Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Research--the story begins

It’s fall here. It seems late. Colors are not spectacular this year; only a few bright leaves recently appeared on our sugar maple. 
Our sugar maple, just beginning to turn

No freezes in Greenville so far, but the first frost is supposed to arrive later this week. It was enough to get us to the mountains for a day. I’m starting a new book, tentatively titled Shallow Grave, that’s set in a fictitious county in North Carolina, and I’m ready to begin some research. I already have an idea for the cover--cart before the horse?--though it may change many times before the book is finished.

Many of the trees there are already bare, but patches of vivid golds and reds still caused us to pull out the cameras. The scenery in western North Carolina always interests me. It’s a land of steep rock faces, streams and waterfalls, and fertile valleys.

Maybe hay under protective cover
 Old barns with their mellow colors or weathered wood and often defunct equipment tell stories of their own. Near one, the bay of hounds from an array of small dog houses tracked our progress. 

A pulled-pork lunch on the patio at Hubba Hubba, a smokehouse in Flat Rock, kept us going all day. I should have taken a picture of the food, but I did get the pink Mandevilla growing up a stone chimney.

An excellent day outside—perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, and lots of information and ideas. I need to go back and talk to some of the law enforcement people in the area, but I have much to go on with.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scottish Shortbread recipe

I'm posting this by request. It's truly scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. The recipe was given to me by my husband's cousin Mary, a delightful Scottish lady.


Yield:  1/2 cookie sheet

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
2 tablespoons rice flour (or very fine flour)
1/2 cup fruit sugar (very fine sugar)
2 cups flour

Double the amount for a large cookie sheet or just spread over half the sheet. Don’t spread the dough thinly. It should be fairly thick.

Beat butter until creamy. Add flour and work in well. Add sugar and rice flour and work in well. Knead with hands for a minute or two. Then pat into the tin. (I used flour on my hands and on a knife—otherwise the dough sticks to everything.) Mark with tines of a fork. (I had enough trouble without doing that.)

You can also roll mixture out and cut into shapes or leave it whole.
Bake at 275 degrees for about an hour. Small cookies take much less time.