Caramel Apple, Pear & Nut Pie

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 tablespoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups green apples, peeled, cored and sliced

3 cups pears, peeled, cored and sliced

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 tablespoons butter

1 double pie crust

Make pie crust and place bottom crust in pie pan.

Toss all the rest of the ingredients together except the butter and fill the pie pan with it.

Dot the surface of the filling with the butter and place top crust on the pie and stab with a fork and make a few slice in in with a knife for the juice to bubble through.

Bake in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 425 for 45 minutes.

Scruples and Other Moral Dilemmas

This is the first chapter of a novel I am writing, feedback please!

Chapter One: Scruples and Other Moral Dilemmas

“My turn, this question is for Randy. Your agent helped you get established when you were a struggling actor. Now a large agency wants to sign you. Do you dump your agent?”

Randy is a fairly handsome man and looks as if he could have possibly have been an actor. He looks up at Shelly and knows that if he doesn’t answer this question truthfully she is going to challenge him. He figures she wants him to answer yes and he notices that she is close to getting rid of her cards.

“No I wouldn’t.”

“Liar, I challenge.”

“Alright, let’s hear it.”

“When you were working for the car dealership, the one that gave you the first job after your wreck when no one else would, you immediately quit working there when Borden offered you your old job back. How loyal were to them? Not at all that I remember.”

“Yeah, but Borden offered me a lot more money, Annie and I wanted to get married and since she had a son I needed to earn more so I could support her and Ian.”

“You just proved my point dummy. I didn’t say you didn’t have a reason. I said that you would quit.”

“Okay everyone let’s vote on it.” Jack just wanted to get the game moving again. “1-2-3 vote!”

“And the winner is Shelly. Give Randy your answer card and let’s move on to Annie’s turn.” Jack is quite gregarious and is also handsome in a somewhat subtle manner.

“You accidentally damage a car in a parking lot. Do you leave a note with your name and phone number?” Annie has directed her question to Randy also.

“It depends on if there were any witnesses.”

“Unfortunately I believe you, it’s only illegal if you get caught, right?”

“Pretty much, so how did you think I would answer?”

“I figured you would say no, but you would have to admit it you got caught so I lose this one. It’s not that you have any morals though.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means you always think you are superior to everyone else.”

“Alright you guys cool it. If you are going to fight we should quit playing.”

“That’s just fine with me.” Annie gets up from the table and leaves the room.

“I told you that this game is a good way piss people off.” Shelly says to Jack as Randy gets up from the table also and walks to the bedroom where Annie went to. Shelly noticed that Randy’s bad leg was really bothering him from the way he was limping.

Annie and Shelly are both attractive blondes, Annie is taller slightly more slender and Shelly has a bit more of voluptuous body type; it is very easy to see the similarities they share as sisters. They are only three years apart in age, with Shelly being the oldest.  Annie is wearing a very short skirt and a skimpy top and Shelly is dressed in jeans and a tight fitting tee shirt, they are both quite attractive.

“I knew that Annie and Randy were having problems but I thought they could manage to play a civil card game. Obviously I was wrong.”

“This isn’t exactly a normal card game. I have seen lots of people get mad when they are accused of being a closet cheat or a thief. If you read the box it does call the game ‘a moral dilemma game’, you don’t think that might me a red flag or something?”

“Never mind the cards!” Jack yells down the hall that Randy and Annie disappeared down, “Get back in here and let’s party!” He looks at Shelly, “I am a little bummed though, I have the card that lets me make up my own question and I was looking forward to using it.”

“What question did you want to make up? It wasn’t one that would piss anyone off was it?”

“I hadn’t gotten that far, but they all seem to do that, I guess it is probably better that I didn’t get to use it now that you mention it.”

Randy walks back into the kitchen and he has a mirror in his hand, it has lines of cocaine on it and he hands to Jack.

“Here, have a line. Let’s get back to our party before I have to go to work.”

“Where’s my sister?” Shelly asks Randy after she snorted her line.

“She’s still in the bedroom but she said she was coming back out here.”

Shelly handed the mirror to Jack. “Here, take this. I’ll go get her.” She went back to the bedroom and left Randy and Jack at the kitchen table doing lines.

Annie was sitting on the bed crying.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes, it’s just that Randy always thinks he is right about everything”

“That’s why we call him Mr. Perfect.” Shelly said referencing the nickname her and her sister call Randy, behind his back of course, because he really did think he was always right.

“I am getting tired of his selling coke to his friends and then him leaving me to entertain them when he goes to work. Then he gets mad because he says I flirt too much, but that’s what he and his friends want me to do. I don’t understand.” She starts to cry.

Shelly doesn’t like the way Annie flirts either but she does blame Randy for leaving Annie at the house after drinking and doing drugs all night and expecting nothing to happen. It seems to Shelly that Randy is setting Annie up to fail. Annie has always been insecure and needs to be reassured that she is cute and that is just what Randy’s friends are more than willing to do for her when Randy leaves them alone with  booze and the cocaine that he had become addicted to after the horrible car wreck he was in before he met Annie.

