Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thief of Shadows Cherry Almond Scones

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt is one of my favorite romance novels ever. It ranks with Prince of Midnight in terms of sheer numbers of rereads and in a superficial way, it's a similar book. Our hero Winter Makepeace is also known as The Ghost of St. Giles, a Spiderman-like character who defends the weak and the poor in this very rough neighborhood of the Dickensian London setting. His alter ego is that of the "dour manager" of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children. However, while both S.T. Maitland and Winter Makepeace wear a mask and excel at swordplay, that's pretty much where the books diverge.

Unlike Leigh Strachan (the heroine of Prince of Midnight), Isabel Beckinhall is a wealthy widow ten years Winter's senior, secure in her femininity and her place in the world. She is calm and confident under pressure, unafraid to pursue her interests and an emotionally whole, capable human being who most definitely does not require rescuing from, well, almost anything. So when her patronage of the Home brings her into intimate contact with Winter, we find the traditional historical romance roles of the experienced, older rake and the young, virginal heroine quite thoroughly reversed.

In fact, Thief of Shadows manages the tension between historicity and feminism very well. Isabel is a widow (more freedom than your average virgin heroine), an heiress (no economic necessity for marriage), sterile (no reproductive necessity for marriage) and not shy or ashamed of her physical desires. However, when a secondary character is left unmarried and pregnant, she moves swiftly to protect that character from the consequences society would impose upon her. In this book, women routinely rescue each other and the heroine saves the hero several times over the course of the story. I don't think any argument can be made against it not being a feminist book and yet the circumstances keep it from feeling anachronistic. Still, our hero is allowed to be a hero within the context of a suspenseful and ultimately satisfyingly twisty sub-plot. Just not in the context of saving Isabel, which would be the much more standard trope.

Oh, and what a hero. I admit to having a fondness for virgin heroes in any context, but with Winter we also get Robin Hood/Zorro/Captain America super hero alpha qualities that are captivating in combination with his sexual innocence and strict moral code. It's easy to see why Isabel finds it so difficult not to lap him up. Which she does. And he does back. In the hottest possible ways.

Thief of Shadows is one book that has it all: a dreamy hero, a confident heroine, a plausible love story arc, a spirited sub-plot and super hot sex. Honestly, I think it's pretty much the perfect book.

When I write these reviews, I try to find a place in the story where the food involved becomes a memorable plot point. On practically the first page of the novel, Isabel rightfully blames warm scones for the impulse to volunteer, an action that brings her more directly into Winter's path. As a United Methodist used to being plied with food to volunteer for committees, this is a familiar concept to me. Isabel says:

Never volunteer. Not even when pleasantly filled with warm scones and hot tea. Warm scones were obviously the work of the devil or perhaps Lady Hero Reading, one of the two founding patronesses of the home. Lady Hero had refilled her teacup and looked at Isabel with guileless gray eyes, asking prettily if Isabel would mind meeting with Mr. Winter Makepeace, the home's dour manager, to look over the new building. And Isabel had blithely agreed like some scone-filled mindless cow.

And, of course, I knew they had to be cherry scones when Lady Penelope Chadwicke wrong-headedly brings hothouse cherries to the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children during her frankly moronic attempt to replace Winter as the home's manager with a gentleman of greater social standing and more polished graces.

Though this recipe can't be in any way considered healthy, it does avoid two of the more persistent problems I have with commercial American scones: 1) it's not too sweet and 2) it doesn't leave that odd film on your teeth. I have no idea if these two things bother anyone else, but they bother me immensely, much like the failure to maintain the proper tension between historicity and modern feminist ideals in historical romance.

If cherries or almonds aren't your thing, they can certainly be replaced with three-quarters of a cup of nearly any fresh or frozen fruit (or half a cup dried) and the almond extract and sliced almonds can simply be omitted. If you're using the extract, I do recommend the sliced almonds as I like to give people a hint at the flavors contained in my baked goods.

And then you too can charm and cajole people into doing your bidding with warm baked goods.

Cream Scones with Cherries and Almonds
adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Makes 8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the pan and workspace
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cherries, pitted, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor to combine, about 6 pulses. Scatter the butter evenly over the top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few slightly larger butter lumps, about 12 pulses.

2. Add the cherries and quickly pulse once to combine. Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Stir in the cream and the almond extract with a rubber spatula until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

3. Turn the dough and floury bits out onto a floured workspace and knead until it forms a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into a floured 9 inch cake pan (to ensure round edges). Unmold the dough and cut into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet prepared with parchment paper or silpat. Sprinkle tops with sliced almonds and press into dough to ensure they stick.

4. Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Be very careful not to let the bottoms burn. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter or and jam or better yet, clotted cream.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mai Tai for Two Chocolate Macadamia Tart

Delphine Dryden is a writer I probably should have discovered a long time ago, but somehow didn't. I mean, she writes for Wonkomance, she's in frequent conversation with a lot of my other favorite writers on Twitter (like Cara McKenna, Ruthie Knox and Charlotte Stein) and, well, she's a nerd. How could it have taken me this long to find her books?

So at some point a couple of weeks ago, I decided to rectify my unfortunate oversight and Read All The Things. Yep, I promptly devoured her entire backlist, especially the very nerdy Science of Temptation BDSM books. In fact, I had to put myself on Kindle restriction the next day just to get stuff done. I was sad when I finished all her books a few days later. Lucky for me, Dryden then released a new book: Mai Tai for Two.

Mai Tai for Two was a total departure from the rest of what I've read by Dryden. Mainly, it's not at all kinky or edgy. The plot premise is of a friends-become-lovers nature and both the Hawaiian setting and the characters' relationship are very sweet. In fact, the sweetness seduced me into thinking that this was a very simple "beach read" kind of book. I breezed through it the morning it appeared, pronounced it good and then moved on.

Then in preparation for this review, I read it a second time. And on second examination, it's not so simple. Alan and Julie, the hero and heroine, have a wonderful back-slapping jovial chemistry as friends and the dialogue is just as clever, nerdy and snappy as in the other books I've read by Dryden. There's a line that references motherfucking turtles that was funny the first time, but took me by surprise when it was just as funny the second time. And the friendly banter carries through the book, even as Alan and Julie start using it as a crutch for the more difficult conversations they have yet to have. It makes for a wonderful counterpoint, where what's happening on the surface is different than what's happening underneath. They're both aware of it, but they haven't learned how to communicate on this new level yet.

Which points to what I loved most about this book: the charming awkwardness. Moving from friends to lovers is really graceless in a way that people who haven't experienced it might discount. And since I married a man who was first my best friend, I know of what I speak. A lot of things that might be hard in a traditional dating scenario are easy, but things that don't matter when you're just friends suddenly take on a grave importance when you're looking at someone in a new light. The best moments in Mai Tai for Two are when we get inside the characters' heads as they sort all of this out. The actual stumbling blocks are different than what I experienced, but Dryden just nails the emotion of it all.

Mai Tai for Two is a good, quick read, but don't let the sweetness fool you. There's more to Alan and Julie than first appears.

Near the end of Mai Tai for Two, the protagonists end up eating chocolate-covered macadamia nuts in bed. Immediately my brain said: chocolate tart with macadamia nut crust! With some kind of coconuty thing. Because Hawaii. Apparently I think in baked goods? 

This tart is not simple. It's not quick. It's not even easy. But it's so worth it, much like how Alan and Julie's relationship develops. The crust is flaky and delicate. The chocolate custard is rich in both taste and texture. The chocolate glaze is pretty and shiny and satiny. And the coconut whipped cream just cuts right through all the chocolate with the perfect hint of island flavor. I recommend saving it for someone you really, really like.

Like yourself. Or your best friend.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tart
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine and Bon Appetite Magazine
Serves: 12
Time: About 4 hours (including chilling and baking time)

1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup macadamia nuts (about 1 1/2 ounces), chopped and toasted
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 egg yolks

1. Add macadamia nuts to the food processor and mix until chopped. Remove from food processor and toast in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop, keeping a careful eye out to be sure they don’t burn. Remove from pan and let cool.
2. Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor and mix.
3. Add toasted macadamia nuts.
4. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add yolks and process just until moist clumps form.
5. Gather dough into ball; flatten to disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven 375°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.
7. Roll out dough between sheets of waxed paper to 11-inch round. Peel off top sheet of paper.
8. Transfer crust to prepared pan, pressing dough firmly to fit pan and patching if necessary. Discard paper. Trim edges of crust. Freeze crust 15 minutes.
9. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes.
10. Allow crust to cool on rack at least 30 minutes.

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth.
3. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.
4. Pour filling into cooled crust.
5. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 18 to 22 minutes.
(Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.

