26 August 2011

Cooking With the Characters: chef, Liana Richardson

Hi, I'm Tommy Howard, and I'm here with my...honey, what is it you like to be called again?


Nice. My girlfriend, who also happens to be a chef, Liana Richardson.

*Girlfriend sounds so junior high.*

Well, how about wife?

*You are not proposing to me on a guest blog! How many times do I have to tell you that? If you do it in public, I'm not counting it as real.*

I swear, one of these days, I'm going to catch her off guard and she's going to say yes.

*As if.*

Now who sounds like they're in junior high, and do not stick your tongue out at me. Remember what happened last time. And stop with the glaring. You're going to scare these lovely readers away.

*Fine. Hi, I'm Chef Liana Richardson. Some of you may know me from the online video series, Day to Day Chef.*

And Clock Beaters!

*Tommy and I are here today to tell you about our favorite recipe, which was inspired by one of the dishes we made on Clock Beaters.*

Well, definitely Liana's favorite. She is obsessed with dried cranberries.

*I am not obsessed.*

What do you call it when someone goes out and buys a twenty pound bag of dried cranberries? I don't even know bakers who go through that much in a year.

*We'll discuss this later. Anyway, my favorite recipe...which he gobbles down as soon as I put it in front of him...is a great cold and hearty salad for the summer. The meld of flavors is what really brings the salad together, so I'd recommend making this when you have an afternoon free and you can let it sit about half an hour before serving. This also makes for great leftovers if you don't eat it all on the first day.*

It's great on the first day and even more delicious as leftovers. After a long day in the studio, this hits the spot. Thanks for joining us! Now, honey, about that proposal...

1 cup of wheat berries
4 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
6 strips of bacon
1 avocado
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/8 cup of dried cranberries
1 oz. of chives cut or diced into small pieces
1 handful of arugula greens mix
Dash of ground salt
Dash of ground pepper

Prepare the wheat berries according to package instructions. If you don't have instructions, such as buying the wheat berries from your bulk grain aisle, put the 1 cup of wheat berries into a pot with 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. You don't bring the water to a boil before putting the wheat berries in. You want them to slowly cook, so you can start with room temperature water. Cook on your stovetop for 50-60 minutes with the heat on medium. Drain the wheat berries of any excess water and set aside to cool. I drain them in a sieve (you can also use a large sifter) and run them under running cool water to stop the cooking process.

Cook up the bacon as preferred. I like mine on the definitely cooked, but chewy, side of things. Tommy prefers it slightly crispier, but if I'm the one making this, I get to choose the doneness level. I also like to bake my bacon as cleanup is a lot easier. To bake, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. I like to use my smallest cookie sheet because I can use one piece of my parchment paper, which is greatly oversized, and all of the baked-off fat stays on the parchment paper which makes it *much* easier to dispose of when done. At 425, it usually takes about 12 to 13 minutes for the bacon to get to the consistency I like. Set the timer for 6 minutes, turn the bacon when it goes off, and set the timer again for another 6 or 7 minutes. In other words, halfway through baking, turn the bacon. You can figure out how long it will take to get to your preferred “doneness”.

Dump the wheat berries into a mixing bowl with the dried cranberries and chives. Halve and pit the avocado. While the meat is still in the skin, score it in a grid pattern with a knife. Then scoop out the resulting cubes with a spoon. Pour the lemon juice directly onto the avocado to help retard the browning process. Lightly mix.

Once the bacon is done and cooled, cut it into the salad. And yes, I do mean cut. Again, this is to minimize clean up and if I only have to wash my kitchen shears versus a sharp knife and a cutting board, I'll take the shears. If you don't want to cut, just do a rough chop so you have larger chunks of bacon. Mix again.

Add the arugula mix and the dashes of salt and pepper to taste (I have grinders for these, and it’s about two or three grinds a piece for me and Tommy). Mix once more and serve. Depending on the avocado, this may only keep a day or two in the refrigerator, but I've had it last for four to five. You can reheat the bacon and serve as leftovers. To do this, I'd recommend spooning out your serving and then picking out the bacon in the serving. Microwave the bacon on a microwavable dish for 15-20 seconds. Enjoy!

AMUSE BOUCHE by Kelly Maher

“Liana, I’ve waited over five years as it is. I’m tired of waiting.” With that, he cupped her face in his palms. Calluses scraped her skin. She watched his lips descend to hers in slow motion. Even the threat of a knife to her throat couldn’t have forced her to move out of its way.

When their lips met, she kept still. Their mouths were of similar size, but she felt like she was cushioning rock-hard muscles. He didn’t try to dominate her. Instead, he coaxed. Massaged.

She needed an anchor. Her hands came up and grasped his hips. He pushed against her and she gasped as the hard length of his cock pressed against her pussy. He swooped in and took control of her mouth. His tongue pushed against hers, teasing her with his forays. Heat washed through her as she imagined his cock moving in the same insistent motion.

One of his hands left her face and drifted down to her breast, fingers trailing against exposed skin. He shaped his fingers around it, testing its weight. His thumb teased her nipple through her shirt and work bra to an alert peak. She may as well not have been wearing the heavy-duty cotton clothes, she thought as electricity arced through her body to the place she became more and more convinced with every moment was in most need of his touch.

An insistent buzzing finally filtered through the haze of lust. She broke away from him. When he finally opened his eyes, it looked to her like the black irises nearly overtook the hazel green. A definite flush colored his cheeks as bright a red as his skin tone would allow.

“What is that?”

He glanced over her shoulder. “Milk.”

She knew what he said, but didn’t understand it. All she could think about was stripping off his clothes and exploring his body with fingers and tongue. Lots of skin. Lots of tongue.

“I was preparing milk for a b├ęchamel.” He didn’t seem in a hurry to rescue it from scalding. The fingers of the hand still on her face massaged her scalp, tangling what had been a tightly done bun. She could already feel locks of hair escaping their hold. He focused back in on her. “Don’t try to deny this, Liana. You know me. You know I will respect your wishes, but don’t dismiss this chance we have. I’m not looking for a fling with you, despite what you may think. We’ve got a weekend to ourselves, away from the rest of the world. We’ll work on what we need to for the show during the day, but there is absolutely no reason in the world we can’t also work on a relationship.”

He capped his speech off with a quick peck to her lips before returning to the stove and removing the pan of milk from the burner.

Kelly Maher on the www:
website | Goodreads | Twitter | Buy @ Ellora's Cave

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  1. Hi Liana, thanks for the recipe. Question to Tommy: Why don't you propose directly to Liana, and preferably in a romantic way she can sigh over for years to come?

  2. LOL! Great question, Aurian! I'm actually trying to ease her into it. She's still a bit skittish, and like any good meal, it's all in the preparation. Sometimes you need to work, say, a piece of meat (not that Liana's the metaphorical piece of meat to me!!), to make it ready to turn into your main course.

    *Aurian, don't let him fool you. He's got something up his sleeve, I know it.*

    Have you been talking to my mother?

    *Do I need to?*

    No! Sorry to cut this short, Aurian, but I, um, need to go check on something.

    *And off he runs. Aurian, between us girls, he's been acting suspicious all week, so tonight may be the night. Not to put him out of his misery, but I am planning on saying yes. Have a good one!*

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