Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Russian Tea Cakes & Wildcats

One of the things that I love about writing erotic hockey romances aside from the obvious *wink wink nudge nudge* is that I have an international cast. That calls for lots of research to find hometowns, language, and of course, the food of the county a Wildcat or Venom player comes from.

Since it`s so close to Christmas I thought I would share a recipe that I imagine Olaf Shevenko, the grandmother of newly acquired Wildcat Petro Shevenko, would make around this time of year. Margarite might complain about the kasha (a hearty Russian oatmeal) that Olaf feeds her and Petro every morning, but I bet she wouldn`t complain about some of these delightful Russian Tea Cakes. 

After the recipe you'll find an excerpt from Language of Love, which is releasing on 1/5/15, exclusively from Secret Cravings Publishing.


Russian Tea Cakes

(Original recipe makes 3 dozen)

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons confectioner`s sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup confectioner`s sugar for decoration


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C)

In a medium bowl cream butter and vanillia until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons of confectioner`s sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them around 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes. When cool, roll in remaining confectioner`s sugar. You can reroll them a second time for better coverage.

Prep time- 20 minutes
Cooking time -12 minutes
Ready in-35 minutes


          As we rode up to the penthouse, the kasha I had eaten for breakfast rolled over. Living with Petro and his grandmother, Olaf, had opened up my eyes to Russian food. And kasha, a porridge-kind of stuff made from different grains, was what we ate for breakfast. Every. Day.

            "A Russian cannot be full-fed without kasha," Olaf would say then slap her enormous grandson on his thick bicep. If you judged the import of kasha solely by the incredible body that Petro Shevenko has, kasha is a miracle food that all athletes should be eating for every meal. I worried it was going to settle right on my ass. Not that my ass didn`t need some meat. Men liked juicy posteriors. Black men. White men. Hispanic men. Russian men. Mine was somewhat flat. 

          Must be I got that from Daddy as well, because my mother had an ass that Tina Turner would envy. Daddy always joked that if not for belts his pants would be around his ankles, because there was no backside to hold up his britches. So while I wished for a roomier trunk, I fretted over actually getting one. I never claimed to make sense, especially when it came to beauty comparisons with my mother. Trust me, I lose every time going head to head, or ass to ass, with Isabelle Lancourt.

            Olaf, who was built like a Hessian tank, laughed off my concerns about my butt. "Look at Petro," she would say. I would. Then he would look at me as he spooned massive amounts of rice kasha mixed with scrambled eggs and sour cream into his sexy mouth. I tended to forget about a fat ass when he looked at me with those dark, hooded eyes. "He eat much kasha. His zadnitsa not grow fat!"

            Well, sure, his zadnitsa, or ass, didn`t grow fat. He was a professional athlete. I was an education major that ran a mile or two every other day, if I wasn`t stuffed too full of kasha, or cabbage soup, or potato pancakes with a quart of sour cream dolloped on them, to move. I had never eaten more cabbage or potatoes than I had the past fourteen days.

            The slight surge of the elevator stopping made me feel even queasier. The doors opened. I stepped into the foyer, overwhelmed with what felt like a panic attack setting in, except I had never had a panic attack in my life. My eyes darted to Maggie and Oscar. They were talking away, hands waving this way and that, as if they were attending a tea party.

            Oh, yeah, they were. The door to my mother`s house opened. The blast of cold air dancing under my skirt made me shiver. My grandmother stepped into the foyer, a blue blanket wrapped around her bony shoulders. Nothing stuck out but her kinky silver hair, round brown eyes that looked three times as large as they were due to her thick bifocals, and her wide nose.

            "It`s as cold as Siberia in there. That big Russian you`re shacking up with would feel right at home," Nana said. Maggie`s head whipped around. Shit. Thanks, Nana. If you want something kept secret, never tell Dolores Davis about it.

           I told my grandmother that Petro and I were just friends. Her eyebrow wiggled up her wrinkled brow. I argued with her, quite forcefully, as we stepped inside. Funny. It all looked the same. The tastefully chosen furniture, the artwork on the walls, the subtle touch of wealth in the choice of carpeting, drapery, accessories. Mama was a wealthy widow. A very wealthy widow.  A widow who was deliberating about moving in with the head coach of the Wildcats. 

          I was thrilled for Mama. Philip Moore was one of the finest men I knew, even if he didn`t understand Petro. While it was obvious to everyone who saw them that Mama and Coach Moore loved each other, Mama was pretty ferocious about her independence. But, being pregnant at fifty, and all the potential health concerns my new brother or sister might bring, was tempering her a bit.

           Nana walked into the living room. Maggie and Oscar began moving around, looking at angles, sun light, that sort of thing I assumed. I padded over to stand beside the stairs. My eyes could not leave the image of my mother as she descended. Like a Caribbean queen she came down the stairs, her brown eyes glistening with unshed tears, her long legs carrying her elegantly closer, her svelte form lost amid the flowing folds of rich gold and green in her simple cotton shift. Her dress moved as she did, the gold and green setting off her dark chocolate-colored skin perfectly. Of course, she knew that. Mama knew how to buy and wear clothes. She had been a fashion model before she married Daddy. My mother was rarely seen without makeup. Even with no visitors expected she would 'Go light' just in case. 

          Her cheekbones were perfection, her lips sublime. I cannot tell you how many times, as a child, I would look at her deep brown skin and wish I could trade my cafĂ© au lait skin tone for hers. You could look at her and see our ancestors from Trinidad. I so wanted to look like her and Nana who were dark and proud. Her pregnancy made her glow from within. I nearly bolted up the steps to embrace her but I checked myself. She smiled when she caught the infinitesimal movement.

            "Hello, baby," she whispered before we embraced. I wanted to say more. Sit down. Talk. Hash this mess out. But, we had a reporter and a photographer probably going 'Aww' behind us. 

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