Three years before this Randy had just gotten out of the army and was on top of the world. He was good looking, single and had saved a lot of money and to top it off when he got back from Germany his friend Jack’s father had hired him on at one of the biggest corporations in the country. Everything was going his way.

One evening Randy was on his way home from an afternoon of skiing and boating at a popular hot spot in his brand new Alfa Romeo with his beautiful fiancé. All of a sudden a man in a pickup truck crossed over the center line and in an instant Randy’s fiancé was dead and one of Randy’s legs was wrapped around his body and broken in pieces. The driver of the pickup truck was drunk, had no insurance and barely had a scratch from the wreck.

One year later Shelly drove up to Fall Creek Reservoir with Annie and Annie’s two year old son Ian on a hot afternoon to go swimming with some friends of theirs. They ran into lots of people they hadn’t seen for a long time and one of them was a young man Shelly had met four years before when he was home on leave from the army and a mutual friend of theirs brought him to a party she had thrown for Halloween. He had hit on her but she was already dating another man, but she did remember what a gentleman he had been and if it had been another time and another place something different might have happened.

While driving home in the car that afternoon Annie told Shelly about a nice guy she had met at the lake, he was in a full body cast after having been in a horrible car wreck the year before and they were rebuilding his leg with pins and metal plates. She told Shelly that he had just gotten out of the army when he got in the car wreck that he was still recovering from.

Thus began the soon to be tumultuous relationship of Annie and Randy and within a year they were married and had a son of their own to add to the son Annie already had.

Back to the party, Annie and Shelly were talking in the bedroom after Randy and Annie had gotten in the fight while they were playing the game called “Scruples”.

“I know, but sometimes you do get a little carried away with your flirting, but usually Randy doesn’t mind. Why don’t you come back to the kitchen and party with Jack and I. Randy will be going to work in another half an hour and you won’t see him again until tomorrow.”

“You’re right. Let’s go back to the kitchen.”

Annie and Shelly join Randy and Jack at the kitchen table. Shelly notices that the guys have put the game away. Good thing she thought. Randy offers the mirror with a line of coke on it to Annie and she takes it and sits down at the table.

“I have to get ready to go to work, why don’t you guys stick around awhile and party with Annie.”

“No problem, thanks man!” Jack remarks.

Shelly was thinking that there hadn’t ever been any doubt that he was planning on staying there. She was about ready to go home but she didn’t want to leave Annie there by herself to party with Jack, too much temptation for her little sister. She had spent most of her life looking out for her little sister and she wasn’t about to stop on this night. She stayed until Jack went home and then went home as well; one less evening for Annie and Randy to fight about, and one less “screw up” for her sister. There were a lot of Scruples on the line but Shelly knew that the game they had played this evening was the last thing that needed to be considered.

Blue Cheese Meatballs with Spicy Red Sauce

1 pound ground chicken

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup dry red wine

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix all ingredients. Form into half-inch balls and place on a baking sheet and bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Makes about 40 meatballs. Serve with sauce.

 

Spicy Red Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves minced garlic

¼ cup minced onions

½ cup hearty beer

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup tomato purée

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons vinegar based hot sauce

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté garlic and onions until translucent or about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over low for 30 minutes.

Enchiladas with Shrimp and Cream Cheese

12 corn tortillas

Olive oil

1 pound bay shrimp

7 ounce can diced chilies

Small jar stuffed green olives, cut in half

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup roasted veggie salsa

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon dried chilies, or chili powder

1 ½ cups grated pepper jack cheese

1 ½ cups green enchilada sauce

6 green onions, finely sliced

Soften tortillas in olive oil. Mix shrimp with chilies, olives, cream cheese, salsa, salt and cumin. Evenly divide the filling into the tortillas and place them on some enchilada sauce in a casserole. Pour the enchilada sauce on top, sprinkle on the jack cheese and top with the green onions. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve with sour cream and guacamole if desired.

Double Good Brownies

½ cup softened butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup cocoa

½ cup nuts

 

Blend butter and sugar together and then add egg, vanilla, flour and baking powder and mix well. Divide batter in half and stir nuts in one half and cocoa in the other. Place ¼ of the cocoa batter in one quarter, ¼ of the white batter in another quarter, and repeat. Take a spoon and blend the edges together.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Chicken Tamales with Olive Salsa

1 pound chicken, cooked and cut into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
2 cups masa flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chopped green chilies
1 cup grated jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Season the chicken with salt, chili powder and oregano and cook in the olive oil with the minced garlic. Remove chicken from the pan and mix it with the cilantro, salsa, chilies, cheese and sour cream.
Mix the masa flour, chicken broth, salt and oil to make a thick paste.
Cut 30 pieces of foil into 6″ squares. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of masa dough in the center of the foil to form about a 4 inch square and place a spoonful of filling in the center of the dough and use the foil to help mold the dough around the filling and press the edges of the masa together so all edges are sealed. Then fold the ends of the foil together to seal the stuffed masa inside. When all of the tamales are made put them in a pan with a steamer basket in it and steam them for about 45 minutes until masa is firm to the touch. Unwrap one to test. They are now ready to eat. You can freeze part of them at this point and them take out as many as you want to reheat later for quick snacks or meals. Just thaw them a little and reheat them in the microwave.
Once you have made these you will see how versatile the recipe is. If you want bigger tamales simply use bigger squares of foil. You can use beef or pork in place of the chicken. You can changes cheeses and add different ingredients. They are pretty foolproof as long as you keep the basic proportions.
Mixed Olive Salsa
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 7 oz jar Spanish green olives, chopped
1 6 oz can Ripe olives, chopped
½ cup minced roasted red peppers or pimentos
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ cup minced red onions
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 minced jalapeños
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce
Mix all of the ingredients together and let them blend for at least an hour up to overnight before serving.

 

Stranger In A Bar

“Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?”

There is a handsome man standing next to her, “No, this seat is empty.”

The man sits and catches a waiter’s attention. “I would like a glass of Drambuie and a cup of coffee please.”

“Certainly, would you like me to start a tab?”

“Sure.”

Most of the people in the bar had attended a college basketball game that ended ten minutes earlier and the bar was getting crowded. Some had walked to the stadium from the bar and others were stopping by to celebrate the team’s win.

Shelly and her friend Greg had started out at the bar by having a couple of drinks before the game and returned before the game was over because it had turned into a blowout before it was even half-time. They came back to claim a table before the rest of the people got there.

“So did you go to the basketball game?” She inquires of the gorgeous man.

“No, I was just in the neighborhood and decided to stop here and get a drink before going home. And you?”

“Yes, for the first half but it was so one sided my friend and I left.”

“I can relate to that.”

Shelly notices that the friends of Greg’s he had invited back to the bar while at the game were starting to trickle in and were standing at the far end of the counter next to him and visiting with each other. She would rather talk to the hot stranger that is sitting next to her than Greg’s snobby friends from out of town.

“Do you live around here?”

“Not really, but I don’t live very far away. What about you?”

“I live about 10 minutes away.  I came here with a friend though my sister works here so I come here fairly often and visit. Do you come here much?”

“I come here every now and then. It is a good place to stop by to watch sports on TV. The people that work here are friendly and the service is good.”

“I agree with you. My sister’s name is Annie, have you met her?” Shelly’s sister is very attractive and likes to flirt so Shelly figures there is a good chance this guy has met her.

“Annie is your sister? Yeah I know her, she is usually working when I stop by.” He looks at her in an appraising way she thinks.

“I thought you might know her, she is quite friendly. She doesn’t work nights, or weekends, so she isn’t here now.”

The man gave Shelly a knowing look she thought. “So what do you like to do for fun?”

“I like going to college football and basketball games a lot. My boss has ten season tickets and his wife hates sports so he likes to give a few tickets to some of the customers and the rest to his employees so he has people to go with. Do you like football or basketball?”

“I like both of them but I don’t go to games very often. It sounds like you have a pretty sweet deal with your boss.”

“It is, and what do you like to do for fun?”

“I go to rock concerts when there are any around and I like going to plays at the Rose Center. I have a dog and a cat so I spend a lot of time at home in the evenings keeping them company.”

“Cool, I love rock concerts too and I also have a dog and two cats. I really like to cook and eat good food.”

“So do I. Have you ever eaten here?”

“Yes, they have really good breakfast specials on the weekends.”

“I need to get home but maybe you would you like to meet me for a drink or have some lunch sometime?”

“Sure, that would be nice.”

“I’ll give you my phone number and you can give me a call.”

The man grabs a matchbook off the counter and wrote inside the cover and hands it to Shelly.

“It was nice meeting you and I will call you.”

“Sounds good have a good night.”

“Thanks.”

The man walks out of the bar and Greg comes over and sits down next to her.

“So who was that guy you were talking to?”

“I don’t know who he was. He was here having a drink.”

“It looked like you were having a heavy conversation so I didn’t want to interrupt you.”

“You wouldn’t have been, we were just making small talk. He knew my sister.”

“My friends from Portland are here if you want to visit with them.”

“Sure.”  She stayed at the bar for another hour and then went home.

Her roommate was still up watching television when she got there.

“Hi Erin, what’s going on?”

“Just watching TV and playing with your dog. How was the game?”

“It was kind of boring so we left at half-time. I met a really cute guy at the bar though.”

“I thought you went to the game with Greg?”

“I did but we aren’t dating any more. Besides he left me sitting at the bar by myself, like always, and he went and visited with his buddies. This hot guy sat next to me and we had a really nice visit. We had a lot of things in common, it was almost kind of weird the way we hit it off right away. He was so cool I almost thought I was imagining him except Greg said he saw me visiting with someone. Funny, I don’t remember what his name was though.”

“He must not have been that cool if you can’t remember his name.”

“He gave me his phone number, it’s in my purse. Here it is but he only wrote his number down. He didn’t write his name down. Oh well, I’ll just call and won’t mention that I don’t remember his name, maybe it won’t even come up.”

Shelly called the number a couple of days later and got an answering machine for a business.

“You have reached The Angels Hotline, please leave a message for the angel you want after the tone.”