2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon warm water

1. Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.
2. Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Whipped cream
Servings: 4
Time: 2 minutes

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon coconut extract

1. When ready to serve tart, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat on medium using hand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Recipe can be scaled for more than 4 people without additional changes.

Come back next Monday! I'll review Elizabeth Hoyt's Thief of Shadows and present you with scones good enough to encourage you to make bad decisions.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A little pinch

Let’s talk about sex. Specifically, sex in romance novels. Can someone tell me what’s up with virgin heroines' first times being, well, awesome? And not painful at all? I get a little annoyed by historicals where the heroine feels “a little pinch” and then goes on to have an awesome time. Is this realistic for some people? Truthfully, I prefer it when things don’t go all that well. I can’t suspend disbelief long enough for the little pinch.

My own first experience wasn’t classically awful. But it hurt. Enough that we had to stop. I get that every girl is different, but I’ve never been the type of girl that had a lot of girlfriends so I don’t know: is no pain the norm?

The reason I ask is that I recently read a fairly silly contemporary vampire romance. It wasn’t the best book, but there were aspects of it that were compelling. The most interesting thing is that because the vampire hero is so very drawn to the virgin heroine’s blood, they’re concerned that the small amount from breaking her hymen might set him off so she goes to a doctor to have it broken. The author described the process in some detail, which was odd for the context, but interesting from a social perspective.

All I could think was, “Well, shit, why didn’t I do that?” The reason is that no one ever offered. It never occurred to me to ask for it. In all of sex ed (and I grew up in a liberal college town in California so we had a lot of it), the topic never came up. I was talking about it with my husband and we both agreed that it’s probably the archaic vestiges of men desiring virgin brides and girls unwittingly buying into the ridiculousness that virginity is a gift. If it were up to me, it would be a standard part of the sex ed curriculum. Let's all go get our hymens broken! Like scoliosis screening.

Okay, maybe not. It's should obviously still be the girl's choice. But it sure would have been nice to have understood that as a rational option.

What do you think? Is the little pinch a realistic depiction for more people than I'm aware of? Did anyone go the doctor route? Did it make a difference?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Prince of Midnight Roast Chicken and French-Style Beans

I'm a late Laura Kinsale convert. Her first book was published when I was still a kid, but in my early absorption with Julie Garwood and a whole host of Harlequin titles (which could be had for 25 cents each from my local used bookstore), I never ran across her work. It wasn't until I started reading romance blogs and her name kept coming up as the best of the best of romance authors that I picked up Prince of Midnight. And then Flowers From the Storm. And then everything else she has ever written.

In Prince of Midnight, S.T. Maitland is a former highwayman. The reason he stopped marauding is that he suffered an injury that caused permanent dizziness and deafness in one ear. He has shut himself up in a crumbling chateau above a tiny French village. He's not exactly wallowing in self-pity and penury--he has too healthy a sense of humor for that--but he's not far from it either. His only friends are an innkeeper he owes money and an honest-to-goodness wolf named Nemo. He spends his time defending his kitchen garden from rabbits and creating paintings he can never seem to finish. It's a sad come-down for a man who was once the terror of the English countryside.

When practical Leigh Strachan arrives on the scene, she has revenge on her mind. A cult-like figure has murdered her family and she wants the Prince of Midnight to teach her all he knows in order to enact her own justice. She's not at all impressed when presented with S.T. as he is now. She is actually pretty annoyed when he insists on accompanying her back to her hometown to take on her nemesis. And though it gradually becomes obvious to the reader that S.T. is not as useless as he might first appear, it takes Leigh a lot longer to figure that out. What follows is a pretty non-standard road trip romance that just keeps miring the protagonists deeper in both internal and external conflict, which is another thing I love about Kinsale's books. Even though we get our HEA, it remains in actual real doubt for about 95% of the novel.

Though the plot is a bit cumbersome at times, the characters of S.T. and Leigh carry the novel, working through their pain and loss separately and then eventually together. A lot of reviewers have problems with Leigh. She is abrasive and difficult and mercenary in her pain, but that just felt real to me. Though she has been hurt, she hangs onto her innate strength with claws and teeth, which isn't always pretty. The scene where Kinsale uses the process of S.T. teaching Leigh to gentle an abused horse represented a turning point in the novel for me. It's the point where I learned to trust Kinsale unconditionally. It's also where I fell in love forever with S.T., not because of his capability, but how he takes both the horse and Leigh and opens the gate to a different path, one of love instead of pain.

