I’m so pleased to have Zoe Dawson as our guest. Dale Mayer, Mary Hughes and I are in the Paranormally Yours: A Boxed Set that Zoe put together. Zoe also writes contemporary romantic comedywith pets. But today, she’s talking about her New Adult contemporary romance. Actually, she’s not talking about it. Instead, she’s interviewing the hero from A Perfect Dilemma – and it comes with an awesome recipe. Say a big welcome to her and enjoy!
The swinging doors to the Outlaws kitchen are very much in play tonight as Braxton Outlaw and his bar and grill are quite popular in his home town of Suttontowne in Hope Parish, Louisiana. Just two hours from New Orleans and thirty minutes from Lafayette.
When I enter the kitchen, he is at the stove, his thick dark hair mussed and falling over his forehead. He turns to pierce me with a pair of intense blue eyes that are at the same time quite dreamy. I’m here to interview him about his cooking, not to get on River Pearl Sutton’s bad side, since she’s claimed this man. There have been enough bar fights in Outlaws as it is, so I’d better focus.
“Guests don’ belong in my kitchen, sugar.”
“I’m not a guest. I’m here to interview you and since I made you up and brought you into reality, I get to do what I want.”
He gives me that patented Outlaw grin and leans his fine butt against the countertop. “Ah, so that’s how River Pearl got all her sass. Thanks for that.” His sarcasm is not lost on me.
“Don’t you know that?” He says, turning away from me and continuing with what he was doing.”
“You got me there, but an interview means I ask questions and you answer. Can you work with me or are you going to be your contrary, huckleberry self?”
“Ha! I guess I have to give you that one. Ask away.”
“This interview is all about your cooking and the dishes that you make. How did you get into cooking?”
“Just started taking over for my ma when she was working two jobs. She was so busy that I thought I would pitch in and cook. Found out that I loved it. My ma is Cajun and with Suttontowne being just about in Cajun country, there is a large influence here. Well, my aunt got wind of it and she started teaching me what she knew.”
“So it was very natural for you to open up a bar and grill.”
“Yes, thanks to Booker’s help. Now I’m pretty self-sufficient.”
“How do you handle preparing your menu?”
“On the fly. I find prepared, static menus boring. I usually come up with dishes and then do a temporary menu. Then switch it out.”
“You guys also entertain here, correct?”
“Yeah.” He is moving fast, garnishing his dishes as waiters and waitresses move in and out of the bustling kitchen. Braxton doesn’t break his stride. “Booker keys, Boone guitar, and me fiddle. We all do the vocals.”
“What are you preparing tonight.”
“Crab cakes with remoulade sauce and roasted veggies—carrots, red potatoes, shallots and green beans; deep fried white fish with garlic tartar sauce on sourdough, either baked white barbeque chips or French fries; and Cajun egg rolls with jezebel sauce and dirty rice.
“My mouth is watering.”
“Here, why don’t you taste some.” He puts some of each on a plate and hands it to me, flashing me that smile and those sultry eyes. I have to remember that he belongs to River.
“Remoulade or rémoulade was invented in France and mine is mayonnaise-based. Although similar to tartar sauce, the way I makes it turns it reddish. It’s the paprika.”
“I understand that you have a secret ingredient for it.”
“I do, but your readers can find out what that is in the book.”
“You are a tease.”
“No, I leave that up to River. Now, tartar sauce can be just a plain ole’ topping for fish, but I don’t like boring. With mine, you get a creamy mayo blended with tangy dill pickles, salty capers, fresh parsley, minced garlic and bright lemon juice. The finished tartar sauce packs a savory punch that works so well with seafood. Exactly why I chose it as a compliment to his fish dish.”
“It’s a so good.”
I taste the out of the world Cajun eggrolls and the sauce is sweet and tangy on my tongue.
“That’s the jezebel and is traditionally a base of apple jelly and pineapple preserves tricked out with horseradish and yellow mustard, but as with my remoulade sauce, I have a secret ingredient.”
“What is it?”
He shakes his head. “Some things I need to keep to myself, so your fans will have to develop their own.”
“Hey,” Booker says, “Where are my chocolate chip cookies, you slacker?”
“I’m kinda busy here, Book.”
Booker looks at me. “Don’t I know you?”
I smile. “She created you, huckleberry,” Braxton says.
“Oh, yeah, I thought so.” He’s the spitting image of Braxton, part of the trio I made up. Just as handsome, just as compelling.
“What she doing here?”
“Hey, how do you rate?”
“I’m in the last book and everyone knows that the last book is the most popular.”
“Bull, I got everything started.”
I start to back toward the door. This looks like it’s going to be something I might want to stay out of.
“What up’s, huckleberries?” Boone says as he walks into the kitchen and I have to catch my breath. Wow, built. He has the widest shoulders. I think I’ll keep that to myself.
“The first book is the one that hooks everyone and starts the ball rolling. I should know, Brax, I’m a writer.”
“What you guys talking about?”
“Which of our books are more important.”
“Well the middle one, of course. Ever heard of the sagging middle. Without the middle holding everything together it could all fall apart.”
I take another step towards the door. “It’s actually all three,” I say softly.
Boone turns to me. “Hey, don’t I know you?”
I just laugh and walk up to Booker and kiss his cheek. Then plant a kiss on Boone’s cheek, then walk up to Brax and kiss him, too. “Thanks, you guys. You were such a complete and utter blast to write.”
They smile at me. “You can visit us whenever you want to, sugar,” Booker says, “that’s the best part of writing.”
Braxton hands me a piece of paper. “Here, sugar, that’s for your fans. Now get outta here while we finish our argument.”
I turn to go, then look back. “Bye huckleberries,” I whisper.
Here’s the recipe for you guys to try. Happy cooking.
Makes 3 cups
Prep 15 minutes. Ready in 8 hours 15 minutes
1 (10 ounce) jar apple jelly
1 (10 ounce) jar pineapple fruit preserves
1 (8 ounce) jar prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Feel free to add your own secret ingredient. 🙂
In a small bowl, mix together apple jelly, pineapple fruit preserves, prepared horseradish, ground dry mustard and cracked black pepper. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight, before serving.
**Note from Edie: If you haven’t read any of Zoe’s books, the first book of A Perfect Secret Series, A Perfect Mess, is free at Amazon, B&N, Apple/iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords. And A Perfect Dilemma is available for pre-order at Amazon US.**