Dear readers, it is time once again for me to bid you “Come and dine!” But first, to keep the culinary story going, we need ingredients. Don’t be shy. The three food-related things you send drive the story, and the Three Ingredient cupboards are bare — so to speak. Please leave a comment with three food-related “ingredients” that can become a part of the story.
Also remember that you can do catch-up reading where the story lives, the Three Ingredients Serial homepage.
Our interactive story continues with three ingredients from a reader and friend who knows how to write an entertaining story and prepare an extraordinary meal — the Provincial Lady. So I give you Episode-8, with three simple but elegant ingredients.
8. Peas, Noodles, Lemon
Detective Daniels gave me a lift back to Granny Fanny’s cottage. I had actually watched most of the autopsy Veronica Vale performed on the man who had died mysteriously at the Bijou theatre. Okay… so I watched it from a distance. As much of a distance as the large room could possibly allow. I admit that I had to look away a few times.
“Pip, I’m rather impressed,” the detective said as he drove. “I expected to have to carry you out of Veronica’s lab, but you held up better than my men did.”
I blushed at the compliment. Then I wondered why my cheeks colored. Sneaking a glance from beneath my eyelashes, I saw his strong profile above the crisp white collar of his shirt. Frankie’d had a chiseled nose and chin like that, though he was a little rough around the edges, not as dapper as the detective. Frankie — the fireman who turned out to be something completely different from what I had thought. Different in a very bad, dishonest way.
I was still kind of heartbroken about that. I tried not to wonder if he was okay, somewhere on the lam from the law. Granny told me that it was for the best that I learned the truth of what kind of man he was before I cared any more about him than I already did. She promised that time would give me perspective.
Without realizing I had done so, I sighed. Dabney Daniels gave me a concerned look. “Are you sure you’re alright, Pip?” he asked with what looked like genuine concern. It gave his eyes a soft puppy-dog look that was an endearing contrast to his usual no-nonsense manner.
Applesauce! I did not want to think of Daniels as more than a copper! I had suddenly realized that he was a very attractive man and it was more than my poor overworked noodle could handle just then. I plastered a fake smile on my face before looking up at him. The grin faltered when I saw his deep blue eyes, and I sat looking at him like a dumbstruck fool.
Lucky for me we reached my grandmother’s home just then. Another car had pulled up beside the cottage, under the big lilac bush. The Ford was almost hidden by the bush, but the observant detective noticed it right away. Dabney recognized the car.
“Hell’s bells, what’s he doing here?” he exclaimed. “Oh! I’m sorry, Pip. Pardon the expression,” he hastily apologized. “That car belongs to Moses Myrick. He’s run more covert operations and put more rum runners and mobsters behind bars than any other Fed. He even got a commendation from President Coolidge. And he’s got a sour disposition that just won’t quit. They joke that he eats lemons for breakfast, and I think it might be a fact. But what’s he doing here?”
As we walked up the brick path to the front door, I noticed the lace curtains in the parlor part just enough for someone to look outside. At the door I raised my hand to knock, even though I was living there now. I guess that’s how uncomfortable I felt about a big-shot revenuer being at Granny’s house.
I wondered briefly if Granny Fanny really did have a stash of white lightning somewhere. But no, I told myself. The man’s car was practically hidden under the lilac bush. He wouldn’t do that if he had something against her. Actually, it seemed like he was being discrete about visiting my grandmother. But why?
While I stood with one hand raised to knock and the other hand on the doorknob, Granny answered the door and told us to come on inside. She led us into the parlor and introduced Marshal Moses Myrick. He was very polite and all, but I couldn’t help thinking what beady little eyes he had. Green eyes… like little peas!
To my astonishment, Cracker the parrot fluttered up. Marshal Myrick held out his elbow, as if he wasn’t even thinking about it, and the bird perched on his arm. Cracker looked at Detective Dabney Daniels, and he reflexively put a hand to the ear the parrot had taken a bite out of the last time she got a chance. Cracker made a rude sound that was a lot like a raspberry.
Then the parrot nuzzled her head against the revenuer’s chin while giving Dabney a sidelong look that caused me to imagine she would like to say “So there! Jealous yet?” Then she bobbed her head at the marshal and said “Who’s your daddy?”
Recipe – Pasta with Fresh Herbs, Lemon and Peas
Recipe credit: The New York Times, Martha Shulman
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, tarragon, mint and chives
Zest of 1 organic lemon, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
3/4 pound pasta, any type
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or pasta bowl, combine the herbs, lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
2. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the package, but check the pasta a minute before the indicated time. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add the peas to the water. When the pasta is just about al dente, remove a half cup of the cooking water and add to the bowl with the herbs. Drain the pasta and peas, toss with the herb mixture and the cheese, and serve.
Yield: Serves four.
The herbs can be chopped several hours ahead, but don’t combine the ingredients until you’ve put the water on for the pasta.
Nutritional information per serving: 460 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 70 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 123 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 15 grams protein