Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes! Every Thursday and Friday I will introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! This week I am bringing you author, Peggy Bird, and her recipe for Italian Tomato Sauce along with an introduction to her spicy contemporary romance, Together Again. Please join me in welcoming Peggy and savor her recipe for Italian Tomato Sauce as you read about her new book!
Margo Keyes and Tony Alessandro, the couple in my new book, “Together Again,” grew up next door to each other in South Philly. Because Tony’s sisters were Margo’s best friends, she spent a lot of her childhood in the Alessandro kitchen and learned to love Celeste Alessandro’s “gravy”–the tomato sauce served on everything from pasta of all shapes and sizes to chicken and eggplant. Although Celeste didn’t cook from recipes, here’s what Tony and his sisters wrote down when their mother taught them how to cook.
Italian Tomato Sauce
2 tblsp.olive oil
3/4 cup minced onions
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1- 28 oz. can good quality crushed Italian plum tomatoes
4 tblsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tblsp. finely chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil. Cook onion and oregano until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 30 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and add fresh basil.
Makes about 3 cups. Enough for a pound of pasta.
Deputy DA Margo Keyes is looking forward to this trip to her birthplace with as much enthusiasm as she’d have for a root canal. There’s the Philly summer heat, the high school reunion she’d rather avoid, and the speech she’s to give as a last-minute stand-in for her boss. Mostly there’s facing high school crush Tony Alessandro. When she’d last seen the Philly cop, he’d danced her out of his sister’s wedding reception to a dark room where he’d kissed her senseless. If his nephew hadn’t interrupted they’d have…well, who knows? He disappeared on some family errand. She went home to Portland, Oregon and she hasn’t heard from him since.
However, her homecoming turns out better than expected. The reunion and the speech work out. Even better, she and Tony pick up where they left off in that dark room and the only heat that’s unbearable is what they generate in bed.
Margo returns to Portland relieved she’s put a whole continent between them to give her breathing room to sort out what they’ve started. Then his work with a federal task force investigating industrial espionage brings him to Portland. And an accidental swap of messenger bags on her flight home puts her in the middle of the investigation. Tony wants her out of the way of the bad guys and focused on him. She wants to use a secret from her past to wrap up the case. And maybe avoid having to think about what’s happening between them. They can’t both win.
Or can they?
A while later, he came out of the bathroom dressed only in a pair of cutoff jeans that rode on his hips and cupped his butt almost as closely as she had recently done with her hands. She was in a T-shirt and bikini panties hanging up her suit.
As he walked past she waylaid him with a smile. “This guy I used to go down the shore with wore cutoffs like that. I always thought he was trying to show off his body.”
“Maybe he thought it would put the idea in your head to show off yours.”
“I was in a bikini. What more could he want?”
He fake-leered at her. “By now you’ve figured it out, I assume.”
She combed her fingers through the cloud of dark fur on his chest and down the line of hair to his navel, which she tickled before hooking her fingers under the waistband of his cutoffs.
Dropping a kiss on her head, he took both her hands in his. “If you want dinner you better not go any further. You’re distracting me. Seriously.”
She squinted at him, as if thinking hard. “And it smells wonderful, like I remember your mother’s kitchen smelled. But you offer me a difficult choice. Do I want to eat pasta cooked by a good Italian cook or do I want to distract a hunky guy. I can’t decide. I want both.”
“You can have both, but first I think I should feed you. You get cranky when you’re hungry. And is that how you describe me to your friends? A hunky guy?”
“No, I say you’re an old friend.”
“I like hunky guy better.”
“I’ll think about it. Although all they’d have to do is see you like this and words wouldn’t be necessary.”
A writer and glass artist, I’ve been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and in the brochures, newsletters and reports of my consulting clients and employers. Unless you count speeches for politicians, I’d never written fiction until a cast of characters began inhabiting my daydreams. A glass artist and a gallery owner were there. So were a sculptor and a jewelry designer. When some dead bodies showed up, a couple of cops and a deputy DA arrived. Soon they began to fall in love with each other and work for their happy ending. Bingo. I was a romance writer.
Author Website: www.peggybirdwrites.com
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Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipe! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and read a new book!