Happy spring everyone! I’m so excited that The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off has finally hit the shelves. To celebrate its release we’re having a recipe blog tour where we talk about the recipes mentioned in the book.
To bring y’all up to date: Carlene found a pair of red satin bikini under britches in her husband, Lenny Joe’s briefcase and they most certainly did not belong to her. However, since she and her cousins, Alma Grace and Patrice, own the Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop where specialty under garments are made, she recognizes them and remembers the woman she made them for very well.
To get back at Lenny Joe, the cousins, plus Josie, the lady who helps them in the shop and the three mothers to the cousins, Tansy, Gigi and Sugar have entered the chili cook off. They are the first women to ever step into the up-until-now man’s world of chili. And not a blessed one of them can cook. But they are determined to find a prize winning chili that will break Lenny Joe’s winning streak.
This is an excerpt when the three mother’s try their hand at making their first batch of chili in the kitchen at Bless My Bloomers. (NOTE: the shop is in the downstairs portion of an old two story house that has three bedrooms upstairs. The mothers each now have a bedroom upstairs so they can make chili after the shop closes in the evenings. Tansy has stepped out into the foyer to talk to her husband, leaving Sugar alone in the kitchen.)
While she was gone, Tansy’s phone rang. She took it out into the foyer so she could talk to Alex privately. And that’s when Sugar realized that no one had even opened the cayenne pepper. She twisted the lid off and found a tablespoon measure, filled it up, and dumped it into the pot. When she stirred it up, it didn’t smell nearly as hot as the chili she’d sampled at the cook-off in previous years so she put in another tablespoon.
“Please, Lord, let this be wonderful so we don’t have to cook anymore,” she prayed.
Gigi came back, pulled a bottle of tequila from the cabinet, and poured two fingers in the bottom of a glass. “Don’t you look at me like that and don’t you dare start praying,” she told her sister. “I’ve got to get the taste of that raw meat out of my mouth.”
“You didn’t eat any of it, did you?” Sugar was appalled.
“No, but I smelled it and it’s in my mouth now,” Gigi said.
“Well, I’ve done my part. I’m going up to take a bath. You keep watch on the pot and stir it every fifteen minutes. I’ll take my turn while you take a bath,” she said.
Gigi stirred and smelled, then re-read the recipe and frowned. She’d watched Sugar measure all the ingredients into the bowl except for cayenne pepper.
“Well, shit! I bet that’s what gives it the heat. It’ll be bland as oatmeal without it.” She picked up the tequila, tossed the rest of it back, shivered, and then checked the recipe. It said a tablespoon but Sugar had put all the measuring utensils into the dishwasher. She found a fourth cup measure and it didn’t look so big so she filled it up, poured it into the chili, and stirred it well. Then she poured another two fingers of tequila and carried it toward her bedroom. She still had things to unpack. Tansy could damn sure watch the chili and talk at the same time.
“Stir every fifteen minutes. Tequila and bourbon is on the bottom shelf above the stove,” she said as she passed Tansy.
Tansy nodded and headed toward the kitchen. She listened to Alex telling about a new colt born on the ranch that day and ran her finger down the recipe. Damn it! The cayenne pepper was sitting right there. Sugar had put up the spices as she measured them so she wouldn’t get confused. Evidently she forgot to put that one in the mixture.
It said a tablespoon but Tansy couldn’t talk and measure, too, so she shook a little in the pot, smelled, and shook a little more, and then be damned if that little cover with the holes in it didn’t pop right off and the rest of what was in the bottle got dumped.
“Oh, well, that should be just about enough to make it good,” she said. “No, I’m not talking to you. Sugar forgot to put the cayenne in the chili but I took care of it. Now tell me more about the new colt.”
They met in the kitchen at ten o’clock that evening ready to taste their first pot of chili. Sugar had taken on the last job of stirring and already had three plastic bowls on the cabinet waiting when Gigi and Tansy arrived.
“It smells good,” Gigi said.
“Y’all sit down and I’ll serve it up.” Sugar smiled. “But first we say grace.”
No arguments so she bowed her head and thanked the Lord for the wonderful meal they were about to partake of and then she filled three bowls and put them on the table.
“I just know this is going to be heavenly,” Sugar said.
“Okay, on three we all put the first bite in our mouths, chew slowly, and then we’ll pass judgment,” Tansy said.
“One, two, three,” Gigi said.
The chili went in.
Gigi ran to the kitchen sink, spit it out, grabbed the tequila, and sucked on it like a starving baby.
Tansy spit it out on the floor and turned up the bottle of bourbon and gulped a dozen times.
Sugar chomped twice before the fire hit her mouth and she spewed it all over the wall, fell out of her chair, and clutched at her throat, gasping for air. She didn’t even hesitate when Gigi handed her the tequila. She just turned it up and downed what was left in the bottle.
“Damn!” Tansy said. “That is some hot shit.”
“Ha….ha…hot as hell.” Sugar’s breath still came in short gasps.
Gigi slid onto the floor next to Sugar and started to giggle. “We’ve got to get rid of it. Nobody can ever know about that recipe.”
Tansy sat down with them. “You are drunk. That bottle of tequila was almost half full.”
“I might be but so are y’all. Even Sugar.”
Sugar fanned her mouth. “I’m afraid to talk. Fire like a dragon.”
“Never eating chili again,” Sugar’s words were slurred. “Pour it out in the backyard for the wild animals.”
Tansy giggled. “What the wild animals ever do to you?”
Now for the chili recipe…without so much cayenne red pepper! Have you got a favorite chili recipe? We’d love for you to share it with us.
2 lbs ground beef (the thicker the grind, the better)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 (6 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups V-8 vegetable juice (or other vegetable juice)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 -4 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon beef bouillon (fully dissolved)
4 -5 tablespoons chili powder
1 lime, juice only
1 tablespoon honey or 1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
Crumble ground beef into 3 cups of chicken stock and simmer until the beef is done. Add all the rest of the ingredients and continue simmering until it thickens. One hour is good. Two is better and it’s even better reheated and served the next day. OR after the beef is cooked, all ingredients can be put into a large crock pot and simmered on low for several hours.
Title: The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown
Cadillac, Texas Series Book Two
Imprint: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
More Than the Chili’s Heating Up Cadillac, Texas
Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband’s briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself—and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he’d known there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.
Carlene’s cohorts—and their mamas—plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it’ll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm…and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.
Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.
Read my review HERE.
Praise for The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off:
“With a cast of characters that will leave readers grinning, Brown’s latest is delightful, humorous “chick lit”… Fun, fun and more fun is on hand in a story that wins a blue ribbon in both originality and wit.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
“Fun, fresh and hilarious… The author showed that laughter is the best medicine and a sure fire cure for the toughest of challenges in life.” —Chick Lit Reviews
“The characters are vibrant and engaging, the story is endearingly off beat and full of down home folksy charm. A wonderfully heartwarming and highly entertaining novel.” —Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances as well as women’s fiction. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. For more information, please visit www.CarolynLBrown.com.
***Prizes courtesy of Sourcebooks***
Prize #1: a print copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off
Prize #2: A Carolyn Brown Prize Pack
Print copy of The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee
Print copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off
Cute recipe card set—so the winner can save the recipes shared along the tour!
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Be sure to follow along on The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off Recipe Sharing Tour!
April 1: Carolyn Brown’s Facebook Page
April 2: Dew on the Kudzu
April 3: Fresh Fiction
April 4: Book’d Out
April 7: Book Reviews & More by Kathy
April 8: Chick Lit Central
April 9: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
April 10: Bitten By Love Reviews
April 11: From the TBR Pile