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, CHERIE CLAIRE, and her favorite recipe for MARTIN’S SEAFOOD GUMBO.
TICKET TO PARADISE
The Cajun Embassy Book 1
By CHERIE CLAIRE
PR executive Lizzy Guidry is having the worst day of her life, thanks to newspaperman Martin Taylor, whose editorial has raised the ire of Lizzy’s boss, the mayor of Santa Helena, California. Martin is on the verge of losing his newspaper, which is why he’s buying yet another lottery ticket the night he runs into Lizzy.
Still fuming, Lizzy beats him to it, nabbing the last ticket before the machines close. Topping off Martin’s worst day of his life, Lizzy’s ticket wins. Only she doesn’t know it. As Martin attempts to romance his way to five million dollars, will he lose his heart in the process? Will they both realize that love, more than money, is the ticket to paradise?
The Cajun Embassy series follows three Columbia journalism coeds homesick for Louisiana who find comfort in a bowl of Cajun gumbo. Each book — Ticket to Paradise, Damn Yankees and Gone Pecan — follow these dedicated friends as they make their way into the world. Because love — and a good gumbo — cures everything.
TICKET TO PARADISE
The Cajun Embassy Book 1
By CHERIE CLAIRE
Dear God, Martin thought. She didn’t know she had won. Five million dollars was probably sitting on the bottom of that disaster she called a briefcase, more than likely cast aside like a useless scrap of paper.
Five million dollars!
Of all the luck. Martin had faithfully bought his tickets twice a week, never so much as winning more than five dollars, once the bonus number, and here Lizzy waltzes into the Mini Mart and claims the entire jackpot. Enough to save The Banner. Enough to help his family. Enough to put his life back in order.
And it was his dollar that paid for her winnings!
Lady Luck was definitely a woman.
“Young man,” an authoritative voice sounded, waking him from his misery. “We have to talk.”
The mayor and his entourage of assistants headed toward the door, but Tom Whitley paused long enough to send home a message, a directive Martin read loud and clear in his eyes. “Yes, sir, I think that would be wise.”
“Tomorrow morning?” the mayor asked. “Ten a.m. in my office?”
“Tom,” Lizzy said, touching the mayor’s arm. “My car broke down in a tow-away zone. It’s in the pound.”
Tom glanced over at Martin. “Then get it out, Lizzy.”
Lizzy pulled on the mayor’s sleeve, tugging him away. “It’s two hundred dollars,” she whispered. “I thought you could call Darryl and use your influence to…”
Martin watched as the mayor feigned innocence, no doubt on his behalf, as he listened to Lizzy’s tale. “I don’t pull strings.” Tom glanced in Martin’s direction. “You know that, Lizzy. You’re on your own.”
Holly placed the opened umbrella over the Mayor’s head and sent Lizzy a sympathetic look as they headed for the parking lot. When Lizzy turned back toward Martin, knowing he was the cause of the mayor’s refusal to help, the tears had disappeared, replaced by an anger he knew all too well. But Martin had a plan.
“I have a friend at the pound,” he said. “He owes me a favor.
Swallowing hard, no doubt to combat more tears, Lizzy shuffled past him to the table to retrieve her briefcase. “You’ve done enough for two days, Martin. Do me a favor and leave me alone.”
Martin leaned against the desk, one hip against the side of her briefcase interrupting her actions. “Now why would I do that, Lizzy, when I have a warm, dry car and your ride just left?”
He expected his seductive words to warm her heart, but instead Lizzy bolted out the door, scanning the parking lot for the mayor’s car. As she glanced around the half-deserted lot of the Board of Education, rain spotted her face. Whether it was raindrops or tears streaking her cheeks, the sight caused Martin’s heart to constrict.
“Damn,” he muttered to himself. He hated losing control.
Martin opened the door, feeling the rush of cold air greet him, snaked an arm about her waist and pulled her back inside the lobby.
“Get your hands off me,” she protested, although again the fire had left her eyes.
“I have a car,” he said firmly, like a big brother. “I’ll take you home. It’s too late to call the pound but I can pick you up in the morning and get your car.”
