Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, G.J. PHOENIX and her favorite recipe for ETHIOPIAN SPICE MIX!
SEAT OF GOD
Ethiopian Chronicles Book 1
BY G.J. PHOENIX
A child marked by God’s hand …
A woman willing to risk her life to save what’s left of her family …
A priest obsessed with an ancient prophecy …
A man forced to face his past …
Four people on a collision course with an earth-shattering destiny.
An Ethiopian priest, believing a little girl is the key to a biblical curse, kidnaps her. The girl’s only surviving relative, Jasmine Rose, is forced to ask a former CIA operative—codename the “Hunter”—to help her find the child. The two must decipher a series of clues as they search from Israel to Egypt to Ethiopia to catch a holy man who always manages to stay one step ahead. What Jasmine doesn’t know is that the Hunter’s former boss is intent on having his revenge.
As the chase escalates, Jasmine finds herself becoming both hunter and prey. She is willing to pay anything, do anything, to secure the child. But will the child’s mystical abilities save the world—or destroy them all? Jasmine must face the ultimate questions: Will finding the girl be a blessing or a curse? And what will she sacrifice to save the child?
SEAT OF GOD
Ethiopian Chronicles Book 1
BY G.J. PHOENIX
“Unfortunately, Father Josephus appears to be Ethiopian,” Gabriel informed them.
The two men stared at each other as they considered the problem. This was no simple retrieval mission. The Ethiopian church basically ruled the country. A native who was a priest would be a considerable foe, no matter what his intentions for the child.
“This is a problem. They could be anywhere. A native would have resources that even my family might not be aware of,” Raffe told her. Seeing Jasmine’s crestfallen face, he hastily interjected, “It’s not so large a problem that we’ll not succeed. Why do you wish to go to Lake Tana?”
Gabriel quickly explained the priest’s belief that Keda is somehow tied to the Ark of the Covenant. He pulled out Stewart’s Bible, and turning it to the page where he had inserted the prophecy poem, handed it to Raffe. “This was Stewart’s, Jasmine’s brother. It has a number of interesting notes and clues about the Ark, but this seems the most notable.”
“Curse of Moses,” Raffe pondered the words for several moments. “Where would your brother have found this?”
“Exodus was always his favorite book. I’m sure he just uncovered it somewhere.”
“You think the priest is looking for a new covenant? Walking the steps?”
“It’s our fear,” Gabriel confirmed.
Galen started to speak rapid-fire to them, protesting something. Gabriel and Raffe both answered, clearly cross. A small argument seemed to break out between them until Raffe calmed him and the man left the suite.
Watching him go, Jasmine said, “What was that about?”
“His father was Falasha.” When Jasmine still looked perplexed, Raffe explained. “Falasha were Jews, Ethiopian Jews. Most have returned to Israel. We used the name Ark too many times, and he is worried that you’re here to steal it. Galen is a good man, a very religious one. He makes the pilgrimage to Aksum every year for the festival.”
At this comment, Raffe glanced at Gabriel, smiling slightly. “It’s ironic, no?”
Jasmine didn’t miss the quick shake of Gabriel’s head. Sternly, she said, “I feel like I’m playing a game where I don’t understand the rules or how I started to play. Would either of you care to explain?” Jasmine looked back and forth between them. “It seems to me we should all be on the same page.”
Gabriel was unfazed by her toughness. “It doesn’t matter, Jazz. Raffe just has an unusual sense of humor.”
“Yes, of course,” Raffe agreed with a dramatic roll of his eyes.
Changing the subject, Raffe voiced a point that seemed to be puzzling him. “Gabriel tells me your brother and his wife died. I assume this is why you seek the child?”
When she nodded, he said, “I think that maybe you set yourself up for a great heartache, Jasmine,” he said kindly, giving Gabriel a tentative look. “You don’t understand how possessive my people are about the Ark. This could end very badly.”
“I have already lost four months, Raffe. I’ve had my fill of heartache.” Her voice was harsh, her eyes hard. For once she didn’t care how her emotions affected others. This was for Keda. “I will not take anymore.” Jasmine stood and left the room at a sedate, dignified pace, feeling the gaze of her traveling companions burning into her back. There were secrets Gabriel refused to tell her.
She had a few of her own.
If you liked Seat of God, you’ll love G.J. Phoenix’s second installment of her Ethiopian Chronicles. She promises it is hotter than her berbere.
As a child, I got to ride the lightening and a dreamer was born. I stood on the top of the world, and traveled to the lowest point that can support life. I got to swim with dolphins and sharks, some of which were on dry land. I didn’t shoot the Sheriff but I definitely knifed the deputy-he looked at me funny.
My life has taken me to many exotic places, and I was honored to meet some truly amazing people. I learned about God and religion through the stories people were kind enough to share with me, and the books I read.
The truth is, in one way or another, most of my books are based on real people, facing hellish problems, involving intriguing legends or myths, and finding solutions through the power of hope. I have read many great writers in my life, and, it is my hope, they look upon my work with favor-or at least no shame.
I’m G.J. Nice to meet you. Please spend some time and get to know me as well as my family-the characters in my books. I can be found at gjphoenix.com as well as facebook and twitter.
Links to G.J.‘s website, blog, books, etc.
I hope you enjoy the recipe G.J. is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 333 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
The Foodie Secret
In my romantic thrillers, a character sets out on a quest to solve a problem or find something they’re in desperate need of. Along the way, they’re blessed with uncovering secret books or clues that guide their way. It’s hard to find that secret key to help you take your cooking to a new level or add a fresh taste to your roster of dishes.
As a child, I never realized other kids didn’t grow up with a spice cabinet as large as their coat closets. It never occurred to me using six to a dozen spices–in a single dish–was an unusual thing. My friends would comment on the unusual taste to the dishes coming out of my mother’s kitchen. She always said it was the love she used as a secret ingredient. I was twenty before I realized what Mom called love is actually Berbere, one of the few things her Falasha grandfather left her.
Berbere is an Amharic spice mix that I’d put in the same category as an Indian curry. Each house has its own mixture to make Berbere, and it all depends on your taste. The one universal ingredient to it is really a luscious little seed called fenugreek, which looks like miniature peanuts, but packs a flavor punch of a prizefighter.
You can cheat and purchase pre-made Berbere, but in honor of my Falasha roots, and my Ethiopian Chronicles, I prefer to make my own. Now I know you’re thinking but … Ethiopian food? I may make one or two Ethiopian dishes, but I doubt it’s something I’d want to use all of the time. Oh no my friend, in my experience, having berbere around is a never-ending source of blessings for my kitchen. Once you go berbere, you never want to go back. I’ll sprinkle it on everything from scrambled eggs to French fries as a condiment. In dishes, it is the key component to my marinades, dry rubs, to an elevation of soups. As someone who avoids eating meat, berbere gives vegetable dishes like lentil stews and cabbage soup a surprising meaty taste. It really easily becomes the key to so many dishes, you soon wonder how you lived without it.
Now if you want to be fancy and make your berbere using whole spices, make sure you give them a toast in a hot pan before you put them into your spice grinder. You need to get those oils and sugars working first. The final mixture will keep for one to two months in an air-tight container.
I’m including a simple berbere combination that uses mostly pre-ground spices. You really do need to invest in the fenugreek for that Ethiopian kick. Don’t try to berbere without it, you’ll be missing the whole point.
1/2 cup ground chilies
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Throw into blender or spice blender to make sure you get everything together. Put into an air-tight container and leave for fifteen minutes to let the spices marry.
As you can see, most of the spices I use are easily found in local markets. If you can find a spice vendor, the fresher the product the more impact on the taste.
Once you master the berbere mixture that works for your taste (we love spicy in this house, hotter the better) you start to see all the other places you can make use of it. Ethiopians make a delicious stew called wat. The only way I’ll eat lentils is in my Mom’s lentil stew. I’ll also use berbere in a marinade for chicken and fish. You can add it to sauteed onions and olive oil and pulse to make a liquid ambrosia of deliciousness. I like using fresh ginger to the ground spices and fenugreek seeds which makes it liquid and perfect for marinading all kinds of tougher cuts of beef. When time is at a minimum, I’ll just rub the berbere on some chicken wings and toss them under the broiler for half an hour. Then I’ll mix the berbere with some tomato paste and hot sauce tossing the hot wings in it for a perfect coat … perfection! Like I said … once you go berbere, you never go back.