Meet Listener of The Month Ms July 2016

 

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Congratulations Karen Komarinski (aka KK)

You are our first featured

‘Listener of The Month’.

In the theme of Professor Gabriel Emerson’s favourite line…

…’we are so glad you were our first‘.

 

KK joined our podcast Saturday July 2nd to tell us a little about herself; Sylvain Reynard’s stories,their characters; and interacting with other like-minded readers online. It was such a delightful experience, Karen is charming and very interesting to listen to. We had a lot of fun with KK and recommend you listen to our recorded podcast if you missed it.

To get to know her a little better we asked a number of questions and the good sport that KK is, she agreed to a game or two of ‘word associations.’ Here are her fabulous responses…

Question: Tell us a bit more about Karen (AKA KK), where are you from? What type of novels you like to read? Other interests you may have? Or anything else you’d like to share with us all? 

Answer:  I am the youngest of 7, I have 3 older brothers and 3 older sisters. We grew up on a farm with animals and 2 large gardens and around the middle of July we spent our days selling corn and vegetable at the end of our driveway.  I think the love of cooking came from spending time in the kitchen with my mom, she is a great cook.  I have always liked to create and experiment since a young age, sometimes it was a hit and others not so much…lol   My plan was to be an Art and Music teacher. But a life altering accident at the age of 16 caused memory problems several years later, along with my Fathers health, my life took a different path.  It took many years and different jobs before I enrolled in the Apprenticeship Culinary program at my Community College at the age of 32; I was considered an oddity because I loved entree cooking as much as baking.  Other interest: I have always loved to read, it was my escape.  Music and art was big in my family, we were taught to appreciate all kinds of music and in my house when all the chores were done, homework completed, music was usually put on the record player or sometimes a comedy album and we would listen and play games until bedtime.  I love learning new things, traveling and I make homemade cards.  Two years ago I had an accident at work that changed my life once again, not so good in some ways, but in other ways, it has made me grow as a person, opened me up to a whole new world and I have met some amazing people along the way.

Question: Food is your forte and those of us who follow you on twitter are fortunate to see the fabulous creations you produced from time to time. Some of these creations you share on your food blog, tells us a little more about your blog? What made you create a blog?

Answer: My blog is a celebration of Food, Family, Friends Books and Art. It came about from some banter on twitter after I had shared pictures of dinner I made and Nut roll I was making for the Holidays, and I said kiddingly at first, since I was still recovering and was not allowed to go back to work; maybe I should start a food blog, Kez  tweeted it that it was an awesome idea, Jen and Mog tweeted yes along with BAE; I responded maybe I’ll think about it.  Then a tweet came from SR, saying yes do it.  SR sent me people to contact with food blogs; one being Angela Field  of Cherubpaddock, Kez and BAE told me about wordpress that they had a free sight for blogs.

Question: Where can we find it? What sorts of things can we find there?

Answer:  karenskarouselofdelights.wordpress.com    It’s made up of family stories tied to food. I’ve done International food days, book reviews/cover reveals, recipes, you will also find a drawling and other writings of mine. 

Question: As an avid reader, we know you share a great love for Sylvain Reynard’s writings with the rest of us, what is about SR’s writing that you love?

Answer: When reading Gabriel and Julia’s story you feel a part of the story and their experiences.  When I was 17 I was lucky to go on a choir trip to Italy and we went to Assisi, Florence, Milan, Venice and Rome.  In Assisi we sang in the crypt of the church. In Florence we had some free time and I had to beg for someone to accompany me to the Uffizi gallery.  I was so excited to be able to see works of art I only saw in books or a slide show in high school art class.  Sorry off track, reading the words SR wrote I could see the places I visited so long ago and it brought back wonderful memories.  I heard blurbs about SR books when they first came out, but did not pay attention and then in March of 2014 I read all the books in the Gabriel series and I found Jen and Mog book exposure and the Argyle Empire through reading SR. Prior to this I was in a bad place, my 28 yr nephew Levi died tragically and I had stopped reading and threw myself into my work.  Then one day I was looking online and came across  a book title Gabriel’s Inferno, and I thought to myself could this have anything to do about Dante. When I was in college in 1985 at Potomac State College, I had to take a humanities class and half the Semester we read Dante. My Dante specialist looked nothing like Gabriel LOL.

Question: If you can choose between Gabriel and William, who would be your favorite and why?

Answer: Hard choice, but I would have to say Gabriel, he was my first book boy friend…lol  Both Characters are very dear to me, they are both complex, stubborn, very protective and love deeply. “William he is the good looking bad boy with a motorcycle and he is a vampryer.  They both  are handsome, strong willed, looking for redemption in their own ways.  They Judge hard and swift, and also protect and love with that much convictions.  They both have strong women in there lives who real them in, make them see the good in them selves and others, Julia and Raven Saved William and Gabriel just like they were saved by them.  Gabriel is my #1  and William my #2

Question: Raven Wood and William York are a very popular couple in contemporary romance, what do you think it is about this couple that is so appealing to people?