“I don’t want anything from you.” She pulled free from his embrace.
“Then allow me, at least, to help you as a form of apology.”
Lizzy stopped fighting and gazed suspiciously into his eyes. For a moment, Martin imagined she knew exactly what he was up to.
“I’m sorry about the editorial,” he quickly said. “I didn’t mean to include you in my condemnation of Mayor Whitley. I just thought you had better ethics than to clean up that clear disregard for the law by the D.A.’s office.”
The fire returned, full force. “It’s called a job, Martin. Maybe you don’t know what that means, having had a newspaper fall into your lap, never having to worry about your next paycheck.”
Martin couldn’t help himself. He laughed, which only infuriated Lizzy further. The irony being played out before him was too much to bear.
“I assure you, Ms. Guidry,” he bit out harshly, his humor gone, “that I do not live on Easy Street.”
He meant it as charming sarcasm, but anger and resentment emerged with the words. Martin wanted to follow up with something funny, something seductive to cover his blunder, but Lizzy’s features softened and she stared at him with new eyes.
For a moment, he swore Lizzy saw the real Martin Taylor. Not the joking bachelor who caressed women with his beguiling words, nor the brother and son who laughed off the problems surrounding the newspaper to his family, convincing them all he had both his life and his career under control. For a moment, he swore Lizzy saw right through him. And it scared him to death.
Cherie Claire is the award-winning author of several Louisiana romances and a paranormal mystery series.
Cherie is the author of “The Cajun Embassy” series of contemporary romances – “Ticket to Paradise,” “Damn Yankees” and “Gone Pecan.” Originally published with Kensington, her “Cajun Series” of historical romance follows a family of Acadians (Cajuns) who travel to South Louisiana and start anew after being exiled from their Nova Scotia home.
Cherie’s fall 2016 novel, “A Ghost of a Chance,” begins a paranormal mystery series featuring New Orleans travel writer and ghost sleuth Viola Valentine.
Cherie lives in South Louisiana where she works as a travel and food writer when not indulging in Cajun culture. Visit her website at www.cherieclaire.net and write to her at CajunRomances@Yahoo.com.
Links to Cherie’s Website, Books, & Social Media:
Cherie’s My Louisiana Home blog:
Ticket to Paradise
I hope you enjoy the recipe Cherie is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 273 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.
MARTIN’S SEAFOOD GUMBO
Note from Cherie: In each of The Cajun Embassy books, I include a gumbo recipe. The following recipe is by Martin Taylor, the hero of “A Ticket to Paradise,” and it utilizes seafood. I’m from New Orleans where we include a lot of seafood in our gumbos and the roux is usually lighter. In Cajun Country where I now live, chicken and andouille sausage with a darker roux is more prevalent.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup flour
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 pound shrimp (about 30-35 shrimp), preferably wild Louisiana shrimp
1 pound crabmeat
1 dozen shucked oysters, liquid reserved
Crab pieces, if desired
2 (32-ounce) boxes seafood stock
Salt, pepper and/or Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste
2 cups cooked Louisiana rice
Green onions, chopped, for garnish
Directions: In a large soup pot, over medium heat, mix the oil and flour for a roux, stirring constantly, being careful not to let the roux burn. Keep stirring until you receive the right darkness of roux. The color and time it takes to finish the roux will depend upon your preference but a light roux is preferable for a seafood gumbo.
Add to the pot the chopped onions, bell peppers and celery, known as the “Cajun Trinity,” and stir. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender or until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the seafood stock and oyster juice and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer, uncovered for about 30 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Add the oysters and crabmeat and cook for 5 minutes. Add additional salt, pepper or Cajun seasoning to taste. Remove from heat, serve gumbo over rice and garnish with chopped green onions.
Note: A cast iron soup pot works best. You can also make your own seafood stock, but we listed boxed seafood stock that is easily found in grocery stores. Also, Walmart sells Guidry’s Creole Seasoning mix — the “Cajun Holy Trinity” of onions, bell peppers and celery — so for those who want to save time, substitute Guidry’s.
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!