Simple Everyday Cooking #MFRWAuthor

It’s no secret that I love to cook. In fact, I’m planning an upcoming book with a chef-owner of a farm-to-table restaurant just because it will make me happy to write about someone who likes to cook, too. This is one of the ways writers infuse our personalities into our work — we give our characters tastes or hobbies that match ours. In Daring Sarah, the heroine discovers a love of hiking and mountains mainly because I also love that. It was so much fun to write about Sarah’s adventures that I knew I would have to feature a chef in a future book, and that chef will be as interested in simple, fresh, vivid flavors as I am.

I’m more a cook than a chef — I like simple foods, and I tend to keep a lot of the same things on hand and repeat many of the same recipes. So when the MFRW 52-week blog challenge came up with “Share a Recipe” this week, I knew the accent would be on the things I make frequently.

You can always find a jar of this condiment on the top shelf of my fridge.

carrot jalepeno

Carrot-Jalepeno Relish

2 cups jalapenos, chopped (about 10-12 peppers)
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped (about 4-6 carrots)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 onion, chopped

Put it in a pot and simmer for one hour. (How easy is that?)

We use this on salads, tacos, or mixed into rice and bean bowls — it’s sweet and hot and so, so delicious.

This is an everyday lunch for me, a recipe provided by an Egyptian friend who says fava beans are a regular feature in her family’s diet. One of the fun things about being vegetarian or vegan is that we do tend to scour other cultures’ cooking habits for the really good bean recipes. This is one of them, and it’s both filling and very low in calories.

fava salad

Fresh Fava Bean Salad

1 cup cooked fava beans
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped cucumber
Dressing: Juice of 1 lemon mixed with 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and cumin

Just mix and enjoy! You can adjust the garlic and cumin to taste — I tend to go a little heavy on the garlic.

Finally, this is my go-to recipe when I need some comfort food. I don’t know what it is about pancakes, but eating them always makes me feel warm and cozy inside.

banana pancakes

Banana Pancakes

2.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups almond milk (or regular milk, if you eat dairy)
1 banana, mashed

Mash banana thoroughly and mix it with the milk. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix wet and dry together into a smooth batter. Cook on a nonstick skillet and serve warm. Great topped with fresh berries or other fruit. For a stronger banana flavor, use two bananas instead of one. For a special treat, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips or pecans to the batter before cooking. Yum!
Makes 12 medium pancakes.

What is your favorite “always make it” recipe?

10 thoughts on “Simple Everyday Cooking #MFRWAuthor

  1. Oh, will my hubby enjoy that relish!

    I’ve got two books that feature chefs: Appetite For Desire and All She Ever Wanted. I was mildly hooked on Food Network when both storylines popped into my brain. In fact, I was fixing dinner one night when two characters from the yet-untitled or even written ASEW started bickering in my brain. Had to shut off the stove and write down their argument before finishing dinner!


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