Answer: Raven Challenges William to connect to his former self, not to be so bitter, for she knows deep down he was loving and kind. They challenge each other.  Why we connect to Raven; there is a little of Raven in all of us, dealing with looks, insecurities, and convictions. She champions others. She has risen above all the rotten things that happened to her; she does not let them or her disabilities define her as a person. Raven and William are both broken people and are afraid of relationships, but they love one another deeply and that why i think people are pulling for them.

Question: The Prince of Florence is a mysterious and edgy vampyre that whom many readers adore. It could be argued that he is just as popular as the infamous Dante Specialist, Professor Emerson. What is it do think about William that has won people over?

Answer:  William is broken like Professor Emerson,  good looking and is immortal, what he would normally do with swift justice, he ponders Ravens request to spare the Emerson’s along with a request to help others.  This shows that he is not a monster, but on the other had we know that being the ruler of the underworld and Florence is true love, he must be strong and move swiftly to keep control of the city he loves.

Question: If you were to go on a date with the Prince of Florence where would you go and what would you do?

Answer: I would love for him take me  to the  top of the Duomo, I would love to go on a bike ride and I’d love for the Prince to show me his city Florence and drink some good wine

Question: SR’s twitter community is made up of a large group of wonderfully warm people. What has been the most rewarding thing for you since join this online community?

Answer: Meeting and making lasting friends from all around the world.   Getting a response from my for tweet in march of 2014 from SR changed my world, I was welcomed into a small group that was quickly growing, Kez, Argyle Empire, Jen and Mog, MJ.  This groups supports one another in good and bad times, we celebrate each others talents, send love and support when needed. Thank goodness there is no drama/bullying in this group.  We generally care about one another even if we are worlds and cultures apart. This group is a family. I think SR makes us all better people.

Question:If you could spend one day with SR what would you do and where would you go?

Answer: Depends on where we meet, Canada or Florence…lol Either one would have to start off with coffee and Doughnuts, and I would love to pick SR brain, have him show his city.  Love to go to as many museums as we could, find some good music to enjoy.  Would have to visit a market so I could cook him something fabulous.  End the day over a good glass of Scotch, Gentleman Jack, or Jameson.   In all honesty I think it would be cool to be in a cafe start a conversation with a stranger thinking now again I wonder is this SR, they get up and leave as you continue to enjoy your book and coffee, and a server comes over to your table and hands you a note that says, the Fox has just left the building, thank you it’s been a pleasure  SR  wink wink. 🙂 

And of course, there was the word associations…

Whispers, there wasn’t any hint of um…’research’ anywhere, but there may have been a handkerchief or two!!

Gabriel  –  intense
Argyle   –  Socks  
Chocolate cake  – Seduction and Romance ( all because of Gabriel teasing Julia with chocolate cakes he tries to feed her.)
Dante –  Redemption
Julianne  –  (Beauty) 
Paul  –  Sweet boy next door
Superman   –  Kryptinight
Uffizi  –  History 
Florence   –  Magic
William  –  Mysterious
Raven  –  Strong
Handkerchief  –  Pam 
Aoibhe  –  Watch your back stay away
The Roman  –  Beginning & End; this was started by him and will end with him

Great responses KK, especially to handkerchief, we all giggled at that one. lol

Why not takes a listen to the podcast, you can tune in here…

 

Thanks again KK for joining our podcast, we all had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed your company. We wish all the best with your food blog and look forward to chatting with you again soon.

SR did have a message for you also that read as followers:

My warmest greetings to Karen and thank you for reading.
All the best,
SR

To leave you all today and true to Karen’s generosity; she has provided a few recipes to share with listeners and readers alike. Be prepared, these will surely make your mouth water…

In honour of a certain doughnut lover who cannot start his writing day without one (so we’re lead to believe), the first two recipes are for the classic doughnut….

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Mmmmm Doughnuts!!

