Eris Field takes over my blog today with a few suggestions for a holiday meal. Take it away, Eris!
If it is one of those times when you want the heady scent of something delicious cooking gently in the oven to welcome people coming home, go for labor-free, my fail-proof Beef and Sherry casserole, but add a surprise with the refreshing taste of a gremolata topping.
Warning: This dish creates powerful memory traces of pleasure.
BEEF and SHERRY CASSEROLE
1 ½ pound of chuck beef
1 can Campbell’s Golden Mushroom Soup
½ can of water
½ package of Lipton Onion Soup mix
½ can of good sherry, use the one you drink and have a glass before dinner.
Preheat oven to 325°F
Cut the beef into bite size pieces, about ¾ of an inch, (no browning thank goodness). Lay meat in a Dutch Oven. Stir in the other ingredients, cover, and then bake for 2 ½ hours.
|Photo by Popo le Chien|
¼ cup finely chop parsley, flat parsley is better but curly is good too
2 tbsp. coarsely grated lemon rind
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Mix these ingredients together. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.
Serve the casserole over cooked noodles or rice. Or add cooked baby white potatoes, tiny boiled onions, and mushrooms at the last minute to cooking the beef and heat through.
Top the dish by sprinkling the gremolata.
This recipe serves four but can be doubled and the cooking time increased to 3 hours.
In my contemporary novel, No Greater Love, on a snowy evening in Western New York, Janan adds gremolata to a casserole of lamb shanks and serves it to the man she has just fallen in love with. Here’s a little more about their turbulent romance.
Janan, orphaned at age eight by an earthquake in Turkey and adopted by an American couple in a small town in Western New York has grown into a beautiful woman, a Circassian beauty. She dreams of having a home of her own, a home with love, but spends her time working as a nurse and looking after her family that includes an elderly, honorary uncle, Carl who had been sent as a child from Leiden to escape Nazi deportation of Dutch-Jews and now yearns to go home.
Jilted once, Dutch child psychiatrist Pieter has retreated from life and devotes himself to caring for the child refugees flooding into Amsterdam. Now, struggling with late-onset leukemia, he travels to New York for a second opinion and to visit his old friend and mentor, Carl. At Carl’s home, he meets Janan and feels love again.
Janan recognizes Pieter as the man of her dreams. Believing that love is passing her by and knowing that Pieter will be gone in the morning, she asks him for one night. Pieter introduces Janan to the purposes and outcomes of each of eight magical kisses and vows to himself to overcome his illness and return a well man.
Later, alone and facing complications of pregnancy, Janan accepts an unusual offer of help even though it may destroy her chances of finding happiness.
Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.
As a seventeen year old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.
Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.