15 August 2011

Cooking With The Characters; Max Lunden

Thank you so much to Leontine for having me here! I love the idea behind Cooking with the Characters—the only problem for me was deciding which characters and which recipe to feature. My newest contemporary romance release, Too Hot to Touch, is all about a talented kitchen crew about to enter the biggest challenge of their careers—the Rising Star Chef competition.

The hero of Too Hot to Touch has been wandering the world for the past ten years, searching for inspiration and picking up exotic culinary techniques. He’s made his living by winning culinary competitions—but until he comes home to help his family’s restaurant enter the RSC, he’s never had to work on a team before.

And he’s definitely never had to work with the major distraction of a smokin’ hot, tough-yet-vulnerable, utterly irresistible teammate like Jules Cavanaugh…

Nothing is more important to Jules than family—probably because she grew up wishing she had one, and envying the Lunden boys down the block. Over the course of the book, she reminds Max of what really matters in life, and helps him to overcome the issues with his father that drove him to leave home a decade ago.

And she also helps Max see that maybe what he was searching for all that time, all over the world, was right in his own backyard all along…

The following snippet is from a scene late in the book, where Max and the Lunden’s Tavern team are racing to complete their dishes before the timer rings.

It was down to the wire.

Of course it was; in every competition Max had ever entered, it always came down to those final few seconds and the ability to power through the panic and get his dish done.
The difference was that in every other competition, he’d been on his own.
In some ways, that had been a blessing. At least when he was alone, he only had to worry about disappointing himself with his own screw-ups.

But when a chef from another team crashed into Danny and made him drop his pan of melted chocolate, spattering everyone around him and wasting a good half hour of work, Max didn’t have time to decide if it was an ideal time to let his tenderloin rest and marinate—he ran to the rescue.

Luckily, the meat was fine when he got back to it after helping his brother crush what felt like seven hundred bars of bittersweet chocolate. In fact, the time away from his cutting board had brought the steak up closer to room temperature, which would help it cook more evenly, and had allowed the miso, soy, and sake marinade to sink in even further.

Standing over his cutting board, Max nearly swooned as he inhaled the clean, earthy scent. The complex sweetness of the miso and the delicate floral fragrance of the sake took him straight back to Japan, while the underlying smell of the beautifully butchered, bright red, high quality raw beef was the scent of his childhood.

He closed his eyes and took a moment to wish Gus Lunden could be there to see and taste this dish.

I think you’d actually like what I’ve done with your old recipe, Dad.

GIVEAWAY: If you want to find out whether Max’s tenderloin helps his team win the challenge, pick up a copy of Too Hot to Touch! Or comment below for a chance to win a free signed copy (ends 8-22-2011)

Here’s the recipe Max makes! You can find it, along with two others, in the back of Too Hot to Touch.

Max’s Miso-Glazed Tenderloin of Beef
For the beef:
2 ½ lb beef tenderloin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon yuzu juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup black cherry jam
1 tablespoon miso paste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pat the tenderloin dry, then salt and pepper it all over.

Combine all the glaze ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and thick.

Melt the butter and grapeseed oil in a roasting pan over medium high heat. When the butter has stopped frothing, put the tenderloin in the pan. Brown it on all sides, about ten minutes, regulating the heat so that it doesn’t scorch or stick.

Brush the tenderloin with half of the glaze, then put the pan in the oven and roast for fifteen minutes. At that point, check the meat and apply the rest of the glaze. Roast to desired level of doneness, about fifteen to twenty more minutes for medium rare.

Allow the meat to rest for at least five minutes before slicing and serving.

Louise Edwards on the www
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  1. This book sounds great! I love foodie books, and I love cooking competition shows. Yesterday I watched Cupcake Wars with my daughter, and she had a running commentary going the whole time...hee hee! Please enter me in the giveaway contest. Thanks!

  2. Don't enter me in the giveaway as I just wanted to comment since I already have the book...though it's not signed *sniffle* so maybe you should enter me and I'll give the unsigned one if I win (which I probably won't LOL)

    Since I'm addicted to both romance novels and cooking/food-themed TV shows and movies, foodie romance sounds like heaven on earth to me! I have a lot of them on TBR...now to find the time to read them!

    I love cooking contest shows like Masterchef and TopChef so THTT sounds right up my alley!