Prince of Midnight has high adventure, a swashbuckling hero, a heroine who learns to trust herself again and several wonderful four-legged characters. The language is literarily lovely and the love story unpredictable. All this adds up to a book that I will reread over and over again for years to come. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Early on in Prince of Midnight, Kinsale spends some time talking about S.T.'s chickens. He can't manage to kill them himself and figures when the time comes, he'll have his pet wolf do it. It's one of the first moments where we get a glimpse of the reality of S.T.'s internal landscape and it stuck with me.

Roasting chicken isn't hard. Just make sure the wingtips point toward the ceiling.

However, if S.T. had ever managed to pick a chicken, here's something he probably could have cooked up. If he had any gardening skills. Or cooking skills. Or really any skills at all that aren't related to swinging a sword, gentling a horse or painting.

A meat thermometer helps a lot. It just beeps at you when the chicken is done. This version takes a little over an hour.

If you're not a housewife like I am, Roasted Bourbon-Rosemary Chicken from Garden & Gun magazine might be best saved for a Sunday night. This chicken takes about an hour and fifteen minutes so grab a glass of wine and your current book and have a snack before you start. It makes a great lazy dinner, plus you have leftover meat for sandwiches during the week. I also save the carcasses for a cheap source of chicken stock. I just stick them in the freezer until I have time to babysit boiling bones for a couple of hours. For true Prince of Midnight flavor, use a free range chicken.

These white beans are amazing. We had a friend over for these and he agreed that he didn't know beans could be this good.

The white beans are from It's All Good, which is Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. I'm not a big fan of celebrity cookbooks, celebrity diets or celebrity anything really, but this book is phenomenal. I'm printing the recipe below just to convince you to buy it and because I think 3-4 minutes is waaayyy too long to cook garlic. Seriously though, never has healthy tasted this good. Plus, it amuses me that these are Italian beans cooked in a French style. That will make more sense if you have read Kinsale's book and appreciate the research that she clearly put into it.

The roasted asparagus is just a simple alternative to boiling or steaming. This and the beans are so quick, they'd even make an easy addition to any weeknight meal. It's also May so no matter where you live, asparagus should be popping up in your local farmer's market just now. It's skinny and fresh and perfect so it was a clear choice for this late spring meal. As for timing, when you pull the chicken out of the oven to rest, you can start the asparagus and the beans and you'll be eating within 15 minutes.

White Beans, French Style
from It's all Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
serves 4 as a side, takes 15 minutes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme (about 2 tsp)
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 - 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
course sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp red wine vinegar

1. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the thyme and shallot and cook for 1 minute more until the shallot is just softened.
3. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
4. Add a healthy pinch of sea salt, a few grinds of pepper and the vinegar and cook for 5 minutes more.
5. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Asparagus
serves 4 as a side, takes 15 minutes

1 pound asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with foil.
2. Rinse, drain and trim the bottom ends of the asparagus. The "snap off the end at the weakest point" thing is a myth. Just chop about an inch and a half off the bottom. If they're late season and very thick, you may want to peel them. Place them on the cookie sheet.
3. Sprinkle olive oil or spray the asparagus.
4. Add a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Shake to coat.
5. Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

Stop by again next Monday when I review Delphine Dryden's newest book, Mai Tai for 2 and give you the recipe for this Chocolate Macadamia Tart with Coconut Whipped Cream. The book was great and this tart will be the best thing you've ever eaten. Seriously.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is old school synonymous with rapey?

In the seminal modern romance novel The Flame and the Flower, Kathleen Woodiwiss provided the blueprint for the future of the historical romance, at least the Regency ones. But it really wasn’t my kind of book. In fact, I never made it past the first sex scene. Why? Well, let’s just say that it doesn’t conform to contemporary standards of consensual sex. To be blunt, it’s kind of rapey. There are a lot of older historical romances like this and collectively they seem to have acquired the term “old school”. So what do people mean when they say old school? Is it synonymous with rapey?

I’m not using the diminutive here to be be cutesy. Rape is not cute. Ever. I’m using the term “rapey” to signify a particular brand of dubious consent hero-heroine sex that typically takes place early in a novel. I’m sure you’ve read the kind of scene I’m referring to here. The hero and heroine are alone together and the heroine wants a bit of convincing. In the worst ones, the hero takes what he wants without any positive signal from the heroine, and in fact, the hero steamrolls over some definitively negative ones. In the best ones, some form of generally non-verbal agreement from the heroine occurs before penetration.

