Monday, October 4, 2010

Guest Post by Jennifer Estep, author of the Elemental Assasins Series

 Help me welcome one of my favorite Urban Fantasy writers, Jennifer Estep to the blog! She's here to talk about food in her books and more!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Colette for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Colette!

Some of you might know me as the author of the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional south­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

The first two books in the series are Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies. Venom, the third book, came out on Sept. 28. Tan­gled Threads, the fourth book, will be pub­lished in May 2011, while the fifth book (unti­tled) will be released in Octo­ber 2011.

I’ve also sold a young adult urban fantasy series called Mythos Academy. The first book is called Touch of Frost and will be out in August 2011. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen finds herself shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendents of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, and more.

So today Colette asked me to talk a little bit about recipes, since cooking and food are such a big part of my Elemental Assassin series. My heroine, Gin Blanco, owns a barbecue restaurant, and cooking is one of her passions in life. It’s kind of a weird hobby for an assassin to have, but since I like cooking, I thought Gin could too. ;-)

In every book, I mention recipes that Gin makes from sandwiches to cookies to cakes. A lot of people have asked me if the recipes are real and where I got them from. Some of the recipes are real, but some of them only exist in my imagination – like Fletcher Lane’s secret barbecue sauce.

As for where I got the real recipes from, the answer is everywhere – friends, family, co-workers, magazines, cooking shows, food packaging. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try, and I’m totally addicted to the Food Network. In fact, I wish I had more time to cook.

I’ve also gotten tons of recipes from my mom – all my favorites that she made when I was kid. We’ve been making some of those for so long that no one remembers where they came from in the first place. LOL.

Here’s one of the recipes that Gin makes in Spider’s Bite. I sort of came up with this one myself. I’ve always loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and a while back, I discovered a recipe to make a dip/sandwich spread using peanut butter and canned pumpkin. I decided to use the sandwich spread in place of regular peanut butter, then added some honey and cinnamon for a little touch of sweetness and spice.

Sometimes, I’ll do that – take a recipe and combine it with something else or tweak the ingredients to make something taste just the way that I like it. For example, I’ll often use almond flavoring in cakes or cookies instead of vanilla, since my mom isn’t crazy about vanilla. Dill is another flavor that I really like, and I’ve been known to make sprinkle potatoes with dill before roasting them or add a tablespoon or two to chicken salad.

Anyway, I hope you like this sandwich as much as I do.

Peanut But­ter and Banana Sandwich
1/2 cup peanut but­ter
1/2 cup pump­kin
1 banana, sliced
2 slices of your favorite bread
Mix the peanut but­ter and pump­kin together to form a creamy spread (there will be enough spread for more than one sand­wich). Put the spread on one slice of your favorite bread. Top with the banana slices. Driz­zle the banana slices with honey and sprin­kle with cin­na­mon, if you wish. Top with the remain­ing piece of bread and enjoy your sand­wich with a glass of cold milk.

You can find some more recipes on my website: Scroll down until you see “Gin’s Recipe Box.” Every once in a while, I’ll add a new recipe or swap out one of the old ones.

What about you guys? Do you like to cook? Or read about characters who do?

Where to find Jennifer: