Monday, September 14, 2015

Adventures of a Bookish Foodie: Pizza Most Deceptive

Nothin' says summer lovin' like a traditional wood-burning pizza oven, or so my guest cozy chef, historical writer A.S. Fenichel would have us believe. She's taking a page from the Europeans who have long embraced homemade, wood-fired oven baked pizza. Just check out her gorgeous pizza oven in the back yard. #ASFenichel #Adventuresofabookishfoodie‬‪

#Woodfiredpizza #Pizzasnob #Italy #Deception #fallrecipes #Cozyrecipes ‬‪#Historicalauthor
It’s nice to be here today. I love food and this is right up my alley. My favorite food is Italian food, which has nothing to do with my new book, Deception. Deception takes place in the early nineteenth century and mostly in Edinburgh, Scotland. They would have eaten a lot of mutton, sausage and perhaps some quail, dove and trout. They likely would not have used much in the way of seasoning, shame that. 

The good news is, Italian food is rich, flavorful and stunning to look at. When super-hubby and I got married we went to Italy on our honeymoon and spent the first six days at a cooking school. We learned so much technique and also the foundations of Italian cooking, keep it fresh and simple and you will have delicious food.

Six years ago we moved to Texas from New Jersey and were devastated by the state of pizza in the state of Texas. We love it here, but we missed our beloved pizza. If you’ve ever been or you ever go to New Jersey, try the pizza and you’ll know what I’m saying. And if you are going, let me know, I’ll tell you some of the best places in the area to get your pizza.

By now you realize I’m a bit of a pizza snob. I want a thin crust, a flavorful sauce and great toppings. So guess what we did! We built our own pizza oven in the back yard. Yup!!! It’s fabulous and on a cool night, it doubles as a fireplace.

You can for sure make pizza in your oven or even on your grill, but you may want to par-cook you crust first just so it gets crunchy and not soggy. Our oven gets up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit and cooks a pizza in about three minutes. It will take about 10 in your oven with a pizza stone and a preheated oven of 550, which is probably as high as your oven goes.

Here’s how you do it:

The dough:

1 packet of yeast

1 scant cup of warm water

½ teaspoon honey

4 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbls salt

2 Tbls olive oil

Bloom the yeast. I split the water. The water should be between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. To half a cup of water I add the yeast and honey and stir. While that blooms, I put the flour and salt in a mixer with the dough hook attachment. Once there is a nice fluff on the top of the yeast water, I start the mixer and add the yeast water. Then get another half a cup of water and slowly add. Be careful hear. It may require more or less water depending on the weather. When the dough gathers around the hook you can stop the mixer and pull it out.

Kneed the dough on a floured board for about ten minutes until shiny and elastic. Drizzle the olive oil down the sides of a large bowl so that the bowl is coated. This will keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth. I try not to let the cloth touch the dough. Put the dough in a warm place for at least an hour but no more than two.

Punch down your dough and form into a ball on a floured board. Cut into 4 even pieces and form into balls. At this point, I drizzle a little more oil on a baking sheet, place the dough balls far apart and cover with a damp cloth. Put it back in a warm place for 20 minutes and your dough will be perfect.

The Sauce:

Most Pizza sauces are raw, so feel free to do that if you like. I love my simple cooked sauce on the pizza and think it gives it great flavor.

Red Sauce

Diced tomato – 1 Can (15 oz)

Tomato paste – 3 oz (more if you like a thicker sauce)

Garlic – 2or3 cloves

Onion – 1 small diced

Olive oil – 3 or 4 tbls

Salt and pepper

Parsley and/or basil (optional)

In a large pan add olive oil. Press whole garlic against a cutting board to release the flavor and toss the entire clove into the COLD oil. Turn the heat on med and allow the garlic to brown on both sides (don’t let it burn) Remove the garlic and add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and add tomato paste. Let simmer for 10 min or until veggies are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: cool your sauce before putting it on raw dough.

Heat your oven as high as it will go. Use a pizza stone if using a regular oven and put the stone in before you turn the oven on. Let it heat for at least 30 minutes so the stone is good and hot.

Roll out your dough to the desired thickness and size. Spoon on sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you like. Put the pizza in the oven and keep an eye on the first one so you get an idea of how long it takes in your oven. Pull it out when the crust is brown and the sauce and cheese are bubbly.


Thanks very much for having me here today. I love to cook and share my recipes. This is so much fun. I hope you enjoy the pizza and Deception.

The Demon Hunters
Book 2
A.S. Fenichel

Genre: Historical PNR

Publisher: Kensington/Lyrical

Date of Publication: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 9781616505622

Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 78,957

Cover Artist: Morgan Pielli

Book Description:

When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.

Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn . . .

For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.

