Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Matter of Fate & Mona's Favorite Comfort Food Recipe with Ellie Heller + Giveaway

A Matter of Fate & Mona's Favorite Comfort Food Recipe

In my novel A Matter of Fate, coming from Crimson Romance on April 22, Mona has finally found her calling in Folk society and is training to be a Warder, someone who helps to protect Folk from misused magic and mortals from any magic at all. Before she started her training Mona floated around a bit. She's been a bicycle messenger, studied at a culinary institute and worked in the kitchen at a mom & pop restaurant. Oh, and bartended, but she still does that.

In the middle of A Matter of Fate Mona, who still loves to cook even though it's not her calling, makes mushroom soup for a crowd. While there are several instances where she cooks, this was the only one where I had a very specific recipe in mind as I wrote the story. The original draft even had specifics on ingredients, which fell to editing.

This mushroom barley soup recipe is from the December 1995 edition of Bon Appetit and was sent in by a reader. It is my all time favorite version of mushroom soup, being more stew-like than creamy. It's easy to make a lot to feed a crowd. And, like Mona does, you can add in ingredients to make a non-vegetarian version. But before you do that, I'd recommend trying the original. 

The one change I sometimes do is to mix a bit of dill and lemon zest with sour cream and serve a dollop on top. Any way you make it this soup is easy and delicious. (you can find the recipe online here: along with suggestions of variations)

Mushroom Barley Soup:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 8 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dillweed
Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion and barley. Sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
Add flour to pot and stir 5 minutes. Gradually mix in broth. Bring soup to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until barley is tender and soup is beginning to thicken, about 40

And here, a little teaser from the scene with the soup, complete with secret plot point I had to cover up!:
Mona sighed as she scraped the minced chanterelles into the bowl. She needed to go re-read the parts on xxxxxx, but she still wasn’t ready to deal with the reality.
Mona had the mushroom barley soup on the stove, in two big pots, one batch with cubed roast, beef stock, and tomatoes—the tomatoes were, in part, to make it easier to see which was which—and one without, as well as several loaves of a fast rising bread proofing on the counter when Cart found her.
“You doing okay?”
“Yeah, I think so. Still taking me a bit to process it.”

So do you have a go-to comfort food recipe? I'm very curious to see what you all like!

A Matter of Fate will be released on Monday, April 22! That's just around the corner – pre-order your copy today!

April 15 Interview
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews     

April 15 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

April 16 Guest blog
Place of Reads Book Blog

April 17 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

April 18 Guest blog
Sylv Jenkins

April 20 Spotlight and review
Faerie Tale Books

April 21 Guest blog
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life

April 22 Interview and review
My Home Away From Home – 

April 23 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

April 25 Interview
Cloey's Book Reviews and Other Stuff

April 26 Spotlight
Books Books and More Books 

April 27 Spotlight and review
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

April 28 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

April 29 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

A Matter of Fate
Ellie Heller

Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Contemporary Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Crimson Romance

Book Description:

Someone is setting death-spells targeting mortals and elf blood alike. With her mentor out of commission, it’s up to half-trained Warder Mona Lisa Kubrek to stop the magic. Despite being told repeatedly her job is to nullify spells and not go after the source, too many people are at risk for her to not track the spell-caster down. Even meeting a sexy half-elf shifter won’t distract her from her goal.

Except Cart Dupree is fully trained and has the team to search for the evildoer, so she’d be stupid to not use his expertise. Stupid is something she can’t afford to be, not with her enemy’s henchmen after her. Later she’ll deal with Cart and his questions about her special abilities and the non-standard training her mentor has given her. Right now, they need to unravel where the magician is, and who he is, before he builds enough power to decimate them all.

First, though, they need to stay alive.


About the Author:

After living in several cities east of the Mississippi, but never quite out of the snow belt, I've settled down in SW Ohio with my three kids, two dogs (one of whom thinks he's a cat) and one cat (who thinks he's a dog).

I write paranormal romance and contemporary fantasy, all with a suspenseful edge. A MATTER OF FATE, a 'traditional' paranormal romance, will be available this spring from Crimson Romance. My first published short (GLBT sensual), "Ginny's Capture" is available now.

I'm also an acquisitions editor (i.e. slush reader :-) ) for Curiosity Quills Press using my full first name, Alison.


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Ellie Heller said...

Thank you for having me today!
I can't wait to see what people's comfort foods are.

Sabrina Garie said...

Great post. I love the idea of sharing recipes and intertwining of the story with a great recipe. Can't wait to dive into the book and the soup. Good luck on the tour.

Ellie Heller said...

Thanks Sabrina!

bn100 said...

The recipe sounds tasty