Pages Abound was THRILLED to be a part of this blog tour. Below you will find our review not only of this clever release but also of a couple of the recipes featured in the book. Bon Appetit and happy reading!
Join Man of the Month creator, New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, and USA Today bestselling Southern food expert Suzanne Johnson as they guide you through their favorite bar bite and drink recipes served at The Fix on Sixth. And don’t forget to spend some time learning a little bit more about the private lives of your favorite characters in all new snippets and short stories! Brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights, BAR BITES is now available! Grab your copy today!
About BAR BITES:
Before Austin’s hotspot, The Fix on Sixth, became known for its sexy and fun Man of the Month calendar contest, the fictional downtown bar had already developed a reputation for fabulous drinks and mouthwatering bar bites—exactly the kind of venue to take a date and strike up a romance. Now it’s your chance to see exactly what’s on the menu … and to get a peek at the private lives of the men and women who not only work at The Fix, but who’ve made it the place to be in Austin, Texas.
Join Man of the Month creator, New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, and USA Today bestselling Southern food expert Suzanne Johnson as they guide you through their favorite bar bite and drink recipes served at The Fix on Sixth. Learn how to make the delicious bar bites that Tyree’s bar has become famous for. Whip up your favorite cocktail with the same flare as Cameron or Eric. And don’t forget to spend some time learning a little bit more about the private lives of your favorite characters in all new snippets and short stories!
Most of all, come share a drink, a bite, and a laugh with us! We’re so glad you’re here.
So pull up a chair, raise a glass, and dig in with your favorite Man of the Month characters, and meet a few new ones, too!
Grab your copy of BAR BITES today!
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J.Kenner and Suzanne M. Johnson have knocked this little novella out of the park. Packed with mouthwatering recipes that I would willingly travel for and a few short stories to share more details of some of the beloved couples, Bar Bits is a great quick read that will have you referencing back to it for the next recipe to try. It seems Tyree is truly a master chef, and his bartenders have perfected their craft ! As I would not wish to share the details of the short stories should any of the reader of this blog post not have finished the releases for the Man of the Month series, I can say that those who are familiar with the couples will appreciate the additional depth they find with some of the beloved couples and will love the introduction to a couple who has not yet been revealed.
So now on to the fun part! Pages Abound was given four recipes from which to choose for this review and tour. While we were excited about EVERY single choice, we opted to try two. (This made for easier meal planning for the week.)
First up: Mushroom Spinach Risotto Balls.
I am not going to lie; these were a labor of love. The time commitment for risotto was serious. In fact, I got in a great arm workout! And with the multi-steps, this is a two-day process. But these were a 4 and 5-star win! I can say that these do freeze well and can be pulled out in small batches to eat throughout the week.
Jen– “I really liked the slices of mushroom and the texture and consistency. The flavor was really unique and I overall thought it was super yummy!” 5 Stars
Kim–“Loved the flavor!”
Kori–“Although I am not a mushroom fan, these were a 4-star appetizer.”
Bryan–“I really liked these and would order them at a restaurant.” 4 stars
These little packages are flavorful, creamy, and the exterior crunch from the panko adds to the overall textures that play on the pallet. The hint of the wine makes an appearance in the overall flavor, and pairs well as a side dish.
I will admit I did not read the recipe entirely before committing, so knowing we had to wait a day to actually cook these delicious treats added to a crazy family night. But, the wait was worth it! In fact, my neighbor came down to get extra to take to work and share with a colleague. I think that speaks volumes. So again, if you are looking to impress your company, these are a step in the right direction but plan ahead.
Mushroom Spinach Risotto Balls
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
7 cups chicken broth
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
6 cups oil, for frying
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter and add the mushrooms. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set aside. Add the other tablespoon of butter to the same saucepan over low heat and add the onion. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, then pour in wine and stir for an additional 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the rice and stir until absorbed. Continue this process until all the broth has been added and the rice is tender, approximately 25-30 minutes. Never quit stirring. That’s the most important part. Remove from heat and stir in the mushrooms and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread risotto on a large cookie sheet, cover and refrigerate overnight.