These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…

Amazon    BN     Kobo     iBooks     Kensington
Excerpt: Chapter 1

Gripping the chair arms to keep herself seated, Lillian fought an urge to leave and never set foot inside Castle Brendaligh again.
It had been a demoralizing battle and they had lost, but they had lived. They had done all they could, but still the demon master had ascended into man’s world.
“You failed and we are all likely to die because of it. I hold every person at this table responsible for the state of England. You have ruined us.” Lord Clayton’s voice grated on Lillian’s nerves.
Accounts of the battle were clear. Nearly everyone in the room had risked their lives trying to disrupt the ascension, not to mention keep the earl’s daughter, Belinda, from becoming a demon sacrifice. Making such a show of ferocious reprimands insulted their brave and selfless efforts. If not for the fact that he was her best friend’s father, she might have indulged her desire to pull a sai blade from her boot and slice his throat.
As if Lord Clayton, the Earl of Shafton, needed to attract more attention, he waved his hands. “You had one mission, to keep the master from entering our world. All you had to do was kill one demon, but you failed. You should all be shot for treason. Treason!”
His bright red face gave her hope his heart might fail and save her the trouble of killing him.
 Other hunters at the table murmured, but no one spoke out.
Everyone in this room is to blame. You had the perfect opportunity to end this mess. Now
the master is free of his realm and living in ours. It’s only a matter of time before he is strong enough to destroy everything we hold dear. When your families are killed mercilessly, will you sit here so unrepentant about failing in your duty?”
“Father, really.” Belinda Thurston rolled her eyes.
Lillian missed Reece’s steadying presence. Reece might have even been able to stop his lordship’s tirade with a few quick-witted remarks. Her partner had nearly died, and now lay upstairs recovering from demon poisoning.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Belinda. You are equally to blame. You were with the master for days and made no attempt to destroy him.”
Gabriel, Belinda’s husband, bristled. It was of course a ridiculous statement. The Earl of Tullering was not used to public abuse of his family. “Just a minute, my lord. You are out of order. Belinda was in no position to defeat the demon master. The information she gathered will be very helpful in our eventual victory.”
Shafton pointed a fat finger. “I do not want to hear about information that will take years to decipher. You, Tullering, are by far the most culpable. You and that woman”—he pointed at Lillian—“made a conscious choice not to destroy the master.”
Lillian reached toward her boot and let the hard steel of her sai blade handle bring her comfort. One second and Shafton’s head could be rolling down the long table and land in Drake Cullum’s lap.
Besides Shafton, Drake and his assistant, Dorian Lambert, were the only ones present who had not been at the battle. Their leader, Drake, had attended to assign new orders to the hunters.
Shafton said, “You could have destroyed the beast as it rose and was weakened. I know you had the opportunity, but you chose to save yourself. It was selfish and stupid.”
Lillian could kill him and no one would be able to stop her. Of course, there were  always consequences when dealing with men in power. She’d lose her home within The Company. Yet another arrogant earl would not take her from her rightful place. She was in control. It was nothing like her youth and the titled man who’d ruined her life.
Belinda said, “They saved my life, Father.”
“It was the wrong choice, Belinda. You might have cost us our one chance to stop this.” Shafton narrowed his eyes on Lillian.
Lillian said, “I can imagine your pleasure if we had allowed your only child to become the master’s sacrifice. Perhaps we should have stood by and watched until the master, with his full power rose, from the depths of hell and destroyed us all. As it is, Reece Foxjohn is still recovering from battle and the rest of us might have been sucked into the demon’s realm. But by all means, my lord, go on and tell us how you know we willfully failed on our mission. I do not recall your life being in danger that day at Fatum Manor. You were safely tucked away in your castle while the rest of us faced death or worse.”
“You are out of order, Dellacourt.” Shafton said her name as if it were a curse.
Lillian wasn’t sure when she had stood up, but clutching the leather wrapped steel, she rounded the table toward the earl. “If you have something you want to say about my abilities, my lord, I suggest you do so. I will be happy to display them for you, and we can evaluate them together.”
“Miss Dellacourt.” A warning came from the other end of the table.
“You were not there. You cannot know if we could have destroyed the master. As far as I’m concerned, we made the only choice possible under the circumstances. Maybe if your intelligence had supplied us with the location of the gateway before the master had grown so powerful, we might have been able to seal him in.”
“How dare you imply that I failed in some way? You who completely disregard orders  at will.”
 She had only ever hated one man the way she despised Shafton, and he too was an earl. At least that one was dead. Steeling her nerves, she slid the sai blade through the pocket cut in her skirt. “You speak of orders that were selfish and almost succeeded in getting your own family killed.”
“You have no right to question me or my motives.” To his credit, he faced her and stared her in the eye.
“I have every right when you point your fat finger at me.”
“Who do you think you are? I know where you come from Lillian Dellacourt. I know what you are.”
Drake Cullum pounded the table. “Shafton, that will do.” The demon hunters’ leader stood rigid, narrow-eyed. He was formidable when he was calm, but enraging him was never a good idea. He was furious now.
Had she gone too far? The idea she might have overstepped her bounds with Cullum was enough to make her relax the grip on her blade. Lillian turned and stormed from the dining room.
Shafton yelled something about not having dismissed her from the meeting.
Once in the hallway, she pulled her second blade and turned to go back in and finish what she’d started. It would be nothing to remove his pompous head from his shoulders.
Cullum stood in the doorway. He smiled at her and closed the door, baring her reentry.
Had she ever seen him smile before? No instance came to mind. She stomped toward the front entrance. She’d leave the damn castle, get her carriage, and ride like the devil back to London. Yet the one person in the world she could really talk to was a resident of Brendaligh. Holding her full skirts with both hands, she sprinted up the curved grand staircase.

About the Author:

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Demon Hunters series, the Psychic Mates series, and more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be brining you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden. Her babies are both rescues and include a demanding dog and a temperamental cat both of which bring constant joy and laughter.

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