Plain yeast Doughnut: yield 6 medium size doughnuts or 12 small doughnuts or 24 doughnut holes
1 package of Active Dry yeast                               1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 ounce of warm water                                           1/2 cup hot milk
1/4 cup sugar                                                           1 large egg room temperature
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)                         1 tablespoon of real Vanilla or favorite flavoring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Salt                                                    3 cups of Bread Flour (I use King Arthur)
Chocolate  yeast Doughnut: yield 6 medium size doughnuts or 12 small doughnuts or 24 doughnut holes
1 package of Active Dry yeast                                1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 ounce of warm water                                           1/2 cup hot milk
1/4 cup sugar                                                           1 large egg room temperature
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)                         1/2 tablespoon of real Vanilla or favorite                                                                                                    flavoring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Salt                                                 3 cups of Bread Flour (I use King Arthur)
1/4 cup +1 tablespoon Premium baking Cocoa 100% unsweetened (I like Ghirardelli or Hershey’s special dark)
1/2 tablespoon of strong coffee (optional)
Procedure for both doughs:
Soften yeast in water for 5 minutes then stir until blended. In a large bowl, add the sugar, salt, butter, nutmeg, and flavoring of choice.  Then add hot milk and stir until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Make sure your mixture is lukewarm and add the yeast and one beaten egg.  Now it’s time to add the flour one cup at a time, stir with a wooden spoon.  Dough should start to form a ball. It is time to turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for about two minutes giving the dough a quarter turn every time you  pull it into itself.  The dough should be springy and little sticky, but not so much it sticks to your hands.  Place dough into an oiled bowl flip the dough around so all sides are coated with oil.  Now cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it on the counter until morning. Make sure the bowl is double the size of the dough ball so it has room to rise.
The next morning, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out to 1/2 to 1 inch thickness and cut out the doughnut. If you want to fill the doughnuts don’t cut the whole out in the middle. Place the doughnuts on a sheet tray covered in parchment paper. Let rise 30 minutes to an hour, you want them to double in size.  Then it is time to fry.  Be careful and don’t fry the tips of your fingers as you gently lay the doughnuts in the oil to fry. (like I did and do…lol)
“No need for a special cutter, just use a water glass or a biscuit cutter if you have one. Also a shot glass is perfect for cutting out the hole in the middle.”
Approximately 1 inch of oil for frying: grape seed oil, sun flower oil or combination of both.  Heat oil to 350-360 F or 177-180 C in a deep Dutch oven or cast iron skillet to fry. Fry 1-2 minutes on each side (no more than 3). Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack that is sitting on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper. Cool slightly before tossing in powder sugar, or cinnamon sugar. Cool until warm and dip in your favorite icing, glaze or fill with you favorite fillings.
“ you may be thinking to yourself that you feel this dough will not be sweet enough, I like to build flavors and I tend to make my confections more like European desserts, not as sweet as most people are accustom to.  So go ahead and increase your sugar to 1/2c if you like things on the sweet sweet side, it won’t hurt the dough at all.”
Easy fillings, frosting and Glazes
Basic Glaze
1 cup of sifted powder sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1-2 tablespoons of water
when the glaze falls of the spoon like a ribbon its at the correct consistency to dip your doughnuts
To make the glaze chocolate add 2 tablespoons of Cocoa to the basic recipe
For maple, add 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup or Maple Flavoring to the basic recipe
Be creative:
Chocolate Ganache/Frosting
1/2 cup scalded heavy cream, turn off heat add 1lb. of semisweet or bitter dark chocolate, stir until melted then dip or ice the doughnuts.
Fillings
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powder sugar
mix until stiff peeks   put in piping bag with a large tip and stick into the side of the doughnut and fill.
Cream cheese filling:
8 ounce of soften cream cheese
1/2 cup of your favorite jelly or jam
whip until light and fluffy
other flavor options 1/2 cup Nutella or melted chocolate, the possibilities are endless
be creative and experiment.
Toss your doughnuts in equal parts sugar and cinnamon
Make up a double batch of dough cut them out place on your parchment lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer before the second rise. Once completely frozen, place in a freezer bag in a single layer. When you have a craving for fresh doughnuts, pull out as many you want to make.  Place on parchment paper.  Within 30 to 60 minutes, they will be thawed and doubled in size and ready to fry.
Once you have tried these amazing doughnuts you will want nothing else.  Don’t feel you have to make filled doughnut, I just provided you with options for you to create.  Me, I like death by chocolate…chocolate doughnut with chocolate icing.  And I like simple….a basic glazed or cinnamon and sugar.

 

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Chicken Osso Buco
Dutch Oven or deep electric skillet
9 bone in skin on organic chicken thighs
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of diced carrots
1 large sweet onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
8oz package of mushrooms diced
1 smashed clove of garlic
seasoned flour ( equal parts bread flour and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper )
2 cups or half a bottle of a dry white wine
1 box of organic chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs and dredge in the season flour; place and brown in the heated pan. Remove the chicken from the pan, turn down the heat slightly and add the vegetables starting with celery, carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic.  Sauté until vegetables start to soften; then deglaze with the wine. Place chicken on top of the vegetables, add the chicken broth and the can of diced tomatoes; cover with lid and simmer.  If using an electric skillet set your temperature to 250 f or 130 c, if using a Dutch over turn the heat down to medium-low for a gentle simmer.  Cook for a minimum of 45 minutes, but the longer you cook it the more the flavors will meld together and the chicken will fall off the bone.  I served this over saffron and cheese polenta and garnished the chicken with an Italian Sofrito made with parsley,lemon juice, lemon zest,white wine, garlic and extra virgin olive oil
My Italian Sofrito
1 bunch of flat leaf or Italian Parsley
juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put Everything in the  food processor, pules  you don’t won’t it to be to smooth, you want to see bits of parsley and lemon zest.
If you’d like more scrumptious recipes, don’t forget to visit KK at karenskarouselofdelights.wordpress.com
Don’t forget to join us everyone…as Pam always says:
You can catch us at the same Florentine time on the same Florentine chanel.
Dana, Pam and Kez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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