Now, these scenes don’t bother everyone. Women with normal sexual experiences, histories and appetites have rape fantasies. And these scenes are usually written in such a way that the heroine ultimately receives some sort of reward for allowing the hero’s bad behavior. For the context of the period and the context of the romance genre, there’s an argument for including these books in a romance canon. Before the current raft of interest in and mainstream acceptance of BDSM ethics and norms, the forced seduction concept probably serves the same fantasy role. They still bother me. It’s what has turned me off to significant numbers of historical romances so it’s in my own interest that I ask this question. Because if I see “old school” I want to know if I’m getting into a book I might not enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little BDSM between consenting adults. Cuffs + flogger + some rough oral + a clever safeword = WIN in my book. Some of my favorite erotic romances have a pretty sharp edge: Willing Victim by Cara McKenna and The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden. They get a little snarly, but at no point is the heroine’s consent ever in doubt.

There does seem to be a certain segment of the romance reviewer population that regards the term “old school” as being synonymous with those 1980s historicals that feature rapey sex. So what do you think? Should we be using these terms synonymously? If not, what are the features of an old school romance?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Black Knight White Queen Thai Beef Tacos & Salad

image courtesy of

Scene: Bangkok. Take one back-packing heroine and one chess genius hero. Add heat.

That's pretty much Black Knight White Queen in a nutshell. A peanut shell. This erotic romance has quite a bit more emotional range than it seems at first blush. Aleks is a Russian chess champion in Thailand for a tournament. He's a little bit broken, which is pretty much my favorite kind of hero. His brokenness originated in being returned to Russia by the American family who had adopted him. He's all grown up, but the damage has been done, leaving him with some serious trust issues. Izzy is a former graphic designer on holiday from New Zealand. Her sister has committed suicide and her parents are barely coping, unable to help or even acknowledge her grief.

You'd think that with all the upheaval that has happened in these characters' lives, this book would seem dark, but that was not the case. There's a playfulness to their relationship, even though the angst persists almost through the end of the book. This is an erotic romance so the sex is pretty hot, with some light bondage and light dominance. Any 50 Shades reader will find it mild fare, but if you're used to sweet historicals, you might be a little surprised at how fast and far it ramps up. This was my first Ashenden book, but it definitely won't be my last. In fact, she mentioned on Twitter that she's working on a story about a modern day rake and you've gotta know I like that. Can't wait!

Thai Beef Tacos with Mango and Farmer's Market Greens and Honey-Lime Dressing

Aleks and Izzy don't eat a whole lot in Black Knight White Queen, but they do visit a Bangkok night market and go out for beers. For my interpretation of their night out, I pulled out a long-time fave of mine: How Sweet It Is blog's Thai Beef Tacos paired with a light mango and farmer's market green salad with Honey-Lime Dressing of my own devising. It's a super healthy meal with a hint of spice.

Go see Jessica for the Thai beef taco recipe (she has a book coming out too!). It's perfect as is, just keep in mind that the meat should marinate for 6-24 hours. The recipe uses half a mango so I just chopped up the other mango half and served it on a bed of greens with the dressing and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. The Honey-Lime Dressing recipe appears below.

Mango and Farmer's Market Greens with Honey-Lime Dressing

3 cups farmer's market baby greens
1/2 sliced mango
1 tbsp chopped peanuts

Honey-Lime Dressing
adapted from

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

Combine lime juice, olive oil and honey in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Whisk in cilantro and garlic. Serve over sliced mango and greens and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome to Cooking Up Romance

Welcome to Cooking Up Romance!

I've loved romance novels since I first discovered Julie Garwood's Highland books in junior high. Until recently, Regency historicals were pretty much all I read, but then I discovered Jackie Horne's Romance Novels for Feminists blog and my reading has branched out considerably since then. For a couple of months I'd been wanting to join the lovely conversations I see taking place between writers and readers in various online spots, but it took joining Twitter to clue me into how to go about doing that.

And so Cooking Up Romance was born. My idea is to match the romances I read with a recipe from my personal archives and the food blogs I read. I don't intend to post more than once or twice a week and will probably only cover books I enjoyed. I enjoy the occasional snarky review & NSFW tumblr, but that's not what you'll find here. Just a breadth of fun and exciting romance and food that I've enjoyed.

You can email me at elisabethjlane {at} gmail {dot} com and follow me on Twitter @elisabethjlane.
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