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Obviously, we took an unannounced hiatus from the blog the past few months (did anyone miss us??). Without giving out more mundane detail than anyone wants to read, it’s safe to say that we’ve been doing pretty much what everyone ELSE has been doing all Summer – gardening, making up recipes, spending time with family, traveling, getting healthy, reading, and believe it or not, working on the book series.

Behind the scenes, we’ve been working on plotting, characterization and story structure for the series. Want a taste? How about just a little taste. [Reader advisory, there is a soupçon of profanity in the following snippet. If coarse language offends you, you can skip to the recipe at the end.] By S. A. Young:

Were you tryin’ to get yerself killed!?”

She threw her hands up in disgust and turned to head back to the bedroom. “Yeah…that was the plan…”

JJ stayed where he was and shouted at her, “Plan?? What PLAN!? God damn it Frankie…Tell me what the fuck you thought you were doin’? Playin’ cloak and dagger?” until she turned around and came back…

…And got in his face. “You’re right…I didn’t have a plan. I was following my instincts. I didn’t know I was going to run into him today! But I did. What was I supposed to do? Ignore it? Sit on my hands and call you and let you tell me what to do?? I saw a chance and I took it.”

“Fer fuck’s sake Woman!!” JJ bellowed and practically blew back her hair. It had been a long time since she’d seen him this angry, at her anyway. “You could have been killed!! You could have gotten Kinks killed! You saw his file! I watched you read it. You know what he’s capable of!”

“But I wasn’t killed was I? You weren’t there…you didn’t see…”

He grabbed her arm and hauled her in front of the mirror “No…I wasn’t there. I didn’t see. This is what I see. Take a look at yerself.” She had red welts and a palm print on her face. There was a small gash on her cheek where that monster’s ring had cut her. Bruises in the shape of fingers were forming on her arms and her blouse was torn.

Frankie jerked away from him “Take a look at myself? Why don’t you look at me. Look at me and see ME! I have a brain and I can take care of myself. I have been TRAINED to take care of myself.”

“Oh don’t throw that FBI shit at me again! You were never a field agent…”

“‘FBI shit’?! I went through the same training every field agent gets. The same training that all the MEN in my class had. You think you forget that ? I didn’t forget it when Streak hauled me into the Tack Room…” She stopped in her tracks, as mad as she was, still afraid to go too far.

—S. A. Young

Hot stuff, huh?! I can’t wait for S.A. to finish her draft manuscript! I’m going to need a BIG bowl of popcorn.

Want a recipe? If you have a garden and there is still some summer squash or zucchini in it, you might give this one a try. I grow Ronde de Nice zucchini every summer and this is our favorite way to eat it. Not being a professional, I failed to photograph the finished dish, but here’s a lovely photo of the fresh zucchini I just picked and washed to show you:

Pan-seared Tuna Steak with Zucchini-Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

6 to 8 ounces of good quality tuna steak per person (1 inch thick)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. butter per tuna steak

***

1 medium zucchini (or summer squash) per person

Garlic cloves, minced (adjust for quantity and taste preference), about 1 tsp. minced garlic per zucchini (or summer squash)

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about ¼ C. per zucchini or squash)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

Preparation:

Wash zucchini or squash well and boil for about 20 minutes in salted water (should be slightly tender). Allow to cool, slice off stem end and hollow out the zucchini/squash (for long, narrow vegetables, you’ll have to slice in half lengthwise and hollow out little “boats”). Chop the zucchini/squash interior and sauté with the minced garlic in about 1 T. of olive oil (more if you’re making a large quantity). Add a generous pinch of Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste.

Sprinkle salt and freshly cracked pepper on the tuna steaks. Heat 1-2 T. of olive oil in a separate skillet until you can see the heat waves rising from the pan. Sear the tuna steaks just until a nice crust forms on the first side and turn (about 2 minutes), sear the second side watching the sides of the steak to monitor the pinkness of the interior – about another 2 minutes for medium (it should bounce back at you when you press it with your finger), less if you like your tuna more rare. Try not to overcook. Remove the tuna steaks to warm plates and add butter to hot skillet, cooking it until just brown but not burned.

Add grated Parmesan to the cooked zucchini/squash and garlic mixture, stir to combine and then spoon it back into the zucchini/squash “shell”. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Spoon or pour browned butter over the tuna steaks and serve with a stuffed zucchini or squash.

Wine pairing:

A nice pinot noir (we love Rodney Strong’s Russian River Valley as a good house wine, under $20/bottle) or white burgundy (a full-bodied 2010 St. Véran Domaine Corsin, about $20/bottle, for example) would complement this meal nicely.
OR, after a long, hot day in the garden, a tall gin and tonic with  a LOT OF LIME juice would also suit.

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