TO MAKE BALLS:
Combine mushroom risotto, 1/2 cup Parmesan and spinach in a large bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls and coat with flour. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a separate medium bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs. Remove the balls from the refrigerator and dredge each one in the egg then panko breadcrumbs. Place 4 balls at a time in the oil and fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
SO…We adapted this recipe just a bit!
In an effort to save on a few calories, and to keep from having to worry about the oil, I decided to give the Air Fryer a go. I have to tell you this was the BEST decision. The risotto balls came out crispy and gooey. I also tried to back them in the oven, but this took an even greater amount of time than the Air Fryer.
If you want to give this a go, you can set the Air Fryer to 350, and bake 4 larger balls for 15-18 minutes or approximately 10 small appetizer size balls for about 10-12.
The second recipe was the Farmhouse Sliders. This was a quick and easy fix that the whole family enjoyed. Besides, the boys in this family can’t pass up anything with bacon! Overall, the family gave this a 4-star rating, earning a seal of approval for the rotation in the meal planning menu. The onions were flavorful, the mayo a bit spicy (we may have added additional garlic), and the sharp cheese pulled it all together. But according to my husband, it was the egg that was the true topper.
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 onion, thinly sliced
12 small eggs
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
12 slider potato buns
12 slices extra sharp cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon, cooked and drained
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add onion and soy sauce. Sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine ground beef and Montreal steak seasoning. Form into 2-inch patties. Preheat grill to medium and cook burgers for 5-7 minutes, turning halfway through, or until 160 degrees for medium (170 degrees for well done). In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and garlic. Using the same skillet as before, over low heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and crack 4 eggs into skillet, making sure to keep separated. Salt and pepper eggs and flip after 1 minute. Continue to cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute and immediately remove from heat for an over easy egg. To build each slider: spread 1 tablespoon of garlic mayonnaise on slider bun, top with beef patty, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon sautéed onion, 1 bacon slice and 1 egg. Repeat for the remaining 11 sliders.
I can honestly say that I am excited to test out many of the other recipes found throughout this novella. We have already planned a girls’ night to test out the drink selections. If you do try one of these recipes, reach out to Pages Abound and let us know what you think, as we would love to hear your stories about these selections as well.
Cheers, my friends!
Nolan Wood checked his watch as he glanced around the house. Shelby’s house. Or it had started out that way anyway. Now it was his, too. Just as much as she was his.
With a shake of his head, he realized he was smiling. Not that he wasn’t usually—on the whole, he was a pretty laid-back, happy kinda guy. But since he met Shel, it took a rock solid effort to wipe the smile off his face. His Shelby. His paradox. The buttoned-up woman who’d let a loose cannon like him into her life—and in the process had changed him completely.
They’d been together for months now, but he’d known right away that she was special. And that feeling just kept getting stronger, until sometimes when he was around her he thought he might burst if he couldn’t release the pressure.
Then again, that’s one reason why he loved his radio show; that was one hell of a pressure release, after all.
Although it wasn’t quite as good as sex…
The thought seemed to shove him around, and he turned to face the suitcase he’d left by the door. For a second, he frowned. Afraid that maybe he was doing this all wrong.
But it was too late now. He’d already made his decision, his plans, and he was diving in.
He pulled the old-fashioned tape recorder out of his backpack. He’d thought it had a fun vintage flair when he’d found it in the station’s dusty storeroom along with a pack of unused cassettes. He’d snagged the device and the tapes, then recorded the message. Now, he put the cued-up cassette into the recorder, checked that the batteries were good, and added a Post-it note to the top. He left the whole thing on her coffee table. All things considered, much better than a printed note.
Then he drew in a nervous breath, grabbed his suitcase, and gave the inside of the house one last, long look.
This was it, he thought as he headed for the door. For better or for worse, everything was about to change.
BAR BITES Books and Cooking Tour
About J. Kenner:
Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.
Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.
J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.
About Suzanne M. Johnson:
USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Johnson is family trained, a south Georgia native who’s been cooking all of her life, creating not only some really unique food, but precious memories that re-occur every time she smells something simmering in the oven. In all of her books, Suzanne shows that making a delicious meal doesn’t have to be complicated–it just has to be made with love. So go ahead, don’t be bashful, dive right in. Who knows? You might just make a few memories of your own.