad

2 tbsp butter

1-1/4 cup Arborio rice

1/2 tsp sea salt

2-3/4 cups water

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 green onions, sliced thin

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 lb fresh salmon

1) Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat; add rice and sea salt and cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted; reduce heat to low, add 2-3/4 cups water, and cook 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender; remove from heat, cover with lid, and set aside

2) Meanwhile, to medium-size bowl add: 2 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp), lemon juice, green onions, pine nuts, golden raisins, and parsley; mix well and set aside

3) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil; add salmon to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes each side until just cooked through; remove from heat, transfer to bowl, and flake with a fork

4) Divide cooked rice between 4 plates; top with flaked salmon, and scatter with green onion-pine nut-raisin mixture; serve immediately–we are talking yum!

Servings: 4