  3. Good looking man who cooks. What more can we ask for. This book sounds great and is on my TBR. Would love to win it

  4. I love your new feature, Leontine! Ah, men, food and romance novels, you did a post on my three most favourite things in the world! :) I love to watch food shows on TV, too. I'm regularly watching Come Dine With Me (Smaken Verschillen in NL) and I can't get enough of it.
    I haven't read Louisa Edward's books yet but I definitely will now. They have somehow escaped my romance-radar so far.
    Thank you for the contest!

  5. Penelope - I love cooking competition shows, too! Top Chef and Iron Chef were my big inspirations for this series. Sounds like you might be my perfect reader! : )

    Pearl - Bring your copy of THtT to RWA next year, and I promise I'll sign it! And happy reading...

    Lauren - Thanks! Good luck in the drawing.

    ClaudiaGC - I'm glad to be on your reader radar now! Too Hot to Touch is a good one of my books to start with, since it's the beginning of a new trilogy.

  6. I really liked the last memory and last line of the excerpt. I love the connection and love in that statement for his father. Looking forward to read Too Hot To Touch. Thanks for the giveaway!


  7. These books always make me so hungry! I watch so much food network and that kind of plot with romance blended in so well together has made an instant fan out of me! Am loving Louisa Edward's books! Thanks for the giveaway

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. love your books and excited to get started on the new series!!


  10. Wow, hot cover, great post. I don't watch much tv, but if I do watch something, I like cooking shows like Masterchef, Topchef, and of course Gordon Ramsey. mmm. Don't think he'll ever cook without his shirt though.
    I would love to win this book Leontine, so please enter me as well. I have got a weakness for cooking men ...

    auriansbooks at gmail dot com

  11. Siobhan - So glad you liked it! There's a lot of emotional family relationships in Too Hot to Touch, father/son and brother/brother, especially.

    Danielle - Thanks for being a fan! You love all the same things I love, so we're a match made in heaven. : )

    Krisgils33 - Thank you for commenting!

    Aurian - Those are my favorite shows, too! Can't believe I forgot to mention Gordon before. Why is that man so sexy?

  12. Love the cover. I have this book on my TBR pile and can't wait to read it. Thanks for the contest.

  13. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance!!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  14. Susan T - I can't wait to hear what you think of it!

    Donnas - Thank you for commenting, and good luck in the drawing. : )

  15. I love fiction books with cooking in them! Maybe it's because I LOVE to feed people (I'm not always good at it....but I try!).
    I'd love to read this! Please enter me!
    natasha AT likeminds.ca

  16. That excerpt had me salivating big time. I'm not a great cook but I sure do love to watch those guys in the kitchen. Now how can I get my husband to cook like that....?

    Jen at delux dot com

  17. Cannot wait to read this book!
    Great excerpt, cannot wait to see how all the chefs sizzle under pressure.

  18. I’m going to be honest; I have never read one of your books. Your book “Too Hot to Touch” came up on my Facebook page, read it and thought I have to get this book. I did I’m on chapter 20 now and LOVE IT! I will be getting more of your books to read. Thanks, Loralea

  19. I love this idea of cooking with the characters.
    Too Hot to Touch sounds great.Thanks for sharing an excerpt.
    Recipe sounds good too :)

  20. Hello there handsome ;) (Hi, Max!!! And swoons!!)

    I have been so tempted by the cover of "too hot to touch" ;) And who doesn't love a man who can cook ;) as well as ...ahem...

    Thanks so much for the giveaway. Totally count me in. judimello AT gmail DOT com

  21. Was on Goodreads and saw this ... I have never read Louisa Edwards but I am going to now! Love hot chefs combined w/ romance!


  22. Wow, this book sounds yummy! And that cover! *fans herself* is serious smokin material! :-D Max and Jules sound interesting characters and I would love to read their story (and so glad this is going to be a series!), nothing better or sexier than a man who konws his way in the kitchen :-D

    Thank you for the giveaway too!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. What a fun post! I'm going to have hubs try the recipe, he's always looking for something new to cook. Yes, it's definitely his kitchen, not mine, lol :)

    Ms. Edwards is an auto-buy author for me, I'm super-excited about Too Hot to Touch!!

    lovesfabromance at cox dot net

  24. Max sounds & looks so yummy. I'd love to win this book!

    jcross719 at yahoo dot com

  25. This book sounds great-- as does the recipe! :-)


  26. i love books where guys cook...it's so sexy!

    i gotta read this book


  27. Cant wait to read this book.

    patoct @ yahoo dot com


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