Publishing recipes and cookbook writing never occurred to me until my Muse told me that I could write a short story with each delightful dish.
Writing recipes for each of the foods I like has been an idea of mine for years. But not being a regular cook, the cookbook project stayed on the back burner.
Now I’m cookbook writing and offering my delicious treats ahead of time, right here on Write Any Genre.
As another form of writing, think about you also publishing recipes and cookbook writing. We all cook now and again; some cook every day. We have our favorite dishes. Why not try publishing recipes
Some Participation for a cause:
Five of my recipes are now published in a book titled Killer Recipes by the award winning mystery writer Susan Whitfield.
This is a unique cookbook in that the lengthy list of recipes for myriad kinds of food came from mystery writers. All of the recipe titles reflect this. Among my five recipes included, my "Stuffed Mushrooms" are aptly titled "Stuffed-in-the-Trunk Mushrooms." The titles are hilarious; the recipes real and delicious. Get your copy now!
Please Note: ALL PROCEEDS go to the American Cancer Society. Recently, Susan was able to send them a check for $1,000. She's now building toward the next one. Go, Susan!
Each of my recipes posted on this site will be accompanied by a short story. Enjoy both!
First, the story... (recipe below that)
for Busy People
My carpool friend, Rena, is a lousy cook. She waits till she’s too hungry to run to the grocery and then cooks only what she finds in the fridge. Cooking is not my favorite activity either because I’m too busy, but when I cook, I use only the freshest of ingredients.
“I only bought it a couple days ago,” she said. “Watched you make this recipe once and wanted to try it myself.”
I looked at the pink wrapper and even that was limp. I hated to think about the fish inside. “I wouldn’t eat fish after it’s been sitting for two days,” I said. Anyone can get fresh fish daily, which is what Rena did, but she should have cooked it that day.
“Help me fix this,” she said. “I’ll share it with you.”
My stomach churned. One thing I knew was the difference between fresh and two-day old fish.
When publishing recipes, I try to make my stories humorous. This one should be. Please don’t let the character, Rene, spoil you from trying the dish. It really is great.
She brought a plastic bowl out of the fridge, removed the lid and threw it into the microwave. I managed to look over her shoulder as she did this. It was left over steamed rice. “Why not make a fresh pot?” I asked. I wondered how long that had been sitting in the bowl.
“Don’t want to be wasteful,” she said.
She unwrapped the slab of fish and I was surprised that no odor came out of the package. Tuna steaks, like all fish, even the pieces sprayed with preservative in the supermarkets, go bad very easily.
She sprayed a frying pan with no-stick oil and turned up the heat. By the time she threw the meat in, smoke was billowing.
“I like to sear it,” she said. “Keeps in the juices.”
She stood holding the spatula and it looked like all she planned to do was char that dead thing.
“Throw some spices on it,” I said, both grimacing and smiling.
“That’ll work,” she said.
I turned away not wishing to think about juices of a two-day old steak, nor smell the odors if I could avoid it.
I found an old bottle of Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb in her spice rack beside a couple other spices. They all looked old, attesting to the frequency of how often she cooked. This bottle of Mrs. Dash was recommended for tuna. It’s what I used when I prepared fish.
“Here,” I said. “Sprinkle some of this to bring up the flavor.” I pounded to bottle on the cutting board to loosen the contents.
By then, both sides of the meat had seared and looked hard as wood. The spices lay on top and I wondered how any of the flavor would get into the inside of the meat through that crust.
“Let’s add a little water,” I said, thinking the water would soften the outside of the steak and also help to cook the meat through. “How about a pat of butter?”
I put a pat of butter directly onto my rice,” she said.
After another minute, Rena slid the frying pan to a cool burner and reached into cupboard for plates. “You want some?” she asked.
I glanced at my watch and faked surprise. “Oh, it’s late. I’ve got to run.” I grabbed up my purse and made for the doorway to leave her to gnaw on the hardtack.
“Next time,” she said. “Maybe we could eat together and talk about publishing our recipes.”
If I had a friend who cooked in this manner, publishing recipes or cookbook writing would be the farthest thing from my mind.
Lucky for me, and maybe you too, this short story is totally concocted.
I had to admit, when prepared properly, the odor of those particular spices enhance the smell of the fish.
The idea of a cookbook writing also enticed. Ahi Steak would be another quick meal that could be on the table in a few minutes. The simpler the recipe, the better, but the ingredients had to be fresh.
On the way through town, I stopped at the fish market and caught them just as they were about to close. I already had a bottle of Garlic & Herb. A fresh pot of rice and steamed green beans from my neighbor’s garden sounded appetizing as side dishes. Once I got home it didn’t take long to realize that, inadvertently, a new book idea was formulating in my mind.
Yes, you guessed it. Publishing recipes and cookbook writing started to rumble around in my mind. Now I’ve put together some of my favorite recipes with short stories. The idea is no longer on the back burner.
You are getting a sample of that book here on this site.
The good recipe...
Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Salt Free Spice
1 tbsp. Smart Balance (no Trans-fat) margarine, or butter.
½ Cup Water
1 Cup Pineapple or Mango chunks (optional)
Steam a pot of rice while you cook the meat. Start the rice first so you can time it to finish about the same time as the meat.
Steam some vegetables.
Spray a medium frying pan with a light coating of no-stick (optional).
Heat the pan on high, and then add the steak.
Allow the fish to sear but do NOT turn the fish over. When the meat begins to turn white from the bottom up, reduce the heat to medium.
Add water and margarine or butter.
Sprinkle a thick coating of Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb over entire top of fish.
Cover and let the fish cook. Check it occasionally, watching for when the fish turns completely white. It will be done in about five minutes. Spoon the pineapple or mango chunks into the sauce about a minute before the fish is done.
Test with a fork to make sure the inside of the fish is also white. Do not overcook. By this time the water, margarine and spices will have cooked down to a thicker sauce. If not, you can continue to allow the sauce to thicken to your preference after the meat is removed. Immediately drizzle sauce over the fish and rice and side dishes for added flavor.
NOTE: This recipe works with a slab of any kind of fish, but not too well with thin fillets, which take only a minute or so to cook.
When cooking for more than one person, add more margarine proportionately; increase the fruit, and add more water sparingly, just enough to make the quantity of sauce you need.
Publishing recipes and cookbook writing can be a lot of fun. You might have already considered such a project if you’ve chosen to read these recipe pages.
It was a bit of work for me to put some of my recipes together. My grandmother used to pinch a little of this and a little of that. Try writing recipes or publishing recipes described that way.
A cookbook reader would need a sense of humor, however, to tolerate some of the stories I’ve written with my recipes. Watch for more.
A short story or two is still needed to finish my cookbook writing. But I’ll be publishing recipes here.
Oh yes, I neglected to photograph while writing recipes. So pictures could eventually show up on this site as well.
If you’re interested in publishing recipes or cookbook writing, think about how you might bring your project to fruition, maybe on your own Web site.
Oh, and don’t forget, I would love to hear about you publishing recipes, but if you try one of mine, let me know how you liked it.