Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest paranormal romance author PJ Schnyder and giveaway

Please welcome author PJ Schnyder!

Ah romance, I could sit all day and dream up love stories. Of course, I like to add my own flavor to the wistful happily ever after.
I do things a little different. Valentine’s Day is no exception. :P
Here in the US, the month of February is sometimes filled with plans for couples to dine out, do up a romantic evening and exchange tokens of affection. On many a night before Valentine’s Day, I’ve gotten a few giggles out of seeing a long line of men extending out from the Build-a-Bear store, each with some cute stuffed animal in hand and refusing to look any of the others in the eye. This sort of holiday is rough on American men.
What I love to do comes from the Japanese way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.  In Japan, the women give men chocolates.  (Men, lucky dogs, get to see what their ladies give them and don’t have to return the gesture until a month later on White Day)
There are two different meanings behind chocolate gifts to our guys. “Giri (obligation)-choco” is given to our friends, coworkers, classmates and any guy in our lives. I find myself giving out a lot of these since I’ve got a lot of guy friends and not particularly any serious anything going on.
The very special guy in a lady’s life would receive “honmei (prospective winner)-choco”.  These chocolates are usually more expensive or even handmade from blends of chocolate to the man’s taste. Often, a special gift accompanies the choco or chocolates, such as neck ties or clothes or other expressions of affection.
If you’ve read Heart’s Sentinel or Red’s Wolf, you might notice particular detail in description when it comes to the cooking and savoring of food. I have a great love of food, my friends.
Enjoying cooking the way I do, have I made honmei-choco? Yes. I’ve even got a few recipes to share.
And before you try out the recipes, leave a comment and tell me what you do for Valentine’s Day for a chance to win a free ecopy of Red’s Wolf.
White  Chocolate Matcha (Green Tea) Desserts
1/2 lb white chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp Matcha (green tea powder)
1 Tbsp milk
1/8 cup heavy cream, plus extra for consistency
*matcha green tea powder for coating, optional
Allow milk to come to room temperature or warm gently.
Put 2 tsp of green tea powder in a small bowl. Pour warm milk over green tea powder and stir well. Set aside to infuse.
Put finely chopped white chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
Pour heavy cream in a small pan and heat on medium heat. Stop the heat before cream starts to boil and add in the green tea and milk mixture, whisking to stir well. Pour the cream mixture over white chocolate in medium bowl, stirring until completely melted.
*check consistency. Should be thick enough to set into ganache but completely melted. Add a bit more heated heavy cream if not completely smooth.
Cool the chocolate mixture for about one hour at room temperature. Scoop the cooled chocolate ganache into about 1 1/2 inch balls and place them on a sheet of aluminum foil.
* melon baller or mini ice cream scoop works well for this
Cool in refrigerator for about one hour, or until firm. Remove chilled chocolates and round chocolate balls by hand. For a stronger green tea flavor, coat with green tea powder.

Dark Chocolate Truffles (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
11.5 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa or finely chopped almonds or pecans
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Add unsalted butter and whisk until melted.
Add chocolate. Whisk until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow pan.
Cool at room temperature for an hour, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 1 hour.
Using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball by hand to round out and then roll ball in the cocoa or nuts. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. If refrigerating, bring to room temperature before serving.

Thanks PJ!!

Ollie's review of Red's Wolf 

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